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V. Illych L.
Apr 11, 2008


i think you're being a little uncharitable regarding don's note that he doesn't want megan to end up like betty - i interpreted that very much as don recognising on some level that the degree of inequality in his relationship with betty was not good and a mistake, though of course he doesn't have the vocabulary to express that. don's trying very hard to be a better husband and hoping that he can do it, and don't trying and failing to be a less hosed up guy is one of the humanising points of the series imo: he has regressions and he makes huge mistakes, but he does try to improve and it seems sincere

this is also why i don't buy the "draper's a villain" line - he's not a particularly good person, but he's not sadistic in the way the more odious characters are and he really does try. he's just not especially good at being good, neither naturally (he's self-centered and insecure by temperament) nor by, well, anything at all in his background


Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

a lot of really great unhinged ginsberg in this one. i will never understand the people that insist his fate comes out of nowhere, or that he was just kooky but never actually volatile. its on full display in basically every episode he's in

the whole thing with don not getting the beatles is interesting because, to the best of my recollection, he has never once made any real comment about music. certainly not music as an art or as something he would go out of his way to listen to or have an opinion of. its not a rejection of the beatles, its a fundamental lack of ability to even perceive what is happening to this artform right in front of him because he has no frame of reference (pointed to by the fact that he cant even recognize a 30 year old song). its not that hes out of touch, its that he never was in the first place. a piece of his artificial construct persona he never had to bother building because it was simply not relevant to the people that he needed to have observing this persona. i distinctly remember thinking when i first saw the episode and realizing this, "what other aspects of don draper are fully unrealized and how can the show bring them to bear? what would happen if enough of them were exposed? would he shore up those gaps and turn don from a facade into a proper personality, or would he crumble before our eyes?" hopefully it is a question you keep in mind too, jerusalem

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

To me, Don is - or at least so far is - the type of guy who does learn and grow, but also he kind of seems to expect that he can't really be criticized for his past choices or the part he played in screwing somebody over because NOW he's trying to be a better person and therefore it's unfair to blame him. He leaves a trail of wreckage behind him, and he accepts that he made mistakes, but he also still seems to buy into this idea that anybody really can pull themselves up by the bootstraps and move past their trauma (while being at pains not to acknowledge it) and that not doing so is a failure on THEIR part and not a problem he can be blamed for.

He's not a hero but he's also not an outright villain (hell, even Pete Campbell isn't an outright villain) because the show recognizes that people aren't simple like that. They're a hosed up mess of contradictions and mistakes and good intentions and that's even before you consider the environment they're raised in. Hell, look at Don and Roger in this episode sitting there and acknowledging that it's good for younger people to follow their dreams because they both grew up in situations where they didn't really have much choice in what they would do with their lives (and Don has the added secret of his assumed identity that gave him a chance at something different), even though they themselves are two guys who have enormously benefited from and helped prop up a system that has prevented so many from having choices.

kalel posted:

- I love the shot right before Pete begins to trick Howard into inviting him home for dinner. There's Pete's plastered-on smile; then Howard leans forward to place his things on the ground, his head obscuring Pete's face; and when Howard leans back again, Pete's expression has completely changed to one of ugly, seething revulsion. It's a great visual demonstration of one of Pete's core character traits: the interplay between obvious facade and the rotten emotional core beneath it.

Sometimes, and I mean this in the best way, Pete reminds me of a Stephen King character. There's a line in The Stand I think where a kid says about a guy everybody thinks is a wonderful dude that "he has maggots behind his eyes" and its always stuck with me, and it's how I sometimes feel about Pete. He isn't some cartoonish villain, he gets plenty of moments where you can see the pain and misery that eats him up inside, but he's turned that inwards and you can see in those brief glimpses when the mask slips of the revulsion and contempt he feels for his peers. It's part of what makes his,"We're supposed to be friends!" lamentation to Don after Lane beat him up such a great line, because Pete shifts between unctuous and sneering with his fellow workers depending on context but rarely if ever seems to speak with them genuinely (one of the few he does on a semi-regular basis is Peggy) or with anything close to resembling true friendship.

Show good, writing good, actors good, characters good!

Re: Don and music, yes I agree that it's not really something he ever really bothered with (to be fair, I can commiserate, I'm one of those who enjoys music just fine but doesn't really engage with it or make it a significant part of my life, which I understand is an alien viewpoint to a lot of people) and it's never really been an issue until recently music (not jingles) has started to become such a prominent aspect of advertising. I think him trying to get caught up/understand and utterly failing is itself symbolic of the larger issue that - as somebody else mentioned - Don is finally shifting out of being on top of what the regular person's interests are, as well as his struggle to not just do the right thing for Megan but to actually genuinely, sincerely feel it as well. He couldn't make himself understand the Beatles because it's not something you understand, it's something you feel. He's trying to understand Megan and how he should be acting as a genuine partner to her, but he's struggling not only to feel it but also NOT to feel upset or pissed off or even resentful that she wasn't happy with a situation he was more than happy and content with.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 23:50 on Nov 10, 2021

Dec 28, 2006

I have to say though, in listening to "Tomorrow Never Knows" again, that's a really tough song to get into. But then again maybe all modern music sounds like that to him.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Also! Ken trying to pretend to be caught up in just having to dance at what a banger September in the Rain is.... :kiss:

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

Yeah this episode goes a long way to show how much Don has changed and improved, but can’t figure out how to internalize and act on that sort of realization. Far cry from even season 1, let alone the first half of season 4, but definitely no one to look up to. That said, a big part of what I watched the show for at this point was rooting for Don - not his financial or career or whatever success, but becoming a better person like he clearly wants to be. He’s circled it multiple times, but he’s never stepped into being irredeemable yet - at his core he still seems decent.

Sep 21, 2021

by sebmojo

V. Illych L. posted:

i think you're being a little uncharitable regarding don's note that he doesn't want megan to end up like betty - i interpreted that very much as don recognising on some level that the degree of inequality in his relationship with betty was not good and a mistake, though of course he doesn't have the vocabulary to express that. don's trying very hard to be a better husband and hoping that he can do it, and don't trying and failing to be a less hosed up guy is one of the humanising points of the series imo: he has regressions and he makes huge mistakes, but he does try to improve and it seems sincere

this is also why i don't buy the "draper's a villain" line - he's not a particularly good person, but he's not sadistic in the way the more odious characters are and he really does try. he's just not especially good at being good, neither naturally (he's self-centered and insecure by temperament) nor by, well, anything at all in his background

Don is very much a tool of the institution. That's who he is. He makes a point of this in S1 with Midge where he's like, "You can't, I can" with respect to the police.

He's bought into the broader structures of society (for good and for ill). It is more of a tragedy, as in unavoidable fate. He didn't mean to make Betty unhappy. He gave her everything he was supposed to. It's just that what he was supposed to give isn't enough. This gets lampshaded with all the "poor white rich men" that Jerusalem keeps talking about. Don is trying but who gives a poo poo? The results are still garbage. At work, Don grinds on people for failing despite good intentions. He also lets things go because sometimes that's just how things work. On some level he "gets" how this trickles down to his personal life but the translation doesn't always work out very well.

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

algebra testes posted:

There was also some criticism at the time (9 years ago christ!) that Don should love the Beatles because they are the ultimate product.

Which clearly missus the point.

Absolutely. I found one of those "Don would love The Beatles!" blog posts earlier when I was looking up the cost of the licensing and, sure, I can get Don recognizing the appeal of those Lovable Lads from Liverpool on the Ed Sullivan show, but he's definitely not the type to keep up with them. In 1966, Don's point of reference is probably still the Shea Stadium show he saw with Sally, whenever a client brings them up he's thinking "People still want The Beatles? The 'Love Me Do' guys, the 'She Loves You' guys?" Hearing that they've gone from that to this in the span of around half a decade, it's not just an "I'm out of touch" moment, it's an "I don't have the energy to keep up with this" one.

Jerusalem posted:

Also! Ken trying to pretend to be caught up in just having to dance at what a banger September in the Rain is.... :kiss:

I wish we were getting more of Pete's professional life to contrast it to how consistently sweaty Ken is in his.

Jun 19, 2012

JethroMcB posted:

I wish we were getting more of Pete's professional life to contrast it to how consistently sweaty Ken is in his.

"I am so thirsty!"

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 9 - Dark Shadows
Written by Erin Levy, Directed by Scott Hornbacher

Betty Francis posted:

We're in charge of ourselves.

Nearly burned toast, six small chunks of cheese and half a grapefruit. Betty Francis, already looking slimmer though still "large" in the sense that she isn't as slim as she was in her 20s, sits at the table in her spooky mansion (appropriately it is raining) and does her best to pretend she's enjoys it as she takes a single bite of the toast and tries to wring whatever enjoyment from the taste she can.

On the ground floor of the Time-Life building, Cooper and Roger step in the lift, holding it for first for Don and then Pete as they too arrive. 4 of the Agency's 5 partners, they ride up together. Roger and Cooper had been discussing fishing - Cooper isn't a fan, Roger finds it exhilarating - but now Pete has some business news to discuss, and good news at that, or at least so he thinks. He spent 90 minutes on the phone with a reporter called Victor from the New York Times last night, he's putting together an article on hip new Agencies ("Hep," Cooper helpfully "corrects"), and Pete has suggested he speak with Don as well.

Despite them cracking a few jokes at Pete's expense over this, they can see the benefit, Don agreeing that he'll get Joan to set up the call, though Pete - being Pete - can't help but just rub things in a little by saying not to expect a full interview, since Victor only seems interested in talking to HIM. They arrive on their floor and Pete is first out the door, followed by Don, Roger pausing to quip to Cooper as if he was simply the secretary, making a joke of his continuing concern over how Pete is overshadowing and largely replacing him as any kind of force or recognized authority at the Agency.

Later in Don's office he considers recent work, presumably for a portfolio to show off to Victor when the time comes. Whether this is just spec work ("Just Taste It" for Cool Whip is in there, did they end up somehow getting the contract?) or actual sold work I don't know, but he has the rather pleasing problem of having too much work to choose from, which is a very good sign. Having finally decided on the work he wants to include though, he can't help but notice the credits on all the work: Peggy and even Megan are there, and of course the bulk of the art is by Stan, but one name keeps appearing more than any other: M. Ginsberg.

He comments on this in his usual roundabout way, by noting that Peggy really got buried by having to continually work and rework the Heinz pitches for Geiger. Joan immediately picks up on his actual meaning, agreeing most of the work is by Mr. Ginsberg, but she puts a more positive spin on that: this is all to Don's credit as Creative Director. HE has provided people with a voice, HE has fostered talent and help them to grow. She also suggests he include his letter to the New York Times in there, even if technically speaking it wasn't supposed to be an ad (it was), and Don is clearly tempted, both despite the fact it's "work" he did a year ago now and because the Agency is still suffering from it. He has Joan leave the work with him, wanting to sit a bit longer and consider it, perhaps also considering Cooper's warning that he has been on "love leave" and the Creative Department has largely run without him over the last year.

In his office, Roger is "joking" on the phone with a prospective client about how he's the perfect person to play golf with as opposed to a pro, because he'll lose every time and make "J.C" feel good: not because he'll throw the game, but because he's terrible! Clearly J.C isn't convinced though, Roger's face falling before giving a cheerful goodbye and hanging up, his attempt to work connections apparently still not bearing fruit (Is J.C one of the American Cancer Society board-members? In which case Roger really is doomed to failure). Luckily for him, Bert Cooper is here, arriving holding a piece of paper and ready to forge some new connections of his own... or rather, for Roger to.

He recently met a man named Max Rosenberg at a fundraiser, he has a "Jewish wine" and Cooper thinks he might be ripe for nabbing as a client. Roger is confused, why not bring this up as New Business at the next meeting? Cooper tells him he knows very well why, offering a compliment to Pete's competence but pushing Roger's finesse as key, a very nice way of saying he needs for the two of them (well, Roger really, Cooper's place remains rock-solid even if he is largely a relic/figurehead now) to bring in new work rather that Pete continuing to claim all the glory.

There's another element to it too, he admits, they need to make use of Roger's "Semitic wife", and when Roger remarks with surprise that he thought he knew he was getting divorced, Cooper chuckles at his aging protege getting forgetful in his old age and explains he doesn't mean Moan, he means Jane!

Oh dear.

When Roger carefully explains that he's getting divorced from Jane though, Cooper's reaction isn't confusion or agitation or any other sign of dementia so it's possible he just genuinely didn't know, as instead with perfect comedic timing he checks his watch and replies,"Already?"! Roger can only nod in quiet appreciation of the joke before asking just "how Jewish" the Rosenbergs are: if it was Fiddler on the Roof, would they be the cast or the audience?

Jesus Christ, Roger.

Cooper just tells him to call Max, saying he'll know, the only other information he has is that the company's name is Manischewitz. Roger nods and takes the paper, it takes a lot of work to make him do anything, and Jane being added to the mix is potentially volatile, but at this point he really has very few options: Pete Campbell keeps on bringing in new business and is getting them good publicity, Roger needs to do SOMETHING or he's doomed.

It's Don turn to have the kids, and they're all happily ensconced in the apartment, Gene and Bobby (inside a fort made of couch cushions!) playing while Sally sits on the floor with Megan eagerly taking part in the acting exercises Megan is showing her: this particular one is learning how to cry on cue, and Sally is absolutely fascinated at the way Megan is able to make her eyes well up with tears, comically trying to follow her direction to achieve the same goal.

Don steps out of the bedroom, casually dressed so presumably it is the weekend. Sally quickly reminds he MUST get her the colored pencils she needs and, slightly taken aback by the look on her face, tells her whining won't get her anywhere. Megan gets the giggles, because Don has mistaken the misty-eyed look on his daughter's face as her being ready to cry, and Sally explains she's practicing with Megan. He gives Megan and then Sally a kiss goodbye, a little startled by Bobby's complain he's going to work ALL day considering it's 3:30 in the afternoon! He promises to be back in time for dinner at 7, says goodbye to the boys (Bobby returns the goodbye, Gene is too caught up in his play to notice) and heads out the door.

At SCDP itself, he struggles to get into work-mode, probably not least of all because he left it so late in the day to come: his heart clearly isn't in it. He smokes a cigarette, does some stretches, and finally gives up on trying to engage himself to think creatively and collects his things to leave. As he walks down the corridor though, he notices a light left on in Peggy, Stan and Michael's office. He walks over to switch off the lamp, but notices on Michael's desk a folder marked,"poo poo I gotta do" and can't resist taking a peek.

Inside the folder are Michael's musings/test taglines for Sno Ball, most of which are exorcising his distaste for the product and the clear moral conundrum of marketing a tooth-rotting sweet to children. The ideas are amusing though, even the angry ones, Don finding himself chuckling especially at one showing Hitler getting a snowball in the face. He switches the lamp back on, sits down, and just gets caught up in enjoying the raw outpouring of a creative mind.... much like the one he has always prided himself on.

Betty and Henry Francis sit outside Don's building later that night, Henry fuming over the fact the kids aren't outside waiting as they should be. He's double-parked and getting honked at by angry New York drivers, and doesn't really have time for Betty offers reasons why they might be late. He tells her to just go get the kids while he circles the block, and now she's fuming, climbing out of the car in a foul mood, because they LAST thing she wants to do is step into the home of the enemy: Don and Megan's home is alien territory to her now, just like her Scooby-Doo Haunted House would be alien territory for Don to step into.

Arriving on Don's floor, she stops to check herself in the hall mirror before knocking on the door, wanting to look her best, her own insecurities coming to the fore as she knows she is about to face her ex-husband and his younger, slimmer new wife. All that anxiety about her weight gain must really be piling on, even if it is all in her own head. She knocks and Sally answers, surprised to see her, saying the doorman told them she was in the lobby. She asks where Megan is but Sally doesn't know, the bedroom maybe? She instructs her to get the boys, and as Sally races off to collect her brothers, Betty can't help herself, she has to step inside, and finds herself in what is Don Draper's new home: the place he shares with his wife, the place his children play when they stay. It's chic, it's glamorous, it's exciting.... and it has NOTHING to do with her.

It's like walking into a parallel reality, and to make things worse as she walks further in, through the window she spots Megan in the bedroom getting dressed, her shirt open, her body un-impacted by age, gravity or bearing children, and that just makes Betty feel worse. Completely unaware, Megan finishes dressing and steps out into the living room, startled when she realizes Betty is there, while Betty just manages to stammer out that they were double-parked and nobody answered when the doorman buzzed them.

