Season Six, Episode Four
Mad Men mixes things up this week and allows an episode to really update us with some characters we haven’t seen all much of this season (Joan, Harry) and to push forward the plot-lines concerning with the Heinz account and Don and Megan’s marriage. “To Have and To Hold” presents characters to question what they currently have and things they’ve done to get to where they are now. It’s a popular topic that Mad Men loves to explore, but here it’s the central focus.
Let’s start with Megan, who breaks through with the soap opera by landing a love scene and time extended screen time. She’s concerned as to what Don is going to think about her kissing another guy on the show, but she’s an actress for crying out loud! To calm her nerves, her boss, Mel, and his wife invite her and Don out to dinner so they can put everyone at ease. But the dinner ends up being quite confusing for Don and Megan, who are asked to follow Mel and his wife home to smoke some grass and see what happens after. This allows Megan and Don to laugh at the whole situation. He seems fairly okay with Megan’s new role on the soap, but this is only at the beginning of the episode.
Next, we see Joan at home who is enjoying a visit from an old friend, Kate. She’s a rep for Mary Kay who is planning to move to Avon because Mary Kay doesn’t have the growth opportunities. Since the pilot episode until now, plenty of characters have changed, but no one has progressed as much in the working-world as Joan did. From secretary to a partner at SCDP, she’s at the top of the company, yet it still doesn’t seem that way and she admits it to Kate. Kate responds by telling her it doesn’t matter what it feels like, all that matters is her title.
Back at the office, Joan busts Harry’s secretary, Scarlet, for leaving work early and having Dawn clock out for her. But Harry drags Scarlet back to the office and reprimands Joan for firing his own secretary by basically saying he deserves to be a partner more than she does. We all know how Joan got to be a partner in the company, but even without that she’s been an important component to making SCDP run. Harry does have a point, though, because he’s always on the wrong side of the joke and has been carrying his weight since the beginning. But if he’s suggesting he’s more important than Joan, he’s be packing his things before he can cash his next check.
The episode meanders until it gets to its main event: the Heinz Ketchup pitch. Don pitches an ad showing large food images with the words “Pass The Heinz” written on top of it. There’s no image of the ketchup bottle. They don’t even mention the word “ketchup.” Don insists that the client’s imagination will fill in the blanks and the ad will remain on their minds long after they see the ad. It’s a bold ad but that’s the work that Don’s been spitting out lately. To everyone’s surprise, as they leave they see Peggy and her team waiting outside ready to give their pitch. She has a different and more simpler approach. She shows the Heinz ketchup bottle and uses the word “ketchup” in big letters. It’s everything that Don’s pitch isn’t. While Don listens in, Peggy uses one of his quotes, “If you don’t like what’s being said, then change the conversation.” It was like Don being slapped in the face by his protege.
Neither of them land the deal, but the damage is done. Ken storms into the bar they’re all sitting at and says their secret pitch cost them the Heinz Baked Beans deal. Don and company took a risk and it bit them in the ass. As for Peggy, she lost Stan as a friend for using his information to try and land Heinz. This might not lead to a feud between both companies, but this is definitely a sour moment for two ad agencies and former friends.
With the bad taste still in Don’s mouth, he watches Megan’s scene at the studio. He doesn’t approve and Megan even questions why he’s there. They’re both right and wrong in the moment. Don’s recent interest to appear at the studio is only because of Megan’s steamy scene. But as for Don, it’s better that he actually sees what’s being done rather than let his imagination run wild, the exact opposite message he was trying to sell to Heinz. At the end, Don is spending another moment with Sylvia. What’s so interesting about these two is how Sylvia understands the damage within Don. She tells him that she prays for his happiness and peace. She’s not the first one and it seems like she won’t be the last.