Mad Men

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Couch Baron: B+ | 1 USERS: A
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Betty…Whitman?

...and then we cross-fade into the SC lobby before cutting upstairs, where, in front of the boys, Ken has apparently invited Allison to be his date to SC's fortieth anniversary party, and Allison has firmly refused. She explains herself: "What do you think Mr. Draper would say if you showed up with his secretary?" Translation: Don't pull a Roger Sterling, my man, and I am liking Allison quite a bit these days. The boys, those being Ken, Paul, Harry, and some young-looking guy who I think is Sal's underling (and I'm pulling that out of my ass, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his name's Marty), who's apparently taking Sal's place in the meeting, all give "Good point she makes there" faces, and then Don arrives and they all head into his office. Paul asks Allison to get Peggy and then starts arranging the chairs into two rows of two, prompting Ken to remark, "It's Paul Kinsey theater." As if that's not redundant. As Marty shows he's perfectly committed to filling Sal's place by carefully covering his head with a lilac kerchief, Paul pitches his idea for an Aqua Net television spot to Don, saying the product is about not only hold but also beauty. He and Peggy take the front two seats, with Marty and Harry in the back, all creating the simulation of a four-door automobile. Peggy puts a scarf of her own over her head, and as Don and Ken watch, Paul says the woman in the back's scarf will blow off and her hair will fall apart, with Marty acting it out, even crying "Oh no!" in falsetto. Heh. What then will happen, as acted by our players, is that Peggy's character will hand her kerchief to the woman in back, and her hair will remain perfect because she uses Aqua Net, after which the tagline "Aqua Net: Arrive In Style" will play. Everyone gives the "camera" a big fake smile, with Marty having gone ahead and tied Peggy's scarf over his hair, and it's not like I don't want Sal to come back but this kid is showing an awful lot of potential. Don dismisses the pitch as having too much story, so Peggy pipes up with a sleeker modification and a new ending that Don is quite happy with. He then puts Peggy and Paul on Western Union, adding that since Hilton takes precedence they need to be ready to go quickly, and, as Harry notes, they'll need a TV spot to compete with phone-company ads. Ken muses that he likes getting telegrams, but never sends them himself, prompting Don to roll his entire head in Ken's direction and ask how that's supposed to help. Ken looks blank, while next to him, Allison gives a side-eye that suggests she just got even happier with her decision to turn him down. The meeting breaks up just as Pryce enters, which I'm guessing is not the first time that's ever happened, but it's just as well because he wants Don alone -- so he can present him with the signing bonus check for five grand that the accounting department has just now gotten around to cutting. Underscoring the idea that Don still is the only one who communicates with Connie, Pryce then asks if "your amigo" will be attending the anniversary party, and Don confirms it: "In his dressiest Stetson." Heh. Pryce is thrilled to hear it, and then tells Don he'll be speaking last at the dinner. "It's primetime. Please prepare." Don nods, and then Allison interrupts with the news that Pryce's wife is up in his office, which gets Pryce to rush out of there like he's late for his A-levels. Don asks Allison what's going on, and she conspiratorially whispers that she'll find out, endearing her further to me, but Don drops the idea. I'd be annoyed if we weren't going to find out soon enough anyway.

Paul busts into Peggy's office and lambastes her for putting her "little swirl" on top of his idea, "and every time we work together it looks like you carry the load, because you're spontaneous and you're a girl and you're his favorite and you use Aqua Net!" You might do better at balancing the scales if you could remain calm in a crisis, dude. Anyway, Peggy latches on to the part of his statement to which she's currently sensitive: "Are you nuts? He hates me." Aw. I don't think that's true -- she doesn't really know how poor her timing has been at approaching him this season -- but she certainly can present ample evidence with which to back up the idea. Regardless, Paul is not trying to hear that, and adds that being a girl won't help on Western Union, so she should do her work and he'll do his. "Let the chips fall where they may." He storms out as Peggy wonders what the hell Utz has to do with any of this.

Pryce has made it up to his office, and after Hooker brings Mrs. Pryce, who's clearly out of sorts and sniffly, a glass of water, his boss dismisses him, whereupon Mrs. Pryce remarks, "He's such a toad." Heh. Whether genuinely or to mollify his wife, Pryce agrees, but when he tries to get her to take a seat, she makes a grand show of refusing, prompting this weary reply: "Am I to entertain your ballad of dissatisfaction, or has something actually happened?" You may be interested to know that www.balladofdissatisfaction.com is available as a URL. Or it will be until I get up and grab my credit card, because should I start a blog I certainly don't think I could come up with a better title. Anyway, she starts into a tale of woe involving queuing up with fat women on her errand to pick up her gown and duplicitous cabbies who run up their fares and how she ended up having to stop at SC because she didn't have enough money to get to her destination, which leads into her accusing him of actually liking it in New York, even with "the smells and the noise and the criminals at every level!" Hope you don't stick around for the seventies, hon. After telling her how well the company is doing, Pryce asks if he can see the gown, but she's not done as she bemoans the fact that New York isn't London, or even England. Pryce replies that that's true: "I've been here ten months and no one's ever asked me where I went to school." From the way he seems to view this as a positive, I'm guessing he didn't go to Cambridge like MacEndrick did. On the other hand, he still has both his feet.

Don and Suzanne are back in bed when there's a knock at the door. After a moment of frozen hesitation, Suzanne calls that she'll be just a minute, prompting Don to ask why she answered. She throws up her hands in frustration before exiting the bedroom, shutting the French doors behind her as she goes. Don worriedly gets dressed and hears snippets of conversation, followed by Suzanne reentering the room and telling him it's her brother. He suggests she get rid of him for fifteen minutes so he can make an escape, but she tells him she wants the two of them to meet. In keeping with the theme, what he sees as an inadvisable and awkward situation, she views as an unexpected and happy opportunity, and I'm not going to point out every instance in the episode of two people's views of the same situation being diametrically opposed because I'm not getting paid by the word here, but the theme is certainly sufficiently supported with examples. The two of them emerge from the room, and Suzanne introduces Don to "Danny," who's in his early twenties and sporting a bandage on his forehead and a sardonic expression, two things that probably are seen together more often than you'd realize. Danny offers an apology with a side of giving Don shit for the interruptus-ness of the whole situation, and Don starts to head out, but Danny tells him he knows what he's thinking, but he's not a junkie. I'm not sure that's what Don was thinking at all -- he seems way too focused on his own suffocating need to get out of there to devote much energy to observation at the moment -- but in any case, he listens as Danny goes on that he's apparently "too dangerous to push a cart in a public library," prompting Suzanne t

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