This week's episode of Mad Men, titled "The Better Half," showed characters attempting to choose the lesser of evils: butter or margarine, Betty or Megan, Ted or Don, lesbianism with Arlene or saving your marriage...you know, the usual Mad Men drama-filled fare.
Unfortunately for our friends at SCDP/CGC, no one was able to make a fully satisfying decision, leaving a lot of open-ended questions as to what we'll be seeing next week. It was also strange that after an episode that marveled on the madness caused by Chevy, the name wasn't once uttered during this episode. What's going on there?
We may not have all the answers, but we do have all the outfits worn Sunday night--so get clicking!
Don Don took a real hit when Sylvia dumped him, and his worsening relationship with Megan isn't helping his self esteem. Lately, it's looking like Don's clothes are wearing him, not the other way around.
During the margarine meeting, Don wears a very plain grey suit with a black and grey striped tie. He looks very stiff, though I can't blame him--if his top jacket button were any higher he'd be choking on it. Later he loosens up for the drive up to Bobby's summer camp in a white shirt, red, grey, and black striped tie, and black trousers. I don't know why he's wearing a nice outfit for the drive, since as soon as he arrives he changes into a navy polo and some khakis. Weekend Don is one of my favorite Don-iterations because he always looks so out of place in casual clothes.
Despite looking a bit awkward this episode, Don still manages to woo Betty back into his arms, albeit temporarily. After five seasons of being completely over Don and Betty, it felt so good to see them back together, and even better to see Betty stand up for herself to Don.
The next morning after their tryst, Don runs into Betty and Henry in the cafeteria wearing a brown blazer, blue shirt, and khakis; this is his dressed up casual look, which makes me think he was hoping he could win over Betty by looking nice and acting gentlemanly. Nope. Then he returns home to try to make it work with Megan, not because he wants to, but because he needs to in order to make himself feel better. Poor Don.
Betty Thin Betty is back in action. She does some truly weird flirtation wearing a yellow dress with a built in cape at a fundraiser for Henry. She's decked out from gloves to jewels, really showing herself off like the political wife she longed to be. Being pretty and desired is what gets Betty off--and Henry too, apparently, since they have a weird love-making session in the back of a limo after her flirt session.
Later Betty goes for a more modern outfit in a sleeveless floral top and denim shorts while driving to Bobby's camp. This is the first time we've seen Betty in denim; it's a real reflection that she's let her guard down. If she were with her husband would she have bent into her car like that? Or flirted with Don so obviously? When flying solo, Betty isn't afraid to be a tease.
After her night with Don, however, Betty is back in uptight mode, wearing a white and blue full skirted dress, a white headband, and very prim jewelry. Relaxed, available Betty is gone, she's back to being a politician's wife.
Megan As the season progresses Megan is getting more and more confused. We first see her on set of To Have and To Hold dressed as Corinne's (evil? French?) twin, Colette, in a blonde wig, dangling earrings, and a tight, red, lace dress with turtleneck and long sleeves. She's completely covered up and consumed by her character, the only part of Megan you recognize is the tiny bit of her face that is visible. Her acting career is overwhelming her, it seems. (Sidenote: Didn't she say last week she was going to ask to take time off from the soap to vacay in Hawaii with Don? Guess that's not happening anymore.)
She later attempts to connect with Don by talking about her work problems while wearing a black tank and jeans, but fails to engage him. Whereas Don is allured by Betty in her casual outfit and relaxed mood, he ignores casual Megan. He doesn't want to have a casual relationship with Megan because that ruins her mystery; he only likes Megan when she is trying hard to please him and forgetting about her personal needs.
Since Don doesn't make her feel any better, Megan calls over Arlene, the swinging star of the soap opera. Megan wears a rainbow pastel top with white pants and a blue scarf headband, a very young and innocent look for her. It seems very odd that she would call Arlene to hang out, especially after the swinging incident, but maybe Megan is subconsciously looking to feel needed by someone. The whole thing goes over quite badly, however, embarrassing Arlene and putting Megan's job in an awkward position.
In her final scene, Megan wears white undies and a white tee with a red star on it--a very Marc Jacobs spring 2013 look to us.
Arlene Arlene loves a good caftan. During her scene on To Have and To Hold, she wears an orange one with beaded trim and a pearl pin. Later at the Drapers' residence, she wears a green printed caftan with a metallic gold purse (filled with liquor, obviously). She's a very dramatic character with intense passions, so it makes sense for her to wear a giant dramatic garment 24/7.
Peggy Peggy was the biggest loser of this episode of Mad Men. Her two mentors, Don and Ted, emotionally dump her, and her boyfriend actually dumps her. Though she did stab him, so that break up seems pretty fair.
