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Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.


I knew him first as the President from Red Alert 2.

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ElectronicOldMen
Jun 18, 2018


I have to thank you for these wonderful recaps Jerusalem. I admit that I have been refreshing TVIV an embarrassing number of times.

Being able to revisit Mad Men through someone elses eyes has been very refreshing.

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




Lady Radia posted:

I knew him first as the President from Red Alert 2.

Honestly same. Now that I'm older, I appreciate that series really Going For It by casting serious (or at least very famous) actors in these goofy, goofy parts (yes, this link is exactly what you think it's going to be)

also,

quote:

But this time she doesn't react with shock or anger to his arrival, this time she's thrilled. They're not have a painful quasi-courting anymore, they're lovers now, and she quickly announces to Stan and Danny to go on without her because she's going to take care of this delivery and then practice for her pitch in her office. She leads Danny off down the corridor, once again glowing with excitement, the thrill of seeing him overwhelming all else.

goodness peggy, i'm all for sexual liberation but pace yourself

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Hahaha, oh God... well maybe if she thought it would upset Stan....

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



Given how absolutely poo poo Peggy's taste in men is, I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd hooked up with Danny

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



It's the pipe. Paul Kinsey's big mistake was clearly being tall!

Also as the season progresses I'm getting more and more certain (I don't know, don't tell me! I hope to be pleasantly surprised) that we've seen both the last of Sal AND Kinsey, which is a drat shame.

roomtone
Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!


I also want to say that I'm enjoying following these. It's funny because following this thread is what led me to getting an account a while ago, because I was watching Mad Men and every episode I had something to say - but by the time I actually got an account, I was way ahead of you and then I finished and I'm back in a Mad Men dormancy phase, so I don't actually feel like making posts about the episodes really, although I'm still reading the recaps and disccusion and I'm sure I will be back at this thread whenever I watch the show again.

Season 5's my favourite season.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



roomtone posted:

I also want to say that I'm enjoying following these. It's funny because following this thread is what led me to getting an account a while ago, because I was watching Mad Men and every episode I had something to say - but by the time I actually got an account, I was way ahead of you and then I finished and I'm back in a Mad Men dormancy phase, so I don't actually feel like making posts about the episodes really, although I'm still reading the recaps and disccusion and I'm sure I will be back at this thread whenever I watch the show again.

Season 5's my favourite season.

Sup season 5 supremacy bro
[spoile]Season 4 is GOAT tho[/spoiler]

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Something that stands out to me about this latest episode is how Roger and Don are so similar, but also very different (which makes sense, they have opposite upbringings).

Roger is wrapped up in himself and he does use people, but not in a particularly malicious way. Everything he does is based on his own narcissism, he assumes life does and should revolve around him, and he hurts people as a result without really meaning or intending to, even if he can at times hold grudges or be petty. Then when they get upset at them, he mostly gets confused or upset, because he can't quite fathom that anybody could ever be angry at HIM and there must be something wrong with them.

Don also uses people, but one of the key differences I think is that he will often knowingly do so, and he will hate himself for it but do it anyway because he convinces himself it is necessary or had to be done. As a result, he often turns that self-loathing into anger towards the people HE wronged so he can externalize that disgust. His treatment of Faye in this episode is particularly bad, but it reminds me of the impossibly awful way he handled the Allison situation.

I guess the point I'm making is that I love the show features two characters who are really awful in superficially similar ways with VERY different motivations and processing/coping skills for it. I mean I haven't even included Pete in these comparisons, and Jesus Christ there's some gold to mine there.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*



Jerusalem posted:

It's the pipe. Paul Kinsey's big mistake was clearly being tall!

Also as the season progresses I'm getting more and more certain (I don't know, don't tell me! I hope to be pleasantly surprised) that we've seen both the last of Sal AND Kinsey, which is a drat shame.

I had this in spoilers earlier, but if you were watching closely in the opening titles, Aaron Staton's name never left the credits, even when he wasn't in the first several episodes. The others...

Also I totally forgot how lovely Stan is this episode. We need to get to season 5 Stan with the beard soon so he can be cool. Same with season 4 Ted.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


quote:

Funnily enough, Roger doesn't get offended by this like he did by the earlier jab, simply saying that Don doesn't understand how managing an Account works and telling Pete to explain it. Pete isn't backing Roger on this though (he surely remembers getting savaged by Roger over "losing" North American Aviation), reminding him that Roger wanted it all to himself and wouldn't let Pete help.

Don throws Roger's own words back at him, that he did what he could do... and that was nothing.

I really hope you don't make a habit of omitting my favorite moments! After Pete claims that Roger squeezed him out, Don says that Pete would never have allowed Lucky Strike to leave. Don actually defends and compliments Pete against Roger! Holy poo poo! This is the same guy who told Pete in the very first episode of the show he would die alone and unloved!

This scene calls back to the confrontation over Roger's previous big gently caress-up, when he cost the agency Honda:

quote:

Pete complains that [Roger] is just trying to protect Lucky Strike's dominance of SCDP, because he knows with each new account Pete brings in it lessens Lucky Strike and thus Roger's grip on the Agency as a whole.

Infuriated, Roger lunges at Pete and Don has to jump between them. Pete leaps backwards out of harm's way, but while he's frightened he's not cowed, snarling at Roger that some of them are trying to building something at SCDP. The implication, of course, being that Roger - for all his talk of wanting to make something of his own for once - is happy to just continue to coast along like he has for most of his life. Pete storms out and Don finds himself in an unusual predicament, agreeing with Pete Campbell over Roger on a matter of business. "He's right, you know," Don admits, and walks out himself.

