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

Soiled Meat

Give it to us Jerusalem!


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 4, Episode 3 - The Good News
Written by Jonathan Abrahams & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Anna Draper posted:

You'll make the best of it. You always do.

Joan Harris completes a check-up with her gynecologist, Dr. Emerson, the far from inspiring doctor who gave Peggy her check-up back in the first ever episode of the show. Physically everything appears to be fine, but her bigger concern is when she can expect to get pregnant: she stopped taking her birth control pills on the 2nd. Emerson notes that she can expect full fertility to return by the end of the month, causing her some minor consternation. After all, for years she would worry about skipping or missing taking her birth control for fear of getting pregnant, now she finds out she could have gone a month without issue?

Emerson just smirks - he's far friendlier and less arrogant with her than he was with Peggy, but there's still an air of condescension in most everything he does - and assures her there is now nothing getting in the way of her pregnancy, but seems surprised she has waited so long after getting married to do it in the first place. He's also surprised that Greg volunteered for the army, pointing out that he only served in Korea himself because he was made to do so, and he sure as hell didn't have a wife at the time. She won't go into details with him on that though, simply saying she and Greg have a plan and leaving it at that.

But when she stops him from leaving, he's further surprised when she asks what effect her two previous "procedures" (read: abortions) might have had. He personally has only given her one, and was unaware of any other. She admits, without shame or timidity, that she had another before she came to him, though does seem a little embarrassed to admit the first was not through a physician but somebody who "claimed" to be a midwife.

Here Emerson can only offer his best guess: he knows the procedure he did was fine, and she had to get pregnant in the first place for him to do it at all, meaning the first procedure didn't screw anything up for her reproductively speaking. He leaves the room, which leaves her with some relief. She can at least have a baby, it seems, now all she has to worry about is her dipshit husband getting himself killed if he ends up in Vietnam.

Don arrives at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, where he is greeted by Allison who takes his hat and coat as usual and asks him if he'd like coffee. "Yes please," he says, and then steps inside. A perfectly normal interaction like any other day. Allison is certainly completely professional, offering nothing in the way of anger or sadness or causing any kind of scene. Don for his part reciprocates, but there does seem to be an air of wariness about him, and then almost relief once he is through the door and away from the awkwardness of being near the woman he used, discarded and humiliated last episode.

He barely has a moment to breathe though before Harry Crane knocks on the door and slips into the office for a quick word before Don leaves for his holiday. Don reminds him his flight isn't set to leave till 12:30, and Harry mumbles about all over the place, clearly trying to work up the gumption to get to his point, complaining about how people are always running out of gas and causing traffic jams before adding quietly under his breath,"I think you know who."

??? I have no idea what he's talking about here but given the time-honored "lower my voice and look around before speaking" gesture I'm gonna assume what he's saying is incredibly racist.

Finally he gets to the point, he just happened to somehow surely completely by accident get a look at Don's schedule and see he has a 24-hour stopover in Los Angeles before continuing on to Acapulco..... so maybe he could pop into The Brown Derby for a quick meeting with Bill Asher?

Luckily for Don, he's saved from Harry's attempts to impress/sweet-talk a producer (Harry lamely declares Asher will probably try to cast Don in something, as if that will sweeten his request) by Lane Pryce popping in to see Don as well. Don is quick to assure him he's not intruding, and Harry beats a quick retreat after complaining about there being no need for an afternoon traffic meeting and suggesting Lane go to England early, which causes Lane to bite back with uncharacteristic bluntness that the extra day-and-a-half won't make up for the "fiddling about" Harry wasted time on in Los Angeles throughout the year.

Harry escapes, his usual pride in defending the hard work of his role overpowered by his fear of crossing (or just as bad, coming to the attention of) a superior. Allison returns with the coffee and Lane instead passes the papers he was carrying to her, he only wanted to ensure Don signed them before he left. They wish each other a Happy New Year and Don tells Lane to enjoy seeing his family again, and then that just leaves Don and Allison. Alone. Again.

Once more it is all very professional. She passes him the papers and he signs each, and they casually discuss her plans for New Year's - visiting with her sister in Paterson, going to Times Square on New Year's Eve with a group of other girls for safety, joking about the sailors who will be out on the prowl etc before discussing business - she'll tell him when it is time to leave, and she offers to put herself or another girl on a desk to keep West Coast Hours in case Don needs to get in touch. He declines, she leaves, and yes it all very professional... and it's clear that for him at least (but probably also her) it's also deeply, deeply uncomfortable and there is a gigantic elephant in the room that answers by the name of "It was a bad idea to gently caress."

Joan approaches Lane's office and, as a courtesy and also to make sure she won't be intruding, speaks to his secretary first to ask why Lane's door is shut. He's smoking his pipe, she explains, and is courteous enough to close the door when he does so as he knows she dislikes the smell. As a further courtesy she asks the secretary to tell Lane she is here, but when she is asked WHAT it is regarding, Joan simply smiles and then just walks in anyway, because there are limits to how far she will allow a secretary's personal domain to restrict her own authority.

She enters Lane's office all smiles, apologizing for bothering him but explaining that with Roger not in she has decided to send Caroline out to pick up an order of fried chicken for her lunch... and she knows that Lane likes it too so would he like Caroline to get him some too? Lane immediately perks up, he does like fried chicken, oblivious to any possible (intended or otherwise) sexual connotation when Joan asks if he wants breasts or thighs.

But as Joan moves to leave, something JUSSSSST so happens to occur to her, completely unrelated and certainly by no means the intent of this impromptu visit nossir! She'd just like to request a few days off in the second week of January, is all. Lane's demeanor, of course, IMMEDIATELY changes. She is getting New Year's off, she can't have another holiday so soon after that. Keeping a fixed smile and biting her tongue, Joan reminds him that her husband is a doctor and his schedule is not flexible, and has to bite her tongue even harder when Lane likens this request to a nurse asking Greg for another holiday after her holiday... as if nurses get New Year's off or the doctors are the ones who manage their holiday dates in the first place.

Instead, with great restraint she notes she would be satisfied with 2 days at least, but Lane will not be moved: he will need her assistance for the financial planning and expense budgets for the next year. Frustrated, unable to help being a little snarky about it, she asks why they don't just sort through this now since it's not like everybody who is being forced to work so close to New Year's (Roger, as noted, is absent already) knows why they're still here in the first place.

"Because there's work to do!" snaps Lane, furious that Joan of all people can't see that the business world doesn't just stop because of New Year's. Unable to help himself being snarky either, he complains that she takes advantage of "all men" being dizzy and powerless to refuse her (a lovely condescending way of discounting the same intelligence he just insisted was vital for important budgeting meetings) but he is not one of them.

"Fried chicken indeed," he sneers, having grasped after the initial sweetness of the offer that she thought this would be enough to make him agree to her request. He is right in some sense, while she is obviously intelligent, skilled and highly talented, she also has no doubt about the effect she has on men. Quiet for a moment, Joan (angrily) accepts defeat and prepares to beat a retreat, apologizing somewhat sardonically for having asked... until Lane mutters at her not to go and cry about it.

Now some insults she can take, but being reduced to a flighty little secretary who openly weeps like a child the moment she encounters a roadblock? That she will NOT take lying down. "Excuse me?" she asks, and even somebody who didn't know her would sense the danger in her voice... but Lane doubles down, glaring directly at her and repeating himself. Pursing her lip, resisting the urge not to cry but to stomp his face in, she instead turns on her heel and walks out the office, making a point of closing the door: she will retain her professionalism at least, even if only to deny his suggestion that she is a pouting child.

There will be no fried chicken for lunch today.

Don boards his flight, and as he approaches Los Angeles he actually loosens his collar - a not particularly subtle way of reminding us all that it is in his trips to California that he feels some measure of release/freedom from the stifling responsibilities, stresses and secrets of his manufactured life.

The tie is done back up but the coat removed when he pulls up in his rental (a convertible, of course) outside Anna Draper's house. She's on the porch watering her plants and he calls out to her, a "warning" to get off "his" porch that of course delights her. She limps around to see him, but her limp isn't the usual one she displays: her leg is in a thick cast, catching him by surprise, even as she laughs it off and says it never worked great anyway.

They hug and she asks how he is, eying him sympathetically as he doesn't answer but offers a look that makes it clear it has NOT been a good time recently. She leads him inside, joking that the cause of her broken leg was frying an egg barefoot, but doesn't even make a token resistance when he insists she sit down. He pours himself a drink and offers her one which she accepts - "half of what you're having," she notes - noticing as he does water damage on one of the walls.

There was a leak in the roof which she - ever self-sufficient - managed to fix, the damage left behind is visual only.... essentially probably how she likes to think of herself in the decade plus since the original Don Draper disappeared from her life and she discovered Dick Whitman living under his name. He tells her she should get a painter in to cover it up but she simply shrugs, once the smell went away she's simply gotten used to it. Probably like she long ago got used to her own limp and just stopped thinking about it.

Suddenly the door opens and two more women walk in, an older woman and a young girl in a bikini, carrying a basket of laundry. The woman smiles, saying she was wondering who the car belongs to, and greets Don by name.... but the name isn't Don, because she knows him as Dick. Her name is Patty, and the girl with her introduces herself as Stephanie, extending her hand. Don shakes it, shocked, he knows her too, except the last time he saw lil' Stephanie she didn't have front teeth, she was only a little girl. Now she's a young woman in a bikini.

Alarm bells are starting to go off here.

Stephanie takes the laundry into the bedroom and Don offers Patty a drink, but she explains they have a long drive back to South Pasadena. They're just helping out while she is laid up, Anna explains, only half-joking when she points out she never asked for the help. Patty asks if Don is staying and he says it is, but only for one night, and now a troubled Patty asks if he is staying "here"?

"Patty," warns Anna, reminding her affectionately but sternly that she has to tell her every so often when she's intruding. Putting her own moral concerns aside, Patty accepts that Dick Whitman for whatever reason despite his long absences seems to have some strong connection to Anna and simply tells him to make sure Anna stays off the cast and doesn't risk another accident.

Stephanie emerges, telling "Aunt Anna" that she just left the clothes on the bed because she doesn't know where everything goes. Patty is flustered, she could have figured it out by looking! She heads into the bedroom to clear up, and this seemingly solves this particular mystery: Unless Stephanie is just being affectionate with her mother's old family friend, Anna is her Aunt, which makes Patty her sister, which also explains why Anna absolutely could not ever explain that this Dick Whitman goes by the name Don Draper now.

The three left alone for a moment, a proud Aunt Anna explains that Stephanie - who is drinking age but declines a drink anyway - is studying Poli Sci at Cal, though she should really be studying music. Don is impressed to hear she's at Berkeley, but also curious: she's studying Political Science at Berkeley, so is she part of the sit-ins? She is not, though she insists she agrees with the Free Speech Movement... but SOMEBODY has to actually go to class!

Don is amused by that, and perhaps a little impressed too. Patty returns and says it is time to get going, declining Anna's offer for them to stay for dinner as she and Glenn (her husband, presumably) have a bridge game with friends tonight and of course he'll be expecting a dinner of his own. Anna is delighted by this though, teasing that she really only wanted Stephanie to stay anyway. Patty is a little taken aback by this, but takes it in good humor, knowing Anna well enough to not assume she is being malicious.

There is clearly some unease though as she points out Stephanie will need to get home, troubled by Don's offer to drive her or Anna suggesting she spend the night. She casts an uncertain look Don's way, clearly torn between being a worry-wort and also leaving her young, extremely attractive daughter in the same house as this relative stranger she only knows a little about who appears to have a mysterious connection/hold on her sister. Forcing her paranoia down, she agrees and gives Anna a hug goodbye, Anna gently reminding her that she really is grateful for all the help. Patty, who is friendly with "Dick" even if she obviously has concerns about him, wishes him a Happy New Year which he returns, and then she's out the door.

Don finishes his drink and says he's going to take a shower and freshen up, then take them out to a local place they've clearly been to before. Anna is pleased, and when Don is gone explains to Stephanie that she wanted her to stay so she could meet and get to know "Dick"..... oh and also because she knows Stephanie probably has some grass she can bum!

Anna has come a long way from the tightly wound and paranoid woman who confronted "Don Draper" at the car-yard a decade+ ago.

Joan returns home and calls out a hopeful hello, and is rewarded with a response from Greg. He is dressed and ready to leave, his shift at the hospital will soon be started, the life a Resident meaning they have less time together than they'd like. He's carrying a drumstick and she asks with worried affection if THIS is his dinner, and he laughs that he loves her chicken (I wonder if she makes it or it is the stuff she gets ordered in for lunch?).

They embrace and he holds her tight, which she enjoys immensely. He asks how her visit to the doctor went and with great satisfaction she lets him know that everything is fine, which pleases him too... but now he has to go, this is effectively all the time they'll have together today and that is BEFORE he gets shipped off for Basic Training. She won't let him leave without heating up his chicken at least, so he follows her into the kitchen as he lets her know Peabody has offered his place in the Poconos for them to holiday in on the 14th and 15th of January.

Not wanting to admit she tried and got turned down, Joan simply says that she can't get away on those dates, and tries to put the ball in Greg's court, offering a similar level of simplistic solution that Lane did: he can trade with a Jewish Doctor, after all didn't he work on one of "their" holidays? For the moment, it's all still smiles and affection as Greg assures her he would far rather be smelling her perfume than Lysol at the hospital... but this is the reality, he has to work New Year's which means their only possible holiday time before he goes to Basic Training will be in January.

But now she's angry, mostly because she knows he's right but she doesn't want to admit her own failure to get the dates she knows she needed. Except Greg doesn't do himself any favors by simply smiling and shrugging and saying she'll sort it out, and she bitterly points out it is HIS problem to deal with too. Biting his own tongue, he offers that she just... not show up to work those day, a ridiculous idea as she points out that would cost her her job.

His indifference to that maddens her, not least of all because it demonstrates not just a failure to understand economic realities but also that he doesn't take her work seriously. He insists they'll be able to get along till Basic Training, after which he'll be back and the Army will be taking care of both of them, which exposes another old wound as she blurts out that he'll be off to Vietnam soon after. "You don't know that!" he insists, which is technically true but... come on Greg, you surely cannot be this naive?

The mood is spoiled now, it had to happen sooner or later since their January vacation couldn't happen, but what could have been a happy passing of ships in the night for THIS night at least has turned sour. He makes his exit, grunting that he will see her tomorrow as SHE is leaving for work, and she follows after, letting it all pour out now: his insistence that the Army has solved everything completely discounts multiple variables, not least of which is that he doesn't even know when he'll be called away for Basic Training. "Soon!" he snaps, and he's through the door and gone, and the night is ruined.

At "the place with the beer and abalone", Stephanie is telling Anna and Don about the worst roommate she has had so far at Berkeley, who had a nervous breakdown, found religion and woke her up one morning to ask with wide-eyed joy,"Have you heard the Good News?" They all laugh, Anna saying there are worse things and Don chuckling that no, there aren't. Now it is his turn though, Stephanie asking where he went to school, making the assumption that of course he must have.

He doesn't mind admitting, if a little sheepishly, that he "strung together" some non-consecutive years at night school in City College. She likes that though, noting he's a self-made man and asking how it feels like to take off his suit and return to "the wild"? She promises Anna she isn't getting political, she simply is just trying to wrap her head around who is in charge (of society, not this outing), and Don assures her with great pleasure that SHE is in charge and he would know... he works in advertising.

"It's pollution!" she gasps, genuinely surprised to learn that is his job. "Then stop buying things," he offers back smoothly, catching her off-guard but also impressing her before she returns with a smiled warning that he shouldn't assume that can't happen. THAT impresses him, and both of them smile at each other, mutually admiring the other.

The alarm bells are getting louder.

She excuses herself to the bathroom with a joking reference to a commercial break, and a pleased Anna tells Don that she likes to think she has come credit in the capable, intelligent and critical-thinker that Stephanie has grown into. Don agrees, but jokes God had a hand which makes her laugh too. She comments that young people will be who save us (this would include the Boomers so.... yeah....) which makes Don consider something: would she be okay with him bringing the children to visit in the Spring?

She is thrilled at the thought, not quite believing that it might actually happen but clearly desperately wishing it would: Don she knows better than nearly anyone, but his children are a missing piece of the equation she has never been able to meet and she would love it... they can call her Aunt Anna! Don is pleased at the thought but also comments wryly about how Betty would react to that, which surprises Anna: she thought he told him everything? Surely she'd understand.

Don doesn't think she'll ever understand though, and proceeds to talk about the weight that was lifted from his shoulders once he finally told the truth, and how it made him realize how ultimately small his secret was (Anna is a little taken aback by that, it wasn't exactly a small thing he did). The trouble is, the moment he told her the truth, he knows that she never wanted to look at him again, and that is why he never told her before.

Anna takes a moment and then offers her sympathy, sorry that Betty broke Don's heart. Which is a touching moment except... well, it's mostly all bullshit. Or at least partial truths (and perhaps even fully believed ones) filtered through a lot of bullshit. Don frames it all like it was his choice, that he made the decision to tell Betty, when it was her who found out and then forced it out of him with great effort. Don makes out like she immediately hated him and this caused the divorce, as opposed to his MANY indiscretions and emotional distance. Don doesn't mention that as soon as he told her the truth, she made every effort to let life return to normal and accept him for who he was, and it took the enormous wake-up call of Kennedy's assassination to jolt her into realizing Don would forever refuse to change or truly engage with her as an equal.

