"Mad Men" The Arrangements (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • At the Draper house, Gene is indulging his grandchildren against Don and Betty's wishes. Gene wants to discuss his death arrangements with Betty, which distresses her. And Gene's presence in general is making Don think about his own parents. But these issues with Gene and the Drapers take a major turn. Meanwhile, Peggy decides to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, being able to do so only if she finds a roommate. She dreads telling her mother about this decision. Her roommate ad in the paper is the brunt of jokes within the office. Joan is an unexpected source of support for Peggy. With work, Pete brings in a new account, that from his college chum, Horace Cook, Jr. - HoHo to his friends. He wants to promote the sport of jai alai, and is willing to pay a large sum for its promotion. Don knows that Horace Cook, Sr. is a close friend of Bertram's and wants to make sure that Cook Sr. is aware of what his son is doing with the family money. With the Patio Cola account, Sal is a last minute replacement to direct the television commercial. The end product has an unexpected response from the client. But Sal uses his work stresses as an excuse to Kitty as to his inattentiveness to her at home.

  • Peggy Olson decides the time has come for her to move to Manhattan despite her mother's objections. She puts an ad on the bulletin board at work but gets ridiculed as a result and Joan makes a few suggestions to help her find the right kind of roommate. The agency is going ahead with Pepsi's request for a commercial that mimics the opening of the movie Bye Bye Birdie (1963) but when the director drops out at the last minute, Sal gets to direct. The agency also has to deal with Horace Cook Jr., a very rich young man and the son of Bert Cooper's close, personal friend who is apparently prepared to spend a cool million dollars on promoting a Jai Alai league that he is convinced will rival baseball in a few years. Don Draper is less than comfortable taking his money and does his best to warn him off the venture. At home, Don still has to put up with his father-in-law Gene, who isn't very cooperative. When Gene fails to come home from the supermarket and pick up the kids at school, Betty gets some sad news.

  • Don has reservations about a misguided potential client who wants to sell jai alai as the "new national pastime." Meanwhile, Sal produces the "Patio" television commercial, Peggy searches for a roommate, and Betty's father passes away.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • "Mad Men" - "The Arrangements" - Sept. 6, 2009

    Tonight's episode is all about parents and family: fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, in-laws, and spouses, grandparents and grand kids.

    Grandpa Gene is driving the kids to school. Or more precisely, he has his foot on the gas pedal while Sally steers. Gene yells at the person behind them to go around. Sally is enjoying this.

    At Peggy's sister's house, their mom yells and bangs on the TV while Peggy breaks the news to Anita that she's going to move to Manhattan. Anita can't believe it. But Peggy justifies the rent due to the commute and says she' s going to get a roommate.Anita says she's going to be one of those girls. "I am one of those girls," Peggy says with a shy smile.

    Pete has brought in an old college friend named Horace (nicknamed HoHo) who's looking to hire Sterling Cooper to promote jai alai. He believes that in seven years it's going to eclipse baseball. (Hee). Kinsey, Harry, Layne, and Sal manage to stifle their laughs as he describes the game, swoons over the star player Patxi, and tells them he wants to have Patxi to star in a TV show, not a sports show, but a crimefighting show, and he wants it to be on all three networks at the same time. (Yikes, what an ass). Kinsey also offers up a musical spectacular with Patxi featuring Desi Arnaz and glamourous ads in women's magazines. Layne says it will cost at least a million. Horace is sold. The men can barely contain their glee as they walk him out. Horace wants to take out Don to run slogans by him. Pete points out that it is they who take him out.

    Don points out to Layne and Pete that Bert Cooper is close friends with Horace's dad. Pete says Horace is a grown man with a dream and it's their job to make it come true. Layne compliments Pete on his good work.

