Mad Men recap: What's the Frequency, Ginsberg?

Ginsberg checks out while Don and Megan live out an L.A. fantasy
Ep. 05 | Aired May 11, 2014

Last week, Lloyd the computer guy said that strange new computers have a way of becoming "a metaphor for whatever's on peoples' minds" when they're dropped into an office setting. Safe to say that Ginsberg proved him correct. On Monday at the office, a calmer Ginsberg reassures Peggy that he's disarmed that H-bomb that felt like it was going to explode in his head. He was feeling much better, slightly embarrassed by his weekend behavior, but sincere in his declaration that he has real feelings for Peggy. "I realized it was the waves of data," he says. "They were filling me up. I had to find a release."

At this point, I had two simultaneous conflicting thoughts. One: Ginsberg is looney-tunes crazy, but sort of a Love Actually crazy type that we'd excuse on TV and the movies. Two: This coupling is just crazy enough to work! I mean, Peggy doesn't exactly have a long list of suitors right now, and that's counting the quality TV-time with Julio, the boy from the upstairs apartment with poor plumbing.

Ginsberg presents Peggy a boxed gift, and that's when we go from Love Actually to Seven. Inside is... his bloody nipple, which he cut off himself. "It's my nipple," he says, matter-of-factly. "It's the valve."

Peggy is rightfully appalled, mostly for Ginsberg's self-mutilation but perhaps also because she's just realized she may have narrowly escaped some gruesome death while he watched her sleep that day. She calls the hospital, and the last time we see Ginsberg, he's handcuffed to a gurney, pleading to his co-workers, "Get out while you can."

Don has no intention of following Ginsberg out the door. Armed with Harry's cigarette news, he hustles back to New York and crashes the Philip Morris meeting at the Algonquin, where Cutler and Lou are pitching Commander Cigarettes. Don tries to turn his liability into a strength: sure, he slammed big-tobacco in the paper of record, but he now knows how to beat the regulators and good-health lobby. He practically dares the skeptical tobacco execs to hire SC&P, if only to get Don to apologize publicly to them and get him to do their bidding. It's not the worst play by Don, but it's really his best bad option, called from a position of extreme weakness. Think about it: the best-case scenario is that SC&P gets the account and Don gets publicly flogged for getting back into bed with the cancer companies.

I wonder what the rest of the partners will think about Don's bold maneuver. Even if they land the account, barging in on that session had to violate the stipulation of following a preapproved script. If the rest of the partners have been waiting for Don to trip up in the slightest, this would certainly qualify as cause, wouldn't it? Who's to stop Bert Cooper and Jim Cutler from severing Don from the company now and acting out the lyrics of the Waylon Jennings tune "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line"?

Everybody knows you've been steppin' on my toes
And I'm gettin' pretty tired of it
You keep a steppin' out of line
You're messin' with my mind
If you had any sense you'd quit

Just Spitballin' Here

Overshadowed by the threesome and Ginsberg's severed nipple is trouble on the campaign trail with Henry and Betty Francis, who gets chastised by her hubby for having the wrong questions and answers about the Vietnam War. (Henry is now in favor of supporting Nixon's plan to end the war.) Henry just wants her to be Emily Post, but Betty is tired of people telling her to shut up. She knows Italian, people!

Upstairs at night, busted-nosed Sally and sweet Bobby discuss the state of their mother's marriage. Bobby gets to deliver the saddest line of the night: "I have a stomach ache all the time." Oh Bobby, that's the long-lasting indigestion associated with eating the candy you traded for your mother's sandwich. It will go away after 20-25 years.

Meredith has blossomed as one of my favorite supporting characters, and her batting average for getting a laugh might be second only to Roger. Last week, she shined when Freddie and Don made an early exit for the Mets game. In "The Runaways," she generates a laugh without even making an appearance, when Don says into his recorder, "S-T-R-A-T-E-G-Y. Meredith, honey, I don't want that spelled out. I just want it spelled right."

When Don speaks to Stephanie on the phone the second time, she's clearly back on the streets. Do you think she already squandered the $1,000 from Megan? Is it possible she chose not to cash it? Or was the money all she really wanted from Don in the first place?

Did you hear Harry sound the death knell for Ted? "Ted Chaough: broken man."

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