So let's talk "To Have and To Hold," the third episode of "Mad Men's" sixth season and judging by the Twittersphere reaction two days later, the least liked episode so far. Which more than anything proves the downside of crowdsourcing opinions — they can be wrong, everywhere, instantly.
"To Have and To Hold" was this season's best episode. It was a pure pleasure ride and had everything we — or at least I — have long esteemed about this classic: Great writing; sharply designed and directed scenes; fewer clouds, more sun; a deep dive into office politics; and a veritable "Mad Men" treasury of priceless lines, which were funny, poignant, or economic gems of foreshadowing .
Also this special bonus: The creepiest dinner in "Mad Men" history. And one of the funniest.
This episode was pure joy.
OK, for this post I'm gonna forego my usual "What did it all mean?" and "When did it mean it?" approach, and simply skim the surface because there is plenty here to skim. And in that spirit, here are some of the best lines from "To Have and To Hold." You have to have seen the episode for context and meaning, but if you haven't some of these work too.
"Have and Hold" — by the way — was about several things, including Ted Chaough's end run on Heinz ketchup; Don's backdoor pitch to Heinz; Stan's deployment of "Project K" — the secret pitch for ketchup; Meg's new and expanded role on the soap; Joan's pal comes to town from Spokane! (where the writer of this blog lived many years ago); and Harry Crane's egomaniacal drive for a seat at the table, so to speak, all predicated on his putting a smiley face on Dow Chemical. A brilliant episode.
Here's a brief sampler of those lines .?.?.
"If you do the work and I like it, Raymond will fall in line." (Heinz client to Don et al)
" .?.?. the prestige that comes with ketchup .?.?."
"I'm never going to meet someone in THAT office .?.?." (Dawn to pal)
"If he wants people to stop hating him, he should stop dropping napalm on children" (Ken, about his dad-in-law and Dow honcho, played by the terrific Ray Wise, back again!)
"Joe Namath sings?" (Ray .?.?.)
" "How would you like Dow to be responsible for making people smile?"
"How about John Wayne in a sketch version of Camelot?" (Second best line of the episode.)
"'Brought to you by Dow, family products for the American family .?.?.'"
"I'm tired of your petty dictatorship" (Harry to Joan.)
"I think we should order lunch." (Stan, during the impromptu morning meet with Don in Project K headquarters, as both smoke a joint.)
"It's a chemistry experiment." (Creepy Mel, the soap writer who is also a swinger and wants to show Don and Megs a good time.)
"Arlene, we've heard no before. No reason to skip dessert!" (Mel to his also swingy wife, after their proposition falls on flat ears.)
"I was different than you in every way" (Bert Cooper to Harry, after his hissy fit.)
"Should we fire him before he cashes that check?" (Best line of the episode, spoken by — guess who — Roger, after they give Harry a check for his Joe Namath special.)
"Now you'll go home and find everything right where it belongs." (Joan to pal Kate, who had another good line earlier: "Don't judge me; I'm in New York.")
"Pass the Heinz." (Don's terrific tagline, or was it Stan's?)
"If you can get into that space .?.?. your ad will run all day." (Don to client who thought the ad was just "half an ad.")
"If you don't like what they're saying, change the conversation." (Peggy, stealing a line directly from Don's greatest hits, during the Heinz pitch.)
" .?.?. a rye rocks and Old Spanish .?.?." (Ted ordering drinks; and as HuffPo points out, an Old Spanish was actually created by "30 Rock" - red wine, tonic and olive which sounds undrinkable).
"I pray for you to find peace." (Sylvia to Don.)