Megan, herself feeling uneasy by the presence of the former Mrs. Draper in this house, apologizes and says she lost track of time, her politeness overwhelming her natural reaction to just want to push this alien figure out of HER home. She mentions that Don is late and Betty seems to take some mild satisfaction from that, nodding as if to say,"AHA! He does it to you too, he hasn't changed!", before complimenting her on the apartment. Megan thanks her and notes she's probably seen most of it now, both a self-deprecating "our place isn't that big" as well as a half-accusatory "why are you walking around in MY apartment uninvited!?!". Thankfully they're saved by hearing Sally talking to Bobby, and the kids are called into the living room as a buffer.

Sally complains that Don was supposed to bring home colored pencils, and Betty quickly promises they'll get some on the way home, eager to be out of here. As they collect their things to go, Megan kisses Gene and Bobby goodbye, something Betty can't help but notice, and she especially can't help but notice the easy repartee between Megan and Sally as they say their goodbyes too and Megan promises they'll see each other again in two weeks. They leave at last, and while Betty is probably relieved to be out of there, it's not half as much as Megan who feels relief wash over her to have the "intruder" gone.

Why is Don late? Because Ginsberg's ideas have fired him up to spitball some of his own, and in the process HE has lost track of time. Sitting with a tape recorder he dictates ideas, disliking each of them: sno-balls leading to big sales, a sno-ball machine that prints money... ideas that might appeal to the client but won't really do anything to sell the product to customers. He considers ideas like letting kids play with a sno-ball machine, putting a snowman on the beach, loosely connected ideas that play of images in his head but don't translate to actual, workable, solid ideas.

Stopping for a cigarette break does serve to stimulate one idea though: sin. The old saying "A Snowball's Chance in Hell" occurs to him, and he tries riffing on that idea, though he gets perhaps a little too intense in some of his proposed taglines. Still, it's "nod bad" as he comments to himself, he might have SOMETHING he can work with here, and all it took was multiple hours of straining and stretching some sore unused creative muscle.

Betty arrives home and races straight to the kitchen, calling to Henry to put Gene to bed and she'll be right up. Opening the fridge, she pulls out some Cool Whip (I wonder how she'd feel knowing SCDP represents them?) and spraying some directly into her mouth. IMMEDIATELY regret slips in, and she races to the sink and spits it out without swallowing, left with only the remnants of the taste on her lips and tongue, the tantalizing sweetness of imitation whipped cream there but not fully indulged in. She managed to hold out from fully surrendering to her urges... for now at least.

The weekend over, Don listens to his Creative team's ideas for Sno Ball, none of them knowing that he's already gotten a sneak peek of at least one of their ideas. Peggy's concept is a little half-baked, though she doesn't think so, she's come up with a New Yorker cartoon style concept that Don feels isn't quite complete and that she feels is good as is. They move on from her to Ginsberg, who offers a complete counter to Peggy's slightly more cerebral concept: it's for kids so they go big and loud. The tagline is "Hit me in the face with a Sno Ball" and the picture is simply somebody getting hit in the face with a snowball (an actual snowball!), and the person should be somebody kids hate: cops, schoolteachers, Indian Chiefs (oof) or maybe even a pig.

Everybody laughs at the last one and Stan provides Michael with exactly the reaction he wanted, asking why a pig, and he admits he doesn't know WHY.... but he does know when he suggested it, everybody laughed. Pleased, Don agrees this is definitely one they could go with and Peggy has no problem agreeing that it definitely works, despite her own idea thus being rejected... but Don's had an idea too. Treating it like something he hasn't worked too hard on, like it's an idea that he's had half-formed that he's just starting to fully develop now in front of them, he points out that "snowball" brings to mind "a snowball's chance in hell", and pitches the idea of the Devil with a Snoball, smirking out of the poster as if to say,"Yesssss, even me."

Stan chuckles as he pictures the idea in his head, not as strong and natural reaction as he gave to the pig joke, but as a concept this does sit neatly between Peggy's more "clever" idea and Michael's simple but effective loud comedy. Peggy smiles, liking the idea and perhaps even just liking that Don Draper is pitching something again, while Ginsberg is.... impressed. Vocally impressed, and in typical fashion managing to unthinkingly turn it into an insult as he admits he's surprised Don was able to come up with something that is "actually" good after going so long without doing any actual writing. "It's good to know!" he offers helpfully, getting a sardonic,"Thank you" from Don in return.

Peggy agrees it is good, and when Don admits that he's still working on the line from the Devil, Stan says he can go ahead and draft up everything else and change the line easily enough later. Don agrees, calling an end to the meeting by saying they're going to run with both ideas to see which works best in practice, and they all take their exit. Don remains in his office, considering Michael's words and his own knowledge that it took everything he had to come up with an idea that in reality he knows is good but perhaps not quite as good as Michael's... and that's not a feeling he's had to deal with for a long, long time.

Betty attends a meeting of Weight Watchers, where the women are checking their weight for the week, the lady leading the meeting quietly and sweetly getting permission before letting the others know the result. The latest woman - Judy Steckler - has lost half a pound, and they all applaud politely for her progress, though when Judy returns to sit next to Betty, Betty is sure to give her an encouraging pat and warmly congratulate her in addition to the applause. Judy is glowing, admitting happily that for whatever reason she just wasn't feeling all that hungry this week.

Things aren't so encouraging for the next women getting weighed though, she's obviously put on weight, and she begins crying, the instructor quick to remind her that she's still here, she came, and that's important too. She doesn't announce the weight to the gathered members, though they all clearly know what happened, and offers some important advice: it's far too easy to start letting these meetings define whether you are having a good week or a bad week... but thin people have good and bad weeks too, they're no different from anybody else. She points out that these meetings aren't just a place to measure weight, but to share, to let your problems out rather than keeping them inside and - like the instructor herself admits doing - turning to eating as a distraction.

She asks if anybody has anything to share, and Judy encourages Betty to speak up, obviously having heard from her earlier about the horror of going to Don and Megan's. She doesn't want to, but the instructor has spotted her, and so she feels like she has no choice but to speak. The instructor even makes her stand, further making her feel exposed, but Betty DOES share (what happened to her therapy, I wonder? Or did food and then these sessions replace it?), even if she is careful not to give specifics. She was in an unfamiliar place, seeing and feeling things she didn't want to see and feel... but she still managed to lose half-a-pound, and she feels she should pat herself on the back for that, because keeping on track and losing weight this week was hard. They can all agree and endorse this idea, and with great relief Betty feels the focus shift away from her to another woman. She returns to her seat, and mixed with the relief is pride: she managed not to let her negative feelings overwhelm her.

Megan and her friend read through a script in the apartment, but Megan breaks down into laughter at the atrocious writing of the script... and so she should, the script is for the infamous Dark Shadows, a bizarre soap opera that had only started a few months earlier and would soon blow everybody's minds when it would introduce a new character who was a literal loving vampire!

But her friend isn't happy about Megan making GBS threads on the script, it seems the read is for her benefit, she's auditioning for the part of a new character, and though Megan happily reminds her that they used to make fun of the bad scripts they had to read all the time, she isn't happy about Megan poisoning the well by making her so painfully aware of the bad writing for a script she's supposed to present like she's fully invested in it. Angry, she lashes out, complaining that it is easy for Megan to mock lovely work like this from her "throne on 73rd and Park".

"That's not fair!" snaps a shocked Megan back, and her friend's cold response of,"No it isn't," says it all. Angry herself now, Megan asks her if she'd be happy if Megan admitted she wishes she could get even a lovely script like this to audition for? Because... it's true. She does. Now her friend is aghast, because even though she's absolutely right that Megan has advantages she can only dream of, she knows how soul-destroying it can be to not even make it to the audition stage. She admits that she lashed out because she hasn't worked for awhile, relying solely on her waitressing job (and thus, on tips) to get by. She has to get there now, she has a shift, which further reminds Megan how lucky she is that for the rest of the day she can basically do whatever it is she wants.

Still, her friend is trying her best not to offend or insult her further, asking what she should bring to Thanksgiving, and Megan pushes past her own misery to tell her to bring something sweet. She leaves, and Megan is left behind - auditionless but also free of the stress and tension of not knowing if she can cover her rent or what extra work she can find to pay the bills: it might have been unfair, and she might be suffering herself from her continued lack of success as an actress... but her friend was right, she is feeling bad for herself while sitting on a throne.

Caroline buzzes Roger to let him know Mr. Ginsberg is here to see him. Michael is in like a shot almost immediately, straight away fixating on the art on Roger's wall and asking what the "connect the dots" painting ends up drawing. Roger, who admitted last season that Jane basically decorated this office for him, explains that it's meant to make people reminisce about certain experiences. He tells him to take a seat and Michael, after closing the door, does so, answering with his typical directness,"No," when Roger hands him a drink and asks if he can keep a secret.

Biting his tongue because he needs him, though he's certainly not used to be on the other side of a sardonic wit from somebody who doesn't feel remotely threatened, he explains he needs him to do some spec work for a prospective client ahead of a dinner. Delighted by Roger's conspiratorial tone, Michael cheerfully tacks on,"And murder!" and Roger again has to be willing to let this slide and push on. He explains Michael won't be attending the dinner himself, but he needs to come up with ideas of Monarch Wine's brand called Manischewitz.... and NOW Ginsberg gets it, this time his joke masking a bit of bitterness when he quips that Roger has only ASSUMED he is Jewish.

Roger pushes on, offending Michael further by saying the company wants to branch out from wine for Jews to wine for "normal people". Spotting Michael wincing, Roger doesn't apologize, simply says that Michael knows what he means by that, it's wine for people like him (that he equates himself as the baseline for what should be considered normal is, of course, part of the problem!) and he needs it by the end of Friday. Also it needs to be cheap, and the casual ease with which Roger offers,"No surprise there," to a literal Jewish man sitting in front of him is... well.

Still, Michael is a direct guy who also knows this isn't as cut and dried as Roger is trying to make it out, that he can't just tell Michael to do this and that's the end of the conversation. He points out that he works for the AGENCY, not Roger specifically, and he wouldn't want to make Don angry. Roger shrugs at that, if they land the account then Don will obviously (Roger says this not because he's good, but because he's Jewish) assign it to him and he can come up with his same ideas all over again and impress everybody. When Michael asks WHY go through this whole clandestine act, Roger has no qualms about saying that when one man hates another, he likes to know that something is his even if he has to give it up. Michael is no fool, correctly guessing that Roger hates Pete, but Roger insists he doesn't devote any energy to hating anymore, no he's doing this (and maybe even believes this is true) for Bert Cooper.

Now he knows WHY, that doesn't bring Michael any closer to feeling any specific inclination to comply, after all he is utterly indifferent to Pete (does Pete even know that Michael exists?) and that doing this would potentially affect their PAYING clients. With a sigh, Roger reads between the lines and asks him how much he wants as he reaches into his pocket.... and Michael's reply is a perfect,"How much you got?"

Thinking to dazzle him with what he assumes will be a lot of money from Michael's perspective, Roger offers him $100 now and $100 upon completion, but instead Michael takes the perspective of Roger himself and points out that he probably wipes his rear end with $200. Giving up any pretense of trying to pretend he's really got any other option (when you only hire one Jewish person and then convince yourself you need a Jewish person's help, that's kinda on you!) he just hands over the entire billfold and with a sigh complains he needs to start carrying less money. Harry asked him in an earlier episode WHY he carried so much money around, and it's been kind of funny seeing the amount he does carry slowly go down over the course of the season while he just keeps on forking out cash hand-over-fist to overcome objections/protests and resistance to his demands.
It was a lot easier being rich when he also had power!

Betty comes down to the kitchen late at night, but not because she's looking to sneak food, rather because she's caught somebody else doing it: Henry. He's (badly) cooking a steak, and apologizes (not particularly sincerely) that he just can't handle eating fish five times a week. Betty isn't mad, and her apology is genuine, saying she doesn't want him going to bed hungry because of her, and he's quick to insist he doesn't do this often, it's just that tonight he couldn't sleep. She brings him a plate and presses her finger against the meat in the pan, judging it ready to come out.

He takes a seat at the table and he asks her to join him, enjoying having her there watching him, saying it's nice. She does take a seat, but she isn't sure how nice it is, after all he's not able to sleep due to her not being able to "control" herself. He assures her that his current state has nothing to do with her, but when she asks him what IS the problem he immediately insists nothing, which of course makes her all the more concerned, because she sure as hell doesn't want her husband hiding things from her.

Sensing that, he decides to come clean, that he's finally figured out his current role is a dead end. She takes this to mean that Lindsay is looking for a new Campaign Manager, and he has to explain to her that Lindsay's claims that he wouldn't be running for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 1968 have turned out to be true. Henry himself has been repeating those claims, taking it as a given that of course you deny it until you actually announce it, but to his shock he's learned that Lindsay plans to wait for 1972 instead... which means Rockefeller is the most likely to get the nomination, which means Henry himself left the winning team and has backed the wrong horse.

Hilariously, Lindsay would run in 1972... as a Democrat. Rockefeller would run in 1968 as predicted (as would his brother!) but wouldn't win it, meaning that Henry was going to be backing a loser no matter what.

But now in 1966, Betty doesn't see any way Rockefeller can run, after all he's divorced. Henry shrugs, pointing out that nobody cares. What was a scandal a few years ago is now just accepted, in much the same way that Betty once believed divorce was unnatural but since then has divorced Don and remarried a divorced man with a fully grown daughter herself.

She sits for a moment as he continues to eat, and then she offers some valuable insight, some of which may be gleaned from therapy but some of which may also have been gleaned from Weight Watchers (the meeting themselves a form of therapy): people blame their problems on others, but really they're all in charge of themselves. She accurately gives a read on Henry: he constantly puts the needs of others ahead of himself and then feels understandably upset that nobody is thinking of him... but she is. Without being needy or pushy or overly emotive, she simply reminds him that she is there for him, that they are a partnership in every sense, that whatever ends up having with Lindsay or Rockefeller or anything else, the two of them will work out their next step.... together.

Henry is charmed and delighted, it is exactly what he needed to hear at exactly the right time. For somebody as driven as him, who counts himself such an expert in the political field, to have realized he's outsmarted himself and ended up on the losing side and soon to be relegated to a supporting player to a footnote in a history book, it must be a massive psychological blow. So to have his wife not only not condemn him or be disappointed in him, but to take it calmly and offer her unconditional love and support? Well it's just what he needs, just what he dreamed of, and to be frank not at all what one might expect from Betty Francis.

So the scene ends on a playful note, a reminder of just why these two ended up together in spite of the strength of her love (then) for Don and her devotion to what at the time she considered particular moral absolutes. He offers her a bite of his steak, she ponders whether she can count it as part of tomorrow's food intake since it is past midnight, and he cheekily checks the seconds on the clock before sharing a bite with her, his loving wife.

Speaking of loving wives... well never-mind, it's Jane Sterling! Sitting on her bed at home in her gown, she gets a call from Roger who explains he needs something from her: to attend a client dinner with him. She doesn't think that's a particularly good idea, and doesn't take kindly to him saying she said during their LSD experience that she would always be there for him, because apparently he's told her a LOT of things that he claims she said while on LSD, including that she vowed to remarry quickly so he wouldn't have to pay alimony!

He promises that she did say that though, ignoring her barbed comment about how he can take "professional something" Joan with him (does she know about their affairs, at least the one before he married Jane? Or simply suspect), saying that it really needs to be her without elaborating it's because she's Jewish. He scoffs at her demanding an apartment in exchange, after all what's wrong with the one she's in now? She points out that she can't really start a new life until she can actually start fresh... which sure as hell isn't happening while his mother is her landlord.

Wait, Roger's mother is alive!?!

To her great shock, Roger complains about how expensive this dinner is going to turn out to be and realizes that he is actually going to buy her the apartment! She can't believe it, but she's thrilled, and tells him to have his lawyer call her lawyer to set up the dinner date/time. Only half joking he points out that "one of us" should say thank you, clearly meaning her, and she does at least offer him that. He hangs up, feeling put upon and exploited and considering it all so very unfair... welcome to the other side of every other encounter you've ever experienced in your life, Roger!

Pete is sitting at his desk working when the door to his office opens and, unannounced, Beth Dawes comes walking through. He's shocked, demanding in a quiet whisper to know what she's doing here, that she CAN'T be here! But Beth just smiles, asking if he missed her as she slides open her fur to reveal she's wearing nothing but underwear beneath, topless and inviting, insisting that she did manage to forget him until she saw him written up in the New York Times Sunday Magazine!

