Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 10 – “Christmas Waltz”

Mad Men Episode 510
Photo from – Mad Men Episode 510
Final score: Meredith, the SCDP receptionist, wins the night! It was a great night for hostility and she led the pack. Joan would never have let a process server come through SCDP’s front door after an employee, let alone a director like…well, like Joan. But Meredith disagreed and jeopardized her colleague in style, all with a nasty attitude. Job well done, Meredith!

Second place goes to Paul Kinsey, who wins because he’s the only notable character to make any money off tonight’s episode. Don rented a car for a $6,000 bond, then paid for Joan’s drinks, so his net worth is down on the day. Megan now needs to buy a new plate. Lane’s theft might be what leads the company to its demise, but that’s now delayed a week. Harry lost his pride with Lakshmi, and then lost his guilt-ridden $500 to Paul, our deserving second-place finisher.

Tonight’s episode, like a chess opening position, may lead to a big endgame, where the Lane is shown the door (and maybe Don, too, for the forged signature on Lane’s check?). In isolation, however, this episode was tepid at best. Paul Kinsey’s plotline seems irrelevant now and probably will remain so for the remainder of the season — and really, was it relevant in the first place? It’s just part of the Mad Men‘s efforts to bring SCDP into the 1960s. While it’s fun to see Don interact with the counterculture, I’d just rather see him win a pitch.

Thank you for reading along! See you next week.

11:02 pm: Don to the team: “Prepare to take a great leap forward.” He then tells the team that SCDP is working throughout the holidays to land Jaguar. Everyone is ecstatic to blow up their holidays. You know why? Because everyone likes to work!

11:00 pm: Lane’s plan to embezzle SCDP’s money has hit a hitch with Mohawk’s union strike. Lane could barely stomach telling the company that the partners would forego their bonus.

10:58 pm: Harry gives Paul $500 (in 1966 dollars) for a fresh start in Los Angeles. That’s about $3,500 in 2012 terms, per In essence, Harry’s dalliance with Lakshmi cost his $3,500 in 2012 terms.

10:57 pm: Harry is now lying to Paul about how much Star Trek loved his script. Harry’s lie is so implausible that it does not bear repeating.

10:55 pm: The only plot line tonight’s episode has advanced thus far is Lane Pryce’s. Joan got served? Of course she did, because that’s what happens in divorce. We’ve got a few minutes left to redeem a slow night.

10:53 pm: “Hi, I’m Nick, and I’m a photography student.” Nick, would you like a nice I.T. degree instead?

10:52 pm: Roger and Joan. Make it happen for real, Matthew Weiner.

10:51 pm: Lane saves some money by exaggerating his role in the Jaguar sale. It’s the smallest lie he’s said all week.

10:49 pm: Megan makes a keen observation: Don loved his work before he met her. Maybe Don just loves Megan? Could it really happen that way in a Mad Men world?

10:48 pm: Megan is upset when drunk Don Draper gets home. Megan asks Don where he was, and Don tells her everything exactly as it happened, including getting a drink with Joan. Surprisingly, this upsets Megan less than Don not calling.

10:47 pm: Lakshmi slaps Harry. Harry is confused. I am also confused. Let’s ignore this plot line forevermore.

10:46 pm: Harry to Lakshmi: “[Paul] wants to have a life with you.” In other news, Harry and Lakshmi became one just like five seconds ago.

10:45 pm: AMC is showing every Dirty Harry movie this week. In other news, The Killing is still a thing.

10:41 pm: After drinks with Joan, Don is driving his quasi-rented Jaguar as fast as possible while he’s drunk. Don to the audience: “Have you seen the show?”

10:40 pm: Don and Joan are making up back stories for another guy at the bar. I do this ALL the time! It’s my favorite thing to do at a bar. Much safer than talking to other people.

10:39 pm: If Don and Joan become an item, man, that is it, that is all. It’d be like when Penny and Raj became an item on The Big Bang Theory.

10:37 pm: Lakshmi from the Hare Krishna place comes to SCDP’s office and throws herself at Harry. The big question: when was the last time she showered?

10:36 pm: The SCDP receptionist is the best receptionist in the entire world. Nothing says “reception” like hostility.

