Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seven Twenty Three - Mad Men Episode Summary 3.7

Peggy Olson in bed with Duck PhillipsSynopsis: Conrad Hilton makes Don Draper in charge of the ad campaigns for three of his hotels in New York, but the deal is dependent on Don’s agreement to sign a contract with Sterling Cooper. Betty Draper accepts the role of secretary of the Junior League at Tarrytown, and her first task is to get Henry Francis of the governor’s office to help them stop the water tank project. Duck Phillips continues to woo Peggy Olson into joining him at Grey Advertising.

Episode Summary: Peggy Olson is in bed with a man. Betty Draper lies on a chaise lounge. Don Draper finds himself on the floor of a motel room with a broken nose. The events that led to these are as follows.

Don Draper walks down the stairs of his house to find his living room redecorated. Not wanting to be bothered with the pettiness of house decorating, Don shrugs his shoulders and approves the change, but Betty insists on getting his input. He makes a trivial comment of moving the lamp to the other side of the couch, kisses his wife goodbye and leaves for the office. Continue reading...

Annoyed at finding his team hovering by his office door, Don scolds his secretary only to find that much of the mad men’s expectant anticipation were brought about by the man waiting for him in his office, Conrad Hilton. Now, he finds himself as anxious as the men he just dismissed. Don Draper puts on a smile and shakes the hand of the man sitting on his chair who wastes no time to reprimand him for his tardiness. After a brief chat of how disturbing Connie Hilton finds Don’s lack of a bible or a family photo in his office, the man immediately goes down to business, and assigns Don to be the man-in-charge of advertising for three of his New York hotels – Waldorf Astoria, New York Hilton, and Statler Hilton. It was a business deal sealed with a handshake just as how Conrad Hilton does business. Don Draper escorts Connie Hilton out of Sterling Cooper, and all eyes are on him. Everyone saw the handshake, and how pleased the legendary businessman is with him. Don was met with applause as he marched his way back to his office.

Don meets with his team for their status meeting delayed by the impromptu meeting he had with Conrad Hilton. The mad men are anxious to know how he met the legendary businessman, which he answers truthfully. Don and Connie met at a party. Pete Campbell begs to be part of the accounts Conrad had bestowed upon Don. Oh how the wheels have turned. The account man tasked to bring accounts is asking creative to be in on it. Don declares that his decision will be based on how the North American Aviation account pans out. Pete Campbell is hopeful after hearing about the influx of orders to build defense aviation vehicles for the war effort on Vietnam. He believes that he was able to convince North American Aviation to spend more on advertising in order to get contracts from Pentagon instead of NASA.

After giving birth, and having her house redecorated, Betty Draper assumes the role of secretary of the Junior League of Tarrytown. Their first order of business is to take on the issues on the proposed three million gallon water tank project. It is their organization’s belief that the water tank will drain the Pleasantville Road reservoir and blemish the natural and financial health of their community. Their strategy is to appeal directly to the governor’s office by raising the problem on conservation and worthless real estate that is the consequence of this project if it gets approved. Betty Draper informs them of having met the acquaintance of Henry Francis whom the women learn to be an adviser to the governor. Moreover, one of the women remembered him to be the Republican Party chair for the Westchester County, and is the man with the power and authority to do something. The women agree that they will have a better chance of winning the fight if they send the charming and adorable Betty Draper to raise their cause.

Betty Draper gives the office of Henry Francis a call, but was not able to speak to the man given his busy schedule. She informs his secretary that her call is of a civic matter that concerns the town of Ossining, and leaves her contact information. Not a minute had passed when Henry Francis returns her call. The man remembers Betty Draper very well, and asks about her newborn child. Though the tone of their conversation is casual, Betty wastes no time to raise the Junior League’s issue on the destruction of the Pleasantville Road Reservoir. Betty claims that the proposed water tank will destroy the scenic view, and is surprised to learn that Henry Francis grew up at Mount Salem, which is part of the area in trouble. Henry promises to check the reservoir the very next day, and Betty agrees to meet with him.

