Mad Men "To Have and to Hold" Review: Playing Ketchup

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Apr 22, 2013

Mad Men S06E04 "To Have and to Hold"

Everybody slept with everybody else—literally and figuratively—this week. Mad Men set the theme pretty early on by having Don and Pete meet with Heinz Ketchup in Pete's bachelor pad, essentially cheating on Beans with his rival. Ketchup, in turn, went behind Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's back—in the hotel room that SDCP paid for because they're so classy—to meet with Peggy and her people from Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough, in a meeting that was, to Peggy, also a betrayal of the trust a friend had in her when he shared insider knowledge of her former employer. Rookie movie, Stan. 

Peggy easily won Heinz's favor, pitching, essentially, the same idea as Don, but with that little extra something that appealed to exactly what the ketchup crew wanted: a picture of the bottle in the ad. Peggy and Don's pitches were nearly identical in their core concept—that Heinz is the only ketchup and everything else is a watered-down imitator—but Peggy's "catsup vs. ketchup" debate also mirrored the Peggy vs. Don debate. Peggy is the Don Draper of Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough. Ted Chaough in particular seems to believe this. If he can't have the legendary Don Draper, then Draper's protege is certainly the next best thing. SCDP often seemed to operate under the idea that Peggy was great, but Don was better. She was the catsup to Don's ketchup. I think Peggy's pitch to Heinz, however, showed Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce how sorely mistaken they were. In actuality, Peggy is Don without the baggage. She's the Don of five years ago, before he started losing his edge. 

Both pitches were good. Don's, if we're being honest here, was great. I certainly thought it was more interesting. It was clever and it forced the consumer to think. Peggy isn't the diluted Don by any means, but her pitch, compared to his, was. The message was more obvious and less elegant... but it was almost exactly what Heinz wanted and Peggy was able to tap into that want in a way we haven't seen Don able to replicate in a long time. 

The thing is, though, Peggy's pitch was only almost what Heinz wanted.  Almost. When Peggy and Ted ran into Stan, Pete, and Don at a bar after their meetings, we learned that Heinz didn't go with either firm. Ted informed the class that a third suitor secretly courted by Heinz (who was sleeping around with everybody) won the account's business,  "J. Walter Thompson. Bought it in the room." 

Despite not winning the account, as result of SCDP sleeping around, Beans eventually found out about the meetings with Ketchup and dropped SCDP from their marketing team, doubling the sting of loss for Don and his team and prompting Cosgrove to quip, "There's nothing like being known for your loyalty." 

If Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is in fact becoming known for its "loyalty," the firm may want to do some image repair. From as far back as the pre-Draper Price days, SCDP has a history of ditching smaller accounts to chase the bigger fishies. In Season 4, they dropped the Clearasil account because it presented a conflict of interest with Ponds, who billed more. Then there was the Mohawk Airlines/American Airlines debacle. You can argue that it's just business, but that doesn't really put the firm in any more of a favorable light. If word really is getting around that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce regularly drops loyal clients to chase after rivals, then Cosgrove, Pete and the rest of the accounts guys may find their jobs becoming a little more difficult in the future. 

Over at To Have and to Hold, Megan experienced a promotion of sorts and learned that her role on the soap was being expanded... and by "expanded," I mean she got to dry-hump her co-star into the next commercial break. I don't think any of us were surprised by Don's complete lack of enthusiasm for the news, both because of the implication that Megan was becoming more successful in her career and the kissing-other-dudes-for-money part of the job. Remember, ladies, Don Draper doesn't mind loose women until he marries them. It's not quite a Madonna-whore complex, but it's close. Don idealizes the women in his life and quickly devalues them at their first slight of sexuality. Betty, Faye, Midge, Rachel—the Draper Double Standard seems more obnoxious than ever this season as he basically called Megan a whore who kissed men for money, then immediately hit up Sylvia, who signaled that it was okay for Don to enter her apartment by placing a penny beneath the doormat which he then returned to her. 

Sylvia's guilt over cheating on her husband was mentioned again and Don fixated on the cross she wore around her neck, asking her why she wore it and then choosing to hide it when she revealed that she prayed for him. Don currently idealizes Sylvia because, despite her actions, she has a clear allegiance to her husband, and I think Don respects that in a weird, effed-up way. Sylvia is still saintly, whereas Megan is embracing her career and the "seediness" of filming love scenes for her show. That Megan was just as repulsed by her swinging co-workers' offer to sleep with both her and Don as Don was didn't matter, because she still had to kiss a co-star during pretend-love-making and Don has issues. He can reconcile Sylvia's conflicted actions because at the end of the day, she shows dedication to her husband. Megan, as far as we know, hasn't cheated on Don at all, but her dedication to her career combined with the mere suggestion of infidelity in a completely fictional storyline written for the fictional character Megan portrays on television is enough to bother Don to an absurd level. 

