In last night’s episode of Mad Men, Don (or as Twitter was calling him: Dom) began to see his control waning in both his personal life and his work life.
The episode opens on Don overhearing a fight between his mistress Sylvia and her husband Arnold. With a grin, he quickly shuts the elevator and proceeds to the office, where Joan is busy with administrative work in the midst of the SCDP and CGC merger.
At their first partner’s meeting, Pete arrives late and is left chairless – an obvious metaphor for his position for the forward-moving firm. However, he soon receives an urgent call, informing him that his mother’s dementia has kicked in, so he exits.
As Peggy walks down the hallway, Don remarks, “It’s nice to have the old team back together,” but he sours this moment by going back into his shell of an office. Almost a human moment for Don, almost.
Meanwhile the creatives are busy working on a campaign for margarine, but Don is away with Sylvia, trying to be all domineering in the bedroom – which is why Twitter nicknamed him Dom for the night.
When he returns, he and Ted get into a little quarrel, but Don makes it all better by offering Ted a drink. And then another. And then a few more until Ted passes out; Don starts to think he has the upper hand in this merger.
An interesting little side story develops as Bob Benson (I honestly didn’t know his name until this episode) stumbles upon a sickly Joan and escorts her to the emergency room. After sweet-talking the secretary and mentioning that Joan had accidently consumed furniture polish, Joan is taken to a bed. Thankfully she doesn’t have a baby or die – just a cyst on her ovary!
The following day, the partners gather to cut some deadweight around the office, and Bob’s name is thrown out there as a possible person to fire. Slyly, Joan indicates that his credentials are too valuable, and the partners agree to keep him. I spy a budding romance.
Next, Ted flies him and Don to a meeting with Mohawk, but the stormy conditions make Don nervous about Ted’s competency in flying a plane. In the midst of terror, Don loses his upper hand to Ted, as Ted quite literally has Don’s life in his hands.
As soon as Don gets back to his and Sylvia’s sex chamber hotel room, she tells him that they can no longer see each other. His domineering days are over. For now.
The episode ends with Pete’s mother waking him up to tell him that the Kennedy boy has been shot. Thinking that his mother is reliving the past yet again, he goes back to bed. However, the action moves to a weeping Megan, who is fixated on news coverage of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.
Don, who no longer has control with any aspect in his life, simply walks by the television. He understands that the world is out of his control, so he doesn’t bother to take notice. How symbolic. And chaotic.
So far, I’ve liked how the show has been able to intertwine the major events of the 1950s and 1960s, so naturally I am curious as to how they will tackle the 1969 Moon Landing. Should be epic.