Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Color Blue – Mad Men Episode Summary 3.10

Synopsis: Don Draper has been spending his evenings with Suzanne Farrell, but the arrival of the woman’s troubled younger brother put a stop to their tryst. Meanwhile, Paul Kinsey has made it a point to compete with Peggy Olson, this after the young copywriter enhanced his idea on the Aqua Net ad that gained Don Draper’s approval. Betty Draper happens upon the key to Don’s top drawer, and discovers his secret.

Episode Summary: Don Draper has not been sleeping at home, and Betty has become concerned that her husband is working too much. Little did she know that her husband has been spending his evenings a few blocks from their house. Don knocks on the door of Suzanne Farrell who is equally delighted to see him. While her husband is down the road making love with her daughter’s teacher, Betty spends her evening in the tub reading Mary McCarthy’s novel, The Group.. Continue reading...

After their lovemaking, Suzanne tells Don of a question an eight-year-old boy asked her earlier that day. The boy, Charlie, asked her if what he sees as the color blue is the same as it is to her. Suzanne was stumped with the question, and gave the truthful answer of not knowing. Don, on the other hand, gave an answer one would typically hear from an ad man. He would have told Charlie that he knows that there is a color blue that at least forty-five percent of the population sees the same way. It boils down to his belief that people see things differently, but they don’t really want to. Suzanne must have seen the sadness in Don enough for her to ask him if he feels bad about his work. As expected, he gave her an answer that is vague, but made her feel good about herself. Don thinks that nobody feels as good about what they do as she does.

Don arrives at Sterling Cooper with his staff waiting for him by his office door. Paul Kinsey leads the creative team working on the Aqua Net account. To convey his idea, Paul calls on the help of his colleagues to act out the “Double Date” ad he had in mind. As the story goes, two couples are in a car when the scarf of the woman in the back blows off disheveling her hair. The woman in the passenger seat takes off her scarf, and lends it to the woman at the back, but her hair is untouched. Impressed with her generosity and perfect hair, her date gives her a knowing smile of admiration. The ad ends with a slogan “Aqua Net. Arrive in style.” Don, however, is not impressed with the ad for it has too much story in it. Peggy simplifies it with her idea of the woman at the back having to put on a kerchief to keep the wind from ruining her hair, and gives a longing look at the woman in front with the perfect hair. Paul supports her idea given that his slogan still fits the storyline. Peggy adds a last scene where a can is covered with a see-through kerchief that the wind blows away to reveal Aqua Net. Don is impressed and approves the idea.

Later, Peggy learns that Paul is in fact livid with her input on his Aqua Net idea. Ostensibly, Paul has been holding a grudge at Peggy seeing how Don has taken notice of her work, but only because she is a girl. Paul warns her that her gender will no longer be to her advantage with the Western Union account.

Lane Pryce arrives to personally deliver Don’s $5,000 signing bonus having finally agreed to sign a contract with the agency. He also asks if his friend, Connie Hilton, will be attending Sterling Cooper’s 40th anniversary. Don confirms his high-profile friend’s attendance, and learns that he is expected to give a speech. Lane’s wife’s arrival that demands his immediate attention interrupts their conversation. A distressed Mrs. Lane had been taken advantage of by a cab driver. Sorely missing London and never taken a liking to New York, this incident is the last straw that broke the camel’s back. To add to her annoyance, Lane seems to prefer New York over London, which could only mean that they may never return home.

Later that night, Don is once again with Suzanne. The woman is on the verge of an orgasm trying very hard not to scream when they hear a knock on the door that startles both of them. Not knowing what to do, Suzanne answers the door to Don’s alarm. Luckily, it’s only Suzanne’s brother, but still Don is apprehensive about another person finding him at her place. Suzanne wants him to meet her brother, and Don hesitantly agrees to her request. Seeing the young man, Don probably regretted having agreed to meet him. With a bandaged gash on his head, and looking like an addict, Danny says what he believes is in Don’s mind, and swears that he is not a junkie. Suzanne informs Don that her brother has fits, and as though ashamed for not shaking the man’s hand earlier, Don extends his, and takes his leave. Having learned that her brother lost his job pushing a cart in a library, Suzanne promises to get him another job where he could be safe. Danny believes that other people are the problem, and Suzanne believes him.

