14 May 2013

Mad Men Recap: "Man with a Plan"

To be clear, no man (or woman) has any plan whatsoever in Sunday's episode of Mad Men. With the merger of CGC and SCDP at hand, new desk assignments fly around almost at random. The creative team flounders in vain to come up with a pitch for Fleischmann's margarine. Joan deals with her shooting stomach pain by ignoring it. Ted takes Don up in a plane through the worst thunderstorm of all time. These are people who look plans in the face and say "Nah, no thanks." But despite their best efforts, the lives of our SCDP employees seem to shape up into something useful anyway.

Don's affairs have always seemed to satisfy a chaos drive - he never knows if he'll get caught, how much these women will blab about their new suave boyfriend, or if they'll get disgruntled enough to try to murder him one day for being such a dick. By dating the housewife downstairs, Don's begging for a shitstorm.  And so, without realizing it, when he hears Sylvia come close to breaking up with Arnold, Don does his best to slip out of the affair. It might get too easy if she becomes single.

Sylvia calls Don at work on the first day of the big merger and demands his services. He has her go to a hotel and stay there for hours and hours, occasionally coming in to boss her around and say weird 50 Shades things like "Why would you think you're going anywhere? You're here for me. You exist in this room for my pleasure." When he leaves again and takes her book with him, Sylvia's finally like "Ok, that's it. That's enough. He took my book, so I'm done." Good call, Sylvia. There isn't even a tv in there. S&M may be cool or whatever, but sitting around in a dark room waiting for sex crap without even a magazine is NOT.

When Sylvia says goodbye, she tells him something along the lines of "it's time to go home." I can't wait to see what "home" means for Don. Megan has helped him through some psychological issues before, and I hope that can happen again. I want more of the whorehouse childhood and less of the "my young hot wife doesn't get me" claptrap. And PS, mark my words: you know how they swore up and down that Don and Peggy would never end up together? I'm just recording it here first: they will. Real-life Draper Daniels married his Peggy, and Lost lied to our FACES about how it wouldn't end up just being stupid Purgatory. I'm all for the complex, non-romantic nature of Don and Peggy's relationship, but I also have a hunch, and it needed to be said. Do I want it that way? Who knows! Is Damon Lindelof a total liar? Yes, absolutely!

For seeming so conniving, Ted Chaoueuoe is a surprisingly likable guy. He's forthright to a fault, giving up his chair for a secretary and sitting on the fact that he HAS A PILOTS LICENSE LIKE A FREAKING HERO. After holding a "rap session about margarine in general," Ted loses an unofficial drinking match with Don. His hospitalized ex-partner's advice to walk back into the office like he owns the place leads Ted to take Don up in his two-seater in the middle of a giant thunderstorm. It restores the balance of power between the two creatives. I mean, just look at Don's white knuckles:


As good as I feel about Ted's trustworthiness nowadays, it's hard to apply that feeling to Bob Benson. Granted, he takes Joan to the hospital when she desperately needs to go, and sure, his only real crime so far seems to be excessive brown-nosing. There's still something undeniably fishy about him. Maybe it's his ease in lying to a triage nurse, or maybe it's the way he tried to pay for Pete's hooker last week. This rug we're all standing on seems like it's about to be pulled. In the end, Bob's work pays off: Joan saves his position from a personnel-slashing Harry Hamlin. The plan has worked beautifully, and Bob Benson smells like a rose.

There's another merger in the episode, so to speak, and it's between Pete and his discombobulated mother. Pete's brother can't take care of her any longer, and it's time Pete pulls a little weight by taking care of her in his apartment. To his horror, she keeps calling him out of the office for help, and he keeps missing important meetings. It's no shock that when she wakes him up to tell him RFK died, he doesn't believe her. She is a plan-ruiner through and through, and she can't even keep Trudy vs. Judy straight. For God's sake, old age is inconvenient. I'm genuinely surprised Pete hasn't already tried to mercy-kill her with a pillow.

Plans are great, but they rarely go the way they're supposed to. Burt Peterson planned to return to SCDP with some respect, but Roger made sure to kill that dream immediately. Stan probably planned to stay mad at Peggy, but her knowledge of Napoleon trivia made that impossible. Megan's trying to plan a new vacation to Hawaii with Don, but that's not likely to happen either, at least not how she would want it. You know how the Yiddish say "Man plans, God laughs?" I bet Bob Benson's plans give God the SHIVERRRSSSSS!

photos courtesy amctv.com
gif courtesy nymag.com

No comments:

Post a Comment