Mad Men: “Man with a Plan” Season 6 Episode 7 Review

A transition episode brought two once competitors together while other characters go through very different struggles.

There’s not really a neat little bow that could be put on Man with a Plan. The episode moved forward after last week’s major shake up that brought Don and his rival Ted under the same roof.

But more importantly, Peggy is back! And she gets a very welcome return at least from Joan. But she’s not the only one returning.

Burt Peterson, the account executive for Sterling Cooper back in the day, came back to work for Don, Roger, and co. At least until Roger hilariously fired him for a second time. His speech about getting to do things a second time was classic.

As the company’s merged, Don and Ted butt heads while working on a margarine client. Don arrives 40 minutes late to meeting, being off with Sylvia. So when Ted gets mad, Don gets him drunk.

Peggy takes note and confronts her former boss in another great scene between the pair. Things aren’t quite right yet in the Don/Peggy relationship. Here’s to hoping they get fixed soon.

It culminated in another hilarious scene of Ted, who conveniently is a pilot, braving a rain storm with Don to make the pitch. The site of the two of them in the rain was very funny, particularly Don’s uncharacteristically terrified expression.

Pete, however, was left behind to tend to his aging mother who is really struggling with her memory. Was it intentional that Pete being terrible to his mother aired on Mother’s Day? Come on guys, that just seems inappropriate. It at least made for a good story, one that will likely be dropped for now and brought back in some capacity in the future. You know, in typical Mad Men fashion.

Joan had a little health scare this week in what was eventually revealed to be an ovarian cyst. But more importantly, the new man in her life could be the one to bring her back into the light. It’s rare that I agree with Joan’s mother, but they did seem oddly cute together. Even if deep down I want Joan and Roger to ride off into the sunset a year from now.

But as one romance blossomed, another crashed. Don and Sylvia seem to be missing each other, but then Don starts getting a bit weird in the bedroom, forcing her to stay at the hotel. Sylvia is cautious, but plays along for a while. But then things just get too weird and she’s had enough. She says that they both need to go home, and she means really go home, and ends their affair. I’m sad to Sylvia go, as she had a personality that could compete with Don’s, way more than Megan at least.

My hat goes off to the writers for putting in the brilliant scene between Don and Megan at the end. Just as she mentions going back to Hawaii, we are once again transported to Don’s silence that took up the first part of the premiere. I half expected him to divorce her right there.

The episode closed with the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. It’s smart to downplay it since we just had an entire episode devoted to Martin Luther King Jr. I’m sure the event will be played out a bit more next week. Not that it really has to.

We are right in the middle of this season of Mad Men and the first half has certainly been a winner. This episode was a solid transition to where the rest of the season could head, even if it didn’t quite hit the highs of the last two, which were obviously classics. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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