We’re halfway through the sixth season of Mad Men, and this for me was one of the more disappointing episodes, not just of the season, but of the series, this is in spite of having one of the most significant plot developments in a long time.
‘For Immediate Release’ centered around what could have been the downfall of SCDP. We get to see Don do what Don does when he’s backed into a corner, namely, act slightly petulant but ultimately come out on top. The story line regarding Jaguar culminated in this episode in what could have felt like a rehash of the earlier story regarding Lucky Strike. Instead what we get to see is a stroke of luck regarding SCDP being given the opportunity to pitch for Chevrolet.
This was the catalyst for some great Roger Sterling moments. It’s not often we get to see his genius in accounts play out, but his use of his air stewardess girlfriend worked perfectly to land him the meeting with Chevy.Roger has had much more of a background role this season so it was great to see some significant screen time for him.
Of course not everything goes to plan and Don, with help from CGC’s Ted, soon realises that they are simply pawns in a much larger game being played by General Motors. Don, always one to think quick, decides that CGC and SCDP should pool their resources for this one and it leads to a great moment where both creative heads pitch their idea’s to each other. These moment’s are always the strongest on Mad Men and this was no exception.
For me, this all came too far out of left field. It seems to me like the writer’s are trying to shoe horn some plot in to keep things ticking over, and whilst everything is logical and makes sense, the idea for whatever reason, doesn’t intrigue me. This is a massive development story wise and it would have been nice to see a bit more build up. I have every confidence the writer’s will play it out perfectly, and it does tie in very well with what I have been saying about Peggy and Pete heading for either something significant or a Mad Men exit.
We got to see Peggy’s relationship with Abe continue to come under pressure as their new home turn’s out to be not quite what she wanted. These scene’s were laid on far too thick and felt unnecessary, especially with much more significant things happening elsewhere. Peggy’s reaction to the merger was what I expected, she has finally found her feet working at CGC and with Ted, and now she is essentially back where she started. Though this time it does seem that Don may be a little more appreciative of her, and she is still maintaining a high level position (from what we know so far), it seem’s like for Peggy at least, the merger may not work out too favorably. Peggy’s kiss with Ted was one of the better moments in this episode, it has been building for a while and may play into my theory regarding her exit from the show. There’s so much conflict with this character now that it almost feel’s as if she’s been written into a hole.
Pete Campbell has once again won the award for biggest scumbag in Mad Men (no mean feat considering this is a show centered around Don Draper). His celebrating the company going public by going to a whore-house isn’t a surprise, but when he is still trying to claw his way back to Judy, it just makes the character even less sympathetic. He’s also pretty stupid to not realise seeing his father-in-law there was not going to bite him on the arse royally at some point.
As I said at the beginning of this review, this was not my favourite Mad Men episode, it wasn’t bad, but no episode ever usually is. It was just lacking something and it felt like the big merger came so far out of left field, it unbalanced the whole hour. This episode will undoubtedly lead to some great episodes as we see how the companies merge, and after seeing Joan’s reaction to Don throwing away the Jaguar account, there’s likely to be some recourse further down the line. Normally this review would be a little bit more indepth but I struggled to find huge amount’s to write about in this episode, it felt in a lot of ways like a lot of moments cut from other episodes to be mashed into one, and whilst it ended up coherent, it sometimes didn’t feel that way.