On "Mad Men's" Season Six Finale, The Road to Atonement Begins at Home

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On "Mad Men's" Season Six Finale, The Road to Atonement Begins at Home

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | June 25, 2013 | Comments ()


Decision time was finally upon “Mad Men’s” characters in its excellent Season Six finale, “In Care Of.” With most of the season focusing on issues of control — what it looks like when one has it, and what it looks like when one doesn’t, both in relation to others and in general — the day of reckoning finally came, at Thanksgiving no less. The primary concern on everyone’s mind, no matter their situation, was family. A letter addressed to Sally arrives at the Draper apartment, with her name listed as “In C/O” Donald F. Draper. But Sally isn’t really in his care, not after everything she has been through. That name on the letter may be her father’s saving grace, however. If Don Draper no longer has control over his life, perhaps it is time for Dick Whitman to give it a try. “Mad Men” has only grown stronger with time, and this season may prove to be one of its best.

TedPeggyKiss.jpgEveryone is looking for a change as 1968 begins to wind down, but there’s a difference between finding a fresh start and running away from one’s problems under the pretense of a fresh start. Ted wants to follow his heart by beginning a new life with Peggy, but after giving in to his feelings for her, he returns home and realizes he can’t leave Nan and his boys. Ted’s determination — that the only way to solve his problem is to remove himself, physically, from the problem — moves Don enough to switch places with his counterpart. Don was ready to head to Los Angeles with Megan to head the Sunkist account (an idea he quickly stole from Stan) and “build one desk into an agency,” but really he was looking for an escape. Don still wants that Royal Hawaiian ad to come to life, with his own footprints in the sand leading to the ocean and a life (or death) filled with peace. Ted’s decision to head west is a confrontation of his problems and a willingness to hold onto his family, which he feels is the right thing to do. Don can’t say his intentions are as noble, and he finally admits it to himself. No, Don has to face the web of lies he has spun in New York and the hurt he has inflicted on his loved ones, especially Megan and Sally. He needs to admit his sins before he can hope to be absolved from them.

After he breaks the news to Megan that he can’t move to L.A. and appears to suggest she go without him and they’ll remain “bicoastal,” she cuts to the quick of their relationship: they don’t have children as a couple, so what are they staying together for? “I don’t even know why we’re fighting for this anymore,” she tells him, and she has a point. Without children as a reason to plug along and hope things better, what are they doing trying to save a marriage doomed from its beginning? Expanding a family changes the equation — more lives are involved and can be hurt. Look at the balancing act Joan is having to play, letting Roger into Kevin’s life because she knows how important it is for each to have the other. Look at how Roger’s daughter, Margaret, views him — if for most of her life, all he was was the man who showed up to pay the bill, why should he expect much different from her now? And just look at how Sally is faring not only after her parents’ divorce and respective new marriages but upon catching Don having sex with Sylvia. She is reeling from the shock and acting out enough to be suspended from boarding school for buying beer with a fake ID. “The good is not beating the bad,” Betty tells Don when she relays the news and surmises the problem lies with the fact Sally comes from a broken home. Sally needs stability and honesty. So do Ted’s kids (and Nan for that matter). No one said it would be easy, and in truth, watching Ted and Peggy is heartbreaking because they love each other — this isn’t an affair spurred on by boredom or basic lust. But that’s the theme of the season: you can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can usually choose how you’ll react to them.

Peggy didn’t choose her feelings, and she was doing her best to stay away from Ted on his wishes that nothing would happen between them. Her sexing up her look and showing off her cleavage and fishnet-covered legs to Ted was immature, sure, but completely understandable. She’s lonely, and she’s upset that Ted let Don “terrify” him into ignoring her. Peggy’s response to Ted’s declaration that he is going to leave his wife is “Don’t say that — I’m not that girl.” She tried to do the right thing, and after they slept together and Ted again said he was going to leave Nan, Peggy told him she was fine with waiting. She didn’t ask him to leave his family, and she certainly doesn’t want a scandal. But Ted ultimately makes the decision for her by telling her later he’s leaving her by taking his family for L.A. “I have to hold onto them, or I’ll get lost in the chaos,” he tells her. “I love you that deeply. I can’t be around you. And I can’t ruin all those lives. … Someday you’ll be glad I made this decision.” “Well aren’t you lucky, to have decisions,” Peggy replies. She took charge of her life last season by leaving SCDP for CGC, but the agencies’ merger was beyond her control. Now Ted is leaving. She doesn’t get to have a say.