There is plenty of self-loathing in there, plenty of exposure of Don's inner turmoil and belief that - in spite of his own insistence and even Stephanie's acknowledgement of him as a "self-made man" - he is a fraud and an imposter who doesn't deserve happiness or success - he does at least have the self-awareness to admit that "I had it coming" after Anna says she is sorry Betty broke his heart.

But he's also making himself out to be the victim, probably not deliberately and probably with some genuine belief that he is the reasonable person being wronged etc... but still failing to truly accept or admit full responsibility for the dissolution of a marriage he was more than willing to walk away from multiple times in recent years, including during his last visit with Anna!

The music in the bar has changed to an older, slower Patti Page song. Stephanie returns and says she put it on because she figured THEY could dance, which amuses Anna who points out that there's no way she can dance with her cast. Stephanie jokes that she has no idea how anybody ever danced to music like this in any case, which Don takes as a challenge, standing and asking her to join him. "Hands at 10 and 2," warns Anna, but with a smile, like the very thought of Don hitting on Anna is just utterly beyond ludicrous.

Don waves her off and takes Stephanie onto the floor, the two close dancing as they chat about the song's lyrics, Don admitting he has never been to Cape Cod but the song always makes him want to visit. Not the actual place, perhaps, but a quiet and happy place where there is no surfing and somebody can simply.... be. They dance together, bodies close together, Don smiling at Anna over Stephanie's shoulder. Anna smiles back, but it is a little less carefree now, a little more worried, looking more like Patty than herself for the moment.

Those alarm bells are really picking up in volume.

They return home, Anna drunk and tired enough to need support from Don getting her to the couch. Don only half-joking points out he knows she didn't break the leg frying an egg, but all Anna will offer back is that she used to love sitting and now that she has to she hates it.

Stephanie has had a good time, but she also knows when an evening is over, and says she will head home now. Don of course offers to drive her, and is alarmed when she not only says she plans to hitchhike but that she has done it plenty of times before. "You'll get picked up by some creep," he warns, and she agrees that it probably is safer to go with him.

The alarm bells are now clanging so rapidly they are in danger of breaking.

Soon they're in the car driving, Stephanie watching Don intently (perhaps to see if he is the creep who ended up picking her up?) as she considers how to finally approach the question she hasn't quite been able to answer: is he married or is he divorced?

"Can't I just be single?" is his non-answer (he's very good at those) but she says that would surprise her, and he admits - not too happily - that he is divorced. She seems amused as she asks if this means he has to go on those awkward dates where you sit down and talk about each other, and his reply certainly says a lot about him: it's a means to an end. Stephanie is on a whole other tangent beyond sex though, getting fired up with drunken fervor about the fact that nobody really knows what is wrong with themselves, even though other people can tell right away.

Don considers this... and considers her. They arrive at her home and she thanks him cheerily for the drive, and asks out of curiosity when his flight is leaving. "Noon," he tells her... then pauses and asks if she thinks he should change it? Then watches for her reaction before reaching one hand out towards her and starting to lean forward.

The alarm bells are a cacophony of noise and the "it was a bad idea to gently caress" elephant is barreling down the interstate to take up new residence.

"What are you doing?" asks Stephanie, smiling but leaving no doubt that her question is a warning: this is NOT something she wants and she has no qualms about making that clear.

The alarm bell is silenced and the elephant has skidded to a stop, thank Christ.

Don tries to play if off with a shrug and a,"I don't know," stroking her hair and and telling her she's beautiful, assuring her with a quiet, smooth and confident voice that he and Anna have never had a romantic relationship, agreeing that he loves her but for lots of reasons and in a very different way (to what? To how he "loves" Stephanie?). Don at this moment seems to think this is purely a matter of convincing her she doesn't need to have her guard up, as opposed to reading her guard as,"I have no interest in this or you, old man."

But then everything changes, as Stephanie frowns and tells him that she needs to let him know something, something she promised she wouldn't tell: Anna has cancer.

All thoughts of utterly inappropriate sex with the niece of his oldest and dearest friend in the world are utterly blown clear from Don's mind. He's horrified, shocked, disbelieving, as Stephanie explains this is how Anna broke her leg, because the cancer is everywhere, including in her bones. Turning away in shock, he mutters to himself that of course Anna wouldn't tell him, and is shocked in an entirely different way when Stephanie lets him know something else: Anna doesn't know.

He listens incredulously as he discovers that the doctors told Patty what Anna's diagnosis was and that she didn't have long to live so there was "no reason" to tell her. He's horrified, and rightfully so, what gives Patty the right to make the judgment call on Anna's behalf? Based on the word of some "quacks" out in San Pedro? Stephanie though is mortified at the thought of Don making a scene or blasting back to Anna to tell her the "secret" of her own health, telling him she only told him because she couldn't bear the thought of him leaving without knowing it might be the last time he saw her.

Half-drunken, pathetic fantasies of a quick fumble and rushed sex with an utterly inappropriate partner are long gone now, a wide-eyed Don is only thinking about his old friend and her apparently rapid approaching death sentence that she is completely oblivious to. Stephanie exits the car, tears in her eyes, and Don wastes no time in getting the hell out of there.

Back at Anna's, he finds her still sleeping on the couch. He stands over her, not quite able to believe that the seemingly indomitable woman who has been a rock to him over the last decade+ could be close to death. He reaches down and gathers her up, carrying her into the bedroom to put her to bed and ensure her comfort. He returns shortly after and settles on the couch, lighting a cigarette and pondering yet one more kick in the teeth from a year that has been professionally challenging but rewarding, but personally devastating. He sits there for a long time. A very long time.

Anna emerges from the bedroom convinced that she's slept in and missed Don's exit, only to find him not only still there but - in his boxers and a shirt - painting her wall to cover over the water damage. She takes a seat on the couch, remarking that he doesn't look in any hurry to leave, and he comments that he has decided to stick around a little longer if she doesn't mind. She, of course, is delighted to have him stay as long as he likes, popping out the marijuana she got from Stephanie earlier and commenting that if she'd rolled over on it in her sleep she'd have had to smoke the dress.

We've seen Don smoke, of course, and drink plenty of liquor, and pop pills when offered, but marijuana at the time was somehow perhaps the most demonized drug of all.... but he not only has zero objection to Anna smoking a joint but gladly takes a toke himself. Careful not to betray his knowledge, he asks how she slept and she admits it was only the sound of a passing jet that woke her, reminding her of Don's own flight. She suggests they go out and watch the skies tonight and see if they spot something he'll always remember, insisting that she saw a UFO once, that it stood out even from the chaos in the skys during the Cuban Missile Crisis from a couple of years earlier.

Don is amused, continuing to paint as he points out they're likely to see all sorts of things if they keep smoking. She tells him he doesn't have to paint but he insists he wants to, and really takes a moment to let it sink in when she tells him how proud she is of him. "I count on it," he finally, quietly responds before going back to painting, happy for the conversation to turn back to the safer ground of UFOs and alien civilizations.

He doesn't dispute the possibility that there might be alien life out there, nor does the thought of it frighten him... he's just a realist, and knows the odds are against it (time and space, after all, are VERY big, and the chances of a spare-faring civilization existing at the same time as us AND being close enough to visit are pretty crazy). Still, when Anna insists she saw something and it made her consider just how flimsy everything we think we know is, he finds it a little disturbingly close to talking about the fragility of life, and tells her it isn't a particularly healthy way to think.

Anna, who assumes of course that Don is thinking more about his own situation than her own (that she is supposedly unaware of, though I wonder how true that might be), calls him over and gives him her hand. "I know everything about you, and I still love you," she tells him. He is, of course, deeply touched and moved by this, it is exactly the type of thing he needs to hear (and part of why he came here, it is the closest thing to a "home" he has anymore, and she is the closest thing to family - accessible ones at least).

Breaking the silence with some levity, she warns him to finish up painting the rest of the wall since a patch of fresh paint is almost as bad as a patch of water damage. Playfully, he threatens to flick paint onto her, but then a knock at the door gets their attention (Anna of course being sure to pass him the joint before the visitor can enter). It is Patty, because of course it is, carrying in groceries with a smile on her face until she sees the scene.... Dick Whitman, in his underwear, holding a paintbrush in one hand and a joint in the other standing next to her cancer-ridden, currently lame sister.

"What the hell is going on?" she demands, insisting that he's going to get arrested. Anna, grumpily, points out that Patty is more likely to be arrested since this is "breaking and entering", but Patty isn't in the mood for jokes today. She complains that Don was supposed to be on a flight and isn't happy to hear he has decided to stay, snapping that he just can't keep his pants on, thumping the groceries onto the table and storming back out.

Anna, who has no idea about the potential double-meaning of that accusation, says you never know what will set her off, while Don pulls said pants on and rushes out the door after her, because he has a thing or two to say to HER. Outside, he catches up with her, saying they need to talk, and she snaps at him that she heard his car pull up at 2:30 and snarls that Stephanie is half his age.

Don dismisses that immediately, even though Patty is right that his intention absolutely was to try something one with her daughter, demanding to know what her plan is? To let Anna just wake up one day in agony and then inform her that her life is over? Patty is stunned, she had no idea that Don knew, so Stephanie it seems said nothing to her about her confession. So she tries to explain, that the cancer is advanced and there is nothing more that can be done beyond letting her live what life she has left without the burden of the knowledge.

But this is something Don can bite into, something Don can handle or master or control. Or at least so he'd like to think. So many other problems in his life are beyond his ability to fix: the end of his marriage, the situation with his children, his desire for sex conflicting with his attempts to simplify his personal life (ironically when his marriage was still "whole" he had no problem going out and picking up women). The cancer is a horrible thing, but now he can try to "fix" it. He can take her to see REAL doctors, the best money can buy, to give her a fighting chance etc, far beyond what Patty might have managed with her "limited" means.

With contempt, he asks if she really thinks Anna doesn't know that SOMETHING is going on with her? Patty, almost desperate like she is trying to convince herself, points out that Anna had polio and has had physical problems to contend with since she was 8 as a result, so maybe, just maybe she doesn't know this is something worse? She insists they haven't just seen their doctor but others as well, they have shown X-Rays to specialists, done everything there is to do, and the agreement of every single one has been that Anna's cancer is incurable and so far advanced that her life is practically over already.

Then, in one final kicker, one more echo of his own failure as a husband and a father, Patty tells him a cruel truth: he and Anna may be close, but he is not her family. He is nothing but a man in a room with a checkbook, and she wants him to do the right thing and leave, because the longer he stays the more chance he will tell Anna she has cancer, and spoil what last days of normalcy she has before the inevitable.

She passes him the last bag of groceries, offers an apology that is genuine but does not change that she is glad to have told him what she really believes to be the truth. To her, Dick Whitman is a man that Anna met roughly 15 years ago who hung around a bit, then left and pops back every so often and, for whatever reason, paid for her house and the taxes each year. That is the sad reality for Don to face, he and Anna might share a connection that makes them as close as family, but it is one he can NEVER share with Patty, and he has to face up to the fact that she is the one who is going to have to hold everything together with her "limited" means while he will be free to return to New York and his own life and his own (broken) family.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

He returns inside, where a still blissfully unaware Anna (perhaps? I think Don is right and she knows something is wrong with her) claims that Patty is probably mad because she thinks HE bought the pot. He takes a seat next to her, uncharacteristically defending Patty, saying she's family and that means something even if she isn't the sister that Anna might have chosen. He admits having children is "different" rather than better, and then reaches a decision.

"I have to tell you something," he says, hesitating before finally committing to an irrevocable act.... he tells her he has to go. He admits that he wants to stay but can't, words full of double-meaning as he explains that he thought he could stay, but he can't. Anna of course is completely fine with this, insisting that she wants him to go, that she wants him to go and do everything he wants to do and to be happy. This, whether she knows she has cancer or not, is utterly consistent with their relationship this last decade+.

Dick Whitman is living the life her late husband never had the chance to, and the freedom he gave her to live a life of comparative freedom herself is something she will never forget or discount. When she told Don that she loves him, she meant it. When she says she wants him to do whatever he wants to do, she means it. Which makes it all the harder for Don, because once again he is lying by omission to a woman he loves, and abandoning her to make life easier for himself. He hates himself for it, but he is still going to do it, because as much as he loathes it, he can see the logic in Patty's perspective even if he detests it.

So he does the one thing he can do, which is to go back to painting, providing the material support to replace the emotional support he can't quite bring himself to offer her. Both he and Patty are doing what they're doing because they think it is the best for her, but both also have selfish (conscious or unconscious) reasons too: neither wants to be the one to tell Anna Draper to her face that she's going to die.

In New York, Joan is conducting some of that important business that Lane was adamant needed doing... removing pencils from the ceiling thrown up by bored employees who have shown up to work during one of the quietest periods of the year, because Lane is still the type who assumes that employees being present 9 - 5 is a requirement to pay them, even if there is literally no work to be done.

She's interrupted from this joyless task by Peggy Olson, who has bought her a gift that was delivered for her. She's surprised but pleased, and utterly touched when she opens the box to discover it is full of roses. Peggy of course is entranced, declaring how happy she is to see there is somebody still happily married in the Agency. Joan is so pleased she offers Peggy a gift of her own: she can just leave for the day, and Joan will cover for her by saying she's out with a special appointment.

Peggy is delighted, saying she has a dress to buy, and Joan - callous without meaning to be - says that's a good idea as she'll want to stand out on New Year's Eve from the other girls out looking for a man to ring in the new year with. Peggy is quick to explain she's actually going out with Mark... her boyfriend? Joan isn't listening to, staring intently at the card that came with the roses, her happy face becoming stony. She suddenly lurches away from Peggy, grunting,"Happy New Year" at her before disappearing.

She strides right past Lane's secretary, not even bothering with a token curiosity this time as the secretary calls out an ineffectual,"Excuse me!?!" She's right into Lane's office, in a cold rage reading what it said on the card,"Darling, I've been an rear end. Kisses, Lane."

"WHAT!?!" gasps a baffled Lane, as Joan snarls that she is NOT his darling and she certainly doesn't want his kisses. She tosses the roses into his lap, complaining that American men are bad enough but he is worse than all of them, because at least they don't make her feel so consistently like a helpless, stupid little girl.

Lane has gotten to his feet, mind racing, desperately trying to explain what he has only just figured out what happened. Yes he did send her flowers, he admits that, but he also sent flowers to his wife in London, and the notes on both were VERY different. "SANDY!" he roars, and the secretary now probably wishes her domain was anything but the desk outside one of the Partner's desks.

She timidly enters the room, Joan now turning her enraged look onto this woman who on top of questioning her authority has also caused this humiliation? Peggy joins Sandy in the doorway, asking if everything is okay, but Lane tells her to get back to work, roaring for Sandy to come back when she tries to pretend she thought he meant her too. He demands to know if she understands just how sensitive getting his flower order right was, considering how infrequently he sends them.

Mortified but also apparently fully aware that this had happened before the roses arrived and just kind of hoping... she could duck and avoid the explosion? she admits that Rhinelander's where she ordered the flowers were supposed to contact the florist in London and pass on the notes she gave them, but mixed up who was getting what.

"It's not my fault!" she insists, and Joan - not in full authority mode and presenting a united front with Lane whom she was at odds with only moments ago - points out that everybody makes mistakes, but it is egregious that she cannot admit fault not when confronted with said mistake. Sandy considers this for a moment, looking anguished, and then finally answers.... she doesn't know what that means!

"It means I can't believe I hired you," complains Joan, but while Lane agrees he's now also concerned because on top of the mistake, he's also the kind of executive who leaves his secretary to come up with the exact wording for "his" heartfelt expression of regret. So he has no idea what Joan's note was supposed to say beyond the sentiment, and asks Sandy what she had them put on the flowers that went to his wife. Only slowly understanding just how bad this is going to sound AS she says it, Sandy miserably reveals the contents. The flowers read,"Joan, forgive me. Lane."

It's horrifying for Lane of course, but following on from the gut-punch of the Don/Anna scene, this is goddamn hilarious and really helps lift the mood :allears:

She is, of course, fired. Joan is the one who does the firing though she adds in that Sandy will still be paid through to the end of the year. "THOSE INSTRUCTIONS YOU UNDERSTOOD!" complains Lane bitterly, sinking into his chair and resting his head in his hand. Joan, slightly embarrassed now at her own flare-up as well as having seen that Lane's marriage is in a far worse state than her own, quietly adds that she will have Megan come in and clear up the roses, then makes a quick exit from his office.

The importance of this scene for lightening the mood is further shown by the following. Don is back in his suit - Dick Whitman is gone, Don Draper has returned. He brings out his suitcase and is surprised but pleased to see Anna is painting flowers on the so recently redone wall, admitting that he inspired her. She asks him to sign his work and he does so, writing "Dick + Anna '64" just above the skirting board.

