Mad Men Recap: The Parent Trap

Parental disapproval played big in this week’s Mad Men — and Betty wasn’t even around! Megan got a dressing-down, Peggy got an I-told-you-so, and Roger got a… well, let’s go ahead and take a look at what happened during “At the Codfish Ball.”

Not just a pretty face Megan asked her hubby for a moment of his in-office time, and he gladly agreed. “No, pervert, this is about work,” she teased, then pitched a pretty perfect idea for the troublesome Heinz account: moms throughout history — and into the future — serving their children beans, with the tagline, “Heinz beans: Some things never change.” Though his surprise was palpable, Don praised her work and called Michael and Stan in to redo the whole campaign before the client meeting. “Tell them it was your idea,” she said, worried that the creative team would be mad at her, but Don nudged her to admit that she really wanted — and deserved — the credit. The comely Mrs. Draper followed up that win with an even bigger one at dinner with Raymond, the Heinz exec who hated Peggy’s previous efforts; his wife; Ken; and his wife, Cynthia. During a trip to the powder room, Alice let it slip that she hoped she and Megan could stay friends after Heinz’s business with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was done. “We’re getting fired,” Megan whispered in Don’s ear as she returned to the table, then effortlessly set up her husband to deliver her beans-through-time pitch before Raymond and his missus could leave for the night. The Drapers played the situation with the timing of a well-rehearsed vaudeville duo — right down to fawning over Raymond’s suggestion about how to cast the commercial — and when Don called the pitch a “once-in-a-lifetime idea,” the bean boss was sold. In the cab, Don lustily told Megan he couldn’t wait to get her home, but they quickly realized they’d have to have their naked celebration at the office, thanks to their full house. Speaking of which…

Meet the parents | Megan’s parents, Emile and Marie, made their first visit to their daughter’s new home right around the same time that Don’s two oldest kids also showed up, thanks to babysitter Grandma Pauline breaking her ankle while Betty, Gene, and Henry were on a trip to Michigan. Sally happily took credit for keeping calm during the emergency and conveniently glossed over the fact that her pill-pushing grandmother had tripped on the cord to the phone Sally had dragged into the bedroom to call Glen at boarding school. (It’s times like these I miss Betty. She could smell a lie from her daughter like three-day-old fish.) Don’s consternation throughout his in-laws’ stay — were they disapproving? Or just foreign? — wasn’t helped by their distaste for his profession, their arguments about Emile’s infidelity, and their tendency to have entire conversations in French. (Casting kudos: Julia Ormond and Ronald Guttman were great choices for Megan’s folks.) But Don continued to try to please them, including inviting them to join him, Megan, and Sally when he was honored by the American Cancer Society for his “Why I’m quitting tobacco” ad from last season.

It’s all happening | Roger’s recent acid experiment made quite the impression; we saw him recounting it in tones of awe to his ex-wife, Mona — “I took LSD. I went on a trip,” he told her, and it sounded exactly the way it sounds when your grandparents talk about texting: just wrong, somehow — and Don later mocked him that the insights he’d gathered on his mystical voyage were kinda mundane. But Sterling asserted that he was seeing the world with new eyes, and that the American Cancer Society ceremony was a great place to drum up new business. Don disagreed, but Roger posited that good people throughout history could have had ulterior motives for their selflessness. “For all we know,” he observed, “Jesus was trying to get the loaves and fishes account.” At the awards dinner, Roger gave a very grown-up looking Sally a hilarious running commentary on the other attendees while flirting with Marie across the table throughout the meal. (A moment, please, for Megan and Marie’s gowns. I die.) But things went south for everyone after the entree course. Don accepted the accolade but was later informed by Ken’s father-in-law, Ed, that no one in the room would give him their business. “They love your work, they all do, but they don’t like you,” he said, adding that they wouldn’t trust him after the way he “bit the hand.” Meanwhile, Megan’s Marxist professor father took advantage of a quiet moment at the table to express his disappointment in Megan’s choice of husband and life. “I hate that you gave up,” he said, bringing her close to tears. “Don’t let your love for this man stop you from doing what you wanted to do.” That’s funny, because in another room down the hall, Marie wasn’t letting her love for Emile stop her from doing what she wanted to do — and Sally had the misfortune to walk in on her step-grandmother giving Roger a blow-by-blow account of how just much she liked him. Does this show have a public sex act-per-episode quota it’s trying to meet? Just wondering. Sally, traumatized, later phoned Glen to tell him that New York was “dirty.” At least you didn’t wind up under some furniture and zonked out on pills like the last time your mom went out of town, Sally, so let’s consider the evening a success.

