'Mad Men' Recap: Blowing Smoke

Oct 11, 2010 | 6:33am EDT

S4:E12 Last night’s episode of Mad Men picked up right where we left it off last week. We saw Don having a meeting with someone from Heinz, who was dissatisfied with the way his advertisement agency was handling his beans. He seemed to be pleased with Don’s ideas (like that beans are a substantial food and they therefore don’t have to rely on humor to sell it, because it’s not a condiment or a pickle or a kazoo), but refused to completely hand over his business to SCDP because he wasn’t sure if the agency would be around in six to eight months. Don even offered him a discounted commission if would be allowed to present a few ideas to him, but the bean guy said no, and that Don should let the “account boys” handle this one. Uh oh, ageism! Right? That's ageism!

The head honchos at SCDP had a meeting with a “Dr.,” who told them since their revenue had decreased by 50%, it was crucial they stick to what they know, which was cigarettes. He described the agency as being a certain type of girl, and tobacco was her “ideal boyfriend.” The Dr. also informed them that Phillip Morris was looking to come out with a new brand of cigarettes for women, and he got SCDP a meeting at the company so they could try and convince the pyromaniac they were the type of girl who’s not opposed to sex in a fire pit.

On the way home, Don ran into his old girlfriend, Midge. They updated each other on what they’d been doing since he stopped pricking her brain for ideas after they had sex, and Midge invited him to her house to “meet her husband,” who she described as someone she only married “for the bread.” He must be counting on Midge doesn’t run into an oh, I don’t know, HOT & CRUSTY!

At their apartment, Harry showed Don one of Midge’s abstract paintings and then told him he could pay whatever he wanted to for it, which was pretty presumptuous and exactly like what happened when Jan conned Michael into trying to sell her candles to Jim on The Office. Don said he’d think about it, and Harry revealed Midge would be very happy if he would buy one, and she’d do anything in return for the favor. (Don doesn’t have sex with anyone for a painting that isn't of a soufflé next to some pears.) Harry said Midge was so excited when she tracked Don down, which was peculiar, because Don thought their run-in at his office building was coincidental, like a lemonade stand on opposite street corners. After Harry explained his marriage to Midge wasn’t exclusive, he borrowed $10 from Don and went out to buy some “groceries” so he could make “dinner” for everyone. Midge then told Don that Harry had gotten her addicted to heroin, which she described as feeling the same as “drinking 100 bottles of whiskey while someone licks your tits.” (So it must make Sundays as enjoyable as Thursdays, which are the new Fridays). Don gave her $120 for one of her “paintings,” and you could tell Midge came up with this whole plan to get some money from him so she could spend it on drugs. Whatever happened to the Midge that smoked pot and pushed her television out the window in rebellion of Don’s corporate self?

During Betty’s meeting with Sally’s psychologist, she was informed that Sally would only be coming to see her once a week. Betty said Sally wasn’t better and she was still acting out but the shrink said Sally was making progress, she and hinted that Betty was the one who really needed help when she referred her to a fellow shrink. Betty jammed her up a bit, and did her own hinting…that she wasn’t interested in seeing anyone else, and she would only continue to be in therapy if she was allowed to keep seeing Sally’s therapist.

On the morning of Don’s presentation with the people from Phillip Morris, the “Dr.” who informed them of the potential account came up to the office and informed everyone that the meeting was canceled, on account of them also wanting to see where SCDP was in six months. In Don’s office, Lane said he went to the bank, who he learned would be willing to extend their line of credit if the senior partners posted $100,000 and Pete and Lane posted $50,000 for collateral, but also that he thought they should reduce their staff. And Oh Man it’s like Matthew Weiner sat down and finally had his “recession” chat with his writers!

At Don’s apartment, he started writing something called, “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco.” It described how after 25 years of providing them with successful advertisements, Lucky Strike had taken their business away from SCDP. But Don realized his work never really mattered because the product was addictive, and it never really had to improve. Then, he sent it in to a newspaper and ran the letter as an ad that announced SCDP would no longer take business from tobacco companies. The next day, everyone yelled at him for giving the message to the other clients that SCDP could turn on them at any minute, but they failed to realize how Don instilled the dignity and exclusivity of a Girl Scout troop back in the company. Just as everyone finished yelling at him, Megan walked in and said Robert Kennedy wanted to speak with Don. But once he took the call, he realized it was someone from a rival agency.

Faye went into Don’s office and told him she had to resign because her boss didn’t want to distance himself from cigarettes just yet. Don apologized, and Faye said that in return, she wanted to meet him in the open for dinner, and act like two squirrels with nothing to hide. After Faye left, Don went in to have a meeting with the partners, where Roger said the American Cancer Society wants to talk about SCDP running their anti-smoking campaign. And when Pete went up to Lane and told him he didn’t have his $50,000, Lane told him not to worry about it because Don paid it for him (Don spent $150,120 this episode).

It ended with Don firing people, and them crying into their boxes. But it's the sixties, and like Midge said: heroin is a full time job!

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