This week on Mad Men (Season 6, Episode 4, “To Have and To Hold”), the sympathy rankings were hard to line up, since so many characters were betraying each other and lying to each other and going behind each others’ backs. And don’t forget Don Draper’s ongoing extramarital affair with a side of hypocrisy.
Let’s see where our characters stand this week. There are a few new additions to the rankings to replace this week’s absent characters. Check out last week’s rankings if you need a refresher.
8. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) (Last week: 7)
I was beginning to think no one could ever knock Pete Campbell out of last place, but Don managed to do it this episode by being an adulterous hypocrite. Not only is he continuing his affair with neighbor Sylvia, but he had the nerve to criticize Megan for participating in a love scene for her TV show. I was already fuming when Don expressed hesitancy about Megan doing the scene. Because being an actress and kissing someone for a role is simply unacceptable, but sneaking off to have sex with your neighbor is totally cool. But I became furious at the end of the episode when Don had the nerve to show up and watch Megan shoot the scene, having never come to set before, and then yelled at her backstage, basically accusing her of being a prostitute: “You kiss people for money. You know who does that?” Yes, Don, your mother did that. And so did Joan. Don then should have added, “Now excuse me while I go hand my mistress a penny before having sex with her, just like I gave her a wad of cash last week after we did the deed.” Pass the Heinz? More like pass the hypocrisy.
7. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) (Last week: 8)
Pete didn’t have much to do this week besides being involved in the top-secret Project K for Heinz, which betrayed Ken Cosgrove’s trust (see below) and therefore was not something I approved of. But he stays toward the bottom of the rankings because of his creepy offer to let Don stay in his apartment if he ever has to spend the night in the city. I can only imagine this is an offer to recreated The Apartment, a movie which factored into the story a few seasons ago. But, as Don reminds him, he already lives in the city.
6. Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) (Last week: 3)
We finally get to see Joan more this season and she’s unsympathetic. What a disappointment. Joan’s decision to act like a snooty hardass to the secretaries and then go teach her Heather Graham-lookalike friend Kate (Marley Shelton) how to have a one-night stand didn’t sit well with me. Harry’s complaints about her (more on that in a minute) only highlighted this for me.
5. Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) (Last week: 4)
No, Peggy! You keep moving closer and closer to the dark side! Don’t become the new Don Draper! This week we didn’t see Peggy until she showed up to steal the Heinz ketchup account away from SCDP due to a tip from her friend (now frenemy) Stan in the last episode. And she made it even worse by quoting Don Draper in her pitch: “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.” Come back and be my favorite again, Peggy.
4. Dawn Chambers (Teyonah Parris) (Last week: Not ranked)
I can definitely sympathize with Dawn. As she explained to her friend, things as SCDP aren’t exactly fun, and she tries her best not only to fit in with her fellow secretaries but also respect the company. She shouldn’t have gone along with Scarlett’s plan to skip work, but I appreciated that she owned up to it and asked to be docked the missed hours. Related thought: How did Don manage to get a secretary named Dawn? I know I’m not the first person to ask this, but really?!
3. Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) (Last week: Not ranked)
I’m surprised Ken hasn’t shown up in the rankings already, but he’s stayed pretty much under the radar this season. Ken has remained arguably the most steadily likable character on Mad Men, so it’s a shame that we don’t get a lot of glimpses into his life. This time, Don, Pete and Stan went behind his back to work on the Heinz ketchup pitch, and it cost them the beans guy. Poor Ken just wants to do what’s right. Go work on your sci-fi stories, Ken.
2. Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) (Last week: Not ranked)
I don’t always agree with Harry. He can be kind of self-centered. But I totally see his point in complaining that he’s not a partner but Joan is. As he said, he achieved his success in “broad daylight,” and he deserves to get some recognition for it. And you know what, I agree. If I were in his position, I would be angry too. Too often the industry, as portrayed on the show, rewards shady behavior and ignores honest achievement. I was happy Harry called them out on it.
1. Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) (Last week: 2)
I never thought I’d feel so bad for Megan. Last season I couldn’t stand her, but this season she’s moving on up in the rankings, mostly due to Don’s hypocritical treatment of her. Megan felt a responsibility to warn Don about her onscreen love scene, although she probably didn’t have to say anything since he’d never watch the show anyway. And then he had the nerve to criticize her career before going off to sleep with someone else. Is a Trudy Campbell-style monologue in Megan’s future? I sure hope so.
What will happen next week? Will Betty be back? Will Pete keep being creepy? Will someone please pass the Heinz already?