The titular "other woman" in this week's episode of Mad Men is actually a car, but the ladies of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce — Peggy and Joan — are also courted in very different ways. Both women make major decisions that impact their careers and their futures (not to mention the whole dynamic of SCDP).
The way that Joan and Peggy handle their respective situations truly showcases just how different these women are, even if they both have the same ambition and devotion to success at heart. I can't get into it without revealing a few spoilers, though, so let's break down the biggest moments when you read more.
- The ending of an era: Peggy's leaving Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce! This is by far the show's biggest shake-up since Don and Megan's engagement, and it's bittersweet because it happens right in the middle of all the Jaguar madness. Peggy's felt a bit out of place all season long (especially thanks to Ginsberg), and when Don embarrasses her in his office, it's the last straw. She seeks out old friend Freddy Rumsen for advice, and he tells her she should cast her feelings aside and start exploring her options. She's quickly snatched up by a rival agency, for even more money than her asking price. Don can't believe it when Peggy breaks the news (you can practically see the smoke coming out of his ears), but he keeps his temper in check long enough to give her a very tender, heartfelt goodbye. She tells Don not to be a stranger, but could Peggy really be gone for good? I'm happy to see her character moving on, but would definitely miss her on the show.
- Indecent proposal: As the writers are busily brainstorming for the upcoming Jaguar campaign, Pete and Ken get a rude awakening from Herb, the head of the dealers association. He mentions over dinner that he'd give SCDP a leg up — if he can sleep with Joan. Pete makes the already-uncomfortable situation even worse by having the nerve to bring it up to Joan in the most obnoxious way possible. She says the company "can't afford" her, which Pete takes to the partners as a bargaining chip. Don and Lane are horrified, but the rest of the guys are open to seeing what Joan will do.
- A dirty job: After the partners meeting, Lane takes his turn discussing the situation with Joan. At first, she's annoyed, and I felt a tinge of sadness for her when she learns about the discussion, especially when she asks if Roger was involved. Lane's still not quite endorsing the idea of Joan whoring herself out, but he proposes that she ask Pete to become a partner rather than just taking a check. She takes his advice, which gets Lane out of yet another sticky monetary situation.
- Slippery Pete: Pete's creepy ways are mostly reserved for the way he handles the Joan/Jaguar situation, but we also get another brief peek into his troubles at home. After a rousing rendition of "Goodnight Moon," Pete and Trudy get into a tiff when he mentions that he's tired of his long commute and wants an apartment in the city. Trudy says absolutely not, but it's clear that his distaste for the suburban life is only getting worse.
- Game changer: When Don gets wind of the fact that Joan will sleep with Herb in exchange for a partnership, he's angry and shows up at her door. He tells her that he doesn't want to win the campaign this way, and she's appreciative of the fact that he's the only one that stood up for her. It seems that he may have changed her mind, but twist! We learn that it's too late, and she's already slept with Herb. The guys nab the campaign the next day, but the look on Don's face when he sees Joan in the partners meeting says it all.
With only two episodes left in the season, what'd you think of all the happenings on Mad Men? Were you surprised about Joan's or Peggy's decisions?