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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 4.7 - Man With a Plan


crazyforkate

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After a humdinger of an episode last week, with mass upheaval for everyone concerned, we return to see the fallout. One thing's for sure, after this nothing will be the same. Let's cut to the chase.

Previously on: We remember Don with Bert Peterson, Roger getting shoved out in Season 2, CGC and SCDP merging, Gleason has cancer, Don fucks Sylvia. Gotcha. Directed by Slatter, co-written by Weiner, should be a treat.

We begin in the elevator as usual, where Don overhears Sylvia throwing Arnold out of the house. Something about Minnesota - I'm guessing it has to do with his career? She says "Don't forget to take the maid!". Wait, Arnold's fucking around too? Is anyone faithful in this universe? In any case, Run, Don, Run!

Ted and Peggy meet among the shambles of SCDPCGC. Everyone's going to have to get used to each other. Stan, Ginsberg and Girl Copywriter (Margie) mingle with Ted and Peggy. Margie probably correctly knows that Peggy's presence is going to shove her out. Joan orders around all the new creatives. She gets into a spat with Moira, Ted's secretary. JOAN AND PEGGY REUNITED YAY! Joan quickly whisks her away, showing her that she's going to get Harry's old office - all to herself. A big change since the pilot, eh? Suddenly Joan feels a pain. Uh-oh, Joanie's kicking the bucket. Surely not?!

Peggy inquires after Joan's "little boy", and Joan inquires after hers. Awkward moment of the day accomplished. She means Abe. Of course.

Cooper pontificates about how great it is to merge, and cuts off. Shit, he's kicking the bucket too? Nope, turns out they forgot to write an ending. Pete arrives with no room at the table and nowhere to sit. The secretaries shuffle around deciding who takes notes. They talk about business, and things get uncomfortable fast. Most of the controversy goes around who's dropping their conflicting businesses. Pete, Ted and Don seem to be the new figureheads. Also, Ted's a pilot. COOOOOL. Just then, Pete gets an urgent phone call. Dun dun DUN! Ted promptly moves into his seat.

Apparently, a woman has been banging on the door at Pete's, demanding to see his (long-deceased) father. Turns out Mommy Campbell has dementia and thinks her husband is still alive. And mixes up her daughters-in-law. And doesn't know why she was given the apartment's address. Pete is stuck with her and aggravated.

Peggy, Don and Bert Peterson gather, which is totally cool guys! Peterson is pretty bitter. A few snide remarks about SCDP's status ensue. Just then, Don has to take a phone call from Sylvia, which is pretty much just a booty call. She wants him to come right home and fuck her. He is smooth as ever and arranges a hotel room.

Roger calls Bert into his office, where we get to hear about Bert hasn't forgotten a damn thing. Roger tries a bon mot or two, then drops the news that he's firing him. Again. No one at either firm wanted him. Bye, bye, Bertie. Roger, you're a jackass. He flips out and demands all kinds of compensation. It's not coming, you know that? "You're a real prick!" "Dammit, Bert, you stole my reply!" Bob Benson, who was apparently supposed to report to Bert, runs up to be a kiss-ass and is promptly dismissed. Go away, Benson.

Don runs to the hotel and into Sylvia's arms. No impulse control whatsoever. She says she needs him. Good enough. They fuck.

Ted Chaough sits around with the creatives while they try to make small talk. Peggy has just been chatting with Don - "black or white?". Ted suggests they have a rap session about margarine. Oh, Ted, you're that gym teacher we all had in middle school who always tried to be cool and was loved in the most condescending of ways. Peggy comes up with the best idea, about how the French army ate all the margarine because it wouldn't spoil.

Sylvia jabbers on about Arnold. Don tells her to shut up, then crawl on her hands and knees until she finds his shoes. Oooh, kinky. They do some of the Don-and-Megan antics from last season. Sylvia stays on her knees and puts his shoes on him. He asks her to get undressed again. Jesus, he's hornier than the entire cast of Queer as Folk put together. She complies. While she's lying in bed, he walks out and leaves her. Shades of Bobbi Barrett in Season 2! He's done with her! No more Sylvia. Yay. Getting so tired of Don Draper and the Wandering Penis.

We rejoin the creatives. Apparently the margarine discussion is going nowhere. Stan mumbles through a mouthful of food. In comes Don to save the day, and munching on toast to boot. Don is a little taken aback by Ted's laid-back style, and they exchange words after the meeting ends. Ted calls Don out for his general lack of accountability (good thing he hasn't seen Don's several-week jaunts to California). Sylvia calls him. Don dismisses her pretty fast. Back in the hotel, she curls up in bed, despairing. The phone rings again. She hesitates. In the end, she ignores him. Great!

Instead, Don goes to Ted's office with an alcoholic "olive branch", ostensibly to discuss margarine. Sounds appealing. They commiserate about the woes of being creative execs, then get down to business.

Pete arrives home to find his brother waiting for him. Bud immediately tries to run off and leave Pete with Mommy all alone. He also tongue-lashes Pete for not giving him an in at the agency. They fight over who gets Mom for a while. Pete loses. Mrs. Campbell comes out of the bathroom and yells at him about how terrible Pete is, forgetting that he is, in fact, Pete. He's stuck with her at least overnight. Sucks to be him. Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Don and Ted talk Gilligan's Island and various margarine brands. They have very different approaches, but find a reasonable rhythm for them both. Product placement on Gilligan seems to be the answer. Wasted, they devour toast. It's hilarious. Don comes up with the idea of one of those homey commercials with your perfectly balanced breakfast. Ted insists that there be bacon. He gets his wish.

Sylvia hears a knock on her hotel room door. She opens it to find a package from Saks 5th Avenue. It is a really hot dress. Red. Sexy. She hugs it to herself.

