Mad MEN: "To Have and To Hold" S6 E04 (review) - FORCES OF GEEK

Am I reviewing for Soap Opera Digest, or is this Forces of Geek?

The latest episode of Mad Men has the ruffled blankets of a torrid daytime affair and heightened tensions of day to day business.

Joan (Christina Hendricks) is in the spotlight once again, her first episode of the season, Megan (Jessica Paré) gains more exposure on her own soap opera and Harry (Rich Sommer) scores a major deal for the firm, increasing his value.

Also, the secretarial pool is shaken up by false time punches…can this be trouble for Dawn (Teyonah Parris)?

The elevator of Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) building holds Don on his way home from work, and Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) hops on for the ascent for one floor. Their affair revealed over the last few episodes is put on the back burner but not before Don hits the emergency stop switch and the two embrace, making plans later in the week.

A secret business meeting occurs between the firm and Heinz Ketchup executive Tim (Kip Pardue) at Pete’s apartment with Pete and Don. The men tackle the ketchup branding in secret, and though I thought Stan was shooting up, last week as the teaser implied, he is merely working on “Project K”. Stan is smoking grass with Don in the private supply room to clear out the cobwebs and talk hot dogs. Stan holds the partisan opinion that ketchup belongs on hot dogs, because of the squiggly line it makes. Let’s hope these guys get some munchies soon and get back to work. This season, as partner Don has made some bad business decisions and needs to get back to his Kodak Carousel days, wowing clients with his savvy.

Out in the secretarial pool, Scarlett (Sadie Alexandru) asks Don’s secretary Dawn ( Teyonah Parris) to punch her out as she runs an errand. Noticing that she is not at her desk when needed, Joan catches confronts Sadie and eventually fires her. Dawn is spared the discipline.

Harry returns from a successful meeting with Dow Chemical, scoring a $150,000 supplement for the company. He notices Scarlett leaving and asks for her to fetch champagne. Harry re-hires his secretary on the spot and confronts all of the partners in a meeting to defend himself and ask for a spot at the table. Way to go Harry, this is the only time we have seen him be assertive. The bad news is that Joan realizes she doesn’t have as much power as the men do in this company. She retains partnership, but her pride is certainly hurt.

Megan is delivered news and new script pages for an love affair role on her soap, “To Have And To Hold”. Her boss Arlene (Joanna Going) and husband Mel (Ted McGinley) take Don and Megan out to dinner, but with strings attach. The swingers propose an after-dinner grass and sex session, a ‘chemistry experiment’. Don and Megan deny their advances, but stick around for dessert, just not the kind Mel and Arlene had in mind.

Don shows up on the set on the day of taping the kissing scene and hypocritically accuses Megan of being a whore and enjoying the scene. As a man, he is cheating on his wife. As a husband, he outwardly is acting like a man of his time. He’s jealous, overbearing and not supportive of Megan’s job. The submissive wife lashes out at him as he leaves her dressing room, telling Don it isn’t fair that she is made to feel the way she does. A small victory for Megan, but an important one.

Joan has a friend visiting and applying for a job as an Avon sales representative in New York. Kate (Marley Shelton) and Joan go out for a night on the town and are courted by two gentlemen to the proto-disco Electric Circus on St. Marks. The psychedelic nightclub was once host to the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead.

While there, both girls have some make-out fun with some boys on the couch before headed home to face a severe hangover in the morning. Kate looks up to Joan and tells her so. But Joan is a bit disenfranchised with her position at SCDP, mostly because she is being ignored by some at the company.

We close this episode, with what Ted (Kevin Rahm) has called “The War”. SCDP represented by Pete, Stan and of course Don pitch Heinz a minimalist campaign to Tim for their ketchup. Pictured are singular pictures of french fries , steak, and a hamburger, with the words “PASS THE HEINZ” typeset in Helvetica. Tim is not impressed by the ethereal nature of the campaign, and wants to see the bottle in the picture. As SCDP leaves the hotel room they are confronted by the competition. Peggy, Ted and another gentleman holding the artwork have an advertising Mexican standoff in the hallway.