“Mad Men” was so good tonight that I hate to point out the one big mistake at the start of the episode. Joan — who has many talents– made a reservation at a restaurant that wouldn’t exist for six more years. There was no Le Cirque in 1968. Sirio Maccione opened his doors in 1974. If Joan were aiming for a four star French restaurant in 1968 she could have chosen Le Pavillion, Quo Vadis, The Colony, or La Caravelle. They could also have gone to Lutece, which was the pre-eminent French restaurant of the time. But no Le Cirque, which really didn’t reach its zenith anyway until the 1980s, and was more of a lunch place than dinner.
But that’s quibbling. In “To Have and To Hold” we went to the Electric Circus, smoked dope, visited a soap opera (that was far too racy for 1968). We also saw a an absolutely lovely tribute to the great legend (and my old friend) the late Pierre Cossette. Pierre was known for producing sports-entertainment shows like the one mentioned in the episode. (But I don’t this one happened, and Pierre didn’t produce those shows until the 1970s.) Don and his team came up with “Pass the Heinz,” which of course was used later as the tag line for the ketchup.
But “To Have and to Hold” was all about sex. And nineteen sixty eight was all about sex. The soap producer (Ted McGinley, who does not age) and his actress wife are trying to find swap partners. Megan is having an affair on the soap. Don’s having one with the neighbor (Linda Cardellini, still knocking out it out of the ballpark), Joan and her friend are experimenting with picking up guys at the Electric Circus.
The episode was jam packed with cultural references. It was also a relief to be back in the ad agency, where the decorations have gone from interesting to mid-century modern to garish ranges of orange. Also, the agency is starting to splinter. Harry’s declaration of independence seems to portend a change. And Peggy with her rival team– Peggy using Don’s words during the Heinz pitch– was excellent.
And that scene, of Don listening at the door, I think is indicative of where “Mad Men” is going. Peggy is the future, Don is the past. When Don’s lover, Sylvia, says she prays he finds peace. you know he’s not going to. He’s a dinosaur, the end of his era is coming with every episode. He will not make it into the 1970s, that’s for sure. In the meantime, we’re happy to follow him to the end of his journey.
An A plus episode, a little lighter than the first three (or two), and far more involving.