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Jul 25, 2007



I'm wary of simply seeing Joan as a victim who cannot adapt rather than someone who has constructed their own power network - as a response to and defensive tool against patriarchy - who is now threatened by creation of a formalized organizational structure and the advance of human resources-style management. Joan's role as "Head Secretary" is vastly more than the description, she essentially functions as Director of Personnel and Assistant CFO for an up-and-coming multi-million dollar ad agency. She's done all that, despite the patriarchal society she lives in, by creating a network of soft power that gives her abilities and strengths beyond those in formal processes. She can't fire anyone (except secretaries) but she suggests she could have gotten rid of Joey if she wanted to. Even among the men, Sterling Cooper was run through nepotism and informal power to some extent.

Peggy's dressing down and ultimate firing of Joey after the generous offer that he need only apologize details the approach of modern HR and personnel management which would formalize how managers and employees relate to each other. Managers often resist these efforts, but it especially threatens Joan, who lacks an actual, formal role or position in the organization that fits her outsize influence.

Great management post. Goes to show what a business looks like without proper HR.

Even tho HR is the worst, the exist for a reason.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 4, Episode 9 - The Beautiful Girls
Written by Dahvi Waller & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Michael Uppendahl

Sally Draper posted:

I want to stay and I don't know why I can't.

Don Draper is in serious businessman mode, sitting at his desk snapping down the phone about a rescheduled meeting, complaining that he had set aside another day and declaring that he's going to clear lunch plus another hour today to get this sorted out. That's that, the powerful businessman has spoken, and with great authority he declares he is hanging up.

So what is it? An important client? A prospective employee or new partnership that has given him the runaround? Is he flexing on some subordinate elsewhere in the Agency? Well... no, he's setting up a booty call at his apartment, where not long after he and Dr. Faye Miller go at it in the bedroom. Faye is.... not shy about expressing her enjoyment, whether genuinely or just to stroke Don's ego, and things seemingly get energetic as a lamp ends up getting knocked to the ground.

As Don - now in a far better mood (or was he just putting on an act for Miss Blankenship's benefit?) - collects it back up, he can't help but crack a joke about what their energetic lovemaking ACTUALLY broke. Faye snuggles up with him at Don's request (remember how he said how much he enjoyed having the bed to himself?), but for all the post-coital bliss she's also an intelligent woman and busy herself, and so she delights Don by asking which of them is going to spoil the moment by looking at the clock first.

He admits he already sneaked a peek when he picked up the lamp, and can't quite believe it when he admits he's running late for a meeting with... Secor Laxatives. Hardly the most romantic or erotic conclusion to their nooner, and while they joke there is also some minor underlying tension when Don asks what she'll be doing at her own meeting with Erwin Wasey and she - quite rightly - refuses to tell him, referencing a Chinese wall.

Still, that same tension completely disappears when she asks to use the shower ahead of him and Don not only tells her she can have it but she can have the apartment to herself as well. He's just going to head out without a shower AND leave her alone in the apartment, only asking her to lock up behind her as a courtesy but otherwise offering no warnings and showing no concerns about leaving her alone. She's thrilled, of course, a little grin on her face as she asks if he's sure, and with a smirk as he pulls on his pants he reminds her he is taking everything interesting with him, giving her the giggles as he leaves. I guess it WAS only the lamp that was broken after all.

At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, an unbelieving Roger Sterling is complaining down the phone to a publisher who has no interest in publishing the self-congratulatory memoirs of the partner of a relatively small New York Ad Agency. Comparing himself to David Ogilvy (and painting the latter as the lesser of the two) he argues that his book actually has a narrative, mystery, intrigue and romance... before belatedly adding that oh yeah it talks about how to sell things too!

He irritated to be interrupted by his intercom buzzing, Caroline telling him that Mrs. Sterling is calling to say goodbye before she heads off on her weekend trip. He grunts back down the intercom that it's only Wednesday AND they have phones in Southampton, and then jumps back to the Publisher, which must go down a loving treat with Jane who was calling up to speak loving words to her adoring husband! It wasn't even worth it in any case, the publisher took the opportunity to hang up and move on with their life unconcerned about missing out on Roger's memoirs.

Joan knocks and enters as he pulls out a cigarette, not even checking with Caroline to see if Jane is still on the line. Joan hands him some paperwork with a stern look on her face, reminding him they need his signature and NOT just his initials, not putting up with any bullshit when he chuckles that he he just didn't want to do the extra work and cracking a ribald comment about giving her a different kind of "hard" time to what he gave Caroline over the signatures.

She's doesn't dignify it with a response, instead informing him that Lane (whom she refers to as Mr. Pryce) will be taking the last two weeks of August off as his son is visiting from England. Lane wants that kept quiet, concerned that if a memo circulates people will take it as a sign they can stop working while he's gone. Better they not realize he's on vacation until he's already back!

Lane has improved in many ways, but there is still a significant amount of the middle-management guy Putnam, Powell & Lowe first placed at Sterling Cooper, desperately hunting around to eke out every last iota of productivity and exhausting/irritating/depressing his workforce in the process.

But Roger, still in a playful mood, pushes things too far when she fails to react, asking what she'll be doing in August then pushing further to ask what she's doing this afternoon. She'll be working, she informs him icily, which she is TRYING to do now. She then turns on her heel and strides out, confusing Roger who laughingly calls after her that he was just joking, bewildered by their usual semi-flirty interplay isn't happening.

He quickly finds out when Caroline rushes in and takes an unusually aggressive stance with him, demanding to know what he said and letting Roger know what he of course couldn't have known: Greg is being shipped out to Vietnam directly from Basic Training. Joan's worst fear came true, Greg's simple optimism was as always completely unearned, the army is churning out more and more to send over to Vietnam and there is no time for a desperately needed surgeon to head back to New York for a few weeks or months of leisure before doing his service.

Roger, so often sardonic, takes this seriously. He knows this isn't good, this is war they're talking about even if it isn't anything on the level of the one he fought in (it's going to end up vastly overshadowing Korea though). After Caroline leaves he settles back in his chair far from his usual untouchable privileged self: Greg he can probably take or leave (or probably leave would win) but he is a soldier going to war, and more importantly than that, Roger does have genuine care and affection for Joan, and right now she's in pain.

Don arrives back from his "lunch", Peggy waiting anxiously by Miss Blankenship's desk, acknowledging how much he dislikes being bombarded by work when he gets in but... uhh they're have TWO clients coming to see them tomorrow and he hasn't signed off on any of the work that SHE worked on all through lunch to present to him! Don shrugs, says he had lunch and went for a swim (please tell me he showered at the NYAC and didn't just come straight from his apartment smelling of sex) and now he's going to go take a nap and she can come back in an hour!

With that he just walks into his office and closes the door, and a baffled Peggy stands for a moment caught between awe and anger at his audacity. Miss Blankenship, opening his mail at her desk, grunts that this is a business of sadists and masochists... and now Peggy knows which one she is. Not entirely sure how to respond to that, Peggy decides to beat a retreat and come back in an hour: as always having to adjust her schedule to match Don's.

Still, that leads to a pleasant surprise, as she returns to the office she shares with Stan and discovers Joyce Ramsay waiting for her. Stan can't help but get in a snide little comment about Peggy's "boyfriend" being here, and as they chat about meeting in the lobby and going for drinks at 7, he sings a parody of Downtown with words clearly referencing oral sex. Peggy completely ignores him while Joyce, rather than being angry, just tells him to cool it.

Stan - supposedly sexually enlightened and "free" - smirks that he's not "shocked" by her "lesbian hijinks" but wants her to know she can never do what a man can do. Joyce is happy to agree, before deliberately and openly licking the side of Peggy's face before she leaves. Peggy of course gets the giggles, mostly because she's long since made it clear she's not interested in Joyce sexually and Joyce - unlike many men - can take a hint, so this is all just a bit of fun largely at Stan's expense.

It's certainly not fun for Stan though. Because here she is: a woman who is actually completely comfortable and relaxed with her sexuality, the exact thing that Stan insisted was laudable and appropriate for the new age the world is moving into... and how does he react? With horror. He absolutely IS shocked by this display, as is often the case his own "enlightenment" turned out largely to just be an excuse for being the same kind of misogynistic rear end in a top hat as all those "repressed" people he looks down on. He has no idea how to act or react, when he doesn't have an audience or appreciation for his little snide remarks and sexual jabs (especially now that Joey is gone) he's at a loss.

Eventually Don emerges from his office, after a long hard day of taking a 3 hour lunch and banging the psychiatrist they hired to do market research, followed by the tension and stress of ignoring his work to take a long relaxing nap. Miss Blankenship gives him a message from Dr. Miller returning his own earlier call, telling him she got the message but Don will have to wait. Smiling at the little secret he and Faye are enjoying, Don thanks Miss Blankenship and leaves with the note, ignoring her loudly calling after him to ask if he's going to the toilet.

The day passes and, presumably having finally gotten a very late meeting with Don over Fillmore Auto Parts and Secor Laxatives, Peggy is now enjoying drinks at P.J Clarke's with Joyce. She's explaining the flip side of having responsibility: they're advertising for copywriters and she's responsible for picking (presumably along with Don, though she'll do the bulk of the work) a new hire... and this means she now has to balance picking somebody good at their job and the risk that if they're TOO good they might end up replacing or being promoted over her.

Joyce doesn't seem to be particularly paying attention, keeping an eye out until she sees who she was looking for and expresses "surprise" to see him there. It's Abe Drexler of course, the tall and attractive journalist Peggy ended up making out with in a closet at the loft party while the police were raiding it. And he just so happens to be here too, and Joyce just so happens to want to go play darts and leave the two to talk alone.

Peggy's no idiot, but Abe also doesn't appear to be the type to play along with an obvious fiction once it has served its purpose. He admits that he had been hoping to track her down for quite some time but was concerned that showing up at her office would get her in trouble. He also knew that finding out where she lived would be weird and creepy (yes even in the 60s most non-Pete people knew that poo poo wasn't romantic! It is super-hosed up don't believe romantic comedies!). He doesn't come straight out and say that Joyce arranged this, but he doesn't have to, and Peggy clearly isn't upset at seeing him again, telling him openly that she's flattered by his attention.

While Peggy is out on the town drinking and getting set-up for a date, Joan Harris is spending what she now fears will be one of a loooooong stretch of nights home alone (or worse, never-ending, if the unthinkable happens to Greg). She's interrupted from watching television by a knock at the door, and opens to find to her confusion two blonde women with thick accents, declaring they've come from Madam Inga's to give her a massage, manicure and pedicure.

She explains she didn't order this, but they assure her it has been arranged by a friend who has also paid in advance, including the tip. Literally all she has to do is enjoy the pampering, though they explain they cannot tell her who the friend is. She, of course, knows exactly who would have done this, and she's both pleased and touched, letting them in. Roger Sterling may be an insensitive rear end at times, but this is just a kind gesture given at just the right time.

At P.J Clarke's, Abe has gotten fired up energetically talking about Greece, believing the country is on the verge of revolution (he's right, but in the wrong direction, a military coup would see Greece ruled by a junta until the mid-70s) and that this is a sign of things to come in EVERY society. Peggy listens quietly as he gets more and more excited, ranting about corporations that simply throw their money around to keep the status quo intact, because they fear the people realizing they outnumber them.

10 years earlier, that kind of talk would have probably seen him branded as a communist and thrown in jail.

Peggy nods as he finishes up excitedly declaring that it is an illusion that America is in any way immune to the same revolutionary forces happening elsewhere.... then sits quietly for a moment before asking him the question that has been on her mind through his whole spiel: is he from Brooklyn!?!

He is, and she admits she is too, chuckling that one more drink will bring the accent out when he notes he doesn't hear it in her voice. It's a well-timed line from Peggy that initially seems to have somewhat punctured Abe getting into political fervor mode, as he shakes his head and ponders out loud why he is ranting about corporations to her. Sadly though it turns out that it's not because he's remembered he's here trying to pick her up rather than recruit her, but because as he notes she must surely know as much if not more than him since she works with corporations all the time.

She agrees she does work with large companies like Vick Chemical and American tobacco, but that most of her clients are family-run businesses like Samsonite, Fillmore Auto Parts and Sugarberry Ham. But Abe leaps on the revelation she does work for Fillmore, noting they're worse than the big corporations what with their boycott and all. Peggy is confused, what boycott? She's even more confused when he tells her the company's Southern stores won't hire Negroes, insisting that she would have heard if that was true, Abe equally insisting it has been reported in a number of places (though it seems the mainstream news hasn't bothered).

Peggy isn't quite sure how to take this, she's met the Fillmore people and they seem like good people, surely they wouldn't be instituting such a thing? Abe can't help but grin at that, agreeing that he's sure they're perfectly nice people.... for racists. Peggy, reeling somewhat, surprises Abe by saying that she still can't believe it but if it is true, it is the kind of thing SCDP should know simply so that they could "get them out of it", explaining in what to him seems a shockingly callous fashion that her objection to the boycott - in terms of how it affects her work - would be on the basis that it is bad for business.

Stunned, Abe jokingly asks if she would have worked on the Goldwater Campaign given this is her mentality, and is even more stunned when she enthusiastically agrees that this would have been a dream come true. He's horrified, did she vote for Goldwater? Of course not, she replies immediately, confused now herself. Her and Abe have hit a giant gulf between their worldviews here.

For Peggy, she is able to intellectually separate (to a degree) her personal and professional feelings. She might detest Goldwater (or Johnson, or Nixon, or Kennedy, or Eisenhower, or any politician) but working on the advertising for a political campaign would be immensely creatively (and financially) rewarding. She might disagree in principle with Fillmore refusing to hire negro workers, but her argument against it is purely from a business standpoint. In this regard she has a lot in common with Pete Campbell: though his mindset is more coldly financially based than hers, they are both in agreement that you do what will make the client the most money, which in turn benefits their Agency.

But for Abe, there can be no separation. Something is right or it is wrong, and you support or fight it based on those principles. Fillmore is wrong in their racist practices, and therefore they are to be fought or challenged, not aided or guided. Civil Rights isn't a Public Relations issue, it's an intrinsic inequality at the heart of their society that must be corrected. Peggy does agree with him on that (again, from a personal standpoint, she has no problem dividing the two), but it does raise an interesting point to her she feels she has to bring up: nobody seems to care that most of the things Negroes can't do, she as a woman also isn't allowed to do.

Abe is baffled, but she continues on with her explanation: a significant chunk of the actual business in Advertising happens at dinners, at clubs, sporting sessions like tennis or golf, all places that she is literally forbidden from entering. She points out that when a business dinner was held at the University Club, she - the lead copywriter - was told she could only attend if she "jumped out of a cake". She is treated as a second-class citizen and denied access and acceptance based purely on her gender, just as black Americans are denied access based purely on their skin color.

Her point is a little blunted when she then engages in the same kind of bullshit bootstraps mentality that continue to infect too many even into the 21st Century, agreeing with Abe that while there are no negro copywriters now she is sure they could work their way into a position just like she herself did. She is simultaneously understanding of the unfairness of the inequality in Civil Rights while also still believing in the largely nonsensical idea that America is a meritocracy, that the genuine hard work and perseverance she put into getting where she is was also aided by some degree of luck to survive a system constructed to work against her.

But then Abe reacts in the worst way possible, exposing his own ignorance/privilege as he scoffs at her likening the inequality of women with the inequality of black Americans, mockingly declaring they'll have a Civil Rights march for women. Horrified, insulted and revolted by this attitude (a reminder, women in American at this point had only had the right to vote for less than half a century, Peggy's mother was probably the first in her family allowed to vote and even then there was often an expectation that they would vote as they were told by the men in their lives) Peggy declares she has an early day and has to go.

Realizing he's gone too far, a frantic Abe tries both to apologize AND to explain, noting that nobody is shooting women for trying to vote but also he wasn't criticizing or undermining her (he was!), this is just discourse! To be fair to Abe, he probably is used to needling, challenging exchanges with peers as part of intellectually stimulating debate, but he's also been blissfully ignorant of the fact that sometimes people take poo poo personally! Also just because you're challenging somebody doesn't mean you get to laughably dismiss a very valid point like the fact that women are also still treated to a significant extent as second class citizens in America.

Peggy offers a polite goodbye and makes her exit, a distraught Abe watching her go and bitterly noting he shouldn't have let Joyce go: she would have been able to give him warning signs and keep him on track at least, even if it would have undercut the one-on-one interactions he showed up looking for. He's clearly been thinking about her ever since that night of the loft party, and now he realizes he may have blown his opportunity because he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

The next morning at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Bert Cooper is settled into a chair near Miss Blankenship's desk, both of them independently doing crosswords. Cooper ponders what a 3 letter word for a flightless bird is and she immediately states emu, and when he corrects her that it starts with an L, she doesn't hesitate to hit back with,"The hell it does." This is the easy back and forth that comes from decades of a working relationship, one where things got so comfortable he had her work at his home for a time and would happily walk around without pants on.

