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Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!

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roomtone fucked around with this message at 22:48 on Sep 26, 2021


Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!


roomtone fucked around with this message at 22:51 on Sep 26, 2021

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

roomtone posted:

it's so funny because it is don's entire loving operating system..........he just got bored with her for absolutely no reason except

well, i did her, and i did this. i'm outta here.

Not at all he reason he broke up with her.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

Season six
The biggest problem with S6 is that it's no fun, but it's also the most important for understanding who don draper is on a fundamental level.

it's the absolute nadir of his existence and the first time you get more than a glance at his childhood. And that upbringing once revealed explains everything about who he is and why he takes the actions he does.

That Hershey speech is not only the best scene ever filmed for tv, but it's the heart and soul of what mad men is as a work.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Yeah, it accomplishes a lot of narratively necessary things.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Yoshi Wins posted:

Yeah, definitely an intentional symbol. It comes up a lot.

I disagree with your interpretation about the wine stain. Don is a vastly better person in season 7 than he is in the previous 6 seasons. I think he is just willing to accept that he's not perfect. I think what happens in the Hershey pitch that changes Don's life and results in him finally being less of an rear end in a top hat is that he realizes he can accept things, even if he wants them to be different. Basically I agree that he's accepted that he's broken, but I don't see that he views himself as unchangeable or refuses to try to be better. He's repairing his relationships through humility and acceptance and although his visit to the family of the waitress is misguided, it is undertaken out of a desire to help a person in pain. I don't think these are the actions of a person who has given up on being better.

Don finally improving how he treats other people is actually really important to how I feel about the show overall. I would like it much less and it would mean much less to me if he didn't.

Yeah, I'm probably misremembering the order of events in the last season. You're right that he does a lot of self-improving in the first half of S7, and gains a lot of humility. But I recall the second half, after the McCann merger, as Don in total freefall, making completely panicked and kind of self-destructive choices. That's when the wine stain scene happens, as I recall. He got his job back, in fact profited more than ever given how that happened, but seems profoundly hopeless. I remember feeling like he gave up on improving, going back to womanizing with Roger and then obsessing over Diana.

Those last few episodes, after Don disappears from the Miller meeting, show Don as a barely-functional alcoholic mess. He's literally suicidal in Big Sur before having a revelation by the end, the whole "I took another man's name and made nothing of it" speech. That's where I'm coming from with my white carpet comment.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Ah, I see. We do see him engaging in some alarming self-destruction right at the show's finish line. The wheels come off after he finds out Betty is dying. He calls her and she says that she doesn't want him to take the kids because she wants things to be as normal as possible for them, and "You not being here is part of that." She's not trying to be mean, but it's the truth and it cuts deep. He starts thinking about whether he matters at all. That's when he starts drinking and doesn't stop until he gets to the hippie retreat. Prior to that he has his ups and downs, and often seems adrift, but is relatively stable overall, by his standards.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Idk I think the spiral begins much earlier. He makes an honest effort at McCann but he does cut and run just like he's done before. ghost Bert straight up askes him on his way to Michigan or wherever, "what are you doing? trying to find some woman you barely know who doesn't love you?" And then he tricks some strangers into thinking he's a loving tax collector? These are not the actions of a stable human being. Don does appear to be consciously aware of what he's doing and why he's choosing to do it, which is a change from before, but he's still choosing to run away. His realization about his children via Betty, and arguably the events at the motel, do send him over the edge, but from the moment he walked out of the Miller lite meeting, he knew what he wanted to do.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

To be clear, I don't think there's any point in the entire show where he's in really good shape, mentally. I was arguing against the characterization that in the second half of S7 he is "in total freefall, making completely panicked and kind of self-destructive choices." IMO that's too strong for what happens before he finds out about Betty.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Yoshi Wins posted:

To be clear, I don't think there's any point in the entire show where he's in really good shape, mentally. I was arguing against the characterization that in the second half of S7 he is "in total freefall, making completely panicked and kind of self-destructive choices." IMO that's too strong for what happens before he finds out about Betty.

Sure, but I don't know what else you'd call it. He lives in a gorgeous penthouse with no furniture, and doesn't care to replace it or make his home feel remotely livable for months. His romantic choices feel as reckless as they were in S4, but with added desperation: now he's seeking out dead ex-girlfriends, or obsessing over the most tragic woman he can find. Then he gives Megan $1M as if he's trying to shed his wealth, and walks out of the Miller meeting and disappears without a word, seemingly forever.

It feels like the behavior of someone who doesn't care about his quality of life anymore, who's desperate to find meaning or to feel something genuine no matter the cost. He's done things like this before - his S2 disappearance, his terrible choices after divorcing Betty - but now it's so goddamn SAD, and feels way more extreme. And that all happens before he hears about Betty. I think it's fair to describe him as both panicked and self-destructive the moment he hits the road.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

i think its a bit more neutral than a spiral or downturn. he's just more adrift, looking for things that make him feel or looking for things that might make things right. when he gave megan the $1m, its to me supposed to parallel the whole "thats what the money is for" outburst but with an actual emotional weight before. hes apologized or thanked or otherwise substituted using money for expressing an emotion before, but here he is trying to slowly bridge the gap by using money and emotion. its the half way point before he learns to open himself up and, one could presume in the future, just related and interacts with emotion entirely and not with money at all

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

That's interesting, Xealot. As a list of actions, I certainly see what you mean. And I do find Don to be in a very ambiguous place throughout season 7 part 2. I feel like he's searching for something, and I view some of the actions you describe as... impulsive, but understandable attempts to do that search. When he starts driving west after leaving the Miller meeting, he references On the Road in his imaginary conversation with Burt, a novel all about looking for some kind of indefinable meaning.

I think I'm looking more at the mood I see him in rather than the specific actions, which do sound pretty alarming. For example, in the first episode of the second half of the season, he goes to a diner with Roger and some models, and he actually tells a story about his past. He refers to the brothel as a "boarding house" rather than what it really is, but it's clearly a story about a poor childhood, and it's actually a pretty fun story. That's the kind of thing that makes me feel like he's in better shape than in previous seasons. Although his behavior is erratic, I see signs of self-acceptance and greater ability to connect with others.

Sep 21, 2021

by sebmojo

I still think one of the greatest missed opportunities on this show is that the initial McCann merger didn't happen until later. It would have been absolutely amazing to have Sal liaise with their European office so he can work with their senior director of advertising Touko Valio Laaksonen. Seeing Don's reaction to him would have been priceless too. And much less shoehorned than Conrad Hilton.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

dunno what made you think this post was okay, but I'm tracking your IP address and the feds are coming to your house right now. so long fucko

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 3 - Tea Leaves
Written by Erin Levy & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Jon Hamm

Michael Ginsberg posted:

I just want to be a part of this place.

At the Francis' spooky mansion, Henry Francis bellows from the ground floor to Betty that the car has arrived. He's not yelling because he's angry, but because the house is loving GIGANTIC and there's no way to be sure you've been heard otherwise. He doesn't want to be late, but Betty isn't answering, so he starts up the stairs to find her.

In their bedroom, Betty is attempting to get ready, but has hit a problem she hasn't experienced in her life since she was a child and her mother abusedhelped her to stay in shape: she can't fit into her dress. Sally and Bobby are doing their best to do up the zip on the side of her dress, but it simply won't budge. Hearing Henry coming, she sends them away, coming up with the best plan she can on the fly.

That plan is... hopping into bed and pulling up the sheets despite clearing wearing an evening dress with her jewellery in, her hair meticulously crafted and her make-up fully in place. Henry is surprised to find her like this, and with a pained smile she asks if he would mind going without her, falling on that old standby of "woman troubles" when he asks her what is wrong.

Not unsympathetic to his wife's "pain", Henry is still reluctant to go without her, pointing out it's a meeting of the Junior League of New York and he'd really rather not attend alone. She reminds him that his mother will be there and that the other members will find that endearing. Neither of those things really inspire him as suitable replacements for her, but he quietly accepts that this is one of those cases where he won't get his way. So he gives her a kiss and makes his exit, though when she sweetly asks him to "forgive me on the way" he noticeably chooses not to respond, beyond a mildly suspicious look and forcing the barest facsimile of a smile before leaving.

Yes, Betty Francis has gotten "fat". In that she has a slight double-chin and her frame is a little thicker than it once was (I assume that like Peggy in season 1, she is wearing a fat suit/prosthetics). It might be what passed for fat in the 1960s, it's certainly "fat" for what Betty has looked like most of her life, but it's also a state of mind. Betty is clearly embarrassed by her current physique, and her failure to squeeze into one of her dresses is an unwelcome awakening to reality: she's overweight and she's not happy about it.

Somebody clearly NOT overweight is Megan Draper, easily pulling on her own dress with plenty of room to spare as she talks on the phone in the bedroom to her mother. Don steps up behind her and zips up the back of the dress easily, and she mouths a thank you to him before offering him the phone to speak to her mother. Don tries to get out of it, whispering to her to say,"Au revoir", but Megan insists so Don tries his best.

Foolishly, he opens with a "Bonjour" which sets Megan's mother - Marie - happily off into fast-spoken French he can't follow at all. He reminds her she needs to speak English (would it kill him to learn French? Hell, he loves French films!) and shrugs his bafflement to Megan over what moustiques means. She takes the phone back, explaining Marie was talking about mosquitoes, then says a quick goodbye to her mother before hanging up.

It's endearing in its normalcy. This isn't a point of contention between them, there is no argument or hurt feelings or bad blood over Don's inability (and lack of urgency) to communicate with her mother. Nor is it treated as a joke, or something they're flummoxed by. This is the normal routine of a marriage between two people sharing a life, where sometimes they bump into/crossover with things from the other's life that they're ill equipped to deal with but familiar enough to navigate. It's.... married life. It can't all be high passion or even furious screaming, it's the whole point of a life partnership, where you get everything that comes with the other person even if it was only them you were interested in to begin with.

Don reminds her they need to beat "Heinz" to their destination which does amuse her, as she points out that the man they're meeting actually has a name before teasing him that he's the only man she wants to please more than him. "And your father," Don teases back, and she takes great pleasure in declaring that of course her parents miss her: she's their baby!

The two preceding scenes are clearly intended to contrast the Francis' and the Drapers, and perhaps more importantly Betty and Megan. Both are women who married the man of their fantasies, who have gained a security and love they treasure, who have everything they ever wanted. The difference? It seems that right now, Megan Draper is happy and Betty Francis is not. The weight gain isn't the entire reason why for Betty, surely, but merely a symptom of that same devastated ennui she was feeling at the end of last season when she realized that "winning" and getting everything she ever wanted didn't necessarily mean she would live happily ever after.

For Megan, right now despite the (sometimes joyous) mundanity of married life beginning to settle in, she appears to be content. She got what she wanted, and that still makes her happy, and that is reflected in the easy teasing between her and Don. That contrasts with Henry's mild suspicion and choice to remain silent when Betty tried to make a joke of him forgiving her, a "joke" that demonstrates clearly that she fears he won't... or that she doesn't deserve it.

Regardless of who got there first, the Drapers joins "Heinz" for dinner at a French restaurant. It's Raymond Geiger and his wife Alice, and they're impressed by Megan being "exotic", asking her for advice on what to order since she's French. She points out she's actually Canadian but quips that for all she knows so are all the French staff here, which charms the Geigers immensely.

The Geigers explains that back in Pittsburgh everybody is what they appear to be or is somebody you have known long enough that they have no surprises. They comment that they themselves first met in high school, which gives Don a chance to be charming himself by commenting to Alice that this means he and Megan have been married longer than her and Raymond. She's amused and pleased, of course, with Raymond chuckling about how he warned her Don was smooth.

It does however lead to the first awkward point of the evening, as they ask how Don and Megan met, and both hesitate trying to figure out how best to explain it. Megan starts to give an explanation, presumably one that would be more honest than not, but Don cuts that off by simply saying they met at work and offering nothing more. Megan, clearly not comfortable even with a lie by omission, blurts out that Don was divorced.... does she fear they'll think she slept with a married man and broke up a marriage?

Despite coming from a city where everybody is "as they appear" (a nice way of saying nobody breaks accepted social norms, even if they're lovely), Alice takes this in and then nods and simply states that this is none of her business. So the dinner proceeds, though not without Don casting an irritated glance his wife's way. He probably feels she should have automatically known not to say something like this, and while maybe he doesn't consciously think it, Betty would have never have made a mistake like that.

They move on to safer ground, asking about Raymond and Alice's daughter, Emily. She's a teenager, too old for camp but too young to work, so right now she spends most of the day at home. Though she'd probably never tell her daughter this herself, Alice admits that Emily should enjoy this type of thing while she can, amusing Raymond who points out he finds his wife far from this understanding when he gets home from work after a long day of the two women being in the same house all day.

Alice admits this is true, but blames it on the music more than anything else, it seems their daughter is obsessed with the Rolling Stones. Don agrees he has heard of them, and an enthusiastic Raymond - unknowingly directly quoting lyrics when responding to Megan's correction of the song title - makes a suggestion: maybe the Rolling Stones could do a jingle for Heinz singing,"Heinz, Heinz, Heinz is on my side!"

Oh my God.

Megan giggles to hear it, but Raymond is as excited about this terrible idea as he was his terrible idea to show student protestors marching with beans signs. He points out that the Rolling Stones will be in New York for a concert this week, and as if it was the simplest thing in the world suggests to Don that he get them to record this jingle for Heinz while they're here. Don, being VERY diplomatic, notes it's not as straightforward as that... but he will at least attempt to meet with them and broach the idea.

Thankfully, Alice comes to the rescue, openly declaring with a smile that this business talk is boring, asking Megan if she agrees. Megan is hesitant, worrying about offending Raymond or upsetting Don, but takes a chance and with a hesitant smile agrees, and is relieved when everybody smiles. Don in fact takes her hand as Raymond beams at Alice, all of them sharing a pleasurable moment of just being two couples out for a nice dinner. This too is Megan's role, one that Alice is obviously well-used to herself: helping keep up at least the front that this is a social engagement and not just more work.

The next morning at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, an irritated Pete Campbell waits in his (Harry's old) office with Lane Pryce. He buzzes through to Clara, demanding to know where Roger is, and she responds immediately that Caroline told her the meeting was to take place in Roger's office. Pissed off at this little petty power play (that he himself was indulging in!), Pete leads a long-suffering Lane over to Roger's office where the man himself is "casually" reading his newspaper and clearly delighted to have irritated the man he now sees as the biggest threat to his once dominant position in the Agency.

Pete complains that he was waiting in his office to give Roger good news, and Roger excitedly asks if it was "drinking good news?", eager for any excuse to knock back some liquor (usually his excuse is that the day has a y in it). It may be, though neither Pete nor Lane show any inclination to indulge. Roger's smugness only increases when Pete informs him that Mohawk called, claiming credit immediately and outright declaring,"Welcome back suckers!" about a company that HE had Sterling Cooper dump that is run by a man he considers a friend! He only gets more brazen when Pete tries to spin things as him deciding to let Roger have the account. Accurately, he guesses that Mohawk asked for him personally, and Pete can't help but get in a little dig by agreeing that they think he knows their business.

Roger IS an Account Man, though, and he understands these guys about as well as he needs to: Hank likes vodka and Jack likes Jack... there really isn't all that much extra needed to know! Pete and Lane fill him in anyway: Mohawk has taken on 54 million in debt to replace their fleet of planes, and they're hoping to avoid being caught up in an upcoming mechanics strike. Roger seems unperturbed, and now Pete actually shifts to working with him in order to address another issue: Lane's refusal to hire a dedicated copywriter for the Mohawk account.

Lane, of course, is reluctant to hire a new copywriter to do the extra work Mohawk is going to bring with it, asking why Peggy can't just handle it? Roger is quick to side with Pete on this one, old fashioned guys like Hank are going to think Peggy is there to fetch them drinks, not produce their campaigns. Lane makes a final weary protest and suggests with half-joking desperation that Don could handle it, making both Roger and Pete laugh: Don isn't going to be writing local fare advertisements 3 times a week.

"Is that all it is?" ponders Lane with minor dismay, who was clearly hoping Mohawk was going to be a cash cow. Pete tries to underplay the expense, saying they just need a guy with basic retail experience. Standing, he offers Roger congratulations, and a happy Roger (he's finally got another Account, one that Pete actually did all the work on!) reminds Lane to smile: SCDP has an airline as a client now, that's a win!

Harry approaches Don's secretary, asking if he is in. She asks him to wait as she announces him, and Don responds back for Harry to wait a minute. This is how we learn the name of the secretary, because yes Caroline is back at Roger's desk and Don has his own secretary once more. Her name is Dawn, and she is the ultimate winner of the pointless little prank Don and Roger threw Y&R's way: SCDP's first black secretary, the pick of the bunch from those who showed up unexpectedly at reception at the end of the last episode.

She's pleasant, obviously efficient, and knows exactly how to deal with keeping her boss' business his business. When Harry asks if Don is in a meeting, she simply says he is with Mrs Draper. No more than that, no wink or knowing tone, no scandal or fear of impropriety. She's simply said what is and left any interpretation that follows purely on the listener.

Nervously waiting, feeling the silence acutely while Dawn simply continues to work, Harry notes how confusing it is that her name sounds so similar to Don's. With a smile she notes that people have said this but so far there have been no problems, and Harry betrays more about himself when he says it can be difficult to tell who is who in the open office area... as well as unwittingly drawing attention to the fact that nobody is going to mistake Dawn for Clara or Caroline or Meredith or anybody else.

Megan steps out of Don's office, leading to an awkward moment as she offers a polite but not particularly friendly hello to him before moving on. Once inside and with the door closed though, Harry feels more comfortable, all confidence and swagger now as he announces to Don that he has managed to get them tickets for the Rolling Stones' concert in Forest Hills on Saturday night (as an aside, this means it's been roughly a month since the events of A Little Kiss).

