Cars and Women. Generally speaking, men desire both and the latest episode of Mad Men parallels their most desired qualities. And money. And what money can buy (Joan) and what it won’t (Peggy).
SCDP is desperate to land the Jaguar account, and Jaguar honcho pervy Herb wants one night with Joan, these are his terms. Pete entertains the offer because nothing is going to interfere with him landing the account. He takes the request to Joan and his manipulative approach shows Pete at his very worst. One of the best lines of the night happens while Pete is desperately trying to convince Joan to prostitute herself ; ‘we have all had nights in our lives where we’ve made mistakes for free’.
Pete tells the partners about Herb’s request and reminds them that Herb is the head of the dealers Association and wields a lot of power. The partners are shocked that Pete even entertained the idea and each one of the partners says no with varying degrees of disgust. But Pete persists, clearly showing that he has the lowest moral compass of the bunch.
Megan (another sexy expensive car) gets an audition callback and tells Don that if she gets the part, rehearsal takes place in Boston and she will be gone for months. Don has a fit and says she can’t just leave, at which point she storms out of the apt. She is the impractical, unreliable but beautiful sports car that you know you shouldnt buy, but will go broke figuring out a way to get it.
Joan tells Peter that she wants a 5% partnership as well as the $50,000 that is being offered to her. And she wants the documents by the end of the day. She knows Pete will go to any length to make Jaguar happen, and she figures out a way to take back control of the situation, and hold her head high.
There is an interesting mash-up of timelines, as we watch Don go to Joan’s apartment and tell her not to see Herb, that they don’t want to do business with someone like that anyway. What we don’t know until we watch the same scene again, is that Don’s visit was too late – we thought he might have caught her in time, but we learn that Don’s visit was after she got back from Herb’s hotel. Mixed emotions flash across her face, for just a moment, she might have regret for what she just did. Pete had led her to believe that all the partners were on-board, which was not fully the truth, and she now realizes that with Don’s visit.
At the same time we are watching this scene, they cut to Don pitching to the Jaguar team, and with his carefully selected words, he could be talking about the car or Joan, or even Megan.
The next day SCDP gets the news that they have landed the account. As Roger calls for the partners to assemble in Dons office, we see the look of confusion on Dons face as Joan enters. He slowly realizes that she probably did end up going to Herb’s hotel.
In the midst of celebrating landing this big account, Peggy tells Don she needs to talk to him. He asks if she is upset about Joan becoming a partner, to which a shocked Peggy chugs her drink and gives the news that she leaving. At first Don feigns amusement, then mocks her and ends up condescending and angry. He tells her to name her price and can’t believe she doesn’t have one. She really is leaving. She fights back tears, shakes his hand goodbye, collects her things, and walks out. As she waits for the elevator, the Kink’s hit song “Girl, you really got me going’, plays and a satisfied smile crosses her face.
I can’t believe Peggy has left. I wonder for how long? I will miss seeing her around the office, but as a central character of the show, I am certain that somehow the lives at SCDP and her new firm will collide. I can’t help wondering if the news of Joan and Herb is going to hit the streets and land on her new desk. Yeah that’s right, you heard it here first. Is that what you were thinking?