East meets West this week on Mad Men when Don and Roger head to California on business. There's some surprising regional tension as they meet with one of their accounts, burned in the past by those patronizing New York City firms. Back on the farm, the new partners are busy attempting to hold down the fort over at SCDPCGC, or shall I now say, Sterling Cooper & Partners. Joan gets a lead on some business, and her ambition goes slightly awry, resulting in a long overdue tussle with Peggy.
We also get more of everyone's favorite new character, the mysterious Bob Benson, and some more traumatizing current events rattle everyone. Check out the maddest moments of this week's episode after the jump.
- California dreamin' turns into a bad trip. Roger and Don are all dark suits and cigarettes when they land at their fabulous LA hotel, but by the time they decompress from their awful meeting with the Carnation guys (politics and business do not mix), they've gotten into the spirit. Roger looks like he's going yachting, and Don is dressed for Easter Mass, when Harry, disguised as Matt Damon from Behind the Candelabra, takes them to a real party — one with hippies! A woman who looks way too much like Betty convinces Don to try some hashish, and he hallucinates Megan. At first, it's all fun and games, then she implies she's pregnant, full of babies and second chances. It gets weirder: he then sees the soldier he met in the season premiere by the bar before waking up after almost drowning in the pool. Nothing is stranger to me about this scenario than the fact that Roger may have given him mouth-to-mouth.
- That guy looks familiar. Who else should be at this party than Danny! Remember Danny, the agency's vertically challenged former employee, fired years ago? Turns out he's moved to California and become a filmmaker, complete with a beautiful but totally spaced-out lady on his arm. The best part about his reemergence is Roger's inability to control himself with the short jokes. My favorite: "What are you going to do when you fail here? Keep going West? Japan is a long walk for those little legs."
- Big for her britches. Joan winds up reeling in some potential business while she's on what she thinks is a date, no less. The head of marketing at Avon is interested in the agency, and new partner Joan gets a little ahead of herself, ignoring orders and meeting with him sans account man Pete. I'm all for Joan getting a piece of the pie, but I don't necessarily think Peggy is out of line with her comments. And to be fair, Peggy just calls a spade a spade: Joan did sleep her way to the top.
- New name. The partners decide their current name is too much of a mouthful and come up with a compromise: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Cutler Gleason Chaough will now be Sterling Cooper & Partners. Phew. Thanks, guys!
- Movin' on up. Bob Benson is making moves at the firm. Bob gets paired with Ginsberg for the Manischewitz account and brings his signature charm/total weirdness. The guy listens to records on how to sell — I had to rewind that part three times to make sure he wasn't listening to a Communist manifesto, because that would be an awesome character twist — and at one point has to calm Ginsberg down. He does a really good job talking him off the cliff, asking if he's smoked too many "funny cigarettes." Oh, Bob. Who are you?
What do you think of the episode?