Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 7: Seven Twenty Three.

Wow. So much to say, right? Where should we start?

How ’bout with Peggy, since I seem to be the only one not feelin’ her this season? This week, Peggy continued, *ahem,* “furthering her ambitions,” first by trying to put in a bid for a creative spot on the tentative Hilton account, then by—OMG!—sleeping with Duck!!! (Ew, squared.)

If you’ll recall, I was part of the minority who wasn’t emotionally compelled by Peggy’s impassioned plea for a raise a couple weeks ago. So I was on Team Don when he snapped at her in his office. Yes, he’s a tool for reasons that were very clearly elucidated this week (and we’ll get there, shortly), but let’s face it: he’s right. It’s 1963. Peggy’s a junior copywriter. And aside from “basket of kisses,” and her “hammock between the clotheslines on a rooftop” Daiquiri Beach (h)idea, has she ever been the savior of an account? I could be forgetting.

I think she’s skirting dangerously close to an overinflated sense of self—and so does Don. “You’re good. Get better. Stop asking for things!” Word.

I’m worried that her burgeoning sense of entitlement will topple her before she really rises. By succumbing to Duck’s flattery and… other sundry advances, she’s becoming the girl who shirks any version of the truth that doesn’t paint her as the promising ingenue. Did y’all peep her asking if she’d get to go to Paris for Hermes?! Wow. A little ahead of yourself there, aren’t you, Peggy. If Kinsey couldn’t even get invited to Sterling’s dinner party, how does she think she’s going to Paris for an account? Duck couldn’t even promise her a better-sounding title.

I know it seems like I’m being hard on Peggy—and I am—but, for whatever reason, I expect a bit more from her. More what, I don’t know. Integrity? Humility? Gratitude?

Speaking of gratitude, Don’s trippin’ with this contract thing, isn’t he? Though I did quietly cheer at his Peggy-scolding, that’s where my support for his opinion ended in this episode. I get that Don’s “thing” is being a free agent and a coveted commodity and, most importantly (to him) not being owned, but come on. How long did he think this would last? He, who prides himself on being two steps ahead of the game, should’ve seen this coming. The higher profile the accounts, the more urgent Sterling Cooper’s need to lock in his loyalty and commitment. Why would they risk Don falling out with them and taking an account like Hilton (along with half their staff) with him when he left?

This contract tug-of-war isn’t the only place where common sense would’ve helped him. What was up with the hitchhiker scenes? I really do hate Don’s “Dick Moments,” complete with hallucinations/waking dreams. And again, the Vietnam reference seemed shoehorned in. (MESSAGE! “The times, they are a-changin’!”)

Was the point there to further illustrate Don’s loss of control?

And was that even necessary, with Betty’s verbal smackdown in the kitchen? Her backbone seems to be growing at lightning speed right now. Between pointing out Don’s absurdity re: the contract and shamelessly flirting with this Henry dude (who, clearly, seems to be the affair that sticks for her), she’s really starting to come into her own. This episode, more than any other so far, outlined the shift in marital power dynamics Betty set in motion by kicking Don out last year. I’m almost impressed–even though her whole Junior League involvement came kind of out of the blue.

Also impressive: Betty’s degree in anthropology and the parallel between her extramarital attractions and Don’s. Don prefers educated independent women; Betty presents herself as just that to the kind of man she wants. They’re both attracted to power; just as Don is losing his in their marriage, she’s preparing to step out with someone whose social and political standing eclipses Don’s.

About that eclipse. I’m not sure I want Don with Sally’s teacher anymore. And interestingly, it seems, neither is Don.

I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of vital info: like the significance of July 23, 1963. And the escalation of the Don-Roger beef. And Bertram’s quietly awesome, rank-pulling blackmail and emotional coercion. So I’m counting on you guys to fill in all those blanks.


slb (aka Stacia L. Brown) is a writer, mother, and college instructor in Baltimore, MD. Check her out here: and here:
  • Peggy landed the popsicle account – that’s why she got the office.

  • My take on the Duck thing was a little different than others, I think. How old could Peggy possibly be? Early 20s at most, right? She’s risen pretty fast, in part cuz she’s so ambitious and smart. But she’s also pretty curious, and willing to experiment, it seems (the weed being one example, moving into Manhattan another). I got the impression w/Duck she was like, ok, I’ll sleep w/the dude, see what it’s all about. You’re only young once! I could be way off, maybe she was legitimately seduced, she does have a pretty big ego, it seems. But I felt like the look on her face, was like, aight, let’s see what happens here…Pierre Hotel, older man bearing gifts, why not?

