Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Mountain King – Mad Men Episode Summary 2.12

The Mountain King Mad Men episode summarySynopsis: Don Draper gets off a bus in California, and knocks on the door of Anna Draper. Bertram Cooper calls a meeting of the partners to vote on the merger with Putnam, Powell and Lowe. With Don Draper away, Peggy Olson steps in to pitch for the Popsicle account, and demands that she move-in Freddie Rumsen’s office. Meanwhile, Joan Holloway parades her seemingly perfect doctor fiancé, and learns that the young man is a rapist.

Episode Summary: Betty Draper catches her very young daughter smoking a cigarette. She pulls her by the hair, and locks her in a closet. Sally Draper argues with her mother blaming her father’s departure on her, believing that she had kicked her father out of their house. Surprised with her daughter’s speculation, Betty finds remorse in punishing her child, and assures Sally that her father is merely on a business trip. Continue reading...

Peggy Olson, Sal Romano and Ken Cosgrove are tasked with the Popsicle account. Ken is finding it difficult to understand the need for a Popsicle campaign during winter, but summer sales were in a slump creating the need to sell Popsicles off-season. Peggy and Sal remember how their mom’s would buy them a Popsicle and break it in half. Peggy akin this to communion, and is struck with an idea.

Pete Campbell is taken by surprise by a message his wife relayed to his secretary, Hildy. He and Trudy are to meet with somebody at the Spence-Chapin adoption agency. Hildy believes this to be a noble act of charity, but Pete is clearly not looking forward to adopting a child.

Alice Cooper, Bertram Cooper’s sister, arrives at Sterling Cooper. The woman, as it turns out, is a stakeholder at Sterling Cooper after financially helping her brother in setting up his agency. The reason for their meeting is simple. They are to discuss the offer from Putnam, Powell and Lowe. Knowing her brother too well, she could see the hesitation in his eyes despite the generous deal PPL has laid on the table. Bertram makes an excuse of promising to take care of Roger Sterling, but Alice knows this to be a pretext. The truth is that Bertram is unwilling to retire.

Don Draper gets off a bus in San Pedro, California. He walks up to a simple house with a white picket fence where the sound of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” on the piano can be heard from the porch. Don Draper remembers a memory from years ago where he enters his apartment with a woman who threatens Don to having left a letter on her bureau telling anyone who reads it where she is in case something happens to her. The woman is searching for her husband who shares the same name as Don whom she also found out to have used her husband’s serial number to apply for a driver’s license. Don Draper shows the woman documentation proving his identity, but could not produce the one thing that would clear up his name. Don claims that his birth certificate is in a safety deposit box. The wife knows for a fact that Don Draper is using her husband’s identity despite his incessant assertion that he is who he says he is. Mrs. Draper wants no trouble, but simply wants to know where the real Don Draper is. At last, Don informs Mrs. Draper that the real Don Draper died in combat. He was unaware that the man whom his identity he stole had a wife of seven years waiting for him to come home. Knowing that her husband really wanted to marry her sister who looked just like her, Anna is not surprised that her husband did not mention her to him. Don reveals to Anna Draper that he truly is Dick Whitman. After reminiscing how they met, Don knocks on the door of Anna Draper. Anna opens the door to Dick Whitman, and introduces him as so to her student playing “In the Hall of the Mountain King” on the piano.

Although ecstatic to get a surprise visit from Don, the woman could not help but be worried about the man who had come unannounced, bringing nothing with him but the clothes on his back. Knowing Don to be a man who keeps to himself, Anna understands if Don is unwilling to share his problems with her, but makes it known to him that she is willing to listen if ever he finds the need to vent. She believes that the unusual circumstance by which they met was a chance for the two of them to lead a better life. If there is anyone in the world whom Don Draper trusts, it is Anna. He tells her how he ruined his life, his family, wife, and children. He is still overcome with guilt for turning his back on his brother, and the guilt of keeping secrets from his wife.

