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Mad Men recap: "The Collaborators"

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Testy, testy! Everyone is up in arms on this Jon Hamm–directed episode of Mad Men.

Mad Men Season 6, Episode 3

It looks like everyone on Mad Men is up to their same old tricks of ruining things. During this episode, viewers saw a relationship crumble, another flounder and another become properly defined. We also saw a few hopes dashed. Same drama, new episode. Here is what's happening with our favorite pairs.

Don and Megan

This house is falling apart. Season 6's premiere alluded to a bit of Don's unhappiness, and we even saw him in bed with another woman. This time we saw more of the problems Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan are facing. Multiple times throughout their relationship, Don has told Megan (Jessica Pare) he wants to "make a baby." Megan has always seemed slightly apprehensive. This week, we find out Megan had a miscarriage just a few short days ago, after not being very responsible on vacation. In a moment of emotional turmoil, Megan tells their neighbor (and Don's newest mistress), Sylvia (Linda Cardellini, Freaks and Geeks) that she was happy she had the miscarriage. As it turns out, she's just not sure she's ready to be a mom.

Eventually Megan and Don have a heart-to-heart, but can one good chat save their marriage? Probably not.

He said, she said: Mad Men dating advice >>

Don and Sylvia

No one has an appetite for sex like Don Draper when he finds a new mistress. This time, our illustrious adman might be going a little too far. Boinking the downstairs neighbor doesn't seem like a very safe thing to do! The episode even starts with Don seeing Sylvia while he's in the elevator waiting for her husband. Then he lies and says he forgot his cigarettes so he can go back upstairs and roll around with Sylvia for a while. Later, when the two end up accidentally dining together (after Megan has confessed her miscarriage to Sylvia), Sylvia acts bristled and cold. Don lays it out in no uncertain terms that he has every intention of having his way with her later... but that's all he has in mind.

Pete and Trudy (and the blonde from down the street)

Trudy finally relented and let Pete have a bachelor bad in the city so he wouldn't have to commute home late so often. Of course, any handsome man with a loft in the city is going to take advantage of the privacy to conduct extramarital experiments. What he's not supposed to do, though, is pick his neighbor's wife. (Looks like someone is following in Don's shoes.) He must be pretty good in the sack, too (rather unexpectedly), because after one afternoon, the other woman is completely enamored with him. She ends up telling her husband, who smacks her around and then sends her running to the Campbell residence.

By morning, Trudy knows the truth, and Pete knows he's to stay in the city and away from her. Woops.

Which TV character has your love life? >> 

Peggy and her new job (and Stan Rizzo)

Peggy of Mad Men

Peggy and Stan's phone conversations are quickly become one of the best parts of Mad Men. Abe is great. Really. But the chemistry and humor between the two former co-workers is just too good. They need to hook up already. There's one minor complication, though...

In the midst of a bonding moment, Stan tells Peggy about how SCDP is having issues with Heinz. Beans brought in Ketchup to show off, only to forbid SCDP from working with Ketchup. The whole thing was a fiasco, and — not thinking — Peggy turns around and tells her boss. It's possible she was gloating a little... it's always nice to see things get messed up once you leave. Her boss, though, immediately sees this as an opportunity to pitch to Ketchup. It's not really stealing a client from SCDP, but it's not exactly something an upstanding citizen like Peggy would do. (Handjobs in movie theaters are totally game, though. Right, Pegs?) She agrees, but you can tell the shimmer of her new job is starting to wear on her... especially when she has to spend so much time dealing with the idiots who work for her.

The cads of Mad Men >>

Highlight: Don Draper vs. Jaguar

Remember that creeper that Pete Campbell convinced Joan to sleep with? Well, he's back. He wants to turn SCDP's whole ad campaign into a more localized pitch to help him drum up business. It's a terrible idea, but now that they've let him have what he wanted once... they can't seem to shake him. So, in a meeting with the rest of the guys from Jaguar, Don works his magic. He's supposed to act like he's for the new campaign angle, and that's exactly what he does. But he uses words and imagery that just aren't complementary with the Jaguar brand. So, even though it seems like he pitched an idea he agreed with (thus kind of saving face with the creep), he managed to get the rest of the Jaguar team to turn it down. That might be the best wordsmithing we've seen from him in two seasons.

Oh, yeah. And the entire episode was riddled with flashbacks from when Don and his stepmother moved into the whorehouse. The images are complete with his pregnant stepmother being seduced by her bother-in-law (who looks a lot like the shopkeeper from The Waltons). Shudder.

Needed...

As great an episode as this was, I won't be happy until... Peggy is back at SCDP, Pete Campbell is back with Beth Dawes (just like he is in real life!), Joan is either with Don or Roger and Megan is far, far away. Also, more Sally, please! I love watching her act like a teenager!

Images courtesy of AMC

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