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May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Oh for sure, Joan knows Roger far better than anyone outside of probably Mona. I have to remind myself every so often of when he bought her that bird to "keep her company" and she had to carry it home despite not wanting it, having no interest in it, and Roger just taking it upon himself to "gift" it to her without grasping how being reminded she is a bird in a cage herself in their (at the time) relationship would make her feel like complete poo poo.


algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011

Lipstick Apathy

All I can really say is Jared Harris is amazing and his continued success in Prestige TV is well earned.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I hope he's getting paid a lot of money for Foundation, because... oof.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


I was always worried I was missing something with Lakshmi's weird plotting, good to know it was meant to be confusing/make no sense!

this might also be the last episode Harry Crane does "the right thing" and has some sense of decency about him, woof

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yeah, you have to figure that "Convince my boyfriend to drop his dreams of being a scriptwriter and I'll sleep with you" would be more effective if, you know, she didn't sleep with him before telling him that was the condition!

I mean, Meredith would look at that plan and note several structural flaws....

Jun 19, 2012

thinking about it more, Joan accidentally(?) gets right to the heart of Don's inner conflict with her line about wanting. Don is trying to convince Joan (as a way to convince himself) that he doesn't know what he wants—and implicitly, as a result, he doesn't have to assume responsibility for his actions if he's just following his desires blindly. (This also ties a bit into the American Hurrah stuff; "people buy things because they want to feel good" means that consumers are blameless—it makes it sound like the natural course of things.) and yet Joan (as Don's conscience) insists that he knows what he wants and it's exactly what he's afraid of. is it worse to not know what you want, or to know exactly what you want and be unable to change because "it's just the way you are?" the whole conversation is a thinly-veiled discussion about the nature of faithfulness and desire. Not only does it suggest the connection between infidelity and jaguars for the next episode, it's very portentious of the very last scene of the season—Don knows who he is, and he hates himself for it.

hopefully that made sense. it's four in the morning and I'm thinkin bout those mad mens

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


kalel posted:

[...] the whole conversation is a thinly-veiled discussion about the nature of faithfulness and desire. Not only does it suggest the connection between infidelity and jaguars for the next episode, it's very portentious of the very last scene of the season—Don knows who he is, and he hates himself for it.

great post ™

god that scene where he's literally walking away from Megan's big acting break as "You Only Live Twice" starts playing has seriously lived in my head rent-free ever since the first time I saw it. It's too good

also I think I just now realized the significance of the song title re: Don :cripes:

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

this is getting a little into the weeds and ahead of things, but i both agree and disagree. the problem is in what you think don sees as what he needs. what he actually needs is unconditional love and validation, but is too unable to actually accept it and too insecure in who he is to believe it. his whole marriage to megan is him initially trying to believe that she could see him the way he's always wanted someone to and is as honest with her as possible about his life upfront, but his core belief that hes an unlovable garbage boy whore orphan keeps rearing its head and as megan starts wanting independence it becomes conflated with the idea that she is rebuking him personally and not simply the expectations put on her as a wife and woman in the late 60s (and partially by dons possessiveness and not liking her being on tv. why would she want the attention of so many people if i were actually enough? i must not be enough after all, the love must be a lie, etc). the reason he only likes the start of things isnt, in my eyes, because he grows bored or is flippant. when he tries throwing caution to the wind and making a hard commitment to all his previous flings, its because in those moments hes sort of testing them. will you actually care about me, to the point that wed throw our current lives away together if it meant you could be with me? that kind of "testing" mentality mixed in with an earnest desire for the result if any of them said yes. i think thats also why he never followed up with the teacher he left in the car in season 3. a self defeating "she hates me now, i hosed this up" self loathing.

basically, don draper is shinji ikari if he hosed a lot and could project the facade everyone expects of him rather than just be openly sad all the time

Jun 19, 2012

so what you're saying is (Evangelion movie spoilers ahead)

he needs to go the Anti Universe and fight Archibald in a giant mech?

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

kalel posted:

so what you're saying is (Evangelion movie spoilers ahead)

he needs to go the Anti Universe and fight Archibald in a giant mech?

honestly, what worked for shinji is what worked for don too: get out of his own head, find an environment where people accept you unconditionally, and touch some fuckin grass

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

it goes without saying but joan and don both basically acknowledging that yeah, they could see being together, but no, they know they have a platonic friendship of respect, really owns in this episode. there's clearly an attraction but much more a deep abiding respect.

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Another one of those episodes where I lose track of just how many things go down in one hour. Like, I always forget that Joan being served/"THERE'S A PLANE HERE TO SEE YOU" leads directly to Don and Joan's afternoon of "playing house," such as it is, which is a sequence that does SO much to build the story and history of a relationship between two characters that we've almost always seen with some degree of separation between them. To build on what Lady Radia said above, they both acknowledge the attraction that's clearly there, but beyond even professional respect I think they recognize one another as people who have built very carefully cultivated lives for themselves through extreme discretion. (Of course Joan knows nothing about Dick Whitman, but I'm sure there are aspects of Joan's life that would send Don for a loop if he found out about them...I forget if we've ever gotten a sign that Don knows about Joan and Roger's history.) They both know the fallout that would come from the two of them getting together, in any way, and they simply do not want to go down that road.

I also tend to remember Lane's tax issues to be something that gets built up gradually over the course of multiple episodes before he makes his late night "heist" with the lightbox and the dramatic score backing it. (And I just rewatched all of these like six months ago!) But no, as I said at some point earlier in this tread, this is a show where major developments have a true-to-life feeling and occur very quickly. We wouldn't have been clued in to Lane's issues before now, because it's immediately apparent that these are issues that Lane himself has been ignoring for some time. It has only become a story because he's forced into action.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


I.... I want to punch Pete Campbell in the mouth. His smarmy little mouth. Jesus Christ.


Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


Yeah that (next ep spoilers I guess) "It's business at a very high level" line really sticks with a person as far as terrible Pete moments go, lmao

Jun 30, 2008

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

Grimy Little Pimp indeed

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The really vile thing about it (one of many) is that he does that incredibly frustrating thing of presenting elements of the truth to everybody in order to make them all think everybody else is onboard instead of what actually happened, which was all of them immediately rejecting it as a monstrous idea they couldn't possibly condone.

So few of them actually bother to just straight up go to the source and ask exactly what happened, even those who do talk to Joan do so on the basis of assuming they have all the facts already, and in so doing further enhance the impression she got from Pete that they're all complicit* and supportive of the idea. Also, I'm being very upset and angry, but goddamn what a great episode.

* Make no mistake, most of them are totally complicit by the end of things, which is even more revolting.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 11 - The Other Woman
Written by Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Phil Abraham

Ken Cosgrove posted:

We wanted to be in the car business.

Don Draper sits in the conference room with a number of copywriters, but this isn't a usual meeting. The Conference Room has become Jaguar Headquarters for want of a better term, with pictures, example ads and proposed slogans and marketing ideas slapped onto every available surface. As promised, Don is spearheading an enormous work effort into winning the Jaguar Account, going so far as to hire on some freelancers to help out, including some returning faces from both the early days of SCDP and even as far back as the Sterling Cooper days.

Unfortunately the excess staff (and expenses, which must be further adding stress to Lane for now both business and personal reasons) haven't contributed to quality ideas. Stan suggests likening the car to a mistress, and Don snaps that he already told them that while this is the obvious angle they're taking they have to be a shitload more subtle about it: Jaguar won't want them being direct or crass, they'll want them to imply while keeping up the veneer of sophistication. Even the normally reliable Michael Ginsberg is failing to deliver anything, offering "You'll live it when you're in it" that falls completely flat in the room.

With a sigh, Don declares it's time for a break and leaves the Conference Room. Bill stands to leave too and Dale admonishes him, despite the latter having worked more recently for Don Draper it is the former who understands the way advertising (and seniority) works: when Don says they're taking a break, he means that HE is taking a break, and they all have to keep working.

There is no immediate rest for Don though either, as the moment he steps out of the Conference Room and starts to prep a cigarette, Peggy Olson is on him to request he sign off on the latest Secor Laxative campaign. Grumpily he reminds her that he has put her in charge of everything else while he concentrates on Jaguar, and that includes signing off on campaigns. This catches her a little by surprise (and to be fair he'd probably harangue her later if she went ahead and signed off on campaigns without talking to him first, another little benefit of seniority) but she immediately shows confidence in her work by saying in that case the Secor Laxative campaign is done.

But that's not the end of questions for Don, as Joan steps around the corner asking if it is lunchtime, followed by Caroline and another man pushing carts... full of lobster and ice cold beer! Joan cheerfully explains that Mr. Sterling bought lobster from The Palm, his way of showing his support and encouragement to the team that he hopes will bring SCDP it's first car at last.

Peggy was confident and pleased when Don told her she was in charge and could sign off on things, but she can't help but stare with envy as Stan and the Copywriters inside burst into applause and eagerly rush to devour luxury food provided free of charge, all while they continue to fail to deliver anything of significance as she tirelessly beavers away at the less glamorous accounts that are actually making the Agency money.

They're not the only ones fine-dining though. The full court press is in effect not just on the Creative side but the Accounts side too, as Pete and Ken have combined to work their side of the courting of Jaguar. The man they're dining with owns multiple dealerships, which gives him some sway in which Agency will end up representing Jaguar, since the advertising being produced will have to go up in his dealerships too. He insists that Jaguar aren't the only foreign car he sells and thus the advertising will need to be spectacular to sway him, which Pete insists won't be a problem, while Ken smoothly notes what a boon the latest Jaguar model has been to a dealership showing it off on the ground floor of a dealership on Madison Avenue.

Both of them understand what is going on here though, he's pushing for something and they just have to figure out what he wants. That they're paying his entire bill for this expensive meal isn't enough, hell that's just the expected part of business, they need his support and it won't come without a cost, and this is all a horrible dance of pretending this is just some friendly guys looking to help each other out as opposed to a naked demand for a bribe. So what does he want? Well he mentions that when he and the other Jaguar people were shown around the SCDP offices recently, their guide was a knockout of a redhead.

Pete and Ken both see where this is going, but in two different ways. He's talking about Joan of course, noting with approval that she was built like a B-52 Bomber, and he'd like to get to know her better. Ken is quick to try and defuse this situation, but before he can Pete cuts him off before he can say she is married, agreeing that she is very interesting. This piques the Dealership Owner's interest, is she one of those.... "free spirits"?

Oh this motherfucker.

Ken, trying to smoothly transition away from this minefield of a conversation, notes that if he has a preference for busty redheads then he "knows" some. But this fat rear end in a top hat isn't shifting form his fixation, saying that he likes THAT redhead, and that he thinks the two of them would "welcome the opportunity" to spend the night together.

This motherfucker.

Pete tries a different tack to Ken, taking the ball out of their court and into his by noting that as there is no conflict of interest he should feel free to ask Joan out on a date. But no, exclaims the loud and extremely unsubtle man, no he is too "shy" to do that... and all he is saying that if "it happens" then he would be happy, and if it doesn't.... well there are no guarantees in life.


This supposed acceptance that maybe he wouldn't get in his way is, of course, a barely veiled threat that THEY won't get their way: either he gets to bang Joan or they don't get Jaguar. He stands up to use the bathroom, telling them to order another round of drinks that he will pay for, and of course they quickly insist that of course he won't let him do that, which of course he knew they would. Once he's gone, Ken is in disbelief, asking Pete if what he thinks just got suggested actually got suggested.

Pete, through a fixed smile and in a quiet voice, acknowledges that yes, yes it did, and when Ken complains that he should have let him explain she was married, points out that the rear end in a top hat is married too, and most likely knows that Joan is (she still goes by Harris, presumably she still wears the ring as well) too... and just doesn't care. In spite of losing the "contest" to Ken back in the Sterling Cooper days, it seems that Pete has a better understanding of the mindset of a scumbag (he has an insider perspective!): bringing up that both parties are married would just create an awkward situation where - ironically - they would offend HIM, the man who just all but demanded they pimp out their Office Manager if they want to get the Account.

"Well," notes Ken wryly,"We wanted to be in the car business."

At the Draper apartment, Megan is going over a script in the bedroom when Don returns home. He's pleased to see she waited up for him and she corrects him before thinking better or it and agreeing that was part of it, before explaining that she's got an audition tomorrow for a really good part. He's surprised she didn't call to let him know, but she explains she got caught up in having to travel to get the script, then had a meeting with the teacher of her audition class. He offers his support, reminding her she always does great at auditions, but she points out with a sad smile that she obviously doesn't do as well as the women who get the parts.

Shaking her head clear of the negativity, she asks him how his day was, and he makes that very clear by admitting his big plan for the evening was to crawl into bed, watch Johnny Carson and cry himself to sleep. She promises the idea will come to him and he just can't help himself, he can't stop from getting in a little "joke" about how sometimes the ideas would come to her first, still clearly wishing she'd give up on acting and come back to working at the Agency like she did when he was at his happiest. Megan has learned how to deal with these little "jokes" though, asking him sweetly but firmly if he'd actually like some help or just wants to yell at her.

He's charmed, of course, chuckling that he hasn't decided yet before settling down and laying out the strategy: a Jaguar is beautiful but unreliable, it comes with its own repair kit and you effectively need a second car to get around because it'll spend a lot of time broken down. So they're pushing the "mistress" angle, the beautiful "other woman" you long for even if it isn't necessarily good for you. Unsurprisingly, Megan isn't particularly thrilled by this idea, nor Don's explanation that this won't be an immoral campaign since they won't actually use the word "mistress". But she exhibits some self control, not wanting to be on the other side of starting an argument like he almost was, just saying it sounds great before turning on Carson for him, giving him a kiss and then heading into the living room to continue working on her lines.

The next morning Pete comes knocking on Joan's door (her office is labeled "Traffic", something I only just noticed, her own office isn't even in her own name), surprising her to see him in so early. She braces herself, smart enough to know that Pete showing up early and coming to see her is probably not a good sign, asking what she can do for him. Pete begins his performance, one that isn't likely to win him any callbacks if he was at an audition like Megan, as gosh-darnit he just has a bit of a pickle and needs her help to figure out how to deliver some bad news to the Agency, by golly.

He explains that he and Ken had dinner with Herb Rennet, pausing to note like it ONLY just occurred to him that she might have met him the other day when Jaguar came to visit? He was the handsome guy!

Jesus loving Christ, Pete :cripes:

She doesn't remember him or any of the others, they didn't make enough of an impression on her to stand out in her memory. But in any case, Pete thinks he has cleverly implanted the idea in her head that Herb Rennet is a handsome man and not a fat sack of poo poo, and continues with his little performance. Rennet isn't going to back SCDP's pitch, and when Joan asks why not he explains it is because he wanted something they weren't prepared to give. before he can elaborate, they're interrupted by Caroline knocking on the door just to let her know she's here but is stepping out to get a Danish. She spots Pete is sitting in the closed office with Joan and tucks this unusual situation away as she closes the door, and now Pete has his audience back.

She asks what Herb wanted and he hmms and haws over whether he should even explain, and even HOW to explain before putting on an apologetic look and throwing it out there that Herb told them (in the restaurant and again when getting him a cab) that his support of SCDP was conditional on getting to spend a night with her. Joan's reaction is.... not exhaustion so much but more a "Oh here we go again with this bullshit" reaction from a woman who unfortunately was raised "to be admired" by her mother. Very deliberately keeping her tone neutral, she remarks that it is too bad, making it clear that she's not even remotely interested (and certainly not flattered) in what Pete is very obviously (and thinks he is very subtly) suggesting.

So Pete puts on a sad little resigned face and says he'd appreciate if she could help him think of some way to break the news to the company, and now she's had enough. "You're unbelievable," she tells him, still holding down her disgust but her contempt clear, reminding him she's married (it would still be inappropriate if she wasn't!) and asking how he'd feel if Trudy was the subject of Herb's attention. Pete, trying to act calm and even a little shocked that she thinks he is suggesting anything, points out that he wasn't the one who brought this up, it was Herb! As if he didn't choose to show up early, close the door behind him, and float the idea in hopes she'd jump at the chance to get smothered by some fat, rich rear end in a top hat. He strongly agrees that if she's not interested then that's fine.... it's just... it seems to him that there's something that could be worth the sacrifice.

Jesus loving Christ, Pete :cripes:

He points out that he's only speaking about one night in her life, and hey they've all made mistakes for one night in their lives.... for free! Revolted, doing her best to maintain her composure even though she'd be perfectly justified in screaming at him to get out or just straight up punching him in the face, she rips the paper-thin mask off of the whole thing by laying out exactly what he's asking of her: straight up prostitution. No no, insists Pete, he's talking about business at a very high level! Would she consider Cleopatra a prostitute? She was a queen! ....what would it take for them to make Joan Harris a queen?

Jesus loving Christ, Pete :cripes:

Offended, outraged and also in some ways amused by his pathetic little attempts to "seduce" her into taking the deal, with poisonous sweetness Joan lets him know that he couldn't afford it. Pete nods and turns, but as he does a slimy little smirk crosses his face, because he genuinely seems to think he has done a great job and planted a seed in her mind. Blanking his face again, he turns back around and admits that this was an act of desperation, but he hopes he hasn't offended her, as that is all that matters to him.

"I understand," Joan replies, because she understands him better than he will ever know (and better than he understands himself). He leaves, thinking himself triumphant, while Joan is left revolted, with the only seed planted in her head one of revulsion to know what a low opinion at least one of the Agency's partners has of her. She understands him, all right, in the same way that Lane Pryce came to finally understand him the first time they went for Jaguar.

Pete Campbell is nothing more than a grimy little pimp.

While Pete is making a pathetic effort of trying to turn Joan into a prostitute, Ken is in Pete's old office with Harry and Peggy as they prepare to take a call, working out their own strategy for how to ensure they keep an account. It's Chevalier Blanc, but it turns out that they've soured on the campaign that Michael wowed them with he first pitched it, and now they want to hear how he will "fix" the thing that isn't broken. The trouble is, Ginsberg is working on Jaguar exclusively at the moment and can't be pulled away, and Don can't be bothered with it either, so it's up to Peggy to fix it.

Which is why, understandably, she balks when Harry tells her to pretend to be Michael's junior, shaking her head firmly no. "Partner?" sighs Harry, as if he and every other man in the Agency wouldn't pitch a fit if they got asked to pretend to have a "lesser" role than they actually have. "Supervisor," Peggy states clearly, which is in fact exactly what she is, and not something to be discounted or played down... hell, wouldn't Chevalier be more likely to be pissed off if they got their Copywriter's Junior to sit in on a meeting?

Scarlett buzzes in to let them know that Rick Swanson is on the line, and they take the call. They introduce Rick to everyone, and then ask the pertinent question: why does he want to pull the ad? Rick doesn't pretend like the work is suddenly no good, they still think it's great... but sales have started leveling of since the holidays (presumably it's January, 1967 now?) so they don't see why they should keep paying to keep the ad running. Harry jumps on that, pointing out that with Valentines Day coming up, women can't buy flowers for men so cologne is sure to see an uptick in sales.