Living in sin | Abe joined Peggy, Michael, and Stan for some Chinese at the office, but took off when the advertising kids’ conversation left him cold. He later called to insist that Peggy meet him for dinner that night, which made her think he was going to end their relationship. Thank goodness Joan’s back! “Men don’t take the time to end things. They ignore you until you insist on a declaration of hate,” she asserted. (Preach, sister.) The redhead said it was far more likely that Abe was preparing to propose than to cut Peggy loose, adding, “You’d better have your answer prepared, especially if it’s no.” Peggy gussied herself up and arrived at the restaurant pretty clearly expecting Abe to offer a ring and was pretty clearly disappointed when he instead wanted to cohabitate. But she covered nicely, smiling as she said yes and saving her sad face for when he peered down at the menu. But Peggy’s kerfuffled emotional state didn’t stop her from sincerely congratulating Megan about the Heinz homerun the next day at the office. “This is as great at this job gets,” Peggy advised. “Savor it.” But dinner with Mama Olsen went about as well as you’d expect; remember, this is the same woman who regularly has the parish priest over for dinner. Her parting shot: “If you’re lonely, get a cat. They live 13 years. Then you get another one, and another one. After that, then you’re done. Thank you for dinner.”

What did you think of this week’s Mad Men? Did you love the irony of the ACS attendees smoking during the ceremony? Did you laugh out loud at Pete’s demonstration of his advertising abilities? And do you agree with me that Glen is on his way to pulling a Neville Longbottom and showing up handsome and dashing at a point in the not-too-distant future? Let’s hear it in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Fan of Haley Rhinehart says:

    Every female who stars with Don is made too look not as beautiful as Betty. In real life Jessica Pare (Meaghan) is stunning in her looks. The fake teeth worn on the show play down her looks

    Great show staring Jessica’s French Family

    • Yomomma says:

      …those are Jessica Pare’s real teeth. I don’t know what show your watching if you think that everyone fails in comparison to Betty Draper’s former glory. Joan oozes sex appeal, Megan is incredibly beautiful and has great style. Granted Peggy is pretty dowdy, but that’s been her character since day one.

      • Erin says:

        Eh, consider the source of the original comment: “Fan of Haley Rhinehart”. Clearly, this person has no grasp on reality.

    • pamlany says:

      I wish everyone would stop calling Megan and her family French. They are French Canadian. That is NOT the same thing!

  2. Jason says:

    What puzzled me is what exactly Megan’s father meant by her true passion, it didn’t seem like he was talking about acting. This whole season she has been showing this somewhat tortured and creepy side to her personality, different from the sweet girl we met last season, so I’m starting to think that there is something we don’t know about our French songstress.

    • Lyn says:

      I was confused, too. Not sure what the show is up to — taking pretty, wannabe-actress Megan, who sits in on a couple of secretarial focus groups and hooks the boss, then suddenly painting her as a budding advertising genius. Even pretty girls had to work a little harder than that, I think!

    • TV Gord says:

      I think you’re right, Jason. Great observation!

  3. constance says:

    I cannot wait till Betty is back in play! Megan. REALLY. the complete turn around should come with reality. not nonsense.

