Posts tagged 1967
Posts tagged 1967
This was an episode that made time to wrap up things and also indicate that yes, there are still loose ends and there are future mysteries to ponder next season. But let’s go over what got wrapped up first and start with the after effects from the suicide of Lane Pryce.
A considerable amount time has past going from the early March, eternal winters in the Northeast (Easter came late in 1967) to the budding spring of late April (Casino Royale played in the movie theater Peggy and Don were in that clued me in on the date). The effects to the agency see their most successful quarter thanks to Jaguar and perhaps some other, smaller, unnamed accounts brought in. It is unclear if they got Dow Chemical and some current clients are restless (Topaz) and some have bleaker futures (Mohawk Airlines in June of that year has a plane crash), but the agency’s on the up and up, literally. They are expanding to a new floor with the five partners gaining that new space, since the other floor is seemingly haunted by Lane Pryce and Ida Blankenship. Hell, the agency even gets a profit with Lane with the life insurance. In a bizarre way, Lane leaving puts them in a better position. But that is not to say there is no guilt still felt.
The void of Lane was spatial, an empty chair present in scenes but never named. Joan and Don, the only two who could say had interactions with Lane beyond professional still have a limited mindset for the suicide. Joan thought offering herself to him romantically could have fulfilled him when there are probably darker issues in Lane’s past that made his trajectory unavoidable. With Don, following previous behavior in other episodes and other characters this season, tries to do the ‘nice thing’ and give Mrs. Rebecca Pryce money on the agency’s behalf. She refuses, believing that the agency had poisoned her husband both morally and ethically painfully accepting her husband’s professional limitations were his downfall. Money cannot buy away that kind of pain and personal agony about a love one and I think the Lane ending was very realistic and in-line with the stiff upper-lip that has clearly boxed in the Pryces.
We find out that Peggy working at CGC as the creative head has pretty much fully transformed into the female Don Draper with a take no prisoners attitude toward her creative underlings and hanging out in movie theaters while on the job to figure out the questions of the day later. Her superiors seem to accept this and let her take a personal business trip on behalf of what I believe we are being led to believe are Virginia Slim cigarettes. Peggy as a creative head taking on a cigarettes account? Oh my lord, she is Don! It is not the classiest business trip (even without the dog-humping shot the hotel was a by-the-numbers kind of shabby set-up) but it is something and she is reveling in it where she is trusted to get the account instead of being patronized as ‘the little girl’ by Bert Cooper and under-appreciated by Don at SCDP. We saw Peggy shine this season when she got to actually tap into her feminine side instead of professionally cross-dressing with the Heinz pitches to be Don-esque. She was already a Don-type of ad person but the Chevalier Blanc pitch showed a certain promise that makes me think even if she does not get Virginia Slims, her feminist streak is really going to come out next season, picking up the scraps of women products from other agencies and turning them into gold. It could just be that I am a Peggy fan and this is wish-fulfillment, but her and Don at the theater are equals and given that Don has to give angry, fire-breathing pitches to the big boys, I think Peggy may be in a better position than him come Season 6.
The last shot of Don Draper seems to be contemplating proposition by a woman at a bar who gets her girlfriend to do it for him. We never see his answer and it is a pretty blank canvass to project on if he will stray from Megan or cooly reject it like he did at the brothel in “Signal 30”. But the motif of a Don’s animalistic, carnal, ‘beast’ yearnings when his ‘beauty’ is no longer in his life (Mad Men writers seem to get the original story more than the those blinded by the Disney film) seem to signal ‘DANJA ZONE!!!!’. We know now that there is a definite possibility for stray Don Draper to happen.
Megan’s self-worth this episode took a substantial dive in order for her to get what she wanted. A rejected screen-test, a bitchy mother who is more in town to schtup Roger Sterling than hear about her problems, an acting friend trying to play a game of ‘I scratch your back if you scratch mine’ to appear in a commercial by SCDP, and ultimately deciding to get her major break by using her husband’s connections to appear on that commercial. Don initially rejects it that it is bad for business but there is a part of him that decides to let her go. Watching her screen-test, he realizes that for him, she was ‘his discovery’ romantically the way Peggy was his discovery professionally. But as Peggy tells him, letting them go and watching them succeed has to be something he wants. Don has kept Megan close in ways that verged on the abusive professionally. She rejects working in advertising, a major sin since she revealed to be good at it, but wants to be very public face in the crowd and if that includes appearing on a national campaign, then so be it. We have seen her give performances, from sex games to ‘Zou Bissou Bissou’, but Don has always been in the room and in a way he is in the commercial with his name on it, but she cannot just be his wife for her to be fulfilled and get traction. He cannot be the only person watching and falling in love with her on camera, others will have to as well. He has to walk away from the sound stage for her to get what she wants. That is going to be hard on the marriage and whether or not it lasts (I think there will still be a marriage next season but its strength is another matter) is up in the air.
