Erin Levy started on "Mad Men" as a writing assistant, then gained credits as a staff writer or writer, and ultimately co-producer. In 2010 she and Weiner both won an Emmy for the writing of the episode "Shut the Door, Have a Seat."
In a 2010 interview on Center for the Psychology of Women web site she explained:
“Enter the psyche of the character. Think about how they move, how they talk, figure out how they breathe and what they eat. I have to relate to the women of that time in order to write them. I guess that is one thing I’ve learned as a female writer on Mad Men. Through studying these characters I’ve learned a little about what it was like to be limited by your circumstance of your time, and I’ve learned how lucky I am to be a woman living today.“
"To Have and to Hold" was written by Ms. Levy, without Weiner. If you watched this episode, you probably aren't surprised because it focused mostly on women.
"To Have and to Hold" is the name of the daytime soap that Megan has a role in. And to have and hold that role is going to be complicated for Megan. The role seemed to have survived that creepy foursome proposal, which wasn't golf. It was funny when Arlene mumbles out loud how "James Garner" will deal with Megan's love scene. And maybe it was impossible for Don.
Sylvia appears to have Don's measure when she prays for him to find peace.
And before we discuss the complexity of Joan's life, we do have to note that while Don's young wife is finding success of her own, he discovers his mentoring of Peggy has put her in direct competition with him. In their effort to hold beans, they'll need to find a place to rendezvous to try to have ketchup. Pete says "We'll get a hotel." Only Peggy's there also attempting to seduce the Coca Cola of condiments. Don overhears her using his Season 3 line to win his client: "If you don't like what they're saying, change the conversation."
In the meantime Don's selling the product that isn't there. The ketchup bottle is missing, just like the hotel was missing from the footprints on the beach scene. If something is missing from your life, can Don sell it to you by removing it from the scene?
Several subplots and themes revolved around Joan.
First, there was the subplot about Scarlett leaving work and talking Dawn into clock her out later.
That allowed the creation of the angry man - I know, I know, in a late 1960's feminist world the angry man is to be despised and maybe pitied. (I won't go further about the long term picture than to say pity did not solve the angry man problem and in the 21st they blow people up.)
But Harry is outraged that Joan could fire Scarlett, except we learn that is really just a cover because Harry is outraged that Joan was made a partner. After all he is bringing in significant money too. He angrily says: "I'm sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight and I can't be given the same rewards...."
And Joan was cautioned about Dawn by Pete. A real historical reference is contained in this. In March 1968 the New York City Human Rights Commission held hearings focusing on the lack of diversity in the advertising industry. In November they issued a scathing report that said, among other things: "Sad to relate, the advertising industry did not apply, in the early days of its awareness of this problem, the energy, inventiveness and sophistication it always brings to projects...."
Joan's mother finally expresses admiration for her professional advancement, as does her friend Kate (I'm going to avoid the Mary Kay - Avon thing and the fling). But having been undermined in the Scarlett and Dawn situation, Joan can appreciate the support but really isn't feeling it. In the end, though, Dawn is the one who offers her some respect which she can reciprocate - mentoring by women for women with ambitions in the business world might start here.
Still, in this episode J. Walter Thompson apparently got "to have" the ketchup. SCDP may struggle "to hold" the beans. To have and to hold in business are also terms that can be associated with death. As can the war which Don opposes, we learn.
Anyway, kudos to Erin Levy who started out as a lowly writing assistant.