Episode 4 - To Have and To Hold
24 April 2013
I really enjoyed this episode. All the elements of it appealed to me in various ways.
The exploration of Don's attitude to loyalty and fidelity linked everything together at the core. The way he punishes Meagan's fictional infidelity by escaping to his real one was so sad and even there Sylvia sees through him. The rank hypocrisy doesn't make Don seem any less real. It's not edifying to men to say it makes him more so. He feels each woman should want him and that affection should be in its own proper slot. The suggestion that he might share that affection in a swinging scenario doesn't appeal to him and the sight of Meagan with another man makes him genuinely angry.
At work he goes against his own advice and takes the Ketchup meeting which he hopes, like an affair, will be a secret. He is insulted when Peggy and Ted show up, again as if he's being cheated on and that his work is being compared to theirs. He listens in at the door (as he did last week in flashback) to see the act take place and hears Peggy use his words to compete with him. It was rich, interesting storytelling and the fact that poor Ken was made a fool of and Stan's friendship with Peggy took a nasty blow added to the sense of this business encounter being like a dirty affair.
Joan of course won her place at the table in an equally grubby way and now lives with the awkward admiration of her friends and family. It's comforting to be looked up to but Joan knows that the reality at work is quite different. She is undermined by Harry Crane (who's aggression in the premiere now makes more sense) and hurt that her position as partner can't insulate her from being treated as lower than her actual status. I really liked the scenes with her at the restaurant and club. It gave us a real 60s vibe and the soundtrack got my attention which doesn't often happen. It was also nice to see Joan enjoying herself and giving in to the charms of a more youthful culture that she wouldn't normally interact with.
We also got to see Dawn's point of view and it was fascinating to hear her perspective on an office filled with tears, empty bottles and suicides. Her friend assumes that she will be taken advantage of at work and although that is partly true, she is also protected by her ethnicity. Her honesty and efficiency wins the day though and although Joan claims to be punishing her she's also making a character judgment.
Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.