Women do not become 'sluts' after one job setback, in one afternoon.
Sadly, women become 'sluts' whenever society decides they've stepped out of line sexually. (Peggy would probably have crossed that line many times already in the minds of many people.) It's a shaming label, not a real description. This isn't the first time Peggy's experimented with a sexual encounter to see how it would make her feel.
I don't think that Peggy wants to get married or to have a similar long-term serious relationship. She wants a convenient boyfriend she can summon and dismiss - someone to accompany her to social and work events and have sex with - rather than a husband, who would too demanding on her time and energy.
I think Peggy's also struggled with over-defending her territory. She sometimes thinks she's being treated badly when she's not. And there's a point where she will pull the switch on a relationship--she threatened it with Abe and did it with her last boyfriend. She also threatened it with Don. I think she does that when she's feeling especially harrassed and stressed.
Plus, I think this is a client who wants the 'Don Draper treatment' in the advertising sense. It was a recipe for disaster or at least disappointment.
And Don had really let her down with the bean ballet already.
It wasn't 2 minutes with the Heinz a'holes outside talking to Pete and Ken that Pete came in to tell Peggy she's off the account. Which means...neither of them went to bat for her. Yep, I see a showdown with Don looming on the horizon.
I don't think it was a question of going to bat for her in that situation. If the client doesn't want to work with that copywriter, they're going to pull her off the account, not fight with the client to force them to deal with Peggy. Pete's announcement, while blunt, wasn't overly judgmental either. He didn't yell at Peggy for the client when she asked what the client said, he just said what she needed to know: he won't work with her. She's off the business. No arguments, no gossip.
I thought he was trying to put her mind at ease about doing something that he mistakenly thought they'd both want to do. I agree that Don is an arrogant SOB but I don't agree that he was aware that this was important to Megan....Not only that but I keep going back to the moment when Don starts thinking about HoJo ideas and Megan uses it as an opportunity to snark rather than work.
Yes, I thought Don was almost entirely in the wrong for the whole episode, but he wasn't, imo, always wrong because he literally saw Megan wanting something and overruled it. That didn't make him any less arrogant, but I think he genuinely was clueless. And when they fight, I don't think Megan's always taking the exact opposition position to him (he wants her to blow off work vs. she's passionate about work). I think Megan's own pov makes things more complicated.
Don hasn't been good about Megan at work at all. He's not dealing with it seriously, either in terms of mentoring Megan like a real junior copywriter or by considering how this will be awkward for other people. But it always seems to come back to that first seduction scene to me, where Megan reveals her desire to be a copywriter. I saw Megan say she wanted to be a copywriter, but when the actual ad-talk started she moved it into a romantic encounter with Don. I don't think that's a mistake, that I can assume that when she's not onscreen she's Peggy.
This ep just seemed like the over-arching theme was the way Don treated Megan with the Heinz thing just being one more example of Megan feeling like he was making her decisions for her. The things Megan herself says about copywriting have been rare and vague imo. I do think Megan does, in some ways, want to be a copywriter. But the two times Don actually has sat down alone with her and started to do his thing, she (not he) moved the conversation to their romantic relationship instead. I think her relationship to the job is more about being part of things and being on the team than actually coming up with ideas for how to sell things. Even when she tried to bring it up in the car, she talked about Peggy being nervous, not the campaign--which seems significant because she never does.
When Don brought it up at the office, he was insistent / persuasive and ultimately pulled rank, when Megan brought up Heinz at the office he was like "what about it... it'll be fine." Later when Megan brought up Heinz, Don said something like, "why are you worrying about that?" You feel bad because you got to take off and they have to work?" I don't there have to be some advantages to being my wife? I just don't believe that there is a way that Megan could have refused to go on the trip without there being major fall out, if not then and there at the office, at a later time.
Yes, Don and Megan were coming from different places. Don saw a day playing hooky as a fun thing and thought he was reassuring Megan that she could enjoy that. Megan was feeling like Don just expected her to mirror back his own feelings.
But if Don obviously doesn't get where Megan's coming from she has to speak up--as she did in this ep. And I honestly don't think the fallout from Megan actually seriously telling Don that she wanted to be there for Heinz would have to be so negative that she's afraid to disagree with him. Her job, marriage and well-being weren't in any danger if she had called him into his office and seriously presented it as something she was excited about so she'd really like to go to HoJo's tomorrow he could have handled it fine. As it was I have no trouble believing that her protests were her feeling like she ought to stay instead of that she wanted to say, since Don's deep in his fantasy world. As a viewer it looked to me like she was conflicted, but not unhappy.
So instead when she does speak up she does it in a confrontational way because she's (rightfully) angry. So obviously fallout isn't something she's avoiding at all costs. She just confronted him, imo, on the thing that was really bugging her, that he treated her like LovingWife!Barbie. As she herself said, he got to like work (and pull out a placemat for ideas) but she didn't get to like work (he dismissed her lingering regret about leaving for the day and just assumed she'd be thrilled to go with him).