"Why would a woman buy a man anything for Valentine's Day?" asks Rick, a question that seems utterly preposterous now but was probably absolutely the mindset of the time. Harry and Ken are absolutely struck dumb by this question, unsure what to say, so Ken frantically gestures to Peggy as the only woman in the room to think of something to say... which, of course, she does. She starts smartly by agreeing with Rick that he's right, before pushing Harry's idea about targeting women anyway but making it seem like a natural follow-up to Rick feeling the ad has run its course: they can change the target easily.

Now Rick is interested, not realizing she's effectively ignored his earlier question to Harry, asking how they'd do that. They does put Peggy on the spot, and she sits pondering, quietly mouthing ideas to herself as Harry and Ken stare hoping that she'll pull a rabbit out of a hat... and she does. She suggests they run the ad the same as before with the man in the leather jacket being chased by screaming girls, but this time instead of running into a bar full of more sex-hungry women... he runs into Lady Godiva on a horse? Warming to her own idea, she suggests they make their Godiva as nude as television will allow, and have her haul the now love-struck man up onto her horse and ride him away to safety. The tagline? "The right woman loves Chevalier Blanc."

Ken stands up, a broad smile on his face, and silent mimics applause, blown away by the idea. Rick ponders the idea, the same ad but a different ending? Peggy hits him with one final suggestion, maybe they set it in Paris? "A French song!?! Ooh la la!" gasps Rick, taken by the idea, and just like that Peggy hasn't just gotten Chevalier Blanc not to pull their ad, she's gotten them to agree to make another one. Could a "Junior" do that!?!

Roger and Don come to Pete Campbell's office, where Bert Cooper and Lane Pryce are already seated and waiting. Pete is leaning against his desk in a deliberately "casual" pose that also allows him to tower over the others, apart from Don who unlike Roger doesn't take a seat when Pete gestures to the couch, already on guard about being summoned to a non-official Partners' meeting.

Pete just comes right out with it, Herb Rennet has demanded to spend a night with Joan as the price for his supporting SCDP's pitch for Jaguar. They're all stunned, a revolted Lane asking who Herb Rennet even is and Roger proving he has done his homework by explaining he's the head of the Dealers Association.... before quietly and without a moment's hesitation telling Pete that he hopes he told him to take a long walk.

Don is also disgusted, but his response is also more pragmatic: Herb is only one of three votes that will be taken after the pitch.... they only need two of them, so who gives a poo poo if Herb is trying to force their hand? Pete admits that he considered this too, but points out that as head of the Dealers Association, if he says he can't sell cars with their advertising, than neither of the other two - representing Marketing and the Factory - will fight him on it, they'll just go with whatever Agency Herb does like.

"So...?" asks Roger, knowing that Pete is trying to lead up to something, and it is to his credit I guess that he didn't immediately guess what Pete might have done. Pete admits that he brought up the subject with Joan, outraging a disgusting Lane who can't believe he'd do such a thing, but Pete quickly calms him, promising that she seemed more amused than shocked.

That's.... called being polite, Pete. She was being polite, because you're a wealthy, privileged male in a senior position in the firm and SHE has to watch how she talks to you even when you're being a monstrous, insulting piece of poo poo.

But here is where Pete deviates almost entirely from reality. Because he has chosen to take (or perhaps genuinely believes) Joan saying he couldn't afford it as her being amenable to being pimped out to Herb if the price is right. Don is disgusted at the notion that Pete would call a Partners Meeting to discuss something like this, while a stunned Roger asks in utter disbelief if Joan actually said she would do it, obviously not thinking she would but clearly willing to believe that maybe she might have, based on nothing at all but Pete's say so.

"She said we couldn't afford it," Pete smirks, which to everybody in the room should obviously indicate that the answer is a firm,"No." Don is utterly revolted, as is Lane, but Pete angrily makes himself out to be hero in all this, willing to go the extra mile (or rather to make Joan go the extra mile) because they've come too far and are too close to finally turning SCDP into what it should be. He agrees with Roger pointing out Herb isn't even guaranteeing they'd get the Account regardless, but says he is guaranteeing they WON'T get it if they don't do what he wants. Don simply can't believe what he is hearing, pointing out yet again that all they need is to produce quality work and they'll win the Account that way and ONLY that way. "End of discussion," he snaps, and storms out of the office, slamming the door shut behind him.

That was a nice dramatic gesture, but it does unfortunately mean that now he's out of the room, and thus one of the two Partners violently opposed to the idea are gone, with Roger more stunned at the whole thing happening, and Cooper - not pleased by this turn of events by any means - simply sitting and listening and waiting for the moment to provide his own input. Pete just presses on as if all the others are in enthusiastic agreement with him now that ol' Mr. Grumpyhead Partypooper Don Draper is gone, suggesting that if they come to Joan with a firm figure she may consider it: say a 10% finders fee on the first year's commission, which equals out to $50,000 (over 400k in 2021 money).

Roger, torn between his utterly immoral willingness to do almost anything for business and his respect and love (infatuation?) for Joan, grunts that he won't stand in the way of a deal like this but he also isn't going to pay for it with his own money. Lane's moral objections have now run headfirst into the same problem that is dominating every other aspect of his life... his own debt, or rather the $7500 he "borrowed" from the Agency to cover them that he is quickly running out of time to replace before it is discovered. When Pete suggests they use what was supposed to be their delayed Christmas Bonuses to cover Joan's "fee", he sees his exposure coming even faster than ever, and so now his objections are less outraged and more desperate, a forced smile on his face as he timidly suggests that maybe Jaguar - a company he introduced them to the idea of signing - wasn't meant to be and they just forget it and move on with their lives (and their Christmas bonuses).

Acting like it's all been agreed on, Pete tells Lane to simply go and extend their credit at the bank, as if it was just as simple as that, dismissively stating he can just say it is for Jaguar and they'll agree. Alarm bells ringing, knowing he's already extended their credit without telling anybody, Lane does what he can to regain some control of this situation, hating himself as he suggests that he look through the books and figure out exactly what they can afford to pay Joan, so they can give her a concrete figure to work with. Smirking, completely failing to read the mood of the room, a cheerful Pete asks if they need to bother to take a vote or just give it as read that they - 75% of the voting power of this Agency - are all in agreement. Roger, feeling dirtier than he has a long time, stands and grunts at Pete not to mistake this as anything other than very dirty business, and Cooper - saddened that it has come to this - simply reminds Pete to make it clear to Joan that she is free to say no.

Lane says nothing. He doesn't have to. He just stands and glares at Pete like he was a horrible little insect. We already know what Lane thinks of Pete, and Pete has proven the "grimy little pimp" accusation to be completely accurate. But while Pete may be the terrible instigator of this revolting act, all of them but Don are complicit (and even Don arguably is in a second-hand way, by thinking he could simply make a proclamation and then walk away and everybody would just fall into line), and it's all based on an at-best "charitable" reading of Joan's reaction to Pete telling her about Herb's "proposition".

In the Conference Room, Don was already distracted by the horrors of the meeting he walked out on, but there's not much going on in there either. The brains trust are bored, burned out and too exhausted to even throw out bad taglines. A number of proposed and rejected slogans and pieces of roughly laid out art line the walls, representing rejected or failed concepts and themes like playing up the jungle or animal element of the car. Coming to a decision, Megan's reaction to the mistress concept also competing with the mental image of Joan as a prostitute and his own creative stagnation, Don leaps to his feet and declares they're abandoning the mistress concept and going back to racing heritage.

"Why?" asks Michael Ginsberg, who always seems to mistake an order for an invitation to debate. Don points out that it's vulgar, but then complains that people mistake Creative developing ideas as horsing around (as he once explained to Lane Pryce) but the truth is.... right now they're horsing around! He demands they knock off the "grab-rear end" and get him some lines, and departs the Conference Room for one of those breaks he gets to enjoy while they continue pushing through.

In his office he pours himself a drink, but doesn't even get a moment as Ken, Harry and Peggy enter the room asking if he has five seconds to spare. He points out that five seconds isn't enough time to sit down, Harry getting the message and stopping himself from taking a seat, and Ken gives them the good news about Chevalier Blanc. Harry, to his credit, sings Peggy's praises for not only saving the ad but getting them to agree to a new version, and a pleased Peggy explains it's the same ad with a Lady Godiva variation... and they're going to film it in Paris.

Distracted, not particularly caring about what to him is a minor thing (Chevalier had an ad with them this morning, now they're telling them they still have an ad with Chevalier) he shrugs and notes that by Ginsberg should be free by the time it comes to film it, and it'll be nice to have him out of the office. Peggy is surprised and not a little irritated.... this is HER idea, not Ginsberg's, she took what was an idea Chevalier Blanc was no longer enthusiastic about and revitalized their interest, this is HER campaign now. Don simply grunts that it is Ginsberg's account, and Peggy notes with some justification that it looks like she's NOT in charge after all.

Don's reaction is... extreme. Finally losing his temper (which coincidentally comes at the same moment he's forced to actually pay attention to the other people in the room) he looks up and sneers, reaching into his pocket and declaring if she wants to go to Paris, she can go to Paris... and literally (and I do mean LITERALLY) throws money in her face. She stands quietly for a moment, then simply turns and leaves. Don turns around to look out the window at nothing, and a disgusted Ken follows after Peggy, while an alarmed Harry quietly makes his exit not wanting to draw any attention to himself.

There's a couple of points to be made here, things to consider regarding what just happened. Don throwing money in Peggy's face is obviously insulting even only on the surface level, but when you couple it with things we know about their prior relationship it takes on a whole other level of hosed up. In one of the greatest episodes of the show ever made, Don and Peggy had a screaming argument about acknowledgement and gratitude. Peggy's argument was that her contributions were either ignored or celebrated by others as their own, sidelining her own worth and value unfairly. Don's argument was that the money she was paid was all the acknowledgement needed, that her job was to create ideas that would then be taken and developed in new and different ways, and she was compensated for it and that was an end to it.

Now let's consider, divorced of anything else, Peggy's reaction to Ginsberg getting HER Chevalier ad. Don argues that it is Ginsberg's account, and by her own earlier reasoning that she simply refined and adapted the initial idea with a new twist it shouldn't now be considered only hers anymore than Don should have gotten all the credit for Glo-Coat. But by Don's own reasoning, the argument that he so vehemently put forward, the initial idea doesn't matter as much as the final idea, and that's what Peggy did here: she took an idea that got them a certain distance but not all the way, and she changed it up and made it into a winner. By Don's Glo-Coat reasoning, the Chevalier Blanc commercial should now be Peggy's baby.

But you can't divorce it of everything else, nobody is an island and nothing happens in a vacuum. Don stating that Chevalier Blanc is Ginsberg's is another example of what for Peggy is a too frequent mindset that certain properties are simply off-limits to her because of her gender. She can do Clearasil and Vick and Pond's and Secor Laxatives and the line, but not a cologne and certainly not a car. She isn't intimidated or unnerved by Ginsberg, she's confident in her own abilities against his, but she is annoyed and increasingly frustrated by his maleness getting him into Accounts that she - a person Don is happy to rely on to run everything in his absence - doesn't even get a shot at. Add to that Don then reducing all this to money YET AGAIN as if that solves everything, and he's not only throwing the cash in her face but also any development of their relationship since that terrible drunken night that Anna died, reducing her role at SCDP yet again to a simple employer/employee relationship where she does a job and gets money, and if she wants anything more than that than she's being greedy.

Of course she's not the only one with more going on, because Don isn't existing in a vacuum either. He's struggling with the separation of Megan from this part of his life, struggling to rediscover his passion for advertising and SCDP as a whole, just learned that Pete wanted to pimp out Joan to the head of the Dealers Association, and has thrown out all the work they've done so far on Jaguar. He's in a bad mood, he wants to lash out at somebody, and yet again it ends up being Peggy - one of the few people who will stand up to him - that ends up taking the brunt of his anger over something that largely has nothing to do with her. That used to be something Betty had to put up with too, but she's no longer his wife, and he's too terrified of wrecking things with Megan to fall into that bad habit with her (yet).... but Peggy? Peggy's somebody who is always there and doesn't just shrink and disappear or tiptoe around him when he's upset, so she ends up (unfairly) taking the brunt of his bad temper.

Consider all the above, and how it all weaves a rich tapestry of character, history, motivations, frustrations etc. Then consider something else. You don't throw money in somebody's face. Jesus Christ. You just don't loving do it. gently caress you, Don!

In her office, Peggy is having a drink of her own, unknowingly echoing Don both in action and body language, because of course Peggy IS Don, or at least most of his better qualities (and some of his negative ones, to be fair!), just burdened with the hassle of her gender meaning she isn't allowed to really pull off some of the bullshit he regularly does. Ken pops in, closing the door behind him and assuring her he didn't think she was crying when she grunts that she isn't. No, he's come to offer a sideways defense of Don, not exactly a justification but at least an explanation: he suspects that Don has just learned like Ken himself already knows that they won't be getting Jaguar. Peggy, in a bad mood and wanting to just stew in that for awhile, says she doesn't care, and when Ken promises he'll get her to Paris and if not then they'll both end up getting out of SCDP, she takes out her frustrations a little on him, mocking his "stupid pact" and warning him to keep the fiction to his writing. She's in no mood to be comforted or "fixed", sometimes a bad mood just has to run its course, and Ken - while hurt at what she said - at least has the good sense to get offended at her not appreciating his efforts to help and just makes a quick exit.

Joan's office is well-named, as she is getting plenty of traffic through it today, joined now by Lane Pryce. He closes the door (a lot of that today) and takes a seat across the desk from her, and with great sincerity declares that signing Jaguar would be financially disastrous for the Agency. Amused by what she thinks is his typical fiscal conservative nature, she beams warmly and assures him that it would be a defining moment for their business, and that he needs to stop being afraid. But when he quietly tells her they don't want it THAT badly, she immediately figures out what the actual subject of conversation is and launches to her feet, demanding he get out.

He insists it bears discussion, which she vehemently disagrees with, again demanding he leave. Before he does though, he reminds her that when 50k is on the line, that bears discussion, and what does it matter anyway if she has no intention of going through with it. Her response makes perfect sense of course, but it's the kind of thing Lane would have never thought of: of course she doesn't want any of the other Partners to even know the question got asked in the first place. It's low class, it's crude, and it's entirely unfair that she should be - not for the first time and probably not for the last - reduced entirely to a sexual object, even worse for said objectification to be a subject of discussion among the partners.

She asks with barely restrained contempt if Roger Sterling - who Lane has no idea is the father of her baby - participated in this discussion, and so much could be averted if instead of trying to be discreet Lane just out and told her the entire timeline of events. Instead, he simply agrees that Roger did, he is a partner after all, therefore creating the impression that this wasn't just Pete ambushing them with a scandalous proposal he was deliberately presenting as something she was actively contemplating agreeing to. Instead, what must be in her head is all of them, ALL OF THEM, sitting around casually discussing how much money to pay her to be a whore, as if it was just another line item to add to a spreadsheet (hell, for HER to add to a spreadsheet).

Lane finally goes to leave, but before he does, Joan stabs through at least one veil of "decency" to make a point: if Lane himself is against the idea like he is claiming, then why did he make a point to tell her that 50k figure? Lane admits that he told her the figure for a very specific reason... to discourage her. It is a ridiculous amount of money, an amount that would cripple the company financially but also do little to change her future even if it is 4 times what she currently makes in a year. So what does he suggest then? His response stuns her, as he points out that yes he might be tempted himself were he in her shoes, and the only advice he can give is to not make the same mistake he has been making all his life.

No, Lane hasn't got a secret history of sleeping with fat rich assholes for the benefit of an Agency (though if Putnam, Powell & Lowe had ordered it....), he's just got a history of never telling the truth about what he really wants. He has always settled for less, for fear of seeming too greedy or been seen to overstate his own worth. 3 years ago when SCDP couldn't be formed without his collusion in the Sterling Cooper heist, he agreed to a far less lucrative deal than he could have, because he was caught up in the moment and the sweet revenge of loving over PPL before they could gently caress him over. He's regretted it ever since (the man is broke, and currently there is a $7500 hole in the books in HIS name that Joan is going to find eventually) and he doesn't want her to regret her fateful decision.

So a one-off 50k finder's fee? The hell with that. No, a 5% stake in the company AND a Partnership, that should be her price. Something that will provide for her and her child for the rest of her life, something that might in some way be worth the enormous sacrifice she is making. She notes that she thought maybe he was trying to warn her off because he had feelings for her, and that surprises him... because he thought it was obvious that making this suggestion proved the extent of those feelings: he's telling her something that will benefit HER over the company's own interests.

With that he leaves, for the first time Joan actually looking shocked by the seeming sincerity of his last response. But while his advice has been more progressive and concerned with her well-being than anything the others suggested, he can't help but pause outside to quietly loathe himself. Not just because he's also trying to avoid the 50k payment that would completely cut out the delayed bonuses and thus prevent him hiding his theft, but because at the end of the day he's as guilty as Pete of being willing to pimp out Joan to aid the Agency (but really himself) itself. He might not be grimy and little, but for today at least he's a pimp too.

That evening at the Campbell Residence in far off Cos Cob, Pete sits on the couch reading Goodnight Moon to Tammy. Trudy pops into the doorframe and watching lovingly as he he reads to their child. While this charming domestic scene unfolds (lead by a man who has no problem trying to pimp out Joan Harris), back in New York City the Copywriters are still hard at work... building a tower of cards in the Conference Room, while Don dozes at the head of the table, the late night work generating zero results.

A knock on the window gets their attention, Megan and a friend have popped by to see Don. The men all stand as they enter the room, the other woman cheekily putting her hands over the sleeping Don's eyes. He startles awake, the gathered men laughing, and turns to see Megan smiling down at him. Standing, he gives her a kiss, and Stan asks if she wants to throw some taglines at the wall for old time's sake and help them out. Her suggestion "Jaguar, it's your problem, not mine," tells them all they need to know, and she takes Don off into the office to have a quick word, leaving her friend behind, who warns the copywriters appreciatively watching Megan leave to be careful what they say, since they're best friends.

In the office, Don is surprised but delighted when Megan locks the door behind her, and he notices that beneath her coat she is wearing her "audition dress", admitting he only has negative connotations of that dress but clearly pleased to see her in it now. She's off to her audition and her friend - Julia - is coming along for moral support, but with a giggle she points out that the man she'll be auditioning for is a "fairy", so the dress isn't intended to excite him. That doesn't necessarily mean it's for Don either though, he guesses as she puts him into a chair and straddles him.

She admits that she wants to walk in "with confidence" and he knows what that means, and he's all about it. She wants a quickie in the office, the energy and excitement of sex, particularly in a "dangerous" environment like this with her friend and his co-workers (and her former co-workers) only a couple of rooms away, to clear her mind and make her feel powerful. Don isn't objecting, his wife is certainly not the "old Buick you keep in the garage" for when your exciting, sexy Jaguar fails.

