‘Mad Men’ Review: “Man with a Plan”
‘Mad Men’ season 6 pitches its seventh episode of the season, “Man with a Plan,” as the merging agencies create a bit of friction, while Don and Sylvia’s affair reaches a breaking point, and Pete finds himself burdened with his sick mother’s care.
Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode “For Immediate Release” saw Don’s outburst at a Jaguar client giving way to a bold new future for SDCP, while Pete awkwardly ran into his father-in-law at a brothel, so what will the newest episode bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ season 6 episode 7, “Man with a Plan”!
Don descends his elevator one morning to find Sylvia in the process of throwing Arnold out, before arriving to work to find chaos of a different kind, given all the new Cutler, Gleason and Chaough employees moving into the office. Joan attempts to direct the new arrivals, showing Peggy into Harry’s old office for the foreseeable future.
Cooper welcomes the new partners in the meeting, though Pete finds himself dismayed to be without a chair at first. Among the conflicts between the agencies, CGC will have to dump one of their auto clients in favor of Mohawk Airlines, for which Ted volunteers to personally fly he, Don and Pete to meet with Mohawk. Shortly thereafter, Pete takes a call from his apartment’s landlord about his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, confused and in need of his care.
With Dawn nowhere to be found, Don tersely greets a returning Peggy and Burt Peterson, before taking a call in his office from a despondent Sylvia. Sylvia insists that she needs him, to which Don reluctantly agrees to meet in a hotel. Meanwhile, Burt attempts to break the ice with Roger, having previously been fired by him, before Roger declares him redundant and fires him once more.
Don arrives to find Sylvia waiting in a hotel room, asking her to repeat her pleas, while back at SDCP Ted meets with the creative and starts a rap session about margarine. Later, Don demands Sylvia fetch his shoes for him, and remain undressed in bed until he returns. Don arrives back at SDCP late to the margarine meeting, to which Teddy ends the meeting and chastises Don in private.
Alone in his office, Don calls Sylvia to make sure she stays in bed and follows his every instruction, before venturing to Teddy’s office with an olive branch of alcohol. Don and Ted ponder ideas for margarine campaigns on their own, Don influencing Ted to drink heavily. Meanwhile, Pete arrives back at his apartment to find his brother refusing to take care of their confused mother. Pete reluctantly takes her in, given a vermin problem at her own apartment, and urges her to stay the night. Elsewhere at her hotel, Sylvia finds a dress delivered outside her door.
After Don and Ted drunkenly plot out a pitch, the pair return to the creative room in shambles, Teddy visibly drunk and Peggy unhappy about Don’s manipulation. Elsewhere, Bob Benson finds Joan puking by her desk with a pain in her side, and covertly ushers her to go to the emergency room. Once there, Bob refuses to depart, and manages to trick the attending nurse into admitting Joan early, despite the lengthy wait.
Don returns to the hotel to find Sylvia wearing the dress, but rather than go out, Don insists she take it off and refrain from asking questions. The next morning, with heavy rains pounding on the window, a disheveled Teddy visits Frank Gleason in chemotherapy, to which Frank urges Ted to let Don win the early power struggles, but return to the office with pride. Over at his apartment, Pete lies to his mother about it being St. Patrick’s Day to keep her there, before heading off to work.
Don arrives to find Dawn still missing and Peggy waiting in his office, who chastises him both for the brazen merger, and his obvious attempt at embarrassing Ted. Meanwhile, Pete learns from his secretary of a small fire started by his mother back at the apartment and races off, instructing to reschedule the upcoming meeting with Mohawk. Don spends the early morning in his hotel with Sylvia, again commanding her to await his return.
Pete’s secretary warns Roger about his absence for the impending meeting with Mohawk, but both Roger and a returning Don refuse to cancel the flight, in spite of the inclement weather. Sometime later, Ted flies Don above the choppy weather in his private aircraft, despite Don’s apparent discomfort. Don attempts to read to ease his nerves, noting that the clients will see Ted as the true savior of the meeting anyway.
Bob arrives at a recovering Joan’s apartment with a gift for her boy, but politely refuses to stay despite Joan’s mother’s insistence. Gail points out that Bob likely has affection for Joan, but Joan dismisses him as too young, and most likely looking to save his own job. Meanwhile, Pete returns from his mother’s fiery mishap dismayed to learn that Don and Ted left for the meeting without him, insulting his secretary for the slight.
Don returns to Sylvia’s hotel to find her dressing to leave, and refusing to follow any more of his commands. Sylvia explains that she dreamed of Don’s plane crashing, the funeral, and returning to her husband, deciding in reality they should both resign the affair and return home. Don protests, but Sylvia insists they give up their trysts. Meanwhile back at SDCP, Joan meets with the partners and suggests sparing Bob Benson among the many redundancies.
Don and Sylvia share a wordless elevator ride to their apartments, where Don begins to tune out Megan’s words. The next morning, Pete’s mother awakens him with news that Bobby Kennedy has been assassinated, though Pete dismisses her words as confused reference to JFK. Back at Don’s apartment, Megan watches the news coverage while Don ignores the TV, lost in thought.
Expectedly, nothing would quite match the exhilaration of last week’s caper-style episode, as even the merging offices mostly fell to the drama of Don’s dealings with Sylvia, and Joan and Pete’s separate stories outside the office. We were happy to see Bob Benson (James Wolk) afforded a bit of character development, as well as an advance to Don and Sylvia’s relationship, though ultimately “Man with a Plan” resolved very little of the inherent conflicts. Plenty of seeds were sown for future episodes, but tonight’s offering felt a bit too crowded to create the same impact as “For Immediate Release.” Thankfully, we’ve still six episodes in the season to go.
Did you get your fill of moving ‘Mad Men’ drama? What did you think about Sunday’s episode “Man with a Plan”? Check out all our other ‘Mad Men’ season 6 coverage here, and preview next week’s episode of ‘Mad Men’ season 6, “The Crash” below!