Mad-Men: 4.11 "Chinese Wall" (open spoilers)

Poor Danny Strong (the actor)… I’ve rarely seen a show where he was featured that there wasn’t a short joke worked into the script. He is 5’2".

It looks to me like Pete has become the second-most important and powerful person in that ad agency. Don and Peggy are important as creative talents, but Pete’s the closer. He’s the guy that actually finds the accounts, lands the accounts, hand-holds the clients, and brings in the money. That entire agency is now the Don and Pete show.

If I were Pete, I’d take the other offer. He’s gotten nothing but grief the whole time he’s been with Sterling-Cooper-Price-Draper, despite the fact that he’s a star performer. And I say that as someone who has hated the little weasel from season 1. I’m finding him one of the most likable characters now. Or at least the most sympathetic.

I really miss the old Don. I keep waiting for another Kodak Carousel speech, which for me was the high point of the entire series.

Pete is absolutely now the character you love to hate and hate to love. He’s amazing.

My contempt for Don eased somewhat this episode. My contempt for Roger increased by the same factor, so it was a wash.

Another little blast from the past was Peggy and friends coming back from the beach, all crowded into the clown car. Pre-seatbelt laws. Reminds me of us kids back in the day, piling into the station wagon for a trip to the ice cream stand.

I didn’t find anyone contemptible in this episode.

Roger was desperate and pathetic. Understandably.

Don was desperate too. His tryst with Megan is probably his one trespass that I find most excusable. In fact, his pressuring of Faye to give him inside dope on her clients was worse in my view.

As for Don’s dressing down of Pete – Don is an asshole jerk of a boss. Pete helped him out last time for his own reasons. Pete hasn’t bought himself rights to diminished assholishness.

It says a lot more about Pete that he was still ready to leg it to the funeral instead of to the hospital when he had just learned of his daughter’s birth.

As for Pete’s best move – owners win in our society. I don’t blame Pete for trying to hang on to the firm he has rather than signing on with Chaough. Sterling, Cooper, and Draper are the devils he knows.

Stan is a moron. He really thought Peggy banged a random delivery boy? It wasn’t even a porn cliche yet.

That was his creative high point to date. That scene really was poetic.

Re Pete’s “offer” I think he’s being played. This is all part of an elaborate ruse to cut Don off at the knees.

I’m still curious about Roger’s claim to Lee Garner Jr. that he told “all those lies” for Lucky Strike. What “lies” is he referring to? I don’t recall any cigarette ads from the 60’s making health issues regarding cigarettes. It was all lifestyle and “great taste” type advertising.

I thought for sure a tired, stressed-out Pete was going to spill the beans on turning down last week’s lucrative contact to preserve Don’s secret identity when Don had the gall to start chewing Pete out in front of everybody. Then again, I was also certain that this episode would be the last time we saw Roger alive.

I do like that even with all the craziness going on, this episode was sort of a breather after last week’s roller coaster. And some good stuff even happened to Pete and Peggy. I hope Pete does take the job with the rival agency, and also I really want that bright blue jacket he was wearing for the first half of the episode.

I don’t think this is meant to be important. Business relations routinely involved the covering up of minor indiscretions, especially in the context of the culture depicted in the show. Who knows? Prostitutes, minor embezzling from his daddy’s company, whatever. I’m sure rich boy Lee Jr. did a lot of things in the big city that he didn’t want his dad to find out about.

Don, at least, did point out that Pete was a better account man that Roger. That doesn’t count for much, but it does count for something.

I took it that Roger knows that LG Jr is gay and has helped him stay in the closet. And you’re right about Chaough basically trying to cut Don off at the knees, though the offer to Pete could still be genuine. Pete’s an asset.

You’re viewing this with a contemporary emo lens. It was completely expected that he would attend to business first in a crisis, and if you will recall the funeral was seen as ripe grounds for prospecting. Saving the firm was the priority. Calling him a shit because he was being a team player and trying to save the firm is kind of weak.

I think Trudy would understand that Pete had to go to the memorial service if she knew how bad things were going at SCDP. He really tried to be there twice before, but the timing was off.

I don’t trust Ted Chaough any farther than I could throw him, and I don’t think Pete does, either.

Jane’s really settled into the role of trophy wife, hasn’t she? The Sterling’s home is just as awful as Roger’s office, but in a completely different way.

