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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Rest in piss, Greg.

Edit: Now that's a hell of a snipe!

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roomtone
Jul 1, 2021



he was odious.

the fever dream in the episode is bad as far as writing goes but it's never truly bothered me because fever dreams actually are that on the nose and ridiculous. i've had ones that directly play on very current anxieties and make me roll my eyes when i wake up. my subconscious is a hack.

i like the peggy and sally stuff in this episode quite a bit, and the joan stuff is good just for the fact greg finally gets jettisoned. he really drags down her storylines for the duration of their time together. it wasn't fun to watch joan just try and put up with a complete piece of poo poo.

roomtone fucked around with this message at 10:40 on Oct 5, 2021

aBagorn
Aug 26, 2004


Jerusalem posted:

Rest in piss, Greg.

Seconded.

So, you finally saw the fever dream scene. This episode is (iirc) widely regarded as weak and mainly because of that scene, and it seems that at least on the merits of the scene that you agree.

roomtone posted:

he was odious.

the fever dream in the episode is bad as far as writing goes but it's never truly bothered me because fever dreams actually are that on the nose and ridiculous. i've had ones that directly play on very current anxieties and make me roll my eyes when i wake up. my subconscious is a hack.

yeah this is more allie if the lines of where i am with it. i kind of appreciate it because it is so much like fever dreams i've had before. i think it was a lovely plot device but it was written well

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



aBagorn posted:

So, you finally saw the fever dream scene. This episode is (iirc) widely regarded as weak and mainly because of that scene, and it seems that at least on the merits of the scene that you agree.

I actually think it is a very good episode with a ton of great scenes and really interesting character interactions - Pauline and Sally, Peggy and Dawn, Peggy and Roger, Joan and Greg etc. The underlying ideas around mistaking abuse for love, getting vicarious thrills from second-hand exposure to murder, rape, etc, there are really intriguing things in there.

Those fever dream scenes stand out so much to me because everything else in the episode is REALLY good. So there they are, just crashing into the middle of all that, and it's a hell of a quality whiplash to deal with.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







that 400 bucks looks like ~$3,400 in modernbux, which is a decent little sweetener for a weekend's work.

i remember that glance at the purse so clearly, it's such a mad men bit of writing.

General Probe
Dec 28, 2004
Has this been done before?

Soiled Meat

roomtone posted:

he was odious.

the fever dream in the episode is bad as far as writing goes but it's never truly bothered me because fever dreams actually are that on the nose and ridiculous. i've had ones that directly play on very current anxieties and make me roll my eyes when i wake up. my subconscious is a hack.


I've never really liked the scene but have always had a hard time articulating why but this thread has made me think about it a little more and I think I know why I don't love it.

It's played pretty straight, as if we the audience aren't supposed to be sure if Don really is murdering this woman and hiding her body wanting us to think "Could Don really do this?" Except that question was answered in Season 1 with his brother Adam, when Don goes to confront him but end up paying him off. We know that even when backed into a corner Don isn't a murderous psychopath. Also we've already had a fantastic dream sequence with Betty that is wonderfully shot and leaves no question that she is dreaming/hallucinating and it's disappointing not to see any of that surrealism used.

It's the rare scene that just fails to fire imo.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Im absolutely here for increasingly ridiculous names for the Francis Residence.

Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012

Wet


Mystery date is one of the few episodes of this show where I can see why somebody would call it Bad. The fever dream scenes are garbage, straight up. The rest of the episode is really good though.

Also the next four episodes are the best run of episodes in the entire series and Im very excited you have reached them. IMO the rest of the season is just about bulletproof.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


sebmojo posted:

that 400 bucks looks like ~$3,400 in modernbux, which is a decent little sweetener for a weekend's work.

i remember that glance at the purse so clearly, it's such a mad men bit of writing.

Parris' performance here is devastatingly perfect. The camera holds on her for what feels like ages as her face melts into a sour, ugly, "Oh, I see" kind of expression. Utterly brilliant editing and direction.

roomtone posted:

i like the peggy and sally stuff in this episode quite a bit, and the joan stuff is good just for the fact greg finally gets jettisoned. he really drags down her storylines for the duration of their time together. it wasn't fun to watch joan just try and put up with a complete piece of poo poo.

This is a very weird statement to me. The great part about mad men is its refusal to white wash the mundane evil of abusive relationships. Yeah it's not "fun" to watch characters we love suffer or make mistakes, but Greg is an essential part of her storyline and arc.

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 16:28 on Oct 5, 2021

roomtone
Jul 1, 2021



The Klowner posted:

This is a very weird statement to me. The great part about mad men is its refusal to white wash the mundane evil of abusive relationships. Yeah it's not "fun" to watch characters we love suffer or make mistakes, but Greg is an essential part of her storyline and arc.

Greg is so one dimensionally lovely at all times. An oblivious, patronising rapist.

Joan's been shown to be very intelligent in general but especially in who she does and doesn't let into her life, so the result of this storyline is obvious. I think it drags by keeping Joan in limbo until the writers decide okay, time for Joan to wake up. Which happens in this episode.

If there was something about Greg's personality which made it clear why Joan thought it might be worth hanging in there, then it would be better, but we never see a good side of him.

I know they are depicting an abusive and lovely marriage and Joan's attempt to force herself to be a mother and wife, I just don't think it was handled as well as it could be. I don't really believe Joan would fall for this particular trap for as long as she did, even in the period setting, with everything else we know about her.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






nevermind the period, people still fall for that to this day for the exact same reasons. it doesnt have to be overwritten, what matters is joan wanted this thing to work and put on blinders to make it work. some reasons are obviously societal, and some reasons are her own that we as viewers may or may not ever get to know. fictional characters can have interiority that we are never privy to, just look at don draper!!!!!

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Jerusalem posted:

Those fever dream scenes stand out so much to me because everything else in the episode is REALLY good. So there they are, just crashing into the middle of all that, and it's a hell of a quality whiplash to deal with.

This was my takeaway on my recent rewatch. Don's scenes are just so conceptually off that they drag the whole thing down; after he leaves the office for the day both his storyline and Peggy's stumble (I don't care for how on-the-nose the stuff at her apartment is.) Joan's story is solid throughout, though, and a real showcase for Christina Hendricks' talents, and Sally's tertiary plot is important both for her character and in filling in some blanks about the Francis family as a whole.

And this is very nitpicky, but I really could've done without Gail calling out the accordion. Look at that shot of Greg shooting daggers at Joan and she refuses to look at him, with the guy positioned directly between them holding a physical representation of the imbalance of power in their relationship. There's no real need address it in the dialogue, the subtext is already like a flashing neon sign in that moment.

roomtone posted:

If there was something about Greg's personality which made it clear why Joan thought it might be worth hanging in there, then it would be better, but we never see a good side of him.

There's the time she cut herself while cooking and he rushed to her aid. He came across as genuinely compassionate in the moment, and their bond in that one scene felt real - but yeah, that's the only moment that I can think of. Joan's life with Greg speaks to her obsession with image - he's a handsome young man with a promising career as a doctor ahead of him; the possibility of having a storybook life and building a family in those circumstances outranks any other concerns she may have about him as a person, for a very long time.

JethroMcB fucked around with this message at 17:56 on Oct 5, 2021

OnlyBans
Sep 21, 2021

by sebmojo


roomtone posted:

I know they are depicting an abusive and lovely marriage and Joan's attempt to force herself to be a mother and wife, I just don't think it was handled as well as it could be. I don't really believe Joan would fall for this particular trap for as long as she did, even in the period setting, with everything else we know about her.

He's a handsome man from a good family. And a doctor to boot! That would carry a lot of water *today*, let alone then. Especially for an older woman like Joan, at her age she can't be too choosy. Her past too.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Yeah, it's why the closing song is so appropriate even if it is horrifying to listen to. Joan was like a depressingly large number of women even today but ESPECIALLY back then who were willing to overlook (or unwilling to acknowledge) that the person who was supposed to be their soulmate could be a monstrous, abusive piece of poo poo, and what they desperately wanted to be love was not. There are plenty of very intelligent, savvy and sensible women who have found themselves caught up in just that kind of relationship, Joan's hyper-competence in almost every other area of her life just makes the misery of her marriage hurt all that more because you wish she could just see it objectively and treat it like she treats everything else in her life. That she finally does so toward the close of this episode is such a wonderful, cathartic moment.

He hit me
And it felt like a kiss.
He hit me
But it didn't hurt me.
He couldn't stand to hear me say
That I'd been with someone new,
And when I told him I had been untrue
He hit me
And it felt like a kiss.
He hit me
And I knew he loved me.
If he didn't care for me
I could have never made him mad
But he hit me,
And I was glad.
Yes, he hit me
And it felt like a kiss.
He hit me
And I knew I loved him.
And then he took me in his arms
With all the tenderness there is,
And when he kissed me,
He made me his.


I mean.... holy poo poo those lyrics :gonk:

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







I read up about that song and it was apparently controversial even back then.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Jerusalem posted:

There are plenty of very intelligent, savvy and sensible women who have found themselves caught up in just that kind of relationship, Joan's hyper-competence in almost every other area of her life just makes the misery of her marriage hurt all that more because you wish she could just see it objectively and treat it like she treats everything else in her life.

This extends to everyone, not just women. Everyone has blind spots in their lives, especially regarding their own behavior.


GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*



sebmojo posted:

I read up about that song and it was apparently controversial even back then.

It is a very famous song, just because it is a Spector record and written by Carol King and Gerry Goffin. Probably more well known now than back then though.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The Klowner posted:

This extends to everyone, not just women. Everyone has blind spots in their lives, especially regarding their own behavior.

Oh for sure, Don is a perfect example.

On an unrelated note, just want to stress... that scene between Roger and Peggy was :kiss:

Remember the time she timidly asked him if she could have Freddy's now empty office? She's come so far since then.... even if she was helped along a little by being quite tipsy :)

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Fun fact, Andrea is played by Twin Peaks alum Madchen Amick!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Oh wow, I didn't recognize her at all!

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Jerusalem posted:

Those fever dream scenes stand out so much to me because everything else in the episode is REALLY good. So there they are, just crashing into the middle of all that, and it's a hell of a quality whiplash to deal with.

I remember being frustrated by it for similar reasons. It's this extreme pivot that feels like the stakes of a different show. Usually if a character on Mad Men is experiencing a hallucination or a dream it's obvious that's what it is. We know that Betty is on a ton of drugs in the hospital, or that Don took whatever the hitchhikers gave him. This one felt cheap, was an odd fake-out that seemed designed to shock us but held no significance in the plot.

sebmojo posted:

i remember that glance at the purse so clearly, it's such a mad men bit of writing.

It's great, yeah. It's interesting that for a show set during the civil rights movement, Mad Men deals so tangentially with racism. But when it does, it hits pretty hard. This moment with Peggy is probably my favorite for how efficient and how honest it is. Peggy surely thinks of herself as progressive, on the right side of history. And she clearly feels aligned with Dawn when it comes to gender: they're both women struggling to be taken seriously in a deeply sexist industry and society.

