Monday, September 14, 2009

Mad Men Episode Recap: "The Fog"

Mad Men
The fifth episode of Mad Men's third season wastes no time picking up the "circle of life" threads left dangling after Grandpa Gene's death. As Don and Betty deal with Sally's bad-behavior coping mechanism, the Drapers also welcome into their home a new bundle of joy (or more likely, annoyance, given what we've seen from those two as parents). The birth (or perhaps the drugs) does provide Betty an escape from her life of bitterness, but will it last? Meanwhile, back at Sterling Cooper, Pete suggests a risky new strategy to a less-than-pleased client and also goes to lunch with a familiar face.

"Pete, I know you have ideas and you're a risk-taker. Sterling Cooper is never going to reward that." — Duck Phillips

Let's start with Pete, who begins the episode whining to Paul Kinsey that all the best accounts went to Cosgrove. His latest cause for complaint: Admiral television sales are flat, and Pete has no idea how to boost them — that is, until he notices (with great shock) that sales are growing in Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis and other comparable cities because, as Pete puts it, "Negroes are out-buying white people two-to-one" in those markets.

While Pete's wheels begin turning, he gets a surprise call from "Uncle Herman," which turns out to be none other than Duck Phillips. (Loved the exchange from Pete, however, believing it was his real uncle Herman.) Duck, now at Grey Advertising, has poaching on his mind and invites Pete to lunch. When Pete shows up, however, he finds Duck sitting with none other than Peggy Olson. Duck tells them that Grey, "the promised land," will reward their big brains with money and awards. As to why he chose them both, Duck says he figured out their "secret relationship" (if he only knew!) based on how Pete handled the Freddy Rumsen pants-wetting debacle in a manner that eventually advanced Peggy's career. That sends an already seething Pete over the edge and he stands to leave. Even though Duck says Sterling Cooper will never listen to Pete's ideas, Campbell has heard enough: "If you want to woo me, you'll have to buy me my own lunch," he pouts.

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