'Mad Men' Recap: Pete Campbell Really Is a 'Grimy Little Pimp'

Pete Campbell duking it out with LaneMy best friend and I are usually on the same page about everything. But recently, when she expressed sympathy for Pete Campbell, I couldn't believe it. I know that we all tend to go back and forth with hating Betty. But I can't quite wrap my head around anyone ever liking Pete -- especially after tonight's episode.

Although there were some subplots going on tonight -- Ken Cosgrove gets "found out" as a still occasionally published sci-fi writer with a pseudonym, and Lane feels like he's not quite fitting in at SCDP these days and kisses Joan (!) -- the main focus was on Pete's discontent. Of course moving out to Connecticut and having a baby with Trudy couldn't change his skeezy ways. 'Course not!

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But it is about to change his status as non-driver. When we catch up with him at the beginning of the episode, he's in Driver's Ed, eyeing a 16-year-old, later going so far as to ask her out. Ick, icky, ick.

Then, when Lane fails to nab an account with Jaguar from fellow Englishman, Edwin Baker, Pete, Roger, and Don step in. Turns out Baker wants a "good time" (in other words, a hooker), so they go to the Upper East Side brothel. Don knows all about those -- he was born in one, remember? And he even shares this with the modern day madam as part of his rationale for "sitting this one out." Anyway, big surprise -- Pete scores himself a blondie for the night. Eww.

Making it even worse, he gets defensive with Don as they head back to their respective homes in a shared cab, and even tries to compare his infidelity to Don's. Ha! Obviously Pete doesn't understand that Don only cheats when he's miserable ...

A-ha! So Pete is miserable! That's made even more evident when he insults Lane in the managers' meeting and the two duke it out with a fist fight. Is it just me, or was it all sorts of satisfying to see Lane kick Pete's butt?!

I can't help but wonder ... does Matthew Weiner actually want us to pity Pete? The main reason I say that is because of the incident with the water faucet. He tries to fix it, thinks he actually was successful at fixing it, but as it turns out, he screwed up, and ends up getting owned by "superhero" Don ... in his own home. Ouch. And then, he goes all cry baby in the elevator after getting beat up by Lane ... and glimpses creepily at his teen crush and her hot new BF gettin' it on in the dark Driver's Ed classroom ... That reminded me a bit of American Beauty. Whoa. Is Pete Lester Burnham?!

But no. You root for Lester. I still can't root for Pete. He's just such a freakin' weasel, or as Lane so eloquently put it ... "a grimy little pimp."

How do you feel about Pete Campbell -- do you have sympathy for him or agree with Lane?

 

Image via AMC

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