Even though “The Collaborators” moved a little slower than the 2 hour premier last week, I really loved a lot about this episode. And, I am thankful there was no Betty making weird rape jokes or cooking for hobos. This episode centered on infidelity — both in love and in business, and it was a thrill to see Don Draper being, well…Don Draper again.
Here are 5 things we learned from “The Collaborators”
1. Pete Campbell is Still an Awkward Scumbag
Every scene ever with Pete Campbell and another woman makes me feel… sad inside. Remember that time he bought his downstairs neighbor a new dress in exchange for unwelcome sex? This scene with the blond down the block was no different. His game literally gives me shivers, when he asks her if the temperature is okay because it’s been known to get hot (wink wink). So yes, still as awkward as ever. But worse—when she comes to the house bloodied up from an abusive husband, his only concern is that she will A) tell Trudy, or B) her husband will tell Trudy. He has no guilt, he just doesn’t want to get caught. I sort of understand the fear since this woman is a Stage 5 Clinger (seriously where does he find these girls?) begging him to let her live with him in the city, while his wife is cleaning up her blood. Yikes.
2. Trudy Campbell is, Actually, Awesome
FINALLY. Trudy gives Pete what he deserves. I’ve been waiting for this moment for many a season, though I wish it had happened before they got married. She just wanted Pete to be discrete—she doesn’t care about his affairs, she doesn’t want a divorce because she doesn’t want to fail, she just wants to live her life with this man with some dignity in tact. It makes sense that she wouldn’t want a divorce. With all of the divorces flying around it’s easy to forget that it still is the 1960s and it still is not completely acceptable to get a divorce (remember when the divorcee moved down the street from the Drapers and it was rumored the value of the houses on the block would depreciate by a couple thousand dollars?), and like she said, she doesn’t want to be a failure. But MAN does she lay down the law! She tells Pete to only be there when she tells him to be there—she is drawing a line and she is taking control. I LOVED it. And when Pete tries to grapple with this, he convinces himself she’ll regret it: “You’re going to go to bed alone tonight, and you’re going to realize you don’t know anything for sure.” Trudy is just fine with this—but do you think Pete Campbell will be? Not a chance.
3. DON’S STILL GOT IT
It’s easy to forget how sexy Don Draper can be, since he’s been monogamous and we’ve only seen weird power struggle sex scenes from him for most of the past season. I was obsessed with his dinner date with Sylvia Rosen. When she tried to act upset about the fact that they ended up alone together (though why would this upset anyone, ever… seriously), he made sure to tell her how it was: “You want to feel shitty, right up until the point I take your dress off. Because I’m going to do that.” GOD—he just took control. Something he seems unable to do with Meagan. And it showed in his meeting with Jaguar the next day too, he stopped taking NO for an answer, and convinced them with his advertising wiles that they needed only a National campaign. Just like he convinced Sylvia with his sexual wiles that their affair would continue, because they both wanted it to.
4. Meagan Draper Had a Miscarriage
That scene with her and Sylvia, her confessing about her miscarriage. It was great. I loved her candor—she showed a serious struggle and I can only imagine how difficult it was to discuss with this woman that she was relived about the miscarriage. But when she told Don, she looked so uncertain and scared, I began to fear the Meagan I loved last season was shrinking away inside her marriage with Don. Then, I thought back to when Betty found out she was pregnant again. Oh the parallels! Betty also considered an abortion. She was scared, and she didn’t tell Don right away. She certainly didn’t open up to Don about her fears (like Meagan). And the best part, Betty had a one night stand with a rando she met at a park before telling Don about the baby. She had no idea how she was feeling or why—Meagan seems to have a grasp on her feelings, and I like that about her.
5. Don’s Past is Just as Confusing as Ever
There were two flashbacks to a young Don Draper with a pregnant woman in a whore house. We know Don is 8 or 9 years older than his half brother Adam, who this woman is pregnant with. I assume is Abigail (the woman who took in Don after his mother died giving birth to him). From what we’ve learned in past seasons, Don moved with Abigail and Adam to Pennsylvania after his father was killed. It looks to me through this episode, however, that Don was away from his father, living in a whore house with Abbigail, before Adam was born. And, this woman didn’t initially strike me as a prostitute. She was reluctant. You hear her being asked to “contribute” in order to stay at this whore-house. I am not sure how much more we learned about Don’s past in this one, but it was definitely interesting to watch Don spy through the peep hole at his pregnant mother in the act. It certainly explains some of his intimacy issues…