Just what can a girl do to move up in the oppressive, sexist ‘60s workforce? Lie and not invite Pete to the next meeting with the client. What chutzpah!
Joan, tired of being a glorified secretary, has nothing to lose by squeezing out Pete. She earned her partnership the salacious way. That left her with scant new responsibilities and little respect from her colleagues.
Even Peggy knows and throws it in her face. “At least I didn’t sleep with [Don].” Oh please, Pegs. We all know you tried to.
Then when Pete finds out, he predictably has a hissy fit. Why did she exclude him from the meeting? “Because it’s better than being screwed by you,” Joan snarls at Pete. Finally! I hated seeing them chummy together.
Peggy is at least rooting for Joan, which sadly is more than Joan could do for Peggy when she was cutting her teeth as a copywriter. Nevertheless, Peggy puts aside her resentment and has Joan’s back.
While Ted and Pete are upbraiding Joan, Peggy sends in a fake message saying that the Avon marketing lead has called. Way to stick it to the men, Pegs.
Pete the Petulant, ever paranoid that he’s mere seconds away from losing his job, goes and whines to Don. “If you don’t like it, maybe it’s time to get out of the business,” Don suggests. He should know about adaptation; his 40-year-old self just came back from a dabbling in hash.
So, Pete tweaks his philosophy: If you can’t beat them, snatch a doobie straight from their hands and take a puff or two.
Joan isn’t the only one making moves in the office. Bob Benson manages to ass-kiss his way into Cutler’s heart. After a falling-out between Ginsberg and Cutler, whom Ginsberg calls a fascist and Nazi (the latter is especially harsh, considering he was born in a concentration camp), Benson swoops in to tell Cutler that he doesn't tolerate disrespectful behavior.
Cutler is clearly impressed and his ego is sufficiently stroked. He insists that Benson meet directly with Manischewitz. If he doesn’t nail the next meeting with Chevy, Benson should become an inspirational speaker.
“Pull yourself together and be the man that I admire,” he urges a nervous-wreck Ginsberg. The guy’s a regular Ray Lewis. Now all I can think of is Bob doing the squirrel dance in last week’s short-shorts beach ensemble.
I’m still not sure what to make of Bob Benson. His desire to move up in the ranks at SC&P is earnest -- no question about that -- and his sincerity as an all-around nice guy seems believable. At least, I want to believe it. Despite my unrelenting suspicion, I want to think he’s genuinely that nice. But I can’t! He’s just too wholesome. No one that good-natured belongs on ‘Mad Men.’ I just can’t have it.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM ‘A TALE OF TWO CITIES’
BEST ROGER ONE-LINER: Roger was dishing out gold! By far my favorite part of ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’ It probably didn’t hurt that John Slattery directed this episode. Here are my two favorites:
“My job at these meetings is to keep them from saying GOLLY too many times.”
“We’re conquistadors. I’m Vasco da Gama, and you’re some other Mexican. Our biggest challenge is to not get syphilis.” [Note: Vasco da Gama was Portuguese. Can’t his underlings highlight basic social studies notes for him?]
BEST INTROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS: “My therapist says the job of your life is to know yourself. Sooner or later you’ll start to love who you are. Apparently, I am a curious child with a full head of hair and a thriving business. And you’re a terrible swimmer.” – Roger to Don. That’s what five acid trips (I’d pay to see the other three) and a shrink will help reveal.
BIGGEST FORESHADOWING BALL-PUNCH SET-UP: "I want you to go in there and keep your cool. But if he baits you, I want you to punch him in the balls." – Roger in season five. And now for the punch line…
“Nothing like finding a man’s magic spot that will drop a man to his knees, unless he already started there.” Then the vertically challenged Danny Siegel punches him the balls. As hilarious, and deserved, as this was, I was still hoping it would have been Pete.
LEAST CREATIVE AGENCY NAME: Sterling Cooper & Partners. It feels like a reboot of season one’s agency, with many more chiefs. I’ll take it -- it’s certainly better than SCDPCGC. How eerie was it that a letter was addressed to “Sterling Gleason and Pryce,” with two of the partners who had died in the past year?
MOST ALARMING MENTAL BREAKDOWN: Ginsberg’s pre-Manischewitz meeting. It seemed like he was having a panic attack, until this line: “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm. They’re beaming ‘em right to my head.” That screams paranoid delusions. Good thing he’s staying away from the sticky icky. Drugs only exacerbate mental illnesses. #themoreyouknow
MOST CLUELESS LINE: “Does this color look good on me?” – Meredith, the ever-oblivious secretary, to Peggy, who’s eavesdropping on Pete and Ted as they chew-out Joan. Not the time or the place. But, yes, the dress is adorable, and I so badly want to raid the ‘Mad Men’ costume closet.
BEST BACK-AND-FORTH: Ginsberg: 'Tell me the truth, are you a homo?'
Benson: 'There’s your sense of humor!'