Pete turns up to the store with the dress in hand and accosts a woman who works there, but despite his story that his wife spilled wine on it and he'd be doing her a huge favor, she says she can't exchange the stained garment, as "anyone could have sewn a tag in this." Offended at the potential accusation, Pete offers to pay for a new one, but the woman tells him it's from last season, and she doesn't know if they still have it. Pete asks to speak to the manager, or "whoever can help me with this, because you're falling short." Slightly nastier than needed, perhaps, but I can't say he's wrong on the merits. Instead of telling him why she can't help him, she should be offering a solution, and my opinion is in no way colored by the hour I spent on the phone this weekend with an unhelpful "customer service" type. The woman goes to get a superior, and while she does, Pete takes a look around the room, so when the superior asks if she can help him, he doesn't see who it is until he turns -- AND IT'S JOAN. Awesome. Uncharacteristically, she looks like a deer in the headlights for a long moment, but by the time he's finished exclaiming in surprise upon seeing her, she's recovered, and she explains that they needed some extra help at the store, and she "get[s] her pick before they get put out." They get down to business, with Pete again saying the dress is Trudy's, but this time offering that he's the one that spilled the wine, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get out of the doghouse. Joan muses that the dresses must run small, as she doesn't see Trudy in a 10, and Pete hastens to add that it doesn't fit perfectly, but she loves it anyway. I don't see why -- honestly, the thing looks all kinds of My Very First Prom Dress to me, with an old-fashioned bodice, tepid light pink color, and cheap-looking tulle on the bottom. Regardless, Joan starts writing out a receipt for Pete to bring down to Customer Service, saying someone will retrieve a replacement from the stockroom. Pete again offers to pay, but Joan brightly says it's all taken care of, and given that her fabrics were awash in a man's fresh blood the last time we saw her, I'm not surprised she's failing to be intimidated by a little red wine. Pete then asks Joan how she's doing, and after she replies that she's never been better, she asks about the office. Pete says "Moneypenny" hasn't self-destructed yet, but he thinks it's just a matter of time, and for God's sake let that be the imminent opening for Joan to return to SC. I mean, retail needs its great people, but she literally saved a man's life there. Joan then spins a bullshit yarn about Greg looking for another specialty because it's "the latest thing," rather than because he has hands like oven mitts, and when Pete asks what he's going for now, Joan tells him psychiatry. Terrific. I can't decide if he'd be more dangerous with male or female clients. Joan finishes up, and Pete asks, should she ever see Trudy again, that she please be discreet. "The whole incident was fraught with drama." Even though said incident didn't actually happen, I'd still love to hear more about it. Of course, telling Joan to be discreet is like telling Don to be... well, discreet, and when you throw in the added factor that she'd like him to tell approximately zero people about this interaction, it's no wonder she replies, "This never happened." What I also wish never happened is me noticing the big HermÃ¨s name on the nearby mirror, because I hate to think of the writers being forced to come up with storylines that integrate product placement. Of course, the fact that they're so good at it makes it less painful to contemplate. When Pete leaves, Joan looks after him with a mix of contemplation and worry, as you might well imagine.
Episode Report CardCouch Baron: A | 2086 USERS: B-
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