Mad Men Review: Very Dirty Business
This week's Mad Men was truly one for the books. Especially after last week's mediocre episode, "The Other Woman" had me alternately jeering and cheering, while attempting to scrape my jaw off the floor.
It was hard to juggle all of these emotions on top of my standard urge to punch Pete Campbell in the face, but it was worth it for an installment such as this.
Just when Pete had mildly redeemed himself (emphasis on the mildly) by standing up to Alexis Bledel's husband and letting him know what a good thing he had, he goes and pimps out Joan. I hate to even say that Pete did something redeeming because cheating on your wife and sleeping with another man's wife isn't redeeming, but it's rare that the scumbag even says something nice or stands up for another person, so it's somewhat noteworthy.
Back to pimping out Joan: There is really no other way to put it. Especially when Pete is next to a good guy like Ken Cosgrove, who said why couldn't we just tell him Joan was married? Yes, the same Ken who later tried to comfort Peggy when Don threw money in her face, but we'll get to that later.
On a show that strives for an accurate portrayal of gender roles in the 1960s, it's not unusual to see themes of sexism and the degradation of women in a lot of the episodes. However, the most recent installment hit home at a new level. I'm pretty surprised Joan went for the deal, but I think there are a few things that really put the nail in the coffin.
First off, last week Joan opened up in a rare moment to Don about her feelings regarding her separation. She is lonely, lost, going through a divorce, facing single motherhood and more financial responsibilities, and all while keeping the secret that Kevin is really Roger's baby. Ultimately Joan does need the money. In the past, if this were just about Joan, she would've told Pete right where to shove his offer. Now that she's a mother, it's not just about providing for herself anymore. The moment Joan came home to her mother, the baby and the broken refrigerator you could see the wheels turning in her head.
Then you have the fact that she was told all five of the partners voted on it. This includes Roger. Joan may have acted strong since the day we met her, but we know that deep down she and Roger love each other. At least, this is my opinion and keep in mind that I'm only filling in for your resident Mad Men reviewer Dan Forcella and I know that Dan isn't the biggest Joanie fan.
The thought that Roger would be willing to pimp her out for a deal must have truly crushed her. Then Lane had to come in and put the idea in her head that she should hold out for a five percent partnership deal, which basically amounts to nothing. This is what truly surprises me, Joan is smarter and should know this.
Alas, it was too late. By the time Don rode in on his white horse to save the day, the deed had already been done. I thought the ending was really well done with Don's pitch alternating with Joan and Herb's disgusting night together. I feel terrible for her right now.
I won't say this episode was entirely about sexism, even though Peggy leaving Sterling Cooper Draper Price was a major deal. In Peggy's case, I feel like it was more about respect, pride and knowing what your worth. Peggy knew she deserved more than she was getting and Don throwing the money in her face was the final straw. (Who is he, Scott Disick?!?) Although after how horrible he treated her throughout the episode, the last scene in his office when he kissed her hand almost made me misty eyed.
Ultimately, it's all about the greed. All anyone cares about is the money. They are willing to sell their morals, souls, pride, and even their bodies in order to get the business. What does that say about everyone at SDCP? What does that say about Peggy who left? What would you have done if you were Joan? How badly do you want to slap Pete Campbell at all times? Hit the comments and Dan will be back next week!
Oh, and Sally Draper really was right. The city is dirty.
Mad Men: "The Other Woman"
Leigh Raines is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.