But where a less honest show might've left it at that, this one doesn't shy away from the obvious, that despite their commonalities they are clearly divided by race. I don't mean to say that Peggy "is racist" (she leaves the purse, after all), but it feels very realistic to me that she'd retain this bit of racist programming and entertain it even if for just a moment. She's not Gene, who openly accuses Carla of theft and feels no shame about it, but she's also a middle class white woman who has biases even if she wishes she didn't.

Roger's blackface is way more memorable for the absolute lunacy of it, but this interaction feels way more important to me. Ol' Kentucky Home reads as comedic and ultimately safe: Roger is a dinosaur, doing something so ridiculous it doesn't challenge you. But we like Peggy and feel very aligned with her, so this intersectional point really stings.

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

Every scene that is just Peggy and Roger is gold.

-We have her getting Freddie's old office
-then we have in the elevator where she tells him her father is dead
-him telling her pete is the last guy he hired
- and now her taking all his money

They are rare but they are all amazing

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



Jerusalem posted:

Pete couldn't just let success be its own reward.

The Pete Campbell story.

Couple things about that ep.

Re Ginsberg, during this rewatch, I have to say his nervous breakdown makes a lot more sense. He was straight out unstable from the outset. So that insanity of him ripping his own nipple off doesn't seem quite as ridiculous. Which I never thought would happen.

Also, anyone else pick out that Pete changed the orientation of his office? Desk backended by the floor to ceiling windows, instead of Harry created a semi burrow hole by moving his desk against the wall.

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.


I like this episode and also this show thanks for reading :)

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



It's a good episode and a good show! :hai:

ANOTHER SCORCHER
Aug 12, 2018
Probation
Can't post for 10 days!


The dream sequence feels like an attempt to say something about the connection between erotic desire and violence, but its just too clumsy to successfully pull it off. Given the other plotlines are about a rapist murderer scaring multiple women characters and Joan finally confronting Greg and all.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



The Klowner posted:

This is a very weird statement to me. The great part about mad men is its refusal to white wash the mundane evil of abusive relationships. Yeah it's not "fun" to watch characters we love suffer or make mistakes, but Greg is an essential part of her storyline and arc.

One thing I picked up in the rewatch is how Greg's dad, who previously had been mentioned as having serious psychological problems, had also spent some time in the military. Prob WW2 or Korea, another subtle mention of one of the most ever-present undercurrents of the show. And Greg blithely wanting to be an Army Man anyway. Lol, what a spoiled tool. Very realistic imo.

All in all Mystery Date is considered by a lot of ppl to be the shows nadir for the reasons you mentioned Jerusalem. And I can understand why. But also during my rewatch, there's things I really relished, including the fantastic and hilarious scene and practically vaudeville act between Peggy and Roger. And the show trying to really tie things together in a bow, with when love or excitement turns to horror. And even the flashback isn't nearly as awful as I remembered it. It's nice to see Don's, and the audience as a whole, fear actually being displayed on screen.

Mystery Date just doesn't have the polish or the focus of most Mad Men eps, because it couldn't settle on one main character or point and tried to do much in a kinda unfocused way

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 5, Episode 5 - Signal 30
Written by Frank Pierson & Matthew Weiner, Directed by John Slattery

Pete Campbell posted:

We're supposed to be friends.

In a darkened high school classroom, assorted teenagers watch the rather infamous film this episode takes its title from. It's a Driver's Education class, and among the teenagers, looking more like the bored instructor sitting behind the projector, is Pete Campbell. He chuckles at what he's seeing, deriving humor somehow from the morbid work, which catches the attention of a young woman sitting ahead of him. She turns to look in surprise and grins before returning to watch the film. For Pete though, that single look was all he needed. He drinks in the sight of her hungrily, running his eyes down the length of her body from head to toe.

She's a high school kid, Pete.

Later that night, Pete lies in bed beside his wife, unable to sleep as he listens to the endless dripping of a tap. Trudy rolls over and one arm flops onto his chest and he gently caresses it before asking if the tap drips like that ALL day? She supposes it must, admitting sleepily that she stopped noticing it a long time ago. This is Pete Campbell though, he can never let anything go. So he leaves the warmth of his bed and his loving wife and moves into the kitchen, frowning down at the dripping tap before collecting his toolbox. Still in his pajamas, he slides under the sink and works away at it. Shortly after he tests the tap and the dripping appears to have stopped. EXTREMELY pleased with himself, deriving great satisfaction from his manly work, Pete finally appears to be at ease.

Lane Pryce is very much at ease himself, which is a problem! Still in his robe, happily pouring himself a drink, his wife Rebecca is surprised to see he isn't even remotely ready to go. She herself is meticulously dressed, but the normally fastidious Lane assures her that they have time, after all the first half of a football match is "just flirting".

But Rebecca doesn't want to minimize the time they spend there, she WANTS to go. Not to an actual football match of course (It's New York in the 1960s, where the hell would they find one?), but to the pub where they can grab a good seat and chat with friends and ENJOY themselves. Lane tries to be romantic, suggesting a lovely lunch in the park for just the two of them, and is surprised when she gives him a (not too) playful whack and warns him that he doesn't know what is good for him: this is a chance to spend time with friends!

Trying to use logic because that's always a great idea when arguing with your wife, Lane points out that they are HER friends and recent ones at that, that he doesn't enjoy long afternoons spent at the pub watching football, and.... and she cuts him off to remind him that he loves football! That does irritate him, as he testily explains that it is his father who likes football - and her mixing the two of them up must be a hell of a sore spot given what we've seen of the elder Pryce - and not him. He finishes his points, he dislikes bringing England over to America in pieces, saying it is a crutch for the homesick only.

Rebecca, who is genuinely and truly trying on this second shot at both their marriage and America, needs this though: she has to get out, she has to see people she can speak to, who have shared experiences and values. She reminds him the people at the pub will be immigrants "like us", and Lane relents at last, agreeing when she asks him to at least pretend to have a good time that "pretend I shall."



This man is a hell of a pretender!

Because of course it's 1966, and this wasn't just "a" football game. It was THE football game. England vs. West Germany in 1966, the first and to date only time that England has won the World Cup, and a high they have continued to chase over the following 50+ years with increasingly desperate conviction that THIS time is the time "it's coming home".

But that is for a desperate and miserable future, for now in the present of 1966 it is a glorious and proud time. Lane hugs the man beside him, hugs his wife, and then all stand arm-in-arm and bellow with patriotic fervor as they sing "God Save the Queen". Shortly after, Lane, Rebecca and the couple who are presumably Rebecca's new friends sit down to enjoy a meal and hearty amounts of beer for the men and wine and martinis for the women. The woman cheerfully requests a promise from her husband, Edwin Baker, that this will be the end of football for awhile and Edwin cheerfully declares that having beaten "the Jerries" that marks the end of football full stop!

"I'll believe that when I see it," she remarks, asking Rebecca if Lane gets like this too. Rebecca, absolutely glowing at being able to socialize - she was like this at Don's surprise party too - lovingly teases that Lane is currently in the midst of a messy divorce from England, while Lane himself happily admits that watching England defeat Germany in the football has gotten his blood running and it's a good day to be an Englishman.

As it always will in situations like this, the subject of work comes up. Edwin asks Lane to clarify, is he an account man at his firm? "Financial Chief," explains Lane, and Edwin nods and suggests he have one of the account men give him a call. Lane, keen to impress his new friend, makes a point of noting that he is one of the named partners, perhaps fearing that Edwin has dismissed him as a middle-man. Conversation has already shifted though, Rebecca admitting in what is an enormous departure from season 3 that she has come to see little difference between New York and London: the boys all look like girls and the girls aren't interested in manners!

Mrs. Baker agrees, but notes New York has one advantage over London: get 50 miles away and things become more "wholesome". Edwin is amused, promising her that she will have her farmland eventually, cheerfully explaining to the others that she dreams of raising hogs. They all smile, four expatriates having a wonderful time, glowing in the aftermath of a great victory, sharing happy reflections on their adopted country and how well they are all doing. It is exactly what Rebecca wanted, and if Lane is pretending then he's doing a great job, because he looks as happy as any of them.

Alone in a diner, Peggy Olson is happy enough by herself as she finishes up a breakfast of eggs and reads the New York Times. But she still jumps at the chance for some socializing of her own when she overhears Ken Cosgrove passing behind her. He looks surprised to see her, and not in a good way, asking what she's doing here. She jokes about trying to get ptomaine poisoning, but his unease is clear, especially as he makes a point of not introducing the man he is with who moves on without saying hello.

When she notes that it appears he wants to be alone, he hurriedly explains that the man is Cynthia's uncle, who wants to get into radio and Ken has been tasked with talking him out of it. This was a mistake though, as Peggy happily notes she'd love to meet him and Ken's response that the man is "painfully" shy is obvious bullshit: why bring a painfully shy man to a crowded diner? Obviously Ken thought this was a place he'd be unlikely to run into anybody he knew, and Peggy knows he's lying to her. She tells him she gets the message and Ken joins his "uncle", while Peggy frowns, pissed off at Ken's secrecy yes but moreso that he has so blatantly lied to her face.



At the traffic meeting, Joan - who has returned to work at last - moves on to new business, as Don doodles a hangman's noose in the corner of his notes (that simply read "Topaz" and "Butler" and nothing else, because he detests these meetings) that aptly demonstrates how he feels about these kind of meetings. Roger (of course) has no new business, neither does Pete, and of course Cooper and Don have none either. So that's that, meeting is over.... except, Lane has new business. Lane!?!

An amused Pete asks if he is taking leave "again", and Lane moves past this treating it like a joke (it was) that was well-intentioned (it wasn't), asking if they're aware that England won the world cup. "Cup of what?" asks Roger, because while this is one of the biggest things in England at the moment in America it's barely registered a blip anywhere. That's irrelevant though, what is relevant is that because of that Lane has struck up a friendship with Edwin Baker. Who is Edwin Baker? He's the Senior Vice President of Public Relations.... for Jaguar Cars Incorporated.

This gets some widened eyes from Don and Cooper, but what Lane says next REALLY gets their attention. Jaguar is about to merge with BMC, and as a result - and completely unprovoked by any sales pitch by Lane - Edwin has let him know that Jaguar is looking for a new advertising agency to help them break into the American market! Cooper and Don are exultant, while Roger looks mildly troubled - now even LANE is bringing in accounts while he's barely a figurehead on Mohawk? - and Joan, who knows nothing about cars, is canny enough to know this is clearly a big deal, sweetly asking a triumphant Lane if that is spelled like the cat.

But if Roger is troubled, Pete is sneering. Stunning Lane, he mocks his usual reticence for expenditure, pointing out that taking on Jaguar would mean probably hiring another 10 or so people to work for months on the account, is he really willing to spend that much money? He does what he seems to think is a mockery of an English accent that is actually... Southern, taunting Lane's usual tightfisted approach to expenditure. To his credit, rather than getting angry, Lane counters with an icy smile that if Pete was to bring in a client of his caliber maybe he would be more willing to spend money. Pete leaps on that, sneering that at best Jaguar will bring them in 3 million dollars.

