Mad Men, Season 4

Week 11: What Will Happen to Roger?
Talking television.
Oct. 5 2010 12:36 PM

Mad Men, Season 4

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Week 11: What Will Happen to Roger?

My favorite detail from this week is that Pete doesn't drive. Makes me that much more impressed he was this close to landing Honda.

Can I complain about Stan for a minute? I wish the series would have paused once or twice this season to establish that, despite being profoundly lazy and grossly impertinent, he's actually pretty good at what he does. It would make him a more interesting character. Instead, week in and week out, I find myself wishing he'd go away. He's too easy to dislike. And I agree, Michael, it was hard to believe that the Peggy who bested Stan in that game of Co-Ed Naked Advertising earlier this season would have fallen for his relaxation gag.

John Swansburg John Swansburg

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Harry Crane (Rich Sommer). Click image to expand.
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Was that a Jantzen bathing suit Peggy was wearing? Or do they not make one-pieces? In any event, I'm also with you, Michael, in not quite buying Peggy and Abe. One self-deprecating quip on the way home from Jones Beach and all is forgiven? We don't know exactly what was in that essay Abe whipped up a little while back, but it infuriated Peggy, and it scared her. And what about their pained conversation at P.J. Clarke's, in which they realized they've not exactly been making donations to the same PACs? What do these two see in each other? Mad Men often uses elision really well, forcing viewers to stay on their toes and fill in the blanks. But here I don't think it was a matter of there being some interaction between Abe and Peggy that we weren't privy to. Peggy is none too pleased to see Abe get in that car. This felt like an abrupt turn, not unlike the one in which Faye went from lone resistor to Don's latest intramural affair. There's surprise, and then there's inconsistency, and these two examples feel more to me like the latter.

Several of our commenters are concerned for Sterling's fate, among them our colleague Jess Grose, who correctly predicted that Faye Miller was a member of the Chosen People. As for me: I'm not ready to put Roger on suicide watch. While I did think that the scene between Roger and Joan had a sense of finality to it, I meant only that it seemed to me that Joan had found the resolve to cut Roger out of her life for good. He's in rough shape, and will be in rougher shape still when he sees Sterling's Gold's Amazon sales rank. And I suppose I could see him eating, drinking, and smoking himself to death—given his heart condition, it wouldn't take much. But I don't see him as the self-annihilation type.

That said, he's been left behind by the times even more so than Cooper, who punctuates his dotty behavior with lucid observations about the firm's business (even if I didn't agree with his assessment of Roger's failings this week) and plays a role in mediating among the partners (I liked when he made Roger apologize to Pete last week after cursing him out). Roger has no accounts. He tried to deep-six the Honda deal and got the recovering alcoholic from Pond's drunk. He's become more trouble than he's worth. Something tells me that we're in for a surprise before this season is out, and maybe bidding Roger farewell, in one way or another, will indeed be it. It'd make losing Paul Kinsey and his beard seem like a trifle.

I can't believe I got outbid on this.

One over for the day,
John

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