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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 6.6 - For Immediate Release





Many critics and viewers seem to agree that last week’s episode was a triumph, portraying the reaction surrounding Martin Luther King’s assassination in a manner both reminiscent of the show’s great early seasons and yet cultivating the new modern climate of 1968. This week’s title, “For Immediate Releaseâ€, suggests the potential for an episode just as eventful. Let’s see what goes on in the land of Draper. The preview certainly suggests a Joan-heavy episode – which can only be a good thing,

Side note as I stare at my golden retriever: Whatever happened to Polly, the Drapers’ dog? I remember her being there as late as the Season 3 finale, then as soon as Season 4 begins we never see it again. Was Henry a jerk who made

Previously on: They fight with Jaguar and Heinz, Abe and Peggy debate a new place, Arnold and Don are friends, Peggy succeeds at CGC, Trudy turns Pete down.

Opening credits. Written by Weiner, directed by Getzinger, sounds fabulous. Joan, Pete and Cooper are in a meeting late at night with what appears to be their stockbroker. Cooper is skeptical, but they hand over some documents anyway. Joan takes charge as usual, and her hair looks amazing! However, the guy obviously still thinks she’s some kind of secretary. Pete and Joan are left alone. “Everyone wants you, don’t they?†he sneers. Gross, gross, do not sleep with him Joan. You’re not as stupid as 1960 Peggy. Pete continues to flirt with her and tells her that her share will soon be worth a million. In 1968. Seriously, that is epic. Before she leaves, Joan notes that the next day is Mother’s Day. Pete looks awkward. Serves you right, buddy.

We join Roger with his shag-of-the-week, a blonde we all mistook for Betty at first. Now that would be a plotline. They try to make arrangements to meet again, but she is playing hard to get. Another reminder that it’s Mother’s Day. WE GET IT, WEINER. Roger notes that his mother just died, which gets her back for a pity shag.

Pete also wakes up in bed with a lady...who is revealed to be Trudy! No, you idiot. It seems they’ve reconciled enough that they’re keeping up the facade of the marriage, except the sex part, haha. Pete is put out because she denies him. Still very much in the doghouse – but they at least seem to be on better terms from a couple of episodes back, not that that says much. Trudy’s bright pink wrapper is phenomenal. Seriously, a gift from God Alison Brie in hot pink is.

Don and Megan are having breakfast with Megan’s mom (Julia Ormond), who is down for the occasion. Arnold walks in asking for some wrapping paper, which his son desperately needs. Heh, kids have no planning skills. She gives him the sexy eye. Seriously? No, Megan’s mom, keep your pants on this time. She generously offers to give him Megan’s Mother’s Day Gift, which pisses off Megan to no emd. Classy, Mme Calvet.

Abe and Peggy are setting up their new apartment, which is apparently filthy and filled with junkies. Peggy’s mom wants to come visit, which is always a delightful project. Abe injures himself renovating the house. Peggy demands that he hire a handyman, which of course hurts his manly pride. Listen to your girlfriend, Abe.

Roger confronts Don and says that Herb the Perv (of Jaguar Hooker fame) wants to have dinner. He and Megan are commanded to appear. Apparently Joan is invited, too. Uh-oh.

Meeting at CGC, preparing for some car people – Chevy, I think? The Graduate is mentioned. 60’s reference! When the creatives leave, Gleason tells Chaough that he has terminal cancer. He wants Ted to buy him out, which will be a mess for CGC.

Roger calls his flight attendant shag-of-the-week, where they engage in some flirtation. Eventually Roger runs out half-dressed for a meetup. Ooh, la la, afternoon delight.

Megan and her mom get into the elevator, where they immediately meet some starstruck fans searching for an autograph. Megan’s mother looks contemptuous.

Roger shows up at the counter, where he appears to be boarding a plane but is really checking out the lady. Man, you could never get away with it post-9/11. He meets a chubby traveler named “Mikeyâ€, with whom he strikes up a conversation and some drinks. Turns out Roger is on some kind of business poach, not a shag as I assumed (though probably that too, knowing Roger) and uses his connections to get on the flight next to Mikey. Ooh boy.

A Johnnie Walker commercial comes on with Christina Hendricks, which I haven’t seen before because this is my first week watching it on television. I instantly crave scotch. Advertising spokeswoman of the ages.

