Bullet Points – Mad Men 06:06

“So I went through all of that for nothing?”

Over the course of six seasons, the sixth episode of Mad Men usually has something genuinely shocking moments and/or moments that mess with your head (i.e. the lawnmower incident in season 3, the flashback to the 1950s with Don, Roger, and Joan in season 4, the overlapping stories in season 5). Certainly this episode had both, but it was all in service to the main theme of the night; namely the idea of impulsive decisions being made without all of the players present. And all of the various moments of cross-purposes led to so much whiplash, one needed a neck brace afterwards.

Or another way to look at it, is that it is Pete Campbell’s worst few days ever!

It all started so well. First he, Bert, and Joan had a clandestine meeting on the feasibility of taking SCDP public, which would make all the partners very rich. Everything was going so well, not even the snubbing of that ungrateful wife of his was going to ruin his day. Then it all went to hell…


(Sorry. I couldn’t resist. After all, it is the meme that won the internet today.)

First off, Don had the impulsive decision to just decide to casually drop Jaguar. Mind you Herb Rennet was an absolute pig of a client and demanding in all of the wrong ways, but SCDP went through a lot to get them as a client, literally prostituting itself out for the win. As a furious Joan asked “So I went through all of that for nothing?” Of course, had Don known about the public offering he might not have done that but still.

And in the “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” category, it was another act of prostitution that lost another account for SCDP. Pete running into his father-in-law at a “party house” was deliciously hilarious, but it was his father-in-law’s move of pulling the Vicks account that pushed Pete over the edge and let Trudy have it. While normally I would take Trudy’s side, for once I had to agree with Pete’s impulsive anger at her. Granted he’s now completed the Don Draper cycle (from marriage to house in the suburbs to divorce) and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Especially in light of the other big impulsive decision of the night; namely the birth of SCDCC.

While I’m not surprised of the merger of SCDP and CGC, I am surprised at how soon it happened. Thanks to a perfect storm of confluences – Roger finding a lead on the Chevy project, the cancer diagnosis of Frank Gleason, both SCDP and CGC dropping their respective cars for this – which ended up finding Don Draper and Ted Chaough sitting at a bar having the craziest idea of their lives. So without consulting either of their partners, the two firms went in together and nailed the pitch, beating out all the big firms in the process.

If the partners at SCDP are going to be flummoxed by this news, think of Peggy Olson! After all, she had a slightly illicit kiss from a drunken Ted before he left for the pitch, and now he’s returned with her former boss in tow. The WTF look she game when seeing Don was priceless, and you could feel the mix of confusion and annoyance with having to deal with her former mentor again after working to escape from him. That opening quote above, though Joan’s, could easily apply to Peggy as well. It will be interesting to see the fallout of this shotgun marriage.

Random bullet points to end:

* I was taken aback by seeing Joan’s hair down at the office.

* Speaking of Joan, it was so like her to have enough sense to drag Pete and Don into the conference room to finish their gift before she unleashed the full Joan Holloway Harris fury at Don. The only thing missing frankly was a vase to smash over Don’s head.

* Now that’s the Roger Sterling I love; sleeping around to find a lead. And of course he would have copies of Sterling’s Gold in his flight bag.

* I love Peaches.

* Hooray for the return of Megan’s fabulous mother Marie, except I was surprised she wasn’t as bitchy as she normally was.

* Speaking of Megan, it seems that she can’t figure out what’s wrong with her marriage.

* Great visual joke of Ted reading the book Something by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Peggy’s fantasy. And how creepy was that fantasy sequence, cutting from Ted to Abe.

* One final note: It’s being implied that the car that Chevy is having pitches on will eventually be the Chevy Vega, and we all know how well that turned out.

Originally Published on 6 May 2013 as part of my column “The Idiot Box” for l’etoile magazine.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Bullet Points – Mad Men 06:13 | Todd O'Dowd

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