In a word: WHOA! I was yelling at the tv and everything. Excitement abound on last night's episode of Mad Men. Sex! Booze! MORE secret double lives! MORE links to 1966 current events! Directed by John Slattery! Let's get into it.
Pete's taking a driver's ed class, and they're watching a gory, bad scared-straight movie, Signal 30, where the episode title comes from. There's even a disclaimer about how badly it's acted. Pete laughs out loud, the only adult in a class of teens. He ogles a young teenage girl, and we all see where this is going. Hide your daughters and au pairs! He comes home to his be-curlered wife, and the incessant dripping of the faucet gives him insomnia and malaise about his boring suburban life.
Lane's whining about the day's activity, heading to an expat bar to watch the World Cup. Please don't throw me in the briar patch, Brer Fox. That sounds like a fantastic day to me. Can't believe I have to wait 2 more years. He wants to have lunch with his wife, who is absolutely desperate to see some other Brits. Lane promises he'll act like he loves it - and to his credit (or perhaps he just got caught up in the excitement), next thing you know he's singing God Save the Queen as England seals victory over 'the Gerries.' After the victory, the Pryces and their other British friends enjoy a victory pint and a meal. Turns out the other Brits are the Bakers - with Edwin Baker being a big muckety muck at Jaguar. They're looking for an agency, and he wants one of Lane's account guys to call him. Lane says his name is on the door, so he can talk to him. I really want Lane to succeed here, but I know this is not going to end well.
Peggy sees Kenny out to lunch with a radio client, and gracelessly tries to horn in, based on the pact they formed to inform each other on all SCDP doings. He pointedly brushes her off. Later, Peggy pouts about the pact, and Kenny admits it wasn't SCDP business. Turns out the guy was from Farrar Strauss, a publisher - because Kenny is Ben Hargrove, a sci-fi-fantasy author! Peggy's happy for him and relieved that the pact still stands.
At the company new business meeting - there is no new business. Theyr'e about to adjourn when Lane pipes up, all excited, that HE has managed to land a meeting with Jaguar! Jaguar is trying to break into the American market. Everyone is happy and pleased for Lane (with a few nervous sidelong glances), except for Pete - who is vocal about Lane not being able to handle account management or new business-landing. Meeting adjourned, and Pete butttonholes Don about their upcoming dinner out in...dun-dun-DUNNNNN! The SUBURBS. Don blanches like he forgot his mom's birthday. Turns out Trudy has gone above and beyond in her subterfuge, including Megan in making sure the Drapers come out to Cos Cob. Don claws desperately to get out of the dreaded dinner date, including hurtling directly into the trenches himself and calling Trudy. Turns out Trudy is a pretty bad-ass salesperson, who patently refuses to let Don off the hook. Don lines, "Too bad your husband can't close a deal like that." ZING!
Roger comes in to help Lane fill out his Jaguar RFP. Lane's clearly struggling and is beginning to see why account management is not just 3 martini lunches and strip clubs. So here's RFP 101 with Professor Roger Sterling!
At this point, Lane wants to know what happens if you don't have the same problem! Watch it there, Lane, you've got some foreshadowing on your tie.
8. Then - reverse it - reveal something about YOURSELF, a problem you're having. Roger's invented some.
Finally, in summation: get your answers, be nice to the waiter, don't let him near the check, and find out all you can about the client before you get there. And if you still like him, let it show!
Don and Megan prepare for the snoozefest in the suburbs. Neither Draper can remember Kenny's wife's name, and neither can I. Don pre-games with a few drinks and Megan tells him to lock it up; who knows, it might be fun. Not looking likely, Meg. Pete's showing Kenny his hi-fi, which is seven feet long, long enough for Wilt Chamberlain to lay down in it. Kenny wants know why he'd want to. The Drapers arrive with Greenberg's brownies, something the Campbells will never get out in the 'burbs, and Megan stumbles a few times over not knowing Kenny's wife's name. Kenny and Pete salivate and grovel at Don's feet like overeager puppies.
Lane and Edwin go to dinner, and the Sterling Method is a resounding failure with the British mentality. Baker's days in Africa were awful, but they were the best days of his life; they've got little else in common besides the fact they're both British. It's a stilted and awkward meal, and Lane watches his opportunity slipping away.
