Since I was heading back from WonderCon Sunday night I didn’t watch Mad Men live, but Sunday’s episode was certainly more entertaining than last week’s for several reasons, and this post I’m breaking down episode 2 of the final season A Day’s Work by who did and who did not, know when to stop talking.
Let’s start off with who didn’t.
Lou Avery, the character I feel like the writers wrote just to make certain that the viewers would definitely miss Don at SC&P, is at the top of this list. The way he treated Sally in the first place when she showed up was just irksome, the way he treated Dawn though, was downright rude and unprofessional.
Sure I agree he resents Don, having to share a receptionist, and the whole Sally thing wasn’t his problem, however that didn’t give him the right to treat Dawn the way he did, nor ask Joan to get him a new secretary. I cannot wait to see this guy go.
Moving along to Peggy, ah Peggy. How I wish you could have ended up in a relationship with Stan Rizzo, or any stable supportive relationship for that matter. Unfortunately as we’ve seen over time, and very clearly in these first two, season seven episodes that she really needs a guy in her life (and no I’m not being sexist, but Peggy has sacrificed healthy relationships for success, and it’s not going well). It’s going so badly that she forgot Valentine’s Day, and is very nearly making up a relationship in her mind, that’s almost as bad as when Jan Brady said she was dating “George Glass”. Once reminded that it’s Valentine’s Day she mistakes a gorgeous bouquet on her receptionist’s desk as hers, and suspects that Ted sent it. Her receptionist finds the whole thing awkward and can’t tell Peggy until Peggy is about to toss them maintaining that the flowers are “cursed” and questioning the values of Valentine’s Day. When it’s all said and done Peggy blames her receptionist for the embarrassment, and also asks Joan for a new girl (poor Joan).
Before getting directly to who knew when to shut up, it feels like the individuals actually getting work done knew both when to speak and to zip it.
There’s Joan, who through the whole reception debacle, including Bert requesting that for appearances there be no colored receptionists at the front desk, ends the episode after a very brief but pleasant conversation with Jim about the fact that she has two jobs, and that there’s an office upstairs for an account man, and that all that’s needed for her head of personnel position is someone with organization, fortitude and an ability to be okay with being disliked.
That person, happened to be Dawn, who even after saying a few choice (and well deserved) words to Lou, regarding the whole Sally-showed-up-looking-for-her-dad problem, was definitely the right woman for the job.
Now, who knew exactly when to say nothing? Unlike Peggy who is foolishly still pining for him in New York, out in California, Ted is saying very little, and if I were in his shoes, I’d be doing the same thing after Pete had his little rant. Quite frankly I can see why Pete is peeved about the partners in New York telling him to hold off on signing a new client until things are good with Detroit . However it’s actually a wise suggestion on Jim’s part… yeah I’m team Jim for this ep.
Back to Ted though, when Pete stormed out, saying that they weren’t talking, Ted’s lack of a response was perfect.
Finally, let’s get to Don, who until his over-share last season, always knew just what to say and when. He seems to be getting back there, both at meetings with other agencies, and more importantly with his daughter Sally. I won’t lie though, her trip to New York all felt a bit plot devicey. What I will do though, is acknowledge that his conversations with Sally (even when she told him to stop talking) were important for both of them, and after he came clean with her, about a lot, he was the only character in the episode, set during Valentine’s Day, who was told “I love you”, and I’m glad we got that moment.
What were your thoughts on the episode? Leave a comment!