Tag Archives: Mad Men Weekly Update

Mad Men Recap, ‘Far Away Places’

 

This episode saw the dissolution of a marriage that probably should never have happened in the first place, and perhaps the beginning of the end for another one. Don told Pete that if he had married Megan in the first place, he wouldn’t be on his second marriage and he wouldn’t have cheated. So while things should be better for Mrs. Draper 2.0, Don treats Megan like an employee at the worst run two-person company ever. How long until she finally quits?

We all know the previews for the next episode never mean anything, but I thought this was going to be a Peggy centric one. She is frantically searching for a pack of candy Don gave her in her underwear, it’s for good luck. Abe thinks she works too much and suggests they see a movie instead. At work, Peggy finally finds the candy in her desk but learns she’ll have to deliver the groups pitch to Heinz without Don and Megan because they’re leaving on a business trip to a Howard Johnson. At the meeting Peggy pitches the ad featuring a group of college kids sitting around a fire eating beans, but the client doesn’t like it. Apparently he expected Peggy to be a psychic and get exactly what he wanted into the ad, even though he was too stupid to articulate his thoughts. I feel it would have been completely justified if she would have reached across the table and slapped him.

Later Pete tells her that she’s off the account, so she leaves and goes to the movies. While watching The Naked Prey, the movie Abe wanted to go see, Peggy smokes pot with another man and then gives him a hand-job. “Would she go down on you in a theater?” No, but she’ll give you some hand action. The employees at SCDP all have their own little ways to unwind, Peggy’s involves occasional pot smoking and anonymous sex. Back at the office, she sees Ginsberg talking to his dad. When asking about his family, he tells her that he was born in a concentration camp. On the phone with Abe she questions his story then asks him to come over.

The previous morning, Roger asks Don to play hookey so they can go visit a Howard Johnson. Don wants to bring Megan and asks him to bring Jane. Roger pouts to Dawn that “it was a bad idea.” Roger just wanted to have some fun with his old friend. Jane drags Roger to a dinner with her psychiatrist where the hostess passes out LSD. Roger hallucinates that the alcohol bottles and his cigarettes play music, and even imagines Don talking to him in the mirror. After a bath, Jane and Roger come to the conclusion that their marriage is over, she almost cheated, but Roger doesn’t even like her. The next morning he says they should start their divorce and he’ll be checking into a hotel. Jane reminds him that everything will be “expensive.”

Going back to the last day, we now see Don asking Megan to leave with him. In the car she frets about leaving the team but he tells her it’s the perks of being his wife. At the hotel’s restaurant the couple are being catered to but Don is looking at it as work, while Megan is really trying to enjoy herself. “You like to work, but I can’t work.” She orders pie but he makes her order orange sherbet instead, which turns into a huge fight about how he thinks she’s trying to embarrass him.

Instead of talking about the fight, Don leaves Megan at the restaurant. He does go back for her, but the waitress tells him that she left with a group of guys. He finds her sunglasses in her parking lot. Panicking when he learns that she’s not in their room, he calls her mom to ask if she called him. He then calls the office, waking Peggy who was asleep on his couch. On his way home he flashes back to a trip he took with Megan and kids to Disneyland, whistling The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” a song he hated.

He finally gets home to find the door chained, he yells at Megan to open it but she refuses, so he kicks it it. This results in him chasing her around the apartment like Tom running after Jerry. They collapse on the floor and she cries, he tells her that he thought he had lost her. I’m sure dirty, make-up carpet sex happened because they returned to the office all smiles.

In the conference room, Bert tells Don that Heinz wasn’t happy because he let Peggy run the show while he was out with his wife. When Don tells him that it’s none of his business what he and his wife do, Bert reminds him that he runs the show and that work is his business. Roger pops into Don’s office to cheerily tell him that it’s going to be a beautiful day.

I really liked seeing the different angles of that one hallway scene. What started out as a promising morning turned out to be the beginning of a scary and trippy evening. Roger’s marriage ended, Don’s will continue to chug along for as long as it can and Peggy got a release by giving someone else one.

Mad Men Recap, ‘Signal 30’

 

Things were much more subdued this episode, compared to Mystery Date where Don killed his subconscious fantasies. This focused more on Pete, and his inability to be the man he pretends to and so desperately wants to be. That man happens to be Don, who isn’t interested in telling Pete how to cheat, or even having dinner at his house.