Don steps to Lane's defense, not so much on Lane's behalf but out of genuine confusion: this is a car, and Pete knows as well as any of them that an agency getting to advertise a car - particular a high-end car like Jaguar - is a huge deal. It raises prestige, it attracts other clients, and it allows them to market to a far higher tax bracket of consumers. Ken Cosgrove actually discussed this with Pete in an earlier episode, talking about the way an agency builds itself up into a success, including hoping to get a car as one of their clients.

Roger steps in now, causing Pete to roll his eyes as he suggests that he ride shotgun with Lane at the meeting with Edwin, even if only to pickup the check at the end and make Lane look more important. Don, amused, notes this will make ROGER look like the important one, but stresses to Lane that if he does want one of the other partners along to help out he'd recommend Cooper, who "speaks British". Lane though, still on a high, insists that he and Edwin understand each other on a business AND personal level, speaking Englishman to Englishman, and he'll be fine running the meeting alone.

The meeting breaks up, Joan smiling and admitting she loves the Jaguar - so she was just gently teasing Lane earlier - before they make their exit. Cooper, Don, Pete and Roger stay behind a moment though, Cooper noting that somebody should at least give Lane some pointers on how to handle a client. Don agrees, and when Pete insists he's too busy and asks Roger to step in, Roger is glad to do so. Finally the traffic meeting is over, and Don is relieved to retreat to his office to wait out the end of the day when he can go home and just relax with Megan... except now Pete wants to talk to him!

Pete, being Pete, is suddenly entirely a different person. Gone is the sneering, cruel jibes from the meeting. Instead he's smiling, ingratiating, grateful as he passes Don a note and explains that Trudy dictated the directions to Clara earlier for Saturday night, and he promises it'll just be good home-cooking, pleasant conversation, and drinks. With horror Don realizes he's being invited to Pete and Trudy's place in the suburbs, and "sadly" explains that he and Megan already have plans for Saturday. Except... Pete doesn't accept that. He insists that Don does NOT have plans for Saturday, because Trudy wouldn't have made the invitation unless she was sure it was happening. Trapped by social convention, Don can only "thank" Pete and accept the directions, and once he's gone turn and ask Dawn to find Mrs. Draper for him.

Luckily for him, it turns out she's in his office already. He steps inside, she's using his typewriter, taking advantage of his office being empty to do her work rather than find a cramped space in Peggy and Stan's office or within the chaos of the Creative Lounge. She assures him she's almost done but he's not bothered about not having access to his typewriter, instead putting on his firm "Man of the House" voice to instruct her to call "your new best friend Trudy Campbell" and tell her that they're unavailable on Saturday night.

But Megan is confused, why does he want her to do that when HE is the one who told Trudy they were coming in the first place? Now DON is confused, he never told her that! Megan insists that this is what Trudy told her when she called to make arrangements, and Don immediately figures out what Trudy has done: just straight up lied to get her way! Grumpily he declares that Trudy can't be upset if they cancel plans she made by subterfuge, and when Megan points out that she actually does like Trudy Don admits he likes her too.... but the suburbs on Saturday night? That's when you REALLY want to blow your brains out!

Yeah, life sure was tough for Don when he got to spend his weekends at home with his adoring wife and loving children in a beautiful house!

Megan chuckles at that, gives him a little kiss... and tells him that if he wants to cancel their plans, made by subterfuge or not, then he can be the one to tell Trudy. After all, much like Rebecca Pryce, she enjoys socializing and she's more than happy to head out to the burbs if it means a night surrounded by friends.

In Peggy's office, she's typing away when Ken pops in looking for Stan and Ginsberg (Michael's name is now on the door, so it's a 3 person office and no wonder Megan was looking for somewhere else to work). They're not there, and still in a bad mood with Ken she asks if he has something he'd like to tell them. Ken, of course, was really trying to make sure they were gone, closing the door to finally fill her in on his morning meeting with his "uncle". Peggy has assumed he was a client and is furious that Ken has broken their "pact", assuming he was looking for Stan and Michael to tell them what this potential new client needed, but Ken assures her the pact still stands.

We have never heard of this "pact" before but context would suggest that - presumably thanks to their success with Topaz - Ken and Peggy have decided to work together as a team where he finds clients and she comes part and parcel as the copywriter in the deal: a mutually beneficial arrangement since Ken knows she is hardworking, creative, and quick on her feet when a client makes a sudden demand.

No, this is about something else, and Ken laments with clear frustration that he just wants something for himself, for some part of himself to be only for himself and not to be shared with others. He locks the door and reminds her that he's a writer, surprising her as she had just kind of assumed he'd stopped with all that. But no, he's continued to write, just under a pseudonym, and he's had a bit of success with one particular genre, to the point that his "uncle" - who is actually an editor from publisher Farrar Straus - wants to sign him.

Peggy is stunned to learn he's written so many that he doesn't just have twenty to put in a collection like his wife Cynthia suggested, but he has a TOP twenty to put in. When does he get the time to write!?! He admits with a grin that he's turned most of his client dinners into drinks, and is able to nurse one which leaves him still mostly in control of his faculties when he goes home, allowing him to sit down and flex his creative muscles. As an idea man for advertising ideas he's pretty awful, but his writing has clearly flourished, far beyond the success he had that so alarmed Pete Campbell and Paul Kinsey (and even Roger Sterling).

So what is it then, Peggy asks, and he assumes she means genre and admits it's mostly between science fiction and fantasy, quick to defend his choice of genre by pointing out how there are many magazines that publish these. But no, she means what is his pen name? Torn between his desire for privacy and his desire to show off his work, he admits the name is Ben Hargrove, opening himself up to the terror many creatives feel when a friend gets to look at something they have poured their soul into: what if they don't like it!?!

In any case, he apologizes for not introducing her, still not quite able to articulate that desire for privacy, but Peggy is no longer angry at him. They shake hands and he assures her again that the pact still stands, and says something that suggests maybe there is more to this than just finding new clients: if he goes somewhere, she goes with him. Does that mean Peggy is willing to consider moving on from SCDP in spite of her working relationship with mentor Don? Or just a natural reaction from SCDP's recent financial troubles that they need to keep their options open in case everything falls apart again?



An attempt at a neat editing trick falls a little flat as Ken reaching for the door jumps to Lane doing the same to let Roger Sterling into his office. Roger is here to fulfill his duty and give Lane some pointers, he and the other partners (apart from Pete) keen to make sure that Lane doesn't blow the Jaguar deal that HE got them a foot in the door in.

Roger of course puts it far more diplomatically, simply noting that "a little bird" told him that he'd received an RFP, which is a VERY good sign. Lane, who was suspicious of Roger at first, is relieved to have an expert now, he's been going over the RFP - Request for Approval - form and is clearly a little overwhelmed with the unfamiliar document. Roger has seen thousands in his time, taking a seat on the couch and quickly skimming through the contents before asking Lane if he would like some "unsolicited" advice.

Lane is quick to assure him it's not simply pride keeping him from asking for his advice, and that he acknowledges Roger is very skilled in this part of advertising. "I was," notes Roger with what appears to be self-deprecation but is really self-pity, stating that now he's become the "Professor Emeritus of Accounts", taking the approach that this kind of distinction is not really a compliment but an acknowledgement of past glories now well beyond the titleholder's capabilities.

But still, he has advice to give, and it turns out to be very good. Lane listens in something akin to awe as Roger lays out the best and most effective methods for not only filling out the RFP but also building a relationship with the client. As with everything, it's not as simple as it seems on the surface: the obvious idea is to lie, to flatter, to get good and drunk and blow smoke up their rear end to ingratiate yourself with them. It's not like that at all, Roger insists, it's more like a date. You control your drinking, making it appear you're knocking back more than you are (the heavy drinking for Roger comes AFTER the initial meetings, when they're already on the hook) and you let THEM talk.

More importantly, you listen. At some point they'll reveal something about themselves you can use, but you don't do it immediately, you let it sit for awhile before you mirror back their problem/concern with one of your own that draws the two of you closer. Once he spent 5 minutes telling a client his mother loved his father more than him, because that was a fear the client had about their own mother, chuckling that in reality that would be impossible (after all, how come anybody love somebody more than Roger Sterling!?!). You do all that, never mentioning the RFP until late in the dinner when you either run through it or, as he did with a Dr. Scholl's executive once, get them to drunkenly fill out the form for you!

Lane is enthralled, asking questions that Roger is happy to answer. What if Edwin turns out to be more reserved or doesn't have problems? Then you reverse it, mention problems of your own that THEY can empathize with. The important part is to make them feel close to you, and part of that involves finding out everything about them you can BEFORE the dinner. Lane is proud to declare he's already managed that part, and admits to a surprised Roger that yes he still likes him after all that. "Let it show," Roger notes, since hey faking liking somebody is fine but if you genuinely like them? All the better! He leaves, only there for a couple of minutes but in that time filling Lane with immense confidence that was starting to feel shaken when he was looking through the RFP earlier.

In Don's office, his own immense confidence that the dinner date with Trudy could simply be canceled is shaken when Dawn announces she has Trudy on the line as requested, and he attempts to apologetically pull out of the dinner he didn't know he was invited to. Because when he tells her they unfortunately have other plans, she just.... doesn't accept it. Not angrily, not pouting or throwing a tantrum. Just with a big smile as she feeds her baby she insists that actually no he IS coming, and he can run through a list of excuses for her to toss aside if he likes or just skip to the end where he surrenders and agrees to come! Hell, she'll even reschedule the entire thing to a day he CAN make it if he tries to pretend he can't, because he and Megan ARE coming to dinner at the Campbell Household and that's that!

"It's too bad your husband can't close a deal like this," he says at last, a smile on his face but exhaustion in his heart as, like Lane before him, he submits and accepts the reality that he's going to have to force himself into a social gathering on his precious weekend rather than just stay at home and relax. At any other time this might be considered a dig at Pete, but given how much business he's pulled in, it's intended and taken more as a compliment towards Trudy, who still beaming points out that they BOTH know Pete is doing just fine before reiterating he's expected at 7:30pm on Saturday. With that the call is over, and Don and his certainty that Trudy could be shamed or cajoled into releasing him from an obligation he never agreed to have been dashed: there will be no relaxing weekend, just yet another work commitment.

That evening Pete attends his driver's ed class once more. During a break he wanders out into the High School corridor to idly look through the trophy case, but is pleased to be joined by the young woman (girl!) who smiled at him at the previous class. He comments that he saw her looking a little sick in the classroom and she admits that the gruesome film is a bit much to have to take in, joking that they should all go back to horses. Pete - who fetishizes the idea of a past that never really existed - wistfully agrees that must have been something, and she asks the pertinent question: why is he only learning to drive now?

He doesn't mind talking about himself, of course, explaining that he grew up in Manhattan and so there was never any need to know how to drive. She's excited by the thought of the city, saying she goes there sometimes, and Pete suggests she might move there when she is older before noting sardonically that then she'll get married and move back out to the suburbs again. She's quick to insist that she doesn't plan to marry till after college, but then frowns and admits that maybe her parents won't let her go anymore, confusing Pete: why wouldn't they? That's almost every parents' dream surely, for their child to go to college?

