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“Man With a Plan”: at the end of the day, business will always be business, even if it is just a stick of margarine

The only “Man With a Plan” in this week’s Mad Men episode is Ted, and he barely even knows what’s going on – especially after Don gets him completely wasted before official talks about their first “love child,” margarine (he passes out right after he drunkenly asks the creatives who they were voting for.) And as Joan points out from the get-go to Peggy, despite the giant merger and move, everything remains the same “in there.” Meaning: there’s always going to be some sort of drama happening amongst the top tier, resulting in either someone getting really pissed off (it’s pretty impossible to forget the look on Pete’s face last week!), the loss of a client, or the inevitable F word (sorry, Burt!).

Well I mean, I guess Don sort of has a plan, if weirdly holding Sylvia hostage (pretty much!) in a hotel for sex counts as a plan. After he hears Sylvia and Arnold arguing outside the elevator in their apartment complex, she is quick to call her lover for some affection. “I need you, and no one else will do,” she says to Don. You’d think Don was done with the Rosens, but he gets weirdly turned on yet taken aback by her very “available” remark, agreeing to meet her at the Sherry Netherland at 12:30 – which later makes him 40 minutes late to the 1:00 margarine meeting.

Things get pretty hot quick just as Don arrives, but not in their normal, “Don is getting sexy with it,” type-fashion. No. Don really, “takes control,” here (which, where is Megan during all of these shenanigans?), ordering Sylvia not to go anywhere until he gets back, and later calling her only to tell her not to answer the phone (the weirdest ever!). He even makes her crawl on the floor to put on his loafers. And she actually does it! Oddly enough, Sylvia seems to be turned on by all of this Don power, and so begins what would later be an awkwardly-ended sexcapade in room 503 of the Sherry Netherland.

Meanwhile, Ted, Peggy, and the rest of the creatives are having a “rap session” about Margarine. And it turns out no one knows anything about margarine. Except for Peggy, who of course just so happens to know that Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés invented the fat free substance for Napolean III in 1869. Hooray Peggy! Because the only other speculations of butter were that, “it spreads easy because it’s soft.” Not the best ideas for margarine here guys. When Don busts in late, Ted adjourns the meeting, telling everyone to “take a more traditional approach.” Ted subsequently calls Don out on him being so late, emphasizing that he knew what was up. Aka: BUSTED!

We get a look inside a darker part of Pete’s life, when he gets a mysterious call from his mother who’s shown up unexpectedly (a bit disoriented). Pete and his brother Bud fight about where she will stay, as Dorothy drives them both off the wall. However, she makes for some pretty great comical relief amid all that’s going on at the office.

Don delivers a sexy red Saks dress to the hotel where Sylvia is very, very busy reading Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show. She gets ready for three hours and waits up for Don, but when he comes back, he reinforces that there would be no going out. Ohhh no. Sylvia exists in that room for his “pleasure only,” and that hot red number might as well have stayed on the rack, ’cause (UN)ZIPPPP…

The next day up goes Ted and Don in a rather shaky, rainy takeoff on Ted’s plane to upstate New York, but as soon as they break the clouds, it’s sunny paradise. Don confesses he likes to read on planes, not talk (so sassy!); he also pretty much says Ted is more credible than him, as he is the one with the plane in the end.

When Don comes back to the Sherry Netherland, Sylvia is not having it. “I think it’s time to go home,” she says. She reveals her dream about Don dying, her being at his funeral crying on Megan’s shoulder, and finally ending up back with Arnold. “It means you missed me,” Don responds. No Don, it doesn’t. It means that you are a little shithead and this affair is over. Talk about an awkward elevator ride…

Of course “Man With a Plan” ends with Friend and Lover’s ’68 hit “Reach Out of the Darkness,” just as the Kennedy assassination chaos enfolds on the television – a rather weird and opposable juxtaposition to say the least. Don sits on the bed next to Megan – feeling nothing – as she continues to weep. And ohhh lordy lord. See you next week.


  • “Everything keeps changing out here but everything’s the same in there.” – Joan
  • “First day of school, nervous?” – Ted
  • “We bought a building together to live in. We bought a building to live in together.” – Peggy
  • “Now that we’ve dispensed with the gallantry…” – Roger
  • “Fleischmann’s, groovy. We’ll get right on that.” – Ted
  • “Could you get her a G&T with two ice cubes?” – Pete
  • “Looks like the worm has turned” – Burt
  • “Do you want ME to get that?” – Peggy
  • “I need you, and nothing else will do.” – Sylvia
  • “12:30 at the Sherry Netherland. Call me with the room number.” – Don
  • “Black or White?” – Ted “She wouldn’t tell me anything. She’s an excellent secretary.” – Peggy
  • “A lot of times in life, you get to do something, and you don’t realize until it’s over how much you enjoy it. And you swear, the next time it comes around, you’r gonna remember that.” – Roger
  • “No one will ever say you weren’t funny, Burt.” – Roger
  • “Well as first order of business I recommend you stick your legs between your head and kiss your ass goodbye!” – Burt
  • “It was invented for Napoleon III because armies need to move and it never spoiled.” – Peggy
  • “If the meeting’s at 1 the meeting’s at 1. God, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. I’ve been working in creative my whole life, it’s fine 40 minutes? Come on! I’ve got better things to do. But obviously you did too.” – Ted
  • “You’re going to wait there. And you’re not going to know when I come back.” – Don
  • “You should see the girl that wheels it in. It’s quite a presentation.” – Ted
  • “Well, she spent 25 minutes looking for a dish for the nuts, and, she went into the bathroom. Good luck.” – Bud
  • “Woah woah woah… I have to eat something” – Ted “Doesn’t ice count?” – Don “I’d settle for some more toast.” – Ted
  • “It’s morning, we know because we see the rooster crow. A farmer’s wife sets pancakes on the kitchen table, she puts a pad of margarin on top and sets the dish down next to the yellowest fried eggs, a loaf of homemade bread, and a beating pitcher of heavy cream. Syrup pours. A smile comes over their Dorothy Lang faces.” – Don
  • “And I want bacon! It’s not up for debate.” – Ted
  • “Why would you think you’re going anywhere? You exist in this room for my pleasure.” – Don
  • “What about every time theres a change around here I get knocked down to a worse office?” – Harry
  • “Once we’re above the clouds, it’s sunny as summer.” – Ted
  • “No matter what I say, you’re the guy who flew us up here in your own plane.”
  • “My mother can go to hell! Ted Chaough can fly her there!” – Pete
  • “I dreamt I went to your funeral, and Megan cried on my shoulder.” – Sylvia
  • “It means you missed me.” – Don
  • “It’s easy to give up something when you’re satisfied.” – Don
  • “It’s easy to give up something when you’re ashamed.” – Sylvia
  • “You’ll be late for school!” – Dorothy
  • “They’re shooting everybody.” – Dorothy

(photo via Hypable)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.