Pete, having grown up in Manhattan, never learned to drive and is taking driving lessons now that him and Trudy live in the ‘burbs. He becomes too interested in a young girl in his class, Jenny, and they flirt while laughing at the instructional driving film Signal 30. It was creepy watching Pete get so excited about the thought having sex with another woman, not that he hasn’t done it before. At their next class he invites her to go out to the botanical gardens.

Trudy insists that Don and Megan come by their house Saturday night for dinner, but Don wants to cancel. Megan at least worries about the fact that her husband has little to no friends now and is more than happy to show up at the Campbell’s, even though she can’t remember the name of Ken’s wife, who will also be there.

Earlier Ken had ignored Peggy when he ran into her a diner, he later explains that the man he was with was a publisher. At dinner, Cynthia tells everyone about the subject of Ken’s book and his little side career. He even has a pen name, Ben Hargrove. As the ladies retreat off to the kitchen, the faucet bursts, and Don being the strapping man he is quickly fixes the plumbing issue. Everyone, especially Pete who had thought he fixed it the morning before, seem to be in awe. While driving home Don has Megan pull over, and so turned on by him fixing a sink they have sex on the side of the road. Don even says he wants to “make a baby.” For some reason this made me think of when him and Betty were driving home and she threw up in the car, early in her pregnancy with Baby Gene. What a difference a wife makes.

Lane celebrates England winning the World Cup with Rebecca and some friends at a pub. There he meets Edwin Baker, an executive at Jaguar who wants him and SCDP to work on a campaign. Lane is excited about the news but the boys think he needs help to land the deal, he thinks being English is more than enough. Roger even helps him by telling him what to drink when he has his next meeting with Edwin. The dinner didn’t go the way Lane planned, so Pete, Don and Roger take over and take Edwin out for lobsters. He insists that he wants to have “fun,” so Roger takes them all to a brothel. Because Roger would. Don stays at the bar and has his drinks comped by the madam, who at first pegged him for a cop, then insinuated he was gay.

When Roger goes off with a redhead, Pete goes into a room with a young blonde girl who has her first time with him. In the cab on the way home Don and Pete sit in silence until Pete says he feels like he’s being judged. It’s obvious, even to Don, that Pete wants to be him but he can’t even sleep with a hooker right. And he, of course, knows that the last person Pete should be trying to emulate is him. Before he goes home, Don tells Pete that if he had married Megan to begin with, he wouldn’t have cheated on her and that Pete is lucky to have Trudy and the baby at home.

The next morning in the office, Roger tells Ken to basically give up his writing career, after all his didn’t work out the way he wanted it to. He says that SCDP has a lot to offer, more than just job security, but Ken wants to be more than just Ken Cosgrove, Accounts. I’m sure he doesn’t want to end up a bitter, old guy like Roger still slinking around the office when he’s 50.

Lane asks Joan to leave the conference room and then tells the guys that they lost the Jaguar job because Edwin’s wife told Rebecca about Roger taking them all to the brothel. His wife found out because he still had chewing gum on little “sportscar” – wink wink, nudge nudge. Pete says that Lane didn’t secure the deal because he thought he was a “homo.” When Lane first had dinner with Edwin I wondered if maybe Edwin as gay and was maybe romantically interested in Lane. Of course Lane isn’t gay, he’s just English.

Naturally, the only way to settle this was to challenge Pete to a duel, and he was more than happy to try to prove himself. I love the way Roger and Bert instigated the whole thing, “this is medieval!” Even though they both got each other pretty well, Lane ends up knocking Pete out. [Editor’s Note: Imagine DivaJulia quoting Smokey from “Friday”…

Sorry for hijacking the post, Brittani. I’m such a 12 year old boy.]

Joan tries to comfort Lane in his office, and he questions his position at SCDP. He kisses her, she gets up, then opens the office door. He apologizes and then Joan says that he shouldn’t feel too bad about the fight. Everyone wants to punch Pete.

In the elevator with Don, Pete starts to cry and tells him that he has nothing. Ken tells Peggy that he is giving up his writing career, but later starts writing under another name, Dave Algonquin. His story seems to be about Pete, “The Man With The Miniature Orchestra.” Pete, completely broken, watches as his driving class crush gets a hand slid up her skirt.

Dang.

Mad Men Recap, ‘Tea Leaves’

I’ve always had a Sorta Like/Ugh, Really? relationship with Betty Draper, now Francis. I didn’t miss her at all during the first two episodes but we we got a look at her always complicated life during Sunday night’s episode and I actually felt a bit sorry for her. This episode, directed by Jon Hamm, saw Betty being confronted by death and her weight, and SCDP finally catching up with the times.

