Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mad Men Episode 6-4: To Have and To Hold

Recap: The episode begins with Pete, Don, and Timmy from Heinz ketchup having a private meeting at Pete’s Manhattan apartment. Pete and Don talk Timmy into giving them a chance to develop an ad campaign for ketchup, and Timmy agrees to look at what they come up with. Calling this “Project K” back at the office so nobody will know what they’re up to, Pete and Don enlist Stan to work with them. Stan sets up an office behind a door that says “Private” and places tin foil over the windows so nobody can peek inside. Later, they present their ad campaign at a private meeting with Timmy at the Heinz office, and discover upon leaving that Peggy and her team are waiting in line to present their competing ad campaign. Don is angry and says: “I only did it because no one else was supposed to know.” Frustrated, he listens to Peggy through the door as she delivers her presentation. The three SCDP guys end up at a restaurant counter or bar where they commiserate, and are surprised when Peggy and her CGC team enter the room to join them. Acting relatively friendly, the CGC team offers the news that both teams lost and J. Walter Thomson got the business. As the SCDP team files out, Stan gives Peggy the finger. Ultimately, Raymond of Heinz beans finds out that SCDP had contact with Timmy and drops SCDP as their ad agency.

Dawn meets a girlfriend at a restaurant lunch counter where they talk about Dawn being maid-of-honor at the friend’s upcoming wedding, and about the girlfriend helping Dawn by setting her up with dates. At work, Scarlett, Harry’s secretary, needs to go out and shop for a birthday present for Clara, another secretary, whose birthday is the following day. She asks Dawn to punch out for her so she can go out early and shop on company time, and Dawn agrees. Later that afternoon, Joan finds out that Scarlett left the building, and the next day she confronts both Scarlett and Dawn. She fires Scarlett. Just as Scarlett walks down the hall to leave, with all her things in a box, Harry walks in and learns what happened. Harry confronts Joan and tells Scarlett she’s not fired, and to go back to work. Joan then goes to an executive meeting and is told by Cooper and others that she shouldn’t fire the women. Meeting her girlfriend for lunch again, Dawn talks about the incident and how everyone at SCDP is scared. The girlfriend advises her: “They’re not your friends” but Dawn says she really wants the job and believes she’s not being persecuted – everyone’s being treated badly, not just her. Back at work, Dawn goes to Joan’s office, shuts the door, and tells her: “I think it would be only fair if you dock my pay” for the time Scarlett left the building to buy Clara’s gift. Angry about having her authority undercut by the other executives, Joan lashes out at Dawn coyly by putting her in charge of the inventory closet and time cards. At first Dawn thinks this is a friendly move, but Joan makes it clear that it’s a punishment. Dawn says she doesn’t care if everyone else hates her, but wants Joan’s approval. Joan says coldly: “We’ll see.”

In their apartment, Joan and her mother entertain a guest, Kate, an old friend of Joan’s. Kate gives Joan’s mother a makeover, and they all have dinner together. Kate is a sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics but is in NYC for a job interview with Avon. She has a private meeting set up the next day for an interview. Kate expresses how she’s always looked up to Joan and gives Joan a pep talk about how great she’s doing, even if Joan doesn’t feel she’s doing so well. Joan is equally supportive of Kate’s career. Later, Joan and Kate go to a restaurant for dinner where no alcohol is served, and where there’s a telephone at every table. Kate says a friend of hers told her about the place. Since they’re not getting any calls, Joan asks the waiter to check and see if their phone is working. The waiter calls their table from another phone, and Joan passes the phone to Kate, saying, “He likes you.” Kate and the waiter, Leo, arrange to go out to a place he knows about, and Joan agrees to go along. In the cab ride, Leo sits between the two women and says, “Let’s see who’s a better kisser.” He kisses Joan but likes Kate better. The place they end up looks like a private, underground-type club where people smoke marijuana, drink, and make out. Leo and Kate make out, and Leo calls a friend, Johnny, to make out with Joan. The next morning, Joan and Kate wake up in Joan’s apartment and look wasted. Kate later says, “Why did I do that?” She answers her own question with, “I just had to try it.” Joan advises her that when she goes home, everything will be right where it belongs, as if nothing happened.

