I don't think I'm smart enough for this show sometimes. I've watched this episode twice and I'm still not sure what was happening in some of the scenes. Also, I'm not sure how I should be reacting to what some of the characters are doing.
Why was Don fondling the grass during the May Pole dance?
What was that long look that Don gave Peggy while she was in her office on the typewriter at the end of the episode?
What was the thematic connection between the different plot lines (the Madison Square Garden storyline, the Peggy hates Ann Margaret storyline, and the Betty vs William dutiful children of senile father storyline)?
I'm so confused!!!! Waaaaah!
So, instead of trying to figure out "what it all means" in any grand sort of way, I'll just list off things I noticed, things I liked, things I disliked, and other random observations/opinions.
First, I think Don is looking hotter than ever. (It's Mad Men, I'm allowed to start off with the superficial, surface things, 'natch)
His hair is longer too, it seems, and I must say, it works for him. Also, I love Betty's beehive hair-do.
Peggy needs a new wardrobe. And I don't know if I like one-night-stand Peggy all that much. I get that she wants to be desired a la Ann-Margaret/Joan, but I dunno, I guess my Catholic morality is getting in the way and I just don't want to see Peggy turn into a female version of Don Draper. That would make me sad.
Not enough Pete this episode.
I do not like super-smiley New!Bobby. He's creeping me out. Where is solemn, sulky, adorable oldBobby???
Best part of the episode: Betty's dad dumping the booze down the drain because he thought the fuzz had shown up. Prohibition flashbacks by senile old men amuse me.
Best lines of the episode: Everything that came out of Roger "Silver Fox" Sterling's mouth. His line to British Glasses Man about getting three sheets to the wind and trying on the suit of armor was brilliant.
Missing this ep: Moneypenny. I want more Moneypenny so we can have more Moneypenny snark from Joan.
Finally, I thought the scene where Peggy was imitating Ann-Margaret's "Bye Bye Birdie" performance in her bedroom mirror was one of the most awkward, painful, amazing pieces of acting I've ever seen from Elisabeth Moss. Give this girl her Emmy now!
I wish this episode had inspired deeper thoughts from me, but alas, it didn't. Not that I didn't enjoy the episode; I did. I watched it twice and each time I thought it was great. It was an entertaining episode; everything looked gorgeous as always; and it was thought-provoking too. The only problem, all the thoughts that were provoked in me are a muddled, confused mess, so I'm not able to write any coherent analysis of the episode.
I guess it maybe all comes back to the title: Love Among the Ruins.
Familial love in ruins: Betty's dad and his diminishing health, sibling rivalry, etc
Societal love in ruins: The people of New York love Penn Station and don't want to see it torn down
Romantic love in ruins: Peggy wishes she were more desirable sexually, so she flirts with a guy and has a one-night sexual encounter with him to reassert her self worth (but did it work?)
Familial love in ruins, part deux: Roger's relationship with his daughter is a mess because of his divorce and remarriage
I dunno. I guess that wasn't much of an analysis since probably everybody who watched this episode figured all this out for themselves already. But it's all I got.
**Bonus best moment of the episode: Mona calling Roger's new wife Jane, "June." Mona is a goddess.