After nearly a season's worth of running a business together, as revolting as Pete is personally to Don, as threatening as Pete was (and to some extent still is) to Don's career and identity, as frustrating as it was to lose Glo-Coat, each of them has come to realize that the other is really loving good at their job. (The difference being that Don gets awards, recognition, and a reputation for being a genius, and Pete gets poo poo on by everyone—sometimes even undeservedly!) As a consequence, whether they like it or not, they are dependent on each other, which the previous episode made all but clear and which this episode is paying off.

After excoriating Roger, they go fishing at the funeral. Notice how the camera almost always keeps them in frame together when the camera is pointed in the audience's direction, except at the very end, when they get back-to-back profile shots that place them in the same exact position in frame. The dialogue and blocking are inviting the viewer to draw a comparison between them, which necessarily invites a consideration of the evolution of their relationship. Where once they were at each other's throats, they now act as a single unit, if nothing else out of desperation to save their business.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Jerusalem posted:

I guess the point I'm making is that I love the show features two characters who are really awful in superficially similar ways with VERY different motivations and processing/coping skills for it. I mean I haven't even included Pete in these comparisons, and Jesus Christ there's some gold to mine there.

The triangle of Don, Roger and Pete's relationships with one another form the core emotional conflict of this episode. They're all in similar stations but have completely different behaviors based on extremely complex and subtle motivations, and the lucky strike situation throws those differences into sharp relief. It makes for really engaging television!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Yeah I meant to mention that Don compliments Pete in that scene, dammit!

His line in the previous episode about how Pete will be able to run the Agency without him really says a lot, especially given how much they detested each other in the first season. Pete also hits Don with a pretty hard shot in that episode too, when he points out that North American Aviation was ALL him from beginning to end. The fact he then gives that up to save Don (and thus protect the Agency from the scandal of Don disappearing/getting arrested) really shows how much he has changed from the first season, and Don recognizes that.

I don't know that they like each other, but there is certainly a mutual respect for the skills the other brings to the table now. And increasingly Roger is not only bringing nothing but being an active detriment to the Agency.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


didn't mean to imply they liked each other if that's what it sounded like. more like "mutual appreciation of the other's strengths as professionals"

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Oh no I was just considering the changes in their relationship, not saying you said they were buddies now!

One thing that does stand out is that Don warns Pete back at the start of the show that if he isn't careful he's going to end up one of those sad old fucks who secretaries sleep with because they feel sorry for them. He's improved (comparatively) from the mid-point of season 4, but that seems far more likely to be Don's fate than Pete's at the moment.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


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



The Klowner posted:

Yay! What a wonderful gift to wake up to (and then read in bits and pieces throughout the day). This episode is a real roller coaster, but I want to comment on something relatively innocuous:

Every tv show has at least a handful of "oh, I know that guy/gal!" moments, and Mad men is no exception. Except, as someone who watched mad men first and twin peaks second, I didn't recognize him while watching the latter, but I was able to immediately point him out here on a rewatch of the former, having by then been made intimately familiar with Wise's face. And it turns out the guy has a pretty prolific career, the guy was in freaking Robocop!

Anyway, Ray Wise is awesome. That is all

He's great in Reaper as Satan.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


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



Pete wishes he could be as narcisstic as Roger. He's had to struggle and scrabble his way into prominence albeit after getting a boost earlier in life. And I think that makes hin seethe at ppl who dont do the same.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


I skipped ahead of the thread a little on my rewatch bc the show is frankly too good not to and I absolutely cannot wait for Jerusalem's reaction to Ginsberg. like just in general

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



I await the reaction to the Negron Complex the most

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Gaius Marius posted:

I await the reaction to the Negron Complex the most

they're half black... and half white...!

PriorMarcus
Oct 16, 2008

ASK ME ABOUT BEING ALLERGIC TO POSITIVITY


Blood Nightmaster posted:

I skipped ahead of the thread a little on my rewatch bc the show is frankly too good not to and I absolutely cannot wait for Jerusalem's reaction to Ginsberg. like just in general

That characters ending is one of the things that feels very rushed or unearned. Did the actor leave to join Superstore at that time or do I have the timing wrong?

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


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



Pretty happy that you got to the Faye/Megan stuff. Megan's role was slowly being built up over the season, to the point you even went from not naming her to at least naming her a couple times per a review. Did you notice?

And the reason why Don slept with her. Megan just looked at him like he was the greatest person in the world, while Faye is trying to help him come to terms with the person he is. That's the underlying tension running thru the season and thru the entire show imo, and its interesting to see the two sides of this thematic struggle being in such open view. I loved that.

Grammarchist
Jan 28, 2013



I'm wracking my brain trying to remember what happens after Lucky Strike leaves.