They embrace, and he holds her tight, not wanting to let go, and she assumes that he just wants some little extra bit of comfort. He does, but he also fears that this might be his last chance to ever do this, despite promising earlier that he meant what he said about the kids and would bring them up at Easter to meet her. She promises him that he will make the best of it, he always does, and the sad thing is that he knows this is true. For once he's thinking of somebody other than himself though, he will be fine but she will not, and there is nothing he can do to change that. So he holds her tight, holds back tears, and promises her that if she ever needs anything she need only ask and he will be there for her.

And then, finally, he's gone, knowing this time might be the last time, the rock of his life may soon be gone forever, the only thing left behind their names on the wall of a home in California.

His New Years comes and goes without fanfare, the only sign of the passage of time between 64 and 65 being handed a dessert by a stewardess who wishes him a Happy New Year he barely hears, he's so lost in his own thoughts. He looks at his dessert, briefly holds the party streamers, then sets them aside. It's just any other lost day in transit to him, what is there worth celebrating about a new year beyond the simple fact the old one is finally behind him?

Joan Harris however is determined to make her own missed New Year's work. When Greg arrives home he finds her waiting dressed up as festive as possible, declaring that since they missed New York's New Year's she intends for them to mark in the New Year on Hawaii time. She has prepared ham and pineapple with a bottle of champagne set aside, and presents Greg with a blue lei to match her pink one.

He is grateful and appreciative, but admits with obvious regret that he ate his dinner at 3. Still, he takes his seat at the head of the table, and Joan is willing to compromise to make this work, clearly still upset at the way they last parted (and having seen a sign of where things can go after the debacle with Lane), offering to pour him some freshly squeezed orange juice. He accepts happily, and shares some "fun" stories from the hospital New Year's shift, including a patient with a contact lens stuck in her eye the nurses couldn't get out... till they all realized it was actually the friend with the contact lens.

But as he talks, Joan suddenly lets out a shriek of pain. Greg races into the kitchen where he finds her cradling a finger, she was slicing oranges to squeeze the juice and the knife slipped, putting a deep cut into her finger. He gives her a cloth to hold and moves into the bedroom to collect his black bag, telling her to sit when she tells him he doesn't need to do this and they can just go to the hospital.

Greg's objection to that is, thankfully, not ego-driven or out of fear or feeling emasculated.... because for once their usual roles are reversed. Here he is in his element, calmly and professionally easing her down from her panic as he sets about fixing what is a bad cut for a household but a relatively minor thing to deal with for a doctor. It would be far too easy (and lazy) writing to have him be out of his element even here, to botch the job, to hammer home the idea that he is a bad surgeon and out of his league and a disaster waiting to happen in the Army.

Except, he's none of those things. He has no "brains in his fingers", meaning he lacks that certain knack that truly gifted surgeons have. But he's capable, he's is trained, he knows what he is doing and how to do it. He will never excel or stand out, and that kills him - look at him, he's perfect and he's always done everything society told him to, no wonder he freaked out when that didn't turn out to be enough - but he can do this, and doing it for his wife makes him feel like a better man, a stronger man, a worthier man.

Whether he is or isn't those things is beside the point. No character in this show is one-dimensional. Greg has deep issues, he literally raped Joan in one of his earliest episodes, he's very much a pouting little boy himself (unlike Joan, no matter what Lane says) but that doesn't automatically mean he has no merits, no skills, no abilities.

So he treats her finger, stitching up the cut, likening it to her filing papers (she forgets her pain and fear for a moment to coldly point out she doesn't do that anymore, she has people who do it for her). He injects her with a painkiller, pulling a distraction he usually reserves for kids so she doesn't spot it coming. As he stitches her up, he tells her a dirty Hillbilly joke about donkey dick, which makes her laugh in astonishment.... and then burst into tears.

Surprised, he tells her the cut isn't that bad, but she manages to wail out that she's crying because it's all gotten too much for her, she just wants to know why everything just can't be okay? She's done everything right just like him, hell she even managed to get an improved job at the new Ad Agency when things were rough. But this perfect couple, young and beautiful and working good jobs and skilled and hardworking.... why are things still so tough? They put in the work, why aren't they reaping the rewards society promised them would be theirs for doing the right thing.

Greg chides her gently after assuring her everything will be fine, and she regathers control of herself. She doesn't cry often, and she often chides herself those who do, but the fact is she's repressing a lot of grief and frustration, and it has to come out in some way some time. For now though, she can only nod and smile at her husband as he promises her that while he can't fix everything, he can fix this (the cut), and for now that will have to be enough. And so they go on, the Harriss', a seemingly perfect couple with all kinds of problems, pushing on working hard to achieve a goal that should have been theirs already.

Don is far from cliff-diving, bikinis, white sands or blue waters. He is, in fact, in New York City, and at the Time-Life building in particular. Arriving at the front door of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, he prepares to use his key in the bottom lock... and discovers the place is unlocked. Uncertain, he enters and calls out a hello, and hears a familiar voice calling back that he wasn't expecting to hear.

Neither was the source of that voice expecting to see him, Lane Pryce - who should be in London - is in his office, and Don Draper - who should be in Acapulco - joins him, both surprised to see the other. Don tells the truth that he "didn't feel like it" without explaining why, while Lane lies and says he had too much work to do and besides his family will be returning to New York soon enough anyway.

Spotting a chance though, Don asks if he might pour himself a drink from Lane's cabinet, who agrees and then thinks of something one better. Lifting a box, he removes an old looking bottle and tells Don it is a rather special gift from his father he received for his birthday. Don is intrigued, what exactly is it? He's surprised by Lane's cavalier response: he has no idea. His father, he says merrily but with an intriguing undercurrent of contempt, is "one of those alcoholics who thinks he is collecting".

He pours them both a drink and Don is surprised to discover there is no bite, no kick at all, it goes down smooth as silk. He eagerly pours himself another, and declines Lane's offer to share his overly large sandwich if he wants a bite to eat. Telling him he'll leave him to his work, Don collects his case and prepares to leave, but before he can go Lane tells him he realized something while going through the records. Don, wary and tired, openly admits that he simply cannot bear to hear yet MORE bad news. Lane's response then is both surprising and pleasing: what he discovered was that despite their financially precarious situation (if they lose Lucky Strike, they're dead).... 1964 was a magnificent year.

Don smiles and raises his drink in gratitude, then heads to his own office. And there it is, two lonely middle-aged men spending time at the office on New Year's Day because they have nothing better to do and nobody else to share the day with.

Lane's "business" of course, is to lie on his couch bored and miserable. The empty office does offer one advantage though, when Don bellows out his name later in the day, he has no problem bellowing,"WHAT!?!" back down the empty corridors to him. Don yells at him to come here, and so he gathers up his birthday present and staggers out to find Don reviewing the newspaper as he eats his lunch. "We're going to the movies," Don declares, having decided that if they're going to be alone today they might as well be alone together, and get some enjoyment out of the day.

"Do you think we should?" asks Lane, forgetting both that today isn't a work day AND that he and Don are the bosses and can do whatever the gently caress they want in any case. "Does Howdy Doody have a wooden dick?" responds Don, which he seems unsure how to respond to, so he simply stand and listens as Don runs down the movies that are running, both touched and alarmed that Don is including him.

Zorba the Greek, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World, Send Me No Flowers (Lane immediately discounts that, he's had trouble enough with flowers!), The Guns of August, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg... all movies they consider as they make their preparations, which mostly consists of Don pouring the remains of the birthday gift into a flask they can sneak into the movie with them. As he pours, he spills, Lane noting it's all over the rug and mistaking,"We'll have to smoke the dress" as another movie title rather than Don's reference to Anna. Of all the films, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg may be for "young lovers" but it seems the most enticing, mostly because it has Catherine Deneuve in it.

So, of course they go see GodzillaGamera!

There is something truly delightful about watching Don Draper and Lane Pryce, drunk as skunks, staring wide-eyed as a man in a monster suit blasts radioactive breath and smashes his way through a model-sized Tokyo. "This movie is very good!" gasps Lane, and looks around in shock when an equally drunk Don informs him knowingly that there are probably hand-jobs going on all around them right now. "What percentage, do you think?" inquires Lane, and then snaps gibberish "Japanese" at a mother sitting with her son a few seats in front of them when she shushes him, pointing at the screen and declaring,"MONSTER!" which sets both he and Don off into a fit of giggles.

They head out do dinner in a nice restaurant, getting a little more in control of their drunkenness and talking a little more seriously. Lane admits that he does like being in New York, even alone, and furthermore that Don reminds him of a boy he knew back in school that he and a group of others would follow around adoringly while he didn't even seem to know they existed. He died in a motorcycle crash Lane adds solemnly, before making another confession: his wife insisted to him that all the senior people at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce had gone off on vacation together without him.

The two stories are not unrelated, and whether Lane's wife believed her claim or not is irrelevant. She obviously knows her husband well enough to know the exact thing to say to cause him maximum hurt, and the thought that he is only part of the Agency because they needed him and don't truly like or value him is clearly a paranoid fear that has been swirling around in Lane's head for quite some time, just like that popular boy who ignored him back at school.

Don admits that they haven't really been as welcoming as they should have been, either at Sterling Cooper or as part of SCDP. Pete Campbell has been friendly enough, Lane admits, that he believes Pete might be friendly "unintentionally", a description that makes Don chuckle. Lane is still in a confessional mood though, he's let his guard down enough to share, and while Don is clearly a little uncomfortable he's also not going to shut him down... after all, he wants company just as badly.

So Lane explains that what he really wanted was to bring he and Rebecca's families from London to their new home in New York to celebrate the holiday together, to fully show their commitment/understanding that New York was no longer a temporary station but a permanent home. Rebecca however was homesick for London and returned there, and since then they've had a series of arguments, all compounded by his disastrous attempt to send flowers to mend fences. His most recent phone-call to her was a solemn affair, in which she insisted there would be no return to New York and that their marriage was over.... and then put his son on the phone leaving him to absorb this news and speak with his boy at the same time.

"That's rough," Don admits, offering not much else because really what is there to say? Lane of course is not used to such open displays of his own vulnerability/emotional state, it's simply not very "British" and he keeps looking up at Don to see if he's disgusted or appalled like somebody like Saint John Powell might have been by this airing of dirty laundry. Don is reserved but not unsympathetic, and Lane looks to him not only as the cool boy from school he wanted to be like, but somebody with a like experience to his own: when did he know his own marriage was over?

"It wasn't my choice," Don says, which is technically true but... I mean, come on Don.... but one thing he has learned the hard way is not to give advice in these situations (last time lead to a year+ estrangement from Roger who threw him under the bus when he broke up with Mona at "Don's" advice). Lane laughs and says now is the moment Don is supposed to urge him to jump on a plane and go save his marriage, but Don doesn't rise to the bait or play along with the joke, instead of quietly asking Lane if that is what he wants... or if he thinks is what is expected of him?

Lane, who has spent 95% of his life doing EXACTLY what people expect of him, isn't quite sure how to answer that. It's a hell of a thing to realize that you might only want your marriage to survive because you're supposed to, and so instead he says what he really wants is.... his dinner! Which by luck happens to arrive right them, a boiled potato for Don and a giant slab of meat for Lane.

They prepare to eat, and Don makes a decision of his own, born out of sympathy (not pity) for Lane's situation and his own admittance that they hadn't been fully welcoming. He is planning to meet a "lady friend" downtown, and if Lane likes he could arrange for her to bring a lady friend. Lane of course immediately declines, but Don perhaps suspects this is Lane once again doing what is expected of him, asking what else is he going to do? They can pretend like it's New Year's and... then he catches himself, realizing with some amusement that hell it actually IS New Year's!

Surprised, touched and unexpectedly interested, Lane asks if it would really be okay, and then gratefully accepts the offer. Or there is to do now is finish up their dinner and head downtown, except Don suddenly realizes that he isn't actually all that hungry. Not hungry? Lane - emboldened now after his acceptance of Don's offer - declares that would be waste, literally grabbing his steak in his hand and lifting it high. Standing up, not quite as sobered up as he appeared to be, he slaps the meat onto his crotch and declares that he's got a big Texas belt buckle, delighting both Don and the other patrons who have had to step out to get a meal on New Year's.

The meeting spot for Don's "friend" is a nightclub, where Lane howls with laughter alongside other patrons as a stand-up comedian warms them up between musical acts. As he jokes about masturbation, he scans the crowd looking for likely targets for his jokes, and of course spots the two middle-aged men out together on New Year's Day and immediately sees they're ripe for attack.

Both Lane and Don laugh along good-naturedly as he ribs them and claims they're a couple, cracking jokes about men's rooms, picking up the check, and whether Don's parents are upset his boyfriend is so ugly (which gets an OOOOOH! from the crowd). Lane isn't offended in the slightest, but of course he feels the need to "defend" himself, bellowing out happily that they're not homosexuals, just divorced. Don winces (happily), knowing this is the worst thing he could have done, and the comic of course is all over it, gleefully mimicking the couple's tiff they'll have on the drive home tonight.

Having had his fun, he introduces the next musician who will be the next Bob Dylan... according to his mother! Everybody claps, but as the musician prepares to start, the two women arrive to join Don and Lane. Spotted by the comedian, he can't resist one last joke, one that perhaps hits a little harder and more truthful than all his homosexual digs: they're not gay.... they're just rich.

Having introduced Lane to his "friend" Candace (who in turn has introduced him to her friend Janine), Don and Lane compliment the two on how they look. They listen to Rudy Jensen singing the opening lines of The House of the Rising Sun and then Don - eager to get what he's paying for one assumes, or just wanting to be away from any point of focus - suggests they leave, but not before telling Janine that Lane wrote the song, Candace scolding him because Janine will believe anything.

Back at Don's apartment, Candace complains that all Don has no mixers OR food in the kitchen. Janine compliments Don on his apartment being very "manly", a line he isn't quite sure how to take at first - it basically could be read as "I'm a single middle-aged dude with no woman in his life" - before settling on humor and informing her that it is so manly that Norman Mailer shot a deer over in one corner.

"I love deer," she remarks, Lane having to stifle a smile. Candace calls her into the kitchen and Lane takes the moment to note that Candace seems to know her way around the kitchen, how did he manage that? Don reminds him that he already told him he doesn't give advice like this, and then the girls return with drinks, Janine bringing Lane his and asking him to show her around an apartment he has never been in before today.

"I suppose I am a bit curious myself," he agrees, and starts to lead her towards the room the children use when they stay. "Not in there," Don says, not aggressively but firmly. Instead they move into the master bedroom, closing the door behind them, and Janine leans forward to kiss him. He accepts it uncertainly, the very act of the kiss a step he never thought he would take: for all his issues with Rebecca, it doesn't seem like he is the type to stray even if after British men of his "class" and upbringing would see no issue with it.

He removes his glasses and loosens his collar (a callback in a sense to Don doing the same on the plane) and then moves in with that same nervous energy for another kiss. There is no talking, no negotiation, no testing of the waters. Janine knows why she is here, and for all her credulity she knows how to handle a man, especially one like Lane. So they kiss together in the dark of another man's bedroom, as Lane "cheats" on a wife who has already told him their marriage is over.

In the living room, Candace asks what happened to Acapulco. Don doesn't answer, instead he jokes that Janine clearly doesn't go to Barnard, and Candace laughs too and points out that guys like Lane like that. She tries to lead him into the other room but he says no, authoritatively stating they will do it here. In both instances, Don has done what he always does: evades answering a question to hide away from revealing a truth or a vulnerability. The kids' room is something he won't allow to be violated or sullied, but he cannot bring himself to admit that, not least of all because nothing will kill the mood faster than bringing up his kids.

So they make out on the couch, and here at least in some small way Don has found a situation he can control. He thought he could take control of Anna's situation and get her the help she needed and "save" her from cancer, only to have to admit both his own impotence in the wake of monstrous disease as well as the misery of accepting his place in being able to make decisions like that regarding her life. His wife left him, Anna is dying, his personal life is a mess. Here though is a relationship he can understand, one where both sides know what they are in for and what they are getting. They will meet, they will go out and maybe eat or drink or see a show, they will have sex, he will pay her, and that will be the end of it until the next time HE desires it. It's not a "relationship" built on any genuine affection, love or connection.... but is is something Don can be in charge of and understand.

The next morning he is making coffee when a fully suited Lane emerges from the bedroom. They greet each other and Lane requests a glass of water, then asks Don what he owes him for the evening. Don says not to worry about it, but Lane insists that he should pay, how much was Janine? The price was $25, and he declares that fascinating, thinking about the peace of mind and pleasure he got from her for such a small amount. He hands Don $30 and says he should be moving along, torn between gratitude and the obvious slightly awkward and uncomfortable feeling of being in somebody else's home (after an especially intimate encounter with somebody in that space) in the morning as they go about their normal tasks.

Collecting his hat and coat, he stops for a moment and then offers Don heartfelt gratitude for the welcome distraction. Don nods his acknowledgement and Lane leaves, and there perhaps is the key difference (so far) between the two men. Lane saw this as a distraction, and perhaps the "welcome" part was the more important: Don "welcomed" him in a way he hasn't been so far. But it was just that, a distraction. A one-off, or at least a rare occasion, something that was enjoyed but not something he intends to be a part and parcel of his everyday life. At this point for Don, it isn't entirely clear if that is the case for him as well.