Bert Cooper shows Roger Sterling a picture of him with his colleagues in 1923. Roger points out that all of those mad men in the photograph are dead except for Bert and Doug Thompson whom he wishes to be dead. He holds a grudge to the man who tricked him into eating a whole roll of Bolls Laxatives after making him believe it to be candy. The idea of Bert going to another funeral upsets him. Both men are not looking forward to their agency’s fortieth anniversary with Bert finding himself closer to the grave, and Roger having to watch Don accept an award. Roger could not believe that a man he found working at a fur coat company with a degree he earned from a night school is now an invaluable person at their agency not to mention the industry.

The phone rings at the Drapers, and Sally Draper with permission from her mother answers the phone. To her surprise, nobody is on the other line, and is curious why the person hung up. Both husband and wife look guilty. Betty explains to her daughter that it was probably a wrong number, and it is not unusual. Having heard the person on the other line, Sally could not fathom why that person hung up on her. Her incessant questions led to her getting scold.

Paul and Peggy are bent on impressing Don with their Western Union ideas that they found themselves staying late at work. After hours of thought, Peggy found the idea she could work with. The telegraph, she finds, is honest, solid, clear, old, but it’s good. It is traditional. Happy with the concept, Peggy calls it a day. She notices that Paul is still in his office, but decides not to say goodbye. Thinking that Peggy is still at the office, a drunken Paul calls out for her, but instead gets a response from a man. There’s no one else in the office but him and the custodian Achilles. An unusual name for an American, Paul asks the man about it who then tells him a story of how most of the men in his family are named Achilles. Paul did not let the poor man finish his story of how every man in a family party would turn their heads upon hearing the name, because he finally had a revelation. Ecstatic, Paul returns to his office and has another drink.

Suzanne seating beside him on the train troubles Don who later asks her if she was the one who called his house the night before. This question and Don’s uneasy behavior of taking great pains to pretend that they know each other upsets Suzanne. The woman felt the need to see him after not hearing from him for days. Don has not been calling knowing that her brother is staying at her place. Suzanne confesses not to care about his marriage, his work or any of his baggage for she only wants him to be with her. Don discreetly holds her hand. Suzanne informs him that she has found a job for her brother as a custodian at a hospital. More importantly, she assures Don that he can come visit again for her brother will be gone.

Lois Sadler wakes up Paul who has fallen asleep on his office couch. The smile on his face has not faded. He asks Lois to type up his fantastic idea, but alas he could not find it in any of his notes. He frantically scours his trashcan hoping that he had written the idea, and mistakenly threw it away.

Lane practices his speech for the 40th anniversary party when he receives a call from Harold Ford in London asking about the status of their party. He is surprised to hear the disappointment from Ford upon learning of Bert’s decision not to attend the celebration, and soon discovers that the purpose of the party is to attract potential buyers for Putnam, Powell, and Lowe has put Sterling Cooper up for sale. Lane is in shock knowing very well how they managed to reduce the staff and increase revenue, which Saint John points out is exactly why they have decided to sell the agency. Having gotten his instructions from his superiors, Lane wastes no time to convince Bert Cooper to attend the anniversary party. He gets him with his vanity. Bert could not stand the thought of people thinking that he was unable to attend due to illness.

