TV Review: Mad Men Series 7 Episode 12: ‘Lost Horizon’

Joan and Peggy battle sexism on Mad Men. reviews

mad men peggy sates


This review contains spoilers




In the previous episode, Sterling Cooper & Partners was abruptly swallowed by the marketing giant McCann-Erikson. Now they must adjust to the merging between the two companies, leading to awkward confrontations.

Line of the week: Advertising is not a very comfortable place for everyone. – Shirley

These clashes are unfortunately mainly faced by Peggy and Joan, who become victims of the blatant sexism of the marketing world once again. Joan must battle with a wily male employee, who keeps interrupting her during a phone conference with a customer, culminating in the terrifyingly embarrassing question of whether the wheelchair-ridden customer enjoys golf. Joan requests to work on the case alone, only to ask the wrong man for help. He promotes her, but, of course, expects something ‘in return’, more specifically a weekend retreat with her – something Joan is not willing to give, and shouldn’t have been asked for in the first place. Now she is stuck in an icky position, having alienated both her boss and her colleagues. She eventually attempts to create a solution by threatening to call news outlets to inform them of the rampant misogyny plaguing the office, but her boss just laughs. One wonders whether Joan will escape her nasty predicament – she certainly doesn’t deserve the treatment she has been handed for trying to be professional.

Peggy is treated similarly, with McCann sending her flowers because they presumed she was a secretary, only to realise their mistake. Angry and disappointed, Peggy decides to hang around the old office building until McCann has her new office ready, leading to some soon-to-be iconic scenes from the show. In the desolate offices, she meets Roger, eerily playing an organ amongst scattered papers and rubble. He decides to present her with an old Japanese painting from Cooper’s office, a very explicit image of an octopus “pleasuring a lady”, as Roger succinctly puts it. Peggy looks astounded, saying she can’t possibly hang it in her new office because “you know I need to make men feel at ease”, and this painting would most likely do the opposite. Cut to scenes of Peggy roller-skating through the empty building while Roger plays the organ, and later marching into McCann with a cigarette dangling from her mouth, black sunglasses, and her octopus painting proudly clung under her arm. A few men glare with gaping mouths at her picture, but she marches on, smirking. I’m going to reply that scene in my head for days.

Don has his own issues, as he suddenly abandons the company in the middle of a meeting, and gets into his car, driving straight to Wisconsin to look for Diana. When he doesn’t find her, he decides to continue on the road rather than head home. What is to become of Don on his soul-searching journey? The episode offers no real answers, so we’ll just have to stay tuned and find out.

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