Peggy's Got 99 Problems But Ted Ain't One: Mad Men Ep. 2

Apr 21 at 10am

Mad Men Ep. 2: A Day's Work

By Jules Suzdaltsev

“Tell him that I relayed his message to the client, and … there’s nothing he can do. They’re not – they don’t want to hear any more pitches, the business is gone.” - Peggy, leaving a message for Ted.

SPOILERS IN HERE. Oh Peggy, Peggy, Peggy, you poor, lonely thing. After the previous episode showed Peggy weeping on the floor of her apartment, we hoped that the inky void of her love life would resolve itself in a colorful montage (or at least something better than Ginsberg’s “masturbate gloomily” crack). Instead, she accidentally took her secretary Shirley’s Valentine’s Day flowers, thinking they were from ex-lover Ted Chaough, and amongst a series of embarrassing missteps, left him the above cringeworthy message. Instead of being strung along, she’s actually been cut loose, not unlike Don, who was referred to as “our collective ex-wife who still receives alimony” by Jim Cutler. 

I should add that most of the characters seem to be falling through the cracks of a fragmentation that’s been lingering since last season’s out of control spiral, Shirley included. And Don’s entire life is a series of fragments carefully ordered into a ten-dollar-haircut – but when he wakes up at half-past noon to mark the booze level of his liquor bottles, it’s clear that he's just perpetually disheveled now.

Don’s entire life is a series of fragments carefully ordered into a ten-dollar-haircut – but when he wakes up at half-past noon to mark the booze level of his liquor bottles, it’s clear that he's just perpetually disheveled now.

Mostly, this episode was about Don trying to fix things with Sally, who was the biggest casualty of last season's broken affair between Don and his neighbor. His relationship with his daughter is probably Don’s greatest failure yet: not only is he a terrible father, but when Sally quietly catches him in another lie about his (lack of a) job, he angrily tells her that she’s acting just like her mother, passive-aggressively waiting for him to make a mistake. But Sally is no Betty. She's slowly beginning to understand more about grey areas, and when Don tells her the truth about his situation (well, maybe he’s not in love with Megan anymore, but most of the truth) at a diner, it’s clear that he hasn't been this honest with anyone before. When Sally says, “I love you” to Don, his face says it all. 98 problems to go.

Don’s ex-secretary Dawn is another victim of his rifts. After she misses Sally meandering through the office, his loyal assistant is transferred by the increasingly villainous Lou Avery to the front desk, where Bert Cooper requests she be transferred to a position where she can’t be seen from the elevator. (A darkly funny, subtle moment occurs when the only two black secretaries greet each other by the wrong name; just like the executives do.) Just as Joan gets fed up with moving Dawn around at the whims of moody men, she moves upstairs to an account “man” office(!) and Dawn takes on Joan’s old job as Head of Personnel. Roger of course hates a) this promotion and b) Jim Cutler, who gave Joan the boost.

Meanwhile, Pete is in love with LA and is banging a blonde real estate agent; when he starts to complain, Chaough reminds him:“Just cash the checks, you’re going to die one day.”

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