Mad Men Power Rankings, Week Three: 'I'm Peggy Olson, And I Want To Smoke Some Marijuana!'
It was quite a busy week both in and around the offices of Sterling Cooper, a time filled with parties, petty larceny, and recreational drug use. So how did this night of jitterbuggin', pickpocketin', and weed tokin' affect the individual fortunes of Mad Men's always-compelling cast of characters? Join us below for this week's Power Rankings. You may be shocked at what you see! (Or perhaps not. The 60s, man. The 60s.)
1. Don Draper (even) Last week's rank: 1
Even though it was a relatively quiet episode for Mr. Draper, he still bestrides Sterling Cooper like a Brylcreemed, skinny-suited, finger-blasting Colossus, thus it might take nothing short of being named a "person of interest" in John F. Kennedy's looming assassination (spoiler alert!) to knock him from the top spot in our Power Rankings. Even a two-week dry streak, with not so much as a flirtatious shopgirl pulling Don by his tie into an (un)dressing room for five minutes of panty-hose-imperiling shenanigans, can upset Draper's footing -- he simply intuited it was time to take a step back and let some of his colleagues shine for forty-five or so minutes. The truly powerful know when to let their inferiors feel like they're in charge.
Despite his temporary fade into the background, Draper did manage one moment for the highlight reel, when, upon being informed by a crusty bartender that Roger's Derby Day party was unacceptably bereft of life-giving bourbon, Don hopped behind the bar, poured some rye, and regaled his newest friend with the story of how long ago, in another place, another life, he once parked cars for entitled ninnies like the ones he now drifts among, and payed them back for not allowing him to use their hoity-toity restroom by urinating into the trunks of their expensive automobiles. Don's just like you, grizzled, drink-slinging buddy, but with better taking-a-leak-in-fancy-car stories. But rather than slyly hand you a bag full of valet keys and tell you to get to the important business of class warfare micturating, Draper's going to take his drink and disappear back into the party.
Don Draper Fingerbang Threat Level: High
Draper seemed on the verge of serving digitally administered justice to both Roger and Jane in the Derby party's waning, boozy moments, when the sloshed Mrs. Sterling clawed desperately at Don's belt while whining about his obvious distaste for her and precipitated a tense standoff with a jealous Roger. "My mother was right. It's a mistake to be conspicuously happy," sneered Roger. "No one thinks you're happy. They think you're foolish," returned Don, extra-sneeringly. At this moment, it seemed almost inevitable that a cornered Draper would go two-knuckles-deep inside both rich husband and blushing, age-inappropriate bride, but his sense of decorum and knack for self-preservation conspired to save Draper from himself, allowing him to escape the no-win situation to fingerbang another day.
2. Peggy (up) Last week: 3
"I'm Peggy Olson, and I want to smoke some marijuana!"
"I am so high!"
"I'm in a very good place right now!"
"I am not scared of any of this. But you're scared, aren't you? Don't worry, I'm going to do everything you want for me. I'm going to be fine, Olive. I really am." [Ed.note--At this point our transcription skills may have faltered somewhat, due to the "Get totally high with Peggy Olson" game we were playing. Cheeto-slicked fingertips are less than optimal for transcribing.]
Peggy Olson totally tokes weed! Between last week's Trojanless jaunt to Fellatio Falls with the dumdum from the bar, and last night's chemical experimentation, the 60s are happening all over her. She's sexually liberated, she's smoking the drugs with the boys, she's taking charge of the creative for the Bacardi account while high out of her effing mind. If Don goes another week without getting his ennui-stick wet, Peggy will threaten to wrest the top spot from his complacent grasp.
