Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lady Lazarus – Mad Men Episode Summary 5.8

Don Draper Peggy Olson test kitchen argumentSynopsis: Megan Draper begins a charade with her husband after receiving a callback for a play inadvertently involving Peggy Olson in her deceit.  Soon she finds the courage to leave her job as a copywriter in order to pursue an acting career much to her husband’s dismay.  Pete Campbell meets Howard Dawes wife and sleeps with her only to learn that the woman is reluctant to have an affair with him.

Episode Summary: Pete Campbell supposes that Howard Dawes, the insurance sales man, has come to ventilate his poor sales in order to persuade him into buying life insurance.  Howard denies his supposition, but after hearing Pete’s satisfaction of his company’s life insurance policy for paying six times his annual salary and covering suicide, the man felt compelled to speak of its disadvantages.  Howard guarantees that the policy will pay the company and not the employee at the event of the employee’s death.  Pete is certain that Howard is mistaken.  He becomes curious about the sales man’s money issues and learns that Howard has a young, new mistress whom he housed in an apartment in the city.  Roger Sterling summons Pete to his office soon after his arrival to inform him that Roger O’Hara, the top executive of the Head Ski Company, had personally asked Pete to handle the Head account.  Moreover, the man had sent skis as a present.  Pete is incredulous of Roger’s nonchalant and even pleased demeanor despite the client’s request, but accepts the gifts anyway.Continue reading...

Michael Ginsberg pitches the “Hard Day’s Night” campaign for Chevalier Blanc as a Beatles inspired advertisement featuring a mop-top in a white leather jacket running away from a mob of crazed fans.  The Beatles look-alike finds refuge inside a Chevalier Blanc Pub.  The pitch that satisfied Chevalier Blanc’s requirement to have an advertisement that conveys adolescent joy received applause from both clients, the traditional Calvin Nichols and the gay Rick Swanson.  Aware that it is impossible to use Beatles’ music in the commercial, the mad men of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce assure the client of their ability to find a substitute.  Michael and Stan Rizzo discuss potential substitutes with Don only to hear their boss hand the decision to his wife, Megan Draper.  Don is unaware that Megan had left the office soon after receiving a call from Jack Shapiro just as he is clueless as to the desire of clients to use pop music in their commercials.  He leaves for a dinner with a client without Megan for his wife had made an excuse of having to work that evening.  Megan, who is supposed to help Peggy that night, lies to her superior about having to accompany Don at a business dinner.  Peggy Olson finds herself in a quandary when Don calls her to ask her about his wife whom she thought was with him.  With Megan still away from home, Don continues to call Peggy.  Unable to stand being in the middle of a charade, Peggy ignores the ringing phone and leaves the office.  Megan arrives home at last and makes an excuse of having lied to Peggy to get out of working that evening in order to have drinks with her colleagues instead.

Pete stays late at the office and ends up hauling the skis on a train from Manhattan to Connecticut.  He arrives at the train station’s parking lot and finds a woman asking if he had seen Howard Dawes on the train.  Pete guessed the woman as Howard’s wife, Beth.  Beth Dawes, who claims to have locked herself out of the car, has been waiting for her husband for quite some time.  Aware of Howard’s extramarital affair, Pete fabricates an alibi for the deceitful husband to keep Beth from waiting for Howard.  He agrees to drive Beth home and learns that the woman seems to be cognizant of her husband’s affair.  Pete not wanting to be part of the Dawes’ marital problems makes more excuses for Howard, but eventually feels guilty for lying to Beth.  Sensing that the woman has become upset, Pete follows Beth into her house to placate her nerves, but ends up having sexual intercourse with the woman.  Pete becomes fixated with the woman who does not intend to continue their affair that he phones her the following morning asking her to meet him in the city.  Beth tells Pete not to call her again.

Peggy confronts Megan the following day and learns that the woman had gotten a callback on an off-off-Broadway show she had kept secret from her husband.  Megan did not get the part.  She assures Peggy that she will not be put in the same position again.  Peggy mistakes Megan’s need to seek another career as the result of the pressures of work only to learn that the woman still has aspirations of becoming an actress, one she knows her husband will not approve.  Megan dislikes being a copywriter so much that she had contemplated doing something that will cause her termination only to realize that the agency will never fire her, because she is the wife of a senior partner.  Peggy, who strived to become a copywriter, finds no sympathy for the privileged wife of her boss seeing through the selfishness of her motives.  Megan is willing to continue being a copywriter despite her aversion to it so as not to displease her husband.  Her encounter with Megan caused her to arrive late at a meeting about Cool Whip.  She becomes annoyed when her boss’ wife joins them and plays the loving, devoted wife of Don Draper.

