Mad Men TV Club regular John Swansburg was on Slate’s Facebook page on Monday to chat with readers about the latest episode of Mad Men. The following transcript of the discussion has been edited for length and clarity. To see the full conversation, click on this link.
John Swansburg: I am just polishing off my morning crab rangoon (why not, they have cream cheese) and am eager to discuss last night's episode with you all!
Nicole Hall: Sally is quickly becoming the most interesting person on the show. I thought Don's honesty and obvious respect for Anna made me love him more.
John Swansburg: That was a sweet moment for Don, in an episode when he was rather unlikable at the office. What in particular did you find interesting about Sally last night? I'm thinking of writing about her relationship with Megan in my post, and I'm curious what folks think of their scenes together.
Nicole Hall: Sally is just so smart. She realized Betty was trying to hurt Don and didn't fall for her game.
Marc Naimark: Not that smart, because she understood after overhearing Megan and Don fighting. Another scene of her learning stuff while wandering the halls of the Park Avenue apartment in her PJs.
Samantha Regina: Yeah, I think Sally has shown that she is capable of learning things, which might help her rise above some of the backward logic that her mother has instilled in her. Who knows, though? There have been lots of "hints" with Sally and food surrounding the adult women in her life including Betty, Megan, and Mrs. Francis.
Noelle Bowman Schuck: The mother-daughter-stepmother triangle among Sally, Betty, and Megan is realistic, and even though I loved the way Sally handled her mother at the end of the show, I thought her words were a bit unrealistic even for a precocious character like Sally.
John Swansburg: I had a similar feeling. Sometimes Sally sounds a bit too grown-up, IMHO. "Go ahead, dig yourself deeper" sounded like an adult's words to me, though Sally has a keen ear for the way adults talk, so I suppose you could say she's just deploying a phrase she's overheard before.
Samantha Regina: Megan and Sally's relationship is an interesting one. It has always seemed to me that Sally was unfortunately destined to carry the torch of body-image issues that seems to have been passed from her grandmother to her mother and so on. Megan is clearly a much more psychologically healthy person than Betty, but I'm not entirely sure that her presence will undo the burden of Betty's influence.
Kathy English: I think Betty showed a softer side. I know how awful she was to put Sally in the middle of trying to screw up Don's new marriage, but for Betty she still seemed nice in several scenes. Kind to Henry and the children, for her.
Juliana Scorsese: I love how Don and Megan's relationship is maturing and growing stronger. They bring out the best in each other.
John Swansburg: I agree. We saw yet another great example of Megan having the greater emotional intelligence than Don, and convincing him that he was wrong. She saw right through Betty's ploy, in a way Don couldn't in his anger. She's wise beyond her years.
John Swansburg: In their posts, Julia and Patrick both expressed shock that Don left Ginsberg's work in the cab. Were you guys similarly surprised? Or is this the kind of thing you'd expect from an aging talent who has always had a balky moral compass?
Kate Andrews: Don's leaving Ginsberg's pitch in the taxi reminded me of his plagiarizing a tagline last season from, who was it, Jane's cousin, or something? Of course, that was because Don was drinking heavily, so why is Don resorting to unfair measures now?
John Swansburg: Good point! I'd forgotten about that. He stole the line from Jane's cousin. He was drunk at the time, as you say, but in vino veritas.
Marc Naimark: I was convinced he was going to leave his own work! Very disappointed in Don.
John Swansburg: You had more faith in him than I did!