Don arrives, asking her to get him some coffee and let him know when Dr. Miller arrives. She offers back that it's difficult with the way Miller simply breezes past her, but Don lets that pass without comment. "She's pushy that one," offers Miss Blankenship in Cooper's general direction, though he's more an excuse for her to speak out loud than anything else, noting that she guesses this is "what it takes" nowadays.

Far less judgemental is Joan Harris, who visits Roger in his office (he's in early!) with a smile, thanking him for the thoughtful gift of the massage. He has a moment of pretending he doesn't know what she means but can't resist the chance for a double-entendre, admitting he knew he was rubbing her the wrong way and figured he would pay somebody to rub her the right way instead. She offers to get him a bear claw but he grumbles that Caroline won't let him have one (the power dynamic between Roger and his secretaries is really quite something to wrap your head around), but as Joan leaves he decides to offer one last piece of advice, assuring her he knows things look tough now.

She comments that everybody says that, and he offers to take her out for a meal to help get her mind off of things... and of course that was absolutely the wrong thing to say. Instantly Joan's guard is up, her smile now harder and colder as she remarks that she should have known he wouldn't give her anything nice without expecting something "nicer" in return. He promises he meant nothing by it, but though she simply says,"Good" and leaves, it is clear she is less than convinced... and that actually seems to bother Roger, presumably - especially based on his conduct since marrying Jane - he really did simply mean it as a friendly meal.

Peggy walks into the lobby (did Don and Roger arrive BEFORE her!?!) and she's surprised and NOT pleased to see Abe waiting there for her. It seems he changed his mind about not wanting to show up at her work, excitedly babbling that he wrote something he wants her to read, pressing several pages into her hands. She's reluctant, she has work to do and does he expect her to just stand and read this? What is it anyway? He promises she can take his time, that he'll simply wait here in the lobby, but he NEEDS her to read it. It's what he was trying to tell her yesterday, only without the abrasive tone. He told her last night that he was better on paper than in voice, and it seems he is so convinced of this that he is willing to bet she'll be impressed by his work "Nuremberg on Madison Avenue."

She takes the papers and leaves, giving him a look as she watches him go to retake his seat. She's still a little off-balance from this unexpected encounter, but she's also pleased in one respect: he cared enough to be worried about her opinion, and this appears to be his roundabout way of apologizing to her. At least he didn't just show up at her house ala Pete Campbell.

The Fillmore Auto Parts people have arrived for their meeting in the conference room, where Dr. Miller provides them with the market research that has given them direction on how they want to run their advertising campaign. What Faye has stuck on is that even the "domesticated" suburbanite has a primitive desire to get their hands dirty, and Fillmore can cater to this desire to an audience who has money to spend.

One of the Fillmore Executives is unconvinced though, stating that the mechanics and other hands-on types who make up their clientele now won't want to share space in the stores with people wearing suits and ties. This kicks off an argument, not between Don and the client but the client among themselves. Another of the executives complains that the inventory and prices remain the same so their existing customers won't care while the first insists the wrong type of person being present will create the perception of increased prices and chase them away.

As they argue about the threat from Sears as well as the impact the Southern boycott is having on them, Don chimes in to point out that they're not here to get involved in a family squabble (presumably the three executives are brothers?), but they also can't proceed with working up advertising for them until they have a unified strategy they all agree on. Kenny, trying to be helpful and as always keen to earn brownie points with his clients, declares that actually they can serve BOTH clients and offers a helpful slogan: Fillmore Auto Parts, where the pros go, and everyone's welcome."

With barely restrained irritation, Don points out this is NOT a strategy, it is two strategies attached by "and". He warns the Fillmore people they'll have to pick, he can do "where the pros are welcome" or he can do "everyone's welcome", but not both... and turns a dangerous eye Ken's way when he happily assures Don OF COURSE he can do both!

Spotting Megan has made her way into the Conference Room which irritates him further, he motions her over as he points out there are three Executives so they can vote and come up with their preferred idea now. This leads the third brother - Sean - to finally get a chance to speak... and it becomes clear why he doesn't, as he stutters out that he doesn't know what he wants. They're all interrupted by Don suddenly booming out,"WHAT?" at Megan as she whispers in her ear, then apologizes and asks them to continue while he steps out for a moment. Ken and Faye pretend this is all perfectly fine, while Sean stutters out a pertinent question to his brothers: why do THEY have to convince Don? Surely it should be the other way around?

The reason for Don's abrupt departure? The unexpected and absolutely shocking arrival in the lobby of SCDP of.... Sally Draper!?! She's sitting on the couch next to a dignified looking older woman, Sally recoiling slightly at her father's obvious anger when he demands to know what she is doing here. "I wanted to see you," she mumbles, and Don turns his glare away from his daughter and softens it for the older woman, apologizing to her and asking who she is. Her name is Vivian Winters, and with an imperious tone she explains she found Sally hiding between carriages on the train trying to avoid being spotted by the conductor.

He asks Megan to take Sally into his office, then pulls out some cash, apologizing again to Mrs Winters and asking if he can offer her anything to compensate for her time and effort. She simply responds Sally was lucky it was her that found her, shuddering at the thought of some of the types who can be found on the train otherwise. Don agrees, explaining he had no idea Sally had done this, and with an entirely too familiar disdain Vivian agrees that the men never know what's going on.

"I offered you money and I said thank you," grunts Don after a moment, irritated at this stranger passing judgement and her presumptuous rudeness in spite of the fact her finding Sally was a good thing. She shakes her head and makes her exit, Abe Drexler pretending not to have been paying attention to this thoroughly entertaining floor show as he waits for Peggy to come rushing back out into his arms to declare her undying love for him as well as extol his virtues as one of the great writing talents of his generation.

Don returns to his office, stopping at Miss Blankenship's desk where she affectionately states that Sally always looked chubby in her pictures. Don orders her to get Betty on the phone, casting a look back at Ken and Faye (the Fillmore Execs have their backs to him, thankfully) and letting them know he won't be back just yet and they'll need to stall. Striding into his office, he quietly demands Sally tell him what she was thinking.

What she was thinking was simple enough... she didn't want to wait two weekends (an interminable eternity for a child) before she could see him again. But he doesn't let that charm him, warning her just how serious what she has done is, and when Miss Blankenship announced over the intercom that she has Mrs. Francis on the line, Sally starts getting nervous: did she really think Don wouldn't call her mother?

But when Don informs Betty what has happened, he doesn't exactly get the reaction he expected. Betty is surprised and not pleased, of course, but she also seems oddly blase about the whole thing, perhaps because she already knows Sally is safe and sound. She explains that the psychiatrist considered it would be good for Sally to walk herself home after sessions, which worked out pretty much exactly how you'd expect any kid given freedom to react. Don snaps a sarcastic thank you to psychiatry and demands Betty come pick her up, growling that more than Sally needs to learn responsibility, Betty herself does too.

That doesn't sit well with Betty, who hits back that he doesn't just get to have Sally for fun he has to take responsibility too, and so HE can look after his daughter for once and see that it's not so easy when you have to juggle other things too. She will be meeting Henry in the city tomorrow evening and will pick Sally up then, and until then he can "enjoy" taking charge of Sally. With that she hangs up, leaving Don knocked for a loop, the last thing he expected was for the mother to fob off her parental duties... that's the father's role!

And of course, through all of this, little Sally Draper has had to sit there and listen to her mother and father argue about how neither one of them wants to spend the day with her. Oof.

Don steps out of his office with a warning to Sally not to leave and not to touch anything, and tells Miss Blankenship as he passes that he doesn't want any commentary from her, just to make sure Sally goes nowhere. With that he returns to the conference room at last, a big fake cheery smile on his face as he asks them,"Where were we?"

Meanwhile, Peggy has finished reading Abe's pages and has come striding with determination to see him. He leaps to his feet enthused, sure she's going to be blown away, that she's going to be in awe of him and fall into his arms... and instead she drags him out by the elevators and demands to know if he's serious and does he want her to get fired!?!

What he's written, though we don't see the contents, is a scathing indictment of Fillmore Auto Parts that the advertising industry that helps them sell their product despite their "crimes"., copywriters and artists as foot-soldiers conscripted into a "war" they weren't aware they were in. "Nuremberg on Madison Avenue" is a call for accountability, for the crimes to be exposed and the guilty to be punished, and it utterly appalls Peggy.

She hisses at him, doing her best to keep her voice down, that as the Agency on record for Fillmore they would quickly come under scrutiny if something like this was published, and she would lose her job if it came out she had a connection to the writer.

Abe is distraught, this not the reaction he wanted or expected, earnestly explaining that she inspired him to write it and she should be flattered, not insulted! He did effectively call her a war criminal though, and in a rage she tears up the pages, telling him she's not a political person and she wants nothing to do with this. Heartbroken, Abe promises her he won't publish it, but mumbles that he misjudged her and that he'll be sure to stay away from her now.

He leaves looking downtrodden, and now Peggy clearly feels some regret for how strongly she reacted. Because in spite of his presumptuousness, she does actually like him, but he's loving with the career she has worked so hard and sacrificed so much to cling onto by her fingernails, and even worse than that he also openly belittles and looks down on her work. In his mind, this is him being supportive, telling her she could do something more creative, free herself from the shackles of Corporate America and truly express herself. A fine thought... when you're a young white male intellectual who has a lot more freedom than white women or black men (and women) to pursue these dreams, as opposed to having any job at all - let alone a good one like Peggy has - being an enormous accomplishment.

In a bad mood, Peggy returns to her and Stan's office, but as she goes she spots that Miss Blankenship has fallen asleep at her desk. In solidarity with her own former profession, she calls out in a loud whisper to try and snap her back awake, but Miss Blankenship simply sits with head back and mouth wide open, dead to the world. Peggy sighs and approaches to try a little closer, but as she does something about Miss Blankenship's posture strikes an uneasy chord and she asks if she is all right, and gets no answer.

She comes around the desk and tries loudly whispering her name again, but still gets no reaction, so she reaches out to shake her shoulder and startle her awake.... and Miss Blankenship's careful balance is gone and her head crashes face-first into the desk. Miss Blankenship isn't dead to the world... she's dead!

Peggy lets out a little scream, throwing her hands over her mouth. She tries to call - still in that loud stage whisper - over to Caroline to come over, but Caroline is on the phone and just holds up a finger with a smile to tell Peggy to wait a moment, not noticing that Miss Blankenship is face-first on the desk now. Overwhelmed, not sure what to do now, Peggy hops from foot to foot then races into Don's office.... and is shocked to see Sally Draper sitting in her dad's desk idly turning it back and forth.

"Do not come out of there!" Peggy demands when she gets over the initial surprise, and a grumpy Sally replies,"I KNOW!", assuming her father probably sent her in to remind her. Peggy closes the door and thinks what to do next, and obviously something gets done because the next thing you know, an irritated Don Draper is being interrupted in his meeting again by Megan who apologizes but insists on speaking with him.

Once again he leaves Fillmore Auto Parts behind, walking with her after she's explained what has happened, finding Peggy, Joan and a weeping Caroline standing behind Miss Blankenship's corpse. He shocked, asking how it happened, but the others have no answer for that. Peggy asks if they should call an ambulance, but Joan - stunned but as always thinking practically - says it should be the coroner. Don lets her know that Sally is in his office, clearly not wanting her to see this (and for them not to stash the body in his office) and when Joan - off-balance enough to ask a personal question she normally never would - asks why, Megan actually covers for the situation by simply saying,"She's visiting."

The question for Don now is what should he do about Fillmore Auto Parts? Joan, having collected herself somewhat, says she can handle this Miss Blankenship situation now. She makes to place the blanket on the back of Miss Blankenship's chair over her body... but Miss Blankenship is sitting on one end and her dead weight isn't shifting. Joan gives it a firm tug, sees the body start to shift and decides to give up on this, asking Megan to find her a man and a blanket, suggesting the afghan on Mr. Crane's couch.

The initial shock wearing off for Don too, he ponders how this could have happened when she was fine when he last saw her. A thought flickers through Don's head, horrible and burrowing that will probably give him guilty for a long time to come. When he left his office the last time and barked that final order to Miss Blankenship, we never saw her or heard a reaction. Was she dead even then? Was Don so wrapped up in his own problems that he not only failed to notice his secretary was dead but that he was snapping orders in a not particularly pleasant way at her corpse? If he had noticed, could he have done something? Might she still be alive today? Probably not, but those thoughts have a way of creeping in and whispering to you in the wee, quiet hours.

So Don returns to Fillmore Auto Parts, where a delightful farce plays out in the background as Don attempts to keep his attention on what seems an entirely unimportant matter right now. Ken and Faye pick-up on what is happening as they see it through the glass, while of course the Fillmore Brothers are entirely ignorant. As Faye explains that they've come up with "For the mechanic in every man" as a way to focus on the professionals while being welcoming to the hobbyist/everyman, behind them Miss Blankenship's body is removed.

We see Pete brought out and silently gaping over the situation, Harry's afghan placed over Miss Blankenship's body, Pete and Joan struggling to wheel the chair down the corridor and keep the body upright. The only inkling the Fillmore Brothers have of anything going on comes too late, as they turn their heads after the body is out-of-sight when they hear a horrified Harry Crane bellow,"My mother made that!"

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

So the Fillmore Brothers sign off on this strategy, with Don's job - despite only attending half the meeting - now to build an advertising campaign from this slogan. He's just relieved to have avoided total disaster, asking Ken to show the brothers out while he figures out how to deal with his other problem. In the background Megan distastefully picks up the desk mat that Miss Blankenship's dead face was pressed into and carries it away, while Don rushes to his office door accompanied by a shocked Faye who can't believe Miss Blankenship has just suddenly died like this.

There are other matters to attend to though, another shock to give. Don explains that Sally is in his office, and what was already a bad situation is now untenable: he CAN'T have her sticking around with a death having occurred right on the other side of the door, but he also can't leave the office. So he wants HER to take Sally to his apartment and sit with her for the rest of the day.

This knocks Faye for a loop, of course. First of all.... why is Sally here? Secondly.... HER take his daughter back to HIS apartment? Don wryly points out that normally he'd have his secretary do it but.... well, she's dead! Faye agrees, but she's still off-balance, actually checking her hair as she babbles asking what she should say, how she should be introduced etc.

Don doesn't have time for this, pointing out they don't need to over-complicate things: she's Faye and that is all that Sally needs to know. Megan passes by wheeling a new chair to replace the one Miss Blankenship was wheeled out on, and Don instructs her to track down wherever Sterling and Cooper are lunching with Secor Laxatives and inform them what has happened and make sure Secor does NOT come back to the office with them.

Then it's the moment of truth, as Don leads Faye into his office and introduces Sally to "my friend, Faye", explaining she will be taking Sally back to his apartment. "Why?" Sally asks, and Don warns her she does NOT want to make things worse for herself today. He leaves, and now Faye - usually so collected and professional - finds herself in the unusual situation of being nervous and unsure of herself.

This is compounded by the fact that Sally is sitting in Don's chair behind Don's desk, looking very much like the "boss" of this situation despite being a child, and Faye already nervous from meeting the daughter of her boyfriend (if they're even that committed) for the first time. "I'm Faye," she explains, and a stern-faced Sally points out that her father already told her this, making Faye feel even more like a supplicant employee being dressed down.

Not long after, Cooper and Sterling have gotten the message and returned to the office in time to see Miss Blankenship's mercifully sheet-covered body being wheeled out on a gurney. Cooper, alarmed, asks where they are taking her and when Pete explains she is going to the morgue Cooper insists that she be taken to Frank E. Campbell's instead. Megan places her purse on Miss Blankenship's body and she's wheeled out, Cooper staring forlornly after the closest thing it seems he ever had to a life partner.

Don asks if anybody has been able to reach her family and Cooper mutters that she has a niece and he'll contact her, then wanders away in a daze. Roger calls out after him, a genuine sorry for his loss. Despite all the bad jokes he's made about Miss Blankenship and even Cooper in the past, she was a part of their lives for decades (and one of young Roger's early "conquests") and he knows how deeply Cooper cared for her.

Once Cooper is gone, Roger feels his own emotions overwhelming him and he heads for his own office, followed by a concerned Joan who can see how much this is troubling him. This leaves Don, and Megan kindly suggests that he go home (she, of course, will have to be there the rest of the day) and he agrees, asking her to redirect calls from Miss Blankenship's desk to hers at reception.

As Roger walks to his office, he passes the Creative Lounge where Harry Crane has everybody laughing as he regales them with an off-color Irish joke about death. It's the same kind of gallows humor Roger has gleefully taken part in before, but this time hits a little different to him, the reminder of mortality and how life unfairly goes on for everybody else when you - the center of the universe! - have gone.

