“One minute you’re on top of the world. The next minute some secretary is running you over with a lawn mower.”
This was quite possibly the most action-packed, darkly comic and confounding episodes of “Mad Men” yet. I’ve been trying to sort it out for two days now and I still don’t have many conclusions about “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency.” From the title on down, it’s a rip-snorter. But what does it all mean??
I know the story thread about Sally Draper and her need for a night light was symbolic of being afraid of the dark, or fear of the unknown. I know it wasn’t accidental that Joan’s big moment with her creepy husband came in the dark, after she fell asleep waiting for the bastard that she supports even after she calls him out for being drunk and for telling her an abject lie.
I know it had to be a conscious decision by scribes Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner (I noticed Veith got top billing) that this episode had more uses of the term “Mrs. Harris” than any other, as it to reinforce to Joan as she’s on her way out the door that she is no longer herself, but her husband’s wife.
I know that Harry Crane’s line “What just happened here?” after the board room coup instigated by the doomed Brit executive Guy was clearly meant to encapsulate the randomness of life in the business world and life in the cosmic scheme of things. It takes someone else to explain to Harry that he’s the only one who got an actual boost in responsibility in the reorg that was so cheerily and quickly detailed by Guy Smiley.
It took me longer than that to realize that the hierarchy laid out by the Brit emissaries not only leaves Roger Sterling out (duh?) but also essentially demotes Don as he would have had to work under share authority with Guy Mackendrick. Yes, I know Don’s crestfallen look should have made this clear but I can be a little Harry-ish at times, especially when engrossed in this show.
And then what happens next in this show is straight out of “The Twilight Zone.” The lawn mower that Ken Cosgrove so playfully rides into the office to illustrate his latest account snaring coup becomes the lethal weapon that takes Guy’s foot and kills his career, in the eyes of his corporate overseers. Office parties at Sterling Cooper are just plain dangerous. And of course, it would be Lola! Lois! Of course!
The scene in which Lois and the lawn mower go out of control was as jarring a scene of random violence as anything I’ve ever seen on TV.