MAD MEN 4.11: Chinese Wall

Lucky Strike’s defection threatened to tamp out SCDP itself! The perception that the agency was hemorrhaging accounts had other clients wary of the blood in the water.

Roger’s (John Slattery) deception certainly did not help. After wrangling a 30-day delay in the announcement from Lee Garner Jr., Roger did not spend his time beating the bushes for new clients. Rather, he… well, who knows what he did? In fact, who knows what he ever does — other than take three-martini lunches and chase after Joan (Christina Hendricks).

The flares first went when Kenny (Aaron Staton), who’s having dinner with his fiancée and her family, runs into somebody from BBDO, who mentions they are making preparations to take all of Lucky Strike’s business. This starts a pretty funny chain reaction as Kenny ditches his fiancée and goes to the hospital, where Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) is pacing the waiting room while Trudy (Allison Brie) is in the midst of a long, slow labor. Pete calls Don (Jon Hamm), who was busy hooking up with Faye (Cara Buono). But Don tossed her aside and ordered Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) awakened and for all of them to meet at the office. Lane was even called in London. (Sadly no appearance by Jared Harris himself this week.) Of course Roger was summoned, and of course he played dumb. “I’m telling you, it’s impossible!” he mock-protested. Encouraged to call Lee in front of everyone, Roger blatantly cleverly kept the line disconnected and pretended to get into an argument with a drunken Lee for the benefit of the partners.

But the damage was done. SCDP adopted a siege mentality, desperate to keep any more clients from jumping ship. Pete was charged with babysitting existing accounts, while Don and Bert were poised to beat the bushes for new customers And Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) was cautioned warned not to screw up her presentation for Playtex. To give you an idea how desperate Don was, he appealed to Faye to tell him which of her other corporate clients were unhappy with their ad men. She totally flew off the handle (as well she should have!) and excoriated him for asking her to compromise her professional standards. Of course it was wrong for him to ask for insider information, but he was looking at this way: SCDP is his life (and we viewers know he really does have nothing outside the office), whereas any given client she might rat on is just that — one of a number of clients. “The standards of ethics are low enough in this business,” she hissed. Apparently Don forgot all her talk about maintaining a Chinese Wall.

At least Faye had compunctions; Roger was all craven shallowness. He deceived the partners to hide his embarrassment because he knew he’s been coasting all these years. And he has the audacity to write a book about it! But the look on his face when Jane (Peyton List makes an appearance at last!) showed him that his memoirs, Sterling’s Gold, had been printed suggested that he might have realized what he’s done: taken a 30-year legacy and let his slip through his fingers. Roger tried to lie to protect himself, but Don accused him of neglecting Lucky Strike. Bert chimed in that Lee Garner never took Roger seriously because Roger never took himself seriously. As if things needed to get more serious, the Glo-Coat people called to yank their account — Clio or no Clio. Don lit into Pete because apparently Pete was more interested in monitoring Trudy’s progress than making sure he called every single company on his call sheet. (BTW, Trudy gave birth to a girl; name TBD.)

Luckily, Peggy came through with Playtex, making it quite a good week for her. As a consequence of Joyce’s machinations, Abe (Charlie Hofheimer) reappeared in Peggy’s life, and they ended up sleeping together. The guy may have his issues (He praised her muscular shoulders as making her look like she belongs in the Olympics) but he seems truly smitten by her, which is nice. She deserves a good turn, since she travels in the orbits of dogs like Don and Pete. Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) seems to be bidding to join that cad club; when Peggy said she was nervous before her presentation he kissed her under pretext of relaxing her.

Still, the episode was not a total loss for Don. He finally closed the deal with Megan (Jessica Pare), who revealed a heretofore hidden agenda of getting into the advertising game herself — or at least what Peggy does, as she put it. She wanted to pick Don’s brain; he just wanted to pick her up. She promised not to run out of the office, crying, tomorrow. (Take that, Allison!) After that, Don went home to find Faye outside his door, writing a note on an envelope. She got him a meeting with Heinz! So much for the Great Wall of Faye. Her mighty morals melted under the glare of Don Draper’s smoldering sex stare? She claimed that she rethought how important it was to Don, but maybe she rethought how important Don is to her? In any event, they apparently ended the night cuddling on the couch. Apparently, Don isn’t back to full fighting form yet. Those four drinks and one assistant really took it out of him.

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4 thoughts on “MAD MEN 4.11: Chinese Wall

  1. Good call. Even though I’m “Team Faye,” it would be something to see the suddenly complex Megan spar with Betty in Season 5.

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    • I would love for Megan to turn out to be really, really intelligent — looks plus brains. It would be just like Matt Weiner to go in that direction. After all, look at Betty: Pretty on the outside, but an ugly, twisted person inside.

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    • I have to agree that Megan feels like Don’s most likely new bride. Since Faye predicted he’d be married within a year, it would feel like cheating just to fulfill her own prophecy if he tied the knot with her.

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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