  4. Floretta says:

    I do not understand the hate on Megan, either for her looks or budding copywriting skills. I do not see her as having nefarious, as yet undefined, plans. I think, as Matt Weiner has suggested, is what you see is what you get. And I think the Don/Megan relationship will go the distance. Matt has said the in the end, he sees Don Draper as a happy man. He has grown so much since the first season. especially since The Suitcase and Anna Draper’s death. Betty will always be in the picture as their kids’ mother, but she will never be back in Don’s life as before – and that’s a good thing. He’s moved forward, she’s still stuck in the past.

  5. Mary Rose DeMarco says:

    Im thinking we are supposed to feel uncomfortable by Meghan because in all the female viewers minds, we dont really want Don to end up with her. Shes annoying to watch and it seems in every episode, she does something ridiculous from her birthday singing scene to obnoxiously eating orange sherbet ( hope that scene was edited).And all her tantrums- c’mon!!!
    I miss Betty on the show, and although she was pregnant during filming, they didnt continue with her weight gain storyline. It just got dropped, and that isnt the way to handle devoted viewers who want to see their favs every week- or at least every other week.

    • Emily says:

      I’ll thank you not to include me in your generalization of female viewer’s minds, because I want to see him stay with Megan. I love her, I think she’s a great addition to the cast. I’d still like to see more Betty than we have this season, but that doesn’t mean I automatically hate Megan. I don’t get the feeling that I’m supposed to be uncomfortable with her character; she’s meant to be young and vibrant, in the office instead of at home, and they’re exploring how (and if) that fits with Don. She’s refreshingly reasonable with what makes her unhappy, and I love that she lashes out at Don, however crazily she does it. The season’s all about change, is it not?

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Oh, January Jones is pregnant? Okay, that explains so much about why we’ve barely seen her this season. I was starting to wonder if Weiner had just felt her story was all played out. It’s funny, because her very first scene this season, I thought the character was supposed to be pregnant and was really surprised to learn it was just supposed to be weight gain.

      And I kind of agree with you about Megan, though I am nervous Weiner is thinking the audience likes her as much as he does. She has got to be based on someone he knows in real life. You can tell from the DVD commentaries of the last season that he has a real affection for her, and I never understood it. My deal with her is that I think she kind of does use sex to get what she wants from Don and has from her very first encounter with him. The housework scene where she was on all fours in her underwear telling him he couldn’t have her…ugh….women who use sex as a way to control their men and get what they want annoy me. And it’s not that I want Don and Betty back together, I don’t. I agree with Weiner that those two are terrible for each other, but I don’t really think he and Megan are much better for each other. I believe Don can’t be truly happy with any woman, he just has too many mommy issues. And to make him happy with any woman would be the death of the show to me. I believe what we’re seeing right now with Don is probably the same way he felt and acted in the early days of his relationship with Betty. I think things are going to change for him and Megan when he starts getting restless again.

  6. Tim Wilson says:

    Is it possible that Megan might have a porno past?

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Haha, that would be awesome! I would laugh hard.

    • I am thinking there will be a rude awakening for many, when they find out about Megan’s past. Possibly reinvented herself after:

      a. her prostitute past
      b. her” Betty Page” type of past
      c. her whole family is made up- they are Grifters from someplace European- no accent territory
      d. she was in prison for ( pick one) and she earned a Business/ Marketing/ Advertising college degree
      e. your answer Tim- porno past, as in films she wore a veil or something else to hid her face. They will know IT IS megan by a definitive birthmark or something like that….
      We shall see…

  7. Angie says:

    Megan is a Mary Sue.

  8. Jen says:

    On one hand this show has been amazing this season but on the other hand I’m really getting sick of it becoming The Megan Show. We see her every single week but others who have been on for years are totally absent or barely on a lot of weeks. After the big Pete/Lane fight and focus on Pete a couple weeks ago we have barely seen Pete and didn’t see Lane at all. I know January Jones was on maternity leave but I wish they could have at least spliced her in here and there for some follow up on Fat Betty. Megan is my least favorite female so I’d much rather watch Joan, Peggy, and Betty all day long than her and her “perfectness.”