Don treats this accomplishment as just a matter-of-fact thing, either unaware or uninterested in acknowledging that managing to finagle last-minute tickets to a Stones tour in 1966 wouldn't have been easy. He wants to know if they sounded in any way interested, and Harry's response is that their manager sounded greedy, which is a not particularly nice way of saying yes. He notes that the concert starts at 8 but the band is always late, so he thought he and Don might have dinner beforehand at a great "Eye-talian" restaurant he knows.

"No," responds Don without even looking up.

Harry mumbles that he can pick him up at 7:30 then and that Harry will have already eaten, and just like that the meeting is over. No attaboy, no congratulations or acknowledgement of what he's done, just a simple instruction and a clear message that he'd really rather be doing anything else on his Saturday than spending it with Harry Crane. Megan told Peggy that Don didn't like Harry, and it's clear she was right. Back in Sterling Cooper if he ever thought of Harry at all it was just as another Account Executive. He appreciated his foresight to push for the creation of a Media Department, but he's also come to think less and less of him even as his value to the Agency has increased. To be fair, it's not hard to see why. This Harry Crane is a long way from the somewhat endearing if pathetic figure from season 1.

At the Francis Gothic Dwelling, Betty sits at home in her robe, eating Bugles (at the time a newfangled snack!) and reading the newspaper while the tv plays as background noise. A knock at the door gets her up, but she's not pleased at discovering the person who broke her monotony is her mother-in-law, Pauline. She's all polite greetings of course, but makes a point of noting it was "sweet" of her to come all the way over to check on her when a phone call would have sufficed.

Pauline meanwhile silently takes in the bag of Bugles on the couch and draws her own conclusions, before asking if the children at at home - perhaps to make sure she's free to harangue their mother, perhaps as another little dig by suggesting sitting on the couch eating snacks is something she would expect of a child. This gets another passive-aggressive swipe from Betty who notes they're at daycamp and she knows this, but Pauline ignores that to move on with her own personal script on how this little encounter/confrontation is going to go.

She points out that Betty has missed a number of events now, and while Henry might not ever show it she knows it hurts him. Betty tries to keep up the pretense that she was unwell, but Pauline is no fool and lays it out straight: she's gotten comfortable, she let herself go a little and now it has gotten out of control.

The sad thing is... she's actually trying to help, in her own warped way. Much like Joan's advice to Peggy back at Sterling Cooper, she's not actively trying to get under Betty's skin, even if it is clear she doesn't think much of her as a person. She's acknowledged that Betty makes Henry happy and that is all Pauline wants for her son, and so she is giving what to her is good advice from a well-meaning if misguided place. Because what is her suggestion? That Betty go and get some "diet pills" and help her burn off the weight faster so she looks good for Henry again.

Irritated, not liking Pauline personally any more than Pauline does her, Betty sarcastically asks why Pauline hasn't taken any of those pills herself. Pauline lets that sit a second, keeping her self-control before with a hard little smile noting that she would be happy to take them if she could, but her heart condition means she can't.... and besides, she's long past the point in her life where she has to "please men".

Trying her best to be friendly, she points out that Betty has a closet full of amazing clothes she's sure she'd want to wear again. This proves the breaking point for Betty, whose face collapses in despair. It's true, she DOES want to be skinny and wear all her wonderful clothes again and she hates that she can't and especially that Pauline is right. So Pauline offers her a reassuring pat and promises her that losing the weight will be easy for her, she's just "one of those girls."

It's horrifying. Pauline is actually trying to be helpful, albeit more out of interest towards her son than anything else... but the message she gives is a revolting one, and sadly all too familiar for far too long. A woman's worth is in "pleasing men", and if she can't lose the weight fast enough well then the good and sensible thing to do is TO TAKE AMPHETAMINES!?!?!

This is the mindset that Betty herself grew up with, with a domineering mother who harassed her into losing weight when she was only a child and left imprinted on her mind the idea that a girl can never be anything but beautiful or she loses all value. She's shown signs of repeating this same cycle with Sally, and now this (well meaning!) advice she is getting has nothing to do with the underlying emotional and psychological problems that the weight gain is a symptom of... but just making herself look perfect physically, because the exterior is all that matters. As so often in Mad Men, we see that image is always everything.

Peggy comes to Don's office, finding Roger is in there too. Roger has a chuckle over the Don/Dawn "problem", Don complaining that Dawn was the most qualified so of course they picked her. Telling Peggy that this is for her "ample" ears only, she jumps ahead with excitement, asking if it is about the Rolling Stones and Heinz. Don is perplexed and irritated that this is out there, even if it isn't why they called her in, and Peggy rolls her eyes and complains that Harry is a liar.... so yes, another reason for Don to dislike Harry, he's already running around telling everybody in the office they're going to be working with the Rollin Stones.

Roger scoffs at the ridiculousness of the combination, saying it's a client's idea if ever he heard one, and then they move on to the real business: Mohawk is returning. Peggy is delighted, getting an airline is a big deal, but Roger offers a contrary opinion to the one he gave Lane earlier: Mohawk is a minnow... but it is THEIR minnow. Peggy of course assumes they're telling her because they expect her to head up Creative on the Account, acknowledging that though she was at low level when she worked on it at Sterling Cooper she saw how it all ran. Don though explains that she has too much on her plate and Mohawk will want a dedicated copywriter, and Roger - ever the diplomat - just straight up says they'll want a copywriter with a penis.

"I'll get right on that," she hits back immediately, a small moment but one that really goes to show how much her confidence has grown since the time she nervously went to him to argue her case for an office. It's well-earned confidence too, as Don explains that she will be in charge of finding the new copywriter, and she should start looking immediately. Roger immediately chimes in to completely undermine Pete's direction in the meeting with Lane earlier, saying he doesn't just want some nobody with retail experience, he wants an award winner! He wants the "good-looking" version of Don!

"That'll be easy," she agrees cheekily, before heading out with a smile on her face. And why not? Mohawk is good news, a new hire is even better, especially with the recent hiring of a new secretary... it's all signs that SCDP is growing again, and the continued confidence Don (and others) put in her just further cements her own self-confidence in her ability.

Betty has taken Pauline's words to heart, and sits in a doctor's office (not the kindly old doctor she used back in Ossining) where she thanks the doctor for seeing her so quickly. A young man, he barely even looks at her as he looks through her files and she nervously explains that she has been having trouble losing weight. Still without looking, he declares that once a woman reaches middle-age, it is easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.

She's.... she's like 32-33 years old!

She forces a smile despite this insult, and timidly brings up that a "friend" suggested she could use diet pills to kickstart her weight-loss. NOW he looks at her, stern-faced and condescending as he asks if her "friend" is a doctor. "No," she admits, embarrassed at being in a situation to ask, at being judged by this relatively young doctor, just wanting the loving pills so she can lose this hated weight and go back to being "normal" at last.

He might not have the greatest bedside manner, but the doctor does have some sense of ethics at least, pointing out he won't write a prescription without doing a check-up first. He mentions that usually weight gain like this comes as a result of psychological issues, the p word making her wince with displeasure, even something as simple as boredom could be the cause. But he also won't go ahead and diagnose that without first discounting physical causes, and begins to apply slight pressure to her neck and throat.

Really not wanting to go through all this, just wanting the pills so she can go home and address nothing but the cosmetic symptoms in the most simple way possible, Betty notes that she doesn't want to KEEP taking the pills, just get started, but he shushes her, and then alarms her when he openly grunts that he doesn't like what he's just found. She asks what he means but he ignores her, telling her to stay still and to swallow for him (his bedside manner REALLY sucks), feeling something in her throat that has put all thought of anything else from his mind.

Betty returns to her haunted spookhouse not long after, calling out for Henry, praying that he's home, desperate for his presence. He doesn't answer though, and not just because the house is so large, because she looks around and he's nowhere to be seen. So what does she do when she can't find the man in her life who is supposed to provide stability and comfort and security? She calls Don Draper.

He answers the phone in his office bracing himself for an argument or an accusation or a complaint, but what he gets is a frantic, near-panicked Betty babbling out that the doctor found a lump in her neck and he's sending her to a specialist in the city and she doesn't know what to do and she doesn't know what it is and and and.... and he has to break in, get her to stop and take a breath and ask her EXACTLY what the doctor said.

Finally regathering herself, she admits that the doctor was light on details, complaining that Don knows what "they" are like. Don of course has been thrown for a loop by this news, but he is at least collected enough to ask a pertinent question: does she want him to take the kids in the meantime while this is being sorted out?" "The kids..." she says, a fresh horror added to everything else as they occur to her for the first time.

Not because she's self-absorbed or a bad mother or anything, but because in the immediate shock of the news she wasn't thinking straight. Now she thinks not only about what this might mean in the short term but the long term, what happens to her kids? Where do they go? Who looks after them? Sensing how overwhelmed she is, Don retreats into an old nickname not spoken for at least 2 years now, calling her Birdie. That seems to settle her more than anything else, he has served the purpose that Henry was not there to fulfill, to help calm her and recenter herself.

She asks him to tell her what he always did, and knowing his part to play even after all that has passed between them, Don assures her that everything will be okay. They're words that convinced her in the aftermath of Kennedy's assassination that Don was not the man she wanted to remain married to. Now though they provide the comfort they couldn't before, a security blanket to help her feel protected at a moment she feels most vulnerable. She says goodbye and hangs up, leaving Don to sit in his office troubled by the news, but also torn by the complications that while they will remain forever linked through the children as well as their own past, she is NOT his wife anymore, and this is a role that really isn't his place anymore.

In Peggy and Stan's office, Peggy looks through portfolios from would-be copywriters, fed-up of seeing deviations of the Volkswagen ad from guys who mistake recognizing innovation for innovation itself (years old innovation at that!). She shows Stan a mock-up of a Volkswagen style ad for... toilet paper! He can't believe somebody would be so stupid as to be free to create anything they wanted and choose toilet paper, clearly agreeing with Peggy's assessment to throw this one out.

She tosses out the next two portfolios for being too fat and too thin respectively, since another important part of their work is knowing what is too much and what is too little. She throws out another because their name isn't clearly a man or a woman's, and while she disagrees with the notion she knows Mohawk doesn't want a female copywriter. But then she finds one that immediately catches her eye, it's not too thick or too thin and it has a clever motto inscribed on the cover to "judge not, lest ye be judged" which tickles her fancy.

Looking inside impresses her even more, this copywriter has produced work that is.... good! A newspaper ad for Hammacher_Schlemmer in particular gets her attention: it takes up the entire page but the ad is at a different orientation to the surrounding print sections, which makes it stand out and force the reader to pay attention to it to see what it says. More than that, it effective uses a simple image - a close up of a man's eyes - with a simple bold line of "Find what he's looking for this Christmas" to effectively convey the idea in the reader's mind of this is where you go to buy the man in your life something he really wants for Christmas. It's... good!

Stan agrees, impressed enough to leave his chair to take a closer look, and pick up the rest of the portfolio to see more of this work... at which point he spots the name Michael Ginsberg and immediately tosses the portfolio aside, assuming he's a no go. Peggy is confused, he's the best she has seen, why would they not hire him? You'd expect the answer to be Stan betraying a horrible bit of anti-Semitism, or assuming the same from Mohawk. His reasoning IS anti-Semitic, though not in a particularly malicious way (it's still bad!) as he declares that hiring a Jewish copywriter means that he'll soon replace Peggy as boss, and that he's likely to takeover the Heinz account at the very least no matter what she says about his being brought in to work solely on Mohawk.

Peggy doesn't see it that way, ignoring Stan's reminder that she herself is INCREDIBLY competitive (she races people to the bathroom, he insists!) and saying she isn't intimidated by talent. He is the best of the applicants, and she's going to bring him in for an interview. Stan shrugs, he's the Art Director so he's going to be okay (tell Sal Romano that!) so if she wants to hire her own eventual replacement that's no skin off his nose.

In the bathtub that evening, Betty is contemplating an uncertain feature when Henry knocks and asks if he can enter. Of course he can, she tells him, and he steps in and lets her know that he has arranged an appointment in the city at 11am tomorrow for her. She's surprised at getting in so quickly, and dismayed when he tells her that he asked his "boss" to make a call... yes, the Mayor of New York knows that she has a lump in her neck.

Henry tries to act unconcerned and even jovial, assuring her Mayor Lindsay has plenty worse secrets than that. But when Betty indicates hesitancy and suggests she might not be able to make an appointment at such short notice, he gets more serious, asking if she REALLY wants to delay finding out something like this? This causes her to admit her fear, she's worried what if she finds out it's something bad, and now he sounds irritated as he repeats,"If if if!", pointing out that not knowing is far worse than knowing.

Trying to be a bit kinder, he passes her a towel and asks her to come to bed, offering to get her a brandy. He's amused when she motions to him to turn away so he can't see her emerge from the tub, insisting she is beautiful, but while she tells that is sweet she still insists, and he looks less than pleased as he does turn his back. She steps out and wraps the towel around her, and now as they leave he mentions that HE is going to have a brandy. Obvious the stress is getting to him too, not just from the lump she has but from her recent behavior and lack of engagement. How do men of this time period largely still deal with stress like this? Why by drinking, of course! Because a "real" man doesn't talk about his feelings, even a seemingly mature and understanding one like Henry Francis.

The appointment comes, and as Betty is lead by a nurse to the doctor's office she passes a woman who pauses and then calls out, expressing surprise but happiness to see her, calling her Betty Draper. Betty pauses, confused for a second before placing her as Joyce Darling, one of her old neighborhood friends from back in Ossining (the couple whose clear genuine love for each other put a drunk Don into a bad enough mood to abandon his daughter's birthday party).

The nurse tries to move them on, reminding Joyce she has to go to Radiology and wanting to get Betty into the doctor's office. They make small talk though, Betty explaining her last name is Francis now and commenting that now they both have a Henry for a husband... did Henry and Joyce ALSO leave Ossining? Betty and Henry lived there for quite some time! Joyce suggests they have lunch after their respective appointments, and when Betty hesitates (Henry is due to pick her up) she offers knowingly that she'll want lunch after her first appointment. Betty agrees and Joyce jokes to the nurse that okay she's FINALLY gonna go, and they go their separate ways.

Peggy enters the Conference Room where she finds Michael Ginsberg waiting. He stands immediately and shakes her hand, a young, attractive man in a powerfully ugly, cheap looking and unwrinkled suit jacket. Obviously eager, he asks her to lead the way and she explains they're meeting here and takes her seat. Still standing, Ginsberg lowers his voice and asks her what "he" is like, does he prefer a firm handshake? She has no idea what he is talking about, and realizes when he explains that he thinks Don will be conducting the interview... and that he's assumed she's a secretary.

Chalking it up to a simple mistake, she explains she is a copywriter and will be conducting the interview, and to his credit once he knows she is a copywriter he doesn't question or belittle the idea..... but DOES ask if she actually is the one who will hire him. No, she admits, she's the first round to weed out applicants before taking her chosen applicant to the final meeting (that will be with Don) where he will make that decision.

Michael takes that in, then asks wouldn't she prefer to be interviewed by the person doing the ACTUAL hiring? Yes... he's trying to negotiate/talk his way into a meeting with Don.... during a job interview. He explains that he wants to avoid another situation like when he wasted 3 months working at Leo Burnett's "crappy" New York satellite agency only to discover that Leo Burnett isn't a real person!

"....yes he is...." Peggy finally says, and Michael immediately demands to know if DON is a real person... because he's really like to meet him. Peggy can't believe the balls on this guy, the unmitigated gall of insisting he should see Don and undermining/minimizing any possible importance she might have... at his OWN job interview! When he testily points out that SHE is the person he should be trying to impress, he actually gets smug, pointing out she already looked at his book... what else is there to say!?!

She takes a moment to calm herself, then sits back and agrees that she did like his work. "And I like your work!" he agrees, now seemingly eager to impress her after all as if she won't remember she just had to tell him to do that. She points out that he thought she was a secretary, and asks if he has a current resume. Indeed he does, he came prepared for this at least as he whips out his resume.... a folded up piece of paper he was literally keeping up his sleeve.

Oh my God please tell me this unbelievable gently caress-up is going to be a regular cast-member, I already love him while simultaneously wanting to strangle him to death.

She takes the resume and unfolds it, immediately picking up that he's listed [url=]Allen Ginsberg[url] as a referee and assuming - correctly! - that they have zero connection. Michael admits as much freely, Allen Ginsberg is the most famous Ginsberg there is so he figures they have to related somehow! That's enough for Peggy, who puts the resume down and calls this "interview" to an end, telling him it was nice meeting him.... and for the first time, Michael seems to grasp just how incredibly badly he's hosed this whole thing up.

Now, in his desperation, he at least shows SOMETHING. Still throwing out his offbeat observations, he insists that he was foolish to insult her but that he's brave to admit he was wrong... but he also pushes hard that she's seen his work and she has seen what he is capable of, before explaining that his business picked HIM and not the other way around: he HAS to be in advertising. He promises that he will work harder than anybody, that he has no life, no girlfriend, no friends, no hobbies.... this job will occupy every waking moment, and he will practically live here in the office doing nothing but work.

"Then you're just like everybody else," comments Peggy, even though this description really only fits her (in terms of the always working bit) and maybe Don back before he remarried and became happy and work stopped meaning as much to him. Michael admits that nobody has ever told him that before, and Peggy offers him a glimmer of hope, warning him that he can't act like this in front of Don.

