Mad Men Episodes

2007, TV Show

Mad Men Episode: "Out of Town"

Season 3, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: In the third-season opener, Pete and Ken are among those affected by the corporate changes at the firm. Meanwhile, Sal accompanies Don on a business trip to Baltimore, where both men succumb to the powers of persuasive seduction.
Original Air Date: Aug 16, 2009
Guest Cast Jack Kehler: Morris Mann Trisha LaFache: Lola Sunny Mabrey: Shelly Joseph Culp: Archie Whitman Alison Brie: Trudy Campbell Michael Gaston: Burt Peterson Joel Lambert: Jack Jared Gilmore: Bobby Draper Jamie Elman: Howard Mann Lauri Johnson: Carrie Brynn Horrocks: Abigail Whitman Ryan Cartwright: John Hooker
Full Episode
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Season 3, Episode 1
Paid | iTunes
Length: 47:28
Aired: 8/16/2009
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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Mad Men Episode Recap: "Out of Town" Season 3, Episode 1

Mad Men's return is perhaps the most hotly anticipated of the season, and the dazzling 1960s drama certainly doesn't disappoint. Judging by the size of Betty's tummy, the premiere finds our favorite admen and their ladies in mid- to late spring of 1963. Sterling Cooper's British owners have fired a third of the agency's staff, including head of accounts Burt Peterson. Meanwhile, Don and Sal take a business trip to Baltimore, Ken and Pete are pitted against one another for the vacant head of accounts job, and Peggy and Joan deal with a new secretary.

Hey, guys, I'm fellow Maddict Adam Bryant, back again this season to share my take on what I believe to be TV's finest show. I'm beyond excited to have this show back on the air and look forward to reading your comments all season as well. So crack open the bourbon, muddle some cherries and let's get to it!

"His name is Dick, after a wish his mother should have lived to see." —
Whitman family friend
The episode opens with Don boiling milk (for the baby?) in the Draper kitchen, which soon becomes the staging area for a vivid flashback. We meet Don's mother, a prostitute who vowed to cut off Old Man Whitman's "dick and boil it in hog fat" if he "got her in trouble." He inevitably does, and when she dies in childbirth, a Whitman family friend brings young Dick to the home that would provide his troubled upbringing.

Don takes the boiled-over milk to Betty, who is still pregnant with what she believes to be a baby girl. "Believe me, she knows what she wants," Betty tells Don. Besides the sleepless nights, Betty worries about being ready for the coming baby. (''I just want everything to be perfect. I want her to come into our home at its best.") The good news is, whatever turmoil Don's philandering has caused in the past seems no longer to be an issue as Don paints a picture in Betty's mind of relaxing on the beach to help her sleep. "You're good at this," Betty says. Well, duh!

"A truck is a lorry and an elevator is a lift. I've got it, Mr. Hooker... you are not a secretary." —
Joan Holloway
Sterling Cooper certainly isn't buzzing the way it was when we last saw it, but there is still plenty of anxiety in the air, especially after head of accounts Burt Peterson (guest star Michael Gaston, who you might recognize from Fringe, Damages, Jericho and Law & Order, among countless other places) trashes the steno pool upon being fired. Although Peggy's job seems secure, she's got her own problems, namely a lazy secretary who's more interested in the new British "secretary," John Hooker.

He proves to be a bit of an annoyance to Joan as well. Not only does he insist on being called Mr. Hooker, but he pushes off all his typing onto the other secretaries, who just can't get enough of his British accent. "I'm Mr. Pryce's right arm," he insists to Joan, eventually earning an office of his own as well as his own girl.

"Why can't I have anything good all at once?" —
Pete Campbell
Lane Pryce (guest star Jared Harris, who you might also recognize from Fringe — conspiracy?), Sterling Cooper's new British financial officer, is also making his presence known. Once he's cleaned house, he decides to try a new management technique: He fills the vacant head of account position with both the ever-petulant Pete Campbell and goofball Ken Cosgrove. The two could not be more different, as evidenced in their individual scenes with Pryce. Pete's twitchy nervousness and blatant brown-nosing is foiled beautifully by Ken's aloof manner and excitement rather than entitlement.

But you almost have to sympathize with Pete. The guy, despite his weasly ways, always seems to come up short. Duck Phillips promised him the job before his Tanqueray-fueled meltdown. And just as he prepares to celebrate with his wife (nice to see he and Trudy being so playful with one another after their tumultuous last season), the rug is pulled out from under him again.

Then again, Pete reminds us why it's hard to root for him. Cosgrove, completely content to share the job, wants no part in hating Pete, while Pete goes back on his platitudes from the elevator ride the day before to tell Ken just how unqualified he is for the job. I chuckled quite a bit when Cosgrove simply brushed it off with a confused look and moved on.

Luckily, Trudy brings more to Pete's office than his new nameplate. (P.S. "The buck stops here, unless it stops over there," might be my favorite line of the episode.) She also brings him some common sense: She tells him to play the game and beat Ken, rather than be the brat Pete's colleagues have grown used to seeing. And for now, it looks like he is going to play ball.