PartnersMtg.jpgTed and Peggy will still have to work together, though, as Don was made aware when the rest of the partners brought down the hammer at a Thanksgiving morning meeting. “This isn’t a trial; the verdict has been reached,” Cooper tells him. A mandatory break from the agency with no set return date is Don’s only option thanks to his erratic behavior of late, culminating in an inappropriate confession during a meeting with Hershey’s executives. Ted will oversee Peggy from California, Don is told, and if she isn’t completely replacing him, she at least is stepping into his shoes — and office — for the time being. That move is gratifying for Peggy fans (and

Thanks for sticking with me this season. See you in 1969 … or later.

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Dianewe

    I love Mad Men I was a kid during these years,the women the men where so beautiful. I tease my son who comes home and has a cocktail I say " Are you having a Darren Stevens-Bewitched" good ole days.
    America is a great country.

  • annie

    From what I can tell, people really loved or really did not like this season. I tend to fall into the former. Considering how long this show has gone, it still hasn't started to feel desperate or stale, and everything that was once so glamorous and shiny is beginning to crumble in the most fascinating ways.

    I wonder if they'll make it through to the Kent State shooting in the '70. I ask this in part as someone who went to Kent State and heard about it all the fucking time.

  • babykangarootribbiani

    Let the record show it took eight years in Mad Men time for Betty to actually say out loud, "Gee, think we;re bad parents?" to Don. However, taking his kids to see the roots of Dick Whitman prove that while he may have burned a bridge with every adult in his life, Don might still have a chance with his kids, if only hanging on by a thread.
    And I was morbidly happy that Sally was kicked out of school, I hope that means she;ll still be around for the last year!!!

  • vic

    Wasn't Sally just suspended? I think she's still enrolled at the school...

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    In defense of Peggy, I'm going to say that I think she intentionally got Ted to pursue her and show up at her apt. after her date. Whether she genuinely knew it or not, it was pretty clear that Ted, because he's "a nice guy," was going to continue to waffle about leaving his wife. Peggy knew she would have to get him to put up or shut up and the only way to make that happen was to sleep with him. He would either feel guilty and shut it down, or he would dive in to an affair that would never be resolved, and leave Peggy hanging... again. I honestly never thought Ted would actually leave his wife and his speech to Peggy in bed after sex confirmed it for me.

    It's not that Ted doesn't love Peggy and I think she genuinely loves him too, it's just that their relationship is, funnily enough, based on mutual admiration, appreciation for being good at their jobs, and true compatibility—something which, at the time, was rarely considered in a marriage partner.

    One great advantage of Peggy's experience in advertising is that she's seen these situations happen over and over again, with office affairs breaking up marriages and new marriages that just can't work because those relationships are based on the excitement of infidelity and/or creative frisson between coworkers (See: Roger and Joanie, Don and Megan, Pete and Peggy and on and on). It's exactly the reason Ted finds Peggy so attractive and exciting, especially when his wife is complaining about his time at the office and how much energy he devotes to his work.

    Nowadays, we can be more honest about these relationships when we joke about a "work wife" or "work husband," but in the 60s women didn't have much grounding in just being friends with men, esp. coworkers, and I think Peggy was actually being proactive in pushing Ted to make a move.

    This is also why I really want Peggy and Stan to only ever be friends, because it's so mature and progressive for both of them. I want it to stay a positive relationship. Having Peggy being moved up to Don's office, could create some interesting tension between them. Can't wait for Season 7!

  • Opinion about the season as a whole seems to be pretty split, but it had some great moments and I had fun with it. Don and the decade of the 60s have run parallel paths through the show's seasons. Both the decade and the man had these sheens of optimism and invulnerability, but both were also slowly rotting from the inside out. So as 1968 exploded in a wave of crime and violence showing its decay, Don (and really every one else, save, Ken) had their candy coatings chipped away by the end of the season. Don and the rest of the characters have been left in some pretty dark personal places, it's going to be interesting where it all leads in the final 13 episodes.

  • jcoa2

    Updated defenestration toteboard. It's anyone's race:

    Don Draper. 5-1. Once a sure thing, now not so sure. How is he going to jump out of the window when he can no longer get into the building?

    Bob Benson. 5-1. Seems tougher than I first thought. But his house of cards is even more wobbly than Draper's.

    Pete Campbell. 5-1. A wretched man with nothing to live for. He'd be the front-runner if it weren't for his seemingly infinite capacity to absorb disappointment and pain.