Pete Campbell arrives home infuriated, and confronts his wife about the appointment they have with the Spence-Chapin adoption agency. He makes it very clear to Trudy that they are not adopting a child. Husband and wife have a shouting argument, which ends with Pete throwing the dinner Trudy prepared out the balcony of their apartment.

Joan Holloway is relieved to learn that her fiancé is still in the mood despite having a long day at the hospital. Knowing how tiring his job could be, Joan takes the initiative to take charge of their lovemaking. Unfortunately, this has an adverse effect on Greg that caused him to lose the mood.

Unlike Roger Sterling, Bertram Cooper still has reservations about selling Sterling Cooper to Putnam, Powell and Lowe. The reason for this is that the agency is Bertram’s life’s work, while Roger simply inherited it from her father. It annoys him that Roger is not at the very least saddened by the upcoming merger given that they are cashing in a generous offer. With Roger taking up a new wife, and having to support his first family, a bump in his income is a welcomed addition. Like Alice, he sees the worry in Bertram’s eyes, and assures him that the merger will allow them to continue with their work and with additional perks. However, Bertram knows very well that he will only be a figurehead once the merger is in place.

Pete Campbell receives a call from his father-in-law informing him that the Clearasil account, which he won for Sterling Cooper with his help, will be put under review despite the spectacular sales it has received through their successful ad campaigns. Tom Vogel gives him ninety days to turn things around making an excuse that unhappiness at home results in poor performance at work. He tells the young man that his wife’s happiness should be his priority. Pete stands his ground, and does not give in to the threat. In fact, he calls Tom’s bluff and recommends that no review is necessary. Pete is not allowing himself to be blackmailed.

Anna brings home clothes for Don. He remembers the Christmas he came to visit her to tell her that she has met a girl. Don describes Betty to her as somebody who is beautiful, happy, educated, and a person who comes from a good family. Anna could see that the girl makes him so very happy. Don wants her to meet Betty especially since he is planning on asking her to marry him. Having assumed Don Draper’s identity, Don asks Anna to grant him a divorce vowing to pay for the legal fees, and promising to take care of her forever. Anna makes it clear that she is not his responsibility, and is more than willing to grant his request. However, Don believes himself to be eternally indebted to Anna. If not for her thoughtful consideration he would still be Dick Whitman.

With Don Draper on leave of absence, Ken Cosgrove brings Peggy Olson to the meeting with the Popsicle client. This seems to have stirred anxiety among the clients, but nonetheless stays to listen to what Peggy has to offer. Peggy starts her presentation with a story of how her mom would take a Twin pop and breaks it in half, and gives one half to Peggy and the other to her sister. She claims that everyone does this with Popsicles as though it is a ritual. You take it. Break it. Share it. Love it. The client agrees that it is what people do, and is pleased with the presentation.

Misery loves company. Betty Draper gives Sarah Beth Carson a call with a false pretense of asking her advice about a private school for Sally. She then brings up the real reason for her call. Knowing how Sarah Beth is head over heels about Arthur Case, Betty informs her about seeing the wedding announcement on the paper. Sarah Beth confesses to Betty how upset she is to hear about the young man’s upcoming wedding. Moreover, she informs Betty that she slept with Arthur Case. Betty acts surprised, which annoys Sarah Beth knowing how she fanned the fire. Betty washes her hands at admitting to having encouraged her to sleep with the young man, which angers Sarah Beth enough to slam the phone on her.

Peggy Olson returns to the office that she shares with the gigantic copier with a grin on her face having sold the pitch for Popsicle. However, her delight is short-lived having received the fury from the Xerox repairman for breaking the copier. She waits for Roger Sterling outside his office, and demands that she get Freddie Rumsen’s office that has been left vacant for quite some time now. Her aggressiveness pleases Roger Sterling who notes that there are thirty men at their office who did not have the balls to ask him for it. Roger approves Peggy’s request for a new office.

