Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mad Men Season 1, Episode11: Indian Summer

It's a scorcher, that's for sure.  Hot weather brings frayed nerves, people are at their wit's end.  The heat can make you do crazy things.

The brief opening scene takes us back to Adam Whitman, Don Draper's half brother who he bought off in Episode 5.  Adam looks different, maybe a bit more like Don - dressed in a suit, his hair no longer slicked back.  He takes a package down to the lobby to be mailed to Don and then returns to his sad little room.  On second glance, it looks like Adam is dressed for a funeral.  He spreads out money on a table, writes a note, then proceeds to hang himself.

Oblivious to the consequences of his actions weeks (maybe months?) earlier, Don comes into work complaining about the unseasonably hot weather.  You think you have it bad Don?  Imagine your long lost brother paid you $5,000 to never contact him again.

There is a brain storming session over a new product that promises passive weight loss.  The guys decide to bring Peggy in for her unique perspective on the product (not to mention the fact that she seems to have lost the battle of the bulge).  Freddy is a big fan of hers and was impressed with her work on the Belle Jolie account, so he's happy for her input.  Pete, however, makes it known that he does not want her on the account as he told the client that they'd put their big guns on it.  What does Don want more than almost anything in this world?  For Pete to not get what he wants.  So Don calls in Peggy and asks her to work on coming up with some ideas for the new product.

That night, Peggy takes out the passive stimulator for a test drive and finds the sensation overwhelming and immediately takes  it off.  The next morning, she is very matter of fact - yes it does provide a - um - sensation that some women may - um - find enjoyable.  It's not really a weight loss aide, it's - um - something else.  She just needs to put it in words now.

Before coming into work, we see Don and Rachel in bed at her place.  Rachel is an intelligent, sophisticated woman, yet she tells her married paramour "I don't know if I understand how this works, where it goes.  I'm worried it's a fantasy."  Then you do undersand how it works, dear.  He's cheating on his wife with you, as he has with Midge and God knows how many more.  Why do you think it goes anywhere?  But Don doesn't help the situation, claiming that he too is confused, "I just haven't figured out what to do yet."  That's pretty much all she needs to hear in order to stick around.

If I had a nickel for every time Betty Draper did something inexplicable, I'd have at least two nickels now (cutting her hair for Glen and starting to flirt, then changing her mind, with the air conditioning door-to-door salesman).  She lets this stranger in, while she's wearing just her nightgown and a robe, and she looks him up and down like he's the last steak on earth and she hasn't eaten in a week.  He's a nice looking guy, a clean cut, younger Jared Leto, and she starts doing the Betty flirty thing she does when she's around men.  She giggles then tells him her husband is a salesman too (I bet Don would love to hear himself described this way), then she follows him around like a puppy, never more than a foot away from him.  She starts leading him up the stairs, and you're waiting for the 70s porn music to come on when Betty stops suddenly and decides not to go through with whatever she was thinking and sends the poor, befuddled gentleman on his way.

Rachel is having dinner with a girl friend and talking about her complicated relationship with the non-Jewish, non-single Don.  She says she feels close to him, and it's understandable as he has shared more with her than he seems to do with anyone.  But the harsh reality that she is conveniently ignoring is married men cheat, married men say they aren't happy, but married men ultimately don't usually leave their wives for you. 

Don is home tonight, laying in bed next to Betty, who out of nowhere decides to share the little bit of energy efficiency education she received earlier with Don.  Don astutely notices that it's a strange comment and he quickly learns that she is parroting what an air conditioning salesman WHO WAS IN HIS HOUSE ALONE WITH HIS WIFE said.  Don is irate to hear that Betty let some stranger into HIS house and you half expect he'll return to calling her a child again. 

Roger makes his triumphant return to the offices that bear his name, but he's still weak and wan and only there to placate the nervous Lucky Strike execs who want to make sure their man is still able to handle their account.  Don and Bert bring Joan in to help put some color in Roger's cheeks and Roger, his defenses down, calls her "honey" and Don looks a bit surprised by the revelation.  They exit and Joan tends to Roger and he tells her how much he missed her and then seems to be about to profess his love for her, but instead he just talks about Joan's body.  That, coupled with Bert's warning, should help Joan see that Roger is not good for her.

Betty tells Francine about both the visit with the salesman and Don's reaction to finding out about it.  She says that her husband, Carlton, would have had a much more violent reaction than Don and she questions why Betty even told Don about it.  Francine, you deserve better than Carlton.

All are assembled in the Sterling Cooper conference room while they try to assuage the nerves of their biggest client. Nothing says all is well better than a pastrami sandwich and some Kosher pickles  Lee Garner checks out Roger to make sure he's still hale and healthy and the meeting goes relatively well (considering that there are major threats to the future cigarette business from both legislation and lawsuits that they can't really stop).  They're all laughing in death's face and pretending all is just fine until mid-toast Roger clutches his chest in pain.  He has to be carted out and it's clear that he was not ready for this production and still needs to take care of himself.  The client is very concerned and Bert does his best to convince him that the Lucky Strike account is in good hands - Don's.  Lee lets Bert know that they need some assurance that Don will be sticking around.