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




If i'm remembering it right, Don pulls a "you can't fire me, i quit" move by writing an open "why i'm quitting tobacco" letter which he, ironically, gets fired for

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Ainsley McTree posted:

If i'm remembering it right, Don pulls a "you can't fire me, i quit" move by writing an open "why i'm quitting tobacco" letter which he, ironically, gets fired for

It doesn't get Don fired, but they do have to cut a lot of staff due to the budget shortfall. It attracts the attention of the American Cancer Society for a pro bono anti-smoking campaign, which the partners view as very promising - despite the lack of financial compensation, it will be high-profile work and the ACS' board of directors includes a lot of executives from other fields. (Remember Cooper's words: "Philanthropy is the gateway to power.") Though Don does find out next season that, even among the anti-tobacco crowd, a lot of people are wary to work with him/the firm after such a widely-publicized bridge burning.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Ainsley McTree posted:

If i'm remembering it right, Don pulls a "you can't fire me, i quit" move by writing an open "why i'm quitting tobacco" letter which he, ironically, gets fired for

JethroMcB posted:

It doesn't get Don fired, but they do have to cut a lot of staff due to the budget shortfall.

In a broader sense, it does further his reputation of being a loose cannon, which combined with his other behavior, eventually lead to his getting "put on leave"

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




The Klowner posted:

In a broader sense, it does further his reputation of being a loose cannon, which combined with his other behavior, eventually lead to his getting "put on leave"

Yeah I was getting my seasons mixed up I guess. I knew he got in trouble for it, and I remembered he got fired (de facto), but I forgot they were separate offenses

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Don gets put "on leave" at the end of Season 6 for...kind of a lot. Most directly for his breakdown in the Hershey meeting, which torpedoes a major deal that was essentially closed. Joan, in particular, is very eager to vote against him after the way he deals with Jaguar earlier in the season, cutting them loose without consulting any of the other partners (but ESPECIALLY her.)

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

JethroMcB posted:

Don gets put "on leave" at the end of Season 6 for...kind of a lot. Most directly for his breakdown in the Hershey meeting, which torpedoes a major deal that was essentially closed. Joan, in particular, is very eager to vote against him after the way he deals with Jaguar earlier in the season, cutting them loose without consulting any of the other partners (but ESPECIALLY her.)

Then after he comes back, Culter tries to use Don's letter as an excuse to fire him because they can't get a new cigarette company with him still there. This also means to defend himself Don has to talk to cigarette company meeting without permission, breaching terms of service and getting him fired anyway. Only Roger selling to McCann saves Don

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 4, Episode 12 - Blowing Smoke
Written by Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Directed by John Slattery

Dr. Geoff Atherton posted:

I recommend that you do what you do best.

In a quiet little corner of a quiet restaurant, Don Draper has a lunch meeting (but no lunch) with an executive from Heinz. It's a secret meeting, and Don is at pains to assure the executive - Raymond - that not even Don's own office knows he is here. The secrecy is paramount, because Don has made this connection through Faye, breaking down the Chinese Wall she maintained in his desperation to save Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce from going under after the loss of Lucky Strike.

The meeting is going well, Don is attentive and interested as Raymond breaks down the reason for his unhappiness at his current Agency. Raymond represents the vinegar, sauces and beans branch of Heinz, which was the primary financial mover for the company during the war but has taken a back seat since to ketchup, chili sauce and soup. The latter three's division are being represented by DDB, while Raymond's division is stifling under the straightforward and uncreative direction of Ketchum MacLeod.

Raymond is a confident, easy speaker who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to say exactly what that is. He has an obvious passion for his work, and even if Don can't share his enthusiasm for beans, he does a good job of appearing interested as Raymond explains the cyclical nature of foods and his eagerness to push beans back into the top spot for Heinz. The problem, Raymond complains, is that they have to actively resist the first urge every Creative has to be "funny" with beans, talking around the long-standing association between beans and flatulence without ever quite bringing it up.

Don though sees his moment to pounce, he's been listening attentively and now is his moment, and buttering Raymond up he explains that you can toss aside humor entirely because beans don't need them: they're not a condiment, like ketchup, they have substance, they can be a dietary staple. But as he starts warming up, Raymond cuts him off to enthusiastically agree that the inventive thinking he wants is something he hopes is sparked by this meeting that Don can bring him.... in 6-8 months.

Confused, Don assures him he can have him something in six days, becoming increasingly alarmed as Raymond first edges around and then finally outright says why he can't give Don the chance right now: he doesn't know if SCDP will be around six months from now.

"I do," Don retorts, but there is no changing Raymond's mind, as he makes it clear the meeting has come to an end. Not in an aggressive way, but with obvious finality: he can't risk changing Agencies 3 times in 2 years, so while he isn't happy at Ketchum MacLeod he's also happy to take his time to leave them. When Don, trying to maintain his calm facade but inwardly panicking, suggests he could offer a discounted commission, Raymond chuckles, shakes his hand and tells him he is a hell of an ideas man but he should leave the negotiation stuff to the Account Men.

With that, the secret meeting - accomplished through the severe straining of his relationship with Faye - comes to an ignominious end. Raymond leaves, satisfied he has a potential new Agency in his back pocket should it survive the next half year, while Don is left behind but nothing. Don calls over the waiter, presumably to pay the bill for their drinks... but maybe also to order another for himself.



At the Francis Residence, Betty calls Sally and Bobby to the table for their dinner. Gene is banging away on a tray with a spoon as he clumsily crams crackers into his mouth, and Sally carefully asks her mother is she take the spoon away from him to end the racket. Betty, having sent Bobby to wash up after declaring him filthy without actually really looking at him, tells her it is her choice: she can put up with the spoon or the screaming that comes from the spoon being taken away.

Deciding to live with the spoon noise, Sally takes her seat at the table, while Bobby finishes drying his hands and declares he wants two hot dogs. "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach," Betty calmly shuts him down, and everybody takes their seat at the table for a meal of a single hotdog (with Heinz condiments available as well, of course). Sally though has a question... why doesn't Henry eat with them?

