MAD MEN RECAP: This Is Sterling Cooper On Drugs

jane roger mad men

Photo: AMC

In this week’s episode of “Mad Men,” characters discussed the virtues of truth versus goodness, falsity, orange sherbet, submission, the Holocaust, and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, THE ROOM IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF colours AND CLASSICAL MUSIC AND I THINK THAT MY LEFT HAND JUST GREW A SIXTH, PURPLE FINGER.That’s right scotch lovers, episode six, titled “Far Away Places,” truly embraced the sixties and was all about Roger in the sky with diamonds. Lucy in the sky with Mad Men? Whatever. Roger dropped acid, and the results were glorious. 

Matt Weiner’s experimentation with flashbacks and disjointed time sequences drew viewers into a confusing world in which the main characters struggled with gaining and losing control of their relationships and surroundings. Immediate gut reactions include: 

  • Everything is better when Roger Sterling speaks. Particularly while on drugs.
  • No, Don. Megan does not like orange sherbet. Betty, on the other hand, would have been all over it. (Bring back January Jones!)
  • Peggy is not a little girl, and she will prove it by channeling her inner eighth grader and give a guy a hand job in a movie theatre.
  • Ginsberg was born in a concentration camp. Things just got really real.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Roger takes LSD at a dinner party and listens to the Beach Boys.

Roger is forced to attend a dinner party with Jane, who is dressed as a Cleopatra/Princess Leia alien hybrid, which is being thrown by a pseudo-intellectual psychiatrist to the stars (and as it later turns out, Jane).

Breaking from painful talk of truth being 'good because it's always real,' the pretension-fest gets interesting when the oldies decide to 'turn on' and drop acid.

'I told you we were supposed to take LSD with them, you were supposed to clear your schedule,' Jane whines to Roger. 'You really are never listening to me.'

She then gives the kiss-of-death endorsement that 'it will be good for us.' and Roger jumps down the rabbit hole.

'And you say I never take you anywhere.'

Incredible things happen when Roger drops acid:

  • Bottles of Stoli sing Russian music when opened
  • Harmonica noises come out of cigarettes when puffed
  • People start crawling on the floor
  • Bert Cooper's head begins to appear on dollar bills
  • The Silver Fox gets a two-toned (young versus old) hairdo
  • Already golden lines shine even brighter

At the end of the day, the couple goes home, puts on pink bathtowel turbans, and finds out that one drop of acid is cheaper than any marriage counselor. It's over and has been for a long time--Roger is even shocked that Jane never cheated on him.

Now that Roger's unencumbered, can he make a family with Joan and Kevin?

'I have an announcement to make, it's going to be a beautiful day.'

Peggy smokes dope and gets frisky in the movie theatre.

Peggy is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. After Abe calls her out for objectifying him as her sex object, he tells her to 'have a shitty day.' Peggy then gives such a bad pitch to Heinz that she gets thrown off the account.

The cure? Skip out on work, go to a movie, eat some popcorn, smoke some pot, and then give a stranger a hand job in the crowded theatre. Pulling a 'Pretty Woman,' Peggy refuses to kiss.

When Peggy and Dawn had their sleepover two episodes ago, Peggy noted that in order to be successful in her field, she had to channel masculinity and wasn't sure that she could do it. Peggy was forceful in the pitch meeting, and while it may have worked for Don, both the Heinz executive and Bert saw her as a 'little girl' who got out of control.

The picture to the right shows Peggy washing her 'sins' off her hands, before getting back to work.

Michael Ginsberg is a Martian.

When Peggy asks Ginsberg about his father, who crashes SCDP in search of a photocopier, the new copywriter responds that that man is not his father but rather, 'I'm from Mars. It's fine if you don't believe me, but that's where I'm from … don't worry there's no plot to take over earth. I'm just displaced.'

According to the older Ginsberg, 'I was born in a concentration camp, which is impossible.' His mother died in the camp, and Ginsberg was adopted at age five in a Swedish orphanage.

Surprising, jarring, Ginsberg beautifully shot reflection out his window tells Peggy the story of his mysterious birth. I'm excited to see how this comes into play as the season progresses.

Speaking of Judaism ...

Jane is a member of the tribe?

When Roger reminds his soon-to-be ex-wife that she asked for a divorce while high, he tells her that it was right after she was speaking German, to which Jane responds, 'It must have been Yiddish.'

Who knew?

It looks like the honeymoon is finally over.

The last time Megan and Don were in a diner, it was season four's 'Tomorrowland' and Don decided she was his soulmate after remaining calm when his children spilled milkshake. (Try to imagine skinny-Betty's reaction). Things go much differently this time around when Don whisks Megan away from work and brings her on a road trip to Howard Johnson's, home to the infamous orange sherbet. The only problem: he never asked for her permission, took her away from a project she was invested in, and then doesn't even let her order the dessert she really wants.

Completely turned off by Don's selfishishness, Megan makes a scene and says that she actually hates said orange sherbet. Don gets pissed, to which Megan reacts by shoveling the dessert into her mouth while making orgasmic noises of 'When Harry Met Sally' proportions.

'I know, I'm terrible--I make you eat ice cream,' Don grimaces, telling Megan to just cry to her mother about it in French.

Megan then tells Don to cry to his mother about it (you know, the prostitute who died while giving childbirth to him). Chaos ensues.

Don drives away without Megan, only to return hours later to see that she is gone. He then freaks out--it is the pre-cell phone era after all--and stays in the restaurant until 2:30 a.m. before driving home. He then chases a livid and terrified Megan around the apartment (turns out she took a six-hour bus ride home) and the two collapse into desperate tears on the floor.

Things don't look good.

There's a new sheriff in town, and he looks a whole lot like Colonel Sanders.

At the very end of the episode, Bert Cooper reminds everyone that he is, in fact, still alive and laying down the law.

While he seemed out of touch when Peggy announced she was going to a mid-day movie ('Very good!') he later tells Don that she's a 'little girl' responsible for a client leaving unsatisfied.

Cooper then calls Don out for being on 'love leave.'

The work at SCDP has been waning--could this new take-charge attitude slap Don back into reality and whip him into shape? Is Peggy's job in trouble?

Mad Men suicide watch.

I've come to peace with the fact that at one point during every episode this season I will scream 'Stay away from the balcony' at the television screen.

When Megan was running away from a crazed Don Draper towards the end of the episode, my first thought was that she was going to swan dive out the window.

The over-the-balcony imagery is getting more interspersed within the episodes: this week most notably in the beautiful shots of Michael and then Don's reflections in SCDP's high-rise windows.

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