As they have sex, in the Conference Room the copywriters are enthusiastically watches as Julia "auditions" to convince them of her suitability to be the face of any Jaguar campaign they put together. She crawls on the table, growling and swiping at them with her "paws", and this is actually inspiring them to come up with some taglines, all around the idea of whether you can "tame" a Jaguar, or even if you really want to. But as they're all obsessed with Julia, Michael stands staring out the glass walls towards Don's office, musing on the unfairness of how Megan can just come and go as she pleases. Stan can't quite believe he does have his eyes locked on Julia, and Michael turns, looks her over, shrugs and mutters,"Yeah, I got it," before turning back to consider the power of a woman free to come and go from this place as she likes, freed from the constraints the rest of them - who she was once one of - have to follow.

Back in Cos Cob, Tammy is in bed now and Pete sits on the couch, headphones on and listening to his sound system that Wilt Chamberlain could lie down and sleep in... if he actually ever wanted to. Trudy joins him, still full of love from watching his earlier bedtime reading, assuring him he can unplug his headphones if he wants, and when he complains he wouldn't want to interupt her schedule "without him" she maintains a tolerant air, giving him a good-natured admonishment not to be cranky. For a moment he seems to relax slightly, admitting forlornly that when he left work this evening he was in a great mood (he had a productive day's pimping!) but now he's just exhausted... then turns and declares that if and when they win the Jaguar Account, he's getting an apartment in the city.

NOW her tolerance is over. She's willing to accommodate his grumpy mood after a long day's work, especially after seeing him reading a bedtime story to Tammy, but there is no way she is letting him buy a separate home to spend night at the city in... and she's also no fool, she knows why so many executives purchase apartments and it isn't so they can avoid a long commute home after a long day's work. It's not like Pete hasn't demonstrated in the past that left to his own devices he makes impossibly stupid and short-sighted decisions either.

So when she tells him firmly they need to stop pretending, he probably fears the worst. But while she's talking about his love affair, it isn't with Beth or some prostitute, it's about Manhattan itself, as she demands that he finally get over the fact that they are no longer city residents. Now he gets passionate too, complaining he can't stand living in this "cemetery" with no good night noises anywhere, having lived his entire life there the quiet of the suburbs unnerves him. Trudy's point is one nobody can really argue with: she enjoyed being in the city too, she was just as eager to have that lovely apartment in the city and be part of the history of High Society.... but then she had a baby, and now her primary concern (and what should by implication be his) is what is best for their daughter. What's best, in her mind, is that Tammy is raised in fresh air and quiet.

This raises another issue, one she hasn't pushed him on before now: but she thinks it's about time they had another baby, the first was a miracle but they haven't even been trying for a second yet. Now Pete is on the back foot, alarmed at even the thought, complaining that he's expending all his energy putting his foot down with her, as if he'd just put her in her place rather than the other way around. She leaves, seeing no benefit in continuing his argument, and now he's succeeded in pissing her off and making her share his bad mood... and to what purpose? it certainly hasn't made him feel any better, if anything he's in an even worse mood now than he was before.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:58 on Nov 28, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Gail Holloway is sitting up watching television when Joan returns home, in the wake of Greg's dismissal it seems her presence is now permanent to help look after Kevin while Joan continues to work. She comments on how late it is (it's only 8pm!) but Joan ignores that in favor of noting an odd odor in the air, and Gail explains that the fridge broke down and she had to pull everything out of it. Flabbergasted, only 10 seconds through the door and already hit with a problem, Joan asks why she didn't call anybody, further annoyed when Gail complains that "his wife" won't let her call anymore. She's talking about Apollo, of course, the handsome handyman who Gail clearly had a thing for, but as Joan points out there are OTHER repairmen who can be called!

Gail doesn't earn herself many favors by what she says next though, grumpily stating Joan should hire a colored girl to help out since "they're used to being bossed around." Joan takes a moment to compose herself, but the hits keep coming from Gail who either can't read a room or is - and sadly I think this is more likely - is just one of those people who revels in drama, asking what Joan is doing allowing herself to "dry up" all because of somebody like Greg. She flat out states that she hates him, and Joan shushes her angrily, warning her she doesn't want Kevin to hear that type of talk about his father no matter what she might think of him personally. Gail dismisses that though, he's just a baby and doesn't know that they all wish Greg was dead.

Joan does NOT want that. She may loathe Greg, she may have finally given up the pretense and accepted he is a bad person, but she doesn't want him dead. Face crumpling from exhaustion after a HORRIBLE day, she asks her mother to just stop and finally Gail seems to realize enough is enough. She asks if Joan has been drinking, gets confirmation, and then has her take her seat while she goes to pour her another drink, finally grasping that maybe assailing her with bad news and accusations the moment after walking in the door isn't the best strategy.

The next morning as Don is getting dressed, an excited Megan enters the bedroom to let him know she just heard back from the play she auditioned for: her and several other actors have gotten callbacks. Don declares his delight, of course, standing up and giving her a celebratory kiss, remarking on what a big deal it is, and she agrees, letting the excitement finally wash over her.... and then everything goes south when she tells him to promise he'll come visit every weekend.

He's bewildered, she's talking about a Broadway Play (Little Murders), why would she be away from home? It's not like she's going to jail! Too excited to realize the trouble that is coming, she explains that the rehearsals will be in Boston and start in 10 days, before laughing at herself for assuming she's got the part already. But Don doesn't care about any of that. BOSTON!?! He listens in horror and growing anger as she breezily explains there would be 8 weeks of rehearsals plus previews, and then decides to take a leaf out of Pete Campbell's book and put his foot down, and forbids her from doing it.

Do yourself a favor, friends, DON'T take a leaf out of Pete Campbell's book.

Now she is outraged, asking with cold fury what he thinks this (meaning her acting) is? Does he think she's going to be a singing waitress? Do shows in laundromats? No, she is aiming for Broadway, and that isn't a 9-5 job, that isn't something where she goes and does a show in the afternoon or the odd evening and then is home 20 minutes later to make dinner and curl up on his shoulder. Realizing too late that he made a dangerous misstep in his initial reaction, even if he is still absolutely against the idea of her leaving town for 3 months, he falls back on an old standby or trying to just ignore a problem, insisting he has to go to work. As he starts to leave though, Megan yells after him that he never considered the downside of her succeeding as an actor because he never genuinely thought she would make it. SHE is the one who storms out of the room, not him, and Don stands a moment in shock before roaring after her words that are painfully ironic given the way he acted throughout almost the entirety of his first marriage, a mocking condemnation of her just getting to do whatever she wants without thinking about how it affects the person she agreed to share the rest of her life with.

At SCDP, Pete opens his door to Joan and invites her in, barely able to suppress his smug satisfaction as he thinks he's getting everything his own way backs to his "clever" and "subtle" persuasion skills. He comments that Joan really didn't need to make an appointment to have this discussion, but she disagrees, taking her seat and then opening with a boldness that might actually suit Pete to try sometimes: she wants a partnership comprising 5% of the business and it will NOT be a silent one.

The smug look is gone from Pete's face now. For a moment at least, before he puts on his Account Man face and with faux casualness leans back in his chair and starts to speak... and Joan immediately cuts him off to tell him in no uncertain terms that there will be no negotiation. Pete is a lot of things, but he's also somebody who can see when he's hit a brick wall. He WANTS Jaguar, and they both know it, and he's asking something vile and revolting of her.... so he is going to pay and that is that. So he agrees, though he balks a bit when she tells him she wants the documents drawn up by the end of the day, saying he isn't sure if that is possible. In turn she reminds him that she is also offering no guarantee of success, and when he mistakes that for meaning Herb perhaps failing to get it up, she rolls her eyes in disgust and clarifies that she means she isn't guaranteeing that they get win Jaguar's business... just that they won't be guaranteed to NOT win it.

Now that the thing is agreed to, Pete honestly has no idea how to proceed. He's an expert at getting clients hookers, at taking them to brothels or hiring girls to join them for dinners etc, but this is the Office Manager he works with every day, how does he go about hooking her up with Herb? He looks to Joan for advice, and with further contempt she asks him if she really has to do EVERYTHING herself? Of course not, Pete will figure this out, it probably won't be overly difficult but she'll let him squirm - he deserves that much at least for his part in all this.

That's it. Meeting over. Joan has looked at a life she is barely holding together (she is paid fairly well for the time, but she's also a single mother raising a kid and working in a male dominated business) and made a decision she detests but also can justify in her own head, even if it means doing "business" with an odious little creep like Pete Campbell. Lane's advice, however self-serving the underlying reasons might have been, have shown her a way to guarantee her own future and more importantly that of little Kevin... but she still has to perform a hideous task to achieve it.

So it's no surprise that she simply stares coldly at Pete's pathetic offer of a handshake. Her only hesitation is a pause at the door as she leaves to ask Pete which one of the three men it will be. Pete, pained now that they've committed and it isn't just a theoretical idea, assures her that Herb isn't that bad. "He's doing this," points out Joan sadly, and leaves. Pete does at least feel bad in the aftermath... but that doesn't change the fact he's done this, and that it won't take long for that acknowledgement of what a lovely thing he's just done to fade from his mind in favor of viewing himself as somehow the hero in all this. Because Pete's not a bad guy.... in much the same way that Herb isn't.

Michael Ginsberg knocks on Don's door, stepping in when acknowledged and pointing out that while he isn't a manager he does think that Don not being in the Conference Room with them isn't exactly an effective way to run things. Don dryly comments that obviously he disagrees, and sighs when Michael asks for permission to speak freely, really not in the mood for any bullshit today. Michael admits he's continued to run over ideas in the mistress vein despite Don declaring they were done with that, laying out the thought process behind appealing to "the rear end in a top hat" who is going to buy a Jaguar. They'll be rich, probably already have a lot of beautiful things, and the car should represent something beautiful they want but can't have: like a mistress, something beautiful but perhaps unstable and probably high maintenance and more trouble than its worth... but that they want anyway.

The trouble is, none of this is new. Don and the others have been running with this mindset the entire time they were work-shopping the mistress angle, and they couldn't come up with anything to tie it all together. THAT is the difference, because Michael has come up with a tagline, though he's wise enough not to admit he got the idea from Megan showing up the other night and he ability to "come and go as she pleases." So what is the tagline? Jaguar. At last, something beautiful you can truly own."

Don sits for a moment, mind racing through the potential, considering the tagline against images, the use of font and framing, the balance and juxtaposition of every element and how the tagline might or might not tie it all together.... and then a broad, disbelieving and wearily relieved smile crosses his face as he realizes that it works. It works. Oh thank God IT WORKS!

Ginsberg's face breaks into a smile as well, his idea has passed muster, he is getting the rush of his Creative being acknowledged and appreciated, HE has cracked the case, HE has found the key to bring all their ideas together. He claps his hands, almost dancing with the happiness. It is one of those highs that Michael can still regularly get and Don has been struggling for, but this one might just make SCDP as an Agency.

But while Don and Michael are enjoying the fruits of an exhausting creative process, Peggy Olson is commiserating with the only other man besides Don Draper she considers a mentor in the advertising industry: Freddy Rumsen. They're having lunch together, Freddy chuckling after learning that Don straight up threw money in her face, both shocked but also not overly surprised - he has known Don and his uneven temper for even longer than she has.

Still, it isn't solely a bitching session. Peggy admits that she's never had more responsibility than she does right now, she's working on everything BUT Jaguar (and you know that exclusion rankles her), leaving it unsaid that despite all this she still feels underutilized and underappreciated. Freddy has a word of warning in that regard at least, he worked on the Plymouth account at N.W Ayer... and all the car people he met were giant creeps.

"They're all a bunch of creeps," smirks Peggy, who knows all too well this is not a problem restricted to automobile clients.... or even only clients. Freddy, who has remained sober but still clearly feels the urgent need to have something to sip on at all times, calls to the waitress for another cup of coffee, then muses on whether Peggy is ambitious or just likes to complain. Peggy laughs that she could be both, but Freddy is being serious, telling her that if this is really about her work and not her feelings, she should be putting feelers out to other Agencies.

Peggy agrees that she could do this, take a couple of meetings and throw that in Don's face, treating it (and this lunch) more as an exercise in venting, but Freddy - still acting in a mentoring role after all this time - suggests she actually forget all that and do what everybody else does.... take a bunch of meetings, pick the best place and go work there instead. That way she can throw THAT in Don's face, as well as give herself a chance to find out for certain if she really can succeed as well in any place that doesn't have Don Draper heading it up.

Now she's slightly troubled, because suddenly this just got realer than she was expecting. She's had offers before, hell Duck essentially wanted to make her an equal partner in a joint start-up, but Freddy is talking about... just leaving. Just go out on her own and get a job elsewhere, and stop being seen as "a secretary from Brooklyn who just wants to help out." She could hire a headhunter, or hell she could just "buy a friend a piece of pie" - referring to himself - to reach out to others on her behalf. He isn't being entirely selfless either, pointing out that if she does go it opens up a spot at SCDP and she couldn't blame him if he put his own name forward to Don as a candidate.

What if Don was to find out he helped her, though? Freddy shrugs, noting that Don is a big boy and can handle such "betrayal", making a point that Peggy either hasn't considered or has refused to allow herself to consider: if Peggy was talking about her current situation to Don and he wasn't the subject of it, Don would be giving her exactly the same advice that Freddy is now. His coffee arrives and he gratefully accepts it, while Peggy suddenly finds herself lost at sea. She wanted to vent to a "safe" person outside of SCDP and went to her old mentor Freddy. For all that he's still got some old-fashioned ideas about advertising AND women, he's always been at the forefront of recognizing and encouraging her talent. That makes his suggestions on her career hold extra weight, because he's treating her the same as he would treat anyone, and his advice is the same as he'd given anybody else and that she herself would likely give herself: if she's not happy where she is, she should work somewhere else.

Don is working late in his office when Pete pops by to let him know he's seen the proposed campaign and he's thrilled by it, positive that it is a winner. Don, who is both relieved and pleased with it himself is happy to accept the compliment from a man whose opinion would usually mean nothing to him. But this is Pete Campbell, the oily little toad, and he's come to enjoy himself, to rub it in, to brazenly mock Don because he got his way. So he "assures" Don that he has removed all other impediments to guarantee that nothing will stand between the quality of his campaign and Jaguar's decision.

Somehow Don is able to crack this extraordinarily unsubtle and obnoxious "code" and figure out what he means. He warns Pete to close the door, who gets angry himself, with bitter triumph announcing that it was a 4-0 vote that Don abstained from in absentia, because "the conversation doesn't end because you leave the room". He admits they offered Joan a 5% partnership in the Agency, and practically gloats in revealing Joan has already left when Don roars for Don to get him Mrs. Harris on the line. He collects his things and prepares to race out of the office, but not before glaring a hole in Pete's face and telling him he doesn't want to "win" the account like this. Pete's response is technically true from his perspective, though wildly simplifies the situation in the same way his initial presentation to the partners did: this was all Joan's idea.

The odious little poo poo.

Gail Holloway opens the door to a nervous but hopeful Don Draper, who asks if Joan is in. To his great relief, she is, and he asks to see her. Gail invites him in and steps into Joan's room, having a quiet word with her before returning and telling her she'll be with them soon. She offers to take Don's hat and coat but he promises he won't be long, and Gail is happy to leave the two alone, assuming the tall and handsome man from Joan's office must be interested in her beautiful daughter and having no intention of getting in the way of that.

Joan, who is in her dressing gown, explains she was just about to take a shower and asks how she can help him. She's mortified when he tells her that he came to tell her it isn't worth it, he doesn't want to win the Jaguar account like that and wouldn't want to be in business with people like that in any case. Closing her eyes, faced with the third man who has come to talk to her about her body and her choices, she notes that she was told everybody was on board with this idea. For the first time she gets something close to the truth, at least as far as Don knows it, as he explains that he shut it down and left the room... and they went ahead and decided to go with it anyway. Even that isn't true, Pete just continually lied to everybody including Joan to give the impression everybody was all for it and it was just a matter of working out the details. But it's what Don knows, and now Joan knows it too.

"You're a good one, aren't you?" she quietly says at last, words that Don wishes were true but must know aren't. But there's a difference between his often hosed up and short-sighted actions and pimping out a woman (any woman, let alone a valued friend and work colleague), and this is a line he didn't consider crossing for even a second. He asks her if she knows what he means and she promises him she does. She reaches out and gently cups his cheek, then he departs, asking her to say good night to her "friend" as he clearly has no idea this is her mother, and she wishing him good luck for the next day.

And at last it comes.

The chosen few of SCDP - Don, Pete, Roger, Ken, Harry and Stan - march into the dealership to make their pitch to the three representatives of Jaguar's selection committee. They pass the team from a rival Agency as they go, both of them nodding and trying to generate an aura of total confidence. Once inside, that confidence continues to radiate from Don as with his smooth delivery, relaxed and confident body language, and let's be honest striking good looks, he speaks warmly, affectionately and also authoritatively on the subject of beauty, desire, and the wants it creates in those who see it.

As he speaks, we jump back and forth between his presentation and the night before, where we see somebody else making their own presentation. Joan knocks on the hotel room door of Herb Rennet, and he greets her in a gown with a hair chest and a loving little gold medallion on display, trying to ooze charm himself that completely falls flat by comparison to the suave and distinguished Don Draper.

Joan of course is all charm, making the best of a bad situation, entering the room doing her best to pretend every part of her isn't screaming not to do this, that a mistake made for free is at least a mistake made through her own actions and not because some oily scumbag rat-faced gently caress who works with you decided YOUR body was a price they were willing to pay for the CHANCE at an Account.

All the while, Don continues talking in the present of the following day, of longing for a thing you can't have, smoothly slipping around Jaguar's volatile reliability to note that function might be touted but it is now and perhaps always will be appearance that people really want. In the past of the night before, Herb's attempt to wow Joan are far from as convincing, not that it matters given he is getting what he wants regardless. He places an emerald necklace around her neck, a "gift" (and an expensive one) that could only ever serve to remind her of this horrible night.

Don again smoothly bypasses that he himself was left unimpressed by his personal test drive of the E-Type, instead talking about how he passed a 10-year-old boy in a station wagon who was wowed by it, having just seen something he would want for the rest of his life, something that sped by just out of reach... which is what beautiful things do. At the same time, we see Herb seated on the couch beside Joan, practically a 10-year-old boy himself as he growls "seductively" that he wants to see "them" as he paws for Joan's breasts. She stops him, of course, but in the practiced way of a woman who has been desired most of her life and learned how to redirect men as best she can. Instead she takes a big gulp of her drink and then turns and unzips the back of her dress, dropping it from her shoulders, her now hidden face exposing the deep sorrow and regret she feels for going through with this.

In the present, Don's pitch has shifted to a grown man reading Playboy or Esquire, "flipping past the flesh" but stopping on the curves of the car he has just seen. No effort was made to stop his eye, it was caught naturally by what he saw. What is the difference between the beauty of the women in the magazine? He CAN have the Jaguar.

In the past, Herb has had his way. His bulk rests beside her, the man has absolutely zero moral compunctions about his greedy, exploitative ways or how he effectively coerced this sexual encounter into happening. Joan lies beside him, feeling dirty and miserable, and he makes it clear that the "night" he wanted to spend with her is over, he got what he wanted and is done with her now, telling her,"Thank you for a wonderful time," in a tone that clearly expresses he expects her to up and leave now.

