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Mad Men – “To Have and to Hold” Review

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 12:00 am by Amanda Andonian

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Finally, the episode I’ve been waiting for—a Joan-centric storyline! This week’s episode of Mad Men, “To Have and to Hold,” gives us a look into how Joan’s been handling her rise in the company, as well as giving us a peek into the lives of Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s secretaries, most notably Dawn (who’s also Don’s secretary, coincidentally). Despite the many successes at the firm, things are less than rosy for everyone.

A quick rundown of the episode: Don and Pete are trying to work on the Heinz ketchup account secretly, hoping that if they win that business it’ll be worth the fury of Heinz beans. Meanwhile, Megan gets a bigger role in the soap opera that involves a “love scene,” which she’s worried about because of Don’s potential reaction. Joan and Harry go to the mat against each other over whether his secretary should be allowed to stay after forging her timecard with Dawn’s help, and an old friend of Joan’s comes to visit. Also, Harry grows a pair of balls and actually demands a partnership from Roger and Cooper. Who knew he had it in him?

mad-men-to-have-and-to-hold2The juxtaposition of Joan and Dawn’s situations was the most interesting part of this week to me. Both women are trying to make their way in the business world, and both are questioning the roles that they play. In Joan’s case, it seems like she doesn’t really feel that she’s earned her position at the firm because of how she earned it; and her friend Kate’s admiration only seems to make Joan more sad. Kate just wants to have the kind of position and recognition that Joan’s managed to attain, having it all “right in front of you for the taking;” but from Joan’s perspective, despite her fifteen years at the company, she’ll always be a secretary to the men she works for.

Dawn, in contrast, seems to be an aspiring Joan, even if she doesn’t really want to admit it to herself. Although she hints frequently at her desire to find a man and get married in her conversations with her friend at the diner, Dawn also takes her job at SCDP very seriously. Even as she complains about the war-like atmosphere in the office, Dawn still defends her job and doesn’t let her friend take away its importance. When Dawn works up the courage to talk to Joan, it’s clear that Joan sees something in the younger woman, and  I think that this may be just the beginning where she’s concerned.

mad-men-to-have-and-to-holdGetting back to Don (as all things must at some point), he and Stan pitch their idea to Heinz ketchup, only to lose completely and embarrassingly to Todd and Peggy, who got the tip from Stan that Heinz ketchup was looking for new advertising. As Don listens at the door to Peggy’s pitch, it’s clear from the look on his face that he knows he’s just lost to her on a huge account, and it’s a blow that he doesn’t know how to handle. Instead, he takes out his anger (and perhaps guilt?) on Megan after she films her new scene at the soap opera. From there, he goes directly into Sylvia’s arms back at the apartment building, but doesn’t manage to escape whatever demons he’s trying to run from. When he examines the cross she wears around her neck, asking her what she prays for, Sylvia tells him that she prays for him to find peace. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any peace out there for Don Draper. At least, not while he’s still struggling with who he is and what he wants.

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 4, “To Have and to Hold” aired April 21st 2013 on AMC.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

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