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The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

"Lmao hell yeah" - me @ the entire episode

E: in seriousness,

Walter Cronkite posted:

President Kennedy died at 1pm Central Standard Time. 2 O'Clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.

I've seen this clip in 3 or 4 different tv shows/films. It never gets any easier to watch Cronkite's expression at the end of that sentence. I can only imagine what it must feel like for people who lived through that time to see it again after all those years.

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 15:51 on Apr 27, 2021

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The way he pauses and swallows before continuing is really rough, the poor bastard had to do his job while feeling pretty much exactly what everybody else watching was feeling at the exact same time.

Beamed
Nov 26, 2010

Then you have a responsibility that no man has ever faced. You have your fear which could become reality, and you have Godzilla, which is reality.




I think this episode does a great job at capturing just how surreal the whole experience must have been. It feels like a fever dream as life slowly drifts on from event to event.

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

Soiled Meat

You must have watched a much darker version of this episode than me

Jerusalem posted:

Like Don, Trudy wants to get out, she has dressed up and intends for them to attend Margaret Sterling's funeral.

No but seriously, great writeup!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Look, she was REALLY mad about Pete being passed over for a promotion, okay!

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Meanwhile, everyone else was reeling over the news that JFK was getting married.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Pete and Trudy on the couch is one of the iconic images of the show for me. Pete in his finest black turtleneck. Mourning casualwear.

When I watched this episode a while back I wondered if he meant throw Oswald to "the mob" or, y'know, "The Mob." Didn't think to check the subtitles on that at the time. I just really like the idea of Pete already putting together the pieces in his head on all the possible angles.

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

Soiled Meat

I always took and still take it as the former lowercase mob. Pete may be an entitled poo poo a lot of the time but he demonstrates a clearly held belief in a sense of justice when it comes to other people at least.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Beamed posted:

I think this episode does a great job at capturing just how surreal the whole experience must have been. It feels like a fever dream as life slowly drifts on from event to event.

It reminds me of when Sally sees the image of the Vietnamese monk self-immolating after Grandpa Gene's death. The changing media landscape--television especially--made the news feel more dramatic, more intense. This surely contributed to the feeling that so many people had at the time, that the 60s were a chaotic and incomprehensible decade.

Singin in the Rain came out in early 1952, and Don and Betty got married in 1953 after a short courtship. I think she probably saw it before she met him. Maybe it reminds her of a time when life felt more hopeful, before a dashing prince charming who turned out to be an intimidating manipulator came into her life.

Jerusalem posted:

The way he pauses and swallows before continuing is really rough, the poor bastard had to do his job while feeling pretty much exactly what everybody else watching was feeling at the exact same time.

I really like how this episode uses more of that clip than I've seen elsewhere. It continues on for one or two more sentences, and it really makes it clear how close he came to crying on national TV. It's very poignant.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

I rewatched this episode and a few episodes after this into the fourth season a few days ago... it seems like there was at least one reference to suicide in each episode. In this one, Roger taunts Jane when she locks herself in a room, asking if she's going to "kill herself for attention" or some such, which Jerusalem didn't comment on. I know that death and "the death wish" are common motifs in the show (Don's drawing of a noose, Lane's suicide, and Don's disappearing into the water ad are among the most overt, not to mention the dang title sequence), but I'm wondering if the screenwriters somehow managed to work in a casual reference to not just death, but specifically suicide in each episode. On my next viewing of the series I'll have to make a note of it.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Back in The Marriage of Figaro, I said that Don was thinking about driving onto the train tracks near the end of the episode. Jerusalem didn't believe it, because he thinks Don is too narcissistic to commit suicide. Which is a fair point. Although researchers caution that data is hard to gather on this, it does appear that narcissistic people attempt suicide less often. Anyway, I just kind of dropped it quickly, even though I definitely believe it, because a lot of my evidence that Don CAN be suicidal comes from later seasons (you've mentioned some of it). But even that scene in Marriage of Figaro (S1:E3) is set up in Ladies Room (S1:E2). Paul is late to a meeting because, he says, someone jumped in front of his train. Don just says, "Ah, suicide," notably failing to come up with something clever or charismatic to say. I think suicide and suicidal ideation was intentionally written into the first 3 episodes of the show, and that it stalks Don's subconscious.

I would guess they didn't have a rule of writing it into every episode, as I think it would have been somewhat creatively limiting to include it every time, but it does seem like suicidality was intended to be a major theme of the series from the beginning. As you say, even the show's intro evokes suicide.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Oh sure, there's no denying that suicide as a theme was there from the beginning. I specifically cited the "death wish" phenomenon since it's mentioned in the very first episode of the show by the psychologist. What I'm wondering is whether the writers managed to work in a reference to suicide in every episode of the show, or perhaps more broadly, the death of the self, or "a" self (see the latter episodes of season 2, where Don reaches a spiritual brink re: his marriage and career; see also the use of language surrounding Don's stolen identity—the "death" of Dick Whitman coinciding with the death of the real Don Draper). It would be pretty easy to miss a stray line of dialogue where someone mentions it off-hand, like J did with Roger's line about it in this episode.

Maybe it's a little inconsequential—human beings reference death in general all the time—but it would be a pretty impressive feat from a screenwriting standpoint nonetheless.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



I believe the German guy on TV is Willy Brandt, the mayor of West Berlin, and future Chancellor of West Germany. It is a little hard to tell from the video quality, and I don't think that was a translation. Kennedy was grooming him as the replacement for Adenauer.

Mover
Jun 30, 2008

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


I donít think I could say the next episode is the best episode of the series, thereís too much strong competition, but it is no doubt my favorite episode

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


i don't think we need to spoiler 'the next episode is good'

sorry jerusalem if you would rather not have known that the next episode is good

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012




I highly doubt it. Putting that constraint on the writing team just seems goofy.

sebmojo posted:

i don't think we need to spoiler 'the next episode is good'

sorry jerusalem if you would rather not have known that the next episode is good

The next episode is Pretty good

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



I hear the next episode is the opposite of bad.

crimedog
Apr 1, 2008

Yo, dog.
You dead, dog.


The Klowner posted:

I rewatched this episode and a few episodes after this into the fourth season a few days ago... it seems like there was at least one reference to suicide in each episode. In this one, Roger taunts Jane when she locks herself in a room, asking if she's going to "kill herself for attention" or some such, which Jerusalem didn't comment on. I know that death and "the death wish" are common motifs in the show (Don's drawing of a noose, Lane's suicide, and Don's disappearing into the water ad are among the most overt, not to mention the dang title sequence), but I'm wondering if the screenwriters somehow managed to work in a casual reference to not just death, but specifically suicide in each episode. On my next viewing of the series I'll have to make a note of it.

Last episode, that great scene where Betty confronts Don and Don loses it talking about Adam really had me tearing up myself

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



spoiler warning: mad men season finales are usually... good.

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

Obscure to all except those well-versed in Yuuzhan Vong lore.


Yoshi Wins posted:

spoiler warning: mad men season finales are usually... good.

Name a bad episode period.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Shimrra Jamaane posted:

Name a bad episode period.

Mystery Date but frankly thatís pushing it.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



Tea leaves is iffy

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

We are Not Amused

I just love Margret's wedding. Just the disaster of getting married that day. It was a wonderful choice!

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


I'm on the finale and heartbroken all over again. What am I supposed to watch while I work now? Guess now I could restart Sopranos, might be able to knock it out before my job makes us return to the office.

"Greg had twins with some nurse...As far as he's concerned, Kevin never happened."
"...He KNOWS?"
"Oh, no. He's just a terrible person."

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Love that last scene with Roger and Joan. My favorite dialogue from that scene is when he tells Joan he's getting married.

Roger: She's old enough to be Megan's mother. Actually, she is her mother.
Joan: *Laughing* What a mess!
Roger: You'd be surprised--Nobody cares!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






I love the finale of the show very much, and always boggle at people's opinion that it was anything less than stellar. One thing I never really see talked about or even considered, is the exact impetus that brings Don to have his breakdown and hug the man in group therapy. He's sitting there, pretty passively, until he begins talking about his dream. It's only when his isolation, his inherent unlovable nature, his fundamental flaw is articulated in a capitalistic manner of an unused product, that Don begins to react. He is being advertised to in that moment. As this man describes the dream from his subconscious, what Don is hearing is a pitch for a commercial, of a condiment that no one will ever apply. But what's stunning about it is that that's not what he (as far as we know) takes from this experience. The emotion behind the pitch, as he says many times in the show, is what gets through to him, and makes him realize that he's not alone in this world, and he's not alone in how he feels. THAT'S the sentiment that brings him to the Coke ad. That sometimes all an ad has to be is a genuine expression of togetherness, of care. That a pitch doesn't have to be disingenuous, or cynical. It's very easy to view the Coke ad in our modern hindsight as those things, as riding the wave of the late 60's just a couple years too late, but I truly think that when it was made it was genuine, and doubly so in the fiction of Mad Men, and the key to it is that fridge dream.

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


Paper Lion posted:

I love the finale of the show very much, and always boggle at people's opinion that it was anything less than stellar. One thing I never really see talked about or even considered, is the exact impetus that brings Don to have his breakdown and hug the man in group therapy. He's sitting there, pretty passively, until he begins talking about his dream. It's only when his isolation, his inherent unlovable nature, his fundamental flaw is articulated in a capitalistic manner of an unused product, that Don begins to react. He is being advertised to in that moment. As this man describes the dream from his subconscious, what Don is hearing is a pitch for a commercial, of a condiment that no one will ever apply. But what's stunning about it is that that's not what he (as far as we know) takes from this experience. The emotion behind the pitch, as he says many times in the show, is what gets through to him, and makes him realize that he's not alone in this world, and he's not alone in how he feels. THAT'S the sentiment that brings him to the Coke ad. That sometimes all an ad has to be is a genuine expression of togetherness, of care. That a pitch doesn't have to be disingenuous, or cynical. It's very easy to view the Coke ad in our modern hindsight as those things, as riding the wave of the late 60's just a couple years too late, but I truly think that when it was made it was genuine, and doubly so in the fiction of Mad Men, and the key to it is that fridge dream.