"This car, this thing, gentlemen," asks Don in the present,"What price would we pay? What behavior would we forgive?" Sadly we now have a fair idea of the answer to that question. But that's not something Don is aware of, he believes with all his heart he is presenting to two open members and one probably vexed rear end in a top hat who didn't get his way, relying purely on the strength of his campaign to take him to victory. Because for all that Don is talking about beauty, he still clearly thinks that substance can win out over all other considerations. Thus, he has Stan reveal Ginsberg's tagline, and all three men - including Herb - smile with pleasure at how simply and effectively it has just tied together everything Don just said.

And then we see something tragic.

Earlier this season, an episode experimented with showing three perspectives of the same day one after the other in chunks: Peggy's disaster with Heinz; Roger and Jane's LSD trip; and Don and Megan's explosive argument at Howard Johnson's. I didn't quite think it worked as a format for the particular story we were seeing. Here, in this episode, we see a far stronger example of what they were going for, that hits with the force of a mack truck.

Because returning to the night before, we see Joan back at home removing the emerald from around her neck when Gail pops her head in the door.... to tell her that Don Draper from her work has come to see her. What happens next is the first part of the scene of Don and Joan we saw earlier, with no changes or adjustments beyond the fact that we now know something we didn't before. Don didn't catch Joan before she went to see Herb, he arrived AFTER she had already been. When he revealed that Pete lied about the partners all agreeing that yes we should definitely prostitute our Office Manager and old friend, her brief moment of reaction wasn't the pain of having another man talking to her about this... it was the pain of realizing she did this when she didn't necessarily have to after all, and that not all of them were callous monsters who didn't care about exploiting her.

Ignorant of all this, everybody returns triumphant to SCDP, though Don tries to play down their chances when Joan asks how it went. Roger though is quick to declare it was one of Don's "good ones", and Don asks if she'd like to join him for a drink. Maybe later she offers sweetly, herself pondering whether Herb at least proved to have integrity and she can look at the horror of the night before as having some benefit... after all, now she REALLY has a stake in SCDP's success.

While Don is trying to control his own expectations about his pitch, Megan arrives for her callback hopeful that she is finally going to make the breakthrough she wanted. Here though she is given an unfortunate reminder that it's still the 1960s, and that Don's message about beauty having more appeal than function holds true in far too aspects of society. They don't ask her to read. They don't ask her to talk about her understanding of character or the play's themes. No, they ask her to give them a little twirl so they can eye up her body from every angle, presumably to consider whether she is desirable enough to put on stage to appeal to the audience. What should be a triumphant moment for Megan on a second audition for a Broadway Play instead becomes her being treated like eye candy, little more than the pretty receptionist role she used to have at SCDP.

And yet.... there is hope. Because while Joan has just literally had to prostitute herself, and Megan is being looked at like a piece of meat, Peggy Olson is meeting with a man who is deeply interested in her.... because of her skills, talent and proven track record as a successful copywriter. Of all people it is Ted Chaough, meeting with Peggy in a lovely little diner which she explains she chose because she didn't want anybody she knew to see her. But Chaough isn't here to try and get one over on Don Draper (though I'm sure that would be a bonus), Freddy Rumsen reached out on her behalf and he was delighted to take the meeting, because Peggy Olson is somebody he knows can deliver the goods. Tom Vogel, Pete's father-in-law, has sung her praises for the great work she did on Clearasil, mostly to point out how CGC's own work is inferior by comparison.

Ted Chaough is a bit of a blowhard, and certainly somebody with an overinflated opinion of himself (either that or just an insane dedication to self-promotion for PR purposes), but he also comes straight to the point. He doesn't care if she doesn't want to get married, he's also not overly fussed about how much money she wants. His biggest interest is in why she would want to play for the other team when she must have heard some horrible things about him from Don Draper (and what those might be he is VERY interested in). Peggy however says it isn't about playing for teams, this isn't a's her career.

He acknowledges that, and then lays out his own philosophy: he doesn't want somebody who thinks like him or just offers more of the same he could get from anybody else. He looked at her book and what he saw was somebody who treats every product she is selling as if it was personally made for her. No formula, no repetition, not even a signature look or feel... just constant individual work designed for THAT product and THAT situation. Caught off-guard by the high praise, she points out that she didn't do all her work alone, but Ted scoffs at that, because NOBODY works alone, everybody has help in some way or another.

So actually yes, he IS interested in what she wants. He's amused when she writes it down on paper, asking if Freddy told her to do it, but dutifully takes her offer, picks up her pen and promises he isn't going to beat around the bush as he writes her counter offer. She has asked to be Copy Chief, and he has ticked that without hesitation. She has asked for 18k a year (roughly 150k in 2021) and he has crossed that out... and offered her 19k instead.

He has also, of course, made a point of crossing out the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce banner on the top of the notepad.

"....oh," she manages to gasp out at last, having probably asked for far more than she thought she would get (and Ted was probably willing to pay a lot more). He does have one condition though, he has to be her LAST meeting. A little overwhelmed, she manages to gasp out she needs a chocolate milkshake, and he chuckles and signals for the waiter, promising her that their first day of work will end with him taking her to La Caravelle.

Don returns home, surprised to see Megan there. He asks how the audition went and she shakes her head with a mixture of anger and sadness. He takes a seat beside her, offering his support, and she asks how his pitch went. He shrugs, saying they're waiting to hear, and she assures him she thinks he was great, and he tells her the same. The difference, she complains, is that she actually WANTS him to get it.

He quietly tells her to stop it, not demanding but almost pleading, but she has something to say. Not out of anger, but a true expression of her feelings she wants him to hear. Part of his work means that he will often have to go places and do things, and she has to live with that. She is asking the same of him for her work, but if he does force her to choose between the two she WILL choose him.... but she will hate him for it.

For all of Don's many continuing faults, one thing he has seemingly learned or at least been forced to develop from the failure of his marriage to Betty and the influence of Faye before Megan is that you can't shut yourself off. So he listens, and he take in what she is feeling and what she is trying to tell him, and he tells her with all sincerity that he doesn't want her to fail. Good, she tells him, because she doesn't intend to. Now he expresses his own feelings, as genuine as hers, that he doesn't want her to "run off like that", and she shushes him, resting against his chest, allowing them both to be a comfort to each other.

What exactly he meant by that line I don't know, maybe when she stormed out of the bedroom during their last fight she also left the apartment? It doesn't matter, they're communicating, and that's good. The problem is, Don is absolutely sincere when he says he doesn't want her to fail... but how much of his support is based on the fact that she missed out on this part and thus he is safe/doesn't have to worry about her "disappearing" for 3 months? Even though it is genuine, it doesn't mean it is permanent. They have survived this setback in a mostly healthy way, but will that support and healthy communication continue?

The next morning at SCDP, Don arrives and Dawn lets him know that Miss Olson wants to see him. He calls down to corridor for Peggy, who steps out of her office, but before she can say anything Ken comes racing by to breathlessly announce that D'Arcy is out of the running with Jaguar. Don forgets all about Peggy, asking where he got the information, and she reveals that "Arthur's girl" let him know on the quiet, saying that he was crying in his office after getting the news!

Roger steps out of his office to bellow across to them that Jaguar are calling the President of every Agency, Dancer just got rejected. Ken bellows back that D'Arcy is out too, and then Caroline's phone rings and they all realize this could be it, the moment of truth.

Peggy quietly returns to her office, knowing this isn't the moment, while Roger shouts to Ken to get the partners into his office. Don joins him, while Caroline takes the call and passe sit through to Roger who IMMEDIATELY puts them on hold without a word, horrifying Don who can't believe he is waiting for the other Partners. They all file in one by one, Cooper apparently already there, next Lane, then Pete though he stops to "chivalrously" allow the final partner to enter... Joan Harris.

Don stares at her in stunned silence, realizing what this means, and she returns his gaze confidently, offering neither sorrow nor defiance, simply meeting his gaze: she has nothing to be embarrassed about. Roger takes the call at last, and all attention returns to the phone as they wait to hear if they will join the rejects or whether SCDP has finally "arrived" as an Agency.

The news.... is wonderful. They listen in growing delight as Roger expresses gratitude and promises they'll be over to "kiss the bride" later in the afternoon. Cooper leaps to his feet with a,"Bravo!", and Pete enthusiastically slaps a still stunned Don on the back, his triumph poisoned by the knowledge that their victory may have been "tainted" by going along with Herb's demands. But he accepts Roger's hug, while Joan gives one to Lane before telling Roger there is no need to let the others know and open champagne because she's sure the word has already spread (presumably via Caroline) and they're already popping corks in victory.

Pete, exuberant with triumph, reminds them that they should still take the time to put together names to show to Jaguar when they visit this afternoon to lay out the costs and expense that will be associated with the campaign. A nervous Lane suggests that they wait to see the scope of Jaguar's intent before they commit to providing staff but Cooper laughs that if this is STILL about him trying to preserve their bonuses he should just forget it, there will be NO bonuses this year.... then with a twinkle in his eye notes that now next year is sure to be different.

Now it's time to officially give the staff who have worked so hard over the last few weeks the good word. For all his many, many, many, many, many faults.... there isn't a hint of contempt or malice or even condescension in Pete's voice when he offers Joan to take the lead for her fellow Partners to address the men. All of them file out, Don still in a daze over Joan's actions, completely unaware that she'd already performed the deed before he arrived, which of course makes him judge that she went ahead and did it anyway as far as he knows.

But one man remains. Lane Pryce. The bonuses are dead, which means he has NO possible cover for the missing $7500. If he can't find a way to replace it or hide it or otherwise paper over this hole in the accounts, it WILL be found. He saved himself from the British Government, but you can't rob Peter to pay Paul without it eventually biting you on the rear end. So instead he walks to Roger's drinks cabinet and pours himself a stiff one, because the future may look bright for SCDP... but it is not looking bright for Lane Pryce.

Don holds the door open for Roger and Cooper to join the partying staffers in the conference room, but doesn't follow them in. Peggy approaches to congratulate him, and he ignores that to ask what she wanted to see him about. She waves that off, assuming it isn't the right time, surprised (but not too surprised) when he grunts he isn't in the mood to celebrate.

"You really have no idea when things are good, do you?" she notes, then leads him into his office when he gestures for them to continue the meeting in there. Inside, she promises him she doesn't really need to talk right now, but he ignores that to pour two drinks, telling her to drink with him. She accepts the drink but explains this needs to be a serious conversation, and with a sigh he assumes he knows what she wants and explains wearily that he can't put a girl on Jaguar.

Well... yes he could!

To be fair, when he says,"These car guys... I just can't," he is at least thinking from the perspective of somebody who has seen what at least one person at Jaguar is willing to demand (and what his fellow partners are equally willing to provide), but this isn't what Peggy has come to talk to him about. Rather than let her just tell him, he continues to jump the gun, asking if it is about Joan being made a Partner?

"What?" asks Peggy, utterly thrown off balance by news she had zero idea about. Don explains that given she'd been with them for 13 years and the "circumstances" (not elaborating what those are of course) it had to be done, pretending like he actually had any say or even knowledge of it. In response, Peggy takes a big gulp of her drink, then steps forward and opens up emotionally, speaking from the heart about how much it has meant to her for him to be her champion and her mentor, to have changed her life by giving her the opportunities to prove herself, to learn from him, to guide her to where she is.

".....but?" says Don at last, momentarily stunned and uncomfortable by the sudden outpouring of love and admiration and gratitude from Peggy, not quite sure how to deal with unguarded emotional honesty from somebody who isn't his wife (and when he's not completely blasted on alcohol running away from acknowledging the death of his closest and truest friend in the world), but cognizant enough to know this kind of expression doesn't come unless something is following it up.

So she just comes out with it, she's giving her notice because she's accepted another offer.

Don's reaction is.... a smug shrug. "Are you done?" he asks, and she explains she's giving the customary two weeks so she can finish up her work and assist with the handover. She starts to explain again how much she values this time with him, but he cuts her off, still smirking, and reveals that in his arrogance he has made the same kind of assumption with her he probably once made with Betty: that this is all bullshit, she isn't leaving (how could she!?!) and this is just pretext because she wants something. So he offers a rather condescending acknowledgement that he's been taking her for granted before assuring her that she's impressed him by finally picking the right moment to ask for a raise.

Oh Don.

Even when she repeats herself he doesn't quite believe it, still grinning like an idiot, waiting for the other shoe to drop and her to admit that yes she just wants some attention and a minor reward to keep her happy. But having said it, the thing is done and the stress and tension building up to the moment is gone, Peggy is in full control as she promises him this is serious, that it IS happening.

Finally the smile fades, and now the anger creeps in, the resentment to her for DARING to be so ungrateful as to move on to a better role after so clearly reaching as high as she can at SCDP. Bitterly he offers her a "good for you" and asks where she is going, and when she tells him Cutler, Gleason and Chaough it of course feeds his ego, because now he can assume she only got hired so Ted Chaough could get at him, unable to acknowledge or recognize in his anger that Peggy is a clear asset that any advertising agency would kill to have... hell, he told her as much when he weepingly asked her to join them when they pulled the Sterling Cooper heist.

His face red, clearly hurt and struggling to hold back tears welling up in his eyes, Don lashes out, nastily pointing out that they can pretend he isn't responsible for every single good thing that ever happened to her (Jesus Christ, Don) and she can tell him what number they offered or just make one up, and he'll beat it. Doing to her, of course, what he so hated happening to him in the past when large Agencies assumed they could simply throw money at him and he'd instantly be wowed and go to work for them.

It's not about money, of course, and she tells him what Freddy told her and what he knows himself to be true.... he would do the same thing as her in this position. That finally seems to get through to him, but the bitterness remains, and struggling to contain his own emotions he insists that she not work out that two weeks, he has plenty of freelancers who will jump at getting her job. She doesn't rise to the bait, simply extends her hand for a handshake. He doesn't reciprocate, instead he takes her hand and kisses it, and holds the kiss there, not wanting to let her go, only now truly expressing how deeply he wants her to stay behind all the bluff and bluster of pretending like she needs him more than he needs her. A tear rolls down her cheek, because a large part of her doesn't want to go either, would be happy to stay and rankle more often than not under the restraints of a role that she has outgrown.... but she doesn't change her mind. This is it, it's over. Peggy Olson and Don Draper are parting ways after 4 seasons and 11 episodes together.

Finally she extricates her hand, and with a sad smile tells him not to be a stranger. She leaves, Don unable to say anything, too caught up in it all. Peggy meanwhile returns to her office, passing laughing and celebrating staffers who were co-workers today and in a few minutes will be mostly gone from her life. She looks around at what to take, depressingly little that she considers must haves despite her years of working there. Collecting what makes sense, she exits the office and walks down the corridor.

Among those partying and celebrating, Joan Harris - who first introduced Peggy Olson to life at Sterling Cooper and has achieved a success and position at SCDP that would have been unfathomable back in season one in spite of her obvious importance to the Agency and ability to manage and control the day-to-day running aspects of it all - notices her leaving. She watches her walk away, not knowing the truth of what is happening but knowing something is up, then returns to celebrating with the others, ready for the first day of a new life that was hard paid for and more - far more - than earned.

Peggy exits reception and enters the lobby, pressing the button for the elevator. In the distance she can hear the laughing and celebrating, the cruel reality we all face at some point in our lives that yes the universe DOES continue without us, and that we can't take it personally (as Don noted, and as Don does not practice in reality). How does Peggy react to this? In a show full of characters who rant and rave and lash out at every piece of evidence that they're not the center of the universe?

How does she react as she walks away from what has been her life, her all-consuming passion? How does she react to losing both the frustrations and the triumphs of life as a copywriter at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? The loss of her working relationship with her mentor Don Draper? How does she react to knowing that people she worked so closely with are celebrating right now as she leaves? That they'll be surprised and maybe even a little sad but then just go on with their lives?

How does she react? In a way that continues to set her apart from almost every other character, to remind us all that despite a rough start Peggy Olson has grown into a woman confident in herself and firm in her choices. How does she react?
She smiles.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 22:08 on Dec 2, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

A great, great, great episode. And I love the title. The Other Woman. The obvious connection is the "mistress" angle for the Jaguar, but the episode is just full of "the other woman" in so many different aspects, not least of which is Peggy as the omni-present "Other Woman" in Don's life who finally leaves him. In his pitch he praises beauty over function, claiming we all want it more in spite of everything, but you can see the thing that pains him the most isn't discovering Joan slept with Herb, or even that Megan might have "disappeared" for 8 weeks in pursuit of her acting dream, but that Peggy - the ultimate "function" over beauty woman in his life - is walking away by her own conscious decision.

And that final shot, Peggy's utter confidence in herself and the freeing liberation of making a new start! Just wonderful, and it matches up rather beautifully with Don's own happiness after they escaped Sterling Cooper and began SCDP. They really are so much alike, and Don just learned the same lesson he should have learned from Betty... stop taking poo poo for granted and stop presuming they'll always be there for you!

I love this show.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:59 on Nov 28, 2021

Jun 19, 2012

Jerusalem posted:


I.... I want to punch Pete Campbell in the mouth. His smarmy little mouth. Jesus Christ.


Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Yeah this episode is monumental. It feels very much like a season finale... and yet, there's two whole episodes left in the season.

R. Guyovich
Dec 25, 1991

the back half of this season is just body blow after body blow. it probably is the best in the series, all things considered

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


That silent, lingering look of contempt Lane gives Pete after his impromptu partner's meeting is absolutely incredible; I know it's not meant to be funny but I couldn't help but laugh at it on the rewatch. I forgot just how manipulative Pete was during the whole thing as well :cripes:

It's hard not to tear up at Peggy's resignation for a lot of reasons but the behind the scenes info on that doesn't help, lol:

Elisabeth Moss posted:

"That scene was a really, really tough scene to do. They didn't tell me they were going to do this, but they told Jon to hold my hand and not let it go. Then he did, and I lost it. Every single one of those tears were absolutely real. She wants to stay with all of her heart. She does not want to leave, but she knows she has to."

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*

Blood Nightmaster posted:

That silent, lingering look of contempt Lane gives Pete after his impromptu partner's meeting is absolutely incredible; I know it's not meant to be funny but I couldn't help but laugh at it on the rewatch. I forgot just how manipulative Pete was during the whole thing as well :cripes:

It's hard not to tear up at Peggy's resignation for a lot of reasons but the behind the scenes info on that doesn't help, lol:

also lol

Wikipedia posted:

Sometimes the toughest moments come where you least expect them. In this episode, that moment was Don throwing money in Peggy's face. It was a pivotal story point and didn't seem like it would be a hard beat to hit. During rehearsal when Jon Hamm threw the money at Lizzie Moss, it beaned her right between the eyes, inadvertently, but it was exactly what the scene required. Of course when we go to shoot the scene after setting the lights, Jon tosses the money at her, but it's just not eliciting the same response. Lizzie tells me it would really help her if Jon just nailed her with the cash again. It's harder than you think to have perfect aim with loose bills in your pocket when your target is 13 feet (4 m) away. It took a few more takes than anyone had patience for, but when the cash finally landed where it needed to, it took Lizzie by surprise all over again, and that was the moment you ended up seeing onscreen.

