This Mad Men Scene Will Make You Burn With Rage

In a way, the writing was already on the wall during last week's episode. The McCann Erickson higher-ups told the partners at SC&P to accept their fate, that the agency was being folded into its larger corporate overlord. Don't fight it, the McCann execs said, because they'd be handing the partners their dream accounts. They listed off brands for Don, Roger, Pete, and Ted. Joan was completely ignored. Her SC&P peers told her not to worry, that she was secure in her relationships with Avon and Topaz Pantyhose. Unfortunately, Joan's fears were founded, and they played out disastrously on last night's episode, "Lost Horizon."

The other SC&P partners were welcomed to McCann Erickson with open arms. Jim Hobart fawned over Don, calling him his "white whale." He waited years to have Don Draper working at his agency, and anything Don needs — parking tickets, dinner reservations — he'll take care of. Ted blended right in with the other creative directors. Pete was lauded for his vice president status and given more autonomy than ever. Roger didn't even bother to show up for his first day at McCann; he needed some time alone in the now-empty office to mourn the end of SC&P. In an ominous bit of foreshadowing, his secretary told him that "Advertising is not a very comfortable place for everyone," as she departed for Travelers Group. 

Joan, meanwhile, followed protocol to the letter. She not only showed up ready to work on her first day, she stayed up all night preparing detailed dossiers on her clients and how to best manage the firm's relationship with each of them. In the beginning, it seemed like the dawn of a new era of respect and mentorship for Joan. Two female copywriters sought her out and asked to work on her brands. They also invited her to a vent session at an oyster bar. 

Unfortunately, the respect Joan received from the copywriters was the last she was going to get at McCann. Unlike Don, Pete, Roger, and Ted, she's assigned a McCann Erickson liaison to basically oversee all of her accounts. It's Dennis, the same asshole from a few episodes ago who told Joan that she should "be in the bra business," because "she's a work of art." He ruined a call with Avon by telling a handicapped man that they should hit the links sometime. When Joan was aghast at the fact that he clearly hadn't read the dossier she'd prepared, which included the fact that Barry was handicapped, Dennis responded, "Who told you you got to get pissed off?" 

Joan bit her tongue and tried a different tactic. "All I ask is that you please read the brief before the next call." 

"You know what? Do it yourself. I thought you were going to be fun," Dennis said as he stormed out. 
Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
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Joan decided to appeal to a higher authority in the form of Ferg Donnelly, which goes even worse than her call with Dennis. It's obvious Ferg's going to be all up in Joan's business, and not in the professional sense of the word. 

Still unhappy with how she's being treated (and rightfully so) and determined to fix the situation, Joan sought out Jim Hobart. He's already annoyed because Don left in the middle of an important meeting and then vanished completely. Don's secretary couldn't even assure Hobart that he hadn't gone on another bender. It's into this lion's den that Joan walked to complain about Ferg Donnelly.

"As a partner at SC&P, I enjoyed a certain level of independence," Joan began.

"What's the problem? You can speak freely," Hobart prompted.

She told him that she didn't think Ferg Donnelly was a good match, and that his interest in her business wasn't necessary. 

"You're going to have to get used to doing things the way we do them," Hobart said. "It may not have sunk in, but your status has changed... I've tried to be patient, but I don't care about your SC&P partnership. I don't know if somebody left it to you in their will, but your little stake doesn't mean anything here." 

If that's the way he felt, then Joan was perfectly content to take the half a million dollars she's owed and walk away. Hobart wasn't at all receptive to being threatened by a woman, so Joan said she'd lawyer up and join forces with other the women at McCann who most certainly shared her frustration at being harassed, underpaid, and stalled in their quest for upward mobility. She'd also enlist the EEOC, ACLU, and Betty Friedan to publicize the issue. 

Hobart remained unfazed. McCann Erickson regularly buys a ton of ad space in The New York Times, he reminded her. The paper would publish Mein Kampf on the front page if the agency told it to. Yes, that's how good-versus-evil this argument became. Hobart actually brought Hitler into it.

He said he'd give Joan 50 cents on the dollar of the compensation she's owed. She refused, and he threw her out of his office. "Good. I'd rather give [the money] to a lawyer," was Hobart's parting shot. 

That's what Joan got for actually showing up to her job and trying to do it. After Don was praised like a show pony, he took off to Wisconsin to track down the elusive waitress. Roger didn't arrive for work at his new office until the very end of the episode. Even Peggy, who couldn't actually go into McCann because they thought she was a secretary and therefore didn't have her office ready, finally made it in hungover on Friday morning. It's a glorious moment; Peggy strutted down the hallway, sunglasses on, a cigarette dangling from her lips, and Bert Cooper's painting of an octopus pleasuring a woman underneath her arm. 

Unfortunately, it might be the last time Peggy enjoys this type of freedom and fuck-it-all attitude, if what happened to Joan is any indication of how receptive McCann brass will be to women coming from positions of power at SC&P. When Joan arrived at work that same day as if nothing had happened, Hobart sent Roger to her office to convince her to take the deal, which she does, looking crestfallen and no doubt taking her female viewers into despair with her. 

Joan had hit the glass ceiling, and upon reaching it found that there were actually men standing on top, as if she were in an aquarium — there to be gawked at for their personal enjoyment. Here's hoping that Peggy, with her aquatic depiction of a female getting pleasure without a man and all the symbolism contained therein, fares better in next week's episode. 
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