MAD MEN “For Immediate Release” Episode Recap
Don Draper, what do we do with you? We love you because you’re great at what you do, but we hate you equally for how cavalier you can be with those things you’re great at.
This week on Mad Men we see Don make the message that Jaguar is no longer wanted at the firm is heard loud and clear and at the same time Pete manages to make everything worse by continuing to be the dirt bag he is and losing Vicks. With business going in the opposite direction one hoped Don and the team are pegging their hopes on potential new business that Roger, you sly dog, brought in with a pitch for Chevrolet to be that new big boom they’ve been looking for, but this isn’t without it’s many (as already mentioned) costs.
We’re now six seasons deep into a show that for a long time (and we can say for the most part) revolved around the world of Don Draper. We like revolving around him and idolizing him. We ask him questions when he’s not looking and continually want to poke and prod him and see how he reacts, because we find him fascinating. However, this subjective view point is just that; subjective. It’s not until something like this happens that we’re forced to try and see him through another character’s eyes. Is he any better than Pete? Just because he’s not sexually harassing staff members and having a stick rammed up his read end doesn’t make him any less aggravating a coworker.
As the wave of news, with Don jumping at the prospect of Chevy — without having known it existed, comes into the office we see Joan’s response being the apt one. Don proclaims in a cloud of confidence “I can do this” to which Joan replies “I’d love to hear you use the word we for once”. Don has been the Superman that we’ve needed him to be throughout the show which is why we forgive him when he tells off clients with a bravado that only eccentrics like himself can pull off. Like every other time he looks to pull together his rag tag team to do the impossible and save the firm from complete failure but only after placing them there in the first place himself. Completely oblivious to the other people his actions affect and other people’s work that he’s negating — inclusive of Joan’s night of indiscretion that won the firm not only the contract of Jaguar but her seat as a partner — just because he wants to be excited. But then again, isn’t that we all want? To be excited about your work? This blogger says in a very Draperionian tone to try and sooth you into thinking that you want to be the bad guy all along.
Further to this all we watch Pete as he reaches the end of his marriage in any sense. After a morning of pleasantries with Trudy that give him hope, spurned on by his confidence due to the business prospects of the firm, it all comes crumbling down when he happens to spot his father-in-law in his favourite brothel. One would say, as did Ken, that it’s nothing. In the long run the both of them would mutually forget the moment in fear of embarrassing themselves as much as the other. However, based on this moment the firm loses Pete’s father-in-law’s business, Vicks, based on a sense of pride and principle. Pete eventually takes this out on him by informing his daughter of this all to try and spite everyone, but just makes his marital scenario even worse than it was when we got the epic “I will destroy you!” moment a few weeks back.
Pete is one that we’ve never cared to sympathize with, and at times enjoyed watch being tortured. This is no different, but once again, like Don, we feel for the company as this means more to a lot other people that don’t deserve this treatment.
Finally we move to Chevrolet, where like with Ketchup we see Ted pop up and we already know what’s going to happen. These two wonderfully ambitious firms will be rejected based on their perceived ability thanks to their lack in size. The response to this problem? Merge. While this creates a dynamic idea that I find fascinating, if only because I have no idea what’s going to happen next, it begs a lot of questions. We see that Roger, Ted, Don and the other firm’s version of Roger (sorry I can’t remember his name) are privy to this under the understanding that it only be enacted really if it works, but there are at least four other partners at Don’s firm and a few more at Ted’s, what will they say as they read Peggy’s press release?
That brings me to the question of Peggy. As we saw her grow more and more attracted to Ted the look on her face as she entered Ted’s office to see Don was special to say the least. Learning of the proposed merger and once again placing herself under the employ of Don Draper, the man she begged to get away from after not being able to grow any further last season, seems cruel and unusual punishment for a character that we wish nothing but the best for. This will be interesting in coming weeks.