"Act like what?" he asks, genuinely baffled, making her immediately regret the offer of a second chance. Still, the offer has been made, so she promises they will call and rises to leave the room. He leaps to his feet as well, uncertain which way she is going and wavering uncertainly in place until she moves for the door and he leaps ahead to open the door for her, a nakedly pathetic effort to garner favor. He leaves with her and she offers genuine encouragement, agreeing that his work really does have a voice. "That's what they said about Mein Kampf!" Michael can't help but immediately blurt out,"The kid really has a voice!"

If they hire him he's going to give Peggy the most incredible ulcer!

Betty has taken up Joyce on the offer of lunch, and they have tea and scones at what appears to be Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel, though Joyce asks Betty - who has a bandaid on her neck now - if she wouldn't prefer something stronger. Betty is okay with just tea though, and when Joyce admits that everything tastes like sawdust to her now Betty can't help but complain that unfortunately her taste remains unaffected... she appears to have "only kind" that makes you fatter.

It's a "joke", but notice how she avoids saying cancer, as if saying it would make it real.

She admits that she was in too much of a daze to actually register when her results would come in, which makes Joyce smile since she had a similar experience, admitting that it wasn't until her third visit that she found out for sure, and even then she only really knew because her Henry (who she calls Hank) was there and she knew what that must mean. Betty nervously broaches the subject of children, and Joyce admits her children only know she's going to the doctor a lot but not why.

Trying her best to keep upbeat, Joyce tries to make light of what she must fear is a death sentence, saying she was always in a bad mood with the kids anyway so they haven't noticed, and she's told Hank to just tell the kids she was hit by a car when she goes so she can avoid that whole "scene". But her talking has put Betty in mind of her own potential mortality, and the realization of just what will mean: she's leaving a mess behind.

She's on her second marriage, Henry has a domineering mother, Don's girlfriend is 20 (she does correct herself that Megan is Don's wife now, but not the wildly inaccurate age)... the children will never hear another kind word spoken about her after she is gone, because there'll be nobody left who thinks well of her.

Joyce, who knows for a fact she DOES have cancer and is fighting an uphill battle to survive it, finds herself the sympathizing one here, feeling bad for Betty who doesn't yet know what she has or indeed if it is anything at all. She tries to promise Betty that she won't be going anywhere, and Betty nervously asks her the question that has been on her mind: what is "it" like? Again, being careful not to actually say death or cancer explicitly.

It's understandable to some degree that face-to-face with her own mortality she is being self-obsessed, but it wouldn't hurt her to show some sympathy towards Joyce that isn't born out of what Betty herself might be able to gain from it: insight or a warning or a way to be prepared. Joyce though doesn't mind, it's nice to talk to SOMEBODY about this, and she lays out her thoughts: it's a weird mixture of horror and mundanity, you feel yourself being pulled away from the shore and dragged under the water even as you fight and paddle to try and get back... but at the same time you find yourself distracted by the everyday necessities of living: what to make for dinner, did you lock the back door etc. Eventually it becomes too much and you become tired, and you feel like just giving in and hoping you just sink straight down.

"That's... horrible," Betty says at last, and Joyce - who has had a lot more time to come to terms with this - agrees... but hey, she asks, and nobody else ever has before. Joyce is getting something out of this lunch too, another woman to talk to openly and honestly. That both are ultimately using the other to vent their fears, frustrations and concerns is irrelevant... they may never meet again, but for today they can just speak about the things they don't dare speak to anybody else about.

At this moment, a fortune teller - Cecilia - arrives on the scene, asking the women if they would like their fortunes told. Joyce is delighted at the irony of a fortune teller here to tell two women who know they have - or could have - a terminal illness their future. Betty is wary but Joyce laughs that the fortunes are always good, so Betty hands over her cup so the woman can read the tea leaves.

"Oh!" gasps the Cecilia immediately declaring that Betty is a great soul (amazing how many great souls must come through this tea room!) who means so much to the people around her, a real rock. Betty, devastated by a statement she fears not only isn't true but not never will be, breaks down into tears. Cecilia freezes, realizing they've said exactly the wrong thing, while Joyce - who knows she made the worst decision possible by encouraging this - hands her some cash to send her on her way.

She pours some more tea as Betty attempts to regain her composure, overwhelmed by it all. A couple of days ago she thought she was just fat. Now she thinks she's dying. It's all too much to take in, and yet.... just like with the fatness, it's always the image that comes first, and despite her miserable state she knows she has to put on a brave face and try to pretend this is just any other pleasant lunch with a friend.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Roger staggers into Peggy and Stan's office, exhausted from a "lunch" of his own with Mohawk.... which really meant a marathon drinking session that even stretched his formidable limits. He shunts aside some books on her desk and takes a half-seat, asking if she hired the new copywriter. No, she explains with a snort, he was crazy so she's sending out a call for more copywriters to send in their books. It seems the claim they would call him really was just a blow-off.

But Roger disagrees, could he be crazier than any other copywriter? Did he smell like pee? "Who smells like pee!?!" asks a baffled Peggy, and Roger simply responds,"Writers!" before admitting that he already told Mohawk they'd hired him. She's perplexed, why the hell would he do that? He admits with some surprise that he'd assumed they wouldn't want to work "a Jew" so he was hoping to smooth the edges, but it turns out "everybody has one now" and it might actually make the Agency appear more modern, especially with "darkest before the Dawn" now working here too.

Jesus Christ, Roger.

Irritated, Peggy points out she can hire him "a Jew" if he wants one, and Roger smugly assures her she shouldn't worry that they're going to replace her, assuming this is the source of her hesitation. "His work's not THAT good," she replies, explaining that the main reason she doesn't want to hire him is that Don will hate him, and then he'll hate her for hiring him. Roger can actually see the logic in that, but still he's drunk and tired and just wants this dealt with, so he "orders" her to hire him, promising that he'll be in the meeting with Don to help make sure things run smoothly.

He leaves, and Peggy really has no choice now: Roger is a Senior Partner, this is a hire of a dedicated copywriter to work on the Account Roger is running.... what he says goes. So just like that, Michael Ginsberg has been pulled back to shore before he could disappear forever into whatever oblivion awaits people who are really, really, really bad at job interviews.

On Saturday, Don emerges from the bedroom all squared away in his suit, finding Megan relaxing on the couch reading a magazine, watching television AND listening to the radio. He asks how she can hear anything like this, and with a grin she points out she is following his advice and bathing herself in advertising. She remarks on how extremely formal he looks and with a grin and a kiss he points out that tonight he has to look like "The Man" - full establishment, a money man of power and influence and very definitely NOT one of the counter-culture or a musician or.... most dreadful of all.... a fan!

He asks her to tell Betty or the kids he'll call tomorrow if they ring, and she asks what Betty wanted when she called him. He's told she called at least, but simply says,"Who knows," to play it off as another example of Betty living in her own world. She tells him to have fun and with a grin of her own assures him she does NOT mean that, and of he goes to attend a Rolling Stones concert, something that would be envied by tens of thousands of people and which he sees as an annoying business commitment.

Harry leads Don through the backstage of the concert, young fans crowded everywhere, a haze of what very definitely will not be tobacco smoke in the air despite the presence of a police officer presumably working security whether officially or unofficially. Harry explains that the "real" backstage is where they're going, to met with the band and the manager, pointing to a closed door.

A suited, mustached and very serious looking man stands by the door marked private, and Harry tries to barrel past him on pure confidence, declaring,"Nice to see you!" and going straight for the doorknob only to be stopped. Harry explains they're here to see the Rolling Stones (surely a unique thing in this corridor jammed with eager teenagers and young adults!) and the security man simply responds that they're not here. So Harry elaborates, they're actually here to see their manager, Allen Klein.

"He's not here either," the security man says just as simply. So Harry introduces himself and explains he is on "the list", and the security man simply notes,"There is no list." Don, however, understands this whole situation far better than Harry does (or rather, has the resources to "understand" it better), and hands over a folded bill, asking to be informed the moment Klein and the Stones arrive. "Sir, I promise I will let you know!" the security man assures Don respectfully, pocketing the cash, and this time Don leads Harry away to wait further down the corridor.

Don complains that he should have talked Raymond out of this at the dinner table, clearly regretting indulging a client now that it is impacting on HIS personal life rather than just negating weeks of Peggy Olson's hard work. As Don goes to light a cigarette, a young girl approaches them, looking all of 15-years-old, and asks if she can ask his friend to swap a joint for one of their cigarettes. Don shrugs and says she can have a cigarette for free, and she immediately explains that she was only interested in seeing if they were cops before she lit up her joint.

She does this now, explaining that the cop Harry points out is just across the way from them is "cool", offering Don a puff on her joint. He declines, and her friend - looking older but not by much - comes over to ask what the hell she thinks she's doing lighting up in front of these guys. "They're cool," the first girl explains, causing the second to eye them up critically and declare that they don't look cool.

For Don this is amusing, for Harry it must be torture to be thought of as "uncool", which may be why he accepts the second girl's offer of a drag on the joint (but not before checking with an indifferent Don that it's okay). The girls are interested now though, what are two guys like them (they mean old guys, and squares at that) doing backstage at a Stones concert? They explain they're in business, Harry wheezing,"Advertising" which makes them laugh, since the only frame of referencing they have for people in advertising is from Bewitched, likening Don to "Derwood" and Harry to Mr. Kravitz!p.

Henry joins Betty in bed, giving her a kiss and a gentle squeeze around the shoulders. He's delighted and surprised when she sets aside her pad and kisses him back, asking if she's actually in the mood and wants sex. "It's been too long," she admits, and Henry admits that he thought she wanted it that way. She doesn't answer, just kisses him again, and they press together, Henry certainly not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

We know from previous seasons that Betty, for all that she is repressed, has a sex drive and an admitted "yearning" for sex with her husband (Don at the time, Henry now). The fact that these two have been without sex for a not insignificant amount of time says a lot: another symptom of Betty's unhappiness, but also of her clear belief that having gained weight made her no longer desirable. She didn't want him to see her emerge from the bath, they haven't had sex, and it is only now when thoughts of how she will be remembered when she is gone, coupled with a natural desire to embrace being alive while she can, that have helped her to overcome her hesitation and indulge in what she once considered one of the greatest benefits of married life.

At the concert, a stoned Harry is telling the younger looking of the two girls that the guy with the "best stuff" is Charlton Heston. "Who's that?" she asks, and Don can't help but chuckle as Harry launches into a long story about finding him naked when he showed up at his house to try and convince him to be a spokesman for VapoRub. "Wouldn't that be perfect?" he asks, and an exasparated Don points out that she said she doesn't know who Charlton Heston is!

The other girl suddenly races back, exclaiming that she convinced security to let "Harold" in because she explained how important he was. Just Harry though, she's using him to get herself in with him, leaving her disbelieving friend behind while a panicked Harry asks who they think he is meant to be and Don irritably snaps at him to just get in there. "I'll send for you!" cries Harry as he's hauled by a teenager into the private backstage room, leaving Don with the other.

Wanting to take her mind of everything her friend might be getting to do with the Stones while she's stuck out here, she asks Don if he REALLY thinks he's going to get the Rolling Stones to do a television ad? Don of course thinks nothing of the sort, he's here purely to make Heinz happy, but he points out that they did do one for cereal in England so why not?

"It must have been a long time ago," she grunts, clearly not wanting to believe her idols would do something that uncool, and Don chuckles that it was 3 years ago.... so she was probably, what, 11-years-old? Not answering and giving her real age, she instead smirks and reaches out and undoes his tie, pulling it from around his neck and wrapping it jauntily around her own.

If this is her attempt to be flirty or seductive, or to impress upon Don that she is no kid, it fails to land, as he smirks himself and asks her if she saw that in a movie. "You need to relax!" she exclaims, and so instead Don stubs out his cigarette and decides to at least make some use of his time and conduct some market research into this audience Raymond so desperately wants: what does SHE like so much about the Rolling Stones?

Again she tries to be "grown-up", telling him that he should get her backstage so he can see for himself. Don is bemused by this obvious attempt, removing his tie from her and asking another question, what does she FEEL when she hears the band? Now she lights up, eyes shining as she declares that Brian Jones is a troubadour. "So you feel romantic?" he asks, and she is caught between consternation and her obvious giddiness at imagining Brian Jones, laughing nervously that he's like a psychiatrist.

"What do you know about psychiatrists?" he asks her, genuinely interested in her now as opposed to her use as a market research tool. The giddiness drops now, the light dims in her eyes. Whatever she knows about them, it's clear it isn't a happy association. So she just forgoes her crude attempts at "seducing" him into getting her backstage and straight up asks him to give her a business card so she can try and convince them to let him (and her with him) backstage. Disappointed, but giving up on pressing her further, he passes her his card and she's quickly off to try her luck.

Betty, wearing her pink robe, enters the dining room and see Henry, Sally, Bobby and Gene sitting all dressed in black formal-wear at the table, not speaking. She's confused by the scene and the silence, then disturbed when she notices there is a teacup in front of Gene with only tea leaves left inside, like those read by Cecilia the fortune teller.

Pauline enters also dressed in black and carrying a large plate of pancakes, and pointlessly Betty speaks up to say she'll make breakfast. "If, if, if," mumbles Henry, the same words he snapped at her when she was worrying about what she might be diagnosed with. Pauline dishes up the pancakes and Henry and Bobby both begin spreading butter (the last Bobby would have just gobbled up everything immediately), and Betty - trying to get involved, speaks up to say that she will have something to eat.

Sally suddenly stands and picks up the chair at the opposite end of the table to Henry: Betty's chair. Turning it upside down, she places it on the table and then walks out of the dining room. "I'm so sorry, sweetheart..." Betty tries to tell her, but Sally walks right past her without acknowledging her.

She awakes in her bed beside Henry and lies staring at the ceiling. Her greatest fear realized in a dream: that she will be gone and they will go on without her, only Henry really sad, Pauline just slotting into her place, Bobby and Gene continuing as they always have, and Sally at best indifferent and at worst furious at her mother who was unfair to her in life and has now abandoned her to grow up alone.

Still backstage at the concert and still no closer to meeting the Stones or Klein, Don drinks some water and waits till he can finally gently caress off and go home. The teen returns, her efforts to use his card clearly having not worked, and Don asks when she thinks the Stones will finally show up? She laughs that he should stop looking at his watch, the Stones will arrive when they arrive... and when they do, she's gonna leap on Brian Jons like she was Jack Ruby (Lee Harvey Oswald's murder was also 3 years ago but that at least she knows about!).

Still pressing for insight into both a Stones fan and the mind of an American youth, Don asks what she'll do after that. Gleefully, she talks about how she'll get into that dressing room at last, and she'll sit and stare at Brian Jones as he tunes his guitar, and he's see her staring and he'll know... he'll KNOW she's Lady Jane (ironically, the name may actually be a reference to female genitalia, based on Jagger having read Lady Chatterley's Lover).

But then what? Still smiling, both coy and brazen, she claims she'll do whatever Brian Jones wants her to do. But Don keeps pressing, what does she think he'll want her to do? It's half research now and half wanting to understand her, or rather a young girl. Part of him must be thinking of Sally, not all that far off this girl's age, seeing a psychiatrist, obsessed with the Beatles, is she heading into a future where she might be as naive but experimental as this girl?

Demonstrating that naivity clearly, she chuckles that "you" (meaning adults) just don't want young people to have fun because they never did, making that same old presumption that ALL young people make that they were somehow the first generation to discover a good time and that anybody over a certain age (unless they're the Stones!) either doesn't understand or resents them.

"No," corrects Don, speaking seriously now,"We're worried about you." Which is true but also the flipside of her, because every adult generation always assumes the younger ones are going to make terrible mistakes or get into something over their head. Largely because when they were that age they did as well in some way (Don went to fight in Korea!) and they've failed to realize that trying to share the benefit of their experience will be greeted with the same disdain or assumption of irrelevance that they had for their older generation who were "worried" about them.

It's all made moot though when suddenly Harry comes bellowing out of the dressing room clutching a paper and declaring that he got it, two suited security men "helping" him along with rough shoves. Rushing up to Don, he is thrilled to announce that he's never seen people more excited, they actually were eager to make the deal and he got the signatures!

The teen is horrified, not at her idols selling out, but that Harry met them. But then suddenly squeals of delight from the other end of the corridor get their attention, girls screaming,"THEY'RE HERE! THEY'RE HERE!" and a sudden stampede of young girls goes flooding down to leap on various members of the Stones like they were Jack Ruby, all convinced that THEY are Lady Jane. The teen girl is at the forefront, not even bothering to shout a farewell, to wave or even glance back at the man she spent most of the evening with. Don has ceased to exist in her mind, all there is now is the chance to see and make an instant connection with Brian Jones.

So that leaves Don and Harry standing in a now deserted corridor, with Don asking the obvious question to a confused Harry Crane.... who the hell was he talking to?

That's still something Harry - the head of the Media Department, the guy supposedly with his finger on the pulse of the entertainment scene in America - is caught up on as he and Don sit in the car after finally escaping the concert. The band he spoke to sang for him, they sounded EXACTLY like the Stones! He apologizes to Don for failing, and suggests they try again at Asbury Park, but Don has had enough. They made an effort on Heinz' behalf and it failed, and now they can move on to actually coming up with their own idea instead of indulging a client's flight of fancy.

Harry though hasn't exactly covered himself in glory, Don today saw not just this inept bumbling, but that Harry's constant namedropping is in regards to outdated celebrity figures that mean nothing to a growing consumer age group, especially the ones that Heinz are targeting. He's not making matters better by trying to avoid leaving the car, as we discover that they're actually parked outside his building and he doesn't want to go, despite an exhausted Don wanting to go home himself.

He offers Don the last of a bag of sliders, astonishing Don who points out there was TWENTY inside and he was supposedly buying them for his family. "Let them get their own," complains Harry, angry that when he brings home food his family devours it and there is nothing left for him. His advice for anybody getting married and having kids is to always eat before going home, talking like he's an older veteran at this fatherhood thing when he's talking to a man with three kids of his own.