Betty reminds her that he works late, and that Sally herself is constantly saying she's hungry... plus they eat different types of food. Sally though is quick to insist that she'll happily try different food, and a pleased Betty asks her if she would like to eat with them? Sally suggests that from now on, Bobby and Gene can eat together but she will wait for Henry to come home and eat with the two of them. Betty agrees to consider it, which gets a smile from Sally before she settles in to her hot dog. Betty though is beaming, thrilled at the thought that her daughter might not just be tolerating the new family unit but coming to embrace it... and perhaps to willingly replace Don with Henry as the new father figure whose approval and attention she longs for.

Back at SCDP, Dr. Geoff Atherton provides his assessment of the Agency's current situation, admitting that though he's being paid for his expertise basically anybody could tell them what he is about to: they MUST bring in new business as quickly as possible, both to offset the 50% drop in their billings and perhaps more importantly to fight off the perception that as an Agency they're dead in the water.

They're in the Conference room, all the Partners (including a returning Lane) as well as Joan, Harry and Ken, with Faye sitting across from Don next to Geoff who has the head of the table. Atherton's recommendation is again something anybody could have told them: they should do what they do best, and what that is, is cigarettes. For 30 years they (or rather, Sterling Cooper) successfully represented American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes, and now that expertise can be had by OTHER tobacco companies.

"You are a certain type of girl," he tells them, after reminding them that their secret weapon is Don Draper,"And tobacco is your ideal boyfriend."

Did... did he just call them tobacco sluts?

Don isn't offended though, he knows exactly what they're good at and he has no qualms about peddling it to another company, especially given their current circumstances. So can Atherton "get them a date"? Here Geoff demonstrates the one thing that he can provide that no halfway competent person off-the-street could have: connections. He knows that Philip Morris is trying to introduce a new brand for young women, and they want a fresh Agency to deal with this fresh product to launch in 18 months.

Eyebrows raise along with hopes around the room. Philip Morris is a BIG company, an entirely new brand with 18 months of guaranteed work including intensive research, creative development and money behind it.... it's just what the doctor ordered. Atherton admits that the budget is "only" 5 million, only a 5th of what American Tobacco was paying them but still a much needed shot in the arm... and a start, a pathway back to success for SCDP.

Atherton takes great pleasure in assuring them that his influence has garnered them a meeting with Philip Morris, and that is more than ANY other Agency has managed to get. Cooper, happy with his old friend proving his worth and also the lifeline being thrown, assures him they will listen more than they speak, and Atherton - cringey old misogynist that he is - agrees that this is what a good girlfriend does.

DOCTOR Faye Miller is sitting right there, man.

The conference over, everybody hold their own little mini-meetings away from the others. Roger and Cooper have a mild argument over whether they should be going after a smaller arrangement like this or actively seeking an equal size replacement for Lucky Strike. Cooper notes though that it costs a fortune to try and pry a tobacco company away from another Agency (BBDO didn't have to spend a cent, American Tobacco's Board of Directors essentially gifted them 24 million dollars). Meanwhile, Lane explains to Pete that by the next billing cycle they will be unable to cover the day-to-day payroll of their current workforce, so they either bring in new business now.... or start firing people.

In Harry's office, he complains bitterly to Ken about how Secor Laxatives hardly gives him the influence he needs to get his calls returned in Hollywood or at the television studios. Roger keeps complaining that Atherton should have gotten them more considering they gave him a finder's fee AND Don. Ken worries to Harry about how he left Geyer to come here, and the clients he brought with him can't be happy that their new Agency is perceived as on its deathbed... and he's getting married in October!

Pete tries to resist Lane's calls for both firings and subletting the minimal office space they have, pointing out that setbacks like this are cyclical and they'll soon rebound... and hell, Don Draper with a cigarette company? They'll be raking in the billings again before they know it.

And while they all bitch and complain or argue or debate, Don sits with Dr. Miller in the conference room and reviews her research looking for insight into how to wow Philip Morris. The framing here is quite something, as Don stares at his work, Faye stares at Don.... and between them in the background, out of focus and working away quietly is Megan, the currently unknown to Faye third person in their relationship.

Faye tells Don that Raymond was impressed by him at their secret meeting, and he doesn't tell her how badly it went (for him), simply thanking her for that meeting but thanking her more for the invaluable research on Philip Morris. Cognizant of the public space, they simply shake hands before parting, though Faye tells him she has dinner plans but wants him to call her tonight even if it just to discuss work. He nods, she leaves, and he never so much as glances Megan's way, and nor does Megan grimace or glare or worry over seeing Don with Faye. She doesn't know they're a couple, of course, but would she care even if she did? She told Don their sexual encounter didn't need to be anything other than what it was... is she really, genuinely somebody who can completely compartmentalize her professional and personal lives, even when they intersect?



In Ossining, Sally Draper is seated on the grass outside an old, seemingly abandoned house, chatting with a friend. That friend? Glen Bishop.

poo poo.

Dressed in a football uniform, he's watching her idly play with his football helmet, explaining to her it is just a summer practice helmet and not as good as the real thing worn in a proper game. Sally seemingly doesn't know or care much about football, simply noting that it smells, but that's not why she's here. She likes Glen, he charmed her when she found the bracelet in her room and realized he smashed up the house but left her room untouched in a weirdo form of solidarity with her misery over the alien place her home had become. So she's just hanging out with him, chatting, either too innocent or too canny to troubled by his efforts to impress her with how "cool" her is, using words like rear end and offering her cigarettes which she declines calmly.

