"Mad Men" recap: 10 best moments

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) are shown in a promotional photo for "Mad Men" season 6. Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Sunday's episode of "Mad Men" was all about the little people trying to gain respect, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T," as Aretha Franklin sang it in 1967. Megan finally gets her big shot on her soap (a.k.a. a love scene); Joan takes charge of the secretaries once again, trying to fire Harry Crane's assistant; Peggy pitches against former mentor Don; and Don's assistant, Dawn, is trying to stay afloat as the only black employee at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Meanwhile Harry desperately tries to stake his claim as a partner. But as always, it's the bigwigs, including Don, who end up on top.

Below are the 10 best moments from Sunday's episode, titled "To Have and to Hold."

1) We finally see a little bit more of Dawn's life, and catch a glimpse at more than one black character on the show. Something which is definitely relevant and necessary for 1968. We see what Dawn really thinks of her coworkers -- they're basically all sad, scared, alcoholics, and she's just trying to stay afloat with them. She also seems to really want a man, which she reveals while planning her best friend's wedding. Something tells me we're going to see a lot more of Don's assistant and her personal life -- or at least I hope we do.

2) Megan gets her first big scene at her soap opera, but it's a love scene. Megan worries about revealing her big news to Don, and it turns out she was right, as it opens up a whole can of worms between the pair. At first Don is semi-supportive of her big TV "kissing" scene, saying, "I can tolerate it, I don't have to encourage it." But he ends up essentially calling her a "whore" when he unexpectedly shows up at the taping. Which seems like a little bit of the pot calling the kettle easy, seeing as his all-clear sign for his mistress, Sylvia, is a penny under her door...

3) Speaking of Sylvia, one of the best, and corniest lines of the night, was when she tells Don that her husband will be on call at the end of the week, so he is free to come over. She tells him in the elevator, "I'll leave a penny under the mat when he's flown the coop." Flown the coop? Lordy.

4) In the theme of illicit rendezvous, SCDP is quietly courting Heinz Ketchup. The ad teams hold secret planning meetings under the guise of "Project K," and the secretiveness gets everyone in the office in a kerfuffle, wondering what's going on behind the tinfoiled windows.

5) One of the things behind the tinfoiled windows is Stan, who is one of the creatives chosen for the account, and who also happens to be Peggy's BFF (and the reason she's turned into the competition, but more on that later). Stan brings the F-U-N to the office, not only with his fabulous beard, and chill mannerisms, but with the weed. He convinces Don to smoke with him while working on Heinz, which results in one of the lighter moments of the episode when Don gets stoned and says they should order lunch. Sometime a little humor is good for Don -- and "Mad Men" -- in general.

6) And speaking of weed and a little looseness, that brings us to one of the best moments of the evening, when Don and Megan are approached by her boss to "become better friends," or you know, join them in bed. It really is the swinging '60s. Don and Megan awkwardly and politely refuse, to which the couple replies that they've been told no before -- they have been at it for 18 years, after all.

7) And speaking of hopping into bed, it seems pretty obvious that Harry Crane is sleeping with his secretary. Not only because he refuses to let her be fired by Joan, but did anyone catch that comment when she brought him a danish? He casually asks her, "Did you find your keys?" Did she lose them in your bed, Mr. Sideburns?

8) His secretary's almost-firing led him to storm into the partner's meeting and demand that he be appreciated for all that he does, you know like come up with specials featuring Joe Namath singing in a straw hat and defending napalm. Harry wants to be a partner, he deserves to be a partner, dammit. But unfortunately, he's the only one who thinks so. Instead the partners try to pay him off, which he readily accepts, though not without a little whiny huff. And leads to another one of the best lines, by Roger Sterling who says to Bert Cooper, "Should we fire him before he cashes that check?"

9) Speaking of moula, SDCP lost a lot last night. Not only did they not win their secret big for Heinz Ketchup, but they lost baked beans as a result. (Who else loves it when Ken Cosgrove gets all riled up and tells it like it is? I certainly do.) While their pitch was pretty good, it wasn't good enough apparently, and it led to a standoff between Peggy and her former mentor. When the three of them stood facing off outside the hotel room, it was one of the best, most stressful and visually impressive moments of the episode. And Don listening in to Peggy's pitch was even better, it showed that he really thinks of her as the competition.

10) The night capped off with Don in the bed of his mistress, who said that she was praying for Don to find peace. That's about as likely as Harry making partner -- sweet, naive, cheating Sylivia.

All in all, it was a pretty good episode with lots happening, but nothing much changing. Other great moments were seeing Joan let loose, Pete offering up his Manhattan sex pad to Don, to which he replied "I live here" (when will Pete learn that he'll never be on the same playing field as Don?), and Bert shooting Harry down when Harry tried to tell him he was once like him too, to which Bert replies, "I was different from you in every way." And that's why the man has earned a no-shoe policy in his office.

Tell us: What were your favorite moments from Sunday's episode? What did we miss?

  • Lesley Savage

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