The AMC prestige shows have always attracted a weird crop of people who absolutely hate the show on an emotional level. Breaking Bad is the new "this show was trash lol" after people got tired of complaining about The Walking Dead, a show that isn't great but has basically tread water for 10+ years by giving people exactly what they want and occasionally doing a massive plot twist that makes the loving news headlines as the season is about to premiere.

From this thread you've seen the criticism of the show as attacking it on a surface level "men treat women poorly ergo this show is bad" and how Matthew Wiener just wants the show as an excuse to show off his fantasy of a glitz and glamour 60s business White Men's World.

I'd say Mad Men is easily top 5 shows ever, and spent its entire run being underrated and ignored.

Ironically, this reminds me of Hell on Wheels, the show I had to find the title of by googling "amc train show", which was always #2 in the ratings behind The Walking Dead and never managed to capture awards or attention despite only being 2nd place to the biggest TV phenomenon of the decade.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


pentyne posted:

Ironically, this reminds me of Hell on Wheels, the show I had to find the title of by googling "amc train show", which was always #2 in the ratings behind The Walking Dead and never managed to capture awards or attention despite only being 2nd place to the biggest TV phenomenon of the decade.

The only thing I really remember about that show was the end of the first episode where Colm Meaney starts a big villainous monologue by saying almost to camera "You want a villain? Fine. I'll play the part." If you haven't seen it, please know that I'm not being hyperbolic: he's sitting in a traincar by himself when he looks off into the distance and says something very much like that (if not verbatim.) There's a fine line between enjoyable and lazy in having your bad guy declare his intention to the audience, and that just fell on the wrong side for me. Delete Recording; Delete Series Recording.

To its lack of any kind of cultural impact: A few years back I remember a friends' parents talking about TV and they said "Oh, there's a new Hell on Wheels tonight," and I said "That must be a rerun of last week's episode. It's Saturday. There's no way a network would put first-run episodes of an original scripted series on Saturday nights at 10."

They were right and I was wrong. Even the network could barely care.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Hell on Wheels was an odd show. It substantially changed its focus and setting every season or two, as if it was still struggling to get its premise right and wanted to re-tool it every so often. I watched it whenever new seasons landed on Netflix, and it's absolutely a mediocre show overall, but its tendency to totally jettison plots or themes or characters was fascinating.

It starts as a kind of revenge story, where Cullen is a former-Confederate who lies his way into rail construction to get at some former-Union guys who wronged him. Then he...just kind of keeps working for the railroad? There's a season where he gets this Mormon girl pregnant and has to search through off-the-grid Mormon settlements to find her, a season where he fucks off from his normal railroad gig to work for the Pacific line and it becomes this lawless Chinatown plot...it's as if the writers took Mad Men to heart in only one way: "if you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."

misguided rage
Jun 15, 2010

God I fucking love Diablo 3 gold, it even paid for this shitty title

JethroMcB posted:

The only thing I really remember about that show was the end of the first episode where Colm Meaney starts a big villainous monologue by saying almost to camera "You want a villain? Fine. I'll play the part." If you haven't seen it, please know that I'm not being hyperbolic: he's sitting in a traincar by himself when he looks off into the distance and says something very much like that (if not verbatim.) There's a fine line between enjoyable and lazy in having your bad guy declare his intention to the audience, and that just fell on the wrong side for me. Delete Recording; Delete Series Recording.
It was trying really hard to be Deadwood for the first few episodes, the weird monologue was part of that. It got a lot better once it gave that up. Overall it was a bit inconsistent but I still really liked it; it has a really satisfying conclusion imo.


Really looking forward to the next episode's writeup, it's such a good one!

misguided rage fucked around with this message at 01:07 on Apr 30, 2021

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






the second to last episode of the 3rd season does a great job of finishing up what Mad Men was building up for 3 seasons. The pilot starts off with Don Draper at his most powerful, sleeping with women and dominating at work, with the twist at the end being that he actually has a family. The pilot is built off a lie, well told and convincing, a sales pitch, that bottoms out to the truth, Don Draper's family life in tatters and him grasping at work to buoy himself from sinking.

Betty's arc was gradually losing belief in the commercial that was Don Draper, that Don had built, thinking it was real. And it makes sense that this three season cycle ends with her breaking away, and tempted by someone with a better pitch.

Season 4 - 7 spoilers: You see this pattern continue, first with Megan, then with Sally. Its crazy to compare how much Sally looks to Don as the person who knows everything, then see how she is in Season 7. That line towards the end about Sally being sickened by how Betty and Don oozed when people looked at them always stayed with me.

e: forgot that there's another episode after this, its been awhile since I rewatched the show

Shageletic fucked around with this message at 13:38 on Apr 30, 2021

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






JethroMcB posted:

The only thing I really remember about that show was the end of the first episode where Colm Meaney starts a big villainous monologue by saying almost to camera "You want a villain? Fine. I'll play the part." If you haven't seen it, please know that I'm not being hyperbolic: he's sitting in a traincar by himself when he looks off into the distance and says something very much like that (if not verbatim.) There's a fine line between enjoyable and lazy in having your bad guy declare his intention to the audience, and that just fell on the wrong side for me. Delete Recording; Delete Series Recording.

To its lack of any kind of cultural impact: A few years back I remember a friends' parents talking about TV and they said "Oh, there's a new Hell on Wheels tonight," and I said "That must be a rerun of last week's episode. It's Saturday. There's no way a network would put first-run episodes of an original scripted series on Saturday nights at 10."

They were right and I was wrong. Even the network could barely care.

holy poo poo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX4p_khYJBQ

lol

aBagorn
Aug 26, 2004


i really really liked Hell on Wheels

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.


Gotta hand it to Meaney, he really sells the hell out of that awful, awful monologue.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



In defense of his character, "self-important windbag fraud" is pretty accurate of his whole persona. He's a Trump type, a famously-rich businessman who's also a childish and insecure manchild. This monologue landing like a lead balloon is almost a feature...Durant wants badly to be revered or respected or feared, but it's all bluster and most other relevant characters can see that. He's essentially using his wealth to play out a cowboy fantasy, so a lovely community theatre quality seeping into the monologue kind of feels right.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 3, Episode 13 - Shut the Door. Have a Seat
Written by Erin Levy & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Matthew Weiner

Don Draper posted:

With you or without you, I'm moving on.

Don Draper wakes in his bed, but something's wrong. He's on the wrong side, the floor to his left instead of his right. He picks up his alarm clock, looking confused, thinking it hasn't gone off but he's just managed that most frustrating of things: waking up JUST before the alarm sounds. Turning it off, he sits up in bed and coughs, and the source of his "wrong" position is revealed. He's sleeping in the guest bed, last used by Gene Hofstadt. Baby Gene's room has become the guest room again, and now Don is an (unwelcome) "guest" in his own home. A bottle of booze sits on the drawers nearby... he's not having a fun time of things.

All that gets put aside for his public face though, as the as-always impeccably groomed and sophisticated looking Don Draper arrives for a meeting with Conrad Hilton. He apologizes for being late but Connie seems unperturbed, asking after him before his face gets serious and he tells him to take a seat... he has serious business to discuss. Oddly Don seems more at ease now the pleasantries are out of the way and it is time for business. He settles onto the couch and lights up a cigarette as Connie of all people seems a little uncertain how to proceed. When he does, however, Don truly takes notice, because the news is horrifying.

Effective January 1st, 1964, Putnam, Powell and Lowe is being sold to McCann Erickson.

Don is surprised but, surprisingly, doesn't quite seem to grasp the full implications of this information. When Connie explains that he has no choice but to withdraw the Hilton Account from Sterling Cooper, Don is perplexed. Seemingly he believes that things will simply continue as they were with just another parent company every so often sticking their noses in, or maybe he even perplexingly believes that Sterling Cooper will now somehow be "free", cut loose and able to go back to being their own Agency again?

Instead, Connie explains the realities: McCann is buying PPL and everything that comes with it, and they don't share PPL's same need for an American representative Agency. That means no more (semi)autonomy, they'll take over completely, and as Don grasps this he makes another erroneous assumption: that they'll all be fired. Not so, Connie again corrects. Roger might go, and Cooper will be "put on an ice floe" for certain... but Don? Don is a prize pig, and they'll make sure to cling to him tightly. Hell, that'll be a good thing for Don even without the Hilton Account, they'll give him his pick of Clients to work with and he won't have to live or die by keeping people (like Connie) happy anymore.

That's bullshit and they both know it, and Don isn't going to let it slide. McCann is a "sausage factory", and he bitterly ruminates on how he was offered work there 3 years earlier and turned it down. That was one of the scenes of his great personal triumphs, when he negotiated not only a raise but an agreement with Roger to not have a contract. Now McCann gets to just "buy" him without him having any say in the matter? To be put to work where they want and when they want, his artistic and creative energy slaved to a corporate process?

Now the bitterness really sets in, as Connie shrugs and remarks this is just business and it happens all the time, and offers a meaningless aside that he might have asked McCann to put Don onto his Caribbean hotels but he's not sure he's sticking with those much longer. Not bothering to hide his disdain, Don complains that Connie comes and goes as he pleases, an idea that Connie not only doesn't deny but seems to take great satisfaction in agreeing to. Don is furious of course, because before he met Connie he was "free". When PPL made the purchase and Duck tried to tell Don what to do, Don was in a position to coolly reject him because he was contractless, and himself free to come and go as he pleased.

Now, purely because of Conrad Hilton, Don is tied to a contract for at least another 2 years, while Connie just gets to move on without a care in the world. He quietly mocks that Connie once called him "son" when really he was only interested in playing with and belittling Don (that moon business was, after all, absolutely about putting Don in "his place"). But Connie isn't phased by Don's little tantrum, because he's seen that all before.

Taking a moment to maintain his own temper, he points out that all his success has come from his work and his work alone. As a result, he is "immune" to those who complain and cry and whine about not being successful. Or in other words, he has insulated himself so far beyond consequence thanks to his enormous wealth, that he has no empathy or concern for those who are still - unlike himself - caught up in the system that he has "won". Like far too many before him, he mistakes financial and business success with moral (and personal) superiority, treating a lack of empathy as a badge of honor and ignoring the fact that for every 1 person who manages to make something from nothing in this world, 100 (1000, a million) others never manage or simply aren't allowed to get off the starting block.

