TIME Television

Mad Men Recap: ‘Time & Life’

Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris - Mad Men _ Season 7B, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC
Justina Mintz—AMC Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris.

A surprising announcement shakes things up at SC&P

It’s no surprise that the episode named after an office building (and not just any office building — the one that’s currently home to TIME’s offices as well) is the episode that’s all about business. For once this season, it’s not just Peggy and Joan doing all the work, and it’s all thanks to the ominous SC&P overlords McCann-Erickson, who announce in “Time & Life” that they’re absorbing SC&P. Well, announce is probably too generous a word, as Roger and Joan only find out about the impending consolidation when somebody at McCann gives notice on the agency’s lease without actually telling anybody who actually works there.

After sharing a sweet moment — Joan rests her head on Roger’s shoulder in a way that evokes the warm fuzzy feelings of their romantic days, while still looking platonic — the partners and employees jump right into figuring out what the absorption means for their future. Will they be let go? Or stay on board? Do they even want to go over to McCann? Should they look for work elsewhere? Reactions are mixed. Ted, who’s mentally checked out of his work, if not his entire life, is relieved at the thought of joining a massive agency where he can remain checked out. Joan laments to her new lover Richard that she doubts her new employers will take her seriously or let her keep her accounts. Peggy, who confessed her career goals to Don just last week, starts to consider her options given the wrench lodged in her five-year-plan. Pete, who’s never worked anywhere else in his life, feels powerless about the move and resigns himself to going along. And don’t forget Lou Avery, who gives Don a big fat sayonara and heads to Japan to work on his oft-ridiculed cartoon before he can even find out about the news. While last year’s episodes hinted that there could be some undiscovered humanity underneath his general jerk-iness, Lou presumably bids farewell to Mad Men as a bigger cartoon character than the one he’s been peddling to studios this whole time.

Don, who bookends the episode trying to find out what happened to Diana, is the one that comes up with the big bold idea to secure their futures. Sensing the partners’ reluctance to go to McCann, he suggests they all move west to SC&P’s California office and start a wing of McCann that handles all the conflicts, or the companies McCann will have to drop because they’re already working with their competitors. All they have to do is convince enough of the biggest conflict clients to stay with them in order to show McCann it’s worth it to keep SC&P as a separate wing. That’s harder than it sounds thanks to Ken Cosgrove, who makes good on his promise to be the client from hell by telling Roger and Pete — the same guys who happily cut him loose him to satisfy McCann — that there’s no way he’d ever give them what they want. But like any episode of Mad Men that requires the gang to rally in the face of losing their company as they know it, the partners eventually do secure enough accounts — Burger Chef, Secor Laxatives, Sunkist, Tinkerbell cookies — and get ready to make their pitch.

But here’s the twist: McCann-Erickson absorbing SC&P is actually a better deal than they thought it was, at least according to Jim Hobart, who stops Don’s pitch halfway through to tell the partners they “passed the test” as an agency and that they’re about to get the best jobs in the whole advertising biz. They simply won’t entertain the idea of SC&P West. You can tell from the creepy way Hobart whispers “Coca-Cola” that the partners are supposed to be thrilled they still have a place at the company, but from the looks on their faces and their subsequent somber drinks outing that they’re anything but. “This is the beginning of something…not the end,” Don later tells the rest of the office, but from the way all the employees get up and leave mid-Draper speech, it’s obvious nobody believes the words coming out of his mouth. In fact, it doesn’t even seem like Don believes them, and he was the only partner who seemed to believe in promise of new beginnings and reinvention in California. Perhaps this is just Mad Men’s way of hinting that Don won’t find the redemption he’s been seeking in these last three weeks. Losing control of the company in this way could just part of the same fall that’s depicted over and over in the opening credits.

The most entertaining parts of this week’s episode, however, have little to do with Don and everything to do with Pete and Peggy, for entirely different reasons. “Time & Life” marks the return of Trudy Campbell (Alison Brie), who needs Pete’s help in pretending to be a happy, amiable divorced couple in order to get their daughter into the private school of their choice. Pretending isn’t that hard, as Pete and Trudy get along in a way that suggests a reconciliation isn’t out of the question, but their marital status was never the problem for little’s Tammy educational prospects. It’s her development — Tammy apparently failed her draw-a-man test after scribbling “only a head, a mustache, and a necktie” in what seems yet another of this episode’s meta jokes — and a longstanding rivalry between the headmaster’s family and the Campbells that doesn’t make much sense. It does result in Pete punching the guy in the face, though, which is probably the most exciting thing that could happen to Pete’s story arc besides Pete himself getting punched in the face.