    Ted Chaough. 5-1. The brittle nature of Ted's personality has become apparent. A fragile man. One setback--like, say, a divorce--could doom him.

    Roger Sterling. 5-1. People do weird things when they're on acid.

  • PaddyDog

    Michael Ginsburg. 7-2. He has voices in his head and can't take the pressure of going to a pitch meeting when the voices get louder. He's one bad work week away from a jump.

    Roger's daughter 3-1. This is me dream betting. Oh how I'd love to see her dad to get fed up with her selfish ass and toss her out the window.

  • alwaysanswerb

    One enduring question I have about the show as a whole: Is Mad Men dedicated, like, say, Game of Thrones is, to seeing its characters unhappy? It's comparing apples and oranges, of course, but at the same time, I haven't really seen any of MM's main characters be granted any kind of enduring happiness at the end of any of its seasons, right up until the end of the sixth. There's hope, sure, but hopes have been dashed before on this show, lots and lots of times. It's hard to tell who, if anyone, is going to get a happy (or happy-ish) ending.

  • Dave

    Even if the idea of an LA office was Stan's he still required his boss' approval in order to get the position. If you have to ask for something its not stealing if you don't get it.

  • The way the show presented it was that Sunkist wanted local representation and Don was put in charge of the search for who would go out there. The partners saw it as just a way of babysitting a lucrative client. Don even mentioned to Stan that the move would be a demotion for him. It was Stan's idea that the office was an opportunity for that person to mold the West Coast office into something significant. Don and Ted took that vision and tried to make it their own to suit their own purposes.

  • jcoa2

    Jim Cutler sure knows ladies' perfume.

  • toblerone

    1.Can Don really be fired? He is a partner and owns part of SD&P (yes his share has been reduced with C and B coming into the fray but he still owns almost 20% of the company.

    Joan - 5% / Cooper, Sterling, Cutler, Chauogh, Draper = 19%

    I don't get the Duck / Dancer guy's showing up. Either your replacing Don or you looking for someone to over see creative. More than likely it was a new account man to fill in for Pete since he is off to L.A. (?. I didn't quite get how that happened).

    2.Hate him if you will for stealing Stan's plan but Don ended up giving it up and there is no guarantee the others would have gone for letting Stan loose in L.A.

    3.Hopefully this is Don actually hitting bottom and not another faux epiphany.

    I don't want this to be last we'll see of Megan.

    *Hated the new logo by the way.


  • PaddyDog

    The other partners can combine their shares to vote him out. There would have to be a pay-out but yes, they can fire him easily.
    Parenthetically, this happened to my father in the 1970s when the other partners in his company came together to vote him out for "inability to do his job due to illness" even though he was the managing partner. The bastards could have waited one more month for him to die but that would have cost them more money so out he went.

  • toblerone

    Good point P.D. And that makes sense to as why the "suspended" him as "opposed" to firing him. Either way Don / Dick is still a rich man and it should make the epiphany a little easier to make reality.

  • BWeaves

    That new logo was very mod.

  • toblerone

    For 1969 sure (it made me think of instantly of The Price is Right).

    I would love a coffee mug though ( to go along side my Troy and Abed in the Morning one).

  • Mrs. Julien

    Shouldn't that read TPIR?

  • toblerone

    ***Don's confession wasn't the first time he's said how feels about advertising (see Season 3).

    I really don't get all of the Don Draper fake identity will be blown crap. At this point all of the connections to Dead Don Draper have been pretty much disappeared (Anna specifically and if there was anyone else in Dead Don's life they would probably have been mentioned by know). Only Megan, Betty, Cooper, Faye and Pete know and all are pretty much resigned to it or aren't going to do anything or don't have enough evidence either way.

    Don's inability to keep his pie hole shut is pretty much the only thing that will get him caught.

  • Artemis

    I guess I'm in the minority in thinking this was one of the show's weakest seasons. The finale was good, and the past few episodes have built some momentum, but I spent the entire season feeling like the pacing was really off.

    The finale was great because things were actually happening -- but I think it may have gone too far in that direction. Pete's mother is spirited away on a cruise ship, marries Manolo, is murdered, Pete and his brother discover all of this and decide not to try to bring him to justice, Pete blows up at Bob about it and tries to cut him out of Chevy, Bob gets Pete fired from Chevy instead, Pete decides to start over in California. That's... a lot of stuff. Stuff that easily could have been played out over two or three episodes and I think would have been better for having some time to develop. Instead, it felt whiplash-y to go from "Pete learns from his experience with Don and decides to keep Bob's secret and make him an ally" last episode to "Pete is now furious at Bob and tries to take him down and has it blow up on him like it did with Don." If the former was the point of introducing Don 2.0 then I don't think we saw any return on that investment, because Pete immediately reverted back.