He slides his hands over her body, eyes drinking in every inch of her. She leans down to kiss him... and of course it's all a fantasy, a teenage wish from 30+ year-old Pete Campbell lying on his couch at work thinking about how the girl he likes is totally gonna just show up without him doing anything and take her clothes off and let him do whatever he wants. A little smile crosses his face, as he continues to relish in the fantasy.

At ominous Francis Manor, Sally sits at the table working away on her family tree with the colored pencils Betty bought her. She's done a good job, filling in each spot to break down her family history, though she is concentrating more on the more fun parts of the tree itself, the branches and leaves, the grass etc. Bobby is also doing his homework, and is very bored of it, asking if he can go and watch television, assuring his mother he's done it all and she can check if she want.

She isn't going to let him get away without doing just that, taking a seat at the table to collect up his papers, calmly answering Sally's question about Megan and Henry's place on the tree by saying they'd get a branch coming off of Don and her respectively as Sally's parents. She doesn't give a single thought to Megan having a place on the tree, it doesn't bother her at all, after all Henry has the right to be there so Megan does too.

Collecting Bobby's wrinkled mess of work, she sighs over his lack of organization, looking through each piece, collecting them into what should go into what folder. She pauses at a drawing he's made of a harpooned whale, asking if he's doing it for class, and he explains he drew it at daddy's. She's mildly discomforted by the bloodthirstiness of the work but offers what compliment she can before turning it over to go with the other work... and notices the writing on the back.

Bobby grabbed whatever spare piece of paper he could to do his drawing, not realizing or caring what was on the other side. Betty finds herself momentarily breathless as she finds herself unwillingly snatched back to the apartment and into Don's life as she reads a loving note left by Don explaining he'd gone out to run an errand, doing the simple take almost into a love letter as he took the chance to praise her beauty.

Did he ever write notes to Betty like that? Perhaps, early in their marriage, but also perhaps not. It doesn't matter, that's not the point. The point is she is looking at what was once her husband spilling out his thoughts and emotions and LOVE to another woman. It doesn't matter that Betty kicked him out, that Betty is remarried, that she genuinely loves Henry etc... because this is a reminder, a reminder of what she once had (if she ever had it) and what is now permanently gone. Don moved on, Don found love, Don is happy... all without her.

So how does she react? After sending Bobby off to happily watch television, she grabs a piece of celery to chew on, looks at her daughter busily working away.... and tells her not to forget to include her father's FIRST wife.

Oh Jesus Christ Betty, for gently caress's sake.

Sally is confused, pointing out that Betty is already on there, but pretending indifference Betty explains that he had another wife before her, Anna Draper, and she's surprised her father didn't tell her that. When a curious Sally explains that Megan helped her with the family tree and asks for more info on Anna, Betty just shrugs and tells her to ask Megan for more information and then leaves the kitchen... tossing Bobby's drawing into the trash as she goes.

"We're in charge of ourselves," she told Henry, and for a little while there it seemed she was. But the gut-punch of that love letter made her lash out in a childish, immature and utterly unfair way, using her own daughter as ammunition to upset things on Don's end, all to make her feel a little better about herself. That was HER decision, because being in charge of yourself cuts both ways, it means you can't blame somebody else for something lovely you did. And this? This was unbelievably lovely.

In the Conference Room at SCDP, Harry has been complaining (shock of shocks), not happy about his lovely office (he's the one who agreed to take Roger's bribe!) despite Ken pointing out his own is directly across from the ladies room at the Insurance Agency that neighbors them on this floor. Harry bitches that he is the Head of his Department though (and sole member) and that there have been plenty of promises made that haven't been lived up to, causing a smirking Peggy - who shares her office with Stan and Michael, and until recently Megan as well - to ask him what exactly he was promised.

Oddly enough, Pete is there. It's reasonable that Pete would be unbothered by this talk, after all he is doing great AND has the office Harry once had,but he is a Partner and you would think Harry would be a bit more circumspect about badmouthing the Agency in front of him... which indicates he still thinks of Pete as a peer as opposed to one of his bosses.

He obviously does NOT feel that way about Don, as he shuts up when Don and Stan arrive, and they get to business, reviewing the Sno Ball campaigns to see which is the strongest to run with. Stan lays out the rough art, and the reaction to Michael's is immediate laughter. Don explains that, if Harry sell it right, they could turn Michael's idea into a series. The others see the value in that, but they're enthusiastic about the devil idea as well, Harry noting it has series potential as well.

Ken considers the client notes, both campaign ideas hit themes Sno Ball wanted in different ways. It's a wonderful problem to have, they have two strong ideas to run with.... but everybody seems to agree that the "hit in the face with a snowball" one is funnier. Ken, ever eager to have backups, suggests they lead with the snowball but have the devil in the back pocket, and Don agrees, though it's clear for a moment that he's let down that his idea "lost".

With that the meeting is over, everybody complimenting the work (Don's "thank you" is overshadowed by Michael's loud and enthusiastic one) and soon everybody but Peggy, Stan and Michael are gone. Michael is buzzing, of course, because HIS idea "won", and he proclaims,"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Thankfully, Stan points out that he should REALLY read the rest of the poem, making Peggy laugh, because of course it's all about the impermanence of things, and how the greatest accomplishments are only ever temporary and, in the greater scheme of things, soon forgotten.

Two weeks have passed since the start of the episode, and Sally and the boys are back at Don and Megan's. Don is taking Bobby and Gene out somewhere, leaving Megan and Sally behind, with a sullen Sally reading on the couch and not acknowledging Don's farewell until she absolutely has to, giving him an almost sneering,"BYE!" that he just cheerfully puts down to a bad mood before giving Megan a kiss goodbye and taking the kids out the door, Gene happily singing as he goes.

Megan grabs a seat on the couch, asking if she wants something to eat, and Sally snaps back that she told her she wasn't hungry. Megan has been trying, but she's not going to put up with this attitude any longer, demanding to know why she's being so nasty. Sally lets rip with that, calling her a liar, demanding to know who Anna was and why she didn't tell her about her. Megan is shocked, who told her about Anna?

"Somebody who DOESN'T lie!" sneers Sally, lashing out in all the cruel ways that hit all the harder when they come from a child: declaring Megan isn't anything special, that she faked being Sally's friend, that she just does whatever Don tells her, that she somehow betrayed Sally because they - in Sally's mind - were friends before Megan and Don were involved.

But she's also after information, Betty's cruel little winding her up and setting her lose has her understandably wanting to know more. Megan has no idea how to respond, trying to explain that Don and Anna weren't married for love, that it was complicated and the only way they could help each other, that they didn't have babies together etc. But Sally wants more than that, and won't accept being fobbed off to ask her father (because she knows he wouldn't answer, most likely, or she is too intimidated to ask), also demanding that Megan NOT tell Don that she asked, as if she gets to dictate terms and set conditions.

The cruelest line comes last though, as Megan tries to walk away rather than get dragged into a nasty argument about a subject she really can't broach. Sally turns what was a lovely memory and bonding experience into a cruel insult, smugly asking if she's going to go "pretend" to cry now. Devastated, Megan can only declare sadly that they ARE friends before she walks way. Sally is left behind, looking momentarily saddened that she upset Megan before her own childish sense of outrage washes back up and she goes back to pretending to be unbothered and indifferent to Megan and her hurt feelings.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

At her Weight Watchers meeting, Betty can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy (and resentment?) when Judy Steckler is applauded for having lost a full pound. Judy returns and settles down glowing with happiness, but when she notices Betty is obviously trying to hide her disappointment in herself, she's quick to remind her that maintaining the same weight from last week is still good, it's certainly not GAINING weight!

"It wasn't even a full week," mumbles Betty childishly, as the instructor launches into a reminder about the dangers soon approaching them: Thanksgiving. It is a rough time, because it is full of temptation: they will all be cooking, they HAVE to taste to make sure the food is good, there will be leftovers, and of course there will be plenty of stress.

So it's important they have a plan for the day, but also the day before, and she invites anybody to share what they plan to do. She also stresses that they should be "filling" themselves with something other than food: their children, their family, their homes, husbands and health. These are all things to be thankful for, and all things they should throw themselves into to avoid the urge to eat, eat and eat some more.

Betty listens along with all the other women. They all see the sense in what she's saying, but Betty can't help but feel the words rolling off of her, upset at herself for her "failure" to lose weight, itself likely the result of the stress SHE caused herself by reacting so badly to the note from Don.

Night comes and an exhausted Megan steps into the bedroom where Don is sitting reading his book. She sighs and explains she wanted to check Sally was asleep, and he asks what is wrong with her, obviously having picked up clearly the tension between them AND the bad mood Sally has been exhibiting all day. He's outraged when he learns she asked about Anna, and that Betty was the only real possible option for who would have told her.

Immediately he grabs the phone, intending to call and tear her a new one, but Megan immediately steps up and puts her finger on the hook. He's angry at Megan too, for having said ANYTHING to Sally in response, and is furious that she is trying to prevent him calling Betty now, yelling at her that this has nothing to do with her.

The raised voices have woken Sally, who probably wasn't sleeping in any case, and she's crept out of her bedroom to listen. What she hears is something she is probably old enough to have figured out for herself, if she had taken a moment to consider things (and she's young enough that of course she didn't), and something that Don needs to be told as well. Megan yells back at him that calling Betty is EXACTLY what Betty would want, all he'll be doing is giving her the satisfaction of knowing she poisoned their home from 50 miles away.

Don sits mouth agape for a moment, because for as intelligent and "adult" as he likes to think of himself, of course he wasn't thinking clearly and he should have figured this out for himself immediately. Why would Betty tell Sally about Anna and then set her loose to hit them with it other than to cause drama? This isn't an act that just happened by thoughtless accident, it was a malicious choice by a woman who was feeling upset about something else.

He hangs up the phone, and in the corridor Sally quietly slips back into her bedroom, her own mind racing as the overheard conversation (including Megan telling Don not to confront Sally, because she "promised" she wouldn't tell him) runs through her head and her outrage now has another possible target: her mother, original source of the information.

In the bedroom, Megan apologizes for how she handled Sally asking her, but Don apologizes to Megan for snapping at her. He reaches out and takes her hand, and once again we see that there has been some growth in Don Draper (some), because he held his temper, he didn't lash out for short term satisfaction, and most importantly he communicated his feelings with his wife. It's a nice parallel to Betty and Henry's earlier scene, though of course Betty managed to throw that little bit of maturity and self-reflection out the window the moment she encountered an unpleasant experience.

Peggy is, surprise surprise, working late. That DOES come as a surprise to Michael Ginsberg, who comes walking into the office and discovers her working away in there, admitting that he didn't think anybody else was around. She explains she'll be leaving soon, and only half-joking and not even remotely judging asks if he's come to steal something.

Not at all, without a moment's hesitation he admits that he's doing work for Roger that nobody else is supposed to know about, and then freely tells her all about it: it's a wine, he wants to look smart when he attends the dinner etc. She's a little put out by this, mostly because she's naturally a very competitive person and it bothers her that Roger didn't come to HER - like he has done in the past - to do this for him.

She won't admit that though, simply telling him that he risks not getting paid if he blurts out that he is doing "secret" work to everybody. Which leads to her being upset all over again when he explains he ALREADY got paid, and even offers to give her a taste if she gives him some feedback on his work. "I don't care," she grunts, going back to her own work.

Peggy hasn't been intimidated or concerned by Michael's obvious talent in the past and she isn't now - she has a healthy confidence in her own work, as shown earlier when she dismissed Don's notes on her work - but this is still troubling. She's obviously considered her status as the person people come to when they need their asses saved as a badge of pride, and learning that Michael has taken that role this time - and so casually - clearly has hosed with her sense of place in the Agency, and she doesn't like it.

Michael seems to be having that effect on a lot of people, recently.

Don is woken in the morning by the phone ringing. A loving note has been left by Megan on her pillow telling him she's gone to get bagels (if Betty sees it, she'll call those FBI Agents back!). He sleepily answers the phone and is assailed by a frantic Pete Campbell, horrified that the New York Times article has come out... and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is nowhere to be seen.

Wearily, Don gets out of bed and collects his own paper from the living room, leafing through as Pete pisses and moans about how the article treats ad-men like philosophers, but is concentrating on all the usual "assholes". He has Don leaf through to a later page, and an appallingly bad photo of an advertising trio - one woman, two men - who Don grunts look like Peter, Paul & Mary.

Pete is losing his mind over this, wanting to know why these agencies were picked and not them, and Don - tired and not particularly happy about this early morning call - admits that he doesn't know and doesn't care. When Pete - whose fantasies about Beth Dawes getting crazy turned on by a NYT write-up have been dashed - complains that maybe Don's lack of care is the problem.

Don's not having it, angrily reminding him that HE was the one who spent all the time on the phone with Victor (and bragged about it and rubbed their noses in it!) so if this is on anybody it's on him. More than that, he's furious at Pete for calling him at home on a Sunday morning, warning him not to ever do it again, and hangs up on him.

The kids were woken and drawn out by the sound of their dad yelling on the phone, and now that he's done Sally quickly tries to get out of his sight, but he booms at her to stop and come back before ordering the boys to go back to their room. No fools, they do as they're told, if daddy wants to be angry at Sally and they can avoid it, then that is just fine by them!

Sally knows she's in trouble but also clearly hopes she can bullshit her way through this by just pretending she isn't and hoping reality somehow aligns. Don demands to know if she has something she wants to ask him, and when she says no he disagrees, saying she does but thought she could get away with asking Megan instead. This sparks Sally's childish outrage again as she complains Megan wasn't supposed to tell him, and a disbelieving Don asks what she thinks Megan should have done instead.

Her response that Megan shouldn't have lied is like a knife in Don's belly, because while Megan didn't lie (or lied by omission) that is not on her, it's on him, his lovely past coming back to bite him again. So he bites his tongue, holds his temper, and actually apologizes to Sally, saying that this is his fault, though he does get in a dig at Betty in the process. He's mostly sorry that Sally has to worry about things like this at all, since she's just a little girl, and that upsets Sally more because of course she doesn't think she's a little girl anymore, even though she is.

Still holding his temper, Don explains just as Megan did that Anna was his friend, and they had to be married because of a law (that law being that she was married to the real Don Draper!). Sally of course has been putting a few things together, and asks if she owned the house they visited in California, and even though she never actually met Anna she does remember learning from the painting on the wall that she called him Dick.

Don clearly isn't comfortable, partly because of this being so close to still hidden truths about his past but also because remembering Anna is extremely painful to him. But he confirms Sally's guess, and tells her something true, one of his biggest regrets: that Anna never not to meet Sally or the other kids. Now he's told her enough, and reminds her that if she is really an adult she'll apologize to Megan. Sally of course can accept that, the depth with which she hurt Megan's feelings not really real to her because she IS a child, and he sends her off to hang up the phone in his bedroom (God I wish she'd picked it up and heard Pete still bitching and moaning on the other end).

Once she's gone, Don takes a deep breath. His Sunday morning has not gotten off to a good start.

Roger is in the elevator when Peggy joins him, and he takes great interest in the box of food she's carrying, having presumably done a lunch run, asking if there's anything in there for him. She's not in the mood though, snapping at him that maybe he should ask Ginsberg to get him lunch. He winces, clearly guessing that Michael has told her about the work he was asked to do, and Peggy confirms this by launching into an angry condemnation, reminding him that she did GREAT work for Mohawk.

When Roger, not quite believing he has to justify himself, points out it was for a Jewish wine, she reminds him she isn't an airplane either, and he sighs that in the old building there was an Executive Elevator, and this kind of thing didn't happen.

She angrily declares he isn't loyal and only things about himself, astonishing him further. "WERE WE MARRIED!?!" Roger squawks, reminding her that SHE is only thinking about herself too by being mad about this, and it's every man for himself in this business. That ends the conversation, except now they have another 20 floors or so to travel up in awkward silence. But hey, at least he included her in "every man" without making any kind of inappropriate aside!

If there has been a bad Roger/Peggy scene yet, I don't remember it, these two are always gold together.

Don, Ken and Harry ride in a taxi on the way to the Sno Ball pitch. Ken is reminding Don of the people they'll be meeting and where they stand in the business, while he reviews the two pieces of work. Finally he tucks one into his case, and Harry asks if he wants him to bring the other. "I'm not bringing two," Don says simply, which both accept without question, and with that they exit the cab and go on their way, leaving behind a series of art boards of... Michael Ginsberg's concept.

Betty calls Sally into the kitchen after taking a phone call, acting mad at first before revealing that her teacher was very impressed by her work on the family tree and gave her an A+, and feels she is really starting to turn her school-year around. Sally says it is just a drawing, but despite probably having turned her anger towards her mother can't help but be pleased when Betty says she is proud of her.

