Mad Men, Season 4

Week 13: Does Megan Have a Secret Flaw?
Talking television.
Oct. 19 2010 11:57 AM

Mad Men, Season 4

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Week 13: Does Megan Have a Secret Flaw?

Megan with Gene and Sally Draper. Click image to expand.
Megan with Gene and Sally Draper

You guys are right: Megan is a cipher. It's hard to know how much of her opacity is intentional—the "cliffhanger" this season is what sort of wife Megan will turn out to be—and how much is accidental, the result of a poorly executed plot twist. I complained about Megan's murky motives a few weeks ago, when she put the moves on Don; the scene felt wildly uneven and improbable, and it was unclear whether she was propelled by lust, ambition, or the old-fashioned desire to get hitched. The finale handled their relationship more deftly, I thought, showing how they ensorcelled each other in a persuasive manner. When Megan says, at the end, "I love you, you know," it's clear she's trying on the sentiment for the first time, and that for both of them, it will take some getting used to.

Julia Turner Julia Turner

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

So what kind of wife will Megan be? Here's one possibility: Episode 501 opens with Don and Megan in the kitchen in Ossining; Carla back at the sink; OJ, eggs and sausage; possibly some tender hair-braiding; and a few rounds of "Frère Jacques." It's a Season 1 do-over, and the question is whether Don is any happier in his dream nuclear family, given the ways he's grown—and he has—over the past six years. Just because he's made the same choice that put him in Betty hell doesn't mean he's the same man.

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Here's another: Megan wants to work. Don ensconces her in the copywriters' office, where her naiveté drives Peggy bonkers. Eventually, it drives Don bonkers too.

Here's a third: Megan is a lunatic. Or has some other hidden flaw. Perhaps she's superstitious—note how she called her mom because of a "bad feeling"—or part of some French-Canadian coven? Or, speaking of that unauthorized long-distance call, perhaps she's bad with money and will spend Don into oblivion? Don seemed a bit worried about his finances during that meeting with his accountant Frank Keller.

Speaking of which: My friend Adam points out that Keller has emerged this season as Mad Men's secret power broker: "He tells Don he hopes he's shtupping his secretary, and by the end of the episode Don has in fact shtupped her, and then he says that Don should get married and, boom, by the end of the episode he's married. This mysterious Frank Keller holds all of the secrets to Mad Men, I'm telling you." Did you guys glean any other hints from their exchange this week?

Michael, you're right that the moment between Peggy and Joan was one of the episode's high points. I liked particularly the portrayal of how office camaraderie comes and goes, how they could be opposed one day and aligned another. I wonder if Joan will keep working when the baby comes. We certainly missed her last time she left.

Pop quiz for Season 5: In what episode will Don first cheat on Megan?

Now pick me up and move me to my bed,
Julia

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