    And I just don't think we ever got enough good material from the Bob Benson storyline to justify the amount of time spent on it. I liked him as the kind of creepy smiling coffee-fetcher, but neither part of the two-step reveal worked for me. He's gay... for Pete?? I'm going to need more to go on there. Oh wait, now he's a fraud like Don -- and we've already watched this exact storyline play out, right down to what it does to Pete. Similarly, we spent a bunch of time with Megan and her swinger co-workers that I would much rather have spent with characters I actually care about. And while the show ultimately took Don where he needed to go, I think it could have been done in much less screen time.

    Meanwhile, other stories were left really underdeveloped and unclear. Weiner gave interviews after the finale saying that of course the Avon guy called Joan and she got the account and that he thought that was clear. But it wasn't, at all. The last we hear of it is Peggy faking a call and telling Joan she better hope he calls for real -- after that, we see Joan back in her normal role of managing the office with no indication that she's now running an account or that anything has changed for her at work. That was her major storyline this year, and we don't get even a hint of how it was resolved or what those changes mean for Joan.

    But on a good note: in a season I found disappointing overall, I thought that Peggy's arc played out perfectly. I hope that next season spends more time with her so that we come full circle to Season 1 in which she and Don shared screen time relatively equally. She's now the one on the rise and I'd like to see more of the gender commentary that used to be such a big part of the show. Clients got used to a woman pitching ideas, but de facto head of creative is a whole other thing. Does she have to take prospective clients out to get hammered and meet call girls, or are clients willing to shift their expectations about the perks that accompany hiring an ad agency? When a client blows up about an idea or the budget, can she talk them down the way Don used to? Will she actually win a Cleo if her work merits it, or is the business still too much of a boy's club? I realize this show is 75% Don and 25% everyone else at this point, but it wasn't that way back in the beginning and I think it would benefit from pulling back a little and giving us a counterpoint to his story.

  • Internet Commenter #6725

    A thousand times, THIS.

  • PaddyDog

    I juts don't get the "Peggy is the victim" thing here. Yes, Ted was an asshole who just followed his dick and then did a u-turn but Peggy is an adult who has worked her entire career in an environment where work place relationships happen all too frequently and very rarely work out. She knew exactly what she was doing going into the conference room in her sexy ensemble and she has known from Day 1 what the likely consequences of an affair with a married guy would be. It's so counter-feministic to imply (Note: I'm not saying Sarah has implied this: I'm just responding to everything I've read about this since Sunday) that she's somehow the lesser culpable party in the mess the two of them created. She had decisions just as much as Ted had. She could decide not to pull that stunt in the office. She could decide to tell him not to come inside her apartment. it's so paternalistic to assume Ted held all the power there.

  • jpdmy

    This past year I got my brother to start watching Mad Men and we went through all five seasons on Netflix and we are all caught up. About halfway through season one, my brother started saying, "slut" every time Peggy appeared. I defended Peggy every single time.

    However, when I saw her get all dolled up this episode, I rolled my eyes and then, when Peggy said, "I'm not that girl" I said F you to the TV screen. I can no longer defend Peggy, she has ALWAYS been that girl.

    In the very first episode, Peggy makes a move on Don and sleeps with Pete, a man she knew was getting married. Sure, she was young and didn't know better, but she still made the decisions to do both of those things. And then she sleeps with Pete again after he is married. Yes, I realize she was in love with him, but, again, she made a decision to sleep with a married man. And then, in my opinion, she really started to have a crush on Colin Hanks, a man who was married to God (again, just my opinion, one that I don't feel particularly strong about, but this fits with my overall theme about Peggy).

    Then, Peggy has fairly normal relationship with Duck, a raging alcoholic, but I always felt that a big reason for this relationship was because Duck always express his admiration for Peggy's work (something she craved from Don). Next, comes Mark, who she lies to and ultimately decides to choose work over him. Now, we have Peggy dating Abe, who complains to Peggy about always working and having sex with him out of duty to the relationship. Lest we forget, it was during this relationship that, out of frustration, she gives a handjob to some random stranger in a theater. Fittingly, this relationship ends with her stabbing Abe.