In a way that Peggy was Don this season, Megan engineered her wooing of Don advertising a somewhat false avatar very much in the way Don has always advertised himself to others. He thought she loved advertising and was thrilled at the thought she also wanted to be his work partner. It is much more transparent now. She is an actress. Don knows Megan the way she knows all about him. She accepts him but does he and can he? Again more questions for next season.
The weak point of this episode was the Misadventures of Pete Campbell in Cos Cob. It was a bit too soapy for Pete to emotionally strip himself naked to a woman who no longer remembers him. It was also much too quick and resolved that Trudy agree he gets an apartment in Manhattan because his excuses for looking beat up stem from car accidents. I much more enjoyed professional Pete this season because he is such a ruthless manipulator and at-all-costs type of ad man. Seeing him distracted by Howard and Beth Dawes, after so much time elapsed, at work just did not feel right when we saw him so power-hungry in the previous episodes. If the episode just cut to the chase and had Howard reveal he had Beth shocked which led to the very strange territory of the audience actually pulling for Pete Campbell in a fight, I would have found his sub-plot a bit more acceptable along with Trudy being more feisty and not so gullible. Pete is one character I am most curious about going forward. I would much prefer to see him more business-driven next season if just because I find Roger, Joan (though I loved her authority in the partner meetings), Bert, and Don to still be woefully old-school about business where I think Pete is going to have to find the new blood accounts and finally get the company featured as a hip ad agency. He can also be despicable at the same time but I want office Pete to be the focus rather than retreading suburbia.
Overall, this season has been divisive for a lot of people. But for me a lot of the doom and gloom, the marginalizing of certain characters (Lane and to a certain extent, Peggy), the battling behaviors characters are fighting internally and externally, the yearning for control or maintaining control, the loss of control, and the changing times have made this season almost a prelude, an appetizer for the next two seasons. The agency is growing but there are still a lot of flaws that could preclude them from reaching their potential. Relationships seemed to have irrevocably changed on a professional and personal level. Characters know what can and cannot change them, some are accepting of that and others just do not care or try not to care. But the world and cultural landscape are going to make things even harder to turn away. Things are going to be more transparent, more cynical, and a lot more colorful. This is a show that knows it cannot be the same smoke-filled rooms of biting subtext. This is where modernism and ends and post-modern begins and I cannot wait to see what the show does moving forward.
I will be ranking the episodes in the next coming days. And I do not care what anybody says, “Mystery Date” will be near the top!
I saw the ghost of Adam Whitman coming and Don’s toothache added more opportunity for him to have macabre hallucinations. It was okay but it spoke more to Don also dealing with his new life leaving an indirect body count that finally hit him after Lane. Don knows he can never leave him but I am wondering why he wanted Adam to stay.
"You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra for the music montage and close-out song was a perfect choice considering this season has shown the lives of many characters fulfilling essentially these ‘other lives’ or ‘new lives’.
1968, much like the Kennedy assassination in Season 3, appears very unavoidable. Things start to go to hell immediately in January with Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive but Vietnam is still background noise with only side characters involved at this point. I think Dow Chemical would have to be under the agency for there to really make the war come out front and center.
I think Civil Rights are happening next season as well. Given that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and lack of bodies in creative, could there be a person of color hired? Or will they actually listen to Topaz and hire a girl (before Peggy clearly steals Topaz from them)?
I enjoyed the hell out of Julia Ormond as Mrs. Marie Calvet. She killed her lines both in English and French with a lot of dry wit and tone that was both devastatingly true and really funny. You get her affair with Roger Sterling as they are a bit of the same kinds of people.
Speaking of Roger, I think his LSD trips are going to be apart of his banality by season 6 and his phone-stalking for Mrs. Calvet was hysterical. And I am sure that was not the brief nudity people expected on the episode warning last night.
Shoot me, internet, but I enjoyed Jessica Pare as Megan (the character as well) and thought this episode in particular was a good one for her. Drunk-driven episodes on Mad Men are always good for characters on this show.