He moves into the bedroom and pulls the sheets off, they'll need to be cleaned before he can use them again, and the thought of using the same bed as one where Lane just got his rocks off with a prostitute the night before probably isn't particularly appealing. But Don is tired (did he sleep much or at all on that couch?), the sheets are off, he won't sully the kids' room etc... so he slumps down on the mattress and finally allows himself to drift off into an exhausted respite from the ongoing assault of bad news that marked 1964.

But the New Year's holiday must eventually end, as must the year itself. New Year's Day was a new year, but in some ways a hangover form the last. The episode ends at Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce with Joan taking the head of the table flanked by Roger, with Don, Harry and Pete seated at the table as well. They're all business, and Lane joins them with a brief apology for his lateness. The old year is done, the new year has begun, and Joan's line sums it all up.... it's time to begin 1965.

After all, what could possibly go wrong THIS year!

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 05:37 on May 31, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I swear to God the episode lied and only pretended to be 47 minutes, because it felt twice that long (in a good way). When Don is on the plane and is told Happy New Year I was sure the end credits were going to roll and I wouldn't have been surprised, so much content was packed into everything up to that point. Then the back half is similarly just absolutely stacked with incredible content, especially Jared Harris playing Lane letting his hair down and he and Don just having the best loving time together (while simultaneously both being quite sad and a little pathetic).

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

This is one of my favorite episodes partly for just that reason. The ending section with Don and Lane's night out caught me totally off guard the first time. It's just as surprising as the "heist" ending of season 3. And it's so much fun!

But the parts with Anna are just so powerful. Just incredible. This episode sheds some light on Don's anger--his yelling and bullying that we've seen at work and at home with Betty. For most of the California section of this episode, he is warm and even vulnerable. When cancer comes up, he instantly becomes ANGRY, even belittling Patty. This says to me that Don's anger is mostly borne of a need to feel in control. With Anna he is safe, because she already knows about his past. In New York, he feels like he has to manage everything just so all the time or everything will fall apart, and he gets mad whenever something threatens that, which is all the time, because he never feels safe, never believes he is allowed to be vulnerable. Never.

One moment I really like in this episode is when Don is heading back to New York and the stewardess has to say, "Mr. Draper" twice before he hears it. I think it's meant to signal that when he's in California, he truly becomes Dick Whitman again. He needed that second "Mr. Draper" to remember that that's his name again. Yeah, in real life a person who is not an imposter would probably be lost in thought like this too, but I think this little scene is also meant to mark his transition back to being Don again. And that illustrates how much California and Anna mean to him. Now he's losing that base, that place where it's safe to be warm and vulnerable. Sure, he didn't tell Anna about the other bad things he did to Betty, but he gets legitimately vulnerable in that bar, talking about his fear of rejection, and his feelings of inadequacy next to the well-bred Betty. Who the hell can he talk to like that now? Absolutely no one. Unless and until he fundamentally changes his approach to life.

It's intriguing that Don appears to have been chewing on Faye Miller's "what you want vs what's expected of you" tidbit from the Christmas party. He almost recites it word for word to Lane in the restaurant.

And one final note, Jerusalem. Lane's wife's name is Rebecca.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yoshi Wins posted:

And one final note, Jerusalem. Lane's wife's name is Rebecca.

Thanks and fixed!

She barely appeared in the show and I assume she is gone from it now, but that is a pity because I really loved the way she and Harris played them as a bitter old couple who kind of detest each other but probably would never have even dreamed of splitting up if it wasn't for the New York posting and Lane realizing there was something different he wanted from the life and culture he'd always known.

Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God

I think of the Texas Belt buckle many times when I eat steak. Oh, to have that freedom.

it is nice to have episodes like these that are really focused on 2-3 characters. Peggy and Harry are barely in there at all, Roger, Pete, and Bert are pretty much MIA.

this episode also makes me think of the earlier conversation about Don and Lane, because out of everyone, Don is the closest thing he has to a friend at SCDP. So that makes that firing scene hurt so much more.

also this is the second time Jerusalem has mentioned Megan by name. Amazing good they were at planting it

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

GoutPatrol posted:

also this is the second time Jerusalem has mentioned Megan by name. Amazing good they were at planting it

i think that they way the did it was also a pretty big tipoff to how things were always going to end up. a lot of the early integration of megan into things is "oh, just go get megan to do that thing no one wants to do right now." reliable, called upon to fill a position or perform a duty no one else is interested in right now. the logical conclusion to that is of course marrying a drunk, pathetic, emotionally defeated don that's completely adrift and unmoored after losing the previous two people in that position left because the work sucked and the job became vacant (betty) or out of control circumstances (anna).

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

yeah it's really obvious in retrospect. I think she has a speaking part in each episode. something no other secretary can claim

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


As he pours, he spills, Lane noting it's all over the rug and mistaking,"We'll have to smoke the dress" as another movie title rather than Don's reference to Anna.

this episode posted:

Don doesn't rise to the bait or play along with the joke, instead of quietly asking Lane if that is what he wants... or if he thinks is what is expected of him?

last episode posted:

[Dr. Miller] insists they're in the same business, something that Don clearly doesn't agree with... until she says both their work boils down to figuring out what is expected of somebody vs. what they REALLY want.

S3E5 The Fog posted:

[Dennis] gets emotional as he speaks, drunk enough to be willing to expose his emotions and fears to this stranger. Don is a little taken aback, but offers a companionable clap on the shoulder (Dennis at least doesn't recoil the way Betty did from Farrell) and a piece of advice: our worst fears lie in anticipation.

The Klowner posted:

Don is actually quoting Sal from the first episode of this season, after London Fog expresses their fears about their business. "That's not me, that's Balzac," he adds after the quote, before Don takes over.

The question isn't "Who is Don Draper?" The question is, "Is Don Draper anything at all?"

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 16:38 on May 30, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The Klowner posted:

The question isn't "Who is Don Draper?" The question is, "Is Don Draper anything at all?"

Something that stands out is when Stephanie asks Don where he went to school, and he seems almost ashamed as he admits he cobbled together non-consecutive years at Night School. Stephanie is legitimately impressed by that, just like most people are legitimately impressed by Don when they meet him, but the man himself is absolutely humiliated by his lack of "class" and upbringing despite referring to himself proudly in the past as a self-made man. His origins in poverty make him embarrassed, he's convinced he's "lesser than" and wants to hide his history not just because of his stolen identity but because he thinks people will look down on him or cast him out for not belonging (and he always thinks he doesn't belong). He probably only really admits he went to Night School to Stephanie because he's there with Anna which is a safer space.

The irony of course being that we've seen over and over again that people already figured out long ago that Don comes from poverty and for the most part they don't give a poo poo, either because they genuinely love him (Betty, before it all went sour), like him (Roger, Cooper etc), admire him (Ken, Peggy, Harry etc) or are intimidated by him (Kinsey, Pete and yeah also Harry again etc).

So Don cobbles together parts of his personal philosophy from other people that he thinks of as "belonging" in a way he doesn't. He borrows Sal's Balzac quotation, he picks up Miller's line about what is expected etc. It's all unconscious, but he's piecing this all together himself because he thinks he has to, even though the people he borrows from are largely people who look up to him or recognize or acknowledge his abilities. It's also kind of funny that the two highlighted - Sal and Miller - are in fact outsiders themselves: a homosexual and a woman, trying to make their way through an industry and society that largely treats them as second-class citizens, and yet the "ultimate" representation of a white middle-aged businessman in Don Draper is the guy who is picking things from them because he's scared he doesn't belong to a group he essentially represents to everybody else.

Even his Glo-Coat ad, as exciting as it is and as how much it rocked the advertising world, is just Don aping movie tropes to sell floor polish, and part of the reason it worked so well is because Don's enthusiasm came through because he loves movies: of course he does, they're pure artifice where people inhabit roles and create the impression of something happening that isn't.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 23:18 on May 30, 2021

Nov 7, 2012

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

Jerusalem posted:

Something that stands out is when Stephanie asks Don where he went to school, and he seems almost ashamed as he admits he cobbled together non-consecutive years at Night School. Stephanie is legitimately impressed by that, just like most people are legitimately impressed by Don when they meet him, but the man himself is absolutely humiliated by his lack of "class" and upbringing despite referring to himself proudly in the past as a self-made man.

That's such a fundamental aspect of life in the society he lives in especially for all the peers he meets in the ad community.

I think literally every single account exec or creative was ivy league. Cooper might be literally the only person that would see Don as a example of a true success.

Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God

pentyne posted:

That's such a fundamental aspect of life in the society he lives in especially for all the peers he meets in the ad community.

I think literally every single account exec or creative was ivy league. Cooper might be literally the only person that would see Don as a example of a true success.

I don't think we ever learn where Roger went, but you could expect a legacy somewhere.

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

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

This is a very meaningless nitpick but being worried about being sent to Vietnam wasn’t a thing in 1964 when the US had not even begun to commit ground troops aside from a bunch of armed “advisors.” The whole issue of Vietnam in general was barely on the average Americans radar at the time with LBJ’s domestic policies and his campaign for re-election much more at the forefront.

Jul 30, 2005

Jerusalem posted:

Something that stands out is when Stephanie asks Don where he went to school, and he seems almost ashamed as he admits he cobbled together non-consecutive years at Night School. Stephanie is legitimately impressed by that, just like most people are legitimately impressed by Don when they meet him, but the man himself is absolutely humiliated by his lack of "class" and upbringing despite referring to himself proudly in the past as a self-made man. His origins in poverty make him embarrassed, he's convinced he's "lesser than" and wants to hide his history not just because of his stolen identity but because he thinks people will look down on him or cast him out for not belonging (and he always thinks he doesn't belong). He probably only really admits he went to Night School to Stephanie because he's there with Anna which is a safer space.

I grew up in rural poverty nearly on the level of Don, and it's only in the last few years that I've felt comfortable being open about it. As a child, I learned very quickly that it was shameful that we were poor. That my mom got welfare and food stamps. That we moved every 6 months, one step ahead of eviction notices. There was a middle class side of town where I grew up, and a poor side. And if you were on the poor side, the other side never let you forget it. We were, quite literally, told we were "lesser than".

And the three "rich" families were even worse.

Basically what I'm getting at is when that mindset gets hammered into you when you're young, it's real hard to lose no matter how successful you become. Don's personality in this regard is extremely accurate, and it's one of the things I love about the show. Seeing it played out on Mad Men helped me confrontat my own issues with it.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Shimrra Jamaane posted:

This is a very meaningless nitpick but being worried about being sent to Vietnam wasn’t a thing in 1964 when the US had not even begun to commit ground troops aside from a bunch of armed “advisors.” The whole issue of Vietnam in general was barely on the average Americans radar at the time with LBJ’s domestic policies and his campaign for re-election much more at the forefront.

While it certainly wasn't the gigantic issue it would soon become, there had been increasing incidents of protests against both American involvement in Vietnam and, perhaps more particularly, the idea of being drafted to fight. That's also when the Gulf of Tonkin Incident happened (well, partly, it's long been disputed over how legitimate a second attack actually was), so it stands to reason that people who weren't employed or in college might be worried about the military advisors turning into a far broader US involvement and sending in troops ala Korea, which of course is just what ended up happening. For somebody savvy like Joan, she certainly grasps the danger far more than a dumbass like Greg who signed up thinking he was fine unless of course war were declared.

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

Jerusalem posted:

So, of course they go see Godzilla!

It's actually Gamera, which I'm sure was chosen for being very cheap to license...but it wasn't released in Japan until 1965 and took another year to reach the US. One of the few major anachronisms I can think of in the series.

I imitate Lane's "...this movie's very good!" a lot.

Jerusalem posted:

I swear to God the episode lied and only pretended to be 47 minutes, because it felt twice that long (in a good way). When Don is on the plane and is told Happy New Year I was sure the end credits were going to roll and I wouldn't have been surprised, so much content was packed into everything up to that point. Then the back half is similarly just absolutely stacked with incredible content, especially Jared Harris playing Lane letting his hair down and he and Don just having the best loving time together (while simultaneously both being quite sad and a little pathetic).

Don and Lane's wild New Year's hang-out is one of my favorite single episode stories, but when I went to rewatch this episode I was still blindsided by it being here. For whatever reason, in my mind it had been shifted to some other point in the season; it definitely didn't happen this early and it absolutely wasn't the follow-up on a Don trip to California.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

There's so much going on it's also easy to forget the beautiful screwball comedy moment with Lane's secretary screwing up the flower order to Joan and Rebecca.

I like that while Don has the "We'll have to smoke the dress" in-joke that Lane doesn't get, Lane also gets the line about how sending flowers to his wife didn't go the way it was planned that Don won't get the full meaning behind we as the audience get to enjoy.

Edit: Corrected for Gamera, thanks!

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 05:44 on May 31, 2021

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


Not sure if it's Spoilers really since it makes zero sense out of context but just in case:

Somebody posted this on imgur saying "Happy Mad Men Day!", thought I would share :v:

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004 that finn from the sopranos?

e: i looked it up, it is!

ee: i just realized that putting a no-context spoilered line right after this observation might make it seem like it's related to it, but it is not! do not mouse over it, jerusalem

Add me to the list of people who loved Lane & Don's big night out, though it only makes Lane's ending even more crushing :(

Ainsley McTree fucked around with this message at 04:59 on Jun 5, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 4, Episode 4 - The Rejected
Written by Keith Huff & Matthew Weiner, Directed by John Slattery

Pete Campbell posted:

The grass is always greener.

1965 may be a new year, and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce may be a new Agency... but all the same old issues continue on, including having to massage the ego (and nerves) of one Lee Garner Sr. He's on a call to both Don Draper and Roger Sterling, listened in on by Allison who is taking copious notes regarding his concerns. What are his concerns? The continuing and growing public concerns over the dangers of smoking of course, particularly now that legislation is starting to get a bit more teeth to it.

This is still America and it's still capitalism though, and so Roger and Don both are at pains to remind Lee that he's dealing with a stacked deck: sure there is new legislation aimed at reducing smoking.... but it's legislation that HIS lawyers helped draft in the first place. Lucky Strike made suggestions that essentially dealt with problems they'd already taken steps to reduce or avoid using: no more teenagers, no more athletes, no more wide shots or low-angles that made the smoker appear somehow superhuman.

Lee though is one of those types who takes having to accept an incredibly minor reduction in his almost unfettered and unfairly balanced power and wealth as an unfair disaster of unacceptable proportions. So a weary Don and Roger take turns picking up the slack, giving the other a brief rest as they assure him everything will be fine and offering suggestions for loopholes or workarounds for the incredibly minor restrictions that Lee suggested in the first place as purely token gestures.

As Roger tries to charm him, an irritated Don complains to Allison asking why his bottle of scotch is empty, and she sweetly reminds him it is because he drank it all. He has to settle for vodka, pouring a glass for himself and Roger (who gratefully accepts) and happily letting Dr. Faye Miller and Peggy Olson step in through the open door of his office to provide him a distraction.

Dr. Miller is ready to begin the focus groups for Pond's, but first she needs to know what Don is looking for so she can tune up her presentation to match. An irritated Don tells her to go with Peggy's suggestion since he liked it, and Peggy has to remind me not only that he hasn't signed off on it yet but also WHAT the suggestion he liked was. It's not that he didn't pay attention at the time, it's just he has other things on his mind like Lee Garner Sr, and all he really recalls is that Peggy had a pitch he liked.

Grateful at the opportunity to bypass Freddy's old-fashioned idea, she tells Faye and reminds Don that it was about the ritual of the process: the chance to indulge, to spend 20-minutes looking at herself in a mirror and NOT feel like it was vain or inappropriate. Miller likes the idea too, and asks Don if she can grab some 18-25-year-olds from around the secretaries to take part. Distracted by Lee and his mail and anything else he can pay attention to instead of the petulant ramblings of an old multi-millionaire, he agrees readily enough.

Leafing through said mail, he's surprised, pleased and a little upset to find Anna has sent him a photo of the two of them from the early 50s (when he was still more Dick Whitman than Don Draper). He puts it aside, then scrambles to catch up and pretend he was paying attention when Roger spots Lane and Pete approaching and begs off to use the bathroom, putting Don back in the hot-seat. As he asks Lee to repeat himself, Roger assuring an offended Pete that he should be grateful they didn't tell him about the Lucky Strike Call, it's not exactly a fun time.

But there's more than that to worry about, and Pete was summoned for a reason. It turns out that Pond's Cold Cream considers Clearasil a competitor, and even though THEY know this isn't strictly the truth... it has meant some very cold math had to be done. Pond's is worth two million dollars in billings, and Clearasil is "only" worth 1.25 million. That's it, debate done, all other arguments are rendered null and void.

That doesn't stop Pete from trying of course, reminding them that he had to bend over backwards to get his father-in-law to agree to return the Clearasil contract to him and that in turn got them over the line to guarantee operating capital beyond Lucky Strike to start up Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Again though, Lane's logic is simple and unassailable: Pete is a partner (so he DID get what they promised, just not a named Partner) and as such he gets 15% of what Pond's is worth, which means he's coming out ahead financially in this deal.