    Gene comes into the kitchen and has Betty sit down with him. He wants to go over his arrangements. She's uncomfortable. He says they do it now and then won't have to talk about it ever again. He breaks down the funeral stuff and the will and that she runs the show since she took him in. (Betty's getting all but one of her mother's fur coats.) She tries to get up, he growls at her about being sensitive and how it's his fault for shielding her from the dangers of the world and it's probably why she married that "joker." Betty says she doesn't understand why he likes talking about it since she can see it upsets her, it's selfish and morbid. She says she knows it must be horrible to be looking at what he's looking at but she is his "little girl" and she wishes he'd keep it to himself and he stalks off.

    Crain, Kinsey, and Sal come to Don to say their Patio commercial director has dropped out to do a movie. He tells them to have Sal do it since it's a direct, one shot lift from "Bye Bye Birdie" it should be so hard. Cosgrove and Harry are a little nervous but Sal is thrilled.

    Peggy goes into the break room and pins up an ad for a roommate on the bulletin board. She describes herself as clean, responsible, and considerate, with some nice furniture, an allergy to cats but a tolerance for dogs. She signs it, "Margaret Olson."

    Later that night at the Draper house as Don reads the paper in the living room Gene enters the kitchen with a box trailed by Bobby. He places the box on the table grabs a big knife and hands it to Bobby to open the box. Don looks askance, but approves when Gene tells him to make sure not to cut towards himself. He opens the box and begins removing it's goodies: an "exact imitation" of the Gettysburg address, his victory medal he won in France-he notes he should've gotten another for beating the clap- a Prussian helmet of a German soldier he killed. He shows Bobby the hole in it where he shot the guy. Don is not enjoying this and really steams up when he puts the helmet on Bobby's head. (It's a distressingly small helmet that fits well.) Bobby says war is bad. Gene says maybe but it makes a man out of you and to ask his pop. Don tells Bobby to take off the dead man's hat. Gene tells him to keep it on. Don gets up and takes the helmet off Bobby's head and out of the room. Gene gets sour and then pulls out a ladies fan. He says "There was this girl..."

    Over at the Romano house, Kitty comes flouncing out of the bathroom into the bedroom in a cute little green negligee. She says it was on sale. Sal notes it looks like a lot more than 20 percent off. She starts to kiss him but he begs off and says he's working. She wonders what's wrong. He says he just hasn't been himself. She wonders what that means and why men have such a hard time expressing their emotions. She says the past few months there's been something wrong. She says she doesn't need that much but she does need tending. He apologizes. She wonders what she can do, he won't even tell her or make an excuse. He says he's just been under a lot of pressure at work, his job is disappearing. He says it's all going to photography. And now he has a chance to direct this commercial and give himself a future. She says that tomorrow he will triumph and come home a conquering hero. He wonders what's wrong with her, sweetly. She says she has a horrible flaw, she loves him. He talks about his fear of failure, he has one shot to get it right in the commercial. She says it's the movies, take one, take two, take three. He explains it's just one shot. He then gets up and acts it out: pretending to be the girl running back and forth to the camera on the treadmill pulling on her dress and seductively looking in the camera. He acts like a woman very convincingly and in the course of his recreation a lightbulb goes on in Kitty's head. He asks her what she thinks. She thinks he's going to do great, but is clearly alarmed.

    The next day at SC Layne, Don, and Bert meet with the elder Horace Cook and explain about his son's cockamamie scheme. He's aware it's a cockamamie scheme, you can't even play it left-handed he points out. Bert says they cannot take the business then. Horace says that's silly, and not the way business works. He knows his son's plan is gibberish but if SC refuses him he'll just go somewhere else. Bert is confused, he wonders if it's because he's childless. Horace says he knows his son lives in a cloud of his father's success, and perhaps when that evaporates and his face is pressed up against the reality of sidewalk he'll be of value to someone. Kill or be killed, observes Bert, he says that's how he was raised. Don asks if he wants them to proceed. Horace says when they put the trust money aside for him he was a little boy he didn't know what kind of person they were making. Bert tells him not to be so hard on himself. Horace says that's easy for him to say since he doesn't have Bert's name. On the way out Don tells Layne that he'll sign Horace, Jr. tonight.