Slumping into a seat as Joan joins him in the office and pours him a drink, he sighs that he does NOT want to die in this office, remembering that he's almost died twice that way before. She promises him he won't die in this office, but he insists that if she sees him going she has to open a window for him because he's rather go out flattening the top of a taxi.

Taking a seat beside him with her own drink, she takes a sip and mutters,"Poor Ida," but then can't help but smile when Roger quips that she died like she lived.... surrounded by the people she answered phones for. Roger once again asks her to join him for a meal, and once again she demurs, but this time without the harshness of her previous rejection. Roger insists though, telling her to get her things and meet him in the lobby: he needs to be with somebody right now, outside of the office, and he knows that she needs it too. Miss Blankenship's death has reminded him of his own mortality, but he must understand on some level that Joan sees Ida as a closer parallel to her own life than to his.

At Don's apartment, Faye and Sally are on the couch watching television when there is a knock at the door. Sally opens it and there's Don, having to knock to enter his own apartment and not looking happy about it. "Hello Daddy!" she says sweetly, and he grumbles,"Don't hello daddy me" and sends her back to the couch. He's much nicer to Faye of course as she returns his keys, asking how things went. Faye is all smiles, say it was great, they watched television and "one of us took a nap".

He offers for her to stay for dinner, which is actually pretty enormous since it shows he isn't going to try and hide her away from Sally (well, not now that she knows Faye exists anyway) but Faye can't stay, saying she has dinner plans. He doesn't make the mistake of asking with whom, and Faye says goodbye to Sally who offers a smiling goodbye back: it seems she likes Faye just fine.

Now though it's just Don and Sally, and he's not happy that she's pretending like everything is a-ok (where could she possibly have learned that!?!) and asking if they can have pizza for dinner, as if she expects a reward. Don is also, however, a complete pushover when it comes to his daughter AND exhausted after a stress-filled day and honestly pizza sounds kinda sweet.... so he offers the barest minimum of stern authority by making her promise to never do anything like this again.

She promises, and Don heads towards his bedroom to get a little more comfortable. Sally meanwhile curls back up on the couch, a smile on her face. What lesson has she learned? That despite all the warnings and complaints and threats... in the end she got just what she wanted: she gets to be with her father away from a home she now hates and a mother she feels continually alienated from.

Joan has taken up Roger on his offer after all, and they sit in a little cafe sharing a slice of cheesecake and reminiscing over old times. This is the same place they used to go to back when they were having their long-standing affair, Roger admitting it was because it was the type of place NOBODY he knew was ever likely to see them together.... also the cheesecake is pretty good!

With a cheeky grin Joan whispers that the clientele are older than she remembers, looking around the tables of old people eating. Roger likes that though, because THEY are not old. Presumably being around older people makes him feel young, and it sure as hell doesn't hurt to have Joan there with him to add to that. He points out that he does wish she could talk to him about what is happening in her personal life and she acknowledges that it would be nice, but that it's also hard to share these things.

Roger can understand that, but does note that she must have known it was very possible Greg would end up in Vietnam when he signed up. This is when he learns for the first time what Joan hasn't told anybody, that Greg signed up without telling her about his intentions first, that he just sprang it on her after the deed was done and nothing could be changed. That astonishes Roger, for all his rampant mysogny and belief that men should have a separate part of their lives from their wives, he would never have considered signing up for war without telling his wife first. In that regard at least he understands the whole partnership/shared life aspect of marriage: a decision like going to war is something that will affect BOTH people.

Joan can't help poking a little fun there though, asking if he shares everything with Jane: the woman behind the man. Roger lets that pass, instead suggesting she'd have the answer to that if she listened to the tapes of his memoirs he recorded. She admits that all she did was have them transcribed and then recycled the tapes (explaining how Don got his hands on the piece about Miss Blankenship). Roger cheekily asks if she was curious if there was a chapter named Joan, and sweetly but dangerously she tells him there better not have been.

THAT was the problem, Roger admits. He didn't write about anything to do with the two of them, knowing it would negative affect her to do so... but when he thinks back over the last decade or so of his life all the best parts involved her, and he couldn't write about any of that. He reaches forward and takes her hand, apologizing for constantly pestering her but assuring her that he doesn't expect anything to happen: it's just fun flirting, enjoying the way she challenges and stimulates him, but he really is committed to his marriage to Jane.

She thanks him for that, but she also surreptitiously slips her hand free from his own as she takes another bite of their cheesecake. She may believe him, or least believe that HE believes it... but she's also not going to let down her guard, send any mixed message, and make him test that resolve knowing he's more likely to fail than succeed.

Don is reading his newspaper on the couch with Sally sitting beside him watching television. She wants to ask him a question and he preemptively answers what he suspects it is, informing her that yes he is still mad at her. But no, she wants to know about Faye... is he going to marry her? No, says a perplexed Don, and repeats the negative when Sally asks if Faye is his girlfriend. No no, he insists, he is just a friend, and gets a reminder that Sally is old enough now to be able to notice things and put 2+2 together, and he has to think up answers quickly on the fly.

Why did she have his keys? Because he gave them to her to get Sally into the apartment. Why did she know that he had peanut butter? Because EVERYBODY has peanut butter. Why did she say she wanted to meet her if she's not in a relationship with Don? Because he works with Faye and he talks about Sally a lot (nice way to stroke Sally's own ego). Sally takes this all in, still suspicious but unable to punch holes in Don's answers.

Except now Don has questions of his own, asking out of curiosity if she likes Faye. Sally admits she seems okay, and Don nods and notes then maybe they can see each other again sometime.... and Sally's little,"Oh" says it all. All Don's explanations and protests have fallen by the wayside by that one statement, as she grasps that Don IS in some kind of relationship with Faye, and him asking her that is suggesting that maybe Faye is going to be around more often when Sally and Bobby come to stay. She considers this as Don answers the door to collect the pizza she asked for, her happy little fantasy of just getting to spend time with her father and her father alone spoiled by the knowledge that there is somebody else who is going to be a part of it.

Roger and Joan walk the streets, Roger saying he didn't want to take a cab on Broadway and it's a beautiful night to walk. Except the neighborhood has changed since they used to frequent that little diner, the streets are dirtier and darker and feel less safe. Roger cracks a joke referencing her as Miss Blankenship, presumably because there is a heavier black presence here than there used to be and Ida - as charmingly eccentric as she was - was also openly racist.

A black man actually does approach just then, asking Roger if he knows what the time is. Happy to let him know, Roger looks at his watch... and finds a gun pointed at him, the mugger growling that he knows what to do. Indeed he does, Roger is a New Yorker and this probably isn't his first mugging, and he immediately lowers his gaze and tells Joan to do the same. He places a protective arm over Joan and slightly shunts her back as he half-steps in front of her, but otherwise he offers no resistance. He doesn't try to be a hero (and get them both killed) and wrestle the gun away or anything stupid like that: he doesn't want to die in his office but he doesn't want to die being shot down on the street either.

He removes his wedding ring and watch, pulls out his wallet and all his cash and hands them over. When the mugger demands Joan's bag and her wedding ring too he doesn't protest or demand he let her keep at least this, just has Joan hand them over and then reminds the mugger they have very specifically not looked at his face and they've given him everything they had. He's satisfied with that, walking away - though he makes a point of shoulder bumping Roger as a final little gently caress you as he goes - and that leaves Roger and a horrified Joan behind, adrenaline pumping in the wake of a near-death situation in addition to the shock of Miss Blankenship's death earlier in the day.

Roger races Joan away to the alcove between building stoops, telling her not to scream as she struggles to catch her breath, telling her to calm. She's starting to panic but he assures her she is fine, reminding her that everything they had taken from them can be replaced, and the important thing is that they're alive. Boy are they alive, the adrenaline pumping and the delayed reaction to the danger they just escaped from prove too much for Joan, and she leans forward and kisses Roger.

They break away and for a second Roger hesitates, thinking perhaps about Jane, about how he genuinely loves her and has resisted temptation since they married in a way he never did before with Mona.... but it's Joan, and he can't resist. He kisses her back, and they're only broken from the spell by a woman walking up the steps behind them. Even then, Joan tells him not to stop, and as they go back to making out, they begin pulling at their clothing, so far gone as to be willing to have sex right there and then on the street. They're alive, and they mean to express that in the most primitive, and natural, way possible.

Don puts Sally to bed, asking if she wants to call her brothers or her mother to say goodnight first. It's 9:30pm though, she says they're asleep (her brothers perhaps, but not Betty, and clearly she has no desire to call her). Don asks if she brushed her hair, but instead of answering that she tells Don what is really on her mind: she loves him so much, and she wants to live with him all the time.

Gently he explains she can't do that, and she asks the childish but simple question: why not? He reminds her she still needs to go to school, and reminds her she has friends where she lives now, and also what about her brothers? Sally ignores the questions she can't answer to focus on what she can: Bobby and Gene could live here too, and SHE would look after them! Try to bargain, to offer whatever she can think of to get her father to agree to let her have what she desperately wants: to be with him AND of course to be out of the now hated house in Ossining.

Don doesn't negotiate, he simply offers a half-warning/half-indulgent "Sally" and gives her a kiss on the head, telling her to go to sleep. He leaves her in the room, and she settles against her pillow: she hasn't gotten what she ultimately wants, but for now she is happy because she's where she wants to be with who she wants to be with.

Returning to the living room, Don settles down at his desk and brings out his notepad, intending to write in his journal (did he leave that at the apartment when Faye was there alone?)... but he's exhausted, emotionally drained, and he can't work up the energy to write. So instead he simply sits, enjoying a rare moment of quiet after a long, long day.

The next morning he wakes, sniffing the air as he catches an unexpected aroma in the air. Walking into the living room, he's greeted by a delighted Sally carrying out a plate of French toast, explaining she made him breakfast. Failing to hide a pleased grin, Don tries to sternly remind her that he doesn't like her using the stove unsupervised, but she happily declares that she does this all the time AND there are no shells in this one!

He takes a seat and she jumps up beside him, asking if they can put on the television and watch the Today Show. She's desperately trying to sell him on an idea - like father, like daughter - that she won't be an imposition if she lives with him: she can cook him breakfast, they can watch television together, she won't be a problem!

He takes a bite of his toast and is surprised, asking what topping she used. Mrs Butterworth's, she explains, and he asks to see it, and she passes him the bottle. It's Old Oak Rum in a gimmicky Limbo Drummer themed bottle, which to Sally's eyes looked enough like Mrs Butterworth's syrup. Don reminds her she should read the labels, but admits that the French Toast that resulted doesn't taste bad at all.

Wanting to take advantage of her father's good mood, she asks if they can do something today. This is a hell of a gamble, after all she's not supposed to be getting rewarded for her bad actions... except well, Don is a pushover when it comes to Sally. So his version of being stern is to inform her that there will be no negotiation.... and she'll have to settle for him pushing his meetings back to noon and taking her out to Central Park Zoo!

Of course she immediately tries to negotiate anyway, asking if they can also go to the dinosaur museum, and he sternly tells her... she'll have to choose one, because they can't do both. Way to stamp your authority, Don!

At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Cooper is finding himself struggling with words for Miss Blankenship's obituary. He's sitting in Roger's office (and at Roger's desk, taking the senior position once again) but the horror of a blank piece of paper sits before him. Roger suggests they could get Don to write it, but he didn't really know her, certainly not like they did. Cooper agrees, and Roger buzzes through to Caroline to ask her to fetch Miss Harris regarding the obituary, figuring that will bring her in quickly enough.

Cooper is infuriated at himself, saying it is an insult to Ida's memory that he, HE of all people, can't think of anything to say. He also gets in a little barb, pointing out that he doesn't have his own office to ruminate in (was this a conscious choice of a man too used to a private space to fit into this cluttered new work environment? Or a simple economic reality considering his position largely as a figurehead with strong networking connections?) which Roger wisely doesn't comment on.

Joan arrives and immediately has ideas, writing down some key points to help Cooper get started: she was a loyal friend and devoted caretaker, and this prompts Roger to add in that she passed quietly in her sleep, which is technically true while avoiding the ignominy of her passing. Roger ponders whether to note her as a secretary and Joan is quick to "promote" her to an Executive Secretary, an acknowledgement of her lengthy time and position working with and for the top men of the Agency.

Cooper finally has words to add, his imagination sparked by this starting point. He notes that she was born in 1898 in a barn and died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper, and that makes her an astronaut. It is the kindest, sweetest and most poetic thing he can think of to offer to her credit and her memory. That is enough from him, he knows Joan can put these ideas together, and he leaves the office, not wanting to push his emotions any further.

This leaves Roger and Joan alone, where he comments that it took writing this obituary to get her into his office after last night. He apologizes for getting caught up in the heat of the moment, but that they both know there WAS a moment. Joan accepts that, and tells him that she also doesn't regret what they did last night... but it also can't happen again, she is married and so is he. As she leaves though, he makes it clear that - having finally indulged in cheating on his 2nd wife - he doesn't want it to be a one-off. He felt something more last night and he knows she did too. Despite her attempt to keep her face blank she smiles, but she doesn't respond or offer him any encouragement before she leaves. But of course he's Roger Sterling, and so the lack of active discouragement is probably all the encouragement he will need.

Don and Sally arrive at SCDP, holding hands and Sally staring adoringly up at her father after spending the morning just the two of them together, as she wishes it could always be. Don is beaming too, he's had a good morning, and he introduces her to Megan who is temporarily filling in as his secretary. Sally of course is a perceptive girl, and asks where Miss Blankenship is? Megan, a little perturbed, recovers well and explains she is filling in for a bit because Miss Blankenship "went away": none of what she said is a lie, just a careful massaging of the truth.

Explaining that Betty will be arriving at 5 to pick Sally up, Don asks Megan to keep an eye on her for five minutes. It seems that this morning of fun between him and Sally turned into an entire day, he's shown up to work for basically a few minutes only before calling it a day. He leaves to get a coffee, giving a a little wave to Sally who waves happily back, passing by the conference room where he's spotted by Peggy, who remarks to Kenny and Stan that now they're stuck: if Don has actually shown up to work, then they're stuck here for as long as he chooses to be despite already working a full day.

They joke about Don being put as the cause of death on Miss Blankenship's death certificate, and muse (Stan and Kenny do, Peggy just listens and smiles) about how long Megan will last on his desk. All that ends when Don walks in, asking where Dr. Miller is, and they turn their mockery to a joke at the stuttering Fillmore Brother's expense. Don warns Kenny not to do that, mocking a client isn't done (at least not below the partnership level), and they talk about the best way to provide a jingle at their request, noting that rock and roll music will put off middle-class men (how quickly times will change) so they should be looking at Perry Cuomo, Pat Boone, Roger Miller, Frankie Lane, Duane Eddy etc.

Don sighs that he's "glad" he came in if this is the level of discussion, but Peggy sees a chance to strike and offers her own suggestion: what about Harry Belafonte? This leads to an awkward silence, Kenny choosing to interpret this as just Peggy being a fan and offering to get her tickets, but noting that he won't be selling auto parts. Peggy though, infected in spite of herself by Abe's passion, reveals she knows exactly what she was suggesting, noting it might help with the boycott they're facing in the South.

Now things are REALLY uncomfortable, as Stan - ol' progressive, enlightened Stan - says they have a way of doing things in the South and none of them involve Harry Belafonte. Peggy though is fired up now, much as Abe was, pointing out that the Fillmore Brothers are from Boston.... plus why are they doing business with a company that won't hire Negroes in the first place?

Don watches all this with an unsettled expression, not liking that the usually (mostly) level-headed Peggy is bringing this up. Stan and Kenny are at a loss about how to respond themselves, both clearly know that what Fillmore is doing is morally repugnant but they've been happy to largely ignore a problem that doesn't affect them directly, regardless of their personal feelings. It's up to Don, as the senior man at the table, to give a response.

The one he gives is crude and to the point, and not at all far from her own response to Abe at P.J Clarke's: their job is to make men like Fillmore Auto, not make Fillmore Auto like negroes. Peggy, knowing when she has pushed too far, nods her submission to this directive, and to her relief Don is distracted by a motioning gesture from Megan through the window. He tells them to pick a singer, write a jingle and get it recorded, and if Fillmore wants to change it after that then they'll charge them for making another. He heads out of the Conference Room, and now Stan feels safe to crack a joke, suggesting they throw Peggy a bone by getting in Dean Martin... after all, he's friends with Sammy Davis Jr!

Megan explains that Betty has called to say she will be arriving in the lobby soon, and Megan also needs to get back to covering reception. Don agrees and tells her to go, then heads into his office where he tells Sally that her mother will be here in a minute to pick her up... which is when the trouble starts.

Sally has been a joy all day. She made breakfast, they spent the morning at the zoo and then probably went to the dinosaur museum in the afternoon because Don can't help but spoil her. But now the moment of truth has arrived, the fantasy is over and it is time to return to the horrific reality of life in Ossining with a mother she loathes and a (kind) stranger having taken her father's place.

