Sunday, April 27, 2014

Far Away Places – Mad Men Episode Summary 5.6

Megan Draper eats Howard Johnson's orange sherbetSynopsis: Don Draper pulls his wife, Megan, from the Heinz presentation that they can spend a long weekend at a Howard Johnson’s motor lodge.  Heinz once again rejects their proposed campaign causing Peggy Olson to use Don’s strategy of forcing their client to submission.  Meanwhile, Roger Sterling spends an evening with his wife’s pretentious friends and finds himself taking LSD with them.

Episode Summary: Peggy Olson frantically searches for a pack of violet candy that she claims Don Draper gave her before a presentation.  Having become superstitious about it, she believes in needing it for her Heinz presentation.  Abe Drexler could not care less about her presentation.  He asks her to go to see the Naked Prey that evening, but she rejects his invitation for she would not be able to focus on the movie with her mind preoccupied with the Heinz presentation.  Abe feels superfluous and accuses Peggy of always finding an excuse for her inattentive behavior towards him.  He claims that Peggy has even made their lovemaking seem like a chore.  He ends their argument by leaving her with a gibe.Continue reading...

Peggy arrives at the office and finds Michael Ginsberg on the phone having a similar argument as hers.  Stan Rizzo shares of the date he had with a voluptuous and hilarious woman whom he ended up ignoring, since his mind is consumed with the fear that his drawings can never compete with photographs.  Megan Draper then shares of life imitating art having encountered an incident that mimicked their campaign.  Everyone on their team has work on their minds unwittingly neglecting their personal lives.  Peggy, however, becomes relieved when she finds the pack of Choward’s Violet Mints that Don gave her.  To her consternation, Don arrives with news of him and Megan missing the presentation for a trip upstate to Howard Johnson’s motor lodge.  Megan is embarrassed at abandoning her colleagues for a critical presentation that all of them have been working on for months.  Peggy’s ominous day culminates with her presentation that their client, Raymond Geiger, found sentimental, but rejected nonetheless.  He believes that the campaign spoke to people like him and not the adolescents Heinz is trying to target.  He criticizes Peggy for fulfilling what he asked for instead of figuring out what he wants.  Peggy follows Don’s strategy when faced with an equivocal client.  She dares to affront the Heinz client with an allegation that Raymond is pugnacious, which explains why he continues to reject their proposed campaigns despite following his direction.  Peggy asserts that no one else is going to figure out how to make Heinz beans young and beautiful.  Her strategy, however, did not work on Raymond for he admonishes Peggy for her behavior towards him.  Moreover, the client orders Pete Campbell to remove her from the team working on the Heinz account.  Peggy once again follows in the footsteps of Don Draper as he drowns her sorrow with alcohol and leaves work for the movies.

Peggy finds herself watching the Naked Prey alone, but not for long for the man smoking marijuana, that she warned about being caught decided to sit beside her after she agreed to take a hit of the joint.  Soon the man makes a move on Peggy, but she instead offers him a sexual favor.  She returns to the office and finds an embarrassed Michael arguing with his father who dropped by the agency unannounced.  Peggy ends her journey through Don’s coping mechanism with a nap on his office couch.  Dawn Chambers wakes her at eight-thirty in the evening with a phone call from a worried Don, who asked a vague question about Peggy receiving any calls.  She informs him that she did not receive any calls and begins to accept full responsibility for the failed presentation when Don hangs up.  She then returns to her office and finds Michael still there.  She brings up the incident earlier leading Michael to inform her that the man he saw is not his father.  He then continues to speak of himself as a Martian without a hint of humor in his assertion.  She soon learns what he truly meant by it when Michael imparts his supposed birth at a concentration camp where his mother died and his journey to a Swedish orphanage where Morris Ginsberg adopted him at age five.  Peggy returns home later that night and calls his boyfriend, Abe.  She relays the story she had just heard from Michael and asks that he come to her apartment.

