Mad Men
The Suitcase

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 15 USERS: A+
Float Like a Butterfly…

Don enters his office as he tells Miss Blankenship to make him and Roger a pre-fight reservation "anywhere but the Palm." Hee. She replies that she doesn't know what the big deal is about the bout: "If I wanted to see two Negroes fight, I'd throw a dollar bill out my window." Given what we learn about her past, I wonder if she played the cougar to a young and impressionable Don Rickles. Peggy leads the team in and says she thought they were doing this at nine, and points out that it's eleven-fifteen. Don tersely replies that he's late, and I like how the episode trusts us to guess that he only just got himself together after a night of boozing without seeing the hard (sorry) evidence of it. The idea, as Stan tells it, is that two no-name football players (represented by him and Danny), holding an American Tourister and a Skyway suitcase, are facing off against Joe Namath, played by Joey, who gives Don an awesome winning smile as he holds up a football, and his defender, "a sexy girl holding a Samsonite." Guess Stan's come a long way from last week, given that he (a) seems actually to have done some work, and (b) was able to refer to Peggy as "sexy" without choking on the word.

Anyway, Stan and Jonathan try to blitz Joey, holding up their suitcases like those huge pads lineman train with, while Peggy holds them at bay with her Samsonite, and as Don's eyes go wide, I'm guessing not in a good way, Stan calls for the camera to punch in on Namath, and Joey does a quite passable imitation as he tells Don, "The secret to victory on the road is Samsonite. I carry it because it's tough. And no matter what comes at me, I know I'm protected." Given what I've heard about the behavior of good-looking athletes on the road, that could just as well work for a Trojan spot. Peggy finishes out the ad with a "Touchdown, Samsonite!" and then Joey puts his arm around her and they walk off into the distance, and by that I mean "Don's door."

Don's verdict is that endorsements are lazy, and if he'd been in charge I might have seen fewer ads like this as a child, but he goes on to add that he doesn't like Namath, which even though he hadn't played in a professional game yet, I can't get behind, growing up a Jets fan as I did. Peggy counters that Broadway Joe is handsome, and when Don tries to tell her that women don't buy suitcases, she replies that "Dr. Faye" says they do. At the invocation of his philosophical nemesis's name, Don dismisses the boys before snitting that he's glad that they're in an environment in which Peggy feels free to fail. Peggy points out that he wanted to go with Danny's idea, and Don says that's true, because it -- "Only Samsonite is tough" -- works, and it's only the execution that's the problem. Peggy, casting about for something with which to stem the tide of his disapproval, asks if it should be funny, but Don's not letting up: "Actually funny, maybe. Funny like what I just saw, no." Boy, I wonder what he would have been like if they'd actually done this at nine. Stung, Peggy, exits...

...but in her office she finds just what she needs to cheer her up -- a vase full of pink carnations. Smiling, she reads the card...

...and then calls Duck, who's apparently at home. She's happy he remembered her birthday, and he asks if she opened the present that came with it, which she proceeds to do, and it's a business card for "Phillips-Olson Advertising," with Peggy's name and title of Creative Director underneath. She's a bit stunned, and he tells her that while they'll need another partner, he wants to form his own agency with her at the Creative helm, and he's had some under-the-table but promising talks with Tampax, "plus that queer at Belle Jolie's been barking up my tree." Don't know if that means the "queer" came out or if Duck just reads him as such, but either way I hope Sal thought to go there for a job. Peggy asks where she's calling him, which...did he put a number on the card with the flowers? I guess she always used to call him at Grey, so I suppose that makes sense. Ignore me. Anyway, Duck says he's in his home office, and Peggy wonders if that means he already gave Grey his notice, but Duck, who by the way has a drink in hand and is sweaty and stumbled over at least one sentence that I heard, tells her he's not "wasting [his] talents" over there anymore, and "believe me, it was mutual." Wow. I wonder if he actually said the words "You can't fire me, I quit!" Or some slurry variation thereof.

The bloom now off the rose of this conversation, Peggy asks if he lost his job, but Duck doesn't want to focus on that, saying he was, he has to admit, a little inspired by what "Draper" did, and all he needs is some accounts, because it's tough to get a credit line. I'm wondering if Duck blew through the finder's fee he got for the merger, because as I noted at the time, it was enough to keep him in booze for a while, and up until recently he had, I'm sure, at least a reasonably significant salary from Grey, but in any case, Peggy asks what he has so far, which, given that he already told her that, kind of means she's checked out here, and not being so drunk that he doesn't realize that, Duck snaps, "I know it's not a diamond necklace, but I did spend some money on those cards!" Oh, Duck, I was wrong and Roger was right -- don't ever change. Seriously, though, considering the address on the card was still to come, if he had more than one printed he's not only a drunk but also an idiot. Peggy finally has to come out and say it -- she doesn't know whether to take this whole thing seriously, given that he's obviously been drinking. Duck reflexively denies that, but when Peggy brings up his performance at the Clios (which, as I noted in the recaplet, may well have been the last straw as far as Grey went), he tells her he needs to see her, as he's falling apart, and when he was with her was the last time he felt good about himself. If I believed that, I'd feel cheated that we didn't get to see the end of their affair on screen, but it seems far more likely that he's just engaging in manipulative alcoholic bullshit here. The Creative boys then knock at the door, and when she unlocks it, Stan asks, "You been farting in here?" Oh, I see -- he's decided to deal with her by thinking of her as one of the guys. Well, at least as far as he's concerned, that's probably what she'd prefer anyway. Peggy hangs up on Duck, who swigs the last of his drink in frustration, spilling the ice on himself and then jumping to his feet like he just got stung by a bee. Heh. Back in Peggy's office, Stan says they're going to lunch, and when Peggy informs them that Don hated their pitch, Stan confesses, "I was hating it too while we were doing it, but not before, I'm not gonna lie." Is no one going to give Joey props for his Namath impression? It is a tough crowd here today. Anyway, Stan injects some practicality by pointing out that they still have to eat, and Joey tells her to come on. "We'll let you talk through lunch." Aw, that's a nice thought. I don't believe him for a second, but it's still a nice thought.

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