Fixedly staring at the book she is reading, she declares she doesn't want to go. Don, mistaking this as a bit of childish pouting and not the onset of a gigantic tantrum, reminds her she has to go home and go to school and all the other normal things she got out of today. But when he reaches to take her arm she pulls away, practically snarling at him as she screeches that she's not going anywhere.

He snaps at her that he'll carry her out if she doesn't behave, but she is in full flight now, screaming that she isn't going, that she hates it there. Don is taken aback by her passion, and particularly by her admission of how much she hates being in what has been her home for her entire life. Dr. Miller steps in, concerned, asking if everything is okay, and at a loss of how to react Don leaves Sally behind for a moment to take Faye outside and ask - practically beg - her to talk to Sally for him.

Faye is aghast, why her? What would she say? She reminds him she isn't a child psychologist, but he just needs somebody to talk to her, and Faye being a woman probably makes him think she will have some insight that he doesn't have. Against her better judgement, Faye decides to give it the old college try, stepping across the threshold into the nightmare warzone that is a child losing their poo poo.

She tries her best, attempting to draw on the connection she felt they made yesterday, but a seething Sally at first refuses to respond and then gets outright aggressive, snapping at her to shut up, telling her to go away and insisting that "we" don't want her there. Every word is an arrow piercing Faye's soul, and Don has had enough, leaping back into his initial thought that he could just physically force the situation by grabbing at Sally's arm to drag her away.

Sally breaks free with a scream, racing out the door and down the corridor, paradoxically running TOWARDS the thing she is trying to escape. But she's a kid, she doesn't know any better than that she's angry, she's being forced to do something she doesn't want to do, and she has to get away from the thing causing her grief.

She makes it about halfway down the polished corridor floor going full-title before she slips, crashing face first into the floor. Various members of staff gape in astonishment, Joan and Peggy joining Faye and Don as they approach, Megan stepping out of reception to check on the sweet little girl who was so happy and friendly when she arrived only a few minutes ago.

Don is mortified by the public display, while Sally latches on to the first friendly face she sees, hugging a surprised Megan tightly who promises her that everything is going to be all right. "No, it's not," Sally mumbles miserably, breaking the heart of everybody watching, especially every woman on that floor who at some point (and more than once) have felt the pain that Sally is feeling.

Megan tries to make light of the situation, assuring Sally she falls down all the time. As Don collects his now defeated little girl, Megan explains she was coming to get him as Mrs.... your.... Sally's mother has arrived in reception. He thanks her and then walks Sally out to the waiting Betty, who is smoking and irritated. She strokes Sally's face and tells her she was worried about her, which Sally takes in silence, while Joan, Peggy and Faye stand in the doorway watching in concern before Joan orders them all away.

Betty complains to Don that she was left waiting in the lobby and now she's going to be running late. Don offers a half-hearted excuse about losing track of time, not wanting to bring up Sally's little explosion of hate, and says goodbye to Sally. When Sally doesn't initially respond, Betty instructs her to say goodbye to her father, and she looks up at him with big eyes, already missing him in spite of her earlier rage, and tells him goodbye. She and Betty leave, passing an arriving Joyce as they go, while Don offers a weary thank you to Megan for going above and beyond in her help.

Don returns to his office, where Faye is waiting and drinking, and he asks her to pour him one too. But she has other things on her mind, telling him she can't make him a drink and in fact she can't do anything for him, complaining he shouldn't have put in this position. Don is bewildered, as usual so wrapped up in his own life (with some justification this time) that he didn't consider how all of this might have affected Faye. He finds himself in the same position as he was with Sally the previous night, offering quick answers to a series of probing questions.

Why did he make her take Sally home? Because there was nobody else available. Why did he ask her to talk Sally down from her tantrum? Because it just came up out of the blue and she was the first person he saw who might have been able to help. None of this was planned, and none of what happened was her fault.... but Faye complains that she feels like Don just put her through an unexpected test that she failed miserably.

She admits that since they started a relationship she has considered the possibility of meeting his children, even gotten to the point of wondering WHEN rather than if. But she was not prepared for this, and she doesn't have children of her own... and obviously that last part bothers her most of all. Don realizes this, stepping forward and offering the best thing he can: a sincere and unqualified apology for putting her in this position. Faye admits that she loves children, but that she made a conscious choice not to have them so she could be where she is. Again, Abe mocked the idea of a civil rights march for women, but men are free to have children AND a career while for women - as was the case for Peggy - it's an either/or situation in 1965.

"It doesn't matter," Don promises her, and hugs her, giving her the comfort she needs, agreeing that part of all this has been good for them. They kiss, but then she tells him she needs to go home because she didn't really sleep. She tells him they'll have dinner this weekend and she'll pick the place, and he happily agrees. But as she leaves and they both offer each other timid slides of reassurance, each looks as if they're questioning just how good what they have really is.

Peggy is drinking in her office when Joyce pops into the doorway, asking why she's drinking here alone when they could be out somewhere drinking together. Smiling, Peggy points out she doesn't have to worry about surprises being dropped on her in the office, and Joyce takes this in good humor, admitting that it should have been expected that Abe would gently caress up somehow. Sure he seems nice, but he's a man after all, he won't be happy until her turns her out!

Dismissing it as maybe just a fact of biology they can't overcome, Joyce explains that for men you have to be THEIR girl. Abe saw a chance to "save" Peggy, to "free" her from what he assumes is a miserable existence producing art for corporations, never really grasping that Peggy is genuine when she says she enjoys her work, the cracking of an idea, the pulling together of disparate elements to produce an ad that achieves what the client wanted and that you yourself can be proud of.

Joyce offers a rough analogy: men are like soup, you can put them on a plate or eat them off the counter, so women need to be the pot to heat them up, hold them and contain them.... but gently caress that, who says women have to be the pot, can't they be soup too!?! But while Peggy disagrees with this comparison, Joyce does offer an olive branch of sorts... she wouldn't have agreed to help Abe out with Peggy if she didn't think he was "interesting soup". In other words, maybe give the idiot another chance?

Peggy smiles, but asks Joyce to go on without her for tonight at least, but she will come out another night. She admits she isn't entirely sure if she is angry or lovesick over Abe, and Joyce doesn't press her, wishing her a goodnight and making her exit.

And so another day ends at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Joyce leaves on one elevator as Joan Harris steps out of reception herself, joined soon after by Faye. They step into another elevator, but hold the door as Peggy calls out to them as she too leaves. She steps into the lift, and there they stand, three different women making their own different ways in 1965 New York.

Dr. Faye Miller, the woman who loves children but chose not to have them to build a career as an educated woman. Joan Harris, childless but married but facing an uncertain future as well as a mutual attraction with a married man who already had a long-running affair with before they met their current spouses. Peggy Olson, the woman who gave up a child she didn't even know she was having to cling desperately onto a career as she hauled herself up against overwhelming odds and succeeded by dint of her intelligence, creativity and perseverance.

Three women, three "beautiful girls", each with a man (or men) in their lives, each of them considering whether it is worth being pots to the soups they are paired with or want to be paired with. All three watched in commiseration the despair of young Sally Draper getting an early lesson in the pain and disappointment and unfairness that all have had to face in their lives, now all three leave in the same elevator despite living very different lives with only their employment really tying them together.

But what really stands out to me is that all three hopped into this one elevator, the seemingly only choice available to them. Joyce Ramsay, you will note, chose a different elevator and went her own way.

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Apologies for the length of time it took to get this one written, the usual reasons why: just lots of things going on in real life that needed to be attended to first. I'm hoping to be more regular but if more than a week passes between episodes, it's purely down to not being able to have the time to write and certainly not a lack of interest, the show just continues to go from strength to strength and the farce of Miss Blankenship's body being moved around reminded me of Fawlty Towers of all things :allears:

ram dass in hell
Dec 29, 2019

posting power flows from an av with the barrel of a gun

Cooper's "she was an astronaut" hit me so hard the first time I saw this episode and I can't articulate why.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

What really blew me away was that she was only 67. It reminded me just how different "age" has become over the decades, when 50+ used to be considered being in the twilight of your years and nowadays it's shocking to hear about somebody only being in their 70s when they die. She looked 20+ years older than her age, but I suppose the Great Depression and two world wars will do that for you!

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

I've known enough 67 year olds... they can look like that.

RIP to the hellcat.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

A culture with no concern for sun damage, healthy diet, exercise, or the dangers of smoking or excessive drinking will also do that, I imagine.

It sounds like Ida Blankenship lived pretty hard in addition to all the historic factors, so being 67 and looking 80 seems…unsurprising.

A weird aside: I’ve been watching a lot of old Twilight Zone episodes recently, and the ages of characters are constantly throwing me. “Meet [such-and-such], age 36,” and they look like they’re pushing 50. I’m in my 30’s, and the characters who look close to my age are supposed to be 25. Part of that’s casting, but a lot of it has to be people in 1960 aging like complete poo poo.

Jan 14, 2010

ram dass in hell posted:

Cooper's "she was an astronaut" hit me so hard the first time I saw this episode and I can't articulate why.

It's a really powerful line.

Xealot posted:

A culture with no concern for sun damage, healthy diet, exercise, or the dangers of smoking or excessive drinking will also do that, I imagine.

It sounds like Ida Blankenship lived pretty hard in addition to all the historic factors, so being 67 and looking 80 seems…unsurprising.

A weird aside: I’ve been watching a lot of old Twilight Zone episodes recently, and the ages of characters are constantly throwing me. “Meet [such-and-such], age 36,” and they look like they’re pushing 50. I’m in my 30’s, and the characters who look close to my age are supposed to be 25. Part of that’s casting, but a lot of it has to be people in 1960 aging like complete poo poo.

Smoking in particular really ages you and so many people smoked constantly back then

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

This is legitimately one of the funniest episodes of the series, even with some of the most shocking moments.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Pete's one appearance being in the background getting thrown into the deep end as Joan explains what has happened and what they have to do is just beautifully put together. Culminating in Harry showing up complaining about his mother's blanket :allears:

Xealot posted:

It sounds like Ida Blankenship lived pretty hard

It's not easy work being the Queen of Perversions :hai:

Jul 30, 2005

Xealot posted:

A weird aside: I’ve been watching a lot of old Twilight Zone episodes recently, and the ages of characters are constantly throwing me. “Meet [such-and-such], age 36,” and they look like they’re pushing 50. I’m in my 30’s, and the characters who look close to my age are supposed to be 25. Part of that’s casting, but a lot of it has to be people in 1960 aging like complete poo poo.

I had this experience recently with Andrew Giuliani. He said he was 35 in an interview and I nearly did a spit-take because he looks like a 50 year old Will Ferrell impersonator.

I had to look it up...and damned if he isn't 35.

Jan 2, 2005

the bloke who plays michael ginsberg has the rare ability to be simultaneously a "babyface", while also looking older than he is. in the two seasons in the middle of superstore, the actor is about my age now, and he somehow looks older than I am, while also looking really young

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

This episode is a great dark comedy/farce. "My mother made that!" is one of the funniest moments in the whole series

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

I feel like Faye loves the idea of children, but she must have almost no experience with them at all. The tone she uses when she talks to Sally in inappropriate for any child older than 6. Kids that have passed the age of reason hate being talked to down to, and Sally is several years beyond that. Faye points out that she doesn't have any children, but I doubt she's even babysat children before and probably doesn't have nieces, nephews, or younger cousins that she's spent much time around.

I hope this doesn't sound like a criticism of her. It's not! There's absolutely nothing wrong with not having gotten that experience. Lacking that experience doesn't indicate anything about your character or even your potential to be a good parent one day. But Faye is usually so smart, so competent, so prepared, that getting exposed as a total rookie in an area that is probably important to her quasi-boyfriend must sting incredibly badly. How often is she caught in a situation where she looks like she doesn't know what she's doing? Surely almost never.

Abe makes an rear end of himself multiple times in this episode, but I can see why Peggy still seems intrigued by him. Mark was a pretty immature guy who only cared about getting in Peggy's pants. Abe is actually passionate about things--important things even! Racial and economic justice are important to him. She probably recognizes some of herself in Abe, some of that fire that is constantly burning for her career. But Abe's sarcastic "civil rights march for women" remark showed disrespect for Peggy AND a lack of empathy for women. Impressive to do both of those things at once. I guess his journalism experience has made him an economical communicator.

Jul 23, 2007

I commend my soul to any god that can find it.

Also, even though he called her a war criminal, he clearly cares about her opinion. Which right now Peggy doesn't get a lot of.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Yoshi Wins posted:

I feel like Faye loves the idea of children, but she must have almost no experience with them at all.

I don't even know that that's true (and it doesn't have to be, obviously.) Maybe I'm forgetting if Faye said something to the contrary, but the feeling I got is the same one I get from Peggy: she's only interested in these benchmarks of traditional femininity in that her value under patriarchy depends on it. She wants love and validation, and probably marriage, but probably not motherhood. Of course, unlike Peggy (sorry, Peggy), Faye is socially adept and extremely beautiful...I imagine she has a long list of men who wanted a family with her, who she turned down in pursuit of her career.

Which should be something Don understands, even admires. She's the opposite of Betty. It's frustrating, because Faye's right to interpret her surprise interaction with Sally as a test. Her fitness as a partner WAS being tested. Even though Sally already has a mother, even though Don's barely in a place to father the kids he already has. Faye's merit as a woman was on trial for no good reason.

Yoshi Wins posted:

But Abe's sarcastic "civil rights march for women" remark showed disrespect for Peggy AND a lack of empathy for women. Impressive to do both of those things at once. I guess his journalism experience has made him an economical communicator.

No joke, I loved that line for this reason. All at once, you understood exactly who Abe was and in what ways he utterly sucked. I've met plenty of Abes IRL: total firebrands about racial justice topics, but flippantly misogynist or homophobic or transphobic in the next breath. Abe's right about a lot of things, and also is a smug loving blowhard.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


But then Abe reacts in the worst way possible, exposing his own ignorance/privilege as he scoffs at her likening the inequality of women with the inequality of black Americans, mockingly declaring they'll have a Civil Rights march for women.

this is the most season-one-y line in a long time. They might as well have had Charlie Hofheimer mug for the camera with a womp-womp trombone noise

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


"I offered you money and I said thank you," grunts Don after a moment, irritated at this stranger passing judgement and her presumptuous rudeness in spite of the fact her finding Sally was a good thing.

Even though his reaction is justified this time, again we see Don's views on money creep to the surface with an iconic line.

The Klowner posted:

"That's what the money is for!" is a classic line, but it also speaks to a fundamental truth about Don's view of money. He appears to believe that money can be exchanged for emotional currency. He wants to avoid conflict; in other words, he wants to ignore the fact that he's unable to give the people in his life what they want from him emotionally.


Apr 30, 2009

Say what now?

The other thing about "that's what the money is for" is that he doesn't believe it. It's established that he could easily jump to a larger firm and make way more money than he did sticking around Stirling Cooper, but he valued the creative freedom more. He knows that money isn't the only, or necessarily even the most, important thing you get out of work.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I agree that his sole interest obviously isn't money, as he's happy to take less (but still a giant raise from what he was getting!) to stay at Sterling Cooper, but I agree with The Klowner that he uses it in place of, or believes it can be a substitute for, emotional connection.

I'd argue that's down to being so incredibly poor growing up (leading to Betty's insulting "you don't understand money" line), as he understands the security and safety that money can provide and assumes that others will see it the same way and value that and accept it in place of him being kinder or nicer or reaching out to them on a personal level. Plus, of course, the fact that money alone isn't enough for HIM doesn't change the way he feels it should be enough for others, because HE is special, the center of the universe in fact!

There are few things I love as much as Don coming back from his month+ long disappearance and telling Joan he doesn't take the world moving on without him personally, because it's quite clear that while he knows he shouldn't.... he does!

Jul 25, 2007


To veterans of the show, feels like Don made his decision to drop Faye right at the end of the scene when he comforts her about her lack of ability with Sally, right? You could see during that entire scene hin on the surface trying to be the nice guy who would get plaudits for understanding. But there's a strain there, like Faye's words punctured the inage of her he wanted her to be, shortly followed by him gulping down whiskey like he needed it for life.

Only likes the beginning of things, alright.

And a quick aside that prob paints me in a horrible light, I've been in the situation with a partner where I've had to comfort them thru a freakout. And while of course on the surface Im trying to be the outstanding nice guy I think I'm expecred to be, in the back of my subconcious mind I catalog it this worth it? Lol, sorry.

Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:

Xealot posted:

I've met plenty of Abes IRL: total firebrands about racial justice topics, but flippantly misogynist or homophobic or transphobic in the next breath. Abe's right about a lot of things, and also is a smug loving blowhard.

This describes most, if not all, of the people I know who describe themselves as "activists."

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

I think Don also likes the relative simplicity of money. Don grew up without learning how to manage relationships with others. His parents let him down and other aspects of his circumstances were rough, and he learned to be an island unto himself. He's also carrying a lot of anger and gets very upset and stressed when he lacks control over a situation. This all makes it very challenging for him to handle fostering good relationships with others.

