22 April 2013

Mad Men Recap: Double Crossers!

Last night's "To Have and to Hold" followed Don and Pete's secretive "Project K," Joan's unappreciated role in the SCDP partnership, and the conundrum Megan faces when her work makes Don jealous. Each storyline features a double-cross, and each character has at least 15 seconds' worth of Oscar-worthy, very pissed-off spaz attacks. Sincerely, every single person in the cast of Mad Men is in turn WAY PISSED. And it adds up to one great hour of television.

Don and Pete introduce the green-blazered Heinz Ketchup to "Project K" at Pete's apartment, shrouding the pitch in secrecy to keep Baked Beans from finding out. They're chasing "the green" even though they've committed to exclusivity with Beans. The dirty double-crossers smoke a joint in their tin-foiled secret office and come up with "Pass the Heinz," a pitch featuring gorgeous ketchup-loving foods that just seem incomplete without that drizzle of red. Don's pretty proud of himself...until he realizes he's been double crossed!

Peggy and Chaoueulhge run into SCDP in the Ketchup lobby and Don stays back to eavesdrop on Peggy's pitch. "Heinz. The Only Ketchup," she begins, showing off her red tights and throwing out Draperisms like "if you don't like what they're saying, change the conversation." Peggy's selling the shit out of her pitch, but in the end, JWT wins Ketchup in the room. Chauw wants to commiserate with SCDP at a nearby bar, but the feeling isn't mutual. Stan's so pissed, he flips Peggy the bird. Oh, and Ken drops by to let everyone know they've lost Baked Beans. He's extremely pissed.

Joan's friend/sister/cousin Kate is visiting, and surprise surprise, she's looking to double cross her Mary Kay job by taking an interview with Avon. She's also interested in stepping out on her husband at home, double crossing her own wedding vows. Joan and Kate end up at a party on St. Marks Place that a telephone-themed diner waiter takes them to. I wonder if Sandy's at this party, admiring the watercolor projections and recalling anecdotes of an annoying, fat, suburban housewhale. The next morning Joan and Kate wake up in the same bed with ripped sleeves and hangovers. "Do you need to throw up?!" demands Joan's mother.

At work, Joan's new partnership position hasn't changed much for her place in the hierarchy. Secretaries still think of her as their mother hen, rather than their own bosses' boss. When Joan fires Harry Crane's secretary (Scarlet) for asking Dawn to cover for her missing an afternoon of work, Harry forgets she's his boss too. He unfires Scarlet and tells the partners every ugly opinion he's ever had about Joan's position. He's done so much for the company, and what he's done has been in the light of day! He's solely responsible for the "Dow Presents Broadway Joe on Broadway Showcase!" He deserves a partnership! Not Joan, the woman who resorted to using her body to keep the company afloat with Jaguar's business! Every single character who wasn't pissed off yet is now duly PISSED.

The next day, Sterling and Cooper offer Harry the full $23,500 commission they received for the Dow television showcase. Unfortunately, Harry is still ULTRA PISSED. He wants that partnership, and he weakly threatens to go somewhere where they'll appreciate all his hard work. He feels double crossed that Joan has the partnership he somehow deserves. In Harry's case and often in Don's, Mad Men reminds us of that 60s white male point of view: so entitled to power and a pristine reputation, things get very ugly when anyone disagrees.

Don's in the middle of the hugest double cross of his life, seeing as his "actor" wife wants to start kissing people on camera for money. "You know who does that?" he manages to say with a straight face. Megan's excited for the storyline because it means more exposure, but her creepy older lady costar poisons the well. She and her husband take the Drapers out to dinner so they can try one thousand times to convince them to swing. "Are you sure? Swinging's all the rage. You know Megan's having a sex scene, right? I guess you might as well swing now, huh?" The costar lady is trying to physically double-cross Don and Megan with her husband and herself. 

Although Don and Megan escape the Costar-Swingingtons after dinner, Don shows up on set the next day to spy on Megan's sex scene. He fumes at her in the dressing room and accuses her of the very thing he's actually doing to her in real life on a daily basis with the woman who lives downstairs. Megan's acting an affair, Don's living one. And he's PISSED.

The only character who's not a double crosser is sweet, innocent Dawn. She covers for her fellow secretary, sacrifices her personal life for the sake of work, and apologizes to Joan by asking to have her salary docked for Scarlet's lost time. She's not trying to get anyone in trouble or do anything behind anyone's back (at least, not ever again). While we see Dawn's indiscretion and forgive her for it, we conspicuously don't see whatever the heck it is the ubiquitous Bob Benson's hiding. What goes on under that frozen winning smile? And how many double crosses are we looking at here?

Meredith, you're hopeless.

photos courtesy amctv.com

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