After a solid return, Mad Men comes back with “A Day’s Work”, which makes for quite the eventful Valentine’s Day at Sterling Cooper Magic Johnson and Timothy or whatever the hell they’re calling it now. Office politics are getting outta hand, Don still has a secretary somehow, and no one cares about poor little Petey. Let’s go….
-Don is chillin’, eating Ritz crackers like a boss, because he ain’t go not job and he ain’t got shit to do (he might as well get high, shoutout to Friday). He is trying to cut back or quit drinking, which is still blowing my mind. He gets a knock on the door and it’s Dawn, who is his little spy at the office. Of course Don Draper has a secretary and no job; IT’S DRAPER SEASON, BITCHES.
-Peggy is in the funk of all funks to start the season; she is getting shit on by new boss Lou Avery and the dude she loves (Ted) bailed with his family to Los Angeles and it’s Valentine’s Day. She wants Stan to hand in some work before the end of the day so she can work on it over the weekend because, lonely, but Stan brushes off what she says and along with Ginsberg, proceed to mentally beat her down in her single-ness. It was kinda funny, but damn, Peggy, you’re better than this. Ginsberg saying that she had an evening of gloomy masturbation planned? And he DIDN’T get punched? I don’t like this new Peggy.
-Next is a conference call between the office in New York, and Pete out in Los Angeles. Pete says he has an in with a Chevrolet guy out west and thinks he is getting the next account, but the rest of the gang want Bob Benson on the job, which of course makes Pete livid. But I don’t care about this part of the scene; the best shit is the problems they’re having with conference calls because it’s 1968, no one knows if anyone is still on the line, and Roger just doesn’t care about anything outside of swinger sex, apparently. I figure drugs is in on that as well.
-Pete continues to bitch about not being appreciated, first to Ted, who tells him to “just cash the checks; you’re going to die one day” when Pete says something about starting his own company. I feel like he has tried this before and got shot down. He also tries with his girl, Bonnie, who resists Pete’s advances because she has an open-house to run and she has her own shit to do, which is different from the women in New York. That’s fine with Pete because deep down, he likes being told what to do.
-Dawn and Shirley are having a chat about the white people in the office calling them by the other’s name, and I’m going to say that this is the third time that two black people have had a scene together in Mad Men at the same time. This has been ongoing throughout the run of the series, and when Mad Men handles race relations, it’s often awkward and clunky. Shirley is Peggy’s secretary, and Peggy sees some flowers at her desk, but she thinks they are hers. They’re actually from Shirley’s fiancee. That’s going to be awkward when the truth comes out. However, Peggy cuts off Shirley’s explanation and wants her to send a note to Ted, whom she presumes sent said flowers.
-While Shirley is dealing with that, Dawn is keeping Don in the loop while getting flowers to Lou’s wife, and then Sally Draper shows up at the office while no one but Lou is there. Sally doesn’t know her dad doesn’t work there anymore, so shit gets awkward with Lou. Now that I think about it, “awkward” would be the perfect word for this episode, but there are a ton of awkward Mad Men episodes out there. Anyway, Sally has no idea what is going on because this isn’t the office she is used to, while Lou yells at Dawn for this, like it’s her fault. Lou comes off as a bit of a dickhead so far. He wants Dawn gone to another part of the office.
-Why is Sally in the city, you ask? We learn at the beginning of the episode that her roommate’s mother has passed away, so she and her friends have used the day as an excuse to go shopping. She lost her purse, which is why she was looking for Don, but obviously, she doesn’t know what is going on.
-Speaking of, Joan is just getting bombarded as she is handling accounts now, plus handling all of the secretaries, so she moves Dawn out of Lou’s hair, but now she is out front and Bert Cooper is wary of a black woman being able to be seen from the elevators. That sucks, Bert….you were my dogg. But I suppose I should have expected it because, Mad Men.
-Don is out having lunch with a colleague from another agency, where he learns there are stories going around the industry as to why he has been out of commission for a while. Say what you want, but Don is very good at his job and he will get scooped up by someone, whether it’s the old crew or someone else. Plus, he likes getting his ego massaged and this meeting did that.
-Back at the office, Peggy wants the flowers gone, saying they’re cursed, which is when Shirley tells her they weren’t for her in the first place. Peggy loses it and goes on about how Shirley embarrassed her, but really, she is just embarrassing herself with her outburst. That shit is really unlike Peggy, and it’s probably not going to get any better any time soon.Then she bursts into Joan’s new office, demanding that Shirley is moved and Joan is like, “I ain’t got time for that shit”.
-On the low, Dawn gets promoted to handling the secretaries so Joan only has one job now. You can tell the office culture is changing with the times. I know it’s only two episodes, but there is substantially less drinking and smoking in the office, there are more women around, Joan and Peggy have positions of authority (kinda) and hell, Dawn is even doing stuff. Keep an eye on this.
-Finally, we have Don and Sally, who finds Don at the apartment and he lies to her about working, then when she says she needs a written excuse as to why she is gone, Don tells her to tell the truth, which damn near made me spit on my laptop. While in the car, Don actually tells her the truth about not working, she chastises him and Don feels like the child, which in many ways, he is. She says something about it being more embarrassing to catch him in the lie than his actual lie, and that goes back to last season, when Sally walked in on Don and the doctor’s wife, Sylvia. Instead of going back to the school, they stop for lunch and Don starts telling Sally all sorts of things, like not wanting to go to California to be with Megan and not loving her anymore, which I don’t think he does. Hell, he doesn’t call her on Valentine’s Day. That is how most husbands and/or boyfriends die. When Sally gets dropped off, she tells Don she loves him, which may be the first time I’ve ever heard her say that. It’s definitely a rarity.
While I did say this was an awkward episode of Mad Men, I also think it was pretty humorous just because I don’t think they know any other type of humor. They didn’t stick too long on one thing, and they even threw in a few new wrinkles. Sally came back swinging and I’m interested to see how she progresses (which amuses me since I hated really young Sally) and I assume we’ll see Betty at some point soon, probably next week. Mad Men is off to a surprisingly strong start in the final season.