But as Betty puts away groceries, she can't help herself, the silence from the Don/Megan front has her eager for info, and so she "casually" notes that Sally should thank Megan, after all Megan helped her on the project, right? Sally is a child, but she's also a growing one, and while she didn't grasp initially that Betty was using her, she can see it clear as day now. When she agrees that Megan helped, Betty entirely too obvious about how she asks as if it only just occurred to her if Megan told her about Anna.

Yes she did, Sally declares, her and daddy sat her down and showed her lots of pictures and spoke fondly of her. Betty is momentarily stunned, because SHE should know better and pick this out as the lie it is, but she believes it, and it leaves her with the same sick feeling as she had when she found Don's love note for Megan. In her mind now, not only is Don a loving and attentive husband to Megan, but he openly shares information about his past with her.

You know what, I should know better... it only JUST occurred to me that when she told Sally to ask Megan about Anna, there is a better than even chance she thought Megan didn't know Anna existed, and that makes what she did even worse.

Keeping control of herself, Betty tells Sally she has earned some television time and sends her off. Sally goes happily enough, pleased to have poked the beehive that is her mother's emotions and gotten a small measure of revenge on her. Betty is left to consider Don and Megan's apparently strong and healthy relationship, and of course filter that through the lens of what is means about HER. What was wrong with HER that Don wasn't like this with her? That he didn't share with her like he does with Megan? What fault is there in HER that Megan's existence proves MUST exist.

It's all nonsense of course, and far too narcissistic, but emotions aren't logical, that's why they're emotions! So she stands in the kitchen, having unknowingly manipulated by her young daughter, and ends up knocking some of the groceries off the table and onto the floor as she lashes out, furious at Don, at Megan, at life... but mostly at herself.

Roger and Jane have their dinner with the Rosenbergs at a restaurant, Roger and Max sitting beside the other's wife, having a wonderful time just two happily married couples out for dinner so long as you avoid revealing one of them is in the middle of a divorce. Roger admits that growing up in Manhattan he always envied Jewish people for their humor and their closeness, and when Max notes that he "married his way in" in reference to Jane, Roger charms Mrs. Rosenberg by declaring that he's always found Jewish women beautiful before casting a look her way.

"Now THAT'S a sales pitch!" declares a delighted Max, at which point a fifth man arrives, young, well-built and very handsome. He's Bernard Rosenberg, Max's son, sparking Roger's interest when he mentions he was late because he was out on his boat. Max cuts them off before they can get into boat talk, saying that he has been trying to get a sense of Roger's plans if they give him their business, but he was waiting on Bernie's arrival.

Roger turns that into a joke, insisting he was actually just trying to hold out for dessert in case the ideas didn't go down well, but then gives them a taste. With the smooth confidence of a born bullshit artist, Roger lays out the fruits of Ginsberg's labor... and just like he's demonstrated time and again since coming on board, what Ginsberg had was good.

The idea is to turn the people on a bus INTO the ad. They put pictures of the bottom half of passengers on the side of a bus, with bottles of Manischewitz at their feet or beneath the seats. Mrs Rosenberg gets it immediately, it's a mobile billboard that creates the impression that all the passengers on the bus - black, white, Asian, man, woman etc - all like to drink Manischewitz wine.

Max is very impressed, ROGER came up with this? No fool, knowing that lie would bring short term benefit and long term disaster, Roger explains he took it upon himself to put creatives at the agency to work ad hoc to show them the TYPE of campaign they might see if they gave them their business. This is the perfect answer, both making him AND the Agency look good, and with that the business portion of the meal is over and they can just enjoy themselves.

As they take menus, Roger can't help but notice though the lingering, appreciative looks both Bernard and Jane are giving each other. When Bernie asks him about HIS boat, Roger for once doesn't have a quick reply, as he finds himself in an unusual position: he's.... jealous?

At SCDP, Stan and Michael sit in the Creative Lounge, Stan drinking but Ginsberg too stressed, waiting to hear back the results of the Sno Ball meeting which they're still in the dark about. Peggy pops in, pointing out that it seems like she is the only one who can drink AND work. Harry finally shows up and they immediately look to him for the word, and with great satisfaction he reveals they laughed, they loved the pitch and bought it, and everybody has been out drinking and celebrating and he himself is only back before he has another 3 hours of business he could still be doing via telephone to the West Coast.

Michael shakes Stan's hand, thrilled, but then asks (well, demands) Harry stay to give them a blow-by-blow account, after all they worked their asses off and didn't even get a phone call. Harry shrugs and gives the basics: they laughed, they thought it was clever (Michael's ego is inflating to dangerous proportions), and just like Harry predicted.... kids love cartoon devils.

The ballooned ego deflates, Michael dejected, assuming they didn't like his idea. He's shocked to discover it wasn't pitched, that Don in fact just left it in the cab and Sno Ball never even heard it. He's outraged, but an irritated Harry points out that they made a sale, which is the only important thing, and makes his exit.

Michael casts about, expecting sympathy, but Peggy's is tinged with a slightly satisfied smile and Stan just takes it as the usual course of business. Michael races from the room, too fired up to remain, and Peggy - who liked seeing Michael get a taste of humiliation - tells Stan she'll order some dinner. He's pleased to hear it, but does accurately note that Michael is going to be useless to them tonight and they can't expect any work.

Roger and Jane ride in a cab post-dinner, and Roger should be basking in what has become the rare feat of succeeding in landing a client. But he can't take his mind off of Bernie, and asks Jane if she going to meet with him? She's startled by the question and tells him no, but he tries to play amused as he asks if she's going to wait a couple of days and then call him and tell him she's separated.

Jane quite rightly points out that he's lost whatever chance he ever had to have a say in who she sleeps with. Trying to pretend this is purely a non-emotional reaction he's having, he reminds her that she's supposed to be helping him land the account, so if she IS going to sleep with Bernie then she better pretend she's still married and it's actually an affair!

Jane chuckles and promises she'll do that, and Roger seemingly sees how ridiculous he is being, actually apologizing to her... but also he's Roger, so he can't help but wedge something in for himself: he wants to see her new apartment, because when else will he ever get the chance? She's hesitant, she only just got the key and nothing has been moved in, but Roger doesn't really care about that, he just wants to see the place, and so she relents. After all, what harm can it do?

They arrive in the place, it's dark and all he can really see is that it has a great view and is roomy. Still, he notes it has potential, and she seems pleased by that. But what he really has eyes for is her, admitting that he's missed her, reaching out and cupping the side of he face. He kisses her, and at first she simply passively lets him, perhaps hoping he will get the message and retreat. But he doesn't, and old habits kick in, old passions thought long burned out reigniting.

They kiss each other more passionately, starting to remove their clothes, moving together with the practice of a long period of intimate familiarity with the other. But she catches herself, says his name, clearly knowing this is a bad idea, clearly understanding it has to stop.... but she can't articulate why, and part of her longs for it, the familiarity and the comfort. Tonight was like old times, when they were the happy couple going out and charming another couple. Jane the beautiful wife, Roger the charming conversationalist, both of them very much in love. So she gives up her efforts, and they return to their embrace.

The next morning, an annoyed Pete Campbell sits across from Howard Dawes, who remains blissfully unaware of Pete's bad mood. He does comment that he's surprised to see him going into work so close to Thanksgiving, and Pete forces a smile and notes they roll out business every day of the week. Howard has no problem admitting that he's only going in so he has an excuse to spend as much time with his girlfriend as possible before being "trapped" with his family for Thanksgiving.

Furious, his juvenile fantasies destroyed, Pete snaps and sneers directly into Howard's face that he should stay in the city, and Pete will go to his home and screw his wife! Howard stares at him, stunned... and then chuckles and tells him,"Good luck with that!" before going back to cheerfully eating his snacks and remaining completely unaware that this wasn't an off-color joke or a bit of ball-breaking, but the mask slipping and the hateful reality of Pete Campbell being exposed.

"But I guess the grass is always greener, right?" Howard muses, and he has a point. Beth is an attractive woman for sure, but so is Trudy Campbell, and Pete sure as hell has no qualms whatsoever about cheating on her.

At the Time-Life building, Don spots Michael Ginsberg approaching but doesn't hold the door for him, Ginsberg having to quickly zip inside between the closing doors. He tells Don he knows he saw him, and Don simply shrugs and says he thought he was hiding from someone, which indicates Ginsberg was probably lurking around waiting for Don to arrive.

He's probably been playing this "confrontation" out in his mind a million times, and subtlety isn't exactly his strong point as he opens by noting that it was a bold decision to just take the Devil campaign into Sno Ball. Don pretends indifference, stating that it's weak to take in two ideas, and Michael hits back immediately by commenting that oh yes, he didn't want to be weak... which is why he took in only HIS idea.

Just like Harry did, Don points out coldly that they made the sale, and that's all that matters, that is their sole goal. That's not it for Michael though, for Michael it's about coming up with an idea and people choosing it... ESPECIALLY choosing it over others. He points out that they will NEVER know now which of the ideas would have been considered stronger by Sno Ball, but that's fine because HE has a million more ideas to pitch, a million.

"I guess I'm lucky you work for me," notes Don simply, and Michael is disgusted, because that really IS weak, the weakest way to "win" possible, to use his position of authority to get his way not based on merit but power.

"I feel bad for you," he tells Don, whose reply would almost any other time be a brutal and devastating comeback but rings utterly false here.

"I don't think about you at all."

Don leaves as they reach their floor, but Ginsberg stays behind. He is devastated, but more disappointed. He idolized Don, and he took the "competition" between their work as a thrill, and to see Don "cheat" his way to victory is appalling. He thought of him as a fellow Creative, an outside-the-box thinker whose "hilarious" anti-tobacco letter showed a healthy contempt for the establishment and a willingness to take risks and to think on his feet. Instead he's just another boss who demands everything go his own way, gets to claim ownership of the hard work of others, and can do whatever he wants and everybody else just has to put up with it.

But as Michael goes who knows where in the elevator, Don Draper's smiling face as he responds to greetings on the floor drops as he walks way. Because he lied of course. "I don't think about you at all"? Bullshit. The trouble is that he thought TOO much - he saw Ginsberg's work and got inspired and excited, but he found to his horror that the ideas that once flowed freely needed a lot more lubrication. The "ease" with which Michael comes up with ideas, and the confidence he has in his own ideas, terrify Don. Not because he thinks Michael is going to take his job, that's crazy talk, but because for so long he thought of himself as having a mind like Michael's: creative and free-wheeling and quick and limber... and he's realized that maybe, just maybe, he can't keep up anymore.

Jane sits her in her brand new apartment, staring at nothing, when Roger emerges from the bathroom, admitting her used her toothbrush and "joking" that he hopes it is hers. "Why would you do that?" she demands, and he thinks she means the toothbrush (that's symbolic of the greater problem, to be fair), asking in horror if it belonged to the "dead guy" whose apartment this presumably was.

But no, she means why did he come here and have sex with her? Why didn't he pay attention to her needs? He tries to crack wise that he absolutely did, meaning sex of course because he's a child, but when he leans in to kiss her and she flinches away, he starts to grasp that this is serious.

She accuses him of ruining the apartment, reminding him again in a way she wasn't able to articulate in the heat of the moment the previous night that this was supposed to be a fresh start. Instead, now her first memories of this apartment are going to be of being with him, and this makes it the same as the last place: it isn't "hers", he has pushed his way into her thoughts and feelings of the place and that can't be done away with.

To his credit, Roger's face collapses as he grasps that of course this is how she feels. When she stares forlornly at him and points out that he got EVERYTHING he wanted and still demanded this too, he doesn't deny it, he acknowledges the truth of it. But while he admits he feels terrible, while he agrees that he can't understand why he did it, while he does collect his things and leave rather than make things worse... notice what he doesn't do.

He never says he's sorry.

At the Drapers, Megan schlorps a big ol' can of cranberry sauce out onto a tray while the Thanksgiving Day Parade plays on television. Don emerges from the bedroom as she sets the table, the sky outside barely visible through thick clouds of smog. He tells her that the meal smells good, and she lets him know that her friend - Julia - ended up getting the part, and wants her to buy champagne.

Don notes approvingly that she will, because she wants her friend to be happy, and Megan smiles, even though part of her hates her friend for getting a part when she can't even get auditions, even if it is for one of the worst (but popular!) soap operas ever written.

He asks her to turn on the air but she notes it is on full blast and asks him to go get dressed, then alarmed warns him not to open the balcony door when he decides to let some air in. Pointing out the smog to him, she says it was reported as a smog emergency and she doesn't want toxic air inside the apartment (too late, Betty was already in there). Don pauses to look outside, confused, what he might have taken for clouds or even fog actually one of the worst recorded cases of smog in New York history.

There's a lot to take away from that, this home as the cosy little nest he in particular retreats to to try and avoid the reality of toxicity outside of this bubble, including that which he creates himself. Or Megan's talk about toxic air not being allowed inside a reference to her and Julia's fight, or even her minor confrontation with Sally (or the aforementioned presence of Betty). For now at least it's outside, and can't touch them.

For now.

At the Francis Mausoleum, Henry cuts up the turkey, complimenting Betty at how good everything looks. They're having dinner together as a family this year, just them - no grandmother, no extended family, not even his eldest daughter who is presumably at her mother's today, as the kids will likely be at Don's in the next couple of days.

Betty prepares to eat her own incredibly small portion of meal, but Bobby stops her, reminding her they're supposed to say what they're thankful for. Sally points out that she's hungry, a comment that Betty partially takes as an insult, but Henry speaks up before she can say anything to agree that it is nice to give thanks.

He has Bobby start, who with wonderful childish simplicity talks about how great it is to get to live in TWO big houses.... and to have a new sled! Sally is next, and knows exactly what to say, that she is thankful she is doing good in school. "Doing well!" Henry automatically corrects before turning to Betty, who keeps in mind what the Weight Watchers instructor said and offers a sincere thanks that she has everything she wants.... and then can't help herself, adding on that she's also thankful that no one else has anything better.

On the surface of it a fine thing to say, except of course it's another example of how Betty can't help but compare against others, and her happiness is apparently conditional on having more or better (or the perception of such) than others... especially if she suspects that what they (Megan) has is better somehow than what she has.

Henry just takes Betty's thanks and adds a,"Me too!" before declaring finally that they can eat. They all tuck in with gusto, ready to gorge themselves on food. Not Betty though, she savors her meal, as small as the portions are they are a treat beyond the celery and fish and plentiful vegetables she is usually restricted to.

She scoops up the tiny amount of stuffing she allowed herself and places it into her mouth. As extremely appropriate music plays leading into the closing credits, she chews, she savors, she lets the taste wash through her, enjoying every precious second of pleasure and texture and taste. It is the closest thing she has to happiness in this moment, this minor indulgence, a momentary relaxation of a self-imposed punishment. THIS she is thankful for, and she means it enjoy it for as long as she can before she once again takes it away from herself.

Betty Francis: the woman who has everything... and almost never actually allows herself to enjoy it.

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Something in my computer blew something so I was just lucky enough to have what I'd started writing saved to an external HD (this kind of thing has happened to me before!) and was able to finish up on an old laptop, hopefully everything still makes sense!

Should still be able to continue writing these while I wait to get my computer sorted, all going well.

Aug 2, 2005

Mad Men was never a subtle show, but the smog outside the apartment representing Betty just always seemed too much to me.

OTOH I believe “I don’t think about you at all” to be one of the most withering insults the show offers, even if it’s insincere, so I’ll take the good with the bad.

Jun 19, 2012

Ungratek posted:

Mad Men was never a subtle show, but the smog outside the apartment representing Betty just always seemed too much to me.

what, the smiling blue whale with bloody harpoons sticking out drawn by her son didn't do it for you?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

kalel posted:

what, the smiling blue whale with bloody harpoons sticking out drawn by her son didn't do it for you?

Ahaha, I didn't take that read away from it but that's loving hilarious :allears:

I did like her commenting "Why is it smiling?" as she looked at it.