Jan 14, 2010

Jerusalem posted:

How does she react? In a way that continues to set her apart from almost every other character, to remind us all that despite a rough start Peggy Olson has grown into a woman confident in herself and firm in her choices. How does she react?
She smiles.

God, I love this moment and the whole scene that leads up to it. Elizabeth Moss puts on a clinic in those final few minutes and that smile as she embarks on a new chapter in her life and You Really Got Me kicks in is just so so satisfying.

Jun 19, 2012


She starts smartly by agreeing with Rick that he's right, before pushing Harry's idea about targeting women anyway but making it seem like a natural follow-up to Rick feeling the ad has run its course: they can change the target easily.

Now Rick is interested, not realizing she's effectively ignored his earlier question to Harry, asking how they'd do that. They does put Peggy on the spot, and she sits pondering, quietly mouthing ideas to herself as Harry and Ken stare hoping that she'll pull a rabbit out of a hat... and she does. She suggests they run the ad the same as before with the man in the leather jacket being chased by screaming girls, but this time instead of running into a bar full of more sex-hungry women... he runs into Lady Godiva on a horse? Warming to her own idea, she suggests they make their Godiva as nude as television will allow, and have her haul the now love-struck man up onto her horse and ride him away to safety. The tagline? "The right woman loves Chevalier Blanc."

this scene is basically this

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

i loving love one Michael Ginsberg.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

ginsberg is easily my favourite second tier character in mad men, though its close with stan cutler and chaough

Jul 26, 2013

The first time I watched Mad Men I was in grad school, basically as far away from the world of advertising as you could get (or so we told ourselves). Ever since I started working at a marketing agency five years ago, I’ve been wondering if a rewatch would hit different.

It does, mainly in scuffing up even the surface-level glamorousness. In my first days on the job an exec stomped over to our section to proclaim, “You all think you’re Don Draper, but you’re not. You’re HARRY.” This tracks — media means internet rather than TV now, but the media guy is congenitally uncool.

That said, the bloom is off the rose for the creative genius as well. Any time I hear from the creative side, I brace myself for some random, unprovable generalization about “what people want.” My job makes me Dr. Greta, a humorless uncreative whose reams of data get swept into the trash on a creative whim. It hurts because it’s a bunch of Paul Kinseys doing the sweeping!

On a personal level, it seems absurd to be taking job advice from a ten-year-old episode about sixty-year-old history, but Peggy’s arc is hitting me kinda hard. I’ve definitely learned the hard way that copying my white middle-aged Midwestern boss/mentor is not always a winning strategy for a millennial POC woman. Lately, I’ve sort of capped out here, and I know I should be looking, but I don’t really want to, but I know I have to… Peggy by the elevator is 2022 goals.

This is entirely too much identification/projection for a TV show. I’ll chalk it up to Jerusalem’s insightful recaps that draw out the universality of the show’s themes from the specificity of the characters’ experiences. Thanks for a great thread!

Jul 25, 2007


Blood Nightmaster posted:

great post ™

god that scene where he's literally walking away from Megan's big acting break as "You Only Live Twice" starts playing has seriously lived in my head rent-free ever since the first time I saw it. It's too good

also I think I just now realized the significance of the song title re: Don :cripes:

The central crux I think I'm picking up on my current rewatch of Mad Men is Don's constant fear of commodification. That he is selling a product. That he is a product.

The first ep with the psychologist, his warning to Peggy there that Jerusalem mentioned, down to the last season and walking away from MCcann when that marketer described ppl as interchangeable. Maybe it's the trauma of growing up in a whorewhose, bit Don is terrified of being seen as a prostitute of capitalism, and has a deep and hypocritical distaste for those he sees as being that.

Which is why the last ep of this season unspooled the way it did.

God I love this show.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

ohkay posted:

On a personal level, it seems absurd to be taking job advice from a ten-year-old episode about sixty-year-old history, but Peggy’s arc is hitting me kinda hard. I’ve definitely learned the hard way that copying my white middle-aged Midwestern boss/mentor is not always a winning strategy for a millennial POC woman. Lately, I’ve sort of capped out here, and I know I should be looking, but I don’t really want to, but I know I have to… Peggy by the elevator is 2022 goals.

Getting a perspective on the show from somebody actually in advertising is really fascinating, thanks! I absolutely get the "I should be moving on... but I don't really want to" feeling, as I'm sure many of us do regardless of industry, so best of luck with whatever you decide!

ohkay posted:

My job makes me Dr. Greta, a humorless uncreative whose reams of data get swept into the trash on a creative whim. It hurts because it’s a bunch of Paul Kinseys doing the sweeping!

Oof, that hits hard!

Jul 26, 2013

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the extent to which the show captured the industry — not just the flashy period details but mundane inter-agency politicking and client relations stuff. Random advertising observations:

- Big agencies do always win. Huge corporations hire huge corporations… no surprise. Every now and then you get “edgier” clients signing on with seemingly staid agencies like mine for the perceived credibility, e.g. cannabis companies, a certain beleaguered vape company, etc., but never the other way around. It’s basically impossible to imagine a scrappy independent agency like SCDP working its way up to winning a car company today… my company has a bunch, and wins more car business because it has more car business.

- This is because industry is dominated by just five holding companies that own hundreds of agencies each. In this day and age, McCann and SC would just be two separate agencies belonging to IPG.

- Which makes the idea that “clients come and clients go” that much more true. Clients will absolutely put out RFPs for strategic reasons (like the AA plot line). It’s not really treated as a big deal to lose a client because it’s musical chairs with not that many chairs. I’ve been here long enough to see us win, lose, and re-win the same client.

- To expand a bit on my Dr. Greta comment — the fundamental conflict between Don and Research persists as there’s a push to make advertising more “data-driven,” forcing creatives and data people like me into an uneasy alliance. I’d say both sides still hold the same suspicions of the other: statistical commodification versus emotional superstition, but more lip service is paid now.

- I’ve actually written a bit of the voiceover for a pitch, explaining the target consumer. The conventional approach is still (a pale imitation of) Don-like language playing on hopes and fears, but the vast majority of any pitch these days is focused on metrics and costs. The days of winning off a beautiful story are long gone.

- Little lifestyle holdovers: one of the agencies has a semi-hidden “speakeasy” with $1 drinks. The creative agencies still have nicer, trendier offices. At my orientation, we were told not to drink a certain kind of soda in the office in case our own soda client visited. One of the few perks in the office is $.25 soda machines (client brand only, of course).

- Recently I was shocked to discover one of our creative agencies still has a tobacco client. Their work mostly goes into magazines and events. We were asked to identify tobacco consumers of “any brand, but excluding menthol,” which… we all know what that means. Guess Pete is still forward-thinking even today.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It's been so long since I saw an ad for tobacco that it hadn't even occurred to me that they were still able to advertise in any way at all!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

Shageletic posted:

The central crux I think I'm picking up on my current rewatch of Mad Men is Don's constant fear of commodification. That he is selling a product. That he is a product.

The first ep with the psychologist, his warning to Peggy there that Jerusalem mentioned, down to the last season and walking away from MCcann when that marketer described ppl as interchangeable. Maybe it's the trauma of growing up in a whorewhose, bit Don is terrified of being seen as a prostitute of capitalism, and has a deep and hypocritical distaste for those he sees as being that.

Which is why the last ep of this season unspooled the way it did.

God I love this show.

im sure ive posted this before, but this is what i love about the finale. the thing that gets him to understand not only his own feelings but the feelings of another person purely and unconditionally is when he compares himself to a condiment in the fridge. he pitches an ad about the lonely condiment that everyone looks past and no one wants to use, and thats what breaks his emotional walls down.

Aug 12, 2018
Can't post for 13 days!

ohkay posted:

- Big agencies do always win. Huge corporations hire huge corporations… no surprise. Every now and then you get “edgier” clients signing on with seemingly staid agencies like mine for the perceived credibility, e.g. cannabis companies, a certain beleaguered vape company, etc., but never the other way around. It’s basically impossible to imagine a scrappy independent agency like SCDP working its way up to winning a car company today… my company has a bunch, and wins more car business because it has more car business.

- This is because industry is dominated by just five holding companies that own hundreds of agencies each. In this day and age, McCann and SC would just be two separate agencies belonging to IPG.

This is definitely a theme in the remaining two seasons, as SCDP merges with CGC and then becomes more specialized in computerized media data analysis, before being eaten up by McCann.

Jun 19, 2012

I keep writing and rewriting posts about this episode and it gets bigger and more complex every time. I could write 500 words for each and every scene in this episode easy. you can't even write about one scene in isolation because everything connects to everything else so organically

imo, Megan's audition scene is one of the most important scenes of the episode (let alone the season as a whole) yet it's so easily overlooked with how tectonic the rest of the episode's plot beats are. It's kind of a surprising inclusion in the episode at first, because most of her acting journey thus far has been depicted through conversation with Don; we've only actually seen her lying on the floor of a stage that one time when Don's listening to the Beatles record. So her audition scene starts directly after Joan's night with Herb, and for a moment it's like, "wait, where are we? Why are we seeing this?" And then it just kind of ends abruptly. And then you realize, oh, Megan's situation is being juxtaposed with Joan's. And then you consider the actors themselves, and then you realize that Jessica Paré (and by extension, Christina Hendricks) probably went through similar treatment during their careers. In fact, their looks probably informed their casting for this very show. Consider also Julia's scene in this episode: while talking about portraying the Jaguar for the commercial, she crawls on the table like a cat while the camera is pointed straight at Meghan Bradley's rear end. The character is an actress portraying a piece of meat for the consumption of the male gaze, and the actress of the character is portrayed as a piece of meat for the consumption of the male gaze. The writers are depicting men being complicit in the exploitation of women's bodies for monetary gain... while drawing attention to the fact that the show itself engages in this kind of behavior. It's brilliant writing that begs deep critical analysis of the show's themes, but what's remarkable is how innocuously the show aligns the pieces together: Megan and Joan, two characters who are so loosely connected* in the plot, their arcs coming together so suddenly through simple editing to suggest a profound thesis statement about our relationship with women in media.

*yet it is significant, if perhaps coincidental, that it is Joan who first addresses Megan by name—and thus introduces her to the audience—way back in the first episode of season 4.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

This one is gonna take awhile, and it's going to be looooooooooooooong.

Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser

Ah. Well, take your time and don’t deprive us of any riches.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 12 - Commissions and Fees
Written by André & Maria Jaquemetton, Directed by Chris Manley

Lane Pryce posted:

Don't expect any miracles.

Don is getting his hair cut at a barber's when another man enters, a little early for his appointment. He doesn't mind sitting to wait, but recognizes Don and greets him, introducing himself as Jed Covington from Dancer. This was one of the firms that was contesting for Jaguar, which Covington "jokes" is like an "unreliable Dodge" when the barber expresses confusion as to what that is.

A smug Don can't help but quip that he hopes that wasn't the angle they went with on their pitch, and Covington admits that they tried to "write sexy" like SCDP did, but the fact is that their Creative "went home early". By which he means of course both that they weren't working the ridiculous non-stop hours Don was forcing on his team, and presumably that they picked something that seemed good enough and left it at that instead of the constant refinement Don demanded.

Still, Covington isn't bitter, he's impressed. He remarks that getting Jaguar is a big win for Don's "little" Agency, pointing out in addition to this that Jaguar also seemed extremely impressed by Peter Campbell. This has been happening for awhile now, Pete's name has been circulating as a bit of a mover and a shaker, somebody who gets poo poo done, and it's shifted from the similar small-fries like Ted Chaough up into comparatively bigger Agencies like Dancer. Don Draper is still considered the Agency's biggest asset, but Pete Campbell isn't all that far behind, even if they both work in very different aspects of the Advertising Industry.

Don and Pete aren't the only ones getting recognized thanks to the Jaguar victory, either. Lane Pryce has lunch with a fellow member of the 4A's Club, who has an offer he'd like to make. The 4A's Fiscal Control Committee has an unelected head, and those who get to make the decision who takes that seat have decided that Lane Pryce is the man to do so. Not because his "little" Agency won Jaguar, but because his little Agency won Jaguar... barely a year after being on the brink of extinction after the loss of a 20 million+ dollar Account.

They know that luck and talent plays a part in an Agency surviving something like that, but not as important a role as being able to manage the money to keep the bills paid, the lights on, and the employees paid. That's not something that Pete Campbell or Don Draper did, and certainly not something Bert Cooper and Roger Sterling did. They probably don't even consider that Joan would have played a part, and to be fair she spent a significant chunk of time away for the birth of Kevin. No, this was a Lane Pryce triumph, and they want him to bring some of that discipline and financial savvy to the 4A's in addition to being a partner in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

He sweetens the deal, given it is presumably an unpaid position, noting that it comes with a free trip to the Greenbriers with the wife.... or without! Lane, delighted in spite of his protests that he can't take all the credit for SCDP's survival, accepts the offer, though he adds with a smile not to expect miracles. The reply he gets is meant in all sincerity, but runs against everything Lane grew up being taught as a repressed British male: don't be modest. Lane's smile is broad and happy, and it lights up his eyes too - he looks truly, genuinely happy in a way he hasn't for quite some time.

Because here is the credit and recognition he has longed from, from his own peers in the broader brotherhood of Advertising and most importantly American Advertising. After a miserable 15 months of barely keeping himself ahead of the wolves regarding his own finances, with the capture of Jaguar and the plaudits it is bringing he is perhaps finally seeing all his hard work pay off and a light at the end of the tunnel.... perhaps he has even forgotten about that $7500 hole in the Accounts? Or maybe just figured/convinced himself that enough time has passed that maybe he has gotten away with it after all despite the terror he must have felt when the Christmas Bonuses were first delayed and then canceled altogether?

Later that day, the SCDP Partners have their first meeting since the Jaguar triumph and the addition of Joan Harris to their ranks. She is present at the meeting as always, but this time as a Partner rather than the Office Manager, and in her usual place is poor Scarlett, struggling mightily to get up to speed on a job she never expected and certainly not at such short notice.

She hasn't made a good start, she forgot to tell the freelancers still working there to clear out of the Conference Room in time, and isn't entirely sure how to proceed with the meeting, getting prompts from Joan while the other Partners look on with great amusement, happy to tolerate her lack of knowledge... for now at least. For now though, Bert Coopers number one concern is that she didn't provide them with Danishes!

The first bit of OldOngoing Business is Pete explaining an unusual request from Jaguar: they want their billings to be in the form of a fee structure rather than straight commission. Nobody in the room apart from Lane Pryce has any idea what that means, and he excitedly lays out what to his methodical mind is an intriguing concept, explaining how it all works with great relish... and they're all left exactly as confused as before!

Don cuts through it all pretty succinctly though: if the client is asking for it, it's probably to their advantage rather than SCDP's. Pete notes that this could be a problem if they give it to Jaguar, as Dunlop for example might want the same, and Roger agrees that's a good hypothetical, only to be surprised when Pete reveals that Dunlop has actually been in touch about a meeting.

Rather grumpily Roger asks why he didn't mention that before and with a grin and a nod towards Scarlet Pete explains he was waiting for "New Business". Roger, forgetting the fees question, asks her if they can move onto that now and she worriedly admits she has no idea, looking hopelessly to Joan for guidance who simply asks the pertinent question: what are the billings? A little under a million, the request has come through due to Dunlop's own relationship with Jaguar, which in turn goes to show why Pete (and Lane before him) was right to be excited about Jaguar: landing it has made them "arrive" in the eyes of people who wouldn't have given them the time of day before.

To her credit, Scarlett pulls them back from considering Dunlop (Cooper is delighted, of course, INCOMING calls regarding business is welcome news) to point out they need to take a vote on fees vs. commissions. This marks the first sour note of the day, as Don points out he already said no and then cattily asks if he should leave the room so they can do whatever they want.

None of them appreciate that, especially not Joan who'd rather not ever be reminded of what she did to get what she should have already had (seriously, the heist portion of the Sterling Cooper escape would have failed miserably without her). Cooper suggests the most sensible option: tell Jaguar they'll look into it and then... look into it! Everybody votes in favor, and Pete asks sarcastically regarding the unstructured mess the meeting has been if they should check if anybody is having a birthday.

Joan giggles at this, a genuine laugh and why not? Because she's here. She made it. For every horrible and lovely thing she did or put up with, for all that she did as she was supposed to and everything went sour anyway.... she made it. She's a Partner in an Advertising Agency, and one that isn't on life support anymore but actively growing stronger and gaining prestige. It cost her more than any of them, but she made it.

At the Francis Residence (where you might see Norman Bates' mother watching you from the window), Betty is packing bags while Sally sullenly watches and Bobby asks the pertinent questions of greatest importance: will they have a TV at the ski lodge they'll be staying at so he can watch Wild, Wild West!?!

Betty reminds him that not only is he getting to so skiing but he's gotten out of school to do it, so television should be low on his priority list. She sends him off to put his bowl in the sink and get dressed, warning him that she wants to beat traffic when Henry gets home in an hour. She passes a pair of boots to Sally, noting they're the biggest she could find from the old collection of ski gear she is looking through.

Sally of course has reached that age where ANYTHING she is asked to do is an enormous imposition of Biblical proportions, a cruel punishment beyond all human enduring. She turns up her nose at the boots, saying she doesn't want to wear somebody else's shoes, exclaiming they probably stink of sweat and then taking a little sniff before theatrically wincing from the "stink".

In no mood for this, Betty tells her to put them on and Sally complains that Eleanor (Henry's daughter) has smaller feet than her NOW so they won't fit, and Betty warns her they're not taking her all the way to the mountain so she can sit in a ski lodge reading a book all day.

That kind of sounds like heaven to me, to be fair!

With the casual cruelty of a child, Sally looks her mother directly in the eye and tells her she'd have rather come home from school and them all gone. Okay NOW it's one. Flinging the boots back into the box, Betty warns her she won't let her ruin their ski trip and threatens to lock her in a box when Sally claims to be old enough to stay home alone. Sally's retort is that they should let her stay at her father's, and that REALLY stabs Betty deeply, angrily asking if Don and Megan ever take her on vacation, a terrible mistake given Sally can instantly lash back with reminding her mother that Don and Megan took her to Disneyland... where it's warm!

Frustrated, exhausted, mad, even though she's the adult in the room Sally can't help but lash out at a daughter who is being cruel but is also just being a typical kid her age: testing her boundaries, pushing her limits, figuring out how much flex she can muster against a parent she no longer considers to be akin to some kind of all-powerful God. She accuses Sally of just wanting to say with "her" because she'll let her do whatever she wants, and with the precise targeting skills of a child Sally hits back with the perfect reply to do maximum damage: Megan lets her EAT whatever she wants.

So it is that Don braces himself when informed over his intercom that he's got a call from Mrs. Francis. At first he's relieved and even somewhat pleased that it seems she's just called to vent and even crack a few jokes about wanting to check with him it's okay for her to strangle Sally to death. But as the conversation progresses, he realizes she's asking him to take Sally for the weekend when he already has plans to work through, and then she clarifies that she isn't asking anything, she's TELLING him that he's got Sally for the weekend. They'll be dropping her off in an hour so she can spend the weekend with Don's "child bride" (reminder that there's like 6-8 years max between Betty and Megan), and with that she simply hangs up. Problem solved forever!