She's surprised, asking if he didn't hear about what happened today? It's the 1st of August, and Charles Whitman went on a shooting spree at the University of Texas. Pete DID hear about it, but in typical Pete fashion doesn't understand why that would bother her, after all isn't she going to Ohio State? It's kind of creepy that he knows that, even if it is probably down to one of those miserable "go around the class and introduce yourself" sessions on a 1st lesson. She points out that it doesn't matter WHERE it happened, just that it happened. In much the same way last episode saw multiple women paranoid about the student nurse murderer from Chicago somehow showing up in their house/office, her parents are convinced that there's a deranged shooter lurking in every college just waiting to take a shot at their daughter.

He tells her not to let her parents scare her, but she admits she was already worried, noting the nurse massacre herself and pointing out how things seem to be becoming more random, how time itself seems to be speeding up. Pete can commiserate with that sense, and she - surely 16-years-old, maybe 17 - ponders how usually she always visits the Botanical Gardens in Spring, but this year it's already August and she still hasn't gone. Pete leaps on the Botanical Gardens, saying his family donated part of it before admitting it was generations ago. Still, "we should go some Sunday soon."

Oh Jesus Christ, Pete. Jesus Christ.

She laughs that off, pointing out that neither of them can drive, and with a smug face that barely restrains a leer he says they could take turns and give each other lessons.

Oh Jesus loving Christ, Pete!

Now it's awkward, she isn't entirely sure how to react, and is saved by the instructor calling out that the 15 minute break is over. She says they should get back, smiling in what she probably thinks is a,"Let's pretend that didn't happen and just go back to normal" face and that Pete clearly thinks is a,"I'm dazzled and intrigued by your creepy-rear end offer and just need a little more gentle prodding" reaction. She walks back to the class but Pete doesn't move, simply standing and watching her go, devouring every inch of her with his eyes. 16-years-old. For gently caress's sake, Pete.



At the Draper Residence, Don pours himself a stiff drink in preparation for the trip out into the suburbs, calling out to ask Megan to remind him what Ken's wife's name is. She admits she can't remember herself, clearly embarrassed, noting that she sent her a lovely thank you card for the surprise party which makes the fact she can't remember her name even worse. Noticing that Don is extremely stiffly attired she suggest he wear the sport coat she bought him since they are going to "the country", and that he should slow down on the drinks.

He retorts that he's trying to time this so he's nice and drunk by the time they arrive, clearly dreading this entire evening. She points out that this COULD be fun, does he really think it impossible they might have a good time spending an evening with another couple? Hanging out every so often with HER actor friends doesn't count, and she reminds him that he has so few personal friends that she had to invite his ACCOUNTANT to his surprise party. He's quick to remind her that Frank has been very helpful and important in his life, but with an undercurrent of mirth as well. When she instructs him to go change, he moves like a child being forced to attend an Aunt's when he could be at home reading comic books or outside playing baseball, but there's a self-amused pity about it, a performance that he knows Megan is enjoying as well even if he really would rather stay home. If anything he seems more upset that she took away his drink and reminded him he was driving.

At the Campbell household itself, Pete shows off his stereo system to Ken, telling him it feels like having a mini-orchestra inside. "That would be amazing!" agrees Ken, seemingly struck by the idea, though he's bewildered and confused by Pete noting at 7 foot long it could allow Wilt Chamberlain to lie in it, asking why Wilt would want to do that!

Cynthia brings them drinks, passing on a message that Trudy has asked the music be turned down so as not to wake the "non-essential guest", and Pete turns the sound down and chuckles to Ken that Trudy has been banned from talking about the baby tonight: tonight is for the adults. A knock at the door signals the arrival of the Drapers, and Pete eagerly races to the front door and greets them, Megan apologizing for being late but promising it certainly wasn't the fault of Trudy's directions.

Don shakes Pete's hand and tells him he has a lovely home, a beaming Pete insisting he hasn't even seen it yet, while Cynthia also greets them and gets a,"Hello... you!" from Don who still can't remember her name. For Pete though his eyes are locked on the red tin in Megan's hands, thrilled as she passes him brownies from William Greenberg, a little slice of Manhattan here in "the country". Trudy joins them, conspiratorially declaring to Megan that "they" did it and got everybody together. Pete shows her the brownies, asking if they make her homesick, amusing her as she points out slightly sarcastically that there are no bakeries or Greenbergs in Cos Cob.

Trudy invites the other women to join her in the kitchen where she is making deviled eggs, asking Megan to get Don's drink order ("big and brown"). Once they're gone though, Pete offer's Don his own, noting it was only just handed to him and he figures Megan will end up distracted with Trudy and Cynthia. He and Ken lead Don to the stereo to show it off some more, Pete admitting there is one thrill he finds in "country" living: he's on the ground floor for the first time in his life and not sharing walls with neighbors, which means he can make things as loud as he likes.

Only... not tonight. Ken explains as he lights Don's cigarette that Trudy has ground rules: no baby talk, no business talk, and Don gets the big steak. The latter confuses Don, this is Pete's house so he'd surely get the preferential treatment there, but Pete admits openly that it is a big deal that Don has come to his house and they're not going to pretend otherwise. Don, who didn't want to be here and would have avoided it forever if he could, insists that it's no big deal and was in fact long overdue. They all take seats, Pete remembering that it feels like a lifetime ago that he first invited over Don shortly after he and Trudy married. Don points out that for him it WAS a lifetime ago, getting a laugh from the others, a subtle acknowledgement of his own failed marriage, the escape from Sterling Cooper and the lengthy and drunken period before he met FayeMegan.

Meanwhile, Lane is having dinner with Edwin Baker at a restaurant, ready to try out the techniques that Roger gave him. He thinks he has an in when Edwin asks if he's done any gardening (he hasn't) and admits he has become quite keen on it after 3 years serving in North Africa where there was barely even grass. Lane comments that he's heard men talk with "dark permanence" of those years, but Edwin referring to it as "living like a dog" turns out not to have had the meaning Lane thought, as he declares it was the best time of his life. Lane can still work with that, asking if he regards it with melancholy now, since those best years are behind him. Again, not at all, Edwin simply shrugs and says it's just what he associates with his youth, clearly understanding those days can never come back.

Still, it's a line of conversation, and Edwin unthinkingly gives Lane an opportunity to bond by asking how he spent HIS war? Unfortunately, though Lane is quick to explain that he volunteered numerous times for combat, he actually spent most of the war as a supply assistant in Rosyth. It's a peculiar thing, despite his age and that he came from England, Lane isn't the type of person you'd think of as somebody who was in World War 2. We now know it wasn't in any combat capacity, so the likes of Roger Sterling probably wouldn't consider him as a "real" veteran, but of course he would have been involved in the war: he's a middle-aged Englishman in 1966.

"Everyone played their part," acknowledges Edwin, though it's clear he would have been more impressed by learning he saw action of some kind,"That was Britain at its best." Lane can agree on that front, but he's exhausted the war as a potential way to break Edwin down and build up their connection, so he shifts to domestic matters: America has been good for Edwin... but what about his wife? Here Edwin pauses and darkly admits he has to admit something.... he hasn't a complaint in the world! "Well... that's too bad, isn't it?" Lane says after a moment, causing Edwin to laugh. But as Lane motions to the waiter for more drinks and Edwin continue to enjoy his beef and tomatoes, Lane is utterly frustrated: this is NOT going the way Roger's advice made him think it could go.

At the Campbells, Trudy is happily explaining the backstory of Cos Cob's name, detailing the history of the Coe family in much the same way she once happily detailed the history of the Dyckman-Campbells. Megan decides to bring the Cosgroves into the conversation, faltering momentarily before moving as smoothly as possible beyond revealing she still can't remember Cynthia's name to ask where they are living now. They're in Jackson Heights, Queens, and Ken likes how down-to-earth it is, full of workers. Trudy of course wants them to join her and Pete in a home out here in "the country", but Cynthia notes that they both work in the city and with some minor unease admits that unlike Trudy's parents, help from hers comes with a lot of strings attached. This is clearly a sore subject, though Pete would clearly take issue with the idea that the Vogels gave help strings-free (even though they almost entirely did!).

Casting a quick look Don's way, Megan talks about how lovely it is out here, while Ken notes that having grown up in rural Vermont he doesn't really consider this the "country". "You miss the horseshit, huh?" asks Don with a grin as he takes another drink, getting a big laugh from the others before he admits that he grew up in the country too, and he doesn't miss walking to an outhouse in the middle of winter. This is a rather enormous "slip" from him, Don doesn't share information about his own past easily, but if any of them pick up on the significance of Don revealing a (completely non-scandalous) bit of his own past, they give no sign.

Pete is happy of course that things aren't as primitive here as where Ken or Don grew up, but there are a lot of "varmints" about. Ken notes he should bring his rifle home from the office, surprising Trudy who honestly had no idea he still had the rifle that caused such a problem between them when he traded it for the Chip 'n' Dip. She's not angry, more bemused, but also makes it clear that he will by no means be bringing a rifle into this house. Unfortunately talk of a rifle inevitably brings up Charles Whitman and the shooting, and though Trudy tries to shut that down quickly their morbid fascination has the better of them, Megan talking about his brain tumor and Ken pondering whether restricting access to guns might have stopped there being so much death (good thing America sorted all that out over the following 50 years!).

As an aside, I completely missed until it was pointed out later, but Cynthia gets Whitman's surname wrong and it is Don who, clearly not happy, corrects the name... after all, he'd know, he was born a Whitman himself.

Cynthia, trying to turn the conversation to a lighter tone, notes that one of Kenny's stories predicted exactly this type of thing happening. Alarmed, he asks her not to bring it up, saying her name which causes Megan to blurt out with delight,"CYNTHIA!", confusing Cynthia who asks what she wants, causing her to scramble for a reason that she can't come up with. Luckily she's saved by Kenny trying to smile through his fear and tell her they don't want to talk about "that", but she completely fails to grasp his unease or assumes it's false modesty or him just being silly. So she openly talks about it, how him being a writer is how they met, explaining to the others that she works in publishing (it seems not even Trudy knew that?) and her boss kept rejecting Ken's stories, so she agreed to go out with him since she figured he'd taken all the rejection he could.

The table is thoroughly charmed by that, and for a moment Ken has hopes of escaping any further discussion of his writing, but of course their interest is piqued, and Don asks what the story itself was about. Ken tries to downplay it but they want to know, and Cynthia - eager to show off her husband - lays out the barebones of the story: a robot called X4 that removed a central bolt on a bridge between two planets that caused the death of multiple passengers.

None of them are quite sure what to make of that, Ken painfully noting there is a bit more to the plot than that while simultaneously wanting to dismiss it as just a story and move on. But Don is curious, WHY did the robot do it? Ken explains that it is just a robot, powerless to do anything but what it is programmed to do, but able to remove or replace the bolt, seemingly making an argument that it was society itself that was to blame for the actions of a worker whose agency was all but otherwise removed by their rules and controls.

