Mad Men episode 711 – “Time & Life”
4 May 2015 — For the third time, Don handles the prospect of working for McCann. His latest and greatest Hail Mary play falls short, though.
What’s in a Name
The episode title is likely a reference to the Time-Life building where the agency has resided for the past six or so years and from where they’re essentially being evicted.
The Missing Link
The parallels between “Time & Life” and “Shut the Door. Have a Seat” (313) are obvious: in both episodes, Don masterminds a plan for him and his confidants to avoid working for McCann. This time around, they don’t have Lane Pryce to help make it happen. Although his character isn’t referenced, Jared Harris is the director of this episode.
A season of Mad Men isn’t complete without Peggy reflecting about her estranged child. Stan is the third co-worker to learn about her secret. She tells Pete in “Meditations in an Emergency” (213), and Don probably already knows about the baby by that point. Regardless, in “The Suitcase” (407), he evidently knows that Peggy has had a baby out of wedlock.
Cutler 1, Sterling Cooper 0
Roger implies that the partners have already bought out Cutler’s stake in the agency (“all that cash”) and, because Cutler is no longer with them, he doesn’t have to share their fate (“no McCann”).
I know that Lou is supposed to be a character whom viewers hate, but I’m glad that his story has a somewhat positive resolution.
Besides the status of Cutler, this episode answers a couple of other questions I’ve had about characters: Ted is in fact divorced and Dawn is still working for the agency.
Ted has told Don in “The Forecast” (710) that he’d like to have a pharmaceutical account, so he’s clearly happy when Jim Hobart mentions Ortho Pharmaceutical. Pete mistakenly thinks that Hobart is talking to Joan, who later points out that she hasn’t had an account mentioned for her. Allegedly, Roger gets Buick, Pete gets Nabisco, and Don gets Coca-Cola. Hobart has previously tried to use Coca-Cola, through Betty, to woo Don in “Shoot” (109).
The song that plays during the transition between the partners’ boardroom defeat to their barroom comfort is “I Followed My Heart.” This song plays in “Seven Twenty Three” (307) while Don dances with the hitchhiking girl in a motel room.
“You are okay”
Apparently, this line has stuck with Roger after all of this time. A few years after hearing it in Don’s presentation at the climax of the pilot episode, he imagines it the LSD trip of “Faraway Places” (506). A few years later still, and in a state of semi-sobriety, Roger repeats it to Don.
I hope that Peggy will somehow cross paths with Duck Phillips, who is last seen as a headhunter throughout Season 6. Besides introducing Lou to the agency in “In Care Of” (613), Duck mentions in “The Better Half” (609) that he’s gotten Burt Peterson a vice-president role at McCann. Peggy’s headhunter advises her to work for McCann, so maybe he’ll connect her with Duck, who obviously has connections with McCann.
In “New Business” (709), Roger mentions that he’s avoiding a golf outing with a McCann client because Burt Peterson is the account man. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson returns with a vengeance. Roger has been mostly responsible for the man’s less-than-dignified firings in “Out of Town” (301) and “Man with a Plan” (607).
Mrs Draper № 4
I think that Don’s visit to Diana’s apartment, now occupied by other tenants, is supposed to stir memories of Adam’s suicide in “Indian Summer” (111). The man who answers the door mentions that she had left her furniture, like how Don learns in “The Wheel” (113) that Adam had left his hush-money behind. I believe that we’ll see Diana alive, however.