Finally, Joan appeared in more than one scene this week and seemed to be test-driving her partner status. I'd been concerned that despite her new title, Joan would be treated largely as she always had been and not like an equal at the big boy table. It seems Joan was a bit concerned too; she even stated to her friend Kate that she was still treated "like a secretary." Kate told her that it didn't matter if Joan was treated like less than a partner because the fact remained that she was a partner. She had the pay and the status and the title outside the office, if not within it. Even Joan's usually grumpy mother seemed to delight in the perks of her daughter's promotion.

When Scarlett, Harry's secretary, ditched work early to go to a party and had Dawn punch her timecard so she got a full day's pay, Joan quickly and publicly shamed and fired her only to be overridden by Harry, who let some (maybe even all) of his resentment surrounding Joan's promotion boil over when he crashed a partner meeting to tell Joan off. To be fair to Harry, he made some logical points: he's the head of the television department which he essentially built from scratch, he's brought lucrative clients to the firm and most recently worked a miracle for Dow Chemical's napalm-covered image with his Broadway Joe on Broadway pitch. Harry has done a lot for the company and is still an occasional source of ridicule and, most importantly, not a partner. He apparently can't even manage his own immediate staff without interference. However, pointing out Joan's less-than-proud path to the top probably wasn't the best course of action given how unperturbed the other partners were.  It mostly just made him look like a jackass. 

Joan lamented not being treated like a partner, but I saw quite a bit of positive and negative treatment in "To Have and to Hold." We've seen in the past that being a partner at SCDP isn't always day drinking and booty calls. When the firm was in dire financial straits, the partners had to put up their own money to keep the firm afloat until business picked up. Roger and Don have both been forced to work with people and clients that they despise-- for logical and illogical reasons-- for the good of the company. Being a partner doesn't mean never doing anything you don't want to do and Joan experienced that during the mess with Dawn, Scarlett and the timecards. Harry insisted on keeping Scarlett and without the other partners backing Joan's decision to fire her, Harry was free to keep her. While Joan didn't immediately dismiss Dawn as she did Scarlett, she was certainly considering firing the other secretary, but before she was given the chance to make her own call, her fellow partners encouraged her to avoid taking any drastic measures against Dawn because it looked good for the firm to have a black secretary on the payroll. 

It was certainly frustrating to have her call overturned, but in the second half of the episode, Joan got to experience the upside to being a partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: when it comes to her personal life, she can pretty much do whatever she wants. After a night out with Kate, Joan crawled into the office well into the afternoon after slapping on some lipstick to hide her hangover. Harry jumped at the opportunity to further tarnish Joan's image by pointing it out to Bert and Roger, but they couldn't have cared less. Okay, so Joan came to work late and hungover. That's like, every other day for Roger and Don. How often have they gotten hammered in the office, Harry? Huh? That's right. Sit down and shut up. 

While most of the "cheaters" in "To Have and to Hold" experienced the detrimental side effects of their infidelities—SCDP lost Heinz Beans, Megan and Don are fighting (again), Peggy and Stan aren't BFFs anymore, Scarlett still has a job but Joan is certainly going to make her life miserable from now on—Dawn, who aided Scarlett in her timecard shenanigans, seemed to be the one to come out on top in this episode, almost entirely due to her honesty. She apologized to Joan for helping Scarlett and even offered to give up a portion of her pay to cover Scarlett's theft. Joan handed her the keys to the supply closet and the time cards and said that they were Dawn's job now. When Dawn thanked her for the added responsibilities, Joan told her that it was punishment for her actions. I think Joan was being more cynical than anything, though. Additional responsibilities can symbolize a sort of promotion, if not in pay then in prestige. The way Dawn sees it, not only did she get to keep her job, but her job was expanded. Joan may have been fuming over Scarlett, but unlike Scarlett, who continued to hide behind Harry and rely on whatever influence he had to keep her around, Dawn stood on her own two feet and used what meager means she had on hand—her paycheck—to make it up to Joan and the firm. I think that's something Joan can understand and even appreciate. 


What did you think of "To Have and to Hold"?


NOTES

– More cheating action! Joan's friend cheated on her employer, Mary Kay Cosmetics, with the competition, Avon. 

– PROJECT KILL MACHINE! <3 u, Ginsberg. 

– Bert's socks were amazing. 

– Megan's attempts to downplay the sexual aspect of her scenes while she and Don were at dinner was cute.

– OMG SWINGERS. GUYS, WE GOT SWINGERS.

– What do you think Dawn's future holds? 

– And Harry's? Do you think he'll get fired or jump ship first? Or will he just hang around SCDP and be bitter about things?

– Will Don and Megan's marriage survive the season? 

  • Comments (29)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • soutarm Apr 26, 2013

    Great review. It's a shame this show is fast running out of likable characters. There's got to be at least one person on the show you enjoy seeing on screen.

  • krismaz Apr 24, 2013

    I never liked Megan and now she's even worse. Awful awful character! Hope they get divorced ASAP.

