Mad Men Commentary: Episode 511 – The Other Woman

 Mad Men Commentary: Episode 511 – The Other Woman


Joan and Peggy. These two have been the subject of much contrasting over five seasons of Mad Men, and this week’s episode, titled The Other Woman, casts their differences다음드 in the sharpest relief yet.

That title – The Other Woman – refers to a mistress, which is how Don and his creative team think of Jaguar. As he explains it to Megan, “The Jaguar is beautiful, but unreliable. It comes with a toolkit the size of a typewriter. You basically have to have another car to go places. What we’re saying is it’s your gorgeous mistress.” Megan is not impressed. “So, a wife is like a Buick in the garage?” “We’re trying to make a weakness into a strength. We’re selling to men,” Don explains. “No, I get it. Doesn’t being a mistress make the car immoral?” Megan asks. “The word ‘mistress’ won’t be in the ad,” Don says. To Don, this is simply a metaphor, but for Megan, it’s a reminder of Don’s past, and it stirs her insecurities.

The episode gives us other mistresses, second-place women who are looking to make it in a man’s world and are thus making the weakness of femininity into a strength. We’re talking about Joan and Peggy and the wildly diverging paths that each takes to a better position and what they’re wiling to trade to get there. And though each is able to leverage herself to a new plateau, in the end, one will feel like a trap, while the other, though terrifyingly unknown, will feel like flying.

And in the middle of all of this is Don Draper, whose great victory will be tinged with bitterness and loss.

The episode opens with Don, Stan, Ginsberg, and some freelancers huddled up in the conference room, struggling to come up with a big idea for the Jaguar campaign. They’ve decorated one wall of the room with various photos and icons, designed to inspire. But it’s not working.

Peggy catches Don in hallway, and asks him to approve some copy for Secor Laxatives, but he’s in a rotten mood and brushes her off, telling her she’s in charge of everything other than Jaguar and to make a decision. It’s a great vote of confidence, but in life it’s not so much the message, but how it’s delivered that counts.



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