Excellent job by the people behind Inside Mad Men on misdirection. We know Jessica Pare had the hair flip wearing an outfit she wore in a previous episode when talked about the episodes but of course her last scene was in the kitschy, sorta Disney’s Snow White outfit. Christina Hendricks also was still in her costume from “Commissions & Fees” that made me think that episode was her last appearance (until I saw the preview, of course) but wore several different blue outfits this episode. Same with Jared Harris being in a different suit than he wore in any of the episodes. No stains and rope burns in sight. Also served as a good clue Peggy would re-appear since she never wore that red number until the finale.
Noted Loose-Ends Never Answered and Ones to Contemplate:
What are the partner percentages now after Lane. Pete seems to be on equal footing along with Joan. Was it too soon for a name change? How much does the rest of the agency know about this? Clearly nobody wants to touch Lane’s office.
So is Abe like Peggy’s wife sitting in her apartment writing for radical weeklies? We never returned to Peggy’s home life and now I am siding with her mother that Abe is test-driving her. I personally always found her dynamics with Stan more interesting and his explicit declaration that he is sick of working with Ginsberg makes me think Peggy will take him with her a la Lady Godiva on a horse.
Dow Chemical. Again, will the agency suddenly become politicized beyond doing campaigns? Will Ken successfully phase Pete out and will Ken’s standing at the agency be hurt or helped if they do get it? Will his personal life be in any danger? Will Don’s political apathy be challenged by the younger creatives given that I get a feeling Ginsberg hates war based on his personal history and Stan seems to be a firm believer in the military industrial complex. Guess they are saving that nugget for next season. Hopefully it means more Ray Wise.
Oh, boy. Last week’s episode still feels very heavy to viewers, so will the suicide of Lane Pryce still weigh heavily for people at the agency? Reading two different previews, one brief description of the finale from Slate and another from UK’s Radio Times (that has since looked like it has been scrubbed), it feels like for the most part that everything is rosy for people except two characters, Pete and Don. But nonetheless, Matthew Weiner describing the finale as 'orgasmic', makes me think this is a breather from the dour season of death anvils.
So that begs the question: How much time has passed since the suicide? Could a month really be enough time to move on from one of the named partners committing suicide? Also, how much details of the suicide have been disclosed to people at the agency? Has Don told anybody about the forgery? Is the company letting Lane Pryce resign in his boilerplate resignation/suicide note or are they letting his wife and son get the proper life insurance compensation? How has the agency picked up since then? Did they get Dow Chemical after Don’s fire-breathing, desperate pitch? Let’s go investigate the cryptogram of next week’s (only seen after the broadcast) preview:
"I’m sorry to drop by like this?"-Don Draper
So who is he trying to see? Initially, I thought Peggy Olson (already in a fix to see her again) but realized the doors do not match. The adjacent door to Peggy’s apartment is blue, not stained wood. Other viewers have noted this seems to be the residence of Rebecca Pryce. I can believe it. Don has a really guilty conscience combined with the fact he has many questions to ask Rebecca about Lane both personally and professionally be it the forgery, their financial state, and perhaps why Lane could do such a thing. I do wonder how long has passed in this episode given that Rebecca could still be in the United States given she is not employed and her husband who had the VISA when he was employed is now dead. Not sure what the immigration policies in 1967 were on that one. But this definitely looks like Don at Rebecca’s door for reasons pertaining to Lane. Given that the previews mention Don being ‘haunted by a face from his past’, it adds to the idea of how much he saw Adam Whitman’s suicide intersecting with this suicide and wondering what leads a man to kill himself. Given how the Slate preview mentioned Lane’s past coming up as well, I am assuming the abusive household is sure to come up, I think Don gets a lot of answers from Rebecca. Or, at least, the audiences does.
"I know who it is."-Pete Campbell
The defeated, irked look on Pete’s face does not bode well for him. Given that the previews for the show summary include him ‘facing the consequences of his actions’ and ‘meeting a stranger on the train’, one wonders if he is facing potential blackmail or is caught in a web. The Radio Times episode summary has Alexis Bledel’s Beth in the listings and speculation can run wild on that one. I am thinking this could be about her and Howard or how Pete’s affair with Beth gets unearthed. Is the ‘stranger on the train’ relating to her failed marriage or has Trudy gotten a private investigator to look into her husband’s recent behavior that could lead to her finding out he has had affairs? This seems like a personal phone call Pete is giving rather than business-driven call. With business, he is a completely different person, even in a state of disillusionment and anger, than how he presents himself on the phone.
