An Excerpt from American Savage and a Message All Straight People Need to Hear
The title of this week's episode—The Rejected—confused me at first, but when I thought about it, Ken, Allison, and Tom (Trudy's father) really pushed the plot forward. They set examples for other characters to follow, ignore, or take advantage of.
Am I required to say that, after the jump, there's nothing but spoilers?
Trudy, miraculously, is no longer barren, which is a credible plot development, I think. Tom spilled the beans to Peter who, genuinely thrilled, takes the impetus from this and a prickly lunch with Ken Cosgrove, (who I was surprisingly happy to see), to get his man on and make a run at his father-in-law's parent company. Pete with power is kind of frightening, and it was off-putting to suddenly hear him speaking his mind. Don has taught him well.
(Full disclosure: I love Pete. Not in Season 1 where they force you to hate him, but now when watching him attempt to be a human being is hilarious, freaky, and sometimes touching. Vincent Kartheiser could be the next Crispin Glover, provided he doesn't piss off Steven Spielberg.)
The news of Trudy's pregnancy led to some solemn Pete/Peggy moments. I don't think her melancholy was because she still loves Pete—she told him at the end of Season 2 that she "wanted other things." But she's not sure what those things are and now is kind of adrift. The wages of that decision are weighing on her this season. She supposed to be 25 and in spite of her open-mindedness and ambition she's still a very traditional girl. Still believes in god ("I"m a Catholic.") Still wants a husband and a family. Maybe her obnoxious new little friend Joyce will disabuse her of these needs.
I liked the introduction of Joyce, a lesbian who's not afraid to leer openly at Peggy and that hot new receptionist, but who else wanted to slap her when she said "swellegant?" The party scene was great, it felt very contemporary, and the awkward, hostile conversation between Peggy and the artist cracked me up. She's an empowered woman but still traditional (see above). Why wouldn't an artist want to get into advertising? They'd get paid! And I'm sure you all liked the vagina joke.
While Peggy might be considered rejected, Don's secretray Allison certainly is, and I'm glad to see Don's fuck-ups come back to haunt him at work. Good for her for leaving. And minor kudos to Don for at least trying to type her that apology letter. "My life lately is very -" What is it, Don? It's fucked up. Still he should have just gone ahead and written the letter of recommendation. It would have been a Don-good thing to do. Subtle but clear. Instead we get...Don. We always get Don. He can't even get through a miscommunication with his new secretary without slugging back a drink these days. And his confrontation with Faye was clearly just him blaming her for the Allison conflict, instead of accepting blame himself.
I like Faye. As didactic as her dialogue is, it helps her and Don fight. Faye's facade (sorry) is right there for everyone to see, she works it, and I don't think it makes Don comfortable, but he admires it.
Random observations...Warhol. Malcolm X. Jean Seberg. Both Pete and Peggy banging their heads on things. Peggy's assistant Joey is a prick, though I agree with him that I'd get Trudy all sorts of pregnant. Pete's racial tolerance (Puerto Ricans this time). Lane's more of a dick. Haven't seen Betty for two weeks.
The episode was so busy I almost forgot it opened with a tense conference call with public enemy #1 Lee Garner Jr. That scene, coupled with Pete bringing in a big new account, makes me think they will definitely be losing Lucky Strike by the end of the season.
John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling (happy birthday!), directed the episode nicely.
SO? What did YOU think?
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