Mad Men Episodes

2007, TV Show

Mad Men Episode: "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency"

Season 3, Episode 6
Episode Synopsis: A surprise visitor shows up at Sterling Cooper; Sally gets spooked by something (or someone); and Joan is the recipient of some surprising news.
Original Air Date: Sep 20, 2009
Guest Cast Chelcie Ross: Connie
Full Episode
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Season 3, Episode 6
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Length: 47:35
Aired: 9/20/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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Mad Men Episode Recap: "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" Season 3, Episode 6

And so, the third season of Mad Men truly begins. We've waited patiently as each previous episode gave us mere glimpses of what we knew was ultimately to come: The Draper baby would rock the house in one way or another, the British invasion of Sterling Cooper was going to bring big changes to the office, and, sadly, we knew there would come a time when sassy Joan Holloway (I really hate calling her by her married name) would leave the agency for "greener pastures." All those paths crossed beautifully; plus, we also get a little resolution to Don and Roger's battle and one of show's most gruesome images ever. It's really a shame that this powerhouse episode went up against the Emmys.

"A tragedy with a happy ending — my favorite kind." — Saint-John Powell
Mr. Powell, the the chairman of Putnam Powell and Lowe, might have uttered that line in reference to the musical Oliver!, but I think it completely sums up his visit to the Sterling Cooper offices. When Lane Pryce announces to everyone that the British are coming (on the week of the July Fourth holiday, no less), everyone springs into action. Mr. Hooker makes sure the secretaries are sharp and polished, Harry Crane and heads of accounts Campbell and Cosgrove scurry off to pull together last-minute presentations and Bert Cooper puts a vision of grandeur in Don's head. Cooper thinks the visit is meant as an opportunity to get an up close look at Don's creative genius before offering him a dual role in both New York and London. (Both Don and Betty like that idea.)

However, the Brits have something different in mind. Pleased with Lane's performance at Sterling Cooper, the execs have decided to ship their "snake charmer" off to Bombay to work more of his magic. Stepping in to fill his void is Guy MacKendrick (Jamie Thomas King), a handsome whippersnapper (seriously, he's a younger Don Draper) who has mapped out a new approach for Sterling Cooper. His org chart, which just so happens not to include Roger, outlines a "triumvirate" whose interests include "creative genius [Don], media savvy [Harry's TV department] and the unbridled acquisition of new business [Pete and Ken]." Don's dreams of bangers and mash are dashed, but Harry does get a promotion. Something to clap about, wouldn't you say, Harry?

Because the impromptu visit interrupted what was supposed to be Joan's surprise bon voyage party, Guy and his fellows toast Mrs. Harris and send the newly reorganized troops into party mode. Smitty has a little too much champagne, however, and fires up Ken Cosgrove's recently acquired John Deere lawnmower. It's all sophomoric glee until Smitty turns the wheel over to Lois, who in short order crashes through an office wall and runs over MacKendrick's foot, spraying Harry, Kinsey and others with blood. Guy lives, but he loses his foot ("right after he got it in the door," Roger quips), and because he cannot walk (or golf!), his career as an account man is ended. That's the tragedy, but since I'm a major fan of Jared Harris' Lane Pryce, the happy ending is that he will stay on at Sterling Cooper indefinitely.

"When you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what you forgot, don't call me." — Joan Harris
But all endings aren't happy, of course. Joan's last day wasn't only ruined by the Brits, but also by her husband, Greg, failing to be named chief resident at the hospital. It seems the surgery he bungled a few weeks back might not have been an isolated incident, as a drunken Greg tells Joan that his boss told him he doesn't "have any brains in his fingers." Because he has another year of his residency before getting a promotion/reassignment (maybe to Alabama!), Joan must keep her job for a while longer.

Not so fast, Greg! Joanie has already turned over the reins to Mr. Hooker. (Hated him running Joan's surprise party, but loved Joan's two comebacks: the one mentioned above, and also the line about hiring prostitutes to replace the "plain" secretaries.) Joan begins sobbing during her champagne toast, but she doesn't let anyone know it's because she'll presumably have to start searching for a new job after Independence Day. However, when Guy's foot is chopped to bits, she takes charge, applying a tourniquet and no doubt minimizing MacKendrick's injury to just losing the foot. Once again, Joan outshines those around her. She upstaged Harry Crane in the TV department last season, she wrote better copy for Peggy's roommate ad than the actual copywriter did, and she proved to have some brains in her fingers, unlike her husband.

I shudder to think of Mad Men without Joan, but her scene with Don in the hospital waiting room had a strong sense of finality to it. I hope I am wrong, and that, as Joan tells an overly sentimental Peggy, "we will still see each other all the time."

"I'm being punished for making my job look easy." — Roger Sterling
The other tragedy to come of the Brits' visit is Roger Sterling's. Perhaps his afternoons of eating ice cream sundaes have finally caught up to him, as the bossmen didn't even think to include him in the future vision of the company. Bert Cooper tells Roger that being an account man is about letting go so you can have what you want. Roger relinquished control of the company to have his divorce and remarriage, and now he has to live with it. "We took their money. We have to do what they say," Cooper says.

Cooper also plays mediator between Roger and Don, if for no other reason than that he wants them to play "Martin and Lewis" for the visitors. The two come as close to reconciliation as I guess they're going to this season while at the barber: Sterling tells Don he "doesn't like being judged." Don, prepared to move on, says they don't have to talk about it anymore. (Aside: On second viewing, I giggled when Sterling mentioned that his father died with only one neatly manicured hand, because I wondered what shape MacKendrick's toes on his remaining foot were in.)

