New Show Recap: Mad Men, Season 6, Ep. 3, “The Collaborators”

GenevieveNew Show Recap1 Comment

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This week: Trudy continues the take-down of Pete started by Lane last season. Unlike Lane, I’m pretty sure this action on the part of Trudy is not akin to the way a dying star will burn brighter before going dark forever.

Pete’s adventures start at a dinner party he and Trudy throw, where Pete sleazily flirts with the ladies while the gentlemen sleazily flirt with Trudy. Pete agrees to get one of the women (whose name I never caught and can’t find) some tickets for Hair on Broadway with a glint in his eye. When she shows up at Pete’s tiny apartment, Pete comes onto her and while she doesn’t seem totally into it at first, things pick up quickly and they end up having sex. Though afterwards it becomes clear that the two of them are on different pages with regards to what this all means. She’s all chatty about future meet-ups and how she’ll communicate her intentions to him with phone codes or where she parks her car, while Pete’s all, “I really have to get back to work.” Back in Cos Cob, she turns up in the Campbell’s kitchen after a fight with her husband clearly got physical. Pete’s attempts to “handle” the situation end up with Trudy driving the woman to the hotel which is basically the last thing he wants.

The next morning, Trudy gives a take-down that is so excellent I feel compelled to transcribe it in full. “Couldn’t you just pretend? I let you have that apartment. Somehow I thought that there was some dignity in granting permission. All I wanted was for you to be discreet, she lives on our block! There is no way for me to escape. To not be an object of pity while you get to do whatever you feel like. I’ve never said no to you. We’re done, Peter, this is over. I refuse to be a failure, I don’t care what you want anymore. This is how it will work, you will be here only when I tell you to be here. I’m drawing a 50-mile radius around this house and if you so much as open your fly to urinate I will destroy you.”

Pete says some things in there, but it’s pointless. Pete has always thought he was smarter than everyone else around him, and Trudy just proved what most of us watching have known all along: Pete’s not half as smart as he thinks he is, and everyone around him has just decided to put up with his bullshit for whatever reasons they might have. Trudy just decided she’s not putting up with it anymore. Bob Benson tries to suck up to Pete at the end of the episode, but rather than being able to take the compliment, Pete wallows in self-pity and then asks the younger man to pick him up some toilet paper. Smooth.

Don’s side-piece is also getting complicated, in that she’s having some guilty feelings about how she and her husband are friends with Don and his wife. She asks Don why he doesn’t mind, and he says he doesn’t think about it. Don is also having some complicated feelings, in that he keeps having flashbacks to when he and his stepmother had to move into a brothel when Don/Dick was a teenager. I guess it’s meant to show us why he is the way he is with women, but after six seasons, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a mystery anymore.

A planned dinner between the two couples starts to fall apart when Megan stays home sick, and then Dr. Rosen is called away to go to the hospital. So Don and Linda end up at dinner together, at which point she gets all guilty again and Don basically tells her she can feel as guilty as she likes, they’ll still end up in bed together so why be so miserable about it? She later apologizes and then says, “I have to be careful, I can’t fall in love or it won’t be so French anymore,” which should be a big flashing sign indicating that this is a BAD IDEA, but Don has never been good at reading those kinds of signs.

When he gets back from dinner, Megan is still awake and Don asks if she’s feeling better which is when she tells him about the miscarriage. When she says she doesn’t know what Don wants, he says, “Megan, you have to know that I want what you want,” and while this is important in the moment for Megan and Don, I also think it’s a character flaw of Don overall; he acquiesces to whatever the women he’s in a relationship with wants superficially and then seeks out other women to assert himself with. He ends the episode sitting on the floor outside his apartment, clearly distraught and uncertain.

Peggy’s still doing well at work, though her creative team is openly afraid of her. Apparently she’s very nice to her secretary, and her secretary encourages her to be more encouraging to the creative team. She gives it an awkward shot, but isn’t particularly successful. I think a big problem here is while she always wanted this kind of  encouragement from her own mentor, Don, she never got it and so has nothing to model positive behavior on.

The creative team ends up playing a prank on Peggy by leaving a feminine hygiene powder on Peggy’s desk with a mocked up memo about how mean Peggy is. Peggy’s clearly miffed, but seems to take it in stride. She and Stan have another late night phone call and Peggy confesses that everyone hates her. Stan reassures her, and then tells her about the situation with Heinz Beans and Ketchup. Ted finds her on the phone, so she tells him the funny story about Heinz and Ted immediately catches the scent of business. He tells Peggy she should use this information to go after Heinz. Peggy is resistant, saying that it was a story related in confidence, but Ted says that this is how the business works and hands her the file on Heinz Ketchup. I feel like they’re both right, in a way. I’m worried about Stan and Peggy, though, who are my favorite non-couple couple on the show.

Megan is having trouble with her maid and ends up firing her, which Linda overhears. Megan begins crying and Linda goes upstairs with her where they gossip about Megan’s soap briefly before Megan drops the bomb that she recently had a miscarriage. Linda is visibly shocked because: 1. she clearly didn’t expect Megan to confide something like that in her and 2. probably didn’t think that Don and Megan were having sex regularly since Don’s been sleeping with her. Megan hasn’t told Don yet, partly because she’s feeling a little guilty for being relieved that the pregnancy didn’t work out because it would have been complicated for her career. She asks if this has ever happened to Linda, and while Linda has had a miscarriage, she never felt relieved about it. We also learn that Linda’s a hardliner when it comes to the Catholic pro-life stance which is either nothing or a sly bit of foreshadowing.

At SCDP Heinz Beans of last season has brought in Heinz Ketchup for an informal meeting. Ken is obviously thrilled. However, as Heinz Ketchup leaves, Heinz Beans informs the SCDP men that under no circumstances can they take on Ketchup or he will literally kill himself. Ken thinks they should go after Ketchup over Beans, but Don sagely says, “Sometimes you gotta dance with the one that brung ya.”

Herb from Jaguar shows up at SCDP and slimes his way into Joan’s office, sending her straight to Don’s bar. Don is silently sympathetic as Joan swills her way through his vodka. Anyway, Herb isn’t just there to ogle Joan, he wants SCDP to convince his bosses that they should invest in a local ad campaign. Don clearly disagrees, the work has already been signed off on, and Herb doesn’t want to spend anymore money, but Herb orders them to convince the rest of the Jaguar board to approve his plan. When Herb brings the rest of the Jaguar board in, though, Don brilliantly torpedos the whole local ad deal by talking about how wonderful it will be to bring Jaguar down to the level of the average consumer. The plan doesn’t go through, Herb is pissed, Pete is pissed, and Roger is amused. “That was the deftest self immolation I’ve ever seen.” Don compares their appeasement of Herb to Munich and Roger has to explain it to Pete, which is a nice little generational divide moment.

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GenevieveNew Show Recap: Mad Men, Season 6, Ep. 3, “The Collaborators”

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