- Don and Ted – Team Ted for the win! I have liked the idea of Ted even before getting the chance to meet his fully fleshed-out character. Because he had all the pizazz of Don: ideas, charm and tons of swagger. And there was the hope that he could be the counterpoint to Don who wasn’t decaying with increasing speed from within. I think we need a character like Ted to gain focus at this point. Don is heading for an epic crash. It’s the arc that is logical for his character, and anything else wouldn’t feel genuine to me. But if Don’s storyline goes the way it should, I think we need someone that we can champion just to help us deal with the rest of Don’s descent. So, it’s great to see that Ted is proving to be interesting in many ways. He’s an overall good guy in a realistic way. When he gave his seat up to his secretary in the partner’s meeting after Pete came in full of his usual piss and vinegar, it was more about highlighting Pete’s obnoxious behavior than it was gallantry. When he engages the creative team in a rap session on margarine, he knows it’s winning them over by making them feel involved and respected, but he does it because he knows that something good might come from it. You never know where the kernel of a great idea might come from. Ted is just so much more savvy when it comes to people skills. I know, major obvious point on that one. But it is why he will be more successful than Don in the long run. Well, that and the fact that Don is working on turning himself into the most pathetic excuse of a human ever. But Don hasn’t completely devolved yet. And he knows that Ted is a major threat. So he challenges him to the one thing he is pretty sure he can beat him doing. Drinking. He and Roger have been training all their lives for this type of thing, so anyone’s bet would have to be on Don. Which of course turns out to be the right bet. Poor Ted. I loved how Frank counseled a hungover Ted to let Don tire himself out in the early rounds as Ted would win the bout. It’s no doubt true. Advantage: Ted
- Don and Peggy – As ever, Peggy sees through Don and all his machinations. She sees what he’s doing with Ted trying to gain the upper hand. “I hoped he’d rub off on you.” Zinger one and it’s clear where Peggy’s aligned. Peggy knows Don loves having her back under his control instead of competing against him and says as much. Of course, Don would never admit to such a thing but wants to shake her confidence and make her feel insignificant despite the fact that they used to be friends. Though Don’s zinger hurts Peggy, she’s gained confidence now. Her second zinger hits the mark as well and is particularly deadly because he’ll never be able to do so. Her parting shot? “Move forward.” Advantage: Peggy
- Don and Sylvia – As someone who appreciates good wording, I love how Don fixates on the way people say things. When Sylvia says, “I need you, and nothing else will do,” Don is going to meet her regardless of what is going on at work. I think that line was what jumpstarted all the twisted madness between those two in the hotel room. I feel like Don is continuously trying to make sense of his childhood and this hotel room game was his way of giving his childhood credibility. It’s not sordid if the doctor’s wife is willing to play this game. This is one of Don’s endless loops. His wish to whitewash his childhood and remove all the shame associated with it. As we see at the end of the ep, Sylvia specifically mentioned that she was ashamed and that the whole thing was over. Advantage: Sylvia
That look of admiration Ted shot Peggy when she knew the history about margarine was again telling and goes back to what I was saying earlier about Ted. He’s a good guy but in a realistic way. He clearly has feelings for Peggy. Feelings that he shouldn’t be entertaining since he’s married, but the kiss in the previous episode suggests that Ted’s got himself a set of clay feet like all humans do.
I admit it. Just as I teared up in episode four when they announced that MLK Jr. had been assassinated, I teared up at the end over the Bobby Kennedy assassination, though Pete’s mother’s strange delivery of “They’re shooting everybody,” had me chuckling unwillingly.