"I didn't take you for one of them," Connie offers, then stands and offers a hand. When Don, having vented enough to regain control of himself, stands and shakes it, Connie offers about the only concession he can: a vague promise that they might pick up their relationship again somewhere down the road. Don agrees, but he doesn't believe it nor does he desire it: Conrad used him and discarded him like nothing, just like those assholes from his youth overlooked him or ignored him. He walks out of the room, his professional life now almost as much a mess as his personal one.



Don arrives at Sterling Cooper in a daze, still processing the bombshell Connie landed in his lap. He watches a secretary crumpling up paper and a memory flashes in his head, a connection he hasn't thought of in years. He remembers being a child, seated in the kitchen watching his father similarly crumple a piece of paper. Other men are gathered in the room, watching uneasily as Archibald Whitman angrily denounces the low price for their grain that their representative has negotiated. They are an Agricultural Cooperative, working together to have a stronger bargaining position when selling their crops, but a surplus has reduced the price of wheat to half that of the previous year.

Still, what can they do? This is the only price they're going to get. Archibald though refuses to bend, pointing out that he has a silo and can store his wheat in there till winter when the price will go up. The other members of the Cooperative immediately see the issue there though, no money till winter means no money to pay his mortgage, but now that Archibald has set his mind to things he isn't going to be shaken. He declares this is none of their business, and when they remind him that the point of a cooperative is to stand together, he insists they're a cooperative no more and demands they get out of his kitchen.

A young Dick Whitman can only watch as neighbors (and presumably friends) storm out of his father's kitchen, Archibald too stubborn and too proud to back down or accept the truth of his situation. In 1963, an adult Don Draper considers his own no-win situation and how he will choose to deal with it: does he capitulate and accept his fate? Or does he try to standalone in defiance of the inevitable like his drunken, violent father? Or does he try to find a different path?

Don it seems chooses a compromise: he can't go it alone, but he doesn't have to accept his fate. He marches into Cooper's office (taking his shoes off beforehand of course!) and delivers the news himself: PPL is being sold to McCann. Cooper takes this in for a moment and then nods with an,"Oh", and Don assumes this means he knew. He didn't, but that one missing piece of the puzzle made the entire picture become clear. PPL (and Pryce in particular) have continually made business decisions that have seemed to indicate short-term thinking. If their only goal was to reduce expenditure and up profits in order to sweeten a deal to sell their own company, then he finally understands why they've been acting they way they have.

But now that he knows, Don's question is what do they do about it? What CAN they do about it? is Cooper's retort. After all, they all have contracts, which means they're part of any sale that happens. Don tries to fire Cooper up, warning him he risks losing his business, but that just makes the older man laugh... he ALREADY lost his business when he sold it the previous year!

Don won't be dissuaded though, okay sure he lost his business... but doesn't he want it back? Why don't THEY buy Sterling Cooper back from PPL and set thing back to the way they used to be? That makes Cooper laugh again, noting that young men love risk because they can't imagine the consequences. He isn't laughing though when Don hits back with the fact old men love building golden tombs and sealing everybody else with them. He's done, Don accuses him, and with a sneer tells him he's leave him to back to sleeping his day's away.

Cooper is pissed now, does Don really expect him to risk the fortune built up over a lifetime? If he loses it, unlike Don he doesn't have a lifetime to rebuild it. Plus what does Don care? He's made it clear many times he didn't want to be tied down to Sterling Cooper so why try to save it now? Unspoken of course being the obvious fact that McCann will want to keep and handsomely pay Don after the sale is made... hell they already tried to poach him once. So why does Don care?

Don's energy catches Cooper by surprise. Ranting about how he can't abide by the business mentality of only caring about turning $1 into $1.10, he insists that what he wants is to WORK. He wants to build something, something of his own, and he can't understand why Cooper doesn't get that... because Cooper did it himself 40 years earlier. Impressed, Cooper agrees that he did, but he isn't sure if Don quite has the stomach for such a monumental task. "Try me," Don declares resolutely, and almost immediately backtracks when Cooper says that Don will need to convince Roger Sterling to make it work. To make a viable bid to repurchase Sterling Cooper, they need Accounts who back them personally, and the biggest they have is American Tobacco, and that's Roger's baby. Don doesn't want to go on bended knee to Roger, but given how short a time they have, and the fact Cooper wants to test Don's resolve, he has no choice.

In Roger's office, he's talking Jane down from her ongoing obsession with coverage of the Kennedy assassination. He hangs up as Don and Cooper enter, as always presenting an air of bemused indifference... until Cooper shares Don's news and he sits stunned for a moment. Finally he reacts, in typical Roger fashion complaining that they're going from one John's bed to another. But when Cooper floats the idea of buying Sterling Cooper back, he lets it sit for a second before asking why, and is unimpressed with the answers he gets. Don doesn't want to work at McCann? Why should he care (he did once, but that is when HE owned Sterling Cooper)? If they don't stop the sale, Cooper is done for? So what? Does Don really expect him to believe he wants to do this for the benefit of "Bert"?

Cooper actually lets a little of his own outrage out, complaining that Roger sold his birthright for that "trollop", but Roger is... well, not enjoying having them beg, but certainly not disliking the feeling. He isn't here for them to try and pitch to him or to hash out old arguments with his old mentor though... he wants to see Don with his tail between his legs for once, he wants Don to beg him, to admit he was wrong and needs him.... he isn't going to risk everything he has because DON doesn't want to work at McCann.

"Do YOU want to work there?" Don asks, but for Sterling it's six of one, half a dozen of the other: they won't respect his work over there, but Don doesn't respect it here so what difference does it make? Don - because he has no choice - admits that he was wrong, and that his relationship with Connie proved that Roger was right about him: he might know how to sell ideas, but he is NOT an Account man. Here Roger hits him with a hard home-truth (that also largely applies to himself): Don is not good at relationships because he doesn't value them.

"I value my relationship with you," Don adds back without hesitation, does the thought of Betty even cross his mind in this moment? Regardless, his proclamation of "love" doesn't move Roger any more than it did Betty. He values it NOW because he needs something. But Don doesn't dispute that, he accepts it as a truth and has no problem doing it: in his mind it shouldn't matter how he came to this conclusion, simply that he came to it.

Still Roger hesitates, he's got plenty of money, he's got stock, if he's useless then is that so bad? He can go sit on a deckchair and enjoy his young wife and absolutely no stress or responsibility (gee, what an alien concept for Roger Sterling). Here Cooper makes one final play, noting that he has known men his own age or younger that also chose to get out of the game, to enjoy lives of quiet luxury... and they were all dead within three years.

"Join or die? Jesus Bert, he was doing better," sighs Roger, pointing to Don. It seems his days of immediately kowtowing to Cooper as senior Partner are long gone... but something Cooper said HAS struck a chord. A fear that without his job, even a job in which he does relatively little, he won't know what to do with him. Don, the master of the pitch, knows when to push and when to let somebody percolate. So he simply tells Roger,"We need to try," and leaves it at that. Roger considers, and then offers a nod to a conversation they had back when Roger once convinced HIM not to go to McCann... so it turns out he really DID want to be in advertising after all.



At the Draper Residence that evening, Don arrives home and Betty immediately orders the kids upstairs. Bobby protests, daddy has only just gotten home, but Don promises them he'll be upstairs soon. Sally turns off the television and they glumly make their way up, while Don pours himself a drink and half-mockingly asks if she'd like to send him to bed early too. Instead she tells him to sit down, and then delivers him with the latest in a series of bombshells he's faced today: she's been in contact with a divorce lawyer, and she suggests he do the same.

There's no yelling or screaming, instead Don just looks hurt and then gently (and not a little condescendingly) tells her she doesn't want to do that. He goes so far as to blame it on the Kennedy assassination (saying they've all had a "rough" couple of weeks) and then has the goddamn unbelievable temerity to suggest she go and see a doctor... a good one this time!

So one that WOULDN'T freely discuss his client's confidential sessions with her husband, then?

Betty's voice drips with contempt when she asks if he really thinks she'd need to be sick to want to be out of their marriage. Don, still trying to maintain control and dictate terms, insists that he isn't going to let HER break up the family. She isn't having that either, it's the closest she gets to losing her temper as she points out that it wasn't her who broke up the family. She walks out, and Don sits and broods, even now trying to think about how to salvage this just like he's trying to salvage the Sterling Cooper situation.

The next day, a somewhat intrigued and bemused Lane Pryce enters Cooper's office to find Cooper, Don and Roger waiting for him. Cooper asks him to shut the door and have a seat, and he gladly plays along, interested in why the triumvirate have summoned him. They get right to the point, Roger explaining they already know that McCann has bought PPL and that makes Sterling Cooper chattel.

Pryce is stunned, mostly because he can't believe somebody let slip the secret. He demands to know who told them but only gets that it was somebody outside of the office. He ponders for a second and then lets out a sigh, admitting that it was probably only a matter of time before the information got out anyway. Still, he is quick to correct them, they don't have entirely correct information: it is ONLY Sterling Cooper for sale. "PPL will remain... well.... PPL," he smiles, as if the thought of PPL ever being anything else is as ludicrous a thought as God not saving the Queen.

They're not concerned about the finer details of the deal though, just Sterling Cooper. They explain their angle, they want to buy the Agency back instead of letting it be sold to McCann, and they're willing to offer back the original purchase price plus 12%. Pryce scoffs at the idea, not out of malice but because of the sheer ridiculousness of their offer: the company is worth far more than that now. Roger immediately asks exactly what the sale figure was and Pryce will only say it was more than that (there is no way, NO way that Pryce actually knows the real figure), and it is simply too late.

He regrets it for sure, standing he simply offers with genuine sincerity that he enjoyed his time here, and with that he leaves. Roger frowns but is also fatalistic: they gave it a shot, there is nothing more that can be done. Now they just have to bide their time: his contract runs another year, Don's for three... they can always have another go at things down the track. Cooper's name is conspicuously absent from that conjecture, while Don sits and considers silently. He doesn't want to wait 3 years, he can't stand the thought of being constrained like this any longer... but what options does he have?

