"Don has a disagreement with a client; Pete entertains a guest; Peggy tries to motivate the staff." That's the official synopsis for Mad Men Season 6, Episode 3, "The Collaborators" -- remember, last week's season premiere was actually Episodes 1-2 aired back-to-back in a two-hour special -- and if you're a Mad Men fan, you're used to such cryptic previews from Matthew Weiner and crew.
But don't despair! We've got the scoop on what to expect from tonight's Mad Men episode, "The Collaborators." And be sure to read our Mad Men Season 6 Episode 1-2 Recap to catch up on all the premiere details before Episode 3 airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
Mad Men Season 6 Episode 3 was directed by Jon Hamm, and from his comments on the experience we gather this episode is going to give us a nice dose of Pete Campbell -- and the return of Trudy!
"I actually had an incredible scene that I directed with [Vincent Kartheiser] and Alison Brie, where I was like, 'I could shoot this all day,'" Hamm dished. "It was a long scene and it was a lot of story in the scene but it was like a little one-act play. I felt bad that they were both so good that we didn't have to do it 100 times. They're both such wonderful actors that I could go to each one and say, 'OK do the thing that you did where you're not quite that way and a little more this way,' and then watch them play off each other. I was like, 'Let's do this all day! This is great!' That's Vincent. And Alison as well. Vincent, his creation of Pete Campbell is ever evolving and for my money always interesting."
More Mad Men Season 6, Episode 3 hints have come from Christina Hendricks, who plays fan favorite Joan Harris (neé Holloway). Season 5 held a lot of drama for Joan, who kicked her loser surgeon husband to the curb after he volunteered to go back to Vietnam without consulting her, and later gave in to requests by certain SCDP partners and slept with an important business ally to help them land a deal with Jaguar. In exchange for such a drastic compromise in Joan's pride and principles, she demanded to be made partner.
The Mad Men premiere gave barely a glimpse of Joan, disappointing scores of fans who have been eagerly awaiting the continuation of her storyline. But given Hendricks' comments on her experience working with Jon Hamm as director, we're confident we'll get more Joan in "The Collaborators." And Hendricks' comments on what's next for Joan are mighty encouraging!
"We definitely are exploring the fact that we have seen her all of a sudden become partner and what that means," Hendricks said. "Are people going to just all of a sudden turn around and [say], 'Oh, Joan's a partner. Let's treat her like a partner'? Or is it just a title and everything else is the same as usual? It is hard to answer that without revealing too much. I do think that Joan thinks she deserves the title and deserves the job and she has proven herself to be incredibly capable and quite talented at it. If she found out she wasn't getting the respect she deserved, it would bother her."
Of course, these are the same questions we had leading up to the Mad Men Season 6 premiere -- and Episode 1-2 didn't do much to answer them.
Last week's two-hour special revolved around Don Draper's melancholy and anxiety. For the first ten minutes of the episode, which opened with Don and Megan on a Christmas-season vacation in Waikiki, Draper said nothing as his young wife pranced and chattered around him. As Megan danced the hula and hit the boardwalk to pick up some reefer to stash in her bikini bottoms, Don slouched around with a zombie gaze. He seemed bitterly unhappy throughout the episode, making conversation only as necessary (other than his strange bromantic efforts with a surgeon in his building, whose wife Don turned out to be boinking). Near the end of the episode, Don pitched an ad campaign to the hotel that had sponsored his Hawaii vacation which showed footsteps leading into the surf and the tagline "Hawaii: The Jumping Off Point."
The client, Don's SCDP colleagues, and large swaths of viewers at home interpreted hints of suicide in the ad. The hotel people called it "morbid," and Don was left going back to the drawing board. The episode wrapped up with the revelation that Don was cheating on Megan with the surgeon's wife, starting the New Year with a roll in the hay. That Don's still a cheater didn't shock anyone, but there was something surprising about the scene where Don lies in the dark next to his latest mistress: He seems utterly miserable. When the lovely lady asks what Don wants for the new year, Don replies, "I wanna stop doing this."
We wonder if he'll be able to accomplish that before Megan finds out. Megan might not be a fan favorite, but her character has always been pretty sharp when it comes to catching on to Don Draper's bad habits. In Season 5, the newest Mrs. Draper never hesitated to call Don out for coming home late or failing to respect her wishes, resulting in a few major blow-ups of a kind we never saw between Don and Betty. What's going to happen if Megan finds out Don's been sleeping with the neighbor?
Mad Men "The Doorway" seemed to set the stage for another season of misery and death themes, but Weiner has hinted that this may not exactly be the case. The creator of Mad Men even (ostensibly) rejected the suicide interpretation of Draper's hotel ad, and seemed to imply that Don's creative genius of early seasons is not only back, but bigger than ever. "When you look at this ad, the audience is going to know this is a good ad, and by the 1970s there are a lot of ads like this," Weiner said. "But the agency is going to have to pitch this to the client for eight years before they do it."
And as for Don Draper's newest affair, Weiner said, "The most important part of that is not that he's with his neighbor, and that he obviously admires and has a friendship with her husband, but that he doesn't want to do it anymore. It's not satisfying whatever anxiety he has. That's what you have to take as the jumping off point for the season."
Does that put Season 6 Don Draper on a path to redemption as he looks for new ways to satisfy his melancholy and reconcile his identity crisis, or will he simply fade away as his old coping mechanisms lose their potency? We think it could go either way at this point. Hopefully, "The Collaborators" will make it clearer which route we're taking.
As for what's in store for Peggy Olson in Mad Men Season 6, Episode 3, one of the photos from "The Collaborators" released by AMC has us excited. This one is really worth a thousand words: Peggy stands tall in what looks like one of her best outfits yet and that sophisticated new bob (no girlish flip-curls in 1968!), her chin up and her hands on her hips. She looks determined to lay down the law, and we can't wait to see it happened. One of the best moments of Mad Men "The Doorway" was when she passed a sub sandwich to her underachieving staff and told them to split it, "because you're not leaving tonight." Ha!
Betty Francis, Don Draper's ex-wife, got plenty of camera time in the premiere. The icy blonde had slimmed down since Season 5, but wasn't quite back to her old Grace Kelly physique of Seasons 1-4. Betty gave us some of the strangest surprises in "The Doorway," dropping by the Village to slum it with the "hippies" (more "street rats" than the San Francisco flower children usually depicted in '60s-centric media) in a slovenly squat as she looked for a young girl who'd been staying with the Francis family. It was fun to see Betty interacting with the young radicals, helping them make goulash with their stolen groceries and snarking it out with the leader of the pack over her bourgeois background. By the end of the episode, Betty had dyed her signature blonde hair to a dark, dark brown.
The times, they are a-changin'!
Be sure to read our recap after the episode and share your thoughts in the comments!
To watch Mad Men Season 6, Episode 3 "The Collaborators," tune into AMC at 10:00 p.m. ET. Mad Men is also available for live streaming free online HERE, but please be advised that it isn't legal, and you should use it at your own risk. iDesign Times cannot be responsible for anything that occurs outside of this web domain.