Peggy Olson receives a Hermes scarf, and Pete Campbell walks in her office just as she was opening the package. Having received a package himself, he warns her of the ruse. True enough, the expensive gift is from Duck Phillips. Peggy is not as suspicious of Duck as Pete who has become paranoid, and asks her if Don has involved her in the Hilton project. Peggy, unaware that Conrad Hilton had stopped by, is genuinely surprised of the new business they received. Loving the gift she received, she decides to keep it. Pete advises her to send it back knowing that Duck is merely trying to get back at Don by snagging his two reliable and trusted employees.

The senior partners and Lane Pryce call Don Draper into a meeting both taken aback and surprised that the man has not informed them of the new business he received from Conrad Hilton. Lane Pryce informs the creative director that their mother company in London is pleased as they see Hilton’s company going international. No matter how pleasing to the ears this is, Bertram Cooper is not ready to pop the champagne. Hilton’s lawyers are apprehensive about the deal given Don’s lack of contract with Sterling Cooper. Afraid that they will lose a major deal, Sterling Cooper drew up a contract for Don Draper that promises him a bag of goods in return for three years of service. Lane is surprised that Don has decided to sleep on it showing his disinterest with signing it despite the more than generous offer. Seeing Conrad Hilton as a man that is not tied down by legalities, Don orders them to inform the man of his aversion to contracts, but Sterling Cooper sees no other solution to the problem. Conrad may agree with Don, but his lawyers never will. Don promises to review the contract over the weekend.

As agreed upon, Betty Draper meets Henry Francis at Svenson’s bakery. Henry informs her that the water tank project is already underway, but nothing that cannot be fixed by somebody with clout. Henry is just the man for the job, a lawyer by degree, but made a career as a strategist, fundraiser, and a hopeful campaign manager. Disappointingly, Henry did not provide much help or hope for the Junior League’s cause. Expected to have dinner with the governor, the two ends their meeting. They see the waitress and a man looking at the eclipse through the contraption the man had made, while Betty looks directly at it. Henry shields her eyes telling her not to look directly at it. The man is concerned after seeing her look a bit queasy, and they make their way to their cars. They happen to pass by a furniture store with a large chaise lounge displayed at its window. Henry Francis tells her that that is just what she needs, a Victorian fainting couch used by women who feel overwhelmed. Henry asks if he could walk her to her car, but given that it is a small town where people talk Betty advised against it.

Don Draper spends the weekend with his kids at Miss Farrell’s class along with the reluctant Carlton. Miss Farrell introduces the kids to a makeshift sun scope to allow them to view the eclipse without injuring their eyes. Just as you should not directly look at the sun, Don Draper stares at Miss Farrell. Carlton Hanson informs him that he sees the teacher every morning when he is out on his run, but surprisingly the man has not come up to her. Being a serious runner, Carlton claims that it gives him peace as there is etiquette to running, and that is to keep to yourself. Miss Farrell and Don chat as the children and their fathers are busy watching the eclipse. Don is caught off guard with the teacher’s candor absolutely sure that Don is interested with knowing whether she’ll be around during summer vacation. Miss Farrell knows all too well about father’s getting on an affair with their children’s teachers, but Don tries to convince her that he was merely engaging in small talk. He is unlike the other bored fathers, and this charms Miss Farrell even more. Sally Draper breaks their conversation claiming to see the eclipse. The teacher joins her under the sun scope, while Don puts his sunglasses on and stares at the sun.

Peggy Olson gives Duck Phillips a call to inform him that she has not changed her mind, and advises him against sending her gifts. Duck, however, is unconvinced given that the young woman has not sent the gift back. He tells her that she could personally hand him the gift at Suite 600 at The Pierre. He promises to leave her alone after their meeting.

Roger Sterling drops by Don Draper’s office to ask about the contract after learning that the man has not signed it. He is annoyed with the man’s stubbornness, and adamant refusal to sign a contract. Don not giving him any reason as to his aversion equally irritates him especially since his stubbornness is causing trouble for Sterling Cooper. Peggy Olson drops by Don’s office with a pretense of him having to sign-off on her work. Her real reason is to ask about the Hilton project with the hopes of getting her boss to make her part of the team who will be working on it. Don saw right through this. Peggy gets the heat as a result of his infuriating meeting with Roger. He accuses her for being ungrateful, and an opportunist. Moreover, he tells her that there is nothing that she does that he could not live without.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Roger Sterling looks to Betty Draper to settle the matter about Don’s contract. He gives the woman a call feigning seriousness of a situation only to learn that the man is merely trying to get her to convince her husband to sign a contract. This infuriates her, but not as much as his going behind Don’s back.

