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A Tale of Two Cities
Season 6 Episode 10
Air date 2 June 2013
Written by Janet Leahy and Matthew Weiner
Directed by John Slattery

The Better Half


Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough prepare to make radical changes to the firm while Roger and Don visit a client in Los Angeles. Joan's decision to go after a new account on her own leaves Pete furious and frustrated.


Don and Roger head out to California to meet with Harry and a few clients. Jim Cutler, no great admirer of the former SCDP creative team, sees this as an opportunity to flex some muscle. Not relishing the idea of babysitting Don's account, Manischewitz Wine, Jim convinces Bob Benson to take his place, along with Ginsberg, on an account meeting.

Joan, under the impression that she is on a blind date, discovers that the real opportunity is a genuine shot at Avon, a cosmetics business. She tells Peggy, who advises her to speak with Ted, who in turn puts Pete on the job. Pete shows little consideration for Joan's accomplishment and swiftly pushes her aside. He instructs her to set up a meeting with Avon that includes just Peggy and himself. At the luncheon meeting, Peggy is surprised when Joan shows up instead of Pete. It turns out that Joan intentionally did not inform Pete about the meeting. After the meeting, Peggy conveys her extreme displeasure that Joan defied protocol, but Joan insists that she will win Avon's business anyway. Pete rebukes Joan for her actions and calls upon Ted to further reprimand and potentially punish her. Peggy, who has been eavesdropping on their conversation, fakes a note from the Avon executive, which asks to speak with Joan. Ted acquiesces and allows her to continue with the client acquisition, much to Pete's chagrin.

A backdrop that runs throughout the episode is the 1968 Democrat convention. The Vietnam War and the convention riots are particular topics of importance. The differing opinions on the issues of protest and law enforcement are explored between the characters.

Don, Roger, and Harry's meeting with Carnation starts off in an awkward fashion as political talk is cut short by the incoming executive, who feels it is neither the time nor the place to discuss such matters. There is tension in the meeting as the boys from Carnation convey their feeling that New York ad agencies are a bit pompous and are generally inattentive to their needs. Later, the team heads to a swinging party in the Hollywood Hills, where they run into Danny Siegel, who worked for SCDP for one day several years ago. He is now a relatively significant Hollywood producer. Roger thoroughly enjoys cutting Danny down to size with a series of insults and an obvious attempt to steal his girlfriend. Danny says that he hates to resort to violence, then surprises Roger by punching him in the groin, dropping him to his knees. Elsewhere, Don smokes hashish, and just as he kisses one of the amorous partygoers, he is tapped on the shoulder by a delusional vision of Megan. He then encounters a vision of the soldier he met in Hawaii. Finally, he sees himself floating facedown in the pool. The next thing he knows, he is on his back, coughing up water. Roger, who has apparently saved him from drowning, is kneeling over him.

Ted gets back from his meeting with Chevy, which went very well, when he and Jim are interrupted by Bob. Bob tells them that they are in danger of losing the Manischewitz Wine account. Jim is not upset, considering it is Roger's account and not their own account, and he invites Bob to join the Chevy team.

Don and Roger arrive back at the office, where they are updated by Jim and Ted about everything that has happened in their absence. Jim and Ted suggest changing the name of the firm to Sterling Cooper & Partners. Pete is unhappy with this decision and feels that the firm is changing in a detrimental way. He storms out of Don's office, stops at Creative, grabs a marijuana cigarette from Stan, and smokes it.


  • Bob Benson was listening to an audio version of Frank Bettger's classic book from the 1940s, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. It was highly influenced by Dale Carnegie, with whom Bettger later lectured.
  • Ginsberg, most likely quoting Robert Oppenheimer whom was quoting Hindu scripture, says " Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds."
Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
Season 7 • "Time Zones" • "A Day's Work" • "Field Trip" • "The Monolith" • "The Runaways" • "The Strategy" • "Waterloo" • "Severance" • "New Business" • "The Forecast" • "Time & Life" • "Lost Horizon" • "The Milk and Honey Route" • "Person to Person" •