“A heart that's full up like a landfill, a job that slowly kills you, bruises that won't heal. You look so tired and unhappy. Bring down the government. They don't, they don't speak for us. I'll take a quiet life, a handshake of carbon monoxide. No alarms and no surprises.”—Thom Yorke

I have a Mad Men theory! It’s all in “No Surprises” by Radiohead, man! Check it out: jaded hearts, deleterious jobs, disenfranchisement, and no surprises. This clearly indicates that someone is going to commit suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning.[1] I’m sorry but it is inexorable. What’s more believable, that this is merely a coincidence or that Matthew Weiner is a huge fan of Radiohead and is mining OK Computer era songs as an undercurrent for Mad Men? Get used to it, people.

OK, I’m not serious. I don’t actually think anyone is going to die. But this I know: If Pete Campbell were alive in 1997, he would totally be rocking out to OK Computer. He plots behind Bob Benson’s back in an attempt to ship him off to another agency. But there is a problem: Duck Phillips does some research on Bob and uncovers that Bob isn’t who he says he is. He never went to Wharton. He was a man servant.

“You’re going to get the benefit of the fact that I’ve been here before,” says Pete and he’s not kidding. I was really expecting Pete to be spiteful and blackmail Bob with no remorse, but I guess he remembers how that played out last time. “I surrender,” he says invoking the predominate sentiments of Thom Yorke. All Pete asks is for Bob to accept his apologies, agree that Pete is “off-limits,” and dismember Manolo’s relationship with Pete’s mother.

I’m going to be honest guys: I have no idea what’s going on with Bob Benson. Was he hitting on Pete last week? Was that just admiration? I guess it’s immaterial at this point. All I can say for certain is that he is the next incarnation of Don Draper.

Speaking of Don Draper, he’s full of surprises too. Megan and he aren’t even sleeping together anymore—alright, that’s not even marginally surprising. Here’s some primo stuff though: He reneges on his commitment to Ted last week, to defer to Ted and give him his juice. Although, to be fair, he told Harry on the phone to shut it down, but the revenue was too substantial to ignore. Notwithstanding the money, Ted is furious with all these back-alley dealings. “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing!”  He bristles.

And of course that was merely an appetizer for old Teddy. Don, as well as everyone with adequate peripheral vision (sorry Ken!), deduces that Ted and Peggy have amorous feelings for one another.[2] Don then proceeds to bombard Ted in the meeting with St. Joseph’s Aspirin, suggesting that Ted went over budget for “personal” reasons. He prods Ted to tell the client but Ted just looks horrified. Don slyly tells St. Joseph’s that it was Frank Gleason’s last idea, garnering the support of the client while simultaneously making Ted look like an imbecile.

“You killed him. You killed the ad, you killed everything. You can stop now…You’re a monster.”—Peggy Olson

Back during week 7, I talked about how Ted and Don split two rounds in the ring. Well, round 3 is another Draper victory and, according to the ref, Ted is out cold. Don insists that he was “just looking out for the agency,” but that’s disingenuous. He ignored Megan’s advice to “pull back on the throttle.” Don has always been a Nixon man, and the Nixon ads tell him to act “like your whole world depended on it.” 

When did Glen Bishop become cool? How did this happen? Was the mustache making him a weirdo? Anyway, he comes barreling into Sally’s window at the boarding school toting alcohol and saying things like, “Nice digs.” He’s decked out in some bad-ass green jacket festooned in anti-war buttons and the girl who he is hitting on says, “You should read my diary,” before she escorts him to her room. What in the hell is going on here!?

In “The Quality of Mercy,” there’s a lot of talk about having someone else’s back and it’s Glen Bishop who has Sally’s back from the horny creep trying to put the moves on her.[3] He beats him up because Sally said, “He tried to force me.” Now was this kid an aggressive jerk? Absolutely! Sally may have exaggerated things though. “Force” has all kinds of rape connotations that weren’t apt at that particular juncture. You get the sense that Sally gets a thrill watching Glen come to her rescue. Her mother would be proud.

On the drive back home, Betty lets Sally smoke. “I’d rather have you do it in front of me than behind my back.”

This was another great episode of Mad Men. I haven’t thought about Glen all year, but I was beside myself when he showed up like Sam from Clarissa Explains it All. Tune in next week for the season finale of Mad Men!

Additional Notes:

Roger Sterling one-liner of the night: “Well, shiver me timbers!”

Ken says Chevy will let him abdicate because they feel "guilty.”

The first shot we see of Don is of him curled up sleeping in his kids’ room. The last shot of him is of him curled up on the couch in his office.

There were several mother references in this episode:

  • Megan is cooking eggs
  • Ken’s wife is pregnant
  • Ted describes Peggy as a “beautiful, radiant, young mother” in an ad which is an allusion to Rosemary’s Baby

Don: “Honestly, I’m more troubled by the idea of using Rosemary’s Baby for a children’s aspirin ad.”

[1] Or maybe this relates to Lane Pryce’s botched carbon monoxide suicide last year.

[2] Don will later tell Ted that Ted wasn’t “thinking with his head.” This is a condition that Don is well acquainted with.  

[3] Her father has verily squashed any hope Sally has at having salutary relationships with men.