Sunday, April 11, 2010

Babylon – Mad Men Episode Summary 1.6

Peggy Olson basket of kissesSynopsis: Israel Tourism wants Sterling Cooper to create ads that would bring people with money to their country. Don Draper uses this to get Rachel Menken to meet with him again. Meanwhile, while Joan Holloway is busy sneaking with Roger Sterling, Peggy Olson had innocently started to climb up the ladder following the brainstorming for their client Belle Jolie.

Episode Summary: It’s Mother’s Day. Don Draper prepares breakfast for his wife, and brings it up to their room when he steps on his son’s toy that had been carelessly left on the stairs. Don falls, and suddenly remembers the last time he fell off the stairs. He was still a child back then, and his brother Adam had just been born. The cries of his children and his wife rushing to his side brought him back to reality.  Continue reading...

After a day out celebrating Mother’s Day, the Drapers return home. With the children already asleep by the time they got back, Don and Betty have the night to themselves. Don peruses the book The Best of Everything, and is amused at what his wife has been reading. Betty attests that it is better than the movie version that starred Joan Crawford. Crawford who was already fifty-four when the movie came out made Betty think about her own aging. A gorgeous woman herself, Betty worries that her beauty would deteriorate the same way it did with Joan Crawford. However, she remembers how her mother aged gracefully, and how up until the end she remained vibrant. She hopes that the same will happen to her. Sensing that his wife is going down the road of melancholia, Don tries his best to steer her away. Betty, on the other hand, argues that she is merely being sentimental; a feeling that is according to her psychiatrist is part of the mourning process. Betty is slighted at Don’s cynicism towards her therapist, but somehow Don managed to change the mood. The two begin to make love, and Betty confesses how much she desires him so. How much she yearns to be with him every single day.

Mother’s day is over, and it’s back to the grind. Don Draper and Roger Sterling meet with a potential client who believes that America has a love affair with Israel. Their goal is to bring tourism to Israel targeting those who are well-off. Leveraging on the popularity of Leon Uris’ book Exodus, the client wants the same success Sterling Cooper gave to Rio de Janeiro’s tourism. However, advertising for a war-torn country is no walk in the park. Pete Campbell has a bad feeling about this particular project especially with a country that is exhibiting communist leanings. So far, the mad men of Sterling Cooper haven’t painted a pretty picture having come up with a summation of Israel that they see as a quasi-communist, Jewish filled country with armed women and a few Arabs. Only Salvatore found a positive selling point, and that is that the Israeli people are good-looking. With all the talk about Jews, Don Draper could not help but think about Rachel Menken. He gives her a call requesting that they meet, attesting that their meeting is all about business. The woman hesitantly agrees.

Roger Sterling’s wife Mona arrives at the office with their daughter Margaret all for advice on where to get a haircut in the city. Suspecting nothing, Mona takes advice from Joan Holloway who unbeknownst to her is her husband’s mistress. While she and her daughter are out on the town getting a haircut, her husband is spending lunch break at a hotel with Joan. He shares with her his disappointment towards his daughter whom he sees as useless, but Joan never afraid to speak her own mind believes that the two are the same. Both father and daughter are spoiled. Roger’s relationship with Joan appears more than sexual, and he seems to have spoken truthfully when he declared how unhappy he was before he met her. However, Joan has heard it all, and is not one to be deceived. She knows very well that what they have is all temporary. They will eventually move on, she with a husband, and him with a younger woman.

Don Draper like always is wrapped up his latest advertising dilemma. Betty finds him reading the book Exodus, which reminded her of the first boy she ever kissed -- David Rosenberg. Don is surprised at learning that his wife’s first kiss was with a Jewish boy. Betty starts to tell the story of how she ended up at a Jewish mixer with her friends, and how a rumor about her necking with the boy eventually made everyone envious of her. Betty who the other night told her husband about her thoughts of being with him everyday begins to fulfill her desires, but Don turns her down using the hot weather and the book he has to finish reading as an excuse for his disinterest.

Frederick Rumsen may be a drunkard, but he knows a bad advertisement when he sees one. The Belle Jolie ads from their client’s former ad agency set his radar blazing. Knowing that he is no expert at the subject, he has a brilliant idea, and that is to get the opinion of the ladies. With the help of Joan Holloway, he conducts a focus group where the women of Sterling Cooper are the participants. While the women excite over the broad range of lipstick choices, the men on the other side of the one-way mirror take pleasure at watching them. The men’s enjoyment escalates when Joan Holloway who is fully aware of the one-way mirror teases them by bending over to emphasize her voluptuous body. The men salute, while Roger Sterling becomes weak at the knees. Paul Kinsey, however, notices Peggy Olson, but only because of her unusual behavior. Peggy, unlike all the women in the room who are busy trying on lipstick, sits on her chair doing the same thing the men on the other side of the room is doing – watching.

As agreed, Rachel Menken meets Don Draper for lunch to talk business. Though it’s obvious that their meeting is just a ruse for Don to see Rachel, the woman is surprised that he had chosen her to learn more about Israel. Don argues that he had in fact had done his research, but would like to hear about it from somebody who has no propaganda. Rachel may be a Jew, but her upbringing is a lot more American than Jewish. She is, however, smart and does offer a well-grounded perspective. Rachel sees Israel more as an idea than a country. It is a place for people like her – Jews. Don sees it as Utopia, which the woman explains as according to the Greeks mean two things, the good place and the place that cannot be. Rachel ends their meeting when Don affectionately held her hand. So it appears that the word applies to their relationship as well. When Rachel accepted the lunch meeting with Don, she knew that she was playing with fire, and that her attraction to the married man just became more serious, serious enough to compel her to tell her sister about it.

The brainstorming is done, and Joan ushers away the girls, while Peggy stays to help clean up. Fred sees her with the wastebasket filled with tissue paper the women used in trying on lipsticks. He asks that she bring it to him so they could count the shades of lipsticks the girls tried on. Peggy hands him the wastebasket calling it a basket of kisses. Fred is charmed at the girl’s remark, and is even more amused at learning that she had not tried on a lipstick given that someone had already gotten the particular shade she liked. Peggy impresses the man even more after saying that she didn’t want to be one of a hundred colors in a box. Fred was so astounded at the young woman that he shares their conversation with her boss Don Draper who equally was surprised. It was quite an impression that Peggy made that the mad men decided to ask her to come up with copy for Belle Jolie Lipsticks. Though her extra work pays nothing, and she continues to be Don Draper’s secretary, Peggy could not be more pleased.

The workday is over, and the mad men do what they all have been dreaming of doing all day, and that is sleep with their mistresses. Roger Sterling waits in a hotel room for Joan Holloway who had been held up by a suitor. Disliking the idea of having to share Joan with other men, Roger buys her a bird following his proposition of getting the woman her own apartment. The bird is to keep her company given that she is afraid of becoming lonely. Roger is not the only one who has been sharing mistresses. Don learns this when his time with Midge is interrupted by a knock on a door. Later, he finds himself in the Village in the company of eccentric, young artists. Don is clearly out of his element, and wants to be on his way, but Midge asks him to stay to watch her friend perform. The young man performs Don McLean’s Babylon, which said so much about the yearnings of people like him. How he yearned for Rachel Menken, and also his family. How Roger and Joan desired to be together, but would always end up leaving the hotel alone in separate cabs.

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