Mad Men’s “The Other Woman” – The Two Queens of SCDP

Lane Pryce called it. In a previous episode, he called Peter Campbell a “grimy little pimp.” And grimy little pimp indeed Peter was in last Sunday’s episode. Instead of joining Ken Cosgrove in trying to steer that porker Herb from Jaguar away from the idea of spending a night with Joan Harris in return for his vote in favor of SCDP’s advertising bid, Peter the Pimp pushed the idea. Peter pushed it so hard he made Joan and the others believe there was no alternative if SCDP really wanted the Jaguar account. He pushed it so hard that near the end of the episode, his spin on the whole Herb situation was it was Joan’s idea in the first place.

It was “business on a very high level.” Peter asked Joan what it would take to make her a queen. Joan said the firm couldn’t afford it, but as it turned out SCDP could.

So, all hail Queen Joan. She was the kind of woman to which Don Draper had compared Jaguar. Jaguar was temperamental and impractical, but it was something beautiful that could be owned. Apparently, so was Joan.

If Joan was a Jaguar, then Peggy was definitely a Buick.

Mad Men likes to draw parallels and comparisons between its characters and the situations in which these characters move. This episode was no different. In the corner opposite Queen Joan the Jaguar, we have little Peggy Olson the Buick. Long-suffering, always-overlooked Peggy, who is supposedly Don’s right hand in Creative. The woman whose presence Don always takes for granted. The former copywriting ingénue overshadowed first by Megan Draper and then by Michael Ginsberg.

Boy, Peggy really was the quiet one. Where Joan loudly voiced her objections when Peter brought up his indecent proposal, Peggy simply left the room when Don literally threw money at her face. Where Joan fussed over being whored out by the SCDP partners for a piece of Jaguar, Peggy discreetly sought help and shopped around for better options.

Peggy even left SCDP quietly, without saying goodbye, amidst the champagne-colored celebrations her co-workers were having for winning the Jaguar account. But judging by Don Draper’s reverent kiss on Peggy’s hand after she told him goodbye, you can easily see that she will be sorely missed, at least by Don.

Long live Queen Peggy.

Queen Joan may look like she has won the day, but won’t the price she paid for her SCDP partnership haunt her later? You can already tell from the dismay on Don Draper’s face upon finding out that she did sleep with porker Herb that it will. She probably knows it, too, judging from the bitterness of her smile when she saw Peggy leave the office at the end of the episode. The men at the top of the SCDP food chain never respected her; otherwise, they won’t whore her out. It’s doubtful that it’s going to change now that she’s been made partner.

On the other hand, you know that Peggy will rise up to be the queen of her own world someday. The smile on her face when she left SCDP for good spoke of triumph, not bitterness. Like Joan, Peggy has a price tag – the title of copy chief and $18,000 a year. The difference between her and Joan was that Peggy was wooed, not sold. Ted Chaough knew her worth and was not afraid to sing her praises, something Peggy rarely experienced in SCDP. Chaough upping Peggy’s asking price by a thousand showed appreciation and respect for her work. That’s why Peggy told Don there is no number, even though there fully well is.

Don Draper finally realized what he lost when Peggy walked out of his office. He had never considered any woman his equal. Anna Draper was his friend. Betty Francis was his trophy. Megan kept him on his toes. But Peggy was his equal.

Good for you, Queen Peggy. May your reign be long and fruitful.


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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