The Peggy Olsons had to do all the dumb, bad-dressing, self-destructive and no-boundaries stuff they did in order that in the second decade of the 21st century professional women would be able to lean in. That's one reason why the blue-collar Catholic mouse on "Mad Men" has taken over the show.
Olson, like so many of us good girls from the 1960s, has been capable of learning. In addition, she has had the strength to bounce back from classic stupid thing such as sleeping with a semi-powerful male at work.
The question which hovers over the series, which starts up again next month, is if Olson will be Don Draper's emotional savior or the talent that kills him with self-doubt. That all depends on how well Olson has developed her boundaries. It used to be typical good-girl behavior to assist our former mentors, bosses, competitors and enemies when they were on the way down. We women are shrewd. We know how to stop a downward trajectory.
Now, of course, that ritual is one we know we don't have to bother with. It's more than enough nurturing our own careers. Therefore, Olson doesn't have to rescue Draper. However, will she orchestrate showcasing her success in ways that drives him to the point of no return.
The dramatic tension has shifted to what will go on between those two very different characters.