Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Mad Men" Review: "The Other Woman" (Season 5 Episode 11) - "Shall we address the men?"


The masterful fifth season of Mad Men continues with episode 11, “The Other Woman,” and as always, I’m here with my weekly review and analysis.  To do the hour justice, this review contains heavy spoilers, so don’t read unless you’ve seen the episode.

Spoilers for “The Other Woman” after the jump…

“What price would we pay, what behavior would we forgive, if they weren’t pretty, if they weren’t temperamental, if they weren’t out of our control…Jaguar: At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”

When you break down any ad-campaign, be it a fictional one on Mad Men or a real one seen during the show’s commercial breaks, you will find an appeal to human weakness, to subconscious urges that would, more often than not, harm ourselves and those around us if we chose to act on them.  That we possess and act on these destructive urges is a fascinating subject in and of itself; that we embrace and promote these urges through a medium fundamental to American life – a medium that has grown exponentially in its omniscience since 1966, a medium many comprehend no alternative to – is a disturbing truth most wouldn’t dare tackle.  Yet it lies at the heart of Mad Men, not because the show is about advertising, but because the show is an exploration of the frailty and flaws of the human condition, and advertisements are mirrors to our failings. 

In the history of Mad Men, there has been no clearer distilment of this theme than Don’s pitch to Jaguar.  It is a brilliant, inspired piece of marketing because it connects with desires fundamental to its audience: men.  It speaks of sex, of course, but not in a healthy form.  Forbidden sex is the focus, the kind of sex that makes a man feel powerful, the kind of sex fantasized in moments of weakness, when a man feels unfulfilled and reverts to base reproductive instincts to find control in a confused existence.  The fantasy feels powerful because the man perceives it as unattainable.  It isn’t his woman.  It isn’t familiar.  It isn’t something he already owns.  If he attained it, if he furthered his sexual ownership over a wider domain, what kind of God would he be?  What kind of might would he wield?  As Don says…“what price would we pay,” if we could feel that power for even one night?

This is the sort of ‘genius’ campaign we would applaud Don for in years past.  Intercut with Joan resorting to the most desperate of measures, though, it becomes what I view as the single most disturbing sequence in 62 episodes of Mad Men.  Don speaks of these themes in celebratory terms, yet the visual representation we are given of the pitch’s subtext – that of a pathetic man robbing a good, strong woman of all her dignity, enabled by men more filthy and reprehensible than he – is utterly, undeniably horrifying.  I felt physically ill throughout the pitch, wanting to see Joan say ‘no’ at the last moment, wanting to hear Don stop mid-sentence and realize the dirty, disturbing truth of his words.  But of course, those moments of salvation never came.  Joan slept with Herb.  Don finished the pitch.  Jaguar chose Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as their representation.  The horrible deeds of amoral men went rewarded, and a woman with few reasonable alternatives paid the price. 

God.  Damn.  If that isn’t television at the height of its intellectual and emotional power, then I don’t know what is. 

In a broader context, the themes of that sequence were the focus of “The Other Woman,” not only the best episode of this season but one of the greatest Mad Men’s ever.  This was an hour all about the ways men abuse and hold back women, and though the show has explored this theme before – in many ways, it’s at the heart of the entire series – it’s never done so with such precision, clarity, and raw, heartbreaking power.

One of the things this season has done so well is using micro-level stories to examine macro-level issues; each sub-plot of each episode has had broad implications not just about advertising and the 1960s, but about the human condition itself, and “The Other Woman” was no exception.  Through Joan, Peggy, and Megan’s stories, the hour reinforced the idea that SCDP is a toxic environment where women, no matter their level of talent or capability, will either fail to advance or be actively beaten down by circumstance.  Weiner obviously isn’t aiming for a discussion about the failings of a fictional sixties ad-agency with these stories, but honing in on tough, uncomfortable truths at the heart of broader cultures.  The cultures of advertising and upper-class 1960s society, of course, but also – and this one comes down to personal beliefs, I suppose – the present as well. 

We shall talk about each of the women in these various contexts momentarily.  But first, we must discuss Don Draper, for his story in tonight’s episode defines the male role in this culture.  When it comes to someone like Roger or Pete, it is not surprising that they hurt the women in their lives.  That is who they are, and though Pete descended to incredible levels of villainy tonight (played with incredible, icy menace by Vincent Kartheiser, who should be commended for having the bravery to unflinchingly depict Pete’s depravity), it is only a natural extension of his character.  Of course he will throw Joan under the bus to further his own self-obsessed agenda.  That’s who he is.  Of course Roger will have few objections.  Women – even someone he admires and respects like Joan – are objects to him.  Of course Lane will be so wrapped up in his financial troubles he’ll be the one to find Joan an incentive worth acquiescing to. 

