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'Mad Men' Recap: 'Chinese Wall'

Jonathan Teigland Jonathan Teigland
October 5th, 2010 9:09am EDT

PeteWho was more pathetic in this episode of 'Mad Men' - Don or Roger?  Don was up to his old tricks, so I'd vote Roger, who has reached a (scary) new low.  Don reached a new low this season, and apparently so has Roger.  But is he as resilient?

We learned last week from Lee Garner Jr. that Lucky Strike is striking out with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  But Roger is the only person with that knowledge - until now.  Ken hears the news at a dinner with his fiance and her parents, from a competitor, no less.  Ken wastes no time, cornering Pete in the hospital during Trudy's (long) labor.  Cooper is summoned from his slumber, while Don is called out with Faye in his apartment.

Roger - not so convincingly - places a pleading call to Lee with his finger on the hook.  He later fakes a trip to Raleigh to chat with Lucky Strike, only to stay in a downtown hotel.  Joan's reaction to his ploy - knowing he has this information from the get-go - is heartbreaking.  His arrival at her apartment late in the night - while she's in her pajamas - reveals Roger's hit rock bottom.  When she says she "just can't" Roger accepts the sting with a long embrace and revealingly says of their mugging, "That was the last time?  I wish I'd known that."

The Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce officers, meanwhile, address all employees, assuring them that "nothing will change."  Peggy arrives to the mass meeting late, having finally connected with Abe after a fateful post-beach ride back to the city.  When he arrives at the office as a faux-delivery boy, Stan senses Peggy's heightened sensuality.  He corners her until she asks, "Why do you keep making me reject you?" and opens the door.  He gets back at her by failing to note the lipstick on her teeth to a pitch to Playtex.

Don, meanwhile, blames Pete for losing a client (Glo Coat) and attempts to get Faye to reveal her clients' secrets.  She asks "So I'm going to kill my business to save yours?" but later relents, potentially landing him an account.  But not before Don "mentors" his secretary Megan, who has more sensual intentions than the ol' Miss Ida.  She tells him she'd like to learn the trade, a la Peggy Olson.  But she says she wants the relationship to stop at sex.

Don, later, is shocked by Faye's willingness to nab him a client.  Something tells me her relaxing in his arms at the episode's end is not a happily ever after clue.  If anything, it's foreshadowing.

Tidbits:

-Do you think Cooper (or anyone else) noticed Roger's finger on the hook during his conversation with Garner?

- Has Roger really hit rock bottom?  Do you think he's near suicide?  His final scene with his wife was sad and telling.

- Betty and Sally seem to be in every other episode.  With only two episodes left, how will they play into Don's life?

- What kind of Dad will Pete make to his daughter?  Were his co-workers' congratulations a bit pathetic?

-Does Megan have alterior motives?  There's something unnerving about her...

Chinese WallB

Peggy & Harry

 

 

Photo Credits: AMC; Rainbow Media Holdings