Sterling Cooper and Partners gets some bad news at the beginning of Sunday's Mad Men episode, "Time & Life." McCann Erickson has basically swallowing the company whole, and now it's up to Don and the rest of the partners — mostly Roger, Pete, Joan, and Ted — to figure out what to do. There's one important person in the firm who isn't involved in these meetings, and that's Peggy. Where's Peggy? Oh you know, she's off being her own Boss Lady, and Peggy might get a new job. There's something else layered in this, though, and it has to do with babies. Might Peggy regret giving up her and Pete's baby?
Over the past seven seasons, Peggy has had a lot of ups and downs. Thankfully, most of them have actually been ups: she's advanced her career ten fold, she's living on her own, and she's making her own decisions. Yes, she has had some setbacks, like that whole Ted thing, but she's came out the other side so much stronger. It makes sense that she would constantly look forward instead of looking back, which is exactly what we see her do during "Time & Life." Peggy has a meeting with a head-hunter, and asks him quite simply, "Who wants me?"
The short answer should be that EVERYONE wants Peggy. This head hunter tells her that McCann Erickson actually has the best offer on the table, which is kind of hilarious/ironic, since they're in the middle of swallowing up her current position as it is. Could Peggy be the only one to come out on top of the McCann Erickson merger?
There's something else on Peggy's life to-do list that she's clearly thinking about, but not saying anything about. Babies. Peggy is thinking about babies, and kids, and they are suddenly all over Sterling Cooper and Partners as she tries to do research with Stan for a new campaign. Children are hugging her, and she doesn't know how to respond to that. She's arguing with the mother of one of the child actors about how to take care of children.
It's hard to watch, because we know that Peggy actually has a child somewhere out there in the world. Peggy is clearly planning for her future, post-Sterling Cooper and Partners, and might that include a baby? As she reaches another plateau in her career, does she suddenly find herself wishing that she had that little part in her life? It's hard to tell. She's so focus on work — and she's great at her work — but there's something that tells me Peggy's looking for something else out of life, too.
Her emotions about babies completely boil over during a talk with Stan. He opens up the floodgates by telling Peggy that maybe a baby won't happen for her because she's past her "time" (oh, Stan, we love you, but don't tell a girl that, OK?). The conversation leaves Peggy emotional, because she's quick to point out to Stan that he has no idea what it's like to be a mother, and he'll never know. Besides, if he wanted to walk away from the child any any point he could — while Peggy implies that if she had a child and raised, it, she couldn't do that.
This leads Peggy to admit to Stan that she had a child, a boy, and gave him up for adoption after he was born. She explains to him that she doesn't know how he's doing in life, because she's "not supposed to know." I'm getting a little emotional over here myself, are you? I promise I'm not crying during this Mad Men episode. Promise.
While Peggy might have the job she's always wanted, and is leading the life just the way she wants to, clearly there's a part of her that still thinks about this little boy. Peggy's going to be OK, no matter what decisions she makes now or what decisions she'll make in the future. She tells Stan in the closing moments of the show, "everything is going to be fine." And I believe her.
Image: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC