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Mad Men Recap: Episode Five, "The New Girl"

Mad Men Rundown: Episode Five, "The New Girl"

Whoa — big episode of Mad Men this week with all of my favorite characters getting a good amount of screen time. One of my favorite characters from last season makes a return and we learn a whole lot about what happened to Peggy a while ago, including how she managed to keep her job after going through her secret ordeal.

I don't know about you, but there were some heart-stopping, high drama moments for me in this week's episode. Pressure continues to build within the Draper marriage as Don's lies keep piling up, Pete is a tool to his wife as usual, and there's some exciting news for Joan!

To read the rest of my thoughts and chat about the episode,


Don Draper: Once again Don succumbs to Bobbie's charms, and after getting thoroughly wasted he gets behind the wheel of his car for a late night tryst by the sea. As he guzzled hard alcohol while driving I thought, "I know they smoked while pregnant and stuff but surely they understood the hazards of drinking and driving?" And, of course, that's the moment when Don and Bobbie get into a terrible accident. Oh! But before all that they bump into Rachel Menken (yay! She's back!), who is now Mrs. Katz. Her husband seems a little less exciting than Don but likely not as much of a d-bag. There's a lot of clean up after the big wreck, including some more lying to Betty who is angry that Don didn't call her after his accident. Of course, he dismisses this argument from his spouse by calling her hysterical and telling her to help him get dressed.

Peggy Olson: We learn a lot about Peggy this week via flashbacks, including a diagnosis by the doctors in the mental institute: "psychoneurotic disorder" a.k.a. "refusing to admit she had a baby." Then we find out that Don visited her in the hospital and offered some eerie words of advice to poor, confused Peggy, like "Get out of here and move forward," and "This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened." This scene gave me chills all over; the way Jon Hamm delivers these lines is extraordinary. Later, Bobbie gives Peggy some constructive advice on how to get that corner office: stop being so deferential toward Don and start acting like his equal. Thus, Peggy asks Don to repay her for his bail, and when he hands her money, she calls him by his first name instead of her usual "Mr. Draper." The playing field has been leveled a little bit (both Peggy and Don now know destructive secrets about each other), and Peggy is learning how to leverage that.

Some more thoughts:

  • Did anyone else notice that Peggy's sister is hugely pregnant when she visits Peggy in the hospital? What do you think that's about? She could be pretending to be pregnant as a cover for Peggy, or perhaps the little boy we've been seeing this whole season is actually Peggy's sister's.
  • Um, what the heck was up with that guy who popped out of his office and played Mozart on his pants zipper? Oddest. Mad Men moment. Ever.
  • Ugh, Pete! He finds out that he does not have fertility issues (which we knew because of his baby with Peggy) and proceeds to rub that in his wife's face and treat her like a child. He is so despicable sometimes.
  • I like the addition of "the new girl," though I think she looks more modern than any of the other women. Like, 2008 modern. I'll be curious to find out more about her.
  • Joan has some great lines this week, and the one that made me laugh out loud was when she told the group of men gathered around near the new secretary to go and "Pitch your tents somewhere else."
  • Speaking of Joany — she's engaged! Cue break area squealing! We haven't seen much of this doctor love of hers, so we'll see how long this engagement lasts. Can you really see Joan out in the burbs next door to Betty raising kids? Me neither.

What did you think of last night? Were you as blown away as I was to learn about how deep Peggy and Don's relationship actually goes? Do you think we'll see more of Rachel? Do you prefer Peggy the power-playing office politico to Peggy the doormat?

Photos courtesy of AMC

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