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Mad Men Review: Dueling Pitches

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I understand "To Have and To Hold" is a phrase that is highly connected with love due to its place in wedding vows, but this hour of Mad Men couldn't have convinced me more that the meaning of the two verbs inside the phrase can be play such different roles within a marriage.

Don Draper uses power tactics to control his wives. To have them means serious business to him, so he uses what he feels is ownership to his advantage. To hold his wife, in this case Megan, seems like a chore to Don most of the time. After an indeterminate amount of time, holding his bride is no longer want interests him, so he needs to find that intrigue elsewhere.

Under Wraps

His level of hypocrisy was through roof in this episode, as well. He couldn't stand the sound or the sight of Megan doing a love scene on television, even when he knows he's doing the same thing and more nearly every day of his life. Don compares what she does to prostitution when not more than an episode ago he was paying his mistress immediately after a roll in the hay.

I don't want to continue to hate on Don's character for being who he is, but his insensitive nature hasn't even been interesting as of late. The story just seems to cyclical. Don gets pretty wife... Don's gets tired of wife... Don's cheats on wife... and Don struggles internally with how awful he is. It's not nearly as fun to watch when it's something we've seen before. Sure, maybe things will end differently this time, but that doesn't mean the journey to get to that conclusion will be any less boring.

Can we not think of something different for Don's personal life story line?

The one thing that was enjoyable to see was Don and Megan dealing with the swingers. Watching them laugh at the idea was refreshing. If Don and Megan were just happy, would they not be able to work with that? That might just not be where they want to take the character and the couple, and that's fine, but the current situation just isn't holding my interest that much.

What did hold my interest, on the other hand, were the dual ad campaigns for Heinz Ketchup. I loved the pitches themselves, I loved the meeting in the hallway and I loved the conclusion at the bar.

Both pitches worked, both were creative, but they were so different. It was nice to see Don being Don in not giving the client anything that would make him say "Hey! There's my product!" His "Pass the Heinz" campaign was great, but it didn't grab the client as much as it would have the customer. Peggy's - "Heinz. The only Ketchup" - was also great, and it showed a big bottle of Heinz at the top, which should have been just what they were looking for.

Unfortunately, neither came home the winner, but thanks to it getting out that Don and SCDP were in the meeting, they ended up the big losers. The lack of loyalty to Beans is sure to give the agency a bad name in certain circles, making things challenging for them in the future.

If it screws with Peggy and Stan's friendship, it will make me even more upset. Stan has been the best thing about the early part of this season. With his ridiculous hair, beard and clothing, along with his phone convos with Peggy, and comments in the creative room, Stan is the man. If he gets in trouble for spilling the beans (pun intended) to Peggy, I will be very angry at the young female executive.

With the swingers, the larger volume of African-Americans around, and Joan's escapades, it is clearer and clearer every week that the times they are a changing. Unfortunately for Harry Crane, things aren't changing quickly enough.

He still gets no respect, and he presumably is never going to be a partner even though his television department is bringing in boat loads of revenue for SCDP. Maybe if he stopped acting like such a goof, and quit breaking into meetings like a chump, he'd become something around there. Although, if his rampages will be joined by Roger Sterling hilariously wanting Harry to continue his rants, I will welcome them.

Through three episodes, Mad Men Season 6 hasn't been up to par with what it brought to the table last season, but it will always be a top level drama. The acting, the direction and the writing still combine for some of the best television out there, even when some of the story lines are less than their best.

What did you all think of "To Have and To Hold?" Was it the best of the season? Or did not hold your attention? What were your favorite parts? What moments to you like least?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Incredible episode, horrible review.

Beverly brooks

The two presentations were great. Both would had been winners in their own way. Didn't like the way Joan handle the firing. I like Megan and will feel terrible when she finds out about Don's affair especially seeing the way he reacted to her love scene. That will be most interesting.

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More on Megan, the mis-carriage was also well done. Her character seemed a little too perfect last season but giving her goals and dreams, which she's determined to stick to, has really given her some depth. Stan shouldn't have told Peggy anything, but going for Ketchup was all on Pete. Pete seems to have lost his edge when it comes to business. His stunt with Jaguar has stuck them with a client who thinks he can ask for the moon. Don was right, they didn't need to win it like that. Now he's double crossing a client, badly, because he found out. Stan working on Ketchp in a closet? Really? Think people wouldn't notice? Come on! I remember when they stole a company out from the people they sold it to. But they can't manage one secret pitch?

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My question about Don is this, why is he suddenly feeling bad? He never felt bad about cheating on Betty. I think he was more truthful in the last ep, when he was explaining very clearly to Sylvia exactly what they were doing. The look in his eyes over that tense dinner was more Don-like than we've seen him in a while. Don thinks of his life as 3 separate parts, work, home, and play. He's never mixed the 3, until Megan was at work with him and now with Sylvia living in his building. I think when those worlds collide, despite his best efforts, is when the drama happens. Like when Betty finds out that Bobbi Barrett has been sleeping with her husband. Megan needs to find out about Sylvia, it's so close to home. It's the only way to save this slow moving season in my mind. Sidenote, Jessica Pare has won me over on a difficult character this season. Megan had very little substance last season but the scene after Don storms her set was wonderful. She sold me and I'm now hoping for sweet revenge for her.

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I agree that Joan should have talked to Harry before firing Scarlett but she should have been fired, she DID steal from the company. She clocked in for wages she did not earn. That's stealing. The office management has always fallen to Joan, hence her surprise when someone interferes. She doesn't realize that she's in different territory now. She's basically taken Lane's job, she's a female partner and men will get jealous. Harry has the hots for Scarlett, which was part of his reaction but he's been fuming for a while now. I understand his response, he is under valued but acting like a child and storming into a meeting is NO way to earn respect.

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Why is anyone mad with Harry, he's right and Joan was wrong. Who fires a department head's secretary without talking to the department head first? And the offense was sneaking out early, not theft or something serious. Harry seems to be kicking ass at his job and he might need the staff he has to continue. Was Joan acting like a partner, concerned with firm;s prospects, or was she acting like a head secretary, pissed that one of the girls tried to put one over on her.

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What I like about Don't second marriage to Megan is that Megan is a very likable wife. She's reasonable, kind and smart. When Don was married to Betty I kind of felt like it was inevitable that Don would cheat on her. Betty's lack of self awareness and selfishness made her quite unlikable (although to be clear I've always appreciated Betty's storyline). Now that Don is married to someone who is not only a good wife but who really does love him, makes his cheating all the more reprehensible and it exposes his character as fundamentally flawed. If he can cheat on Megan, he'll never find a marriage that he can be committed to.

Fatin

Agree with Steve. Why is Joan barely mentioned in this review?

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Considering that Peggy used Don's line from a past season in her pitch "And like I always say, you've got to change the conversation." I think that enraged Don to where he flipped out on his Peggy-surrogate, Megan. I think I now understand what Peggy is to Don. She's the first woman in his life he has a meaningful relationship he CAN'T cheat on, and CAN'T control! And she just "cheated" on him in setting up and giving the presentation!!! Go Peggy! Don got a taste of his own medicine!

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Why has the Joan storyline ignored in this review? It was such a major aspect of the episode, especially the conflict in the board room.

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 4 Quotes

Honey, I can tolerate this, but I can't encourage it.

Don

I'm sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight and I can't be given the same rewards.

Harry