There's an endlessly complicated give and take in our relationships with people we care about. Sometimes things get really messy, and you may be in a situation where you're upset at someone but still really value and love them at the same time. What we've seen from Don again and again is that when relationships do get tough to manage, he flees or isolates. He runs to California instead of having a heart to heart with his wife about his failures as a husband, he cuts Roger off instead of having an honest conversation with him about how he feels like Roger has violated his boundaries, he sends Adam away instead of explaining the situation to him so Adam can understand how precarious Don's position is. There weren't any easy or quick solutions to any of these problems. All would require a lot of dialogue over a long period of time, with no guarantee that that dialogue would even be successful.

Money is uncomplicated. He gives someone money in accordance with what they've done for him, and it's all settled. There's no more need to think about what things are OK between you and the other person and what needs work. It doesn't really work like this, but he wishes it did, because actually managing relationships is something he never learned to do, and he freaks out internally whenever he lacks control over a situation.

Jul 25, 2007


Its like Don looked at an earlier edition of the magazine Adam picked up as a janitor that showed Don getting award, and decided all he had to do to be happy was be one of the successful and rich ppl plastered in it.

America as gently caress imo

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Yeah, he tells the waitress from season 7 that he was drawn to New York because it's where all the movies took place. Going to the movies was so cheap back then that even a poor orphan could go. I can imagine that awkward teenager who lived in a brothel getting some escapism at the local theater, and looking up at Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart, and not just feeling glad to be away from home, but thinking, "I want to BE these people."

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004

I fully did not recognize January jones in this photo, even after being told that it was her (though I only know her from mad men). Then someone pointed out in the replies that it’s probably because she’s smiling

Acting is a hell of a thing

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

She smiled sometimes on Last Man on Earth, but I gave up a couple episodes into season 2.

edit: the man problem with that show being it should have been a 100 minute movie with just Will Forte and Kristen Schaal, but that's neither here nor there

Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:

I did not recognize her at all. On the other hand, Kiernan Shipka has grown up to be a beautiful young woman.

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

Kind of fitting that the only woman in that photo who looks exactly the same over a decade later is Joan Holloway

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The idea of Kiernan Shipka not being a little girl is bewildering to me.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Shageletic posted:

To veterans of the show, feels like Don made his decision to drop Faye right at the end of the scene when he comforts her about her lack of ability with Sally, right? You could see during that entire scene hin on the surface trying to be the nice guy who would get plaudits for understanding. But there's a strain there, like Faye's words punctured the inage of her he wanted her to be, shortly followed by him gulping down whiskey like he needed it for life.

Only likes the beginning of things, alright.

And a quick aside that prob paints me in a horrible light, I've been in the situation with a partner where I've had to comfort them thru a freakout. And while of course on the surface Im trying to be the outstanding nice guy I think I'm expecred to be, in the back of my subconcious mind I catalog it this worth it? Lol, sorry.

His attraction to mother figures is a significant character trait (the origins of which won't be explicitly revealed until two seasons from now). Don directly alludes to it when he says to Betty that he wishes he had a "beautiful, kind, angelic" mother like her in an earlier season. When his gaze holds on Megan at the end of the very next episode, the image of her holding Sally and finally calming her down in this episode is likely in the back of his mind.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 4, Episode 10 - Hands and Knees
Written by Jonathan Abrahams & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Lynn Shelton

Trudy Campbell posted:

Just remember, everything's good here.

Roger Sterling, named partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, master of the advertising world, man trying to sell his memoirs about the fascinating and complicated work he does... is sitting in his office watching the drinking bird that so fascinated the creative team in a recent episode.

Joan Harris arrives to see him, closing the door behind her, and that perks him right up. He's immediately standing, poo poo-eating grin on his face as he notes that she's finally come to see him alone. His assumption is that their one-night stand in the adrenaline-fueled aftermath of their mugging has been as much on her mind as his. Surely now they're about to reignite the old affair they once had during his FIRST marriage, right? Until she tells him she's late, and then has to clarify what that means: Greg has been gone for 7 weeks, far too long for this to be a result of sex with him. She's pregant, and Roger is the father.

That kills the mood pretty quickly, as Roger grasps the enormity of what she is telling him. Suddenly this is very real, his infidelity didn't really bother him as much as one might have hoped but getting Joan pregnant is an entirely different matter. They're both married, they work together, this is a disaster in the making. She mistakes him asking if she's sure as suggesting she's slept with other men but he quickly explains he meant sure she was pregnant (pretty sure she knows when she gets her period!), but that leads to the next question: what do they do now?

Joan can't (won't) go to her normal doctor, she's clearly mortified at the idea of him giving her a second abortion (and for her, a third) especially after she was so anxious about asking what her chances of having a baby were. Roger though promises her that THIS he can take care of, telling her to leave that for him to deal with and assuring her that everything is going to be okay. She actually apologizes to him for this complication in both their lives, then leaves the office, making a point to act like she's wrapping up a conversation about some office-related thing with him as she passes Caroline's desk.

At the Francis Residence, Betty is sewing when she gets a phone-call. It's Don, asking to speak with Sally before she leaves for camp. There's none of the usual aggression between the two on this call, in fact she seems quietly amused when she calls in Sally, knowing she's in a bad mood with her father but seemingly still unaware of just how traumatic the events leading to her current bad mood were. To Betty, this is just typical dad/daughter stuff, the kind of thing she probably went through with Gene many times as she grew up.

Sally reluctantly takes the phone, still mad at Don even though she'd rather be with him than Betty, offering little back to him as he tells her how much he missed her on the weekend and asking her if she can keep a secret. She's not making it easy for him, after all he emotionally devastated her and there are some things that you can't just make all better. No, this is going to take a long time and hard work from Don t-

"You're going to see the Beatles on Sunday at Shea Stadium."

Sally, a girl on the verge of puberty in 1967, just got told she's going to go see the Beatles live in concert. Yeah, she's losing her goddamn mind. Don has to recoil from the phone her shriek of pleasure is so loud, while even Betty is overcome enough by the sheer joy on her daughter's face to not critique her unladylike screeching and simply pick up the now abandoned phone to ask what has gotten her so excited.

Don explains he'll be taking her to see the Beatles on Sunday, which is pretty presumptuous that Betty doesn't have plans already. Betty has no objection though, she knows how big a deal this is and reminds Sally to thank her father. She does so happy, babbling excitedly down the phone thank yous to her once-again beloved father, his naked bribe having more than done its job. He tells her not to be mad if he wears earplugs, since the Beatles clearly are not his thing, and she promises him she won't.

She hangs up, then turns and just beams pure joy up at her mother, any residual anger or hatred she feels towards either of her parents burnt away for the moment by her sheer ectasy. Betty smiles back broadly too, happy to see her daughter happy regardless of the source.

Elsewhere at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, however, another planned parent/child reconciliation isn't going as planned. A pleased Lane Pryce carries a Mickey Mouse stuffed toy adorned with balloons (red, white and blue for America) into reception when told a guest is waiting, assuming it is his son Nigel. Instead he finds an old bearded man with a cane, and though he greets him and shakes his hand it's clear this is not who he wanted to see: has he brought Nigel?

No, replies the older man, and then two clients arrive on this peculiar scene, and we discover through Lane's polite introduction that this stranger is Robert Pryce, Lane's father. A man referred to with some disdain as an "alcoholic who thinks he's collecting" in the only reference we've had to him on the show so far. It's all very polite as the two clients - John Gibbons and George Casey - shake his hand and then get escorted inside, but once they're gone a strained conversation follows.

Robert insists with utter, presumed authority that he has come to take Lane "home", because Rebecca has no interest in returning to New York to see him. Lane, clenching his teeth, points out that Nigel DOES have an interest in seeing him in New York, but Robert explains that this won't be happening, and that he has booked himself a room at the Warwick Hotel until Friday so Lane can get his affairs in order before returning to London with him. Bitterly, Lane tells him there is no point in staying till Friday because he's not going anywhere, but Robert doesn't argue with him.

Why would he argue? This is clearly a man who believes that once he has said something, that is the end of the conversation. Lane, for most of his life a follower, stands uncomfortably in the face of his father's silent composure and blinks first, compromising that since he came all this way they should at least have dinner. On that, Robert happily agrees, and without so much as a goodbye Lane simply leaves reception... this is clearly not a family given to emotional displays of affection.

Once the reception door is closed behind him though, Lane lets out a deep breath. Some people, no matter how successful or powerful they get, can never quite get out from under the shadow of the giants of their youth. Despite Robert's age and infirmity, there is still a sense of authority and power to him that Lane clearly only felt safe from with the benefit of geographic distance. He places the Mickey Mouse stuffed toy down, abandoning it to some unknown fate, its purpose redundant now with Nigel nowhere to be seen. What was supposed to be a joyful father/son reunion turned out to be a strained father/son reunion where Lane found himself in the opposite role to what he expected.

Gibbons and Casey, meanwhile, have gone to the Conference Room where they have presented documentation for Don, Pete and Harry to look over. It's.... pages and pages of mostly blacked out text. They're from North American Aviation, and they've presented Don with a dilemma: how can he work up an advertising strategy for them if he doesn't actually know what they're "selling"?

That at least is simple, Senator George Murphy is very keen to make voters aware that he's brought in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts to California. But beyond the "pork", they want to stress the civilian potential of facets of the guidance and control systems in the Minuteman II missile, which is sure to raise the interest of the various large airlines like United, TWA and American. Harry speaks up for the first time to enthusiastically point out this means they don't need to use the word bomb. This gets silence from everybody in the room, so Harry quietly points out this is a good thing!

Lane arrives, telling everybody not to get up (nobody was) and joins them at the table, as Don ponders if they'd be interested in a campaign that doesn't make any mention of the word defense. Gibbons and Casey clearly understand they're dealing with people who know what they're doing, and that they're willing to listen to anything they pitch... but they are keen nonetheless for a comprehensive strategy that shows off everything they do. The most prominent being, of course, the Moon. That has captured the public's imagination, they want to stress that they're an active part of that race.

What captures the attention of the ad men is when they learn NAA has received a 60% bump in their advertising budget: they have 4 million dollars to spend. Pete perks up at this, it's great news in any case but NAA is also HIS baby: this is an account he brought in entirely by himself after Don went missing, and did a good enough job that they came with him to SCDP when he escaped the doomed Sterling Cooper. Now it's worth 4 million? That's a big loving deal, and it's all thanks to him.

Harry is also delighted, because a budget that size must mean television buys as well, right? But before that talk can go any further, Pete surprises everybody by signalling a clear ending to the meeting - presumably he's running off the old advice that you end on a high note and get the gently caress out of the room. Standing, he assures them that SCDP is taking this as seriously as they are. Everybody stands and shakes hands, Gibbons and Casey assuring them with smiles that as the process of their relationship develops there will be fewer "black bars" on the documentation they are reviewing.

Pete escorts them out, and Harry immediately declares he needs to get back to Los Angeles. That raises eyebrows not only from Lane but the usually indifferent Don: NAA is the type of company that might warrant appearances on Meet the Press, not the Beverly Hillbillies, why does he need to go to LA? Harry complains he was going anyway, and Don reminds him that before he goes he wants to make sure he gets him the Beatles tickets he promised.

Oh Jesus Christ he told Sally BEFORE he got the tickets? :stare:

Harry promises they're coming and not to worry, and Don fixes him with a firm stare and declares ominously that he's not worried at all. Now Harry, of course, is terrified, because Don has made it clear that come hell or high water he WILL get those tickets for him. He makes his exit, and Lane quietly brings up that he'll be dining with his father tonight and would like Don to join them. Don grunts that he "may" have other plans, clearly not champing at the bit to accept this invitation. But like Don just did with Harry, Lane's quiet "I would consider it a personal favor" speaks volumes: he REALLY wants Don to come along, and that means there really isn't a choice in the matter.

So come the evening, Don Draper finds himself with Lane and Robert Pryce at, of all places, the Playboy Club. They take a seat, Don staring around somewhat uneasily: he's no prude for certain, but this all seems a bit much. The idea of course was this was a "sophisticated" place for "sophisticated gentlemen" where you could drink, eat, listen to good music, catch a floor show AND ogle at scantily dressed women. In reality it's just kind of sad and tacky, and the great pride and pleasure that Lane takes in showing off his familiarity with the place doesn't exactly impress Don and Robert.

Lane, it seems, is a member. He has a "key", the membership ID that was required to be allowed onto the premises, and his familiarity with the attendant who adjusted their seats for them indicates he's a familiar face. Acting very un-Lane like, it's difficult to tell if he's showing off for the "benefit" of the "Bunny" that serves them or for his father and Don. If the latter, they're not particularly impressed as he proudly proclaims he is the keyholder and it is not a borrowed membership, orders drinks for all three, and slips her some cash to ask the "lovely creature" across the way to come join them, motioning to a black Bunny.

Robert takes no interest in the music or the women, in fact he seems to take very little interest in Lane himself beyond casually mocking his drink order and insinuating that Lane is already drunk (does each think the other is the alcoholic in the family?) before ordering a bourbon for himself. Don, in solidarity with his colleague, agrees to the whiskey sour Lane ordered and tries to make conversation. Robert was impressed with the SCDP offices (he calls them Don's offices, rather than Lane's, another minor jab undermining his son) and explains he worked for Carrington Surgical but has since retired.

Lane explains that Robert was a salesman, drawing a link between their two businesses, and Robert shows the first genuine bit of good humor by acknowledging that being a salesman he was no stranger to places like this. The "lovely creature" arrives, asking how they're all doing, and Lane is very familiar with her, calling her by name - Toni - and placing a hand on her waist as he tells her he tried to get booked in her section but she's too popular.

Practised at this kind of thing, Toni simply looks down at Lane's hand and notes warningly,"Mr. Pryce,", amusing him greatly as he removes his hand. For him, it's a mild chiding that makes him laugh. For Toni, she probably has to deal with his kind of pawing multiple times an hour from drunks who mistake their key as unlocking EVERYTHING. She leaves after telling them to call if they need anything, and Lane declares she is the finest waitress.

Poor Don seems utterly bewildered by everything going on, this isn't his kind of hangout, Lane isn't acting anything like Lane, the father is a stranger... why does he have to be here? Robert comments that at the moment he'd settle for ANYBODY bringing them their drinks (maybe he is the alcoholic in the family after all), and Don is probably thinking the same: tonight is gonna require a LOT of drinking to get through.

The next morning, Betty Francis answers the door to find two men standing at the threshold. They ask if this is the Francis home, and when she confirms it is they introduce themselves: Special Agents Norris and Landingham, from the Department of Defense. She's not alarmed, simply confused, why are they here? They promise her it's nothing to be alarmed about, one giving her his ID badge to prove his bona-fides.

Like so many, Betty immediately feels guilty even though she's done nothing wrong, and invites them in: normally a man would never be allowed into the house while her husband isn't home (remember Don's reaction to learning a salesman had been in the house?) but this is different, these are Federal Officers, and she's too intimidated/confused to say no. They enter the house, looking around but making no move to explore further. Perhaps belatedly she decides to point out that they'd probably much rather speak with Henry but he's not home. She's presumably assuming that this must have something to do with his work as a political consultant/adviser.... after all, there was talk about him joining a Presidential Campaign just recently.

But no, they are here to talk to her specifically. They explain it's in regards to her ex-husband Donald Draper, he has requested security clearance regarding business with the United States Government, and their job is to confirm his application. They're at pains to promise her that despite all this, it equates to nothing more than a standard background check and this is nothing to be alarmed about. With a nod she invites them into the dining room, asking to retrieve her cigarettes before they start. But with her back turned to them, her face collapses into horror: the Federal Government are here to do a background check on a man she knows for a fact has a stolen identity!

Taking a seat at the table across from them, the first question is simple enough: they were married for eleven years. She even manages a nervous joke when they ask her if she considers him a man of integrity, pointing out that they did divorce after all! They take that in good grace, and the thrust of their questions are generally safe: did he read any subversive material? Was he a member of any odd organizations etc? Those are simple enough to answer, his reading was mostly work-related, and his only membership was to the New York Athletic Club.

But when they ask if he was loyal, that trips her up slightly: her mind clearly going to his multiple affairs. What they mean, they explain, was did she have any doubts about his allegiance to the United States? Did he have any possible ties to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? She shakes her head quickly, he never gave her that impression. Maybe this is going to be okay after al-

"Do you have any reason to believe Mr. Draper isn't who he says he is?"

She freezes on that one. Eyes wide, barely keeping herself from shaking in terror, she asks them to repeat the question. She's biding for time, a million thoughts racing through her mind: does she tell the truth? Do they already know? Are they testing HER? What if they find out she lied? Does SHE go to jail? One of the Agents actually smiles, seemingly taking her nervousness as a typical example of a civilian unexpectedly questioned by a Federal Agent, and admits it is a strange question.

