Mad Men recap: Shall We Merge?

It's Mother's Day in 1968 and Matthew Weiner delivers another game-changer
Ep. 06 | Aired May 5, 2013

DRAPER? JUST MET HER Megan worries about not wearing pants.

Michael Yarish/AMC

Pete storms over to his father-in-law's who is not having it at all. His daughter is a princess, after all, and now he knows what kind of guy Pete is. So much for Ken's theory about mutual assured destruction.

Peggy is home and not enjoying being a pioneer so much where kids light firecrackers on her front stoop and she can't wear shoes. But good old Abe, he is enjoying that the times, they are a'changing. Peggy goes into a reverie that involves changing undershirt-wearing Abe to a turtleneck-wearing Ted reading the mythical book Something by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Take from this what you will. Or go back and read your copy of Sterling's Gold. She kisses dream Ted passionately. Oh, Peggy.

In Detroit Don, as usual, can't sleep and heads to the bar where real life Ted enters, wearing a very real turtleneck. "Damn it," Ted says, realizing what it means to see an SCDP snake in Motor City paradise. He tells Don they're both dead meat: that bringing in two small agencies among the big ones means they'll just take their creative work and give it to the bigger agency. Don's Chevy glow begins to fade, as he realizes Ted might be right. "This business is rigged," Don says, ordering another drink. Ted suggests they show each other their pitches. Don tells him to go first and Ted stands up and delivers a spiel about the young at heart. Not bad. And then Don lays his out: classic Draper, involving music and wonder and power. Don then proposes they join forces (using the line, "Hey, Lieutenant: want to get into trouble?" -- a callback to the season premiere and a conversation that took place at a different hotel bar).

The next morning, as "Baby Jane (Mo Mo Jane)" by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels plays, the two agencies meet up at Chevy headquarters. "I want to make this clear," says bizarro Roger (Harry Hamlin). "Unless this works, I'm against it."

Pete waits for Trudy, creepily, at her house. He asks her to sit down and he tells her that his father pulled his business from the agency. Trudy doesn't care. "You understand we were going to be very rich and he ruined that," Pete says. Trudy, a good daddy's girl, rises to the defense of her father. And then Pete Campbell, displaying every ounce of Pete Campbell-ness, goes ahead and tells her he saw her father with a "200-pound Negro" prostitute. Stay classy, Campbell. Trudy, quite rightly, tosses him out the door.

Ted arrives back from Detroit and summons Peggy, wearing a cute short dress (with a questionable bow) to his office where... surprise! There's Don, sitting on the couch. The new buddy duo of Ted and Don inform her that the companies are merging and Don -- remembering how crappily he did it last time -- asks rather than assumes that she stick with them. Peggy gets tasked to write the press release (which explains this week's title) and this new company doesn't even have a name yet. "Make it sound like the company you want to work for," Don tells her, before further confusing matters by implying she'll still report to Ted. Of course.

Well, who saw this one coming?! Certainly not me. Next week, there are doors, conversations, bad news, and boxes!

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