'Mad Men' Recap: Unattainable Beauty
This week on Mad Men, Joan sells herself for Jaguar, Peggy leaves SCDP for a rival agency and Don is the moral voice of reason in almost every situation. Let that sink in for a second. Don Draper, voice of reason. You know a situation is really out of control when it grosses out Don Draper.
When Mad Men first began, the show’s sexism was blatant and in-your-face. As Mad Men continued, the female characters became more empowered, at least within their own narrow worlds. Peggy moved up to copywriter, Joan garnered more respect, Betty got out of her damaging marriage with Don. This season, even secretary-turned-wife Megan turned out to have more to her than met the eye.
It got easier to ignore the sexism and inherent inequality of the universe in which Mad Men exists. This episode ripped the curtain off, exposing just how far the female characters have actually come. Peggy finally realizes that she’ll never be respected in the way she wants to be at SCDP, especially by Don. Joan becomes partner, but at a terrible price. Meanwhile, Megan and Don continue to have the same fight about her career, especially when it turns out a new part might take her away to Boston for three months.
The pitch to Jaguar really sums it up: Women are objects to be bought and sold. They can be unattainable and they can be won, but at the end of the day they’re just objects to men. This is a show about advertising, after all. Everything is for sale.
"If they weren’t pretty, if they weren’t temperamental, would we still love them like we do?" Don asks in this pitch, equating women to Jaguars. "What price would we pay? What behavior would we forgive?" he asks. This week, there’s a lot of behavior to forgive and the price seems much too steep.