She's told him about her therapy, which he also attends, though he claims that psychiatrists are easy to fool (poor bastard, his psychiatrist will have him absolutely figured out while he thinks he is running rings around them) and all she needs to know is that if she kisses her mother's rear end, her mother will be fine with her. His long-standing fascination with Betty hasn't gone away though, as he asks if Sally talks to her about him. Sally admits she did but doesn't anymore (presumably Betty's reaction nipped that in the bud), and Glen has a moment of self-awareness when he starts to says Betty doesn't like him before cutting himself off and instead saying she doesn't like kids.

Sally is all for hanging out, chatting, getting some stuff off her chest about home life etc... but she also isn't one to just make poo poo up, and she has no problem immediately declaring that Glen is wrong on that, she likes kids fine, and the fact that she's often mean to Sally doesn't change that. They sit quietly for a moment and then Sally says she has to go. Not in a judgmental or "you hosed up talking poo poo about my mom" way... it's just time to head home, and so she's going, and that's that. Glen accepts this, watching her go as she collects her bike and wheels away.

Hmmmm.... no sir, I don't like Glen hanging out with Sally. I don't like it at all.

Don is leaving the lobby of the Time Life building when a voice calls out to get his attention. Turning at the sound of the voice, he's startled to see who is standing there with a smile on her face. It's Midge. The free-spirited freelance artist and his mistress from season 1 he tried to convince to fly overseas with him before giving her cash and leaving her to get high with her beatnik friends.

In a yellow dress with a blue knit top and a kangol hat, and a portfolio tucked under her arm, she still looks every bit the Village artist. Momentarily at a loss, he steps up and gives a brief kiss to her offered cheek, and she explains she just got out of a meeting with a magazine related to Time when she spotted his dashing figure striding by, but where is he going with such purpose?

Home, he explains, looking her over and telling her she looks good. She of course waves that off... but seems pleased by the compliment all the same. She shifts to demonstrate her portfolio, saying she's skinny from being a starving artist. But what is HE doing here? Did the company move? In a way, he explains he has his own firm now, which has its good days and bad days, and when she asks hopefully if he needs any freelance artists he finds himself having to repeat the same bad news he got from Raymond earlier: maybe in six months.

She can at least use him as a reference in the meantime, he promises, then marvels that he hasn't seen her around in the Village, sure that he would have spotted her at least once in the park. That confuses her, what is HE doing in the village, and quickly gets the message when he explains he lives there now. "Yeah," he agrees to her silent realization that he is divorced now, but still that does make things slightly less complicated, as she offers him to come around to her house. When he seems reluctant due to his big meeting with Philip Morris, she grins and asks doesn't he want to meet her husband?

Well now it's slightly more complicated!

It's not romantic, she assures him, as if this was the most reasonable thing in the world, they only got married "for the bread". She pushes him to come along, saying he can meet the husband, they'll catch up, he can buy one of her paintings and she'll "cheer him up". When he still seems reluctant, even with the unsubtle euphemism, she points out she doesn't have a purse, saying she lost it, so the least he can do is give her a lift downtown. Finally he breaks down, agreeing to take a dip back into past waters, and they leave the building together.



Sally sits in therapy with Dr. Keener, though on the face of it is more two friends hanging out, as the two play Go Fish. But of course Dr. Keener is using this to keep Sally at ease, to make her feel comfortable in talking, even getting to giggle about her mother's eccentricities... which makes her comfortable enough to also reveal telling moments, like the fact she feels Betty doesn't actually care what the truth is, just that Sally does as she's told. In other words, Sally is learning the double-edged lesson that appearances are often more important than substance: she has learned how to keep her mother happy by telling her what she wants to hear, which is likely in turn to only build a mild contempt in Sally's mind for her own mother.

Keener doesn't confront or push her findings though, because she also knows how to tell Sally what she wants to hear, though in a far more constructive way. She tells Sally she is proud of her for finding a way to behave so well even when she gets angry sometimes. She also stresses that Betty's own lashing out or anger is often a result of her own problems, and not any fault of Sally's - she shouldn't feel to blame, or that she did anything wrong.

Sally nods and says she knows, and then Dr. Keener says something that might throw another patient into a panic: they don't need to see each other so often anymore. But Keener gently lays it out, explains that it is a result of Sally doing so well, that it will free her up to do all the other things she likes: things that Keener is aware of because she listens and takes note of her patient's interests: bike riding, ballet recitals etc. Sally happily agrees to reducing their sessions to once a week, and they return to playing.

But as Keener hands over some cards to Sally, she doesn't let her earlier compliment slide away into nothing: she makes Sally acknowledge it, which also means acknowledging it is true, which means acknowledging to herself that she has done something good and praiseworthy. It is the opposite of how Sally is treating her own mother, it is "manipulation" in the interest of building self-esteem, to make Sally feel like what she does and the choices she makes - including "sacrifices" like accepting her mother's judgement even if it is unfair - are recognized and valued and appreciated by somebody even if not her mother.

Glen asked Sally earlier who was smarter, him or Dr. Keener. My money's on Keener.

