Mad Men Review: Very Dirty Business

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This week's Mad Men was truly one for the books. Especially after last week's mediocre episode, "The Other Woman" had me alternately jeering and cheering, while attempting to scrape my jaw off the floor.

It was hard to juggle all of these emotions on top of my standard urge to punch Pete Campbell in the face, but it was worth it for an installment such as this.

The Other Woman Scene

Just when Pete had mildly redeemed himself (emphasis on the mildly) by standing up to Alexis Bledel's husband and letting him know what a good thing he had, he goes and pimps out Joan. I hate to even say that Pete did something redeeming because cheating on your wife and sleeping with another man's wife isn't redeeming, but it's rare that the scumbag even says something nice or stands up for another person, so it's somewhat noteworthy.

Back to pimping out Joan: There is really no other way to put it. Especially when Pete is next to a good guy like Ken Cosgrove, who said why couldn't we just tell him Joan was married? Yes, the same Ken who later tried to comfort Peggy when Don threw money in her face, but we'll get to that later.

On a show that strives for an accurate portrayal of gender roles in the 1960s, it's not unusual to see themes of sexism and the degradation of women in a lot of the episodes. However, the most recent installment hit home at a new level. I'm pretty surprised Joan went for the deal, but I think there are a few things that really put the nail in the coffin. 

First off, last week Joan opened up in a rare moment to Don about her feelings regarding her separation. She is lonely, lost, going through a divorce, facing single motherhood and more financial responsibilities, and all while keeping the secret that Kevin is really Roger's baby. Ultimately Joan does need the money. In the past, if this were just about Joan, she would've told Pete right where to shove his offer. Now that she's a mother, it's not just about providing for herself anymore. The moment Joan came home to her mother, the baby and the broken refrigerator you could see the wheels turning in her head.

Then you have the fact that she was told all five of the partners voted on it. This includes Roger. Joan may have acted strong since the day we met her, but we know that deep down she and Roger love each other. At least, this is my opinion and keep in mind that I'm only filling in for your resident Mad Men reviewer Dan Forcella and I know that Dan isn't the biggest Joanie fan.

The thought that Roger would be willing to pimp her out for a deal must have truly crushed her. Then Lane had to come in and put the idea in her head that she should hold out for a five percent partnership deal, which basically amounts to nothing. This is what truly surprises me, Joan is smarter and should know this.

Alas, it was too late. By the time Don rode in on his white horse to save the day, the deed had already been done. I thought the ending was really well done with Don's pitch alternating with Joan and Herb's disgusting night together. I feel terrible for her right now.

I won't say this episode was entirely about sexism, even though Peggy leaving Sterling Cooper Draper Price was a major deal. In Peggy's case, I feel like it was more about respect, pride and knowing what your worth. Peggy knew she deserved more than she was getting and Don throwing the money in her face was the final straw. (Who is he, Scott Disick?!?) Although after how horrible he treated her throughout the episode, the last scene in his office when he kissed her hand almost made me misty eyed.

Ultimately, it's all about the greed. All anyone cares about is the money. They are willing to sell their morals, souls, pride, and even their bodies in order to get the business. What does that say about everyone at SDCP? What does that say about Peggy who left? What would you have done if you were Joan? How badly do you want to slap Pete Campbell at all times? Hit the comments and Dan will be back next week!

Oh, and Sally Draper really was right. The city is dirty


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (88 Votes)

@Betty, I know, right? It's so not Betty-like. She always had herself under control and she wouldn't have let herself go like this. Other shows managed pregnant actresses in another way. But my guess is that they did it to show that she isn't really happy with the things turned out and that she is still in love with Don, whom she can't have. Still weird though. IMO Betty would have maintained herself as beautiful as ever to show Don what he lost but well, I'm totally with you, I hope the fat-suit comes off next season. The show is just not the same with Betty. Yes, she could be annoying sometimes, especially when she was schooling the children for nothing and when she was so cruel to Sally but overall she's been my favourite character. I'm really sad that we don't get to see her more often these days :(

Ava mila

I miss Betty too! She really adds something special to the show, she's a classy, sexy and twisted and I adore her (like my name says). I know a lot of people is not into her but I think this season is weaker because she isn't around much to spice it all up.
And I really hope the fat suit will be gone next season, it's just not Betty-like to let herself go this way. The women had 3 kids and always looked stunning, it doesn't make much sense that now all of a sudden she lost track. I know she was pregnant but they could have figured something else out since January really didn't gain much weight during the pregnancy.