After Bobby and Sally struggle to help zip her into a dress, Betty skips one of Henry’s political functions and stays home instead. This seems to be her new normal, spending her days camped out on the couch watching TV and eating Bugles. Cut to Megan being easily zipped into her dress while speaking French to her mother over the phone. The new Mrs. Draper certainly has it easier. It doesn’t help that Henry’s nagging mother suggests diet pills for her daughter-in-law, which Betty then asks for at a visit with her doctor. While telling her that housewife weight-gain is usually attributed to boredom and anxiety, he notices a lump in her throat. Of course this causes her to panic and she reaches out to Don to tell her that “everything’s going to be okay.”

At another doctor’s appointment Betty meets an old friend who is being treated for cancer and the two have lunch. A woman offers to tell the ladies their future, telling ¬†Betty that she is important to the people around her and that she is a “rock.” This makes poor Betts emotional, thinking about how if she died her children would only have Don and Megan, and Henry and his mother.

It was sad to see that Betty had kind of let herself go, January Jones was of course pregnant before filming for this season even started, but those were some damn good prosthetics if that’s what they used. Reminded me of when Peggy was “big” during the first season. While Betty initially was worried about about the possibility of having cancer, after she found the lump was benign, her worries went back to how comfortable Henry was with the fact that she had gained weight. While Don and Megan are happy for the most part, he hesitated to tell her about Betty’s health scare because he didn’t want to have that conversation about the kids. Do these two talk about anything other than work and sex? Most of Betty’s problems seem to come from her mother, and it will be safe to say that Sally will have her fair sure of issues when she gets older. The two sit at the table eating ice cream sundaes, Betty eats all of hers but Sally barely finishes half. Perhaps Sally doesn’t want to end up like her mom, at least physically. So Betts’ weight problems are left on the back burner like a pot of Heinz beans for now, she started polishing off Sally’s ice cream.

At SCDP, Don has a new black secretary, named Dawn, and they secured Mohawk Airlines again. Pete gathers everyone to tell them the good news and basically all but gives himself a congratulatory hand-job for landing the account. Roger of course stomps off and pouts off after telling Peggy, “that’s the last guy I hired.”¬†

SCDP also still has Heinz, which asks a bit too much of them when the owner suggests at dinner with Don and Megan that they get the The Rolling Stones, yes those Stones, to do a jingle for one of their commercials. At work Harry tells Don that he secured a meeting with the bands’ manager at their Saturday night concert. Harry’s ass kissing is at an all time high–was he always this annoying? I miss the days of Paul Kinsey. Backstage at the show, Harry and Don meet two teenage girls who are desperate to meet the band, and they get Harry high and use him to get past security. While Don waits, he talks with one of the other girls and I’m glad this didn’t delve into her crying about her obvious daddy issues. (Seriously, what was all that “we’re worried about you” and her taking his tie?) So, at least we know that Don is at least above sleeping with a teenager.

Harry gets thrown out by security, happy that he apparently secured The Stones for the commercial. Turns out it was their opening band, The Trade Winds. Is that an actual band? After the show Harry apologizes for blowing the deal and eats 20 hamburger White Castle sliders by himself. I guess Harry isn’t that bad at times, he obviously hates his life outside the office and envies Don. If that was evident by him salivating over Megan and desperately trying to be BFFs with Draper.

Peggy was tasked with hiring another copywriter for the Mohawk account. Going through a number of portfolios, she finally comes upon one that impresses her, but Stan urges her to pick someone else that might not end up being her boss one day. I think she should have took his advice on this one. The new guy ends up being a spastic, annoying little something named Michael Ginsberg (who actually lies on his resume about being related to Allen Ginsberg) and insists on speaking with Don. Although Peggy complains to Roger that he’s crazy and Don would hate him, and then end up hating her, he insists she hire him. He’s talented, and bonus, he’s a Jew! Roger thinks it would make the office more modern, they already have the one black employee. I know I’m supposed to like Roger despite his a**hole ways, but he’s making it hard these days.

When Michael and Peggy do finally meet with Don, he’s impressed even though he should have been bothered the way Peggy was. I can already see this being another Peggy/Stan type thing where romantic feelings aren’t reciprocated and tight shirts are worn. Michael goes home to his dad to tell him that he got his job and he blesses him with prayer. Jewish people in the 60s, guys!

I do like the little moments where we see how people had to deal with certain things during that time period. Joan’s obvious postpartum depression. Betty’s thyroid issue, and this Michael kid would probably be diagnosed with ADHD today. Then there are the things that have never gotten better, and probably never will.