The “Mad Men” Likability Index: LSD Without The Love

Roger drops acid, Megan drops sherbet, and more highlights from the latest episode.

How did you feel about the unconventional-but-still-appropriate-for-mass-audiences format of last night’s episode? I figured out what was going on once I noticed that Megan was wearing the same dress in the first two-thirds of the episode. (From a fashion perspective: BOO to that.) And then it dawned on me that this was one of those things where we get to see how everyone’s day went independently of everyone else’s! Thank God it wasn’t an insultingly literal dream sequence. And thank God Jane finally got some air time. Onto this week’s likability index!

Megan is more self-aware than we all thought! Not only does she feel bad about leaving her colleagues to go upstate with Don, but also, she finally she gets mad at Don for treating her like a plaything instead of an equal. “You like to work, but I can’t like to work,” she says when they’re at Howard Johnson’a, and Don starts taking notes about the place so he can come up with an ad campaign for it — the first sign of him doing work practically all season. Ironically, she was able to sum it up much better than him, when she says it’s not a “destination,” as he states, but a place that’s on the way to another place. Don tells her she shouldn’t be upset to have been ripped away from work and, “There’s got to be some advantage to being my wife.” To which Megan is rightfully appalled, and forced to take out her rage on the only thing available to her: orange sherbet. I was so proud of her when she told Don it was disgusting and asked for chocolate. Of course it’s disgusting! Who likes that? It’s the kind of thing you eat when you really want a dessert and that’s all that’s around. Like if you’re at a wedding or some similar sort of event and have no choice over what dessert you get and that comes and you eat it because it’s in front of you. Don is all the more suspicious for liking it.

Instead of taking her anger out on Don post-abandonment in some vengeful fashion — cheating on him, finding people to party with, running home to her mom — she suffers through a six-and-a-half hour bus ride back to New York, arriving to Port Authority at 5 something in the morning where everyone thinks she’s a hooker. She’s rightfully furious with Don when he finally arrives home, and though the ensuing scenes were absurd, they were eerily believable. The chase scene was insane but also (to audiences, almost insultingly) symbolic of their relationship: Don chasing her, terrified of losing her, but also in increasingly tenuous control of her.

In another stroke of blatant symbolism, the two return to work that day where they’re obviously miserable, but have to pretend like they’re not because other people are around. Of course Don puts his wife in a situation every day where she has to conceal her misery from everyone around.
Likability score: 90%

Don lost more points than ever this episode. No one, even the worst people, should be forced to angrily scarf down an orange sherbet because he who has forced it upon her is too dense a man to realize that it is disgusting and people have different tastes than him. Also, though we all knew he was bound to return to Megan after he sped angrily away in his car, the incident exemplified the manipulative, controlling, sociopathic monster he is. If your friend told you that story, what would you tell her to do? Leave him, right? Guys that do that are the kinds of guys who say “you’re acting like a bitch,” and claim it’s different from saying “you’re a bitch.” Or who call their girlfriends mean names like “troll” in front of other people, or who give them sexually transmitted infections and then claim it wasn’t them. Don is that kind of not-a-man.
Likeability score: 39%

We knew we were in for some sassy Peggy when we got that close-up shot of her bright turquoise eye shadow. Since when does she doll up like the Megans and Janes of this world? I guess it was for her presentation, which she clearly wanted to nail, so it was all the more infuriating when the beans CEO or whatever didn’t like it because she’s a chick. But I love how she left work to go watch a movie about lions; only seems to drink in the office when she really needs it (i.e. a sexist prick of a client tells her, “Miss, you’re lucky I have a daughter or I wouldn’t be so understanding.”); and stood up for herself when that schmuck told her he didn’t like her pitch. If Don had treated him the way Peggy did, he would have been whipped into submission.

Although I do wonder what’s up with her relationship. Does she hate having sex with that guy and need to break up with him? Is she dating him because she doesn’t want to be single? She’s sending him mixed messages, which deserve some introspection on her part.
Likability score: 93%

An old man like Roger should not be dropping LSD at the house of some creepy academic weirdo drug users. But that said, he also shouldn’t have married someone who’s a fraction of his age and thinks she’s Cleopatra and that drugs will bring her closer to him. Funnily enough the drugs worked out great for him because he got her to confess that she wants to break it off, they have a remarkably sane and honest conversation about their problems, and he somehow wakes up fresh as a daisy in the morning. Also, he actually seemed to enjoy the drugs for what they were, unlike everyone else doing them. Was he the only one who giggled the whole time? Isn’t the point of taking that crap to laugh like a schoolgirl for hours and hours?
Likability score: 84%

I’m so glad Jane got a sizable segment, finally, this season. She’s been so intriguingly dressed this whole time and we’ve hardly heard a peep from her. Anyway, her streak of intriguing outfits continued with the Cleopatra costume she wore to the dinner. Until we learned she went to that dinner to drop acid, not just eat and socialize, I was impressed by the batch of possibly intelligent and credible older friends she had — who became quickly unimpressive when that tray of LSD came out. It’s like when you go over to a friend or friend of a friend’s place and you have jolly good opinions of them them until everyone starts snorting drugs and taking Adderall.

But if Jane was so afraid of doing the acid, why did she do the acid? And who, terrified of a drug, decides to do it anyway and believes, “This will be good for us”? If you’re afraid of doing drugs, there’s a reason — so just don’t bother. All they do is age you! Anyway, she also seemed like kind of an idiot when she tried to retract everything she said the night before to Roger about how unhappy she was. She knows it needs to end — hopefully she’ll appreciate his generosity in the matter, pack her crap, and move on.
Likability score: 74%

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