He's not escaping further questions though, the alcohol has been flowing freely and this is fascinating, and Megan wants to know more: how long has he been writing? He admits he started "screwing around" with it in high school and assumed that when he got a job that drive would go away, insisting that it "mostly" has. Don can understand, noting that nobody dreams of being in advertising, but Trudy disagrees, saying she thinks it seems fascinating, asking how Megan got into it. Ken must be relieved that the conversation has moved away from him when Don explains she started as an actress and Megan explains that she only ever TRIED. She did attend a few casting auditions at advertising agencies however, and it seemed like a fun place to make money, and when she started at SCDP she saw what Don and Peggy were doing and saw a future in it for her.

"That's the truth," smirks a visibly drunk Pete, Megan smiling a little uncertainly in response to what is pretty clearly a jibe at how she married so well. Trudy offers to feet dessert and coffee, and Pete agrees to the former but not the latter, saying he's still having too much fun to shift to coffee just yet. Megan and Cynthia join Trudy to help out in the kitchen, just leaving the three men behind at the table - Pete quite drunk, Don getting there, and Ken demonstrating what he told Peggy earlier, that he's gotten quite accomplished at making a single drink last.

Pete only half jokes that he finds "crime" in Cos Cob a bigger deal than he ever did in the city, because the kid who mows his lawn ripped him off! Don can commiserate, noting the kid who mowed his lawn back when he lived in Ossining used to steal beer out of the fridge in his garage. Pete though is excited by that notion, a fridge in the garage? What a great idea!

Suddenly squeals of laughter from the kitchen grab their attention: they're simultaneously joyful and alarmed and they race into the kitchen to see what is going on. It's the tap in the kitchen sink, which has suddenly exploded with water jetting out all over the place. Tipsy themselves, the women have backed into the opposite wall and are howling with laughter. Pete leaps into action, shouting that he'll get the toolbox and races out of the room. Trudy explains through her laughter that she turned it on and it just blew up in her face, and Don decides not to wait. He pops a pot over the top of the tap and tells Ken to hold it there, then strips off his shirt much to the glee of the assembled women.

Pete arrives with the toolbox just as Don finishes turning off the pressure valve and stopping the water. Grabbing a took, he tightens a valve, tests the tap and turns the pressure back up slightly before testing the tap again... and water flows freely and gently. All of this happens in front of a Pete still fumbling through the toolbox, and the applause from the others for Don leaves him momentarily horrified before he quickly joins in. Don dries himself off as Trudy returns, having gone to fetch the crying baby who was woken by all the noise, and he explains that the water supply was turned all the way up and forced the valve to loosen. Desperate to regain some faint echo of the machismo he felt after "fixing" things the other day, Pete notes that doing this stopped the leak, and Don without malice simply says that would have been purely a coincidence, which must leave Pete feeling utterly emasculated. Another man - supposedly an equal now but in reality still somebody he considers a superior - came into his house and fixed a problem that he couldn't, that he in fact had unknowingly made worse.

But now that the disaster is over, there's no ignoring the elephant in the room... or rather, the baby. Ken points Tammy out, Cynthia gushes, and while Megan is charmed by her Don is utterly enchanted. Realizing all eyes are on his child, Pete does actually swell with pride again before declaring with faux humility that he takes no credit for her. Tammy doesn't know what's going on or who all these strange people are, but even with tears in her eyes she is adorable, and Don is smitten.... after all, he loves the beginning of things, and what is more of a beginning than a baby?

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:44 on Oct 17, 2021

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Megan drives them home, Don too drunk to do so. Exhausted, he says he wants to close his eyes and see skyscrapers when he opens them, but beaming she tells him to just admit that he had a good time. By way of reply, he leans up on her, placing one hand on her thigh and cracking that HE is too drunk for HER to drive, suggesting she pull over so "they" can sober up. She's amused by his drunken come on, but slightly put out when he tries to be seductive by saying they can make a baby. She tells him that's impossible, causing him to grin more sloppily and point out that this is how it works, and still amused but a little more put out she asks him in some disbelief,"A baby gets you going!?!"

Fumbling with her bra, he asks her to pull over because it's like trying to get into Fort Knox. Turned on in spite of herself, she does pull over, but is quick to insist that he's only getting anywhere because Pete scared her with all his automobile fatality statistics from his driver's ed class.... and yes she has to admit she LOVED watching him fix that sink. A baby got him going, basic plumbing competence got her going, and so they finish their evening sojourn out into "the country" with some cramped sex in a car on the side of the road.

In a much, much, much better transition than the one between doors seen earlier, the camera moves up from the car smoothly to the underside of a desk and continues up past the typewriter to show the offices of SCDP after the weekend, and Pete and Roger having an argument over Mohawk. The same night as the party, there was a plane crash in Nebraska, and Pete is convinced that despite this having nothing to do with Mohawk they should put a moratorium on all advertising for a week, and hope nobody notices 10 of the planes in Mohawk's fleet are the same BAC 1-11 model that crashed.

Roger disagrees, planes crash every day in Vietnam and people are still flying in America, and Braniff (the airline responsible) should be the only ones worrying about their advertising, not Mohawk. Pete suggests he ask Lane as Roger knocks on his door, but Roger waves that off and tells Pete to do whatever he wants since Mohawk is his account (throwing Pete's public humiliation of him back in his face) before asking "Heathcliff" how his date with Edwin Baker went.

Lane admits that it didn't go as he'd hoped, in the end he decided to reverse things and offer suggestions of a troubled home-life of his own hoping that Edwin would commiserate. That didn't work either, but he has lined up another dinner where he is sure a now "primed" Edwin will give up everything Lane needs to provide an RFP that guarantees them the account. Roger points out this was NOT his plan, while Pete is bewildered, because this is obviously not how he works his accounts, and he and Roger are both troubled at Lane needing a second dinner.

So, with Pete taking the lead and Roger a reluctant crony, they push that Lane should let the two of them and perhaps Don take over for the dinner, purely so they can butter Edwin up, break down his defenses while talking up Lane's qualities, and then allow Lane to come in and "shine the chrome" and be the hero who closes the deal. Lane is clearly reluctant, but Roger follows along with Pete's lead, noting it is better to putt from the green then to hit a drive from the tee. Against his obvious desire to handle this all himself, Lane capitulates, and once Roger and Pete are out the door Roger notes sardonically it was generous of him. Pete assumes he means not just wrenching the entire deal away from Lane to save it, but Roger explains he means it was "generous" for Pete to invite him along to the dinner at all. Pete, being Pete, simply can't resist the chance to rub it in some more, and notes cruelly that he's inviting Roger to the dinner... not the wedding.

At his next driver's ed class, we see something rather troubling. Pete is sitting in the room, and alone for the moment he simply... stares. An almost fixed sneer unconsciously on his face, contempt emanating from every pore... and then the pretty (and very young!) girl arrives and suddenly his face lights up into a smile. This is not a nice person, or at least this is a person who allows negativity to rule too much of his life, and that he only seems to takes pleasure from something as revolting as thinking he might be able to bang a high school girl is.... ugh.

He taps the seat in front of him and she takes the seat, turning to smile at him, something devilish in her own eye today. He asks how she is, and looking around she admits with great glee that... she thinks she's hung over! "What, really?" gasps Pete, delighted, acting like a high school kid himself, the kind of thrilled reaction you might expect to hear from a 16-year-old boy, but certainly not from a man in his early 30s... and CERTAINLY not towards a 16-year-old girl. Her own youthfulness is on full display as she excitedly explains that her and her friend Belinda were left alone in the drugstore and they... drank vanilla extract.

Oh my God she is a literal child.

Pete's face almost falls for a moment before the smile holds, just continuing to beam as she gasps how it seemed to make the afternoon go faster but now she has a headache. He jokes that it sounds like his office, then leans forward and "reminds" her that she "promised" to find a Sunday to attend the Botanical Gardens with him. "What about Church?" she points out, and Pete declares that God is all over the gardens! But if God is real, he's sent an angel to cockblock Pete, because suddenly an incredibly handsome young man enters the room and approaches Pete to apologize for missing some classes but assuring him that he's here now.

She quickly explains that Pete isn't the instructor, he's just "Peter". Mr. Incredibly Handsome asks who she is and we get her name for the first time, Jenny Gunther, reminding him that they're in the same Chemistry class together. She knows who he is though, he's handsome! And he... agrees? Wait, holy poo poo his name is literally handsome!?! Pete is also confused, asking the same, and Mr. Incredibly Handsome (Please, my father was Mr. Handsome, call me Incredibly) explains his name is actually Hanson, but everybody just calls him... handsome! He says it with the casual ease and charm of somebody who has been naturally gifted with good looks (and let's be fair, the dude is ripped too, an obvious athlete who probably trains constantly), all in front of the man who embodies the opposite of his casual ease and grace.

Having explained himself to Pete, Hanson promptly forgets he exists to turn his attention to Jenny, saying he must be a weirdo not to remember her. She looks at Hanson the way Pete wishes she would look at him (or deluded himself into thinking she did), enthralled, admitting there were plenty of girls in that class, almost as if it is her fault she didn't stand out. He asks where she is going to college and she doesn't hesitate to say Ohio State, without any qualifiers or concerns like she expressed to Pete, and he smoothly explains how he and a friend tried to sign up to go to Vietnam but his father blew his stack, so now he's just gonna go get that track scholarship and go to Holy Cross. Just like that, pure ease and not a hint of doubt in his voice.

For Pete it's a further emasculation. His pathetic fantasy of seducing this ENTIRELY TOO YOUNG girl collapsing in an instant, himself immediately supplanted in her eyes by the taller, stronger, handsomer man (hell, practically still a boy) who just waltzed in and took charge without a second thought. The fact that he himself has lived an incredibly privileged life is meaningless, Pete hates himself and assumes others must as well, and people who seem to have it all together or who appear to be able to smoothly do what he must strain and struggle to accomplish drive him crazy and make him hate himself all the more. Here he sits, an adult in a room with almost-children, and even here he can't be the most impressive person in the room.



Edwin Baker's second dinner with SCDP executives takes place, but this time it's the A Team of Don, Roger and Pete. Despite Cooper "speaking British" they've run with Pete's suggestion, and so far it's going incredibly well. Eating lobster, Don has turned on that same seemingly effortless charm that Pete wishes he had as he gives Edwin a taste of what SCDP can offer, laying out a very generalized theme for Jaguar that equates driving one with having sex. It's not as simple as that of course, but Don flavors it with a simple explanation of the power of repetition, and Edwin is impressed. He's also impressed with the pretty woman passing by in a tight dress, and explains that though he appreciates this all-hands-on-deck approach to wooing him, he can't help but feel their relationship would improve if they had "a little fun."

Roger immediately picks up on his meaning, and Edwin admits openly that he has every intention of giving them Jaguar's business.. he just wants to know he's going to enjoy being around the people he works with. Roger, true to his word, tries to shine up Lane a little, saying he's surprised he didn't offer, and Edwin grins and notes that he doesn't think he and Lane share the same tastes (if only he'd met him last year!). Pete suggests they head over to the Carlyle as it is a good place to get into "trouble" but that doesn't impress Edwin at all, who reminds him rather testily (and drunkenly) that he lives in New York, he's not an out-of-town executive who can be dazzled by the regulars at the Carlyle.

