Last night's Mad Men pondered the age-old question: how to succeed in business without really trying? The answer seems to be get blackout drunk and hire someone young and probably unqualified to do your job for you. Roger does it with Don, just as Don hires Danny after drunkenly blurting out his tagline to Life Cereal.
The real loser of this game, other than talent, is Peggy. Peggy has been doing the legwork behind Don's "brilliance" and getting no credit for far too long. She's booted from attending the Clios because everyone wants to hold Joan's hand under the table, and later stuck brainstorming in a hotel room with SCDP's new, faux-radical art director, Stan Rizzo, of the leather jacket and long-sleeved polo shirt club. I swear that outfit was stolen verbatim from Fez on That '70s Show. But Peggy's attempt to correct the corruption only results in nepotism: Jane's idiot cousin gets a job.
Luckily for Peggy, however, her wardrobe this episode is that of a winner. Her black and tan short sleeved dress looks expensive, professional, and young. Her hair is pinned back on the sides with sparkly clips--business in the front, party in the back--although Peggy's partying ability is in question. When she gets naked for Stan, it's all business, and even when she jets downtown to hang out with the "cool kids" two episodes ago, she can't help but mention her job. She cares so much she arrives at Don's apartment Sunday night in an adorable cyan jacket with floral collar to stand up for justice and defend Danny's tagline. By the end of the episode Peggy feels accomplished, wearing a bright blue suit and brown and white patterned blouse, but we'll see if her plan plays out in the next episode.
Now onto someone whose partying ability is not in question: Don Draper. After being moderately sober last week, Don wins an award for his Glo Coat commercial and goes completely wild. He's drunk at the ceremony, drunk at the Life Cereal meeting, drunk at the after party, drunk in bed with the jingle writer, and presumably still drunk when he wakes up with a uniform-wearing Doris. Considering that this episode of Mad Men coincided with the Emmys (where Mad Men was sure to take home some statues), one can't help but wonder is this is how the Mad Men staff celebrates.
Despite his drunkeness, Don's wardrobe has continued on its turn for the better. His slim blue suit and tie are young and progressive, not like the stuffy black suits he usually dons. He looks picture perfect sitting at the Clios next to Joan, who looks stunning in a pink and lilac patterned form-fitting dress, and beside Pete, who looks dapper in a black suit and black and white diagonally striped tie. Roger, as usual, is in three piece black. Also at the Clios are Duck Phillips, drunker than ever in a light blue suit, and Ken Cosgrove, in one of his many brown suits.
As the post awards party rages on, Don mistakenly tries to hit on Faye. Even though Faye looks like a glittery ornament from a drag queen's funeral (she's in a shiny-topped black dress with a fabric and bead necklace and black dangly earrings), she's still too classy become another notch on Don's bedpost. Don gets over it quickly as a jingle writer appears in a black sleeved dress with multi-colored flowers and green bead necklaces to tickle his fancy. He may fall asleep to the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner," but he wakes up to the tune of his phone ringing off the hook as angry Betty berates him and Doris lays beside him in bed. Betty appeared only for a few seconds this episode, but it was just enough time for us to see her looking positively icy in a white suit with light blue criss-cross trim and enough pearls to sink a ship. Janie Bryant is really putting the emphasis on Betty's cold personality this season, the only time she wears a warm color is on Christmas.
While the present on Mad Men is troubled, the past was so bright.
In this episode's welcome flashbacks, we see Don and Roger meeting for the first time. Don, a goofy looking fur salesman, wears a grey double breasted suit and orange tie, and Roger is seen without a vest in a black pinstripe suit. Don has the aspiration that Danny has at the episode's start (Danny's name being so close to Don is no coincidence), and will do anything to have a meeting with Roger, even if it means sending his portfolio along with Roger's mink. Bringing us to Joan. Joan is sultry, and mind-bogglingly seductive in a black, crystal strapped negligée and red nailpolish, sitting coquettishly on Roger's bed. Seductress Joan has been absent after marrying Dr. Harris, only turning on her powers for special occasions.
After Don's misstep with Roger, he arrives in the Sterling Cooper office to attempt to reconcile his chances with Roger. Roger wears a navy suit and coat, and Don looks perfectly wide-eyed in light colors, a camel coat, grey suit, and green paisley tie. Ultimately Roger hires Don in his drunkenness, or Don convinces Roger that he did, and that's where the Mad Men story begins.
With all the flashbacks and meta references I'm going to have to put the analytical part of my brain that died with Lost back to work on Mad Men. Let's only hope Mad Men doesn't end on a flat note, but with all the scotch in SCDP office, I don't see anything but high times ahead.