    Kinsey takes a list into Harry, Cosgrove, and Harry's secretary (Lois?) saying he's got a list of ideas. They look at the list and start giggling. Moments later Peggy's phone rings. Lois pretends to be a prospective roommate, who works in a tannery and subsequently smells and has burns on her body. The guys begin cracking up in the background until Peggy can hear them. She calls Lois a jerk and hangs up.

    At the Draper kitchen table Gene is eating spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream with a sprinkle of salt on each one. Sally wonders why he does this. Gene says he has a salt tooth and pretends to show it to her. He offers her some. She says mom doesn't like them to eat ice cream before dinner. He wonders if Betty's afraid Sally will get fat like she was. He says her mother Ruth made her go into the city and walk home, which put a stop to fat little Betty. He asks if she remember her grandma. She remembers she gave her a ukulele. He wonders if she learned it. She admits she didn't. He says she could since she's smart. He tells her Ruth was smart too, she was a drafting engineer in the 20s. He worries that Sally remembers Ruth better than Betty does.He tells her she can really do something and not to let her mother tell her otherwise. He tells Sally he'll keep a look out and to have some ice cream. She digs in. He does too saying he knows it's chocolate but it smells like oranges and wonders if she smells it. She doesn't. (Smelling oranges is a common symptom of a stroke or seizures.)

    Don has lunch with Pete and Horace, Jr. H, Jr. thinks it would be great to have Jack Kennedy take in a game as an endorsement. It also would get his dad's goat since he knew Kennedy before he became president and he's against integration, his dad calls Patxi a wetback. Don points out that Jack Kennedy certainly got a better job than his dad. H, Jr. says he knows that Don thinks his idea is crazy but that Jai Alai has a fifty percent chance at least. Pete says his father's dead but this is the kind of investment he would dig. HoHo explains he has this vision of doing something big, people loving it, and having people dying to do business with him and this image of gifting his dad with a Jai Alai team on his 75th birthday. (That'll show him!) Don says he applauds H, Jr.s enthusiasm but points out that his fortune is not just about money, it's his future. He says they'll take his money but he asks him to re-evaluate investing his future in this particular obsession, saying he can do better. Pete, obviously, looks alarmed but after a beat H, Jr. says he knows Don is just using an old sales technique, zigging so H, Jr. will zag back into his arms. He read about it in a book about advertising by Ogilvy. Don wonders why HoHo's not having dinner with Ogilvy then. H, Jr. says Pete talked him out of it. H, Jr. than says pointedly if Jai Alai fails, it will be Sterling Cooper's fault. Don just looks at him bemusedly. And Pete says not to apologize, that's what everyone thinks but no one ever dares say it aloud.

    Peggy is taking down her, now vandalized, roomate ad. Joan mocks it as unfortunate. She reads it aloud and says it sounds like the stage directions from an Ibsen play. Joan offers her advice, to write something like: Fun loving girl, responsible sometimes, likes to laugh, lives to love, seeks size 6 for city living and general gallivanting, no dull moments or dull men tolerated. Peggy thanks her. Joan adds not to put it up here, everyone knows her here, to branch out. Peggy sits down and starts scribbling notes.

    At night, Don can't sleep so he gets up and pulls out an old shoebox full of photos. He lingers on one of his parents. On the back it says Archie and Abigail 1928.

    The next day as he enters Pete shows him the Horace, Jr. contract and tells him to deliver it to Layne himself. The guys are playing Jai Alai in Hooker's not office. Hooker goes to get Layne. Crain explains the game to Don. They goof on Horace's dream. Layne is pleased to see all the boys engaged in 'camraderie.' He reports the home office is all atwitter at the good get. Don tries his hand at Jai Alai and whips a ball into the ant farm. He tells them to bill it to the kid.

    Grandpa Gene is driving the kids to school again, this time really driving. He tells Sally not to keep him waiting this afternoon for ballet. He says he's going to buy some fruit. She requests peaches. Bobby complains they give him a rash. Gene yells at him that his sister likes them.

