Mad Men has moved from the placid buttoned down early ’60s to the wild swirling loud LATE ’6os. Big difference, y’all. Hair is getting a little longer, blazers a little more colorful, and offensive sexist comments a little less offensive and sexist. But those aren’t the only changes to the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce family. Now that the series is firmly planted in the Age of Aquarius, we’ve decided to recap the series through the only topics that matter: Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll! Beware of spoilers and read on!
The episode begins with Pete and Trudy hosting a good ol’ fashioned “Welcome To The Cul-De-Sac” party, which also features some good ol’ fashioned creepy sexual come-ons! In one corner, two neighboring husbands hit on Trudy while Pete does his awkward prep-school best to chat up a woman named Brenda. He encourages her to come into New York City to see the latest Broadway sensation, Hair. “It’s just filled with simulated sexual acts!” he gushes, barely able to keep down a “Gee wiz!” But for some reason, the pretty, blonde and married Brenda digs it, and weird references about Pete’s “hot dog” and pubic hair soon follow. We’ve never prayed harder for a commercial break.
Meanwhile back in Manhattan, Don carries on his own next-door affair with neighbor Sylvia Rosen. They have morning pre-commute sex in the maid’s bedroom, and it triggers a flashback to Don’s miserable childhood growing up in a brothel. That’s always the sign of a keeper!
Sylvia feels guilty about their furtive fumbling, especially since she and Don often have dinner together with their respective spouses. But Draper’s an old pro in the cheating biz. “You don’t mind sitting across the table from your wife and my husband?” she asks, dumbfounded. “I don’t think about it.They’re both good company,” he responds. Incredible.
Incredibly, Pete manages to actually manages to convince Brenda to come to his Manhattan crash pad. Yes, that’s the one who wanted to see his hot dog. She doesn’t want any music, or food or drinks: Just pure unadulterated Pete. It’s pretty insane all of the married women he’s had affairs with over the course of the series. It makes us wonder how truly horrible dudes in the sixties really were, if the weasel-y Pete scores left and right. But Brenda is in the hizzouse and things are about to get hot and heavy. Or maybe cold and heavy. When he asks if the temperature in the place is OK, it’s painful in a uniquely Pete way. “It’s been known to get hot,” he leers.
At Sterling Cooper Draper (Pryce?) HQ, a walking cootie named Herb Rennent lumbers into Joan’s office with all the tact of a water buffalo with a case of Viagra in his system. They slept together as part of SCDP’s deal with Jaguar, and now he’s back for a round of verbal sparring that would be impressive were he not so totally despicable. “Did you get all gussied up for me?” are the first words out of his mouth. “No I had no idea you’d be darkening my doorway.” Oof. Point to Joan, but Herb’s not done. “I know there’s a part of you that’s glad to see me,” he ventures. “I know there’s a part if you you haven’t seen in years,” Joan fires back. That’s his d–k, right? Did we catch that right? Game set and match to Joan.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected interpersonal moments of the episode occurs when Peggy is spending a lonely late night at her new offices at CGC. Instead of calling her live-in boyfriend Abe, she calls her old SCDP coworker/nemesis Stan Rizzo. We kind of were under the impression that she thought of him as a misogynistic pig…but then again they did work together naked in a hotel room a few seasons back, so what do we know. They seem unusually giggly and happy to speak to one another. Is something goin’ on? We’ll wait and see how this one plays out, but we’re calling it here and now!
Pete and Don’s neighbor affairs end the episode in extremely different ways. Thanks to both their spouses cancelling, Don and Sylvia are free to have a romantic dinner for two (well, four) at an elegant Italian restaurant. Sylvia is bummed out at first, but Don bulldozes her ethics with a distinct Don bluntness. “You want to feel shitty right up until the point where I take your dress off. Because I’m going to do that.” They have torrid sex back at Sylvia’s apartment, where they “keep it French” and promise not to fall in love with each other. He goes home, comforts his wife Megan about her recent miscarriage (say what!?) and flashing back to watching his pregnant mother have sex with Mac, the brothel head, while a hooker calls him a dirty spy. Yes, all is well in Don’s brooding and miserable world.
Pete, on the other hand, seems to have pushed his luck too far. Brenda shows up at the Campbell family home, beaten and bloody after a fight with her husband that may or may not have been about her affair. Trudy smells a rat, and the next morning lets loose on him at breakfast. “All I wanted was for you to be discrete! She lives on our block…” she rails. But she doesn’t want a divorce. “I’m drawing a 50 mile radius around this house, and if you so much open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you.” Yup, Pete’s gonna have to go long distance now. It’s not exactly the strongest ultimatum we’ve ever heard, but YOU GO TRUDY!
EPISODE 2 FINAL HOOK UP COUNT:
Don and Sylvia Rosen: 2
Pete and Brenda: 1 (that we see…)
Don’s Mom and Mac: 1 (but it’s a flashback)
Joan and Herb Rennent: 0 (Epic fail)
Peggy and Stan: 0 (One to watch!)