Megan’s mom actually criticizes her for not spending Mother’s Day with Don in a fancy restaurant. She comments that Megan talks like a woman who’s been married much longer than she has. Megan tells her that Don has been distant, which Marie attributes to her success – it is very difficult to arrange new dynamics. She then suggests that Don and Megan should just have sex more often. Brilliant. Megan giggles.

Herb the Perv and his wife (guess Joan wasn’t invited after all) join Marie, Megan and Don at a fancy restaurant. Roger skips out, naturally, leaving them in a very awkward spot. I hope we get to see more of this. Side note – companies must fight to be featured on Mad Men, but how do you think they feel when they’re represented by Herb?

Cooper comes into Pete’s office. When Pete asks what he could do, he launches into a long praise of Pete’s career, keeping SCDP afloat – and mentions that their shares will be eleven dollars each. WOW. Immediately a celebration is called for, with Joan immediately called in to share. Wonderful.

The Drapers and Mme Calvet are slowly getting bored to death by Mrs. Herb the Perv. “I love puppies†says Jon Hamm adorably and awkwardly, while Marie mutters cruel things in French and Megan offers considerably nicer translations. My mother wonders if Mrs. Herb the Perv speaks French. The ladies excuse themselves to powder their noses so the men can talk business. Herb breaks a proposition – he wants Don to show a promising young creative around SCDP and presumably gather business secrets. Don hands over a business card, saying that someone else will be handling the account from now on. Herb goes into the “Reason You Suck†speech, telling them how everyone has mistreated him and how he’s going to leave the agency and yada yada. Don ends the dinner right there, taking his wife and mother-in-law with him and commenting that he “never felt better in my lifeâ€. Attaboy, Don, but I’m afraid you just shot yourself in the foot.

As soon as they get home, the Drapers get into some monkey business around a doorframe while Marie sits and listens and gets drunk. Gross, the least you can do is pretend your daughter isn’t shagging Jon Hamm two feet away. Roger calls, and Marie gives him a dressing-down, telling him he was a jackass for skipping out and delivering some blissful one-liners. Marie Calvet, come back every episode! Roger begs for a meeting with Don, but she hangs up the phone with a final insult to his manhood. Don’t ever change, please!

Pete and Bob  Benson (so they are buddies, called it) go to a brothel together, as is imperative for advertising gentlemen. Upon finishing his turn, Pete joins his long-lost twin in the hallway, where they promptly run into...Tom Vogel! Dun dun DUN!

Pete goes to Ken Cosgrove for advice, telling him about his father-in-law’s rendez-vous with the

“biggest, blackest prostitute you’d ever seen.†Vincent Kartheiser’s delivery is perfect. They swap father-in-law stories, and Ken goes into the time he caught his teacher at a dirty movie. Mutually assured destruction – it’s not just for nuclear weapons anymore! All in all, there is little condemnation. Cosgrove gets a phone call, which sounds fabulously important.

As Don comes in, Pete runs down the stairs screaming, so angry he falls down the stairs. Was that just a throw in? That – that wasn’t planned, right? Anyway, Pete has his second screaming session in as many episodes, freaking out at Don about losing Jaguar. He is rightfully enraged. Joan drags them into an office where they hash it out. Roger comes in with the best timing ever, back from his sojourn with Mikey, who turns out to be a Chevy exec. Incredible news. Joan flips out on Don, pointing out that she had to go through a lot more for Jaguar, now it’s all for nothing and she’s tired of the whole scene being Don, Don, Don. She stomps off in a fit of rage. As the partners leave the room, the terrified creatives run away from the door like a herd of elephants. Beautiful.

I’ll tell you something – Joan’s quiet anger with the knowledge of her sacrifice was much more effective than any of Pete’s bluster.

Everyone is thrilled with the prospect of Chevy, but Don emphasizes the importance of keeping quiet. They scurry around like mice on a sugar high. Plot is afoot.

Peggy, looking excellent in pale blue, walks into Chaough’s office to find him fixing a TV. He tells her how much he needs Gleason, then promptly kisses her. Oh, like we didn’t know THAT was coming. He immediately apologizes, and Peggy handles it gracefully, shrugging it off while looking shell-shocked. They depart on extraordinarily awkward terms.

