May 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Mad Men Monday: “For Immediate Release”
Bonus points to anyone who can tell me why that song “Reunited . . . ’cause it feels so good . . .” is going through my head this morning, OK? (Surely I’m not the only one who made the connection . . .) Anyway, those who’ve been complaining that this season’s been a little short on plot have nothing to complain about this week, because things are a-happening. Can a merger of two middle-sized Madison Avenue ad firms really happen just like that, over a Scotch or two? Could Pete, Bert and Joan really have brought the company public (and become insanely rich — think of what $1 million would buy in 1968) without Don and Roger’s knowledge? Could Peggy and Abe really have acquired what looks like a pretty nice (though neglected) Upper West Side brownstone so quickly? Did Pete really think that telling Trudy about seeing his father-in-law at a brothel would do anything but bring about the swift end of his marriage? Do Don and Dr. Rosen have their own private elevator at the apartment building? And isn’t it interesting how LSD apparently has turned Roger into a hustling, hardworking ad executive? All of this, plus Ken reminding us that he’s a writer with the week’s Best Sexual Euphemism Involving Obsolete Technology (“He wasn’t . . . working a slide rule”), and the CGC executive with the glasses (I think that’s Cutler, right? Kind of the Roger of CGC?) intoning the immortal line, “Unless this works, I’m against it.” Good episode! Did you even miss Betty, Henry and Harry?
In all the plottiness of the episode, a few haunting moments lingered. We saw Joan, for the first time, turning on Don — she’s horrified that the Jaguar account, for which she sacrificed her reputation and self-respect, could be tossed away so casually. (And she, quite rightly, called Don out on his self-absorption: he always acts in his own interest, rarely the company’s.) But it was fascinating to watch Don’s mood change as the episode wore on. Snarky and disinterested at the beginning (loved the line about “the world’s most boring dream”), he gained energy from his dismissal of the increasingly unbearable Herb — who’s left SCDP in a huff, taking Jaguar with him. Don’s not particularly interested in money (as Bert, Pete and Joan noted in their early scene); nor is he very interested in what happens after you win the account — what he wants is to play the game, and he’s long been angry that Jaguar was won on a different set of rules entirely. So the Jag is out, the Chevy is on the table (has Don looked this happy all season, as he gathered the creative team around him?), and suddenly Peggy’s drafting a press release announcing a merger — of the company she left behind, and the company where she’s treated like the star she is. (Don, at least, seemed mindful of how badly he botched the last time he asked Peggy to follow him to a new company.)
Ted Chaough’s kissing Peggy kind of came out of the blue, didn’t it? Interesting contrast, though, to back in season 1, where Peggy made an awkward play for Don (believing, in her naivete, that that was part of her job) and was rebuffed. Now the tables have turned: she’s got the boss making a pass, and she seems at least intrigued; gazing at Abe later in their grubby apartment, she saw Ted in his turtleneck . . . holding, what was it, a collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson? Interesting to see where this leads — and how things go for Peggy on her return to SCDP (SCDP/CGC?). She’s writing the press release for the company she’d want to work in, per Don’s instructions; what would that company look like?
What did you think of this episode? Do you want to invite Marie to your next dinner party? Do you think Bert really drinks “spirits of elderflower”? And how much fun was it to watch Pete fall down the stairs?
He really does like those turtlenecks, doesn’t he? (Photo by Michael Yarish; courtesy of AMC)