Roger actually shows some degree of sympathy to Pete, because like it or not the two have far more in common than he might like to think. But he offers his own logic back: Pete's father-in-law might have helped him by giving him the contract, but Pete helped him just as much with the increased sales he brought the company. That marks the end of the conversation though, as Roger is called back to join in on the Lee Garner massage, Allison actually calling him by name when he doesn't at first respond (an unthinkable breach of protocol only a couple years earlier, the times they are a-changing). Pete is left feeling far from an equal as first Roger and then Lane offer him "companionable" slaps on the shoulder and remind him it is his duty as a Partner to take one for the team, and tonight if possible.

Back in the lion's den, Roger grimaces as he discovers that - of course - now Lane has turned his eye onto them, convinced that he is being ripped off and complaining about the amount of billing he is getting from SCDP. Roger reminds him that every single person at the Agency is dedicated and constantly working for THEM, but he'd be happy to get Lane Pryce to the foot of his bed within 20 minutes to take him line-by-line through the billings. Nobody wants that, of course, not least of all Lee, but now that he's turned his grumpiness over possibly making 0.000001% less a year in naked profit onto SCDP, Don knows it's time to pull out.

So how does the creative genius behind the Kodak Carousel, "It's toasted", and Glo-Coat get them out of the call? By declaring there's a fire and they have to go! "Right by Radio City!" agrees Roger quickly, saying a fast goodbye to Lee and then hanging up in relief. An amused Allison asks if he wants the whole call typed up and he does, but reminds her to remind him to remind Caroline to tell Lane (some things haven't changed, I guess) that Lee has noticed Lucky Strike is being billed for the work they do for OTHER clients now.

I mean, Lee's an rear end in a top hat and paranoid, but he was right!

He stops himself and reconsiders though, on second thoughts he really does NOT want that in writing. He leaves the office, and Allison packs her things and prepares to return to her desk to type up her notes. Before she does though, she can't resist sneaking a peek at the photo of Anna and Don, and asks who she is. "A dear friend," replies Don without really thinking, agreeing the picture came in the letter from California, not noting that Allison is both hunting for information and trying her best to forge some kind of personal connection between them, and for obvious reasons. When he doesn't get it, she sighs and moves on.

Pete returns to his office, complete with a pillar right in the middle of the space, where he finds Harry seated behind his desk reading the paper. Seemingly not surprised, he heads straight to the drinks cabinet complaining that he hates the office. Harry isn't sympathetic, Pete wanted to be close to Roger so this is what he got, but he hasn't just come to Pete's office to grab a quiet lunch... he wants to ask him about the Sunday paper.

In no mood for another complaint, Pete assumes this is about a Playtex ad where the printer's paper stock caused the model to look Puerto Rican, and again demonstrates his quasi-progressive thinking by pointing out that Puerto Rican girls buy brassieres so who cares if the white girl ended up looking darker-skinned? But that isn't what Harry was talking about, though he does enjoy a tangent about seeing a Puerto Rican girl on the subway without a bra. No, he has news about Ken Cosgrove: he's getting married.

Why should Pete care about that? Because Harry has solved the mystery of how Ken was able to treat he and Jennifer to such great seats at the opera during a foursome last week: his fiance's father is incredibly rich, he is the Chief Financial Officer at Corning. Pete is nonplussed for a second, then turns his focus elsewhere: why is Harry going out on the town with somebody from the "competition"?

Harry is confused by that, how is Ken competition when his current firm - Geyer - is twice the size of SCDP? No, they're just friends and this is what friends do, they go out together. Pete of course always sees things a different way: Harry is clearly looking for a job, always on the look for some kind of escape or parachute in case things go wrong. It's a paranoid way of thinking from Pete, but perhaps not too far from the truth.

Harry though, who to some degree appears to be aware of his own value even if he does still have moments of self-doubt, has a counter to that way of thinking: He, Pete and Ken are part of a group who came up together and are still on their way up in the advertising industry - hell, Ken currently has the Mountain Dew account which means he's got a foot in the door with Pepsi! It only makes sense they remain in contact, and Pete should come to lunch with him tomorrow to see Ken. Worst case scenario, he hates it but Ken talks too much and Pete can steal a client from him.

He leaves, and Pete is finally blessedly left alone. He doesn't have the kind of office he can quietly sit in the dark in anymore, but he does rest his head against the pillar at least. What is percolating through his head as he - much like Lee Garner Sr - bemoans how cruel the world is to the rich white male earning more money in a year than most people in the world will make in their life? That here he is, a partner in an advertising agency, one who was actively pursued by highly respected and sought after movers-and-shakers in the advertising industry... and yet somehow he's once again ended up bringing up the rear to Ken Cosgrove?

How is it that Ken - in his mind - is always ahead? He got the Senior Account position over him. He's smoother with women. He has a knack with clients naturally that Pete has to work hard at. He's an actual published writer while the best Pete could manage was a half-bribed entry into a boy's magazine. Now he even has one-up on where Pete had him beaten, because while Trudy and her parents come from a good home and plenty of money, apparently even that is dwarfed by Ken's fiance and future father-in-law. All Pete has now over Ken - in his own head - is his family name, something that even he has come to question the value of even while squeezing every possible little advantage from.

Peggy shares an elevator ride downstairs with another woman, who simply stares impassively when Peggy offers a polite greeting as she gets on the elevator (they have to push their own buttons, no Hollis to do that anymore). But she perks up when Peggy notices the rejection letter on the portfolio she is holding and offers her commiseration. She introduces herself as Joyce and they shake hands, explaining that the rejection isn't hers, she's an assistant photo editor for Life Magazine.

Joyce seems intrigued and a little surprised when Peggy introduces herself as a Copywriter, seemingly having pegged her for something more mundane or usual like a secretary. She seems to take great pleasure in showing Peggy the rejected photographs inside the folder she is carrying, explaining they're the work of a friend of hers who was rejected by her Editor. They're artistic nudes, and while Peggy admits she would be shocked to open Life Magazine and see these, she also has no issue appreciating the obvious talent and artistry on display in the work.

Reaching out to touch one, she's startled when Joyce cheekily slaps the folder shut, letting out a surprised laugh that Joyce shares in. Getting off at her stop, Joyce explains she herself still has to get to the mail-room, but reminds herself of Peggy's name and asks for confirmation she works on the 37th floor. Peggy nods and leaves with a smile, not putting much more thought beyond that this was an enjoyable diversion. But as she goes, Joyce eyes her up and down appreciatively in a way Peggy would absolutely recognize - albeit from a different gender than usual - if she saw it.

Tom Vogel is waiting with a smile at a bar when Pete Campbell arrives and braces himself when he spots him. Joining him at the bar, he comments that Tom has arrived 15 minutes early, Tom offering back that Pete is as well as he takes his seat. Pete orders and then considers how best to broach the subject when Tom asks why he asked to see him, stammering through how he has always done his best to make him happy and he doesn't want their relationship to change. As he struggles to walk a desperately fine line, Tom only seems amused before finally interrupting to say he can't keep this up any longer: he's already heard.

Pete is immediately suspicious, he already heard? How is that possible (and surely, scratching at the back of his head, WHO told him)? He's even more confused by Tom's reaction to all this, laughing and joking and saying he's so happy. Something is telling him this isn't what it seems to be on the surface, so for once he does the actual right thing and grabs Tom by the shoulders and demands he simply tell him outright exactly what he means so there can be no misunderstanding.

A little bewildered but still beaming, Tom happily tells him that Jeannie was with Trudy when the doctor gave her the good news.... and suddenly it all falls into place for Pete, which means it suddenly all falls into place for Tom. Trudy is pregnant. And Pete didn't know.

Tom's smile falls, replaced by horror as he realizes he has stolen the thunder from his daughter and given her husband the biggest and happiest news a man can get. But for Pete, his usual harried look is replaced by a wide smile, far different from the fake one he puts on for clients. Something unusual and almost alien is happening to Pete Campbell: he is being genuinely, uncritically and unreservedly happy.

It's a relief for Tom, still appalled that he gave away the secret and confused as to why Trudy didn't say anything yet since it was Monday that she went to the doctor. He begs Pete not to tell Trudy he gave away the news, but is also more than ready to celebrate, calling for champagne and proclaiming with pride to Pete that he'll give him $1000 if they have a boy, and $500 if it's a girl.

I wonder where people got the idea that gender inequality was a thing?

Pete, still in shock but deeply happy, comments that he'll "do what he can", and then understandably lets a perfect opportunity pass when it is presented. Tom has belatedly remembered that Pete wanted to see him for a reason OTHER than this good news, so what was it? Pete, drawn back to the ground for a moment, has the chance here and now to laugh and admit the bad news he was bringing in the one moment where Tom would probably not give the slightest poo poo. Instead, he declares that they're putting new Creative on Clearasil. Tom waves that off with a,"Who cares" and goes back to warmly reminiscing about the wonderful joy of discovering you are going to be a father, hoping that Pete will experience it many times because as much as he loves Trudy he wishes he could have had more children.

"Jeannie had a cyst on her uterus or something" he mutters, seemingly unaware even now of the full details of this massive, emotionally and physically traumatizing event his wife went through as anything other than a mild inconvenience to himself. But Pete is barely listening, the camera slowly pushing in on him and edging Tom out of the frame, Tom's voice lowering in volume. Visually and audibly, we're shown Pete is now in his own world, wrapped up in the dawning realization that he has achieved his dream: he is going to be a father. Said dream only really came into place when he thought maybe it was something he COULDN'T have, but it seems churlish to point that out: he's genuinely happy for a change, and it is a genuinely wonderful thing, and for just one moment all the usual bullshit and suspicion and paranoia disappears and Pete is simply.... happy.

He returns home where Trudy is just finishing up a phone-call. He calls her name and she hangs up, staring with dread at him, telling him it isn't what she thinks, she was simply waiting for their Anniversary to tell him, that her father just called drunk and in tears from a payphone to let her know he had let things slip. But Pete doesn't care, he doesn't care how he heard, all he cares about is the news itself. Relief washes over her and they embrace, and they stare at each other with joy, Pete telling her he wants to pick her up and spin her around the room he's so happy, both of them taking glee in the fact he can't because he fears damaging the small life currently growing inside of her.

There is a moment, only brief, where cruel reality slips in for a moment when Trudy jokes that of course Pete wouldn't know what it would feel like to get this news since he's never had it before. Pete, of course, knows that he had another child with Peggy whom he never and will never know, but he shakes that aside and goes back to reveling in the moment.

They take a seat on the couch, Trudy letting her own guilt spill out as she admits it was foolish to take her mother with her to be tested. That was a surefire way for the secret to get out, and she only took her because she was scared that maybe there was something wrong with her rather than something beautifully, unexpectedly right. They don't know why conception took so long or was so difficult, but that doesn't matter, because it has happened now, and now they can put the anguish of the past aside and look forward to what is coming.

Pete admits to her the purpose of his meeting with Tom, and here we see another sign of the growing depth of a relationship that seemed doomed over the first 2.5 seasons and ironically only seemed to strengthen after Pete admitted his infidelity (rape!) and they bonded philosophically over the assassination of JFK. Trudy reminds that it was her who convinced her father to give Pete Clearasil to ensure he got the partnership in SCDP, and then shows a surprisingly mercenary attitude by telling Pete that while he may have needed her father then... he doesn't need him now.

Or more precisely, "we", because that's what they well and truly are now: Trudy feels an investment/belonging in the creation of SCDP, because she was there when it all started, and she feels like an equal partner with Pete in this endeavor (Pete, if he considers this at all, is unlikely to feel as strongly).

"He'll never feel the knife go in," she tells Pete after offering to be the one to break the news to Tom, saying that he'll be too mixed up in his happiness about the pregnancy AND his guilt over spoiling the news to be upset, especially if it is coming from her. He agrees to her plan to invite over her parents tomorrow to hit Tom with the news, and with this little bit of plotting out of the way they are now free to settle back and enjoy the moment. They hold hands over her waist, glowing with happiness and love. They are the family they (first her, than him) wanted at last, soon they will no longer be the children, they will be the parents.

The next day at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Joan leads Caroline to Allison's desk, telling Allison that Caroline will watch it for her while she participates in the focus group. Allison has been checking her make-up, and complains that she doesn't know why THEY don't have to do it. Joan coldly points out that Allison doesn't HAVE to do it, she is being paid to do it. She doesn't take too kindly to Caroline laughing and including Joan herself in her assurance that they don't want "old and married" women as part of this group. Caroline quickly touches her face though, assuring Allison that she does use Pond's Cold Cream though!

Allison joins the other 18-25-year-old secretaries in the conference room, where they're chatting excitedly, enjoying the break-up of the usual daily monotony. Megan helps Joan draw the curtains and then takes her seat at the table, where cookies have been laid out as snacks.

On the other side of the mirror looking into the conference room, Don and Peggy are looking over notes while Peggy complains that no matter how late she is, she always ends up having to wait for someone. That someone is Dr. Faye Miller, entering with Freddy Rumsen and explaining that she had to wait for the ladies' room to empty before she could change. She's dressed down from her more expensive clothing into something more secretarial, and isn't pleased when she is handed a card with her name on it, complaining it isn't what she asked for.

Peggy is confused, she was told she didn't want to be called Dr. Miller so she put Faye, was that not right? The problem is that it IS right, Miller explaining she told "somebody" to spell it Fay so she could correct it. It's a psychological trick, it tells the participants that she isn't anybody important, which presumably puts them at ease and makes them more likely to talk to her. So she improvises, discarding the name card entirely. She hands a startled Peggy her wedding ring and then heads out to put on her little show, sighing that it's always like this when Joan warns her she's about to walk into a room overpowered by perfume.

Joan turns off the lights and opens the curtains on their end, setting the recorder running and tells Don, Peggy and Freddy that she'll work in Mr. Sterling's office (she of all people still calls him Mr. Sterling and not Roger) since he won't be coming in. It seems this observation room is actually Joan's own office, another example of the rather cramped, "make space wherever we can" nature of the SCDP offices.

Just as an aside, John Slattery who plays Roger Sterling actually directed this episode, his first.

Inside the conference room, Faye has just discovered to her consternation that why golly, she doesn't have a name tag like the others! They all share a laugh as she self-deprecatingly jokes that they forgot her, which breaks the ice, a woman labeled as Dorothy admitting that her actual name should be Dotty. Faye uses her correct name with a smile, and then conspiratorially tells them all that "we" can all enjoy the fact that "we're" getting paid not to work for a little bit, which the other women welcome happily, accepting her less than subtle inclusion of herself into the group.

"That's our little secret!" she giggles, as they're watched through the mirror by Don, Peggy and Freddy. As Faye continues to put the secretaries at ease, Peggy finds herself admiring Faye's ring, then slipping it on to see how it feels, extending her hand to get a better view, enjoying the fantasy for a moment... till she realizes Don is watching her, amused though not in a mocking way, more like he just caught his daughter playing grown-ups. She quickly lowers her hand, embarrassed to have been caught out like this.

Faye makes a point of pouring water for some of the others (note she doesn't extend this "service" to anybody out of arm's reach) and asking somebody to pass her a danish, hoping to encourage the others to eat and further enhance the idea that this is an informal gathering of friends like she has been suggesting. She acknowledges that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss beauty, though she couches this in a way to compliment the women for their looks while continuing to make them consider her one of them by asking how they "all" enhance their beauty.

Of course none of them want to speak up, shy or insecure or worried about being the focus of attention. So Faye gives them a prompt, "admitting" that she has a routine, brushing her hair 100 times just like her mother did for her when she was a little girl. She throws in a joke about doing this just before getting her hair set to again keep them at ease, while inside the observation room Peggy dutifully takes note while Don and Freddy simply watch. Freddy notes it's hard to imagine your financial future being in the hands of a bunch of 22-year-old girls, and feels it when Don wryly notes,"Not mine."

Continuing to try and keep the girls at ease, Faye makes sure to take a big bite of her danish before admitting that it is only SOMETIMES that she watches her weight. They laugh, and she asks if nobody is really hungry, and with that cue they finally break, grabbing the plate and indulging in the treat (how many of these poor women get by on nothing but an apple in order to "keep their figures"?). Megan, a little concerned, points out that she doesn't use Pond's, but Faye promises her that isn't an issue.

Somewhat relieved, Megan is still at pains to explain WHY, saying that she is of French extraction and like her mother just naturally has a good complexion: her mother used nothing, just water to clean her face. Faye, all smiles, sees an opening and takes it, asking Megan to explain the process her mother went through. Clearly touched by the memory, Megan runs through the process her mother would undertake, being carried away to a happier time as a child when she of course watched everything her mother did with fascination. She shyly admits that yes her mother would look at herself when she did this, and she follows her mother's routine as well.

Peggy watches with fascination, while the products might be different this probably matches both her own experience as well as her idea that they can sell Pond's on the indulgence/routine front, and she's deeply impressed by how Faye has managed to get the women going in that direction.

Dotty speaks up next, spurred on by Megan's confession to make one of her own, about how sometimes she'd sit at her vanity with her night-cream. This story however doesn't have the warmth and happiness of Megan's, as she admits that her boyfriend laughed at her for going through this routine and she seems to realize halfway through this was cruel. She admits it was Christmas and they were "playing house", a nice way of saying they were probably sleeping together despite not being married. Another secretary speaks up with a warning, you shouldn't do things for "them" because "they" don't appreciate it.