He starts to eat the last slider, Don insisting he go, and Harry moans to him to please let him just sit for a little longer. This is not a man who is happy at home, and this goes some way to explaining his frequent suggestions of going out to dinner or other social engagements with work colleagues. Part of it is brown-nosing for sure, but he's also looking for any excuse he can not to go home which is... well, it's really quite sad. Pathetic too, but sad.

But then he starts mooning over the young teenage girls they met, just a little too enthusiastic as he talks about how much fun they are, how they just have fun and they're all on drugs. "YOU'RE on drugs," points out Don, ignoring the disturbing interest in teenage girls (a diplomatic reading would be that Harry envies their freedom, a more troubling one would be that his interest in them is sexual) to note with a mixture of amusement and disgust that he signed the Trade Winds... who the hell are The Trade Winds!?!.

He insists again that Harry go inside, but he tries for at least one last bit of business talk, asking what they'll tell Raymond. "That they're not good for Heinz," is Don's simple reply, and when Harry muses that his daughter probably just wanted to meet them Don notes while thinking of the girl he met tonight that he doesn't think they're good for her either.

Harry leaves behind the bad, conspiratorially explaining to Don that Jennifer has him on a diet (he just ate 20 sliders! She's right to!) before unbelievably suggesting that he and Don should hang out like this again sometime. "Goodnight, Harry," Don grunts, the warning clear, and blessedly finally Harry is gone and Don can finally, finally, finally go home.
Megan's wish came true, he did NOT have a good time.

He wakes the next morning to a kiss from Megan, "dressed" in shorts and a bikini top, assuring him that she let him sleep as long as she could before she had to get him up. He sits up with a groan and she asks if he drank too much with the Stones, and he admits that they didn't get to meet them. She tries to hurry him along, noting it is a long trip to Fire Island so he can tell her all about last night as they go. That's why she's in the bikini, they had plans that she intends them to keep, though she should be familiar enough with him now to recognize all the telltale signs of a Don who is looking for an excuse to get out of a social obligation.

Looking at the phone, he asks if Betty called and she doesn't like that, eyes narrowing as she says no and tells him to get ready. She goes to leave but he calls her back, asking her to sit beside him, telling her he needs to tell her something. Alarm bells must be ringing for her, that is NOT how you want your husband to start a conversation moments after asking if his ex-wife called.

He explains that yes it is to do with Betty.... she's sick, possibly REALLY sick, they found a tumor. She's shocked, of course, but also then confused: why didn't he hell her before now? When he admits that he wasn't sure how she'd react she is offended, did he think she'd be happy!?! Choosing wisely to just be honest, he admits that he isn't sure why he didn't tell her, just that he knew that Betty wouldn't have wanted her to know. Clearly he's since rethought prioritizing his ex-wife's wishes over his current wife's, and Megan makes the compelling point that this is something she needs to know regardless of how it might make Betty feel, because it will affect her life too.

Don acknowledges that the tumor may be benign and all this will prove to be nothing, but Megan notes that if that doesn't turn out to be the case, then they will work their way through it. She starts to talk about how much she loves Sally, and Don quickly shuts that down, insisting that this is NOT a conversation he wants to have right now.

Just like never mentioning cancer or death, Don is from a generation and a mindset that seemed to think if you just simply never acknowledged something, it somehow wasn't or wouldn't be real. Megan, who comes from a more open-minded and communicative mindset, accepts this for Don's benefit, and moves on from the conversation as he wished, telling him to get his things and get ready. This however confuses Don, he doesn't want to talk about it... but he also thinks that having let her know he's now freed himself from his obligation to go on their day trip.

"No," he insists, leaving it unsaid but clear that he wants to stay home in case Betty calls, and that even if she doesn't he's not in the moon to go out and have "fun". Megan though, absolutely to her credit, makes a keen observation: so he's too upset to go out with her and meet her friends at the beach as planned... but he wasn't too upset to go to a Rolling Stones concert last night as part of his work?

Don is stunned by this, because of course to him last night was a miserable experience he wished he could have avoided. But that's the thing, it could have been, even without knowing that the night would end up being a bust, if he was really that desperate to be there if Betty called he wouldn't have simply told Megan to say he'd ring back the next day. Choosing to go to work but then declaring you aren't in any state the next day to do something planned with your wife is... well it's a dick move.

But Megan doesn't just lash out. After snapping this accusation at him, she softens without actually changing her stance. There is nothing he can do, and him being here won't change the news Betty gets or the people she'll have with her to deal with it with her should it come while he's on Fire Island. Though he'd still rather stay home and do nothing, Don understands and accepts her reasoning, and so wearily prepares to endure another day of doing something he doesn't really want to do. At least he is doing it though, and spending time with a wife who wants to spend time with him. Surely if he learned anything last night it was to look at Harry and realize he doesn't want his marriage to be anything like that.

That was Sunday the 3rd of July. Come Monday the 4th, Betty Francis sits with her husband on the lawn of their horror movie set of a home with Gene in her lap, watching as Sally and Bobby race excitedly around their lawn chairs wildly waving about sprinklers, celebrating the 4th of July. It is a typically American family celebrating in a typically American way.

Henry is beaming, all is right with the word as he sits with a beer in his hand, children playing, his wife at his side, the American flag hanging proudly from a flagpole, Norman Bates' mother's corpse peeking out one of the windows, enjoying a perfect evening. Betty herself sits and smiles at the rightness of it all, the happiness of her children, enjoying this moment while she can, breathing deeply Gene's scent as she presses her nose against the back of his head. She wants to remember it all, to capture this perfect moment and enjoy it for what it is for once without second-guessing anything or reading too much into it or letting anything sour the experience.

With the holiday weekend over, Don returns to work where Michael Ginsberg finally gets his wish to confirm that Don Draper is a real person unlike Leo Burnett (who, again, IS a real person!). Don looks through samples of his work, perhaps amused by the use of humor and sex or maybe enjoying a personal joke when he sees one for Bigelow Carpets that might bring to mind he and Megan's angry make-up sex after the surprise party.

Michael, wearing EXACTLY the same outfit as he did to the meeting with Peggy (who is also present), waits nervously but at least silently. At least until Don notes that an ad for half-and-half tobacco is quite provocative, and Michael excitedly starts to explain he got the idea at a Times Square peepshow! Peggy immediately speaks up to stop him before he gets rolling, asking if they shouldn't wait for Roger.

"For what?" asks a confused Don, pointing out that Roger doesn't even show up to IMPORTANT meetings. He turns back to talk to Michael some more and Peggy, still desperately hoping Roger will make good on his promise to manage things, quickly points out that Michael's resume is also with the book. A little surprised but amused by Peggy being so jumpy, Don takes a look at the still folded up resume (is this his ONLY copy?) and notes that Michael worked at Needham for a long time and lots of other places for a short time.

This is an obvious invitation for Michael to explain why he moves around so much, which is the last thing Peggy wants, so she jumps in to assure Don she checked all his references or wouldn't have bought him in. "Would you let him talk!" an exasperated Don finally insists, and now the die is cast and she can do nothing but sit back and watch Michael be Michael.

Michael... doesn't be Michael!

Yes, he's still a little too forward, still a little too quick to elaborate when it isn't needed or wanted. But by comparison to his first meeting, he's restrained, respectful and keeps himself under control. He apologizes when he makes a slip-up talking about his prior work-history, he talks up his respect for Don but also demonstrates a knowledge and genuine appreciation for his work (in particular his letter declaring he'd never work for a tobacco company again, even if Michael explains he thought it was the funniest thing he ever read), and talks up "Margaret" (Peggy) as well, noting that she is interesting. Finally he just lays it on the line: he wants to be a part of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Don is impressed, while Peggy is suspicious, and stands to signal an end to the meeting, shaking his hand and saying it was good to meet him. Once Michael is gone, Don offers a well done to Peggy, promised with the caliber of the candidate she found, actually teasing by asking her if she just hired the handsomest one (to be fair, he's is rather attractive!). Of course she didn't, and they both know he doesn't think that. He tells her to let Michael know the good news and then introduce him to Lane to haggle out the terms of his contract.

With a nod she exits, and OF COURSE who should she find standing out there next to Michael as they both look out the window? Roger Sterling. He was there all along and simply chose not to attend, despite promising Peggy he would after ordering her to bring Michael in against her protests. She calls out to Michael, who somehow in the 15 seconds he was alone has already managed to tell Roger he'd love to throw something through the window... a notion that Roger not only appreciates but had admitted he shares!

Roger asks how it went and she grumbles it was fine, and Roger - not a care in the world - declares he knew it would be and that he's proud of her, and then moves on with his drink to continue to do nothing and make a huge amount of money in the process.

Peggy leads Michael down the corridor, now they're alone angrily complaining that she knows he's crazy now because he didn't act anything like he did with her just now with Don. Surprised, Michael responds with an extraordinary sensible and logical response... SHE told him not to act that way! But she knows that, that's what scares her... that he CAN actually control his normal behavior and just didn't with her!

Wilting, Michael sighs that he guess this means he didn't get the job, and springs back to life again when Peggy, who was just venting, has to explain that despite her accusations just now... he starts tomorrow! He begins to move in for what looks like a bear hug before stopping himself, "joking" that he'd like to pick her up and spin her around but he doesn't want people to think that's how he got the job. When she failed to be charmed by this, he becomes crestfallen again, a child who just wants attention and approval, actually begging her to PLEASE be proud of him, she's the only other person who cares that he got this job.

"Then I'm happy," she grunts and continues on towards Lane's office, a delighted Michael following her. Only two scenes in this episode and he's already a wonder, his dynamic with Peggy and the way she reacts to him almost screwball comedy, and all the more delightful for it. Peggy has always been good at figuring out how to handle people, whether Pete or Ken or Paul or Stan. She had more trouble with Don but she found an equilibrium there. Michael though? He seems like a kind custom-designed to push all her buttons and drive her around the bend, and it's a fantastic and welcome addition to the show.

Henry and Betty sit at home, watching television, the clock ticking and time stretching on without any sign of a call with Betty's test results. She tells him, probably not for the first time, that he should have gone to work, but he dismisses that: it probably killed him when he got home and found out she'd been alone for possibly hours in that cavernous mansion with nobody to comfort her about her tumor.

The phone rings and he's quick to answer, but it's not the doctor. It's his work, and he complains that he won't be shaken from his insistence that the Mayor will NOT go to Michigan because he doesn't want him in a photo standing next to a clown like Romney. He's referencing George Romney of course, the Governor of Michigan who was preparing for a Presidential Campaign in 1968. This episode, of course, aired in 2012, the same year that George's son Mitt Romney also ran for President (also unsuccessfully!).

But as he's complaining on one phone, the other line in the hall rings, getting both their attention. Henry is quick to end his call, stepping into the hall (Jesus Christ their house is gigantic) and listening as Betty takes the call from the doctor's office. She thanks them for getting back so quickly and then stands there after the call is over, not moving. Concerned, Henry steps up and hangs up the phone for her, asking for the news. Betty takes a moment and then gives the prognosis.... the tumor is benign.

Henry feels a wave of relief rush over him. He's thrilled, and after a few moments of the shock still settling in, Betty allows herself a smile and then a laugh, admitting that she feels like she just got off a boat from China. Henry, seeing she's still a bundle of nerves, reminds her kindly that she is okay. She nods, but tears are starting to threaten now as her smile slips as she shrugs and says she just got put through the wringer to find out she's just.... fat.

He tries to play this off as silliness, telling her she's just exhausted. But now that she's finally said it (never "cancer", never "death", but finally "fat") she won't let it go, almost insisting he admit she is. The truth is though, he simply doesn't see it. When he looks at Betty he sees the woman he loves, and a fact that should fill her with love only makes her observe that he doesn't see it because his mother is obese.

Now he does get upset, but more at the fact that she is seemingly looking for something to be sad about, rather than taking this for what it is: a gift. He admits that he feels like Scrooge, seeing a tombstone of what could have been but now getting a second chance, changing their fate and opening up a whole new world of possibilities. Today is a GOOD day, they just got GOOD news. She breaks down, crying now, and he hugs her.

On one level he is right, she is exhausted, mentally and emotionally wrung out. But as he hugs her tight and internally thanks God or the universe or random chance or whatever for giving him this happiness, Betty must surely be wondering something entirely different. She thought she was going to die... but she's not. She thought she'd lost her last chance to be remembered well... but she hasn't. She has a husband who loves her deeply and without judgement, who genuinely doesn't care about her weight, who loves her for her. She had everything, and now she has an escape from death to make her more keenly appreciate that she still has everything.

So then why, why, why, why whywhywhywhywhy isn't she happy?

Don leaves his office and makes for reception, joined by Harry who unbelievably declares that Saturday night was a lot of fun! "Okay," sighs Don and continues on without another word, entering reception where the entirety of the office are waiting. He joins Megan, Roger last to arrive but at least actually attending this gathering, everybody with eyes on Pete Campbell who stands in front of a plinth covered in a sheet.

This is his big reveal, and the showman in him has come out (or rather the love of attention and the chance to show off his achievements) as he explains he wanted them all crowded in here so one day they could remember how small the Agency USED to be. With that he pulls off the sheet to reveal a miniature plane, and announces that Mohawk Airlines has chosen to "return" to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (they were booted out by Sterling Cooper in the first place!).

Everybody applauds, because whether they know Mohawk is a minnow or not, it is THEIR minnow just like Roger said, and it's an airline.... an advertising agency having an airline is a big deal, it's good news, and after a year of no bonuses this along with several new hires must have everybody feeling optimistic about the future.

Except it's Pete Campbell, and as we've learned many times before.... Pete Campbell can't resist rubbing it in. So he declares in front of the ENTIRE Agency that HE is the one who signed this client after HE put in all the work, and HE has hired a new copywriter to take on the extra load..... oh and also Roger Sterling will be handing the day-to-day on the Account but they can all rest assured that PETE CAMPBELL will know everything he's doing and be keeping an eye on things.

Roger, for once, has no smug answer or easy comeback. He stands seething, humiliated by being made to look like an afterthought AND a junior figure essentially there to do busywork he reports to Pete. That most (not all) of this is actually true is besides the point. Pete did this as a petty revenge, mad at Roger for his outsized position in spite of providing so little to the company, mad that Roger tried to slide his way into his accounts, mad that Roger SUCCEEDED in getting the Mohawk people to want him, hell even mad at Roger's little powerplay to make them come to his office.

So just like with his father-in-law and Ken, Pete couldn't just let success be its own reward. He punished Roger, and he took great pleasure in doing it, and making sure there was an audience (almost none of whom have any idea what is going on or what significance any of this has to anybody but the two of them) and making sure Roger had to stand there and watch it all happen... and worse still, join everybody in clapping for it.

Pete pops a bottle of champagne as Roger quietly notes to Peggy to forget everything he told her earlier. "Excuse me?" she asks, and Roger nods in Pete's direction, admitting that Pete was the last person HE hired. With that he leaves, followed by Don who immediately guessed what was going on, having been subject to Pete's at times blundering attempts to get one over on him. He and Pete have come to understand and even respect the other more since then, but it's still an obvious and odious little bit of pettiness regardless.

They pop into Don's office, Don pouring them both drinks as Roger seethes over the little bastard dangling Mohawk in his face and then snatching it away: regardless of what Mohawk's owners think, everybody at the Agency will now just assume that Roger is working on behalf of and reporting to Pete. Don admits it was disrespectful, and Roger bemoans that he used to dangle Pete when he was a child, his family obviously having some connection with Pete's as part of the New York elite set.

Most of all though he's tired of having to prove he still has any value to the Agency, a complaint that might be more sympathetic if he wasn't so constantly doing everything he could to avoid actually doing anything. He likens it to hanging onto a ledge by the fingertips while a kid stamps his foot on them. He knocks back his drink and Don hesitates then offers news that might at least put Roger's own woes (being a millionaire whose job is to get drunk with old war buddies, but feels insulted by a Junior Partner being a dick about it) in perspective: Betty has cancer.

That's the first time this episode the word is used, and it immediately brings everything to a halt. Roger forgets his bitching for the moment, stunned, and Don admits he doesn't know for certain, he's still waiting to hear what her test results were. In spite of himself, Roger notes that this would solve everything, but Don doesn't appreciate the joke, nor Roger's attempt at generic platitudes when he sees she's a fighter, Don cocking his head and saying,"Come on..." since they both know that's one thing Betty absolutely isn't.

Roger offers to make a call but Don admits that she may already have the results... and she won't be the one calling him to let him know, that's a call that HE will have to make, and somehow that seems the most galling of all to him: that her plight has affected (and could affect him more) so much but he will have to actively seek out the information rather than it just coming naturally to him.

He ponders the children, wondering what life will be like for them without a mother, admitting that Megan will try her best but that won't be the same. Perhaps he's thinking of the young girl at the Stones concert, his words about adults being worried about younger people equally as relevant in regards to his own children and how to protect them... or accept that he can't. Roger admits that these type of actual life or death decisions are ones he gave up on making a long time ago, and Don points out that this is a decision he can't allow himself to make. Roger's child is fully grown (Don has no idea baby Kevin is also Roger's son), married and moved out. But Sally, Bobby and especially Gene are all still children, still with no many important and pivotal moments to come.

Don's words have had the desired effect though, Roger's own woes don't seem quite so devastating to him now. He makes his exit, and Don finally does what he has been dreading, just like he once did when he knew Anna was dying or dead. He picks up the phone and makes a call.

