Spoiler Alert: Mad Men, S7E5 – “The Runaways”

So wow. I’m really going to hate when Mad Men ends at Episode 7 this year since the “season” is “in two parts” (which is what viewers call “two short seasons”).

It’s hard for me to compose my thoughts on this episode because so many things happened. Plus, I read Victoria Marsden’s recaps of the episodes and they’re just so much more thoughtful than mine. So I’m just going to jump into the middle.

Is it just me or is Megan drastically swinging on an emotional pendulum? One second she’s kind and thoughtful to Stephanie (Don’s sort of fake niece) and the next she’s practically shoving her out of the house. Just cause Steph and Dick have secrets? Yeesh. Last time we saw Megan she was sending Don home early. Now she’s desperate enough to stage a threesome with Don and her friend Amy to keep him in LA. Her father was right all along. She wants everything without having to earn it.

Then there’s Betty, ever the sociopath. She’s screaming at Sally because of some horseplay that bruised her nose (not even broken) and gave her black eyes. Then she’s melting down on Henry — “I speak Italian!” — in their kitchen. Henry’s no slouch in the sociopathy department either — “I support the President!” These two deserve each other in the worst ways possible. Every time Betty appears on screen, I just think “Chaotic Evil.”

So. Ginsberg. Ginsberg, Ginsberg, Ginsberg. That was an amazing divergence. He’s been off-balance since way back but he always just seemed kooky and not schizophrenic. This season he’s just gotten worse. In this week’s episode, his overture to Peggy couldn’t have been seen as anything but romantic. He’s standing there with that jewelry box. He confesses he has feelings for her. Aw, Ginsberg. And then, the sliced off nipple. Goodbye, Ginsberg.

It was such a great scene, played with the perfect mix of horror and dread, fear and concern after that moment. Peggy looked so terrified as she tried to make her exit.

Don’s last scene. Cutler and Lou are trying to screw him over and he plays this weird trump card, surprising them, prostrating himself before the client. I just don’t see it as a great power move for him. Just like the rest of this season, this looks to me like Don choosing badly. Why, why, why didn’t he move to another agency or start his own and change the conversation? In episode after episode, he’s been allowing the other partners and colleagues at other firms to tell their story of him. They’ve been setting the rules.

I don’t like it. And though I don’t think it looks desperate. It just seems to be prolonging the inevitable.