That’s not the last we’ll see of Kenny’s future in-laws. I doubt that Ray Wise would have been hired to play a minor part in a restaurant scene.

At the memorial service a large part of the speakers’ eulogies was how much time the deceased spent away from his family. This seemed to register with Pete, who had a daughter he hadn’t seen yet. I wonder if that’s going to become a plot point.

I couldn’t believe Don going off on Pete when Pete had just thrown himself on a grenade for him. It was almost as if he was daring him to bring up the fact they lost a $4 million account because Don was a deserter and felon.

I hate Stan, he’s such a one-note character that it feels like wasted time whenever he’s on the screen. “Oh, look… Stan’s going to do something smarmy and sexist.”

Hell, he makes me long for the comparatively nuanced performances of faux-boho Kinsey.

I don’t buy that this is entirely true. It’s 1965 now and we’re getting much closer to our own era, and it’s going to be harder and harder to make the case that everything is different because of the times. Pete’s daughter is roughly of my generation, and I don’t know any of my peers whose fathers – even if they had been at work during the birth – wouldn’t have hightailed to the hospital as soon as they heard.

It’s one thing to be at business, and not getting the news. It’s another thing to get the news and not go. I can buy swinging by the hospital for a quick trip and then onto the funeral (actual contact couldn’t take place until after the service.) I don’t think anyone in that room would have blamed him if he had gone.

Well, I think Stan’s a moron, but I don’t regret his screen time. He’s an entertaining moron.

I miss Kinsey too, and not just in comparison to Stan.

As one of the few followers of the departed Reaper, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Cosgrove was in fact having dinner with the Devil.

I don’t fault Pete for not rushing to the hospital. He needs to salvage something from the situation if he’s going to provide for his family. I was actually afraid for a bit that Trudy was going to die in childbirth when Pete mentioned the labor complications in the meeting.

Pete was basically in an impossible situation. Was it more important to see his daughter right then instead of waiting until after the funeral, or was it more important to mingle with the “vulnerable” accounts so he’d be able to support his daughter? I thought it was a wonderfully touching and subtle moment when Pete was sitting in the service and realized he’d made his choice and coming to understand that it might have been the most wrong out of two wrong choices. I think he was seeing Trudy and his own daughter sitting in the front, faces frozen while they listened to eulogies for a man they never knew, whose love was literally measured in thimbles. But…what was he supposed to do?

I think Don trying to get Faye to violate her personal code of ethics was pretty despicable, and that scene told us more about Don than anything else that happened in the episode, maybe in the series. He can’t understand why she won’t do it because he doesn’t have a moral code, except maybe the “hobo code.” And even if he does have a few rules he lives by, he can shuttle them when it becomes expedient to do so.

I’m intrigued by the scene with Megan. At first I wondered if she is trying to sleep her way to the top, either believing it worked for Peggy or just figuring it would work for her. But then after she told him to go home, go to bed, and stop drinking, I wondered if she’s savvy enough to realize that the best way to reach Don is through his dick. He was definitely docile and agreeable after that. On the other hand, it’s perfect reasonable to want to fuck Don. Either way, I think that Don was morally in the clear and had no good reason to expect Faye to be waiting for him–especially since he thought she came by his house just to break up with him via envelope.

All of SCDP is decorated in a spacey modern theme. Even if Jane did insist on decorating Roger’s office herself she’s aware of the effect the partners want.

I wonder if Megan is also under the impression that Peggy slept with Don. She did reveal she has ambitions beyond being a secretary or housewife. That could make for an interesting storyline next season; Peggy no longer being the only woman copywriter.

Didn’t Joyce also mention she was stoned?

Plus the financial future of his wife & daughter are tied to getting more clients in this crisis. Pete’s in-laws seem to understand this. Mr Vogel even set up a meeting with Chaough in the maternity waiting room.

Well Chaough did after him a named partnership and 1/3 voting share, but it does seem like this is a trick to screw with Don. And Stan is a douche. Leaving aside him wanting to put Peggy “in her place” with sex; letting her give a presentation with lipstick on her teeth? Ordinarly that would just be a dick thing to do to her; in a crisis like this it’s an act of contempt to the whole agency.

I don’t see any reason to believe that Stan “let” her do it. Harry was sitting right next to her and wasn’t able to clue her in until after the meeting was over.