To enter the great margarine debate, Peggy wears a butter-yellow dress with a mod white panel in front. Is she the butter everyone is fighting over, unwilling to take the cheaper margarine option? Maybe, as Don and Ted will do anything to get her on their side. Well, except for touch her hand.
When confronted by Ted about some inappropriate hand touching during a pitch, Peggy wears a white and red dot dress with a trompe l'oeil navy skirt. They go back and forth, each saying that "the kiss" meant nothing, but that they actually think about it all the time. Clearly this is not going to end well.
Furthering Peggy's bad luck, she stabs Abe square in the gut with a knife attached to a broomstick because she thought he was an intruder. During this scene, Peggy is wearing a hot pink pajama set. The following morning in the office she looks wrecked in a mint green dot dress with a tie neck, completely sans makeup or hairspray. When she seeks personal compassion from Ted, he is cold, and Don just retreats into his office thinking of work.
Abe Abe keeps acting weirder and weirder. Is it just me, or does it seem highly likely that Abe stabbed himself and threw the rock through his own window to prove that the "danger" of living on the Upper West Side was not real? Either way, his article is going to have a crazy twist ending.
During his first scene he wears a red henley shirt and jeans, which is, shockingly, the best Abe has looked in a while. It's not great, but it's much better than overalls without a shirt, right?
Later he wears a black and white striped button down open, and for his stabbing he's in his white tee and tighty whities. The less clothes Abe has on, the closer he is to danger.
Ted Turns out Mr. Nice Guy, Ted Chaough, isn't that nice after all. He leads Peggy on in a blue suit and brown tie, and then abruptly breaks it off with her the next day, wearing an almost identical outfit. You can't judge a Ted by his cover, although it is quite cute he's wearing a yellow shirt to the margarine meeting.
Joan Joan had a diverse range of outfits this episode.
She starts out in the office in a purple form-fitting dress with a gold tassel necklace, gold bracelet, and gold earrings. It seems as partner Joan has moved past her famous pen necklace and onto more ornate adornments.
To hit the beach with Bob Benson, she wears a sweet nautical themed sweater and skirt, with a red, white, and blue scarf in her hair. Joan would have theme outfits depending on her vacation location. Back in the office the next day, she is continuing her beach theme in a tropical printed suit and a matching gold fan pin and earrings set. The sunny print is a lingering reminder to Roger that she went to the beach with Bob, not him.
Roger Roger's outfits this episode are entering crazy grandpa territory. He seems out of place in all of them. He can't fit in as Ellery's "Pop Pop" in a double breasted blazer and grey pants, nor can he be Kevin's dad in a black and white plaid blazer. When he's in the office again he wears a grey three piece suit--standard Rodge--except with his pocket square done in the three-point style favored by Bert Cooper, someone else who has been rendered a useless figurehead. Could Roger be heading in this direction?
Bob So far, Bob is the nicest guy to ever be on Mad Men. Fans are in a tizzy with theories of Bob being an FBI spy or having crazy ulterior motives because, as a group, we are all so used to seeing conniving, cheating men that when a nice one comes along, we can't trust him.
The first we see of Bob is at Joan's apartment, wearing a green polo and white, printed, board shorts. Nice gams, BB. In the office he's traded his green palette for a blue one, in a blue suit and brown-hued tie very similar to Ted Chaough's outfits this episode. Maybe his dressing similar to Ted is a note that we shouldn't take Bob's actions at face value? Or maybe we're all paranoid Peggys who don't trust anyone? Only time will tell, guys.
Pete Pete is loosing his grip on his life. He can't manage his ill mother, (ex?) wife, and job without being in a constant state of anxiety. His outfits are reflecting his mixed up state.
One day Pete turns up in a dark blue suit, striped shirt, and patterned tie, looking like he's taking pattern-mixing cues from Ginsberg, and the next day he's dressed as Roger's stand-in in a white shirt and grey vest. Pete is on a mission of self discovery this season, and so far, it's not going well. Maybe Bob Benson and his male nurse can help.
Margaret Roger's daughter Margaret makes a small appearance this episode, which is great, because she gives dimension to the trends of the era. She's an upper class, young housewife (the only one on the show), and so she has a very distinct way of dressing that is a posh take on the psychedelic trends. She first shows up at SCDP/CGC in a nude shift with pastel prints, a chic up-do, and pearl earrings. At home, however, she's a bit more relaxed in a nightie that looks like van Gogh's sunflowers come to life. Despite her girlish demeanor, she's not taking shit from anyone, especially Roger.