But Don?  Don is capable of change.  He used to treat women, primarily Betty, as these men did, but he’s gotten better.  So much better.  He has deep and abiding respect for Peggy; he loves his new wife, and at his best, treats her as an equal.  He cares for Joan not for sexual reasons, but because he admires and finds value in who she is as a human being.  Don Draper is different than his colleagues because although he can still succumb to their level (i.e. chasing Megan around the apartment several weeks ago), he also has the capacity to be a good and respectful man.  He is indicative, I believe, of many men faced with a changing social order, be it the 1960s or today.

Don’s actions in “The Other Woman” are heartbreaking because we see his capacity for good and bad in near equal measure.  When Megan comes close to getting a Broadway part, he chastises her for considering being out of town, an eerie, uncomfortable parallel to Pete chewing out Trudy for refusing to blindly accept his plans.  In both cases, the men are exercising a concept of ownership over their wives; again, it isn’t surprising coming from Pete, but with Don, we know he can be better, and are sad to see him sink to this level. 

He does so, of course, for the very same reasons outlined in the Jaguar pitch.  When Megan comes to him, he feels weak – probably due to difficulties finding the right ad campaign – and exercises power by putting her down, denying her dreams the same way he feels his are slipping away.  He does the same thing to Peggy when she asks to head the Chevalier Blanc campaign; feeling frustrated, he denies her perfectly reasonable request, and to be as demeaning as possible, throws a wad of money in her face as though he can control her with cash. 

Which is, of course, the exact same thing Pete and the partners are doing to Joan, albeit on a much grander scale.  This, naturally, is where Don draws the line.  He will have no part in forcing Joan into what amounts to prostitution, and I for one would never expect him to.  As a man with the capacity for sensitivity, a plot that devious would never sit well with Don Draper, and his last-minute attempt to talk Joan out of it at her apartment is, to my eyes, completely genuine.  He wants to help her.  He doesn’t want to see her hurt herself this way.  He truly believes Jaguar isn’t worth it.  No company would be worth it.  When they land Jaguar at the hour’s end and Don quietly realizes that Joan went through with it, I think the guilt that crosses Jon Hamm’s face is very real; if this was the cost, he would rather have never heard of Jaguar, and that’s why he refuses to celebrate. 

But now we reach the important part: one noble action on Don’s part does not give him moral high-ground, even over a scoundrel like Pete.  Within this episode alone, his treatment of Megan and Peggy boils down to a similar concept of dismissive, controlling sexism, even if the ultimate harm isn’t as egregious.  The thought behind those actions is no different than Pete’s or Lane’s.  Just because Don is sensitive enough to refute an act of pure evil doesn’t mean he lacks the capacity to think in similarly wicked terms.  He does, and that’s most damningly apparent in his laser-focused Jaguar pitch.  The words coming out of his mouth are a manifesto for what Pete was thinking when he made plans to put Joan in bed with Herb.  Don may not be acting on those words in the same way, but by speaking and believing them – for the sake of personal gain, no less – he loses whatever moral high-ground he earned by trying to help Joan (a fact hammered home by the editing of the speech sequence, where Don’s trip to Joan’s apartment is repeated at the end to show that Don’s efforts were futile).

Don can be better.  There’s no question about that.  But in this moment, he’s not, and I think it goes back to a discussion I’ve brought up many times this season: That SCDP and the world of advertising are toxic.  When he’s detached from it, he’s healthy; now that he’s dived back in headfirst, he’s drifting closer to the amoral man we knew at the series’ outset. 

Peggy Olsen, meanwhile, finally comes to terms with the toxicity of SCDP in tonight’s episode.  It’s a decision that’s been foreshadowed throughout the season, as Peggy has spent all year being continually marginalized and ignored.  I’ve mentioned it repeatedly in these reviews: Peggy is clearly the cleverest and most capable copy-writer on staff, but as a woman, there’s a limit to how much she can excel in this man’s world.  Heinz Beans detested her for having an attitude.  Jaguar refused to work with a woman.  Partners like Roger continually second-guess her.  And over time, a man like Ginsberg – more qualified for her job only if your criteria is the presence of male genitalia – increasingly encroaches on her territory until she has almost nothing left to do with the firm. 

