22 May 2014
While it seemed like the first five episodes of Mad Men this season have been building towards Don Draper coming up for the idea for frequent flyer miles, the shows west coast characters make the trip back east to New York tonight. The first to arrive is Pete and his Barbie-esque girlfriend Bonnie, who practically leaves a trail of sand from the airport to the SC&P office. Pete, always the romantic, ditches Bonnie at the first chance he gets, and heads into the suburban wilderness of Connecticut for a visit with the family he’s still legally a part of. His hopes of a trip back to happier times of dashed, however, as Trudy has planned a full day away from Pete and his daughter is wisely cautious about approaching the man with the strange hairline. Pete sticks around late into the night for Trudy to come home, and is angry at her for not being there like a ‘good wife’ despite their eminent divorce and the aforementioned Bonnie. Pete shoves a beer bottle into a cake, putting the symbolic nail in the coffin of their marriage, and upon returning to the city gets in a fight with Bonnie and she hops on the first flight back to Los Angeles.
Megan also makes the trip to see Don in New York, and it seems like she feels very outplace in her old environment. It’s like she so used to the wide open vistas and sunshine of the Pacific Ocean that she feels trapped by the skyscrapers and never even pavement. Even being back in their apartment, the constant noise and bright city lights get on Megan’s nerves. Just being in New York feels like a step backwards for Megan, and the moment she gets on the plane back to LA.
Bob Benson makes his return to Mad Men in this episode, having gone from mysterious office dweller to cooperate stooge. Bob has traveled from Detroit with the Chevy executives to get evaluated by SC&P, and his day is immediately complicated when one of the execs ends up in jail. After soliciting a male undercover officer, Bob has to bail the executive out while being on the receiving end of some truly disgusting comments. Bob is then informed that Chevy will soon leave SC&P but he will be offered a job a Buick as a reward for all the work. Bob arrives at Joan’s apartment with this news and proposes marriage to her. This will let Bob be viewed as a regular family man, and give Joan and her son a stable life. Joan flatly turns him down, saying she wants a marriage to be for love, not an arrangement.
When the partners get the news that Chevy will leave SC&P, they know they need to respond with positive news right away. They decide to publicize the new IBM computer, and promote Harry Crane to partner in order to show the stability in the company. Despite the protests of Joan and Roger, this plan goes to a vote and passes.
Peggy is only days away from the big pitch to Burger Chef, and she’s starting to really freak out about. She is putting tons extra work, to the point where she’s tapping on the window at the drive-thru and asking customers about their burger experience. Despite the fact that she is the lead on the project, Peggy has been forced to work with Don, and now must allow him to make the pitch. She makes the classic Draper move and presents this idea has if it was her own, not something she has been ordered to do.
Peggy just turned 30, and now dealing with the task of appealing to familys via the Burger Chef campaign, its only reminding her off all the things she doesn’t have. She doesn’t have a husband, or children, or a relationship, or anything that society taught her she should have. Peggy is really a trailblazer, and is in many was just as counter culture as the hippie youth that are popping up on the show now. The fact that she is going against the grain so hard is bond to cause her some discomfort, which is manifesting itself in her anxiety over the impasse her personal and professional life seems to have reached. Strangely enough, its Don that calms her down with a slow dance as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” comes on the radio. Don is acknowledging that Peggy is now his equal, and supporting her decision to put off marriage and children for the time being.
The final moment of the episode finds Don, Peggy, and Pete gather at a Burger Chef. All these characters have been left by someone recently, and feel disconnected from their families. They are a lonely trio, but now out of their desire for closeness they have formed an impromptu family unit, and as odd as it may seem, it is enough to make them happy.