In last night’s episode of AMC’s hit drama Mad Men, we got a peek into the sex culture of the late 1960s, while they also tried to make a statement about African American culture.
First, Don and Pete meet up with the executives from Heinz Ketchup, a move that violated their agreement with Ken’s account with Heinz Baked Beans. It was trouble from the start.
Then Joan’s older, but younger looking, sister Kate stopped by the city, expecting a crazy night on the town. Joan helps her pick up a waiter and the three of them take a cab to a club where Joan lets loose for the first time after prostituting herself in pursuit of her partnership.
Meanwhile, Don and Megan are indirectly invited to participate in an orgy of sorts with one of Megan’s superiors on her show. The two respectfully decline, but the sex talk doesn’t stop there.
Megan, who has suddenly become a household name in between seasons, has been asked to do a love scene for her daytime soap opera, but doesn’t think Don will approve – and he doesn’t. However, he comes to realize that he’d be a hypocrite if he were to say no to his wife so he promises to condone her wishes.
In the office, Harry’s secretary Scarlet asks Dawn to punch her out because she needs to get a birthday gift for one of the other secretaries. Dawn agrees, but the next day Joan interrogates both of them. She proceeds to fire Scarlet and punish Dawn with extra work. However, Harry is not too keen on Joan’s assertion of authority.
Earlier that day, Harry wins a big account with Dow Chemicals, giving the company another stable form of income. Harry, who has questioned Joan’s role as a partner, is outraged by her decision to fire his secretary so he storms into the partner’s meeting to set the matter straight. In demanding a partnership, he delivers the best, most biting comments of the night: “I’m sorry my accomplishments come in broad daylight!” alluding to Joan’s “work” as a prostitute at the end of last season.
Before leaving town, Joan’s sister Kate confesses that she is jealous of her sister’s accomplishments, causing Joan to look at what they have truly amounted to – drawing back memories of her sexual escapades – both with Jaguar and Roger Sterling.
Over at Heinz headquarters, Don, Pete, and Stan deliver their pitch for ketchup, only to be greeted by Peggy and her team who are vying for the same account. Don eavesdrops on Peggy’s pitch, and hears her recite his go-to line: “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation,” and knows that she’s won the account.
Both groups have an awkward encounter at a bar following the presentations – just to give Elizabeth Moss more air time as the shows number two billed star.
When Don leaves the bar, he heads over to Megan’s studio to see her sex scene – which the producers call “steamy,” but isn’t anything more than what we would see on Disney Channel today.
Megan is mortified that Don would come today of all days and she sends him away. Don being Don goes right back to his mistress, who he reprimands for wearing a golden cross around her neck. She retorts that she wears her cross to pray. “I pray for you to find peace,” she declares, which goes back to my whole “Don Draper is actually dead and is living in purgatory like Lost season 6” theory. A soul trapped in purgatory is never at rest – and neither is Don. He is haunted by the ghosts of his past and feels the weight of New York City on his shoulders. I’m interested in seeing how this all pans out.
For an episode all about sex, I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get a glimpse into the Francis household. Sally, who we saw last season “become a woman,” would have been an interesting focus for this episode, as would her neglectful mother, Betty.
Also, I was a little peeved that the opening credits announced that the episode would be guest starring Alison Brie, but she didn’t show up! Not cool, AMC. Not cool.