"I got this, this morning"- Joan Holloway Harris
Joan hands something over to Don. What would she want to show him in her mail. Is it about her divorce (since Don is the only person who knows and may be somebody Joan can relay to about such matters as a divorced man)? Did Greg die in Vietnam? Or is it Lane-related or agency-related? This episode has consistently been mentioned of how it is ‘opportunities abound for everybody’ at the agency. This could also mean Joan. Could Lane have given her his 12.5% share of the company? Could she be harassed by the speculation that surrounds her getting a partnership (This episode is called ‘The Phantom’)? Could it be about how, and this goes back to last season, many people thought her and Mr. Pryce were a thing? Given that Don and Joan were the closest to Lane having a friend in the agency, I believe this is Joan disclosing something Lane-related to Don. Also, one of the lines that has gained the most traction between Lane-Joan is that he told her she could do his job. Will it really happen now?
"Damn it!"-Megan Draper
Megan also gets a letter and it definitely appears to be something unwanted. Did she get a role? Did she not get a role? Something medical-related about her or Don? Is it financial? Don and Megan this episode has included two situations of one of her ‘friends’ (not sure if it is the red-head Julia or somebody else) asking to get a job in a commercial on behalf of SCDP and the fact Don is spending money ‘largesse’ for her. What could this all mean? Not sure if it relates to this scene, however. Megan appears in black (going to acting class or a funeral?) and there is a woman in the scene but obscured, also in black. Who is it?
"Clearly states the exact opposite."-Don Draper
So is this the new business? It appears by the artwork that the agency has taken on a motorcycle account given we see a figure on a motorcycle. So perhaps, unlike last week, we finally get to see the post-Peggy Olson creative. Who is in charge of the copy-writers? And what is the latest pitch? Given motorcycles have always been about rebellion then, rather than mid-life crisis, it seems Don has to try and give a pitch that possibly involves ‘the youth-quake’. Given his other pitches this season have been more for adults, Jaguar and ultimately Heinz, and the Sno-Ball pitch was for kids, this is Don trying to come off as in on it. Is the pitch working or is he trying to volley concerns about the pitch that are clearly not from his mind but from the younger, hipper creatives?
"So is it true or not?"- Harry Crane
Leave it to Harry to be the first possible candidate to ask Joan a personal question that also may involve the agency. I doubt Ken would spill but is Harry speculating on Joan-Lane, Joan’s partnership, or the fact that she may very well fill Lane’s position and gain even more power? Joan seems to want nothing of it, sighing in disinterest with no eye-contact to Harry. You wonder if he just asks this question or if he keeps on prodding to the point Joan lashes out. Joan has shown she can break this season, such as with her outburst against the receptionist so I would not put it past her.
"Hello? I can hear you!"-Megan Draper
Megan has a new acting friend. Is this the friend vying for the commercial spot? So did she get a nasty, heavy-breather phone call? I am guessing that. Oh boy, was it Glenn Bishop? I mean, the kid knows the number! Some have speculated that because the play she tried out for, 'Little Murders', had an obscene phone call that she is just acting it out but the look on the friend makes me think it is not acted out.
Other Things Shown and Not Said:
Pete enters his house. Better be some Trudy-Pete interactions!
Megan turning her head to a figure that I presume is Don as it looks like later in the day after she receives the obscene phone call.
Don drinking something while in a shawl sweater on his bed. Holy crap, Don looks like Mr. Rogers! What is he drinking? The Radio Times preview briefly mentions a health issue. Is he drinking or is he taking something to remedy the health issue? According to a summary on the UK Sky Atlantic, it is a toothache that hopefully does not produce dreams with homicidal tendencies. He looks old and distant in this scene. Is this really supposed to be a ‘happy episode’?
How were My Predictions Last Week, You Ask?
Don did not have a health issue. It was all about Lane who was indeed discovered as a result, killed himself. Betty was annoyed by Sally preferring The Draper Love Nest but in the end she ‘wins’ as Sally rushed to have her mother to take care of her.
Joan’s new assertion of power has not pissed off people… yet. Don is still annoyed about the situation and dissatisfied by where the agency rests.
Ken did put two and two together it seems about Joan and does feel gross about it, but has not left… yet.