Cooper had arrived and been buzzed in to see Don during the call, and Don hangs up the phone probably thinking that at least the rough part of the day is over... only for Cooper to tell him he has to ask him something that is going to sound like an accusation: why is there a $7500 check made out to Lane Pryce with Don Draper's signature in it on the books?

Oh. gently caress.

It seems that Cooper, for want of anything better to do, decided to follow up on his own suggestion and investigate commissions & fees, and in order to do so reviewed their books to look at how incomings and outgoings were handled. Among the canceled checks in an unopened statement he found the check, which he passes to Don who stares in shock at a check that KNOWS he did not sign.

Admirably he manages to retain his poker face, perhaps because he's so stunned he can't really do anything other than agree with Cooper that it's a check with his signature on it. Perhaps the only saving grace is that Cooper hasn't assumed the worst (because it's loving insane), and rather made the assumption that Don decided to go ahead and sign off on a Christmas Bonus for Lane even after the Partners agreed to forgo them for the year. So what he's angry about is that Don is still playing at being the "good little boy" while the "adults" run the Agency, not for a second even suspecting that the signature is forged.

Don promises he will take care of this, and once Cooper is gone asks Dawn to fetch Mr. Pryce for him. He pours himself a drink, mind racing as he considers the implications. Because we know what happened, and we know WHY it happened. But Don? All he knows is that there's a check here for $7500 with his forged signature on it, and that raises the question: what else has Lane been doing? What else is his "signature" on, has Lane been embezzling money from the Agency all this time?

Funny how a reckless action designed to "fix" a problem can end up creating far more than you ever dreamed of.

An unsuspecting Lane enters full of good cheer, taking a seat and happily asking if he heard about the 4A's and explaining he accepted on behalf of the firm. That same happy, unsuspecting smile is on his face all the way up to the moment Don hands him the check, and then it's washed away, his own poker face non-existent, sheer horror evident as his mouth drops and his eyes widen... and then he makes a pathetic effort to explain it away.

How? What clever plan has Lane concocted in the sleepless nights that passed since last December as he formulated ways to explain or react if he should be caught? Well he... tries to pretend that it's a valid check and Don just... forgot that he signed it!

What follows is an incredible scene, one in which Jared Harris as Lane Pryce runs the gamut of emotions, as he races through each of the five stage of grief in shockingly quick order.

First comes denial. Lane insists that Don is mistaken, that there is nothing at all amiss about this check, that surely Don simply forgot as after all they all sign lots of things without really looking. Don sits impassively, having none of it, warning Lane that he doesn't want him to have to "play Detective" to get at the bottom of this, the threat heavily implied.

Next is Anger. Lane squares his shoulders and tries to pretend outrage, insisting he won't sit and be subject to an interrogation. Don doesn't raise to that bait either, pouring Lane a stiff drink and handing it to him, asking a question that perhaps even Lane had never considered might be asked even in his most paranoid fears: is this the only check?

Instead of arguing, Lane tries to distract, to detour around answering the question with his own: how did Don even find the check? He doesn't say it, but presumably in all his fears of discovery he probably most suspected it would be Joan who found him out: none of the others have ever really shown any interest in the financial side of things beyond how much they can bill their clients.

Now comes Bargaining. An appeal to "reason", an explanation for why this isn't as bad as it looks, why it isn't a big deal. Lane quietly, almost desperately "explains" that it was meant to be a 13 day loan. He was paying himself money he was going to get anyway, just a little earlier than the arbitrary limit set by the other partners.

Lane simply felt it wasn't necessary to wait, that he'd take his bonus early and 13 days later the others would have theirs and nobody would ever be any the wiser. Except, of course, the bonuses were canceled, Don notes, putting the timeline together in his own head, and maybe even feeling a twinge of guilt. After all, the reasoning for the delay at the time was purely because Don didn't want to be bothered by somebody (Peggy?) complaining about the size of their own bonus.

"You DELAYED them," stresses Lane, the correction being important to him,"And THEN you canceled them." Because of course in his own head, they're partly (or even mostly/entirely?) to blame for his mad gamble having not paid off. He made his decision based on the available information to him at the time (ignoring the warnings from Harry and even his drunk of a banker that projections were not the same as commitments) and thus it is somehow not his fault that the extension to their credit he got through false pretenses in the first place ended up not being paid out as expected.

"And then you wanted the money for Joan.... and I'm the one who's committed the crime?" he "jokes", a pathetic little ploy and he knows it, even if he's probably endlessly justified in his own head that they were going to waste the money in any case. Don ignores the pathetic little attempt to reapportion blame and some kind of moral superiority, simply asking another blunt question: is he gambling?

Horrified, Lane is quick to promise that he isn't, and finally gets to the heart of the matter, explaining something that until 3 minutes ago he probably would have never dreamed of admitting to anybody: he owed taxes. A little of the anger returns, as he complains that he liquidated his portfolio in the first place to put 50k into the firm after they lost Lucky Strike. When Don calmly, and sternly, points out he could have just asked for the money if he needed it that badly, Lane's anger flares higher as he snarls that he shouldn't have suffered that humiliation for simply a 13 day loan, not of what he even now firmly and angrily proclaims,"WAS MY MONEY!".

And there it is. Even if he doesn't get it, that's the rub. He didn't want to be humiliated. He can excuse it any way he wants: trying to protect his wife and his son, wanting to safeguard his position in the Agency because he fears the loss of esteem of his Partners or more likely that they will stop looking at him as the only one of them who can understand the financial side of running the place... but the truth is, he simply didn't want to be embarrassed.

Pete Campbell couldn't afford his share of the Partners' stakes, but Don paid those for him in gratitude for the sacrifice Pete made to protect Don's secret. Lane knew about that (just not why) and it seems he judged Pete for it, and certainly Pete's obvious gratitude to Don for saving him. But even if that situation with Pete had never arisen, Lane would never have asked. Not Don, not Roger, not Cooper.

Because this is a man who has lived most of his life feeling emasculated, and outside of a few rare fleeting moments of happiness he has never felt like he was truly in control of his life. But there was one respect in which he shone, one way in which he could claim superiority over others: he knew how to stretch money, how to make it work, how to make it last, and especially how to grow it.

How mortifying then, to be broke. To owe money to a home country he no longer bore any love for, a debt that he had to pay with money he earned in his adopted and beloved country of America. So like so many men before and after him, he dug deeper. He piled bad decision on top of bad decision until he was literally committing crimes, all in service of an ego he probably believed he didn't have. All because he didn't want to feel bad admitting to others that he needed help, and so he made himself miserable instead and it all came out anyway, only now instead of losing face he's up against something much worse.

Somehow, some way, this consequence never occurred to Lane. What did he think, during those sleepless nights? When he lay awake next to his blissfully unaware wife or sat in his living room in the dark musing blackly over alcohol? Did he think he'd be lambasted, maybe stripped of responsibility or otherwise humiliated but then still continue to work away and slowly re-earn his trust? Was the worst thing that ever occurred to him that he might loose his Partnership? Did he think that his name being on the wall might leave him a partner in name only ousted from any ability to work within the firm but that he would still be a part of it?

Because his reaction indicates that never in a million years did he think he would just be removed entirely from the Agency. Stunned, he raises his hands to his head as he struggles to hold himself together, the enormity of what Don just demanded of him more than his mind can cope with or accept for the moment. Now he is back out of Anger and into Bargaining again, his voice lowered and soft, pleading that he's sorry and doesn't know how it came to this, but reminding Don that the company is finally once again "shipshape".

He promises that he can make good on the money by Easter, even if he has to pull his son out of school, an unthinkable proposition several months ago that now seems necessary. Because, of course, Lane DID have plenty of options, just not ones he wanted to accept. Forget the other Partners and SCDP itself, he could have gotten himself out of this on his own... all he needed to do was tell the truth.

For months he has hidden his financial dire straits from Rebecca, has allowed them to continue to live a more than comfortable, high-end lifestyle even as he has done what he could to curb her "excesses". Why? To protect his status as a "man", as a success who holds the family together and provides for them like a "real man" should. He kept his boy in a school he couldn't really afford, continued to take his wife out to dinner or parties (though as little as he could manage), continued to live in a home that probably cost him either a high rent or mortgage depending on their arrangements.

All it would have took would have been swallowing his pride and telling her that he owed taxes in England that meant they had to either downsize or severely limit their expenses for a few months, perhaps a year or two at most. After convincing her to return to America and remain his wife, it is understandable he might have feared she would have been enraged, or that she might have walked out on him and taken his boy... all horrible potential results, but now he'll never know, because instead he chose to continue the fiction that things were a little tight but otherwise going well, and literally stole money from his workplace to continue that lie.

Don, of course, isn't interested in these "solutions" now, it's past that point. He boils things down to their most basic sense, things that Lane detests having thrown in his face because he knows they're true: he embezzled funds and forged Don's signature, he simply cannot be trusted anymore. It doesn't matter that Lane apologizes now, that he claims he picked Don because he was always the most decent to him, because as Don reminds him the most decent thing he can do for him now is to let him quietly resign and slink away without the police being involved or the embezzlement being revealed.

The Anger returns, but now it is mixed in with the ever looming Depression. Enraged but sounding more like a sulky child, Lane literally stamps his feet and sobs that he's never been properly compensated for his contributions to the company, returning to his lament from the previous episode when he told Joan that he settled too cheaply when he helped engineer the escape from Sterling Cooper and the creation of SCDP.

He goes so far as to complain that none of them would have ever even dreamed of the word Jaguar if it wasn't for him, bitterly complaining about all the missed chances and mistakes that even now he seems to think "forced" him into a corner where he simply had no choice but to forge Don's signature on a check for $7500. He bemoans that while everybody else "lined their pockets" taking advantage of Putnam, Powell & Lowe he spent 3 years operated at a loss... and then all the anger drains from him as he whimpers pathetically,"Please reconsider."

Don is not heartless, or at least not in this instance. He of course had no idea of the deep wellspring of bitterness and jealousy that Lane held for all of them, because of course for most of the last 3 years Lane has kept it hidden even from himself. But sympathy can only stretch so far, he simply cannot trust Lane anymore, and though he doesn't say it the fact is that this is purely Lane's fault and nobody else's.

Except when Don offers one sop, a promise that he will cover the missing $7500 out of his own pocket just to put this all behind them, Lane feels that bitterness and anger well up again. Because to him $7500 was EVERYTHING, an extraordinary amount of money he simply couldn't generate for himself without plenty of time... or rather, wouldn't tolerate the personal cost it would have taken to take the necessary steps to free up that money. But to Don Draper? To Don Draper $7500 is NOTHING, an amount he can casually offer to cover, and that fact burns up Lane the most of all, demanding to know if Don has any idea how "the rest of us live."

A reminder: Lane Pryce came from a British Public School background, the son of a medical salesman, lived a comfortably upper-middle-class lifestyle for many years if not decades, and while he has probably known hard times they don't even begin to compare to the poo poo that a penniless Dick Whitman suffered as the bastard child of a drunken brute of a father and a harsh and unforgiving "mother".

Lane tries to insist that nobody has really been hurt, and Don - not appreciating having his charity turned into an attack on him as some kind of born-out-of-touch elite - snaps back at him to imagine what would happen if a client found out. Lane breaks down, dangerously near to Acceptance now and fighting it with everything he has, trying to believe there is still a way out of this. Because there is nothing more depressing to him that the sudden realization that once he resigns, he loses his work visa, which means he MUST return to England, a thought that fills him with utter dread.

Again, listen to the words he chooses to use,"I can't go back to England... not like this." Because as much as he hates England, what horrifies him more is the notion of going back in humiliation. Of his gleeful "escape" and "betrayal" from PPL resulting in slinking back to England an utter failure, to be sneered at and the subject of gossip and jokes from old school friends, associates and other peers.

"What would I tell my wife? What would I tell my son?" he sobs, knowing in his heart now that it's over, that Don will not be moved, and feeling the grief fully wash over him. Don offers him a hard answer but one that he fully believes in from his own hard-won experience. He will tell them that "it" didn't work out, because it didn't. But he will also tell them that the next thing will be better, because it will be. He can start all over again, Cooper doesn't know anything and so he can take the weekend to think of "an elegant exit".

Fully into Acceptance now, Lane stands and offers Don a handshake. Don accepts it, and when Lane manages to stammer out that he feels lightheaded Don speaks again from experience: that's relief. Because it is a relief, the weight that has been carried on Lane's shoulders has been shifted for better or worse, and while a far greater weight could be coming at least this one is gone. He has no choice now, the truth is out, he must leave... but he no longer has to hide the truth or fear the day exposure strikes from out of nowhere... because it just did.

Lane walks to the door and stops for a moment to look back at Don Draper, the man who helped give him a new life after PPL and has now been his executioner. He takes a long look and then, knowing there is nothing more to say, no way to convince him to change his mind, walks away, bringing to end an absolutely incredible scene and masterclass in acting from Jared Harris.

In her office, Joan notices a figure in her doorway and looks up to see Lane, still holding the drink Don gave him, leaning against the door-frame and staring. With a smile she asks if he has been celebrating, confusing him for a moment before she clarifies that she heard about his 4A's Chairmanship. He'd forgotten all about that, of course, but that is another humiliation to be heaped on him: he'll have to give up the Chairmanship of the Fiscal Control Committee before he even got to attend a single meeting, the honor seeming a cruel irony now given what just cost him his role here at SCDP.

But he puts that aside, a smile on his face as he notes she appears busy. Joan admits happily that she's thinking about taking a vacation this Easter, enjoying for perhaps the first time in her life having not only the money but also the status to be able to consider such a luxury, and on her own dime to boot. Lane, caught in a weird mixture of freedom and dread, saunters into her office asking "where are we going", a royal we that could just as easily be interpreted as suggesting he go along.

She ponders whether Bermuda or Hawaii are all that different, and he offers with a smirk that neither is suitable for commemorating the death and resurrection of our Lord, which makes her giggle before she asks if he can imagine her locked in a hotel room with a baby and her mother.

This is where things go off as, bolstered by the liquor and his own sense of unreality, Lane leers at her and comments that she'd probably prefer him to imagine her bouncing around in "some obscene bikini". Disgusted, her face goes blank and she coldly tells him it would be best if he took his party elsewhere. "Bon voyage," he slurs and meanders away, Joan rolling her eyes both unable to believe he'd be so crude but sadly also not that surprised: this is a woman who has become relatively numb to crude and unwanted comments from men across the course of her life.

In his office, Lane's bravado disappears and he walks sadly to the window, looking out at the falling snow before finishing his drink and taking a seat. He takes a long, lingering look around the office, knowing it may be for the last time. Unlike Peggy Olson, he takes no pleasure in his exit, because unlike Peggy his is forced and unwanted, a miserable but inevitable consequence of his own actions.

Roger is gleefully smooth talking somebody on the phone when Don enters his office and immediately pours himself a drink. Roger, who despite two failed marriages, a grown daughter, and an Agency that was on the brink of failure 15 months earlier, is exactly the kind of person Lane complained about : money simply isn't of concern to him. Hanging up, he explains happily to Don that his current "girlfriend" is a 25-year-old coat check girl, admitting he doesn't even know if she's from Long Island or Rhode Island. All that matters to Roger is that she's young and attractive, and so poor that simply ordering room service was all Roger needed to get what he wanted from her.

Roger wants to keep the conversation light, pretending to think Don is talking about sex when he asks why they keep doing this and if he's happy. Don hasn't come to muse on the failings of capitalism though, or to reveal the truth of his encounter with Lane, but to do what he always does and what he in fact told Lane to do: to put the past behind and push forward into a fresh start.

He isn't happy with SCDP's current direction, complaining that in spite of his own fiery speech to the troops before Christmas he's tired of "this piddly poo poo", of bringing in small accounts but not even being able to pay Christmas Bonuses. In one respect he's acknowledging that he's sick that Lane ended up in the situation he did, but mostly this is about him trying to find an outlet for his own growing frustration over his lack of passion for his work.

Giving up on this being a jokey drinks session, Roger defends the Agency's direction by noting that incoming calls are happening again, and when Don complains they're only coming to Pete he admits that while he might not like him, Pete HAS turned things around at the Agency and helped them regain the ground they lost after Lucky Strike. But Don disagrees, claiming that Pete thinks small: Dunlop is just another Topaz or Mohawk... hell, it's another coat check girl. He doesn't want Jaguar, he wants Chevy. He doesn't want Dunlop, he wants Firestone. He doesn't want Mohawk, he wants American Airlines.

Putting aside that he probably remembers it was Don who fought against dumping Mohawk in favor of American Airlines back in the Sterling Cooper days, Roger does remind him that he was actively pursuing Firestone at the American Cancer Society dinner until Don told him he was wasting his time. He's shocked when Don admits, for the first time, that Ed Baxter told him they were burned with all those companies because of the anti-tobacco letter Don wrote.

Pausing for a moment before deciding not to repeat Lane's mistake, Don eats poo poo and admits that he didn't tell Roger because he feels guilty that it was him writing the letter that negated all of Roger's (surprisingly!) hard work. But now suddenly the impromptu meeting has turned around, and it is Roger who is fired up and convincing Don instead as he points out that Don used to LOVE being told no, that it "made him hard" and fired him up to prove them wrong and change their mind. So a "wax figurine" (ha!) like Ed Baxter told him no? Then gently caress him, they'll prove him wrong!

Hitting the intercom, Roger tells Caroline to get him James Barton at Firestone Tires, but now Don - who has a few drinks in him - decides gently caress it, if they're going to do this they should go all out: get him Ed Baxter. Roger is quick to try and back him down from that, his own fire fading fast: Ed Baxter is Moby Dick, there are easier whales to hunt, but Don goads him, asking if he can't get him a meeting with a man 3 buildings down the road, reminding him that Dow Chemical would give them a Lucky Strike sized Account again.

The momentum is swinging wildly between Roger and Don now, one pushing the other and then getting unnerved when the other pushes back, going back and forth. Roger reminds Don of the extra complications, like Ken Cosgrove being leery of being involved in business with his wife's family... and Don offers a rather cold but practical solution to that: if Ken doesn't like it then they'll just fire him.

Jesus Christ, Don. Lane wasn't enough for you?

Megan answers the doorbell, checking through the peephole and surprised at who is on the other end. She opens the door to a cheery Sally who says hi and walks in with her case, not surprised in the slightest when Megan reveals that Don didn't actually tell her (to be fair, he got hit with a pretty huge bombshell moments after he spoke to Betty) that she'd be spending the weekend because she didn't want to go skiing.

While she might genuinely like Sally, Megan also isn't exactly over the moon that her husband's kid daughter just randomly showed up unannounced to declare she's going to be there the next couple of days. Sally notes she doesn't seem excited and Megan puts her best face on it, explaining she's just surprised because she didn't know and asks what is wrong with skiing (which she would probably have been delighted to go do as a kid), and Sally complains that she hates her mother so much for being such a phony... then asks Megan to go make her some tea and hands her her coat, treating her "friend" like her own personal secretary!