This is the circumstance we find Peggy in at the start of “The Other Woman.”  Don has given her creative control over everything outside Jaguar, but it’s hardly meaningful.  Jaguar means everything, and in her first scene of the episode, Peggy must stand outside the conference room and watch as the men have a good time writing pitch concepts and eating gourmet lobster dinners.  The visual layout of that scene isn’t subtle: Peggy’s on the outside of a world she’s not allowed to enter.  Even when she comes up with an effective – nay, perfect – new pitch for Chevalier Blanc on the spot and over the phone, she can’t get any recognition or credit for it from the man she respects above all else.  She did the work, but Don ensures Ginsberg will get the credit.

It is a profound revelation for Peggy to accept that her surroundings will always hold her back.  It’s so tough to swallow, in fact, that even as she talks to Freddy Rumsen about visiting other agencies, or as she has a hugely promising interview with Teddy Shaw, she can’t completely fathom the harsh truth she’s carrying inside.  Leaving SCDP means accepting that the people she loves and respects most in the world will never reciprocate, and that will never be easy.  When she goes to tell Don about Shaw’s offer – again catching Don at the entirely wrong moment – I believe that in her heart of hearts, she intended on negotiating and staying.  But after Don mentions that Joan is now a partner, everything comes into focus for Peggy.  Not because she has anything against Joan.  She doesn’t.  She probably knows, as well as we do, that Joan always deserved that partnership.  But with the company celebrating an account she’ll never be a part of, and the only other high-ranking woman in the office vastly leapfrogging her, I think Peggy finally understands that when push comes to shove, she is an afterthought at SCDP, and she will never feel good about herself until she tries to find a place where she is truly loved. 

I don’t know if Shaw will provide that place.  Peggy doesn’t know either.  All she knows is she’s not going to get it at SCDP, and that the future is a little brighter now that she’s exited such a hellish, harmful atmosphere.  Of course the hour has to end with one of Elizabeth Moss’ incredible, subtle smiles and a classic rock song.  This is Peggy being empowered, empowered because she finally decided to stop playing by the rules of men.  Fulfilling doesn’t even begin to describe the power of that ending. 

It must also be noted that Moss and Hamm do absolutely stellar work during the resignation sequence.  This is clearly Moss’s Emmy submission episode for that scene alone, for the awe-inspiring mixture of emotions and thoughts she creates on the character’s face.  It’s just a beautiful piece of acting, and Hamm, as always, is her equal.  Hamm is stellar whenever he gets to play an emotionally confused Don, and the character has seldom been as disoriented as he is here.  He loves Peggy; he can’t imagine SCDP without Peggy; his grief over Peggy’s resignation is genuine.  But he also can’t understand why she needs to move on, and this is precisely why Don is still part of his gender’s problem, rather than its solution.  He can’t fathom the pressure he’s put on Peggy, either by disrespecting her directly or enabling others to diminish her power at the firm.  If he could, Peggy wouldn’t be leaving.  Hamm plays this confliction flawlessly, and he too might want to consider this episode come awards season.

Peggy’s dilemma is all about professional worth, but when it comes to the other two women central to the hour, sex is the prevailing theme.  In the patriarchal world these characters inhabit, there’s a constant pressure to bow to male sexual desires.  Megan, in her audition, instinctively knows to wear a sexy dress, and isn’t surprised when the men hiring her wish her to show off her body.  That’s the world Megan lives in, and it’s the world Megan was raised in.  She can’t imagine alternatives, because when men are in charge and their power unchecked, this is what she must do to succeed. 

It’s equal parts sad and disgusting to watch, but nowhere near the horror Joan experiences when Pete proposes she sell her body for the good of the company.  I suspect some viewers will berate Joan for going along with it and fail to hold the men accountable.  It is true, after all, that Joan could have chosen to say no.  It’s just that in a system where men hold all the power, Joan’s alternatives aren’t much better.  If she says no, she’ll maintain her dignity, but she’ll still be a single mother making barely enough to get by, perennially lacking the power to improve her situation.  Sleeping with Herb in exchange for a partnership is, in the world Joan has experienced her entire life, the only way she can permanently improve her status.  She’ll lose her dignity, but given everything that’s happened to her recently, is that too steep a price to pay for financial stability and corporate influence? 

