Tonight's Mad Men was titled "Lady Lazarus," after the poem by Sylvia Plath, and there's no question that Megan, Peggy, and Pete all experienced a sort of rebirth, one of the main themes of Plath's poem. At the same time, the episode was peppered with hints at suicide ... another dark element of "Lazarus." Not to mention that everyone seemed to be keeping secrets from one another and telling lies. But what's new? This is Mad Men, after all.
The most obvious example of all of the above themes was Megan's storyline. We all saw it coming. She hasn't been feelin' her career in advertising for quite some time now, and this week, the Heinz hit the fan. After lying to Don about going out for drinks with friends, she confesses that she had actually been to callbacks for an off-Broadway production. Yep, she wants to go back to acting.
Not much of a surprise to anyone, really, and thankfully, an initially dismayed Don seems to accept the idea rather swiftly. So, she quits the next day and is "reborn" an aspiring actress. But might her rebirth also be a repeat "suicide attempt"? You know, she could end up failing all over again. In fact, that's the gist of everyone's tongue-clucking back at the office. The only one who doesn't seem to have any critical words for Megan, ironically, is Peggy, who seems to feel warm and fuzzy about her ... now that her exit means she can resume her place as Copywriter Queen Bee! (Rebirth #2.)
Meanwhile, Pete meets his train buddy Howard's wife, Beth (played by Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel!), at the train station in Cos Cob. She asks him if he saw Howard on the train, because she's locked herself out of her car. Thanks to their morning commute convo, Pete's well-informed about Howard's affair with his "24-year-old from the 24th floor" mistress, but he plays dumb ... offers Beth a ride home ... and surprise! They end up getting it on, since Beth is a smart enough cookie to know where her hubby really is, and Pete's as lonely and sleazebally as ever.
In a way, though, this was a rebirth for him, as well. Because he actually falls for Rory Gilmore Beth. Too bad she's not into pursuing it, dismissing him after they finish, and rejecting his ensuing advances ... until the very end when they cross paths at the train station once again, and she draws a heart into the condensation on her window, giving him a sliver of hope. I would say "poor Pete," but sorry, got no sympathy for the smarmy devil. (Even though, this love affair might be one of the final straws that leads to his impending suicide? Uh-oh ...)
As far as sympathy goes, I did feel a little bad for Don. On her way to acting class, Megan gives him The Beatles' "new album" (Revolver) and tells him to listen to "Tomorrow Never Knows." He puts the needle on the record, and the trippy chords fill their posh apartment. Cut to Peggy and the guys in the copy room smoking a joint ... Beth and Pete ... Megan doing an acting exercise on her classroom floor ... And back to Don, cutting the Fab Four's psychedelic crooning off mid-song. He's heard enough. Everyone else might be itching to move forward, to take a risk, or keep an exciting secret, but not Don. Very telling indeed!
Whose "rebirth" and/or secret were you most fascinated by?
Image via Michael Yarish/AMC