10:35 pm: Don congratulates Joan for getting divorced. Joan reminds Don that this is 1966, she is a woman, and society is unfair.

10:34 pm: Don whips out a checkbook (presumably a company check) and writes a $6,000 (in 1966 dollars) check to “rent” a Jaguar. Will the check bounce now that Lane’s stolen $7,500?

10:33 pm: Joan to Don: “Oh, honey, what’s that?”

10:32 pm: Yes, finally! Don and Joan are a couple! A fake couple, touring Jaguar, but still a couple!

10:31 pm: Joan just got served in a manner that’s eerily reminiscent of how it happens in 2012. Not that I’d know.

10:29 pm: My local commercials are all sponsored by local banks.

10:26 pm: Lane pays his tax bill with SCDP’s money, but then gives the tax man the runaround on his fee. That’s not going to work out well.

10:25 pm: Pete comes to Don’s office to discuss Jaguar. They should really talk about embezzlement. Maybe Pete should look at the ledger.

10:23 pm: Lane breaks into SCDP late at night to forge a check from the company checkbook. This is Lane’s creative embezzlement plan? He could never be an ad man.

10:22 pm: Paul to Harry: “No one likes me.” Matthew Weiner to Paul: “Agreed.”

10:21 pm: Paul wrote a spec Star Trek script! Yes!!!

10:20 pm: Megan’s dress looks like a Star Trek uniform.

10:19 pm: Megan to Don about his terseness: “Yep? Nope? Those should have been our wedding vows.”

10:18 pm: Don and Megan are at a silly play, and all the actors are wearing Rip Hamilton masks!

10:16 pm: Harry to Paul about the Hare Krishna lady: “She’s my kind of religion.”

10:14 pm: Roger is in Joan’s office begging to be part of Baby Harris’ life. Joan, for some reason, is refusing assistance. She is too proud, and Baby Harris will be too poor.

10:10 pm: So, how will Lane embezzle money from SDCP? If he doesn’t, will the British invade New York just to extradite him? There’s nothing more meaningful to the British tax system than $50K in 2012 dollars. Greece, however…

The easy answer: Lane creates a fake British government ad buy, then sends the money back through SCDP as a “research project.”

10:08 pm: Lane is now trying to convince the SCDP leadership to distribute his ill-gotten loan money. Pete: “What ghost visited you, Ebenezer?”

10:07 pm: Paul Kinsey is back, and he has a pony-tail! Just a pony tail. That’s a good look for when I go bald.

10:06 pm: Don to Pete about the Jaguar pitch: “It’s a lot of work.” Pete: “Yes, I’ve seen the show.”

10:04 pm: Lane’s now talking with a banking friend about getting a $50K (in 1966 dollars) line of credit for SCDP, so that he can get paid/embezzle to pay off his debt. Does it seem like he might do himself in this episode, at least career-wise?

10:02 pm: Lane owes $8,000 to the British tax man, in a plot line that hasn’t been remotely developed enough to plausibly threaten one of the show’s main characters. Lane is unable to come up with $8,000 (in 1966 dollars) on short notice, which is $56,000 in 2012 dollars. Lane Pryce seems to be the type of man who’d be able to pull that off. Why is he suffering so much financially?

10:00 pm: Is Dr. R-Word back?

9:59 pm: The Killing is available on iTunes. If you’ve purchased everything else on iTunes, it’s good to know.

9:58 pm: John Slattery’s voice on a Lincoln commercial is all the Mad Men I need. And two Lincoln ads in a row!

9:56 pm: We’ve now sworn off all mentions of The Killing, other than to reassert weekly that Seattle is rainy and gray. Since Grey’s Anatomy, it’s actually rainy and grey.

9:51 pm: It’s Christmas in May! When you’re writing Mad Men, time knows no season. Anyway, Christmas dreams are about to come true at SCDP, per the official site. Pete Campbell is wishing for a backbone, Peggy is wishing for a better haircut, and MICHAEL GINSBERG is wishing for vengeance on the evil Don Draper. Don Draper, of course, does not care, because Don Draper has Megan Draper while MICHAEL GINSBERG has his father’s matchbox apartment. Living in New York, ah, so glamorous.

We’ll get started in about nine minutes – thanks for joining along!

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