When Don Draper proposed to SCDP secretary Megan at the end of the last season, fans were aghast at the impulsive and seemingly desperate decision. She was no Betty, just a piece of arm candy for him to show off now that his ex-wife was getting married to a high-flying politico. Season Five so far has been about how wrong we all were.
Initially struggling with being Don’s wife in her new role amongst the creatives, Megan finally put her foot down last week about the way he treated her (pulling her out of meetings for impromptu holidays, etc) and had him begging her for forgiveness. This week, she showed that she can actually do the job he gave her very well, even while coping with personal traumas.
Having her warring, disapproving parents staying at the flat was a ripe set-up for plenty of Mad Men awkwardness, even if most of their jibes (about Don or just each other) were delivered in French. The way Megan dealt with them showed that she’s more than a pretty face, and the way she salvaged the Heinz deal showed that she’s adept at both sides of the advertising game; coming up with the pitch and steering the negotiations away from the brink.
Of course, Don was thrilled and proud and aroused, but the nicest reaction came from Peggy. You’d have expected her to feel a bit threatened by the younger, sexier kid on the block saving the deal that she nearly scuppered, but instead she was magnanimous and perhaps even proud to see another woman breaking down barriers at the company. It’s certainly a long way away from the Sterling Cooper she joined five seasons ago.
Peggy’s own life is changing too, with boyfriend Abraham arranging a meal for them that she thinks is either going to be a break-up or a proposal. Instead, he wants them to move in together, and while her face is tough to read for reactions, you sense it’s exactly what she wanted and needed. Another lovely moment is Joan’s reaction to the news, again showing how far these two have come and how their friendship has grown.
There were surprisingly many nice moments this week, but with potential for things to go sour. After accidentally breaking her step-grandmother‘s foot while on the phone to that no-good lad from her old neighbourhood, Sally ends up at the Draper flat (along with MJ from Desperate Housewives, with her own brother having decamped to fairytale land) and joins the extended family on a grown-up night out to see Don get an award (a meaningless one from people who will never hire him, he finds out afterwards).
Her escort for the night is rejuvenated Roger, and he’s in sparkling form, giving her the time of her life. Things go sour though when she walks in (unseen) on him receiving oral pleasure from Megan’s mum, ruining her evening and leading her to describe the city as ‘dirty’. And all that after an unfortunate mix-up (deliberate or otherwise) from Megan’s dad when talking about little girls growing up and spreading their legs/wings.
While Sally’s disapproval was obvious, a major theme for the week was parental disapproval, with Megan’s dad lecturing her about how she’s given up her dreams to marry Don (quite what those dreams were we don’t know) and Peggy’s mum predictably furious at the idea of her daughter shacking up unmarried with a Jew. Peggy and Megan are achieving great things, but that doesn’t protect them from their parents.