The finale has been described as having a ‘cheeky James Bond themed montage’ that also includes ‘getting the old Don back’ and I can only imagine what that could be. Does it involve Don or a cast of characters? Will Don stray?
Roger has a surprising reacquaintance supposedly. I do not think it is Joan. Mrs. Calvet, Jane, and even Mona would seem like more realistic guesses at this point in their relationship.
Pete’s comeuppance has nothing to do with work but it could overlap.
Somebody gets fired even as the agency takes on new business. But somebody may also leave.
We do see Peggy albeit briefly at another agency or perhaps at her apartment with her radical boyfriend that she has seemingly avoided for months.
We get a lot of Lane backstory that could reveal more about his personal history and money issues.
Joan gets more power.
They do get Dow Chemical and there is some drama with what Ken laid down because of not having Pete near the account.
Some historical event will be a bit more pronounced than usual.
"THE OTHER WOMAN"
Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway Harris. We saw them in the beginning as secretaries with Joan navigating Peggy how to play the game. But Joan’s passive aggressive queen-bee status and Peggy’s earnestness were just a mismatch. They are not the same kind of woman in a variety of different ways, and the different eras of the workplace each one represents reappears time and time again. Joan never thought of herself beyond being a secretary, even though it is proven and spoken how she could easily do the work of the male partners at SCDP. Peggy went from secretary to copy-writer and is still willing to kick in the glass ceiling even though I would say she is pre-second-wave feminism at this point. The moment after the news of winning the Jaguar account, Joan gives an exiting Peggy a look. Joan might not know off the bat that she is gone for good from the agency, but there is a sense of Joan can never leave the agency. She is the personified organ of the agency and ever the more indispensable after this episode. Peggy is moving on, she has outgrown the agency and the shadow cast by her boss and ‘older brother’ figure Don. We saw in “Lady Lazarus” that the empty elevator shaft that Don sees after Megan leaves seems to point how he can never really leave. Peggy leaving of course is horizontal at this point; same field, different agency. Can she move up vertically? Let’s hope Mad Men gives us the privilege to see that.
Prior to Peggy leaving SCDP, we have seen in little bits each episode that she has plateaued in her work there. From getting buried in an account that she got thrown off of, getting phased out of working on accounts because of her gender, and her work being under Michael Ginsberg’s name had to unnerve her as she was practically living in the office re-doing and re-viewing work for the day. Don throwing money in her face, who has ignored a lot of her situation this season be it with his marriage or being anxious over the Jaguar account, was the breaking point. Peggy has never given a thought with a career outside of advertising but her wings at SCDP seemed clipped and her pact with Ken Cosgrove appeared to just be in name only. But she realizes she can walk away, realizing money cannot solve her problem with her and the agency. There is no price for her creativity.
Joan also did not put a price on the asset that has gotten her most attention at the agency but that response was ambiguous enough for Pete Campbell to twist to the partners that she could do a proposition from an important Jaguar exec. Money will not do, for many reasons, but Lane Pryce plants a seed in Joan’s head that a 5% stake and partnership in the company will do. Now people think that Joan rejecting Roger offering to pay for Kevin seems like a much better option when weighing the two but for Joan, the Roger option still has her dependent on somebody else’s money. That is just not Joan. Yes, she is giving away her agency for the night but her reward is something in her control and not in a control of a man she knows far too well. It is heartbreaking to see Joan willingly let go of that agency with the Jaguar exec and even more perverse that the glass ceiling has somewhat cracked at SCDP based on this with Joan as the first female partner but, even if Joan does not know the whole story from all of them, the male partners at the firm have all been involved in ethically questionable and heinous acts with clients. Joan is not ashamed about it but even with her vertical rise through the agency, it is this agency and something she cannot walk away from.
I think for both Joan and Peggy, their options are completely in character. Peggy may have been raised through the agency but she is a woman who realizes she can walk away and not have to follow the path expected of woman at that time. Joan does follow the path expected of her and if anything, the path has been very disappointing and destructive to her. Joan relishes the power she has at the agency and there is something to note that with Greg out of the picture, but in the picture enough that he is seen as Kevin’s father, getting control back comes through the agency that not only helps her but the agency— as backwards as that is given what she has to do for both her and the SCDP.