Betty Draper is also trying to figure out how to get out of her own constraints. She is meeting with a lawyer, Henry Francis beside her, who is running her through the options for divorce in New York in 1963... and there aren't many. If Don was absent for a significant enough period of time, maybe she could get a divorce. If he was utterly and incurably insane, maybe. If he was in prison for life, maybe. And finally if he was guilty of adultery.

That last one seems Betty's best choice, as she points out Don has been unfaithful... but that isn't enough for the lawyer. She needs to be able to prove this with witnesses and corroboration, and anyway that wouldn't matter if both parties were "at fault". Betty seems confused by this, and then realizes he is referring to herself and Henry. She starts to explain they're not together (not bothering to explain that's only in the physical sense) but Henry speaks up to admonish the lawyer, Ken, asking if he really wants ANOTHER scandal on the Governor's ticket.

It seems this particular lawyer is tied up with Governor Rockefeller's campaign, and that Henry has brought Betty to see him both for his prestige and talent as well as to save her some cash. To his credit, he seems aghast at himself as he apologizes sincerely to Betty for his presumption, doing something that Don has rarely done and admitting he was wrong.

Now that the initial warnings about the difficulties are out of the way, Ken offers her the solution: Reno. New York makes getting divorced hard because New York doesn't WANT anybody getting divorced, but that doesn't mean you can't do it elsewhere. She simply needs to go and spend six weeks in Reno to establish residency, and then all she needs is Don's consent - he doesn't even have to be there - and she will be divorced. Plenty of people do it, hell he met his second wife there!

That does, of course, leave the matter of the financial settlement... what does she want. Betty considers for a moment and then simply claims she wants what she is entitled to, but Henry cuts things off. He asks for a moment alone, and Ken has to sit uncomfortably and pretend not to see and hear as the "not-a-couple" stare intently at each other as Henry promises her that she needn't worry about money. She reminds him that she has three children, and he immediately and without hesitation declares that he will take care of them, and take care of her - he doesn't want her owing Don anything. She's startled by this but takes it at face value, and with only this man - still comparatively speaking a stranger - and his word for backing agrees to forgo the 50% or more of Don's impressive financial value that would be due, not to mention ongoing child support.

Henry turns to Ken and tells him they just want this done as quickly as possible. Betty glows, feeling the love and support... but now the question MUST be raised: is she just trading in one charming, smooth-talking man for another. What does she really know about him? Will he feel the same way when the bloom is off the rose and he has three little kids to raise in addition to his fully-grown daughter? What happens when they have their first fight? What if he grows to resent her, the kids, etc. What if she grows to find him tiresome or shallow? What if the kids utterly detest him (which seems likely as hell from Sally)? As much as it is great that Betty is refusing to accept or put up with Don's bullshit any longer, she's going into this without a parachute, and it terrifies me.

At Sterling Cooper, Pryce has managed to get through to Saint John Powell before he has left the office for the evening in the UK. He isn't particularly eager for a chat at this hour, asking rather testily what Pryce wants, and is surprised to hear that Sterling, Cooper and Don have found out about the sale.

Exactly what do they know, he asks? A mixture of truth and half-truth offers Lane happily, chuckling as he recounts that they somehow got the idea that PPL was being sold as well. Saint John considers for a moment and then offers an apology to Lane, since obviously the news has started to get out. Suddenly Pryce feels a hole opening up beneath him as he asks nervously WHAT news, and without a hint of concern Saint John explains that the Americans were right.... Putnam, Powell & Lowe IS being sold.

Lane is horrified, even more horrified than he was when first told Sterling Cooper was for sale. What makes things worse is Saint John's complete calm, as he answers Lane's horrified question about what for him now with an almost disinterested,"McCann, I suppose?" as if Lane's fate never once occurred to him before then. He seems amused as he explains why Lane wasn't told, because he didn't need to know and they wanted to keep PPL staff as well as Sterling Cooper staff calm while the owners made out like bandits and abandoned them to live or die at the whims of the new owners.

Calmly drinking and giving not a single poo poo about the upheaval he has just created in a loyal-to-a-fault employee, Saint John chuckles dismissively that Lane need not be concerned because he's sure he'll soon prove himself irreplaceable... he always does! In one last final indignity, trapped by the social mores of a stuffy and repressed system he's known all his life, Lane actually says thank you to Saint John before hanging up. "Thank you," agrees Saint John, without a care in the world, horribly genuine in being grateful for Lane's hard work making Saint John himself a fortune while simultaneously hanging Lane out to dry.

Only once the call is ended does Lane allow the mildest display of his outrage and horror, slamming the phone down on the receiver. He is not without fault, of course, he did regret what was happening to Sterling Cooper but he remaining an active complicit part in it, and didn't mind so much whatever was going to happen to the rest of the company since he assumed he would be welcomed back to PPL with open arms, even if he wasn't all that enthused about a return to London. Now he doesn't even have that, he's learned the horrible truth about capitalism: you're useful till you're not, and then you're tossed aside. Hell, sometimes you're tossed aside even if you're still useful, and the people at the top get richer off the back of YOUR hard work.

Others will be worse off, he has money and Saint John is right that McCann will probably be glad to keep him and pay him well, and the same stands true for Roger and Don (and Cooper is already rich)... but he invested so much of her personality and his beliefs in the idea that he was a valued and appreciated by his bosses. To some extent he was... but that didn't stop them discarding him without a thought the moment it profited them to do so.



Don returns home that evening and makes straight for the guest room, when he's surprised and a little saddened to see Sally curled up asleep on the guest cot. He settles down on the chair in the corner and stares at his daughter, thinking about his daughter possibly growing up without him (something he has almost left her to do at least twice that I can think of). He rests one hand against his head in thought, unconsciously mimicking the last person he would ever imagine as his thoughts stray once more to the past.

Abigail Whitman, the woman who raised him seemingly only as a duty, holds her hand to her face in the exact same way as she stares at her husband Archibald drinking moonshine and insisting that if they can just hold out one more month till winter comes they'll be set when he sells the grain at a good price. He grins as he says it, imagining not just the money but the incomparable high of being proven right, of getting to rub it in the cooperative's faces.

Except Abigail is there with those irritating reminders of things like reality. Because they're not going to make it a month. The banker has been coming by about their mortgage payments, and she's literally down to a few coins and a couple notes left in her money jay. Archibald continues to insist that there is nothing to be concerned about, after all what are the bank gonna do? Sell the place!

....ye... yes! That is EXACTLY what they will do!

Archibald is convinced, utterly convinced, that they'll see reason and understand that once he sells the wheat they'll get their money, and be satisfied with that. How he can be that naive/stupid can only partly be explained by that moonshine he's chugging down, and even little Dick Whitman sitting at the table eating his slice of bread is smart enough to know that.

She snaps that they have nothing and they're about to have even less than that, and he's had enough of her (perfectly reasonable and justified!) badgering! Leaping to his feet, he angrily proclaims that fine, he'll sell the wheat for cheap then! In fact he'll sell it TONIGHT! He's gonna drive to Chicago! She complains that he's drunk but he ignores her, proclaiming Dick's name in a way that leaves him in no doubt he's summoning him to accompany him. Dick remains at the table, looking to Abigail for guidance: even at this young age he has learned that as fearsome and violent as his father is, it is her that calls the shots. Fed up and disgusted, she tells Dick to go along with him since Archibald can barely stand up straight... he's going to need all the help he can get.

We know so little about Abigail, and it is curious to think about how much about her is accurate and how much is Don still harboring a childish grudge for the harsh way she brought him up. We've heard him complain about being called a whore's son, and how she detested him and had no love for him because he was a reminder of her husband's infidelity... but unless I am not remembering something specific I don't believe we ever actually see her being any harsher than a woman from that time and that setting might have been. We HAVE seen that when she gave birth to Adam, she wanted to show him to Dick. We have heard (only late into season 3) that Uncle Mack was good to him.

Was Abigail as cruel to Dick as Don remembers her being, or if she was how much was out of actual malice towards him rather than a misguided and harsh belief in discipline to ensure he didn't end up making the same mistakes as his father? We have seen she had at least some moral code - willing to take the hobo in and offer him food and payment for work, even if there was a slight performative aspect to her following the "Christian" way of doing things. We have seen that Don has borrowed at least one of her mannerisms at least unconsciously. We have seen photos of a seemingly happy (if hopelessly trapped by poverty) Dick Whitman growing up alongside an adoring little brother Adam, and she and Mack were there the entire time raising them. We saw her come to collect what she thought was his corpse when he "died" in Korea. How much of what we know of her is purely down to Don Draper never really escaping his childhood and difficult background?

Regardless, little Dick Whitman goes into the barn where his drunken father is telling the horses to calm down. A storm has blown up outside, and apparently Abigail's warnings have filtered down far enough into Archibald's drunken head that he's decided to ride horses instead, as if that is any more sensible. Dick watches uncertainly as his father leads the clearly nervous horse out to be saddled, drunkenly insisting that it isn't going to rain as if the horse will understand him. Staggering back to Dick, he hands him the jug of moonshine and laughs with the closest thing he has to genuine good humor as Dick takes a swig and blanches at the taste.

Pulling the saddlebags down, Archibald fumbles them and they drop to the straw covered floor. Grunting, he bends over to collect them just as a strike of lightning flashes and lights up the barn. The horse, already nervous, whinnies in fright and instinct takes over, and it kicks backwards. The hoof connects square with Archibald's face and he crashes to the ground. Dick rushes to his side, calling first pa and then, seeing the clear damage to his face, a frightened,"Daddy? Daddy!?!" as he crouches down beside him. A crescent has been cut square into Archibald's face by the kick of the horse, and he isn't moving or breathing. Dick does the only thing he can do, and runs as fast as his little legs will take him back to the house to get Abigail.

Decades removed but still a frightened boy at heart, Don Draper gets up from his chair and walks over to the bed. He crawls in beside Sally, rests one arm over her and goes to sleep. He doesn't want her left without a father, but while he is far more sophisticated, controlled and intelligent than his father ever was, he is in some ways more to blame for this situation than Archibald ever was. Though he created the circumstances in which it could happen, he was at least taken from Dick Whitman's life in a freak accident. The seemingly inevitable fracturing of Don's marriage to Betty is entirely an issue of his own making.