To Joan - who, we must remember, has a fundamentally different outlook on the world then we, sitting comfortably in 2012, do - those reasons make it a decision worth making, and though it absolutely breaks my heart to watch her go through with it, to see the sadness etched in her visage at the end of the episode, I understand why she did it.  I completely understand.  That’s what makes me sad, and that’s what makes me angry.  Joan had to hurt herself tonight because she lives in a world where no matter how much talent she possesses or good deeds she does, she can never move forward simply because she lacks a Y chromosome.  She doesn’t even have Peggy’s option of finding a new workplace, because she’s older and doesn’t have the experience to pursue a more fruitful career.  She is shackled by a world order she had absolutely no say in, and it’s inevitable that such desperation would lead to a snapping point.

“The Other Woman” is Mad Men at its very best, and as such, Matthew Weiner is not asking us to narrow our scope of blame to Pete and the partners, or even to the disturbing hierarchy of the 1960s.  Through Joan’s story, and Peggy’s story, and Megan’s and Don’s and everyone else’s, he’s asking us to consider the parallels to our own lives, to the world we live in and the flaws we perceive.  Injustice didn’t die in the 1960s because history has conflated the decade with the concept of change.  The stories and lessons of Mad Men can be applied in far broader contexts, and in an episode like “The Other Woman,” an episode deeply powerful on every possible level, those connections hit home stronger than ever.  Your conclusions will likely differ from mine, and from one another’s, as we all view this world in different ways.  But I think it’s safe to say that “The Other Woman” forces you to feel or contemplate something, and to do so strongly.  That is why, five years on, Mad Men’s status as TV’s best drama is not in doubt. 

Come back next Sunday night for my review of
The Penultimate Season 5 Episode, #12, “Commissions and Fees”

“Mad Men” reviews will go up every Sunday night
an hour or two after the episode airs,
Right here on www.jonathanlack.com

Read All Season 5 "Mad Men" Reviews:


#1-2: A Little Kiss
#3: Tea Leaves
#4: Mystery Date
#5: Signal 30
#6: Far Away Places
#7: At the Codfish Ball
#8: Lady Lazarus
#9: Dark Shadows
#10: Christmas Waltz

23 comments:

  1. Peggy's work was for chevalier blanc, not sauvignon blanc

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  2. Thank you very much. It's been fixed.

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  3. Excellent review.

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  4. Your review is the first I've read that mentions the lobster - I thought it significant that Peggy was looking at the freelancers through a glass wall. Not quite a ceiling, but she's hit it, nonetheless.

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  5. You have brilliantly expressed exactly what I was feeling during this episode...bravo!

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  6. I like your analysis, but I have to disagree about one thing -- I do not see Peggy as the most talented copy writer in the bunch. Ginsberg is a jerk and a loose cannon at times...but I find him much more talented than Peggy. His ideas seem more intuitive and inspired. Unlike what the guy (forget his name, the guy who hired her) said, I do see Peggy as someone who is very calculated in her work, like it is something technical.

    Also, for all the overtime Peggy was working, why did it seem like we saw so little finished products? That said, it was a good move for her to leave and I think she'll do well in her next job.

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    1. That's fair. It comes down to taste, I suppose, and I just don't see Ginsberg's work as more impressive. I, for one, don't think he could ever have come up with the on-the-fly Chevalier pitch the way Peggy did.

      As for Peggy's overtime, we don't see the finished products because most of that overtime was for Heinz, which she got kicked off of, and then for Mowhawk, which Roger replaced with Ginsberg. So all her work was literally for naught as other people took over or got the credit.

