“Mad Men” thoughts, Season Seven, Episode Two: “A Day’s Work”

Throughout “A Day’s Work”—a brisk, funny episode rounded out by meaty material for the show’s young breakout, Sally Draper, and its first prominent African-American character, Dawn Chambers—characters are repeatedly confronted with Campbell’s choice. Should they be up front about their desires and dislikes, in hopes that the static they get in response won’t prevent them from getting what they want? Or should they bullshit their way through it, thinking things will go smoother for all involved if they keep their mouths shut? It’s the stuff that both great Depeche Mode songs and great Mad Men episodes are made of, though in the end, Matthew Weiner’s outlook is considerably more optimistic than Martin Gore‘s

Never again is what you swore the time before: I reviewed last night’s Mad Men for Wired.

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3 Responses to “Mad Men” thoughts, Season Seven, Episode Two: “A Day’s Work”

  1. Good work. I guess it was inevitable that the happiness we saw in Pete the week before would curdle soon, but for some reason I wanted it to continue a bit longer, especially as happy Pete makes such a nice contrast to mopey, pale Ted. I found the Don/Sally stuff really touching, as a father. Sally had to learn her parents are very flawed people earlier than she should have, and yet Don’s wonderment as he watches her head back up to her dorm tells me he realizes she’s going to be all right despite this. I think Jim Cutler’s promotion of Joan not only adds a little more dimension to him than “Roger with bad breath” but also shows something very true about corporate life: when you work with the same people for years, they tend to take you for granted and see you mainly the way they first got to know you. Jim is newer and Joan’s potential is more obvious to him, and obviously his counterpart, Roger, has some sort of ego thing going on where he doesn’t want her to advance too far, maybe because at a certain point there will be absolutely no chance she would ever be in a position to need/want him again.

    Boy, Peggy comes off badly here, start to finish. The passive-aggressive demand to replace Shirley just because she’s too embarrassed to just apologize was cringe-inducing, and probably racist as well, as she probably realizes Shirley will never rise high enough where Peggy will need to patch the relationship up. For someone who rose up through the ranks, she sure has forgotten where she came from. She is so consumed with hanging onto and increasing her status she can’t let anyone else share a bit of the light.

    Unlike Jim, Lou seems destined to just be a one-note bastard, and that’s fine. Obviously if Don wants to return, it’s about convincing the partners, and Lou is not much more than a placeholder.

  2. Tim O'Neil says:

    OK, has no one else noticed that this is TWO episodes in a row to mention fires being started in LA by tossed-off cigarettes?

    In Matthew Weiner world, that’s practically screaming for us to pay attention.

    • Good catch, Tim! If only this was 1967, then the fires could scare Ted into turning his house into a sandbox like Brian Wilson.

      BTW, it seems more like Ted has taken the Don doppelganger role from Pete. He’s miserable at work, Don’s miserable out of work. He traveled across the country to be away from the woman he loves and to keep his family together, Don stays across country to keep an illusion of family together. And part of Peggy’s attraction for Ted is that he was a nicer version of Don.

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