"There are snakes that go months without eating, and then they finally catch something. But they're so hungry that they suffocate while they're eating. One opportunity at a time." — Don Draper
Though Don's dream of cross-continental jet-setting may have been dashed, another business opportunity fell right into his lap. Conrad Hilton, "Connie" from the country club, calls up Don for an impromptu meeting at the Waldorf Astoria. Don, halfway ashamed that he didn't recognize Connie upon their first meeting, turns back to business mode when Hilton asks him to weigh in on his idea for the Hilton Worcester. The "country folk will feel at home" concept for the ads echoes back to their previous conversation of simple upbringings turning into riches and glory. Only problem is, as Don points out, is that people in hotels don't want to think about mice, making Connie's choice of a mascot a bit off. Conrad then, in his own way, offers Don his world, but all Don wants is Hilton's business. "OK, but the next time someone like me asks you something like that, you should think bigger," he says, but Don is pacing himself. Methinks he's a little gun-shy. After all, his hopes of globetrotting were just obliterated, providing one heck of a reality check.

At home, Sally is afraid of the dark and her baby brother. She refuses to go near him, and Betty is frustrated that Sally resents the newborn. To solve both problems, Betty buys a nightlight and a Barbie. One of them works, and the other scares the crap out of Sally. When she wakes to find the doll she had thrown into the bushes back on her dresser, Sally screams bloody murder, waking the entire house. Sally tells Don that she is afraid of the baby because she thinks he's the ghost of dearly departed Grandpa Gene.

Don takes the opportunity to dissuade Betty from continuing to call the baby Gene, but his efforts are futile. "She's a child. She'll get over it. Now you have to," Betty says. "He was my father, and that was his name. That's what people do, Don. That's how they keep the memory alive." We all know that that's not what people like Don Draper do, and he argues that the "memory" is nothing more than the hatred the two men shared. An apologetic Sally ends the fight, and Don puts on his Daddy hat, and rocks the baby to sleep while Sally looks on. "This is your little brother, and he's only a baby. We don't know who he is yet, or who he's going to be. And that is a wonderful thing." I couldn't help but again think of the line from a couple episodes ago: "We didn't know what kind of person we were making." Is Don making the next Conrad Hilton or Horace Cook Jr.? Is he afraid that his son, as Sally suggests, might grow up to be a man like Gene? Or is the beauty in it all that Don has learned from past mistakes and will raise this baby one opportunity at a time?

A few other thoughts:
• Interesting that in the same episode that Don compares himself to a snake Lane Pryce is called a snake charmer. I'm still not sure that Lane has charmed Don, although Don has definitely lost a few arguments. But we all know Don Draper won't stay down for long.

Click here if you'd like to see the real Conrad Hilton's 1963 Time magazine cover. And if you're extra curious, here's Hilton's 1949 Time cover when he bought the Waldorf Astoria, where the meeting between Don and Connie took place. If he'd already been on the cover before, I do think it's odd that Don didn't recognize him. Maybe he read Newsweek.

• Connie's offer to Don again leads me to believe that Don Draper won't always be at Sterling Cooper. If the guy's half the star we've been led to believe, I don't see how loyalty of any sort can keep the big fish in the Sterling Cooper pond. Then again, I could also see Don overthrowing the British Empire and running the agency on his own, which is a different story. But it could be more interesting to see Don out on his own. (And maybe he could hire Joan!)

• The Brits in this episode cracked me up, particularly Mr. Ford (Bra-vo!) in the meeting with Lane. Kind of a shame that Guy was mowed down in his prime, because he could have been an excellent foe for Don. But as I said, I'm glad Lane is sticking around. (Also loved his Tom Sawyer line: "I feel like I've just been to my own funeral. I didn't like the eulogy.")

• Light staves off fear. Sally's nightlight keeps her safe from baby Gene, while Joan turns off her lamp and gives into her worst fear: Greg not getting the promotion. Only Don is comfortable staring at his ceiling light as he thinks of ruling the PPL empire. Maybe he should have been a little more afraid.

• Kurt's back! He didn't really have much to do, but he was involved in a conversation about Vietnam ("Does he shoot za peoples?"), a nice little plot seed for the show to plant.

• Paul Kinsey's overreaction to Hooker's crack about his beard was perfect. And the passing shot of Paul playing the guitar in the office was even better.

• Poor Peggy. She and Don don't seem to be clicking this season, but it's always about her timing. "This champagne is good," she says, trying to make small talk. "I don't think so," replies Donald Downer, clearly having let Bert Cooper's imagination get the best of him

What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts below. show less

And so, the third season of Mad Men truly begins. We've waited patiently as each previous episode gave us mere glimpses of what we knew was ultimately to come: The Draper baby would rock the house in one way or another, the British invasion of Sterling Cooper was going to bring big changes to the office, and, sadly, we knew there would come a time when sassy Joan Holloway (I really hate calling her by her married name) would leave the agency for "greener pastures." All those paths crossed beautifully; plus, we also get a little resolution to Don and Roger's battle and one of show's most gruesome images ever. It's really a shame that this powerhouse episode went up against the Emmys.

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Premiered: July 19, 2007, on AMC
Rating: TV-14
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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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