Last night was Season 03, Episode 02, “Love Among the Ruins.”
As straightforward as Episode 1 seemed last week (pretty much poising everyone on the brink of change), this week’s episode seemed very … hmmm … not so straightforward?
What I liked:
- (Superman caught this one, and had to point it out to me, but …) I liked that Sterling’s daughter is planning her wedding for November 23, 1963, which will be the day after Kennedy is shot. Superman looked over at me, when they showed the invitation, and said, “Hm. There’ll be a problem with THAT.”
- I liked that they, once again, tied everyone’s struggles to the current ad campaign. Don comes up with his ad campaigns from what’s going on around him, but sometimes what’s going on around him seems to mimic the campaigns, in very cool twists. This week he was touting, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” He was saying it to the Madison Square Garden folks, who were having to deal with angry mob-mentality reactions from NYC, but, sure enough, Don played it out himself: this time with his brother-in-law. Don actually stepped in as a hero for his wife (for once!) and “changed the conversation” his BIL was playing out about what to do with their father. (“You’re going to go out there and say …”).
- Similarly, Peggy realized she’d have to “change her conversation” if she wanted what she wanted — attention from men. I felt bad for Peggy, but I liked that the theme played outside of Don, too. Peggy didn’t like what was being said about her (Sterling tells her in the elevator that she’s “unlike” the other girls), so she adopted Joan’s “conversation” –offering the flirtatious lines she saw Joan use, almost line for line, to the men in the bar, just to attract a little attention for herself.
- Sterling, too, seems like he’s plotting something to change his own “conversation” — when he asked Peggy in the elevator what would she have to hear from her father to not invite him to her wedding. Not sure where they’re going with that one, since her answer was pretty grim. (“My father passed away. …”)
What I didn’t understand:
I didn’t get the last scene where Don is watching the Maypole dance. I wasn’t sure what we were supposed to take from that. He was watching Sally’s teacher dance and was reaching down to feel the grass. I believe it was simply that he wanted to feel what she was feeling with her bare feet — I thought perhaps to convince himself that she was “for real,” and her joy was for real? (Am I way off, here?) My hubby Superman thought maybe he simply wanted to feel a little of that youthful joy himself? But he seems to have acquiesced a point to Peggy in the next scene — as if he realized she was right. (And she realized he was right, too.) Her point earlier had been that the Ann Margaret character was “fake,” so I thought maybe the Maypole dance showed him that that youthful joy CAN be real, if you find it in the right place. Ya’ think? What are your thoughts on that scene?
Chime in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole episode!
Also, there was a very cool post over here by Natasha Vargas-Cooper, with some details and footnotes about the ad campaigns and era-specific jokes from last night’s episode (including “Yetta Wallenda”! — thank you!).