"No," she says at last, firmly, having made her decision. In the end, she went with discretion as the better part of valor: with so many unknowns, simply plead ignorance and hope it doesn't come back to bite you on the rear end.

Very soon after, Don Draper is buzzed by Megan to let him know that Mrs. Francis is on the phone (Ol' Miss Blankenship would have tortuously tried to figure out how to describe their relationship on this announcement), can he take the call? Probably assuming it is something to do with Sally, he tells Megan he'll take the call but asks her to also check on what is happening with the Beatles tickets.

So he picks up the phone, expecting maybe to arrange a pick-up time on Sunday, or bracing himself to hear there has been a problem at camp etc. What he gets is Betty, furious with him, complaining that she just spent 40 minutes with two men from the Government and she would have appreciated some prior warning. Bewildered, he asks what she's talking about, and she lays it all out as he listens with growing horror.

Standing at his desk now, sweat starts to pour as he learns for the first time that he has apparently applied for security clearance. That Government Agents are asking questions about him. About his military service. About his politics. About his NAME. Betty has been through hell, she complains, and she's right to do so... but it is nothing compared to the fear that is gripping Don Draper in this moment. What did she say? What did she tell them?

What could she say, she complains, she said nothing... she doesn't even know if she should be talking on the phone about this. An even deeper fear grips Don at that moment. If they're doing a background check, if it involves the Defense Department... it is surely not entirely unreasonable to think they might also be tapping his phone? Paranoia sinks in, Don taking a moment to clear his throat before loudly proclaiming that there's nothing wrong and Betty said all the right things and has nothing to worry about because there's nothing to hide.

Betty picks up on the unspoken message, the paranoia hitting her too. She agrees there was nothing to say, and then puts on a show of reminding Don that her husband works for the Governor so the cause of her anger (should anybody be listening) is about not having warning that this was happening. Of course, Don agrees, apologizing again. But before he goes, he takes a moment. A single, genuine moment. He tells her,"Thank you", and he means it from the bottom of his heart. Betty Francis has protected his secret when she could have easily exposed it, she has put herself at risk for him and not only to protect herself and her own reputation: sure it would be bad if it had come out now, but it'll be worse now if it comes out and she was knowingly lying about it.

They say goodbyes, hanging up, oddly enough for once not having a screaming match when this was one of the few times it would have been understandable/acceptable to have done so. The call is done, Betty can hopefully move on with her life... but for Don, the nightmare is only just beginning.

His fear must have an outlet, this spinning sensation must be brought under control. Don steps out of the now claustrophobic confines of his office, looking around as if half expecting menacing Federal Agents to be just waiting to pounce. Quietly he asks Megan if he has been contacted by the Department of Defense, and a slightly confused Megan reminds him that yes he has, there was a form and everything, she filled it out and he signed it!

In disbelief he approaches her... she.... she filled out a Security Clearance Request form on his behalf? And didn't tell him!?! Still confused, she reaches into her drawers for a copy, asking if he wants to change something, even more confused when he gasps that he didn't look at the form. "But you signed it," she reminds him, because... well, this is how it works. She brings him forms, he signs them. That's the way it has been for years, Don and most of the other Partners/top executives can't be bothered with the finer details of the papers they're handed. That's secretarial work. That's women's work, and part of the privilege of being the boss, they just get handed a stack of papers and know the hard work has been done.

Except this time it has backfired. Don complains she should have told him exactly what it was, should have stressed to him the importance of the document. Except... why would she? She hands him vitally important documents all the time, he's never needed (or wanted!) her to fill him in on the minute details before, and after all... it's just a security clearance request form. Why would that be a problem? Why should she see this one any differently than the others?

She shouldn't have, of course. The difference this time is that Don Draper has unknowingly signed a form not only allowing but inviting the Government to look into his past, and an identity that will fall apart under even a modicum of pressure. He doesn't tell Megan any of this of course, and her assurance that the form is just standard information like name, marital status, employment history and social security number doesn't help at all.... because most of that information is predicated on a monstrous, gigantic lie.

Frantic now as she blames herself, assuming that she must have made some obvious faux pas that has put her boss out and blaming herself for it, Megan gasps out an apology and insists that she'd understand if this meant he had to fire her. He's not listening to her though, he's largely forgotten she exists, everything eclipsed by the looming threat coming towards him. He asks if Mr. Campbell is still at lunch, and when he gets that confirmed insists that she let him know the MOMENT he returns.

He flees back into his office, leaving a mortified Megan behind convinced she has hosed up in some way, that the mistake is in some way hers: fearing that she'll be another in a long line of secretaries cursed by being assigned to Don Draper, with only Peggy Olson somehow making it out unscathed. But in the office, Megan is far from Don's mind as he shakily pours himself a drink, overwhelmed by the feeling of impending doom. He's suffered massive shocks to the system before, hell he's suffered massive shocks based on this lie itself: Anna confronting him for the first time, Pete trying to blackmail him, Betty discovering his secret etc. But nothing quite on this scale.

The Government are involved now, and while before he faced exposure, the potential loss of a job or even just authority, or the loss of his wife... now he faces the potential loss of EVERYTHING. If the Government finds out he stole the identity of another soldier to get out of the war and has been living that man's life ever since, he doesn't just lose his livelihood, he loses his freedom. He's hosed any which way you look at it... and all of it technically at his own behest, because he signed a form without looking at it.

But while Don's life is falling apart at the office, another SCDP Partner is hoping to enjoy a personal liberation. At the Playboy Club, Toni and another Bunny are getting ready to leave when Toni spots somebody inside the closed club standing beside the bar waiting for her: Lane Pryce. She demands to know how he got in, but as they continue to talk, it becomes clear that this isn't horror and fear or even outrage, but concern and surprise.

When Lane talks to her, he talks openly about his son Nigel as if she knows what he means... and she does. She's sorry to hear about Nigel's failure to come to America, but warns him that he can't just show up at the club out of hours and he certainly can't call her over from her section like he did the previous night, he's putting her job at risk. He acknowledges this and apologizes, but when he steps towards her and reaches out, she not only doesn't pull back but smiles warmly. This encounter is not what it first appeared, or at least not entirely: Lane is the older repressed white businessman, Toni is the sexy young black Playboy Bunny... and he's not delusional about a waitress being nice towards him, it seems that actually are a legitimate couple.

When he tells his "chocolate bunny" that he loves her, she warns him to stop with that kind of talk... but happily tells him that she loves him too. She's actually concerned that he's asking for trouble with his father by trying to make them meet, but Lane insists that she is in her life and wants his father to know that. Wanting to be irritated at him but unable to help being charmed, Toni happily asks why he has to be so dashing, which thrills Lane. He promises he'll ring her, and she backs away checking to make sure nobody has seen them together... but also thrilled by seeing him.

This is... it's bizarre to think about the series of events that lead to Lane becoming a member of the Playboy Club, how he managed to convince Toni to go out with him outside of the club, how their relationship formed etc. He's certainly been keeping busy out of business hours, and it seems that his New Year's Day antics with Don Draper and the prostitutes had a MASSIVE impact on his life, and seemingly opened his eyes to a whole new way of living once he finally accepted his tension-filled marriage was all but officially over. Whether that's a good thing for a man of his age and buttoned-down disposition is another matter entirely, but one thing is clear: whether he's being a fool or not, Lane Pryce is actually truly, genuinely happy for the first time in a very long time.

Roger Sterling's doctor, on the other hand, is NOT happy. Disgusted and showing open contempt, he declares to a slightly surprised and somewhat put out Roger that he has ruined this poor woman. The poor woman, of course, is Joan Harris, sitting right there next to Roger in the doctor's office as he glares at his patient and reminds him that they're not that far apart in age and yet here is Roger being irresponsible, childish and selfish and now paying the price with this unwanted pregnancy.

Of course Roger doesn't like facing the consequences of his actions, and certainly doesn't like people putting him in his place. He snaps back that they came for the doctor's discretion rather than his judgment, but the doctor sneers back that he knows exactly what Roger came here for. He casts a look that is both condemning and commiserating Joan's way, before sighing that he knows a "good man" with a practice in Morristown who will handle what needs being done, at a cost of $400. But he clearly finds the entire thing distasteful, making Roger write down the address himself because he doesn't want to even commit his handwriting to the affair.

That says a lot really. He's still facilitating the abortion, but by not doing it himself, not writing anything down, he somehow believes himself to be clean/morally clear of his own participation in what he has no problem condemning as a sin. But that's beside the point. After all, what Roger and Joan came for was a way for her to abort the baby now before it caused any potential problems for either of their marriages. If the worst Joan has to sit through is a lecture and being looked down on by a doctor she will never see again, she's faced far worse in her life.

Pete arrives to find Don sitting in his office with a drink, waiting for him. He orders Pete to close the door, stands and quietly asks him if he knew they had applied for a security clearance with the Department of Defense. Pete, suspicious and confused at first, lights up, asking if that process has already gone through, clearly delighted at the idea of having a security clearance (and the money that it will make available to them).

Don quietly says his name, and Pete stares at him expectantly with that same big ol' smile plastered across his face. And then slowly it fades, as a long discarded memory resurfaces, something now so old and forgotten by him despite the importance he once ascribed to it that it never even occurred to him to think about what he might be dredging up with the security clearance.

Too late he remembers. The thing he once tried to use to blackmail Don, the information he once found easily himself through a friend in the Department of Defense, the thing he blurted out to Bertram Cooper thinking it would destroy Don and leave a gap for him to move into. The same thing he sullenly chucked aside when it failed, the thing he stopped festering over as his own career improved, as he found the acceptance and respect he had so long desperately wanted.

Now it's back. It hits him with less force than Don was hit with, for obvious reasons, but it still hits him hard. And with it come the questions, the redirections, the turning of his own fear into anger as a way to keep from being overwhelmed: why did Don fill out the form? What did Betty say to the "G-Men" who came to her door? Surely he'll be fine given he's been okay all these years?

That latter part isn't true and they know it. Don admits that Megan filled out the form and he simply signed it, acknowledging that this is what he does: he signs things given to him by his secretary. Betty said nothing. But the truth will out with the barest of scratching: he's the wrong age, he has no engineering experience, they might track down whatever is left of the original Draper's family etc. All the little things that Pete himself found just by nudging somebody at the Department of Defense in the right direction, and now the Department of Defense is ACTIVELY looking for something.

But that's also Don's one last chance of salvation: Pete's friend. He wants him to reach out to him, to stop the background check, or at least to let them know how far it has gone. Pete has been knocked for a loop, but Don's line of questioning now has him suspecting something that for him is as equally important: what is Don going to do? "Whatever I have to," Don responds, and then offers what once would have been honey to Pete's ears but now fills him with horror: he can run the Agency without Don if he has to.

The thought of that terrifies Pete. Not because he doesn't believe himself a driving force of the Agency (he absolutely is, Roger may have the biggest account but Pete does the lion's share of the work to keep the new company growing) but because he's finally gotten to a position of power where he's comfortable acknowledging that Don Draper is a unique and integral part of SCDP's success. People want to work with them because of Don, and while they work their asses off to bring in and maintain accounts, it's the Creative Director who "makes" Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Without him, Pete clearly doesn't rate their chances of continued success, or at least understands it would set them back many years and millions of dollars.

So no, the last thing he wants is for Don to disappear into thin air and leave him holding the pieces. He promises that he will talk to his friend, he will find out what is going on, there is no need to panic or get overexcited. Don leaves, trying to exhibit a calmness and control he really isn't feeling, while Pete is left reeling trying to figure out how to approach this without making things worse.

At "their" little diner, Roger and Joan sit and consider the awkwardness of a situation they both should be many years past (and in Roger's case, decades). An unusually tongue-tied Roger tries to make it clear that he doesn't regret the one-night stand (especially not the sex) but he does hate the situation it has put them in.

Joan can't help but chuckle a little as she admits that she understands exactly how he feels. But Roger is babbling now, his own mind racing as he considers all sorts of things and options, perhaps in part spurred on by his doctor's disdain. A good part of it is just further selfishness though, although at least Roger feels strongly enough for Joan that he is open in admitting how he is actually thinking.

Maybe she doesn't need to get an abortion? Or rather, she does... but what if there is something "real" between them that they could continue, wouldn't this poison that? Maybe he loves her? (Not "I love you" or even,"I think I love you" but "maybe?"). Maybe she could keep the baby? Not that he would want or accept any responsibility, it would in no way be HIS baby... but hell, plenty of GIs came home from World War 2 to find babies waiting for them, and very few of them bothered to check the math on conception.

He even goes so far as to ponder maybe Greg DOESN'T come home, and that gets a quick reaction from Joan who has been content to let him babble, her own mind already clearly made up. She warns him that Greg dying is NOT a solution, and certainly not one they should hope for. Roger quickly agrees, but again stresses that he wants to make sure she is okay: he'll pay for the "procedure", and even offers to go with her, or at least drive her to Morristown.

Joan is the common-sense one as per usual, reminding him it won't do for the two of them to be seen together. No, she can handle this, and she doesn't want or need him to come along. Roger accepts that, perhaps to some degree relieved. Once again, Roger has run headlong into the consequences of his actions, and once again it looks like he is going to come out having faced no great penalty or hardship as a result. Once again, it's the person with him that is going to suffer the most.

At the Francis Residence, Henry suspects Betty's bad mood as they go to bed is down to him missing dinner. When she is short in her responses to him asking what is wrong, he continues to assume that she's mad at him. So they lie in bed together, Henry staring at the ceiling once again feeling put out by this beautiful woman who he willfully pursued, promised the world to, and married in short order before remembering that "happily ever after" is only in fairy tales.

But Betty is also in that bed, and she's also thinking, and it's probably about all the problems she and Don faced because they didn't have the communication that was key to a healthy marriage. So she explains that she has to tell him something, and gives Henry a truncated version of the day's events: two men from the FBI came to the house today. She explains it was regarding a security clearance, but leaves it at that without further details.

Henry considers, then notes that this is after all part of what Federal Agents have to do... was this what had her so upset? Betty doesn't lie, but she doesn't tell the whole truth, playing up her naivete by saying she wasn't entirely sure if she was actually allowed to tell him it happened. Happily, Henry assures her she can tell him anything, playfully noting that if he plays his cards right then one day she might have to be interviewed again, but this time on his behalf.

Relieved, Betty explains that she wants no secrets between them, and then cuddles up with him. Henry is just as happy to place an arm around her, relieved and assuming that poor naive little Betty was just a little overwhelmed by her brush with scary Government men. The truth of course, is that there is still a lie of omission between them, but Betty feels unburdened by having been open with her husband. The sooner she can put the life and lies of the former husband behind, the sooner she can enjoy the rest of this open and honest relationship with her current one.

The next morning, Pete is in the elevator when he spots Don and holds the door for him, Don asking another person trying to get on to please take the next one. As they ride up together, Pete lets Don know that he's been in touch and his friend is looking into it, and as soon as he knows more he'll tell Don. That's not good enough for Don though, who of course is desperate to know more: how long will it take? How many people will he have to talk to?

Pete assures him he doesn't need to worry about him causing more problems, his friend can keep a secret... after all, he works for the Department of Defense! Don can't help but point out that he's more than willing to talk openly to Pete though (remember, he gave Pete that information on Don back in season 1), but Pete pushes past that to point out that he's been thinking about it and maybe there is nothing to worry about even if the truth does come out: they might just have a rocky period of adjustment but surely things will go back to normal? After all, it's been years since the whole thing happened!

Don can't believe he can be that naive, this isn't something that just causes a minor stink and then everybody moves on from. They're talking about desertion (in the 1950s!), there is no statute of limitation for that. Pete grumbles that he thought people made a big deal about not caring about that type of thing any more, and when Don is still complaining, he makes a point that is absolutely valid: this is DON'S problem.

"I don't have to live with your poo poo over my head," he notes, not at all pleased about the way Don is talking down to him when he is the ONLY solution to a problem entirely of Don's making. Don's been living a lie for years, he can go on living it or run away etc, but that's going to be his problem (even if it will massively negatively affect Pete and everybody else at SCDP).

The elevator arrives and Don goes to leave, but now that Pete has found a little backbone he's not quite done giving Don a dressing down. Stopping him, he points out that HE was the one who landed North American Aviation. Don disappeared in California (after taking Paul Kinsey's place at the last minute) and played absolutely zero part in the wooing of the company.

Pete baited them, landed them, and has continually fattened them up ever since to the point they're now a 4 million dollar account. Him. Not Don. Not his creative brilliance or genius. Not Roger Sterling or Bertram Cooper and certainly not Ken Cosgrove. Don's response? Red-faced, barely maintaining his composure, looking like he might be on the verge of tears, he grunts at Pete to "get rid of it", and it's not entirely clear if he means the security clearance problem or North American Aviation as a whole. They go their separate ways, Don feeling no better (worse in fact) for the elevator ride, Pete fired up and angry now over the unfairness of the whole debacle.

