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I read your comments about Peggy. I, as a woman in her 30’s who works in a very demanding industry, can completely relate to Peggy and understand her behavior this episode (but do not condone it). There is a lot more going on than “ an entire subplot constructed around the symbolic significance of a bouquet of roses"Remember that Peggy was 20 or 21 when the series started - Peggy’s about to turn 30. Things that seem frivolous in your 20’s suddenly become important in you’re 30’s. To think that Peggy would never get lonely or suffer from a lack of personal life is silly. If she was only content with work and nothing else, nothing at all, she would be a one dimensional character. She’s not a robot. She’s getting older. She has a position of power in a madison ave company, the professional respect of her colleagues (Stan calls her boss now! Couple years ago, who would have thought, eh?), and yet, she is not happy. If she’s not careful, she’s going to be a spiteful, bitter cat woman (she already has the cat) Peggy was angry with Shirley b/c she didn’t want her pity, thinking that was the reason why Shirley did not inform her that the flowers were not hers. (remember that Peggy was also embarrassed in the elevator when Stan and Ginsburg had to remind HER of valentines day - pretty obvious that she has no one) But Shirley wasn’t really pitying Peggy - the conversation between Shirley and Dawn reveals more. It was more of a boss/underling -or- maybe a black/white work relationship circa 1969 (that was also a theme this episode)You write "Peggy feels powerless in her relationship to Ted” What relationship? They are not in a relationship at all. That’s the point. Peggy tells Shirley to “Grow up” but really, its Peggy who has to grow up. She was playing childish games and creating soap opera type story lines in her head about Ted all day. It’s because for all of her work experience, she has never really dedicated that energy or vulnerability to her personal life.I can understand how it seems like its out of character for Peggy to be concerned with silly things like love, flowers and fiancees and other such things. However, in the the first episode of the season, it was clear that the demanding work environment (aka Don) was gone, and with that, the workaholic nature of Peggy was gone as well (or at least, not needed or appreciated) Hence, the reason Peggy broke down and sobbed in her apartment after returning from work (end of first episode of this season) She has no life, no social life, no friends, or significant other. She has no idea how to achieve these things because to get ahead, she had to sacrifice them (or perhaps she enjoyed using work as an excuse because she wasn’t particularly great at those areas of her life, and never developed them) She’s had relationships, but really didn’t have her heart completely in or was pretending to be something she wasn’t (Pete, lusting after him, sort of a teenage kind of crush with devastating results. Mark, pretending to be a virgin) Or in a way settling for a relationship (Abe. Remember, she remarked to her mother after informing her of their shacking up “do you want me to be alone?") Ted loved her for her - the POWERFUL her (something she had never experienced) The only person she really loved whole heartily was Ted and he broke her heart.
Thank you for your extremely thoughtful response. I absolutely understand where you're coming from - I think all those ideas are valid, and had the episode presented them in an executionally interesting way, I think this could have been a compelling subplot. My problem isn't so much the themes at play, though - as I say, Peggy's story is totally in keeping with the episode - so much as the execution, which was really off for me tonight where Peggy was concerned. I think the entire subplot was underdeveloped and overly broad, and Peggy came out looking like someone she isn't. Even if she's feeling all of this (and I don't personally believe Ted's betrayal would have messed with her quite this much), I don't think she would treat her secretary like that, which was my major problem here. Again, if the episode were as thoughtful in presenting its ideas as your comment here was, I think it could have been much more compelling. But I think what we're given is just too thin and broad to work. It's just my two cents.