In the latest episode of Mad Men, entitled ‘Dark Shadows,’ everyone was hungry for something, whether it was their career, sex, or in the case of Betty Draper, obviously food.
Tonight the cold and ambitious Don Draper from the earlier series returned. Since his marriage to Megan, he has been clearly distracted, but with her quitting the company to give acting another try, Don has nothing divert his attention from the job at hand.
Don is back in ruthless mode, unwilling to compromise and determined to succeed. He goes rogue with a Sno Ball pitch, presenting to the clients his riskily devilish idea to sell the drink to kids, disregarding Ginsberg’s better (and safer) option of hitting grown-ups in the face with actual snowballs.
Ginsberg, whose pitch is left behind, feels the sting of his junior position, but like Don is hungry to succeed, which leads him to take secret work and money from Roger Sterling, who is determined to get one over smug Pete Campbell.
Passing Peggy up for Ginsberg understandably puts Peggy’s nose out of joint, as the ambitious copywriter is desperate to be equal to the other boys in the office. When she learns that Roger has given Ginsberg the piece of work because they are pitching to a Jewish client, Peggy explodes at Roger like he had cheated on her.
She jabs a finger at him and shouts: “You’re not loyal.”
Roger, who always thinks about number one, doesn’t understand Peggy’s problem, and this is mirrored again later in the episode when he ruthlessly uses his ex-wife for sex and to help him win a new client.
Women’s needs are secondary to men’s, and this is never clearer than with Betty Draper, who is currently dealing with a cheating husband, whilst still reeling from the infidelities of her previous husband Don.
In tonight’s episode the causes behind Betty’s over-eating are poignantly revealed, as it’s clear that she’s still not over the breakdown of her marriage to Don and his subsequent remarriage to the stunningly beautiful Megan.
It transpires that this is the reason she eats, to try and fill up the void of unhappiness at losing her former life (and body), sabotaging herself with squirty cream and steak.
Betty's misery is of course directed at her daughter Sally, who always seems to be the target of her mother’s toxic behaviour, and in ‘Dark Shadows’ she lights a fuse underneath Sally by casually mentioning her father’s secret first wife Anna, then sends her over to Don's apartment where she predictably explodes with questions at poor Megan.
'Dark Shadows' appropriately ends as the Francis family sit around the dining room table to eat their Thanksgiving dinner, giving a hollow and very selfish thanks, echoing the self-centred determination of every character in tonight's episode of Mad Men.
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