A nervous Ken Cosgrove waits in the Hemisphere Club, only slightly relieved when Roger Sterling finally arrives, apologizing for being late. Ken tries to turn it into a joke, declaring that of course he didn't panic when he was made to wait for a sudden, unexplained and unspecified meeting with his Boss, why he didn't think the worst at all!

Roger at least gets straight to the point, explaining that they're going after his father-in-law. Ken is surprised by the bluntness of this statement, and reminds Roger that he already told him he wouldn't be involved in any attempt by SCDP to do business with Ed Baxter/Dow Chemical. Roger agrees, saying he wants to keep it that way: they're going to try and get Ed Baxter/Dow as a client, and they don't want him involved.

It isn't as easy as that though, as Ken points out, you can't just separate family and business, so what exactly does Roger think is going to happen when they call Ed Baxter and the moment he hangs up he calls Ken to get the inside scoop? With a little smile, Roger notes that one possible solution would be that Ken wouldn't answer the phone because he'd be off having a drink with his Boss somewhere!?!

Ken is no fool, a smile quickly spreading across his face as he realizes he's been outflanked before he even knew he was in a fight. He also reminds everybody, including Roger, why for a very long time he was considered the true rising star at Sterling Cooper, and why he was picked as the true Head of Accounts after his little "war" with Pete Campbell. Because now he knows SCDP are after working with his family anyway, and that his own objections have been sidelined, he is morally free to take advantage of his position in a way he wasn't willing to do before: THEY chose this end run around him and now HE can take advantage of that.

It's Roger's turn for a quick smile of admiring understanding when Ken notes how he'd hate to accidentally mention to his wife how SCDP tricked him out of his office so they could make a play at her father. He asks what it would take for Ken to say nothing, assuming he's after a partnership (If Jaguar's million dollars was worth it, Dow's 20 million must rate too!) and actually has a moment of genuine regret cross his face when Ken points out that he's seen what being a Partner in SCDP means and he doesn't want it.

He's referring to what they did with Joan, of course, and his own loathing of Pete Campbell would be justified for that alone if not many of the other needlessly petty things Pete has done to his "friend" over the years. So his conditions are simple, he wants to be "forced" to work on the Account, and he doesn't want Pete Campbell involved at all: not in the first meeting and not in any meeting that follows.

Roger can certainly agree to that, after all even if he shares the credit for landing Dow with Ken (and Don, of course) it still puts Roger back on the ascendance after 15 months of watching Pete outshine him. So he stands and leaves, confident that Ken is onboard (or safely off the board, at least), and pleased to see Ken hasn't lost his killer instinct after all.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 14:11 on Dec 1, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

As Don is leaving, he encounters Roger in the elevator who informs him he was just in the Hemisphere Club. He explains that he talked to Ed (during those 20 minutes Ken was waiting on him) and has good news: there is a meeting scheduled for Monday morning.

In a lovely little bit of minor comedy, this news results in a very quiet, somewhat intense "argument" between Roger and Don as they try to be mindful of the well-to-do couple who are in the elevator with them who just had a lovely meal and are now stuck in this box with the two of them. Don doesn't think they can consider this a "serious" meeting if he's only been given 48 hours to prepare, while Roger insists that the meeting will be as serious Don prepares for it to be, and warns him not to lose his nerve, saying he liked and missed the more fired up and demanding Don Draper he saw in his office earlier today.

Returning home, Don finds Sally up eating potato chips, belatedly remembering his "agreement" with Betty earlier and immediately realizing he is probably in deep poo poo with Megan. He asks where she is and Sally says she's taking a nap, and he heads in the room after bracing himself, figuring it's far more likely that... yep, she's waiting in there looking absolutely furious.

He doesn't make matters any better by simply saying he forgot, and when Megan reminds him he'll need to take HIS daughter to school on Monday morning, he insists that as he has a meeting she'll have to do it. She reminds him that SHE has an audition on Monday and can't do it, so Don does the typical Don thing of making a spur of the moment authoritative call and then pretending like that was the obvious solution and thus it was no big deal, even though he is the only one he allows to make these calls.

He simply opens the door and yells to Sally that she'll be home alone on Monday morning because Megan has plans to lunch, and when Sally calls back that she has school he simply bellows,"Not anymore!", tells her to turn off the TV and then turns around and asks Megan,"Anything else?" as if SHE is the being the immature one and making a big deal out of this.

Unlike Betty though, Megan doesn't put up with this bullshit out of some misguided quest to be "correct" as a housewife. She points out to Don that him simply assuming that she had nothing better to do than look after Sally and drive her to school is insulting, and Don - who knows she is right - hits her with the biggest weapon he has in his arsenal, informing her that he had to fire Lane today.

You know if he'd just opened with that instead of trying to pretend everything was fine and she was silly to be making a big deal out of this, that would have worked too! Instead he almost seems to resent her for being mean to him when he had this big problem THAT HE DIDN'T TELL HER ABOUT to deal with. Instead of "I forgot" he could have simply said,"I was going to call but then..." and laid out the full story of his day.

In any case, his bomb worked. Megan forgets her own anger in her shock, asking what happened, and he gives her the simplest breakdown he can: he stole money from the company. He doesn't elaborate further, pointing out that in the end it really doesn't matter and is only gossip anyway, the fact is he stole and that's enough. He warns her she can't tell anybody, which of course she agrees with.

But now her anger is broken, and to be fair in spite of what I wrote above Don didn't do any of this as conscious manipulation: he just still naturally tends to try and brush things off or gets too caught up in his own bad mood to realize the hurt he is causing others, even if he is a lot more open and honest with Megan than he ever was with Betty. She asks if he's eaten or only drank, knowing him too well, and when he says he isn't hungry she tells him to come eat dinner with his daughter. He points out he has lots of work to do, and she notes that she does too... but that both their work can wait till after dinner. For now, they're just going to put aside their bad feelings and enjoy a nice meal with Sally.

Because of course for all of Don's flaws, they're nothing compared to the drunken, bedraggled mess that stumbles through the door of his apartment elsewhere in New York. It's Lane Pryce, who has at least come home (remember poor Sal?), drunk as a skunk and dreading every moment that passes towards the new reality he has finally accepted.

He's shocked to see Rebecca, not because she's there - she's his wife, of course she is! - but because she's all dressed up. She explains that they're going out to celebrate, casting a knowing eye over his obvious drunken state and adding,"More," with a little grin. This, of course, is the last thing that Lane wants, and he tries to tell her no, going so far as to violently pull away when she laughs and tries to take his hand.

Even now she isn't upset, the woman who was a nervous wreck and full of spite in her first season of the show has been nothing but caring, engaged and loving with her husband over the course of this season since their reconciliation, and this is no different... which of course all just goes to drive further pangs of guilt deep inside of Lane.

He manages to mumble that he has had a dreadful day, but she is having none of it. Not because she doesn't take him seriously, but because today is all about her trying to make him feel good, as she tells him with true (and painful to him) sincerity that she is tired of him refusing to allow himself to celebrate his success. He obviously told her about the 4A's Committee Chairmanship, and she wants to celebrate that, telling him warmly that he may have had a good day that turned into a bad day and then drinking to follow, but he still came home, on time, to her.

He is both miserable and charmed, full of love for her and anguished by the cruelty of a reality HE has kept from her. Because as she celebrates his success all he can do is think about what a failure he is, simultaneously hating himself for presenting this illusion to her but also resenting her for believing it and seeing it as proof that if he wasn't a success she wouldn't think so fondly of him.

So what can he do but, as he has done for so much of his life, meekly submit and allow her to lead him out of the apartment to celebrate a Chairmanship he knows he will no longer have, based on the good work he did at an Agency he has just been fired from. A good day turned bad and now it is getting worse.

Down in the parking garage of their building, a glowing Rebecca leads her wreck of her husband to their parking spot... but what is waiting for them is not what Lane was expecting, and it is yet another savage body blow after what seems like an endless series of them.

She's bought him a Jaguar.

It's like a horrible, cruel joke, the universe pissing on him from a great height. With joy she passes him the keys, exclaiming with pleasure that "I wrote a check!" when he asks her how she paid for it. She has done this FOR him, spending their money buying him a gift that she knows he would never think to buy for himself. It is an act of love, and that is what makes it hurt so much. That it is a Jaguar of all things, which has come to symbolize everything that destroyed him (apart from, you know, his own actions and their natural consequences), is just the cruel icing on the cake.

He stumbles forward, key in hand, barely able to keep from bursting into tears as she enthusiastically tells him she got a fair price after telling the salesman he is a Partner at the car's advertising firm. She knows he might be "cross" but doesn't care if he is, feeling it was time to splurge on something for HIM instead of covering the cost of her travel or Nigel's schooling for a change.

To her mind, he's just a prudent saver, she doesn't know how much money they have but assumes there is more than enough and he only hands out small amounts because he's conservative by nature. Instead, she has spent thousands of dollars they simply don't have, and while Don has said he will cover the stolen $7500 he's now jobless, about to lose his Visa, and whatever money they did have saved up has been thrown away on a car that represents everything that has gone wrong in his life.

"It's.... lovely," he manages, but when she suggests he go sit in it and that they take a drive, he can't contain himself any longer and stumbles away, vomiting copiously. Even now, Rebecca simply tuts but doesn't reprimand him, simply noting that he really did overdo it, mistaking his nauseous reaction to purely drinking and nothing else. Why wouldn't she? This is the consequence of not telling your wife the truth.

On Sunday, Don sits at home reviewing notes as Megan and Sally prepare to go out on the town. Megan asks Don if he's sure he won't come, but Sally loudly insists that he obviously just wants to work for his meeting the next day. A little fed up with Sally's presumptuous attitude, Megan bites her tongue and simply gives Don a fond kiss before the two of them leave, though not before casting a sour look back at Don as she spends her Sunday babysitting and continues to work. Sally wasn't wrong though, Don is doing his homework, reviewing masses of information on Dow, it's products, it's Annual Reports, and every little piece of information he needs to wow them at the meeting on Monday.

At the Pryce Residence, Rebecca notes the weather has cleared up and suggests they take the car for a spin around the block only if he's still feeling unsteady. Lane, who at least appears to have himself somewhat under control again, is reviewing papers and taking notes, claiming he has work that needs to be done before he can do anything else. Rebecca takes a seat beside him, and her question is an understandable one, because all she really wants from her husband is the truth: does he not like the car?

Of course he does, he insists, he loves the car and most of all he loves her... but he just simply wouldn't feel right having a fun drive until he's taken care of the errands he has let go over the last little while. But while he looks like he is in control, that isn't tea he's drinking. Rebecca notes that he got sink from drinking too much again on Saturday as well, taking the cup from him, and with pretended casualness he explains cognac is good for settling his stomach.

Still taking him at his word - why would she not? - she takes a sip herself and settles onto the couch, happy to wait but still insisting that once he's finished up they'll go out for that drive. She wants to enjoy this with him, to see him enjoy the gift she bought him, to see him act selfishly for a change (she has no idea). Rather than argue with her, he just continues to work, chosing silence as the safest course of action.

Megan has roped Julia into her day out with Sally (or maybe Sally got "invited" along to what was supposed to be Megan and Julia's day out?). Megan is trying to figure out a movie they can all see together, running through a list of what is running, the only thing that really stands out being A Fistful of Dollars which she notes Don would kill her if she saw without him.

But Julia has been filling the time gossiping with Sally, telling her all about her attempts to "ensnare" a boy called David, though thing are being confused by another one named Carter who has shown a clear interest in her. Without thinking she shares that Carter asked her if she was a redhead "everywhere", scandalizing Megan who gestures with her eyes in Sally's direction, mortifying Julia who remembers there is a difference between girl-talk and talking with a little girl.

Sally though, desperately to be a grown-up, insists that it is fine... in fact SHE has a boyfriend of her own. Now they're both intrigued, Megan fascinated to hear this and asking for more info, any sour feelings over this intrusion on her weekend forgotten for the moment. Sally admits that she isn't sure if the boy has feelings for her, but they've known each other for awhile (please God don't be Glen), and Julia notes that this means he's not her boyfriend.

Megan is quick to dispute that, insisting that many great romances started as friendships, and warmly tells Sally that a boyfriend is a boy who makes you feel special, and even just holding hands is enough to make that count. Sally is pleased, feeling just like one of the girls, an adult talking about adult things... as she pours about half a cup worth of sugar into her drink.

That evening, on the cusp of the Monday and his "elegant exit" looming ever closer, Lane lies in bed next to a sleeping Rebecca who is still blissfully ignorant of the disaster he has turned his life into. He stares at her, he loves his wife but he's also taken his lie as far as he can, and now the moment of truth has arrived... and instead of waking her and revealing all he chooses yet another desperation movement like the one that saw him steal from the company in the first place.

Betraying a far too fastidious preparation to be a spur of the moment decision, he carries a number of objects down into the parking garage. Is that what he was planning throughout the weekend as he did his "errands"? Was this always his out? Because Lane, rather than face the consequences of his actions, rather than tell the truth, rather than admit his fault and suffer the humiliation that will come with it... has decided to kill himself.

The method of suicide will be the very Jaguar he has come to see as a symbol of everything that went wrong. Does it even occur to him how much guilt this will cause Rebecca? That she might somehow blame herself that he killed himself with the car she bought him as a symbol of her love? Probably not, he's wrapped up entirely in his own head, even his guilt towards her (who he does love, in spite of all their prior problems) mostly about how she makes HIM feel.

He stuffs the exhaust, cuts and runs a pipe through the driver's side window, hops in the car, closes the door and presses a cloth into the gap in the window. He gulps down an enormous amount of liquor, splits his glasses in two (an oddly specific but extremely final act, he'll never need them again after all), turns the ignition and presses the starter to end it all.

The car won't start.

In a blackly comic moment, the Jaguar proves as unreliable as Don said it was, the lemon that Cooper claimed it would be. An exasperated Lane actually takes this in stride, of COURSE this would happen, just one more kick in the teeth, one last indignity. Now his broken glasses prove an annoyance, he has to hold one to his eye as he leaves the car and pops open the hood to get a look at the engine, ironically trying to bring the car to life so he can kill himself with it. It shouldn't be funny, but it is, the big moment that Lane has spent the weekend planning for has all fallen apart and in typically British fashion there he is beavering away productively to do about the most unproductive thing it is possible to do.

While Lane is failing to kill himself, Sally has made a call to... oh God, it's Glen Bishop. It was Glen after all. He's taking the call in the hallyway late at night, while Sally sits up in the living room talking quietly into the phone while Don and Megan sleep in their bedroom. She explains her situation, where she is, and then makes a suggestion... she doesn't have to be in school tomorrow morning, maybe he could come visit?

Oh God no, no Sally no.

Glen, true to form, is far less the daring rebel than he likes to make out, stating that it would be pretty hard for him to get there, and that it could be serious trouble for him if he sneaks off campus. Sally, unimpressed, notes that for the last year he's told her how much he wants to see her, and this is enough to goad him into committing to coming, though he notes that the earliest he can get to Grand Central Station is 8:30 in the morning and that he'll have to write up his paper tonight so he can get it typed up tomorrow. Sally gives him the address, and when he heads off to get pen and paper she thrills to her accomplishment, she's going to get to see her "boyfriend".

It's still the wee small hours when Lane Pryce arrives at SCDP for what will presumably be the last time. His glasses are taped up, he appears to be somewhat more together than he was in the parking garage, and one can only hope the absurdity of his failure to kill himself has finally shaken something loose in him and he has seen reason. He lets himself into his office, switches on the lamp and sits down at the typewriter, beginning to type away at... a confession? A resignation letter? Or has he come up with something at last, some plan to try and wrest his fate from Don Draper's hands and retake control of his life, even if it means burning some bridges to achieve his goal?

Come the morning, Megan is ready to leave for her audition, telling a pajama clad Sally to make sure she does her homework, do NOT use the juicer and that she'll be back home around 1pm.... and she'll feel the TV to make sure it isn't warm and she's done nothing but watch it all day! Sally's response is a cheerful,"Break a leg!" and Megan forgets all about being stern to happily say thanks, and then she's out the door. The moment she is gone, Sally is up like a shot, the television off, racing to get dressed in time for Glen's arrival.

Don and Roger sit in a waiting room at Dow Chemical, Don simply noting that he doesn't want to sound rehearsed so Roger will have to remain ignorant of what he plans to say. Roger warns him to face Ed Baxter with a cool head... but also to punch him in the balls if he baits him. Surprised, Don questions what happens to Roger's recent bout of enlightenment, and with a shrug Roger simply muses that "it wore off."

Glen arrives, ringing the doorbell, and Sally takes a moment to check herself and her outfit out in the mirror. She's wearing the boots that Don forbid her to wear to the American Cancer Society dinner, and it appears some of the makeup as well. She opens the door, and Glen gives her a quick once over before entering and putting down his schoolbag, noting first that she didn't use the peephole and then that she doesn't look that different.

This loving dipshit I swear to God....

He looks around the apartment and she asks what he thinks, and he mutters that a kid at his school's parents has a better one than this with a second floor. loving hell. Not really sure how to respond to such a bizarre answer, she asks what he wants to do and finally he reacts with some enthusiasm... he wants to go to the museum! She points out she can't cross the Park because "there are bums" but he explains he has money for a cab, and it's not like she had any plan beyond a nebulous "get him to come spend time with me" so she agrees, grabbing her coat first.

Soon they're at the museum, looking at exhibitions of stuffed animals, and Glen's enthusiasm actually has him demonstrating a bit of personality and charm beyond his usual blank stares and bullshit stories. He also opens up a bit, telling her that he's been bullied by a larger kid called Anderson, and that the Senior Lacrosse players pissed on his jersey in his locker. All Sally can offer to that is that they're jerks, though she does point out that Henry was bullied as a kid and now he runs the city.

Interesting that for all her apparent disdain for Betty and Henry as a couple, she does appear to have listened to him and he appears to have shared some of his own history with her and presumably Bobby.

She admits though that despite knowing she shouldn't and feeling awful for thinking it, she does keep wishing that Henry would leave Betty. She doesn't explain why, though it is probably as simple as just wanting her mother to be punished because on some level Sally either blames or chooses to believe that Betty is responsible for the divorce from Don, and thus the end of a time in Sally's life when everything made sense and was "perfect".

Glen offers back that she shouldn't think this way because she can't force it to happen, having obviously felt the same way about his own mother in the past. Pleased by his sharing this, Sally decides to show solidarity too and tells him that just like him she could get in trouble for spending this morning with him, but she really wanted to see him.

He admits he can't quite believe he almost didn't come, and when she notes with surprise that her stomach suddenly hurts he charms her again by cracking a joke about eating the stuffed caribou display. But something has been eating away at him too, and he admits it now: he feels bad, because when the other boys were teasing him he "might" have told them that he was coming into the city to "do it" with her.

"Really!?!" she notes archly, a primitive and unrefined version of the kind of reaction Joan might give. He admits he hasn't told them how old she is, and is clearly apologetic about having spoken about her this way even if only to get some bullies to back off from him. Sally shrugs, pointing out that he can say whatever he wants to... but that she doesn't think she likes him in that way.

Oh thank God.