    Last, but not least, we have Ted. Sure, Ted initially made the decision to kiss Peggy on a whim, but Peggy made the decision to, once again, try and go for a married man (very apparent as we watch her pretty herself up before she finds out about the merger). First she decides to forget about the kiss, and then upon seeing that Ted still thinks about that kiss, she decides to throw herself at him.

    Now (almost finished, I promise), I'm not trying to say Peggy deserves 100% of the blame or even most of it. It's just that with Peggy saying "I'm not that girl", coupled with her saying "well aren't you lucky, having decisions", she is completely ignoring the part that she played in everything. Her self-righteousness directed at Ted, who is trying to save his family, is completely undeserved.

    I apologize for the long post.

  • Artemis

    This is one of the most impressively wrong-headed analyses I've ever seen. Well done.

    Your thesis appears to be "Peggy is that girl (i.e. the slut)." As evidence you offer, among other things: she had a crush on a minister (that she never acted on or even voiced), she dated an alcoholic who complimented her work, and she chose work over several boyfriends. These are all, of course, quintessentially slutty actions.

    You also point out that she made a tentative pass at Don in the first episode. You know, where after a full episode of being relentlessly sexually harassed and subjected to inuendo about Don and repeatedly told she was to do whatever was necessary to make him happy, she thought that her job duties included sex. And then looked horrified and confused when he snapped at her, and never made any other attempt to so much as flirt with him.

    And then there are Pete and Ted, both of whom were married (or about to be) and both of whom were senior to her at work, but whose own responsibility for their affairs you conveniently omit. Pete is the one who initiated things by showing up at Peggy's apartment after she gave no indication that she was interested in him. Similarly, Ted kissed Peggy, then confessed feelings to her, then kept putting her on his accounts so they could work together, then showed up at her apartment, talked his way inside, and overcame her hesitation by promising to leave his wife because he loved Peggy.

    Does Peggy bear responsibility for choosing to sleep with two married guys? Absolutely. But does your brother yell slut at Don when he's sleeping his way through half of Manhattan? (Your brother sounds super charming, by the way.) Or at Pete (who's also a rapist!) while he does the same? You sure got indignant that Peggy powdered her nose before going to talk to Ted after that first kiss, but did you get similarly upset at Ted for grabbing her waist in a meeting or jeopardizing an account because he was infatuated with her? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the answer is no, no, and no.

    You seem determined to infer the worst from everything Peggy has ever done in relation to a man. If you weren't so determined to cast her as a slut, you'd notice that she was the one who stopped things with Pete, she has repeatedly rebuffed advances from other men at work, and she cheats on her partners less than anyone else on the show (which is to say, I can only think of the hand job scene you reference). Having made a bad decision with Pete when she was much younger doesn't make her "that girl" -- and while she was obviously half in love with Ted and engaging in the flirtation, she didn't cross any lines with him until he promised to leave his wife. That makes her naive, but it doesn't make her some type of jezebel figure.

    And Peggy's line to Ted about decisions was fully deserved. She wasn't mad at him because she wanted to pretend she didn't have a choice in sleeping with him. She was mad at him because she trusted him and he pretty brutally went back on his word, and then tried to tell her that he was doing it for her own good. She's spent all season having men make decisions for her--from the merger to the inspired pitch Don took away her credit for to Abe pushing for a move to a bad neighborhood and then dumping her--and this was just one more time that some guy took away her agency. She had every right to be bitter, both at Ted specifically and at the past year of her life more generally.

  • Homestar

    You're awesome! Seriously, this is a perfect comment, and gets at everything I feel about Peggy.

  • jpdmy

    I sincerely apologize, I realize that it looks like I implied that Peggy is a slut (really, the only thing that she did that could be called 'slutty' was the handjob, but within the context of that episode, I see why she did it).

    I didn't mention anything about Don or Pete's transgressions or Ted's role in the affair because I wanted to focus on Peggy. Without a doubt (and my brother agrees), Don is the most despicable character on the show followed closely by Pete. As far as the affair goes, Ted (rightly so) deserves a lot of the blame.

    Am I a overly harsh on Peggy? I agree that I am, only because I was rooting for her so much, that I was disappointed in her reaction to Ted moving to California.

    Now, this is just my opinion, but I took Peggy's last words to Ted to placing all of the blame on him (I want to reiterate, Ted does deserve most of the blame), and ignoring her own responsibility in the matter.

