Are Don and Megan in an Abusive Relationship on Mad Men?
Here is a thing that happened on Mad Men in Season 5, Episode 6: "Far Away Places": A woman locked her husband out of her apartment because she was mad at him. In response, he kicked in the door, chased her around the apartment, and threw her to the ground.
Put that way, it seems clear this situation is not okay. No one should be chased around their own home by their angry spouse. And yet I've seen very little discussion of the episode that frames Don's behavior as abusive. Indeed, many commentators across the internet have focused their anger on Megan, calling her childish for disappearing instead of waiting for Don after he drove off and left her stranded. Why aren't people mentioning how unacceptable Don's behavior is?
Is it because we've seen Don and Megan engage in sadomasochistic sexual foreplay before? Their last fight involved angry, cruel words and even harsh touch, and then evolved into what seemed to be very consensual, happy sex. But does that mean this fight was secretly a game to the couple as well? Because it didn't feel that way to me. Megan seemed angry. Megan seemed scared. Megan did not seem like a woman who was turned on by the chase, not this time.
Is it because many viewers' dislike of Megan makes them less sensitive to this issue? Many fans — myself included — are still not really sure what to make of Don't impromptu marriage. I won't lie: I'm glad to see it falling apart, because the idea of it working out seemed so improbable. But the way it's falling apart is making Don seem like a smaller man ("diminished," as Megan would say), and less emotionally stable than ever.
Perhaps it's because we already knew how cruel Don can be. Personally, this scene didn't shock me — it's a logical extension of who Don is; a man who wants what he wants and will get it, no matter the cost. Even if it means hurting the very woman he loves. Maybe it's just not notable enough for viewers to focus on. After all, we already saw Don dream about choking someone earlier this season. He's always been over-controlling and prone to the occasional emotional outbursts.
Or maybe I'm the crazy one. Maybe it really was just a regular marital spat, maybe it was part of their (consensual, desired) dance of power-play. Maybe I'm see things that weren't there. But I'll say it again: Megan seemed pretty damned scared to me. And I wish more people were talking about that.