Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!
I think the best way to approach this episode is character by character. Seeing as I’m up first, I’m going to be sneaky and take the ladies: Megan and Sally (I’ll leave Peggy and Joan for you, though, and any fellas you want to nab). It was great to get some more context on Megan, although I have to admit, I was left wondering what these dreams were that she had (besides acting?) that her father wanted to see her pursue? Did that one puzzle you too? And were you also left a bit worried by Roger’s response to Don claiming his father-in-law was a communist? But of course the dad wasn’t the one we were focused on. Julia Ormond was fabulous as the drunkard, flirtatious mother! But more on that in a minute. Megan’s central storyline was, of course, her coup of the Heinz campaign, and subsequent gifting of the whole package to Don. There was a moment (in the taxi) where I thought, maybe I’m wrong; maybe Don really is turned on by his wife’s brilliance and the chance to be truly partners with an equal (or even better!). So I felt the shocking gut-shot of realization along with Megan when Peggy (aka, mini-Don) painfully honestly exclaimed that this was good for her: “I’m getting to experience my first time again!” Of course Don wasn’t turned on by his equal – he was turned on by the chance to relieve a moment of his own shining youth. But what will happen when Megan isn’t willing to let him ride her coat-tails anymore? I sure hope we get to see that moment this season!
And poor, poor Sally – we’ve already talked about how this season is playing with the tension of her as a child and becoming an adult. And when she walked in with that little outfit and full make-up, I thought they might be making the transition just a little too quickly. I loved that Don made her take the make-up and boots back off, sending her right back to childhood…until that terrible (and, frankly, predictable – as soon as we saw the big door, we knew what was behind it) moment of walking in on Roger and Megan’s mum. The pacing all kept us sitting square in the middle of that adolescent transitional tension, and I thought they played it perfectly.
The scene itself – where childhood was definitively lost – was tragic for two reasons to me. First of all, after all the sexy vamping, the idea that Megan’s mum would fulfill her desire and get back at her husband by going down on Roger…really? And least shoot for a little reciprocity! The (surprisingly graphic?) head bobbing felt like the equivalent of finding her passed out drunk in the bedroom – a little private, a little sad and, quite frankly, a little degrading – the shadow side of an aging glamour trying to keep it together in public, but losing it behind closed doors. And then, of course, the other tragic piece is the forced growing up of Sally. We’ve seen it in so many ways this season, and even the last, but when she pushed the Shirley Temple aside, stating, “Yes, I’m finished with that,” it felt like she really was finished with being a kid. How’s the City? Dirty? Yikes, where does this mean her friendship with the creepy old neighbour kid is going (who remains creepy still…the costuming of those shorts with an open coat with nothing underneath confirmed that…great detail!). Something’s got to give here and I’m a bit nervous to see what happens when Sally goes full Betty.
Oof, can you imagine having to go to the library to get a photo of someone so you can recognize them when you meet them?! How did we live before google?!