Mad Men Season 6 Episode 3

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Every week, Aaron Cohen (@UnlikelyWords) writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s Aaron’s recap for season 6 episode 3:

I didn’t immediately know what to write about tonight, but I’m starting to center around 3 major themes from tonight: prostitution, advertising, and war. First let’s get some plot details out of the way.

-Megan had a miscarriage. She didn’t want to tell Don because she didn’t necessarily want to scare him away by bringing up the conversation about whether to have kids or not. Ever helpful Don does not answer one way or another. “You have to know I want what you want. Is that what you want?”
-Peggy is still having a hard time managing people, this time getting management advice from her secretary. I wonder if this will continue all season. And getting pranked/hazed by her employees. I was surprised, naively perhaps, that her employees would prank a superior in this manner. (Also, did that firm get Clearasil last year when SCDP got Dow Chemical?)
-Don and Mrs. Rosen continue their dalliance and talk about their feelings. When Don feels her pulling away, he seems even more attracted. To me there were huge similarities in his “You want to feel shame right up to the point I take your dress off” speech and when he forced his hand up Bobbie Barrett’s dress (also in a restaurant.) Don goes after these women who have rebellious streaks, but not too rebellious. Don seems to want to be found out, a trait he’s exhibited consistently in the series.
-Pete uses his Manhattan bachelor pad to seduce a woman from down the block. Her husband abuses her and Trudy finds out about it. This leads to a conversation where she acknowledges she knew about Pete’s philandering. “It’s all about what it looks like, isn’t it.” Pete also seems like he wants to get caught.
-Don and Pete, Don and Pete, Don and Pete. Their stories are so entwined. Pete wants to be Don, wants to live like Don. Don maybe sees that in Pete and despises him for it. “Why can’t you just follow the rules?” Dunno, Pete, why can’t you?

-War, advertising, and prostitution were big tonight. Advertising compared to prostitution, prostitution on its own, advertising compared to war, war on it’s own, advertising on its own. Advertising has often been compared to prostitution, and it was tonight in various ways. Intimations to prostitution have come up previously, and comparisons to advertising, but right now I can’t remember where war themes were so abundant, both metaphorically, and literally in the radio accounts and the conversation with Rosen at dinner.
First the references to prostitution:
-It’s in Don’s nature to be hamfistedly helpful, so him whipping out a wad of bills to give to Mrs. Rosen after they finished probably didn’t have too many undertones to it in his mind, but I was surprised how willingly she took it. I think if I was sleeping with my neighbor and she offered me money, I’d at least make a joke about it.
-Don moving in to a brothel with his uncle and stepmother(?). I got the sense that this era’s flashback would be present throughout the season…
-’Just a Gigolo‘ playing at the end of the episode. (David Lee Roth covered this later on.)
-The Jaguar/Joan storyline came back as well.
-Pete saying, “It’s all about what it looks like, isn’t it.” could be describing prostitution or advertising, in the same way as Don’s “I wish you handled the clients as well as you handled me.” And Pete again, “I really have to get back, can you move it along a little.” Her time was up.
-The title of the episode is The Collaborators, the name given to war-time citizens who cooperate with invaders, but what do you call the people you work with? This was just the beginning of the war references.
-It’s the end of January, 1968, and the Viet Cong have just launched the Tet Offensive. (District Attorney Garrison was on Carson on 1/31/1968. Here’s audio of the interview. The Tet Offensive occurred when a cease fire was signed for the Tet New Year. Trudy signed a cease fire with Pete by letting him get an apartment in the city and then he ambushed her.
-When Ted Chaough gave Peggy the Heinz account to research, pretty much everything he said compared advertising to war. “He’s not your friend, he’s the enemy.” “This is how wars are won.” “Blow their mind.” Except for one part where I picked up a prostitution reference, “Maybe you need a friend more than you need a job. I didn’t know that, I’m in advertising.”
-But then this, “Your friend’s mistake was underestimating you,” which was talking about Don as much as it was talking about Don as much as it was talking about Stan. (If I ever have to micro-analyze a Ted Chaough paragraph, I will be upset.)
-”This is Munich” comparing the Jaguar/SCDP relationship to the appeasement of the Nazis is about a clear war reference as you can get, while Roger Sterling’s ‘self-immolation’ comment was a hair more nuanced. Was Roger just saying Don had burned up, or was he saying Don’s protesting the client’s idea was similar to the protesting Vietnamese monks. In the third season of Mad Men, Sally saw a news report about a self immolating monk, so it’s ground Mad Men has covered before.

The following points don’t really tie to the above.
-The firm gets introduced to the Heinz Ketchup account, but is instructed to ignore it. Ken doesn’t know why, but Don explains it says they have to, “Dance with the one that brung ya.” It’s crazy how loyal Don is to the clients (Mohawk Air) while knowing only infidelity in his marriage. He has more control over his professional life and can live it the way he feels like he should live his personal life. For some reason, he’s not able to do this.
-I liked the line, “It’s the Coca Cola of condiments!”
-The Jaguar plot about always saying yes to Herb was contrasted by the Pete / Trudy conversation which included, “I have never said no to you.”
-This recap took a little longer than usual because I spent time trying to track the origins of “blow their mind,” “dance with the one that brung ya,” and “x is the y of z.” Seems like all of those would have been in use in the 60s, but maybe not in heavy rotation.

See full post here: Chris Piascik2013-04-15.