The audience can still feel the earthquake that was last week's episode, which centered around the atrocities of April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. This week, the mood was lighter, but fraught with disorder. This is Mad Men, so it's never smooth sailing.
To begin, SCDP is set to go public, with a chance to go for $11 a share. Everyone is ecstatic about the possibilities of getting rich, especially the slimy, greedy Pete Campbell.
To Pete, money is all there is in life. He expects it to save his marriage, which is falling apart rapidly, and he expects it to make him happy. As usual, Pete would be incorrect to assume either of these will happen.
It is Mother's Day in the world of Mad Men. Megan's mother comes to visit, ensuring the first awkward moment of the episode. The disconnect between Don and Megan is more than obvious, and Megan confides in her mother that she cannot reach Don.
But worse is yet to come at a dinner with the Herb, the main man at Jaguar. Megan's mother is waiting for Roger Sterling to come, and he never shows. Herb's obnoxious wife dominates the conversation, making for a tense and painful evening.
As if things couldn't get worse, Don decides it's time to cut Jaguar lose, since he can only handle so much from Herb. This leads to a major confusion within SCDP. Jaguar was the firm's prime account, and when the other's find out about it, they go ballistic.
Nobody knows what is going on. Losing Jaguar is about as bad as it can get for SCDP. But Roger pulls a rabbit out of his hat. He's been in Detroit, hence the reason he couldn't make dinner the night before, and has landed a potential account with Chevy. Roger Sterling truly is the man who saves the day.
But just when it appears that everything is ironed out, Pete Campbell runs into his father in law at a whorehouse. This is the ultimate awkward run in, the kind that would bring on a seizure. In line with the times, the most scandalous part of the whole thing is that the woman Pete's father-in-law is with is black.
Mad Men's genius lies in the writer's ability to create scenarios where it seems hopeless for SCDP. While in Detroit, Don and Ted, Peggy's new boss, pool their resources and decide to merge. Not just for the sake of the Chevy account, but for both companies.
Peggy belongs at SCDP. She's better with them. But after her awkward kiss with Ted, things could get messy. In an overall stellar episode, the one who loses the most is poor Joan.
She was used by SCDP to get Jaguar, and now that Jaguar is lost, she feels scorned in the most personal, degrading way. She gave a piece of her soul to get a partnership and for what? Her seething anger is boiling over, and knowing Mad Men, this will be used in a most compelling way as the season progresses.