Throughout the fifth season of Mad Men, Don Draper appeared to be faced with a sizable dilemma.
Megan, his alluring wife, decided to leave the cynical world of advertising to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.
Of course, this counteracted Don’s plan of Megan waiting for him to return from a hard day’s work at the office in lingerie with a cocktail ready at his beck and call.
Building an acting career means traveling and not popping out mini-Drapers, which makes our benevolent hero unhappy. He has needs too.
Amongst numerous occurrences during “The Phantom” (including Don’s abscessed tooth, seeing the ghost of his dead brother Adam, and Pete Campbell getting beat up like Gerry Cooney), last night’s season finale highlighted the on-going struggle between the two over career and home-life as Season 5 drew to a close.
At season’s start, Don was hopelessly smitten with his leggy, Zou Bisou Bisou singing, French-Canadian wife. However, by season’s end, good-old Dick Whitman was prepared to re-visit his carousing dark side as he sat a bar being propositioned by a young lady.
As Don walked away from his wife and the Beauty & the Beast shoe commercial shoot as Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” blared in the background to usher in the closing montage, he appeared to grudgingly cede ground to her dreams but perhaps with at a cost.
After all, he gave Megan what she wanted; a starring role in a shoe commercial to help push her acting career.
Now, it’s time for Don to get what he wants…to be Don Draper; and not a cookie-cutter husband who believes in the “happy wife, happy life” theory.
If Megan is going to pursue her dream, Don is going to chase one of his own.
The old Don Draper is returning. Whether he gets his advertising fastball back remains to be seen but it’ll probably mean more late nights, boozing, and hugging on twenty-something year-old women.
To borrow a sports phrase mashup from a friend, “adultery in 6.”
In other words, if Megan wants to act, Don will be on the prowl.
THE OTHER HALF
Despite Megan taking numerous hits during the show from being called a bitch by her passive-aggressive mom and to Don’s unwillingness to support her dream, she somehow still comes out a bit villainess in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong. She is far from being a Betty Draper-Francis-like heel.
Nonetheless, our doe-eyed beauty clearly has a manipulative brat gene working on overdrive at times.
During the fourth season, she expressed to Don an interest in learning about his craft. So, what happened? The low-level secretary made a business decision. Moments later, she was doing the horizontal polka on his office couch.
That’s Megan though. She is impulsive and the embodiment of someone who desires to make something of herself – at any cost.
Just ask Megan’s poor actress friend who begged Mrs. Draper during last night’s episode and vowed to be her “eternal slave” if she put in a good word with Don for shoe commercial role.
Instead of being a friend, Megan looked out for number one – herself – and chopped off her friend at the knees.
When Mommie Dearest II effectively told Megan that she was a loser whose best skill should be playing the doting housewife, Megan cried, got drunk, and sat in the crib watching TV in a nightie until her white knight rode in and put her to bed.
Yet, as we know by now, through all of the pouting and whining, Megan knows how to get what she wants from Don.
Ultimately though, she is going to lose this battle when she finds Don rolling around in bed with someone that looks like Natalie Wood.
Other Random Mad Men Observations:
- When does the countdown begin on when Roger kills himself thanks to LSD?
- Trudy Campbell means well but Pete is playing her like Mick Jagger plays the harmonica.
- I’m stunned people actually thought Peggy was going to disappear. Her departure off the show entirely would be handled differently than just quitting SCDP.
- Megan’s mom makes me like Betty, which I don’t enjoy admitting.
- Can we get rid of Beth? If I ever fell asleep during an episode, it probably occur during one of her pillowy soliloquies.
- That was the best season of Mad Men yet. Season 6 can’t get here soon enough.
Categories: Random Nonsense
I enjoyed your review, and have a couple questions. The first is why you think Roger would kill himself due to LSD. Hasn’t his experience with it deepened his appreciation of life? The second is whether you think it’s possible that Peggy will remain on the show, only in a less prominent capacity. I can see where you think her departure would be made into a bigger deal, but then I also feel that this is a show that often likes to buck the expected.
Thanks! As for your questions…You know the image of the guy falling from the building in the credits? I think that is symbolic of something that is going to happen at some point. Roger is a funny but ultimately inconsequential figure at SCDP. I think he is going to realize this at some point and kill himself thanks to being loopy during an LSD trip. Just a guess.
For now, I think Peggy will be less prominent but still there. If she is still working at the other firm in Season 6, I’d expect her to be in the January Jones role. In other words, not on a lot but when she is, it’s important.
You’re spot on. The show always keeps us guessing which is one of the reasons why it so awesome.