Dotty admits that they broke up a year ago, and that whatever it was her boyfriend noticed that made him laugh, it wasn't "her" - not meaning that she wasn't to blame, but that he saw through the carefully constructed facade she went through to look "natural". Because for all the pleasure Megan might have taken in the memory of watching her mother go through her beauty routine, for the men in their lives the beauty comes as a given, and the revelation that there is a process to go through to match THEIR ideals somehow gives them the idea that women are being duplicitous or somehow "tricking" them.

"It's worse when they notice, sometimes," murmurs Allison, barely audible, but every head in the room turns to her. Faye prompts her to continue, and she mumbles that it is nothing before casting a brief look towards the mirror and then shying away. She knows enough to know there is somebody on the other side of that mirror, and that it is probably Don Draper, and she really, really, really does not want him seeing through her carefully constructed facade that everything is all right.

Don, for his part, shifts uncomfortably in his seat, at least self-aware enough to feel mildly guilty.

In his office, the baby news has Pete considering a future beyond his own life, as he fills out a life insurance policy. Lane calls out to ask if he is in, having to pop his head past the pillar to see Pete at his desk. He complains that he told "your girl" to let him know when Pete arrives, and Pete defends her as being part of the group currently in testing. Lane has come by to see if Pete has broken off the relationship with Clearasil, and Pete has to admit that the opportunity to do so yesterday passed. Lane sighs that he'll have to get it done today, perhaps at lunch, since Roger has already told Pond's that the matter has been dealt with.

"That's sloppy" grumbles Pete, who let us not forget is a partner now and far freer to express his disdain for the likes of Roger AND SCDP's operating processes. He already has plans for lunch but he is seeing Tom tonight and will deal with it then. Lane starts to leave, but before he can Pete calls him back to give him the good news, not even thinking about using it to explain why he didn't do as he was instructed, he's going to be a father.

To Pete's great disgust (though he hides it behind a forced smile), Lane's immediate response is to say this will help take the sting out of the Clearasil news. But as Lane starts to leave he suddenly grasps just how callous that was and turns back, apologizing genuinely to Pete and assuring him this is wonderful news and offering his congratulations and a handshake. Pete happily takes it, and then there is an awkward moment where Lane stands staring at him, unsure how to proceed or if he should, finally settling on a little shrug, a,"Well..." and turning making his exit.

Lord help him, he's trying his best.

In the focus groups, things have fallen apart as the market research has turned into a crying session. Dotty is openly weeping, taking tissues offered by Faye and explaining that she knows men like to look at women, but she couldn't help being hurt by her boyfriend looking at other girls, as well as questioning whether he ever looked at HER that way. This is compounded by the fact that as they weren't married, she felt as if she somehow had no claim to him, no right to complain or feel bad.

Megan gently strokes her back while the others offer looks of commiseration, while in the observation room Freddy is baffled how things got so sad so far, and Peggy shushes him, caught up in the emotions as well. Don says something, but his eyes aren't on Dotty. They're on Allison, who isn't looking at Dotty either but down at the table, restraining her own tears, a look of utter despair on her face that he knows HE is responsible for.

Faye, whose interest is on keeping this on-topic, assures Dotty that her boyfriend's actions certainly can't have had anything to do with how she looked. But Dotty sobs that there is only so much you can do "with what God gave you" and that in the end it doesn't matter what she sees when she looks at herself in the mirror, it is what the man sees. "I gave him everything and he gave me nothing," she complained, and that causes the dam to burst. Allison explodes into uncontrollable sobbing, startling everybody but Freddy, the only impassive observer (other than Faye, who has to put on the face of somebody who cares), who declares that he could tell she was about to crack.

Faye tries to speak to Allison but she can't be in the room anymore, especially knowing that Don is watching. She staggers out of the room, Megan offering to go after her but Faye - who doesn't want to lose anybody else from the group - assuring her that if Allison wanted to be around any of them she would have stayed. Instead she turns to Sarah, going straight back to business, asking what she does to make herself feel pretty. In the observation room though, Peggy quietly tells Don that she feels responsible and would like to go check on her. Don, who IS responsible, gives a quiet nod and Peggy slips out of the room.

Left alone, Freddy speaks his mind: he was right, all these women care about is getting married, and they'll buy anything that will help. He's right in the shallowest sense of the word, because this is only a symptom and not the actual disease itself: the deep rot at the heart of society with the callous, hypocritical and often contradictory messages women have hammered into them almost from birth ($1000 for a boy, $500 for a girl) that makes them question their value, their worth, and gives men all the power in their relationships. The sad thing is... that's all Freddy HAS to be right about, because even if he was aware of these issues he wouldn't be interested in addressing, acknowledging or solving them. All he has to do is figure out a way to sell Pond's cold cream.

Allison is at her desk, and is disappointed but perhaps not too surprised when the person who comes to comfort her is Peggy Olson rather than Don Draper. Peggy takes her into Don's office and promises her that somebody ALWAYS cries in these focus groups, she was in a great number when she first started as a secretary and there was always tears. Allison can't help but smile at this, and Peggy notes a great truth: it just feels good to talk. Or in other words, to let out their emotions, something most of the men in their lives absolutely will not do (the other side of that hosed up gender dynamic: boys don't cry).

But when Allison talks, it's something that Peggy was not prepared and probably did not want to hear: she couldn't speak knowing "he" was there on the other side of the glass. Peggy gets an,"Oh gently caress" look on her face as she realizes they're going places she really doesn't want to go, and things get worse as Allison talks about how the two of them have this in common, both have been the victims of Don Draper's using and discarding of women.

Too late Peggy realizes that not only has Allison slept with Don, but like far too many, Allison assumes that Peggy must have slept with him too, and probably thinks part of her success/promotion over the years was as a result of this - which in turn must make Allison feel even worse, because Don immediately broke things off with her and left her as she was in a pure secretarial role. Now Peggy is torn between sympathy for Allison and being pissed off at her presumption, and being pissed off wins out.

"Your problem is not my problem," she warns after Allison sobs about Don just being a drunk who gets away with everything because he "forgets". She snaps at Allison to just get over it, causing Allison to break down again and ask her to leave her alone. Peggy, still stunned at realizing despite all her accomplishments even the other women assume she's where she is because of Don's indulgence, makes a quick exit, returning to the observation room where she grunts that Allison is fine when Don "casually" asks if she went home.

Faye has finished up with the focus group ("Nothing else good happened," complains Freddy), returning to the observation room and telling them happily that it went great despite the sobbing and running out. Megan pops her head in the door and asks if "she is okay" and Faye without a hint of self-awareness frowns and asks,"Who?", genuinely having no idea who Megan could possibly be asking about, Allison a complete non-entity to her despite all her friendly "we" talk. "She's fine," says Peggy, who has reason to be pissed at Allison but also empathy and sense enough to tell Megan the right things at the right time.

Peggy returns Faye's wedding ring, and Faye - still in the secretary outfit but back into Dr. Miller mode - says they can go through preliminary results right now. Joan however has seen the secretaries have returned to their desks and makes a quick return herself, asking if she can have the office back the way it should be now. Don suggests they continue their meeting in his office and Peggy, keen to avoid disaster, recommends they do it in the conference room instead.

Speaking of potential disaster, Pete has joined Harry at Jim Downey's Steak House for the lunch with Ken Cosgrove, which could go all manner of ways given Pete's history with him. While they wait for Ken though, Pete has given Harry his happy news, and the glow of fatherhood has certainly worn off on Harry who simply comments they have a closet ful; of "baby crap" if Pete and Trudy need any.

Ken arrives, and of course Pete is full of his usual big fake cheery smile as he stands up and quickly gives him an energetic handshake. He takes a seat but almost as quickly has to get up as a half-blind waiter - Gil - informs Harry there is a call for him. Harry complains the "goniffs" at CBS are bothering him again, confusing Pete who has no idea what a goniff is, and then just like that it's the two men who once vied for (and Ken won, for a couple of weeks at least) the Head of Accounts position at the old Sterling Cooper left alone together.

They look over the menus, and then Ken sighs and admits there is something he has to get out of the way: he would appreciate in the future if Pete not say lovely things behind his back. Pete, as always, is far too artificial in his reactions when they're not genuine (Vincent Kartheiser is great at acting as a guy who isn't a great actor), his forced chumminess with clients is always kind of desperate but that seems to appeal to a significant number of them. Ken Cosgrove is NOT a client, and though he's easygoing he's also not going to let Pete play dumb on this one.

When Pete assures him whatever he heard isn't true (thus inviting Ken to tell him so he doesn't blurt out anything Ken hasn't actually heard), Ken has no problem detailing some of the choice things said, like calling him an "All-American idiot who fell into everything", that he was driving the tractor that amputated Guy MacKendrick's foot, and that he was only marrying for money.

Pete doesn't actually deny saying any of these things, his protests are largely about wanting to know who said he said it so he can "defend" himself, when if he simply hadn't said those things he could say so. For the tractor story he obfuscates, saying he "probably" said that Ken was "involved" but that they all were.... also it WAS Ken's account. But he does have a defense for the last one about marrying for money, complaining that he absolutely did not say it... it was Harry who did!

Amusingly, Ken's reaction to this is to dismiss it as that's just the type of thing you expect Harry to say! But for the story to be that Pete said it? Well that is too much, because his fiance and Trudy know each other through "some garden club", a revelation that does seem to alarm Pete who admits quietly that he didn't know that. Then, without actually admitting to any fault, Pete decides to apologize, as if he is the bigger man despite being the one in the wrong.

That's actually enough to Ken though, who for any of his other faults really is an easygoing person who people can't help but get along with. He smirks when Pete complains this is textbook Harry and HE can pay for lunch, and then they actually find themselves commiserating about having to deal with clients who dislike the city, and how nice it is to get away for even an hour or so. Ken admits he's getting along "laterally" at Geyer but it isn't exactly a love affair... but it is better than McCann at least.

Pete winces, this was a fate he escaped but he is curious: what was it like working there? A place that Don's most diplomatic description of was that it was a sausage factory. Ken's response is to liken it unfavorably to the mental ward at the state hospital his mother worked at when he was a boy, making Pete roar with laughter, admitting that it was the WORST ad agency he had ever worked for.

Things are better at Geyer but not much, and Pete is surprised to hear that Ken Cosgrove actually appears to envy HIM for a change, especially after he gives the news about Trudy being pregnant. Ken admits that being a slave to Don Draper and his Creative vision is still better than being slave to old farts where credit is given to whoever poured the last drink rather than whoever did the work. He complains bitterly that they're currently working on Mountain Dew with the mindset that if they pull it off, they can get Pepsi... but everybody knows that they're never getting Pepsi, it's just a strategic move by Pepsi to make BBDO - who does have Pepsi as a client - sweat and potentially give them better work or some relief on billings. No, all they'll end up with is little pieces, they'll never get the whole thing, and it kills motivation.

"The grass is always greener," Pete suggests, and Ken - too easygoing and naturally upbeat to stay down for too long - shakes it off and admits that life is pretty great, and chuckles over the thought that another Campbell is JUST what the world needs. Pete though seems thoughtful, considering that maybe he's forgotten just how green his own grass actually is.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It doesn't feel that way to Don though, who finds himself experiencing what near everybody else in the office feels whenever they approach his door: he's nervous. He knocks briefly and then enters, and finds Allison still tear-eyed but seemingly in more control now. He asks if he can come in and she quietly points out it is his office, and seems surprised when he declares it is good to see she is feeling better and then simply leaves it at telling her she can go home if she doesn't feel like working.

She stands up and moves to the door, but rather than going through it she slowly closes it so they have some privacy - when Don destroyed her hopes and dreams he had her leave the door open, now she takes that choice away from him: they're going to have a discussion whether he likes it or not. Still even now he tries to pretend he doesn't grasp what is going on, and when she tells him she is embarrassed he simply repeats Peggy's earlier comment about how people cry in those groups all the time.

"This actually happened," she growls, finally getting aggressive, and that cuts through the bullshit. "I know, I know," he says after a moment's hesitation... and then moves behind his desk to put a literal obstacle between them, as well as a figurative reminder of their positions: he is the authority here, or at least retreating to this subconscious representation of that fact in order to hide away from her (completely justified) accusations.

"We made a mistake," she says, telling him it would be best for both of them if she moved on. Don, feeling a little more confident now, assures her they're both adults and this isn't necessary, but she insists. She's been told by a friend about a job at a magazine, and she thinks it would be interesting to work for a woman (and far less likely to end up in this situation). But as she tells him this, she's eying him up carefully, looking for his reactions, half hoping (and fearing?) that he will beg her not to go or break down and admits that he can't stop thinking about her either.

But when she asks him for a recommendation, he immediately agrees... and then does the worst thing possible. The worst. He tells her it would be even better if she just types up whatever she wants and he'll sign it.

Jesus Christ, Don, you're supposed to be a ladies' man.

She's appalled, and rightly so. "What?" she gasps, and he doesn't read the warning signs at all, explaining that she's been "sparkling" in her duties and she can just put whatever she wants on her stationery and he'll sign it. For Don, he thinks he is doing her a favor, that he is going out of his way to be helpful and accommodating, essentially giving her the job-hunting equivalent of a blank check that most people in Advertising would kill for: a blank endorsement from Don Draper, Creative Genius.

For Allison though, this is the final insult. He can't even be bothered to do this for her? Or he literally doesn't have anything to say about her after all this time together beyond "sparkling"? He doesn't care that much? He thinks THIS little of her? Just like Dotty said, she gave him everything, and he is giving her nothing.

Horrified, devastated, Allison is momentarily at a loss, and then she reacts in the only way she can: by lashing out. Looking around, she spots his ridiculous spherical table lighter, grabs it and hurls it across the room at him, shattering one of his framed pictures on the wall. Outside, Peggy and Joan pop their heads out of their respective desks, alarmed and surprised by the noise.

"I don't say this easily," sobs Allison to a shocked Don,"But you're not a good person!"

With this incredibly accurate statement blurted out, she races out of the office, but the tears are gone now, replaced by a cold fury as she collects her things from her desk and storms off. Don finally, belatedly, pointlessly now calls out for her to hold on, racing to the door in time to see her speed up down the corridor before her emotions overwhelm her again (or worse, she listens and goes back). Don freezes in the door, caught between wanting to go after her and furious at himself for the humiliation of realizing everybody in the office is staring at him... and also the knowledge that he has ruined something (somebody!), whether that was a potential new partner or - more likely - an accomplished and valuable secretary.

He returns to his office, picking up the broken frame as Joan steps into the doorway to do her duty and ask what just happened. Don's non-reply is that he needs a new secretary and somebody to clean up this mess. Joan, repressing her own disdain for whatever Don has done to cause this (I imagine she has a pretty good idea), asks if he would be open to Allison returning in a couple of days when she has calmed down. When Don says he's fine with that if this is what Allison wants, Joan expresses open skepticism and Don admits that no, this wouldn't be appropriate.

Joan leaves, holding back a clear contempt that would again have been unthinkable only a couple of years ago at the old Sterling Cooper. Don meanwhile literally stops trying to pick up the pieces and does what he does best, goes to pour himself a drink to try and ignore his problems with. And as he does so.... something absolutely loving incredible happens.

It's a glorious bit of comedic timing, Peggy staring with fascinated revulsion at Don. What is she expecting? To see him vulnerable or crying or showing SOME emotion that demonstrates he actually is in some way human (or perhaps in a more general sense, to see if any man will actually show some emotion). All she sees though is Don doing what he always does, ramrod straight and on the surface the perfect specimen of "masculinity", which sadly also means he's deeply repressed, emotionally unavailable, and masks his pain through stoic looks and heavy drinking.

As he turns she ducks down to avoid being seen, revealing that she's literally standing on her own desk to sneak a peek. Her intercom buzzes and she's informed that a Joyce Ramsay is waiting in reception to see her, and she awkwardly tries to clamber down off her desk, certainly not dressed for these athletics.

Joyce Ramsay is of course the Joyce from Life Magazine who met her in the elevator, and she's enjoying chatting with (and looking at) Megan at the front desk. Megan has a line that kind of just gets put out there without comment but it absolutely stabs right into the heart of the horrific gender roles we've been shown time and again in this episode: she's reading a magazine and admits that she doesn't actually enjoy them, but when she brought in a book to read at her desk in the past she was told it was "not the right look". So she spends her days sitting at the front, being pretty and looked at like an ornament by visitors, and has nothing to keep her occupied during quiet periods beyond leafing through magazines she isn't interested in because she's been told reading a book doesn't present the right image. Jesus Christ. These are what some people consider the "good old days", remember.

Peggy joins her, asking if she'd like to come back and see her office. For many, a woman having an office of her own is a big deal and something they'd want to see, but that's not the aspect of Peggy that has Joyce intrigued, and she simply says another time maybe. No, she's come to see Peggy to let her know that her photographer friend whose work was rejected is having a.... thing tonight. She isn't exactly sure what to call it, and she isn't exactly explicitly inviting Peggy, more letting her know it is happening, where it will be and what time she will be there.