Henry answers as Bobby races down the stairs and into the dining (some Bobby things remain constant, Betty will probably insist his hands are filthy), taking a moment to brace himself when Don says hello, never enjoying talking to the man who used to be Betty's husband and is still the father of her children. Don hesitantly asks if there has been any news about Betty, and Henry is momentarily surprised, starting to say he didn't know she'd told him until he catches himself and stops. He explains she got the all clear, and a relieved Don says that is great news.

It is, but Henry can't even share this ordinary reaction with Don, simply telling him they're putting supper on the table. Don understands and says he'll let him go, and Henry hangs up. Betty calls out from the kitchen, asking who it is. "Nobody," Henry calls back after a moment, then heads into the dining room himself. It never even occurred to him that she would have told Don, which is kind of crazy, but also she DIDN'T tell him herself that she'd told Don.

That bothers him, far more than any weight gain, because for all that Henry Francis loves Betty and willingly overlooks her flaws as long as he can, one thing that he is painfully aware of is that there is a connection between the two of them, and a fascination Betty still feels for Don, and he hates that almost as much as he loves her. He'd probably like to think he didn't lie when he told Betty that was nobody, because he wishes Don WAS nobody. That's the trouble though, Don isn't, and Henry knows it.

Megan steps into Don's office as he stands pondering the good news. He tells her that Betty is fine and says she's glad to hear it, and he grins and teases that she's an optimist, figuring that she felt Betty was probably going to turn out fine all along.

With a shrug, Megan says Betty just needs to have something to call him about, all but declaring she either made up the tumor or willfully overplayed it as an excuse... while also making it clear that it doesn't particularly bother her. Henry can't stand the idea of Betty and Don sharing private moments, Megan is confident that Don only has eyes for her.

Letting the relief fully take him over now, he suggests taking Megan out to dinner, an offer she gladly accepts, and just like that everything is fine between them.

While Don is taking Megan out to dinner at a nice restaurant, and Roger is drinking to drown his humiliation, and Pete is probably beaming on his train ride home over his victory.... the newest member of SCDP returns home. A dark, small and cramped apartment, an older man sits by lamp near half-closed curtains, reading the paper and lamenting the death of Pete Fox, having to explain to Michael who that is.

This Michael Ginsberg is vastly different to either of the energies he put on display to Peggy. Here is a quiet, softly-spoken and entirely restrained man, speaking respectfully and perhaps with some intimidation to his father as he unloads groceries from the bags on the tiny dining table, mentioning almost in passing that he got the job.

This gets his father's attention. Standing, he declares that rather than eat they should get some girls: an old one and a young one. Michael ignores this suggestion, noting the ingredients he bought home, but his father makes him turn and look at him. The closest Michael gets to one of his little outbursts of energy is to quietly ask what his father is doing, but that question is ignored. Instead he reaches out and takes his son by both sides of the head, and then with obvious pride and love that seemingly both intimidates and embarrasses Michael, begins to recite a prayer.

There is so much we don't know and will surely learn about this character, assuming he sticks around longer than Joey at least. For now we have seen what is probably his realest personality with Peggy, but also him trying to be professional, and now him intimidated and fully locked down. What is it about his father that makes him like this? How much of his over-the-top personality outside of the home is purely a reaction to how buttoned down he is at home? With only three scenes in an episode understandably dominated by Betty's cancer scare and Don's long agonizing wait backstage at the Rolling Stones concert, Michael Ginsberg has somehow stood out as perhaps the most fascinating character in the episode.

In Rye, Sally Draper sits with her mother in the kitchen, the two of them eating ice cream sundaes. Betty has finished hers, but Sally has only gone through a small amount of her own. Betty asks if she doesn't like it, and Sally agrees she does... but she's also full. She asks if she can go watch television and Betty smiles and lets her go, giving her a loving pat on the shoulder as she goes.

This is her attempt to make the best of this second chance, to actually give Sally happy memories of her, to not be remembered as an ogre but a loving mother she shared bonding moments with. Sally, who has no idea of the health scare her mother just had, doesn't see not wanting to finish the sundae and wanting to go watch television as any kind of insult, and Betty knows it isn't and makes a point of not getting upset. Once Sally is gone, that leaves just her and the half-finished sundae.

The outro music of Sixteen Going On Seventeen begins to play leading into the credits, an appropriate song about love and maturity. This episode was directed by Jon Hamm, who doesn't appear to bring any particular flourish or uniqueness in his direction but does a fine job of letting the characters and scenes speak for themselves... sometimes the best thing to do is simply not get in the way.

But there's one final thing to consider before the episode ends. Betty sits alone at the table, one finished sundae in front of her and a half-finished one across from her. She considers it for a moment, then collects it and starts eating. Surely she's thinking it would just be bad to waste it, but she probably has a lot of thoughts like that to justify continual eating to try and fill or satiate the void she feels inside. Because the fact remains, in spite of everything including a fresh new lease on life.... Betty Francis simply isn't happy.

Episode Index

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Allow me to be the first to say:


Mar 9, 2014

Don has a lot of flaws, but his inability to follow a rapidly spoken conversation in a foreign language really is the most unforgivable.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Raymond's ad ideas are just wonderful lmao

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


I'm so glad you finally finally got to Ginsberg. It's incredible how in just his debut alone the guy manages to steal the show completely

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Crespolini posted:

Don has a lot of flaws, but his inability to follow a rapidly spoken conversation in a foreign language really is the most unforgivable.

I mean yeah obviously he's not gonna be fluent, but he could at least learn how to say Je ne comprends pas! Or "Marie.... Anglais? :shobon:"

The Klowner posted:

Raymond's ad ideas are just wonderful lmao

I'm just imagining Ken handling his account and the two of them eagerly tossing terrible, terrible ideas back and forth :laugh:

Blood Nightmaster posted:

I'm so glad you finally finally got to Ginsberg. It's incredible how in just his debut alone the guy manages to steal the show completely

It really is incredible how quickly he just fits in (in that he really doesn't fit in), it still blows me away how he was left alone for a few seconds and manages to befriend and declare his desire for vandalism to Roger, haha.

Yoshi Wins posted:

Allow me to be the first to say:


Hahahaha. It's so weird because while she's not that overweight it really does just look like January Jones regular features inside a slightly larger face, there's a kind of uncanny valley effect there. I assume she's wearing a fat suit and prosthetics?

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

She was pregnant at the time but yes she was wearing some extra prosthetics

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*

Yoshi Wins posted:

Allow me to be the first to say:


The fat Betty saga is interesting because Jerusalem is entirely right: she isn't "fat" for our generation. But as 30 Rock put it best, that kind of overweight doesn't exist on TV. "You need to lose 20 or gain 50."

And I think the house in Rye is beautiful. if the Ossining home was the personification of 50s suburbia, where a new man and new family can grow, Rye is where the old money was. You were not starting new there. And Betty is probably feeling pressure about this as well - which could lead to stress eating.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Yeah... I definitely don't consider it a MAJOR issue, but at the top of the list of minor issues that I have with the show is that Betty's fat makeup looks really weird and bad. Makes perfect sense as a story because they had already firmly established that she had been overweight as a child and her mother drilled into her that being overweight was unacceptable, but man, that makeup doesn't look right.

This episode has one of my favorite lines in the series. I think it's my favorite "overlooked" line, as it doesn't get referenced often. When Roger is leaving Don's office after finding out about Betty possibly having cancer, he asks, "When is everything going to get back to normal?" And you can tell from how he says it that he knows the answer is never. It's very relatable after how insane the last few years have been. Roger actually seems to be developing some self-awareness. He knows the world will never again make as much sense to him as it did when he was young, and he deals with it with a quip to his friend, which is about all you can really do when the world moves on without you.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

gently caress, I had meant to mention that as well because yeah the line really stuck out to me. The truth is that this IS the new normal, and what Roger really means is that he wants things to go back to the way they were.... which ain't happening!

That ties in well with the stuff with Don and the girl at the Stones concert, the clash between young and old, the shifting dynamic in what is acceptable/normal/tolerable etc. Don is standing there watching girls not much older than his daughter smoking pot and trying to talk like adults while really just naively reflecting things they've seen in movies/television, and this kind of behavior would have been absolutely unthinkable to him only a few years ago... but here it is, this is "normal" now.

Jan 2, 2005

the first time i watched the series, I think I instinctively thought Don, no during those scenes, since weve seen the same set-up blow up before

Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Torquemada fucked around with this message at 10:04 on Sep 27, 2021

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

Did I mention how awful Harry is lately? That image of him double-fisting White Castle while complaining about his wife and children to a completely uninterested Don (and failing to read Don's "We're done here" mood) is exceptionally pathetic.

The Klowner posted:

Raymond's ad ideas are just wonderful lmao

Kind of on the topic of normalization, there's something to the fact that every ad pitch Raymond has is trading on some modern trend, yet the way he talks about them demonstrates a clear failing on a fundamental level to understand why these things are happening in the world around him. Student protests are in the news constantly, but instead of actually paying attention to what they're saying/the issues are motivating kids to organize, he just recognizes it as a zeitgeisty visual. You can easily imagine his narrow inner monologue, "Instead of 'no war' or 'civil rights,' wouldn't it be nice if they were protesting for something positive for a change?"

Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:

Jerusalem posted:

Yes, Betty Francis has gotten "fat". In that she has a slight double-chin and her frame is a little thicker than it once was (I assume that like Peggy in season 1, she is wearing a fat suit/prosthetics). It might be what passed for fat in the 1960s, it's certainly "fat" for what Betty has looked like most of her life, but it's also a state of mind.

Yes I remember live watching the show and thinking she had gotten HUGE. But looking at the screen captures now, I realize that she was not all that big and I was probably comparing it to what she looked like in the previous episodes. Perspective is everything.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

JethroMcB posted:

Did I mention how awful Harry is lately? That image of him double-fisting White Castle while complaining about his wife and children to a completely uninterested Don (and failing to read Don's "We're done here" mood) is exceptionally pathetic.

The moment I realized they were actually outside Harry's place and he was just refusing to leave while Don was openly and straight up telling him to gently caress off was a hell of a thing. Then he shows up to work and thinks Don is going to agree with him that they had fun on Saturday! :doh:

JethroMcB posted:

You can easily imagine his narrow inner monologue, "Instead of 'no war' or 'civil rights,' wouldn't it be nice if they were protesting for something positive for a change?"

Yeah this is spot on, he's very earnest but completely ignorant of just how inappropriate (and stupid!) his ideas are. There's a fun mix there of understanding that he needs to freshen up the image of beans while obviously being very, very, very out of touch.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

double fisting hamburgers he bought for his family but then decided to eat entirely on his own to leave them hungry while complaining that they all suck and marriage sucks and he hates going home to the boss whos wife he did a big workplace sexual harassment on, after a night of openly leering at teenage girls.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

That scene in the car with the burgers is hilarious.

"There were twenty of them..."

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*

let the first goon who hasn't downed 20 sliders cast the first stone :colbert:

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Those are good burgers, Walter.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

I could forgive the rest of it* but leaving the trash in your ride's car is a real bush league move

*probably not actually

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

the question isnt whether i could eat 20 sliders, the question is that knowing i could eat 20 sliders, would i only buy 20 or would i buy 40 for the whole family

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

"There were twenty of them" is some incredible loving delivery

Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser

Yoshi Wins posted:

Those are good burgers, Walter.

Youre out of your element Yoshi!

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 4 - Mystery Date
Written by Victor Levin & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Matt Shakman

Joan Harris posted:

That's it.

Don and Megan enter the elevator on the ground floor of the Time Life building, on their way to work, the happy couple. Except Don is sick, obviously sick. Not "I have a slight cold" sick but flushed face, hacking cough, bleary-eyed sick. Megan notes, probably not for the first time since they got up this morning, that he does not look well, and her joke about standing on the other side of the elevator doubles as a not-particularly-subtle doubling-down that he really shouldn't be going to work.

Trying to tough it out, Don acts like everything is fine, even trying some mild flirting somewhat let down by his hacking cough. Before the elevator can go up though a third person enters, and she is delighted to recognize Don when she sees him. Megan's "joke" backfires on her now, as her physical distance from her husband causes the other woman not to pick up on the relationship, and she's immediately - and publicly! - makes the moves on Don, drawing in close to greet him VERY warmly.

Embarrassed and not-a-little nervous, Don is quick to introduce MY WIFE Megan to the other woman, Andrea, who quick gets the message and takes an awkward step back. Now all three have no choice but to stand in this confined space, traveling up together, all Don can manage in the interim to rasp out that she was a freelance writer back in the Sterling Cooper days. Mercifully Andrea reaches her stop first and leaves, and Don immediately tries to ease the tension - always guaranteed to raise the tension! - by insisting that it was just pure coincidence, and the kind of thing that is bound to happen since they have to come into midtown every weekday.

Megan grumpily points out that it sure happens a lot, and that maybe they should go and hang out at some of the places SHE used to work and let him bump into people that she "knew" too. Don tries to make light of it, fighting a swimming head and standing like a dopey idiot when she gives him the cold shoulder.... women eh? You never know when a little thing like a former mistress actively trying to seduce you in an elevator while they stand only a couple of feet away will set them off!

In the Creative Lounge, Peggy is complaining to Michael and Stan about their client only caring about selling that their pantyhose are transparent - presumably this is Topaz? - while Michael types away dutifully and Stan... wears the pantyhose over his head and smokes through them, declaring that he can see just fine. Joyce comes strutting in to join them, a delighted Peggy kissing her on the check while poor Meredith who has followed Joyce all the way from Reception explains that she has to let her announce her before she just comes striding in!

Joyce takes that in typical Joyce fashion, pointing out that Meredith can go ahead and announce her right now! Thankfully Meredith doesn't go that far, while Joyce gleefully pulls out a contact sheet from the envelope she is carrying and informs the others that she has bought them a gift: crime scene photos from a recent massacre of 7 student nurses in Chicago.

Uhh..... what the gently caress Joyce!?!

Stan is immediately up to his feet, pulling the pantyhose up from his face and grabbing the contact sheet and loupe to peer with fascinated revulsion at the images. Peggy is horrified... but also drawn in immediately to look closer herself, even Joyce seemingly mesmerized by the horrifying images of multiple murdered women... with a decidedly unsettling undertone of excitement thrown into the mix for all of them. Only Michael appears to be immune to the appeal, or at least resistant of it, as he grimaces at the thought of what the images contain and pointedly continues to work at his typewriter.

Meanwhile Don has come up with a brilliant and full-proof method for calming Megan down.... he's going to tell her she's overreacting and it's not a big deal! Luckily for Don this absolutely and unequivocally works, as she glares at him and declares,"I'm fine!" so yay, everything is okay! He opens the lobby door for her and after a tighter than usual smile she strides through into Reception and past the deliveryman waiting for the still absent Meredith. Don even tries to make a flirty joke to her as she goes, but still seems troubled after she leaves that maybe... maybe when she said she was fine... she... wasn't!?!

In the Creative Lounge, Peggy is now leering over the contact sheet through the loupe, exclaiming that the corpses look like rag-dolls. Meredith is still there too, sharing the same perverse excited revulsion as she asks with just a bit too much enthusiasm if the women were raped. Joyce admits she doesn't know, but at least a couple of the victims were naked, and she and Stan share tidbits of the crime they read about in the papers. Megan arrives, Joyce eagerly telling her to take a look at the photos but Stan having Peggy hand them over to Michael first. Don, still trying to figure out if Megan is angry at him or not, coughs through saying,"I'll see you later," and Michael enthusiastically assumes Don means him and loudly calls out that he'll see him later too.

A confused Don leaves, while Michael almost unconsciously takes a look at the contact sheet, gets wide-eyed with shock at what he is seeing and passes them over to an all-too-eager Megan. As she stares with the same fascination that overtook the others, Joyce excitedly tells her to look at one particularly grisly one on the bottom row. She explains that she's positive this story will make the front cover of Time magazine and NOT the recent riots, since there have already been a bunch of those (yep, literal race riots reduced to being too boring by the media because there are so many, as if that alone isn't a story) and she is sure her editor will find a "tasteful" way to show the murder victims.

Michael can't take it anymore. He snaps at them all to put the sheet away, complaining that he wishes he'd never looked, outraged that they're laughing at what they're seeing. They take offense to that, proclaiming they weren't laughing (they weren't, but they were close to it, perhaps purely from the shocked reaction) but he points out that regardless they're clearly excited by what they're seeing, and he can't understand that: it's a human being trussed up like cuts of meat.

Joyce takes it too far, expanding that it was actually 8 victims, but there were 9 women and one escaped, Stan explaining that she hid under the bed and the killer simply lost count... actually sounding admiring of the fact the killer found himself in such a position. Breathlessly, Joyce puts on a seductive tone to pretend to be the survivor ready to recount her tale, and Michael is having none of it. Collecting his typewriter, he accuses them all of being sickos and storms out. Peggy calls after him but he doesn't response, and only now does Joyce really seem to have it hit home that holy poo poo she's been a total piece of poo poo. Peggy seems to realize it too, muttering quietly that Michael is right. They got too caught up in the shock and the adrenaline hit, the taboo nature of what they're seeing, the rush of it NOT being them, something dangerous and threatening to be viewed from safety. Their fascination is revolting, but also sadly not surprising. They were far from the only people in 1966 (and for a long time afterwards) to be morbidly fascinated by this Chicago massacre.

At the Harris residence, Joan is in a race to make everything perfect as, of course, nothing goes right. Her cake hasn't set, she isn't fully dressed, they don't have any beer. Her mother asks for money to go to the bakery to pick something up instead and Joan asks her to pick up some Schaefer beer, because that's what Greg likes.... and thus we learn the reason for all this rushing about : Greg's tour of duty is finally over, he has returned to America and will soon be home at last. He made it through Vietnam and back despite Joan's worst fears, and now life can finally go back to the way it is supposed to be.