At SCDP, Ken sits down in Harry’s office and complains about his father-in-law, Ed (of Dow Chemical). Ed says they need some good PR because they’re getting a lot of bad publicity about selling Napalm to kill the Vietnamese. Ken says, “If he wants people to stop hating him, he should stop dropping Napalm on children” (as if Ed were in charge of U.S. military operations). Later, Ken and Harry set up a private meeting with Ed at Dow, offering to help Dow’s image by having them sponsor an hour-long TV program of Broadway musical hits. Harry says, “How would you like to be responsible for making people smile?” Ken says, “Brought to you by Dow Chemical…family products for the American family.” Ed and associates are interested. On returning to SCDP, Harry discovers that Scarlett has just been fired. Not only does he insist that Scarlett is not fired, but he marches into the executive meeting being held right then and demands to become part of the executive team, citing his many accomplishments, some of which the others seem unaware. Later, Roger and Bert call Harry into their office for a private meeting where they present him with a check slightly larger than his annual income. They say it’s “full commission” on Broadway Joe, the show they arranged with Ed for Dow Chemical. Noticeably missing is Ken, the salesman who would normally have received the commission. Harry thanks them for the money, but continues to argue that he should become a partner at the firm. He walks out of the room threatening to move to another firm.

We first see Megan at work talking to Arlene, who tells her “Mel has big plans for you” and invites Megan and Don to meet herself and her husband, Mel, for dinner.  At home, Megan talks to Don and prepares him for the fact that she’ll soon be having love-making scenes on the TV show. Don says he doesn’t like it but needs to think through it. When Don and Megan have dinner with the couple, Arlene suggests that they go back to their place to get to know each other better, hinting that they want to do some wife-swapping or perhaps group sex. Mel says, “Hey, it might not work…it’s a chemistry experiment.” Don and Megan take a cab home instead, and on the way they remark about how awkward the proposition was. Megan says, “I don’t know whether to laugh or be sick…I have to go back to work with them.” The next day Megan goes to work, but Don stays in bed and Megan remarks that he’s going to be late. Instead of going to work, Don sneaks into Megan’s workplace and watches her lovemaking scene from backstage. Arlene appears and asks Don if he enjoys watching. Don ignores her and follows Megan to her dressing room for a private discussion that quickly turns into a big argument. Don basically calls her a prostitute and says, “Why don’t you have dinner with Arlene and Mel tonight? They’re much more open-minded.”

Meanwhile, early in the episode Don makes out with Sylvia in their building’s elevator, and at the end of the episode he stops in at Sylvia’s home to make love. When he notices Sylvia’s cross on her necklace, he asks her to take it off but she refuses. When Sylvia says, “I pray for you to find peace,” Don is deeply affected. He then moves her cross around to her back and begins to make love to her.


This episode is held together by the theme of private/secretive events that are often exposed awkwardly.

·        Pete and Don meet with Timmy from Heinz at Pete’s apartment because they are keeping their project a secret (“Project K), so that nobody else at SCDP or at Heinz (especially Raymond) will know about it. When they pull in Stan, they set him up to work at the office in a room marked “private.”

·        When the SCDP men present their ad campaign to Timmy’s group at Heinz, they think they are being given private access; Don is angry when they file out of the room and see Peggy’s team waiting in line, realizing his secret project has already been exposed.

·        After Don’s group leaves the Heinz office, they go to a bar or restaurant to commiserate as a team. They are miffed when Peggy and the CGC team enter and sit down to join them – and even more miffed to learn that the CGC group knows the outcome before they do: that J. Walter Thomson got the businesses.

·        Dawn occasionally meets her girlfriend for lunch. There she confides her private feelings about SCDP and the people there.

·        Scarlett, Harry’s secretary, needs to sneak out of work early in order to purchase a birthday gift for another secretary to be given to her the next day. She speaks privately with Dawn and asks her to punch out for her. This secret is discovered when Joan goes looking for Scarlett and then finds out that Dawn has punched her timecard for the day.

·        Joan privately confronts Scarlett and fires her, but Harry discovers her executive decision, which up to that point nobody else in a position of authority knows about, and reverses it. Then the entire executive board hears about Joan’s unilateral decision and makes sure neither Scarlett nor Dawn are fired.

·        The executive meetings are private, although everyone in the office can see them meeting because they convene behind glass walls. Harry bursts into their meeting at once point and awkwardly demands to become part of the board, at least in part so that he can be privy to what’s happening throughout the company.

·        Joan gets her secret revenge on Scarlett and Dawn’s private arrangement by assigning Dawn to take charge of the inventory closet and time cards as a punishment.

·        Joan, her mother, and her friend Kate share a private dinner at Joan’s apartment. Kate tells of an interview she has scheduled with Avon, a potential new employer, which is a secret to her current employer.