She writes down the address on a pad she takes from Megan's desk, giving the paper to Peggy and thanking Megan by calling her sweetheart. She leaves, and Megan admits now that she's gone that she finds Joyce a little pretentious. Peggy agrees, but it is clear by the look on her fact that she thinks of that in a positive sense. She's not interested in Joyce in the same way Joyce is clearly interested in her, but she does find her interesting.

She returns to her office, and it's worth noting that uncommented on in the background of reception this entire time, sitting eating an apple and reading magazines with his shoeless feet propped up on the coffee table, is Bert Cooper. What is he doing? Why is he there? Nothing and for no reason! He probably just finds his new office more cramped by comparison to the old, and enjoys reception because it's not quite as crammed as everywhere else. If he even notices or cares about the goings-on at the front desk he gives no sign, but poor Megan must feel his presence acutely - she sure as hell isn't going to sneak out a book to read while he's there.

Early that evening, Pete arrives home to find the Vogels already there and absolutely thrilled to see the man who is making them into grandparents. He gives Jeannie a hug and shakes Tom's hand with a smile after Tom assures him he's going to keep his mouth shut from now on. Trudy emerges from the kitchen and admits she is currently a little behind, but suggests Pete show her mother what they intend to do with the maid's room (which will soon be their child's) while she fixes her father a drink.

Clearly her plan here is to "put the knife in" as she so eloquently put it, so she's surprised when Pete agrees to Tom's suggestion that he will fix the drinks, and by Pete telling her that she should show her mother around. Pete, it seems, has a new strategy for dealing with Tom.

Left alone, Pete tries to launch into his planned script, but is thrown off by Tom talking over him to ask what he wants to drink, then once again assuming he knows what Pete is after and jumping the gun. Still very much in the provider/mentor/benefactor role he clearly thinks of as part of his perceived status as patriarch of the Vogel-Campbell union, he assures Pete that he imagines he wants a larger home now that he's having a kid, and he of course will be happy to provide.

Tom's heart is in the right place, and there are many of course who would be thrilled to have a father-in-law who wasn't only willing to fork out cash to pay for things but did so in such a garrulous fashion. But Pete isn't most people, and his own persistent self-loathing means he second-guesses or gets paranoid about the true motivations behind such charity (and to be fair, for all Tom's sweet demeanor, he's a businessman who also clearly thinks of himself as above/higher/more accomplished/capable than Pete).

And so Pete takes his "revenge", revenge on the man who gave him everything. Sure it was on a leash, but it was a looooooooooong rear end leash. So instead of being diplomatic, of gently guiding Tom into a new status quo where they're at worst equals, Pete takes great pleasure in taking the reins and making it clear to Tom he is doing so. "Every time you jump to conclusions, Tom, you make me respect you less," he smirks, and that finally wipes the smile off of Tom's face.

Pete told Ken the grass was always greener, and it seemed in that moment he'd finally figured out he was in a better position than Ken Cosgrove was. But no, the lesson he took from that lunch was Ken's complaint about getting a small piece with the empty promise of the bigger thing to come. So Pete lays it all out for Tom: he has done well by Clearasil but it is only going to generate so much money, and has been conflicted out of SCDP by a bigger company.... but Pete did the work, he is done auditioning, and now he wants that bigger piece of the pie he was promised if he could deliver on the small. He doesn't just want the next step up though, he doesn't want the cough syrup, he wants EVERYTHING. He wants SCDP to manage the Vapo-Rub, the inhaler, Vicks 44 etc.

He could have pitched this idea to Tom in a far nicer, compelling and mutually beneficial way, and there is a drat good chance Tom would have been open to the idea: after all, it's not like he's an idiot son-in-law put in place just to draw a salary, he has actually delivered on the promise of increased sales for Clearasil. But Pete is one of those who shows his true nature the moment he has even a modicum of power. He rankled under being on even a long leash like Tom had him on, but rather than turn this into a bonding moment where the two gained a mutual respect for the other and Tom treated him naturally like a peer.... he has to make Tom squirm, he has to be the one in charge, he has to humiliate his father-in-law for the "crime" of being his benefactor (albeit with an agenda).

Tom admits that Pete has given him something to think about, and Pete very deliberately makes a point of calling out to Trudy in that moment to ask if they have ice, a none-too-subtle reminder that he has "hostage" what Tom already admitted was the most important thing in his life. "You son of a bitch," he mumbles in disgust, and Pete's reaction says it all, as he simply shrugs, uncaring. The way Tom feels about him is irrelevant now, Pete has "won" by getting Trudy pregnant, and now he will dictate terms, and he doesn't give a poo poo how Tom feels about it.

This Pete Campbell.... not the nicest guy in the world.

Don Draper, meanwhile, sits staring at nothing in his office. Eventually a sound intrudes on his disassociation, and he seems to realize how late it has gotten. He finishes his drink and steps out of his office, where a cleaner is waxing the floors. Putting on his hat, he gives the cleaner a nod, then leaves the office to go home to an empty apartment where he can also sit in silence saying and doing nothing. It would be easy to feel sorry for him, but this is also a fate entirely of his own making.

But as Pete "entertains" and Don does nothing, Peggy finds herself in the unusual situation of being the one going out on the town. She has arrived at the "thing" Joyce's rejected artist friend is having, it's half a party and half an art installation, an old warehouse crowded with people making out, drinking, and somewhat watching a film being projected onto a white sheet hanging against one of the walls.

Spotting Joyce, she calls out to her, and is complimented for looking "swellegant" in her chosen outfit. Peggy is pleased though not entirely sure if it is a compliment or not, and gets introduced to the black woman Joyce was speaking with, a model named Sharon who the artist friend - Davey - took photos of. Peggy immediately asks the first question that occurs to her, what does her mother think of the fact she took nude photos? "She doesn't know!" smiles Sharon, and then Peggy finds herself momentarily at a loss for what to say next, because the fact is she barely knows Joyce at all and certainly not a single other person at the party.

Happily the ice gets broken after Joyce points out the film being projected is one of Davey's but he's not as good at that as photography, and then they spot a guy passing wearing a bear's head just as Peggy asks if there is any beer around. "I though I needed attention," jokes Joyce, getting a big laugh from all of them, and then Joyce offers Peggy a joint since it's easier than finding a beer, admitting she's already high herself.

Peggy, who as far as we know has only smoked marijuana once in her entire life, makes out like this is no big deal at all. She lets Joyce hold the joint up on a clip for her to smoke from, not grasping the intimacy of the gesture... at least not until Joyce leans forward and nibbles on her ear, causing her to jump back in surprise. She laughs, a little uneasy but more amused at the unexpected gesture, perhaps even now not fully grasping what Joyce is after. Joyce makes it clear though, unapologetically declaring that she is "hungry".

Figuring it out at last, Peggy quickly explains she has a boyfriend, and Joyce's immediate response is that,"He doesn't own your vagina", a perfectly valid thing to say that nonetheless doesn't give her any automatic right to it. But Peggy is a writer, a creative, somebody who thinks on her feet, and her own immediate response completely undercuts any tension while also giving Joyce a newfound appreciation for her mind in addition to her body. "No," Peggy admits,"But he is renting it!"

Don arrives home, staggers to his typewriter, sits down and starts to type. Is it a belated reference for Allison? No, it is actually of all things an apology. He is putting into writing what he couldn't bring himself to say, admitting he is very sorry. Then he starts to write about how right now his life is very.... and stops there, because putting it into writing also means having to confront it. It's the mid-1960s and while the times they are a-changing (just look at Joyce and Peggy's interaction immediately preceding this) Don Draper is still very much a victim of the gender mindset of the time, in a very different way to how Allison is. He can't confront his emotions, because then he has to acknowledge them, and deal with them, and potentially cry or reveal even if only to himself that he is less of a "man".

So instead he tears the paper out, balls it up, and throws it away. He abandons the typewriter and any effort to put his feelings into words, retreating to the couch to lie down and fall into a drunken slumber. Yet another pathetic and lonely evening for the "perfect" man, Don Draper.

At the party, a very high Peggy and Joyce have become enthralled with the film playing on the sheet, agreeing it is more interesting than they thought and very rythmic. Peggy admits she thought she would meet the artist, and so Joyce calls over a tall man called Abe and asks where "Kellogg" is. Abe lets out a sharp whistle to summon the artist, then asks Peggy if she is "with" Joyce. "Are you?" asks Joyce, intrigued and a little hopeful, but Peggy simply shakes her head and says she is Peggy.

Joyce explains she is a writer, and Abe says he is too, but seems confused when Peggy admits that the thing she does is Copywriting... she doesn't actually do any of her OWN writing? He naturally assumed this is a job she does to pay the bills to allow her to do her actual writing (ironically, this is something the naturally gifted Accounts man Ken Cosgrove did do), and Peggy seems taken aback at the realization that the creative process of ad writing isn't considered an actual art by anybody else.

Davey Kellogg arrives (no, he's not the man who would go on to direct classics like Cool as Ice or Inspector Gadget), as tall as Abe but skinnier and far, far more pretentious, arriving with a sneer and immediately taking a disliking to Peggy when she suggests he could do some photography work for SCDP to make money to fund his actual art. With utter contempt, he declares he wouldn't do art in advertising, but he's so loving pretentious that he isn't even opposed to it on creative or artistic grounds.... he just thinks it would be pointless to follow up on Andy Warhol.

Abe has been watching this with great pleasure, and he's already made his own feelings on advertising clear. But unlike Kellogg he actually has more of a grounding in dealing with people (in other words, he's not a huge rear end in a top hat), apologizing on Davey's behalf and joking that for Davey to sell his soul, he'd have to have one first.

Suddenly the power goes out and a whistle blasts, and everybody freaks out as they realize that the police are raiding the party (presumably Kellogg doesn't own, lease or have any kind of arrangement to be in the warehouse at all). Everybody rushes to escape, Abe grabbing Peggy and pulling her aside to hide in a closet, telling her it will be better to wait it out rather than get caught up in the masses charging through the exits into the arms of the police.

Inside the closet is of course an intimate affair, they're forced by the physical confines to be pressed up close to each other. Abe in a whisper admits he has been arrested before, wowing Peggy who asks for details, impressed to hear he was photographing a boycott in Harlem and refused to leave because the protestors refused to leave. Did he go to jail? she asks, and somewhat embarassed he admits that no he did not, instead his sister came and got him and took him home.

That's a luxury the protestors wouldn't have had, but the fact Abe admits something that makes him look far from heroic and manly delights Peggy, and her laughter isn't mocking but a shared amusement of the anticlimactic ending of his story. Still pressed in close, Abe also earns points by telling her that he feels like he should kiss her, rather than just moving in and hoping for the best. Peggy for her part signals her consent by tilting her head and presenting a ready and willing target, and they softly kiss each other in the dark.

The moment is interrupted by Joyce, who opens the door and lets them know they're safe to escape now, the police have herded people down the fire escape. Abe though can hear the sounds of physical violence, correctly guessing the police are beating the people they caught, and he has to go and see because there may be a story here. Before he goes though, he wants to know how he can find Peggy again, and Joyce quickly tells him she can get them in touch. With that they part, Peggy going with Joyce, but staring with fascination (and a hunger of her own) at Abe as he goes. Tall, attractive, artistic, vulnerable but also brave but also not posturing.... he's perfect, and also about as far from Mark as you can get.

Clear of the warehouse, the adrenaline is pumping for both Joyce and Peggy, holding hands at they laugh with exhilaration at their escape. They rush down the street, pausing at the corner, feeling alive and excited and young and free, and while Joyce may not have gotten what she wanted from Peggy, she at least didn't get pushy after being rejected and seems to have grasped and accepted that Peggy is far more interested in Abe than her. Somehow, in the course of an elevator ride and a shared joint at a party, Peggy Olson has made new friends and met a potential new boyfriend.

Don arrives at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and finds an unwelcome but perhaps not unexpected sight awaiting him. Joan has proved good to her word and found a new secretary.... or rather an old one, it's Miss Blankenship, formerly Bert Cooper's secretary and now pulled out of retirement both to fill the role and ensure - half as a joke and half as a warning from Joan - that he doesn't break another heart.

He puts on a smile and greets her, and she informs him that she has put coffee and a roll on his desk and that Mr. Sterling would like to see him, before turning and looking straight at Roger who is literally 10 feet away sitting in a chair and declares,"Roger, he's here!"

Roger, beaming with delight at Don's punishment, asks her to get the others (she does so, loudly, through the phone though she can probably be heard throughout the whole office) and asks Don quietly what he did to get her out of mothballs, she's been working at Cooper's apartment all this time (Cooper works without pants, he gossips happily). Don's simple response is that Allison found "another opportunity".

The "others" are Lane and Pete, and they've come with very good news, Pete explaining that while this is an informal partners' meeting (no Cooper) he wants to let them know that he is in the middle of signing Vicks Chemical. ALL of Vicks Chemical. Six million dollars plus in billing, making Lane very, very, very happy indeed. This will further reduce Lucky Strikes' dominance of their cash-flow, add to their portfolio and increase the chances of picking up more clients and grow the Agency.

Don is impressed, asking how he managed it, and Pete quotes Lyndon Johnson claiming he turned chickenshit into chicken salad, before briefly noting that he is thinking of kicking Clearasil (still in conflict with Pond's) over to Geyer - both a make-good to Kenny as well as perhaps a tacit acknowledgement of what gave him the idea to push for Vicks in the first place. Unaware of the reasons why and probably not caring even if he did, Don is unfazed, agreeing that so long as it isn't Chaough (presumably a similar sized rival?) he's fine with that.

What that does mean though is a full court press is needed from the partners, Lane explaining they're taking Philip Coakmeyer and Tom Vogel to lunch today to help Pete finalize the deal. Roger giggles that they already cleared it with Don's "girl", getting knowing smiles from the others, and Don lets that pass, offering Pete a handshake and the best compliment he can offer: an admonition to "keep it up". He returns to Miss Blankenship, asking her to reschedule Dr. Miller, sharing a pained and knowing look with the other partners as he closes his door.

Peggy is still on a high (just not high) from the previous night, sitting with Joey in the creative space raving about the artistic quality of Kellogg's nudes and insisting they're not pornography. Joey, sketching, happily recalls the nude models he had at art school, betraying once again the "take everything, give nothing" mentality by warming reminiscing that whoever did the best drawing was sure to "get" the girl.

But Peggy isn't really listening, her mind is racing 1000 miles a minute from what she saw and discussed at the party, asking if Joey was actually aware that Malcolm X was shot the previous weekend? He was of course, and Peggy - full of insight from stoned conversations with Joyce - asks if he actually knew WHO Malcolm X was. Joey is amused, because again of course he does, and he makes an insightful comment: does Peggy ever actually read any of the articles BETWEEN the ads in the newspaper?

One of the secretaries steps in, asking if they're willing to make a contribution to the bottle of champagne the secretaries are going to send to the Campbells. Joey of course is willing to go so far as to sign the card but nothing else, while Peggy takes the card to sign as well with no knowledge of what this is about (maybe she got an inkling of the Vicks deal and assumes it was that?) until she sees what is on the front: a picture of storks carrying babies.

Suddenly Abe and Malcolm X and Joyce and Kellogg and the exhilaration of the party are just gone, replacing by a horrifying sinking feeling deep in the pit of her stomach. "Trudy's pregnant?" she asks in a quiet voice, and after getting the affirmative quietly hands the card back without having signed it. Joey doesn't notice her disquiet, simply muttering to himself that he can't believe Pete is married to somebody like Trudy and wistfully noting that he would get her SO pregnant. Peggy stands up, takes a moment to regather herself, then silently leaves. Joey takes a moment to notice, thinks nothing more of it and goes back to sketching.

In Pete's office, Peggy steps into the doorway and offers her congratulations in person. Pete smiles, assuming she means the Vicks contract, surprised when he realizes she is talking about the baby. He hadn't quite realized the news had gotten around, but more than that, that it had gotten around to HER. She couldn't sign the card, but she can give her congratulations in person, a necessary personal step she needs to do as much for herself as for him. She tells him how happy she is, adding,"Both" after a moment's pause. Pete, startled and unsure himself now, gives a nod and a thanks, and with that she's gone.

Pete sits a moment, unsure how to react, and then with nothing more to be said or done, returns to his work, though without quite the same relish as before. Peggy returns to her office, keeping herself in control, maintaining a grip on her emotions in much the same fashion as Don's immediate reaction to Allison storming out. She takes a moment to softly bang her head against the surface of her desk, then stands up straight, lets out a breath, and tries to recenter herself. Joan taught her long ago not to cry in the office, and while it isn't healthy to bottle up her emotions, she is also determined not to let this old wound she thought had healed over reopen.

There has been much water under the bridge between Pete and Peggy since their ill-advised and disastrously ended "affair", and this baby comes as an unwelcome reminder to them both of the child that came from their brief, hurried physical union. Feelings thought long-since buried and a working relationship long considered solid have been shaken by this new development in Pete's life. The thought of both, surely, after this congratulations, is that this is the final re-burial, an acknowledgement at last that things really are well and truly done now. Of course, real life and emotions don't always go that way, and the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Don is typing in his office (surely not another attempt at an apology, but maybe against all odds an actual reference?) when Miss Blankenship buzzes to let him know Dr. Miller is here to see him.... suspiciously adding that the doctor is a she. Sighing, Don says to send her in, confused why she is here, more-so when Miller asks what HE wants. Nothing, he insists, reminding her he moved the meeting, but unsurprised when he learns Miss Blankenship took "reschedule Dr. Miller" to mean,"Have Dr. Miller come see me right now."

