It's all about Pete Campbell on Mad Men this week, as we get a little more insight into what's making him so miserable. Though he's guilty of a few despicable acts, we also get to see Trudy in her best form, plus the added bonus of seeing Pete get put in his place in a very unexpected manner.
The Campbell comeuppance isn't the only twist: there's also an awkward kiss that takes place within the walls of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and some great zingers from Don. Is it just me, or is Don funnier than ever this season? Just another reason why I'm a fan of the Megan effect. Let's break it down when you read more.
- The company you keep: Despite his resistance, Don and Megan get roped into a dinner party at the Campbells' new suburban home at Trudy's urging. Don's the man of the hour, as Pete can't stop brownnosing, and Don comes to the rescue when the sink starts flooding. The real hilarity is that no one can remember poor Cynthia's name (Don gives a classic "Hello, you" when he arrives, and Megan even blurts out Cynthia's name during her "eureka" moment). It's a nice insight into Pete's seemingly perfect life, complete with an adoring wife, cute daughter, and of course, a brand-new stereo.
- Hail to the king: We've known that Pete's been unhappy for quite some time, but his issues with both work and his home life come to a head this week. First off, he's taking driver's ed, but he's learning a lot more about a fellow teenage student than he is about the rules of the road. His blatant ogling is enough to make my skin crawl, but then he takes it up a notch by actually asking her out on a date. Multiple times. (Even she appears to be a bit weirded out by the situation). No matter though, because she finds herself a suitable lad her own age, and Pete turns to a hooker for a self-esteem boost, but more on that later. The real bottom line here comes from Pete himself, who says to Don, "I have nothing."
- Big leagues: After a jolly good World Cup outing, Lane befriends a fellow Brit named Edwin, who's interested in using Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to represent Jaguar. Even though he's not an account man, Lane wants to wine and dine Edwin on his own, and Roger even preps him for the dinner. Unfortunately, Lane can't deliver the goods, so Roger, Don, and Pete take over. They court Edwin with a lobster dinner, but he's got more sinister ideas on his mind. He asks the SCDP guys to show him a good time, which is essentially code for a prostitute party. Everyone wastes no time shacking up — except Don, who seems to be sticking to his guns and staying faithful to Megan. Everything seems to be well and good, until Edwin's wife finds some chewing gum in an, um, unfortunate area, and Edwin pulls the plug on working with SCDP.
- Dukes up: Lane's furious about the guys going behind his back, and puts all the blame on Pete. Pete insults Lane in return and they settle the score with a legitimate fist fight right there in the meeting room. Bert, Don, and Roger can't help but watch as the two throw punches, and Lane eventually knocks Pete out. Pete's obviously mortified, and even Lane doesn't get much time to celebrate his victory, since he makes a fool of himself a few minutes later. When Joan comes in to talk about the situation, he makes a pass at her. Lucky for him, Joanie just sweeps it under the rug and it doesn't seem like it'll affect their friendship.
- Writer's block: Ken and Peggy seem to be butting heads a little, until we learn that they've got a secret pact: if either of them leave, they'll bring the other one along. It's not a main focus of the episode, but it's definitely something that will likely pop up again later this season. What is a major focus of the episode is Ken's writing career. Posing as his alter ego "Ben Hargrove" (so clever, Kenny), Ken's been getting his sci-fi works published under the radar. At least he is until Cynthia spills the beans at the dinner party and Pete reports the information back to Roger in no time. Ken claims that he's giving up to "leave the writing to the writers," but it's clear that he's still indulging in his passion at the end of the episode — and perhaps using Pete as inspiration?
Were you surprised to see Lane and Pete come to blows? How much longer do you think Don can stay faithful?