Pete swallows his pride and his humiliation at being called out like this and turns to Roger, noting it is his time to shine. Roger, for all his many, many, many faults, knows a great deal of the city's hidden "gems" as evidenced by he and Don's final farewell to Freddy. So he suddenly remembers he has a "friend" who is having a "party" around the corner... maybe they should visit! "Oh," grins Edwin, who knows exactly what Roger means by "party","I like parties!"

And so it is that Don, Roger and Pete find themselves in a brothel, albeit a very upmarket one. Suited men lounge in chairs or at the bar with beautiful women draped all over them before wouldn't you know it, the woman becomes so enamored by the man she simply has to take him to one of this "sorority's" many bedrooms to have sex with him! As an increasingly drunken Edwin cackles with his chosen girl, an also drunken Pete insists to the girl he's taken up with that they're all from out-of-town, asking her to name an attraction in the city they can see. Roger drinks of course, but he's got a higher tolerance than Pete plus he's probably been doing the Scotch and Soda trick he suggested to Lane to make it look like he has been drinking more than he has, and grumpily asks to see Pete's girl's friend again rather than hang around and watch Pete's attempt at flirting.

The other woman, Anastasia, joins him, Roger lighting her cigarette and promising he won't bore her with compliments - he knows EXACTLY what this "relationship" is, purely transactional. Pete's girl notes that Don is still unattended though, causing Roger to declare with only somewhat put-on dismay that even in a place like this Don is doing better than them. Don notices Edwin being lead away and notes that he got "lucky", Roger telling Anastasia that her "sorority sister" has bad taste. Anastasia doesn't waste time with talking either though, simply leading Roger away who remarks,"Work, work, work!" to Don as if this is just an unfortunate part of the job. That leaves Pete and his chosen girl, who asks if Pete could lift her and feels his skinny little arm, cooing that as she suspected he's one of those guys who is stronger than they look.

Don rolls his eyes behind her back at this incredibly lame line, but Pete of course is thrilled by the compliment, and when she tells him she wants some rum but suspects she only has some in her room (sure, that's where they keep it, not here at the bar!) he looks to Don as if expecting a big grin and a,"Go get 'im, Tiger!" look on Don's face, or perhaps even that he's impressed by Pete. Spotting that Don is anything but, Pete scowls and heads off with the prostitute, and finally, blessedly, Don is left alone at last.

In the girl's room, Pete starts kissing her but she assures him there is no need to rush, she doesn't "do this by the minute" (note that she never explicitly mentions anything about charging money for sex). Pete, still feeling a little put out by Don's disdain, asks her if she thinks it is going to be so easy for her to "seduce" him and she admits that she does think that, stripping down to her leopard print underwear and climbing onto the bed. Pete though is in a mood to prove a point, staring drunkenly at himself (and her in the background) in the mirror and asking if she's any good at this... prove it to him? So she attempts with equal ease a series of roles to appeal to him.

First is the loving girlfriend/wife of the hardworking businessman, but he's got that in real life, he doesn't need it here. Next is the virginal innocent, and maybe that might have worked before he saw Hanson and Jenny together, but now it's the last thing he wants to be reminded of. So next is her on all fours, staring up at him and moaning that he's her king... and yeah, that'll do it! "Okay," he grunts, loosening his tie and removing his jacket. She was right. It WAS that easy.

Don is enjoying the relative quiet of the bar, but in a place like this and looking like he does, though, that isn't going to last. An older woman, presumably the madam of the brothel, spots him alone and approaches, telling him that Officer Logan says hello, testing the waters and letting him know that they have some form of protection/permission to operate. Don calmly explains he isn't a cop, so she makes the next assumption: he's waiting for somebody who is already busy? No, Don's just waiting for his friend, and so now she suggests that she can suggest something more private, a friend with an apartment, and he is in walking distance.

Unlike Pete's choice, it's not third time's the charm for the madam. Don is amused that she's assumed he's gay rather than that he might be a heterosexual man uninterested in sleeping with a prostitute (not that he hasn't done so before!). "That's the best I've ever seen that done," he admits, and when she asks if he gets asked that a lot, he explains he grew up in a place like this.

That's interesting, his biological mother was a prostitute but he never knew her. He grew up and was raised on a farm, his "mother" was severely Christian and remarried after his father's death, and they remained poor, but now he says he grew up in a place like this brothel? Or does he just mean he worked in one for a time, perhaps in his early teens? What's the backstory there? There is still a ton about the life of young Dick Whitman we absolutely do not know.

In any case, the madam assures him there is NO PLACE like this, and he admits it is nicer than most... they just called the one he grew up in a whorehouse. Now she understands though, assuming he's the child of a prostitute (technically true!) and grew up in or associated with the business before obviously making it as a success in the "legitimate" world. So she asks his advice as an expert... should she put in a television? No he quick to state, shocked at the idea as she knew he would be, and she informs Jessica the bartender that she'll cover Don's drinks from now on.

Roger was right, Don really does do better with women no matter where he is!

The visit to the brothel over, Don, Pete and Edwin take a cab back to Edwin's (Roger either already got dropped off, took his own cab, or decided to stay at the brothel). Edwin is delighted, saying he asked for fun and they showed it to him. He reaches into his pocket as if he intends to pay the driver, and Pete of course smiles and tells him he better be reaching either for a pen that says Jaguar to give to him, or for his housekeys for when he goes inside. Delighted, knowing that of course the Advertising Agency ALWAYS pays for everything on a night out, he wishes them a goodnight and makes his exit.

Left alone, Don instructs the driver there will be two more stops, the first on 72nd street, while Pete's beaming smile is replaced with drunken churlishness, he's STILL smarting over the look Don gave him when Pete left with the prostitute. As they ride, Pete notes that the dinner went very well, and Don agrees... that the client seems happy. Pete hits back that it's a shame Don isn't feeling well, causing Don to irritably snap that he feels fine, and it just goes on from there.

Because Pete can't let it go, he's offended by Don giving him what he felt was a dirty look, compounded perhaps by his own guilt (I'm not so sure about that, the only guilt for extra-marital sex he's ever shown was when he came dangerously close to being completely exposed by his rape of the au pair in his old building) but certainly by his self-loathing and recent emasculation, including by Don. He complains that he feels like he's riding with a nun, and when Don points out that he hasn't said anything, Pete complains further that Don of all people shouldn't be casting moral judgements on people for cheating on their wife.

Either because he can admit that (currently) past flaw, or that he just knows it makes no sense to argue with a drunk, Don agrees that Pete is right, hoping that will be a end to it. They arrive at 72nd street and Don offers a courtesy,"Have a good night," causing Pete to snap bitterly that he already did. "Good," grunts Don, in spite of himself, and that sets Pete off again, complaining about the imaginary argument he has been having with an imaginary Don, how rich it is to have to explain he was doing his job to a man who just "pulled his pants up on the world."

Funny, I don't recall Don and Roger visiting Pete when they were forming SCDP and saying,"We need you for your forward-thinking ideas and also to bang prostitutes."

Don tries to be a peacemaker, giving Pete the very good advice to just go home, take a shower and forget any of this ever happened. But Pete stills wants to fight, complaining that Don isn't giving any of these dirty looks to Roger. Now Don is ready to fight too, he's tried time and again to avoid this argument and he's had enough. He points out that Roger is miserable (something he saw coming a mile away but that he hasn't even remotely considered might happen to him) but that he didn't think that Pete was.

"I have it all," sneers Pete, as if that wasn't the truth, and Don again tries to acknowledge his own flaws, admitting that he made plenty of mistakes before but he's hoping Pete won't have to given you don't get another chance at a truly wonderful relationship like Pete has with Trudy. "Brave words from a man on his second go around," sneers Pete, who warns him that soon the honeymoon will be over and then he'll see. Don sneers back that yes, he is on his second go round... but that if he'd met Megan first, he'd still be on his first marriage.

That's... some bullshit. He was deeply in love with Betty when they married and not only for a long time afterwards but after she stopped loving him as well. He is the one who hosed that up, and the idea that somehow Megan was "the one" and things would have been just fine if he'd met her (at this age) when he was younger is shifting a lot of the blame he should be shouldering away from him and in some ways dumping it on Betty, as if she was to blame for his reckless, continuous cheating and his ongoing efforts to prevent her from growing or changing as a person while simultaneously resenting her for not growing and changing as a person.

But it's a hell of a line to end an argument on. He leaves, and now Pete is left alone in the cab, in no mood to catch a late train or to spend the night at a hotel. So he tells the driver to take him to Cos Cob, grumpily saying he knows when the driver reminds him for a trip that length he'll have to pay for the trip both ways. It's a long drive for him to consider his actions, and the fact that banging a prostitute is NOT part of his job, and just further internalize that self-loathing he has.

Arriving home, he quietly makes his way into the bedroom where Trudy is sleeping, stares at her, then ends up taking Don's advice after all and retreats into the bathroom to take a shower. The prostitute's perfume may be mixed with the booze and cigarette smoke, and he can wash that away... just not the emptiness gnawing forever away at him.



At SCDP in the morning, Roger looks none the worse for wear after the dinner and his dalliance with Anastasia. Standing in his office and drinking vodka, he's visited by Ken Cosgrove whose presence he requested. Ken closes the door and takes a seat, and listens with growing dread as Roger informs him that a little birdie told him he's been writing stories, making it clear that this was not welcome news to him. It was Roger who lauded Ken for getting his short story published back in the Sterling Cooper days, but that was a different situation: Sterling Cooper was a mid-sized company that didn't just have a strong client-base but Lucky Strike cigarettes to boot. SCDP is a different beast, they lost Lucky Strike and Ken was brought in even before then because they needed somebody committed to take the strain off of Pete (because Roger sure as hell wasn't doing it!), so he wasn't happy to hear that Ken - part of whose job is to wine and dine clients at night - is spending a lot of free time writing stories.

Ken quickly insists that he only writes because his wife likes it (a lie, he writes because he loves to), and Roger retorts that his wife loves fur but that doesn't mean Roger is growing a tail. He warns Ken that the fact he kept his writing a secret proves he knew it would be considered a distraction, and that they can't have his attention being divided. Ken of course is frantic to agree, to insist that he's fully committed to and loves his job, and Roger - snapping at his secretary when she buzzes to remind him of the Partners meeting that he's coming - says he can commiserate as an unappreciated author (his terrible, self-serving memoir) and a friend... but he can assure him that when THIS job is good, it satisfies EVERY need, bitterly adding quietly that he remember what that feels like.

He leaves to attend the Partners Meeting he'd really rather avoid, a millionaire whose biggest problem is that he feels unappreciated but is otherwise more secure than anybody else sans Cooper in the company. Left behind is Ken, fuming over his worst fear coming true. He wanted his writing to remain something for himself, a personal hobby and creative passion. Even worse than having to share it with workmates though is that now he's been asked to give it up entirely, once again his professional life overtaking or dictating his personal one. He said at the end of season 4 that Cynthia and her family were his REAL life, that work was something he enjoyed but not the be-all and end-all of his existence. Today he's been told to give up one part of his genuine personal happiness and an actual creative outlet for his energy in favor of... more drunken dinners with out-of-town executives who just want to get drunk, maybe see a show but more likely bang a prostitute. That's not what Ken wants to do, and though he knows he has to do it as part of his work... why does that have to impact on the things he genuinely enjoys doing outside of work?

