So, of course, I'm talking about this week's Mad Men. Below the fold, for the spoiler-unaware ...
First off, the animated GIF of Pete Campbell getting decked. It does not get old. But as amusing as that was, and as many characters who said that they were waiting for such a moment (as was the audience), let's remember that it only happened at all because the first three names on the door let it happen, with Roger in particular chuckling before it even starts.
Yet to the two combatants it isn't sport, but a serious question of honor, and it's between the last name on the door and the man whose desperate ambition leads him to keep asking to have his name added to the title -- but as this week proved, merely adding one's name to the door doesn't actually give you more power. Lane Pryce still can't close a business deal on his own, still has an unhappy wife who schleps him to events he'd rather not attend (and, note that Lane wasn't invited to the Campbell party), and still can't close the deal with a now-single Joan.
There's a lot one can say about Pete, and it's all pretty sad. His old-world money and status -- the section at the botanical gardens -- don't impress anyone, and even his hard work at SCDP doesn't get him the respect and friendships he thinks he deserves. And on this, Sepinwall nails something fundamental:
While Pete and [The Office's Michael Scott] aren't exactly cross-decade counterparts for one another, there's a sense with both that they were never properly taught how human beings interact with one another, and have been faking their way through it as adults. They just take their cues from different sources, with Pete copying more successful men, while Michael borrows everything from pop culture.Speaking of those more successful men, Don's as happy as we've seen him in quite some time, and some of that is by willingly ceding some power to Megan in yielding to her desire to go to the Campbell party. And it's a level of self-control we've never seen before -- Don Draper, in a brothel, finally learning to say no to temptation? Maybe last week's nightmare really stuck with him -- and I do have to wonder, is was he serious when he drunkenly asked Megan about making babies? Because that's not something I recall her mentioning before.
And Roger, so beaten down since the the Lucky Strike catastrophe, still knows how to act like a man with power. He's the one to whom Lane turns for account advice; he's the one who knows where the nearest brothel is; he's the one who forces Ken to give up his science fiction pursuits. Except he doesn't, really; Ken just picks up with another pen name, and keeps writing. Maybe Roger's not as powerful as he thinks he is.
Also, chewing gum on his pubis. And Charles Widmore? Did I hear that right?