This episode radically shifts the pacing of this season of Mad Men. What had been a meditative and at times even ponderous season becomes a series of earth shattering revelations in “For Immediate Release.” Unfortunately for the folks in the show, things aren’t being shaken up for everyone’s mutual benefit. I’ll present the shakeups in order for clarity’s sake.
Earthquake #1 SCDP wants to go public!
Burt, Roger, Pete, and Joan have a secret plan without Don to become millionaires by taking the company public with a very lucrative stock offering. It is a huge move that three-quarters of the partners genuinely want enough to take it above Don’s head. The nicest moment here is when the banker compliments Joan on her math in a most fervent manner. Pete tries to follow this up with a bit of his own smarminess, but it could have been worse.
Earthquake #2 Don dumps Jaguar!
Going from secret meeting to secret meeting, Roger lets Don in on clandestine dinner with the odious Herb from Jaguar. This time Pete gets cut out. It happens on Mother’s Day and really messes with Megan’s plans to spend time with her enchantingly fussy (and French) mother. Roger fails to show for the dinner. Herb’s wife is just as odious as he is, but in her own way of course. Marie can barely contain her sarcasm. When Rennett tries to include one of his own employees in the creative process, it crosses a line for Don. He cannot take it, so he gives the man a business card for a different contact at the firm. Their business relationship ends right there, and Don has no idea of the meaning of what he has done.
Earthquake #3 Pete runs into his father-in-Law at a brothel!
As part of the stock offering celebration, Pete ends up in a brothel, only to see Trudy’s illustrious father leaving. Mutual shock ensues. Ken Cosgrove assures Pete that the “mutually assured destruction” principle will keep him safe. It doesn’t. Not only is it socially awkward, Pete’s little face-to-face costs SCDP the account with the man’s company, Vick’s chemical. This also completely wrecks Pete’s semi-careful efforts at rebuilding his marriage. Pete tells Trudy what her father was doing to get back at him, and to damage the father’s reputation with Trudy. For Pete’s sake, Pete. All your progress from last week, gone!
Earthquake #4 Teddy and Peggy kiss!
In a late-night work conversation Ted Chough grabs Peggy by the shoulders for a kiss they’ve both wanted for a long time. They don’t know what to say about it after it happens though. Peggy just fantasizes about it when back at the new super grungy apartment with the increasingly distant and bossy Abe. The crystal ball is cloudy on the future here.
Earthquake #5 Roger gets the firm a chance with Chevy!
Through the socializing power of a cute stewardess, Roger meets a Chevy big wig. He gets the firm a shot to pitch an ad campaign for a new mystery car that has everyone excited. Though Don seems poised to nail the presentation, he runs into Ted in the middle of the night, and they change everything. Both men fear that the size of their companies will torpedo their chances, despite strong creative. Hence, the merger. And it works. They get Chevy. This saves SCDP from a fiasco Don created, you remember, losing Jaguar scuttled the stock offering. Once they return from Michigan, Ted calls Peggy into his office. She’s hoping for another kiss but finds Don there instead. She’s clearly disappointed to be moved down the totem pole through no fault of her own, but I doubt the news can keep her down for long.
Fabulous Moments that Sadly do not Count as Earthquakes:
Trudy Campell’s red nightgown. I know, I’m being silly, but it is a thing of beauty. Trudy’s outlandishly fabulous taste in lingerie strikes again.
Update on the Draper Marriage. Megan feels worried that she’s not close to Don. He’s not worried. He’s having sex with a dolled-up Megan up against a wall, while her mom is waiting in the next room, and he’s receiving other delightful carnal surprises from his own wife. He doesn’t even have time to think of other women this episode. As far as he’s concerned, it’s perfect.
Peggy and Abe live in a crazy apartment building. Their new neighbors share their music, their drug addiction, and evidently their bodily functions as well. On the stairs.
Mother-in-law Marie’s amazing moment. When Roger calls to talk to Don after the missed dinner, he finds a drunk and resentful Marie on the other end of the line. He wants to sweet talk her, after all it appears to be working on his blond stewardess friend. She’ll take none of his malarky and tells him to, “forget her name.” Glorious.