Trudy drones some awful story about the origins of Cos Cob, which is so dull they use it to show the audience how dull the burbs are. Megan stumbles over Kenny's wife's name again, and I'm not going to Google it because I know they'll eventually tell me. Don, Pete and Kenny talk about growing up, and Don says he doesn't miss using the outhouse. The talk turns to Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower Sniper. Trudy uses hostess privileges to change the subject. At long last, Kenny's wife's name is revealed, and Megan's age shows when she blurts CYNTNHIA!!! at the top of her lungs when the lightbulb goes on. Oh, Megan. It seems like everyone else is oblivious to the faux pas. Cynthia tells everyone how proud she is of Kenny and his soon-to-be-inked publishing deal. Kenny is hugely embarrassed and obviously doesn't want anyone at SCDP to know about it. Don is genuinely pleased for him - line: "No one grows up wanting to be in advertising." Liar! I used to write my own commercials all the time as a kid. True story! Megan says she was going to be an actress, but she saw a future in what Don and Peggy did; Pete agrees with: "that's the truth." Time for coffee, and the ladies head into the kitchen - but the sink that Pete thought he fixed earlier is now a fountain. Don whips off his shirt and fixes it before Pete has even opened his toolbox. "He's like Superman!" the ladies gush. Yes, ladies - he is. The noise has woken the baby, whom Pete has forbidden talk about all evening, and Trudy brings her out to quiet her down. Everyone coos and awwwws, and Pete has a nice moment when he realizes he's got something Don and Kenny haven't. Not for long if Don has his way - he drunkenly paws Megan on the ride home and says he wants to make a baby. Megan's not interested in a baby, but is turned on by his Superman-saves-the-sink routine, so they get it on roadside.
Lane tells the team he wasn't able to close the Jaguar deal, and the account team all agree the best course is to let them handle it from there. Poor Lane "can't close a car door." Womp womp.
Pete's driver's ed girl is hungover from drinking vanilla extract. Eww! He steps up his moves and takes his previous flirting to a new level and attempts to close her into going to the Botanical Gardens with him, where they'll be like VIPs because the Campbell family donated part of it. Mid-skeevy ptich, a gorgeous teen guy enters and mistakes Pete for the instructor because HE OLD! Pete's conquest immediately abandons conversation with Pete to talk to the good looking guy, who's nicknamed "Handsome" because he is, and his name's Hansen. Pete is destroyed.
The account team lobsters it up with Edwin, Don likening Jaguar to car porn. Edwin lays it on the line - SCDP wins the account, and had it all along - but Edwin wants to have FUN. With a capital F. Get it? They all look to Roger, because FUN is his wheelhouse. So they head over to another kind of house. A house filled with women and drinks. They're all 31 flavors of loaded, save Don, who sits at the bar and nurses his drink, repelling all female advances. Pete goes off with a blonde and asks her to pitch him role playing scenarios. He finally settles on a submissive one, with Pete being the King. Ugh. I need a shower. Gross. The madam of the house buys Don drinks when he tells her he GREW UP IN A WHOREHOUSE. What!? I KNOW! In the cab on the way home, Pete is ticked at Don for finally pulling up his pants. He feels like he's "riding around with a nun." Don raises an eyebrow. He expects this sort of thing from Roger, because he's miserable. He didn't think Pete was - and says "Just because I am who I am, and I've been where I've been - you don't get another chance." He cautions Pete that he has a good thing and shouldn't blow it. Pete snarks, "I have it all." He has to pay double fare for the ride to Cos Cob - when he arrives, his buzz is obviously long killed, and he needs to take a shower. That's right, scumbag, wash your dirty self.
Roger calls Kenny in. Someone ratted him out! Roger says he can't write anymore, that a job at SCDP should be rewarding in and of itself, and satisfying - so there's no need to be a sci-fi writer. Kenny's upset. I think Roger's just bitter because no one wanted to buy his book.
Partners meeting, and Lane's late after fielding a hysterical call from his wife - they've lost the Jaguar business because Edwin's wife found chewing gum on his pubis! The partners all cut up because, come on, heh heh, Lane said pubis. Lane absolutely LOSES IT. He screams for them to stop laughing. Pete says it was Edwin's idea to go to the whorehouse, and that he wasn't invited because Edwin thought Lane was gay. Lane screams "IT WAS MY ACCOUNT!" Pete doesn't care, and insults Lane further.
AND THEN LANE CHALLENGES PETE TO A FIGHT.
Roger interjects, "I know cooler heads should prevail, but am I the only one who really wants to see this?"
THEY FIGHT, AND LANE WINS!
Joan and Peggy listened at the door, and all the partners stood by and watched until Pete was knocked down. When Pete leaves with his tail tucked between his legs, Cooper tells Joan to reschedule the meeting. SHAZAM! Can't believe this just happened. Joan goes to see Lane and comforts him that he's essential to the firm, despite him not bringing in new business. And then LANE KISSES JOAN! I am howling at the tv at this point. The kiss goes on for several seconds - then Joan gently breaks away and opens the office door, letting him know that wasn't cool. He says there's no end to his humiliation. Joan lines: "There's not a man at this firm that hasn't wanted to do that - knock out Pete Campbell." because we all know that was her kinda-silent acknowledgement of the kiss and that men are only human, while she is JOAN.
Peggy and Kenny discuss the end of his writing career. He says it's all over, but it turns out he's not quite done - he changes his pen name and writes in the night while Cynthia sleeps; his writing is the final voiceover for the end of the show. Pete cries in the elevator with Don, says he has nothing. "Handsome" feels up Pete's conquest in the driver's ed class right in front of Pete, and he hears the drip of the faucet in his head.
Scenes! Megan! Stan! Ginsberg! Roger! Peggy has to take full responsibility for something!