Why so guilty?
Guilt. It's a pretty worthless emotion, unless you're a Jewish mother, in which case it's the sharpest weapon in your arsenal. So you're an adult? You know what you want, and you get it. Guilt is what stops you from enjoying it. Or you think you know what you want, and you get it. Now you're guilty because it isn't what you wanted in the first place.
This week's episode, "The Collaborators" shows us how different characters handled guilt and betrayal. Snippets of the ongoing conflict in Vietnam are sprinkled throughout the episode, and are used to punctuate key themes in the scene. The episode is set sometime in early 1968, right around the time of the Tet Offensive. Let's check in on the ladies:
BAMF of the week award goes to: Trudy Campbell
Jesus, seeing Pete Campbell get served never stops being amazing. Lane Pryce (RIP) should just come back every week and punch him in the face, but in lieu of that, having Trudy lay down the law was simply incredible. As was the fact that she knew about Pete's affairs (and why he really wanted that apartment in the city). Trudy isn't the naive housewife we expected her to be. She's a cold motherf-----. And I mean that in the best sense, not in a Betty sense.
I got the impression that Trudy was more mad that Pete was fucking someone on the block than the fact he was fucking someone at all. I also loved the image of the bloody towel in Trudy's hand. A Lady Macbeth reference?
Joan. She might only have 4 lines, but boy, does she make them count. Also, having her interact with Herb is a wonderful way to remind us about the cocktail of guilt and shame that came with the agency acquiring the Jaguar account. The shot of her drinking in Don's office alone is gorgeous and a nice touch from this week's director, Jon Hamm.
Peggy gets a decrease in rankings this week because she's more awkward than usual, and is throwing one of her best (only?) friends under the bus for an account, Heinz ketchup. Yes, my boyfriend Ken Cosgrove DID say it was the Coca Cola of condiments (he has such a way with words!), but it was still a shitty thing to do. Peggy also gave her copywriters the world's worst pep talk. Where's Coach Taylor to help her out?
The show still doesn't have a handle on how to handle race, but the treatment of women in the work place is excellent and nuanced. I love that Peggy is such a ball buster, not because she feels the need to be but because that's who she is. She's always been blunt, and I think that's why the prank her copywriters pulled on her was that much more hurtful. It wasn't attacking her work, or even her as a person. It was attacking her gender, something she has no control over.
Megan, oh poor Megan. She unknowingly confided in her husband's mistress about her miscarriage. YIKES. And talk about guilt. Even though Megan has been a good stepmother to Don's kids, she has never expressed interested in having any. Women on this show really don't want children, do they? Joan's had two abortions, Peggy gave away her baby, and even Betty tried to terminate her third pregnancy. Also, Megan's career seems to be taking off, and her desire to remain child free for the time being is natural. Losing a child can't be easy, even if it's something you're not sure you wanted. This complex minefield of emotions is just going to get worse when she finds out about Don's infidelity.
Maid. First Latino character on the show? And she gets fired immediately. Tough break.
But without a doubt, the worst off this week was Brenda. She slept with the weasliest man alive. She got her nose broken, and got kicked out of the house. All for Pete Campbell. UGH. Have you noticed how most of the women Peter sleep with end up in the hospital? Peggy, Beth, Brenda. I think that German Au pair from season 2 got deported. His penis is CURSED.
I'm holding off any discussion on Lindsay. Yes, I know her name is Sylvia but she'll always be Lindsay Weir to me. We've seen a lot of her over the past 3 hours but she is still a cipher. I think the lack of character depth is intentional. She represents something that Don wants (or thinks he wants) right now, and so we only get to see her through his eyes. We don't understand her motivations. Or maybe Matthew Weiner is taking his sweet time in fleshing her out. We'll have to wait and see.
Next Week on Mad Men: Stan has a beard, Harry has some sideburns, Don's indignant. Doors are slammed all over Manhattan.