“I don’t like change,” Peggy declares at one point in this week’s Mad Men. “I just want everything back the way it was.” Too bad, Peg, because your entire world is about to shift in seismic fashion. After a very methodical start to the season, the AMC drama ramped up, big time, with the packed “For Immediate Release.” Let’s take a good look at what went down.
WE’RE IN THE MONEY | The episode opens with Joan, Pete and Bert meeting with a banker who’s evaluating the company’s potential for an IPO. He leaves to review the financial information, and Joan nearly swoons when Pete tells her that her portion of the firm will make her worth at least $1 million. It’ll also make the firm much bigger – a fact that might be used to sway Don, who’s expected to put up some resistance to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce going public. Within the next few days, Bert has great news: The banker valued SCDP at $11 a share, which means — allow me to do the math for a minute… carry the one… square root of pi… move the decimal point – the partners are all going to be stinking rich. Unless something goes wrong, but that’s not likely to happen, right?
THE PERFECT STORM | While Pete, Joan and Bert are celebrating in secret (they plan to tell everyone else the following day), forces are gathering to conspire against them. Well, maybe not so much “forces” as “Don’s cockiness” and “Pete’s penis.” First, Pete and Bob visit a whorehouse… where Campbell runs into his father-in-law (and SCDP client) with, as he later tells Ken, “the biggest, blackest prostitute you’ve ever seen.” Ken assures his colleague that Trudy’s dad can’t say anything to his daughter, who hasn’t filed for divorce yet and who seems to be softening toward her husband, without outing himself as a philanderer, too. It’s a matter of “mutually assured destruction,” Cosgrove says.
Pete would feel even less at ease if he knew that he’d been bumped from a dinner involving Jaguar fat cat Herb, Don, their wives, Megan’s visiting mother Marie and Roger. Though Roger never shows at the meal, which is intended to let Herb vent about his anger toward the firm – and hopefully smooth things over a bit – Don uses the event as an opportunity to tell Herb exactly what he thinks about him. (It doesn’t help that Herb, who is certainly an insufferable boor, suggests that an employee who draws up fliers at the dealership should give Don notes on SCDP’s early creative work for the account.) It goes downhill from there.
REALLY FRIENDLY SKIES | Roger’s bedding a cute little airline employee, Daisy (played by Danielle Panabaker, Bones, Shark) who works the first-class lounge at the airport, in order to get account leads. And when his hard “work” pays off and he gets a crack at the campaign for Chevy’s newest car, he can’t wait to share the news with the SCDP gang (and rub it in Pete’s face, just a little).
Unfortunately for Rog, he returns to the office just as Campbell learns that Don effectively ended the firm’s relationship with Jaguar. Pete sputters, falls down the stairs (I know this is terrible but ha!) and spews vitriol at Don for ruining the IPO, of which Draper is still unaware. It’s a scene full of chaos and gaping employees until Joan pushes the men into the conference room to figure out what’s what. Roger announces that they’ll present to Chevy in Detroit on Friday, and in the excitement, Joan almost gets lost. That is, until Don asks her to gather the creative staff in his office, and the edge in her voice cuts him to ribbons. She’s mad that Don – the one partner who was against her sleeping with Herb to land the Jaguar account – just threw away everything she’d done. “Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him,” she says, swallowing angry tears. “And what now? I went through all of that for nothing?” Get it, Christina Hendricks!
As if there weren’t enough going on, Pete’s father-in-law calls his bluff and pulls Vicks’ business from SCDP, telling Pete that he can’t stand to have someone so disgusting around his daughter. (Um, those who stick their nether regions into glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones, no?) So Pete tells Trudy everything, but it backfires and she orders him to pack his things and leave for good.
SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT | Life is also in flux at Cutler Gleason and Chaough. Frank Gleason has pancreatic cancer and plans to leave, which means Ted and Jim are going to have to buy him out if they want to keep the firm afloat. Ted is freaking, personally and professionally, and when Peggy tells him “strong,” he responds by kissing her… and she responds later that night by pretending Abe in his tidy-whities is really Ted in a smoking jacket. Uh-oh.
CGC, along with SCDP and a few other firms, are all set to present to Chevy. But in a Detroit hotel bar late the night before the presentations, Don and Ted realize that neither of their firms will nab the business because they’re just not big or prestigious enough. After sharing their ideas – and grudgingly acknowledging that each are very good – they decide to present together. Guess what? It works.
So when Peggy is called into Ted’s office upon his return, she’s beyond shocked to hear Don’s voice say, “We got it. We won Chevy.” (Brilliant reaction from Elisabeth Moss, by the way.) Bottom line: SCDP and CGC are merging to create a much larger company that can play with Madison Avenue’s big boys. Don and Ted are glowing with smug satisfaction; Peggy looks like someone hit her in the face with a two-by-four, but she dutifully retires to her office and starts to draft the press release announcing the merger.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of SCDP and CGC forming a mega-firm? Are you mad that Marie and Roger didn’t have another fling (yet)? How do you think Dr. Rosen’s frustration/possible resignation will affect Don and Sylvia’s affair? Sound off in the comments!