Peggy drops by Suite 600 at The Pierre. He hands Duck the Hermes scarf he sent her. They sit down for a drink as the man continues to woo her with the stellar accounts Grey Advertising has under its belt not to mention that these accounts require a woman’s touch. Peggy asks to be a copy chief, but Duck is doubtful. He did assure her more money. She asks if her job at Grey would come with a free trip to Paris, but Duck informs her that Hermes is the one who flies to New York for meetings. As though struck with clarity, Peggy officially refuses Duck’s offer. The two shake hands, and soon find themselves in a passionate kiss.

Don Draper arrives home surprised to learn from his wife that Roger Sterling gave her a call under false pretenses only to get her to convince him to sign his contract. Little did he know that his wife is upset with him as well for not being made aware of the contract more so she had to learn about it from Roger. Like everyone around Don, she wonders why the man refuses to sign one. At last, Don explains his reasons for his refusal to have a contract despite his belief that this is none of her wife’s business. His lack of a contract is his power against a company. It makes him desirable yet unattainable. Betty is still upset that Don believes that these things do not concern her, which is why she is not kept in the loop. Equally angry, Don leaves his wife and family for the night.

Don is in his car driving when he spots two young hitchhikers headed for Niagara Falls, but will be happy to hitch a ride to a nearest motel. The young couple is eloping to get married at Niagara Falls only to keep the young man from being shipped to Vietnam. The couple has heard that a law has been passed that will require able men to serve their country, and Don verifies that there is truth to this. The couple becomes worried that Don is with the FBI, but could not help but laugh to learn that he is an ad man. High on Phenobarbital, the young couple offers him drugs as payment for his generosity. Drunk and high on drugs, Don Draper spends time with the young couple at a motel. Soon he sees his dead father sitting on a rocking chair telling a joke, and he laughs. His father mocks him for charming Conrad Hilton, and insults him for the career he chose. To him, he is not a real man. His hands are as soft as a woman’s for he grows nothing but bullshit. Don closes his eyes, and when he opens it again, his old man is gone. The young couple wonders why Don is still conscious after taking two Phenobarbitals. Impatient, the young man hits Don hard on the back of his head. When he came to, he is on the floor with a broken nose. A note lies on the dresser expressing their gratitude for his help. The young couple took his money, and left him only a dollar and his car.

Peggy Olson sitting up on the bed wakes Duck Phillips. Peggy is worried that the housekeeper will barge in the door, and find the two of them in bed, but Duck assures her that he hung up the sign informing the cleaning lady their need for privacy. The two have another go at making love.

The decorator arrives at Betty’s house upset at finding a large Victorian chaise in the living room. The bulky furniture sits in front of the fireplace ruining the carefully thought out living room plan. The decorator tells Betty to make sure to tell her guests that having the Victorian chaise was not her idea as it will ruin her reputation.

If Peggy Olson thought that her wearing the same dress from the previous day would cause stares, Don Draper beat her to it. Don arrives at the office with a broken nose making an excuse that he was in a car accident. For the second time around, Don finds another man sitting on his chair. Bertram Cooper has been waiting for him at his office. Bert reminds Don that without Sterling Cooper, he is nothing. The agency has taken him under its wing, and successfully helped a diamond in the rough reach his full potential. It is now time to pay Sterling Cooper back. Bert lays out the contract in front of Don and orders him to sign it. Don reluctantly signs the contract, but asks not to have any contact with Roger Sterling. Don comes home, finds his wife lying on the chaise lounge, and informs her that he signed the contract.

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Anonymous 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 pointing that out. Yes, I only mentioned that Bert ordered him to sign it, but did not elaborate on the manner by which he got Don to sign the contract.