I really enjoyed the episode, even if it wasn't always the most subtle episode. Don's clear discomfort with Michael because he knows his were the actions of an insecure man was really well handled, and I love that Stan pointed out Michael REALLY shouldn't want to liken himself to Ozymandias :laugh:

Jul 23, 2007

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

So it's funny that Michel saying "Look upon my works" and being told to read the rest of the poem is in the same episode as "I don't think about you at all." Because I feel like the I don't think about you at all gif set of that moment gets used (much like the look upon my works line) to have the opposite meaning of it's full context. Whenever I see someone use it, I think "you gotta watch the rest of that episode"

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


Yeah it's funny to like, look that scene up on YouTube and note the amount of comments reading it at face value as one of Don's greatest comebacks. Like it kind of is, but only really from Ginsberg's point of view

The parallel of Pete fantasizing over a tragic one night stand compared to their respective actor's reality is also a bit funny in retrospect. I'm pretty sure Vincent Kartheiser and Alexis Bledel literally met through this, dated shortly after and have been married ever since

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

The one thing I always wonder about this episode is about Don's Sno-Ball pitch - does everybody else actually think it's on-par with Ginsberg's campaign idea, or is their response rooted in the fact that it's coming from "creative genius" Don Draper, a guy with his name on the door; if he's willing to make a pitch on what's most definitely a low-priority potential account, they might as well humor him? I could even see Sno-Ball themselves buying in for that same reason.

This is so good. Kiernan Shipka is having so much fun now that she's getting to play Sally with a sense of agency. She's internalizing the idea that parents can play mind games with their kids, and that maybe her mother isn't as good at playing those games as she imagines herself to be.

KellHound posted:

So it's funny that Michel saying "Look upon my works" and being told to read the rest of the poem is in the same episode as "I don't think about you at all." Because I feel like the I don't think about you at all gif set of that moment gets used (much like the look upon my works line) to have the opposite meaning of it's full context. Whenever I see someone use it, I think "you gotta watch the rest of that episode"

Blood Nightmaster posted:

Yeah it's funny to like, look that scene up on YouTube and note the amount of comments reading it at face value as one of Don's greatest comebacks. Like it kind of is, but only really from Ginsberg's point of view

As with most "Don Draper is so cool and handles his poo poo like a boss" opinions, it ignores the context of the episode, the character, the series.

The people who hold Don in such esteem don't usually talk about his pitch to Dow in a few episodes, since it's unambiguously a summation of how he routinely and eagerly ignores long-term growth and self-betterment for that short-term burst of satisfaction.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I think Don's pitch was genuinely liked/appreciated, it was legitimately good and the best proof of that is that Michael said so, and he's the one guy you can guarantee would speak up if he thought it was weak.

The thing is though, it's NOT as good as Michael's. That might be a subjective opinion on my behalf, but I think it's what the show is trying to argue too: Don had a very good idea, a winning idea even as evidenced by Sno Ball signing them, but Michael's was overall stronger, and Don knew it and it pains him because he tried really, really hard but the best he could come up with was an idea that wasn't quite as good, and he has never been on that side of the equation before.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Yes. Don’s pitch was clever, a good concept executed competently. Ginsberg’s was viscerally better. People chuckled at Don’s but genuinely laughed at Ginsberg’s.

I feel like that comes up a lot in the creative plots on this show, that there’s always a better idea. For every creative opus pitch Don manages, there are dozens of mediocre Secor or Butler pitches that are…fine. Peggy wrestles with this a lot, “I don’t know, they’re not It…or maybe they are?”

Don’s devil pitch is Good Enough. Ginsberg’s was excellent. The client doesn’t care that much, but the artist types at SCDP do.

V. Illych L.
Apr 11, 2008


i agree with the above: don's idea being good but still clearly inferior is some real skill on the part of the people writing the show, imo.

it's also interesting, in a sense: don needs the win, so he arranges things so that he can get it. michael doesn't see it that way; to him, don's cheated. don clearly gets this and would feel something similar in michael's shoes, but michael is too weird to just let it lie and escalates what is honestly a fairly minor snub into a completely devastating confrontation. season 1 don would probably try to get him sacked over this, but here he fires back with an extremely hurtful comment and goes back to feel miserable over having cheated. everyone loses, but not very much. yay, character growth!

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011

Lipstick Apathy

I love that this episode is about people being surpassed and things, Megan replacing Betty, Pete replacing Roger, Ginsberg replacing Don and that they are all toxic in their own way.

This show is so unsubtle with its themes and yet younger me probably didn't understand because I was young enough that I wasn't A Ginsberg or a Don. I guess it's a reminder when we get older to try not to be the Dons and Rogers.

Also related the Dick Whitman story is my favorite and the way the show works through it I enjoy.

Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:

The line "I don't think about you at all." comes from an Ayn Rand novel (The Fountainhead). I'm wondering if that's a call back to Season 1 when Cooper told Don to read the book and learn about her.

Mar 9, 2014

MightyJoe36 posted:

The line "I don't think about you at all." comes from an Ayn Rand novel (The Fountainhead). I'm wondering if that's a call back to Season 1 when Cooper told Don to read the book and learn about her.

Was just going to ask if anyone thought it was a reference (because it for sure is). Don is ofc much less of a psycho than Roark, who's was being completely truthful.

R. Guyovich
Dec 25, 1991

MightyJoe36 posted:

The line "I don't think about you at all." comes from an Ayn Rand novel (The Fountainhead). I'm wondering if that's a call back to Season 1 when Cooper told Don to read the book and learn about her.

he recommended atlas shrugged in that episode but that's not a distinct enough phrase to me that it comes off as an intentional reference

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

HE'S loving BACK! :neckbeard:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 10 - Christmas Waltz
Written by Victor Levin & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Michael Uppendahl

Paul Kinsey posted:

No one likes me.

Lane Pryce receives a phone-call in the wee small hours, nervously answering and listening with swelling relief as a British man who has been instructed to avoid his office hours explains that he has been successful, and Lane's problem is finally resolved.

"Oh thank God," gasps Lane, an enormous weight lifting from his shoulders. The caller is in Britain, and explains the further details and their ultimate resolution: all Lane has to do is pay the outstanding Ł2900 by Thursday and that will be the end of it, there will be no further investigation or seeking of further damages, he'll be done.

The enormous relief Lane has felt disappears, as the weight that was lifted comes crushing back down. That's close to $8000! (and almost $70,000 in 2021!) And he needs it by Thursday!?! He can't possibly pull that money together, this man - presumably a tax lawyer - was supposed to make the bill go away entirely!

The lawyer(accountant?) is unperturbed, simply reminding Lane of the facts of a case we ourselves have only been hinted at so far this season: Lane failed to pay the taxes he still owed to the British Government, paying taxes solely in America instead. As far as the Government is concerned, that's straight up taking money from her Majesty the Queen and giving it to a foreign power!

There we have our explanation at last for Lane's odd behavior regarding money (the school, the found wallet etc) and his obsession with the Agency's bills not being paid on time. It seems him pumping his own money into the Agency to help keep it afloat at the end of last season wiped him out, and he's been scrambling for cash ever since to give money back to a country he no longer considers his own, all while trying to hide the truth from Rebecca of their dire financial straits.

It wasn't just having no case though, it seems that beyond the money the very real possibility of prison was in the works. Therefore, "only" having to pay the outstanding money IS a success, as far as the lawyer/accountant is concerned, Lane could not have asked for a better outcome.

As he has done so often in his life outside of a few glorious, freeing moments, Lane submits. With a sigh he capitulates, looking about for a pencil so he can take down the details of how and when the payment will need to be processed. As he does, Rebecca - roused by the noise and movement at such an unusual time - enters the room asking what he's doing.

Mortified that she should have appeared at this moment, he tries to play it off by simply saying it's business. She of course is now further confused, since why would he be getting a business call in the middle of the night? She asks what he's looking for and he snaps, roaring at her to get back to bed now, startling her into retreating in fright.

He regrets it immediately, of course, but like so many men before him he is poisoning a relationship in his efforts to "preserve" it. By trying to avoid revealing problems that are entirely of his own making, and which would be easier to handle with the support of a loving partner, rather than forever hiding things from her.

Hiding secrets, treating his wife like a child, getting upset at others for not understanding things HE chooses to keep from them... we've seen all this before with Don and Betty, and it's sadly not unique to the two of them. Stories like this rarely have happy endings, and by the time the truth comes out (and it almost ALWAYS comes out) it is too late to fix the damage caused while trying to "protect" the other (but really your own ego) from reality.

At SCDP later that day, Harry Crane is trying to pick up clearer reception in his lovely little office, asking Scarlett (does she double as secretary to him and Lane?) to hold the antenna while he tries to make out what is on screen as part of his duties. With a polite and calm smile, she authoritatively tells him no and instead turns the television off, before reminding him that Mr. Kinsey has been trying to reach him to make plans for lunch.


Harry's spirits sink, intriguing Scarlett - who has never met Paul - who asks what is the problem with him, he seems so polite on the phone and as far as she can tell all he wants is lunch. Harry grunts that she wouldn't think that if she'd seen him at Ken's Bachelor Party (so he has kept up with the friend group? That's nice!) since he thinks Paul might have been on LSD.

That actually seems to intrigue her more, if anything, and she lets him know that he has been "threatening" to stop by. Before they can continue further Lane pops into the room, explaining he was looking for Scarlett but only because he wanted her to help him find Harry. She leaves, Harry calling after her to tell Paul he'll meet him for coffee, and now Lane closes the door behind him... this cannot be good, he's in desperate need of money and he's having a "casual" private chat with Harry?

Lane explains he's come because he'd like to see the first quarter media projections. Harry passes him a messy looking folder (he seems to follow the Bobby Draper method of paperwork) and Lane looks it over, noting with some pleasure that the numbers look promising.

Harry agrees, but points out they're only projections - based on reality yes, but still only projections - their big clients like Heinz, Vick and Mohawk should all be pouring money in. Lane forces a smile and tries to "casually" ask when these projections will become commitments, but Harry can only shrug since he can't read the future: who knows what the Russians will do or if they'll all be living in caves? In short, the commitments will become commitments when they've become commitments, and that's that.

Lane clearly wanted something more concrete than that, but what can he do? He simply holds the forced smile, nods, and makes his exit, though not before Harry calls him back and makes him give back the projections since they're his only copy.

Lane's next stop is to an office that makes Harry's look pristine. The reason for that becomes clear, it's more of a backroom/storage office, the man he's meeting - Walt - explaining that his own desk is a mess next to another worker's desk and clearly relishing what he thinks is a personal visit to enjoy drinks.

THIS is SCDP's banker, somebody who Lane has clearly fostered a close working relationship to, or perhaps rather a close drinking relationship with. He pours he and Lane drinks, quick to pour himself another (and Lane allowing him to be generous with the pour) when he realizes Lane is actually hear to talk business, requesting another 50k extension to their credit.

What the hell are you up to, Lane?

Walt makes some effort to do his job properly, asking what the commitments are and reminding Lane that projections don't count when it comes to banking. However he's also a heavy drinker and clearly considers Lane a friend, so when Lane sighs that the projections are firm but that nobody is paying their bills on time, he chuckles and agrees immediately to extend the credit.

A relieved Lane lets Walt discuss families and holidays for a little bit before "casually" asking him to make sure he extends the credit today so Lane can start writing checks... oh God, is he going to pay his own tax bill out of SCDP's credit? That's.... Lane you can just tell your wife the truth and sell some stuff and get out of this with nothing but a bruised ego!

But no, as he leaves the bank (Chemical Bank) he pauses on the stoop to sigh with what looks like relief (though perhaps some small level of fear) that he has figured out a way to get the cash he needs. Building an ever teetering wall of lies and misappropriation rather than reveal the truth that he hosed up/overstretched himself and got into financial trouble.

You can see (if not endorse) why he might hide this truth from his partners, after all Pete's arrogant declaration they only ever needed him to get "fired" from Sterling Cooper echoed his own paranoid fears, and he's built what reputation he has with them as being the man who knows how to make the money flow. But he could have taken care of this personal issue by just coming clean with his wife, and instead he's now extending out lines of credit for the Agency as a whole just to cover HIS financial problems. This is almost certainly going to end in disaster, because if it doesn't then he's going to inevitably end up doing it again for less and less "valid" reasons until it does.

Pete passes by Roger Sterling's office, calling to him to meet him at "Cooper's Office". Roger comes sauntering after him, clutching a drink and looking already half sloshed, and it turns out that "Cooper's Office" is the corridor outside the male and female bathrooms. Don steps out of the men's to find Pete and Roger standing outside (Roger asking if he "dropped a bomb", charming) where Pete gives them some very welcome news: Jaguar is back on the table.

It seems Edwin, who Roger refers to as "Bazooka Joe" much to their amusement, referencing the chewing gum incident that blew their first shot at the account, has finally self-destructed in spectacular fashion, just as Pete assumed he would. He's been quietly keeping tabs on Jaguar since their disaster, making personal connections there, and after Edwin vomited in the lap of a prominent executive (!) and got fired, he saw the time to strike.

Both Roger and Don are impressed, though Don's enthusiasm quickly wanes when he asks Pete what other Agencies are in the running for the Account, and discovers it's basically every Agency who doesn't already "have a car" - suddenly all Pete's talk about fostering relationships sounds sour to him, because they're getting no special treatment at all.

Pete quickly doesn't appreciate the sudden lack of enthusiasm (and more importantly, lack of gratitude/appreciation of his work), reminding him that it is only 5 Agencies and they're set for a Meet And Greet next week followed by the pitches in mid-January. Don frowns at the narrow time frame, noting it is a lot of work to get done, and this irritates Pete further who complains that Don - a senior partner - might have to work past 5:30 in the afternoon for a change.

How appalling, somebody who leaves work at a reasonable time and prefers being at home with their partner!

Speaking of a life outside of work, Harry Crane is making good on his promise to meet Paul Kinsey for a coffee. He pops into the building he was told to come to, finding it full of people, a familiar voice telling a very confused young man about the rejection of the material. Harry, perplexed, calls out Paul's name and the man himself turns as we get out first look at Paul Kinsey since the last episode of season 3.


Yes, Paul Kinsey has joined the Hare Krishnas, because OF COURSE he has, of loving course he has! Harry obviously hasn't stayed too caught up on Paul's life beyond seeing him at Ken's bachelor party because this has come as a complete shock to him, while Paul beams with love and compassion at him, thrilled to see his old friend again.

He hugs him, Harry telling him he has to admit his current situation is an unusual turn of events. Harry of course radiates serenity, though I can't help but remember he radiated a similar serenity when discussing being a writer at his apartment, or talking about "the cause" in regards to the Civil Rights movement - is this just the latest in a long series of "causes" as Paul desperately seeks a purpose in life?

But of course Paul is convinced that THIS is it, he's found the secret, he's FINALLY figured out how to set aside his worries and fears and just exist in happiness... and he wants Harry to feel that too! This of course is the kind of talk that immediately terrifies Harry who realizes he's walked into a recruitment pitch, and he tries to find any excuse to leave, asking if he - a non-Krishna - is even allowed to be there in the first place.

This gets the attraction of an extremely attractive woman, who steps up and informs him serenely that ALL are welcome here. Paul introduces her as Mother Lakshmi, and Harry looks from the very beautiful woman to Paul, back again, and everything clicks into place.... NOW he gets it, and it's a relief: Paul hasn't changed, he's just throwing himself headfirst into a cause because there's a pretty girl involved!

So in spite of himself - and largely because Mother Lakshmi is enticing him - he steps through the makeshift curtains and is startled to find himself the only person standing when a bald robed man silently enters the room and takes a seat, everybody else immediately prostrating themselves.

Ever a follower, Harry bows down too, albeit awkwardly, and when the chanting/singing of the mantra begins he finds himself following along mostly because Mother Lakshmi is breathily whispering the words into his ear. He immediately judged Paul for letting his dick lead him into this situation, but here he is doing exactly the same thing.

In the Conference Room at SCDP, Pete informs Cooper, Don and Lane that Roger won't be joining them because he's on "Battleship Row". Still, he already told Roger the news, a comment that makes Lane - who has an at best strained relationship with Pete now - point out fussily that HE called this meeting, not Pete.

Pete notices that Joan isn't there and Lane claims he wanted to keep his news just between the Partners, but it is good news: he's found a $50,000 surplus on the books. Ah, so THAT is why Joan isn't there, because she'd know there wasn't a 50k surplus there yesterday. Lane's excuse for her absence though is because he's decided they can, nay MUST, give out Christmas bonuses, breaking down the totals for each of the partners and then for each level of worker.

The others are pleased of course, this is good news, none of them having any clue these bonuses are built out of a bullshit credit extension to help Lane cover his tax bill. Cooper goes so far as to happily declare it a Christmas Miracle.... until Don, a wealthy man who could probably retire today and live comfortably for the rest of his life, points out that he'd prefer to delay the bonus announcement till the Christmas Party since he figures somebody will be upset at the size of their bonus and he doesn't want to have to have her glaring at him for a month (Peggy? Surely not Dawn?).