At the beginning of that ominous day, Roger Sterling speaks to Don about the two of them going on a debauched and boondoggle fact-finding mission to Howard Johnson’s motor lodge only to give his friend an idea to bring his new wife instead.  With his failed plan to spend a weekend of debauchery, Roger is left with no other choice but to spend an evening with his wife, Jane Sterling.  He is to accompany her to a dinner party with her pretentious friends who happen to be psychiatrists.  Dinner conversation revolved around the debate about tracing logic to the truth as a cure for neurosis.  Roger is ready to leave the dinner party when Jane asked that he stay with her, nervous about taking LSD with her friends alone.  In fact, one of the couples has already excused themselves from participating.  Catherine, the psychiatrist to celebrities, attests at having taking the drug four times and claims to have had a more beautiful experience than the last.  After filling out a piece of paper with their names and addresses, the guests and Catherine take LSD, while the host remains sober so as to be their guide.  Later, Roger finds that the drug had no effect on him until he opens a bottle of alcohol and an orchestra begins to play music.  He then smokes a cigarette that shortens after one draw.  He later finds from the guide that looking in the mirror is unwise and the guide instructs him to go be with Jane.  Roger watches himself as he sits and dances with her at the same time.  He finds her wife in tears brought about by the joy of having experienced something so perfect.  They return home and bathe together.  Roger then begins laughing as he finds himself at the 1919 World Series, while also in the bathtub.  Later, husband and wife lie on the bedroom floor pondering about time and their marriage.  Jane reveals that Catherine is her psychiatrist who believes that the Sterlings’ marriage is over, but neither husband nor wife would like to accept its failure.  Roger learns that Jane never cheated on him and that she knew all along that he is not in love with her.  The next morning when the L.S.D. had worn out, Roger is relieved that they had ended their marriage amicably.  Jane, however, has no recollection of their agreement to dissolve their marriage.  Roger refreshes her memory and even though she confirms having said the words, Jane remains hesitant at accepting their parting.  Without the drug, Jane could not contain her disappointment at finally ending her marriage with Roger.

Conversely, Don is excited about the impromptu long weekend at Howard Johnson’s motor lodge with his wife.  He remembers the time they spent in California where he first fell in love with her.  Megan could not help but feel guilty about leaving her colleagues to deal with Heinz.  Don makes it known that skipping the presentation is one advantage for being the wife of the boss.  He did promise to check in with Peggy later.  They arrive at Howard Johnson’s restaurant where Dale Vanderwort welcomes them with a promise of a royal treatment starting with a sampling of everything they have to offer.  For dessert, Don rejects Megan’s request for pie and orders them three scoops of orange sherbet.  Don finds Howard Johnson’s motor lodge a delightful destination for the whole family, but Megan notes that it is not a destination but rather a pit stop to some place.  He agrees to the concept, but twists it so that it becomes the destination after the kids force their parents to stay there instead.  Still aggrieved for having been pulled out of work without notice, Megan finds it unfair that Don can choose to work no matter the circumstances are, while she is at his disposal.  Don argues that she should have said something, but Megan contends that she was not given the chance.  The waitress arrives with the orange sherbet.  Don reveals to the waitress that Megan has not tried one and the waitress waits in anticipation of Megan’s reaction.  Megan tastes a spoonful and immediately discards the orange sherbet with claims of it tasting like perfume.  She asks for chocolate instead.  Don finds her behavior spiteful believing it as a way for her to embarrass him.  With this allegation, she then embarrasses him even more with exaggerated moans of delight as she devours spoonfuls of the orange sherbet.  Don is aghast as Megan continues with an outburst of being confused of when to act as his wife or as his employee.  He tells her to call her mother that she can complain to her in French about him.  Megan is taken aback by his accusation that she tells him to call his mother.  Her statement appalled Don so much so that he walks out of Howard Johnson’s.  In fact, he does more than that, he gets in his car, drives away, and abandons Megan.  After miles of driving, Don returns to the Howard Johnson’s restaurant only to learn that Megan had left with some strangers.  He becomes alarmed when he finds her sunglasses in the parking lot.  Night has fallen and there is still no sign of Megan.  He calls Peggy and learns that his wife has not contacted her and so he reluctantly calls Megan’s mother, Marie, with an excuse of wanting to surprise his wife with jewelry but forgetting what metal causes her allergies.  He learns that Megan has not called her mother as well increasing his anxiety.  A police officer wakes Don, who has fallen asleep in the restaurant, after seven hours of anxious waiting.  Don decides to drive back home and remembers the pleasant drive to Betty’s new house after their trip to Disneyland with his children and Megan.  He arrives at his apartment in Manhattan only to find that Megan is already there.  She had chained the door unwilling to let him inside, but he kicks it open.  Megan spent six and a half hours on a bus to Manhattan arriving in the wee hours of the morning at Port Authority.  Don raises his voice instead of offering a sincere apology causing Megan to attack him as he approached her.  She runs away from him, but Don manages to catch her and they fall on the floor with Megan sobbing at the ordeal her husband brought upon her.  He tells her that their fight is over, but she believes that their happy marriage fails with every fight.  On his knees, Don shows genuine concern for the thought of having lost his wife and Megan forgives him.  Husband and wife arrive at the office reconciled.

Don receives a loaded message from Bert Cooper, who is waiting for him in the conference room.  Bert tells Don that a client had left the agency unhappy after he had let a little girl run everything in his absence.  He reproves Don for being on love leave and neglecting his department in the process.  Bert is surprised that things have been doing well until yesterday’s fiasco with Heinz given Don’s lack of contribution.  Don repudiates Bert’s statements believing them to be his personal business, but the senior partner makes it clear that it is in fact his business.

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