"I've been married a long time. You get plenty of chances." —
Don Draper
With Burt Peterson's firing, Don and Sal have to travel to Baltimore to the London Fog raincoat factory to assuage their jumpy client. But what's a little business without some pleasure? Don and Sal (excuse me, Bill and Sam) meet cute with stewardesses Shelly and Lorelai, who they take out to dinner. While Southern belle Shelly rambles on about eating too many Fritos, Don and Sal pretend to be "accountants" charged with keeping tabs on Jimmy Hoffa and his money.

As the drinks keep flowing, Shelly muses about her life jet-setting around the country, about how it's "my job to be out of town." Don's take is decidedly more pessimistic: "I keep going to a lot of places and end up somewhere I've already been." In this case, he ends up once again in the arms of a woman who isn't his pregnant wife, indeed a familiar place for our suave antihero. Shelly thinks of her fiancé and tries to put on the brakes, but who can say no to Don Draper? "It's my birthday," he says. (Aside: Is he being cute, or is he telling the truth? Perhaps it explains his early-morning flashback?) In any case, Don gets his birthday present — that is, until a fire alarm crashes the party.

"There was a fire in the hotel, but no casualties." —
Salvatore Romano
While no one may have died, Sal's most closely guarded secret went down in flames. After fixing a broken air conditioner in Sal's room, a presumptuous bellman wants a lot more from Sal than a tip. The audience shares in Sal's shock as the bellman moves in for a kiss, but things quickly move to the bed. (Genius sight gag alert: Sal's pen has exploded in his shirt pocket. Understated yet pervy!) Sal's disappointment when the fire alarm interrupts his long-awaited tryst turns to horror as he looks out the window to see Don catching him in the act as he evacuates the hotel via the fire escape.

The next day at the London Fog factory, Don assures his clients that Sterling Cooper is in fine shape, despite Burt Peterson's exit. Mr. London Fog, however, is more concerned about the fact that his business may be shrinking, even though two out of every three raincoats sold have London Fog stitched on the inside. His son wants to expand into umbrellas and hats, but Don warns that they have established a brand that the world knows means raincoats. "There will be fat years and there will be lean years. But it is going to rain," Don says, finally winning over the son. (Seriously, don't you wish you could be this guy?)

"Limit your exposure." —
Don Draper
On the flight back to New York, Don's creative brilliance strikes. He pitches the perfect ad for London Fog, which features a naked girl giving one lucky subway rider a peek beneath her raincoat. "Limit your exposure," is far from just ad copy — it's a coded message to Sal, and it puts him at ease for the first time all day. It's also the M.O. of Don Draper, one he has also shared with Peggy. It certainly could apply to anyone on this show, and I can't help but wonder who might need to heed Don's wisdom next.

Don leaves himself exposed, however, when, upon returning home, Sally finds the stewardess' wings pin in Don's suitcase. Don covers his gaffe and Sally's young mind is on to the next topic: Betty's baby bump. It's a nice full-circle effect for the episode, as Don is forced to recall the day his daughter was born and perhaps see the parallels between himself and his father. "I had just got home from... work," Don says, stopping short, so we know he was almost surely with another woman. And all these years later, no matter how much Don Draper changes, he is almost certainly destined to stay the same.

A few other thoughts:

• I lied earlier. My favorite line of the night comes, of course, from Roger Sterling. Speaking of Pryce's plans to put Cosgrove and Campbell against each other, Roger says, "I told him it was a stupid idea, but sometimes they don't get our inflection." John Slattery is the best. He was also great showing up late to Peterson's firing. "Oh it's that meeting. Sorry about that."

• I loved seeing Pete freak out on Hildy, both when she blurted out that Pryce wanted to see him in front of Harry and Paul and when she tries her best to explain the dual heads of accounts to him. He's such an 8-year-old.

• Speaking of Harry, he didn't have much to do, but with one line, he proved that his confidence has grown quite a bit. "Forty-two cents of every dollar is spent in the television department," he says. Look out for the big man!

• Finally, I am positively chuffed to see what the British bring to this season. I am already intrigued by Pryce's character, and I'm certain that "Moneypenny" (I heart Peggy!) will create all sorts of trouble, particularly for Joan. "This place is a gynocracy," he pouts. But he's right in a way: Mad Men wouldn't be Mad Men without its ladies.

"Out of Town" was an explosive opening salvo, a welcome change from the moody "reset" episode that was the second-season premiere. It answered enough questions and introduced plenty of ideas that make me eager for the 12 episodes to come. Was it worth the wait for you? What were your favorite moments? Share all your thoughts in the comments below!

 

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Mad Men's return is perhaps the most hotly anticipated of the season, and the dazzling 1960s drama certainly doesn't disappoint. Judging by the size of Betty's tummy, the premiere finds our favorite admen and their ladies in mid- to late spring of 1963. Sterling Cooper's British owners have fired a third of the agency's staff, including head of accounts Burt Peterson. Meanwhile, Don and Sal take a business trip to Baltimore, Ken and Pete are pitted against one another for the vacant head of accounts job, and Peggy and Joan deal with a new secretary.

Hey, guys, I'm fellow Maddict Adam Bryant, back again this season to share my take on what I believe to be TV's finest show. I'm beyond excited to have this show back on the air and look forward to reading your comments all season as well. So crack open the bourbon, muddle some cherries and let's get to it! read more

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Premiered: July 19, 2007, on AMC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (1,157 ratings)
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Premise: A look at the high-powered world of advertising in 1960s New York City, from the boardroom to the bedroom.

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