With a sigh that they're still working things out, he pours himself a drink as Miller explains that while she hasn't written up the final report she is all but done. So he asks how they did, and is horrified when she explains that based on the results of the focus group she recommends a strategy linking Pond's to matrimony. That's 1920s thinking, that's the same old standard campaign Pond's has been using for decades, utterly creatively bankrupt and completely negating the point of the company moving to a new Advertising Agency in the first place.

Don's reply is simple, he simply isn't going to run with that kind of campaign, so what do "we" tell the client? Now Miller is confused, she can't change the "truth", a black and white level of thinking that catches Don by surprise, making him ask how she knows that is the truth in the first place? A new idea is NEW, which means it won't come up as an option - let him put out a new campaign on television for a year and hold the same group and they'll have different answers.

But Miller won't be moved on the validity of her conclusion: she pushed rituals, she pushed the process, the indulgence etc and all the secretaries ended up wanting to talk about was "a husband". Which is... accurate, in the same sense that what Freddy said was accurate. Except it doesn't even remotely begin to address any of the underlying causes. Those women in that group talked about needing to get married because they saw it as the ONLY way they could be valued, because that is what society has taught them. They blamed themselves for men mistreating them because they weren't wives and therefore couldn't expect respect or care. They blamed themselves for "giving everything and getting nothing".

When Megan spoke about following her mother's ritual of cleaning her face, she spoke with joy and happiness and love. That was the concept that Peggy was trying to push, a way to connect women's indulgence and pleasure and happiness with Pond's while not making them concerned about their vanity. When the others spoke about marriage they wept and sobbed and blamed themselves and were miserable... and THAT was the message that Miller took away? That all they care about is getting married and getting a husband, and that is how they should continue to advertise.

And the sad thing? She's "right". In the sense that this is her job, to find out what will work as a marketing tool and recommend that thing. It doesn't matter if she agrees with the underlying societal principles (she doesn't, she made that clear when she didn't even remember Allison existed, and in her cynical aping of the secretaries' dress sense) because that's not her job. She doesn't care about the art, she doesn't care about the politics, she doesn't care about the Creativity. She was less than impressed by Cooper and Atherton's talk about the Civil Rights movement, but she's also just as likely to recommend advertising that discounts or ignores minorities because any focus group of housewives would likely show them alarmed and concerned about being associated with black people.

She's.... not a particularly nice person. But then neither are many in the advertising industry, including Don himself. The only difference being, Don is at heart an artist who has found himself increasingly wrapped up in the business side of things even after escaping Sterling Cooper's fate, a man who still thinks creative expression is the most effective tool for sales beyond simply giving people the same thing they've been given for decades. Variety is the spice of life, and he's been recommended bland oatmeal.

Except Don's also wrapped up all this in his own incredible psychological hang-ups, and inextricably mixing the two doesn't do his argument any favors. He complains that people in those groups talk just to be heard, and he dislikes that Miller comes in and sticks her fingers into people's brains, because it has nothing to do with what HE does plus it is nobody's business what is in people's head. The idea that the way people think and feel bears no relationship to advertising is of course ludicrous, but what Don really means - even if he doesn't realize it - is that he doesn't want to address his own psychological issues... hell he doesn't even want to accept that psychology is an actual, real thing.

Miller is wrong on many levels, but so is he, and she at least is smart enough to know when not to pick a fight. So she simply tells him,"You're the client," and leaves, she's done her job as required of her and if Don chooses not to use her research that simply isn't on her. Don has gotten what he wanted, but he's not satisfied.... and boy if that doesn't sum Don up to a tee.

Peggy is lying contemplating nothing (or everything) in her office when the phone rings. It's Joyce, wanting to take her out to lunch, and she's quick to accept the invitation and any excuse to escape being anywhere near Pete. She asks if they should meet in the lobby, but Joyce cheekily admits she wants to show off Megan to her friends (poor Megan).

In the lobby, as fate would have it, Pete is just joining the other partners and greeting Phil Coakmeyer as Tom reintroduces the two. Cooper, Roger and Lane are going along but so is Freddy Rumsen, as the Pond's man he has some level of expertise in this area though he probably wouldn't have been Pete's first choice. They're waiting on Don before they can go though, and as they wait, Joyce brings her group of friends out of the lift and gleefully points out Megan who smiles at the excited group.

Peggy steps out, waving hello, and in a rather cynical play asks Megan if she'd like to join them, essentially willing to use her as a prop to increase her own value to her new friends. Megan of course can't, and certainly not while most of the partners are standing a few feet away. Peggy passes between the two groups, joining her friends - young, dressed down, happy and inviting and casual. Behind her, Pete stands with the old, stuffy men in their suits, they too are all smiles, but it is a generational difference between the two.

As Peggy waits for the lift, she turns and looks back at Pete, who also turns and sees her. Their faces are flat and sad for a moment, and then both offer polite smiles to the other before Peggy steps into the lift and Pete remains with the older group. The divide between them has never been clearer, both are going are vastly different directions in their life now, and both seem to be at a slightly troubled peace with that.... but the pull remains between them, in spite of everything.

But of course, as always, everything finally comes back to Don Draper. The episode ends in bittersweet fashion, presumably sometime after the Vicks lunch, as Don returns to his apartment. This episode is called The Rejected, and it is interesting to consider the varied people the title could be referring to. There is the obvious rejection of Kellogg's nudes of course. But there's also Allison, or even Dotty. There's Joyce's presence as a homosexual woman, who is accepted but still outside of societal norms. There is Don's rejection of the focus group. There is Kellogg's rejection of Peggy's offer of work. There is Peggy's realization that Pete is now seemingly forever out of play, and Pete's realization of the same regarding Peggy. There are the obvious differences between the two groups seen in the lobby towards the episode's end.

But then there's Don Draper himself, the perfect man who is undoubtedly also a reject all of his own. He walks down the corridor of his apartment building past an old woman pulling a trundler full of groceries behind her. Down the end of the corridor across from Don's own apartment stands an old man, repeatedly asking,"Did you get pears?" but receiving no answer. As Don gets to his door and fishes for his keys, the old woman passes and simply grunts,"We'll discuss it inside", and the old man wanders in after her, seemingly lost and only able to follow in her wake.

Don watches him go before closing his own door, and it is fascinating to consider what he is thinking. The old man is a seemingly pathetic figure, reduced to standing and waiting on his wife, asking a question she ignores or won't answer, then simply following after her helpless to do anything else. But for as pathetic as he might seem... there is the culmination of decades of marriage. There is companionship. There is somebody who has somebody. The old man and the old woman have a routine, they have a connection, however testy or strained by the years it might be. They have each other.

What does Don Draper have? Rich, successful, lauded creatively and in business, handsome and strong and seemingly perfect. He has nothing. He has nobody. Allison had it right when she said he wasn't a good person, and he knows it, and his current situation reflects that perfectly. He comes home to nobody, there is little difference between sitting in his office for hours after the work day ends and sitting on his couch at home. Some people can live alone and live perfectly happy lives. But Don feels the lack. The photo of Anna was simply a reminder of a time when he had somebody, and even she will soon be taken from him. He might get the kids for a day or two every few weeks, but that's all. Betty, who once adored him, now stares at him with contempt on the few occasions they're forced to see each other. He's mocked and looked down on even by underlings at SCDP for being a pathetic drunk well on the road to becoming another Freddy Rumsen.

Somehow, someway, Don Draper has become the biggest reject of them all.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:49 on Jun 7, 2021

Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God

I forgot about the "did you forget pears?" thing at the end. And Jerusalem is 100% right on what that would mean for Don: is he jealous of this relationship? Or does he see it as two old people in a co-dependent spiral?

It is also the trend of more of this kind of comedy (pears guy, Peggy on the desk...Blakenship in general) that is much more common starting in season 4. This is why I enjoy the later seasons rewatch for those bits, 1-3 is just a bit more serious all around, season 1 especially.

Spoiler chat:

There is alot of Megan in here. And the final scene when Peggy goes off with the creative types...we know that would be more of Megan's scene, what she wants.

CGC makes their big debut in the next episode, which is of my least favorites. Not because it is bad, but just because I think the story is just...very un-Mad Men. I'll write up something when the ep drops.

Also to note, and I'm guessing Jerusalem hasn't noticed because who would, but Aaron Staton's name never left the credits, unlike Michael Gladis and Bryant Batt.

Jun 30, 2008

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

God, Don is such a piece of poo poo in this episode lmao

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

"You can write your own reference! I'm such a great guy for offering that! :haw:"

Quasi-related, I do love how Joyce - who is a bit of a creep to be honest - immediately gains a new appreciation for Peggy (and backs off appropriately) the moment Peggy immediately comes up with,"He's renting it" on the fly.

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.

Jerusalem posted:

He puts on a smile and greets her, and she informs him that she has put coffee and a roll on his desk and that Mr. Sterling would like to see him, before turning and looking straight at Roger who is literally 10 feet away sitting in a chair and declares,"Roger, he's here!"

Roger, beaming with delight at Don's punishment, asks her to get the others

This shot is loving incredible. The way the camera just silently moves to Roger's face, beaming, and he says "Thank you". I burst out laughing every time.

Jul 30, 2005

I love Miss Blankenship. It took me an episode or two to recognize her as Randee Heller, Lucille LaRusso in The Karate Kid. She absolutely nails this role.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Devorum posted:

I love Miss Blankenship. It took me an episode or two to recognize her as Randee Heller, Lucille LaRusso in The Karate Kid. She absolutely nails this role.

Holy poo poo that's Daniel-san's mother!?! :aaa:

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

Motherfuck I didn't recognize her from the movies or when she came back on kobra kai

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Except Don's also wrapped up all this in his own incredible psychological hang-ups, and inextricably mixing the two doesn't do his argument any favors. He complains that people in those groups talk just to be heard, and he dislikes that Miller comes in and sticks her fingers into people's brains, because it has nothing to do with what HE does plus it is nobody's business what is in people's head. The idea that the way people think and feel bears no relationship to advertising is of course ludicrous, but what Don really means - even if he doesn't realize it - is that he doesn't want to address his own psychological issues... hell he doesn't even want to accept that psychology is an actual, real thing.

While this scene does further depict the differences in Dr. Miller's and Don's philosophies regarding advertising, the part I bolded is 100% Don talking about Allison. It's like he blames Faye for Allison's behavior! The irony of course is that he comes close to confronting his emotions in his previous scene with the typing up of the apology letter... which he immediate discards, and then goes on to chastise Faye for sticking her nose in people's business. Don will latch onto any excuse to deflect blame for his actions.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

It's surprising in retrospect how much this episode sets up for Peggy's arc that gets paid off in "The Suitcase." Her love life is thrown into sharp relief with the introduction of Abe and Joyce, along with the news of Pete's child—which coincides with her rejection not just of Mark, but the traditional way of life which Mark and her mother represent, and which her new friends represent a break from. There's an echo of Don's treatment of Allison and his offering of a blank recommendation with his famous line to Peggy, "That's what the money is for!"

Edit: Trudy looks completely terrified of Pete at the beginning of the scene where he comes home. You can see it not just in her words or her facial expression but also her body language, she places her hands in front of herself almost to brace against him. I wonder if their relationship is such that she's fearing physical retaliation? Alison Brie's performance here always suggested "battered wife" to me but it's not something we ever see in the series, in fact Trudy comes out looking like the dominant half of their pair especially in the latter seasons.

The Klowner fucked around with this message at 15:39 on Jun 7, 2021

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

quote ≠ edit

Jul 30, 2005

Gaius Marius posted:

Motherfuck I didn't recognize her from the movies or when she came back on kobra kai

I only recognized her because I decided to watch the three original movies in the middle of this season's run.

Sep 12, 2008

My God, it's full of Horatios!

The Klowner posted:

Edit: Trudy looks completely terrified of Pete at the beginning of the scene where he comes home. You can see it not just in her words or her facial expression but also her body language, she places her hands in front of herself almost to brace against him. I wonder if their relationship is such that she's fearing physical retaliation? Alison Brie's performance here always suggested "battered wife" to me but it's not something we ever see in the series, in fact Trudy comes out looking like the dominant half of their pair especially in the latter seasons.

The show doesn’t really shy away from showing Pete behaving badly. If he was a wifebeater we’d know. It is however very plausible that Trudy is scared of him being unhappy with and therefore unpleasant to her; that’s a lot more normal than being scared of being physically abused.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

The dispute over the viability of Peggy's idea for Pond's is very interesting. Peggy's idea is ahead of its time. Body positivity campaigns are now very common in women's beauty products. Dove, for example, has leaned hard into them. Peggy's idea is more about self-indulgence than body positivity, but it's still along the same lines, because it's still about celebrating yourself rather than worrying about what other people think. But I've noticed with modern body positivity campaigns, there usually isn't any particular product being sold, such as cold cream. These ads are usually branding exercises. "Dove is a company that doesn't shame women. We love you the way you are!"

I think this makes it more challenging for Peggy's idea to work. Megan seemed like she was the customer for Peggy's idea, but Megan already has a routine, and most importantly, it doesn't cost her a penny. When she looks at herself in the mirror and touches her cheeks with warm water, she feels beautiful and connected with her mother. Why would she feel like she needs to use Pond's? She'd probably see the ad, like the message, and keep following a routine that is free. I still think it's a workable idea, though. It's just easier to sell something to people who feel like they're missing something than to people who feel like they have all they need. So you have to find a way to retain that positivity while not sending the message that women don't need to buy beauty products anyway.

If it were a modern campaign, the ad probably wouldn't sell cold cream in particular. It would instead put forth a positive brand identity for Pond's. Brand identities became more important than products at some point, but it was after 1965. Coca-Cola was big into branding, selling a feeling more than the product itself, but it took awhile for other companies to follow suit to the extent that they have now. Don has used this approach before with Lucky Strike ("It's toasted") and is excited to use it again in association in a new realm. He knows it has the potential to change the thinking of the consumer. (He also immediately starts positioning himself to take credit for it. "Put my campaign on for a year and run the group again," instead of our campaign, or even Peggy's campaign.)

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Beefeater1980 posted:

The show doesn’t really shy away from showing Pete behaving badly.

I think Trudy's trepidation when Pete comes home is mostly because Pete showed a lot of resistance to being a father at all in season 2, questioning the whole idea that having a child is "what comes next" for a married couple. And Trudy knows that Pete throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way, and the father of her child throwing a tantrum over that child's conception would be a terrible blow. There's also the possibility that Pete will think Trudy cares about Tom more than him, since Tom found out first. But I think that's secondary. She doesn't know if Pete will love his own child (man, putting it that way... yikes), and surely her dreams of being a loving mother to a wonderful child also involved being married to a loving father. But she just didn't know if she could count on that.

Sep 12, 2008

My God, it's full of Horatios!

Yoshi Wins posted:

I think Trudy's trepidation when Pete comes home is mostly because Pete showed a lot of resistance to being a father at all in season 2, questioning the whole idea that having a child is "what comes next" for a married couple. And Trudy knows that Pete throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way, and the father of her child throwing a tantrum over that child's conception would be a terrible blow. There's also the possibility that Pete will think Trudy cares about Tom more than him, since Tom found out first. But I think that's secondary. She doesn't know if Pete will love his own child (man, putting it that way... yikes), and surely her dreams of being a loving mother to a wonderful child also involved being married to a loving father. But she just didn't know if she could count on that.

Yeah actually I agree, it’s probably this. The uncertainty about whether she could rely on him for even something so seemingly basic.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Oh, I almost forgot to bring up a question I've wanted to ask this thread for awhile.

When Megan says, "I brought a book but they said it didn't look right." Who are "they"?

I think we can rule out Don. When Allison was the receptionist at SCDP, he didn't even know her name! He messes it up in an episode. Don probably barely even knows who Megan is. He also hates micromanaging or dealing with anything outside of Creative.

I also feel like it's unlikely to be Joan. If this were season 1, Joan would be a prime candidate. Back then, she was very into enforcing the gender dynamic of the office. Now she seems quite over it. And she is educated and sometimes finds opportunities to display her education. If she found out Megan preferred books to magazines, I think that'd make Joan respect her more.

Lane would find it awkward to start that conversation. Or end it. Or be in any part of it at all.

So that leaves Roger, Pete, and Cooper. My money is on Roger, who wants pretty girls to dance on his command. But Pete might make a dumbass demand that pops into his head because he is incapable of respecting other human beings. And Cooper seemingly has very little to do.

Jul 23, 2007

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

My money is on Cooper because he is out there all the time and we do have him commenting on what reception should look like later in the show. "They can see her from the elevator"


The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

I'm not sure it really matters specifically who "they" are from a plot standpoint. But it does tie into the themes of the episode about the changing status of women in society. "They," in an abstract sense, are the status quo, the inherently masculine power structure, which many of the women featured in the episode are challenging in various ways.

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