    A perky girl named Karen Erickson comes in answering Peggy's ad. Peggy keeps talking about how fun she is. Karen's last roommate wasn't fun, she was always closing her door and Karen only believes in closing her door for one reason. Peggy wonders which one. Karen raises her eyebrows. Karen thinks she must be a good luck charm though because the girl got married. She asks if Peggy has a steady. Nope, still playing the field she says. Karen isn't sure why but she gets along with boys better than girls. She also has some rules, no sailors. Peggy wholeheartedly agrees. Karen wonders if Peggy is Swedish, like her. Nope, Norwegian. They sit with this sad news for a moment and Karen says they just won't tell her parents. She's excited about looking for places but since Peggy works late they aren't able to work out a time but say their goodbyes calling each other "roomie."

    Bobby and Sally wait at school. Betty comes to pick them up. She doesn't know where her dad is, she's hoping he'll be at home when they get there.

    Joan sprays the destroyed ant farm in disgust.

    In the conference room everyone is assembled to watch the "Patio" ad with the Pepsi people. It's exactly what Pepsi wanted, but they think it's a failure. They just can't put their finger on why. The admen explain magnanimously that since it was Pepsi's idea, it's Pepsi's fault. They all shake hands and depart. Sal and Cosgrove are crestfallen, Peggy can barely contain her "I told you so face" as she shoots a brief look at Don. Harry says he knows what they mean, he's not sure what's not right about it. Roger points out the obvious: it's not Ann-Margaret.

    Sally sits on the stoop as policeman pulls up. He's come to inform them that Gene is dead, he collapsed in line at the A&P. Betty is thrown but keeps it together, Sally starts to freak. The cop comes in to talk arrangements. Sally places her forehead against the door after the adults walk in.

    Sal comes to see Don, saying he decided to bring himself to the woodshed. Don says he knows it must be horrible. Just as they start to talk Don's secretary says that Betty's on the phone and it's urgent. She relays the news. He softens and offers his condolences. He says he'll be home right away. Sal asks. Don says there's nothing he can do. Don tells him not to ruin the only good thing to come of this, Sal is now a commercial director. He wonders how he knows Don isn't just saying that to make him feel better. Don says he'll know when he hires him again. Sal's elation returns.

    Peggy and Anita show their mom into the living room, Peggy has bought her a new TV. Mom is psyched. She is less excited when Peggy tells her that she's moving to Manhattan. Her mom tells her to take the TV back and is insulted that Peggy thinks she's so stupid and can be bought off. Peggy tries to explain that it makes sense financially. Her mom, cruelly tells her that she deserves to be in the city and assures her that she will get raped. She says one day they're both going to feel the broken heart she's carrying. Peggy tries again to explain, her mother wonders why she would ever believe anything Peggy says. Peggy goes to kiss her goodnight but her mother shies away. She and Anita go to the door, Anita says the holy father's dying was very hard on her. They hear her click on the TV and smile.

    At the Draper kitchen table, Don, Betty, William, and his wife drink and decompress. William keeps saying "Eugene Hofstadt Number 2." Don wonders why. Betty explains there was another Eugene Hofstadt at the bank so that's what people called her dad. William's wife points out that at least now Gene is with his first wife Ruth. Betty hopes so. (Sally is listening, sitting under the dining room table.) Betty recalls Gene wondering what would happen when both his wives were in heaven. Knowing Gloria, says William, that shouldn't be a problem. They chuckle. This ticks off Sally who storms in and melts down, wondering how they could be laughing. Betty tells her to calm down. Sally is insistent, weeping that Gene is dead and never coming back and they're acting like they don't care. Betty starts to boil and tells Sally to go watch TV. She looks beseechingly at Don. He gives her the face of "I know this is hard sweetie but do as mommy says." Sally goes, grabs a blanket from the couch and curls up in front of the TV which is showing that famous horrific image of a protesting Buddhist monk setting himself on fire.

    Later in bed, both still in their clothes, Don extricates himself from under Betty, lays a blanket over her and peeks in on Sally. She is sleeping with the book she was reading to Gene. He goes, grabs the cot that Gene slept on and brings it up to the attic.

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