Bob Benson knocks on Joan's office door to find her horking into a garbage can. She claims food poisoning. Bob suggests she might have appendicitis, but Joan insists she can't leave. To be fair, the agency can't exactly survive without her. Benson takes over and offers to walk her out. In pain, she caves. They leave, Joan hobbling all the way. They're not killing her off, right? RIGHT?

Drunken Ted Chaough interrupts the creatives to discuss McCarthy vs Kennedy. Eventually, he gets so foolishly drunk that he passes out. Peggy tries to salvage the situation - and at the same time, knows exactly what Don has done. Jeez, we're back with Sterling and the oysters, aren't we?

We join Bob and Joan in the ER, where he assures her that Kevin's with a babysitter. Joan looks fucking miserable. Kudos, Hendricks and the makeup crew. She wonders what's going to happen to Kevin. Give him to Roger and make it into a sitcom, I say. As in every ER ever, they've been waiting for ages. Bob charms the nurse and claims Joan drank furniture polish. Way to go, buddy. Joan gets seen right away.

Don joins Sylvia and the red dress. She thinks they're going out, he says she is staying in the room to exist for his pleasure. Then he does some Dom stuff of ordering her around. Did Weiner like 50 Shades of Grey or what? 1960's black underwear makes its appearance, and is most sexy.

We cut to Don, getting back into bed next to wifey several hours later. Classy.

Chaough visits Gleason in the hospital, where he admits that "Draper knocked me out." Gleason asks what Draper is like. "He's mysterious...and I can't tell if he's putting it on." You should get Pete to send you Don's Box of Treasures, man! Gleason suggests that he wait for "the body of the enemy to float by." If he walks in like he's conquered, he's conquered. Really, has Gleason never met Draper?

Despite her difficulties, Mrs Campbell has figured out that a) Trudy has left him and B) this is Pete's fuck-pad.  Pete tries to con her into thinking that it's St. Patrick's Day and she'll get run over by a horde of Irish people when she leaves the house, then abandons her. She says she'll have the cook make his favourite for dinner. You're a good son, Pete. Pfft. And what has happened to Joan? My mom swears ovarian cancer, and at this point I'm just wanting to be right. And, you know, for them not to kill Joanie dear.

Back at work, Don finds his secretary missing and Peggy on his couch. She's there for a...confidential visit. Uh-oh. She admits that she hoped Ted would be an influence on Don, not vice versa. She thinks he merged the companies to get her back. Want some cream for that butthurt? She then tells Don to grow up. Good on you, Pegs.

Harry's complaining to Pete about his tiny office and all the changes when Clara interrupts them with an urgent phone call for Pete. There's been a small fire. Pete runs for it. Fuck.

Don is still doing the do-my-bidding thing with Sylvia, in their little shagadelic universe. It's frankly gross and creepy. Is he doing it to drive her away, I wonder?

Clara walks in to tell Ted that the meeting's changing. After some debate, they decide to just go ahead without Pete, heading off in Ted's rickety plane in the middle of a rainstorm. Darwin was right, fellas. Don is flipping out and Ted is not helping, talking about being upside down and stuff. Ted looks spiffy in some sunglsses. You're all right, Ted.

Bob shows up at Joan's with a gift for Kevin, and after some reluctance, Joan's mom lets him in. He wants to know what's going on, since the hospital wouldn't tell him. Ooh la la, is there something between Joan and Pete 2.0? Gail certainly hints at it, but Joanie dismisses it. Still...something's going on. Oh, by the way it turns out that Joan had an ovarian cyst. At least Weiner didn't murder her.

Pete arrives at SCDPCGC, finds out that Don and Ted left without him, and is predictably outraged. Clara tells him not to be ashamed of caring for his mom. "My mother can go to HELL!" he screams. Still five years old inside, Petie boy. Jackass.

Don comes back to the hotel, where he finds Sylvia about to leave. She tells him it's over. He says, "It's over when I say it's over." She tells him of a dream where Don died in a plane crash and she comforted Megan at the funeral, then went back to Arnold. According to her, it means that it's time to "really go home". She ends the affair. Don composes himself, kisses her hand, and says "It's easy to give up something when you're satisfied." She counters, "It's easy to give up something when you're ashamed." As she steps out, he begs her. Fucking BEGS. Don, what's gotten into you? She insists, and defeated, he holds the door open for her. He looks back at the rumpled bed, where she has left the red dress.

The partners are fighting over who keeps which employees. Cutler suggests firing Bob Benson. Joan says "Very well," then perfectly smooth-talks him into keeping the little bastard. Pete gives her a sly smile, knowing exactly what she's doing.

At the apartment, Sylvia gets off the elevator, leaving Don alone. He returns to Megan, who babbles on about maybe taking a vacation or something. He looks impassive. Don, Don, what does it take to make you happy?

Pete's mother shakes him awake to tell him that "They shot that poor Kennedy boy." He of course thinks she's talking about JFK, shrugs it off and goes back to sleep. The viewers know better. After reminding him that he'll be "late for school", she mutters about how she doesn't know what's wrong these days...they're just shooting everyone!

Megan solemnly watches the RFK coverage, in all its gruesome horror. She's stunned. As she sits facing the TV, and Don  sits on the side of the bed looking away from her, she begins to cry. Reach Out of the Darkness by Friend and Lover (fixed from previous song, sorry guys) plays. End credits.

All in all? Not my favourite episode of the season, but serviceable. Slower than usual, but full of the advertising machinations that keep us rooted. It was great to get rid of Sylvia. Now, to see how SCDPCGC will fare. And what they're going to be called. Amid massive upheaval, Draper soldiers on, miserable as ever - but he is increasingly ill-fitting in this world. There's no forgetting 1968.

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