Don arrives at his desk preoccupied, shortly declining Megan's offer of coffee which she assumes means he's still angry at her (he barely even registers her existence). She lets him know that Mr. Keller is waiting in his office, and Don steps in to meet with his accountant, who he has called in for an emergency meeting he can't discuss over the phone.

Keller's concern is slightly allayed when Don explains he wants to set up a trust for his children, until Don rejects setting it up to start when they're 18 or 21. He wants it NOW, and he wants Betty to be able to access it if necessary. That sends alarm bells ringing for Keller, the purpose of a divorce is to divide the assets, not give the ex-wife continued access to the ex-husband's money!

All Don will say is that circumstances require it, Betty will know why she needs access. Keller really, really doesn't like it, nor does he like the clear tension in Don's voice or the edginess apparently in his facial expressions and body language. Don makes a conscious effort from this point in the conversation to attempt to force a facsimile of his usual easygoing charm and self-assurance. He insists everything is fine, he has just been feeling unprepared for a worst-case scenario, and setting up this Trust would help him sleep at night.

He even manages a conspiratorial chuckle when Keller "jokes" that he hopes Don is "schtupping" his secretary (does he even recognize Megan as the same secretary he would ogle in reception?). Don can't tell him the truth of course, that he might be about to have his entire life fall down around his ears and end up in jail, and he wants to know that the money he did make over the years since he escaped Korea will actually make it to his kids no matter what.

While Don is trying to secure a future for his children, Joan Harris is facing the sad fact that for the third time in her life - despite marriage and a desire for children - she is at a doctor's office getting ready to abort an unexpected child whose father is NOT her husband. Also in the waiting room is a miserable looking woman about Joan's own age, sitting beside a teenage girl reading The Miracle Worker.

A nurse calls in the girl - Hillary - her mother timidly asking her if she's sure she doesn't want her to come with her. Hillary shakes her head and leaves with nurse, and the mother sits down and starts rifling through her purse for a mint before emotions overtake her and she begins weeping. Joan, reading a magazine, can't simply sit and ignore her: in the workplace she admonishes the secretaries not to cry in public and looks down on those who do in the bathroom, but here is a different matter.

She asks if she is alright and the woman manages to get out she will be fine, before admitting that she has no idea how to talk to her daughter. Hillary is 17-years-old, older than she was herself at 15 when she had her (meaning she's 32, very close in age to Joan) and she didn't regret having her... but a 17-year-old today seems so much younger than a 15-year-old did back in the early 50s.

Joan offers her what commiseration she can, which in all honesty is just a few well-placed but welcome words of encouragement and support as Hillary's mother admits she's had nobody to talk to and it's been so difficult. She thanks Joan for being so sweet and understanding, and then out of a desire to be polite/show an equal interest, asks Joan how old HER daughter is. Joan hesitates a moment, perhaps contemplating whether to tell the truth, and then finally just says she's 15. A sweet lie that will make Hillary's mother feel less alone, and perhaps even grateful that Hillary held out longer than she did. But also a sad reminder for Joan about where she is at this station in her life. She's the same age as Hillary's mother, or close enough, and what does she have to show for it? On her third abortion, married at least but with a husband stuck in Vietnam, essentially in no better a place than a dumb kid who got knocked up.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Don is woken from a nap that has done little to ease his stress by a buzz from Megan, letting him know that Dr. Miller is here to see him. He stands and tries to straighten himself up a little, but there is no mistaking that he's far from his usual composed best when Faye comes walking through the door. He offers her an apology for not calling, and explains that he's going to have to cancel tonight, noting again that he SHOULD have called but was just so snowed under.

Faye isn't overly upset, more concerned by how unwell he looks. Even putting aside the wrinkled clothes and bleary eyes, his skin is red and hot to the touch, she's sure he's running a fever. She says he should go home but he tries to play everything off as fine. She gives the best response possible: not hectoring him or trying to talk him into anything or explaining why he's sick. She just gives him a "Come on, Don...." look and tells him to get his coat, and with a sigh he gives up the ghost of pretending like he can continue the day like nothing is wrong and does as he is told.

Freed from the responsibility of escorting Joan to Morristown, Roger has a different unpleasant task to undertake, though one he can at least enjoy in spite of the company. He's entertaining Lee Garner Jr., the two of them pressed into a corner booth and drinking copious amounts of liquor as Jr. regales Roger with "fun" tales of a "pretty young thing" caught in a hallway between his father and uncle.


A waiter drops off the bill as they continue shooting the poo poo, Roger happily getting in a dig at the confederates when Jr. mentions his grandfather fought in the Civil War. Jr. takes it in good stride, laughing that his grandfather never surrendered and could turn going to the shitter into a military parade. Roger chuckles at that... but the laughter stops when he sees something deeply disturbing. Far more disturbing than the "fond" recall of a young woman apparently about to be gang-raped by his father and uncle.

Lee Garner Jr. is reaching for the bill.

Roger immediately asks him what the hell he is doing, and is even more alarmed when Jr. freely admits he intends to pay for the evening. That is NOT how it is done, EVER. Part of the agreed upon fiction between an advertising agency and a client is that the Agency pays for the entertainment: dinner, drinks, whores, everything. The fact the money comes from the client first is irrelevant, it's their way of pretending that they value and enjoy being in the company of a bunch of rich assholes, and a way for clients coming into town to keep their expenses down (or spend their stipend elsewhere) while still getting to paint the town red.

Lee Garner Jr. can easily afford to pay this bill, that's not the issue... the issue is what the hell it means if he intends to do so. So Roger asks him why, and keeps asking questions and refusing to accept Jr's simplistic, folksy answers. His alarm bells are ringing, his radar is warning danger is coming, and things only get worse when Jr. finally pauses, considers for a moment, and does the worst thing possible... he tells Roger that he really likes him.

Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

"Uh oh," Roger quietly says, and Lee Garner Jr. clearly understands that Roger understands, and offers a simple sorry. But Roger won't let him get away with that, if they're going to have a breakup, he intends to make a scene even if they are in public. He forces Jr. to come right out and say it, and though he doesn't really want to Jr. does just that: it's over. Lucky Strike is no longer going to be represented by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

24 million dollars. Gone. Just like that.

Roger tries to make it a joke, laughing that Lee is clearly trying to kill him, pretending like this is clearly meant to be a big show to make SCDP work harder and they'll happily do so... but please at least tell HIM it's all for show first so he doesn't die. But now that he's said it, Lee Garner Jr. has no qualms about pressing forward, declaring that since his father's "incapacitation" (presumably a stroke?), the Board of Directors have been more aggressive and Jr. has been happy to take a back seat and allow them to do as they like.

Remember, this is the man who had no idea how their cigarettes were actually made, who wanted to dump the tobacco business entirely and sell aluminum. He's right that he clearly doesn't particularly care about the day to day financial affairs of the family business... but he's also full of bullshit when he says it wasn't his choice. He has power and always will, and if he wanted to he could have kicked up a stink and overridden the board. What he really means is that he didn't care enough (or at all) to do anything more but take Roger out for one last big dinner, as if Roger doesn't detest him on a personal level.... though whether Jr. realizes that is another matter. Probably not, he's grown up his entire life getting whatever he wanted and taking it as just the way the world is.

Detest him he may, but he also needs their business. It is the bulk of SCDP's money, but it is also his ONLY account, designed that way by choice as a way to convince Lee Sr. to come with them when they abandoned Sterling Cooper. When Jr. explains that the board wants to consolidate everything with one agency, Roger makes the play that THEY can do that, bring the board into a meeting with Don Draper and he'll give them everything they want. They want to move to BBDO? Well BBDO won't give them the attention and care that Sterling Cooper does!

Lee Jr. picks up on that slip, pointing out that Roger is NOT Sterling Cooper anymore. Roger quickly recovers, insisting they're better now than they were. But Lee Jr. will not be moved (nor does he have any interest in being so, despite what he says about it being a shame), telling him with horrifying finality that there is nothing he can do.. it's just the way it is.

Roger is desperate now, especially as Lee Jr. won't make eye contact with him and is openly counting off notes from his billfold to pay the bill with. He insists that his Agency (no matter the name) and Lucky Strike have been together for 30 years and they're family... hell he invited Jr. to his daughter's wedding... it's not his fault the invitation got lost! Lee Jr. doesn't respond, and Roger falls into despair, muttering that they're dead if they lose Lucky Strike, trying a final desperation move to guilt him into staying.

But Lee Jr. is already ready to move on, considering it a done deal now. He informs Roger that they'll be collecting their files on Monday, and almost frantic now Roger straight up begs him to give him 30 days to try and change the board's mind. Lee Jr. doesn't see any point in that, the dismissal enraging Roger even further as he snaps in a rage that he's owed this after all the lies he's told for him. THAT gets Jr.'s attention, not because he agrees but because he doesn't like being reminded that he's a huge piece of poo poo or somebody straight up telling him that he's a horrible person.

"I don't owe you squat," he growls, and in one final indignity that must stab deep into Roger's soul, he points out that Roger didn't earn the Account: he inherited it. Lee Garner Jr. told him that. A lazy rear end in a top hat born into untold wealth who has had everything handed to him on a silver platter all his life and assumed it is down to some inherent superiority he holds rather than a lucky birth. Somebody with no skills or talents, nothing but ungodly amounts of money, an rear end in a top hat who is crude and cruel, a bully who uses his power to sexually harass or molest women, to force men to humiliate them for his amusement. THIS son of a bitch is sneering at Roger and telling him he hasn't earned anything? Even if Roger is a lesser version of many of the lovely traits Lee Garner Jr. has, he at least has worked for decades in an industry where he's required to consider the egos of others (rich others).

So Roger bites his tongue, taking advantage of the fact Lee Jr. is actually looking him in the eyes, and tells him once again he wants 30 days, to at least get their affairs in order. Jr. considers and finally capitulates, perhaps if only because he doesn't want to spend any more time watching Roger's humiliating scramble for life. He says he can do that much at least, and Roger thanks him. Standing, Jr. offers a hand and asks,"No hard feeling?", and Roger has to swallow his pride once more and shake the hand of the piece of poo poo that has just put his new Agency at threat of complete destruction.
He does hand back most of the money Jr. paid the bill with though, retaining at least that much pride: he has 30 days, though whether he thinks he can somehow convince the Board to change their mind or simply wants the time to try and scramble to figure out SOMETHING is unclear. It's unclear to Roger too, he isn't thinking right now, he's simply reacting, finding himself for one of the only times in his life facing uncertainty.

He himself will be fine, he's rich and nothing is going to change that... but losing the Agency will mark the end of a job, a purpose, and a position in society and the respect of peers. He will go from a partner in two successful ad agencies to the man who sold one and fell into irrelevancy, then made another that collapsed. Nobody is going to want to buy those memoirs, nobody is going to care about him or his opinions or value him. All that he will have left is a big empty house to get drunk in, and a young wife who can't hold her liquor.

Don and Faye get back to his apartment. As he stands in the corridor looking for his keys, he sees two men in suits and hats suddenly emerge at the end of the corridor looking all around them. As he fumbles with his keys at the lock, the two men spot him and immediately make a beeline towards him, calling out. Frantic now, Don tries to fit the key but his hands are shaking too much to be any good. Faye sees all this happening, concerned, and turns to the two men to answer them... at which point they ask if they know the Vernons?

Barely able to get it out, Don manages to stay he doesn't know them, and they ask if this is 110 Waverley? No, he forces out, and the two lost men leave with an apology for bothering them, one mildly chastising the other that he told him this was the wrong place. Don is far from relieved though, the stress of what he thought was two G-Men coming to cuff him and drag him away hasn't abated in the slightest. He gets the door open and lunges through the door, a shocked Faye chasing after him.

Inside, keys tosses aside, he pulls off his coat, sweat pouring from his red face, straining for short, shallow breaths that are harder and harder to generate. Faye places a hand on his back and he knocks it away, managing to get out,"Don't", not wanting to be crowded, desperate for just a moment please God one moment to think and to breath and to not have 1000 questions be asked and not having answers and having to keep up this goddamn endless pretense of a life built on a lie that cannot sustain, that will not sustain.

She tells him to sit and rushes to grab him water, as he tears off his tie and shirt, buttons popping as he finds his breath getting shorter and shorter. She rushes to his side again, asking if he is alright, and he gasps that he thinks he is having a heart attack. She helps him to take a seat on the couch, asking if he's in pain, and when he shakes his head she tries to calm him, telling him that if there is no pain it is NOT a heart attack.

"You're not a real doctor," he gasps, a rather cruel way of putting it since she's absolutely a doctor, just not a medical one. But she has a different kind of expertise, her father has a heart condition so she is painfully aware of what signs to look for. What Don is actually having, of course, is a panic attack, not that he has any frame of reference for this. He can't breath, he feels crowded, he can't think straight AND 1000 thoughts are racing about his brain.

He asks her to go but she refuses, saying she won't leave him while he's like this. Don struggles as hard as he can to regain some measure of composure, to put on the perfect face and body and be the smooth-talking Don Draper even if only for a few minutes so he can convince her to go and leave him in blessed, terrified peace again. But he can't even manage that, it's all too much, and instead he explodes from the couch and into the bathroom, vomiting loudly into the toilet as his body - attempting to make sense of his condition - decides that something he ate or drank is trying to kill him and "helps" by having him regurgitate everything in his belly.

As Don's life falls apart, Lane Pryce is trying to bring disparate elements of his own together. He welcomes his father as the door to his apartment, Robert all smiles as he joins his son for what he assumes will be a decidedly less vulgar evening.... and yet somehow it turns out that Playboy Bunny is HERE too?

Yes, Lane has decided to force his point by having his father meet Toni in his home, away from prying eyes, to introduce her as his girlfriend and make it clear she is the new love interest in his life, not Rebecca. Toni of course is incredibly nervous, though Robert is polite if not particularly warm towards her. He makes his feelings clear in other ways, as Lane declares all three should head out to dine together now and Robert begs off, claiming that as he is flying out tomorrow he has decided to have an early night.

Toni has to suffer the humiliation of knowing that her lover's father is not attending dinner because he disapproves, though perhaps at least his disapproval is more contingent on her not being Rebecca than the fact she's black. Regardless of the reason, she's sadly probably had a lifetime of both overt and covert hostility, and when she tells Robert that Lane has told her so much about him and he simply replies,"Yes" and nothing more... well, it's a lovely loving situation to be in.

What makes things tougher for her though is when Lane suggests she go ahead and he'll catch up in a bit, then makes a point of kissing her goodbye when she tries to leave. That is deeply uncomfortable, his father is standing right there, and though he keeps a thin smile on his face it's clear that he doesn't care for her at all and certainly doesn't appreciate this display. Lane, for his part, probably thinks of this as backing her, of demonstrating his love for her, not really understanding how it probably makes her feel.

She makes a quick exit, hurrying out the door, and the moment she is gone Lane turns to confront his father, bitterly asking if he disapproves of her because Lane prefers her to Rebecca, or simply because she's a Negro? Robert simply replies with his calm, unquestioned authority that Lane is coming home, and Lane takes great pleasure in declaring once again that he has moved on.

At which point Robert straight up whacks him across the face with a swing of his cane.

Lane staggers, shocked by the sudden violence, his glasses knocked from his face to the floor. He tumbles to the ground, surprised by the pain but now more concerned about finding his glasses so he can see, so blinded without them that he has to fumble around with his hands to find them... at which point his father firmly places one foot on his hand, an unspoken threat of more violence to come if he doesn't get the answers he desires now.

He declares - not asks, not requests - that Lane will set his house in order, and he will either do it here in New York or there in London... but he will NOT live in-between. It's to be a reconciliation with Rebecca or a divorce, but not this separation, Nigel jumping between countries, Lane having a girlfriend while married business etc. To Lane's great humiliation, he's forced not only to agree to this demand, but his simple,"Yes" is not enough, Robert forces him to say,"Yes sir," before he removes his foot.

He leaves without a word, having done his "duty" as a patriarch, leaving Lane feeling emasculated, inadequate and like a child in spite of his status as a wealthy middle-aged Partner in a Manhattan advertising agency.

While Don is having a panic attack and Lane is being reduced to a pathetic sniveling child, Pete Campbell is sitting up watching television in his pajamas, unable to sleep. Trudy, heavily pregnant, steps out of the bedroom concerned to have woken and not found him in bed with her. "I can't tell you," he mutters as she turns off the television, and she immediately fears the worst, asking if it is something she SHOULD no.

He's surprised, having not even considered she might immediately tie a statement like that to his never fully-confessed but heavily implied admission of infidelity (in his mind it was an infidelity, in actuality it was rape). Quickly, gently, he calls her over to cuddle up to him on the couch, promising her it is nothing to do with her. She tells him something that is very true: he'll feel better if he tells her.