What made Peggy so interesting this week also had to do with family. This season of Mad Men has long tip-toed around the child Peggy gave up for adoption — both the character and the show seemed to make subtle references to it — and tonight’s episode finally dove right into it. It was only a matter of time, and the appearance of small children early on this episode — and a scene between Pete and Peggy in a room full of them — warned viewers this episode was the one. Peggy is auditioning children for a new ad campaign, but it isn’t off to a great start considering she’s no natural with children. It shows when Stan tells her straight-up “You hate kids,” and it also shows when the two have to babysit a child actress left behind by her momager, who went to go pick up another kid from another audition. One bloody incident with the kid and a stapler later, and Peggy and the stage mom get into a shouting match: How could you let this happen to her? Well, how could you abandon your child at a random office? It’s satisfying to witness Peggy give somebody a piece of her mind, but Peggy doesn’t get to enjoy it once the guilt starts flooding in. What right does she have to judge a woman who left her kid behind, Peggy wonders, when she gave her own child up for adoption?

Those two things are apples and oranges if you ask me, but the confrontation prompts the episode’s most beautiful exchange. What starts off argumentative — Stan telling Peggy she wouldn’t be where she was today if she had had kids, Peggy telling him not to judge women for their choices — turns intimate in a way that has plenty of Mad Men fans wishing more sparks would fly between the two. They’re good enough friends now that Stan can tell she’s haunted by something, and there’s a palpable sense of relief when Peggy finally finds someone to talk to about the better life her kid must be having. But it’s also quite heartbreaking when she mentions how she doesn’t know the details of his whereabouts: “You’re not supposed to know, or else you can’t go on with your life,” she says, almost trying to convince herself that she is moving on despite how often Mad Men reminds her of that choice. Let’s hope for her sake — and maybe ours — that this rule gets broken.

TIME Television

Here’s What People Couldn’t Stop Talking About on Tonight’s Mad Men

This week's episode was all about Peggy and Stan according to Twitter

Sunday’s episode of Mad Men turned nearly every character’s future into one big question mark with the news that McCann-Erickson would be absorbing SC&P — and that not everybody would be coming along for the ride.

But forget about the boardroom scheming and office gossip. For plenty of viewers, “Time & Life” — the 11th episode of the final season — was all about love: specifically, the love between Peggy and Stan that hasn’t exactly blossomed despite fans’ frantic Twitter pleas.

If you found yourself shipping SC&P’s lumbersexual art director and its finicky copy chief, clearly you weren’t alone tonight:

Read next: Here’s What Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner Loves About Serial

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Music

Hear Britney Spears and Giorgio Moroder Update ‘Tom’s Diner’

Britney Spears performs at her "Britney: Piece Of Me" show at Planet Hollywood Casino Resort on March 4, 2015 in Las Vegas.
Denise Truscello—BSLV/Getty Images Britney Spears performs at her "Britney: Piece Of Me" show at Planet Hollywood Casino Resort on March 4, 2015 in Las Vegas.

The pop star covers Suzanne Vega for the disco legend's new album

Suzanne Vega’s 1980s classic “Tom’s Diner” — named after the real-life restaurant used in Seinfeld—had a pop-culture resurgence last year when Fall Out Boy sampled it in their song “Centuries.” Now, it’s having another moment thanks to Britney Spears and Giorgio Moroder, the dance-music pioneer who’s recruited pop stars like Sia, Kylie Minogue and Charli XCX for his new album Déjà Vu. Spears’ contributions sound downright robotic thanks to copious auto-tune, but before you wonder why any singer would need digital processing to sing the track’s simple and iconic doo-doo-doo hook, consider this: all that studio magic does, in a way, amplify the themes of voyeurism and alienation that reportedly inspired Vega’s original track.

Check out the song here.

