Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency - Mad Men Episode Summary 3.6

Lois Sandler drives a lawnmowerSynopsis: Executives from Putnam, Powell and Lowe are paying a visit to Sterling Cooper over the July 4th holiday throwing a wrench at everybody’s vacation plans. Their visit happens to coincide on Joan Holloway’s last day at the office for she has decided to become a full-time housewife to her soon-to-be a chief resident doctor husband.

Episode Summary: All employees of Sterling Cooper are called into a meeting. Lane Pryce announces that the Director and Chairman of the Board of Putnam, Powell and Lowe are to pay them a visit to evaluate the performance of their agency. The employees are apprehensive about this, and are annoyed as well given that they are asked to be at the office over the July 4th holiday. Continue reading...

The secretaries have something else to worry about. The top executives of their mother company are coming on Joan Holloway-Harris’ last day at the office when the women have planned to surprise her with a send off. Peggy Olson is unaware of this, but has made it appoint to buy her a gift as soon as she has heard the news. Meanwhile, the mad men are asked to put together a presentation that will showcase their work.

Bert Cooper with Roger Sterling calls Don Draper in his office. He speculates that the main purpose of the visit is really to meet Don. Bert has heard that their mother company has shown a special interest on their creative director, and is probably planning on making him the head of creative of both their New York and London offices. Bert, on the other hand, is more interested in mending the rift between Roger and Don, and has even made a point to make a reservation for the two men at his barbershop. He worries that the dented relationship of the two might cause trouble with their owners. It is for the best of their agency for Don and Roger to reconcile their differences.

Ken Cosgrove makes a grand entrance riding a tractor-like John Deere lawnmower inside the office. The ad man was out closing the John Deere account when the announcement was made. Ecstatic with the feat of closing a major account, Cosgrove is not worried about having to present to Putnam, Powell and Lowe.

Don Draper and Roger Sterling do what Bert had asked, and they spend quality time at a barbershop. Roger Sterling gets his nails done, while Don gets a shave. The two men are as different as night and day. Roger is a spoiled brat born with a silver spoon, while Don is the son of a farmer who had to work his way up the ladder. Though he does not say it, Roger believes that Don finds his need to pamper himself effeminate. He argues that his father was as manly as one could get, but the man did like his nails manicured. Roger hates being judged, which is also probably the reason why the upcoming visit is causing him anxiety. Moreover, this was what spurred their rift. Don is ready to let bygones be bygones, and even expresses his gratitude to Roger. With that, the two are reconciled.

Joan Holloway-Harris is as loyal as one could get. Although Sterling Cooper will be the least of her worries soon, her thoughts are in making a good impression on PPL. She instructs Hildy to inform all their vendors to send their deliveries only between the times when the executives of PPL are at the office. This should give an illusion of how busy the agency becomes. However, no good deed goes unpunished. Mr. Hooker walks over to spoil the surprise the secretaries are planning for Joan with a pretense of an apology for stealing her spotlight given that the visit precludes their celebration. She makes her way home with a plan to surprise her husband with a dinner to celebrate his promotion, but the man spends the night out drinking. He found the need to let off steam after getting news that the hospital has decided to give the position of Chief Resident to another doctor, but the biggest blow to his ego came from an insult from the Chief of Surgery, Dr. Ettinger. Greg Harris will never be a surgeon, and with a year of residency left, Joan needs to continue working. This poses a problem as she has already tendered her resignation.

The executives from Putnam, Powell and Lowe arrive, and are having the rudimentary tour of the office led by Mr. Hooker. Finally, they reach Bert Cooper’s office where the senior partners and Don Draper are waiting. Don is surprised to learn that the visit, it seems, was to parade the young well-accomplished Guy MacKendrick. Dashed are his dreams of getting the promotion that Bert had wrongly speculated to be the purpose of the visit.

Lane Pryce receives Harold Ford and Saint-John Powell at his office who inform him how impressed they are with what he has done with Sterling Cooper. As a reward for his exemplary work for trimming the fat and increasing billings not to mention not hearing a peep for all of the reductions, the executives give him a taxidermy of a snake in a basket. Putnam, Powell and Lowe are sending Pryce to their Bombay office. Clearly unhappy about the so-called reward he is getting, Pryce does what he does best. Lane Pryce kowtows to his bosses’ wishes.

In Guy MacKendrick’s presentation the mad men learns that Lane Pryce is being shipped off to India, and the young man in front of them is assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer. Don Draper will continue to be Sterling Cooper’s Creative Director working with MacKendrick and Cooper who points out that Roger Sterling was left out of the organization chart. MacKendrick apologizes and assures them that it was merely an oversight. Nothing should be made off it. The young executive informs the men that the reorganization will barely make a change, and is excited to inform all their employees of the plan making for a quick and smooth transition.