Don steps into the past, feeling that odd feeling of familiarity when you walk into a place you haven't been in some time and just slot right back in like you never left. It's the same place, the same decor, the same walls and everything is where it used to be. For a second it must take him back several years, to a time when he would regularly pop around and spend a pleasant afternoon or evening in bed with Midge, then return home on the train to Ossining to his adoring wife and his two beloved children.

But there are changes, however slight, a rearrangement of furniture, the slow decay of appliances and a danker/more claustrophobic feel to the walls... and one major change: Perry. He is the "it's not romantic" husband who greets Don warmly and shakes his hand without a care in the world that his wife has brought some seemingly random (and very handsome!) man home. Tall (but not as tall as Don) and lean, he has a pleasant and welcoming air, waving off Don's apology for just showing up.

He and Midge share a brief kiss and she suggests he pour Don a drink, and after Don asks for whiskey he grabs down a couple of glasses. As he does, Don stares around, confused. Midge's invitation suggested more than a possibility of a return to the old times: sex was definitely on the table but here's this... guy (her husband!) just there and making drinks and Don can't get his head around it even if Midge insists it's just a marriage of convenience.

Midge returns and Perry passes glasses around, the two chatting happily about their reaction to the first time they met, sounding for all the world like more than just a couple of friends taking advantage of marriage state benefits. They toast and take a sip, then Midge pours most of hers into Don's glass and leaves to freshen up and check they have toilet paper, while Perry knocks off his whiskey, what is left of hers, and then guides Don into the living room/bedroom to look at some of Midge's paintings.

They are... not what they used to be. Midge rankled at the cheesy, corny greeting card illustrations she used to make, but none of her real art ever really looked like what she is putting out now. The piece Perry shows enthusiastically off to Don is an abstract piece that appears to show a woman singing (or screaming?) in the foreground of a crowd of faceless people watching(judging?) her. Perry says it's called Number Four, but that's just the name, what it is about is what Midge sees when she closes her eyes.

Don inspects it, unsure quite what to make of it - there's an emotional element to the art of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean he likes it or thinks it is good. "It's nice," he says, which could be politeness or may be a genuine admiration for the rawness of the work: part of Don's job after all is reviewing artwork and deciding if it conveys the desired message or mood.

Perry starts to talk about price, admitting that while there is a list somewhere they'd be happy to hear an offer. Don places the painting down, politely but non-committedly saying he'll think about it, and for the first time Perry's garrulous face drops and is replaced by a momentary panic before the mask goes back up. Now he shifts into a more unctuous mode, dropping his voice slightly to admit that things aren't great around here but Midge would love Don to have one of her pieces... plus if he bought it she would be SOOOOO grateful, leaving the meaning implied but obvious.

Don's guard is up now of course, marriage of convenience or not a husband doesn't just offer his wife's sexual services like this. Perry senses the reservation and assures him that neither he nor Midge are possessive, and after all she obviously digs him... he should have heard how excited she was when she tracked him down!

Oh shiiiiiit.

Alarms start blaring in Don's head. She tracked him down? So that wasn't a chance encounter in the lobby but an ambush? She's come to him with the intention of dragging him back here? Don's response is an immediate,"What?" and Perry instantly knows he's hosed up, making a piss-poor effort at covering up by trying to claim he was talking about her obvious excitement when she walked in the apartment with Don.

Midge returns and immediately knows that Perry has hosed something up, but Perry tries to play it off and then reveals why he's a playwright rather than an actor as he puts on a pathetic performance of declaring he's going to buy groceries and make them a great meal, only to "shockingly" discover his wallet is empty. So he asks Midge if she has cash, and Don throws in what he knows is supposed to be his line in the little internal scam script Perry is running, saying that Midge "lost" her purse, something he now knows is utter bullshit.

Poor Midge can only bury her head in one hand as she watches this pathetic display unfold, doing her part though by trying to tell Don not to offer cash when he reaches into his pocket. Don ignores that of course, handing Perry $10 which he seems delighted by, telling them to sit tight until he gets back. He leaves, and a mortified Midge sighs, humiliated by his obviousness and the revelation of her own part in the scam to get Don back there.

Now the truth comes out, as she sneers that he's an idiot and complains that he's going to take that $10 and put it into his arm. It seems Perry isn't just some run-of-the-mill desperately poor playwright willing to pimp out his wife for cash... he's a junkie desperately poor playwright willing to pimp out his wife for cash. Don ignores that though, pointing out coldly that she could have gotten so much more from him than $10, which is why she tracked him down in the first place.

"He's such an idiot!" laughs Midge, and seemingly even now she's hoping enough of her old charm that fascinated Don is there to make him forget or forgive what has happened. She plays with her knit jacket almost like a child, but is sure to lift it enough to show off her body in the dress beneath, all while Don just stares with something akin to revulsion on his face at the display. Perhaps not quite that contemptuous, but it's clear he can't believe just how far she has fallen in so relatively short a time.

"I just wanted you to buy a painting," she admits at last, the smile still on her face but defeat in her voice. She sits on the bed, and wipes tears from her eyes, her front starts to collapse at last as she realizes whatever she'd hoped for from this encounter is not going to happen. Don takes a seat on the bed beside her, and asks the pertinent question that shows he knows this is more than Perry's addiction,"What's it like."

"Like drinking 100 bottles of whiskey... while someone licks your tits," she admits, a yearning creeping into her voice, quickly replaced by despair as she explains Perry got her onto it to "take my mind off my work" only for the addiction to turn into a full-time job by itself. Don, a life-long smoker and heavy drinker, asks the question that seems obvious to him: why doesn't she just stop? Midge's response is heartbreaking but also says it all, as all speculation is put to bed and she finally just says the word itself instead of talking around it. Why doesn't she stop? Because it's heroin.

