Mad Men – Episode 4-11 Review

After the loss of Lucky Strike last week, “Chinese Wall” deals with the inevitable aftermath, the scramble to keep and obtain accounts, in order to offset the enormous loss, and the mixing of personal and professional lives. The result is a jumble of an episode which is largely plot movement and character interludes inserted here and there.

I’m usually lenient on Roger since he is a funny guy and doesn’t cause harm. He’s a character who, in spite of his many faults, is often the most amusing guy on the screen. But he had a responsibility–save the account–and not only does he not succeed, he then tries to cover it up, exposing the worst of his personality at the most inopportune time. If I were there in person, I would’ve dropped him out the building.

So we see Roger, the pathetic, selfish old man who can’t get anything right, harming the company irreparably. Rather than do the ethical and smart business decision and tell the partners about the account, he withholds information about Lucky Strike, and when rumors start flying, he fakes a call to Lee Garner Jr. and then a trip to Raleigh-Durham. And when he can’t get anything right, he calls on Joan, who firmly turns him down despite his forward advances. What a guy…

There was no confirmation this week whether Joan had the abortion or not.After seeing her pull out the cigarette this week, I was fairly certain that she had the abortion, but then I remembered the time period and all those times times Betty smoked while pregnant. However, looking at Google’s time line search, there are several large articles linking smoking to birth problems by the 60s, so it’s still up in the air.

Knowing that the company is on the brink, Don tries his best to right the ship, but still loses the Glo-Coat account, and Faye looks like a very viable option for more accounts. Don is unable to separate his personal relationship from work, and asks her to tell him which companies are unhappy about their advertising situation. Faye reacts harshly and storms out, leading to a possible love/sex-triangle.

For the first time, it’s Don who is the unwilling participant. His secretary Megan gives Don the “Don Draper” treatment, seducing him with a bunch of words, like Don did with all those other women. On a big picture, how exactly does Megan fit in? I’m not entirely sure how I feel about another volatile component thrown in with only two episodes left. Of course, it could just be a one-time thing and wrapped up quickly. Then again, as we learn more about Megan, she could be better for Don than Faye.

When Don returns back to his apartment and Faye is there, armed with the Heinz account on a platter. Following his thing with Megan, Don isn’t looking too happy, but they end up on the couch, sitting with each other in silence. And no Betty in sight!

Throughout the episode, we get word on Trudy, who is in labor at the hospital. As a result, Pete is out of it for most of the episode, unable to concentrate when he’s needed the most, and eventually his daughter and wife are safe.

While the company seems to be crashing, Peggy floats above it all, even coming into the big speech late. In her ecstasy with Abe, all her troubles waft away. She brushes off Stan and delivers a perfect pitch to the Playtex executives.

In the end, despite the many personal problems, SCDP does look like it’ll come out the tunnel intact. Peggy nails the Playtex account, although she doesn’t execute the Don Draper speech to perfection, Faye is helping Don get accounts, and Trudy is fine. Everyone may be tired, exhausted, and drunk, but the company is on better footing than it was at the beginning of the episode.

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