Sal is arguing with Smith and Smeeth over artwork, and when Ken appears, Sal tells Smith this: "Three o'clock. And [Smeeth] doesn't talk in the meeting." Heh. When they're alone, Ken, kind of nervously, which is quite endearing, tells Sal that he was thinking about what he said about his story, and he's not like everyone else at SC. Sal doesn't panic, probably seeing where Ken is going with this, and Ken, after a little more hesitation, hands over a copy of another story he's written and asks Sal to read it. Sal is touched, and Ken tells him not to pull any punches, unless he hates it. "I'm kind of fragile." The surprises keep on coming. Sal says he'd be honored, but doesn't let Ken get away without inviting him to dine with him and his wife Kitty that Sunday. Ken's a bit hesitant, but agrees, and I have to compliment the acting by Aaron Staton and Bryan Batt in this whole storyline, because they both, in different ways, succeed in conveying that on some level, they know that this is A Bad Idea Indeed.
The Martinson people are in the conference room, and Don is saying that young people don't drink coffee, and that can become a lifetime habit. If that's true, how the heck did college students actually get their work done back then? I slung coffee for a year in college myself, and I can attest with certainty that people weren't drinking it for the taste. Don goes on that unsuccessful attempts have been made to lure in younger drinkers, and gives as an example "Puppets and so forth," with perfect disdain. Not that I wouldn't have started drinking coffee at age five if I'd seen those ads, but this is Don we're talking about. He gives the floor to Smith, who lets us know that the expression "cup of joe" was coined in honor of Joe Martinson, but that that's ancient history, and his generation doesn't want to be told what to do, and just wants to feel. This idea might be annoying to hear repeatedly from Smith if it wasn't reflective of the struggle for all forms of societal identity that this show, at its core, is always about. Well, okay, it's still annoying, but it at least serves a purpose. The Martinson guy's "...Okay" echoes Don's from earlier, but Smith has Peggy play what we didn't hear him play for Don, which is a recording of a song set to calypso music advertising Martinson as an "exotic brew." Smeeth wins me over a little bit by chair-dancing, and though the Martinson guy doesn't really get it at first, when he asks Peggy what she thinks, she confidently smiles. "It stays with you." He then asks what pictures would go with it, and Don replies, "If you sign, we'll tell you." To be that sure of himself, he must really not be able to get the song out his head.