    Don is an assh*le – and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy towards him after his way w/Sally last week.

  • When Bert was sitting in Don’s chair, I knew what was coming. Bert gave him plenty of time to come to his senses and when he didn’t, he dropped the hammer on him: “After all, when it comes down to it, who’s really signing the contract, anyway?”

  • slb

    i agree that it was part experimentation. she seems to have genuine admiration for Duck and let’s face it: she’s *never* been the consistent object of anyone’s wooing.

    but i don’t think that look on her face was without a bit of calculation.

    i *do* think the look on her face afterward was remorseful, though.

  • Scipio Africanus

    I don’t see how the Vietnam refernces were shoehorned. Same with the Medgar Evers stuff from a few weeks ago. At some point they’re going to have to be true to the fact that these issues were huge, even among the upper class white East Coast elites this show is about.

  • quadmoniker

    I like Peggy but that didn’t stop me from being on Don’s side. I think he would have said the same thing to a man.

    But more than that, I really enjoyed the smackdowns of Don this week. He’s really been wallowing in unchallenged awesomeness for awhile, but his adopted identity and nebulous origins are just bound to keep him in check every once in awhile.

  • This was a challenging episode to watch, for me. Don was getting emasculated at every turn: Duck is undermining his grip on his employees, Sterling and Cooper are undermining his leverage over him, the teacher strangely deflects his flirtation, Betty is about to start an affair, and he gets murked by some 19 year old drifter. He just gets beat up, literally and figuratively, this episode–part of the reason why he snaps at Peggy (sidebar: She was close to losing it in the office; I’m glad she didn’t).

    Don doesn’t seem to be in a good place as a result. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts working on some conquests just to prove his masculine virility. On that note, I wouldn’t be suprised if their is some violence, domestic or otherwise, brewing in the future.

  • So many things to say!!!

    Peggy: On the one hand Peggy is getting a bit ahead of herself, but on the other hand Pete made the same kind of intimations that Peggy did and didn’t get the same kind of dressing down. Actually he said the same thing to the both of them in essence – do your job, get better at it, bring in results and then you can start wanting to play with the big boys. Difference is that Don felt the need to give Peggy the stinging reminder that she was once his secretary. Of course, Don also told Peggy she’s good which is a favour he didn’t pay Pete during his little speech to him. Don likes Peggy, sees promise on her – it may even be why he goes horse on her all the time – but I think he knows he was harsh. I also don’t think one can underestimate the fact that Don was pissed, with his conversation with Peggy coming hot on the heels of his encounter with Roger.

    As for her sleeping with Duck, I think Peggy was legitimately seduced to an extent. Did anyone else catch that little involuntary laugh when he cracked a joke on the phone before she caught herself? She liked having someone woo her and buy her pretty things. However, I interpreted her finally sleeping with him not only as her enjoying the attentions of a man but also as an effect of the upbraiding she received from Don. When she talks about not being able to leave Sterling Cooper I feel what she really means is she can’t leave her mentor/father-figure Don. I get the feeling that sleeping with Duck, who she knows Don can’t stand is kind of a “fuck you” in the face of cussing out she received earlier.

    Don: Being reined in and he doesn’t like it. Watch out. It’s like the end of season two all over again. In case we forgot how self-destructive Don can be we’re about to get a reminder. I thought the symmetry of two men both sitting in Don’s chair sizing him up and reining him in during the course of an episode was interesting, as was Don’s clear discomfiture with it.

    Pete: Why has no-one talked about Pete and this weird thing with Peggy. That “what you do affects me” line from a while back and ow this week Pete’s attempt to discuss himself and Peggy as a unit regarding being wooed by Duck, with her saying “we’re not tied together” and him claiming “I’m not worried about you” when he clearly is…I have to chew on it longer. I haven’t decided if it’s that he doesn’t get Peggy, or the fact that she doesn’t want him anymore, but whatever it is he seems intent on keeping the little confidential psychodrama going on between them. It’s intriguing.

    Betty: I was getting so tired of disliking Betty and all of a sudden she’s back! From that stinging repartee with Don about his contract where she got the last word, to practical dates with government advisors and impulsively buying something just because she wants it… go Betty! Also who would have figure Betty for an anthro major? I would have though Art History or Literature..something less akin to science.