The gang sits around and talks about the future of the company.  Harry thinks Roger is finished noting that one heart attack is fine, but two and no client will stay with you.  Harry figures they'll make Draper a partner - it should have been done a long time ago, anyway.  And business will go on as usual.  But Pete is not happy to hear that Don will be elevated and firmly placed above him.  Paul worries that Don doesn't like him and notes that he does like Harry.  It's a very realistic office scene as everyone wonders how Roger's health scare will affect them.

Also realistic is Peggy's awkward blind date with the trucker.  They may be from the same area, but Peggy aspires to be like the other women - and men - she sees in Manhattan.  She wants to want things she hasn't seen yet.  This is a sign that Peggy is changing.  She talks about Joan as her friend, she brings up that she's writing copy, she has bigger plans for herself.

Don calls Betty's therapist to find out where all the money is going since Betty seems to be getting worse. He suggests that he could amp up her sessions, see her five times a week, to get to her problems and Don says he'll think about it. 

Peggy makes her presentation on the stimulator contraption and it goes very well.  She paints a picture and spins a yarn, is very Donald Draper in her approach.  While no one jumps up and down, and there are tweaks aplenty to be made, she clearly did well. Freddy thinks she hit it out of the ballpark.   Don gives her the proud papa look and for once Ken says something nice without a sexual undercurrent.  Even Pete is nice about it.

Did someone say stimulator?  Betty's washing machine is vibrating like crazy and as she comes over to push it back against the wall she feels that special "refreshing" feeling that they were just talking about and visions of the young salesman come flooding over her.

Peggy takes the opportunity of the successful pitch to discuss getting a desk and a raise.  But her timing is not great, because Bert comes over to talk to Don.  He pulls Don into Roger's office and Don expects to hear that Roger is dead, but it's actually good news.  Roger is on the road to recovery, but to restore client confidence and shore up any perceived weakness they're going to make Don a partner.  He can hire the new head of account services and remain in charge of Creative.  Don accepts and says he doesn't want a contract.

No sooner does Bert leave than Pete is in there to find out what happened.  Don dangles the head of account services position in front of Pete and watches him sit up and beg for it but he puts the metaphorical treat back in his pocket. Then he goes over to Peggy and, more magnanimously, tells her she gets her raise and can ask Joan to assign someone to her desk.  They've both had a very good day.

Have I mentioned Karma?  Now would be a good time.  So Don has tweaked Pete, because it's fun to tweak him.  He is annoying and weasly and entitled, etc.  But Pete also is good at his job and has some great ideas and doesn't often get the credit he should.  Don should have given Pete the account services position or at the very least considered him and not toyed with him so callously.  Pete would be home celebrating with Trudy or in his office working on his next pitch to Don.  Instead, he's hanging around the office drunk and pissed.  With Don saying he'll be taking over Roger's desk, it's not at all surprising that Pete would want to see what life would be like behind Don's.  And so there he sits when a package comes in addressed to Don. 

Pete picks up the package, glances at it, then puts it down and gets up to leave.  Then he decides to take it with him.  And somewhere we hear Brad Pitt crying "What's in the box?"

Don comes home and tells Betty he made partner and she apologizes about letting the salesman in and they have a tender moment.  At her apartment, Peggy reacquaints herself with the Juvenator/Stimulator whatever they're going to call it.  Yesterday, it frightened her.  Today, master of her domain, she's ready to take it on.  And "Fly Me to the Moon" plays.  Subtle.


Don: I don't think about it. I mean, I try not to.

Don: Peggy, just think about it deeply.  Then forget it, and an idea will jump up in your face.

Roger:  I shall be both dog and pony.

Roger:  Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me, and I hope you understand it comes from the bottom of my damaged, damaged heart. You are the finest piece of ass I ever had, and I don't care who knows it. I am so glad I got to roam those hillsides.

Mona: I used to think you couldn't put a value on a human life, but I never asked Bert Cooper, did I?

Pete:  There's not a man in this room who's not holding Don Draper on their shoulders so that he can reach partner.

Pete: Tell me when they come out of there, will you?
Hildy: Sure.  I'll just sit here and watch the door.  That's all I'll do.
Pete:  Who the hell do you think you're talking to?

Don: Is he dead?

Pete: Is he dead?


Indian Summer was the name of the first song ever recorded by The Doors.  It was recorded in 1965 but not released until 1970. Check it out here.

The actor who played Peggy's blind date had a small but memorable cameo in another AMC show, Breaking Bad, as one of the jerks who teased Walt, Jr. when he was buying jeans with his parents in Season 1.  But he's not always a bad guy.  He also played a lovable frat boy in the ABC Family show Greek

Peggy mentions the Latin root of the word "rejuvinate" in her pitch on the Rejuvinator.  That's the first time we see someone using linguistics in a pitch, but it won't be the last (nostalgia, anyone?).

Our first official suicide, Adam hangs himself in his hotel room.
Bert says to Don, I just finished trying to talk Lucky Strike off a ledge.
Don tells Betty's therapist that he's worried about leaving her alone. 

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