The next morning, Allison informs Don that his guests have arrived. Roger, Cooper and Lane enter, the latter understandably irritable after the revelation of the previous day, the other two none-the-wiser for what Don wants. He admits he couldn't sleep, and he's still desperately trying to figure a way out of the reality of his contract binding him - HIM! Don Draper! Master of the Universe! - to legal servitude to McCann Erickson. His plan now? To go directly to McCann and offer to buy Sterling Cooper from them.

Pryce can't believe his time is being wasted like this, refusing to accept Don's plea to tell him the sale price so they at least have a starting point for their negotiations. He does however truculently admit that they were right, PPL is part of the sale deal, and they just have to accept their fate: ALL of them are going to end up at McCann, including himself. Roger can't help but smile at that, gleefully - but not maliciously - noting that PPL have cut Pryce loose too.

He admits they have, but that is that so... so that's that! Clutching on to whatever loyalty and sense of duty he has left, he complains that he should really fire Don for trying to draw him into a conspiracy. Bitter, Don snaps back that he might as well since it was the only thing he was ever any good at. Cooper tries to offer a quiet warning but Pryce has already taken exception, angrily proclaiming that he is good at a great many things.

Don seems surprised, but it isn't because Pryce has shown some real emotion for a change. Rather, something Pryce said has struck a chord. Quietly, in utter astonishment, he gives voice to the thought. Pryce is right, he could fire him. He was made Managing Partner by PPL, he was given absolute authority to fire anybody he so chose, and he did so with surgical precision to lower expenses and raise profits, an efficiency which of course paradoxically is costing him his own position at PPL. But that authority remains, and Don says the last thing any of them expected... he should fire them.

A smile crosses Cooper's face as he grasps Don's intent. Roger gets it too but he is more wary, can Pryce really do that? He can, they may be the highest rank people at Sterling Cooper and two of them may be Founding Partners, but Pryce has the authority to sever their contracts and kick them out on the street. In short, to free them. But... why would he? Don has already considered that too.

Because for all Saint John's assurances that Pryce would soon make himself irreplaceable, he knows that McCann will do to him what he did to Sterling Cooper. They'll tear out even more "dead wood" and that will include a highly paid Managing Partner with no connection to the American advertising industry. They'll toss him overboard and he will be another "corpse knocking against the hull".... but they are willing to throw him a life preserver. Fire them, and when he gets fired in turn they'll hire him.

Roger starts a startled protest, Don is making hiring decisions before they've even started the Agency? But Cooper is onboard and when a stunned Pryce starts to stumble that there is no point in seeking revenge on PPL, tells him that they can sweeten the deal even more: they'll make him a partner. Pryce absorbs this for a moment, and then offers a reply.... his actions are worth more than that.

For the first time in quiet some time, a genuine and heartfelt smile crosses Don's face. "We're negotiating now?" he asks with a grin, because he knows exactly what that means: Pryce's decision has been made, the moral objection has been overwhelmed, and now it is just about settling on the price.... and he opens with an offer that shocks Roger: they'll make him a NAMED Partner.

Roger thinks things are moving a little too fast, but both Don and Cooper are of one mind now: neither of them know how to do what Pryce does (the actual boring financial side, as opposed to massaging clients, having political access, and Creative brilliance) and they know Roger certainly doesn't.

Things are quiet for a few moments, as all four let the enormity of what they're suggesting settle in. And then Pryce takes the lead, walking to take a seat, a quiet acknowledgement that he has committed. Now comes the process itself, and here he proves his worth again: he knows what is needed beyond just the idea (Don's specialty), beyond the political credibility and access (Cooper's specialty) that any new Agency would need. They need to bring accounts (Roger's specialty) with them, which will provide them with enough money for cashflow to get things to start AND keep running.

Roger can bring Lucky Strike, and Pryce quick calculates that equates to about 23 million in billings (24, Roger is quick to correct) but that leaves another 8 million they really need for cashflow. Roger is tapped out though, he can't bring any more than Lucky Strike because Lee Garner Sr. needs to be made to feel special. He asks Don if he can bring Hilton and Don quietly shakes his head no. Connie would be unlikely to come anyway, but Don has already compromised enough to achieve this (chance of a) dream and still feels a bitterness towards Hilton it will take some time to get over. Don assures Pryce though that they WILL get the extra 8 million... so what next?

Pryce considers the logistics, all made possible by the time difference between New York and London. If he sends a telex at noon today (Friday) saying that Cooper, Sterling and Draper have been fired, it will arrive in London after close of business. Nobody will see it until Monday morning there, which is 2am in New York. That gives them the rest of Friday and the weekend to gather Accounts, a skeleton staff to service them... and they'll need to "obtain" all the Account related materials needed for continuity of service.

"Obtain?" asks Don, amused,"We have to steal everything?"

That isn't the most dangerous part though. It's the "skeleton staff" that is the issue. This means approaching people at Sterling Cooper to join them in the new Agency, which means trusting them with the secret. If that information gets out, if somebody they ask declines the offer and runs to the wrong person, then PPL will find out and they'll all be locked out of the access they desperately need.

All four sit in silence for a moment, and then Don asks the obvious question: even up until this point it's all be theoretical... are they actually going to do it? Do they vote? Roger, Cooper and Don all happily put their hands up, and a pleased Pryce quickly offers a perfunctory hand raise himself. That's it. It's official. As Roger happily puts it, on December 13th, 1963 four guys shot their own legs off. Or as Pryce more succinctly put it, in the happiest he's ever been to utter the phrase:



It's the final episode of Season 3, there has been all kinds of storylines about Don's marriage, Betty and Henry's disciplined "affair", the death of Don's father, the breakup of his family etc. But it's here, halfway through the last episode of the season, that I realize what this has all somehow, perfectly, been building up to. Of all things, we're watching the Four Partners of Sterling Cooper getting themselves involved in a goddamn heist movie. And it absolutely rules.

Things spring into action quickly. Don emerges with purpose from his office and orders Allison to send out an all-office memo at Mr. Pryce's direction: the office is closed this weekend for carpet cleaning and ALL work is suspended. He asks her to get him Mr. Campbell and when told he has called in sick, tells her it is important for her to get him on the phone before bellowing to Peggy to come see him in his office.

Peggy arrives confused, not sure what Account this is regarding and what work she should be showing him. "Shut the door. Sit down," he tells her, and she does so, launching into an explanation as to why they still don't have art for Western Union (because there is no Sal, unreplaced by Pryce because Sterling Cooper was being sold, with no plans to replace him at all because PPL would be gone by the time the Western Union Account was due). But he cuts her off with a perfunctory,"They're selling the company."

"Again?" she asks after a moment, and he's right into things again, informing her that he's starting a new company and she needs to be in on Sunday to empty her office and help them collect whatever they need for the accounts they end up taking. She's flabbergasted, but her first question is also on point: who else is coming. Instead of answering he asks why she needs to know, and when she tells him it is important he still doesn't answer, simply telling her that he can't say and then asking if she understands what it means that they're being bought by McCann.

But now she's had a chance to recover, and what comes out of her is a realization of her own: he assumes she'll just do whatever he tells her to do. He's surprised as she continues pondering out loud, a tone of accusation creeping into her voice as she realizes he likens her to a nervous poodle following him around. Now he gets harder. It's been an appalling couple of weeks for him even without the Kennedy assassination, and the one sweet thing to come out of it she means to sour?

Despite my many screw-ups accidentally switching their names, Peggy is NOT his wife which also means he isn't going to put up with another woman in his life giving him a hard time. So with a frown and a warning tone he tells her he isn't going to beg, and then has his outrage completely undercut when she - getting a little angry now herself - points out that forget begging... so far he hasn't even asked!

A little taken aback, but with time too tight to play games, he simply swallows his pride and then offers the barest hint of humility by taking the time to actually properly ask her. Except of course, it's too late, it's no good if she had to tell him how to show her respect. Over the last couple of years Peggy has come to a lot of realizations about Don: that he's not a God, that he has plenty of flaws, that he can be aggressive and verbally abusive and take out his own problems on those beneath him. Now she has come to another: like far too many others at Sterling Cooper, Don thinks that he does all her work. At least in the sense that he thinks her accomplishments are his own, that her good ideas come about as a result of his guidance. That without him, she is nothing.

In what must be one hell of a cathartic moment for her, after revealing to him that she has had offers from outside Sterling Cooper, ones that came with a pitch about the opportunities they could afford her, she's unimpressed by his presumptuousness. She verbalizes a truth far too many women have not been able to realize for themselves: she has no interest of simply being around so he has somebody to kick around when he fails.

Seeing that he has miscalculated, or rather that he isn't going to get what he wants, he simply says he'll have to ask Kurt and Smitty, and she agrees and makes her exit. Her head is spinning, both with the news but also with the fact she was able to say what she really meant. He doesn't tell her to keep it a secret, he can probably assume she isn't going to go blabbing, or that telling her NOT to do something might be more likely to make her do it. But once she's gone, like he has done far too often with his wife Betty in the past, he allows himself to face up to the fact that HE has hosed up, that HE is to blame. He assumed she wouldn't even question his reveal, that she would in fact be grateful to even be considered. Instead he alienated probably the one person he most wanted to take with him.

What you would probably assume would be the least wanted person is next: Pete Campbell. At his home, Trudy is quickly putting together chips and dip on, of course, the Chip'n'Dip! Pete is running around trying to find pajamas to wear, because of course he isn't sick at all, he's been following up on Trudy's support and had an interview with Ogilvy today... and now Don Draper is coming to visit.

The doorbell rings and she answers, and it's not just Don at the door, it's Roger Sterling too. Pete, having just ruffled his hair to make it look like he's been in bed, isn't quite sure how to react: why are BOTH of them here? Have they discovered his overture towards Ogilvy? Is he getting fired before he can quit? Trudy realizes nobody is going to say anything and so excuses herself to change the sheets, and they get down to business, and it is the last thing Pete is expecting.

Just like Peggy, his reaction to learning they've been sold is,"Again?", but unlike her he tries to keep secret what they both clearly already know: that he has been fielding other opportunities. They explain they're forming a new Agency, they're taking American Tobacco, and they need another 7-10 million for cashflow ("...or something..." Roger shrugs) so they want to know what he's already gathered ahead of his own move.