    I shouldn't have said that Peggy is 'that girl', as that implies I think she is slutty. I think Peggy is that girl that doesn't like to take responsibility in the part that she plays in her relationships. With Pete, he initiated it, Peggy tried to keep it going, Pete ignored her, then Pete tells Peggy that he wants her, they have sex, Pete again ignores her for a time, and then Peggy tells him off. Pete is mostly to blame, however, when Peggy gives her speech about how she could have shamed him into being with her, it seemed to me (again this is my opinion, this is just how I read the scene) that she placed all the blame on Pete. With Mark, when she chose work over him, her reaction (yelling at Mark for trying to surprise her with family), again, I took that as Peggy placing most of the blame on Mark.

    Yes, a lot of decisions this year were largely influenced by men, but Peggy still had decisions. If she wanted to get out of Don's shadow, she could have tried another ad agency (I'm not saying these other options are good or fair, they most assuredly are not), while Abe pushed for a bad neighborhood, he said so himself that Peggy had all the money, and with Ted, she ignored her own words about him (she repeatedly kept telling Don that Ted is a good man, I can't see how leaving what appears to be a decent relationship with a wife and kids for Peggy the actions of a good man).

    Everything I have said it just my opinion, or a theory actually. I'm not saying any of this is right or true, I just think that this would make an interesting parallel to Don's story. One tries to distance himself from his past, succeeds for a while before it crumbles; one tries to distance herself from responsibility, succeeds for a while and it starts to crumble. All of these decisions that men supposedly make for her have resulted in her falling upwards, so to speak. Pete matured her and gave her confidence, Abe gave her a place that will pay off in the (very) long run, and Ted now has (possibly) made Peggy the creative director of New York operations of a top-30 ad agency.

    Again, I apologize for the confusion I caused about Peggy being a slut. She is the least slutty person in that office (well, except for Ginsburg, I'd imagine).

    One last thing, in the context of the scene when Peggy said she didn't want to be 'that girl', I took that as she didn't want to be the girl that a guy leaves his wife for, not as a slut. This is most curious when she says she can wait, but just because you prolong the dissolution of a marriage doesn't disqualify you from being 'that girl'. I find this ironic, because as mad as she was at Ted, he was just making sure that she wouldn't become 'that girl'.

  • Artemis

    That's definitely different than what your first comment sounded like. Sorry if I misread it.

    I will say, though, that I still disagree about Peggy (if less vociferously). I don't think the examples you cite are Peggy putting unwarranted blame on other people or trying to duck responsibility, just Peggy being upset or frustrated. She gets mad at Mark because she doesn't really want to be with Mark, not because she really thinks he's doing anything wrong. I didn't interpret "I could have shamed you into being with me, but I didn't want to" as blaming Pete -- almost the opposite, she was saying that she had chosen for herself and was at peace with the decision she'd made. And I really think that her last words to Ted were not about trying to duck responsibility, but about feeling betrayed (he did straight-up tell her he was leaving his wife to get her to sleep with him and then came into work the next day and tell her he was moving across the country to be with his family) and angry at his patronizing "this will be better for you, you'll see."

    And while I agree that Peggy obviously still had some agency and contributed to what happened to her this year, it was clearly a theme of the season that men kept shoving her into places and roles she didn't want to inhabit. She did, in fact, leave the agency to get away from Don -- and carved out a place for herself elsewhere only to immediately have her new employer merge with SCDP and yank her right back into the office, and the boss, that she had just escaped. She did initially try to talk Abe into a different kind of apartment, but she gave way when he laid out a vision of them raising kids in an area he described as being much better than it was -- and then was stuck dealing with his handyman projects gone wrong, and the bad tenants, and the violent neighborhood, and ultimately with being left somewhere she had never wanted to be by the person who had convinced her they would build a life there together.

    Ultimately, I just don't view Don and Peggy's dynamic the way you've set it up, with Don running from his past and Peggy running from responsibility. Don is the one running from responsibility -- from his tour of duty in Korea (not that I blame him), from his brother who needs help and was his only nice family member, from any hint of trouble with his wife or kids, from mistresses who make things complicated or have expectations, from accounts at work that get too demanding or stop being fun, and over and over again from the very deserved criticism of his actions by people he claims to care about. Peggy is flawed and makes bad decisions, but she doesn't try to escape who she is or her responsibilities. She stays put where Don would run; she spends time with her aggravating family, she makes peace with Pete, she gets a cat for her rat problem, she digs right back into dealing with Don after the merger, she gets to work as soon as Ted leaves.