Pete and Cooper chuckle at this and then Pete smoothly moves on, an alarmed Lane momentarily too stunned to react, explaining his own good news, that they now have a shot at Jaguar. "A real one this time," he offers to Lane, saying it like he was offering an olive branch despite this being an open insult that ignores his own culpability in loving a slam-dunk chance at the company up, and suggests they all get up to speed on Jaguars immediately, noting he'll be test driving one himself today.

Lane though is so caught up in his own problems he largely ignores or doesn't even grasp the significance of Pete's news or the implied insult to himself. Instead he brings up to Don that he thinks it would be best to make the announcement today and hand out checks immediately, his mind on the quickly approaching deadline for his tax bill to be paid, claiming it would be good for morale.

Don, without hesitation, simply says it wouldn't be good for HIS morale and as far as he's concerned that's an end to the discussion, because apparently how he feels trumps everybody else. Pete actually backs Don on this despite admitting having a few thousand unexpectedly drop into his bank account so close to Christmas would be welcome, mostly because he wants to bask in the glory of HIS get, saying announcing Jaguar will be morale boost enough.

Barely able to contain his mounting panic, Lane bangs the table and then forces a smile, claiming they can afford to do both. Pete, pissed off that nobody is praising him for picking up the mess he helped create from Lane's earlier networking, snaps back at him and Don quickly and firmly shuts him up, reminding Pete that he wanted him to stop what happened last time, the first reference to the fight we've seen since that episode.

Lane is momentarily forgotten as Pete pouts that nobody else seems to share his enthusiasm, not even Lane. Don claimed earlier he wouldn't get excited while this remained a distant possibility, Lane is distracted by other things, and while Roger seemed pleased Pete notes he also started drinking at "7:55 this morning" - along with the Battleship Row reference, we can guess that today is December 7th, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He turns with exasperation to Cooper hoping to at least get an attaboy there, but Cooper simply shrugs and claims that Jaguars are lemons that never start. That's that, Pete calls an end to the meeting (that he didn't call), neither Lane nor Pete feeling like they got what they wanted from it.

For Pete, that's simply a matter of being mad people aren't praising him. For Lane though it's a much bigger problem. He got that credit extension to bullshit a justification for writing himself a check to cover his legal trouble, and now with a simple word from Don Draper that lifeline he'd found has been snatched away.... made all the more frustrating because now the money is actually there. Before he had nothing to pay his tax bill, now he has the money... and he can't touch it.

Speaking of Roger, what is he doing? Drunkenly hitting on a secretary of course! Approaching Scarlett at her desk wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, he explains to her that it may be sacrilege but he has to admit the Japanese (NOT the term he uses for them) were geniuses to attack when they did, and their only problem was that they didn't account for success: they "won" with their successful attack on Pearl Harbor, but didn't follow through.

Joan emerges from her office to warn "Mr. Sterling" that as he's dressed for fishing, he'll have more luck if he keeps quiet, then returns inside. Roger follows her in, clearly more than a little drunk and mistaking her being irritated about him being a loud boor during work as jealousy that he's hitting on Scarlett. She's quick to point out she could care less that he's flirting with other women, so he settles on another explanation... she's probably upset about him getting divorced, and "assures" her that Jane won't get ALL of his money.

Now she's REALLY irritated, because as she states, and probably truthfully, that thought never occurred to her. She points out she hasn't asked him for any money, and Roger reveals that he's actually sent her cash she has sent back - she is the one woman, hell, the one person, who doesn't look at Roger as a walking source of cash.

He mocks the idea that the army would ever take care of her, pointing out that he's perfectly willing to cover all of Kevin's living expenses through to College. To be fair, it's an incredibly generous offer and something many single mothers can only dream of, but Joan is adamant - it's better for Kevin that she doesn't accept Roger's money, and if Roger isn't careful then he won't even get to be a family friend.

It's an interesting take, and in part down to Joan's pride as much as Lane's refusal to reveal his problems is down to him. What is Joan's mindset here? That she doesn't want to feel beholden to Roger? That she doesn't want him to grow to resent her (or her him) because of the financial responsibility? A genuine belief that it will be better for Kevin's personal growth if his every financial need isn't just automatically filled by a stranger? That accepting the money would create a link that would potentially cost her in the divorce proceedings with Greg?

All we really know is that she is adamant that she doesn't want and will not accept money from Roger, who of course immediately jumps straight back to his LSD experience to try and explain how his eyes were opened to the beauty of the life they created together. She rolls her eyes, like everybody else tired of hearing Roger wax on about his single solitary drug experience, and sends him out the door, agreeing that yes they made a baby... but now it is some other "lucky" girl's turn, deliberately setting his sights back on poor Scarlett again. Roger, being Roger, doesn't protest too much about being turfed out, drunkenly declaring,"Hello!" To Scarlett as he goes back to bothering her instead of Joan.

At the Hare Krishna center, Harry is STILL chanting along with the others, a sweaty mess now, completely caught up in the mantra. When everybody else stops as one, Harry continues on, having to be brought back to reality. He's stunned, realizing as the master starts to share wisdom about rejecting the material condition that he been here far longer than he intended and certainly far longer than he thought. He has to admit Mother Lakshmi is right though, for the first time in what feels like forever his mind is clear.

She suggests that Paul (who she calls Paramatma) take Harry to get some food, and he seems let down that she won't be joining them. Still, he takes Harry's offered hand and stands, exiting the room looking bewildered at how quickly and easily he fell into the group and became lost in the mantra.

Soon, he and Paul share a cab, and it really was later than Harry expected, because it's nighttime now! How long were they chanting!?! Paul beams serenely at his old friend and his seeming awakening to the joys of the Krishna lifestyle, telling him it's clear he really got into it. Now slightly distanced from the moment, Harry is a little more his old self, chuckling that Paul really got into Lakshmi and insisting that as much as he enjoyed himself today he isn't going to join.

That doesn't bother Paul at all, who explains that the Krishna movement helped him when he was at rock bottom, and it helped Lakshmi too. She was a prostitute and drug-addict named Janet before she became Lakshmi, while Paul has finally realized that he wants a relationship with God... but that he doesn't necessarily see the Krishna lifestyle as necessary for that relationship.

Now Harry is confused, if he wasn't trying to recruit Harry, then what does he want? When Paul explains that he wants to build a life with Lakshmi but can't because she won't leave unless she knows she won't end up back on the street, Harry immediately jumps to the worst possible conclusion: Paul wants money from him. Angrily he snaps that he can pay for his own dinner and he wants to get out, but Paul just shakes his head and points out that Prabhupad is paying for their meal tonight... and Paul doesn't want money from him. But that begs the question... what DOES he want?

While Harry is trapped in this hell, Don is trapped in a hell of his own. He and Megan are attending a performance of America Hurrah, and Don sits feeling extremely uncomfortable as the actors rant against, among other things, the advertising industry. When they return home later that evening from what should have been a fun night out, Megan tries to keep the mood breezy but Don's responses are monosyllabic grunts when she asks him if he wants something to eat (no) or something to drink (yes).

Trying to puncture his bad mood with jokes, she points out that Don has said plenty of worse things about advertising, and Don with a forced humor with a plain undercurrent of nastiness instead mocks theater for being "brave" enough to mock the advertising industry, complaining that people buy things to make them happy. He's uninterested in Megan pointing out the play is more mocking the ultimate emptiness of consumerism, which is ironic given he himself once gave Peggy an impassioned speech about how much he hates that the public have been turned into nothing but consumer statistics in the advertising industry.

She reminds him they could have had dinner with her friend Charles, an understudy who got what is likely his only performance for this run of the play, and he rubs her nose in it by noting tha the doesn't mind buying dinner for her actor friends but not when they insult him to his face first. Because of course Don is taking it personally (he is the center of the Universe, after all!), it doesn't matter that their argument is largely in line with his own thoughts. And he delivers a cruel insult of his own, pointing out sullenly that she certainly had no problem walking away from the advertising world.

She'd hoped to puncture his bad mood, instead he's punctured her attempt to be positive. She stands awkwardly, knowing that he's all but just accused her of betraying him in spite of all his constant reassurance and support for her pursuing her dream. Don of course simply stands with his back to her, drinking his drink, effectively blocking/ignoring her and putting a wall between them, all because his precious little feelings got hurt because some people in a play said some mean things about advertising. The adult in the room, ladies and gentlemen.

At the diner where Prabhupad's money is paying for the meal, Harry sits with Paul but he's a 1000 miles away, taking the time to actually consider today's unexpected experience. He admits that his thoughts were on a girl during the chanting, but not Lakshmi, and not Jennifer, and for once not in a lecherous way. No, he was thinking of his little girl, Bea, admitting that her face floated into his vision as he chanted. Paul is surprised, asking if he actually had a vision during his FIRST time chanting, and when Harry affirms it, Paul gives a blink-and-you'd-miss-it scowl before going back to his meal.

Harry muses some more about how Bea - and the other child soon to be born - have connected him to a person for life, meaning Jennifer, and on that he seems less pleased by. That puts Paul back on track though, as he admits he would like to start a family with Lakshmi, and maybe even get a little farm outside of Frisco (Texas? Colorado?). Harry chuckles at the idea, he'll have to do a little more work and a little less recruiting if he wants to buy a farm, and when Paul notes that Harry can help him with this he's immediately on the defensive again, going so far as to confess the reason he was avoiding seeing Paul for so long was because he COULDN'T get him a job.

But no, Paul claims he has already done the work, and now he just needs Harry's help to let that work pay off. Because you see, Paul Kinsey - who once dreamed of being a novelist, a Civil Rights advocate, a respected Senior Copywriter - and who is currently a valued member of the Hare Krishnas... wants Harry to pass over to somebody at NBC the spec script he wrote for the hit television show Star Trek!

Oh. my. loving. God. :xd:

"I think it's the most meaningful work I've ever done in my life," he tells Harry, passing him the script, saying he thinks it could be next year's season opener. The script's title is.... The Negron Complex.

I have missed this beautiful idiot so loving much.

Even better, he admits that he mostly watches the show through the window of a pizza parlor since the Krishnas don't have a television, though he has at least been able to properly watch a few episodes. Harry is uncertain, pointing out Star Trek might not make it to next season considering the strong competition from shows like Bewitched and My Three Sons, looking for any excuse to get out of straight up telling Paul that this is a terrible idea doomed to failure. Paul keeps pushing though, making it bargain, Harry can just read through the first 15 pages and if he doesn't like it then he doesn't have to give it to NBC.... or slip it to Mr. Roddenberry!

When Harry points out there are some lines he shouldn't cross as an advertising agency's media department head (and sole member), Paul gets a little harder, reminding Harry that he isn't ignorant of how the advertising world works: Harry buys a LOT of advertising time on NBC, that gives him some level of clout at least. Getting a little desperate now, he reveals what has really lit the fire under his rear end: the Hare Krishna movement isn't working out for him.

He admits that during his first few months he was in a state of bliss, but just like every other "THIS will fix all my problems!" solutions, it turned out to only be short term. If he ever had a vision during chanting, it certainly wasn't the first time like it was for Harry. He's found himself doing what he has done at every place he has worked his entire adult life: assuming everybody else is just competent and happy in their place and he is the only one floundering and suffering from imposter syndrome. He admits with real revulsion that he found himself trying to figure out who Prabhupad's favorites were, presumably to curry favor with them and thus Prabhupad (presumably this is the man who was leading the earlier chanting and sharing his wisdom), and he doesn't want to be like this.

Thanks to kalel for the correction - Prahbupad is referring to Srila Prabhupada, aka A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

"No one likes me," he declares miserably, before correcting himself: Lakshmi does. That's why he needs to find a way to make a living so he can offer her security to leave the movement with him. He wasn't trying to recruit Harry today, he was trying to find himself an out. Faced with this misery, what can Harry do but agree: because the fact is that despite his own misgivings and suspicions about Paul's earlier motives, he DOES consider Paul a friend, and yes he even likes him, and Paul needs this, even if it is yet another in a long line of short term obsessions/grasping at straws.

Speaking of desperate men... Lane Pryce. Late at night he returns to the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. He lets himself into Joan's office and, in an act that could get him not only kicked out of his own company but potentially end up in court (in America, this time), forges Don Draper's signature on a check to co-sign for a $7500 "bonus" for himself. This is how he plans to get out of his troubles, by robbing Peter to pay Paul, exchanging one debt for another, forever living in hope that he can stay ahead of the game long enough for everything to finally sort itself out through a few (and ever increasing) lean months that allows him to eventually pay it all back and get back to square one.

Don Draper once paid Pete Campbell's partnership fee as part of their joint effort to keep the company afloat, an effort only made possible by Lane getting the bank to agree to extend their credit. Lane didn't have that benefit, he paid his out of his own pocket, and while that was laudable (and to be fair, expected of a Partner), it doesn't excuse his misappropriation now. Hell, even misappropriation is too kind a word, this is straight up embezzlement, and he knows it too, but he's allowed himself to go this far, and now every little violation and bending of his morals just seems a little easier to justify, a little more tolerable to consider doing.

The next day Harry arrives at the office and pops into the Creative Lounge to ask Peggy a question: why didn't she bring in Paul Kinsey for an interview when they were looking for a copywriter to work on Mohawk? Peggy's answer is straightforward enough, he didn't submit an application (he was probably still in the blissful stage of his Hare Krishna membership at the time), and when Harry rather grumpily asks if she didn't even consider him, Peggy reveals that - of course - she has kept track of former Sterling Cooper colleagues since making the move to SCDP. Paul, it seems, went to McCann as part of the PP&L purchase, then shifted to Y&R before he "rolled downhill" through K&E and B&B before ending up at A&P.

Harry is a little surprised at getting all this info - Harry is HIS friend, after all! - but that last one has him befuddled. He knows all the other agencies she mentioned, but who is A&P? No, Peggy explains, she means he was literally working for a grocery store! Harry asks her to do him a favor, passing her the script and asking her for a second opinion, he wants to know if his reaction to the script will be the same as hers. Peggy of course can't help but be intrigued to read a Paul Kinsey Star Trek script (I want to read this script SO badly), but even seeing the title gives her a good sense of the quality she can expect, even if she misreads it as "knee-groan".

He can't hold it in any longer though, and so Harry groans and admits the script is astonishingly bad. It's about "Negrons" who are forced to work in fields picking a crop of "katahn" for the "Caucasons", with the "twist" being that the Negrons.... are white!

Oh my God let me read this script, I'm begging you.

Peggy can't help but laugh, but offers Harry some tough but solid advice: if he REALLY wants to help Paul, then he needs to tell him the truth, that he needs to write a better script if he wants anybody at NBC to see it. Harry winces at the thought, noting that he thinks Paul really worked hard on this, but while Peggy can commiserate with feeling like hard work is important, she also knows there is a hard pill to swallow that sometimes just working hard on something isn't enough, and if this is the best that Paul can do then maybe, just maybe, he shouldn't be doing it at all. Harry takes the script with him and goes, having gotten his second opinion even without the script being read, cementing his original impression: the script is not good.

Don is napping in his office when Dawn announces Mr. Campbell is here to see him. He sits up, wincing a little at the thought of dealing with Pete, then calls for him to enter. Pete is all piss and vinegar as he walks in, explaining that he took a Jaguar for a test drive before admitting that somebody else drove it for him since he can't drive stick, but he needs Don to do the same now. They need to be prepared for their meeting, which means having done their research, and Pete doesn't mind admitting that Don's opinion of the car will mean more to him than Pete's own.

He suggests Don take Megan so he can see how the dealerships deal with couples, and when even mentioning the wife Don is besotted with doesn't raise his enthusiasm, Pete notes grumpily that if he'd come to him last year saying they had a potential car, Don would have kissed him on the mouth. Don avoids the complaint by joking that if that's the case maybe THEY should go as a couple. Irritated, having continued to see a complete lack of enthusiasm for what he is now excited by (after NOT being excited when it was Lane who was getting them the Account), Pete leaves. Don sits there, miserable and alone and hating work again, failing to build up any enthusiasm for his work. That's part of why he reacted so poorly to America Hurrah, because he's started to consider his work hollow, pointless and harmful ever since Megan stopped being part of it (and Ken's father-in-law revealed he'd burned any chance of lifting up to the upper echelon of clients). He's once again back to going through the motions, even his recent burst of creative energy was blunted by having to "cheat" to best Michael Ginsberg in a contest that was largely in his own head (to be fair, it was in Michael's as well).