    Other tidbits.

    – I’m not buying that shit with the teacher. She may seem like she’s blowing Don off but as slb noted that drunk-dialling from a couple eps back says different. Did anyone else catch that theme that has been reiterated a couple times this season so far? Those that have vs. those who don’t: “They don’t have as much. They don’t get as bored.”

    – Don and Peggy’s twin walks of shame the next morning were great.

    – The hilarity of Roger thinking that Betty is the “woman behind the man”. Clearly he thinks Don is like him.

    – And indeed Don may be afraid of becoming Roger. That disavowal of their relationship at the end…wow.

  • well I said this below…but he didn’t.
    He had a chance to say the same things to Pete Campbell.

  • To me this ep was about the power of asymmetrical information: Don usually has the leg up on people because he observes and listens but gives so little away.

    But when the cute teacher deftly, flirtily blew up his spot, we could see him reeling. He was exposed, and he couldn’t counter it. Same goes with Bert’s masterstroke (“Would you say I know a little something about you, Don?”) and even Betty’s digs during that excellent kitchen scene (“Is it because you don’t know where you’re going to be in three years?”) all upended him.

    So we see the trade-off in Don’s approach. If I can nerd out for a second, it’s the Batman problem: he’s got all this power and respect, but it also means that nobody trusts him.

  • Agreed we haven’t seen the last of the teach; she was pretty coquettish and all star-crossed by the end of their exchange.

    LOVED the looks toward Bert when he remarked that Connie was “eccentric” in his office. Priceless.

    Do you all read Basket of Kisses? Someone called Betty’s fainting couch the “Jabba the Hut of furniture” – love it!!

  • keke

    I am so hurt by your analysis of Peggy! I need a moment to gather my thoughts.

  • keke

    Lol!!! I meant her tryst with Duck, not Bert. Now that would be absolutely disgusting!!!

  • slb

    my argument isn’t that peggy isn’t talented or that she doesn’t deserve what she’s gotten or even that she isn’t being minimized.

    my argument is that the first five years of a new career are fraught with minimization. we look at the treatment the other people in creative receive (or have received before promotions, which by the way, they all seem to have earned after far more time on the job than Peggy) and it seems that Peggy’s just being put through her paces. like they all are, when they’re young and new.

    jobs are marathons, not sprints. Peggy has had two major coups on this job and she’s been rewarded for them. asking for raises and trips to paris and a creative spot on the hilton account is a bit much. she hasn’t been at the job as long as the others; she has no degree in this field; she isn’t finished proving herself.

    on duck: i don’t know; you’re right. we have to see how that shakes out. her intentions will become clearer, but i don’t think it was unfair of me to use “furthering her ambition” when she’s already taken a lunch and an Hermes scarf from this dude. she’s allowing herself to be wooed (now, in more ways than one) precisely because she wants more than she currently has at Sterling Cooper.

  • Hey Keke, I understand where you are coming from with Peggy. Although Don’s tone could have been a bit more diplomatic, his message was clear. Peggy really hasn’t done anything that spectacular, spellbinding, or amazing since the “Basket of Kisses” catchphrase. She is talented, however, and has a knack for seeing the overall picture of the ad. I’m also not saying she doesn’t have the right to speak up about work, but Peggy also have poor people skills. She really doesn’t get along with the secretaries/fellow copyrighters in the office, and a bit of it is to do with the fact that she is a women and ascended quickly in a short amount of time, but she also looks down on the secretaries and kinda walks around with a “I’m better than you because I don’t do those things” type of attitude.

    Can I say that I really like Betty Draper. Like really like her. I loved her growth in Season 2 when she started to give Don a run for the money in terms of controlling the “hearth.” And I appreciated how she handled the phone call with Roger: scolding Mr. Sterling on the phone, but using the information as fodder for her dressing down of Don in the home. Also, her placing the fainting chair in the center of the living room was odd, and a bit rebel the sort of thing you wouldn’t expect from a housewife in the 60’s.

    Also, the relationship between Don and Roger is practically over. But it has been over for quite some time, since back in Season 2 in which Roger used Don’s “advice” for fodder to leave Mona for his secretary. Whatever they had after that was basically to “show face.” Roger definitely crossed a line with Don when he called his home to persuade Betty to convince Don to sign. And Don doesn’t seem to care about what Roger thinks anymore, as Roger himself is no longer important/vital to the company. His absence on the Chain of Command last episode is relevant to this arguement.