People seemed surprised that Don was against Joan doing it or rather, the only one against it. I think in a way, he wants the Jaguar account for himself rather than Pete, Lane, Roger, and Bert openly pimping out Joan. Last episode, Don made it his mission to get the Jaguar account and his pitch, via the ever perceptive Michael Ginsberg, seemed like the one pitch to officially get him back in the saddle. However, we find out that his 11th hour trip to tell Joan not to go through with it was too late and that the account is tainted. And by the end of that day, he loses the thrill of winning the account, his protege, and the woman he could never have but respected. Work is no longer fun for Don already and a day like that may have done more long-term damage for him professionally at the agency. Don is removed from love-leave but also work, frightened that Megan was the one that would ‘run away’ when it stood true for Peggy. He does not really understand it, Peggy wanting to leave, but it makes him uneasy with what he is left with. Can he ever leave? Or is his exit that empty elevator shaft, that he can never leave?
Among the season 5 episodes, “The Other Woman” stands out in not just its all-around quality and balance but plot-wise it could be a real game-changer for the season and perhaps the series overall. My only real complaint is the lack of Roger, and not just for zingers, but the fact that we saw no dilemma going through his head about Joan getting propositioned and that he trusted Pete Campbell’s word. This season has been accused of being too “obvious” with its themes and the theme of women compartmentalized, objectified, and used as objects may scream out on paper as ‘try hard’ but it underscores that nothing has really changed. There may be more ways and options for women to walk away but I think it says a lot that the briefest but most on-the-noise (in a good way) sub-plot was Megan’s audition because I am certain that for Matthew Weiner and the like in the industry, that is kicking the hornet’s nest.
Yes, I definitely was in tears at the end of this episode with the way Don, Joan, and Peggy gave each other heartbreaking looks. This should easily be the Emmy submission episode for Christina Hendricks.
A show of hands: Who recoiled in abject terror when they saw Pete turn his head and smirk after talking to Joan?
I do not think this is Elisabeth Moss’ last episode of the season, let alone the series, though her beaming exit into the elevator as The Kinks’ "You Really Got Me" was stupendous. A much needed lift from all of the sadness.
My only negative response to Peggy leaving is that it is to work for Ted Chaough. I hate that guy! Why did Freddy have to direct her to him?
Don and Megan seem to need each other as escapes and breaks from their careers sexually. I think it has dawned on Megan that returning to acting is not easy but their talk about the Jaguar pitch at home after work showed she is not giving into the temptation of critiquing the ‘mistress’ pitch, leaving the bedroom to look at a script. But hell, even her late night visit to Don when she shoots down Stan and the free-lancers asking for any ideas had her give a dismissive statement that was still more interesting than what they were coming up with, with the exception to Ginsberg’s pitch- but he was on Mars anyway.
Now Ginsberg looking at Don’s office contemplating Don and Megan brings into question what he sees as who is getting ‘owned’, that most certainly inspired his pitch. At first, I thought for sure Megan was ‘the Jaguar’ (certainly not ‘the Buick in the garage’) but rethinking his phrase that she ‘comes and goes as she pleases’ makes me think it speaks to how she has Don wrapped around her finger. Given that he knew her as the boss’ wife, I think for him he easily sees that she is the one who won in this union and not the other way around and that is not necessarily her as the one ‘owned’.
Pete never answered Joan’s hypothetical of how he would react if Trudy got propositioned. I think we all know the answer to that question.
Joan’s mother flirts with plumbers, is casually racist toward people of color, and now wants Greg to die in Vietnam. I think we know what part of her personality she is fan-servicing as a character.
I note that Peggy’s realization that there is nothing for her at SCDP is pre-second-wave feminism. The fact that her biggest champions are Freddy Rumsen and Ken Cosgrove, not to mention Harry Crane speaking fondly of her to Don, shows that although the feminist streak in Mad Men in terms of plot and character arc is still in developing stages it is not going to be a random showcase of ‘The 60s!’.
Will Jaguar ever want their product on the show ever again? Now I just think all of their execs look like Antonin Scalia.
This took place in mid-January but close enough to Valentines Day in 1967. Did Super Bowl I already happen? The game was not really taken seriously as an event so I can imagine it goes under the radar in the zeitgeist whereas the Ali-Liston fight in Season 4’s “The Suitcase” was must-see, must-hear, must-watch.
This episode was co-written by Matthew Weiner and Semi Chellas who co-wrote this season’s “Far Away Places” and you got that feel of “Far Away Places” with the ‘return’ to Joan’s apartment to realize her tryst with the Jaguar exec already happened and Don’s quest to change her mind was too little, too late dramatic irony.
