Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Mad Men Season 7, Ep. 2 – “ A Day’s Work.”
“Keep pretending. That’s your job.” – Dawn
It was Valentine’s Day on Mad Men, but unsurprisingly no one was feeling the love. At least not in the way they might have expected.
After leaning last week that Don was lying to Megan about his employment status, we got a better look at what a day in the life of unemployed Don looks like. It looks very sad. Don has built his entire life around the idea that if you pretend hard enough you can change the truth and he is handling this new situation the exact same way.
After a day spent eating crackers and watching TV, Don got all Draper-ed up just to talk to Dawn for five minutes by the door. At a lunch with an ad man from another agency Don refused to admit to any slow down in his workload even though they’ve already removed the D from the door. And when he found a haughty Sally in his apartment he kept up the lies until he was forced to stop.
But this new Don Draper is still committed to his new manta of truth dropping. Once Sally dropped the snotty teenager act, he truthfully answered every question she asked. And a funny thing happened. Don told a woman the truth and she responded by telling him she loved him.
To the outside eye Don’s life has never looked worse. He has no job, basically no wife and no one to even share a cup of coffee with. But his face when Sally told him she loved him (which is the very reason it is a national tragedy Jon Hamm doesn’t own an Emmy) proved to him that his new tactic might just be working after all.
I’ve previously predicted that Mad Men would prove to be the story of Don abandoning his career to find happiness in his family while Peggy, who has already abandoned a family, finds happiness in her career. Unfortunately, Peggy isn’t making the same great strides towards that ending.
Even 2,000 miles away Ted still has a sick hold over Peggy. Right now Peggy is so wrapped up in her abysmal love life that she can’t focus on her work life. The situation with the flowers was incredibly awkward, but the fact Peggy immediately jumped to the conclusion that the flowers sitting on her secretary’s desk were sent to her from Ted shows how much she needed that to be true.
So when she was confronted with the truth Ted hadn’t tried to reach out to her at all she partook in the SC&P Valentine tradition of taking aggression out on the secretaries. But requesting a different secretary just because she pointed out no one sent you flowers pales in Lou’s treatment of Dawn.
Lou’s introduction last week was less than flattering, but it looked like his rudeness began and ended with Peggy. Nope, he’s just generally a dick to everyone. And not only was he rude to Dawn (who had a brilliant moment of backtalk in the face of her dismissal), but he treated Joan, his superior, as if she’s still just the head of the secretary pool.
In fact a lot of people seemed confused about Joan’s new position. Except Jim. He kindly suggested that, as a partner with her own accounts to manage, she move up to the accounts floor and leave the stresses of secretary shuffling to someone else. So Joan finally got some recognition and Dawn got promoted to head of personnel.
All in all, Valentine’s Day was sweetest to those unconcerned with having a sweetheart.
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