Also like Peggy he tries to turn them down, and winces when Trudy - clearly eavesdropping - calls out to ask to speak to him for a moment, making both Roger and Don grin. Suspicious and paranoid as ever, Pete is bitter about the idea of a promotion being adding "more meaningless adjectives", and assumes they've come to him because Ken turned them down. Not at all, Roger notes they haven't spoken to Ken.... yet. They want him for his Accounts yes, but also his talent.

That makes him more suspicious, because Pete never met a compliment he didn't spy an ulterior motive or a hidden insult in. So he asks them what his talents are, but cuts off Roger's generic statement to go to the person he KNOWS detests him: Don Draper. Just like Roger wanted to see Don with his tail between his legs, Pete wants to hear Don compliment him, half-expecting him to refuse or to struggle and thus reveal it's just about the money his name can bring them like it has ALWAYS been.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 00:51 on May 4, 2021

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Except Don, far more prepared this time (and having an easier time stroking the ego of a man than a woman) doesn't have a single problem doing so. He detested Pete for a long time, but Pete long since stopped being a threat to him and once that happened he also stopped caring about his unfair privilege and lack of self-awareness. Instead he focuses on some genuine and unique skills that Pete brings to the table: he saw Sterling Cooper's value as a place of employment fading long before any of them; he picked up on aeronautics as a potential cashcow of the future; the increased worth of the teenage demographic (all the way back during his time trying to get the Nixon Account); and even the "Negro market" that they lambasted him for pitching.

Duck Philips once told Pete that he wouldn't be credited with forward-thinking at Sterling Cooper, but Pete didn't want that credit to come from Duck: he craved the approval of the father figures who WOULDN'T give it to him, and now he's gotten it. When Don adds on that it isn't just the new Agency that needs his forward thinking, but Don himself, it's the last push over the edge he needs.

Now, just like Pryce, it's about negotiation. He demands to be a partner and have his name in the lobby, making them laugh mostly because, as Don explains, there isn't going to be a lobby. But Pete is already moving ahead, this time catching Roger by surprise as he pulls out folders of Accounts: North American Aviation; Secor Laxatives; Gillette; jai alai; possibly Pampers etc. He knew Pete was probably looking for new work, that he might have a couple of Accounts he was going to try and take with him... but he was already trying to do what they're now attempting. He really, genuinely is ahead of them.

So far he has close to 8 million in Accounts that are all but guaranteed, and he thinks that warrants them giving him what he wants. Don agrees that if he can cement these accounts by Sunday he has the partnership... but the name only comes if he can improve on that total by then. He's shocked at how quickly they expect results, but also grasps that he isn't going to get time to consider the offer. He extends a hand, assuring a skeptical Don that he isn't really sick. Don and Roger shake, and when Pete asks them what happens if he comes up short, the answer is as clear as can be: that isn't an option.

Trudy, who of course has been hovering in the bedroom, says goodnight when they offer the same to her. Once they leave she steps out into the room full of awe and glee for her husband, listening attentively as he instructs her to call Hubert Adams at Secor from the number in his Rolodex, pretend to be his secretary and organize a meeting at the St. Regis at 7:30. She stops him as he moves to get dressed, giving him a kiss before racing to do as she was told. All her dreams for him are coming true: he's a mover and a shaker, appreciated and wanted by his bosses who are putting him in on the grand floor of a brand new Agency.

Roger and Don meanwhile retreat to a bar, unconsciously falling back into old habits long gone since the disintegration of their friendship over the Mona/Jane situation. Neither can quite believe that Pete was going to do to them what they are planning to do to Putnam, Powell & Lowe. Roger notices that there is still a picture of Kennedy up at the bar, but figures it's not like anybody wants to replace it with a picture of Lyndon Johnson, which gets a laugh from Don.

It's almost like old times, Roger is even allowing himself to open up a little as he sometimes did when they would drink together in the past, admitting that he's spent his life acting like he started a business but the fact is that he simply inherited everything. Don, for once, opens up himself, admitting to Roger that he needs an attorney before quietly adding the fatal word he has been trying to not think about all day: divorce.

"So it's true, huh?" asks Roger, commiserating, confusing Don somewhat who has no idea about the next bombshell that is going to be dropped in his lap. He asks what Roger is talking about, and Roger - without malice or satisfaction - simply states,"Henry Francis".... and something astonishing happens: Don asks,"Who?"

Because it's all been happening right under his nose. Betty has been so obvious at points that you'd have to think that Don might - if not suspect - at least be aware of this man. They met once at the Derby Party, a night he'd probably rather forget outside of meeting Connie (which he'd also like to now forget) and other than that he hasn't noticed him. They stood near each other but didn't speak at Margaret's wedding. Henry Francis has been in his home. He has made out with his wife. Betty has been to his office and in his car. She has spoken to Don about "the man from the Government" on several occassions.

And Don had no idea. None. The master of keeping secrets has been completely unaware that his "child" of a wife has successfully hidden her own (emotional) affair from him for months. Not so much as a result of Betty's skills, as of Don's complete lack of investment or care in almost anything outside of his own self interest. She was able to pull this off because he wasn't paying any attention to her, not unless there was something he needed for himself.



"Jesus," whispers Roger quietly. But again he doesn't take pleasure in Don's humiliation, or any malice, or look down on him. Whatever the problems of their past, the recent shock of the PPL sale and their own plans to survive it have seemingly burned away their animosity (for now). Instead, Roger simply offers a genuine and heartfelt apology for Don finding out in this way. Because that's the thing, he knows because Margaret is friends with Henry's daughter, which means others probably know too, and Roger assumed that Don knew as well.

When he sighs and apologizes, it is with meaning, none of which really means anything to Don in the moment, because his mind is reeling. The man who has slept with multiple women, who has tried at least twice to just abandon his family and run away, who up until Halloween was engaged in a heavy affair with his daughter's former schoolteacher.... cannot believe HIS wife would do something as despicable and unforgivable as cheat on him! HIM! Don Draper! The being who everything revolves around!

When Don returns home he doesn't go to the guest bedroom, he goes to the Master Bedroom. Gene is asleep in a cot, sleeping in that room now that Don has been forced into the smaller room. He jabs at Betty's shoulder, waking her, and she mumbles for him to be quiet, her first thought in this moment not alarm or fright or even anger, but concern that the baby will be woken. Until Don asks quietly, dangerously, who Henry Francis is. She pauses too long, then says,"No one," and the fact is she simply isn't a very convincing liar. Which makes Don even angrier, because it just goes to make him look MORE foolish for not seeing this earlier.

He hauls her out of the bed with one hand, a scary reminder of how big and powerfully built he is and how comparatively small she is. He demands to know again and she snaps back at him asking why he cares, and voice dripping with contempt he talks about how "good" she is and how everybody else (meaning him) is "bad", how "hurt" she is by his affairs and how "brave" she is holding her "little white nose in the air" when all along she has been building a life raft.

And somehow, to me, that is the worst thing. He isn't even accusing her of being a hypocrite having an affair with some guy. Even now, drunk and angry and full of hate, he seems to understand that she wouldn't enter into "just" an affair, that she has found somebody else to spend her LIFE with. Not sex. Not his desperate flailing for something to fill the hole in his heart or a chance to escape a life that he both revels in and finds suffocating. She is in love, and that is a worse betrayal in his mind even though he has professed love to his (many!) mistresses before.

"You never forgave me," he accuses her, not even sure himself what he means when she sneers back at him asking WHAT needed forgiveness. Because of course even after she forced him to reveal the truth of his past, he has continued to hide or ignore or dismiss even further elaboration on his own betrayals. Even when he begged her to take him back at the end of season 2, he never outright admitted cheating on her. He can't now hold it against her that she hasn't forgiven him for things he has never admitted to doing.

But she has plenty to add to that rhetorical question, sarcastically asking if she needs to forgive him for never finding HER to be enough for me? Don turns that around into, of course, claiming she got everything she wanted as if showering her with material possessions forgives or even condones his infidelities. He accuses her of being a spoiled brat, asking if he's not good enough, and she hits back just as angrily and just as loudly that that's right. He's not.

"You won't get a nickel," he whispers, which she doesn't care about, but then declares that he'll also make sure he gets the kids and they'll be better off with him (the man who twice - three times if you count Sally's birthday - was prepared to just walk away and leave them behind) that they'd ever be with her. She isn't intimidated though, retorting that she's going to Reno, he is going to consent to the divorce, and that will be the end of that. She snaps at him not to ever threaten her, because she knows ALL about him. This last line could have many meanings, from his personality to his infidelities to his taking the name of a dead man. That there are so many possibilities just makes it worse for me to know how to react. So like far too many men before him, including most likely his father, he resorts to physical force.

He grabs her by the front of her gown and hauls her forward against him, hissing at her that she is a whore, pumped up on outrage and moral judgement in spite of his own many, many, many violations of their marital vows. She doesn't cringe, she doesn't whimper or cry or seize up or beg. She just stares at him with cold contempt, unfazed. She knows him. As drunk as he is, as angry as he is, he will not beat her. This is just the pathetic flailing of a man too used to having his own way and humiliated by his realization he is a (he believes) cuckold.

Baby Gene starts crying and that breaks the spell. He shoves her away and she doesn't protest or cry out even now, just continues to fix him with that contemptuous look before turning and lifting Gene, then turning the same look back on Don before telling him coldly that she wants him out of the house. This is not how Don saw this going, she hasn't reacted the way she "should", she hasn't fallen apart of admitted he is right or let him take control like has been the case for so much of their marriage. He leaves the bedroom, utterly emasculated, a pathetic man who has resorted to pathetic means for absolutely no gain.



One tradition of writing going back to at least Shakespeare and probably longer has been the idea that a deeply emotional/dark scene be followed up with something comedic, to help ease the tension and lighten the moon for the audience. Thus, come the weekend, Pete Campbell finds himself in an elevator at Sterling Cooper (no Hollis today) unexpectedly holding the door for... Harry Crane?

