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[S2E13] Meditations In An Emergency

"Meditations in an Emergency" is the final episode in the second season of the American television show Mad Men. This episode was written by Matthew Weiner, Kater Gordon and Robin Veith and directed by Matthew Weiner. The episode originally aired October 26, 2008, on the AMC network.

[S2E13] Meditations in an Emergency


One day you're there, and then all of a sudden, there's less of you. And you wonder where that... part went; if it's living somewhere outside of you. And you keep thinking maybe you'll get it back. And then you realize, it's just gone. \u2014 Peggy Olson, Mad Men S2E13, \u201CMeditations in an Emergency\u201D

I brought some of Montoursville with me to Pittsburgh but didn\u2019t keep in touch with Curtis \u2014 or most of the other friends I spent hour after joyful adolescent hour with. My high school sweetheart was a year behind me in school and came to Pitt when she graduated. That first year, without her, I made a few lifelong friends, though its a miracle I can call them that now. My relationship with her started to unravel, slowly at first, and then ever-more-slowly the harder we tried to salvage it. We tried and tried and tried, for four long years, until I was graduated and she nearly so, and eventually our entire lives were only that \u2014 an all-consuming effort to rekindle a fire that was out for good. I had long neglected the few friendships I\u2019d been lucky enough to stumble into, and was living with the girl I neglected them for, and was feeling trapped deep in a pit of despair, and was fully prepared to accept that pit as my fate. I couldn\u2019t bring myself to break it off with her, so if we couldn\u2019t work things out, then we\u2019d just be miserable together forever. And then the friends I\u2019d neglected so severely \u2014 Alex and Sarah \u2014 became my saving grace. Alex knew how bad things were with my girlfriend, and he respected my desire to stick it out, but one day he sat me down and told me bluntly that it wouldn\u2019t be long before I had no friends left at all. If I had it in me to make a change, though, I could crash on the living room floor at his and Sarah\u2019s place. In fact, it was Sarah \u2014 who I\u2019d grown so close to freshman year and then stopped talking to completely to keep the peace in my toxic relationship \u2014 who suggested to Alex that they offer up their home to me. Overwhelmed with gratitude (what had I done to deserve such grace?) and sensing that this was my last chance to escape a lifetime of misery, I packed my things and left my high school sweetheart for good. We haven\u2019t spoken since.

That was Captain Awesome! Wow. Darn it all, he really IS awesome. I didn't even realize it was him. He did a terrific job, and yes, everybody must watch Chuck to see how awesome he is on that (very good) show too. How about Harry walking up and saying, as everyone discussed the Cuban blockade or some such, "Bad news -- the conference room is booked all day!" Harry is so not the big-picture guy. I've always thought St. John Powell knew exactly what would go down with Duck. He knew that Duck tried hard to get off the sauce after a fiasco or two in London. So offering him a drink was a deliberate attempt to derail him. He probably predicted that Duck would keep it together long enough to push the deal through, then Duck would crack up. Which is about how it went down, and I'm also presuming Duck's gone before Season 3. If he's not, all the better, Mark Moses has killed in this role. Here's the thing about the Pete-Peggy scene -- I watched it three or four times, and I cried more every time I watched it. Wow is right. I'm absolutely in agreement -- coming here and reading everyone's thoughts has been one of the highlights of each week for me. I so don't want these Mad Men discussions to be over! Of the many tiny things I loved a lot -- it was cool that Don and Joan seemed genuinely happy to see each other. There are so many relationships like that in the SC office, relationships I'd love to see explored more in future. Poor Lois. I do want her sprung from operator hell! Let's hope her image-managing skills have stepped up a notch and that she can handle secretarial duties with more aplomb.

