Re: Mad Men, Season 6, episode 2: The Collaborators
By all accounts, Trudy Campbell had the best lines and maybe even the best scene in last night’s episode of Mad Men. After cleaning up after her husband’s latest extra-curricular encounter, she put him on warning.
Trudy: We’re done, Peter. This is over. I refuse to be a failure. I don’t care what you want anymore. This is how it’s going to work. You will be here only when I tell you to be here. I’m drawing a 50-mile radius around this house, and if you so much as open your fly to urinate I will destroy you. Do you understand?
Pete: You know what? You’re going to go to bed alone tonight, and you’re going to realize, you don’t know anything for sure.
Trudy: I’ll live with that.
The short scene inspired plenty of post-show analysis. What follows is a recap of the recaps:
“The opening bit at Pete and Trudy’s party (Pete flirting with two women; two men flirting with Trudy, Playboy bunny cottontail Easter joke and all) led me to expect this episode would be about counterculture/Hair values infiltrating the suburban middle class — something along the lines of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice or The Ice Storm. But no, it was a traditional Mad Men setup, contrasting a man’s ‘boring’ suburban life at home and his ‘exciting’ ‘single’ life in the city. At least this somewhat tired subplot led to Trudy’s strongest scene ever.”
“Trudy, willing to accept Pete’s infidelity but not his indiscretion (upsetting, yet not surprising), unleashes years of pent-up fury the next morning, her steely voice matching her new set of balls (The Game of Thrones-esque ‘If you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you’ is one for the vengeance saddle bag). But it was all for naught as Pete retained the upper hand: He smugly informed Trudy she would be sleeping alone that night before he marched out the door.”
“Tru-dy! Tru-dy! Tru-dy! I can’t be the only one who stood up and cheered when Trudy Campbell laid into Pete after discovering he had slept with their neighbor. We haven’t seen anything that satisfying on this show since Lane Pryce (may he rest in peace) decked Pete in the conference room last season.”
“What if you came from a stable background and still turned out a selfish sexual sociopath? You’d be Pete Campbell! Trudy is such a prude that she’ll barely flirt with her neighbors’ husbands for even a moment, lest anyone derive some accidental pleasure from it. Last time we saw Trudy, she was trying to alleviate her husband’s depression by letting him rent an apartment in Manhattan, while we shook our heads at her innocence.”
“It seems to me things in Vietnam might have turned out differently for the United States if only we’d had Trudy Campbell fighting on our side. As I’ve long suspected and as Pete discovered in Sunday’s Mad Men, hell truly hath no fury like a Trudy scorned.”
“Hey, remember when you thought that Trudy was just a naive, wimpy little housewife who was always there to serve as a receptacle for Pete’s babies and a sounding board for his constant whining? Well, pull up a chair, my friend, because it is indeed time for you to sit down. Trudy told Pete that she had given him pretty much everything he wanted, which was true. Even from an outsider’s point of view, it looked like Pete had all that he could possibly desire. Yet he still wasn’t fully satisfied.”
“This fight has been a long time coming, and there’s really something gratifying about Trudy’s rage and her poise under pressure, even if her pride and her ego are mostly what’s at stake. Trudy may not be as sure of herself once Pete leaves, but she doesn’t break down and cry. She might handle her new reality reasonably well, but Pete won’t. But then, Pete has always been the sniveling child in this picture.”
“It’s always nice to see the words ‘Guest-starring Alison Brie’ in the opening credits and Brie gets to show off in a particularly fantastic scene in this episode, laying down the law on her wayward husband. Trudy has never been the unsuspecting wife obliviously tending the hearth. She’s as iron-willed and unambiguously ambitious as he is, and she’s been pushing him up the social ladder from behind for a long time. She and Pete have always been portrayed as partners in crime, and they treat his career like it’s their first-born child. We’ve seen her strategically rip an RSVP out of the slippery Don Draper, so it’s no surprise that she approaches this incident with a level head and steely determination. ‘I refuse to be a failure,’ she tells Pete acidly, informing him that she’ll be putting him on the short leash from now on. ‘I’m drawing a 50 mile radius around this house, and if you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you.’ Holy crap. You go, Trudy.”
“When Trudy kicks Pete out of their house, it’s with the understanding that they will stay married for the sake of appearances — ‘I refuse to be a failure,’ she explains coldly — and that he’ll have to appear when called upon by her. It’s no longer a marriage, but another business arrangement. And is it any worse a situation, ultimately, than what’s happening in Don’s apartment building? Megan and Dr. Rosen may be in the dark right now, but this will come out, surely. And who gets bloodied then? Don? Rosen? Megan?”
Here’s Twitter’s take on the scene: