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)
There were more drugs and hootch in this episode than in a rehab garbage can (read: a lot!). The boozing started during the covert meeting with Timmy the Heinz Ketchup King held at Pete’s Manhattan f–k pad. Pete pours himself a gin, while Timmy and Don both go for classic bourbons and cigs. Pete’s place has all the charm of a modern day crack den, and we shudder to think of all the roofie-ing that probably went down in that place.
Joan and her old friend Kate split of a bottle of rose at dinner with Joan’s mom as they all reconnect. Kate muses how glamorous and powerful Joan’s life seems, and even her shrew of a mother gives her a “job well done.” Later the two women leave mom at home for a night on the town. After picking up a water, they all take pulls on a fifth of Jim Beam in the back of a cab. Joan doubles up after the waiter clearly prefers her friend. Sad trombone.
They wind up at the Electric Circus, drink beer, kiss, and generally have a grand old time.
As always, SCDP is never lacking in substances. A fringe-jacket clad Stan Rizzo works on the super secret “Project K” (for “ketchup”…real subtle for a “creative agency”) in a room with tin-foiled walls and windows. We’re not sure if it’s to keep out the gawkers, or keep in the pot smoke from the doobie he just sparked up. Don comes in to see how things are shaping up, and he takes a hit himself.
Later, Megan tries to butter Don up with bourbon and Coq Au Vin before she drops the Love Scene bomb, but he could drink all the booze in the world (or at least his office) and it still wouldn’t be enough to make him OK with it. The wine flows at the peace-making dinner with Mel and Arlene, but it’s not enough to make Don and Megan want to go back to their apartment, “smoke some grass and see what happens.”
After losing the Heinz Ketchup account to a big league firm, Don, Pete and Stan go to a corner bar to drown their sorrows in beer and bourbon. They are surprised to be joined by Ted Chaough and Peggy Olson, who also lost out. The two interlopers order rye rocks and an old Spanish (sweet 30 Rock reference) and generally reflect on the loss, mortality, their flagging personal lives, and other depressing things.
Episode 3: Final Drug Rundown
OFFENDERS: Don (3 Bourbons), Joan (1 Rose, 1 Bourbon, 1 Beer), Kate (1 Rose, 1 Bourbon, 1 Beer), Megan (2 Wines), Pete (1 Gin, 1 Bourbon), Peggy (1 Old Spanish), Stan (1 Beer), Ted (1 Rye), Timmy (1 Bourbon), Mel (1 Wine), Arlene (1 Wine), Joan’s Mom (1 Wine)
OFFENDERS: Stan (1 Joint), Don (1 Joint), Mel and Arlene (Intent to distribute)
OFFENDERS: Don (2), Megan (2), Ken (1), Roger (1)
ROCK ’N’ ROLL
Even the music picked up in this episode, with two deep-cut youthful tunes of the times that was a world away from the Singing Nun-like tracks from the earlier seasons. As Don and Stan blaze up in the Project K headquarters, the song “Friends I Haven’t Met Yet” plays. That one comes to us courtesy of Blue Sandalwood Soap, a little-known organ-heavy psych band from St. Paul. Outtasight!
The second song of the night comes when Joan and Co. hit up the Electric Circus, which is playing French pop legend Serge Gainsbourg’s duet with French film bombshell Brigette Bardot, “Bonnie and Clyde”.
Inspired by the 1967 film with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, it’s perfect for when you’re tripping balls and want to hook up with strangers!
[Photo: AMC] [Gifs: Chet Manley]