MAD MEN: Scene of the Week

Busy, busy night as two agencies become one (and Peggy better come up with something catchier than SCDPCGC!). This was one of those Mad Men episodes where so much worked that I’m hard pressed to find the highlight. Do we go with Pete spotting his father-in-law in a whorehouse? Pete losing the Vick’s account? Pete outing his father-in-law to Trudy (come to think of it, Pete and Tom were sort of the disturbingly odd couple of the evening)? Then there’s Peggy languishing in her hellhole with Abe while dreaming about Teddy and Emerson. Roger finagles a meeting with Chevy. Don severs ties with Jaguar (and sticks slimy Herb with the check) then decides to join forces with Teddy (you could practically hear the bile churning in Peggy’s stomach). Astounding moments one and all. But nothing topped the, shall we say, impromptu partners’ meeting.

Pete stumbling down the agency steps to rail at Don for losing Jaguar just as SCDP is about to go public was the perfect setup to this roller coaster of a scene. Pete is enraged. Don goes from righteous to petrified to his usual brand of smug thanks to Roger’s well-timed announcement of the Chevy pitch. So Don orders Joan to get the creatives in his office. And Red is not amused.

Now in Don’s defense, it wasn’t just his hatred for Herb that led him to send the jerk walking. The other partners whoring Joan out just never sat right with him on a chivalrous/chauvinistic level. In Joan’s defense, Don is an ass. Everyone knows that Joan can more than take care of herself, and Don should have given her the credit to live with the consequences of her actions. But instead he chose to play “the hero.” It, like so many of the poses Don Draper strikes, had nothing to do with reality but rather his idea of reality. Or as Joan so perfectly put it, “Just once, I would like to hear you use the word ‘we.'” We saw little fallout from Don’s miscalculation for the remainder of this episode as events roll towards the merger. But in addition to the repercussions from that bit of impulsiveness (and it already seems like Roger, and especially Peggy, are not at ease with Don’s Hail Mary pass), what does all this mean at the next partners’ meeting? Pete, already on the verge of some kind of breakdown, will be all shades of bitter. Joan will see Don, the one partner who ironically did not view her as a mere piece of meat, as an adversary rather than an ally (can’t wait for Peggy and Joan to commiserate!). And Don will be more and more isolated from the world around him on every imaginable level. Fabulous episode. And we’re only at the season’s halfway point! What will come next?

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