‘Mad Men’ Review: “To Have and To Hold”
‘Mad Men’ season 6 pitches its fourth episode of the season “To Have and To Hold,” as Harry and Joan come to argue about her dismissal of a secretary, while Don covertly works on a Heinz ketchup campaign, and Megan finds herself in the position of having to shoot a love scene with another man.
Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode “The Collaborators” saw Don continuing his relationship with Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) while dealing with an unruly client request, Pete taking on another affair that quickly blows up in his face, and Peggy worrying that her staff doesn’t take her seriously, 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 4, “To Have and To Hold.”
Don and Pete share a covert meeting with the Heinz Ketchup representative in Pete’s apartment, getting the go-ahead to make a presentation without worry of Raymond from Heinz beans knowing about it. Don returns home afterward, sharing a steamy elevator ride with Sylvia, with the promise of a later rendezvous. Meanwhile across town, Dawn meets a friend of hers for dinner, and laments that she’ll never meet anyone at the office, or even outside of work.
Joan arrives home to find her friend Kate (Marley Shelton) touching up her mother’s makeup, cancelling dinner reservations for the three to eat in. Over dinner, Kate expresses her admiration of Joan’s rise to partner at SDCP, lamenting that her own job would never afford such an opportunity.
The next morning Ken and Harry devise an idea to use Ken’s Dow Chemical connections for a new TV special, while Stan covertly works on “Project K” from inside a top-secret office. Don overlooks his work, sharing a joint, though the pair realize the work only makes them hungry. Outside, Harry’s secretary Scarlet asks Dawn’s help in punching out her time card for her at the end of the day, while she goes out shopping for a fellow secretary’s birthday.
Over in her dressing room, Megan learns from her co-star that the pair will have a love scene, confirmed by another actor married to the writer. Megan worries about broaching the subject with Don, but her co-star Arlene suggests they all discuss it over dinner. Megan tells Don about the scene and dinner when he arrives home, though he admits to being somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of his wife in a love scene with another man.
While Harry and Ken pitch their idea of a TV special to Dow Chemical, Joan confronts Harry’s secretary Scarlett about her ducking out of work the previous day. Not buying the girl’s excuse, Joan goes to talk to Dawn about it, but when Joan catches Scarlett trying to signal Dawn to cover, Joan fires Scarlett on the spot. Harry returns just in time to see Scarlett leaving, and immediately confronts Joan for her petty actions, demanding Scarlett be allowed to stay.
Minutes later, Harry sees Joan in a meeting with the other partners and presumes her to be discussing the incident with the higher-ups. Harry bursts into the meeting and points out that his accomplishments at the company have been overlooked, while Joan’s partnership among the company wasn’t earned with actual work. Harry storms out, demanding to be present at the next meeting, though Cooper assures her it won’t happen, and allows both secretaries to stay on after the humiliation.
While Dawn meets with her friend again for dinner, Joan and Kate dine at a unique restaurant where people talk to one another from phones on the table. Kate takes particular interest in their waiter, who calls their table phone and invites them out afterward. Don and Megan share dinner with the show’s writer and his wife, but the evening becomes quickly spoiled when the pair attempt to convince Don and Megan to swing with them. Don and Megan laugh the issue off in the car, while elsewhere, Joan and Kate get frisky with the waiter in the back of a cab, eventually meeting another friend at a trendy club.
The next morning at work, Bert and Roger meet with Harry Crane to offer him a large commission from his work on the Dow special, but Harry continues to demand a stake in the partnership, pointing out that he’d more than earned it. Back at Joan’s apartment, Joan’s mother wakes up the hungover pair, as Kate urges Joan to be proud of her success at the company, even if they sometimes treat her no better than a secretary.
Don, Pete and Stan present their ad campaign to the Heinz Ketchup representatives, though their high-concept ideas have the Heinz people somewhat nervous about leaving the bottle out of the images. Upon exiting, the three run into Peggy and Teddy Chow, surprised to see Heinz taking additional meetings. After the awkwardness, Don remains behind to listen to Peggy’s idea, grimacing as she appropriates his old mantra of “changing the conversation” for an ad that the Heinz people clearly like better.
Back at the office, Joan has an awkward run-in with Harry and Scarlett, before Dawn requests a moment of her time. Dawn apologizes for her role in the cheat, offering her pay to be docked, but Joan instead gives Dawn a key to the supply closet, to be in charge of time card distribution going forward. Meanwhile, Don and the others drink their concerns away, before Teddy and Peggy enter the bar, claiming Heinz went with rival agency J. Walter Thompson’s pitch. Kenny enters the bar, revealing to Don that Raymond found out about the ketchup pitch, and already cancelled his account with SDCP, before Don walks out. Rather than face Peggy, Stan flips her off and walks by her.
Megan shoots her love scene for the soap opera, while Don bitterly watches the filming. After the take, Megan is surprised to see Don, and the two quickly devolve into an argument in her dressing room. Megan voices her disdain that Don has never come to set before, while Don compares her job to prostitution. Don leaves a crying Megan alone in her dressing room, before returning home to visit Sylvia. Don expresses his discomfort with her crucifix necklace, but when she reveals that she often prays for Don to find peace, Don turns the necklace around.
For a few weeks viewers have been upset that Joan hadn’t been given very much to do, nor had Peggy in a way that connected back to her old friends at SDCP. Thankfully, “To Have and To Hold” very much addressed those concerns, and even gave Dawn an unexpected spotlight for the first time since her introduction. Joan’s adventures with her friend do wind up feeling a bit tangential, though we were very excited to see the conflict between she and Harry finally boil over, as Harry has always gone unappreciated within the company.
We hope the next episode gets a chance to explore the fallout between Don and Peggy, especially given Peggy’s appropriation of Don’s pitching style. As for Megan, we’d rather she clue into Don’s infidelity sooner rather than later, as the series has very little fresh to say about wives being kept in the dark while their men step out. All in all, a thoroughly exciting episode that goes in some unexpected directions as it retreads a bit of familiar territory.
Did you get your fill of moving ‘Mad Men’ drama? What did you think about tonight’s episode “To Have and To Hold?” Check out all our other ‘Mad Men’ season 6 coverage, and join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Mad Men’ season 6′s latest episode “The Flood” on AMC!