She's right, it's not good to keep secrets, and though he doesn't come right out and tell her exactly what it's about, he speaks in generalities. It's more of an indignant rant about the state of the world, one fairly lacking in self-awareness as he is absolutely one of the people (usually) that he complains about. How is it that some people can just walk through life dragging their lies with them and destroying everything they touch? He complains that nobody ever knows but the honest people who have to pick up the pieces.

Pete is the (mostly) injured party in this current mess, and he is unfairly having to pick up the pieces of Don's destruction... but it is kind of hilarious that he thinks of himself as one of the "honest people".

Trudy admits she doesn't know what he's talking about but would like to, and she wants him to know he can tell her anything. They get distracted though when Trudy feels a kick, and she places Pete's hand on her belly. His sullen face breaks into a smile as he feels his child moving in his wife's womb, and for a moment all the other problems fall away to nothing, and Trudy reminds him that for whatever else might be going on.... everything is good here.

As Pete and Trudy bask in marital bliss, Joan Harris rides alone in the bus back from Morristown. No husband beside her, not even a lover, not even a family member of a friend. She's all by herself, the woman who did everything right and everything she was supposed to do, and finds herself no better off and her life really no different to how it has ever been.

Also alone is Roger Sterling, sitting in his office in the middle of the night, working his way through a bottle of vodka all his old contacts as he finds himself - for the first time in a very long time, and perhaps ever - chasing business in a desperate bid to stay alive. He's chatting cheerfully with a woman about where he and Jane summer now, before admitting that as fun as catching up is he actually called to speak with Larry, presumably her husband.

Here he gets another unwelcome reminder of how quickly things move on, and just how far out of touch he's been as he's enjoyed the luxury of only having a single client. Larry is dead, and he didn't have a clue, and now finds himself in the unhappy situation of having to apologize to his widow for bringing it up but also continue to chat to her without making it clear that this was purely a business follow-up and now he's trapped in a conversation he doesn't really have time for. Even as he offers his commiserations, he's tearing up Larry's old card and rifling through the others to find his next target, hoping against hope they hven't all bitten the dust.

Don lies in bed, miserable but at least able to breath now. Faye steps in to check on him, offering him a Valium after belatedly remembering she keeps some in her purse but never uses them. Don motions for her to sit on the bed beside him, trying to play off his panic attack by acting like it was weird but no big deal, he doesn't really know what came over him. Except Faye is very smart, and knows a thing or two about how the mind works, and she knows that he is fully aware of what caused his panic: those two men. What she doesn't know is why, and she wants him to tell him.

He doesn't want to, of course. He never wants to share with anybody for obvious reasons, but this is a far cry from when she was a stranger presenting a clinical survey for him to fill out. She reminds him that they're a couple now, that there is a connection between them, and finally Don admits that he's tired of running. Running from what? From EVERYTHING.

It all comes out. All of it. It's in truncated form, but he lays it all out: there was an explosion in Korea, another man died and the army mixed up their identities... and Don let them do it so he could get out of Korea and back to America, and then used that new identity to start a whole new life and go on living it up to the current day.

It's a stunning admission, certainly the last thing Faye expected to hear, but she doesn't let it throw her off her game, probing further: so why did he suddenly lose it today of all days? Because North American Aviation deals with classified military technology, and if SCDP is going to handle their advertising then Don and Pete as the top men on the account will need security clearance, and that means background checks... and that means exposure.

So what is he going to do about it? Faye insists that he has options even if he thinks he doesn't: his involvement in Korea was almost two decades ago, he was basically a kid and if he turns himself in she's sure he can get somebody to successfully argue for clemency. Don doesn't think so, and doesn't say the other truth: even in a best case scenario where he got free and clear of the Army and the US Government... his career and reputation would be in tatters, and those are the things that make Don Draper who he is. It's certainly not family, he hosed all that up, if he loses this too he would have nothing left.

He admits that he shouldn't have confessed this to her (hell, it took him 11 years to tell Betty the truth, and then only when forced), but he's just tired of everything. She for one though is glad he told her, reacting in the way he always wished Betty would have - she might have if he'd done it before their marriage as initially planned, and hell she actually reacted fairly positively in terms of supporting him after he was forced to admit it to her. He reaches out to her and her to him, and she lays down in the bed beside him, the two spooning, holding hands and finding some comfort in the presence of the other.

The next morning a now composed and groomed Don Draper answers the door perhaps expecting the worst and instead finding... Pete Campbell. He didn't want to talk to him at the office about this so he came to his house... where he finds himself exposed to yet another secret, spotting Dr. Faye Miller stepping out of the bedroom putting on her earrings. She quickly grabs her purse and leaves without a word, Pete glaring at Don who simply invites him in.

Pete steps into the apartment, looking around with some distaste, probably considering how his own apartment is far nicer, in a better location, better decorated, nicer walls etc. Don is waiting expectantly though, so Pete gives him the news: his friend Russ at the Department of Defense checked, and Don has NOT been flagged in any way. That also means that if SCDP breaks off their relationship with North American Aviation now, the background check will be canceled as there will be no reason to look into him any further.

Don feels a giant weight lift of his shoulders, an immense relief wash over him as the full impact of these words hits home. He's clear. Somehow, in spite of falling into the lion's den, he is going to emerged unscathed... until Pete Campbell makes a bitter point: why should Pete Campbell lose a 4 million dollar account to save Don from his own enormous personal fuckup? Why did he have to come to this apartment as part of cleaning up Don's mess only to become privy to ANOTHER secret he didn't want to know in the form of Don's relationship with Faye?

But Don, saved by pure chance and good timing, is already past caring about Pete's complaints, simply ordering him to tell NAA that they're interested in picking up either Martin Marietta or Hughes as clients so cannot keep them due to the potential conflict of interest. But Pete doesn't fall into line, asking what he tells the other partners? After all, they're going to want to know why they're dropping a 4 million dollar account, especially since the Martin Marietta and Hughes cover story is bullshit.

Don doesn't have an answer, and Pete simply leaves. That leaves Don feeling an old familiar concern of a far different type: has Pete Campbell become a nemesis again? Could the little poo poo - now far more competent and invaluable to the Agency than just his long since overshadowed name - put him in danger once again? The background check into Don's life can be stopped if Pete breaks things off with NAA, but does Pete think keeping Don safe is worth more than destroying a lucrative client that he worked so hard to get?

It never ends.

Roger arrives at SCDP and spots Joan sitting in her office. He steps inside, quietly telling her that he called her house multiple times last night but she never answered. All smiles and assurance, she promises him that she is fine and everything went fine, there is no longer anything to worry about. He isn't exactly sure how to react in the aftermath of an abortion, the best he can liken it to is giving birth so he asks if she should be up and walking about? She assures him again that she is fine, and that she feels good.

When he mutters he feels awful, she promises him that they avoided a tragedy and for one moment of pure self-interest he has no idea what she is talking about. When he said he felt awful, he was talking more to himself in regards to the Lucky Strike debacle, but quickly pulls himself back together. Things get worse though when she reminds him they have a Partner's Meeting. He has forgotten all about that, and it raises an uncomfortable specter: does he tell them NOW that they're losing their biggest client?

"Life goes on," Joan notes, though whether she's saying it for his benefit, hers, or them both, isn't clear. They leave together, arriving just behind Lane as he joins Cooper, Pete and Don in the Conference Room, all of whom are wrapped up in their own little worlds pondering the future... though for Cooper it's more about the stock market as he reads his paper, unaware of the little drama going on between Pete and Don on the opposite side of the table.

Everybody takes a seat and Joan calls the meeting to a start, starting to take attendance until Cooper complains that they should get on with things. Pete speaks up first, ahead of any agenda items, explaining nervously that he has something of enormous implications for the Agency to tell them.... North American Aviation is moving on.

Don blinks, turning his head away, feeling for the second time this morning a wave of relief: Pete capitulated, he is safe, his secret remains securely unnoticed by a US Government now indifferent to his existence. For the others though it is far from a relief, especially a horrified Roger Sterling who listens as Pete Campbell - the golden boy who has brought in so much business for the fledgling Agency - makes up a bullshit admission that he screwed up by failing to note a General's name on a piece of documentation, insulting the General by omission and costing them the 4 million dollar account as a result.

Cooper, appalled, demands more details and Pete really doesn't have them, offering only vague notes without naming the General in question, explaining he apologized but the damage was done. Sterling joins in with Cooper on demanding answers, and Pete has to bite his tongue and make himself look like an idiot as he "admits" that the problem happened because he wasn't paying attention, putting all of the blame onto himself. Don watches this with the appropriate concerned look, but inside he's doing cartwheels, blessing Pete Campbell of all people for jumping on a grenade for him.

"THAT'S YOUR ONLY drat JOB!" roars Roger, outraged by Pete's admission of inattention. He seethes and rages, about how they're trying to build something and here's Pete dropping a catastrophe in their laps because HE doesn't know how to do his job. Pete has to sit and take this abuse, of course unaware that a large part of Roger's vitriol is down to his horror at realizing they're even more hosed than he thought they were.

Don FINALLY comes to Pete's defense when Roger screams that Pete hosed up, the profanity far too much for everybody in the room. Don reminds Roger of a lesson he has given to Don himself many times: their business is one where accounts come in and accounts go out and that's just the way it is. Even Cooper has put aside his shock to come to Pete's defense here, telling Roger he should apologize for his outburst. All while Pete has to sit and take this knowing he not only didn't do anything wrong, he did EVERYTHING right. Now he's being lectured by Roger Sterling of all people? Why... why that would be like Roger Sterling being lectured by Lee Garner Jr.!

Knowing he went too far, knowing that he's hosed up far worse than Pete and that's why he's angry, Roger does force out an apology to Pete. Lane meanwhile has been sitting quietly, for once not watching every penny, not anguishing over every lost cent. He may not have even really registered the magnitude of this loss, as he finally speaks up to declare that he is taking a leave of absence for at least two weeks and possibly a month so he can return to London to "tend to my family".

He will be contactable by Telex or telephone, but he wants to assure everybody - after months of agonizing - that even with the loss of North American Aviation, they have finally reached a position where he is actually fully confident in the company's state of stability. So much so that he's happy to leave all financial matters in Joan's more than capable hands to handle while he's gone.

With that he departs the meeting, and Roger can't help but burst out laughing, unable to let any of them know what he finds so (morbidly) funny. Lucky Strike is gone, North American Aviation is gone, the guy who can squeeze blood from a stone when it comes to money matters is going to be away for the full month that Roger managed to buy from Lucky Strike... and nobody but him knows about Lucky Strike. He's the only one in the entire Agency who knows that they're dead men (and women) walking.

Catching himself, Roger apologizes for the second time, then with a grin asks Joan if this is more business. Calmly, with her usual cool confidence, she decides to run through the current status of accounts. She starts, of course, with the big one, that one that keeps them alive: Lucky Strike. All eyes are on Roger, and he looks at them all.. and gives a breezy thumbs-up... everything is great!

So they move on, Don and Pete wrapped up in their own heads, Joan's mind surely darting back even now to the abortion. Cooper just eager to get through the meeting so he can go read his paper in whatever random chair or office he can find. And Roger Sterling the only one who knows how well and truly hosed they are.

As the day wraps up, Don is joined in his office by Dr. Miller. Closing the door, they take a private moment to check on each other. Don thanks her for her help the previous night but suggests they get together against tomorrow, because tonight he needs the night to himself simply to get his head together. Faye agrees, promising him that together they are going to work out what to do next.

Don doesn't let her know the problem has been solved (at least for now), just smiles warmly and lovingly at her, and they share a kiss as Megan buzzes in over the intercom. She grabs some files, suggesting Saturday night, and when he agrees she opens the door and holds up the file, telling Don he can get her the details later. She leaves, thrilled by that little coded message given in plain view, while Don keeps on his business face as Megan enters.

She's carrying an envelope, still fretting about what she thinks was her gently caress-up and eager to do anything to fix it. Part of that involved her haranguing Harry into getting the Beatles tickets finally sent over (funny how at the start of the episode the worst thing I thought could happen to Don would be NOT getting the tickets), and she's brought them right to him as she expects he'd have wanted them immediately.

He takes them and thanks her, and with a nervous smile she tells him that everything worked out okay in the end. She's right, and if he even remembers snapping at her he makes no move to assure or apologize to her: he probably thinks some small degree of fear is a good thing in his secretaries. She asks if he needs her for anything else, pointing out it's almost 8 (what the hell? she should have been gone hours ago!) and he releases her.

Pulling the tickets out of the envelope, Don can't help but think Megan was right: everything DID work out. He was saved from his secret coming out (an instrumental version of an appropriate Beatles song plays over this last section and the closing credits), Pete took the blame for losing North American Aviation, Faye didn't run screaming from him telling her the truth... and now he's got the Beatles tickets he needed to buy back his daughter's unquestioning adoration.

Yes, everything worked out, and Don is filled with deep gratitude and relief as the episode ends... and he looks up and sees another thing he'd like to add to his week of triumphs. Megan is standing at the desk, adjusting her make-up, and Don truly seems to drink in for the first time what so many others - Keller, Joyce etc - seem to notice. She's a stunningly attractive woman.

Miss Blankenship is dead, a beautiful woman is back on Don Draper's desk and eager to please him, and he's told Faye he wants to be alone tonight. Has Don Draper learned a single goddamn lesson from this episode? Yes he has, the same lesson he appears to have repeatedly learned over the course of this series and the last 15 or so years of his life: he can do whatever he wants, put everything he has worked for at risk.... and assume that somehow everything will just work out fine for him.

Goddammit, Don.

Episode Index

Jun 30, 2008

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!

one of the great donfaces imo

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

It's nice to hear Don actually say thank you to someone in this episode, when he thanks Betty so sincerely for covering for him. I think I've mentioned it before in this thread, but something that drives me nuts about Don (and several other characters on this show) is how rarely he says thank you or I'm sorry, and it's SO EASY to do as long as a toxic ego isn't calling the shots for you.

That scene where Lane's father hits him with the cane deepens our understanding of Lane so quickly. At first it was shocking, and then I said, "Of course." It's terribly sad. Lane could call the cops and throw his father's old rear end in prison for assault, but he's been beaten and dominated so many times that he's broken internally. It's actually even sadder when Lane seems so normal the next time we see him at work.

I think Faye is right that Don could do more about his situation than he thinks. He's rich and well connected now. He could get a world-class attorney and possibly even make some kind of deal with the government where he resolves it without making his crime public. Maybe not, but it's worth a shot. He says no, it's impossible, and he probably believes that, and he's probably unaware that he's telling himself that to justify his cowardice. If he convinces himself that addressing it is impossible, that means he doesn't have to feel bad about not trying.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Yoshi Wins posted:

It's nice to hear Don actually say thank you to someone in this episode, when he thanks Betty so sincerely for covering for him. I think I've mentioned it before in this thread, but something that drives me nuts about Don (and several other characters on this show) is how rarely he says thank you or I'm sorry, and it's SO EASY to do as long as a toxic ego isn't calling the shots for you.


"You got the Clio!" she roars, and he roars back that this is her job, he gives her money, she gives him ideas, and when she complains she wanted a thank you he snaps back,"THAT'S WHAT THE MONEY'S FOR!"

Edit: Peggy's exact words there are, "You never say thank you!" He may be too self-absorbed to say it most of the time, but when he does say "thank you," you know he means it.

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 16:06 on Aug 3, 2021

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

I forgot that we don't learn this episode that Joan didn't go through with the abortion. For some reason I thought she admitted it to Roger before the partner's meeting. I can't remember if it's even made explicit to the audience until season 5?

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Anyway I love this episode. It's basically a series of "oh, gently caress" moments one after another. How could things possibly get worse? ... Oh. gently caress.


He does hand back most of the money Jr. paid the bill with though, retaining at least that much pride: he has 30 days, though whether he thinks he can somehow convince the Board to change their mind or simply wants the time to try and scramble to figure out SOMETHING is unclear. It's unclear to Roger too, he isn't thinking right now, he's simply reacting, finding himself for one of the only times in his life facing uncertainty.

You failed to mention what happens immediately after Jr. leaves, arguably just as shocking as the news that Lucky Strike is firing them: when he thinks he's alone, Roger pulls a capsule from his coat pocket and sticks it between his teeth. End scene. Big "holy poo poo!" moment, because we don't see him again until a few scenes later when he's perusing his Rolodex.


Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

The Klowner posted:

I forgot that we don't learn this episode that Joan didn't go through with the abortion. For some reason I thought she admitted it to Roger before the partner's meeting. I can't remember if it's even made explicit to the audience until season 5?

In the S4 finale she calls Greg in Vietnam and we see that she has told him that she's pregnant.

The Klowner posted:

Edit: Peggy's exact words there are, "You never say thank you!" He may be too self-absorbed to say it most of the time, but when he does say "thank you," you know he means it.

Yeah, gratitude is definitely something that the writers wanted people to think about throughout the show, I think especially as it relates to happiness and fulfillment.

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