Betty gives Henry Francis a call wondering whether it was he who phoned last night, and learns that it was not him. Thinking that Betty made up the story, Henry becomes annoyed at her making excuses, and tells her that he will not call her, but if she feels the need to speak with him then she should just do so. Betty says goodbye and hangs up the phone. Later, he hears a clanging in the dryer. Don left the key to the top drawer in his study in his robe. This after baby Gene’s crying interrupted his stashing of the signing bonus he cashed. Betty is delighted to learn that she could finally take a peek at Don’s treasured belongings. She opens a shoebox filled with photographs and personal items of a man named Dick. Moreover, she found a deed of a house under the name of Anna Draper, and divorce papers from the same woman. The shock of her discovery drained her face of color. She asks Carla to take the kids out of the house until dinnertime.

Don pays Suzanne a visit, believing that her brother has left her place. The woman did not lie, but the young man’s departure has been postponed to that night. Don offers to drive Danny to Bedford, Massachusetts not wanting Suzanne to drive back home alone. Suzanne gives her what seems to be all the money she has, and bids goodbye to her brother with a tight embrace. In the car, Danny informs Don that he is not going to Bedford unwilling to accept the custodian job. He declares that he is an epileptic, and not a retard. He believes himself to be capable of doing more than a menial job of cleaning toilets. Don agrees to pull over, and tells him that he can improve his situation with his own efforts. Danny disagrees. He is not dumb, but he is very much aware of his affliction that the world is not ready to accept. Don gives him extra cash, and his business card asking the young man to give him a call in time of desperation. Moreover, he warns him that if something happens to him, Suzanne will never forgive herself.

With the shoebox on the dinner table, Betty waits for her husband. Regrettably, Don decided to come home to Suzanne hoping to get what he really wanted from her. Unfortunately, Suzanne still feeling guilty about sending her brother away is not in the mood. It’s two in the morning, and Don still has not come home. Betty returns the shoebox inside Don’s top drawer, and the key in her husband’s robe then goes to bed.

Don arrives in his office, and gives Betty a call with an excuse that he was with Conrad Hilton. Betty believes him thinking that she must have just forgotten about it. Don informs her that he will be picking her up that afternoon for the anniversary party. Unable to confront her husband on the phone with her discovery, Betty feigns illness, but Don insists that she come with him, and just like Bert, Don got her through her vanity.

Peggy passes by Paul’s office to remind him of their meeting with Don, and finds the man sitting by his desk looking out the window. Paul confesses to have had something incredible to show Don, but lost it. He had spent the previous night trying to recreate the events of the other evening when he got the revelation, but none of it helped. He had nothing, and then he had everything if only he had written it. Paul shares with Peggy the Chinese proverb that “The faintest ink is better than the best memory.” Paul and Peggy somberly enter Don’s office knowing that they don’t have anything good to share. Having heard Peggy’s unenthused idea, Don looks to Paul who truthfully informs him that he has nothing. Don raises his voice at him, and Peggy defends his colleague urging him to tell the man what happened. Paul reluctantly tells Don that he had a great idea, but failed to write it down, and now it is lost. To his surprise, Don could relate. Peggy remembers the Chinese proverb he had told her, and even asks him to restate it. She is struck with an idea that a telegram is permanent. Again, Peggy’s quick thinking and spontaneity got the best of him. Don is once again impressed with her, and adds the slogan “You can’t frame a phone call.” Paul is in disbelief.

Don Draper picks up his glamorous, elegant, stunning wife at home trying very hard to conceal her fury. Roger Sterling makes his way to the party with his wife and senile mother who mistook Jane for his daughter Margaret. At another car is a silent Lane Pryce with his equally hushed wife. Stuck in traffic, Lane could no longer keep the secret that has troubled him ever since he heard about it. He informs his wife that Putnam, Powell and Lowe has decided to sell Sterling Cooper. The idea that the sale would mean their return to England delights his wife. Meanwhile, at their own limousine, Betty Draper is a woman ready to blow, but Don is too busy studying his speech to take notice. At last, all arrived at the party. As though adding insult to injury, Roger Sterling has been tasked to present Don Draper to everyone along with his impressive, award-studded resume. Don takes the stage amidst the deafening applause.

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