Gail says they don't have time if she also wants her to get the baby out before noon. Joan is confused, Greg is going to want to see his son more than he wants to see her, but Gail insists that this may be what men say but it isn't what they actually want. After a year away, the moment he sets eyes on her he won't be thinking about anything else.

If she'd left it there it would be fine, but she can't help herself. She points out that they have no idea of the things that Greg will have seen and done things over there, and an amused Joan reminds her he wasn't in combat, he would have seen the same things there he saw working a hospital in New York. But that's not what she means, because who knows WHO he has seen and done? Now Joan is pissed, snapping at him not to talk about men in general when she's really talking about Joan's father. Realizing she has gone too far, Gail salvages things a little by elaborating that even if he hasn't seen another woman (even now she can't fully walk back the idea of infidelity) he isn't using to LISTENING to a woman, it's been all men over there for a year, and he's going to take time to settle back. She needs to provide a little hole for him to put him arm through and help him fully work his way back into a normal life.

On that, Joan can agree, and explains that THIS is why she wants the first thing he sees to be his son. Gail can understand and accept that, agreeing that her daughter is right, but asking if she REALLY wants her to go buy a cake given how long it will take her to get ready to go out? Joan warmly and kindly asks her mother to please do so, perhaps appreciating the peace it will give her to be alone for at least a little while more than anything else.

In Don's office, he's lying on the couch looking even worse than before when Dawn buzzes through to let him know his daughter is on the line. Don picks up, but the first thing he asks after saying hello is,"What's wrong?" because, sadly, he knows she's only likely to have called him if there was a problem she wanted to tell him about. Indeed there is, Sally upset that "Grandma Pauline" is STILL in the house and she hates her. Don's advice to that is simple... stay out of Grandma Pauline's way! After all, her mother will be back on Friday morning.

The problem with that is that it IS Friday morning, and it turns out Betty and Henry were unable to get a flight (the Mechanics Strike discussed in the last episode) and are being driven home, but won't arrive until tomorrow. Don grunts that he would have thought Henry could get a flight, and Sally agrees, sarcastically pointing out that he's soooooooooo important, revealing a disdain for her stepfather she's never really expressed before. She also bitterly complains that they've been calling Bobby every night at sleep-away camp, saying they might call her if she peed her pants at night, and Don warns her that isn't nice.

She's already onto the next complaint though, a weary Don listening to her complain about Grandma Pauline wearing too much perfume, about how she won't let Sally watch television ALL DAY even though Betty lets her. Don seems less than convinced of this claim, and Sally grunts that she's on vacation, as if Don of all people should understand this desire to just stop doing anything after a hard day, equating going to school with the pressures of working a job. Don points out she SHOULD be playing outside, and when she complains about how she tried that but the sun was too hot he can't resist getting in a dig of his own, saying he doesn't want her getting rickets in "that haunted mansion".

Stan and Michael arrive to give their planned presentation as Don tells her to stop complaining and that he'll see her next weekend. He starts to cough and an alarmed Sally seizes on that, asking with near panic how he is feeling. Not because she is worried or scared about his health, but because right now she is desperately in need of SOMEBODY to vent to, and her father is the only person she could think of who would be willing and even understand her problems. He explains he has a cold but that hearing her voice made him feel better, but when she asks if she could come and stay with him now instead of waiting a week he forcefully tells her no and not to ask again. Realizing she's reached the end of the her rope, she says goodbye, and Don hangs up and immediately shifts into a new mode of thinking, while Sally is left alone in that moody old mausoleum with the perfume stinking mother of her step-father.

Don is ready for Michael to present, though he hacks and coughs for a bit first, leading to Michael being the first person aside from Megan to ask if he is feeling well (that we've seen, I'll assume Dawn did ask after him). He insists he is great, and Michael launches into his vision of how the pitch will go, getting in a little dig at Ken Cosgrove on the way. The entire premise is a woman wearing shoes at a party, and another woman asking (not cattily!) where she got them, leading to - of course - long lingering shots of her legs. It seems this is a footwear company, not a pantyhose client (so not Topaz), and Don cuts off Michael after a bad joke about getting to come to ogle the women at the casting call with another heavy bout of coughing, then declares he has heard enough. He wasn't all that fussed about the content of the presentation, he just wanted to hear Michael's pitching voice to make sure it wasn't as annoying as his everyday regular voice.

Michael, feelings clearly hurt and obviously self-conscious about his accent, points out that they ALL have regional accents, including Don himself. Don doesn't care about his hurt feelings though (or bother to respond to his concerned note that maybe his coughing is tuberculosis!) asking what happened to the original Cinderella idea (so it's REALLY not Topaz!) and Stan having to remind him that Don himself vetoed that as a concept, saying it was a cliche. Still, Don obviously figures (NOW, not earlier when he vetoed the idea!) that the fairy-tale angle is still ripe for something, maybe Sleeping Beauty or Snow White? Stan, perhaps thinking about those murders some more, mentions that these stories are really more closely akin to necrophilia and Don stops him right there, needlessly warning them NOT to bring that up at the pitch.

Speaking of fairy-tales, at the Harris residence it's finally time for it to REALLY be the Harris residence again. Barely able to contain her excitement, Joan opens the door and there he is... her perfect husband. Tall, attractive, a surgeon, and now all squared away in a military officer's uniform that makes him look even more like Prince Charming, he's finally home. She gasps, he smiles, and then they're kissing, Joan raising a leg and just for one beautiful moment letting all the stress and tension she's been dealing with fade away.

Gail gets their attention, saying somebody wants to say hello, and just as Joan claimed the moment he sees "his" son, Greg instantly has eyes for nobody else, moving past Joan (gently at least) and stepping up to take the boy in his arms for the first time: as far as he will ever know, this is HIS son, a child he didn't even know Joan was pregnant with when he left (because she wasn't!), in his arms at last. Joan, beaming, collects his luggage over his protests that he should get them, noting he has his arms full.

She joins him at his side, beaming down at Kevin, and a thrilled Greg tells Gail to fetch the Brownie, wanting a photo of the three of them together at last. Gail sees the chance to strike, "remembering" that they're out of film and suggesting she take Kevin and go out to pick some up so that Greg and Joan can "visit" awhile. Assuring Joan that she has everything she needs when Joan points out she might need to be gone awhile, Gail makes a point of telling Greg he ALSO has everything he needs. She leaves, and a euphoric Joan leads a more than willing Greg into the bedroom after too long an absence.

In the SCDP kitchen, Don is hunting through the cupboards when Megan joins him. He explains he is looking for aspirin, admitting he's too embarrassed to ask Dawn to find him more because he's already been through a bottle since he arrived at work (I hope to God that's an exaggeration). Megan chuckles that her husband is an aspirin addict, fetching a bottle from a drawer because OF COURSE she knows where they keep the aspirin, while Don was helplessly lost finding a staple of every office.

She seems to have relaxed a little since the awkwardness of the morning though, even touching her forehead and murmuring that he's too hot and declaring that she is sending him home. So Don chooses now to talk about an issue she'd really rather not cover, which is ill-timed but... you know, at least he's willing to talk to his wife about difficult things now! That's progress! He apologizes for what happened, pouring himself water from the tap and staring with disbelief at the disgusting color (an apparently extremely common problem in New York for decades) before needlessly explaining that his affair with Andrea was a long time ago and he was unhappy.

"Because you were married," she notes dangerously, and for a second it looks like things are going to go south again, but then she sighs and admits that it's more than she found the situation embarrassing. This confuses Don, and he says the worst thing possible, asking with complete baffled sincerity why should SHE feel embarrassed? She can't believe he'd say that, that he'd actually be genuinely ignorant of why she might react so poorly to meeting a woman he cheated on his former wife with... because she's his CURRENT wife!

Obviously doing her best to keep from being angry or too upset, she admits that she just finds it troubling after Allison and Faye and who knows how many other women. It doesn't matter that Don was divorced when he was with them, because she worries about his "careless" appetite, pointing out that it isn't something he can solely blame on Betty. But Don still has some of that old charm in him, even when extremely sick. He points out that he married her and intends to be with her and only her until the day he dies... then jokes that given how he feels that might be this afternoon, does she REALLY want his last hours on Earth to be fighting?

Charmed in spite of herself, she laughs and again tells him to go home and rest, but for once he intends to attend a meeting, noting that if he attends this one it basically allows him to escape having to be in the next two. She takes his hand, telling him to at least lie down, and watches him slowly stagger his way back towards his office. It's with a loving look though, her poor sick husband who she only wants the best for. This morning's incident was mortifying, but she's ready to move on from it now... hey, turns out talking to your wife about problems actually helps resolve them!

At stately Francis Manor, a bored Sally sits at the table not eating, Gene in the chair opposite, Grandma Pauline at the head of the table reading a newspaper and absentmindedly instructing Sally to eat her sandwich despite Sally claiming not to be hungry. Pauline has other things on her mind, showing the same fascinated revulsion as those at SCDP as she reads the lurid account of the Chicago massacre that has easily knocked the riots off the front page. THAT interests Sally, what has gotten this reaction from Pauline? She tries to sneak a peek when Pauline refuses to tell her what happened, and so Pauline slaps her hand away from the newspaper.

She informs her that some things aren't for children, but when Sally pouts that she hurt her hand, she feels instant regret, perhaps remembering her own reaction to Betty giving Sally a smack at Thanksgiving. She does apologize, saying it was wrong to do it, but points out that Sally has to respect the rules even if they're different from her mother's. Sally grunts that her mother doesn't have any rules, an idea Pauline scoffs at having probably heard it from multiple children across the years... but her own low opinion of Betty makes her second-guess that too, simply adding that maybe Betty is distracted but she's sure she'd be upset to see Sally acting like this.

The problem is the relish, Sally refuses to eat the tuna salad sandwich she requested in the first place because it has relish in it, and Pauline makes no bones about the fact that she hasn't even taken a bite to see how it tastes, and she IS going to eat it and she will NOT be leaving the table until she does so, even if that takes all day. Satisfied that she has enforced some discipline on what she sees as an unruly child, she goes back to reading the New York Post as Sally grumpily eats her sandwich. However, in doing so, Pauline unthinkingly allows the front page headline to be seen by Sally who of course finds herself fascinated by the headline NATION HUNTS MASS KILLER.

An EXTREMELY satisfied Joan emerges from the bedroom after the most restful nap she's had in a long time, Greg sitting at the table with Gail who is holding Kevin. Greg looks like the cat who got the cream, making himself a bologna sandwich and explaining with great relish that while it was possible to get steak in Vietnam like Joan was going to make him for lunch today, he couldn't get a simple thing like bologna. So he's going to enjoy that now, then go fancy and have veal tonight with his parents.

Gail mentions they were discussing the riots, and in a wonderful little moment Greg quietly notes that there were plenty of "Negroes" fighting in Vietnam and they were all fighting bravely. I say it's a wonderful little moment because it gives us an immediate insight into HOW the conversation was probably going before Joan arrived, with Gail likely having all kinds of very, very horrible things to say about black people. Greg, hardly a paragon of virtue, isn't a one-dimensional character: despite all his many flaws, he clearly understands that black people are... well... people! Whether that's purely as a result of getting exposed to more black people than he normally would have due to serving in Vietnam, or just a mindset he's long held, doesn't really matter, it's a reminder that people are complicated and rarely ever (excuse the pun) black and white.

Joan turns the conversation to more pleasant matters, joking that there should be a rule that Greg has to wear his uniform all the time. When he asks Gail if she'd kindly go and buy more beer she eagerly agrees, taking Kevin with her, both her and Joan assuming that Greg is eager for a round 2 in the bedroom with Joan. Rather though, it's Joan's uniform comment that has him thinking, and he asks her to join him so he can tell her something. Assuming the worst, that he's about to admit to infidelity, she tells him openly that if he thinks he needs to confess something then he doesn't, essentially giving him a free pass for anything he might have done overseas (to be fair, SHE slept with somebody else while he was gone) though warning him that he really shouldn't be holding her hand if that is what he means to tell her.

He's surprised and amused, only just now realizing what she was thinking. Sadly though, what he has to tell her is far more upsetting: he's not done in Vietnam, he has to return for another tour. She's shocked, she knew he had to finish up another 40 days there but then it was supposed to be one more year of service in America at Fort Dix. Plans changed, he says gently but with finality, holding her hand to his cheek, explaining that there is nothing that can be done but promising her that things aren't anywhere near as bad in Vietnam as the press is making them out to be (they were worse) and insisting that nobody from the Government is lying (they were) when Joan angrily denounces them.

Having dumped this poo poo in her soup, he now wants her to eat it (there's the old Greg!), reminding her that they only have 10 days left together before he needs to go back, and he wants to store up as much of her as possible. Now Joan finds herself in an impossible situation: she's furious and upset and overwhelmed.... but he's hit her with the hard time limit, putting her in a position where she has to swallow her anger and horror and put on a brave face for HIS benefit. Once again the long-awaited for perfection she has been holding out for has been snatched away at the last second.

Meanwhile at the pitch meeting, Michael is hitting Butler Shoes with the tired "You can come to casting!" joke he tried on Don earlier, but this time the line is a hit, the clients finding great amusement in the acknowledgement that they use casting calls as an excuse to leer at women. Don allows himself a chuckle this time in a show of solidarity with his copywriter, and declares that his boys have done a good job.... so what do the clients think? The head man is Mr. Butler himself, who pushes for a woman who appears European, preferably French, to be the actress, then declares that he's sold.. and just like that, it's done. Last year SCDP were scrambling to get clients to at least hear them out, offering discounts, frantic to at least get in the room. It's a clear sign of their return to form that they've confidently hit a home run on this first pitch and the client hasn't hesitated to give them the green light to go-ahead.

Butler himself is very impressed, approaching Michael as he collects Stan's artwork and telling him how impressed he was, clearly Michael understands women. Michael chuckles that he hasn't heard anytbody say this about him before, but Butler isn't joking around, saying that the pitch has really gotten inside how (a man thinks) a woman thinks. Michael admits that in reality women confuse him, and because he's Michael Ginsberg he can't stop talking, a shocked Don watching in disbelief as he starts musing on the weirdness of the Cinderella story and admits they were initially going to pitch something like that but thought it was too dark. Butler is immediately intrigued, his colleague admitting they were kind of hoping for something like that, and Michael shakes his head and insists they don't want that... so of course now they want it more!

Michael riffs on his idea, the type of thing he might do with Peggy while hanging out in the Creative Lounge, the type of thing Peggy herself did with Don while a gaping Paul Kinsey watched on. Painting a picture, he describes a woman running for her life through dark streets, pursued by a mystery figure, hiding in an alley and suddenly finding herself face-to-face with him.... but in the moment he's handsome, offering her the shoe she lost, and that's (what men think is) the secret to women: they WANT to be caught.

"Why don't we do that?" says a stunned Butler after a moment, and just like that Michael Ginsberg has successfully pitched an advertising idea... at the expense of another pitch they already got approval for!

Shortly after at a bar, a perplexed Don is finally seeing what had Peggy so nervous about Michael, complaining"The man said sold!" and getting further flustered when Michael just casually dismisses his anger by telling him that HE wanted Cinderella! Don insists he didn't (he did!) and Michael doubles down further by happily declaring without a hint of sarcasm or malice that Don only thought it was a cliche because he figured they wouldn't like it... but in his heart he really DID want a Cinderella pitch!

Ken wisely keeps his mouth shut and drinks his beer, while Don puts on his best,"I am being disturbingly calm to demonstrate just how angry I am" voice and warns Michael to mentally amend an "or else" to every statement Don is about to make: he can never do that again, he must run ideas like the one he had with Butler through Don first.... and he really, really, really can never do that again! He leaves to make a call, and for anybody else in the Mad Men universe the recipient of this terrifyingly calm dressing down would be a massive adrenaline dump and vast relief at not being fired. Michael? He just smiles and notes with admiration to Ken that Don is a really decent guy! Ken, stunned himself, explains that Michael just came perilously close to being fired, and Michael... shakes his head and declares with perfect sincerity that he doesn't think Ken is right about that.

Somebody is going to murder this man.

Don's call is to Megan, who is hanging out in his office and happily explains she is keeping his chair warm. She asks how the pitch went and he says it is good, and that he'll be back to pick her up and take her home in about an hour. Instead Megan suggests not for the first time that he just go home, and now that his work is done he takes this suggestion with vast relief, asking if she really is fine with him not coming back to get her first. She has work of her own to do, saying she'll be done in a couple of hours, though she does admonish him not to smoke. He hangs up, happy to finally be done with this terrible day... and finishes his cigarette, because of COURSE he was still smoking despite his terrible cough.

FINALLY Don arrives home, and now he can just collapse. He manages to get his shoes and jacket off and his shirt untucked, but lacks the energy to take any more of his clothes off than that. Instead he just falls onto the bed, managing to get onto his back, and finally gets the blessed relief of no longer having anything to do and an entire weekend to recuperate.

At SCDP, most everybody else is also wrapping up for the day. Pete Campbell pops his head into Roger Sterling's office, finding the room dark and Roger lying on his recliner (wow, there positions REALLY have reversed since the Sterling Cooper days). Pete seems to take some pleasure in reporting that Mohawk thinks that LBJ is too scared to force the mechanics into arbitration in case it costs him labor votes in the midterm elections. Both he and Roger know this is good news, it means the strike will stretch out at least a couple more weeks, and in the meantime Mohawk is going to be able to soak up all the business the bigger airlines are losing out on.

As a result though, Mohawk would like to get an update on the campaign on Monday morning, nothing overly formal, a simple phone-call will suffice. Roger is fine with that, relaxed as can be laying without a care in the world, saying the campaign is good to go. Pete nods, Roger wishes him a good weekend, and the moment Pete has gone and closed the door behind him, Roger immediately sits and hisses,"drat it!"

