Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meditations in an Emergency – Mad Men Episode Summary 2.13

Meditations in an Emergency Mad Men Episode SummarySynopsis: All at Sterling Cooper are anxious given the ongoing Cuban missile crisis. To add to their disquiet, rumors of a British agency taking over their company have been floating around. Don Draper finally returns after weeks of absence, and is surprised to learn that Sterling Cooper has merged with Putnam, Powell & Lowe. Meanwhile, Betty Draper learns that she is pregnant, and gets a surprise visit from her absentee husband.

Episode Summary: Betty Draper pays a visit to her physician only to learn that she is pregnant. The news came to her as a shock. Betty Draper hints to Dr. Aldridge about having the child aborted. This was a surprise to the good doctor who did not expect to hear this suggestion from a married woman of means. Dr. Aldridge tries to console Betty in an attempt to dissuade her from entertaining the thought of aborting her unborn child. Nonetheless, Betty Draper leaves the doctor’s office before Dr. Aldridge gets a chance to examine her. Continue reading...

At Sterling Cooper, Don Draper is still nowhere in sight. The mad men begin speculating as to his whereabouts. In addition, all are on their toes given that the senior partners had requested an emergency accounting of their revenues. This becomes problematic for Pete Campbell who just lost the Clearasil account.

Betty Draper is out horseback riding when a familiar face comes her way. Her husband Don Draper has returned. After a journey of self-discovery that left everyone he knew in the dark, Don realizes that he could not just escape. Don is apologetic, and finally admits to his affairs. He wants his family back. Unfortunately, Betty is not quite ready to take him back.

Pete Campbell is pushed to the wall, and is left no choice but to confront Duck Phillips with the unsettling news of having lost the Clearasil account. The dreadful meeting with Duck becomes a surprise to him after the head of accounts lets him in a secret. Duck Phillips informs Pete Campbell in confidence that Putnam, Powell & Lowe is taking a controlling share of Sterling Cooper. Pete losing the Clearasil account now proves to be providential given that the British agency taking over Sterling Cooper has Clearasil’s competitor Level Brothers as one of its clients. Moreover, Duck informs Pete that the merger will now make him the president of Sterling Cooper, and that he has decided to make Pete Campbell his replacement for the head of accounts. Pete worries that Don Draper is not onboard with his promotion, but Duck assures him that his new role as president makes Don powerless to contradict his decisions.

Already distracted with the Cuban missile crisis, and John F. Kennedy’s telecast message of his decision of holding a naval quarantine of Cuba, the employees of Sterling Cooper get a surprise with the return of the absconder Don Draper. Don Draper gets a surprise of his own at finding Peggy Olson in Fred Rumsen’s old office. This is the first of many revelations that will soon come his way. His first nagging visit comes from Pete Campbell who had every right to confront him. After all, it was he whom Don left with the wolves. Fortunately, Pete is quite adept with his job, and was able to handle the task without Don. Don Draper is impressed, and informs Pete that he now finds him ready to assume the goal he had set his sights on.

Don Draper meets with Roger Sterling and gets the ultimate surprise. Roger Sterling informs him that Sterling Cooper had just been sold to Putnam, Powell & Lowe. Roger is not the least bit concerned given that he profited from the deal, and so did Don who had fairly recently just made partner.

With the ongoing Cuban missile crisis, all are concerned with the threat of nuclear war including the Church. Father Gill tries to comfort his parishioners urging them to prepare their souls for the inevitable. Reconciliation had always been his plea, one that he had failed to convince Peggy Olson to do. Not immune to the anxiety brought about the news are the housewives who though concerned found time to visit a beauty salon to get their hair done. Some, however, would rather not discuss the crisis, while others like Francine Hanson could not stop talking about it upsetting one of the customers. Betty Draper, however, has other things in her mind. She informs Francine that she is pregnant, and hints to her of her desire to have the child aborted. Although her friend knows an abortionist, she still tries to dissuade Betty from going through with it.

Back at Sterling Cooper, all are still anxious about a nuclear war ensuing, but a crisis much closer to home is ensuing. Harry Crane and the other mad men having learned of an immediate account of their staff become intent on getting to the bottom of things at their office. They rush to the switchboard, the people who hear every call that passes through each and every office at Sterling Cooper. They find an easy prey in Lois Sadler who without much urging divulges that Duck Phillips had made a deal with Putnam, Powell & Lowe to buy Sterling Cooper. Moreover, it is a sealed deal, and that the merger will start as soon as Friday. The girls at the switchboard managed to put together the information they heard through the phone calls, and concluded that Putnam, Powell & Lowe will retain the New York office, but would definitely be laying off people. Having given the mad men confidential information, Lois demands that one of them give her a promotion. That is, if they do not get laid off.