TIME

Read Bruce Jenner’s Inspiring Father’s Day Message to Kendall and Kylie

(Courtesy of Bruce Jenner)

In a 2013 letter for Time, the Olympic gold medalist advised his daughters to embrace change, no matter what form it takes.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Bruce Jenner’s rumored gender transition is how it might affect his relationship with his family. “Those are the only ones I’m concerned with,” the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star says in a promo for his sit-down interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, which is expected to address months of speculation about Jenner’s personal life when it airs Friday night. “I can’t let myself hurt them.”

In a 2013 Father’s Day letter published on TIME, Jenner advised his children—namely daughters Kendall and Kylie—to embrace change, no matter what form it takes. “That’s the thing I’ve learned to value most: be true to yourself, be your own person,” Jenner wrote. “Trying things outside of your comfort zone is essential, because your ability to grow as a person is directly related to the amount of insecurity you can handle. So be strong and fearless on this journey we call life.”

Read Jenner’s complete letter, below:

To my two precious little girls, Kendall and Kylie:

I have learned so much about raising kids over the last 34 years. You guys are my ninth and tenth children, and my fifth and sixth girls to raise. Every girl has been totally different, both in personality and lifestyle. And that’s the thing I’ve learned to value most: be true to yourself, be your own person—and be caring to others, as well.

You should also develop a passion. I don’t care what that passion is. You just have to find something that makes you excited to wake up in the morning and start your day. That is true success. Brandon with his music, Kimberly with her business and Kourtney with her dedication to her family—these are all great examples to follow.

Another key to life is picking the right partner to share it with. I certainly have learned that is really difficult to find, because people change. Your mom and I have been together for 23 years, and our relationship has constantly changed and evolved. But we have been able to make it through those adjustments because of a deep love and caring for each other. We are still as committed as ever. Go out and find that person who makes you a better person, and vice versa.

I’m so proud of the two of you. I see you both have a caring and enthusiasm for life. But in the future, you will face obstacles. Don’t let them scare you. Fear is part of the game. Trying things outside of your comfort zone is essential, because your ability to grow as a person is directly related to the amount of insecurity you can handle. So be strong and fearless on this journey we call life.

Dad

TIME National Security

Widow of American Captive Killed in Strike Criticizes U.S. Hostage Support

The wife of Warren Weinstein joins a number of families calling for more centralized support and communication

The wife of an American captive of al-Qaeda who after more than three years was killed during a counterterrorism operation in January, the Obama administration acknowledged Thursday, called on the government to improve the “inconsistent and disappointing” help it offers the families of hostages.

“We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families,” Elaine Weinstein, now the widow of Warren Weinstein, said in a statement, according to McClatchyDC. Her husband, who was held alongside Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto, also killed in the operation, was working as a development adviser in Pakistan when he was captured in 2011.

Weinstein’s comments echo calls from a number of families of U.S. captives for more frequent communication from the government, more centralized negotiation efforts—no single person is in charge of trying to free hostages—as well as a more case-by-case approach to freeing captives. Some families, including those of journalist James Foley and aid worker Kayla Mueller, have also criticized the U.S. ban on paying ransoms, which State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said would remain in place.

The Obama administration began an internal review of its hostage policies last summer, she told reporters, and has reached out to 82 families involved in hostage situations as far back as 2001.

“These families have gone through the worst thing they will ever have to go through, and I think you hear a lot of different statements from them. We’ve heard people talk about how supportive the U.S. government has been,” Harf said. “But we know this is an incredibly challenging issue. That’s why we’re doing a review of how we deal with all of these issues.”

[McClatchyDC]

TIME celebrities

Cobie Smulders Opens Up About Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis at Age 25

Cobie Smulders attends the Chanel Dinner during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at Balthazar on April 20, 2015 in New York City.
Jamie McCarth—Getty Images Cobie Smulders attends the Chanel Dinner during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at Balthazar on April 20, 2015 in New York City.

"I don't think I'll ever feel like I'm cancer-free"

How I Met Your Mother actress Cobie Smulders revealed publicly for the first time that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 25. in the May issue of Women’s Health.

“I had tumors on both ovaries and the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and surrounding tissues,” the actress, who can be seen in The Avengers: Age of Ultron next month, says in an interview with Women’s Health.

