Thank you, Joan (and Jared) Harris
Big Red and Lane Pryce are back on Mad Men… This Pleases Me
This week’s “Christmas Waltz” was like a tasty holiday treat in the middle of June, a friendly reminder to all of you that the holidays are a scant six months away and if you’re going to get me the kind of gifts I’m accustomed to receiving I suggest beginning to save your darling middle-class paychecks now. $500 a month from now until then should be passably sufficient, I certainly shouldn’t suffer because of your financial situation – the holidays are a time of giving, you know.
Lane Pryce is a Baaaaad Man
Last night was mostly devoted to Joan Harris (I’ll get to her later) and Lane Pryce, who engaged in a little holiday thievery, so very Donnybrook of him, trying to cover up a tax evasion charge back in Britain. He walks into Crane’s office and asks for media projections, they look good but Crane explains it’s sort of wishful thinking. Lane uses them at the bank anyway and gets $50k in advance credit for SCDP – now he’s just got to come up with a reason to get his hands on a piece of that money…
Okay remember Edwin Baker? The Jaguar guy that went out with Draper, Campbell and Sterling then got busted by his wife for having gum on his dick? (Roger calls him “Bazooka Joe.”) Yeah that guy. That morning at the status meet-up, Campbell says they’re back in the running for Jaguar because Baker finally fucked up so badly he was fired. He apparently puked on one of the owners, and they think it’s hysterical – but that Jag’s not worth the effort of pursuing. Cooper says he thinks the cars are lemons; but Campbell’s excited to test drive them.
Then Shady Lane pipes up and says he’s checked the books and they have a $50k surplus. He wants to redistribute it for holiday bonuses, immediately. Don and Campbell nix it, saying they’d rather wait and pass them out at the Christmas party. Lane gets pissed, using his desire to spread holiday cheer as a ruse to cover his need for that money. That night he sneaks into the office and takes out one of the bonus checks with Don’s signature on it. Using a backlit table he forges Don’s signature from the original onto a new one written out to him – shady, shady… and worth noting…
Except, uh oh! The next day right before the Christmas party, Campbell announces to the partners that Mohawk Air is striking, yet again, and suspending their ad budget. Their immediate reaction is to suspend bonuses, but Lane jumps in and says that’s not fair to the staff – Cooper agrees, but insists the partner’s shouldn’t get theirs. Lane asks, “Even the junior partners?” Shit! He’s not going to get that bonus after all, and he’s just taken money from the company!
The morning that Lane grabbed those projections off him to take out the shadester-loan, Harry Crane’s assistant, Scarlet, chides Crane for not wanting to see Kinsey for drinks – Kinsey! Remember him? Pseudo-beatnik advertiser banging a <gasp> black chick? Crane says no thanks, he thinks Kinsey was on LSD at Ken’s bachelor party – and I just want to throw something in here for a second – what the fuck happened to Harry Crane? Kinsey’s awesome – I wish he’d never left, and Crane used to be sort of down. Okay maybe he was always just a narc away from being a total pill but he knew when to shut the fuck up and let the cool kids do their thing – now suddenly he’s a total downer. Anyway, he does take Kinsey up on his offer – he shows up at the address he was given and it’s a Krishna temple!
He meets Kinsey’s main squeeze Mother Lakshmi (played by Anna Wood, Monica from Chronicle). She kind of looks like an older, “Earth Mothery” version of Juliet Lewis. Crane gets a little too into it and Kinsey takes him away to get some food. Kinsey admits that his passion for the movement isn’t what it used to be, but his love for Lakshmi is keeping him there. He wants her, not the church. But because she used to be a homeless slut-bag she’s scared to leave with nothing. Kinsey thinks if he had a nest egg for them she’d be more inclined to leave with him. Crane says he’s not handing him work, but Kinsey quips that he’s already been working – he hands him a script he’s written for Star Trek – he sees it as the next season opener. He convinces Crane to just read it, and if it’s good, pass it on. Only problem? It sucks! Crane’s not sure what to say to him now, because he totally hates it – it’s just a bad sci-fi metaphor of the civil rights movement with white people in the minority and AfAm’s in the majority roles, you know, ho hum.
Later, Mother Lakshmi shows up at SCDP and Crane assumes she’s hitting him up for money but she’s actually trying to hit up his peen. She gets him hot and bothered then tells him to take her from behind over his desk – Yes, ma’am! Except after his minds blown, Lakshmi reveals she can’t stand him – she just fucked him to poison the friendship between him and Kinsey. The Krishna’s need Kinsey because he’s one of their best recruiters. She demands Crane stay away and tell Kinsey the script sucks and he should give up on those dreams.
