Episode 7 - The Suitcase
6 March 2012
Mad Men - 407 - The Suitcase
It's taken me a long time to appreciate how good Mad Men really is. Perhaps part of that is just getting to know characters properly. I have known Peggy and Don for four years now and so finally I begin to recognize the development in their characters and how far they have come. Now the consistency and intelligence in the writing is becoming fully realized in my mind. This episode for me was watching two people I care about and enjoying immensely each little nuance of emotion they displayed. My phone rang four times during the episode and each time I cursed out loud as I paused the episode.
I liked Peggy explaining that nothing else in her life mattered as much to her as her job. It's not difficult to imagine why. She started as a secretary and probably never seriously dreamed of the job she has now. Now she is vital to her entire company and constantly being pushed and challenged by Don to come up with the best idea possible. That challenge gives her a thrill and her life a meaning that her family doesn't understand.
Meanwhile Don is growing into middle age and doesn't realize it yet. Not only is the drinking catching up with him but he doesn't yet see where the culture is going. Muhammad Ali's arrogant bragging is in complete contrast to Don's secretive and quiet desire for recognition. He dismisses celebrity endorsement as lazy, again missing out on what was about to become a major part of the culture. He also rants at Peggy telling her that her salary should be thanks enough for her Glo-Coat ideas. Yet we saw how much the Clio meant to him and in the end he prefers her support rather than critique for his idea.
In the end they are able to be vulnerable with one another. Don shares a lot of personal stuff that he usually tells no one and Peggy can open up to him about her pregnancy (again no one else really knows). The personal side to their relationship clearly helps them function better at work because it adds to the faith and trust they have in one another's abilities. She is the only person who realizes Don's slide into alcoholism could be deeply dangerous. Will it be enough to stop him before he turns into Duck?
Super stuff. This is why I love TV shows more than movies. I have had years to get to know Don Draper and company and begin to feel like I understand and appreciate their world. Now they have me and I look forward to seeing their adventures. The investment of time feels richly rewarding.
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