Week after week I find myself wondering who exactly is the worst person on a show full of horrible people. Don is the easy answer, Pete almost equally so. Harry’s insufferable, but not the worst. I don’t know Megan’s mother well enough, but I assume she takes baths in the blood of virgins. Yet somehow I still I don’t think she’s the worst.
There might not be one truly horrible person on Mad Men, but something I’m seeing is that the older you are, the more awful you become in Matthew Weiner’s world, which fits in with the period of cultural change that is taking pace during this season. While these people might be wealthy, they’re getting older, and the world is passing them by. Don is getting worse, but shows signs of the guy that took some pleasure in his job when an opportunity with a major automobile company comes up. Pete tries to get some action from Trudy, but is rebuffed, and later ends up at a brothel where he runs into his father-in-law exiting a room with “biggest, blackest prostitute you’ve ever seen.” Pete’s father-in-law, as revenge for seeing the man that married his princess, pulls Vicks out from under Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, almost immediately after the ad company sees their dreams of going public crash to the ground because Don lets go of Jaguar; only to see the hopes inflated again because Roger gets his agency’s foot in the door with Chevy. Pete’s father-in-law would totally win the title of worst person on this week’s show for his shitty maneuver, but any episode that features that pork chop of a human, Herb the Jaguar guy, is usually dominated by his disgusting presence.
Sadly, we won’t be seeing Herb anymore, or hear any of his terrible ideas, because Don decided to pull a Don and dump the client over what Megan’s mother made us assume was the most horrible dinner ever. The meal is painful and requires plenty of booze, but it does get Don to admit that he loves puppies, so at least there’s that. Draper’s actions also carry personal consequences, as Joan rightfully gets upset after being the chip in the company’s negotiating process to woo Jaguar, yelling, “I went through all of that for nothing?” Joan feels used, but at least we won’t be seeing anymore of Herb anymore: I feel for our favorite redhead, but at least there’s something of a bright side.
The times are indeed changing, we find that to be true at the end of the episode, in what is the biggest twist so far of the entire season when Don and Ted find themselves in a Detroit bar both realizing their ideas are for nothing, that the big car company is just going to steal them and get a company with more brainpower to run with them. Don, in a moment of pure genius or total lunacy realizes that if they want the manpower the car company wants, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce should team up with the equally screwed Cutler Gleason and Chaough. Call it liquid courage, but the plan is made, everything works out, and we’ve got a merger on our hands. Not to mention a whole new thing we didn’t see coming midway through this bizarre season: Peggy’s back with the old gang.