ALRIGHT, let’s just be honest. This last week was INSANE. I spent Sunday night gasping and pointing and gripping Josh’s arm and shaking my fist.
And then I scrolled through Twitter and found that my thoughts were not quite mirrored by friends watching along.
So! Although I hadn’t anticipated this being a regular deal, let’s talk about it, mmkay? Because I’m just dying to.
More than voice my own opinions, I’d just like to hear yours. But, to get that conversation ball rolling, I’ll toss out a few things I’m thinking.
Because. It was a big week.
Pete proved just how slimy he can be (though we already knew that in Season 1, when he essentially asked the same of Trudy). Lane continues in his weird embezzlement scheme which, I’ll be honest, doesn’t interest me to follow closely enough to know what’s really going on there. Don and Megan have their weird, quasi-healthy but sort of strained and off relationship that grates at me. I have plenty more thoughts on all of this, but none of it is the focus, of course.
PEGGY AND JOAN.
Peggy and Joan have developed into foils. Both are intelligent women stuck in a system that sets them at a disadvantage at the outset. As eighties-power-suit as it sounds, they’re working girls trying to cut it in a man’s world. Of course, the difference being their methods of trying to do so.
Peggy is young and not too closely acquainted with this broken system where women aren’t welcome (unless they’re pouring someone a drink or shaking an ass). She refuses to be squelched! She gets a bit ahead by pure merit of her brainpower and hard work, and then naively assumes that her brains and work ethic will continue to be rewarded. In her naivete, she expects that being as capable as the guys will lead to the same recognition as the guys. We’ve watched her spin her wheels in frustration, trying to achieve the success that she feels she rightfully deserves.
Joan, on the other hand, is aware of how things work and uses it to her advantage. No less intelligent, she works within the system, manipulating it to beat the guys at their own game. While Peggy futilely strives, Joan effortlessly glides.
And that right there is why this episode was so disheartening for me. It might be easy to see Joan’s decision as simply taking her refined method to the next level- just working the system to get ahead. I’ve heard friends proclaim their excitement to see Joan’s “empowerment.” But, this isn’t just another example of Joan using whatever tools she has in her arsenal. Joan isn’t in control here. She isn’t “beating the guys at their own game.” She’s being used in a number of ways. “Empowerment” doesn’t seem to quite fit a situation wherein one man makes a demand and a group of other men decide meeting this demand would be profitable for them.
So, yes. In a complicated sort of way, I walked away feeling glad that Joan is in a position of power. That she found a way to struggle to the top. But that victory felt so hollow and a bit hard for me to swallow.
I really appreciated the way Joan’s decision was butted against Peggy’s. It made me think about the development of the characters and their diverging career paths. Plenty more thoughts on that as well.
BUT. I want to hear what YOU think! How did you take Joan’s decision? Peggy’s? Were you surprised? Excited? Saddened? Angered?