  • nichole

    i agree that don may be about to go on another self-destructive binge, but i really hope we don’t get another california storyline.

    it seems that, despite don’s frequently coded language and behavior, more people than he suspected know him better than he’d like.

    betty’s definitely getting re-charged. buying an item your crush suggested, bringing it into the house you share with your husband, then touching on yourself as you lie on it takes some guts. it’s very naughty of betty.

    i think it’s almost important to note that henry seems a bit older and shows concern, not only as a flirtatious man, but also as a father figure. betty’s about to be calling someone “daddy” again soon, sho’nuff.

    sally’s teacher… *gag* her fallen bra strap was over the top, and now her “i know what boys like/ boys like/ boys like me” reverse psychology routine had no finesse to it either. blech.

    i wonder if betty and don are in a race- who’s going to have an(other) affair first?

    peggy and duck: whoa! a go-around like she’s never had before. and it’s probably true. here’s someone, sober, making her feel desirable and not like a drunken accident.

    since her first time with pete, i think the rest of her sexual escapades have happened with some careful thought on her part, for example, her most recent bye bye birdie/joan-inspired seduction.

    i don’t think there’s anything wrong with peggy being ambitious. now that she’s seen her wildest dreams can come true, she’s no longer afraid of reaching for them. and while it’s true that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, i agree that peggy needs to fall back a little and realize that her every goal doesn’t have to be shared. peggy’s a quick learner, but she hasn’t grasped that, in the world she’s in, she doesn’t have to ask for everything she wants.

  • riverdaughter

    You forgot Popsicle. “Take it, break it, share it, love it” It’s a ritual, like communion.
    Then there was the Relaxaciser. How about Right Guard? Umm, Playtex didn’t go anywhere but it wasn’t Peggy’s fault. She tried to tell them Playtex bras are for women who want comfort over style, but would they listen? I am forgetting Mohawk Airlines that got ditched for American. Also, not her fault. Clearasil? Done in by a family feud. And she started out with Belle Jolie. She’s frequently right about the pitch and the product but gets overruled by one of another of the guys. Come to think of it, Don hasn’t been much of a mentor if he keeps letting her ideas get trashed. I suppose she could fight for them but the field is a bit unbalanced. If he wants her to succeed and make him look good, he has to be willing to tell the others to let her handle things without their help.
    I think she was absolutely right to ask for a raise. If every one of her male colleagues could afford to live in Manhattan, with wives, why should she have to settle for a Swedish roomie because she can’t afford the rent on her own? The commute from Brooklyn was ridiculous.

  • nichole

    oh! i almost forgot.

    i loved how betty had don’s back with roger called then gave don the what-for when he came home.

  • nichole

    dangit. *when roger called…

  • ladyfresh

    the duck/peggy thing was spoiled for me so i was ready for it. i hoped it would translate better than it sounded…it didnt.

    i’m suspicious of duck. hes chasing too hard, lying too much almost like his job depends on it

    i really can’t blame peggy for asking. she is surrounded by folks getting things they don’t seem to deserve. her salary barely makes ends meet and she is paid less than her peers. she realized she needed more money and is trying several routes to get it…i don’t include sleeping with duck in this for some reason i think that was the don dress down backlash more than her thinking this was a real alternative esp after he shot down her questions. no reason to switch jobs it’ll be more of the same apparently. he definitely flattered her though

    i was wondering when betty was going to make her move. she seems to take to politics like a duck to water, i hope she gives up the coy act it doesn’t suit her…anymore

    damn don was ambushed left and right, what was a coup of an account turned into a trap. he panicked so hard that he actually stepped out of character for a bit, as hard as he tries to maintain normalcy, not thinking straight and not seeing how in that world his avoidance was not fitting in bettty’s comment definitely took him aback…and he ran again right into trouble.
    they got you don they got you

  • Aaaaand people wonder why women are hesitant to ask for raises in the workplace. We’re either doormats or uppity bitches, right?
    Don was such a jerk in last night’s episode.
    It was nice to see Betty talking about aspects of her life that usually go unnoticed – her education, political interests, etc. Yuck on that fainting couch, though!

