Heinz Ketchup is the big fish that we’re angling for now. Delicious! As Mad Men moves forward, it has the opportunity to take on more of the important issues of its time, and this week’s episode finally stuck a finger into the tricky world of race in the late 1960s through Dawn, Draper’s African-American secretary hired as a result of a prank gone wrong.
This episode was all about the women of the show, which was a nice change, as (and I’m being honest here) Don Draper is getting a little repetitive. We’ve been through six seasons of him wrestling with his past and his demons, and it’s starting to repeat itself. How many more brunettes can he cheat with? The show started this week with Don and Pete in Pete’s Manhattan sex pad entertaining Mr. Ketchup from Heinz, who SCDP is trying to woo despite the warnings of Mr. Beans last week. Pete is basically becoming Don Jr. without the charisma, which Draper instinctively hates.
We also had a pretty great Joan storyline this week, as even though she’s been made a partner for her sacrifice to Jaguar, the older men (especially Bert Cooper) still see her as a secretary, undercutting her management decisions and ignoring her obvious potential. When she moved to fire a secretary for cheating on her time card, the male partners vetoed it (with Harry anglign for partnership and implying she was a glorified prostitute). So, in classic Mad Men fashion, she also falls back into old habits, meeting a date at the Electric Circus and immediately sucking face with him on the dance floor.
Dawn’s storyline seemed designed to flesh her out more as a character, contrasting her private life outside Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with her job and letting us know how she sees the madness of the office (pretty clearly and lucidly, all things considered). Whether it will go anywhere – or, honestly, whether there’s anywhere for it to go – is anybody’s guess, but it was a nice change of pace.
Megan’s acting career is continuing to be a major focus of the show, as she got promoted to a regular on the unnamed soap opera she’s been working on, as well as being given a love scene. Don, of course, uses this as another excuse to work through his twisted childhood issues with women, implying that Megan is a whore because she “kisses men for money” right before heading off to bang his mistress.
And, of course, Don gets burned in the end, not only getting passed over for Heinz Ketchup but also losing Heinz Beans in the process. That’s what happens when you get greedy. Interestingly enough, Peggy’s agency didn’t get it either, with the company going with J. Walter Thompson in the end.
This show is literally impossible to recap at this point, as there was tons of other stuff that I didn’t even have time to touch on. Despite the inertia of the Don Draper character, the supporting cast makes it one of the most watchable – and discussable – shows on TV. If Matthew Weiner really had balls, he’d have Don commit suicide this season and just keep the show going after it like nothing happened.