Mad Men: The Collaborators Season 6 Episode 3 Review

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After the dull, overlong premiere, Mad Men settled into its sixth season with an excellent episode that set up where this characters may eventually go.

The Collaborators felt like a much older episode of the show, with Don and Sylvia, the flashbacks, and Megan acting a bit like Betty.

Don’s new relationship doesn’t seem to be working, since Sylvia and Megan are such good friends. Something with Megan was clearly up from the beginning, as she fires the housekeeper. Did anyone else get reminded of Betty’s firing of Carla way back in season three? It reminded me that Megan may be the shiny new woman in Don’s life, but he is still making the same mistakes.

But then Megan reveals to Sylvia that she just had a miscarriage. The writers deserve some serious credit here. Like a lot of other fans, I hated Megan last season. But this scene had me sympathizing with her like never before. I even teared up a bit.

This made Don and Sylvia’s relationship complicated. But Sylvia still can’t resist Don’s charms. By the episode’s end, Megan revealed the miscarriage to her husband. Don, of course, handled the situation perfectly.

It did, however, effect his work at SCDP. Or so he wanted everyone to think. One of the major season five surprises was Joan sacrificing her body for the good of the company. That sacrifice came to a head this week as the Jaguar men pay the office a visit. The silent scene of Joan walking in saying “He’s here” to Don and making herself a drink was a beautiful play up of the cold stare Joan gave Don when he realized she had been made partner.

Anyway, Jaguar wants to get more people walking into their dealerships. That means more uncreative radio ads and less of the staff’s creativity. It made for an exciting Don vs. Pete as they pitched the ideas to the company. Pete was all for the ads as Don so perfectly pitched crap to them. He knows what makes a great and a terrible pitch. I was smirking right with Roger at the man’s cleverness.

But was it the best move? Pete doesn’t think so, making Jaguar the most exciting client of SCDP. Roger is on the fence too, he just loves to see Pete squirm (who doesn’t?).

But Pete’s other big moment seemed like another punch to the face. He carelessly cheats on Trudy with their neighbor in his New  York City apartment. When she runs over, covered in blood, you know she told her husband. Pete is furious. Then Trudy figures out what’s going on. In a shocking scene, and Allison Brie’s best work on the show yet, Trudy leaves Pete, and gains control of the situation. Go Trudy!

The only other thing going on this week was Peggy’s new job. She continues to exude Don’s role from the first couple seasons of the series. But she keeps in touch with Stan from SCDP. This leads to her finding out about the Heinz ketchup issue that came up, along with Ted, her boss. Now Peggy is forced to try and screw her old company. How’s Don going to take that?

All in all, this was a much stronger episode than the premiere. Stories were set in motion that are interesting and captivating. That’s more like it. Grade: A-

Peggy’s postion, competing with SCDP

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