Diagnosed during the third season of the hit CBS sitcom, Smulders, 33, says she had multiple surgeries across two years instead of chemotherapy and radiation because of the location of the cancerous tissue on her body. And even though doctors said she wouldn’t be able to naturally conceive, Smulders did become pregnant with daughter Shaelyn, now 5, and welcomed another son with husband and Saturday Night Live star Taran Killam earlier this year.

“I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m cancer-free,” Smulders says. “Now that I’m five years out, I’m trying to think of it as a positive thing and what can I learn from it. And if I can create more awareness, I’ll do it.”

[Women’s Health]

TIME police

Maryland Governor Sends State Troopers to Baltimore Protests

Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody, Baltimore on April 22, 2015.
Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody, Baltimore on April 22, 2015.

"The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore City"

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Thursday he sent state police troopers to Baltimore as protests over a man’s death following an injury in police custody heat up.

“People legitimately have concerns, and the community is out in force protesting,” Hogan said, The Baltimore Sun reports. “I want to thank the folks involved in that. So far it has been peaceful. We want to try to keep things under control. The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore City.”

Protests have popped up in Baltimore in the past few days as investigations continue into Gray’s case. The 25-year-old died Sunday after suffering an injury during an arrest on April 12, but exactly how he sustained the fatal injury—his spine was 80% “severed at the neck,” a family attorney said earlier—remains a mystery.

Thirty-two troopers reached Baltimore on Thursday afternoon to support and assist police, who Hogan said will continue to be at the protests, after the city requested state help.

While speaking to reporters in Annapolis, Hogan also expressed support for a recently passed police body-camera bill. “Having the real evidence of of exactly what happened, having everything videotaped, is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Several videos of the arrest have emerged in the wake of Gray’s death. One witness said he saw officers have Gray “folded up like a crab.”

 

[Baltimore Sun]

TIME

Fifty Shades Sequels Will Keep Arriving in Time for Valentine’s Day

The two films now have release dates set for 2017 and 2018

Whether Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Valentine’s Day release drew you to theaters or sent you running from them, expect it to become an almost-annual tradition.

The film’s sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, now have release dates set for Feb. 19, 2017, and Feb. 9, 2018, respectively. Variety reports Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley said Thursday at CinemaCon: “We’re making this a Valentine’s Day event.”

That doesn’t come as a huge surprise given the first movie’s record-breaking February opening. Universal has yet to announce a replacement for director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who won’t be returning to the series, but Niall Leonard—the husband of Fifty Shades author E.L. James—will be writing the screenplay.

[Variety]

TIME movies

Johnny Depp Is Nearly Unrecognizable in the Black Mass Trailer

The actor plays Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger

Johnny Depp is famous for taking on roles that require some serious transformations, but decades into his career, it’s still a shock to see him as Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger in the trailer for Black Mass. The actor is nearly unrecognizable in the somewhat unconventional trailer, which mostly consists of one derailed dinner party scene to convey just how creepy and threatening Bulger, a convicted murder currently in prison, could be.

Black Mass, which also stars Kevin Bacon and Benedict Cumberbatch, hits theaters Sept. 18.

TIME movies

Native American Actors Leave Adam Sandler Movie Set After Complaints

The actors complained about the portrayals of Native Americans in the script

A group of Native American actors say they walked off the set of a new Adam Sandler movie for Netflix on Wednesday after taking issue with the script they deemed as offensive.

The actors, who were reportedly joined by the movie’s Native American cultural advisor, left after complaining about The Ridiculous Six costumes, which they say were stereotypical and inaccurate, and character names, which they say included “Beaver’s Breath” and “No Bra.” The movie is a spoof of the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven.

“There were about a dozen of us who walked off the set,” Loren Anthony, one of the actors, told Indian Country Today Media Network. “I was asked a long time ago to do some work on this, and I wasn’t down for it. Then they told me it was going to be a comedy, but it would not be racist. So I agreed to it but on Monday things started getting weird on the set.”

Both Anthony and another actress, Alison Young, say that when they complained, producers told them the disrespect was unintentional but that the film was a comedy and the actors could leave if they were upset.

David Hill, one of the actors who left, said producers called back the actors and the consultant afterwards. “I hope they will listen to us,” Hill said. “We understand this is a comedy, we understand this is humor, but we won’t tolerate disrespect.”

In a statement to Vulture, a Netflix spokesperson said: “The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of—but in on—the joke.”

[ICTMN]

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