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Sunday, February 16, 2014
A Little Kiss, Part 1 – Mad Men Episode Summary 5.1
Episode Summary: Young associates at the Young & Rubicam advertising agency annoyed at the chants of the African American protesters on the street below begin to throw water bombs at them. A few of the protesters climb up the executive floor to inform the agency of the cruelty of the prank only to have their claims repudiated until the associates holding brown paper bags filled with water made the mistake of passing through reception where their victims stood.
On the train ride to work, another regular passenger starts a conversation with Pete Campbell. Howard Dawes, unhappy with his marriage, gives him advice to learn to drive a car so he can have the option to delay his return home. He then speaks to Pete of the night he drove away in his car after a fight with his wife. Pete immediately becomes uncomfortable of their conversation. He arrives at work to learn that Don Draper has yet to approve of the Heinz presentation that is still missing the copy for the coupons. The task was assigned to Megan Draper, who arrives late with her husband. She hands the copy for the coupons to her manager, Peggy Olson, who appreciates the effort, but decides to go with the original copy. Megan then speaks to Peggy of her plan to throw her husband a surprise party for his 40th birthday. Peggy rejects this idea too knowing that men dislike surprises especially Don. Megan, however, is already set on throwing Don a surprise party. She just really wanted to ask her whom to invite.
Roger Sterling having read about the paper bag-drop scandal delights at the involvement of competing agency Young & Rubicam. He suggests running an ad on the newspaper announcing that Sterling Cooper is an equal opportunity employer with the only goal of embarrassing their competitor further. Roger does not intend to tackle the inequality issue. Lane Pryce disapproves of spending company money for the trifling satisfaction of humiliating a competitor. Roger offers to pay the ad out of his own pocket. With a few updates, the men conclude their status meeting in the hallway. Pete then speaks with Don about getting back Mohawk Airlines, the client they discarded for a chance to land the American Airlines account. With dismal sales, the airline would like to resume their relationship with Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce despite the unpleasant dismissal. Pete asks that Don join the meeting to show his delight at getting them back, but Don finds that his presence will be unwanted. It was Don, who spoke to the client, Hank Lammott, to inform him of the agency’s decision to sever the relationship with Mohawk Airlines. Pete argues that Mohawk wanted the agency’s services again, because of Don, but agrees to him sitting this one out with the promise to have him attend the next meeting.
Pete arrives at the restaurant surprised to find that Roger Sterling has already started the meeting with Mohawk, him having moved it to an earlier time without informing Pete. Fortunately, the clients are very pleased with Roger so much so that they expressed disappointment at him having to leave after Pete urged him to with a false pretense of him being needed at the office. Pete returns to the office only to learn that Roger had already left. He enters his small office only to trip and hit the column breaking his nose. He yells for Clara, his secretary, not to get her help with his injury, but to reproach her for unknowingly allowed Roger to peak at his calendar. Ken Cosgrove comes over as well after hearing the screaming, and learns that Pete is competing with Roger. He is riled at the hassle of having to worry about Roger when he is only supposed to be worried about other agency’s stealing their clients. Having invested much in their small agency, Pete is stressed about failing, but Ken is optimistic of their future. Moreover, he knows that Roger is a terrific account executive with a talent for charming clients. This most likely is the reason that caused Pete's annoyance; he does not have an ounce of charisma that Roger possesses.
Joan Holloway Harris, a new mother, is on maternity leave and yet she has not gotten a wink of sleep. Fortunately, her mother Gail Holloway is staying with her to help with the newborn. Gail offers to take the baby out for a stroll giving Joan time to sleep. Joan is grateful to her mother despite their petty arguments, and she dreads of having to juggle work and taking care of her child especially when her mother has left for home. Gail is surprised that Joan still plans to return to work thinking that it is unnecessary, since she has a doctor for a husband. Moreover, she believes that Greg will not allow her to return to work, and that Joan must go where her husband leads them. Joan responds with a snide remark of her mother’s choice knowing how she had a failed marriage.
Peggy Olson presents their idea for the Heinz Beans commercial where beans dance a ballet before dropping into a can as a pretext for the “art of supper” campaign. The clients are interested with the new microphotography technology, but their interest ends there. Moreover, Raymond Geiger, points out that kidney beans seen close up look like slimy, bloody organs that are not appetizing at all. Sensing that the meeting is not going well, Don does little to help salvage it. He surrenders to Raymond’s unyielding disapproval of the direction the creative team took without so much a fight. The client makes it clear that beans remind people of the war, the Depression, and bomb shelters, and they must do their best to erase such associations with their product. Moreover, he wants to highlight the convenience of their product and aims to target college kids. Creative returns to work after the failed pitch. Don fetches Megan leaving the rest of the team to work on Heinz Beans. In making small talk with Don, Stan almost blew the surprise catching himself before making the mistake to decline the invitation to his surprise birthday party on Saturday. Stan Rizzo whose cousin is on shore leave could not make the party he was looking forward to attend just to see Don’s reaction. Meanwhile, Peggy is still incensed at Don taking the side of the client. In fact, she becomes concerned at Don’s transformation from a rude and intolerant man to one that is kind and patient.
Don and Megan arrive at their building after a quiet dinner at a restaurant. Don kisses his wife passionately at the hallway anxious to get her to bed unaware that guests are in his house waiting for them. Megan drags her husband to their front door only to find Roger and Jane Sterling arguing whether they should knock on the door consequently ruining the surprise. Don, nonetheless, is astounded and is hesitant to confront what awaits him. Inside guests who have been at the house for some time are already in the thick of conversations. One group, Abe Drexler and Bert Cooper are arguing about the Vietnam War with the journalist claiming that it is a civil war and not a fight against communism. Stan who managed to attend the party by simply bringing his cousin with him argues that the war is a business to sell costly bombs. Bert is in disbelief of the argument and argues how it is possible for Stan’s cousin to be fighting for nothing. Abe answers in the affirmative and makes note of the novel Johnny Got His Gun where the title character is a severely wounded soldier. The conversation troubles Stan’s cousin who has agreed to come believing that there will be girls at the party. It is one awkward conversation after another with Peggy and Abe greeting their hosts and filling the dead air between them with her announcing of leaving early to redo the Heinz pitch. However, the most unsettling event of the night will come from Megan.
Megan sits her husband in the middle of the living room, goes up to the stage with the band, and begins a sultry dance before singing the French yé-yé song Zou Bisou Bisou. When all the guests have left, Don drops to his bed wanting nothing more but sleep. Megan follows him to the bedroom wanting to speak to him only to be reproved for having embarrassed him. She dismisses his reproach and relates his anger to his turning forty. Don, however, rejects her despite declaring her love to the real Don who nobody loves or knows exist, Dick Whitman. Megan soon learns that the man she married is incapable of love.
Watch the Mad Men episode A Little Kiss, Part 1
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