Assuming Harry is in on the conspiracy, Pete waits for the car doors to close and start lifting up through the floors before admitting that he finds himself a little scared. "Of what?" asks Harry, and a horrified Pete asks why he has come in? Cooper asked him, says Harry, but he clearly knows nothing else. Pete is mortified, how the hell is Harry going to react when he finds them in the midst of their heist.

"Hey everybody, Harry Crane is here!" he bellows out entirely too loud as he and Harry enter the main floor. Pryce, Cooper and Roger are going through files and Pryce tells Pete to relax, Harry was expected. What Pete wasn't expecting was Pryce, why is HE here too? As far as poor overwhelmed Pete knows, Pryce is the enemy!

That's nothing on what is coming for Harry though, who finally asks what is going on and stands agape as Cooper cheerfully explains that PPL has been sold to McCann Erickson, they're forming a new breakaway Agency and they want him to join them as their new Head of Media. Utterly bamboozled, Harry can't say anything other than to ask if this is a joke, Pryce chuckling as Roger agrees it is and wishes him a happy birthday.

Cooper is being kind but also insistent, they need an answer, and when Harry retreats as always to deciding to call his wife to ask for advice, Cooper lays it on the line: They need an answer, and if he chooses to remain and become a mid-level cog at McCann Erickson, then... well, they'll have to lock him in the storeroom overnight!

But as Harry stands locked into place, mind shut down by the horror of having to rush to a decision, Pryce hands Pete some job sheets and asks if he can decipher them: they need to know where to locate the relevant materials for each of the Accounts they're "obtaining" for continuity of service, but they are all so reliant on their secretaries that none of them have any idea what the job sheets say.

Pete knows no better, handing them to Harry who takes them and, grateful for something to do rather than stand stunned, asks if they can't just take everything? Cooper beams with approval which Harry eats up greedily, as well as Pryce's compliment that this is a good idea... but the problem is they don't know where ANYTHING is kept. None of them do, they all know how to read research, how to fill out expense reports and sign off on Art etc... but where all that stuff goes or comes from? They're almost entirely clueless.

Almost.

Roger says he is going to make a phonecall that will solve all of this. This concerns Pryce, who doesn't want any more conspirators, but Roger assures him he will be discreet. He leaves, and Pete finally notices the elephant NOT in the room... where is Don Draper?

Don is at home, what is at least home for now anyway. Betty brings a concerned Bobby and Sally into the living room, which they take to mean they're in trouble and they've done something bad. Betty promises it is nothing, then tries to find a way to give them the news as gently as possible: their father (not daddy from Betty anymore) isn't going to be living there any longer, he's moving out.

The kids of course look straight to Don, who winces, not wanting any part of this. Betty continues to try and soften the blow, explaining they will still be living here and he will visit. Bobby can't wrap his head around this though, if they're still living there and daddy will be visiting, why is he moving out at all?

Sally doesn't say a word, just stares, eyes wide and brimming with tears, old enough to know something is wrong.

Don frowns and then says the last thing Betty wants him to say, promising Bobby that it will only temporary. Bobby leaps on that, it'll be like when he was living in that hotel? That's something he (thinks he) understands at least, something his father has done before. Betty is quick to explain to Bobby that this time will be different to that one, and turning to his father Bobby asks a childish but sadly all too understandable question: is he going because Bobby lost his cufflinks?

On this at least Don and Betty are of one mind, quickly assuring him it is nothing to with him, he is not to blame. Eyes constantly flicking to Sally, concerned by her lack of reaction, he tells them that he loves them both, and she finally speaks... then why is he going? He tries to explain that he isn't going, just living elsewhere, but that makes no sense to her and she isn't accepting this as an answer: those are the same things. Angry now, she demands that he can't just say things he doesn't mean, and snaps at him to go away when he comes over to sit beside her.

Sally admonishes her, she had foolishly hoped against hope they would... well, they wouldn't understand, but maybe that they were still of an age where they would just accept what they were told. Quietly she moans that he told her he would always come home, and he hates himself as he offers her the lamest possible response: he will be coming home, it will just be a different home.

Bobby is, of course, still young enough that that the full impact hasn't hit him yet. It's mid-December, that means Christmas is coming soon (though it's an eternity away for somebody his age) so.. he'll be home for Christmas, right? Betty tries to play up the positive side, he will have TWO Christmases! Sally snaps at that, she only wants one, and now turns her anger and accusations on her mother, demanding to know if she is making him leave.

Of course not, Betty says, which is only a half-life: she is making him leave, but it's down to his actions that have allowed this to happen. Sally is fired up now though, half in a panic as she complains that Betty "made" him sleep in Gene's room and that's scary. Don tries to calm her but she races out of the living room, overwhelmed by emotions, and that has triggered Bobby too who lunges after his father telling him he doesn't want to go.

As Don hugs his son close, Betty drops her head into her hands in despair. And even now, after all he has done to cause this, as Don hugs his son close he makes a point of saying,"Nobody wants to do this," before casting a quick look Betty's way. He won't say or do anything against her directly in front of the kids, but that line was for her "benefit", an accusation/condemnation that she is somehow to blame for his lack of devotion, his lack of sharing, his taking her for granted, refusing her the ability to grow AND resenting her for that same lack, his constant cheating on her, his lies etc. All because she dared to, after multiple years of this, find somebody else to be happy with.



The maddening thing? As we have seen so many times, Don IS capable of introspection. Of learning. Of improving. He just, for some bizarre reason, refuses to let it see fruit in his relationship with Betty. After the debacle of his departure from his home for possibly the last time as the husband of Betty Hofstadt, he goes to see another woman in his life that he HAS taken an interest in helping develop: Peggy Olson.

At her Manhattan apartment, he knocks and asks to come in, ignoring her comment that he looks awful. He takes a seat on the couch, and when she asks if he wants something, he agrees he does... before he does something far too many women of the era never got to experience: he admits she was right. Certainly it was something Archibald never did with Abigail. He doesn't mock her, or angrily and sarcastically agree to do as she says out of bitterness. He simply admits he was wrong, and she was right.

He has taken her for granted. He has been hard on her. And he has, stupidly, seen her only as an extension of himself when she quite clearly is not. All things he should have said to his wife at some point, but never has. She accepts this but clearly isn't moved by it, but when he asks her to sit he does, and then he offers a lesson to go along with his admission of wrongdoing: does she know why he doesn't want to work for McCann?

She assumes he doesn't want to work for anybody, but it's far from that simple. What he says surprises her, and it does move her this time. He doesn't speak about what he does, or what she does, or the genius of their ideas, or the value of their hard work. He laments the loss of identity. There are people out there who buy things, people just like the two of them. But somewhere along the way they stopped being people. They just became... the market. Demographics. The "Consumer". That is a terrible thing, and he knows it, and he knows that she knows it too.

"With or without you, I'm moving on," he tells her,"And I don't know if I can do it alone." He pauses for a long, long time before finally he asks. Truly asks. "Will you help me."

Tears brimming in her eyes, offered the respect and acceptance and acknowledgement as an equal she has longed for, she spends a long time herself. Finally she asks what happens if she says no, will he never speak to her again? No, he promises, because the fact is despite the fact there has never been any romance between them beyond her ill-advised and awfully timed pass at him in the first episode.... this is a proposal. Not of marriage, not of love, but of respect and a desire to work alongside her. If she says no, then he promises her he will spend the rest of his life trying to hire her.

Why oh why could he not have ever spoken to Betty like that?

At Sterling Cooper, the rummaging through the alien language of the secretaries continues fruitlessly when Roger's Hail Mary finally bears fruit. Into the office returns a sight for sore eyes, every man seated immediately standing in relief and happiness to see Joan Harris: Office Manager extraordinaire.

She hasn't just come to see what mess they're in, she has ALREADY made arrangements to fix it. She's prepared a list of everything they need, already hired movers to come collect it, and casts a quick eye over the job sheets and immediately translates it and declares what else needs to be added to the job bags needed to go along with them: logos, films and negatives, the latter of which aren't here... but of course she knows where they are.

A relieved Cooper leaves them to handle this while he starts packing his office, while Don Draper finally arrives on the scene... and of course Peggy Olson is with him. She greets Joan, Harry smiling broadly to see the best Copywriter they have is along for the ride, while Pete isn't unhappy but also not exactly over the moon. He quickly forgets about that when Don asks him to show what he managed to get since Friday.

It's not a bad list at all: North American Aviation, Secor, jai alai, Samsonite and.... yes, he even got Clearasil back (presumably Trudy went to bat big time). That means he hit his target, they have secured the extra Accounts they need to ensure cashflow, which means this thing could work so long as they can get the materials. First stop is the Art Department, though none of them have keys.

Don leads Harry and Pete down to the Art Department (somebody has helpfully popped an F in front of the name) and tries his own keys, but of course none of them work. For one brief, beautiful moment I thought there might be one last addition to the Heist Squad and we would see the return of Sal Romano... but instead Don just figures gently caress it, I'm fired anyway, and literally kicks the door open.

As Don begins unpacking his office and Pete and Harry raid the Art files, Roger, Joan and Peggy go through all the job sheets on the main floor. Roger yawns and asks Peggy to go get him some coffee, and firmly and probably some great deal of satisfaction Peggy replies,"No" and keeps on working.

Hours pass and as things wrap up, an alarmed Cooper watches Joan's movers taking his Rothko out of his office, asking if they washed their hands (I would presume their shoes remained on, but hey as least he's never coming back to the office). As they last of everything is carted out, Joan muses that Greg is going to kill her for having disappeared for so long, a reference to her marriage that reminds Don of his own pressing needs.

He passes Joan his information, explaining he's currently at the Roosevelt but he will need her to find him an apartment to stay in. It seems this was not a one night operation for her, Roger has found her the job she asked him to help her with, she said she couldn't come back to Sterling Cooper and she hasn't... she's just going along with all those who were lucky enough to get out before the McCann bomb went off.

She asks if he needs it furnished and he agrees for now yes, and suppressing a wince she offers a sorry, obviously having a pretty clear idea why he isn't going to be living at home anymore. She makes her exit with a good night to him and Roger, and they are the last two out the door. For just a moment, Don and Roger stand and stare at the main floor of what was Roger's business and Don's domain for so many years.

"How long do you think it'll take us to be in a place like this again?" Roger asks. Don's reply is an honest one... he never saw himself working in a place like this.