Alan, thank you for taking so much of your own personal time and writing with so much heart and interest. Every week you give us such fascinating and detailed pieces on such a fantastically detailed show. We are the lucky ones!I agree with Rick that Peggy might now only be crossing herself before sleep b/c she feels she's unburdened herself.The scene with Pete and Peggy was impeccable. When I realized what she was going to say I just felt like I was at the top of a very high rollercoaster. I truly feel for Pete. What will be most interesting (esp. with how long of a time jump we get into season 3) is how Pete deals with this news? Will he be very like Peggy and just let it go? Will he not let it go? If so, to what degree? The latter would create amazing tension and problems quite possibly making them the central "couple drama" instead of the Drapers. But then again I'm rooting for those Drapers!It was only an instinct but I am curious to find out if Betty loses her baby (my first instinct) or not.Thrilled Don noticed Peggy's hair and, of course, he would. I loved Don's letter to Betty. I loved Don having that 'no contract' over on Duck. I always love when Don walks out of a room with people calling out to him. I just think he's wanting to make a very good point that Creative shouldn't be so easily dismissed.I'm sad to see Joan is still with her fiancee. I want her away from him. I want her to have a business life like Peggy, but also a successful personal life as well. The woman who has it all!Whoever mentioned all the little relationships between people at Sterling Cooper have it so dead on. I love that Pete's secretary was so happy to see Don. The only time I've liked Paul pretty much all season was when he truly spoke out loud about how he likes SC just like it is. That broke my heart a little.Can't wait to read what everyone else has to say. :)I'm so going to miss this show!

More thoughts after a second viewing-I was a bit disturbed by Betty's anonymous bar fling, moreso than any of Don's affairs. At first I wondered if it was a double standard thing. But eventually I decided it was because it seemed so out of character for her, as opposed to Don, whose affairs are introduced from the beginning. And also the anonymous nature of the encounter, where Don's mistresses tend to be ongoing relationships. However, I can also see why the event was a necessary step for her, and why it had to be someone with no connections with her, unlike her stable buddy.And for the record, I also didn't recognize Capt Awesome. Don Draper is right- looking good in a suit is important.The Peggy and Pete scene was brilliant. There's nothing I can add that hasn't been said already. I look forward to seeing how this plays out next season.There are many comparisons made between this series and Sopranos, and not only for the Weiner connection. This season, and especially this episode, show what I see as a major difference. There is a definite evolution of many of these characters, for both good and bad, which reflects the rapid changes going on in society in those years, even before the bigger things to come. On the Sopranos, I was struck by how often the characters' problems were related to being attached to a romantic view of the past and an inability or unwillingness to evolve.

I am so frustrated by the way Betty gets characterized as a child who has to "grow up" -- the idea that a woman is childish, which was mentioned by her psychologist (NOT the most trustworthy person to appear on mad Men), is one of the ways men retained power over women for so long -- when women, and black people were lumped with children and animals as lacking the mental capacity to be independent, it was a way to keep money and power in the hands of men. To me, Don is the one who has to grow up, while Betty's frustrations and responses to them are easy to understand at any age. To have her character dismissed as immature and childish is cruel and insensitive and something I have *never* seen in any of the episodes. I have seen a woman pushed to her limits by the strictures of her era and pushing back the only way she can, seeing as she has no financial power and little legal recourse.

I honestly didn't know which bit of news Betty would reveal to Don at the kitchen table -- the sex on the side, or the pregnancy. And I don't think she did, either, until the very last second before she spoke. She had a choice between hurting Don (and pushing him away) by telling him about the sex, or bringing him closer by telling him about the pregnancy. She chose to leave herself more vulnerable by telling him of the pregnancy, and Don, in return, showed vulnerability by reaching for her hand. That instant -- both partners trusting one another, and themselves, enough to let their guard down for the first time in a long time -- is absolutely terrifying. But it's also absolutely necessary to begin healing a relationship as broken as this one has become. While I also found the scene between Peggy and Pete really powerful (talk about showing vulnerability!), it was the kitchen table scene that brought me to tears. I just found that little glimmer of hope, that despite everything, they still have a tiny bit of trust left in each other, incredibly moving. If anything could finally change that perception of Betty as childish, it would be the choice she made at that kitchen table.

Andrew Johnston, who had been writing outstanding "Mad Men" reviews over at The House Next Door, died yesterday after a long fight with cancer. Matt Seitz stepped last night and did an emergency review of the season's final three episodes. 041b061a72


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