Lucky for us, Cool Crane’s still in town – in a move to get Kinsey away from the Juliet-Lewis-Succubus, he meets him for breakfast to talk about the script. Crane tries to play like the TV execs liked it but for legal reasons they couldn’t buy it. He says it was great and he wants him to have an advance of $500, telling him to take it and go to LA immediately. Kinsey wants to go and get Lakshmi, but Crane says not to – he has to leave from there and go to LA without saying anything to her – because if he goes back for a second, he won’t have the resolve to leave for good. Fingers are crossed he follows his advice, but knowing the lengths people will go to for a hot piece, I doubt it.
Joan (with a little help from Don) gets Jaguar-Bad-Ass
The morning of the partners meeting where Lane announces the $50k surplus, Roger follows Joan into her office and they talk about their lovechild’s financial upbringing. Roger wants to fund his education through college; Joan wants to keep up with appearances and thinks the money would be suspicious when it’s supposed to be her ex-hub’s son, who we all know is a total loser. “It’s not about honor, it’s about the fact that we created a human life. We made a baby!” Roger argues. “Yes.” Joan quips, “And now it’s some other lucky girls turn.” She then opens the door and calls for Scarlet, ending the convo with a hip swing and an eye roll.
That night Don and Megan are watching a play. A really crappy play called America Hurrah! about the evils of modern society. I’m being an ass; don’t listen to me – America Hurrah! was a big deal, and MM was smart to include it. Anyway, Don takes its social commentary personally, so he’s in a mood when they get home. Megan says it’s not a stand against advertisement it’s a stand against consumerism. Don snaps, “Well, no one’s made a stronger stand against advertising than you.” DAMN. That’s going to cost him later…
The next day at the front desk a man shows up to serve Joan papers, and she’s PISSED and flips the FUCK OUT on the front desk girl for letting him in – it was awesome! Girl tries to say that the guy seemed to know her and said he was surprising her – Joan’s like “Here’s a surprise!” and throws a model plane at her – I’m in love!
Don appears and carries her out the door and they go to the Jag showroom. Campbell had wanted Don and Megan to test drive a few, so Don brought Joan instead, sensing she could use the break. She falls in love with the SKE (don’t we all), but the salesman can’t let them leave without him. Don wants to take her out in it and it doesn’t seat three – so he hands him a check for 6k and says if they don’t come back to consider it paid for. My jaded self laughed at that – handing someone a check expecting them to just be cool with that – how cute!
At the bar Joan reveals the papers are from Dr. Greg seeking a divorce. They talk about life, each other, their marriages – Don tries to get Joan to see that divorce is actually a great thing if you’re stuck in a miserable marriage, but she’s worried about starting over with a baby. She gets wistful, remembering back in the day when she used to date and get flowers all the time – Don makes a crack that when he first started there he thought she was dating the Ali Kahn himself with all the flowers she’d get. He tries to get her to hook up with a rando dude at the bar but she’s not into it; he pays for her drinks and car fare home and gets behind the wheel of the jag… inspiration striking…
Except holy shit, Megan’s pissed! Don comes home drunk as shit, she throws plate against the wall, angry he was gone all day. I think Megan’s worried that now that she’s not there to watch over him the chances he’ll cheat on her with some nasty work-side-piece are growing exponentially. And while that’s probably totally true, he tells her where he was and that it was innocent commiserating, but she’s still pissed he didn’t call. She yells back that she waited up for him, keeping his dinner warm, and now he’s going to sit down right now and eat dinner with her. He’s amused by her show of jealousy, and I’ve gotta admit it’s pretty fucking hot as she angrily serves him dinner.
The next morning Roger comes into Joan’s office with beautiful flowers, assuring her they’re not from him, the card reads “Your mother did a good job” – Ali Kahn (the guy that Don said he thought Joan was dating) – the fact that Don sent her flowers is again, totally adorable. I think that’s my word of the day. Maybe the week. I’m feeling menstrual so as soon as this is posted I’ve got an afternoon of looking at puppy and kitten videos in my future.
That day at the Christmas Party Campbell announces the good news and bad news – SCDP is going to lose Mohawk Airlines, but they’re on the shortlist for Jaguar. In light of this, they’re still giving out bonuses, but the partner’s aren’t taking any. This draws a round of applause, then Don says he has something to say. He conveys to everyone how much it means to all of the partners that the staff stuck by the company when they were fledgling last year and promises them all that it will be worth it. He then vows to lead by example, and he’ll be working over Christmas and New Year’s so they can be on top of their game for this Jaguar pitch. His speech fires everyone up to get back to work, and as he and his writing team head straight to his office to get started, a worried Lane Pryce looks on, wondering what the hell he’s going to do now to explain why thousands of dollars are missing and the windfall he spoke of is anything but – he’s now strapped SCDP with another $50k of debt!