There's the rub. The drug isn't something they do, the drug is now ALL they do. Every moment, every thought, every motivation and action, is ruled by one thing and one thing alone: chasing the high that they felt the first time they tried the drug. Their body and their brain think they need it now, that they can't survive without it, and there is no depravity or humiliation or desperate action they aren't willing to suffer if it will get them what they think they need.

For Don, an addict himself, the answer is a simple one: willpower. He assumes that everybody can, if they REALLY want to, work hard and control their urges. The fact that his own drinking now requires him setting hard limits (that he often breaks) on how much he can imbibe means nothing to him. The fact he smokes constantly in spite of all his knowledge of the dangers of smoking is irrelevant.

Don Draper is a man who believes that therapy and psychiatry are a scam, despite often reaching out in desperation to talk to people (including Midge, all the way back in episode 1!), and that all problems are simply a matter of will to overcome. Those with will can, and those without can't, born out of the fact he still believes himself a self-made man despite every thing we have seen about the lie his life is built on and the way he finagled his way into advertising in the first place. To him, the idea of heroin probably strikes him the same as his one simple dalliance with marijuana (ironically with Midge): he tried that and it was fun, and then he just stopped. Because, in his mind, it's simply a matter of will.

For Midge, all that gets cut through by those simple words. It's heroin. That's why she can't stop. Because she wants the heroin more than she wants to be free of it.



But she means it when she says she is glad to see him, even if it was under false pretenses. But even that genuine emotion is undercut when Don pulls out his checkbook. She looks at it hungrily, thinking of all the money at his disposal, far more now than he had when they were together and he was already well-off. Don writes out a check for $300 (roughly $2600 in 2021) and offers it to her... and sadly Midge says something else that demonstrates how far she has fallen: how is she going to cash a check? Clearly her days of having a bank account are long past her.

So she suffers the further humiliation of Don forking out all the cash in his pocket, more money than she probably sees in a month (if not more) just casually pulled out and handed over. It's $120, and she hands the check back over and stares up at him with pathetic gratitude as he tears it up. Some lingering element of the heroin-free Midge peeks out for a moment, as she leans back with crossed legs, a sight that might have driven him wild with desire 3 years ago, and asks him if he thinks her art is good. That moment passes when Don simply asks if it even matters one way or the other, and the collects up Number 4.

Belatedly he realizes he hasn't left himself enough money for cab fare, but as humiliating as getting the money was Midge isn't about to hand any of it back over. She tries to be playful as she says he can carry it across the park and be a walking advertisement for her art. Telling him how glad she is that HE hasn't changed, she wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him, but he calmly detaches himself from her. He leaves, and she's left behind clutching her money in a vice like grip, fully aware that she has burned one of the few remaining bridges she had and regretting it... but not enough not to have done it. Like she said, it's heroin, Don, and that supersedes all other concerns.

It is a deeply depressing jump back to a character who already had a bit of a downer of a last appearance. Times have changed and things are better in society in some respect, but worse in others. Don's own troubles are very real but at the end of the day if everything goes belly up at SCDP and the place collapses... Don's still rich. He still has children who love him. He can still walk into almost any Agency in New York if he REALLY wanted to and get a high paying job there. Midge represents what happens when somebody REALLY loses everything, including herself. The drugs have her, and this was just one of many humiliations she will probably face over the coming years of her addiction.

The best case scenario for her now is hitting rock-bottom but surviving long enough to make it through a detox program and hopefully come out the other side with some kind of ability to express herself creatively. There is likely a rough passage between now and then though, and it's a drat shame... but it's also a far from unique story. She isn't the first, and she won't be the last.

Far from the Village, in Ossining, a woman who has everything to be grateful for sits and complains about issues that are largely irrelevant outside of the fact they represent her underlying unhappiness and dissatisfaction with her seemingly perfect life. Betty Francis is a woman who also has it all: a lovely home, healthy and lively children, plenty of money, a loving (second) husband with an important and influential career. But she sits with Dr. Keener complaining nonetheless, because at the heart of her remains a troubling itch she can't scratch, an unhappiness that by all rights shouldn't be there, which only serves to make her MORE troubled.

She's complaining about the dismissive way Henry slammed his car door when he came home, reminding her of Don... except later when she "confronted" him about it he explained her hadn't heard her call out a hello. She can't help but add that this is what Henry SAID, as opposed to what actually happened, but Keener focuses on the positive, pointing out that Betty learned it wasn't the bad thing she thought it was, and Betty is quick to agree.

Keener broaches a delicate topic now though, as she notes their time is almost up and deems it the right time to bring up Sally's own progress.... and what that means. She plans to bring Sally down to one session a week, to see how things go from there. Betty's face immediately crumples, even if she only subconsciously understands that this means her own regular visits with Keener will have to stop or at least be severely reduced. "She's cured?" she asks, confused, assuming like Don that therapy is liking going to a doctor for an illness: they give you medicine and soon you're just back to full health and go on about your life like normal.

Desperate, Betty points out that Sally is no better... why she ran away! Keener though keeps her cool and her calm smile, agreeing that Sally ran away but also that she understood this was wrong, and she's been very responsible ever since then. Betty, not losing her cool but breathing heavier as panic bubbles up from her subconscious, makes claims about Sally that are really more about her: life is chaotic, "Sally" needs this calming influences, the sessions can't be reduced etc.