3. Roger Sterling (down) Last week: 2
Hmm. OK. Ummm...Okay? (Nervously runs fingers through hair, paces the office, takes a shaky drag from a hand-rolled tobacco cigarette.) Rog? Yes, yes, it's the 60s. Retrograde attitudes about a lot of things, rampant racism, all that. Yes, we know. But blackface? On stage at your Derby Day party for your fancy pals and co-workers? Really? And you don't even have the excuse that you were lashing out after Don called you miserable and foolish. Tacky. Just so tacky. And really, bragging that you like to break out the shoe polish and do an in-home minstrel show for the missus isn't helping one bit. Let's get back to unrepentantly boozing your way through a business lunch, a little healthy philandering, maybe even some prime rib instead of that heart-preserving iceberg wedge, but please, lay off the blackface stuff. As a show of good faith, we're not even going to reference Ted Danson.
4. Pete Campbell (up) Last week: 6
The Devil done got into Pete Campbell! When Lane Pryce set up that intraoffice deathmatch between his new co-Heads of Accounts in the season opener, we thought some soft-shoe might happen when the manipulative Brit fired a pistol at Pete and Ken Cosgrove's feet while cackling, "Dance, dance my little ad-men monkeys! Dance for my amusement!" But we never foresaw Pete cutting a rug at the Derby Day party with the wife, running through a complicated series of steps including the Brown-Nosed Charleston, the Shitheel Shuffle, and the Knee-Switching Weasel. [Ed.note -- An intern is still fact-checking those names. Which we're pretty sure are listed correctly in the preceding sentence.] All that was missing from his impressive choreography was a collapse into a chair at the edge of the dance-floor, a firm yank of a nearby chain, and a routine-ending dousing with a hundred gallons of water.
How is Ken Cosgrove supposed to compete with that?
5. Joan (up) Last week: 8
We know that having an accordion shoved into her hand and being asked to warble in French for the amusement of her operation-botching doctor beau's dinner guests was supposed to be a sad, humiliating moment for Joan, a depressing glimpse of the rest of a life cast as The Perfect Wife. But it wasn't. It was hot. So very hot. It's going to be impossible to book an accordion lesson for months.
6. Betty (up) Last week: 7
Betty's still got it. Even swollen with relationship-salvaging child, the too-beautiful Mrs. Draper is still a magnet for the predatory advances of frosted-templed older men who know that a strategic belly rub now might set the table for a little extramarital action down the line. Probably after Betty catches Don pulling the same move on a woman five years her junior.
7: Paul Kinsey (up)(tie) Last week: 1
7. Jeffrey the Drug Dealer (up) (tie) Last week: unranked
Insufferable? Sure. But screen time is screen time. And a reliable weed connection is worth something, too, even if the true cost is having your drug-dealing Princeton alum buddy poke holes in your inflated chest by revealing your pitchiness had you tossed from the a capella group on your tin ear. And that you're actually common Jersey trash. On scholarship! Kinsey's up a couple of notches only because his late-night phone call brought Jeffrey the Pill-Slinging Tiger Tone into our lives. (Played by this guy!)
8. Jane Sterling (up) Last week: unranked
So what if she gets a little handsy when she's tipsy? Or says things she maybe shouldn't after drinking her dinner? She's losing so much weight Roger keeps having her rings resized! Take that, Joan, you accordion tinkling, Francophile tramp!
9. Sally Draper (down) (tie) Last week: 8
She's a terrible liar. Will Don's gift for deception skip a generation? If her father had actually stolen that five bucks from Grandpa Gene, by the time he was done denying the crime he'd have the old man handing him the other thirty dollars to apologize for unjustly accusing him of being a petty thief.
10. Ken Cosgrove (down) Last week: 4
Ken Congrove is a cautionary tale about accepting empty titles over pay raises for promotions; ever since he was elevated to co-Head of Accounts, he's virtually disappeared from Sterling Cooper. Sure, the promotion granted him access to Sterling's party, but he had little to do but watch helplessly as Pete unleashed a fusillade of scorching hot dance moves to impress his sloshed co-workers. He's headed for the unranked list next week if he can't get his act together.
On the Bubble: Olive the Secretary.
Not ranked this week: Bertram Cooper, Salvatore, Harry, Bacardi, Carla the Maid, Bourbon.