Meanwhile somebody else is feeling more on top of their work and life than they have in months. Lane has had the pleasure of calling his tax expert in Britain to inform him that the check has been written and his outstanding bill to Her Majesty's Government has been cleared at last, and thus his legal troubles too (these ones at least). That is good news, though there is still the matter of the fee he owes to his expert for helping him navigate these obstacles. Lane frowns at that, yet another bill, but quickly agrees before stating "after the holidays!" and hanging up before any objection can be noted. He's complained often about how their clients have continually put off paying their bills, but now he's happy to do it himself - his problems are far from all over, but the biggest one (so far) is and now he can finally breath a sigh of relief... maybe everything is going to be okay after all?

Scarlett pops into Joan's office to let her know somebody is waiting to see her in reception to ge a signature. Joan pops in where a man in a coat and hat asks her to confirm her name, then passes her a piece of paper and informs her she's served. She's stunned as he simply turns and walks out, opening the paper and reading its content in horror before wheeling on Meredith who is blissfully reading the paper unaware of anything going on. Joan demands to know why she let him into reception, and a smiling Meredith explains that he said he wanted to see her!

"About what?" demands Joan, furious and wanting to take it out the nearest available target, and just gets angrier when Meredith - still smiling! - happily admits that she doesn't remember everything everybody says!

"BECAUSE YOU'RE AN IDIOT!" screams Joan at a shocked Meredith, just as Don comes walking out into reception. Meredith gasps at her not to say something like that, and when Joan roars that having her in reception is the same as having nobody at all, she finally scratches up her memory of what the process server said, bizarrely putting her smile back on as she explains that he said he has a surprise for Joan. "Here's a surprise!" snaps Joan, grabbing the Mohawk airplane model and hurling it at the desk,"THERE'S AN AIRPLANE HERE TO SEE YOU!"

Meredith is outraged now, not at being personally attacked so much as Joan's actions being outside of all accepted social norms, though her anger is filtered more through bewildered shock, squeaking out in alarm that Joan isn't allowed to do that! Don, startled himself, sees this going sideways fast and grabs Joan around the waist, ignoring her protests and heaving her through the reception doors out into the lobby.

Once out there, she calms somewhat, still angry but keeping herself under control as she insists nothing is wrong. But her anger breaks under despair and all she can manage is a sad little,"Oh Don" at whatever the contents of her letter were (given it was a process server, I'll assume it is from Greg, and most likely divorce papers, though maybe he's enough of an rear end in a top hat to ask for a paternity test?). He doesn't press her though, simply telling her to come with him, and when she points out it is too early for lunch he says that wasn't where he was going, and responds to her noting she doesn't have her coat by giving her his own. Pleased in spite of everything by the chivalrous gesture, she allows him to lead her into the elevator and away from SCDP, and more importantly Meredith.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 21:39 on Nov 20, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

So where was Don going? The Jaguar showroom of course. Making good on his promise to Pete, Don has even managed to do the couple shopping that Pete recommended, albeit with Joan rather than Megan. When they arrive at the showroom, they're not immediately approached, and Don - once a car salesman himself - whispers to a now somewhat recovered Joan to look at her watch. The moment she does a salesman appears as if from nowhere, trained to see any sign of impatience from a prospective customer as the time to move in before they leave unsatisfied.

This is a bit of research, and unlike with Howard Johnson's the point is to go in without anything having been prepped for them. So Don allows the impression that they're a couple, and makes it clear he's a man of means while also not necessarily here out of any great desire, claiming that they just got bored of waiting for a cab so thought they'd take a look at the other option (buying a Jaguar!). Joan beams lovingly at her "man", happy to play her part and also happy to let herself fantasize for a moment that is isn't an act, that Don is the Prince Charming husband she was always convinced would be waiting her and that she tried with all her heart to believe Greg was.

The salesman plays his part as smoothly as he can, offering to do what he can to make sure he doesn't get in the way of their purchase, at once attentive and ready to help but not pushy or desperate. He's knowledgeable as well, of course, giving Don details of the Mark II when asked, pushing the benefits of the car as a family mover after carefully nudging them for that information (if they'd said no kids, he would have highlighted it's romantic potential instead) and Joan happily claiming they have four kids, which is technically true. When Don notes a proclivity for dampness affecting the Jaguar's electrical systems, the salesman doesn't deny it, simply claims with confidence that they've fixed that issue, pushing the idea that this Jaguar is better-suited for the openness of the American road than its English origins.

Joan draws them away from the family car though, gasping with pleasure at the sight of another Jaguar down the other end of the showroom. It's the E-Type, which the salesman claims is the most beautiful car in the world, and when Joan purrs that she wants one, the salesman chuckles and admits he's half-thinking he should pay her to drive around in it for him: the ultimate advertisement. Don jumps on that though, saying he'll drive Joan around in it for free, and now the salesman is a little uneasy though he keeps up his professional air, explaining that he can't let them take the car out without him, and there isn't room for three... he can take them both out one at a time, though?

Don prods him a little to see how he'll react, and though he regretful he holds firm, continuing to try and play it light by "jokingly" begging Don to let him be allowed to drive Joan around, figuring complimenting (genuinely) Joan is in turn a compliment for Don. So Don plays a power game the likes of which Lane Pryce could only dream of, inquiring how much the car costs. It's $5600, so Don casually writes him a check for $6000 and informs him that if they don't return with the car, then he can consider it paid for.

This was enough to do the trick! Because the next we see of the Jaguar is parked outside a hotel, Don and Joan sitting in at the bar enjoying a drink together. Don admits that he can't figure out why, but the car does nothing for him, and Joan offers a succinct answer: he's happy so he doesn't need it. Don, who has been happy for much of the last year (with some glaring exceptions), has been feeling less satisfied and happy of late but he can see her point... and more to the point, he can see that him being happy is something she is aware of because SHE is not. The grass is always greener, and Joan assumes a genuine happiness and contentment in Don's life because she's bought into the fairy-tale even though her own turned sour - now and only now is she finally ready to talk and reveal what she wanted to keep to herself, what made her erupt with fury at Meredith.

She explains that at work she has had some control, some measure of happiness because knew what was happening, she could affect things when necessary, and everything largely went as it should (apart from the odd fistfight between partners). But now HE has managed to find a way to ruin that too, and she explains at last that she is talking about Greg, he has served her with papers, HE is divorcing HER. Don is saddened to hear this, and the question remains what if anything anybody has known about Joan's situation (does even Roger know? Surely he must if he has been sending her money?) because he doesn't appear to know she had already kicked him out, and he offers that army life can be hard on a marriage.

She scoffs at that idea, that's part of the problem, Greg loves army life far too much. She does apologize for taking it out on "that girl", though she (and Don!) can't help but laugh when she trails off without outright saying that part of the issue is that Meredith is stupid. But that turns into a lament, as she recalls that there was once a time when if somebody needed to see her in reception, it was because they were delivering flowers. Now it's nothing, and when it's something, it's divorce papers from a pathetic rear end in a top hat like Greg.

Don wisely chooses to steer clear of the landmine of asking her about Greg and the marriage, and instead focuses with warmth on his own early days at Sterling Cooper and the frequent deliveries of flowers to Joan, admiringly declaring that during his first week he was convinced she must be dating Aly Khan! She has to smile at that, admitting that her mother raised her to be "admired" (that's... horrifying), because casting a cheeky grin Don way and admonishing him that HE never sent her flowers.

"You scared the poo poo out of me!" admits Don openly, noting that Burt Peterson had warned him that Joan was the one person at the office he must never mess with... and even admitting that Burt and Freddy Rumsen had a long-standing bet that she was a lesbian. She rolls her eyes at that, noting that they brought that up directly to her face (that is also horrifying!), but Don moves past bad memories of former colleagues and instead offers his congratulations. For what? For getting divorced, of course, as he points out from bitter experience that people don't realize how bad things have to get for that to happen. Now, she can have a fresh start.

She's a trifle bitter about that, the idea of a "fresh start" probably seems a lot more appealing to a wealthy middle-aged man than it does a single mother in her early 30s (in the 1960s), and with a sad smile she ponders which date you should bring up the fact you have a baby? "After you go all the way," offers Don immediately, and she can't help but giggle. When he promises her she'll find somebody better, she admits that maybe that is possible, after all Don did - he found somebody perfect. "I did," he agrees, with barely any hesitation... but he does throw out a little tester, carefully noting that he thinks maybe the office misses not having Megan around. That's... really not accurate at all, sure they all liked her but life has largely gone on as it ever did without her there. What he really means is that HE misses her around the office, and he's hoping for an external validation so he doesn't feel like such a piece of poo poo for wishing she'd given up/ignored her true passion to keep him comfortable and happy.

In Harry's office, he's called from reception and informed by a now very gun-shy Meredith that there is a "Lakshmi" here to see him, and that she "has a whole story". Surprised, Harry tells her to bring her back, then buzzes to Scarlett to ask her to hold his calls. Tucking away Paul's script, he puts on his coat and goes to greet Lakshmi at the door, at pains to declare loudly that he's glad she could come in since Jennifer and he want to be sure before picking their baby's nanny. That was a bit of gamble, given Lakshmi apparently gave a "story" to Meredith already, but... well, it's Meredith! So she simply smiles and leaves, Harry closing the door behind him then wheeling to angrily inform Lakshmi that if she's come for some kind of shakedown, he already knows she's trying to recruit him.

In response she surprises him by asking if she can have a drink, pointing to his liquor cabinet and giving him a smirk. He had assumed she wasn't allowed to drink, but instead of answering she admits that she isn't sure why, but when he was chanting she felt a real "intensity" throughout her body... and in one place in particular. He's a little overwhelmed by this but also far too quick to accept it at face value, mumbling that he did get pretty lost in the moment, and then she's kissing him.

To his credit, he pulls away after a moment, gasping that he thought she was with Paul. She shrugs at that notion, noting that nobody is "with" anybody, and that she and "Paramatma" each do what they want but they still love each other... so there is no reason for him to say no. Again, to his credit, he points out that he is married, and she retorts by noting that she burns for him... does his wife burn for him. He can't resist, kissing her again... but then to his credit he once again pulls away, seeming uncertain, asking if this is REALLY "allowed". She answers that by simply bending over his desk, looking back over her shoulder, and telling him to take her like this. Paul's resistance completely crumples and he begins tearing off his clothes.

Yeah... he's out of credit now.

At the bar, Don has a few drinks in him and Joan is herself feeling that pleasant buzz of just enough drinks to get you feeling good. She teases him as looking more like Jimmy Durante than Frank Sinatra when he wears his hat at a rakish angle, then casts a yearning look at the floor where couples are dancing, commenting that they're dancing to HER music. Don grins sloppily and asks if she wants to dance, but she's sober enough (or just sensible enough) to know that this would be a bad idea for both of them, and when he asks if she's sure she take very much the opposite stance to Harry Crane and holds her resolve.

Don isn't offended, he's delighted by the back-and-forth game of encouraging her while she fends off his "advances", and she cackles with real sincerity that he is "irresistible".... but she still resists him. He notes that somebody he was with once told him he liked to be bad and then go home and be good, and she truly appreciates the woman who hit him with a line that good (I honestly can't recall if that was one of the mistresses we've seen on the show, it kind of sounds like something Bobbie Barrett might have said?).

Still, if she won't dance with him, Don doesn't see why that means she can't dance, after all there's a guy at "7:30" from their location at the bar who has been casting looks her way for quite some time now, something Don was sure to notice. She surreptitiously takes a look, and ponders what he does for a living: advertising, maybe insurance, perhaps a lawyer. But she also considers other things as well, such as who he has waiting for him at home, noting that whoever it is won't be ugly, the only sin she will have committed is being "familiar".

Don, whether he knows it or not, is suddenly invested. Because he doesn't want all the blame for a marriage not working to be on the man. In fact, he NEEDS for it not to be all the man, asking if Joan really thinks it is all his (meaning the other man at the bar, but really all men and REALLY him) fault. When Joan asks if the woman should be blamed for not giving him what he wants, Don counters that maybe the man doesn't know beyond that he's wanting, but Joan insists he does and it's just the way it is... but admits that maybe it's just the way the woman is too.

Now they're both melancholy, their hapless stranger a stand-in for both their miserable projection of the realities of a failed marriage - one irrevocably gone for Joan and one that Don fears might end up going the way of his first with Betty. Don comes to a decision in this moment, declaring that he's going to go, but insisting that he can drive and that she should stay. Grasping his intent, to clear the way for the guy to try and pick her up (and for her to let him, if she is inclined) she points out that they've been sitting together since they arrived so it will look odd for him to leave and her to stay. Don chuckles at that though, noting that he must have struck out, and she giggles that nobody would ever believe that.

She's constantly talked admiringly of his looks, his demeanor, that he is "irresistible", but she has forgotten or simply doesn't want to admit while she's in the doldrums like this that she remains one of the most desirable women that anybody in this bar has ever seen. Don leaves money for the drinks and then passes the rest to her, noting she can use it as cab-fare if she strikes out, something he clearly doesn't think is possible. She thanks him sincerely, not so much for the money as for the day out that she so desperately needed, and he gives her a little boost before he goes by pointing out she should stand by the jukebox like she did earlier, making it clear that he was admiring her when she did. He's not the only irresistible one.

But with his boosting of Joan's ego and battered spirit, Don feels the pain of his own as he drives the jaguar back to the showroom (if he doesn't, he won't even notice the 6k gone from his account, while Lane has risked everything for only 1.5k more than that just to stay barely ahead of the avalanche screaming after him). He pushes the car faster as he attempts to burn out the thought of what she said, that some (all?) men know what they want, and that maybe it's just they way they are.

Speaking of men who can't help themselves, Harry Crane sits gaping on the couch in his office after completing his unexpected sexual encounter with Lakshmi... who looks less than impressed by what she's just experienced, mechanically pulling tissues from a box to wipe herself down as she sits behind his desk. She asks if he's okay and he admits his heart is beating like a rabbit (people are out in the corridors typing, walking past the frosted glass, and he banged her right there in the office!?!) and she actually sneers as she points out that smoking won't help.

Not picking up in her change in demeanor, Harry chuckles at "Mother Lakshmi" not to get strict with him, and when she growls that she did this for the movement he STILL doesn't grasp her change in mood, grinning that he's not going to join but her recruitment methods ARE more persuasive than Paul's. He stands, almost looking like he's going to give her a kiss, and it's only when she just flat out calls him disgusting that the penny finally drops that something's not right.

She lets out all her contempt and disgust for him, saying she's only here because she doesn't want him shaking Paul's devotion, which bewilders him further... how does sleeping with him help her keep Paul's devotion to the cause... she's the worst girlfriend in the world! That's the pot calling the kettle black, as she points out what a great guy he is by sleeping with his friend's girlfriend... and also by giving him false hope for his awful teleplay.

The other shoe drops at last, Harry realizes that she knows about Paul's script (maybe in a typical fit of putting the cart before the horse, Paul told her all about his plans) and bizarrely given he just banged Paul's girlfriend, he gently explains to her that Paul wants to make a life with her. She isn't moved by that at all, stating that this isn't possible, so Harry offers another suggestion then: why doesn't SHE tell Paul that and let him go so he isn't hurting himself. She's revolted by that idea, Paul is a devotee of the Lord unlike Harry, and she stares him up and down in disgust before declaring him a "sense enjoyer". She rants about Harry's materialist ways when Paul is currently a spiritual person... before pausing and quietly admitting that also... he's their best recruiter, he really knows how to close!

Quite understandably, Harry is utterly baffled by all of this. He can get that she's disgusted by him. He can get that she doesn't want Paul to leave the Hare Krishnas. He can get that she sees him as a threat. But what he can't get is... why did they have sex? She makes an ultimatum by way of explanation, insisting that he stay away from Paul and let him bask in the light of Krishna consciousness, smirking and asking if he really thought she was just some confused little girl, when what she was actually doing was "trading the only thing I have."

That's a horrifying thought indicative of her time on the street as a junkie and prostitute warping her idea of what gives her value in the "material" world, but it's also.... incredibly loving stupid. Because as a bewildered Harry points out, cruelly but in all honestly not inaccurately, how can they trade what she already gave away? Outraged, she slaps him hard across the face, knocking his glasses to the ground in the process. She's furious at him, but he has a point, and her entire plan makes no sense at all - she showed up pretending to be fascinated by him, she came on to him, she offered justifications for all the times he stopped her and pointed out reasons - including Paul! - they shouldn't have sex.... and then after they had it she acted like he had somehow made an agreement based on information she never gave him, and gave him what she knew he wanted without telling him it was predicated on him doing this one particular thing for her.

I mean, he's still a dick for cheating on his wife with his friend's girlfriend, but you can see why he's confused!

But the slap has gotten his attention, and cowed he asks her what he should do about the script. She collects her things and tells him to tell the truth, noting that always works (she might have tried that when she arrived and saved herself the unsatisfying sex!). She leaves, Harry still unclear what the hell just happened.