Lane is on his way to the Partners meeting too when his secretary informs him that Mrs. Pryce is on the phone. Rather than answering on the intercom he pops open the door and tells her that he's already late to the meeting, but obviously his secretary signals this is important, so he answers the phone, astonished by the frantic, highly emotional tone of his wife on the other end. He tells her to calm herself, understanding that something is up.

In the conference room, Cooper is gently massaging Roger's shoulders and assuring him that everything is going to be okay... because Richard Nixon is coming! Yes, he's confident that Nixon, who he was so convinced would smash Kennedy way back in season 1, is biding his time and ready to strike come the next election in 1968. Pete joins them, noting that everybody is here, seemingly not rating Lane as part of "everybody". Don ignores that, telling Cooper that he's sure LBJ will end the war before the election, but Cooper is amused by such naivete, noting that nobody stops a war BEFORE an election.

Lane arrives at last, stony-faced and immediately asking Joan (who he still calls Mrs. Harris) to leave the room. When she hesitates he insists, and she quickly leaves, casting a quick look back as she exits the door. Lane has barely closed it before turning a furious look on Pete and yelling that his activities last night have cost them the Jaguar account. Pete is confused but also seemingly unconcerned, while Cooper - who has no idea what happened - is horrified. Don asks for clarification, and Lane explains that he's just gotten off the phone with his wife who in turn had just gotten off the phone with Mrs. Baker who was completely distraught... she knows how Edwin was "corrupted".

Rather than deny that it happened, Roger simply asks why Edwin would tell her in the first place. The answer is both shocking and unfortunately incredibly funny, as Lane roars that he had chewing gum "on his pubis!" There's a beat, all of them staring in shock, and then Roger, Don and Pete burst into laughter, only Cooper remaining mortified. Lane is aghast, how DARE they laugh at this! Roger can't help but try to picture HOW this happened in the first place though, did the prostitute out it there and forget about it!?!

Pete finally defends himself, in so far as he gives an explanation while still seeming entirely untroubled by the loss of Jaguar, simply saying - truthfully, to be fair - that the trip to the brothel was Edwin's idea. Lane is appalled at that suggestion, saying Edwin would never do such a thing, and Pete - of course - has to explain things in the cruelest way possible, finally wiping the smile off of Don's face when he declares that Edwin didn't ask Lane to take him because he thinks Lane is a "homo".

Lane is horrified, not so much by the idea Edwin might think this, but in the obvious pleasure and cruelty Pete took in telling him. Pete, who Lane has - outside of his appalling Co-Head of Accounts experiment at Sterling Cooper - championed and supported, encouraged and defended, worked to help and respected his drive and work ethic. He can't believe he put all this effort into helping make a monster, and Pete, still laughing, still assuming the others are laughing with him, dismisses that by saying - like he claimed as a defense for sleeping with the prostitute - that he was just doing his job.

"IT WAS MY ACCOUNT!" roars Lane, and that makes Pete smile even wider, mocking the idea that Lane could have an account. In typical rubbing it in fashion, he leans back and smugly proclaims that not only does Lane not know what he is going, but "they" lost any need for Lane the day after he "fired" them, allowing them to form SCDP in the first place.

Don isn't smiling, Roger isn't smiling, and Cooper is openly disgusted by Pete saying this. For Lane though, this isn't just an insult, it's a challenge, and not one he intends to let go unanswered. Before a stunned Pete, he removes his jacket and rolls up his sleeves, proclaiming that the two of them are going to "address that insult". Pete can't believe it, asking if he's kidding, and Lane insists he is not, adding an insult of his own by saying perhaps the most accurate thing ever said about Pete: he's a grimy little pimp.

Now Pete has stopped smiling, casting a worried, disbelieving look at the other partners... and not seeing support there. In fact what he sees is three men waiting to see how HE will react, and ready to judge him for how he does. This isn't like the time Roger made his pathetic threat when Pete suggested switching offices. Pete has cost them a prestigious account (to be fair, Roger and Don share blame there), he has insulted the worth and purpose of another partner, and been challenged to a fight. They want to see if he'll stand up for himself or be what they consider a coward, even if it is loving madness that two grown men should settle an argument like this in a fight in a conference room of all places.

So Pete, emasculated far too often over the last week, decides to stand up and fight, assuming that Lane - not a muscleman but in very good shape for a man his age with such a sedentary job - can't be too much of a threat... after all, that prostitute who he paid to have sex told him he was strong! The others stand to watch, Roger looking delighted that this is actually going to happen, Cooper aghast and Don resigned. Roger admits that cooler heads should prevail but is he really the only one who wants to see this? Don plays his only active part, moving to the window and lowering the blinds so nobody outside will see two of the partners going at it.

Pete tucks his tie into his shirt, then both raise their fists and the fight of the century is on, Lane demonstrating a very old school, traditional technique with his fists turned knuckle down and arms slightly extended, while Pete is more modern with elbows tight against his flanks. Pete throws the first punch, a short and wildly telegraphed right hook he doesn't fully commit to. Lane easily dodges it, but Pete's next shots catch him as he jabs and surprises Lane with a tap to the face that allows him to hit a firmer uppercut to Lane's belly that doubles him over. In the background, Roger looks like he's bet his lifesavings on Lane, clearly willing him on to survive.

But if Pete thought Lane would immediately cower after taking a hit, he's wrong. Lane recovers from the surprise of taking the first shot and scores a direct hook to Pete's face, followed by an uppercut to the body and another hook to the face. He's not a powerful man, but Pete isn't either, and the blow staggers him. He stares at his fingers, shocked by the blood there, realizing his nose is bleeding... but to his credit doesn't freak out but seems to draw anger to feed his energy. He shakes his head clear as Lane resets, braces himself, and prepares to continue. Interestingly, Pete's stance now seems more like Lane's, as if he's learning to fight as he goes (this may in fact be the FIRST fight Pete Campbell has ever been in).



Peggy enters Joan's office to ask her something and finds her pressed against the wall, listening intently, shushing Peggy and motioning her over, telling her that Lane and Pete are fighting! Now Peggy is intrigued too, both of them jumping when the wall suddenly thumps, and they hear Pete taunting Lane, asking "Mr. Toad" if he wants some more?

But Pete shoving Lane hasn't had the desired effect. He doesn't show any signs of being alarmed by any of the damage he's taken, keeping coming forward, and Pete is looking more disheveled and pathetic, cringing back from further blows as Lane advances on him. Lane scores a jab and a hook and Pete crashes into the table alongside the wall, knocking over the contents atop it and collapsing to the floor. The fight is over, the victory is Lane's, and Roger and Don finally dash over knowing that it is time to stop at last.

Lane isn't interested in continuing though, he's made his point. He strides back to fetch his jacket as Roger asks Pete if he is fine and Pete waves off his offer of a helping hand, insisting he is fine. "Consider that my last piece of advice," sneers Lane to his bested opponent, and leaves the conference room without a backwards look. Roger tries again to help Pete up and he slaps his hands away again, while Don stands and stares down at him with no pity whatsoever, more like he's looking at some disgusting bug, fascinating in its alienness but in no way a member of the same species.

"You'll be fine," he says at last, no warmth or compassion in his voice as Pete stumbles to his feet and glares at him as if expecting something: not sympathy, but maybe he expects to be mocked or made fun of, sure that now they'll all take their chance to gang up on him and taunt him like of course they must all want to because they all hate him because he hates himself and believes everybody else must to. He grabs his jacket, presses his handkerchief to his nose and exists as well.

"I don't know about you two, but I had Lane," Roger quietly adds in the quiet that follows. Joan returns, Peggy beside her, and all Cooper - who gave up on a well-deserved retirement to help found this disaster of an Agency - simply tells her to reschedule the meeting. She nods and leaves, and Peggy remains in the doorframe for a moment, unsure entirely what to do or where to go before finally picking a direction and just getting anywhere that isn't here.

Inside Lane's office, he lays on his back, knuckles bruised and bloody, light bruises on his face, resting a forearm against his head as he lets the pain sink in along with the realization that he just beat up a fellow Partner in an Agency he is trying his best to keep from falling apart financially. Joan knocks on the door, announcing herself before entering to give him a chance to pull himself together. Standing, he adjusts his hair and opens the door, and she comes in with a bucket of ice, closing the door to preserve his privacy and presenting it to him before asking what happened.

He sinks one bruised hand deep into the ice and considers that same thing himself for a moment, before he asks a question that has clearly been troubling him for some time, one of the sources of why he pushed so hard to handle Edwin himself: what does he do here? Truly? Joan, entirely too used to helping men feel better about themselves, assures him that what he does is something essential. He sighs, a sad little smile on his face as he points out she could do what he does. He doesn't mean that as an insult to him, that he's so useless that he does a task a "mere" women could do, but as a compliment to her, perhaps more than anyone else he understands just how vital she is to the smooth running of SCDP.

Joan assures him that if the others have made him feel different to them, then they're right... and it's a good thing to be. She gently strokes his hair as she tells him this, and Lane - who once boasted that unlike every other man she couldn't wrap him around her finger - lunges forward and kisses her. She lets it happen but does not reciprocate, just lets him do it and get it out of his system before simply staring when he pulls away. In his eyes you can see his hunger, his desire to see that she wants this too or is willing to investigate whether she could, but she very deliberately and very clearly offers him nothing. Not desire, not compassion, not even anger. Just a blank look that tells him all he needs to know. Certain he's gotten the message she stands and walks to the door and opens it... then returns to the couch. These are the actions of a woman who can control a room, making it as painfully clear as can be without bruising his ego (too much) that no, there is not going to be an office romance between them.

Lane, to his credit, despairs but accepts that he made a blunder. He sits with his hand in the ice and notes with self-deprecating humor that it seems he can find no end to his humiliation today, then very sincerely and quietly tells her he is sorry. "About what?" she asks, and now she allows a smile,"Everyone in this office has wanted to do that to Pete Campbell."

And just like that, he feels better. She has let the slip pass while making it clear how she feels (or doesn't), and turned his apology for the kiss into "mistaking" it for an apology for beating up Pete. He smiles and even allows a little laugh, that at least is one thing he can feel good about today.

In the kitchen, Peggy finds Ken and is eager to gossip, asking if he heard that Lane kicked the crap out of Pete? Ken admits he wishes he could have gotten to him first, admitting that he doesn't know what Pete did to piss off Lane, but he knows that he told Roger about Ken's writing. He doesn't know that, but he's made an assumption (in all honesty it could as easily have been Don) and it's a pretty educated guess: it's the type of thing Pete would do, take something he learned in a relaxed, "private" setting among friends and use it just to gently caress somebody over just because he can, or because he was pissed off about something entirely unrelated.

