Sunday, August 2, 2015

'Mad Men' Recap: There is no 'I' in Chevy Vega

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU AREN'T CAUGHT UP ON MAD MEN, THEN YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.

'Mad Men' Recap: There is no 'I' in Chevy Vega

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SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU AREN'T CAUGHT UP ON MAD MEN, THEN YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.

Woo, boy, "For Immediate Release" was the upbeat vacation we all needed in the dismal abyss that is Mad Men's 1968.

The fifth episode of the season opens up with Joan, Cooper, and Pete Campbell discussing the prospect of taking Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce public. We learn that they're holding out to find an underwriter to give them $12/share and they haven't told Sterling or Don.

Freud would probably have a lot to say about the other opening scenes as discussions of Mother's Day plans seeped into Mad Men's revving libido. Joan reminds Pete about the holiday while he tries to get her drunk and makes a slight pass at her. Sterling uses his mother's recent death to persuade a young airline employee to come back to bed. Dr. Rosen shows up at the Draper home to borrow some wrapping paper, but uses most of his on-screen time flirting with Megan's mother.

"He's a surgeon," Megan informs her mother after Dr. Rosen leaves the room. "He's working on heart transplants."

"Wealthy, talented, handsome; I wouldn't leave them alone," she cautions Don. Another hint that Don could be entirely underestimating his mistress' husband.

Meanwhile, back at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, things aren't exactly all floral bouquets and breakfast in bed. Herb (the Jaguar sleazeball) wants another sit down and Pete Campbell loses his father-in-law's account after bumping into him at a whorehouse.

Note: Pete's obsession with his father-in-law's choice of, ahem, professional company (a large black woman) is ironic considering the fact that he lectured everyone at SCDP after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Later, Pete can't resist the erge and spills the beans to Trudy's father. The move backfires when she tells him to leave.

Sterling doesn't show up to the Jaguar dinner, which means it's just Don, Herb, Megan, Herb's wife, and Megan's mother. Things go about as well as you'd expect, as Don essentially douses the account in gasoline and begs Herb to light the match.

When Don gets back to the office, Pete Campbell freaks out about losing Jaguar, which brought us this wonderful little GIF. As Pete chastises Don for ruining their chances of going public, Sterling barges in to announce that he'd secured a pitch for Chevy's car of the future. Don tries to use Sterling's news to rationalize his metldown at dinner, but Joan isn't having any of it.

"Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him," she says. "And what now? I went through all of that for nothing?"

"Joan, don't worry," Don replies. "I will win this."

"Just once I would like to hear you use the word 'we'."

Joan's not wrong, here.

Don Draper is a stubborn, deceitful, two-timing, self-important man-child who throws a "f*** you" parade every time he secures a sliver of moral high ground and a tantrum every time he doesn't get his way. But, for every time he leaves Megan at a Howard Johnson or belittles Peggy or gets Betty's therapist to report on their private sessions, he stands up for Joan or poetically opines about a Kodak projector and we all forgive him for it.

He doesn't tell the Jaguar sleazeball to shove it because he wants to rescue Joan from the humiliation of having to face him in the office. He doesn't do it because he knows Sterling's got something cookin' with Chevy. Don Draper tells Herb to screw off because Don Draper loves telling people to screw off. And afterward, he tells Megan that he's, "never felt better in his life."

So, here we are, in the middle of Season 6 and Pete Campbell is a selfish, hot-headed, unfaithful, hypocrite and Don Draper is a selfish, hot-headed, unfaithful hypocrite with charisma and foresight. Oh, and Campbell's still a snitch. They are who we thought they were.

At this point, Don and Sterling head to Detroit to pitch Chevy. The final scenes feel a lot like the finale of the third season, when Lane Pryce fires everyone so that they can set up their own agency. We see Don alone at a bar, as per usual. Soon, though, he's joined by Teddy Chaough, who's frustrated to find out that there are multiple small fish near the Great Lakes to make a run at Chevy's top secret XP-887 (SPOILER ALERT: It's the Chevy Vega). They do their little "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" dance and come to the realization that they're both screwed because they lack the girth of the other agencies.

"So, should we go home?" Chaough asks.

"We?" Don replies. "Now, that's interesting."

They have their Bartlet for America moment and win the Chevy pitch. Back in New York, Chaough summons Peggy to his office. After sleeping with Abe while fantasizing about her boss, Peggy checks herself in the mirror, clearly hoping the discussion in Chaough's office is less business, more pleasure. She walks in and—BOOM!—Don Draper's in the corner using "we" like it's a comma.

"We got it."

"We won Chevy."

"We merged."

"We don't have a name yet."

Thanks for everything, Joan. It's too bad that everything is about to go to hell when they shoot Bobby Kennedy next week.

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