THE PRICE YOU PAY: Whether you found last night's Mad Men brilliant or maddening depends on whether you really believe that vote would have gone 4-0, with one abstained.
Pete, sure; Cooper, sure. Lane? Well, given his financial straits, the partnership share was a less painful short-term offer than the cash, but his strong affection for Joan might have led him towards a flat no. Still, if you're Lane, maybe you do say, "Look, I'm way down in the hole; if you have a chance to avoid my mess, just do it."
But then there's Roger. Maybe I'm romanticizing his character too much, but I just have a lot of difficulty accepting Kevin's dad doing this -- yes, it's an indirect way to give Joan the financial comfort he wants her to have, but not by this route. "It was the 60s" just doesn't work for me as an answer ... but that I didn't quite buy it doesn't mean that it still wasn't devastating to watch, this lecherous oaf owning Joan for a few hours (wearing the fur Roger once bought her as his mistress), cross-cut with Don Draper at his Draperest selling the idea of finally getting to control this beautiful, unattainable object. [And, please, hand Christina Hendricks her Emmy, now, for her wordless reactions.]
This week is all about, anvilliciously but no less effectively, women recognizing how they are seen by the men in their world (Megan's being checked out as a piece of meat; Peggy having money thrown at her, because TWTMIF!), and then deciding what the price is, what are the things which would make them happy. And if there's a thesis to the episode/season/series, it's that Peggy is the one who is happiest because she knows her price, states it (and it's only money; she's the one who most seems to have the work/life balance for happiness which feels like a more contemporary concept), and when it's offered, takes it.
The unstated part is that what Peggy also wants is the respect her new title confers, and that's something that Don just can't match. There's no number he can offer to compensate for the continued indignities he and SCDP have visited upon her, and I have to wonder if Don's sad acceptance of Peggy's decision is his recognition that SCDP as he now knows it will never treat Peggy as well as she deserves. She will never get the lobster.
And so Peggy Olson steps into the light, and I'm damned if I know how they keep her in the series going forward. That's the frustrating thing about this -- one roots for Peggy and wants to see her move on completely, but the reality of television shows is that I fear she'll be back. If the price for Peggy's fictional happiness is that we as an audience will never see her again, are you willing to pay it?