Betty Draper drops the kids with Don Draper who sees them for the very first time after his disappearance. Don invites Betty to stay and join them, but she politely refuses the offer. Betty Draper strolls the streets of Manhattan, and stares at her reflection on a window display. After shopping, she makes her way to a bar, and orders a glass of water and a gimlet one which a gentleman who had his sights on her paid for. Betty sends her gratitude to the bartender who warns her that accepting his largesse is an open invitation. True enough, the gorgeous young man approaches Betty, and begins a conversation with her. Betty Draper personally thanks him for the drink, and politely sends him off. While Betty is at a bar having a drink, Don Draper and the kids are enjoying dinner at his hotel room. Betty who could hardly hold a drink makes her way to the ladies room, but not without looking at the man who had paid for her drink. Finding that the ladies room is occupied, she stands outside the door to wait. Soon after, the young man follows her. The two kiss. The young man finds an empty office. Betty Draper informs him that she is married, but makes no hesitation in joining him. The two continue to make out until Betty leads him to the couch where they have intercourse. Soon after they finish, the young man asks Betty her name, but she remains silent. Just as the bartender tries to open the office door, the two come out.

The fear from the Cuban missile crisis had given Father Gill another reason to reach out to Peggy Olson for her to confess her sins. He changes his approach adding urgency to his tone about Peggy’s damnation if she continues to refuse the sacrament of reconciliation. Unfortunately, his threats only upset Peggy Olson who rushes out of the shelter to get away from Father Gill.

Morning came, and the anxiety of a possible nuclear war has not let up. Trudy Campbell decides to drive down to her parent’s house to be with, while Pete decides to stay in Manhattan. While the rest of the mad men concern themselves with the missile crisis, Harry Crane worry about the future of Sterling Cooper. Noticing that the conference rooms have been booked, the offices thoroughly cleaned, and that fancy food has been ordered, there is no doubt in Harry Crane’s mind that Putnam, Powell & Lowe are coming for a visit. Harry, afraid of losing his job, suggests that they must remain neutral once the merger becomes official. This upsets Paul Kinsey whose loyalty is with Sterling Cooper. This made Pete Campbell think. He rushes to Don Draper to tell him in confidence the conversation he had with Duck Phillips. Pete tells Don that he is aware of the merger. Moreover, that once the merger becomes official, Duck Phillips will be the president of Sterling Cooper. Pete Campbell has come a long way, starting of as an adversary bent on pulling down Don Draper to become one of his most loyal supporters.

The mad men of Putnam, Powell & Lowe has arrived at the offices of Sterling Cooper, and announce that Duck Phillips will now be the president and in-charge of overseeing operations of their New York office. Having been crowned the president, Duck Phillips wastes no time to present his vision of the new Sterling Cooper, one that is not tied to Creative. This worries both Bertram Cooper and Roger Sterling, but not Don Draper. Don’s indifference is a surprise to the senior partner, but his announcement of not being a part of Duck Phillip’s rule was a blow to the heads of everyone in the room except for Duck Phillips who was absolutely sure that Don Draper would now be on his beck and call being bound by a contract. Much to Duck Phillips’ surprise, Don Draper has no contract, and there is nothing that will stop him from leaving the company. Don Draper sells products, and not advertising, a principle that is contradictory to Duck Phillips’ agenda. Don Draper leaves the room terribly embarrassing Duck Phillips who tries to maintain his composure, and tries to convince the senior partners that the company will survive without Don Draper. In his tantrum, he lets it slip that it was him who arranged the deal for Putnam, Powell & Lowe to buy Sterling Cooper. Unfortunately, everyone knows that Sterling Cooper is nothing without Don Draper. Given the bomb that Don Draper just dropped on their laps, the senior partners need time to reconvene, but this time without Duck Phillips in the room.

Betty Draper leaves a message with Joan Holloway to inform Don Draper that he should come home. The sincere letter of apology from her husband brought about her decision. In the letter, Don acknowledged his transgressions, and was willing to accept her decision whatever it may be. He also assures Betty that she will not have trouble finding another man, and her life will go on, but it will not be the case for him who will forever be alone without her.

With the uncertainty of the future given the Cuban missile crisis, all employees are given permission to leave early. One who appears the least concerned is Pete Campbell, and seeing Peggy showing no trace of worry made him smile. Pete invites her for a drink in his office where he confesses to loving her, and regretting having picked Trudy over her. Peggy smiles telling Pete she could have had him before if she wanted to, but she decided against it. Peggy Olson confesses to Pete Campbell that they have a child together, but she gave it away. That night, Peggy Olson slept with less of a guilty conscience, while Pete Campbell stayed up in his office sitting in the dark.

Morning came, and the Cuban missile crisis is finally over. Don Draper and Betty Draper alone in the kitchen sit down to talk. Betty informs Don that she is pregnant. Both are silent more distressed than happy with the news.

Watch the Mad Men episode Meditations in an Emergency
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