Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A | 2 USERS: A+
A Change Is Gonna Come
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Pete's lying on his office couch, and from the way he's bundled up and the fact that Hildy brings him some hot chocolate, either SC is having a really bad month, or the building owner is pulling a classic New York City move and being all "Oh, is it really November already?" Dicks. Pete indulges in a little complaining about the fact that the stuff is instant before apologizing to Hildy, but given what's coming if the apology is an attempt to improve his karma it's not going to work. At Hildy's relaying of a request for his presence, Pete then goes to see Pryce...

...who's sitting in his office sipping tea, scarf and leather gloves in use. After Pete takes a seat, Pryce unceremoniously gives him some bad news: Ken has been made Senior Vice President of Accounts Services, while Pete will be Head of Account Management. Pete is not exactly thrilled, and when Pryce goes on that this isn't to ignore all his great service to the company (when it kind of totally is), Pete asks what the decision was based on, pointing out that his billings and Ken's are neck and neck, and opining that he thinks he did pretty well with what he was given "in this arbitrary scheme." Pryce leans forward and tells Pete the truth: While Pete is excellent at getting the clients to feel their needs are being met, Ken "has the rare gift of making them feel as if they haven't any needs." There are different ways that could be interpreted, to be sure, but I think what he's basically saying is that clients like Ken better than Pete, which is something I suspect Pete feared would be the deciding factor all along. Pryce just about flat-out tells Pete that the title improvement should make him happy enough not to bitch to his clients about the decision, and when Pete asks if Bertram and Roger know about it, Pryce tells him he made it on his authority alone. "And I have to commend you on taking it as well as you have." I think that's Pryce's clever way of drawing the meeting to a close, because now any real complaining by Pete will seem terribly gauche. I mean, my idea of taking bad news well certainly doesn't match up with Pete's face, on which the words "murder" and "suicide" are currently separated by his nose. And Pryce's gambit works, as Pete stands and sticks out his hand. After Pryce gets his glove off and shakes, Pete expresses the hope that it was at least a difficult decision, but Pryce's "It was" comes far too automatically to be sincere. Pete exits...

...and we cut to him walking back out into the main area in a daze, and the way he's clutching that hot chocolate like it's the only thing keeping him alive is unexpectedly affecting. He finds some focus, however, when he sees Ken helping one of the secretaries plug an appliance in under her desk, I think. Their eyes meet, and Ken looks both chastened and bummed at the hurt in Pete's eyes. You can argue the merits of the decision, but even Ken would admit that Pete wanted it more. Plus, I'm guessing they won't be going out for drinks after work anymore, and with Sal gone and Harry still married, the Boys' Club is looking pretty sparse these days. And speaking of sparse, leaving aside this competition that really hasn't gotten all that much screentime, has Ken really had any subplots this entire season, other than indirectly causing a guy to lose his foot? It makes the promotion feel a little weird, even though on the merits it's probably correct. Anyway, Pete only stops back in his office long enough to exchange the hot chocolate for his bag, and when Hildy asks the obvious question, he practically spits that he doesn't feel well. He'll be in good company soon enough.

Downstairs, Peggy and Karen are returning from lunch, and I don't remember if this is the first definite confirmation that they ended up moving in together, but here we are. Peggy's complaining about the place they went to, saying she could have eaten and even had a drink at her desk for less money, which (a) that seems kind of rude, as the implication could be taken that Karen's company isn't worth shit, and (b) you'd think she'd be happy enough to get out of the unheated office, no? Karen doesn't take it badly, though, merely joking that she's sorry she's not as "stimulating a lunch companion" as "Doug," which answers the question of whether Peggy's still getting, um, professionally ridden. Peggy corrects Karen on the name before adding that she works most lunches, and Karen decides to let someone else call Peggy on that bullshit, which you won't mind me telling you is going to work out splendidly. She does mention that she dislikes Duck's aftershave, but then sighs that she doesn't know why she's even weighing in on men, given her recent luck. Peggy replies that it's good that she's being picky, hilariously adding "finally" to that thought with no break in tempo, and Karen replies that the only men out there right now are married. "We can't all throw caution to the wind." Peggy corrects Karen's assumption, saying Duck's not married, and Karen's surprised: "Then why are you with him?" HA! I don't know if she's referring to the exciting danger of dating a married man, or the fact that you can get sex in that situation without any annoying commitment issues getting in the way, but whatever it is, Elisabeth Moss's loss for a response could mean my death of giggling. The door opens, and after Pete glowers his way off, the girls take their leave of each other, since as you might remember Karen works on the first floor. She is missing out on the chance to meet eligible men in the elevator, but life is never going to be perfect.

Cut to a close-up of someone opening a small box to reveal two earrings that...well, I've never seen Blood Diamond, but if you were to tell me the plot revolved around this pair I wouldn't exactly be surprised. The opener is Mona, who blithely comments, "How very Jane Siegel Sterling." Expensive, tacky, and unaware of when to quit? Sounds about right. Mona does go on to add, however, that Jane is "trying," which brings a right snit from Margaret about how Mona always takes Jane's side, which I find hilarious in concept. Like, Margaret, if you think your mother, who Roger left for a twenty-something-year-old, is consistently taking the side of that twenty-something-year-old, it seems to me extremely likely that there's either a flaw in your perception of the situation, a flaw in your behavior, or, by far the most likely, both. Mona sharply denies that accusation, and Margaret, looking like she's holding back from projectile vomiting, says that Jane has been giving her advice like "Don't go to bed angry," "Let them do what they want," and "Dress sexy." Well, I'm not going to say that's not totally Smurfy, but for Margaret to say that Jane's ruined her life by being with Roger makes it kind of hard to take her seriously, even when she goes on that she doesn't want to get married. She kind of honestly makes absolutely no sense as she blubbers her way into a story about Brooks's mother telling her that in India, if a wedding doesn't take place at the appointed hour, the bride gets burned alive, but it's all worth it for Mona's response: "Just because she went to India doesn't mean she's not an idiot." Hee. Margaret, however, is not mollified by the delicious use of the double negative, saying that if Jane comes, she's not going. As she makes this declaration, her face resembles nothing so much as Pete's when he just pouted in Ken's direction, so you can imagine that once again, it's difficult to take her seriously, and Mona, who can see daylight on getting this piece of work out of the house once and for all, tells her that Roger paid for the whole shindig, and as such he has the right to bring Jane. This eventually leads to Margaret calling Roger because Mona's being mean to her, and while I'm betting that worked well as a go-to strategy in the past I think it's likely to be somewhat less effective in this particular instance. Margaret babbles to him about ho

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