Janie Bryant style callback. Not just Joan wearing the black fur Roger gave her but a callback to her likeness to Rita Hayworth by going Gilda with the Black cocktail dress.
That montage of Joan’s tryst and the pitch was gold and would make Eisenstein cry if he did not hate capitalism and consumerism so much. Also helped the Jaguar models in Stan’s art work were hot red.
People are wondering why Don would be concerned with Joan using her body but not Sal with Lee Garner Jr. in Season 3. Beyond the homophobia and Joan being a woman, he admires Joan way more than Sal. For Don, Joan is the indispensable, living incarnate of the agency. Sal was a dispensable creative type who was a dime a dozen.
Let’s begin by me saying I am partially withholding information as I have known from a couple of spoilers that have been readily available to UK viewers of Mad Men on the channel that carries it, Sky Atlantic HD, about what is going to happen with a couple of characters this episode. Although I did not see a clip that is pretty integral to the plot, there was also a Radio Times preview summary of the episode there were many savvy UK viewers that each gave the in-depth description of said preview scene. As you can imagine nothing shown in that preview scene was available for us viewers in the ‘Next Week on Mad Men’ clip at all. Still with that information in the back of my mind, I am willing to decipher the clip without spoiling it.
Jaguar is still obviously in the game with Don giving a previous pep talk that this is essentially what SCDP is going to be working on for the remainder of the holidays through the New Year. But what to say about the preview clip?
Don looking out the window of his office just smoking a cigarette. Immediately it appears this in the same time frame as the next clip of Pete calling all of the senior and junior partners into a closed-door meeting in Pete’s office.
Judging by Don’s facial reaction to being asked to close the door, this looks very impromptu and perhaps involves the sensitive nature in the tactics of how to win the Jaguar account, according to Pete Campbell.
"You have to stop being afraid."- Joan
Clearly she is serving as the office’s Lucy van Pelt and is giving Lane advice. Given that Lane forged Don’s signature on a check and that Joan was phased out of the partner meetings regarding the Christmas bonuses, perhaps she knows what is up. She has to know by the books that Lane’s push for bonuses even before the Mohawk Airlines account stalling was probably something that should not be on the table. Or he could be opening up to her on a personal matter. She does not seem mad at him but warm and encouraging so I think at first she does not know about the forgery or his very interesting math about the Christmas bonuses.
"Let’s stop playing games."-Trudy Campbell
Uh-oh. Does Trudy know about Beth? Does she know at least something is up with her husband’s behavior recently? Is she tired of his persistence in looking for new clients which seems to border on stalker-ish by his own admission? This seems like a different kind of Trudy than we have ever seen, especially this season. Something is up and she is not taking Pete’s BS at all. Go Trudy!
"We want to know why you want to pull the ad?"-Ken Cosgrove
It appears Ken is talking over an inter-com at the SCDP offices. Is it a client or somebody within the company? Is it Jaguar or some other account that they cannot afford to have problems with at that point?
Peggy is there and I am sure as a part of creative who needs to know what was wrong with it to fix it and I guess it is good to see her on an account again after her work with both Mohawk under Ginsberg’s name got stalled and getting buried in Heinz beans. So even in what seems to be a bit of a distressing situation, Peggy is there with Ken and not physically near a client to strangle him for not liking the ad a la “Far Away Places” Peggy.
"He just came right out and said that?"- Bert Cooper
This seems to be the closed-door meeting in Pete’s office given that in the background of where Cooper is sitting, there appears to be a photo of Trudy.
Something seems to be going on with Jaguar where Pete has the most direct-line of communication than anybody else in the company so I am guessing he is the one giving this news. Bert sounds a bit surprised. What could it be? I do not think the account itself is in danger but there is something very specific that involves the account that was communicated to Pete about what the company needs to do to win the account.
A woman’s hands cover Don’s face who appears to have falling asleep and gets awakened.
Now given that this episode is called “The Other Woman”, everybody was guessing/fearing/theorizing that somebody in the office is having an affair and given the direction of the Calvet-Draper union, could Don possibly cheat again remains an interesting question. But this appears to be innocent.