  • keke

    But part of the reason that Peggy has been successful is due to her ambition. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with her asking to be challenged. It is possible that Peggy is bored with being the go to person for all things girly/feminine. As for the other men working at the agency, what do you think aided their success? I assume that Don got where he is because he was challenged and he delivered. When given the opportunity he was able to grow as an ad man and showcase his talent. From what I can tell, he did not go to college. I am sure he worked his butt of at SCoop and Don doesn’t seem like the type to sit around the office with his head down and his mouth closed. Why should Peggy?

    Was it really wrong for Peggy to ask to be considered for the Hilton account? Is it really wrong for her to ask for a raise? SCoop will not make any offers, everything she has achieved has been a direct result of her work. She takes her work home, she stays late, she doesn’t have a loyal secretary yet she still manages to get fulfill her job duties.

    Also, lets put things in context cause I actually thought her asking to go to Paris was funny. It’s not like she asked Don to go to Paris; she asked Duck. Duck is trying to woo her to a new company, is it so wrong for her to see what kind of perks are in store before she jumps ship? She can sit around the office at SCoop.

  • keke

    I can only speak for myself when I say that I am not surprised that Peggy receives less pay less and cannot afford her own place. That is historically accurate but it is also wrong and unfair. And once again, why is she at fault for noticing this and asking for a raise?

    As for her growing sense of entitlement—right. How dare she ask for a challenge! How dare she assert herself refuse to be defined by her gender and her weight!

  • It may be historically accurate but I didn’t expect slb to agree with it (or with Don’s assessment of Peggy).

  • slb

    why wouldn’t you? my opinion about peggy’s presumptuousness has to do with it flying in the face of historical accuracy.

  • Did you take issue with Don snapping at Pete earlier in the ep for his presumptuousness re: the Hilton account?

  • Don has always had issues with Pete. His snapping at him did not seem to disturb their existing dynamic. To me, the exchange with Peggy was shocking. Maybe I am just reacting to some of the language, “entitled,” “overinflated sense of self,” etc. Peggy shows humility every time she buckles down alone in her office whilst the boys around her fuck off.

    I can see why Don would act that way towards her, historically speaking, but that doesn’t mean I can see where he’s coming from or anything.

  • I think Don’s speech to Peggy really said you are a junior copywriter and you are a woman, stop reaching and be satisfied. I thought this episode showcased a real dilemma for Peggy. It’s interesting to parallel this episode to last week’s in which she said goodbye to Joan. She was able to avoid Joan’s advice to become copywriter but upon being told she should be happy with her lot, she uses sex. It’s her battle against the conception of a woman and realizing why there have been Joans all throughout history. Because sometimes it needs to be done.

    I don’t think Don’s insecurity stems from not having a masculine job so much as being a fraud. I doubt he worries about having soft hands as much as losing control of his assumed identity.

  • ladyfresh

    how is her ‘presumptuousness’ historically inaccurate?

  • ladyfresh

    ah nevermind i re-read above again. i’m still not sure this is true “or have received before promotions, which by the way, they all seem to have earned after far more time on the job than Peggy”

    i’m certainly not sure they’ve worked harder and done more time. Where this this come from?

    Campbell and Cosgrove certainly haven’t and they have new titles and they seem younger than the rest.

    Peggy maybe seeing this as ‘welp since some of us are getting promoted it’s time for me to ask as well.’ I don’t think she is ahead of herself as much as i think she is gauging herself by her ‘peers’ which maybe moving too fast for themselves, i ask myself what exactly have they done besides preen and be male? oh and have a rich father

  • Ray

    Someone explain this to me. At the end of season 2 Duck was named president of SC, when did he get fired or replaced? Also Sunday’s episode seemed a little lackluster to me, but then again the episode before did include someone’s foot being chopped by a tractor.

  • Well, it’s pretty generous of you to consider Anthropology more like science but it’s probably the least scientific ‘science’ there is (says the Archaeology graduate student). 😉

  • Are you trying to say they were the same? Perhaps in underlying content but the tone and the delivery of the two reprimands were different. He chided Pete, he snapped at Peggy. Like I said above, I really feel that him being pissed in the first place before he spoke to Peggy was a stronger mediating factor in how he dealt her. Nevertheless, the whole “You used to be my secretary” thing – unnecessary and was designed to do nothing but sting.

  • PB&J10

    You’re right; Don didn’t go to college. He just haphazardly blew up a perfectly decent military officer and stole his identity, including his architecture degree.