Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 3 USERS: A-
There's That Past, Informing the Present Again

...and then he's telling Chaough, "You know I'd much rather shoot your Honda commercial." Heh, nice twist that Don's plan involved the director being unscrupulous and opportunistic; it lends some real artistry to it. Chaough tells him he doesn't have a Honda commercial, and his ensuing question of "Why the hell did they call you in? They know I have you booked," is certainly close enough to the mark that you'd wonder if Chaough might see through this whole scheme, especially since an older dude I take to be Pryce's CGC counterpart wonders how SCDP can afford it. However, Chaough instead tells his secretary via the intercom to get "that kid who worked for Draper" in there, and while we wait to see which old cast member is getting work this week, he comes up with an idea for a commercial involving a guy wearing a racing helmet on a Honda tearing through a subway tunnel with a train right behind. When he emerges from the subway and removes the helmet, though, the reveal is that it's a sexy girl. The CGC bean counter is like, that's great, we'll bring a girl in a helmet to the pitch, but that's not what Chaough has in mind, especially when Smitty (aw) appears and, in answer to Chaough's questions, says that Don certainly doesn't think rules in general apply to him. When he gets a faraway look on his face and calls Don a genius, though, Chaough gets annoyed: "Why don't you go work for your boyfriend? Get out!" I thought at first that was a firing, but Chaough adds that Smitty should give him twenty different words for pimples. Sounds like a tall order, but I have the feeling he'll knock two off right away with "Ted" and "Chaough." Anyway, the zit in question has decided that they are shooting this damn commercial...

...and then Operation Hook, Line, and Sinker continues as Peggy and Joey wheel SCDP's Honda up to a sound stage. They keep a watchful eye on one particular door, and when the light that signals they're rolling goes off and the CGC bean counter emerges, they make a big show of "quickly" and "quietly" getting the thing into another door. The guy goes rushing back in to report...

...and later, he comes out with the director and tries to get in. Unfortunately for them, Joey's a good guard dog, and smugly tells them that it's a closed set -- while inside, Peggy's just riding the Honda in circles, with no one else in attendance. Hee hee hee. This is how you get labeled a genius, Chaough.

When we return, it's dark out and Don's working in his office when he casts an appraising eye toward the bottle of sake Ted Chaough sent him; he then walks to the kitchen past people who are leaving for the day and grabs some ice, startling Faye, who's been running a focus group for Samsonite. When Faye tells him she's never had sake, Don pours them both a finger, and Faye says she doesn't know how he drinks the way "people" do around there. "I'd fall asleep." That's a best-case scenario, I'd say. After chatting a bit about a trapeze artist Faye interviewed, Don wonders why everyone needs to talk about everything, which is a classic little disclaimer in advance of him opening up, but one more thing needs to happen first, which is that he asks Faye about her home life, and she confesses that she's not married -- she just wears the ring to keep too many men from hitting on her. She then asks about him, specifically if he has children, which I would have thought she knew already given that by her own admission she researched him thoroughly, but she's probably just following the conversational cues here. He tells her their genders and ages, and when she offers that it must be hard to be apart, he admits that's true -- he feels guilty for not seeing them enough, in the high weeds when he does see them, and both relieved and sad when they're gone again. Faye sincerely expresses sympathy, and he continues that things aren't going well, and Betty wants Sally to see a psychiatrist. Faye assumes Don is against that, but Don merely says he doesn't even know, and it seems like his reflexive distrust of anything therapy-related has given way to guilt both over his part in Sally's emotional distress and his own inability to positively affect the situation. Faye, however, says that while she has no clinical evidence to support this, she's pretty sure that if Don loves her and Sally knows that, she'll be okay. I wouldn't have expected a comforting platitude from someone who wears a wedding ring to keep men at bay, but I suppose the point of this episode is that people, not just cultures, are full of seemingly incomprehensible contradictions, and the new way Don looks at Faye suggests that that's not always a bad thing. Faye finally breaks the moment by saying she should go, and Don can't resist digging in a little: "Fake dinner plans with your fake husband?" Faye wisely declines to answer that, and instead merely wishes Don a good night.

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Mad Men




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