This might be one of those episodes that grows on me with subsequent viewings, but at first blush I didn’t love most of it.
The overarching theme of women struggling to make it in a man’s world felt overwrought for most of the episode, written by Victor Levin and Matthew Weiner and helmed by Matt Shakman.
What I did like was Elisabeth Moss — it’s a testament to her skill that she made her scenes in “Mystery Date” work for her character. I also really like the actress, Teyonah Parris, who plays Don’s secretary, Dawn.
What I really disliked was the Zosia Mamet bit. She just needs to stay off this show — enough already. The character doesn’t work, and she’s not convincing in the slightest. It didn’t help that they gave her a ridiculous scene to play, but I think that’s just a symptom of the fact that she is poison on this show. I didn’t buy for a minute that creepy Joyce would barge into to the
Sterling Cooper office with grisly murder photos and get the gang to stop everything and get kinky with her. Yes, I understood the subtext that Michael Ginsberg would be outraged because he’s not even a generation removed from the Holocaust, but that didn’t make it any better, for me.
In this hour we saw variations on the theme of women taking charge. Joan takes charge of her destiny with the baby that is not her husband’s. Her decision to throw Greg out has the added benefit of alleviating her guilt for pretending that he’s the father. Not that he doesn’t deserve it — it’s time she confronted him for the rape in season three (I think it was S3).
Peggy takes charge with a desperate Roger Sterling. Sally takes charge with her step-grandmother who is more than a little sadistic.
Megan confronts Don in a very different way, and winds up with the desired result even if she doesn’t know it yet. I found it refreshing that she was so unabashedly upfront with him about her feelings about their latest encounter with one of his many conquests. And it was just her luck that he had a nasty fever that led him to work it out in a wacky dream — I suppose it was a sign he’s getting over his sickness of being a serial philanderer.
And yet, it surprises me to say this, but even Jon Hamm wasn’t on his A-game tonight. He was good, just not great in his dream scenes.