Mad Men Needs Don and Joan to Find Their Mojo

Alan Sepinwall on Sunday's episode of Mad Men, The Summer Man:

Peggy respects Joan, and has always wanted Joan to like her, and in telling off and then firing Joey, she's doing what she thinks is right, but clearly also something that she thinks might please Joan. ... Had she gone to Joan instead of Don (or gone to both), Joan would have shut it down. It's interesting, though, to see how Joan carries herself while she explains her reasoning in the elevator, because I do think Joan has come to both like and respect Peggy, even if their approaches and goals are different. The season one version of that lecture would have been cruel; here it was blunt but polite, and Joan's not insincere when she wishes Peggy a good weekend.

Sepinwall's got a strong handle on this show, but here he completely goes off the road, bursts through the guardrails and plunges into the ravine. When Joan wished Peggy a good weekend, it was only seconds after calling her a "humorless bitch." It wasn't remotely polite.

I'm enjoying the current season, but I find it tougher to love the series when Don and Joan -- the two coolest characters -- can't find their mojo. Freed from Betty's soul-sucking unhappiness, Don's burying himself in the bottle and striking out with attractive young women who are biding their time until the sexual revolution. He's been looking like a sad sack who won't be able to handle a less tailored decade. Soon to be freed from Doctor Daterape, Joan is being treated like an old matron and a third wheel at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, when she used to be the person in the office who secretly held all the power.

I'd like these two to still be at the top of their game a while longer before sideburns and go-go boots come along.

Add a Comment

All comments are moderated before publication. These HTML tags are permitted: <p>, <b>, <i>, <a>, and <blockquote>. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA (for which the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply).