After a whole lotta teasin’, the wild late sixties finally happened on Mad Men! Last night’s episode was choc full o’ pot smoking, crazy colorful parties, free love, wife swapping, and, of course, Serge Gainsbourg. This got pretty hot and heavy, but luckily we were on hand to make sense of it all. Thank you for coming to this week’s edition of Mad Men‘s Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll Index. Hang on to your hats, folks: It’s about to get groovy.
The first sign of the kink to come during the ep was when Sylvia Rosen hops into an elevator full of Don Draper. He’s going up and she wants to go down, but that’s ok. He pulls the emergency stop, and she “goes down” anyway. Pretty soon it’s…
She informs Don that her Doctor husband is out on call at the hospital on certain nights, and that she’d leave a penny under the doormat to signal that it’s all safe for him to knock. Seems like a flawed plan of Dr. Rosen arrives to find Don snooping around the doormat, but we guess we can’t think of anything better. Affairs were so much more complicated in the pre-cell phone era.
Megan Draper is probably the most monogamous person on the entire show, but now sexual temptation is even knockin’ on her door, too. Well, sorta. Her bit part on a soap opera is about to get a signifigant bump thanks to a change in storyline that has her knockin’ boots with Rafe, the male lead. It’s a major shot in the arm to her fledgling acting career, but Don is none-too-thrilled about Megan’s on-screen love scenes. “It’s just kissing and hugging. It’s TV, you can’t really do anything,” she says, trying to chill him out in between stuffing him with coq au vin. “I can tolerate it, but I can’t encourage it,” he grumbles. Obviously he’s significantly more concerned about her job-enforced pretend love affairs than how own real life adultery. That’s Don!
Meanwhile, back at the SCDP ranch, things get weird when Joan fires Harry Crane’s secretary, Scarlett, for ditching work early and having Dawn punch her timecard to cover for her. Harry’s unexpectedly intense and furious reaction leads us (and most everyone at the office) to believe that there’s clearly something going on between Scarlett and Harry after office hours.
Joan blows off steam by going out with her old childhood friend Kate (played by WENDY PEFFERCORN, WHAT THE HELL?!) who is in town visiting. The go to some weird restaurant with phones at the tables (yeah, we don’t get it either) and flirt with the waiter. This bums us out majorly. Come on, Joan! You can do so much better than that!
The pair successfully bag themselves a doofy-looking waiter, and together they pass a fifth of whiskey back and forth in the back of a cab. The dude tries to get something happening by offering to judge a kissing contest with the two ladies, but Joan declines. The threesome head to fancy freakout club Electric Circus, where Kate and the waiter make-out, and Joan drinks and stares off into space, contemplating her life choices (we imagine). Then the waiter introduces Joan to his friend and IT’S A HAPPENING, BABY! The ladies wake up in their own bed the next morning, full of smeared makeup and wrinkled clothes and semi-regrets.
Trying to make Don feel better about the whole hooking-up-with-another-dude-on-camera thing, Megan takes him out to dinner with Mel, the head writer for her soap, and his wife Arlene. Seems like a good idea to make him chill out about the whole thing and show him that it’s all strictly business, right? Wrong. Turns out Mel and Arlene are a couple of good old fashioned swingers.
We don’t know if you can tell from the guy’s face, but his eyes don’t exactly read “wholesome”. They suggest that Don and Megan go back to their place, “smoke some grass and see what happens.” Despite his love for women who aren’t his wife, the thought of philandering it with all parties present is too much for Don and he turns down the wife swapping offer.
Still unnerved by the love scene, Don pays a visit to the studio on the big day, and stands by observing like…well, like a man watching his wife have sex with someone else. He’s definitely not pleased as Megan’s character “Corrinne” gets seduced by the debonair Rafe, and even less pleased with the swinging Arlene patters up and bonds with him over “liking to watch.”
After the scene is wrapped, a flustered Don follows a furious Megan to her dressing room and they fight about the ethics of her job. He accuses her of enjoying smooching far too much, but she insists it’s just acting. “You kiss people for money. You know who does that, right?” Don fires back. Burn.
He storms out on his wife, and takes the ethical high-ground by running right into the open arms/legs of his current mistress, Sylvia Rosen. He checks the doormat, and sure enough there’s a penny underneath. All systems are go. As they get down the business, Don spies a small rosary necklace on her chest. He requests she take it off, making his metaphorical turn away from ethics and religion even more obvious. A medical model of a human heart rests on the bedside dresser. In the uber-pragmatic Don’s case, the heart is merely something that keeps him alive, and not something he uses to actually feel things.
EPISODE 3 FINAL HOOK UP COUNT:
Don and Sylvia Rosen: 2
Joan and Rando: 1
Kate and Waiter: 1
“Corrinne” and “Rafe”: 1
Harry and Scarlett: 1 (we assume)
Mel and Arlene and Don and Megan: 0 (fail)