While last night's Joan-centric episode was a welcome break from a season full of the Draper drips, Mad Men has lost the appealing luster of the early '60s, as it enters into the more depressing half of the decade.
Of course, the show is just a reflection of the era, which makes sense, but the stories don't seem to have be as interesting as they once were. Basically, I think that Don's secretary's dress kind of sums it all up: Everything is getting more realistic and less pretty.
Speaking of dresses, the one funny bit from last night was when Peggy—wearing her trusty plaid number she's had since season one—mentions that she needs to get a new dress.
And while humorous, it's kind of demonstrative of the show becoming a parody of itself. Also, I'm completely disinterested in Peggy now. At this point, I find myself waiting for Joan to come back on screen. Especially because I think that it'll be Joan—not Peggy—who has a feminist awakening, mostly because she's the one who's experiencing the disappointment that comes with the realization that she's the kind of husband she wished she married.
She can't even rely on her husband to impregnate her, because she has to let his career determine when they can start a family, instead of her biological clock.
But her discontent at home is helping her stand up for herself in the office.
More than anything, though, Joan is starting to understand that landing a husband doesn't provide the happily-ever-after that women from her era were promised. She's beginning to realize a man's limitations, and that she might not be able to have everything she wanted, but she'll probably be able to have enough. Still, though…like a fish needs a bicycle.