SCDP and CGC have become... well they don't have a name yet, and the merger sees heads rolling and rivalries heating up in a hurry.
Don and Ted have always been rivals, even if it is a bit one sided from Chaugh's side, but now that they are in the same office they have to find new ways to find out who's dick is bigger; metaphorically, obviously. Don's lateness is a problem for Ted, so Don decides to test Ted's drinking prowess over a private creative meeting; Don wins. Don winning a drinking contest is no surprise, but the scene that made this pissing contest worth while didn't even involve both of these men. Peggy is the least excited about her two creative bosses going at it and you have to love this version of the character, who can walk right into Don's office and give him a piece of her mind. "Will Don listen?" is the bigger question, but it felt great to see those two going at each other, verbally, across Don's desk. Ted gets the last laugh though with the pair's rough weather plane ride in Ted's single engine and it was also the episode's best laugh of the night. I look forward to seeing these two spar going forward, but I also think them working together could be just as interesting; hopefully they can find a way to give us both.
Don's also going all Adam from Girls with Sylvia, as he "locks" her in a hotel room and starts making her his little dominatrix. There's no leather, but a red dress gets her going before she realizes this isn't a game she wants to play anymore, period. At first I thought Don might be trying to sabotage the relationship with this little game, even if he is enjoying it, but that look on Don's face when Sylvia calls it off and his indifference to Megan's daily report show he isn't ready to give up the fantasy. Don's continuation to fantasize about owning Sylvia hasn't gotten any less hypocritical or disgusting, but getting dumped isn't something he is used to and I can't imagine the fallout is going to go over all that easy; especially since everyone is going to be a mess after losing RFK at the end of the episode.
The rest of the episode can mostly be broken down in some long takes:
-Pete is having trouble at both work and home, feeling left out of the merger and wishing his mother was out the door. Seeing Pete's mom has taken quite the turn towards Alzheimer’s/dementia is sad, made doubly so by the fact both of her sons are ready to put her in an insane asylum. Pete basically has nowhere to turn with both Trudy and his mother soon to be out of the picture and all he has in the office is poor Bob Benson. Hopefully things will begin to look up again soon for Mr. Campbell. (I know, I know sympathy for Mr. weasel.)
-Speaking of Bob, he might get the gold star of the week as he has some excellent scenes with Joan and could very well become a romantic interest if Joan's Mom has anything to do with it. Joan had a bit of a medical emergency this week, ovarian cyst, but it was Bob's good nature and assistance to make sure our favorite red head was OK that made him finally stand out from the crowd with two cups of coffee. It even saves him his job and I am going to allow myself to think he was helping Joan out for more reasons than his own neck.
-Roger and Cutler are bound to get into some trouble down the line, right? As the silver haired members of the board I feel like they are bound to become the bizarro versions of one another and their style of firing people might be our first tell. Roger fires Burt Peterson, again, another comedy highlight of the episode and I can't imagine anyone doing it better.
-Where is Dawn?
A transitional episode if there ever was one for Mad Men, the first phases of merging SCDP and CGC go off mostly without a hitch and just in under the wire of the drama about to hit the office surrounding RFK. The show smartly focused on moving forward Don's romantic life as the show has stabilized its office setting and I think a back half season of Don without Sylvia could be a really interesting path for the character. Character interaction at the office also shows a lot of promise going forward with the merger as the show is doing a good job of getting its feet back under itself after quite the shakeup last week.
-"Oh, it's that meeting." A quote from previously on making me laugh.
-"But now I see you're about my height."
-"I hope you can still look up to me?"
-"And that means you were here after Don."
-Groovy, really Ted?
-"Yes, if you don't mind?"
-"No one will ever say you weren't funny."
-"Dammit Burt, you stole my goodbye."
-"A little rap session about margarine."
-"Don't go anywhere."
-"I would have opened that first."
-"Doesn't ice count?"
-"And I want bacon. It's not up for a debate."
-"Client still calls me Peggy."
-Don's eyes tonight.
-"Don't ask anymore questions."
-"He doesn't know that."
-"Walk back in there like you own half the place."
-I want Harry's SCDP mug, and I don't even like coffee.
-Hell of a smash cut to the plane.
-Ted in those aviators.
-"My mother can go to hell. Ted Chough can fly her there."
-There are those eyes again.
-Poor Megan, even the show is tuning her out.
-And there goes RFK.