He explains that Cynthia let it slip, but it doesn't matter because he's decided to give it up: Ben Hargrove is dead. Peggy is sorry to hear that, admitting that she found and read one of his stories - about a lady who lays eggs! - and was very impressed by it. He thanks her genuinely for that, but exposure and fear has made up his mind for him, he's going to leave the writing for the writers. He heads out of the kitchen, and Peggy seems disappointed, not in Ken but for him: she better than anyone knows how much joy can come from getting to express yourself.

Pete sits in his office, perhaps missing his dark little lovely hole now after all, booze and a bottle of aspirin in front of him. Feeling enough time has passed he collects his jacket (and thank Christ, not his rifle) and trudges out to Reception and towards the lobby... and pauses when he sees Don Draper in the elevator. Don sees him too, and knows he can't just let the doors close and add another humiliation to Pete's terrible day. He blocks the door from closing and tells him to come on, and after a moment Pete finally does.

They ride briefly in silence and then Pete asks where Don is going, and of course Don is meeting Megan for lunch: he lives with his wife, he works with his wife, he eats lunch with his wife... he loves his wife! Pete complains that Don cut him loose for not being as virtuous as him, a laughable claim on every front, and Don asks him exactly what was he supposed to do? Punch Lane for him?

"Why are we even having a fight at work? This is an office," complains Pete, his face all bruised up (how will he explain this to Trudy?), still in disbelief at the events of the day, and then says something that beggars belief, especially if he is the one who told Roger about Ken, and especially given the way he acted towards Lane that precipitated the fist-fight in the first place,"We're supposed to be friends."

Don just gently shakes his head and says nothing, and now it becomes too much for Pete. Barely holding back tears, he chokes out,"I have nothing, Don." A man who has everything lamenting that he has nothing, so blind to his success and achievements and the love he has found that he lives in pity for the unfairness of the world. Why? Because there is something that makes him unhappy, and rather than discover what that is and try to fix it, he tries to fill the hole with all the wrong things. In that sense he is similar to Don (and Roger), but Pete is also entirely his own creature. This is a man who glories in punishing and taunting those he feels have slighted him, either in reality or purely in his own imagination, but the moment he faces any comeuppance or similar treatment he explodes in self-pity. He is looking for something, and he doesn't know what it is, and Don Draper certainly can't give it to him. Uncertain what to say, wishing the elevator didn't take so long, feeling bad for Pete but also kind of thinking he got what he deserved, Don stands with the near-tears Pete in awkward silence the rest of the trip.



Some people just can't help being who they are. Sometimes that's bad, sometimes it is good. Ken Cosgrove sits up in bed one night, his wife sleeping behind him, and he writes. He can't help it, it never really goes away, and an idea swimming around in his head since the party at the Campbells just insisted on being written down. Ben Hargrove is dead... but Dave Algonquin has been born, and now he writes the a story called "The Man with the Miniature Orchestra", a story about a man named Coe (just like Trudy's story about the origins of Cos Cob) obsessed with Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and pondering whether it was due to Beethoven being so close to death when he wrote it.

As he writes, the episode returns one last time to the driver's ed class. Pete, his face still battered and bruised, sits in the dark as another film is played for the class. Sitting several seats away, no longer close to him, Jenny is beside Hansom. In the dark, Hansom places a hand around her and another between her thighs, and without resistance she parts her legs for him. Pete observes this, then turns and goes back to watching the film. It is a final emasculation, the realization that yet again somebody can have what he wants seemingly at will. Ken's narration of Coe and loneliness from living in the country is obviously inspired by Pete, but even he is probably unaware of just how deeply troubled Pete is.

Back in season one, it was very early that I noted he was a character who I detested who I had come to, if not like, to at least pity. I still pity him, but I detest him all over again as well. A fascinating character performed incredibly by Vincent Kartheiser, there is much to pity about Pete's life, but so much to find revolting about him too. His "emasculation" is in his own head, his self-pity ignores his vast privilege and success, his infidelities betray a contempt for a wife who has given him nothing but love and adoration. Even in this last scene, he is sad that a 16-17-year-old boy is getting lucky with a 16-17-year-old girl.... because HE wanted to get lucky with her, him, a married man in his early 30s.

Everything he does is self-serving, but nothing is ever his fault. Every flaw, every mistake, every gently caress-up, is because he had to do it or it was somehow somebody else to blame. That he simultaneously hates himself and lives in constant fear of being replaced is sad, but it's how he chooses to express and deal with these issues that make him so hate-able: he revels in abusing others, in wielding power over them and making them look small and pathetic, because that is how he feels all the time.

He's Pete Campbell, a fascinating cockroach of a man who it seems will never learn to be happy with the frankly embarrassment of riches he has been showered with for most of his life. His successes, his achievements, they're never enough: his beautiful wife comes to see him off from the train station... but she wore a robe! He is a partner at his firm and was able to buy a house... and wants to go back to the city. His in-laws shower them with money and gifts because all they want is for their daughter and granddaughter to be happy, so he takes the first opportunity he gets to grind Tom's face into the mud.

On and on it goes, always something more, always something worse, never enough, always somebody else's fault, always that grinding, relentless sense that something's wrong and he doesn't know what it is. Just like that tap in his kitchen, there's a relentless dripping, and just like with that tap his plan to fix it is to crank up the pressure. Just like that tap, one day he is going to explode.



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:51 on Oct 17, 2021

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






easily my favourite episode of the show, the pugilism scene is top 3 in the show for me (behind the cooper song and dance, and the refrigerator monologue in person to person). i think the really important takeaway from this whole character study is that pete is constantly moving in ways that he thinks he is expected to. hes not happy because he fundamentally doesn't understand what the people around him actually want from him because of the expectations he THINKS they should have of him due to his somewhat warped upbringing and the poo poo his father instilled in him. hes the only one fixated on the sink, hes the only one fixated on his power games at work, hes the only one fixated on banging the teenager, but we also know that longterm none of those things will actually give him any real pleasure or sense of fulfillment. he already cheated on his wife with peggy, and that gave him nothing. hes tried being a doting husband, and that gave him nothing, hes already won stupid power games at work (with making the big leap, with getting harrys office, with everything involving ken) and it gave him nothing. because it doesn't actually mean anything to him, and he can't understand why it doesn't. thats the thing gnawing away at him the most

Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012

Wet


I like to call this episode Being Pete Campbell.


Paper Lion posted:

easily my favourite episode of the show, the pugilism scene is top 3 in the show for me (behind the cooper song and dance, and the refrigerator monologue in person to person). i think the really important takeaway from this whole character study is that pete is constantly moving in ways that he thinks he is expected to. hes not happy because he fundamentally doesn't understand what the people around him actually want from him because of the expectations he THINKS they should have of him due to his somewhat warped upbringing and the poo poo his father instilled in him. hes the only one fixated on the sink, hes the only one fixated on his power games at work, hes the only one fixated on banging the teenager, but we also know that longterm none of those things will actually give him any real pleasure or sense of fulfillment. he already cheated on his wife with peggy, and that gave him nothing. hes tried being a doting husband, and that gave him nothing, hes already won stupid power games at work (with making the big leap, with getting harrys office, with everything involving ken) and it gave him nothing. because it doesn't actually mean anything to him, and he can't understand why it doesn't. thats the thing gnawing away at him the most

Thank you for saying all this, I dont think I have anything else to add. Hard out here for the president of the howdy doody circus army.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


I havent read this breakdown yet, because Im saving it for my toast and coffee tomorrow morning, but this was one of the episodes I was looking forward to Jerusalem watching most.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


The scene with Pete and the sex worker just cracks me up every time, there's just something about her effortlessly going through the motions/that line delivery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUJTbLZjDi0

"No. No.
... Okay."

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Torquemada posted:

I havent read this breakdown yet, because Im saving it for my toast and coffee tomorrow morning, but this was one of the episodes I was looking forward to Jerusalem watching most.

seeing the seeds of lanes destruction here is p :smith:

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Paper Lion posted:

hes already won stupid power games at work (with making the big leap, with getting harrys office, with everything involving ken) and it gave him nothing.

Whenever Ive revisited this show, the parallel between Ken and Pete gets more interesting. Theyre two guys of the same age, who start out at similar places with the same job, but the ways they digress elicit so much about each other.

Ken was a lovely frat boy at first, who treated women like objects, but he never had close to the malice or the hostility Pete had/has. Ken is ambitious, but principled and congenial in ways Pete never was/is. Kens arc seems to be that of a well-adjusted man who gains empathy, maturity, and perspective as he ages. While Pete, faced with similar circumstances, becomes more bitter and entitled and resentful.

Ken works so well as a sort of dramatic foil to Pete because of this. Hes a man who objectively has much less than Pete by this point: a less prestigious job, less money, a more humble home in a working class neighborhood. But it still looks like an embarrassment of riches because Ken is actually happy and fulfilled, while Pete is a bottomless pit of want.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Another Slattery Special. God this episode is so loving good

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


The Klowner posted:

Another Slattery Special. God this episode is so loving good

A nice course correction after the murder bullshit last episode. Theres so few truly weak moments in this show the occasional clunker really stands out.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


I love everything about this episode. It does such a good job of letting Pete be both sympathetic and revolting; you get perhaps your best examination yet of why Pete behaves the way he does, but in a way that doesn't let him off the hook for his utterly abhorrent actions start to finish. Plus it's just a very funny hour. There's a lot of great character dynamics at play during the dinner party, everything about Lane and Pete's fight is funny and the show lets it be a moment of high comedy rather than a dramatic confrontation, and you've got Pete's gross high schooler fantasy getting torn to shreds by a guy that is universally known as "Handsome."

Also :toot: now we can post GRIMY LITTLE PIMP! without hiding it in spoilers

Ungratek
Aug 2, 2005



Chewing gum on his pubis!!

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The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


quote:

Casting a quick look Don's way, Megan talks about how lovely it is our here, while Ken notes that having grown up in rural Vermont he doesn't really consider this the "country". "You miss the horseshit, huh?" asks Don with a grin as he takes another drink, getting a big laugh from the others before he admits that he grew up in the country too, and he doesn't miss walking to an outhouse in the middle of winter. This is a rather enormous "slip" from him, Don doesn't share information about his own past easily, but if any of them pick up on the significance of Don revealing a (completely non-scandalous) bit of his own past, they give no sign.

Part of this I think is that his relationship with Megan (or perhaps his with Faye?) has chipped away at his insecurity. It's probably still very much there, but we know from the first episode of this season that Don has made a point in giving at least some information about his identity to his wife. Dropping vague details about his upbringing, even while drunk, is not beyond the pale for the Don we see now. Compare that with s1s2, where Roger muses that Don grew up on a farm from the way his accent sometimes drawls, to which Don responds by... quietly staring at him while Betty excuses him, saying that "she knows better than to ask" about his past.

And speaking of his identity,

quote:

Unfortunately talk of a rifle inevitably brings up Charles Whitman and the shooting, and though Trudy tries to shut that down quickly their morbid fascination has the better of them, Megan talking about his brain tumor and Ken pondering whether restricting access to guns might have stopped there being so much death (good thing America sorted all that out over the following 50 years!).

A bit of dark humor for the audience: Don corrects Cynthia here when she misidentifies the shooter as "Charles Whitmore." "Whitman," he says darkly as he looks at his drink.

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 22:55 on Oct 10, 2021

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