He's quick to agree, claiming he has always seen her like his little sister, only smarter. Whether both are telling the truth or lying the end result is the same, Glen doesn't make Sally feel "special" in the way Megan suggested a boyfriend would, and her little testing of the waters when her interest was raised by Julia's story seems to have resulted in a negative outcome. Still, she's not above a little petty revenge, maybe even just for him saying she didn't look any different, as she notes he has a little (barely) mustache, and then simply states that she doesn't like it before moving on.

But moments later she feels the pain in her stomach again, and tells him that she has to excuse herself for a moment He tells her to meet him "in Africa" and she smiles and nods as she goes, before getting into the bathroom as fast as she can and into a stall. Dropping her pants, she stares down and there it is, blood on her panties. It's unclear how much if any sex education she might have had in school or at home, but she knows one thing for sure, she's in no fit state to continue a casual wander about the museum.

At Dow, Don and Roger are still waiting when a secretary informs them they can leave their hats and coats, Mr. Baxter will see them now. Roger checks his watch and notes they've been waiting for an hour and 45 minutes, which is better than he thought they would have to suffer through, and then they're through the door and shaking hands with Ed Baxter and being introduced to Tom Schafer and Jack Schmidt, the Director of Marketing and Head of Household respectively.

They all take their seats, Tom noting that he was expecting Ed's son-in-law and Baxter insisting that Ken knows better than to do that. With that out of the way, he asks Don what was so urgent, and Roger is quick to correct that he said the meeting was imminent, not urgent. Don though is unfazed, simply claiming with pure Don Draper confidence oozing out of every pore that he has reviewed Ed's business and they need help. His help.

Amused, Ed asks if he's still the guy who wrote THAT letter and Don doesn't even blink when he agrees that he was... but he doesn't want to hear about it again. Roger though is already on the defensive, claiming that they fought hard to keep Lucky Strike (he didn't! He just sat around for a couple of weeks hoping Lee Garner Jr would forget about it!) and it was them who stabbed SCDP in the back first! And tobacco is dying anyway with the Government coming after them! That just makes Ed claim smugly that this makes SCDP seem vindictive, and Roger replies that they're not... but boy Ed sure seems to be!

Ed has to chuckle at that, but he also notes with some satisfaction that he knew that was at the heart of this meeting. Except he's talking to Roger, and Don hasn't broken eye contact or betrayed anything but total confidence aside from a brief sidelong glare at Roger when he got defensive. It's not about the letter, he insists again, radiating supreme authority, it's about Ed's business.

Tom decides to chime in, noting they're very happy with MacManus as their Advertising Firm, which was exactly what Don was hoping they would say. Because they may be happy with MacManus, but he knows MacManus are REALLY happy with them, because they can afford to put Dow's work on the back-burner and keep pumping out the same thing over and over again while Dow's money subsidizes their actual great Creative work for OTHER accounts and New Business lunches... but if Dow was to pull out, MacManus would fold like a tent (with the implication being that SCDP must be better, because they survived the loss of Lucky Strike).

But while this sounds good, Tom takes great satisfaction in numbers that to him disprove Don's argument: they hold a 50% market share in ALL of their products. In every single field, in every single product, they are the market leaders over EVERY competitor. Don agrees, they do make incredible and diverse products, and lists a number of them with casual ease that belies the enormous research effort that went into his marathon weekend preparation for this pitch.

His argument though is that Tom's proves his own: they don't keep making new products because they're satisfied with what they have, they want MORE. He notes that at "the old firm" they had London Fog as a client and one year they sold 81% of the raincoats in the United States... and they didn't stop working, because 81% wasn't enough.

A line Don gave about eating even when you're hungry had gotten Jack Schmidt's attention, and he speaks up now seemingly out of nowhere to ask about... napalm? Don reveals the breadth of his knowledge, speaking with authority of the creation of napalm and its widespread use through multiple wars, making a point of noting that he served in Korea when he mentions it.

Roger, always one to get a dig in, had mentioned that there were kids outside Dow's building screaming and protesting about the use of napalm in Vietnam, something that obviously bothers Jack. But Don effortlessly turns napalm into a sellable product, noting that the important thing is that when "our boys" are fighting and need it, it's Dow who supplies it... and it works.

Jack, who would be tearing his hear out of his head if he had any over all the bad press napalm is getting, is impressed - right there in a few seconds Don offered a strong message pushing napalm - an appalling and monstrous thing - as a patriotic and historic took to aid troops fighting for freedom. He offers an approving look to Ed, who remains unconvinced, going back to Tom's earlier claim: they're happy with their Agency.

Don doesn't believe it. He's happy with 50%? He's happy with HALF!?! He gets fired up, making declarative statements about how Ed (and thus Dow) REALLY feel, controlling the room totally as he pushes his agenda: happiness is merely the moment before you want more happiness. Enough is never enough, people always more, and no Ed Baxter is NOT happy with a 50% market share, he wants it all.... and Don Draper and SCDP are the ones who will get it for them.

With that, it is DON who marks an end to the meeting, and notably everybody else in the room included Ed Baxter follows his lead. Don stands, the joins getting to their feet (Roger is notably the last to realize they're done), and Ed shakes his hand, thanking him for stopping by. Don nods and leads Roger out the door, and as they collect their coats Roger offers to buy Don a drink... if he'll wipe the blood from his mouth first!

It was an impressive display from Don, but of course nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything Don said applies to himself, a man who has everything and still finds himself wanting more. When he calls happiness the moment before wanting more happiness, about not being hungry but still eating more, about not being happy with anything, he could just as well be talking about himself, about his marriage, about how his love for Megan and her love for him somehow aren't enough. How getting Jaguar wasn't good enough, how only coming up with a very good idea against Ginsberg's great one caused him to force his own idea's "victory", how driving that Jaguar did nothing for him. When Don claims he is the one who will never be happy with less than 100% he means it... the trouble being of course that he probably wouldn't be happy with 100% either.

Also, you know, he wrote that letter about the evils of tobacco and now he's trying to get himself a job pushing the virtues of loving NAPALM!!?

Megan returns home to find no sign of Sally... outside of a bag she doesn't recognize. She calls out for Sally, but gets no answer.

She'd have to call loudly, because back at the Francis Cathedral, as Betty is unpacking from the ski trip Sally suddenly comes racing into the room and through to the bathroom, ignoring Henry calling after her. Henry steps into the bedroom, saying Sally just pulled up in a cab with a $25 fare that Henry had to pay.

With surprising restraint, Betty tells Henry she'll handle this and knocks on the door, assuring her that Henry isn't there when she asks (Henry gets the message and leaves the bedroom). Sally unlocks the door and Betty steps inside, and Sally reveals that she has had some education at least as she explains in a slightly panic that she got her period and didn't know what to do, just that she wanted to come home.

Momentarily taken aback, Betty tells her it's okay and they'll sort it out, and is shocked when her daughter - who has been so rude and off-putting and hostile recently - suddenly lunges forward and hugs her tight, trying not to cry. Surprised but pleased, Betty embraces her and rubs her back, telling her it will be okay.

At SCDP, Scarlett pops into Joan's office and asks if she can leave the Accounts with her, explaining Mr. Pryce hasn't come in yet and his door is locked, and she doesn't feel comfortable leaving the company's records on the edge of her desk. Joan accepts that and asks her to just leave them, not thinking too much about Lane not being at work yet.

A worried Megan has called Dawn but Don still isn't back at the office, so she asks for him to call back as soon as he returns. The doorbell rings and she rushes up hoping it will be Sally... and finds Glen on the other side of the door, asking if Sally is there. "She's not... who are you?" demands Megan, and Glen complains that he doesn't know and just wants to get his bag back, as if it was the most natural thing in the world that he was was in her apartment without her knowledge earlier.

Megan demands to know where Sally is and Glen, in typical Glen fashion, bitches that he already told her he doesn't know. Pissed off herself, Megan wants to know what is going on and what he's doing here, and Glen betrays that he's still basically a kid as he launches into a little tirade that sounds like he is near tears, complaining he has no idea what happened they were at the museum and she felt unwell and then she took off and he just wants his bag back okay!?!

Worried now by his unbalanced state as well as what the neighbors might be thinking, she rushes him inside and closes the door, and asks when he last saw Sally. He admits he isn't sure, noting he was in the museum a long time and then stressing that he really did look for Sally, worried she'll think he spent a long time just wondering about instead. He points out his bag yet again, admitting he would have just left it but he has a book on Nat Turner inside and a report to hand in tomorrow.... Jesus Christ this is the "tough" guy with the knife who broke into the old Francis house?

The phone rings and Megan warns him not to move, answering and relieved to hear from Betty that Sally raced home, too happy to notice or really care Betty triumphantly explaining that when her little girl became a woman she just wanted to be with her mother (and not Megan!). Megan of course is just relieved, telling Betty to please let Sally know she's glad she is okay. Hanging up, she tells a curious Glen simply that Sally was feeling unwell, seeing no need to give him any more details than that.

Realizing that she was talking to Betty, Glen seems eager to escape, still scared of the woman he once had a childhood crush on who "betrayed" him and then became akin to something of a witch to him. He grabs his bag and goes to leave, explaining he has to get back to Grand Central Station, and Megan sighs that she's lost one kid already today and won't lose another, she'll drive him. When he explains that the train doesn't come till 7, she sighs and tells him to just wait here and write his paper and she'll drive him later. He accepts of course, and is more than happy to accept her offer of something to eat, more than happy to impose his company.

Just... just don't get a creepy crush on this one, Glen.

Lane still hasn't arrived and Joan isn't much more comfortable than Scarlett was keeping the Records on her desk in the rather busy thoroughfare of her/the Traffic office. So collecting a key, she carries them to Lane's door, unlocks it and... the door won't open, something is blocking it.

Oh no. Oh no no no......

She tries to push her way through but it keeps sticking, and she notices an overturned table and a horrid smell... oh gently caress. gently caress.

She steps into Pete's office next door, where he is cracking jokes with Harry and Ken, and all she can manage to say is that she thinks something is "terribly wrong" with Mr. Pryce's office, unable to give voice or allow herself to think what she must have known the moment she saw that overturned table and smelt that stink. She explains she can't get the door open and Pete steps onto the couch, looking up over the edge of the window that runs around the interior of each office. He looks to the left and the right.... and then steps back involuntarily, hand raising to his mouth in horror.

gently caress.

Ken and Harry look next, as Joan's eyes well up with tears as she hopes desperately that what she KNOWS will not be true, but when Ken steps back down and takes a timid step towards her she can't deny it any longer and bursts into tears. He does what he can to try and offer her comfort, while Harry can only offer a quiet,"Jesus," of quiet shock.

Far from the horrors unfolding at SCDP, Sally lays in bed, passed a hot water bottle by Betty to press to her stomach to help with the cramping pain. She admits she is embarrassed but - thank God - Betty assures her she shouldn't, and tells her that should she ever find herself in that situation again she only needs to ask another woman, they will ALL understand what she is going through and do what they can to help.

Sally doesn't want to talk about it, but Betty doesn't take it personally, lying down next to her and explaining that though it is unpleasant, it is also a sign that everything inside of her is working. She explains that this means that when she wants to have a baby, she will be able to to, wistfully noting that if she has a beautiful little girl then one day she will be explaining all this to her just like Betty is doing now and presumably her own mother did for her.

She puts an arm around Sally who holds it, not protesting her mother's presence, for once not fighting or acting out against her. Betty simply enjoys the moment, feeling a closeness to her daughter she hasn't for some time, not least of all because, as she noted to Megan, when Sally was in a time of need, she sought out her mother.

Don and Roger return to SCDP at last, a little drunk and still buzzing from Don's performance with Dow. But to their surprise, they find the office floor... empty? Not entirely, every room and desk is deserted except for in the Creative Lounge, where Bert Cooper, Joan Harris and Pete Campbell are sitting looking utterly miserable. A hollow eyed Pete suggests they sit down, and when Don asks what happened, Cooper just quietly puts all possible doubt to rest.

"Lane hanged himself in his office."

He wasn't coming up with some scheme. He hadn't been jogged back into sense by his darkly comedic failure with the Jaguar. He wasn't writing a confession or laying out a list of grievances as a final gently caress you before losing his Visa and returning to England (and possibly losing his marriage). No, when he failed to die in the parking garage, he simply came to work and killed himself there.

Don crumples onto the armrest of a couch, burying his head in his hand, feeling a stronger guilt than any of them can know (and was this part of Lane's intention? Beyond "escaping" his woes? To make Don "pay" for demanding his resignation?), while Roger is left bewildered trying to figure out what the hell has happened. Pete explains that Cooper sent everybody home claiming there was a "Building Emergency" and nobody (outside of Harry and Ken) know what actually happened.

Spotting that Joan is a weeping mess, Roger tells her he'll take her home, but she shakes her head, she can't bear to go, she wants to wait. For what? Pete explains they've been waiting for the coroner to arrive and cut him down, and a horrified Don realizes that not only is Lane's body still here, just across the corridor in his office, but he is still hanging where he died.

He can't stand it, ignoring Pete's protests that it is a "crime" scene and Roger's attempt to gently pull him back when he races to Lane's door and pushes the door slowly open. "We can't leave him like that!" Don insists, Lane's corpse being left untouched more than his sense of decency can abide. He enters the office and they follow him, the door quickly shutting behind them once they're no longer pushing it open.... and there it is.

I won't screenshot this, I can barely watch it as it is. Nothing is left to the imagination. Before Don, Roger and Pete's horrified eyes, the grey, hanging corpse of what was once Lane Pryce slams against the door and slowly swings back and forth. They can only stand for a moment, revolted and fascinated, what was once a man and is now simply a decaying lump of flesh, bereft of everything that gave it humanity, a soul, a mind, whatever term you prefer. The men who could excitedly contemplate the "interesting" conundrum of fees vs. commissions, who had a mind for numbers and a talent for stretching out every penny. A heavy drinker, a bit socially awkward but with his heart in the right place, the man who helped save them from becoming just more numbers on one of his own spreadsheets and turned an impossible dream into a reality. All gone. Replaced by nothing.

Don breaks the spell at last, telling Pete to get something to cut him down, and he and Roger support the corpse's weight as Pete climbs onto the table Lane presumably kicked over to make his final fall and uses scissors to cut the rope that was holding him up. They shuffle it over to the couch and lay it down, staring in still disbelief at the body on the couch, with zero doubt that this is not a man sleeping or unconscious or dead drunk.... this is a dead body.

Pete opens the door and tells them to come on, Roger noticing an envelope on the floor and collecting it up. He gives Don a nudge to get him out the door, Don's eyes still locked on the corpse, considering what happened to the man he assured would feel relief and would end up stronger from a fresh start after all this. They close the door, joining Cooper and Joan who were waiting outside, and Roger notes that the envelope reads,"To my fellow Partners."

Is it a suicide note? A declaration of intent? A confession? Roger opens it and reads the contents, and in disbelief shares what is says. It is nothing other than a resignation letter, and a boilerplate one at that. Lane left no final words, no explanation, not even a note to his wife (unless he left it at home). In the end he treated himself as he perhaps felt he had been treated: just another interchangeable piece in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce machine. It is a sad, ignominious and in many ways selfish final message, one that offers only silent recrimination and invites his Partners to ponder whether they were in some way to blame for his choice. None more-so than Don, who can only think that he was the one who told him to resign, and gave him the weekend to think of an "elegant exit".

Don returns home exhausted and miserable... and finds a weird little boy in his house along with his wife Megan, who is surprised to see him home so early. Don asks who this kid who just nervously greeted him is and Megan explains he is Sally's "friend" and is waiting for his train, which of course simply raises the question for Don of where Sally is. Megan simply states she went home and she'll explain it all to him later, and he's so tired that he just accepts this and says he needs to lie down.

Of course Glen never met an awkward moment he couldn't try to make awkwarder, so he chooses now to speak up and helpfully let Don know they've met before, he lived down the street in Ossining, Helen Bishop's boy! Don grunts and nods, vaguely remembering the woman who was once considered scandalous because she was... gasp.... divorced! In any case, Glen sees now as a good time to clear out but Megan still doesn't want him sitting around in Grand Central by himself until 7.

Wearily Don asks where he's going, and Glen explains he goes to Hotchkiss Academy in Lakeville, a couple of hours away. Despite clearly being mentally and physically exhausted, Don says he'll take him, surprising Megan who races after him to ask him if he's okay, concerned by his obvious malaise. He promises that they'll talk about it later, and I would presume (and hope) he is being genuine, because something this crazy NEEDS to be talked through. Right now though he either needs to crash for a week or keep himself active, and a long drive seems like the ticket.

Glen thanks Megan for her hospitality and leaves, and he and Don ride down the elevator together. Contemplating a long weird day, having no frame of reference to realize Don's was far, far, far worse, Glen sighs and ponders out loud why everything has to be crappy. Don asks what he means, and he explains that no matter what, everything you think is going to be good turns to crap.

Not knowing he's talking about spending a day with Don's own daughter (who he told his friends he would "do it" with), and mindful of a man/colleague/friend of his own who let his own bleak thoughts go too far, Don tells him he's too young to think that way. Glen though insists it is true, which leads Don to ask him a question: what's something he would like to do he thinks would be good?

So it is that this episode, this beautiful, incredible and utterly heartbreaking episode, ends with Don Draper sitting in the passenger side of his own car watching as Glen Bishop drives it from Manhattan to Lakeville. His only assistance is to carefully place his hand on the steering wheel and ease the car from veering too far over in its lane, but otherwise he lets Glen control things.

Glen has a happy little smile on as he drives, young enough as Don mentioned that as simple a pleasure as driving a car has fixed his blues. Would that it could have been so simple for Lane Pryce, but here is a boy who Don can help in a way he couldn't help Lane. Here is a solution he can give that can work, a simple but effective panacea for a simple problem of teenage malaise.

There were many options available to Lane Pryce, which have been covered in great detail earlier and could be covered in great detail further. In the end though, he made a choice. He couldn't live with the humiliation, he couldn't bring himself to be truthful to his wife, he couldn't admit his own fault in allowing things to get as bad as they did. Even then he could have bitten the bullet and come through with something intact, whether his marriage or his career or just his own sense of self. Instead he killed himself, and now the world is robbed of Lane Pryce and all he could have offered. As a husband, as a father, as a businessman, as a friend.

As a character and of course for the actor Jared Harris, he will be sorely missed. 3 years as a core member of this cast, and the truly sad part is that the way this character chose to end things is NOT an unnatural bit of writing. Far too many have made similar choices in similar situations, and that is what makes it all the more tragic.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Dec 2, 2021


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I believed with all my heart that after the failed suicide attempt with the Jaguar, Lane hit a moment of clarity and was going to pull something, maybe even something monstrous, to basically force Don's hand and somehow secure his position at SCDP while burning his bridge with Don as a friend forever or something. Even when Scarlett said that his door was locked, I took it at face value when she said he hadn't arrived to work yet. It wasn't until Joan tried to open the door and it resisted that I grasped what was happening and it was loving devastating.

The scene where they break into the office and see his corpse is just... gently caress. Jesus Christ.

Incredible show, incredible episode. I am going to miss Lane so much.

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