First things first: Poor Kitty.
For me, scenes that showcase the Sal-Kitty union are among the saddest the series has to offer. I’ve spent two seasons wondering just how aware Kitty was of Sal’s orientation. I always speculated she’d gone semi-willingly into this marriage, with her eyes at least half-open. Maybe she was on a mission of conversion. Maybe she was just in love with him and wanted his companionship if not his passion. Now, I see just how willfully oblivious she’s been. How strange it must be to watch your husband do a spot-on Ann-Margret impression, pushing together imaginary cleavage and puckering his lips, while you’re trying to seduce him in a pretty spectacular green teddy.
Speaking of spectacular, how awesome were Peggy’s scenes in this episode? Last week, we saw her gaining all kinds of ground, glisteningly high, and triumphantly preening while checking her matronly secretary and declaring herself a bulwark of feminism. This week, we were reminded in further detail of her Brooklyn side. Note how her accent reverts when she’s visiting her mother and sister. “He’s still dead, Ma,” she flatly says of the Pope her mother’s stage-weeping over. We were also reminded of just how hard-fought Peggy’s transitions must be, with a mother who’d actually tell her she’ll be raped in Manhattan just to manipulate her into staying home and a sister who subtly plays the martyr, even as she’s being faux-supportive.
No wonder her ad for a roommate was so lame. With these people as your former cohabitants, how would you know how to find someone who’d help you achieve the next level of awesome? Fortunately for Peggy, buxom Joan has plenty of experience with roommate soliciting. And her alliterative scene in the break room, where she rattles off gems like, “no dull moments or dull men tolerated” and “Likes to laugh, lives to love! Seeks size six for city living and general gallivanting,” you’re suddenly aware of how easy it would’ve been for Joan to have earned Peggy’s position, had she re-prioritized career and marriage.
Now onto the larger theme of family. First, in the office, we get a father lamenting his son’s uselessness as an entrepreneur. (“My son lives in a cloud of success, but it’s my success. Perhaps when that evaporates and his face is pressed against the reality of the sidewalk he’ll be of value to someone.” That was way harsh [and spot-on], Tai.) Once again, Don pits himself against Pete (and the new British regime in the home office) as he tries to talk “Ho-Ho” out of his plans to bring jai alai to the American masses. Don’s getting a sense of how ridiculous the politics of his position have become and the futility of trying to make his work somehow “noble”
Same thing’s happening at home, as Don watches Gene woo his son, Bobby, with war tales. His pragmatism is powerless in the face of Gene’s gift of a spiked helmet he ganked from a dude he killed.
About Gene Hofstadt, No. 2: I found it an odd choice to bring him into the Draper home for just two full episodes, then kill him off so early in the season. His bond with Sally seemed a bit rushed. (Had they ever interacted onscreen before these two eps?) I thought there would be more mano-a-mano between Gene and Don, more focus on Betty’s growing uncomfortability with Gene’s senility, etc. Basically, I totally thought dude was in it for the long-haul, to be killed off in the finale or something.
But this works, too, I guess.
Call me heartless, but I wasn’t all that swayed by Sally in her leotard, yelling at her parents. I know she’s being sold as precocious, but I just find her obnoxious. (And so does Betty. Which I love.) I’ll admit it was pretty sad, seeing her curl up on the living room floor, absorbing the news of an infamous immolation while everyone ignored her.
Every child needs a champion. Now that Gene’s gone, Sally no longer has one. That’s sad, but after watching her steal from him last week then try to play if off, after causing all kinds of quiet chaos, forgive me if I’m not broken up on her behalf.
I know you’ll feel differently, so I’m looking forward to your comments.
Weigh in below.
P.S. A final note about Peggy and one that I almost forgot: I hope y’all peeped that smug, lingering look she gave Don as she followed the Patio people out of the conference room. Heh.
P.P.S. In that same scene, Roger’s one line of the night nails it: “She’s not Ann-Margret.” Duh. Why didn’t anyone else anticipate that that would be the problem?