Megan and Pete have been center stage for much of this season of Mad Men, and they're back in the spotlight this week. Pete's journey to rock bottom continues with more self-destructive behavior, while Megan makes a major life change that affects Don and her co-workers.
We haven't seen a lot of Don and Peggy standoffs lately, but Megan's decision throws them back together — and not necessarily in a good way. There's a lot to chew on, so let's get into it when you
- The lying game: Megan receives a call at work that's suspiciously from someone who's using her maiden name. That night, she tells Don that she's working late, but then tells Peggy that she's going to dinner with Don. It doesn't take long for their wires to get crossed, with both Peggy and Don realizing that something isn't quite right.
- Pack your ads and go: As it turns out, Megan's basically the only character on this show that's not sneaking around with someone else; rather she was at a late-night callback for an off off Broadway play, and comes clean to Don about the lie almost immediately. That's only the tip of the iceberg though: she also admits that she's not happy at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, despite her obvious talent for advertising. Don tries to talk her out of quitting, but eventually succumbs and says he's willing to help her chase her dreams. Joan draws the obvious connection between Betty's background as a model and Megan's acting, but Don's disappointment really shows the differences between his two marriages. He truly wanted Megan to succeed as a copywriter rather than be relegated to a trophy wife; will his feelings toward Megan change now that he's realizing she's not the complete anti-Betty?
- Getting the shaft: Despite his endorsement, Don's obviously not that excited about Megan's decision to leave SCDP, and he gets a creepy omen when Megan leaves the office for the last time: an empty elevator shaft. Not only is it an unsettling sign, but the moment is reminiscent of the Mad Men season 5 poster that featured a falling man.
- Gilmore girlfriend: Pete's obnoxious train buddy Howard brags about his new floozy in the city over a morning chat about life insurance. Right on cue, Pete finds Howard's wife Beth (it's Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel!) stranded at the train station waiting for her husband, and asks if Pete will give her a ride home. It doesn't take a genius to predict what happens next: she's vulnerable, he's desperately unhappy, so they end up doing it. Though Beth tells Pete she doesn't want to see him again, Pete becomes fixated on her and even worms his way into their household at dinnertime. He proposes that she meet him for a hotel rendezvous, but she stands him up. However, when he sees her later in the car with Howard, she sends him a very mature message: a heart drawn in her steamed-up window. Pete seems to be looking for anything to latch onto these days, but with the casual mentions of suicide and life insurance, I'm a little worried about what will happen to him if he plays into Beth's mind games.
- Just try it: Don's not just emotionally affected by Megan's decision to leave; she also leaves Don hanging with his new campaign for Cool Whip. Peggy is once again caught in the middle, this time tasked with playing Don's wife for their little skit for the "head of desserts." Peggy mucks up the bit, leading to an all-out bickerfest between her and Don that feels a lot more like an authentic married couple than their skit. They blame each other for Megan's departure, and Peggy eventually shuts him down.
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