  • jpdmy

    I worded my first comment very poorly, so it's more my fault than you misreading it. Ultimately, the show has set-up Peggy as a very sympathetic character, here she is dealing with all this adversity and becoming better for it and breaking down barriers.

    I just thought that it would be very interesting if it were subverted a bit, making her motivations and what-not, a tiny bit more 'darker', if you will. I fully expect that in five years, either Peggy will be running the agency, or have everyone dead with her own hand.

  • Artemis

    I don't think Peggy's a victim, but I do think Ted is more at fault. He kissed her, and she ignored it and acted like it had never happened until he inappropriately blew up at her and then confessed his feelings to her weeks later. He told her they had to stay away from each other, but then he kept assigning her to all of his accounts and initiating physical contact and ignoring everyone else in meetings. Yeah, it was immature for her to rub her cleavage in his face, but he was the one who showed up at her place, insisted on coming in after she initially said she didn't want him to, and then promised to leave his wife and told her he loved her. AND throughout all of that, he was her boss and he was the one who was married.

    So no, she's not a victim, but I hold Ted a lot more responsible.

  • emmalita

    I think it was the paternalistic presenting Peggy with a done deal that rankles. I agree that she's not a victim.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Agree. I think at the end of the day, despite affairs being tricky and deceitful and all that, Peggy expected that there would be enough respectful history between her and Ted that he wouldn't completely bait-and-switch her like he did. She's not a victim, but he fucked with her head (not intentionally -- nothing he did, I believe, was out of malice) in ways that her little stunt with the showy dress doesn't approach.

  • L.O.V.E.

    That letter addressed to Sally Draper "C/O Don F. Draper" spells out that "Draper" is really a fake name for her as well. She is a Whitman, not a Draper. She was living a lie she didn't even know about.

    That is juxtaposed with her getting busted for another fake identity used for, what else, alcohol.

    So what gets his daughter in trouble: 1. fake identity 2. alcohol.

    We see Sally becoming her mother's daughter in the previous episode, but I think what led to some serious introspection for Don was seeing his daughter becoming him.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Seems all the talk around here of the death of Don Draper and rebirth of Dick Whitman may have been right on. I'll be very curious to see how season 7 is going to start, and how much time will have passed, as there often is a pretty substantial break between the finale and premiere. Are we going to slip back in while Don is still on leave and Peggy is in the big office? Or will we see Don already back in the office, with he and Peggy struggling anew on their working relationship?

    A scene in particular that stands out to me, because I am not sure I fully understand it, is right before Don and Ted go into the Hershey's meeting. Ted has just begged Don to allow him to go to California with his family, and Don has rebuffed him. Ted says something to the effect of, "Will you have a drink before the meeting? My dad was... you can't just go cold turkey." On the surface, this seems like an empathetic statement, except Don didn't seem particularly strung out in that particular scene, and I was left wondering if Ted was looking to punish Don and get him to do something stupid by being drunk, which of course he did.

  • Don had a case of the DTs, from alcohol withdrawl. Ted wanted Don to get some booze in his system so Don wouldn't do or any anything stupid in the meeting with Hershey. Obviously Don didn't drink enough.

  • Wednesday

    I saw it as empathy. Ted's right. Someone who drinks heavily every day literally should NOT go cold turkey as they can die from the sudden withdrawal. And if Ted's father was an alcoholic, he would have known this. As angry as Ted gets at Don, I think at heart he doesn't want to see him fail.

  • Artemis

    That's how I read it. Especially because Ted, even when angry with Don, would never sabotage a big pitch like that.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I think you're both right. As I said, I did initially see it as empathy, but I was confused given the way it played out. It would have indeed been a very OOC move for Ted to sabotage Don and the meeting, so it's more likely that his intentions were good. Possibly, after Peggy and Stan and others either implying or outright saying that Ted is a better boss, Don realized that Ted is a genuinely good, but confused guy, and that factored into letting him have the California move.

  • emmalita

    I don't think Don was drunk, I think he was dry drunk - the shaking hands, the inappropriate introspection, the over-sharing. When Don was pouring the alcohol down the drain, I felt sorry for him, trying to get sober alone. At least AA gives the newly sober a place to share all the thoughts that start swirling in their head.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Ah, so maybe Ted was trying to prevent what happened in the meeting. It seems more in character for him anyway; as much as Don has screwed with him, Ted's never seemed the vengeful type.

