Mad Men Recap: "Time and Life"

Mad Men recap
Photo: Justina Mintz/AMC

Last night on Mad Men, we learned that McCann-Erickson would be merging with SC&P—and that the fate of our favorite characters may take an unexpected turn. The biggest shock came when we found out that all the members on board may not be coming along for the ride.

However, there was one pleasant surprise: The episode, which marks the 11th of the final season, was titled “Time & Life,” after the New York City building that houses SC&P—and just so happens to be where InStyle (and its sister titles like People and Time) are headquartered today. The title is appropriate since we learned that Don, Peggy, Joan, and the rest of the gang, would have to move out of the Time & Life building as they merged with McCann-Erickson.

And as much as this episode was about business, it also had a lot to do with love. We see Peggy, who’s working on a Play-Doh account, with a group of kids, one of which she’s left to watch after for a short while. After a not-so-smooth time with a little girl, (read: the little girl staples her hand), Peggy confronts the girl’s mother about her negligence for leaving her daughter behind for Peggy to watch. This results in a rather interesting conflict between Peggy and Stan. After Stan slams her for “not liking kids,” he explains his point of view: “Look, you got to a certain point in your life and it didn’t happen. I understand you’re angry about [not having kids], but you’ve got a lot of other things. I mean it! You couldn’t have done all you’ve done otherwise,” he says.

The conversation takes a deeper dive as Peggy opens up about the child she gave up for adoption, which leads into a slight feminist tirade. “No one should have to make a mistake just like a man does and not be able to move on. She should be able to live the rest of her life just like a man,” she says. Finally, Peggy explains her son is with a family “somewhere” and that she doesn’t know his whereabouts “because you’re not supposed to know or you can’t go on with your life.” Even though the topic was rather heavy, it left us wanting Peggy and Stan to end up together like never before. But back to business …

As for the big move and partnering of the two companies, there was a lot of celebration—and a bit of disappointment. There are talks of new accounts and clients, and after a heavy “sales pitch” from Jim Hobart, the head of McCann-Erickson, Joan comes to realize that Hobart listed off accounts to everyone but her. “We both know they’re not going to take me seriously over there,” Joan says to Pete after the booze-filled get-together celebrating the company’s next step.

We can empathize with Joan, as she has been the subject of numerous bouts of sexual harassment. And after Joan’s not-so-great day, she turns to Richard, her new real estate love interest that we met on last week’s episode. Richard offers to take a red-eye flight to New York and to the travel the world with her. This could be a major turning point for Joan. Will she stay or will she go?

Finally, as word got out that SC&P will be absorbed by McCann, Don and Roger call a team meeting, where they assure everyone that the transition will be seamless and that their jobs are not in danger. We’ll see what actually happens next week.

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