Guy MacKendrick steps up to the podium, so to speak, to acknowledge the stewardship of Lane Pryce and more importantly to give Joan Holloway-Harris a glowing summation of her work at Sterling Cooper. MacKendrick wishes her all the best, and this brought the woman to tears most probably because the road ahead is far from the life of milk and honey she thought she would have after marrying a doctor. Mr. Hooker rolls out the cake, and Joan composes herself to give her speech expressing her gratitude for the kind gesture.

The employees mingle, and the mad men except for Don Draper waste no time to suck up to the new boss. Don Draper receives an unexpected call from Conrad Hilton’s office informing him of the man’s desire to meet with him. Surprised with what pleasure he owes the man for the icon to seek him, he arranges a meeting with him that very day.

Roger Sterling whines to Bertram Cooper about being left off the organization chart probably because Guy MacKendrick is the person who is to assume his role. His ego is bruised that not even his riches could not soothe. Roger feels that he is being punished for making his job look easy, but acknowledges that the new executive does have the qualifications to do the job right to which Bert asks Roger what that could be. Roger believes that a successful account man is one who keeps his opinion to himself, but Bert tells him that he is mistaken. A successful account man is one who lets things go so he could get what he wants. Moreover, Bert Cooper has resigned to the fact that bowing to their owner’s every wish is a consequence of having sold their agency.

The celebration continues with a superfluity of alcohol. Smitty takes out the John Deere lawnmower for a ride around the office that caused giggles from everybody. Peggy and Joan did not always see things eye-to-eye, but Peggy did listen to her at times. The young woman was about to express her gratitude to her former boss, but never got to for Lois Sadler jumps on the lawnmower and recklessly drives it around the office running over the foot of Guy MacKendrick. Lois stops as she hit one of the offices shattering the glass wall, but the real damage is already done. MacKendrick lies on the floor screaming as his right foot continues to squirt blood. Joan rushes to the man’s side, and orders somebody to get the first aid kit. Her quick thinking saved the man’s life as he was bound to continue to lose more blood if not for her tourniquet.

All this Don Draper missed for he rushed to the Waldorf Astoria to meet Conrad Hilton. He is surprised to find that the man he had a casual conversation with during Roger Sterling’s garden party is none other than the legendary Connie Hilton. The icon sought him to ask for his help on an ad campaign, one Don is reluctant to give for free, but with some slight nudging he does give the man some valuable insight that impressed Hilton enough to think about offering him work. An emergency call from Sterling Cooper, however, abruptly puts their meeting to an end.

Don rushes to the hospital and sees Joan at the waiting room with her dress soaked in blood. This obviously is not how Joan wanted to spend her last day at Sterling Cooper, but like a loyal and reliable employee she is the one who stays at the waiting room until the people in charge arrives. She was also the one who called Don. Though the setting is not appropriate not to mention the circumstances, Don Draper managed to give Joan some kind words for her work at Sterling Cooper. Pryce brings Ford and Powell to the hospital expressing their sympathy for MacKendrick, which all seemed superficial when they announced that the man who just a few hours ago has the whole world in front of him now has nothing. Although the man only lost a foot, the executives find no more use for him, and just like that the young man’s career is over.

After the frenzy and commotion of the accident, Harry Crane scolds Smitty for instigating the ruckus that no one ever thought would end with bloodshed. Having been the only person to have gained a promotion from the most recent reorganization, Harry is the one most concerned about their agency getting the wrath of their mother company due to the unfortunate accident. Roger Sterling surprises the mad men with his lack of sympathy to the man who has lost his foot, and even cracking a joke about it.

Sally Draper is having trouble sleeping, and has become quite afraid of the dark. Moreover, the young girl is aloof around her baby brother Gene, which worries Betty. Betty’s solution is to buy her a doll that she attests came from baby Gene for he wants nothing more but for her to be his friend. Later that night, Don finds the doll in the bushes, and returns it to his daughter’s bedroom, as she lies there asleep. Soon her screaming fills the house waking everybody including baby Gene. Don rushes to his daughter and calms her down, but the young girl resumes her screaming as Betty arrives carrying baby Gene with her. Apparently, Sally sees baby Gene as the reincarnation of her departed grandfather who shares the same name as her newborn brother not to mention looks like him and sleeps in his room. Don assures her daughter that Gene is just a baby, and that there is no such thing as ghosts. Betty is convinced that Sally is jealous of her baby brother, but Don believes his daughters explanation. He asks Betty to change the name of their newborn child, but the woman is adamant about keeping the memory of his father alive through their youngest son. In an attempt to stop his daughter from being afraid of her baby brother, Don brings Sally to baby Gene’s room to show her that her brother is only a child.


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2 Pennies for your thoughts:

cjung said...

I think you forgot to mention that in the scene with Bert Cooper, Bert threatens to expose Don's identity if he doesn't sign.

Comprehensive Episode Guides said...

Thanks for the comment cjung. I don't recall that part. I'd have to watch it again to confirm.

Thanks again,
CEG