Mad Men recap: Pears, Pairs, and Despair

Peggy branches out, Allison breaks down, and Don sinks even lower
Ep. 04 | Aired Aug 15, 2010

Carin Baer/AMC

Peggy had no sympathy for Allison's tears once the secretary insinuated that she too must have fallen victim to Don's fickle charms. ''Your problem is not my problem, and honestly you should get over it,'' Peggy spat back. I laughed at Peggy's little head creeping up in the background to gaze worriedly at Don gulping down his drink. They are always privy to each other's private moments of longing and despair. Don looked so fondly upon Peggy as she tried on Faye's engagement ring, and the identity of a woman betrothed. She is his East Coast Anna, the person who worries after his best self and the one woman whose top buttons are safe in his presence.

She had the most fun of everyone this episode. She got invited to a good party and got high with her new buddy Joyce while gracefully shutting down the woman's advances. (''He doesn't own your vagina,'' Joyce said. ''No, but he's renting it.'') She held her own with the pretentious, shirtless artist, introducing herself to the man as a Catholic. When he looked disdainful at the idea of ever taking photographs for an ad agency, she smoothly shook off his sense of outrage. Unlike anyone around her, Peggy seems able to hold a belief in both art and commerce. She's a writer. She writes copy. If you're a photographer, you can get paid to practice your art. It's not mercenary like Dr. Miller's emotional/financial equation. Peggy lacks pretension. It's what makes her so refreshing. And perhaps naive. ''Did you know Malcom X was shot last weekend? Did you know who he was?'' she asked Joey. ''You've started reading the words in between the ads,'' he deduced. Oh, and thumbs up to the journalist Abe, a Jewish Bryan Brown who kissed her in the closet and promised to find her. She may finally have met a man worthy of her time.

In the meantime, Pete and Trudy continued to prove that they enjoy the show's one true romantic partnership. What a surprise these two have turned out to be. Vincent Kartheiser played the scene of Pete discovering the happy news to perfection. His face glowed, he pushed his hand into his chest as if to push down his swelling heart. ''If it's a boy a thousand dollars!'' cheered his father-in-law. ''A girl, 500.'' Eee-yow. When he went home to Trudy he wanted to swing her around and cradle her stomach. He didn't know how to describe his beautiful surge of feelings. ''How would you know what this feels like?'' giggled Trudy. (Well…..) On the sofa they talked business, something we never see the Mad Men do with their wives. ''A conflict, yes I'm familiar with the term,'' she said while wrapped in her husband's arms. ''You use it all the time.'' These two are on the same team, even when up against her Daddy. Pete played the pregnancy to his advantage, and sidestepped out from under big Tom's thumb. He roped in the whole Vicks account, and got himself a handshake from Don.

That and some sincere congratulations from Peggy. Just as Pete had quietly rammed his head into the column in his office, Peggy gently banged her head on her desk when she learned of Trudy's pregnancy. She found him on a sofa (where all their big scenes take place) and wished him and Trudy so genuinely well. Kartheiser's face softened and swelled again, grateful for the unspoken closure. These two actors bring out the best in each other.

NEXT: Dr. Miller gets inside our heads


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