This episode of Mad Men should’ve been titled “chaos” because that’s precisely what it was. A mash-up of impulsive and chaotic decisions, with no consent as to how they’ll affect the people around you. The past few episodes have focused heavily on character reflection and long gazes into the mirror, and episode 6 was the complete opposite. Caution was thrown to the wind for all characters involved. If you had a camera panning over the top of SCDP it would look like a human boggle tournament.
This episode really hammers the concept of Don being the new anti-hero. People seem to view him as a sort of grim reaper or ruiner of good things. We as the viewers obviously see Don Draper as the heart, soul, and double whiskey of this series. We are viewing this world through his eyes. We are also lucky enough to have seen sides of him that he often hides from the rest of the world. Every character in this series sees him in a different light, and no two people view him the exact same. In this episode Megan compares him to Superman, while Peter calls him to Tarzan. Both similar yet very different characters. We’ve seen Don cry in the hallway of his condo with Megan just on the other side of the door, completely unaware. We’ve seen flashbacks of his childhood, growing up in a whorehouse and having to leave his brother behind. We were even there to watch him be forced to steal the identity of the man he still lives as today. That being said, we’ve also seen Don do some pretty horrifying things, which is why the character of Don Draper is so complex. The viewer is forced to struggle with the idea of whether or not we are meant to love Don Draper or loath him, which is why the writers of this show do such an amazing job.
Cooper of SCDP has decided that it may be time for their small agency to finally go public. He, Joan and Peter are the only ones privy to this information. This would basically result in the partners getting shares, and everyone involved becoming insanely rich. Pete sees this as an opportunity to not only become wealthy, but to finally mend his broken family.To cover the years of lying and cheating with loads and loads of money. For Joan this is just justification that becoming a parter was a good idea, and that sleeping with Herb was not for nothing. That after 15 years of being a powerless secretary, it’s all finally paying off (literally). Their only hurdle would be Don, seeing as how he’s stationed himself as the decision maker of the company. Even with all the resentments they have towards him, they are still constantly searching for his approval. Pete assures Joan that Don is already rich, and that for him it won’t matter
Without knowing any of this, Don agrees to a last-minute dinner with Herb Rennet of Jaguar, and his hilariously flighty wife. With the way the show has portrayed him as a difficult and almost revolting character, it makes sense that his wife would be so clueless. The dinner is filled with awkward moments of gulping down a gigantic, umbrella filled pina colada and telling stories about puppies. Megan’s mom telling Megan in front of the woman’s face that she’d rather shatter the Champaign bottle and stab herself with it than listen to anymore of her stories. Don impulsively decides to cut business ties with Herb because he finds him to be too difficult. It’s ironic that his partners are in the office debating whether or not its okay to accept millions of dollars and potentially upset Don, while he makes life changing decisions for them across town without any concern. Loosing Herb as a client will be devastating for the company, and will guarantee them no longer being able to go public.
Roger is giving us the old school, womanizing, manipulative Roger of the past. He’s hooking up with a young, blonde airline attendant named Daisy and getting everything he can out of her for the short time she’ll be welcome in his bed. He got her to participate in bamboozling a possible Chevy executive, and ended up convincing him to partner with SCDP. One of my favorite scenes of the episode showed Roger ordering a double whiskey for the client and water with an onion for himself. He is succesful in brainwashing the executive into thinking they’ve met by chance and pics up Chevy as a new client. They are now responsible for coming up with the concept for Chevy’s newest campaign. He has inadvertently saved the company without even knowing it.
Don is greeted with pitchforks and burning torches during his arrival to work the next day. Pete and particularly Joan are extremely upset with Don’s decision to cut ties with Jaguar. This will, without question sever any chance they had at going public. The theme of Don being the anti-hero is revisited strongly in this scene. Every character in the show has some sort of bitterness towards Don. His wife, ex-wife, children, business partners and co-workers see him as a sort of plague. He’s become known as someone who ruins things when he gets to be a part of them. For these characters, Don’s arrival into a room means something bad is going to happen. One of the last people genuinely looking out for Don was Joan. Since the beginning, she’s been there to support him, and she’s one of the few people to still be on his side. She mentioned last week that she feels like nothing more than a glorified secretary, and this just reaffirms that. Joan slept with Herb against her will, not just for her own benefit but for the profit of the company. It now seems like everything she did was for nothing. It’s the idea that Joan could put up with Herb, but Don couldn’t that really upsets her.
Pete on the other hand has always been the anti-Don, but for different reasons. Don is everything Pete has always wanted to be. He does his best to impersonate him, but fails miserably. Nothing ever seems to work out in Pete’s favor, and he’s often left with egg on his face. From his failed business ventures to even him falling down the stairs in front of Don and the entire office, he’s constantly being emasculated. He also struggles with commanding any type of authority. Even while screaming at Don to his face, he still does not phase him. Don, of course takes credit for what Roger has done. Making it seem as though he always knew it would turn out this way.
Following all of the day’s drama, Don and Ted find themselves in the same bar in Detroit looking to drink away their memory of the day. They have a surprisingly enjoyable conversation regarding business. Ted realizes that instead of having routinely awkward run ins with one another while chasing after the same accounts, it would make more sense for them to partner up. They are both small agencies, and companies find it risky to work with them. If they work together they have a better chance at gaining clients. They make this decision without discussing it with any of their clients or partners.
Peggy and Ted finally address their obvious sexual tension and end up kissing in Ted’s office. She is clearly getting something from her relationship with Ted that she does not get with Abe. It’s left Peggy confused and fantasizing about Ted being in her bed.Just as she is starting to become more comfortable with the idea of being herself at work, she gets pulled right back where she started. She walks in to Ted’s office and finds him sitting with the her personal satan, Don Draper. Don is probably the last person she would expect to be sitting there. She is greeted with the news that they will be working together, and she looks as though she’s seen 3 millions ghosts. Yet another example of Don being seen as the anti-hero of the episode. Things are now terrible because he has arrived. It’s been an uphill battle for Peggy since flying to nest of SCDP, and for her this is a definite set back. The last place she wants to be is under the thumb of Don Draper. How do you think their relationship will pan out this time around, now that Peggy has had a taste of power?
photos courtesy of AMC.com