… in which women are for sale. Literally. And figuratively, since this Mad Men after all.
Well, for those of complaining about the lack of plot development, we got a break this week. This episode had a LOT going on, so let’s get right into it.
How much is that secretary in the window?
We open on a table of dudes, including Don, Ginsburg, Stan, and some temps we haven’t seen before. They’re brainstorming on how to compare a car to a mistress and enjoying a lobster dinner, while Peggy looks on longingly. There’s a vagina joke in there somewhere.
While the creative team works on the pitch, expert suck-ups Pete and Kenny work on how to ‘please’ Herb Rennet. They’re thinking of ‘pleasing’ in more of the extravagant dinners, nights on the town, introducing to easy young actresses sense. Herb is thinking of ‘pleasing’ in the sense that he wants Joan to please him. Sexually.
That’s right, he comes right out and says that his vote on the Jaguar deal is more or less contingent on his ability to penetrate Joanie. Kenny is immediately horrified (of course he is, I love him!) Pete, being a smarmy douchebag, doesn’t let it go, and immediately starts scheming.
First stop on the douchebag parade: visiting Joan, and telling her about the ‘offer’ in the guise of asking advice for how to break the news on Jaguar’s rejection. AKA, he’s pinning the loss of Jaguar on her refusal to give it up. Joan sees through Pete’s talk of a “sacrifice” of one night: “You’re talking about prostitution!” “I’m talking about business at a very high level.” He even compares her to Cleopatra’s use of her bod as a political tool. “What would it take to make you a queen?” I don’t think you could afford it.”
Rather than viewing this as a rejection, Pete takes the “no means yes” approach and brings the matter to a partners’ meeting to discuss Joan’s ‘price.’ The most interesting thing about this discussion to me was how everyone kept saying, “but she’s married!” “but she has a kid!” I guess it’s okay to pimp out your coworker/business savior at various times/ex-mistress as long as she’s single? Even Don harps on this point, and he knows she’s getting divorced.
Don storms out of the room, and since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think people exist when he’s not in the room, he assumes the discussion is over.
screw you guys, i’m going home
Pete continues it, getting Burt on his side; Roger won’t stand in the way. Layne is horrified at several levels, the most pressing probably being that the other partners want to use the fictional “Christmas bonuses” to pay Joan – which means no bonuses after all. Not that they existed anyway. You know what I mean. They also want to extend their credit line, which Layne has already secretly pushed as far as it will go. Oh, Layne. How far you have fallen.
He goes to talk Joan out of doing Herb – but if she is going to do it, she should ask for a 5% stake in the company, not straight up cash. After all, that offers more long term power and money. Supposedly. He claims to be “looking out for your interests over the company.” Here’s my prediction: the company goes under due to Layne’s machinations and losing Peggy. Joan finds out that Layne convinced her to take a partner share instead of money, even though he knew the company was at risk – and that the risk was his fault. She destroys his life and he kills himself. Of course, I hope this doesn’t happen because these are my two favorite characters and I don’t want them to suffer that much. Maybe they’re pulling an Ally McBeal and Layne has a brain tumor and that’s why he’s acting like such a dick.
Anyway, Joan goes to Pete and demands the 5%; the partners approve it; and it’s ON. Pete is so incompetent he even asks Joan for tips on how to pimp herself. Gahhh. Pete makes a mistake in dropping by Don’s office to rub in his victory, assuring him that all the squeaky wheels (i.e. Joan’s vag) have been oiled. Don immediately freaks out and rushes to Joan’s house to tell her she doesn’t have to go through with it – that she’s better than that.
no better time to look like a blow up doll.