Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Other Woman – Mad Men Episode Summary 5.11

Joan Holloway Harris agrees to sleep with Herb RennetSynopsis: The head of the Dealers Association and one of the three members of the Jaguar selection committee, Herb Rennet, guarantees his lack of support for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce if Joan Holloway Harris does not spend a night with him.  Don leaves Peggy Olson in charge of all accounts, while he and his team of men work on a pitch for Jaguar.  Peggy saves the Chevalier Blanc account, but Don fails to acknowledge her brilliance and worse insults her instead.

Episode Summary: Don Draper assembles a team of men to work on the Jaguar pitch and leaves Peggy Olson in charge of all ongoing business until after the pitch.  He and his team have yet to come up with a spectacular creative to win the account.  Roger Sterling found it best to pamper the team that will make history for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce that he buys them an extravagant lunch of lobsters from The Palm.  Peggy looks enviously at the team of pampered and favored men as they work on the pitch for Jaguar.Continue reading...

Don Draper spent most of his evening at his office and arrives home to find Megan still up, but only because she has an audition the following day.  Although thrilled with the audition, Megan urges Don to talk about his workday and learns that he continues to struggle with the pitch.  So much is his desperation that he turns to her for help.  Don acquaints Megan of Jaguar cars describing them as beautiful, but so unreliable that one needs to own another car in case of emergency.  Given this shortcoming, they have agreed on the strategy of conveying that a Jaguar is a man’s gorgeous mistress.  The conversation of exalting mistresses quickly becomes awkward between husband and wife that Megan thinks it best to avoid it altogether.

Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove meet with the Herb Rennet, the head of the Dealers Association and a member of Jaguar’s selection committee, and learn that the man is willing to accept a bribe in the form of the dynamite redhead who toured him and his colleagues around the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  Herb bluntly expressed his desire to spend a night with Joan Holloway Harris.  It is a licentious proposal that neither Pete nor Ken had the courage to reject.  Moreover, Herb leaves them to persuade Joan to accept his indecent proposal if they have any hope to win the Jaguar account.  Pete arrives early at the office with a pretense of seeking help from Joan.  He informs her that Herb Rennet of the Jaguar selection committee refused to support Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, because his backing will require a night with Joan.  Pete makes it sound that they have no chance of winning the account without Herb’s support.  Moreover, he places the burden of delivering the news of failure on Joan ultimately assigning blame on her.  Pete continues to urge Joan to consider the proposal despite her obvious disgust arguing that one night of prostitution might be worth the sacrifice.

Pete informs the partners of Herb Rennet’s depraved demand to sleep with Joan.  They are appalled with the ultimatum and of Pete’s decision to put it in consideration.  Pete argues that failure to comply with Herb’s demand guarantees their loss.  Marketing and the factory will concede with Herb’s decision if he argues that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s campaign would not help him sell cars.  Pete supports his argument with a claim that Joan is open to the request for the right price.  Don is against the proposition contending that Herb accounts for only a third of the votes.  He leaves the meeting believing that the other partners agree with him.  Pete proposes giving Joan a 10% finder’s fee on the first year’s commission, which should amount to fifty-thousand dollars.  Roger refuses to pay the amount out of pocket and so does Lane who in reality has no money to spare.  Lane tries to dissuade the other partners to walk away from Jaguar, while Bert claims that the significance of having an account with a carmaker is priceless.  Bert, however, has not expressed reservations in offering Joan money in exchange for sleeping with a potential client.  Pete recommends extending the agency’s line of credit, but Lane claims to have other means to procure the money.  Although partners except Don agree to approach Joan with the money, they concur that they are engaging in some dirty business.  Lane decides to speak to Joan on his own in an attempt to dissuade her from accepting the money the agency is willing to offer.  Joan finds the discussion of her potential prostitution contemptible and throws Lane out of her office but not after hearing what he has to say.  Lane discloses that the partners have agreed to offer her fifty-thousand dollars in exchange for a night with Herb Rennet.  Although the amount is four times as much as Joan’s annual salary, Lane believes that it is not enough compensation for what she is asked to do and fears that Joan would accept it.  He argues that the amount could cripple the company, but it will not do much for her future.  Lane confesses to having settled for less at the time when his service was vital to the future of the agency.  He suggests that a partnership that yields a 5% stake in the company should guarantee Joan and her child’s future.  He claims to have put her interests over the welfare of the company.  It is possible that he put his own interests above all given that the company has no cash to spare, a fact he had kept to himself.

