By ADAM BUCKMAN
NEW YORK, Oct. 5, 2010 — Clients may come and go, and the ad agency might be teetering on the brink of ruin, but there’s one thing you can usually count on when watching ‘Mad Men’: Place handsome Don Draper in a room alone with just about any woman, and the result will be sex.
That’s what happened on Sunday night’s episode of the AMC series about the New York advertising biz in the swinging ’60s. Just minutes after she volunteered to remain after hours to help him read through some client files, Don’s willowy secretary, Megan (Jessica Paré), was offering him some executive assistance of another kind. Naturally, the emergency facing Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – namely, the loss of its biggest client, Lucky Strike – was pushed aside so these two could dance a horizontal mambo on Don’s office couch.
It was all too predictable, which was a shame because we don’t expect TV’s best drama to be predictable – we expect it to be unpredictable. Wouldn’t it have been more clever if Don (Jon Hamm) had rejected this young woman’s advances – for a change?
Well, it wouldn’t have been a huge loss for Don if he did, since his new girlfriend – the research consultant Faye Miller (Cara Buono) – was waiting for him in the dim corridor outside his Greenwich Village apartment. Of course, she had no idea he’d just had sex with someone else. In fact, Faye is apparently so smitten with him that she showed up on his doorstep despite the fight they’d had earlier in the episode when Don asked her to violate the ethics of her profession and feed him information about the other agencies she works with. By the end of the episode, she had become willing to do anything he asked. Does this guy have a way with women or what?
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the episode – titled “Chinese Wall,” the 11th installment of the ongoing fourth season – Pete and Trudy Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser and Alison Brie, who was not shown) had a baby daughter and Pete weighed an attractive job offer from rival ad man Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) – yes, folks, you thought his last name was “Shaw,” but it’s just pronounced that way.
Speaking of new relationships, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) is now in L-O-V-E with the aspiring writer Abe Drexler (Charlie Hofheimer). You see that? Based on the recent rocky history of these two, their new love affair was totally un-predictable – that’s what we expect from ‘Mad Men.’ Peggy’s travails with men straddled the line between serious and comical in Sunday’s episode. First, she happily sleeps with Abe, then gets seriously sexually harassed by co-worker Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), and then believes a client is making a lewd pass at her with his tongue when he was actually trying to tell her silently that she had lipstick on her teeth.
This recap would not be complete without mentioning Roger Sterling (John Slattery). Is he this show’s biggest jackass or what? What a sad sack he’s become lately – concealing the loss of Lucky Strike from the rest of the agency (he’s known since the episode a week before), then carrying on this charade in Sunday night’s episode of faking a trip to see the Lucky Strike people in North Carolina, phoning senior partner Burt Cooper from a hotel in Manhattan (Roger told Joanie it was the Statler, now the present-day Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets) and saying he’d just met unsuccessfully with the clients. And he’s been harassing Joan (Christina Hendricks) to get her to renew their former love affair. Fortunately, she seemed to have slammed the door permanently on that idea in Sunday’s episode.
Only two episodes remain in this fourth season of ‘Mad Men.’ Doesn’t it seem like the season just began? Wouldn’t it be nice if they would make more than just 13 episodes per season? With only two left, do you think there’s enough time to wrap up the show’s many storylines? How do you think the season will end?
Contact Adam Buckman: firstname.lastname@example.org