·        Joan and Kate go to a restaurant together and end up with a guy from the restaurant who takes them to an underground-type night club, a semi-secret place where they make out (or more) with guys they just met. The next morning, Kate wonders why she did that, and Joan says she can just go home and find everything in its place, suggesting that the secret will remain undiscovered and she can pretend it never happened.

·        Ken and Harry talk in Harry’s office about Ken’s father-in-law, Ed, from Dow Chemical. ogether they cook up an idea for a family entertainment special that Dow could sponsor to help Dow’s image. They then set up a private meeting with Ed and his team, and later we learn that the production was a success. The way this private event was revealed to management was by Harry himself, when he walked in on the executive meeting and announced it awkwardly. He is later rewarded privately by Sterling and Cooper with a large check, although commissions normally go to the salesman, which in this case would be Ken.

·        Arlene and Megan have a private discussion and set up a dinner date for themselves and their respective spouses at a restaurant. At the restaurant, Arlene and Mel propose that they all go back to their place and get to know one another better, suggesting group or wife-swapping sex. When their secretive intentions become clear to Don and Megan, they feel awkward and decline the invitation.

·        Megan’s job as an actor involves new onstage love-making scenes, which are inherently private in nature. She reveals this to Don, who feels awkward about it, and Don decides to follow her to work the next day and secretly watch her from backstage. When Megan is done with her love-making scene and walks offstage, she sees Don and realizes her private feelings at work have been revealed to him. They then go to Megan’s dressing room to have an argument in private.

·        Don makes out with Sylvia in the elevator of their building, and later he sneaks over to her apartment where they have a private conversation and make love. These secret events are, thus far, not revealed to anyone else, but the placement of these scenes in this episode seems to foreshadow that their secret affair will be revealed very awkwardly to others in the future.


A secondary theme is helpfulness – either friends helping friends or teamwork.

·        Several people work successfully in teams in this episode: Pete and Don’s team from SCDP, who work on the Heinz ketchup proposal; Peggy and Ted’s team at CGC, who work on a competing proposal; Timmy and his team at Heinz ,who listen to the proposals; the J. Walter Thomson team, who won the business; the executive board at SCDP, who work together to talk Joan down from her firing frenzy; and Ken and Harry, who form a team to help Dow Chemical.

·        Dawn meets her girlfriend for lunch, and the lunch meetings provide her with personal support that she doesn’t get at SCDP. This private friendship gives her a chance to talk about her work experiences without the risk of having her words repeated as gossip at work. The two friends have a mutually supportive relationship, with Dawn trying to help her friend with her wedding (although forgetting at one point) and the girlfriend trying to set Dawn up with potential dates. She also gives Dawn what’s intended as friendly advice about SCDP so she can protect herself: “Those people are not your friends.”

·        Scarlett helps the other secretaries and especially Clara by taking time off to shop for Clara’s birthday present, as is their tradition in the secretarial pool, and she gets her a beautiful scarf.

·        Dawn tries to help Scarlett as a friend by punching out for her at the end of the day.

·        Harry helps Scarlett (and himself) by standing up to Joan and telling Scarlett to go back to her desk.

·        In an effort to help Joan and/or Scarlett, Dawn meets privately with Joan in Joan’s office and offers to have her paycheck docked.

·        Kate helps Joan’s mother by giving her a makeover.

·        Joan helps Kate by making dinner for her and letting her stay at her place while she’s in the city for a job interview.

·        We hear that Kate’s friend has helped her out by telling her about a unique restaurant where people get dates by calling each other on phones at each table.

·        At the restaurant, Joan helps to set Kate up with a date; when Joan answers the phone and talks to Leo, she hands the receiver to Kate and says, “He likes you.”

·        After Joan and Kate go to the underground nightclub, Leo calls in a friend of his, Johnny, so that Joan will have someone to make out with too. In the process, Leo is helping both Joan and Johnny.

·        When the CGC team joins the SCDP team after their Heinz ketchup presentations, Ted and Peggy try to be relatively friendly to Don, Stan, and Pete, although their friendly conversation is rebuffed.

·        Arlene purports to be friends with Megan and offers an invitation for dinner to Don and Megan, ostensibly to help Megan’s career. Arlene and Mel then tell Don and Megan that they like them both and want to get to know them better at their home. At first this sounds friendly to Megan, but ultimately she realizes that what they want is more than friendship, or perhaps too much “friendship” for what she and Don are interested in.

·        Don and Sylvia are more than lovers; they’re also friends. Sylvia has a keen understanding about what Don experiences in life, and says that she prays for him to find peace. Don feels the impact of this statement in a deep way, and Sylvia’s insights into his mind/soul may help to explain his passion for her.

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