Who Had The Worst Day At Work On Mad Men Last Night?
1:30 pm, May 20th | by Sarah Devlin
It’s tempting to say “everyone” this week, since most of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Cutler Gleason Chaough team took injections of speed from a doctor and spent the weekend running frantically around the office getting absolutely nothing done. But some people had it worse than others. To wit:
Was it Don, who turned into a sweaty parody of himself (holding forth on the importance of the timber of his voice in a meeting was particularly funny) and spent most of his weekend rummaging frantically through the archives for an ad that would remind him of the prostitute who nursed him back to health from a chest cold and then took his virginity? Not only did this rather icky development seem like a particularly ham-handed way to remind us that Don has Issues with Women, but it was very confusing why teenage Don needed to get devirginized in the first place. I mean, have you seen his bowl cut?
That wasn’t the worst of it for Don, however. While he was reliving his gross childhood on speed, Sally and Bobby were having what was left of their innocence taken away by a truly creepy burglar who let herself into the apartment through an open back door. I can’t describe how much this woman scared me, except to say that when she took the phone from Sally and convinced the 911 operator that the kids were just playing a prank, her face hardened in a way that made it difficult for me to fall asleep for a few minutes last night.
I wasn’t totally sure if I bought that Sally found her father’s history mysterious enough to make it plausible to her that he would know this woman. It felt like a set up for the moment when she tells him on the phone (he finally comes home to police, Megan, and a pissed off Betty in his apartment, which causes him to pass out) that she doesn’t know anything about him, which we are supposed to connect with all the dark drug-induced reminiscing he’s been doing. It was interesting, but I felt the seams were showing a bit on that story. For that reason, I can’t give Don the worst day at work award.
Ted had a pretty bad day, coming back from his partner’s funeral only to find that his creative team has been working on gibberish all weekend. To make matters worse, Don is refusing now to help with the Chevy campaign, because every time the company gets a car “this place turns into a whorehouse.” And whose fault is that?
It might be Dawn who had the worst day, having to politely pretend that Don’s sad phone calls to Sylvia, punctuated by the breaking of glassware, were part of business as usual. She handled things with her usual poise, though, and didn’t get stuck in the office with the speed freaks over the weekend, which is lucky for her, as Don on drugs is an even worse boss than usual.
Was it Roger, who also got the speed injection, taking care to tell the doctor that he has a heart condition, and then disappeared for the rest of the hour, presumably to have a heart attack all by his lonesome?
Or was it the disgusting trio of Cutler, Stan, and Gleason’s daughter, with the latter two ending up having sex in an empty office while Cutler watched through the slightly open door? I know that none of them seemed to have a particular problem with what they were doing, but they still might win the award simply for being the worst employees (…and people? Hard to win that distinction in this crowd) of all time.
Ultimately, I have to give this award to Peggy, who spent so much time and effort extricating herself from Don and SCDP’s clutches, only to get plunged right back into the same dysfunctional work environment. She did her best to deal with her speed-y coworkers, rebuffing Stan’s advances (as a Peggy/Stan shipper, I sort of wish this had actually happened, though I respect her for stopping it) and reacting to Cutler’s voyeurism with the appropriate level of disgust. Her biggest ally/love interest, Chaough, was also not around to back her up. But it had to have felt like she was taking several big steps backward at the new merged company, wanting to keep her head down and get her work done and getting “You’ve got a great ass” from her colleagues instead. She wins (loses?) this week by a landslide.