‘Mad Men’ Recap: ‘The Collaborators’ Reveals Don’s Seedy Childhood

April 15th, 2013 // 1 Comment
Mad Men

While last week centered on death and hell, this week the theme of AMC’s Mad Men was all about shame and dishonor. Pete and Trudy finished up a dinner party in which he flirted with the wives while the husbands continued to flirt with Trudy. Later on, Pete met up with one of the wives at his Manhattan apartment.

Clearly Pete has always wanted what Don has, but his attempt at smoothness is lost in his less than desirable flat which his mistress says needs a woman’s touch. Still, he gets the girl much to the chagrin and confusion of an audience that is thoroughly grossed out by this man.

Don meets up with Rosen in the elevator but overhears he and Sylvia having a conversation about money. When the elevator doors close Don tells Rosen that he forgot his cigarettes and after the poor doctor walks out, changes the floor to visit Sylvia for a roll around in the hay. Post coital, Sylvia says she is nervous about having dinner with Megan and Rosen later that week. Don says he doesn’t mind as their spouses are both good company. Cut to a flashback sequence that somewhat explains Don’s messed up mind.

Audiences were aware that Don’s mother was a prostitute, but it is revealed that she didn’t get into the game until he was prepubescent and his mother was pregnant. The two go to live with his aunt in a brothel and he spies on his mother being had by the rooster of said hen house. Gross!

That sick bastard that Joan had to sleep with to become a partner shows up to the office wanting to meet with Don and Pete. He wants to change their advertising game at Jaguar to focus on domestic radio stuff, but can’t tell the Jaguar executives himself and wants Don to do his dirty work. Don is appalled, but Pete the snake is always down for something dirty.

Another client pulls a weird move. Heinz baked beans dude brings in heinz ketchup dude to meet Don and Ken. Ketchup is hinting at Don’s people representing him, but only possibly. After he leaves, baked beans tells Don that he does not want ketchup to steal his thunder. Ken tells Don afterward that they should go for it, but Don wants to be happy with baked beans as is.

Peggy has managed to create a great relationship with her secretary, but can’t seem to win over her minions. They leave feminine powder on her desk as a joke, letting her know she needs to lighten up. When Peggy talks to Stan about their work day, he lets her know about the baked beans and ketchup kerfuffle. She makes the mistake of telling her boss Ted, who is excited that Heinz ketchup is looking for new representation. Peggy feels torn, but gives in when Ted says they’re going after the coca cola of condiment brands.

Megan and Sylvia meet up in the laundry room and Megan is visibly upset. The two talk over cigarettes back at Megan’s place where she confesses that she recently had a miscarriage. She also lets Sylvia know that she was thinking of having an abortion, but nature took its course for her. She feels terrible either way. Both Sylvia and Megan were raised Catholic and Sylvia lets her know that she would never consider an abortion. The difference between these ladies is a generation. Sylvia has a college aged son while Megan has yet to have a child and is just beginning her career.

Later on when the couples are to meet up for dinner, Megan bails because she isn’t feeling well and Dr. Rosen is called away on an emergency. Sylvia thinks she and Don should leave, but Don tells her that she only feels guilty that they have to interact. She won’t feel guilty when he takes off her clothes. The two have a quick dinner followed by dessert at home if you know what I mean. Don goes back to Megan where she reveals that she had a miscarriage. He isn’t very upset, but does feel badly for her and says he only wants what she wants. She says she doesn’t know yet, but definitely wants children.

Pete’s mistress/neighbor shows up at he and Trudy’s door at night with a blooded nose and black eye from her husband who has clearly found out about her affair. She asks Pete if she can stay with him in Manhattan and he blows her off. Trudy gives her a ride to a nearby hotel and apparently finds out in the car her neighbor’s connection with Pete. The next morning she tells Pete to stay at his place in Manhattan for good and not to come around their suburban home anymore.

At the office, Don and Pete meet with sick bastard Herb and the Jaguar execs to discuss changing the budget plan for domestic radio advertisements. Pete schmoozes the execs and lets them know that this is a brilliant plan. Don pretends to sell it, but purposefully blunders his words to make the execs feel odd so they’ll keep things the same. Roger picks up on his move and Don doesn’t care because he finds Herb to be a scumbag.

Pete drinks in his office when that random dude Bob Benson shows up and tells Pete that he has the life. Pete disagrees and says it is all for show. He has become a regular Don Draper, only without the looks, swag, or charisma. Who the hell is Bob Benson anyhow? A spy?

Don feels so odd about the situation that he attempts to knock on Sylvia’s maid door while Rosen is home. She tells him to get lost and come back in the morning. He sits down at his own front door remembering the incident from his teenage years in which he watched his mother through the peephole. He doesn’t want to go inside his apartment anymore.

By Chelsi Archibald
  1. That wasn’t Don’s mother. It was his stepmother. His mother was a prostitute who died in childbirth and then the mid-wife took Don to his father’s home. Don’s dad died when his horse kicked him in the face leaving his family with nothing which is why they had to go live with her sister in the brothel

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