They are both pretty selfish and mean at times but maybe at some point they could reunite and make everything right. I think at "best" they will have an affair and Henry and/or Megan find out and maybe they get together again after that or they'll not end up together and Henry & Megan leave them. I don't think that they will ever be able to make everything right - like you said, it's Mad Men and it's just not a rainbow&sunshine show. I miss Betty though, I hope she'll get more screentime again after she gave birth.

Ava mila

Yeah, Betty appreciates Henry but love? Not really. Although I'm not sure if characters like Betty and Don really are able to love fully and to be able to get over themselves for another person. They are both pretty selfish and mean at times but maybe at some point they could reunite and make everything right. But it's Mad Men and I highly doubt a happy end for the main characters. Just not that kind of show.


I would love an affair with Betty! Although I would feel sorry for Henry, he seems to really love and respect Betty. True. I like Henry, but to be fair, Betty doesn't really seem to love him back. He gave her attention when Don didn't and she loved that. And she loved the idea of being a Politician's wife but really she still loves Don. I think her marriage with Henry is based on revenge on Don which got out of hand and now they are divorced and both remarried. She thought Don would pine over her and want for her to come back to him but now that he's got Megan she knows it's not gonna happen and she's very unhappy about that. He seems happy with the idea of this marriage but not with the actual thing. Yeah, he wants this to work and I think he wants to fix all the things he did wrong in his marriage to Betty but mostly he seems irritated or whiny and tbh I'm not buying the whole thing. He seemed to get married to her bc she got along great with the kids and he was lonely and hurt and Megan just fell in love with the idea of being married to the "great" Don Draper.


To bow down and drink gin sounds perfect to me. To qualify my comments re Megan. I would hate her to leave. Every time she is on screen it lights up. I find her fascinating and extra attractive (reminds me of a former girlfriend). She is definitely different from the other women in the show. Don just doesn't get her and in the end I fear she will simply give up on him.
Think what she and Ginsberg could achieve between them - maybe in features or television! Woody and Mia.

Ava mila

I don't like what's Don becoming with Megan on his side: he doesn't enjoy his job anymore, he's whiny, nervous and jealous of other people's success ( Ginsberg). He has become an asshole to his co-workers (except with Joan, the only relationship which is getting better but I think that will go downhill after last night). He seems happy with the idea of this marriage but not with the actual thing.
I would love an affair with Betty! Although I would feel sorry for Henry, he seems to really love and respect Betty.


Megan's death would cause the greatest consequences - hit by a Jaguar, knifed in the back by a rival actor, kidnapped by satanists or cast in a movie in Hollywood and introduced to Charles Manson ... LOL I like the way you think ;D Although, seriously, @Betty Draper, I don't think that anyone would die. It wouldn't have that huge effect on anyone like in other shows where the relationships between the characters are much stronger. But, things are going to well for Don & megan. I always expect something to happen there, Don going back to his usual ways and sleeping with other women (I would prefer it to be Betty ;)) or anything else. I can't bear their lovey-doveyness, mostly bc I strongly dislike Megan.


My take on the episode was three women and choices regarding how far they will go to maintain their self-respect (or not). Peggy has been taken advantage of and finally has money thrown in her face by Don as though she were a prostitute. She shows SCDP that she will not take it anymore. Megan is ogled and probably propositioned by the producers of the show as though she were a piece of meat. And finally we see Joan using sex to hopefully secure financial stability for herself and her baby so that she won't have to depend on men and also to get rid of her mother, who raised her to be admired.


Joan and Don both should have socked Pete in the jaw. But it is difficult to judge the morality of the time by that of today. Women thought they were liberating themselves through 'free love'. Joan is simply representing the zeitgeist. I would have preferred it if they hadn't won the Jaguar account and it had gone to Peggy's new firm, where she was put in charge of it! A great episode - probably the best this season so far. As for who is going to die - Lane is in the most trouble. (What happened to that photo he pocketed? Perhaps that will come back to bite him.) Pete is the unhappiest (Nothing would change that.) Megan's death would cause the greatest consequences - hit by a Jaguar, knifed in the back by a rival actor, kidnapped by satanists or cast in a movie in Hollywood and introduced to Charles Manson ...

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Mad Men Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

Pete: What would it take to make you a Queen?
Joan: I don't think you could afford it.

It turns out he wanted something we weren't prepared to give. Something very unorthodox.

Pete [to Joan]