Things just got really interesting for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. At the end of the day, after all the Don Draper philandering and other weirdness, what Mad Men is really about is the business. And for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, business hasn’t been that good. So this episode set up a new status quo that promises to shake things up a bit. Let’s get to it.
The relationship between Jaguar and the agency has been becoming ever-strained this season, and Don finally puts an end to it by cutting them loose. It’s a bold move for the agency, but there’s a silver lining. Roger has worked his magic on a Chevrolet exec he met on a flight and SCDP now has an opportunity to pitch for the company’s as-yet-unannounced new car. The business is more important than ever, as Pete also loses the agency a client in a significantly stupider way. He runs into his father-in-law (who got him the Vicks account) at a whorehouse, and needless to say things don’t go well.
The war at home continues, with Megan trying to recapture the physical spark of her marriage to Don. It seems to work – especially as his mistress was nowhere to be seen this episode – but it’s obviously a lacunae in a much bigger ocean of problems. Meanwhile, Pete confronts Trudy about her father’s philandering ways as revenge for losing Vick’s, only to find out that it’s just giving her the excuse she needs to finally end things once and for all.
Don and Roger fly out to Detroit to pitch Chevy, and Don runs into Ted Chaough in the hotel bar. The pair commiserate over the harsh reality that big agencies are the only ones truly in the game, and the little guys just cancel each other out, like what happened with Heinz Ketchup a few episodes ago. And so a plan is hatched – the two will merge into something bigger. Amazingly, it works, and the yet-unnamed agency wins the Chevy account. This also means that Peggy is brought back into the fold, which is a little surprising.
The only people not excited about this are the odd coalition of Joan, Pete and Bert Cooper, who had been working on a plan of their own. They’re looking to take the company public to infuse much-needed cash into the operations budget, but Roger and Don don’t know about it. Needless to say, the merger puts the kibosh on everything, so it remains to be seen how these three will deal. Joan is already pissed at Don for making company-wide decisions without consulting the other partners, Pete is in a tailspin, and Bert Cooper – well, he’s Bert Cooper. We never know what that guy’s up to.
Really great episode this week. Pulled together a number of the threads and tied them up into something with tons of potential moving forward. This season’s been uneven but you can’t deny that the high points are among the series’ best.