Every episode of this season’s Mad Men thus far has felt like an ominous lead-up to something big. “Lady Lazarus,” named after Sylvia Plath’s poem about rebirth, was no exception.The big news, of course, was that Megan has finally called it quits. No, not on her relationship with Don (in spite of the orange sherbet incident of 1966) but on her short-lived, albeit highly successful, career as a copywriter to become … *drum roll please* … an actress.
For now, unencumbered Megan—who appeared to love copywriting two weeks ago but had a change of heart after her demanding father came in town and accused her of selling out to the man—is splitting her time cooking Don dinners with a smile and taking beatnik acting classes where she has to wear black and lie on the ground to be at one with her craft.
But Megan warns, “Don’t get used to this because there’s going to be a lot of crying and rejection.”
Later in the episode Don pushes the down elevator button, and the doors open onto an EMPTY ELEVATOR SHAFT OF DOOM.
Considering Y&R's recent tragedy in which one of the agency's employees was crushed to death when an elevator spontaneously accelerated upward when she was entering the car, this certainly must have been a jarring image for those who are tuned in to modern Madison Avenue news.
(Granted, the episode was probably written and shot prior to the tragedy).
Have her play wing woman for a friend.
Megan tells Peggy she's at dinner with Don and Don that she's at work with Peggy--don't worry, she was cheating on her job with an off-Broadway callback, not her husband--which leads to one of the most awkward phone conversations of all time.
Don, drinking gin in bed while on the phone: 'It's me. Is Megan there?'
Peggy, pulling late hours per usual: 'Isn't she with you?'
Don: 'Yes, we're playing a hilarious joke on you.'
When Don calls her back later, Peggy gets so flustered that she yells 'Pizza House!' into the receiver of the phone before hanging up and bolting out of the office. You're welcome, Abe.
The SCDP employees all reacted to Megan's departure differently.
Don was surprisingly supportive and uncontrolling when Megan decided to abandon his love (copywriting) in spite of her undeniable talent for it. 'I don't want to keep you from your dream.'
Peggy seemed concerned that her 'protegee' of sorts was squandering her talent--although you could see a hint of satisfaction when she realised she was going to reclaim her reign.
Joan was completely un-phased, spouting cynically, 'Second wives, it's like they have a playbook.' When Peggy disagrees Joan interjects, 'Peggy, she's going ot be a failing actress with a rich husband.' Ding, ding, ding.
But Ginsberg by far had the best reaction to Megan's newfound path, asking the budding actress what we were all dying to know: when acting, ''Do they always give you clothes or do you have to do it in your own? ... Shoes too?'
One of the best, and briefest, cameos occurred when Saved By The Bell's Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) showed up looking like he ate the entire student population of Bayside High.
Mr. Belding played a bigwig at Cool Whip observing Don and Peggy, a quick Megan replacement, pitch the product.
While Don and Megan had an adorable couply routine down pat--'What is it?' 'Just taste it!' 'Is it dessert?' 'Just taste it!'--he and Peggy unsurprisingly lack chemistry as Peggy flubbed her lines and screeched 'Just try it!' like a banshee. Mr. Belding felt uncomfortable and extricated himself from the situation.
Peggy and Don then go on to have an incredible fight over who's fault it was that Megan left.
Every television series these days needs a Zooey Deschanel, pixie-like character. Enter Alexis Bledel, best known for her role as Rory on Gilmore Girls.
Bledel plays Beth, the wife of Pete's commuter-buddy Howard. Pete meets the doe eyed Rory/Beth when she's waiting for her husband to come home on the late train. (He never will: Howard's cheating with a redheaded '24-year-old on the 24th floor.') To stay in line with the Cos Cob adultery rule of ethics, that means that Pete and Rory/Beth must sleep together.
Rory/Beth then says and does depressively whimsical things: She can't be in New York since she's always giving money to the homeless people; she tells Pete his eyes look like the 'pictures of earth from space;' she announces that she and Pete can never be together again before drawing him a heart in her car's frosted window.
Oh Rory, you could do so much better. If only Lorelai were there to smack some sense into you. Next week, maybe.
The highlight of the episode might have been when Pete awkwardly tries to carry skis out of Roger's office after the silver fox offers them as goods from a perspective client.
'Do they explode or something?' Pete asks.
If only, Petey. If only.
Roger's reward for the sporting good transaction? 'I get to see that,' he says as he watches Pete hobble out of his office.
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