Their client, Pat Wallace, enjoyed the Don and Megan banter enough to suggest the husband and wife team to perform it for Phil Beachum, the head of desserts at Cool Whip.  Upon Ken Cosgrove’s urging, Don and Megan perform their act to the rest of the group.  The act meant to assuage the public’s concern about the frozen, non-dairy product that is a substitute for whipped cream spurs the public to try it out of curiosity with a tag line of “Just Taste It”.  Peggy finds the banter between the seemingly happy couple unbearable that she inadvertently ends up showing her approval after uttering the tag line in order to end the banter.  Later that night, Megan confesses to Don of having lied to him and tells him the truth of her whereabouts the previous night.  She begins to share the thrill of having auditioned for a play in spite of the rejection and conveys to him her desire to return to acting.  Don dissuades his wife from pursuing her dream by telling her that she has a talent for copywriting, but Megan confesses to having felt happiness in the rejection than in the accolade she received from the success on the Heinz account.  After realizing that Megan has made up her mind, Don agrees to his wife pursuing her dream.  Megan is to resign the following day effective immediately as per Don’s instructions.  Don speaks to Joan Holloway-Harris of the company’s protocol for a resigning employee and is relieved that the shrewd head of personnel had offered to take care of the send-off.  Meanwhile, Megan speaks to her colleagues of leaving the agency in tears causing Ginsberg to mistake her resignation as a termination only to learn that she had decided to quit her job so as to pursue an acting career.  Ginsberg fails to understand Megan’s reason for leaving for his dream is to become a copywriter, while Stan comes to a realization that all their sacrifices result in nothing more than peddling some mundane product.  Peggy finds respect in Megan knowing that it took guts to go against Don’s wishes.  Joan is not as pleased with Don’s second wife as Peggy believing that the young woman married Don in order to pursue a dream she has not future in, one she could not have the luxury of chasing had she not found herself a rich husband.  Peggy maintains her confidence in Megan’s talent, but her conversation with Joan planted seeds of doubt nonetheless.

Don accompanies Megan to the elevator bank as she leaves for a lunch send-off with the girls.  He saves her the trouble of returning to work for more awkward and emotional encounters with colleagues and offers to bring home her things.  Soon after Megan boards the elevator and kisses him goodbye, Don decides to go after her, but finds himself confronted with an empty elevator shaft that could have easily caused his death.  Don stares into the void and foregoes his decision to go after Megan.  Clearly disturbed with the close encounter with death, Don calms his nerves with alcohol.  The arrival of Ken and his team disrupts his musings as he finds himself listening to music Rick of Chevalier Blanc recommended for the commercial.  Don, undoubtedly ignorant of pop music, mistakes the song as one from the Beatles and learns soon enough from Ginsberg’s disgust that it is not.  He returns home to find his wife cooking and delighted not to find him drunk and upset with her departure.  Her delight, however, seemed to have caused him disappointment.

Pete arrives late at work after taking a later train probably to avoid the Dawes.  Harry Crane informs him of Megan’s resignation in order to pursue an acting career and becomes surprised that he was not shocked at her decision.  Having been played a fool, Pete finds women manipulative for using their sexuality to force men into submission.  He finds an unwelcome seatmate in Howard on his ride home and becomes riled at hearing of the man’s decision to spend the evening with his wife to make up for his infidelity.  Pete becomes piqued and lures Howard into inviting him for dinner in order to hear of the life insurance policy he is selling.  Beth is shocked to find Pete in their house with her husband and becomes aghast when the man passionately kisses her as he hands her instructions for a rendezvous at Hotel Pennsylvania the following afternoon.  Howard returns to the foyer with his work paraphernalia unaware of what had transpired.  Beth asks to speak with him privately alarming Pete, who decides to sneak out only to learn that the woman had feigned a migraine leaving the two men to have dinner without her.  Pete waits for Beth at the hotel despite her incessant declaration of not wanting to be with him and realizes that the woman meant her words when she does not arrive.  One evening he finds her at the parking lot waiting for Howard and she once again gives him hope as he draws a heart from the moisture of her car window.

Don rejects Ken’s offer to cancel the meeting with Cool Whip and he finds himself in the test kitchen with Peggy as Megan’s stand-in.  Phil Beachum arrives at the Creative Cookery Kitchen expecting to see the husband and wife act, but Don is lost in thought that he misses his cue.  Regrettably, Phil has been briefed of the banter that he notices the missed cue and Don’s distraction.  Moreover, he is disappointed that Megan is not available and has every right to do so as Don and Peggy lack the chemistry required to make the banter adorable instead of obnoxious.  Moreover, the unrehearsed act appears forced and becomes even more painful to watch when Peggy misspeaks the tag line and ends up uttering “just try it” instead of “just taste it”.  Phil, clearly disappointed, saves them further embarrassment by cutting short the banter.  With Pat running after his boss who is dissatisfied, Don and Peggy behave like real husband and wife as they raise their voices in argument.  Don blames Peggy for Megan’s departure having made himself believe that she chased her out of the agency unable to concede to the fact that Megan dislikes advertising.  Peggy makes it known that Don’s anger should have been directed at Megan whom he surprisingly has no power over.  Soon they realize that one of the Cool Whip employees was there to witness their squabble adding to their embarrassment.  They return to the office and Don drowns his sorrow with alcohol.  Roger finds Don brooding on his couch learning that the man agreed to his wife’s desires despite his reluctance so as not to curtail her dreams having seen what doing so had done to Betty and Marie.  Don takes Roger’s advice of maintaining a routine in order to sustain a harmonious marriage and goes home to catch Megan on her way to acting class.  Megan buys Don a Beatles album to educate him of their music and suggests that he listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows’.


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