Who Had The Worst Day At Work On Mad Men?
12:15 pm, April 8th | by Sarah Devlin
Was it Megan Draper, who went from euphoria at being asked for her autograph while in Hawaii as Don’s plus one, only to return home and grow worried that her small role on a soap opera might be reduced? Granted, later in the episode she learned she was going to have an arc as a villainess, but later in the episode we also realized Don is back to his old cheating ways. Megan is in for a very rude awakening, personally if not professionally.
Was it Betty Francis, who took on extra mothering shifts this week with Sandy, a violin prodigy whose mother died and who failed to get into Juilliard (at 15, she worried that her career as a violinist is over). When Betty tried to bond with her, displaying a nurturing side and interest in other people that are both new developments for her character, Sandy rejected her advances in favor of waxing poetic about beatniks living in the Village and running away to join them. Even Betty 2.0 has trouble relating to other people.
Was it Peggy Olsen, who was dragged into work to come up with a new campaign after a joke on late night tv rendered her old tagline in poor taste? Certainly not, because Peggy lives to work and is clearly becoming the Don of her firm (see what I did there?). She crushes it with a new ad that her boss likes even more than the original, though Peggy’s work husband Stan thinks he might have a romantic interest in her as well.
It definitely wasn’t Stan, Ginsberg, or any of the other creatives, who spent most of the episode smoking weed at work and (presumably) admiring Stan’s magnificent beard. Nor was it Joan Harris, who continues to be the best even when only in an episode for a single, mostly non-speaking scene.
Was it Pete Campbell, whose hairline continues to recede as though it no longer wants to associate with him? Pete seemed to think he was doing quite well in this episode, throwing his weight around and needling Don while growing out a very self-conscious set of sideburns.
Was it Roger Sterling, whose mother died at 91 and whose secretary was more emotional about it than he was? Roger is sitting for some Freudian psychoanalysis sessions in this episode, but they don’t seem to be doing much good. He arranged a funeral reception that Don ruined by puking into a vase, punctuating a very saccharine speech about Roger’s late mother, then got hit up for money by his daughter. At work he got a shoe shine kit from the family of a dead friend, since he was the only one who called to offer condolences, and it’s sitting alone in his office with a dead man’s shoeshine kit that finally got him to shed some very sad, very old tears.
Was it Don, who spent his time in Hawaii looking very confused and having an existential crisis? It probably didn’t help that his beach reading was Dante’s Inferno. When he returned from paradise he seemed like a dead man who had been brought reluctantly back to life, creating an ad campaign for a Hawaiian resort that was basically an invitation to commit suicide (unsurprisingly, the client hated it). He also swapped his Zippo lighter with a much younger serviceman while on vacation, and it kept coming up like a bad penny throughout the episode, leaving him rattled. It seemed to be a reminder that he can’t escape his past, as was seeing him spend the early hours of a new year in his neighbor’s bed.
Those are some bad days, but I think I’m going to give this one to the doorman in Don’s building. Not only did he have a heart attack while on the job, but after recovering and coming back to work he had to deal with drunk Don berating him about “what he saw when he died.” Rude!