Yes, it appears that Roger, who has ONE client he has to deal with, hasn't actually bothered to prepare a campaign for them yet! Rather than admit this to Pete though, he sneaks around the office waiting for Pete to leave, then races to Peggy and Stan's office to try and find Michael Ginsberg, the man that HE insisted be hired to do dedicated work on Mohawk. What he finds is Stan and Peggy giggling over the news they got from Ken that Michael just completely lost his mind and pitched a whole other idea to the one agreed on. Stan is packing to go, Peggy is settled back enjoying a relaxing drink on a late Friday afternoon, both already in the weekend mindset and far more relaxed than usual.

Roger, who normally perpetually lives in that state, is for once the agitated and tense person, asking if Michael is coming back, desperate to find him. Stan sarcastically remarks that he is going to go find him by looking first in the whole world and then narrow it down to his (Stan's) apartment, heading out the door as Roger can only helplessly watch, his last ditch chance to save his rear end seemingly out the door.

Except... Peggy's still there!

Twisting around, he closes the door and asks what she is doing tonight, and with uncharacteristic nerve aided by her boozing, she jokingly responds a faux-flirty tone that she doesn't know, what are HIS plans? Roger's in no mood for this though, snapping at her to get her feet off the desk, asking if she's drunk (in the kitchen a pot is calling a kettle black) before explaining that he needs her to work something up for Mohawk. She takes some pleasure in reminding him that for Mohawk, Ginsberg is the "man" he wanted, and Roger can't take it anymore, jumping right to the one thing that has always worked for him: money. Fishing $10 out of his pocket, he asks her to come up with a campaign for Monday... and also to tell both Michael and Pete on Monday that he asked her to do it.... last week. Technically not a lie, just very, very much on the borderline of the truth.

Peggy is confused but hey, $10 is $10! So she just needs the brief. Except... Roger doesn't have one. Well then, did Michael have the brief? No he didn't, Roger manages through gritted teeth before finally giving up all pretense and admitting that he never actually told Ginsberg that he needed to be working on something Mohawk related this week. Belatedly realizing that Peggy has no reason to be up to speed on anything Mohawk related either, he asks if she's aware of the mechanics strike, explaining that Mohawk's mechanics have a side deal that meant they couldn't strike, sourly pointing out that they'll love the overtime when Peggy notes how much that must be rankling them. American Airlines is also exempt, snatching up most of the big routes that are now in need of replacement services, but they can't cover it all so they've happily left the Northeastern Corridor to Mohawk to have all to itself.

Still buzzed, Peggy teases ideas playing up the strike and the picket lines, an irritated Roger grumpily reminding "Trotsky" that she's in advertising. There is an idea he has for her to work with though, explaining it was Pete's idea before stopping and correcting it to say,"I had an idea", trying to at least create the impression he and Pete were working together even though he's obviously done NOTHING with this account he only has because Mohawk's CEO likes drinking with him. The idea is that in tough times or emergencies, it's great to know you can rely on Mohawk to get you where you need to go. Peggy is immediately in critique mode, noting that you avoid words like emergency when dealing with airlines. Roger has done his part though (not even the bare minimum!) and tells her to just have something by Monday, and prepares to go.

And that's when it happens.

Peggy calls him to a halt, emboldened by the booze to point out that he's asking her to work up an entire corporate image campaign... for $10!?! Trying to stamp his (increasingly laughable sense of) authority, he reminds her he is her boss and could make her do it for nothing, and she admits that yes okay the work is only worth $10 (it's worth way more than that!).... but the lie is extra. Roger can't help but be engaged now, in spite of his desperation, there's always fun to be had in enforcing your will in a negotiation, so he tries a variation on what he pulled off with Harry, asking how much she makes in a week.
The problem is... Peggy ain't Harry! She's far more savvy, and actually smirks as she notes that he doesn't know how much she makes... which means SHE has the advantage. "I could fire you," Roger tries to threaten, but Peggy knows she has him over a barrel, and agrees he could.... he can go look through the portfolios in Joan's office for a replacement, maybe he can even find one tonight!

He drops his head in defeat, Peggy holds all the cards and they both know it. "Why are you doing this to me?" he pouts like a child, and Peggy takes an immense satisfaction in explaining that she's doing it because he's being VERY demanding for somebody who has no other choice. He needs her, she doesn't need him, and so he ends up going back to his first ploy, though this time reluctantly: money. Reaching into his pocket, he asks how much she wants, and Peggy wisely doesn't give a number but simply asks how much he has. He counts it out, $400, roughly a third of what he paid Harry but still far more than she could usually hope for, and she makes no bones about demanding he give her ALL of it. "Jesus!" he exclaims, but does as he's told, and when he complains that her work had better be worth it she cheekily asks if he wants her to take his watch too.

Utterly, completely and totally defeated, all he can do is fetch his things and leave, saying hello and goodbye to Megan as she pops her head in the door. Megan says she's leaving and asks if Peggy is too, but a happy Peggy - who has hidden the money away - says she'll be sticking around since "something came up", but she can let the secretary Patricia know she can go. Megan leaves, and now Peggy is left sitting alone in her office, half drunk and ALL happy, beaming over the $400 she just negotiated away from Roger Sterling by sheer force of will. It is a magnificent scene, another example of how truly far Peggy has come since season 1 when she would never have dreamed of doing anything but immediately and enthusiastically agreeing to do anything she was told to do.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Don is woken from his miserable slumber by the doorbell ringing. At some point he managed get his shirt and tie off, but otherwise he's still mostly dressed, and he stumbles to the door and looks through the peephole to see who is bothering him as he tries to sleep his way through his illness. For a second he forgets all about that though when he sees who is on the other side. Opening the door, horrified, he pulls Andrea in before anybody can see her, demanding to know what she's doing here.

That's... a very good question!

Bizarrely showing the exact same flirty body language and tone of voice, she giggles that they didn't get to finish talking earlier this morning. When he demands to know how she even got into the building (more to the point, how the gently caress did she know where he lived?) she oozes that she has a way with doormen, still piling it on thick even as she acknowledges that he looks unwell. That's an understatement, but it's also still far from his mind as he warns her she can either take the steps or go over the balcony, because if Megan - who he pointedly calls "my wife" - finds her then she'll wish she had.

Andrea seems puzzled that Don isn't excited or grateful that she just showed up uninvited to his door expecting sex (yeah, who does she think she is? A man!?!), but since it's clear he doesn't want anything to do with her, she pouts that she'll take the stairs. Don thinks better of this now, what if she meets Megan going out that way? Instead he takes her into the kitchen and through the door there that leads into the service elevator. She grins that he shouldn't be upset or think their prior encounter was a mistake, it was "just" sex after all. He apologizes (!) for booting her out of his house when she showed up uninvited wanting him to cheat on his wife, closing the door (he doesn't lock it, but it also wasn't locked in the first place, that's... insane!) relieved to have escaped this bizarre turn of events.

He returns to the bed... or... kind of. We see him ON the bed, looking in the direction of the doorway, then sliding back around and dropping his head back down. Did... any of that actually happen? Was this a fever dream? That would make more sense than this woman he had an affair with years earlier spotting him randomly on the elevator, tracking down his home address, talking her way into the building and expecting him to eagerly have sex with her when she shows up uninvited.

At Chateau de Francis, a bored Sally is very much not watching the television as an advertisement for Mystery Date plays. What's more interesting, or at least fascinating, to her is the subject of Grandma Pauline's phone conversation. With that same disturbing underlying air of excitement, Pauline is discussing the tragedy of the Chicago massacre, talking with just a bit too much thrill in her voice about the poor girl lying under the bed watching as the killer returned 8 times to drag each of the other victims to their deaths.

Realizing that Sally is eavesdropping, Pauline loudly informs the person on the other end that as much as she'd like to attend the event she has been invited to, she can't go anywhere until "they" (Henry and Betty) come "waltzing" through the door. She hangs up, and instructs Sally to go take out the trash. Sally of course tries to find a reason to delay, so Pauline picks up the remote and turns off the television that Sally wasn't really watching and tells her she can do it now or she can go to her room and watch the sun set from up there.... the saddest thing in the world.

"How old are you?" asks Sally witheringly, which is probably the cruelest response she can think of. Pauline, who has raised children AND grandchildren long before Sally came along, sweetly responds that this is a secret women keep to themselves. So Sally tries another tack, aiming for sympathy/solidarity, asking Pauline if HER mother was strict with her. Not at all, Pauline admits, but happily declares that her father was AND she is a better person for it. Feeling all the despair and misery of being THE MOST UNFAIRLY TREATED PERSON IN THE WORLD that all small children feel at some point, Sally complains that she's not the bad person Pauline thinks she is.

Pauline is quick to agree that she doesn't think she is a bad person... but that she does need some discipline. She then tells a horrifying story about being a little girl and getting kicked across the room by her father for no reason as a lesson that bad things can happen even if you don't deserve them. Sally is quite rightfully revolted at this, saying that isn't fair, and Pauline agrees that it wasn't.... but it WAS a good lesson.

Jesus Christ, lady.

Greg and Joan have dinner at a small restaurant with Greg's parents and Gail, who is gently rocky a sleeping Kevin on one shoulder. Greg jokes to his father that when in doubt you go with the most expensive option, but all his father can manage is a tight smile, while his mother - seething - grits out that she doesn't want any wine. Greg isn't happy about this, asking everybody to cheer up: they're all together, he has a baby boy, this is an expensive restaurant... he wants this to be a good memory. Gail smiles, as always happy to see Greg beaming over her grandson who she places in his pram now as the waiter arrives to take their drink orders. Joan is having the gin fizz and Greg insists everybody else is having wine despite his mother's earlier statement, but he says the waiter will need to give him a moment to decide.

He's distracted from his choice though when another uniformed soldier approaches the table and gives him a salute. Greg acknowledges and returns the salute, telling the soldier to enjoy himself and explaining to the others as he leaves that he's from the First Armored Division at Fort Hood. The waiter, mindful of a full restaurant and many additional tables, asks if Greg would like him to come back, and testily Greg replies that instead of leaving he could recommend him something. As the rest of the table uncomfortably watches, Greg continues to dress the waiter down, asking if that little slow of respect is slowing him down, pointing out that a lot of kids the waiter's age would be thrilled to be waiting tables tonight rather than waging war in a country many of them had never heard of before.

Oh. He's one of THOSE soldiers.

The waiter apologizes, pointing out a drink on the menu and noting it is very good, and Greg accepts this recommendation and finally releases the poor bastard. Remember this is 1966, Vietnam was in full force and so were the counter-protests, but America wasn't quite over the automatic hero worship that military service engendered in the minds of much of the population (something that would come back into full force at the start of the 21st Century after 9/11 and "Our troops!" became a thing again). Greg right now can walk around proudly wearing that uniform, getting saluted, expecting preferential treatment wherever he goes by pure virtue of being in the Army. Things might be very different for him a year from now.

But now is now (or rather, 1966), so with some satisfaction he returns to reviewing the food menu... and his mother has finally had enough. Outraged, she says she can't put up with the charade any longer, her husband clearly wishing they could have avoided this, as she points out that everybody else is trying to come home and here he is going back for another year.

Joan comes to Greg's rescue, telling her mother-in-law (Ruth) that Greg is facing this with great bravery, and that she is very proud of him. Greg is happy to hear that support from his wife, and tries to guilt his mother by reminding her that HER grandson is at the table too. Gail though sees a chance to chime in, asking Greg's father - Joe - if he couldn't write his Congressman? After all he was in the service too, his words will have some impact. Ruth sneers at that though, not because she doesn't merit her husband, but because she doesn't think a congressman would be able to talk Greg out of going back.

Wait... what?

Joan is equally confused, Greg declaring he putting a moratorium on this conversation or they can all just go home. But Ruth's jaw has dropped, fresh horror in her eyes as she realizes that Greg hasn't told Joan the full story. "Of course not!" she sneers at her son, and Joan - no fool - has quickly put 2-and-2 together, asking Greg flat out despite his earlier authoritative declaration that they drop it... was going back to Vietnam for another year HIS choice?

"They need me," he responds at last, face hard. Right at that moment, an accordion player steps up to the table completely failing to read the mood and begins playing, the entire table awkwardly sitting with another steaming pile of Greg's bullshit in front of them. Joan manages to pull out a cigarette and Greg lights it for her, him trying to pretend everything is normal, Ruth miserable, Joe pained, Joan stunned and Gail.... well poor Gail makes a terrible effort to lighten the mood by cheerfully declaring that Joan plays the accordion too!

At SCDP, Peggy is working at earning her $400, having also gone through most of a bottle of Jameson as she types away at ideas. Her happy time suddenly gets upended though when she hears a loud thump from somewhere in what should be an empty office floor. Collecting her things, she heads nervously out into the corridor, thoughts of the Chicago Massacre running through her head, the notion that the killer (or a copycat) has come to New York and broken into the Time Life Building and gotten up to the floor and through the locked lobby and reception doors to stalk her, somehow knowing that she would be alone in there.

She calls out a nervous hello, approaching Don's office, either because she thinks that is where the sound came from or she is hoping it will turn out to be Don returning to old form and working one of his drunken late nights again. She does find somebody in there, but it's not Don Draper or a knife-welding killer, it's Dawn! She leaps up from the touch, throwing off the blanket she had over her with a screech, Peggy yelping just as loud in her own fright before each realizes who the other is.

Dawn is horrified, clearly terrified at being caught, and when Peggy asks the reasonable question of what she's doing there all she can offer is that she fell asleep. Relieved that it was only Dawn and not a murderer, Peggy catches her breath and tells her it is time to leave, and when Dawn exhibits reluctance and says she can't catch a cab, Peggy can't help but grin and gesture at her purse when she offers to get her a cab since for once she has plenty of money... admitting at last that more than anything she just doesn't want to have to leave the building by herself.

But while Dawn is scared, she's also no fool, and points out that even in the unlikely event that a New York cab picked a black woman up, they wouldn't take her past 96th Street. Now Peggy is getting a little irritated, perhaps because she suspects Dawn is hiding something, maybe because she doesn't like that Dawn turned down her kind offer, so she tells her to take the subway. Dawn won't do that either, explaining her brother won't let her because of everything that is going on in Chicago.

Peggy actually laughs at this, pointing out that Dawn isn't a nurse (because of course the killer would only kill nurses, right!)... and now Dawn doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. Belatedly, Peggy remembers that, oh yeah, there are riots happening in Chicago! Turns out just because the media is bored of covering them doesn't mean that the people most closely affected by them are similarly able to just casually move on. Peggy asks if there was a riot in Harlem and Dawn explains there was a "thing" in Bed-Stuy, and there are a lot of police around: Peggy at least acknowledges that a lot of police being around doesn't make things safer, something Dawn would sadly know all too well.

With just a hint too much pride, Peggy explains her boyfriend is currently covering the riots in Chicago, as if that in turn makes her more enlightened or somehow closer to understanding Dawn's experience. But her next offer is completely genuine, asking Dawn to come spend the night at her place rather than in the office. Dawn, at once nervous and proud and terrified of repercussions that are not her fault, insists that she's stayed the night in the office before and been fine, but Peggy insists, and again with complete sincerity: she stands in solidarity with Dawn, because even though she will never truly understand what it means to be black in 1960s America, she's all too aware of the dangers and tribulations of being a woman in 1960s America.

Don suffers through a restless and shallow feverish sleep, soothed when he feels a smooth and cool hand rest against his forehead and another on his chest. "You're home," he mumbles gratefully, but the voice that responds is not Megan's. Opening his eyes, he's shocked to see Andrea there in the bed with him, that little grin on her face, telling him she was worried about him, that she got back in because he left the back door open.

Yeah okay this is just straight up a fever dream. Either that or the show has completely jumped the shark and become badly written all of a sudden 5 seasons in.

He begs her to leave him alone but she insists that she knows and feels that he wants her, that she can't. She reminds him of the time he had her in loading dock of the Lincoln Center while Betty was unknowingly waiting inside for him, and this horrific memory somehow spurs his passion and he's suddenly all over her, unzipping her dress, kissing her, rolling her over onto her back, his fever seemingly forgotten.

Yeah, it's a fever dream. She's a mixture of his desire for infidelity and fear (and loathing for himself) of said desire. It's uhhh... it's pretty on the nose. Like, painfully so. Not as bad writing as if Andrea was real, but man this is not a particularly subtle way of demonstrating this, even if fever dreams do get pretty out there.

While a sick Don is imagining banging an old mistress, way away in Rye his daughter is also indulging in a perverse fascination for something she knows isn't good for her. When she took out the trash for Pauline she must have spotted the newspaper inside, and sneaked it back in to her bedroom to read under the covers by flashlight. It's all there, the story of the 8 murders, the 9th survivor, the sketch of the killer who is still out there somewhere (he would be arrested 2 days later), and just enough lurid details to paint a horrifying picture in young Sally's mind. She shoves the paper away, but it's too late to unsee what Pauline warned her was not something she should see.

At Peggy's, Dawn is filling her in on her family: she has a 19-year-old brother and a mother who insists she is 39. "Like Jack Benny," chuckles Peggy as she brings them both a beer, which gives Dawn a laugh too. Peggy is quite happily drunk, and is crossing over between the exuberant and introspective stage, gasping to herself as she realizes that she cut Dawn off in the cab while she was saying something about Don. Dawn insists she said all she wanted to, but Peggy sloppily grins and assures her she can tell her anything... after all, SHE used to be a secretary too! She gasps out a condensed version of her whole story before Dawn really has a chance to finish asking her how that happened, explaining how she was "discovered" during a focus group... just like Esther Blodgett!

