Mad Men Recap: ‘Lost Horizon’

Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and their fellow SC&P expatriates are reeling in an advertising diaspora as McCann-Erickson proves to be the ultimate reminder of what has been lost in the latest episode of Mad Men

The loses have come in abundance for our favorite slick-haired protagonist, going far beyond his inability to use spur-of-the-moment naps as a mechanism for temporary escape. 

Though the struggle to escape the vortex of emptiness that he’s been spiraling in for years is ongoing, Don is finally conscious of what and whom he needs: love, which comes in the form of Diana (Elizabeth Reaser), the waitress whose mysterious spirit kept luring Don to the diner for lukewarm coffee.  

He misses Diana and needs to find her, for she, different from all the others he’s pounced on, could be the one that makes him go all John Cusack and hold an oversized portable radio outside of her window, because they are so much alike and bound by feelings of estrangement. 

During a meeting with Miller Beer, Don, in classic Draper fashion, peers out of the window, walks out of the room and decides to drive to Racine, Wis., to find his love and declare his affection. 

Don arrives at Diana’s ex-husband’s house, at which the new housewife answers, and he lies about who he is in order to acquire information about Diana’s whereabouts. But once ol’ boy gets home, Don is found out, prompted to bounce from the house, and told that he is one of many lovesick puppies whom Diana has left yearning for her touch, all of which her ex says before whining about how devastated he was when she left. 

Despite coming up short in his efforts to find her, Don plows his car through the dusty terrain of the Midwest, continuing to be rebellious in the name of love. 

While Don flat out chucks up the deuce and temporarily breaks away from Jim Hobart (H. Richard Greene) and his minions, everyone else is trapped and forced to get down with the ways of McCann-Erickson, no matter how screwed up they are. 

Everyone is split up, placed on different floors and treated in ways that symbolize their rank, role and relevance in the firm. 

Stan (Jay Ferguson), SC&P’s quirky art director, is thrown into a pig pen located on the sixteenth floor. 

Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Ted (Kevin Rahm) resemble mindless yuppie-like clones who smile and walk excitedly due to their VP-level statuses, which, knowing the former’s ever fluctuating disposition, is subject to change. 

Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), one of three stragglers still lurking around the old SC&P building, does not even have an office, despite her role as Copy Chief. Because of this uncertainty, her self worth and optimism begin to slowly diminish. 

But after receiving a much-needed pep talk from Roger, she walks into McCann-Erickson with stunner shades on, a cigarette between her lips and a risqué panting, illustrating an octopus wrapped around a naked Asian woman, at her side for all to see and take note of her being the epitome of cool. 

And Roger, trying to find refuge in what used to be his kingdom, is depressed after being usurped and watching Hobart and Co. obliterate his throne with one zap from their big stick. 

The intimate familial nature that defined SC&P is long gone, which calls for adaptation. Its absence, though affecting all, tests Joan’s strength and endurance. 

While Joan is on the phone with one of the head men at Avon, an account she had to muster up boldness and defy traditional power structure to obtain for herself, Dennis Ford (Greg Cromer), a McCann-Erickson stool pigeon, sits in on the call and constantly undermines Joan through airhead diction that ultimately forces her contact to make up an excuse to end the call. 

She immediately scorns him for his unprofessionalism, and he informs her of her newfound irrelevance in demeaning fashion. 

This angers Joan, moving her to voice her discontent with the structure of things to Ferg Donnelly (Paul Johansson), who delivers a jaw-breaking hook when he illustrates that a man taking orders from a woman is not a good look, leaving Joan motionless and at a loss for words. 

She then decides to present an ultimatum to Hobart, demanding a $500,000 buyout and using the threat of taking legal action as a means to coerce him into submission. Hobart, the semi-bald man who initially presented himself as upright and approachable, ethers Joan, offers her half of what she demanded, and tells her to get out of his sight.

Joan reluctantly agrees after receiving admonition from Roger, who tells her that she will not receive a better offer. 

One has to admire her valiant not-to-be-messed-with drive, for she was determined to maintain what she had worked for, and when it became clear that she was nothing more than a pretty-faced reserve seated deep at the end of McCann-Erickson’s bench, she walked out and went home, a place everyone clearly misses. 


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