Mad Men

Season 2 Episode 8

A Night to Remember

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Sep 14, 2008 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • Betty processing Don's infdelity. Peggy works on a dance promotion with her priest. Joan gets a new responsibility and learns she liked it. Episode highlights the lack of power the girls have.

    A female centered episode as the three female leads get the storyline in this episode. Betty of course is the center of the episode, as she decides what to do with her knowledge of her husband's cheating.

    It was very well done on several fronts. The heineken beer angle served as a metaphor for her relationship to her husband. Don explained to the beer execs that suburban women who shop at the supermarkets would want a foriegn beer precisely because it is different. And wouldn't you know it, Betty has a dinner party with a "food of the world" type of theme and there is the heineken, just as Don stated in his pitch. It highlighted to Betty that she knows nothing about her husband while he knows everything, even what beer she would buy. (or at least in her point of view) She searched in vain for some "proof" of Don's affair (which came to nothing). He is a complete mystery to her and he is very careful. Seeing the ad of Jimmy that was being shot when Don first met him helped her make a decision as it again threw the affair in her face and she realizes she has no power in the relationship. Don was running around on her and she knows nothing about him, she even asks "do you hate me". She now distrusts everything, even how he feels about her.

    Joan got a new duty reading scripts and she obviously liked it very much. She was for the first time "more than a secretary" and having client's listen to her about what shows to buy and telling her fiancee about it gave her pleasure. She is the counterpart to Betty in that she is queen of the office while Betty is living the girl next door ideal existence of wife and mother. Of course, the rug was yanked out from her at the end of the episode as strerling hired a man to do that job once he heard that Joan's time was being divided. The fact that the head of the television department (forget his name) didn't fight to keep her and was obviously pleased to have a man beneath him shows the "man's world" attitudes at the time. He was laughing and joking with his new hire (Joan knows this could never happen with her). His casual remark to Joan to get the new guy up to speed really opened her eyes that even though she did a good job in the position and the clients liked her, he never seriously considered her for the job. Again another metaphor about the women's lack of power at this time as she bumped very hard against the glass ceiling. Sterling is not Don, and he has no desire to give a girl a chance like Don did with Peggy.

    Finally, Peggy agreed to again help out her preist in a dance promotion (plyed by Colin Hanks) He is obviously trying to get her to discuss her unwanted preganacy and is reaching out to her, although she is still rebuffing him. I am pleasantly suprised at this storyline in that the show is actually casting the priest in a positive light. I thought when this storyline was introduced, it would be the same old priest has an affair thing. But the relationship doesn't seem sexual at all so far. He knows of her baby and is trying to get her to face it.

    The lack of power women had at this time was the theme of this episode, both at home (Betty) and at the workplace (Joan). Both women learned they do not have the power they thought they had in their repsctive environments and their eyes have been opened in this episode. What they do with this knowledge will be interesting.