Dawn giggles at that comparison, and Peggy admits that she is VERY drunk, as if Dawn wasn't fully aware of that. Dawn in fact does admit as she takes a completely controlled sip of her own beer that everybody at SCDP drinks A LOT, which Peggy has to agree with. She isn't going to let Dawn get away with not sharing though, asking for her to finish her thought regarding Don. Dawn does, but it was actually more about Peggy herself than Don... she's just hoping that Peggy won't tell Don that Dawn was sleeping in his office, noting - and demonstrating that she has a keen eye for the working relationships in the Agency - that Peggy and Don "talk sometimes", an innocuous phrase that nonetheless speaks volumes about the clear connection/respect between the two.

Peggy though promises Dawn that she wouldn't think of revealing that, saying that "we" need to stick together. Tongue loosened by her drunkenness, she admits that while her situation isn't anything close to Dawn's, she does know what it is like to be the only one of her kind in an Agency. Dawn offers this the polite gratitude it deserves, keeping her own thoughts about their respective experiences being compared to herself. But Peggy is on a roll now, getting up onto her knees and asking with serious determination if Dawn would like to be a copywriter.

"No, I like my job," responds Dawn without hesitation and with complete sincerity. After all, this IS an accomplishment for her. She got hired at a white midtown advertising agency as the secretary for the Creative Director, and while that should not be an enormous accomplishment the sad fact is that it absolutely is. Dawn has achieved something many others in her situation can only dream of: getting even the opportunity of a a job based on her merit.

Peggy is quick to agree that yes that's right, she should like her job, getting into the morose stage now, admitting that being a copywriter is hard, then miserably asking if Dawn thinks she acts like a man. Dawn admits she does in some ways, but assumes that this is a necessity of doing her job. Peggy agrees with that too, and sighs that she doesn't think she actually has it in her... or more accurately, that she doesn't know if she wants to.

Poor Dawn just wants to have a peaceful night!

At Castle Francis, Pauline is sitting up in the lounge, reading a book and eating Bugles, enjoying the quiet. She moves to place the Bugles aside and is startled by Sally standing in the doorway staring at her. Sally immediately apologizes, explaining she couldn't sleep, and Pauline, hand to her chest, gasps that she can't sneak up on somebody her age... especially not in THIS house!

Sally admits she is scared and asks if she can sit with her, and Pauline relents, though stresses it can only be for a bit. When she takes her seat though, she notices that Pauline has a large carving knife beside her, asking what that is for. Pauline, far from the only American woman just a little more scared tonight after the Chicago massacre, quickly sets the knife to the other side and asks why Sally is scared, and Sally admits that she read the newspaper. Pauline isn't angry, just sad that Sally did something that she would have been far better off not doing.

But now, as Sally tries in vain to make sense of the utterly alien thing she read about in the paper, Pauline once again appears to take an almost thrilling satisfaction in recounting the details, in talking further about what happened, getting into the mindset of the girls, their schedule, the handsome man who knocked on the door like a warped version of Mystery Date and whether he was a stranger, an associate, or just some pervert who watched them from a distance. She imbues a distressingly erotic energy into her description of the girls in their short little uniforms stirring the man's desire, both lamenting their fate and in some odd way taking pleasure in it, almost as if she blames them, or envies their youth and beauty and thus enjoys the gruesome demise that it brought them.

Sally is freshly confused, not really understanding what Pauline is talking about, asking what she means. Pauline insists she's old enough to know what she means, and when Sally asks why the women didn't run away she notes they were scared... but they were probably also thinking that their numbers gave them a perverse kind of safety... after all, he couldn't rape ALL nine of them, right? She doesn't want to elaborate on physical details of what that isn't possible when Sally - who understands enough to piece together parts of Pauline's meaning - asks why not, but again she seems to almost revel in what happened to them, to delight in their misunderstanding of the severity of their danger, to gloat over the lengthy and horrible wait each had to die one after the other.

Now Sally admits she is even more scared than she was before, and Pauline assures her that she'll be fine, nothing will happen.... as long as Pauline has her "burglar alarm", and lifts the carving knife back up. Oddly enough Sally is not reassured by her elderly step-grandmother brandishing a carving knife and fantasizing about murdering a would-be murderer. She asks how she's going to be able to sleep now, and Pauline has a solution to that too, telling her to grab the water and pulling out a pill bottle. It's Seconal, because yes Pauline's solution to Sally's very understandable fear is to wave a carving knife about and give her a barbiturate to knock her out! But hey, she's not some crazy woman... she makes sure to only give her HALF a pill!

There is no sleep to be had at the Harris residence though, as Kevin cries miserably and Gail tries her best to calm him while Greg hammers on the door of the bedroom demanding a furious Joan let him in. Greg snaps at Gail to get Kevin out of there, then warns Joan that if she doesn't open the door he will break it down. She lets him in, but she's ready to break HIM down, snarling at him about the fact he is willingly going back to Vietnam, willingly leaving her and Kevin behind. Greg yells back that it's already been decided so that is that, which just enrages her further since this is yet another instance of Greg taking matters into his own hands and then having the gall to be upset at her when she isn't immediately onboard with a decision he made without consulting her.

She roars at him that he has NEVER understood that he can't just make decisions like this by himself, and his counter to this? That if it was World War 2 and the Japanese were attacking America then she'd be all for him volunteering!

But... but that's... that's not what is happening here, Greg.

This is the problem though, or one of them. Greg is one of a generation who grew up wowed by and full of admiration for those who served in World War 2, who was raised to be inspired and grateful for fighting a war that didn't just preserve the American way of life but left them in a position post-war to be one of the most powerful, rich and influential countries in the history of the world. In his mind, you wear that uniform and you go to war, then it comes with prestige and honor and gratitude. You get saluted at restaurants, waiters are eager to serve you, your wife treasures you, you get to make all the decisions. Except it's not like that, and arguably it was NEVER like that.

Nonetheless, Joan finds herself caught up in trying to argue the logic of his entirely non-relevant statement, pointing out that there were plenty of soldiers in World War 2 who were desperate to come home.

Greg doesn't want to argue though, he wants to just say what is what and his beautiful wife just agrees and fawns over him and he gets to do what he wants and that's that. So he growls that he has his orders and now she has hers. He storms out into the kitchen and then straight to the front door, and when she follows demanding to know where he is going he just snaps that he's off for a drink with "the boys". Because following up a full-blooded argument with the wife with heavy drinking with soldiers on shore-leave in New York is just a great loving idea.

The moment he is gone, Gail tries her best to make peace, assuring Joan that Greg is just blowing off steam and everything will be fine. Joan snaps at her to stay out of this, but Gail pushes, desperate to prevent what she sees as a potential fracture in what she desperately wants to be a good life and future for Joan and Kevin. She reminds her that she is a military wife, and they have to make sacrifices (it helps when they have some choice in the matter of whether they wanted to be military wives or not!), and there are plenty of Kevins over there who might get hurt if Greg isn't there to save them. Joan's reply to that is a very sensible one... they have a Kevin of their own right here in this apartment, and Greg doesn't seem to care about leaving him behind.

Gail insists though that it's just another year, and she can manage it.... and Gail will be there to help her. "No," insists Joan, looking dangerously resolute, so Gail jumps back to an old and long disused instruction that only works because of Joan's exhaustion.... she tells her she is tired and needs to go to bed. Too wrung out to argue the point, Joan simply slumps her way into her bedroom, the perfect reunion she waited a year for turned all to poo poo in less than a day.

Peggy brings Dawn blankets, apologizing for giving her the couch to sleep on, explaining that since her roommate moved out the spare room has just become a repository for all of Abe's clothes. Dawn though is more than happy with this situation, gladly taking plenty of blankets over the rough alternates she was using in Don's office. They're both all smiles... until something horrible happens. As Peggy stands there she realizes that her purse is still on the coffee table, with $400 in it, and has a wretched and guilty moment where she considers whether she should leave it there or take it with her. A bad moment for sure, and sure to make Peggy feel like an awful person... but that's nothing compared to what happens next. Because Peggy suddenly realizes that Dawn has noticed where she is looking, and has quickly figured out EXACTLY what Peggy is thinking.

Suddenly it's not just awkward in there, it's soul-crushing. Peggy has been caught thinking clearly racist thoughts, and now she's trapped because there is no way out of this: if she takes the purse it is acknowledging that she doesn't trust Dawn - who has done nothing beyond being black to warrant suspicion - but if she leaves it then she's clearly doing so to try and prove she's not racist... thus making her look all the more like a racist.

She chooses the latter, exclaiming that there are beer bottles everywhere, collecting them up and pointedly leaving her purse behind. But she's not fooling anybody, lest of all herself, and hates herself for having had these thoughts in the first place. It's even worse for Dawn, because what was a nice evening where a work colleague treated her like a human being.... while being sloppily drunk for sure, but still like a person, and then that all got swept away in an instant by one look. One horrible, miserable, unwanted look.

Don lies dazed in his bed, watching a smug Andrea finishing up dressing and declaring that she will see him later. "No, you won't," Don insists, but she smugly insists that it will happen again, that maybe next time will be in a hotel, and no matter how much he protests he loves it and wants it and will keep coming back for more, because he's a sick, sick man. Enraged, Don leaps on her and... yeah, okay. I'm sorry. This is bullshit.

Sometimes a fantasy scene works. Sometimes a dream works. The Sopranos was famous for the quality of its dream sequences, for capturing dream logic beautifully (and often beautifully horribly), for turning the warped twistings and turnings of a fever dream into some insight or decision by a central character, such as Tony Soprano realizing one of his oldest friends was a rat. This though? Don literally strangling to death what is clearly meant to represent his warped and hated compulsion to cheat on the women he loves? Well it's just... it's garbage. Nobody could view this and be confused as to what is happening, nobody would think Don was actually murdering a woman right here in season 5 of this show. And the message is just so obvious, so crudely implemented, it stands out like dog's balls.

That a scene like this can co-exist in an episode that included Peggy's gleeful cleaning out of Roger Sterling, or the simple and effective shots of Peggy staring at that purse, or Sally and Pauline sitting in the dark talking about murder and rape, or Joan's devastation and fury over Greg once again letting down her fantasy... well it boggles the mind. Whether it is Victor Levin or Matthew Weiner responsible for this scene, it's a bad scene. You could argue that it contrasts/plays into the ongoing obsession/excitement of various characters over the Chicago massacre but... ugh, it's just such an off scene.

Saturday morning comes, and Henry and Betty finally return home. They call out hellos into a silent house, and Henry finds his mother asleep on the couch. He tries to gently shake her awake but she's in fully out, and he's baffled to discover the carving knife nearby. Betty, already looking like she has lost some weight, picks up Gene was who apparently just been wondering about the house unsupervised, and heads off calling for Sally who is nowhere to be seen.

Henry isn't alarmed by his mother's deep sleep, though clearly it isn't such a common occurrence that he doesn't remain slightly amused by it all. As he shakes his head, standing holding the carving knife while the woman who insisted it was her "burglar alarm" is dead to the world beside him, the camera drifts down to reveal exactly where Sally is. Taking inspiration from Corazon Amurao, she fell asleep under the couch, and just like Amurao it seems this was the "right" choice, as she remains undiscovered for now, even if it is only her mother and step-father who have misplaced her.

Don wakes when he hears the door opening, seeing Megan emerge like an angel backlit by the sun, carrying a tray to serve him breakfast in bed, a smile on her face asking how he feels. She opens the curtain, letting light spill into the room, and of course Don casts a panicked look at the floor where Andrea's foot was still emerged after he shoved her under there in his fevered hallucination. She isn't there, because she never was, and the only person who thought she was, was Don Draper. Confused, slightly agitated, not entirely sure what was real as the fever appears to be abating and only spotty and troubled memories remain, he asks where Megan was last night.

Now she is confused, she was right there in the bed beside him all night. She came right home from work and found him a mess in the bed, and she was worried about him. Desperately wanting to be sincere, he promises her that she doesn't have to worry about him, wanting to believe that he will be true to what he means in the moment. She nods and tells him okay, leaving the room, and he is left sitting and hating himself, knowing that on some level "Andrea" was right: he loves Megan, he wants to stay true to her, but he also wants to have his cake and eat it too, and indulge in that same "careless appetite" he had when he was with Betty.

Joan emerges from her bedroom, to a charming domestic scene that belies the drama of the previous evening. Greg - still wearing his uniform of course - is sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper, flapjacks on a plate before him, Gail happily pouring him coffee and trying to pretend everything is okay. Joan still looks exhausted and Gail tells her to get some of the leftover scrambled eggs, but she just wants coffee, asking in a whisper where Kevin is. Greg, a little smile on his face like he's commenting on the nice weather, says she slept so long that Kevin was already up and then went back to sleep.

"I barely slept at all," Joan counters. She sits and ponders things for a moment, figuring out the best way to broach the subject. Finally she just comes right out with it, turning to Greg and explaining quietly to him that she has been thinking about it, and she wants him to go. Gail immediately finds an excuse to slip away and leave them to talk, while Greg breaks into an entirely too smug beaming smile, declaring how glad he is that she "came around" and promising not for the first time that it is "only" a year.

"No," Joan replies with that same quiet, soft but firm decisiveness,"I want you to go and never come back."

Oh thank Christ, hell yes Joan!

Now of course Greg is mad, but his reaction is that of a grumpy child, snarling at her that "they need me", trying to act like she is the childish one. Her reply is the most devastating thing she has ever said even after five seasons of verbal demolition,"Well then it works out, because we don't."

He snatches her wrist, enraged, and for a second she flinches but then holds her ground, staring him down icily. Without even realizing it he gets right to the heart of the matter, growling at her that he's a very important man in the army, that he has twenty doctors and medics relying on him for his skill and leadership. And there it is. He was in despair when his fellow surgeons told him he didn't have what it took to be a Chief Resident Surgeon, when he found out that he simply wasn't good enough at what he'd decided he was going to do. Then he saw the army as a way to be the surgeon he always wanted to be, and THEN he discovered that in the army he not only had needed skills but the admiration and respect he felt he'd always deserved, even if a large part of that automatically came with his rank.

Joan understands his motivations even if he doesn't though, and with that same icy precision lets contempt sink deeper and deeper into her voice as she tells him she's glad the army makes him feel like a man, because she is sick of trying to do it for him. He growls back that the army makes him feel like a good man, and with a hard little smile she tells him with utter sincerity a truth she only finally allowed herself to accept last night: he is NOT a good man. More than that though, she tells him he never was even before they were married, and that he KNOWS what she is talking about.

There is it. The first time she has EVER mentioned the rape, even tangentially. She never dealt with the trauma, never acknowledged it, just buried it down and tried to pretend her Prince Charming was the fairy-tale figure she'd been promised as the reward for doing everything right. Greg, not entirely without merit as mentioned earlier, has also struggled with the disappointment of doing everything right and not getting what he was promised. The difference between them is that Joan continually tried to make things work for THEM (even Kevin was her way of trying to force the family she was scared one more abortion would take away from them forever) while Greg only ever wanted to make things work for him. For him, he assumed that if he was happy she would be too, never really considering her feelings, never understanding her, but continually draining her in his efforts to make himself feel whole.

Now it's out there, thrown in his face and his reaction says it all, because on some level he has always known what he did was wrong. Joan never bringing it up made him feel safe, made him able to tell himself the lie that they were just fooling around with some rough stuff and she was into it too, that it wasn't a result of him feeling emasculated by her being around handsome and successful figures like Don Draper. She snatches her hand clear and he has nothing to say, no counter to make, no authority to dictate anything.

So he shoves off from the table, grabbing his things, and he warns her that if she lets him walk out the door, then that's it, it's over.

"That's it," she simply replies, and he lunges out of the apartment in a rage. Thank Christ, may we never see him again.

Gail returns, still holding the kettle, stunned at Joan's decision. "It's over," Joan tells her simply, maintaining the poise that has carried her through so much poo poo in her life. Gail takes a seat at the table, for once not saying anything. If she is upset, it's not so much over losing Greg as Joan's loss of security. For her a successful and secure life still remains marrying well and having children, and that what she wanted for her Joan, and now that is gone. She would have been under no illusions that Greg was far from the perfect man, but he was something, and now Joan doesn't even have that.

Peggy also emerges from her bedroom, hungover and pondering how to deal with the awkwardness of the previous night. Dawn is nowhere to be seen, but the blankets she used the night before are all meticulously folded. A note sits prominently on top of the purse Peggy pointedly did not take with her out of the room. She opens it, and only feels more miserable when she reads what Dawn, who had to be talked into staying the night in the first place, wrote: Thank you for your hospitality. I'm sorry for putting you out. Dawn."

A formal letter, utterly polite, offering an apology of her own... and Peggy knows that she is the one who should be sorry, that she is the one who made for an awkward evening and bad feelings.

The song that plays over the credits is horrifying but appropriate enough given the undercurrent of fascination with violence against women in this episode, and especially for Joan and her final awakening from the fantasy she kept insisting her abusive and unbalanced relationship with Greg was. That's where the episode ends, on Joan once more as she faces the first day of the rest of her life.

Gail sleeps curled up on one side of what was once Joan and Greg's bed. Beside her, Kevin is tucked up and sleeping, watched by Joan who lies on the other side pondering a child she will now have to raise without a father... even if he was unknowingly not the biological father in any case. Joan turns over and stares up at nothing, it's just the three of them now, no husband or father in place to provide what is supposed to be "completion".

If Joan is worried, she gives no sign. Does she feel relief? Is she empty inside? Or does part of her even now still desperately want Greg to somehow be better than he was, to make it work. It doesn't matter, not in the immediate at least. Because the die is cast, and for better or worse Joan Harris... no, Joan Holloway, has retaken control of her life.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 09:55 on Oct 5, 2021

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