  • BWeaves

    1. Holy Shit Snacks.

    2. Don was a real Dick to Stan. Nice way of stealing your underling's ideas and ambition.

    3. Don was a Dick to Megan. Quit her job and then didn't follow through with his promise.

    4. Last week I thought that maybe Bob was OK. Now I think he's definitely a smooth talking con man / ambitious climber. Did he research Pete before joining SCDP and decided to fuck with him? He's done in Pete's mother (not directly, but he is responsible), and he's sabotaged Pete's Chevy account. Did he know Pete couldn't drive a stick shift (or even drive for that matter)? And what is Bob's relationship to Manolo (since I can't remember his real name)? Brother? Lover? Fellow manservant? I bet Bob's not sleeping with Joan, and she loves that a cute young man isn't trying to get into her pants, but really wants to know her brain.

    5. Speaking of Pete, his storyline has been amazing this season. He's the epitome of Schadenfreude. Having his mother marry her gay nurse and then being pushed off a ship and eaten by sharks, and then having Pete and his brother being too cheap to hire the private investigator. Neither brother wanted to take care of the mother, so it's like they are secretly relieved. Not to mention all the Bob drama, with Pete subletting his apartment and then getting kicked out of Detroit so he has to find another place to live. Sounds like he's going to LA, though.

    6. Ted is dead to me. As long as Ted funneled his lust for Peggy into work, I was fine with them having a crush on each other. But as soon as he stalked her to her apartment and said, "I love you," I yelled, "DON'T FALL FOR IT!" at the screen. "HE JUST WANTS TO SLEEP WITH YOU!"

    7. Ted's wedding ring was on prominent display when he was lying in bed with Peggy. I thought it was interesting that he assumed the same position with his wife, only with undies on.

    8. That is the hottest Peggy has ever looked, but that was totally inappropriate for her to do at work. Just wrap up your cleavage in a big pink bow and waft your Channel #5 in Ted's direction. That was really wrong of her.

    9. Don getting canned by the partners was less of what I thought might happen. At least now, he could take Megan out to LA for a few months, and maybe even find a new job for himself if he wanted. Megan can get an acting job, too, and then be killed by Charles Manson next season.

    10. This is the first time Don's really opened up about his past, in the Hershey meeting and to Sally. The stuff about Dick Whitman that Pete dug up was dragged out of Don unwillingly. He's told Megan some stuff, but this is the first time he's really being openly honest. (What he told his mistress in the first season doesn't count, as she was a secret, too.) I'm not sure how this is going to go over. Sally may regret she wanted to know this stuff.

    11. Don punching the minister. BWA-HAHAHA. I would have punched him, too.

    12. It's interesting to compare how Roger treats his grown daughter (he's just there to pay the bills) vs. how he treats Joan and his son (he wants to be in the son's life, but he can't).

    13. Peggy in Don's office at the end of the episode in that 1970's preview pantsuit. Is she the new Don? She was in "the pose." To be honest, I thought that was how season 7 would end, not 6. Do you think she'll finally get with Stan? Stan seemed happy that Peggy was in charge. I think he trusts her way more than Don.

    14. Who says Burt Cooper has no balls? It took some to finally fire Don.

  • Welldressed

    I love your bullet point thoughts, BWeaves, and I only disagree with you on one point. Bob's takedown of Pete made me only love him more. He wouldn't have done it if Pete hadn't threatened him in the elevator and continued their detente. I know James Wolk has a new show in the fall, but I hope we see a lot more of the Talented Mr. Benson next season.

  • BWeaves

    Except, Pete was somewhat justified in threatening Bob in the elevator, because Pete just found out that Manolo murdered his mother. Pete had asked Bob to keep Manolo away from his mother, and Bob didn't succeed. If we trace everything back to who did what to whom first, Bob is the one who went to Pete and recommended Manolo, after getting the information about Pete from Joan.

  • I'd love to believe that Peggy will more or less be the new Don but Duck was already there with the most likely Draper replacement. That might be the better story for Peggy, anyways. If she has to prove herself one last time and actually become the head of creative on her own merits. Much better than falling into it through circumstances created by a bunch of men.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Frakking Duck ruins everything. (punintended)

  • BWeaves

    OOOO, I forgot about Ducky and his headhunter spawn. It's still the 1960's. You're right. Peggy may yet get screwed out of the position. Still, I think SCP would promote from within. Maybe Duck was there with Pete's replacement, as Pete mentioned moving to LA.

  • ed newman

    Not only that but we could probably assume Peggy has Ted's support as new Creative Director.

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