Monday, October 4, 2010

Mad Men - "Chinese Wall"

Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) get ready to make a presentation.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Mad Men'
Season 4 - Episode 11
"Chinese Wall"

The future of SCDP is looking very uncertain at the moment. Roger's big secret about Lucky Strike came out via the grapevine and now the entire company has to scramble to find replacement accounts, while trying to reduce the fears of their other clients so they don't jump ship as well. Of course, this is also the perfect time for Baby Campbell to make her debut.

Despite, Don's emotional outburst after losing the Glo-Coat account, Pete does appear to have his head in the game. He's tired and a bit distracted with the birth of his daughter, but Pete Campbell is a loyal trooper for SCDP. Even as he is being aggressively courted by another agency, he seems committed to stay with the company that he has had a vital role in developing. Even Don later in the episode tells Roger that Pete would have never lost the Lucky Strike account.

Roger is a mess. He fakes a phone call to Lee Jr. in front of Bert, Don, Pete, and Ken. He doesn't even attempt to fly to Raleigh to make a last ditch effort to convince Lucky to stay with SCDP. He begs Joan to give him some comfort, which is incredibly insensitive given that she just had an abortion to get rid of the evidence of their previous indiscretion. I was very happy to see that Joan was strong enough to reject him, and not just for herself, but for his own good as well. So he goes home to Jane and signs a copy of his book for her, but his head is elsewhere.

Don tries to get Faye to breech some ethics so he can save the sinking agency, but this results in fight. I know Don is desperate, but this is a sign that he doesn't respect Faye as a professional woman. Unfortunately, she decides to cave and gets him a meeting with Heinz. Of course, Don sleeps with his secretary Megan in the interim. It would seem that the man can't help but fall into it.

What's Megan's angle? She's apparently a college graduate and has aspirations of working in the creative department rather than in the secretary pool. She's attracted to Don, but is this just a means to moving up the food chain? Does this play into the idea that a lot of people wrongly have about Peggy sleeping with Don to get her position? She may be the angel that came to Sally Draper's rescue a few episodes back, but I've got a bad feeling about her. How is Megan going to react when it becomes obvious that Don is sticking with Faye?

I think that Peggy's lipstick-on-teeth presentation was actually quite beneficial for her. She sold the Playtex on the campaign, despite the looking a little silly. If anything this should subside her fears of any future Don-free presentations. She can do this job and do it well, even with red teeth.

With two episodes to go, a lot could potentially happen. Will Pete leave? Will SCDP have to downsize? Will they bounce back bigger and stronger than ever? Is Don going to have to tell Faye about Megan? Will Roger find a way make things even worse? I fear that things could get more complicated before they get better.

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