They leave, Don making to lock the door before Roger tells him not to bother. He walks away without a final backward look, but now he is alone Don does take a moment to consider what has been a second home to him for quite sometime, a second home in his second life. He considers, and then he walks away. Done.



On Monday morning Allison walks into Don's office with his mail, focused on that over all else until she suddenly realizes that something is off. The desk is bare. The awards are down, the in-boxes are empty, the liquor is all gone. With a shriek she declares they have been robbed, what other possible explanation could there be?

Mr Hooker leads a cheerful Lane Pryce into his office where somebody is waiting to speak to him on the phone, having made three attempts to get through to him. Lane answers and maybe the phone wasn't needed, because surely everybody in New York can hear Saint John Powell all the way over in London screaming down the line. He demands to know what is going on, and roars that Lane is fired! Fired for costing PPL millions! FIRED FOR INSUBORDINATION! FIRED FOR LACK OF CHARACTER!

"Very good. Happy Christmas," declares Lane without a care in the world, hanging up on the man whose every word he once waited on with baited breath. He calls out to Hooker, handing him a slip of paper and declaring with great relish that he has been fired, and requires him to have his office and things put into storage at that address.

Shocked, Hooker asks what has happened, and Lane promises him he's a sharp boy and will figure it out. With a pat he out the door, a spring in his step and a song in his heart. He did kind of gently caress over Hooker in the process, even if he was a bit of an exploitative little poo poo, but he leaves a free man. PPL and Saint John Powell didn't give a second thought leaving him to his fate with McCann after he carried their water, and this time he got to give them a taste of their own medicine.

At the Pierre Hotel, Joan is office managing what is not really an office. Not yet at least. Much like Duck at Grey, they're using a suite though for business as opposed to entertaining clients, in fact Joan insists that NOBODY is to bring clients here or into the bar or the lobby: this is for work only. She's running things of course, she has Pete and Peggy sharing a desk (their one Account man with their one Copywriter), she'll replace a couch with a table for Don (all first names, notice, no more Mister) while Harry (Media) will get the bedroom since it has a television in it, though Roger quips that Accounts get the bed.

The phone, the first of several Joan plans to have installed, rings and with great pleasure she answers their first call with the name of their new agency: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She asks how she can help, then frowns and tells Harry that yes, they're in room 435 now.

At what is left of Sterling Cooper, Allison is understandably inconsolable as various secretaries, copywriters and artists are gathered around her desk. She's sobbing that Don didn't even leave a note, and it's a good reminder that along with the likes of Hooker, this hollowing out of the top brass at Sterling Cooper to escape the clutches of McCann will likely cause plenty of job losses or issues for those left behind.

Among those listening to her are Kurt, Smitty and of course Paul Kinsey. As Allison sobs, Ken Cosgrove arrives with news that blows their minds: John Deere has just called him to let him know that Pete Campbell tried to poach them as a client on Saturday. Ken, Senior VP of Accounts for an Agency only two weeks away from new owners and missing the bulk of their high priced clients, has no idea how close he came to being offered a spot with the new Agency. Hell, at the moment he and most of the others are completely unaware this is what has happened, that Roger and Cooper and Harry and Peggy have all gone too.

It is, funnily enough, Paul Kinsey who first starts putting the pieces together. Till now they'd just assumed Don had done a runner. But Pete and Don together? That doesn't make any sense at all... unless.....? An idea tickling the the back of his mind, a suspicion he MUST confirm, he moves away from the desk to Peggy Olson's office. He opens the door... and of course it has similarly been emptied out. Immediately he understands, not just that Don has grabbed others to leave Sterling Cooper with him, but a gut-punch of a different kind: nobody thought to ask him to join them.



At the Pierre, it's all work as nobody has any time to lounge around or waste time. Pete is taking calls, confirming to his poached clients that they won't only have him but Don Draper as well personally tending to their Accounts. Trudy Campbell arrives and Pete is surprised but for once not displeased to see her. She's brought food for everybody, but also to revel once more in the glow of her husband's success.

She greets Peggy warmly, noting how exciting this is, and Peggy smiles and nods, though this can't help but cast a small shadow on this exciting day: here is Trudy Campbell, the woman who Pete cheated on with her both before and after his wedding, the woman who can't have a baby and has no idea that the woman standing next to her had and gave away a baby that Trudy's husband impregnated her with.

Roger steps up to grab a bite too, also chatting amicably with Trudy, and Don - watching a loving wife doting over her husband - quietly steps into the bedroom and lets a relieved Harry know there is food to eat. With the bedroom empty, Don closes the door, picks up the phone and makes an incredibly important call.

It's to Betty of course, informing her he is going to be working out of the Pierre but offering no explanation for why. But he hasn't called to make trouble, or to vow to win her back after being inspired by Pete and Trudy, or to beg once more to be allowed home even if they can continue a sham of a marriage for the kids. Instead, he simply tells her that he will not contest the divorce.

Relief washes over her, and after a moment she offers a sincere thank you, and he offers an equally sincere hope that she gets what she always wanted. "You will always be their father," she reminds (and promises?) him, and he lets that sink in for a moment, the tacit promise that there will be no custody battle, no attempts to keep him from them. "Okay," he says, and then after a few moments they realize neither has anything left to say to the other. They both say goodbye, and it feels final in a way that cannot be denied.

This doesn't seem like a "but maybe they'll get back together?" situation, this feels like Divorce with a capital D. That they can be amicable (for now) is a wonderful thing, but also perhaps a sign of the permanence of the break-up. If either had lingering feelings for the other, surely that would exhibit in (sadly probably more negative) ways. Instead, they hang up, and it feels like an ending.

Don leaves the bedroom, taking a moment to stand in the doorway and stare. Everybody is eating, Roger joking with Cooper that leaving his shoes outside in a hotel means they're gonna get shined. Pryce is present, enjoying a freedom from the stifling restrictions of his class and background he never dreamed imaginable. Pete sits beside Trudy picking out a meal, both chatting happily with Peggy, Joan and Harry.

He drinks it in. His life with Betty is seemingly over, his life at Sterling Cooper similarly done. But Don Draper is no stranger to starting anew, and in this regard at least he sees only the positives. Here are a group of people committed one and all to the success of something THEY are building, together. It is the successful version of the doomed cooperative his drunken father tore free from pursuing some half-baked dream of holding off reality till he could cash in because he assumed he was smarter than everybody else.

Don told Roger once that whenever he left Sterling Cooper, it would be to do something else, that it "couldn't be this". He has achieved that goal, because though it is some of the same people, and many of the same clients, and the same business... the key change makes all the difference. This is something HE is making. He's not part of somebody else's thing, not an employee, not somebody told what to do even with an enormous amount of freedom outside of that. This thing will succeed or fail based on his work and the work of the people HE chose to align himself with. Even Roger and Pete are welcome additions, neither any threat to him anymore. Hell, now he can truly see them as co-workers, because it is what they are.

"Hello Don," says Pryce, noticing him. Everybody looks up at Don, then goes back to work, and he happily asks Pryce how his morning was. "Very productive," says the recently fired and even more recently Partnered up Pryce. Don beams back, and for now at least happiness permeates the room. Don Draper has finally found some measure of satisfaction in his work outside of the fleeting high of a successful pitch.



Accompanied by Shahdaroba, a final brief montage plays to close out the season. Betty Draper, soon to be Hofstadt (and then Francis?) flies to Reno, baby Gene in her lap, Henry Francis at her side. Carla watches Sally and Bobby, presumably spending the next six weeks (does this take place AFTER Christmas?) looking after them and the house while Betty gets her residency. What does Carla, highly religious, think of this? Of the fact that Betty is spending time with "the Government man" from her flimsy excuse about Rockefeller fundraisers? Does she judge? Does she care? Does she have far bigger concerns on her mind like the increasingly harder to ignore Civil Rights Movement? Finally, Don Draper arrives at the apartment that Joan Harris has found for him.

Carrying his suitcases, he walks up the steps, takes out his keys and prepares to unlock the door. It is time to start anew, just in time for the season to end. With three seasons down, we're nearing the halfway point, and with Sterling Cooper now shockingly out of the picture (or is it?), Betty divorcing Don, and Don attempting to build an Agency from the (well resourced) ground up, outside of knowledge of some of the cultural and historical events that might serve as a backdrop... I have no idea what could possibly be coming next.

It's fantastic.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 00:52 on May 4, 2021

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Jerusalem posted:

It's the final episode of Season 3, there has been all kinds of storylines about Don's marriage, Betty and Henry's disciplined "affair", the death of Don's father, the breakup of his family etc. But it's here, halfway through the last episode of the season, that I realize what this has all somehow, perfectly, been building up to. Of all things, we're watching the Four Partners of Sterling Cooper getting themselves involved in a goddamn heist movie. And it absolutely rules.

I said it earlier in the thread but one of the best qualities of this show is that big, dramatic plot developments often come out of nowhere and get resolved very quickly, but in a way that never feels unearned or unrealistic. The question of what PPL wanted from Sterling-Cooper was running throughout the season, but it quietly moved into the background after their ill-fated reorganization attempt, with the focus shifting to Don chasing Hilton's business/approval and the structural faults at the heart of the Draper marriage really opening up. The revelation that the firm is to be sold is a surprise, but not unexpected, and the efficiency with which the partners' plan gets hatched, executed and resolved is great, it's zippy and energetic but still manages to fit in some important emotional moments (the one-two punch of Don's exceptionally ugly treatment of Betty followed by his emotionally honest meeting with Peggy.)

pokeyman
Nov 26, 2006

That elephant ate my entire platoon.



Rich Sommer: "Fifteen years ago today, I walked out the side of the elevator set instead of the door, thinking the shot was over. It wasnít, and if you watch real closely, I sure do walk through the goddamn wall, right there on TV."

No idea what episode this is so I'll spoiler the three second clip in the elevator: https://twitter.com/madmenpics/status/1389179052339175424

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aBagorn
Aug 26, 2004


Yay, you made it!

This is one of my absolute favorite episodes of the entire series. Its such a well done denouement of the first half(ish) of the series. Neither Sterling Cooper nor Don and Betty's marriage survived, and the future is now open to a world of possibilities

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