Joan Holloway arrives at the office parading her fiancé Doctor Greg Harris. The young man asks Joan to fix her a drink inside Don’s office, and though she was hesitant at first, she gives in with the request. They enter the office, and Greg locks the door behind him. He then comes up to Joan and kisses her passionately. Joan tells her fiancé to stop, but Greg forces her on the floor, and rapes her.

Alice Cooper arrives for the meeting of the partners with their lawyer and all the partners except for Don Draper who is absent. Bertram Cooper makes a note that Don’s 12% stake in the company makes his presence negligible, but Alice is curious to know where the man is, and would like to hear his thoughts about the merger. Roger Sterling steps in to assure them that he is knowledgeable of his whereabouts. He informs them that he has taken some time off in California due to marital problems. With all the major stakeholders agreeing to the merger, the decision is finalized. Sterling Cooper has agreed to merge with Putnam, Powell and Lowe.

Don Draper is still in California and has gone out to buy some groceries when he chances upon a man and his kid fixing up a ’34 Sedan. He recognized the car despite it being modified with parts from two Fords and a Buick, because he used to sell the sedan. Another man building his hotrod joins in the conversation. The man, a hotrod enthusiast, came to California from Indianapolis to work on hotrods, but found the demand to be low. However, his passion for cars made him decide to keep the hobby, and take a job at a bar. Seeing Don’s interest in hotrods, the men invite him to watch a drag race.

Peggy Olson moves in to Freddie Rumsen’s office that is next door to Don Draper’s. She asks Joan who is filling in as his secretary if she has heard from him, and confesses to her the strangeness of him being away with no one having a clue where he could be. Meeting Joan’s fiancé the other day, Peggy expresses her happiness for Joan for having found a handsome doctor that one can only dream about. Joan finds the need to make it sound like Greg is quite a catch informing Peggy that her fiancé is specializing in thoracic surgery and volunteers at a Harlem hospital to help African American children in need. Joan feels sorry for herself seeing that the young woman who used to report to her now has her own office. In her attempt to mask her insecurity, she informs Peggy out of the blue that she is getting married on Christmas.

Paul Kinsey returns from Mississippi after joining her African American girlfriend in the civil rights movement who three days into the protest dumped him. The much bigger surprise came from learning that Peggy Olson is moving in Freddie Rumsen’s office. Harry Crane is in disbelief given that he is the head of the television department, and yet he shares an office with another employee.

Betty Draper apologizes to her daughter for being unfair, and gives Sally her own riding boots. However, this is only a ruse to lessen the blow of what the young girl is about to hear. Seeing that Sally has grown, and has been noticing the events that are happening in their home Betty finds the need to come clean with her. She informs her daughter of the marital problems she and Don are having, and that Don has left without a word. She, however, assures her that everything is going to be ok.

Anna has brought out her Tarot cards and decides to give Don a reading. According to her, Don is definitely in a strange place, but things are going to get better. Anna tells Don that the only thing that’s making him unhappy is the belief that he is alone. Don supposes this to be so, but Anna tells him that he can change. However, Don also believes that people do not change. Anna reminds him that as you live you learn things.

Pete Campbell drops by Peggy Olson’s office happy though in disbelief of how the young woman could have gotten the office. Pete confides to Peggy about losing the Clearasil account, which surprised the young woman knowing that sales have been on the increase. Pete worries about getting Don’s wrath if he ever comes back. Peggy, curious about Don’s absence, asks Pete about their trip to Los Angeles. Pete divulges to her that Don just disappeared. The man did not even check out of their hotel, which almost led him to call the police. In hindsight, Don’s disappearance is not that much of a surprise, knowing that he has done it before. Peggy is not interested in gossip, and remains loyal to Don Draper. She believes that there is good reason for his behavior. With that, Pete genuinely congratulates Peggy and says good night.

Don Draper goes to the beach, and meets the crashing waves.

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