Mad Men Recap: The punch, the call girl and the boy named Handsome that turn Pete into a complete psycho

Photography courtesy of Ron Jaffe/AMC

Last week’s episode was like playing a game of Mystery Date (our new retro game obsession, in which you never know who’s going to end up with who!). Don fought his libido incarnate in a fever dream, Joan reunited with and then kicked out Dr. Greg, and Sally eventually got high bonded with Grandma Pauline. We feel we’re in a good place with most of our characters, so who’s going to have a crisis this week? Read on…

Oh, Pete… »


Photography courtesy of Jordin Althaus/AMC
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When Lane’s wife declares: “I don’t find Britain any more moral than here nowadays. The boys look like girls, and the girls don’t seem to be concerned with manners, do they?” What she’s really saying is…
“You won’t catch me at a Rolling Stones concert anytime soon.”

When Roger says to Lane about the Jaguar account: “I’d be happy to ride shotgun.” What he’s really saying is…
“I don’t mind playing wingman. And by shotgun I mean, I plan on getting very day drunk.” Later, when Roger tells Lane the tricks to seducing a client, we see that when given an audience that needs him, Roger is serious and dispenses with the quips. There’s still gold in them silver fox’s hills.

When Don says of going to the Campbells: “But Saturday night in the suburbs? Let’s be real, blow our brains out.” What he’s really saying is…
“I just got over murdering/not murdering an old flame. One drive through the country and I will have to be murdering a whole lot more.”

When Ken says to Peggy: “The pact still stands, if I go anywhere you go with me.” What he’s really telling us is…
By default Peggy has aligned herself with Ken. Obviously Roger is out as a route to moving up at another agency since he’s barely staying afloat at his own company, and Pete’s no longer her ally, so Ken is the only survivor left on the island for an alliance.

Photography courtesy of Ron Jaffe/AMC

When a triumphant Trudy says to Don: “It’s going to happen and I promise you’ll have a good time.” What we’re thinking is…
Trudy is so awesome, it makes us dislike Pete that much more. Also, she’s ditched the caftan and is back to wearing gorgeous perfect-wife dresses which makes her the perfect Stepford wife/feminist hybrid.

When Megan says to a petulant Don: “I had to invite your accountant to your birthday party.” What she’s really saying is…
“You need more friends.”

When Pete gushes to Don: “Look, I’m not going to pretend it’s not a big deal to us that you came out.” What he’s really saying is…
“Even us men crush on you, Don. Especially when you look like a total plaid ass in that sport coat.”

When Ken explains the meaning behind his story as: “Because he’s a robot. Those people tell him what to do and he doesn’t have the power to make any decisions except he can decide whether that bolt is on or off.” What his story really tells us is…
Ken is a philosopher and not looking to get his self worth from feeling like a big man around the office. We look forward to a meeting with (the real) Ginsberg later this season.

Photography courtesy of Michael Yarish/AMC

When Pete says: “Yes to dessert. Still having too much fun for coffee.” What he’s really saying is…
“I am getting crunk tonight, Trudy.”

When Don pulls off his shirt faster than you can say “ladies night” and fixes the sink, what we’re thinking is…
Why couldn’t those be Velcro pants and come off, too? We also love how the ladies just stood in the spray and squealed. It was like a wet T-shirt contest thrown at a church.

When Don says: “I’m too drunk for you to drive. You should pull over and we’ll both sober up.” What we’re thinking is…
We’ll be your designated driver anytime, Don.

Photography courtesy of Jordin Althaus/AMC

When Jenny Gunther says to “Handsome” about Pete: “No he’s not the instructor, he’s Peter.” What we’re thinking is…
Pete, this is the signal. You’re too old to be acting this way. The lingering shot over Handsome’s muscles made us all the more uncomfortable for spineless Pete/r.

When the Jaguar exec says: “I like parties.” What he’s saying is…
“I want to get laid.”

When the call girl says to Pete: “Do you think you could lift me? Mmm, that’s what I thought, you’re one of those guys who’s stronger than he looks.” What she’s really saying is…
“I know how to size up a guy’s insecurities.” We bet Pete was an easy mark fresh off his loss to Handsome. The way he looks at Don for approval before disappearing with the call girl makes us cringe.

When Don says to Pete about Megan and his lack of cheating: “If I’d met her first, I would know not to throw it away.” What he’s saying is…
He’s happy. Don is happy! Maybe Pete needs to have that same fever Don had last week and sweat out the urge to cheat. But is Pete savable like Don? We’ve got serious doubts.

Photography courtesy of Ron Jaffe/AMC

When Lane rolls up his sleeves and warns Pete: “You’re a grimy little pimp. As soon as I raise my hands, I warn you, it will be too late to run.” What we’re thinking is…
Yes! We love that Don closes the curtains and Roger lights up a cigarette. “This is medieval,” coos Burt. Then there’s Peggy and Joan listening over the intercom. And once Lane knocks Pete down he leaves with the parting words, “consider that my last piece of advice.” Quelle scandale!

When Lane kisses Joan. What he’s really proving is…
He’s got cojones. After all that messing about on the phone with the girl in the photograph we thought Lane was all talk, no action. But after Pete’s quip about his sexuality, Lane feels he has something to prove, and what better way than kissing the office babe.

When Joan says to an apologetic Lane: “Everyone in this office has wanted to do that to Pete Campbell.” What she’s really saying is…
“Everyone in this office has wanted to kiss me.” Dr. Greg hasn’t soured our Joanie’s generosity to the egos of men.

When Pete says: “This is an office. We’re supposed to be friends.” What he’s really saying is…
“Behind this dick exterior, I want to be liked. I’m a bit scared and still looking for that love my dad never gave me.” The sad thing is that Pete doesn’t know what it means to be a friend. He holds everyone in contempt, and while he invited Don and Ken over for a friendly dinner party, that didn’t stop him from lashing out at Don in the cab or telling on Ken for moonlighting as an author. No matter how popular or loved Pete will be, it’ll never be enough. Daddy issues. Sigh.

Mad Men airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC. Tune in next week, when Lane starts a fight club with Stan and that kid called Handsome.