  • hoya228 Apr 23, 2013

    Very insightful, I love reading your reviews

  • Mj_ps3 Apr 23, 2013

    Seems as though Don and Megan's marriage isn't going to work out, they'll probably be divorced by next season. Which brings me to think how the show is going to end. Don's just gonna live a lonely life.? He hasn't even seen his kids as of this season. It's quite possible their growing apart, coupling that with the fact he cant seem to stick to a woman. I feel as though every one should be ready for a sad ending to the show

  • remediosbuendia May 16, 2013

    I've always seen Don as Gatsby so that's the kind of ending I'm expecting.

  • Mj_ps3 May 16, 2013

    I thank you for not elaborating on that idea as I have neither seen the movie nor finished the book. lol

  • Graversen_dk Apr 23, 2013

    Ever considered the meaning of the shows intro?

  • Mj_ps3 Apr 24, 2013

    Well if you mean to tell me its him jumping out of a building cause his life is shit I don't think that's what it means, I never took it to be that literal.

    it seems more of a representation of a man deeply immersed in the field of advertising. You see bill boards and sketches of ads every where, and you don't see any one jumping out of a windows, the person is just randomly falling and is now surrounded by ads everywhere, more like a bad dream than anything.

    Moreover at the end he's sitting on a couch, so its just probably him sitting and thinking how the world of advertising has affected him. You wouldn't have the privileges of drinking and leaving the job as you'd like anywhere else.

  • pnnf Apr 24, 2013

    That would be a cop out though, imo. Didn't Don say suicide is weak, or something to that extent, when his brother hung himself? So unless he gets pushed he has no business flying off of buildings.

    Personally, I'd like to see Don as an old man, sitting alone on a bench somewhere in NY looking at the various different ads and wondering what has become of the advertising world.
    (Alternatively there's also liver failure or lung cancer.)

  • QMargo Apr 23, 2013

    Can't believe I am admitting this but I am missing Betty more and more....I mean, yeah she comes with her own baggage of shit but I just don't feel Don and Megan....Don and Betty were something unique to the show...Don with any other woman looks just so lost and alone...and the way he throws around the word whore is just appalling...but I guess thats the genes talking...

  • AssandroJourn Apr 23, 2013

    Im not liking Megan at all. She's irritating, either it's an actress or character. Can't tell. I thought they're gonna get separated after finale of previous season. Megan is like a baby, that her naivete seems affected, all what she does appears to be put on, insincere. I'd prefer Cara Buono's character Faye, she shed fine sexuality and was complex chacracter. More mature. I don't know may be it's acting of Jessica Pare. Honestly I didn't see difference between her acting as Megan and her acting as Megan's soap character. Other than that, Joan's arc was great so as Heinz arc. Less Bethy and I can survive this season.

  • Gilda Apr 23, 2013

    I liked Megan in the begining like when she still was a secretary and when she went on that holiday with Don and his kids but idk sometime after they got married all her character does is whine about stuff. So for me i think its just how they have been writing her character.
    I think I started finding her annoying after the episode when she sang Zou Bisou Bisou

  • pnnf Apr 24, 2013

    Zou Bisou made for a very good Roger moment, though.

  • dh4645 Apr 23, 2013

    i thought megan was gonna get killed off her soap after turning down the swingers. still could happen i guess.

  • pnnf Apr 24, 2013

    I thought so, too.

    Then again, I also thought Megan and the doctor knew Don and Sylvia were screwing around and Megan just made the miscarriage up to make Sylvia feel bad.

  • dh4645 Apr 24, 2013

    ha wow, now that is a crazy conspiracy theory. hah

  • pnnf Apr 23, 2013

    About Don's reaction to Megan's scenes: I think he deliberately escalated it, because, you know, he couldn't very well say "I'm totally cool with that", it was expected of him to react that way (otherwise both the producer's wife and Megan wouldn't have made such a fuss about it) and I think Don knows that and just went with it.

    About Don's calling Megan a whore: I didn't think it really bothered him that much, I think he was extremely frustrated about how he f*cked up the Heinz thing. It was the first time that his not being successful was so clearly visible to him, whenever he botched up before he would just suck it up and go on, but this Heinz thing was bugging him. And because he couldn't control that he went to Megan, because the relationship with her is something he can control.


    I really like Harry so far, but this was kind of a douche move and I fear Joan is not done with him and Scarlett, she took it too well.

  • Gilda Apr 23, 2013

    Yeah I can see Joan quietly getting her revenge, she might not be vocal about her feelings but she is the person who pretty much runs the office and could make thier lives hard. She could pull something like what she did to Peggy in Season 2 with the photocopier machine except worse

  • byronsdrom Apr 23, 2013

    Honestly, I am quite tired of all the screen time dedicated to Don and his cheating on Megan. It got old a few seasons back, always the same. The storyline with Joan was a bit rushed through, I felt, as well as the rest of the episode, actually. There are no scenes that linger anymore, that you find yourself thinking about what's going on. Not liking this comparatively fast-burning character the show seems to have appropriated.

  • PhiSig Apr 22, 2013

    I know this is a serial, but every episode should have a beginning, middle and end, with some kind of problem and resolution. I haven't seen that this season.

  • See More Comments (7)