The article below contains spoilers for "To Have and to Hold," the April 21, 2013 episode of "Mad Men."
It seems that women still cry in the bathrooms of Sterling Cooper Draper. Back in the first season of "Mad Men," new secretary Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) walked past someone weeping every time she headed into the ladies' room -- though she looked in the mirror and squared her jaw and silently vowed that she wouldn't be one of them, that'd she be tough and modern and able to play by the office's difficult and ever shifting rules. Now Peggy's a copy chief at another agency, going up against her old boss and mentor Don (Jon Hamm) for the Heinz ketchup account she learned from a conversation Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) surely figured was off the record, while Joan (Christina Hendricks), the former queen bee of the admin department who once banned tears from the break room ("It erodes morale. There's a place to do that, like your apartment.") is now an SCD partner herself. It's Dawn (Teyonah Parris) who's the outsider freshest to this Madison Avenue world, and who sees that "everybody's scared there" even as she wants and needs to hold on to her position. It's no easy bargain to strike.
As she pointed out, it's just her and a shoeshine man on a subway train otherwise full of white people by 72nd Street, and her apparent social invisibility extends even to run-ins with those she knows from home, who give her nods but don't stop to talk. She has to navigate an even more complicated social landscape than Peggy did in those early days, but she's also driven by need, by her apparent conviction that she's not going to be able to meet someone and get married. Working instead of being a wife doesn't seem to be for her a question of liberty so much as one of necessity.
There's something terrible and tired to Joan's graceful acquiescing to the will of others in that sequence, just as there was in her giving Dawn more power as a punishment. She's always been the character with the finest grasp of social undercurrents and how to flow with them, to use them for momentum, but her showdown with a petulant Harry (Rich Sommer) in the office ("I am tired of your petty dictatorship!") seemed to leave a lasting wound when he brought up what she did to land the Jaguar account. It's something that the partners were willing to ask of her at the time -- a betrayal that still resonates for the character -- but that others are clearly happy to fling back in her face after it was done. "I'm really not you, am I?" Kate asked as the pair woke up in their clothes, hungover. "Why would you want to be?" Joan responded, and at that moment she really seemed to mean it. The power Joan has always found in her desirability seems, for now, to have been drained away, and her place at SCD is hardly offering the same affirmation.
It's believable that he wouldn't want to see his wife kissing another man, or more pressingly to have her be seen doing so by a TV audience, but he also works in advertising -- artifice for the job is part of his day-to-day life, and the nature of the scene, with its silliness and the surrounding crowd, was hardly threatening. (Nor were the offers the night before from Megan's swinger co-workers.) His attack on Megan instead seemed like a power play, like him pressing an advantage rather than being genuinely outraged -- and he's too smart to allow himself actual anger over a soap opera bedroom scene, which would be the worst type of hypocrisy for a compulsive adulterer.
After the last episode's high-minded talk about sticking by Raymond Geiger and the baked beans and vinegars account because he was their original client, Don still showed up in Pete's (Vincent Kartheiser) apartment to talk to the ketchup rep, lured by the idea of being the only one to get a chance at the account. His displeasure in seeing Peggy with Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) wasn't just about being placed in competition with the woman he sometimes taught, it was about having to go up against anyone.
Don's a guy who has no trouble going from calling his wife a whore for playacting at embracing another actor on camera to tumbling into his waiting mistress Sylvia's (Linda Cardellini) bed while needling her about whether she prays for absolution after he leaves. Her clear-eyed answer, that she prays for him, doesn't offer him any solace -- though that's not why he's there. Don's the one standing in the way of his own happiness, and his knowing that doesn't make it any easier to find a solution. He may enjoy freedoms many of the other characters have no chance at, but that doesn't mean he knows where to go.