By Jordan Magrath
It’s tough to explain what makes “Mad Men” great sometimes. It’s not like other great shows, relying too much on action, suspense, or what have you. Instead, “Mad Men” builds everything from episode to episode and season to season. It may be harder to explain what makes it a great show, but I certainly know it when I see it, and “The Other Woman” was one of the best episodes to date.
Women characters have always been exploited, mistreated, and etc. in “Mad Men.” We can justify it because it’s the period, right?
Well, “The Other Woman” took it a step further into a territory that has forever tarnished the firm. The act, of course, was selling Joan’s sex for a client. Ultimately, I’m surprised Jaguar was landed so quickly (I figured it’d rear its head in the finale). Then again, Peggy’s story was equally as surprising. This episode could’ve served as a finale, in many ways.
Back to Joan, a Jaguar exec makes it pretty clear he wants a night with Joan in return for an endorsement. Sadly, practically every partner votes for her to go through with the plan. Lane is partially against it due to financial reasons, but he ultimately goes along with it.
Don turns into the good guy again. He’s always (and always will be) the character we root for, but he usually doesn’t give us much of a good reason. Here, though, he is passionately against the plan.
This makes the non-linear/flashback reveal towards the conclusion all the more disheartening. Don tries a last-ditch effort to keep Joan from going on, but her mind was already made up.
“Mad Men” also had a good way of revealing how Don found out, too, by simply showing Joan walk into the partners meeting. Her “reward” or price was apparently a 5% share in the company.
And that’s not even it! Joan and the firm’s “deal” will be one of the more famous “Mad Men” moments, but it didn’t even hit me the hardest this week!
Peggy, growing ever tired and constricted, decides to shop herself out to other companies. When she does find a suitable position (and raise) she decides to take the new job.
I won’t lie when I say things got a bit “dusty” during her farewell. Not only was the Don-Peggy goodbye probably the best written scene of the season (in my opinion), but it was flawlessly performed.
Behind them, though, the whole company rejoiced landing Jaguar. Peggy walks off (sadly with barely anything in her possession), without a goodbye. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters, and I’m interested to see how she continues to stay relevant. I don’t think Peggy is gone, but I think we’ll get a significant decrease of screen time in the immediate future (the rest of Season 5).
All in all, “The Other Woman” had two dynamic stories about their main women characters. It’s actually three if you include Megan’s struggles (something I didn’t even mention yet). Don had a stellar episode, with great acting, tone, and direction from the rest of the “Mad Men” set. I can’t get enough of this great episode, and I am thoroughly impressed they could pull off the material without it being a finale. It may polarize some viewers, but I’m completely on board.