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  7. Excellent review. I agree on many levels, but I think, and this might just be my own opinion, when it came to how Don treated Megan's news of leaving for 3 months... yes, you can say that he doesn't think his woman should just be running freely in Boston for 3 months (like she is his property) and that he doesn't really respect her dreams and wishes, but on the other hand, it could possibly simply be one spouse not wanting to have the other spouse gone for 3 long months, and without even discussing it over with him first. I don't think, necessarily, that just because Don doesn't want her gone for 3 months, that it means he's not being supportive of her dreams. I mean, for any spouse to just tell the other one (maybe not literally but figuratively), "If I get this job, I'll be gone for 3 months... and if you don't like it, too bad," just shows that they are not really thinking of the other person. Would she like it if Don said he had to leave for 3 months because of his job, and he didn't even talk it over with her first? I mean, this IS a marriage and yes, even though it's 1966 and women were only just starting to exhibit more independence, I still think that Don's reaction was not just because he was trying to control his wife or doesn't think a wife should have a real career, but simply that he really doesn't want to be without her for 3 months. Which I think would be a normal reaction at any time in history and from either sex. He loves her and likes to be with her, unlike his situation with Betty. So I don't think it's so black & white as Don just simply dismissing her dreams.
    As far as the situation with Peggy... yes, it was very disrespectful of him to throw money at her, especially in front of others, and yes, she definitely deserves more respect for all the hard work she does there, and yes, maybe she's simply reached the limit of how far she can go in that company (then again, she might find the same problem at the next company since it's still only 1966 and women still didn't have the kind of respect and power they would get in the ensuing decades)... but maybe Don simply doesn't think that Peggy should be always trying to take credit for her work, even when she's done great work. What I mean is, and I don't know how ad agencies run in real life, but I would assume that everyone throws in ideas, and maybe to Don, that's just part of your job and you shouldn't be always looking to be recognized for that work or be given praise, and like he said in an earlier episode, "that's what the pay is for." But I DO think that he takes her for granted many times and yes, maybe being that she's a woman she will never get true respect in that company, but I DO think that Don respects her work. Again, it's always kind of a gray area on this show. Nothing is ever as strictly black & white as it seems on the surface.
    Anyhow, I agree with all the other comments you made and I think it was a brilliant episode.

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    1. I agree in theory with both of the things you said. When it comes to Don and Megan, yes, Don should have a say in where she goes, just as SHE should have a say in him spending every weekend at work on the Jaguar pitch. Why I feel he was cruel to her is the way he spoke to her. Instead of saying "I love you, I would rather you not be away for weeks, can we talk about this and figure out a good middle ground compromise?" He said "Absolutely not" and shouted. THAT's the problem. He isn't treating her as a partner in that moment, but as an underling.

      And with Peggy, I totally agree. Don loves her. Don respects her deeply. But time and time again, he mistreats her when he feels bad, no matter how many times they hang out and make up. Peggy's never treated him like that. There's something that will always be fundamentally unfulfilling about SCDP for Peggy, and I think that's the realization she came to tonight. It's tough for her, because she knows Don respects her, and she respects him even more. But actions, sadly, speak louder than thoughts.

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  8. I was so distusted at the beginning of this episode. I almost turned it off. But I'm glad I kept watching. The depth of Mad Men is staggering. The range of emotion I experienced as a viewer in this one episode was incredible. I agree with you about the quality of this show. It compares to great literature!

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  9. I thank you for your excellent review and analysis. I am in awe that someone can write such a marvelous review just an hour or two after airing.
    I did have one question....what did you make of Ginsberg's comment, "She just comes in as she pleases" (I may have not remembered the quote accurately), as Megan came in to surprise Don. I feel that the visit aided Ginsberg in his pitch for Jaguar, but I am not able to make the connection entirely. Any thoughts on your end? Thank you again.

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    1. "She just comes and goes as she pleases." I think it's supposed to be another case of Ginsberg misreading a situation. He's applying an idea of 'freedom' to Megan, saying she can do whatever she wants and Don is at her will, when in fact Megan is in many ways shackled by Don, as we see in later scenes. But Ginsberg's misreading of Megan's supposed coming and going gives him the idea for the pitch, the idea of women being out of man's control (which, again, is a misreading of social norms).

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  10. The only thing I did not understand is when, at the end, as Peggy walked with her belongings to the elevator, Joan glanced at her and then continued listening to the man at the Jaguar celebration. Joan understood what was happening. What was her expression saying?

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    1. I think it's supposed to create contrast between the two. Peggy has an exit from this world to a brighter future, while Joan is stuck in this world, with financial security gained at a terrible cost. Joan understands that she doesn't have the opportunities Peggy does, and I think she feels crushed in that moment.

      That's how I interpreted it, anyway.

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  11. great right up/ i enjoyed reading your thoughts

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  12. This season's 'The Suitcase' for sure. Disturbing/affecting and memorable.

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  13. I just recently posted on my own review of the episode and was glad to see you that echoed some of my own thoughts/reactions in your posts. I've been reading your reviews for quite some time and am always happy when we agree, because you really have some interesting things to say. Thanks!