Somebody else wondering that is a seething Megan, listening to a clearly drunk Don come stumbling through the door as she sits at the table with a plate of untouched spaghetti in front of her. Don knocks over a lamp and, breathing heavily, sets it back to right, then staggers by and finally realizes Megan is there when she snaps at him that he's drunk, that she knows he left work at lunch and never came back, and she wants to know where the hell he has been.

"You wanna get the rolling pin?" he mutters back, trying to make it a joke but completely lacking the charm that was on display for Joan earlier. Megan isn't going to take that lying down and leaps to her feet, hurling the spaghetti across the room (away from Don, thankfully) and shattering the plate on the wall. She demands he answer her, and with the infuriating disaffected air of somebody trying to act like everything is perfectly normal (coupled with a drunk man trying not to sound too drunk) he grunts out an itinerary for the day: he test drove a Jaguar, had a drink with Joan, drove the Jaguar some more and then dropped it back off at the showroom.

But Megan punctures his "I'm being the reasonable adult" here act by making a very astute (and angry) observation: why didn't he call her to tell her what he was doing or that he was going to be late? Why did he WANT her to think the worst? Don completely misreads the situation, likening it to her reaction after the surprise party when she stripped down to her underwear and told him off. He steps up and takes her by the shoulders, leering at her and she yells at him to stop, and when he cackles that this is what gets her going she snaps back with clear, ice-cold fury that this is not what this is, then orders him to sit down and eat dinner with her!

Somehow this penetrates his drunken state, this is serious. She storms off to collect his spaghetti from the oven as he stands at the head of the table, unsure how to act, realizing this time she wasn't trying to goad him into sex or at least wasn't willing for him to turn her anger into passion. He sits, and she joins him, even asking him if he wants cheese. He declines, and starts to make a half-hearted gesture towards the mess she made against the wall and floor but she snaps back angrily that she'll clean it later, furious that he's "ruining" the dinner again by bringing it up. This is a theatrical and also fairly juvenile act, but he's had plenty of his own in his time and she's sending him a very clear message: they have dinner together. They're a couple. He doesn't just gently caress off and not come home as expected without telling her. She's not Betty Francis, and it's 1966 (nearly 1967!) and she's not putting up with this "the husband does what he wants and the wife lives in ignorance" bullshit. So they're going to have dinner together, and if he wants this not to be awkward and weird then he can't pull this bullshit again.

So for once he does as he's told, while she drinks her wine. Finally she makes a point that has obviously been eating away at her for some time, brought into more prominence by his reaction to America Hurrah: he used to love his work. He can't help but bitterly point out that things are different there now, obviously in reference to her absence, but she reacts to that immediately by correctly pointing out that he loved it long before she ever worked there. He can't really answer that, and maybe he's thinking some more about what Joan said about men knowing what they want and not being able to help their nature. So he sits, and he eats his dinner, spending forced and somewhat bitter time with a wife that he normally wants to spend every waking moment with.

The next morning at the Pryce Residence, Lane is putting on his tie in the mirror as Rebecca recounts her father's recent illness, commenting on her mother's lack of nursing skills and her father's habit of trying to hide his symptoms. What she's pushing for is that they spend Christmas this year in England, so she can be with her parents, an idea that of course alarms Lane not (solely) because he doesn't want to be anywhere near England anymore, but because he simply can't afford that expense. She even notes that she and their son Nigel could go alone, and it seems Lane has at least admitted a "tightening" of finances in some roundabout way as she notes they can surely afford that.

Rather than losing his cool like he did at the start of the episode, Lane accepts his tea from her, takes her by the hand and sits her on the bed. Is this it? The moment of truth at last? Will he let spill all the horrible guilt and stress he's been carrying and explain he was wiped out by helping to keep the Agency afloat and then hit by a tax bill that could have made him a criminal in England?

No of loving course not.

Instead he tells her that Edwin has left Jaguar, making her gasp as she realizes this is why his life left in such a hurry, if he was sacked he would have lost his Visa. Lane uses this truth as a starting point to spin a web of lies: Jaguar came crawling back to him, the Agency now has a chance to win the Account again but they cannot do it without him, which means he can't leave New York right now and he simply can't bear the thought of another Christmas without them. Rebecca is, of course, greatly moved not only by this story of his success but by this great show of love. She assures him that of course they will remain in America, that she is happy for him and proud of him, and that Christmas in New York will be just fine.

His own heart swells with love for her and they kiss, a loving husband and wife who nearly broke up but ended up rebuilding their marriage and their love for each other. Except it's all based on a lie, and the swelling of love is quickly followed by a deep upwelling of shame and further guilt to add to what he was already feeling. He can't (won't) admit that though of course, so he simply smiles and beams love at his wife, and continues to hope he can get through this lean period (Christmas is coming!) and slowly rebuild himself to a position where all the debts are settled and he has actual money start building up in the bank once more.

Roger enters Joan's office at SCDP carrying roses, but quickly assures her that while she should be excited she doesn't need to fear they're from him. Joan, a little surprised but pleased, thanks him for delivering them, and a delighted Roger explains he had little choice, the girl in reception is too scared to bring them to her! He signed for them AND gave a tip, but as Joan takes the envelope from the roses, she pauses before opening to ask Roger if he wants a tip too, making it clear this isn't for him to stand around and gawk at. With a sigh, Roger ponders out loud how many times he has left her with a card from another man (ignoring he was always married to another woman at the time) before going.

She opens the envelope, delighted by a card that read that her mother did a good job.... and signed by, of course, "Ali Khan". She drinks it in for a moment, her door open, the flowers on display, Don having gifted her with the attention and admiration that she has tied up with the idea of her self-worth. It's a kind and sweet gesture... the type of generous and thoughtful thing he should really be doing for his wife.

Harry meets with Paul at a diner, where Paul is being his usual Paul self and admitting that he at first thought it was good news that Harry got in touch so fast but now thinks it was bad since he wouldn't tell him over the phone. Lakshmi told Harry it was best to tell the truth, so Harry of course... tells Paul that feedback on the script was great and they think it is one of the best they ever read!

Oh Harry.

Paul is thrilled but of course wants to know more, WHO read it? Who is "they"? Harry scrambles for something, offering the reader at Mike Weinblatt's office before pushing into the next part of his lie. The reader ALSO told Harry in this fictional conversation that due to legal reasons he could not show the script to Mike or anybody else, and also Paul can NOT call them ever due to some lawsuits they've had in similar situations. Paul is quick to promise to roll over and show his belly and sign anything they give him, but Harry insists that no it was made very clear that he can't sell or even talk to people about this script.... but that the enthusiasm for the quality of the script was "unbridled" and it's clear that Paul has a real future as a scriptwriter!

Of course Paul wants to know more, do they want to talk to him, should he call them? "Never!" insists Harry, and then slips an envelope out of his pocket and proclaims it is Paul's future. "Is it a contract?" gasps a hopeful Paul, and Harry has to snap,"THEY'RE NOT INTERESTED!" before getting control of himself. Because HE is interested, he explains, and that is why he has put a ticket to Los Angele and $500 in that envelope, he wants Paul to go IMMEDIATELY and start a new life in Los Angeles as a scriptwriter.

Paul is shocked, but what about Lakshmi? Harry is insistent though, he won't give him the envelope unless he agrees to leave immediately and not look back. He correctly points out that if Paul returns to say goodbye to Lakshmi and the Krishnas, he won't be able to leave, and that Lakshmi wouldn't let him which should tell him everything he needs to know. No, he can call her on the road and let her know he's gone, but he HAS to go. He can leave it all behind and start fresh (like Don told Joan!), he can turn this failure and this life into a memory, something that happened to somebody else.

It is, in its own weird way, the best and most honorable thing Harry Crane has ever done. Sure he banged Paul's girlfriend, sure he's a coward and a lech and is also doing what he can to punish Lakshmi for intimidating him with her bizarre "con".... but he's also doing something genuinely nice for Paul. Paul might be a terrible scriptwriter, but he's also in a bad place where he currently is and it isn't going to get better. He's been on a downward spiral since Sterling Cooper was gutted, and Harry is right that this really is a chance for him to start all over in a whole new place.

So Paul takes the chance, he hugs Harry and he hugs him tight, and when he tells him that he is the only person of the many who promised to help who ever did, he feels a deep shame and guilt because he knows all the horrible things behind this ultimately noble decision. He takes his things and goes, and perhaps this is the last time we will ever see Paul Kinsey - who based on Lakshmi's comments on his closing ability may ironically have been better suited as an Account Man - who clutches his terrible script and envelope close and watches his best friend and benefactor go, pure gratitude radiating from him. It's a "happier" ending than we got at the end of season 3 (which was still hilarious) and if this really is it, I'm satisfied... but part of me hopes we see this ridiculous, ridiculous man again.

At SCDP, the Christmas decorations are up and it's just about time for the big announcement, the one that will officially make the bonuses real and allow Lane to balance out what he already gave himself and set everything back to blank, a clean slate from which he can rebuild his life. As the employees assemble, Pete joins Lane, Cooper and Roger to inform them that unfortunately there is a little bad news to go with the good.... Mohawk's machinists are finally going on strike, prevented from doing so in the earlier action because of their different contracts. They'll still be able to fly, but in the interim they're suspending their advertising.

Don arrives just in time to hear Lane gasping over Mohawk's being scabs to their great financial benefit during the earlier strike. Pete fills him in, promising that they're sticking with the Agency, but they can add the savings from canceling the rest of the year's work to add to their bottom line at Christmas. Cooper considers this and then notes without pleasure but also no great concern that this means there can be no bonuses.

Oh shiiiiiit.

"NO!" blurts out Lane, before regaining control and noting in regards to the Agency and their employees as a whole that it really isn't tenable for them to go without Christmas Bonuses 3 years in a row. Pete agrees, mostly because the work on trying to secure Jaguar is going to have everybody working intensely all through the Christmas period. So Cooper capitulates, there will be bonuses after all.

Lane is saved!

But only for the staff, not the Partners.

Lane is doomed!

That same old dread washing over him, Lane manages to squeak out and ask if this counts for the Junior Partners too? Of course, Cooper insists, till at least the end of January, it's only prudent! Lane can old nod and force a smile, and behind them the Conference Room has filled up with staff, and so the time has come for them to go in and deliver the good news, and the man who gets to do it is the one who has just seen his carefully constructed House of Cards come dangerously close to utter collapse.

Inside the Conference Room, Roger passes it to Lane to give out the news, and hesitantly at first he does, though he does manage to lift his enthusiasm for the sake of company morale... after all, he's gonna need these people to pull in Jaguar if he stands ANY chance of surviving, provided he can escape getting his $7500 misappropriation discovered in the meantime. So he gives the news about Mohawk, explains the Partners are foregoing their own share, and that all the staffers hard work is being rewarded. This is met by... confused silence.

"You're all getting Christmas Bonuses, and we aren't," Roger translates helpfully, and everybody bursts out in happy chatter, delighted that they - most of whom can only dream of the assets that Lane still has to his name - will finally be getting some reward for years of overwork and eking out a living as the Agency slowly built itself up and then had to recover from the loss of Lucky Strike.

Pete then steps in and delivers what he expects to be the coup de grace, explaining that all the hard work will pay off as they've been invited to a select group of elite Agencies to pitch for Jaguar Cars! He steps back beaming with pride and a hearty,"CONGRATULATIONS!", but despite a wistful look from Stan he's getting the same reaction as he did from the Partners, or rather the same lack: nobody is tripping over themselves to gasp and cheer on Pete Campbell for the coup of being included in a relatively open call for expressions of interest to represent a car.

So into this awkward silence steps, at long last, Don Draper. After months of happy indifference to the work and obsession with his new wife, after weeks of quietly moping about her leaving Advertising to be an actor, after short bursts of forced Creative Energy to try and recapture that old magic... something finally seems to have lit a fire under him. Maybe it was Joan's words, maybe it was Megan's reminder, maybe it was a combination of both, or all these things, or just his own natural energy for Advertising finally coming back.

Whatever the cast, Don gives a speech, one that delivers the crowd-pleasing energy and enthusiasm that both Lane and Pete strive for but can't hit and that Roger has but can't separate from his ironic detachment. Don's speech is firm, authoritative, but inspiring: almost everybody in the room today is somebody who stuck with SCDP and helped them survive an almost fatal blow... and now it's time to take a Great Leap Forward (they're becoming Communists!?!), to swim the English Channel and drown in champagne! They are going to spend the next six weekends before the pitch working here, all of them together, through weekends and Christmas and at the end they WILL represent Jaguar, and all the hard work will have been worth it.

Despite the threat of the complete loss of weekends and even holidays, Don's speech has them all fired up, Pete and the other Partners included, because this is the fiery Creative Director most of them remember and others have only heard of. He literally takes off his jacket as he talks about putting in the hard work, a clear symbol that he includes himself in this. He reminds them all that every great Agency is defined when they finally "got their car", and when they land Jaguar the world will know they have arrived.

Everybody bursts into applause, and Don immediately orders Creative to join him in his office, and they jump to follow his command, ready to follow him into hell at this moment. The energy is there, the enthusiasm is back, everybody feels fired up and excited to be there. As the Creative Team passes, full of energy, they smile and nod to one of the Partners who smiles and nods back, pleased by their fire. But once they're gone, his face falls. Because just as things finally look to be turning around for SCDP, Lane Pryce knows that this may very well be the end for him.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Nov 20, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I have done everything I could to avoid finding out whether Paul ever came back and I was so, so happy to see him return. Maybe he's a bit of a one-note character but I just enjoyed him so much and seeing him as a loving Hare Krishna of all things was just wonderful. The Negron Complex. My God.

sure okay
Apr 7, 2006

A script so bad I can't even write or say it's title out loud without feeling a little gross. Paul is indeed the most beautiful of idiots.

Jun 19, 2012

This episode is full of great quotes and one-liners, but nothing beats Rich Sommer's monotone delivery of "Are you kidding me." after being told of Paul's scheme and being handed the script.

A few historical notes: "Prahbupad" in this episode in fact refers to Srila Prabhupada, aka A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the very founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He came to America in 1965, founded ISKCON and established a temple in NYC in 1966, then another in San Francisco in 1967. So the timeline does line up for Paul to have discovered, and spent some time within, the movement.

Additionally, Paul's script is based on an actual spec script that was supposedly in consideration but never filmed. "According to an interview with DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) in David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek, one proposed mission would have involved McCoy and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) beaming down to a planet where the inhabitants viewed Uhura as a slave-owner and McCoy her slave."

Jun 19, 2012

Didn't really notice until now how the show has been subtlety putting Don and Joan into a few scenes together for the past few episodes: Don asking Joan how to let Megan go, then Joan reviewing Clio submissions with Don, and finally this episode with their commiserating at the bar. Notice the numerous cuts to Joan during Don's speech. A little bit of clever writing and editing to really set the stage for the next episode and some of their interactions in Season 6.

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

If Gene Roddenberry saw that script it would have been fast tracked to production so drat fast

And to think, 30 years later, Kinsey finally saw his dream come true.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Dammit Paul, he told you not to talk to anybody about the script! :argh:

Thanks for the correction on Prahbupad!

Jul 30, 2008

Jerusalem posted:

Speaking of a life outside of work, Harry Crane is making good on his promise to meet Harry Crane for a coffee.

This is either some very metaphysical or some very Keyser Söze stuff :shobon:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

feedmegin posted:

This is either some very metaphysical or some very Keyser Söze stuff :shobon:

drat, Harry had a vision on his first chant AND was capable of astral projection and introspection even before then!

Fixing it now :)

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

Soiled Meat

"Surprise! There's an Airplane here to see you." Is one of my all time favorite funny moments from this show, everything about that scene is perfect to me.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Roger having to bring Joan the flowers because Meredith is too scared of her is an incredible follow-up, too :)

Metis of the Hallways
Aug 1, 2014

General Probe posted:

"Surprise! There's an Airplane here to see you." Is one of my all time favorite funny moments from this show, everything about that scene is perfect to me.

It's so good. I forgot it happened in the same episode as Paul's return! So many golden moments this episode.


Jul 23, 2007

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

I always assumed Joan didn't want Roger's money not because he'd resent her or anything like that. But she knows Roger will use him giving money to her as a way to wriggle in and try to get more from her/disregard her boundries. Basically, he'd do to her what he did to Jane. He bought Jane an apartment (in exchange for coming to dinner yes) and it took him only a couple of hours before pushing to get invited up and then sleep with her. Joan clearly knows Roger better than Jane.

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