I am going to use the commercial break to dictate a message to Peggy, even though she is a grown-ass woman who can handle her own vagina. DO NOT SLEEP WITH CHAOUGH. He seems like a decent boss, but you have a good thing going and I will be pissed if you screw it up. Does no one on this show know how to keep a relationship going?

Don and Arnold meet in an elevator, which sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Arnold says he was blocked from doing a transplant and quit his job in protest. He complains about getting screwed over, to which Don says “you make your own opportunities.†Arnold asks him to go for a drink, but he protests that he has work – you mean boinking his wife, Don? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what you mean.

As soon as he gets inside, Megan dismantles him with some well-placed sexy talk chosen exclusively to bolster his ego. She goes down on him. We flash-forward to the airport, when Don and Roger “happen to run into†Mikey. After some small, talk he casually mentions that Vicks has pulled out. Shit.

Cut to an enraged Pete yelling over the phone that his father-in-law had better get in touch now. Joan assures him and Cooper that Roger will handle it. Because Roger is what they really need right now. Pete decides to circumvent the problem and confront Tom in person. He attempts to cajole Tom back with some sleazy compliments. Tom destroys Pete, calling Trudy “a princess†and saying Pete’s not fit to be a father. He then challenges Pete to “walk out like a man or be thrown out like a dog.†BOOM. Finally, after eight years, Vogel has his say. He’s by no means a good person – he was in the brothel, too – but damn, Pete is an asshat.

Peggy and Abe argue about the general shittiness of their building. Abe contends that the neighbourhood is changing, Peggy wants it to be good right now. Abe mentions that they’ll have a new President – “Worst case, Kennedy.†Nice foreshadowing there. Peggy immediately drifts into some kind of sex fantasy about Ted as she makes out with Abe. Awkward...

Lying awake in bed, Don contemplates...the end of his company, presumably. He flashes back to a bar in Detroit, where he meets Ted Chaough, who is extraordinarily disappointed to see him. Don tries to say that he’s not that good, but Ted thinks it’s both agencies’ ruin. They just can’t compete with all the others brought in. CGC-SCDP merger? That’s what I’m wondering. They actually have a friendly conversation about the general soul-selling of advertising, and wearily comment of how their “brains are put in a jarâ€. In a different world, maybe they would be friends. Within moments, they are showing each other their pitches. Don likes Ted’s, Ted is intrigued by Don’s – and they’re both pretty good, I must say (but Don’s is better). In the empty bar, they share a drink, and Ted asks if “we†should go home. Don seizes on “we†and – SCDP-CGC merger? “Both of us have the creative, but neither of us have the agency to match.†Don and Ted are going rogue! If this doesn’t end in a three-way with Peggy I’ll eat my hat.

Ted asks about the partners, Don points out they’re back in New York. Ted and Don, bros in business! We join Don, Roger, Gleason and Ted about to present. It’s on. I am seriously loving this.

Trudy comes in to her house only to find Pete, but gently reminds him that he’s not supposed to be there until the weekend. Do I detect some flirtation? Pete immediately launches into her father’s controversy. Naturally she defends her dad, after which he goes into a graphic description of the brothel encounter. Trudy is naturally pissed and throws him out, promptly destroying whatever ground Pete managed to gain. GOOD FOR YOU, Mrs. Campbell.

Peggy is called into Ted’s office, putting on some makeup first (heh) – where she is shocked to see Don! Priceless, just priceless. Don explains that they’re merging, and they invite Peggy to come with them. Reinventing once more – what a game-changer. They ask Peggy to do the press release. She is still confused but goes along with it, and is still hot for Ted by the way. She begins. “May 17, 1968 – For Immediate Release.â€

All I can say is WOW. After some lacklustre business storylines, it is great to see a big shake-up. I am confident that Weiner can pull this off without merely repeating Season 3. And hey – I predicted this last episode! SO right!  The way they were pushed to the side at the banquet, it just seemed like a possibility. Don and Peggy working together again. Another chance at financial stability. The episode had a lack of Joan, but made up for it with the most barn-burning storyline so far. I would call this the best episode of the season – but we still have seven more to go. What more will SCDPCGC (CGCSCDP? SCCGCDP?) bring to us? Whatever happens, you can bet it’s going to be thrilling. Though Season 6 was good from the start, it did lack a certain something,and I think this is just the reinvigoration to take it over the top.


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