You notice that he is at the SCDP office and that this Don is working overnight with creative. You can tell he is with creative because there are boxes of chinese food all over the table and we have already seen creative with Chinese and they are total night owls. I think it is Peggy covering his eyes to wake him. For her this has been her everyday life for months where work is her home. You notice somebody in the background there and I believe it is Ken (Ginsburg would have to have a fashion makeover and Stan’s linebacker build does not fit the description either) since he and Peggy are buds so he is also working late to fix the pitch or brainstorm the Jaguar account.
It could also be Megan surprising Don since the blouse does look a bit like the paisley number she had on for “Dark Shadows”. She could be getting out of class and visiting knowing that her husband is working late and quite possibly be giving him a ‘break’ with a little relaxation. **cue the train going into the tunnel and fade to black**
"A wife is like a Buick in the garage"- Megan Draper
Now people are speculating that could Megan already be so defeated by not getting any acting gigs that she could be giving him another pitch a la Heinz Beans.
But I just sense that this pitch will annoy her. In fact, I can probably finish the pitch she is reciting, “A wife is like a Buick in the garage. The Jaguar is like ‘the other woman’ you take on the road”, or something of that nature. That has to annoy her in my mind, giving that she knows the man she married. Unless she is trying to help him and what would make her husband happier than her helping him out like the Heinz pitch? Again, these two have the strangest aphrodisiacs. Babies, cleaning, breaking things, fixing things, and successful business pitches. Maybe these two can make it?
But a part of me loves that they are calling back a Roger Sterling neologism when he hit on Betty in the Draper home and when is confronted by Don he says, “Sometimes you park the car in the wrong garage” and that John Slattery and Jon Hamm both do car ads. So a callback and being meta. Love it.
But back to Megan saying this. She looks like she is in nightwear talking to Don before they go to sleep. Given their last advertising-related discussion went off like a led balloon, I think this could also lead to a bit of friction. It might not even be Don’s pitch but something he green-lit but Megan could easily see this as Betty Draper Poisonous Smog Monster level of passive aggression.
"What are you hoping I can do for you?"- Don Draper
The look on Don’s face makes me think, “This is a woman he is talking with!”. He would never talk like that to a guy. He has that stupid flirty smile on his face with that leading question. I believe he is in his office and that this is during his ‘living in the office’ night given he has on the same neck tie as the previous clip after being awoken. So I can easily see the woman who wakes him being Megan with him being surprised and they go into his office and then….. **cue train going into the tunnel and fade to black**
What Also in the Original Airing Promo:
Ken and Pete at a dinner together which can mean either Cynthia and Trudy are friends or they are at a client dinner. Guessing by their exchange, I believe it is the latter. Ken says, “Was that what I think it was?” to Pete’s “Yes it was!”. Pete’s uncomfortable smile means it is business. Lane also has a clip in the partners meeting where he gives a pep talk saying, “Go on!” That this fell on deaf ears in all likelihood could point to his little meeting with Joan. There is also Pete knocking on Joan’s door? Have we ever really seen those two interact? Hmm…
The Jaguar account will have conditions that I am not sure people will be comfortable with. Peggy may have some rescuing to do on an account that finally lets her out of her creative abyss. There is a photo of Don and Peggy with him appearing to look happy for her and she is not dressed like a Catholic school-girl so she appears to be dressed to impress so I am hoping Peggy is victorious in some fashion this episode.
Lane will not be found out and exposed… yet.
Pete will be in trouble with a lot of people.
Megan and Don will have some alone time in his office but she will be looking at the ads and be colored unimpressed by the message of the Jaguar ad and challenge Don on it.
Jaguar is never going to want to having their product on Mad Men ever again.
How did I do last week, you ask?
It was not Christmas but around early December/Pearl Harbor Day.
Megan did take Don to a play which insulted him and he made a jab at her for leaving the agency for being against advertising with him looking miserable and while their Christmas dinner was not ruined, we did have Megan’s sad spaghetti.
Harry is not leaving but we saw Paul again and I guess to see Kinsey again we needed more Harry. Whatever. Nobody saw that Krishna turn coming, however.
Very little Peggy this episode as the clip was her only scene discussing Paul’s fanfic… I mean spec script for Star Trek.
Nailed Joan’s relationship with Greg coming to a conclusion and that she would open up about it. It turned out to be Don.
Now Don and Joan did pose as a couple but nothing happened so I will not eat any hats but he did make that sardonic couple line to Pete. Don was talking about the bonuses but he wanted them withheld until the party but nobody is sure who he was talking about. Joan? Peggy? Megan?
Lane is in deep shit, indeed.