TV Review: Mad Men 2.11 – The Jet Set

Mad Men Airs Every Sunday at 10/9c on AMC

Episode: “The Jet Set” (Season 2, Episode 11)

Synopsis: On a business trip to Los Angeles, Don becomes acquainted with some exciting new friends. Peggy looks for romance at work. Duck starts thinking about the future of Sterling Cooper. Pete Campbell does some poolside business in La-La Land.

Review: Even though it looked like it was going to be a continuation from last week’s episode, “The Jet Set” has three brand new storylines and no appearance by last episode’s star, Betty Draper. This week sees Pete Campbell and Don Draper getting a little alone time in L.A. at a conference. At first Don berates Pete for wanting to put his bathing suit on a day before they have to do work, but it’s not long before Don decides it’s time for him to have a change of conscience. Upon meeting a pretty lady named Joy, Don is seemingly all of a sudden a carefree swinger who will watch people have sex. The usually reserved Don is pretty open to all of it, and even an elder man calls him “beautiful” which actually pleases Don. Even though this plot line seems like a getaway for Don, he makes a crucial phone call at the end of the episode that can drastically change things for him from here on out.

Back in New York, Roger proposes to Jane who proclaims that their “souls are the same age.” I hate to tell her that Roger Sterling is very much still a little boy, as he spends most of the episode trying to get his lawyer to save more than half of his possessions in the divorce. Peggy also eyes the Europian Kurt in the office to go on a date with her to a Bob Dylan concert. Kurt reveals that he’s gay to the office, to mixed response, and ends up giving Peggy a makeover instead of a date. This whole plotline, I believe, will expedite the “Sal coming out of the closet” moment which has become more and more inevitable with Sal’s knowing glances towards other men. Also, poor Peggy. She tells Kurt she always picks the wrong guys. Near the end of the episode, her and Pete have a moment, and even though they’re in a room with others, and Campbell behaves like his normally awkward self, it’s a neurotically romantic moment. They’re definitely going to have the relationship that will stay interesting throughout the remainder of the show.

Also, stop the presses, Duck Phillips becomes relevant. The character whose been given some things to do here and there is all of a sudden made much more interesting. When confronted about his lack of productivity, Duck consults his former bosses and tells them it may be to their advantage to buy Sterling/Cooper. They seem interested and when Duck tells Roger and Bert, they agree to give Duck’s colleagues (GE?) five days to woo them. One of Duck’s conditions is that he gets Don’s job, and with Don out on the west coast having a mid-life crisis, there isn’t a better job for Duck to swoop in and nab it. So, even though we know Don will make it back to New York and fight for his job within the next two episodes, having Duck reveal himself as the antagonist for this season sure spruces things up a bit.

Up Next week: “The Mountain King”–Don meets with an old friend. An account hangs in the balance when Pete’s personal life presents problems. Joan brings her boyfriend to the office.

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