Peggy is brought in for the call with Rick Swanson of Chevalier Blanc cologne, since Michael Ginsberg is tied with the Jaguar pitch.  The conference call is to discuss Rick’s decision to pull the ad, “A Hard Day’s Night,” that is heavily targeted to men.  Peggy argues that they can easily change the target audience and put on the spot comes up with an impromptu creative where the leather jacket hero comes upon Lady Godiva on a horse providing him an escape from the screaming girls chasing him.  The proposed creative catches Rick’s attention enough for him to ask Peggy for a tag line, which she states as “The right woman loves Chevalier Blanc.”  Ken Cosgrove impressed with Peggy gives her a silent standing ovation as Rick agrees to the new creative that gives “A Hard Day’s Night” a new ending ultimately salvaging the current ad and saving them production budget.  The three meet with Don to deliver the wonderful news.  Harry commends Peggy for her brilliant idea that convinced Chevalier Blanc to agree to a pool-out.  Don wants Ginsberg to go to Paris for the shoot even though it was Peggy’s idea causing Peggy to argue against his decision.  Don throws money at Peggy’s face believing that the copywriter just wants to go to Paris.  What he was unwilling to do to Joan, he did to Peggy.  Ken speaks to Peggy afterwards to console her by giving her his support, but contempt meets his kindness.

The rest of the agency had gone home, while Don and his team remain at the office to work on the Jaguar pitch.  Megan drops by to have sexual intercourse with Don to gain the confidence she needs for the audition, while her friend seduces the male copywriters except Ginsberg, who is fixated with Megan’s power over Don.  Pete arrives home and reads a book to his daughter getting the admiration of his wife who is oblivious to the dirty business her husband engaged in earlier that day.  Her admiration vanishes when Pete tells her of getting an apartment in Manhattan.  Trudy has grown tired of Pete’s fixation with Manhattan and his revulsion to the suburbs.  Meanwhile, Joan arrives home later than usual and receives reproach from her mother.

Peggy speaks with Fred Rumsen confiding the incident with Don.  Even though Peggy claims that she had not ask to meet with him to seek consolation for her hurt feelings, Fred wonders if their meeting is truly not just about that.  He tells Peggy that if she has come to him to talk about work then she would have already arranged interviews with other agencies with the goal of leaving Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  Fred gives her the confidence to believe that she can make it without Don’s direction.  Moreover, he offers to help her land a job at another agency.  Peggy meets with Ted Chaough whom Fred contacted in her behalf.  Ted is already aware of Peggy’s work given that their agency now handles Clearasil, the first account Peggy handled.  He notes that the client, Tom Vogel, has made her work the standard for all creative.  Ted offers her a job and allows Peggy to make her demands.  Peggy asks for an eighteen thousand annual salary for the Copy Chief position.  Although it is clear that Peggy is anxious to leave Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Ted agrees to the title and adds a thousand dollars more in her salary.

Megan delivers news of having received a callback for Little Murders and is already thinking of Don coming to visit her in Boston where the actors are to rehearse and do previews.  Don forbids Megan from getting a role at Little Murders after learning that she will be away for three months.  Megan realizes that Don had not thought about her being away, because her husband never believed that she would land a role.  Don goes to work without reconciling with his wife.  Ginsberg speaks to him with an idea for the Jaguar pitch borne out of the other woman strategy despite Don’s decision to take the heritage approach believing that the other woman campaign is vulgar.  Ginsberg argues that the man who would want a Jaguar is someone who already is in possession of beautiful things.  However, this man’s desire is insatiable.  Ginsberg’s idea is that the car is still another woman only it is a woman you cannot have, because it has all the qualities of a Jaguar.  Ginsberg comes up with the line “Jaguar.  At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”  Don gives out a sigh of relief at having received an idea so brilliant that it gave him hope in winning the Jaguar account.

Pete congratulates Don for the brilliant campaign and informs him that Herb Rennet is no longer an impediment.  Don is shocked at his last statement unaware that Joan had met with Pete earlier that day with a non-negotiable demand of a 5% stake in the business as a voting partner in exchange for her agreement to sleep with Herb Rennet.  Don asserts that he does not want to win Jaguar through underhanded and corrupt means.  He drops by Joan’s apartment to convince her that Jaguar is not worth the sacrifice she was asked to make.  Don pitches the campaign to the three men in the selection committee the following morning.  He states that deep beauty elicits a desire due to its unattainable nature.  Jaguar is that beautiful thing that men can truly own.  Don delivered the pitch with sheer confidence unaware that Joan had already slept with Herb Rennet long after he had spoken with her that evening when he dropped by her apartment unannounced.  He learns soon enough when Joan joins the partners as they receive a call from Jaguar.  Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce wins Jaguar.
Everyone celebrate except Don.  He knows who really won them Jaguar.  Don resumes the meeting he was supposed to have with Peggy before the call with Jaguar. He assumes that Peggy had requested a meeting with him to ask to be put on the Jaguar account then learning that that is not what she had in mind assumes that Peggy had learned of Joan’s promotion to partner.  Don is in disbelief to hear that Peggy is in fact tendering her resignation.  She is moving on to Cutler Gleason and Chaough.  Don makes a counteroffer, but Peggy does not give him the opportunity to do so for she has made up her mind.  Don insults Peggy by informing her that she can leave earlier than planned for he has a roomful of freelancers to take her place.  Peggy, nonetheless, extends her hand in goodwill and Don kisses her hand with an expression of affection and painful loss.  Only Joan notices Peggy as she sneaks out of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce during the palaver for having won Jaguar.  Peggy takes one last look at the agency and delights at leaving it behind.

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