Poor Harry has been the Mad Men fall-guy for so long that you started to wonder if he’d ever get away from being humiliated every time we saw him. This week’s episode, Christmas Waltz, offered him two festive miracles, in that he got laid and got to feel good about himself for helping out an old friend.
Things started off pretty much as usual for him, looking bewildered and feeling out of place as former Sterling Cooper colleague Paul Kinsey takes him to a Hare Krishna chanting thing. It seems that Kinsey has fallen hard since we last saw him and now he wears robes and has a shaven head. Some chanting and flirting with a sexy Krishna type called Lakshmi was enough to show Harry what’s keeping him there.
But a further chat revealed that Kinsey still has real world aspirations. Well, kind of. He has written a script for Star Trek and wants Harry to pitch it to his pals. Or Gene Roddenberry, preferably. Unfortunately, it’s terrible, and things take a turn for a weird when Lakshmi shows up and bends over his desk for him, in exchange for him telling Kinsey to stick with the Krishna types, because he’s a really good recruiter.
This convinces him to do just the opposite, so he sends Kinsey off to Hollywood with $500 and a load of false hope about his prospects, which seems like a nice thing to do. Assuming, of course, that Harry did it to get him away from the manipulative Lakshmi, rather than to get himself closer to her (again). In Mad Men, you can never be too sure about motives.
Elsewhere in this Christmassy episode, Lane’s financial troubles are catching up with him, leading to some bogus work on the company books that could have dire repurcussions for him and SCDP, as well as increasingly desperate pleas for a Christmas bonus. In the end, the staff get one but the partners have to defer theirs, leaving Lane just as screwed as he was before.
Joan wasn’t having a very merry Christmas either, flinging an model plane at the receptionist for being clueless enough to get her served her divorce papers. Luckily, Don took pity on her and they went off to test-drive a Jaguar together before spending the evening getting drunk at a bar. These scenes were beautifully played by Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks, full of flirty lines and genuine warmth and affection.
There wasn’t much of that for Don back home though, with Megan going all wifezilla on him for showing up late and drunk. One smashed plate later and he was under the thumb again, though it was a tough week for the Drapers after a fractious trip to the theatre at the start of the episode. Don clearly still resents Megan leaving SCDP.
Back at the office, the announcement about the bonuses was vintage Mad Men, with Lane stumbling over her words, flustered by the bitter blow he’d just suffered. Pete’s attempt to big himself up with the prospect of getting Jaguar back onside went down like a lead balloon, but Don hit top inspirational form with his speech, even making a loss of a Christmas holiday seem like a boost.
Are big times around the corner for the firm, or will Lane’s fiddling and Pete’s self-loathing ego bring more trouble?