    • A D says:

      I agree. More of Joan, Peggy, Betty, Lane, Pete… ANYONE else. I get tired of Megan in every scene. Woiuld love see more of Joan. I think she could get better storylines.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I absolutely agree with you, I feel very much like I am getting cheated out of stories with all the other characters, much more so compared to other seasons. Even Harry we got more story out of in previous years than this year. Elisabeth Moss is not being given a chance to shine at all (though maybe that’s a metaphor on how she’s failing a bit at the agency?), and Christina Hendricks has only gotten one good episode so far. Lane and Harry are two of my favorite minor characters, I need to see more of what’s happening in their lives. Even sleazy Pete, I would like more of that.

    • Angie says:

      Agreed completely.

  9. Louie says:

    Why do I get the feeling that Sally might replicate the act that she witnessed? They didn’t reintroduce Glen for nothing, did they?

    • elizabelle01 says:

      Now THAT is an interesting thought. From a parental point of view, I’m thinking “Oh dear God, please, no!!” but from a story driven plot line point of view I think that is verrrrrrry interesting.

  10. Chloe says:

    I was so happy to see Mona! She looked amazing. If I didn’t badly want Roger with Joan, I’d be hoping for him to reunite with Mona.

  11. Nero theTVFiddler says:

    Nice episode – great to see Mona Sterling again. That Marie Calvet is a piece-of-work … fantastic!

    Did anyone notice in this episode the background music Megan was playing in their apartment when Don and the Calvets arrive? I’ve heard the song many times, but can’t recall the name. Perhaps a Brazil-66 tune, or maybe a Antonio C Jobim or Joao Gilberto tune?

  12. orchardist says:

    Pete punk’d the Professor – brilliant move.
    I would love if Glen became Neville.

  13. In our recap, we really liked Peggy’s story because it highlighted a lot of issues that career women still face today.

    Moss played the part perfectly as it was difficult to tell exactly what she truly wanted until the end of the dinner with the grimace (even going so far as to drop an “I do” into the conversation in the hope he’d take the hint).

    Good stuff.

  14. tripoli says:

    Why is it that almost every time there is a recap of Mad Men that the writer gets the spelling of Pryce wrong? Get it together.

  15. Jen says:

    Welcome back “weird Glenn!” What is up with that kid? Why is he wearing a parka and what appears to be no pants? Man, I love weird Glenn, and even more since I read that he is Matt Weiner’s son.

    Please more JOAN!!! I miss my Joanie.

    Loved seeing Mona looking fabulous!

    Julia Ormond as Megan’s mom? I did not see that coming. She seems too young to be Meg’s mother. I guess I remember her as the lovely Sabrina or as the tortured Susannah Ludlow. Love her!!!

  16. Lee says:

    We need more Betty, definitely. I wonder if by the time we finally see her again she’ll have lost the weight–maybe her doctor finally gave her the pills? Maybe that would explain why the writers haven’t put her in lately.

    • Jen says:

      I believe that she has been out because she was on maternity leave during filming. January Jones was pregnant and they wrote in “fat Betty” to at least put her in for an episode (not sure if there will be more or not) this season.

  17. Brit says:

    This is actually the first episode that I liked Megan. I agree with all the posts about wanting to see more of the other female characters but I’m really rooting for Don and Megan. He’s different now, which I admit has taken awhile for me to accept, but I’m starting to like it. I would like to see more of Betty but I feel she is more of a recurring character now anyway. I also loved the Joan and Peggy scenes this week. And I didn’t mind not seeing as much of Pete. His character has always turned me off, although I did like his scene with Megan’s dad this week. I’m very curious to see where they are going with the storyline of Megan’s past and with Peggy and her boyfriend moving in together. Sally was priceless this week, especially with the episode ending scene.Would love to see more of her as well.

    • Jen says:

      I have always loved the dynamic of the relationship between Don and Sally. She is a “daddy’s girl” for sure and I think it is interesting given the way he has treated women in the past. For all his bad habits, he is a good father to her.