The internet has gone a bit crazy this week over Mad Men's Joan Holloway sleeping with a client in exchange for a partnership in the ad firm.
A lot of the discussion around this episode focuses on would Joan really do this, and hey, she's in a desperate situation because she has to care for her child as a single parent. Yes, it's true that Joan is a single parent, and it's true that that's a difficult situation. Except Joan hasn't brought that up. She hasn't talked about her fears about raising Kevin alone and hasn't seemed all that stressed about money (or alimony?), to the point that she declines Roger's attempts to pay off-the-books child support.She didn't sleep with scuzzy car guy just because she was desperate for the stability. She slept with him because she's in a liminal phase. Liminalty is the scary in-between times in our lives, the weird time when we're not who we used to be but we're not quite who we're going to be. Joan's in a classic -- classic! -- liminal phase right now.She's not the office vixen anymore, but she hasn't really transitioned to doting mother. And to top it all off, she's in the middle of a particularly traumatic divorce. Joan doesn't know who she is anymore; her entire identity is jeopardized.
"the most Mad Men episode of any episode of Mad Men, or like what you would think the show would be like if you'd only ever heard people talk about it."