‘Mad Men’ Review: “A Day’s Work”
‘Mad Men’ season 7 pitches its 2nd episode of the final season, “A Day's Work,” as Don is forced to explain to Sally the reality of his work situation, while Pete finds himself overlooked in Los Angeles, and Joan's frustrations lead to a new opportunity.
Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ premiere, “Time Zones,” saw Don finding a new creative outlet amid trips to New York and California, while Peggy struggled with her new boss, and Joan attempted to salvage a departing account. So what does the second episode of the final season bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ season 7, episode 2, “A Day's Work”!
Don awakens in bed alone, accidentally snoozing until noon, before lazing about the house. That night, Don dresses up just before Dawn comes over to update him on office correspondence, dressing down immediately thereafter. Meanwhile, Sally and her roommates discuss the upcoming funeral of their other roommate's mother, making plans to break away to go shopping in the city. Over in California, Pete and Bonnie get busy in the office while Pete searches for Chevy files, getting awkwardly caught by Ted in the process.
Peggy realizes from Ginsburg and Stan in the elevator that Valentine’s Day has arrived, and finds an unaddressed bouquet of flowers on her secretary’s desk, believing them to be hers. Her secretary Shirley attempts to communicate that the flowers were actually hers, but sheepishly allows Peggy to keep them. Thinking them a gift from Ted, Peggy calls Ted’s secretary to cryptically relay a passive-aggressive message that the gesture goes unappreciated. Meanwhile, Sally and her friends prepare to leave Grand Central, before Sally realizes that she misplaced her purse, and gets off the train.
Dawn and Shirley banter about Peggy’s mistake with the flowers, while Don meets with an ad man from another agency, feeling out the possibility of a job. Sally arrives to Sterling-Cooper looking for her father, as Lou realizes the source of her confusion and awkwardly sends her away. Meanwhile, Pete announces to the New York partners that he successfully landed a Chevy account, though the connection drops out as the New Yorkers reluctantly agree to run it by their Detroit accounts first, and ultimately keep Pete out of the loop. A while later, Don returns home to find Sally waiting for him, as Don lies about having been at work.
Don offers to drive Sally back, just before Dawn learns of Sally’s visit from an irate Lou, and calls Don for a heads up, though Don declines to mention what he knows to Sally. Shortly thereafter, Lou calls both Dawn and Joan into his office, wanting another secretary he doesn’t have to share with Don, though Dawn insists the awkward encounter wasn’t her fault. Elsewhere, Roger calls Pete personally to relay that they won’t need him to handle the Detroit business, though Pete heard them discussing it over the phone when the connections dropped out. Pete sulks to Ted and suggests they start their own agency, though Ted predictably ignores him.
While Joan switches Dawn to the main reception desk, Don and Sally come clean about their lies to one another on the car ride up, though Don recoils when Sally suggest she might have run into Sylvia in his building. Back at the office, Peggy dismisses a call from Ted and gives the flowers back to Shirley, who confesses they were hers to begin with. Peggy grows angry that the engaged Shirley sought to embarrass her, retreating into her office. Meanwhile, Cooper sees that Dawn has been moved to main reception, and immediately asks that Joan return a white receptionist to the front desk. Out in Los Angeles, Pete surprises Bonnie before a showing, as Bonnie lends a sympathetic ear for Pete’s work troubles, but winds up called back to work.
Don stops at a diner with Sally, admitting that he hadn’t told anyone about his leave from work out of embarrassment, and adding that telling the truth at the wrong moments got him put on leave in the first place. Sally questions if Don still loves Megan, which he insists he does, though Sally points out he should be honest and upfront about not wanting to move to California. Don and Sally bond over her discomfort at attending the funeral, before Don jokingly suggests they dine and dash. Back at the office, Peggy asks a beleaguered Joan to find her a new secretary after the incident with Shirley. Cutler interrupts looking to discuss Joan’s accounts, and seeing the plight of her dual roles, suggest Joan take an office upstairs and move into handling her accounts full time.
Joan arrives to her new office as Dawn settles into the vacated seat as head of the steno pool, and both Roger and Cutler sort out their differences. Don drops Sally off back at school, as she wishes her father a happy Valentine’s Day and tells him she loves him, moving Don.
Last week's 'Mad Men' premiere didn't exactly offer much in the way of surprises, despite what the spoiler and conspiracy culture might lead you to believe, so it isn't moving heaven and earth to say that "A Day's Work" didn't exactly see zombies invade the offices of Sterling-Cooper. Plenty of meaningful character interaction of course, and certainly a few victories for the ladies this week, even as Peggy mostly embarrasses herself with the continually awkward relationship to Ted.
It was nice to catch up with Sally this week, obviously the most valued of Don's connections to the former Draper family, while a few more layers ended up peeled back following the trip to Don's childhood home last season. It's of interest the way the episode managed to frame the importance of truth-telling at the right moments, as one outburst cost Don his job, while the other ended up serving as a valuable bonding point between he and Sally. We still haven't seen Betty this season, so it's difficult to say if Sally's newly honest relationship with her father will have any larger ramifications, but its a welcome bit of sentiment for a pair that have seemed at odds for so many seasons now.
Elsewhere, it seems Pete isn't quite so happy in Los Angeles as we were led to believe last week, but as of yet the seventh season hasn't quite managed to find a clear purpose to the bicoastal division. Could Pete end up taking his disappointment out on Megan, perhaps invite her to party with the Manson family, as so many predict? Perhaps. For now, it was nice to see put-upon characters like Joan or Dawn get an unexpected break, even at the cost of Bert Cooper's hilariously uncomfortable and racist requests.
Did you get your fill of moving ‘Mad Men’ drama? What did you think about Sunday’s latest, “A Day's Work”? Get yourself caught up with Everything You Need to Know About 'Mad Men,' stay tuned for more coverage of the season, and check back again next Sunday for our review of 'Mad Men' season 7's latest installment, "Field Trip" on AMC!