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  14. Just a brilliant and insightful analysis. Kudos! I am glad to read a thorough expression of my feelings about last night's great episode. Jon Hamm's performances continue to be revelation. His scene with Elizabeth Moss was absolutely heartbreaking in its authenticity. Clearly Don Draper loves her deeply and realizes his mistake. Moss's acting, especially the pain in her face as she expressed her feelings about his mentorship, was an iconic moment in the history of television drama. I also agree that Don's humanity has continued to develop and, in that vein, truly believe he will do everything he can to win Peggy back.

    As for his blow up with Megan, I consider her a spoiled child really unworthy of much respect about her new career choice. True, she is likable and, true, she is what Don needs in his life. However, unlike her husband, she has always lived the privileged life.

    Her desire to become an actress, while genuine, comes only as the product of having a rich and powerful husband who can afford to let her pursue her vanity. But at what cost to the marriage? And let's not forget she appeared happy (and was absolutely brilliant with the Heinz assist) working at SCDP until the man who had spoiled her in the first place, her father, whispered his disappointment of her in her ear. So instead of going with what she had earned, she just dropped her job because she knew she had choices and someone to pay for her new decision.

    But here's the rub. Don needs Megan's attention and support around 24/7. She is the reason that he has changed this year and that is why he wanted her with him at work. Since she left we have seen glimpses of the old Don, as was pointed out in the essay. Megan is Don's 12 step program and he will relapse if she is not careful.

    I believe that Megan's flighty behavior will cause Don's fragile ego to end up in Joan's bed (and I think if circumstances continue as they have been this season this is where things are going). All it will take is for Megan to hurt him and Joan will be waiting to repay his commitment to her honor.

    Let me conclude by saying that not only is Mad Men a great treatise on white male hegemony and its subjugation of the female, by default it is also a perfect representation of racism. At least women are visible in MM when they are marginalized. Blacks, despite the show now being set in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, continue to be invisible. Only when SCDP hires a black copy writer will it truly engage the sixties.

    See http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2012/mad_men_and_race_the_series_handling_of_race_has_been_painfully_accurate_/mad_men_and_race_why_season_5_may_finally_put_the_civil_rights_movement_front_and_center_.html

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  15. Art is at its best when it makes us feel in ways beyond the logical and rational. It is one of the reasons the work of Bob Dylan is so powerful, and the reason he has steadfastly refused to explain it over the years. It is highly subjective and relative to the listener/viewer/reader. As you pointed out in your excellent review, the impact of The Other Woman on the viewer will vary, but it cannot be denied this is one of the most stirring and disturbing peaces of art ever seen on American television. Brilliant.

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  16. Great read - agree that it is one of the greatest episodes, due not only to the enormity of the Shakespearean themes, but also the use of humour. Another "other woman" you didn't mention, Joan's ("friend") mother, and her relationship with the plumber, revealed in the conversation about Joan "drying up". Hilarious, on one level, and craftily adding another layer of context to Joan's ultimate decision.

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  17. Love the review. Peter is the most despicable character maybe that is why he is in sales. Something I found interesting is only Don knows Joan's husband is divorcing her which made the conversation about pimping her even more interesting. Joan is facing a desparate period in her life and she has managed to maintain her poise. She played the role of the call girl perfectly. She did not face Herb as he placed the necklace. Herb wanted some foreplay, Joan turned for him to unzip her dress. After, as they lay in bed and Herb wanted some after sex talk, Joan summarily finished her job and got out of bed. To her it was a job to which later she displays her shame by distancing herself from the celebration. When you think back to the 60s Joan is about as strong a woman as you would expect in that era.

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  18. " Sleeping with Herb in exchange for a partnership is, in the world Joan has experienced her entire life, the only way she can permanently improve her status. She’ll lose her dignity, but given everything that’s happened to her recently, is that too steep a price to pay for financial stability and corporate influence? "

    I believe it is. You may have heard the famous story, attributed to either George Bernard Shaw or Winston Churchill, about a man who propositions a woman to sleep with him for 1 million pounds. She accepts. He then changes the offer to 1 pound. When she refuses and asks what kind of woman he thinks she is, he replies that they have already established that, and are now haggling over the price.

    Joan's situation is a difficult one to be sure, but it is not desperate; she and all the other partners (and Jaguar for that matter) will always know she got the partnership in the most sordid of ways. The difficult situation she was in was turned into a tragic one by her decision. However, remember she asked Pete whether Roger was on board with the idea. When Pete deceived her into thinking Roger was OK with her doing it, I think she was too hurt to care.

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