As calm as ever, Keener notes that she can't help but have noticed that Betty often seems to have a lot on her mind during these visits, and it might pay for her to have HER own time to talk about them. She suggests a talented colleague of hers, Dr. Evelyn Shapiro, suggesting she would be a fine person for Betty to spend time with. But this suggestion confuses Betty, why talk to this Dr. Shapiro when she could be talking to Keener herself?

Carefully, diplomatically, Dr. Keener reminds her that she is a CHILD psychiatrist. This just confuses Betty more though, as she insists that she doesn't need a psychiatrist... just somebody to come to for regular hour long sessions where she talks about all her problems and is given advice on how to adjust to and deal with these!

But with this threat to her comfortable regular fix of unloading her problems without the "stigma" of being in psychiatry, Betty resorts to both bargaining, guilt-trips and hostage tasking. She promises Keener that she's happy to follow her guidance on whatever is best for Sally, and to see Sally continue to make progress through her therapy session... and as long as that progress is continuing, she's happy to take the time (a favor to Keener, you see!) to discuss that progress with her.

Keener takes a moment, considering the implications, complications and potential calamities that might come of forcing the issue.... most likely in relation to how they would affect Sally, who is her ACTUAL patient. Finally she smiles and nods, agreeing that she'll keep Betty in the books for their visits next month. Betty agrees, so long as Keener thinks that is best of course! In her own head she has successfully kept up the fiction that this is anything other than what it is: therapy sessions that she desperately needs. The trouble is she is seeing somebody who isn't best suited to give her the help she needs, and that itself puts Betty in the position of being able to try and dictate terms since these sessions are supposedly to further Sally's own therapy and thus Keener has some obligation to keep them going.

So why did Keener agree? Because, or so I like to believe, she is putting her patient first. Not Betty, who can't officially be a patient in any case. But Sally. She knows that upending or throwing chaos into Sally's life by getting on Betty's bad side will only have negative implications for a young girl she thinks has shown real improvement, and so she has agreed to a quasi-patient relationship that isn't entirely healthy for Betty to continue it. Is it strictly speaking entirely professional or sensible? Not at all, but people aren't perfect, and Keener found herself between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps she puts more stock in Betty's earlier diagnosis of her mother: she doesn't care about the truth, just hearing what she wants to hear.



In Don's office, he nervously recites Peter Piper to prime himself for what is likely to be one of the most important pitches of his life. Peggy comes in with a knock at the door, asking if he wanted to see her. He did, asking if she went through all the readings, and of course she did, she's Peggy Olson! Clearly nervous, he asks her what she thinks Philip Morris will think is the strength of their product, what gives it appeal?

Peggy points out what she and Don both know, that it is pointless trying to get women to switch from a men's brand to a woman's brand, it simply doesn't happen. Rather, she assumes they'll be looking for a new, presumably innovative, way to give out their new women's brand for free and pick up a loyal customer base that way. Don grins, it's obviously the same thing he thought, he just needed to hear somebody else say it.

Megan pops in to let them know that Dr. Atherton is on the way up and the Partners have gathered in the lobby to greet Philip Morris, and Dr. Miller called to tell him to break a leg. He thanks her and she leaves, and he takes a moment to gather his thoughts before remembering Peggy is there and asks her to remind him what she just said. "I was saying you're gonna do great," she assures him, understanding he just needs to burn off his excess nerves, and leaves the office.

Don moves into the lobby where the Partners and Harry are waiting. They hear the ding of the elevator and turn to see Dr. Atherton step out of the elevator.... and nobody else. Walking like a condemned man, Atherton opens the door and walks in, and after a brief hesitation admits he has "unfortunate" news: Philip Morris canceled the meeting.

They're all stunned.... what? Why? Atherton admits that the meeting, the one he said they were the only ones getting, is pointless because they're giving the account to Leo Burnett... who already had the Marlboro account anyway. Pete is outraged, they were supposed to want a fresh start, not the same old thing they already had? Atherton agrees, he thought the same, and then offers the same thing that Heinz told Don and Don told Midge.... maybe in six months they'll see where they are.

Don is furious, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy: everybody is too hesitant to go with them because they might be dead in six months, which is all but guaranteeing they'll be dead in six months. Atherton's assurances that there might still be something down the road and there is no need to be discouraged don't even seem to convince himself. But when Pete begins ranting that they can't even get a meeting with a tobacco company, their supposed specialty, Cooper quickly takes control, saying they need to take this inside for a closed, private and QUIET meeting.

They file back inside, though Roger takes a moment before going to tell Atherton - the so called expert consultant and networking specialist - what he thinks of him.... he's an rear end in a top hat. Cooper, Atherton's close friend, doesn't bother to come to his defense, just follows Roger back inside.

As the Partners move through the corridors, the employees can't help but see it and know something is up. Everybody was out there to greet Philip Morris, and instead they've come stomping straight back inside and headed straight into a closed door meeting. They enter Lane's office, Cooper snapping at Harry to get out when he grabs a glass as Don goes straight for the liquor. Harry leaves, watched by everybody in the Creative Lounge, fully aware that their own potential employment is at risk now.

The meeting is far from the quiet affair Cooper was hoping for. Pete is bitter they couldn't get the meeting, while Don snarls that they reek of desperation and everybody knows it, they've become like some hopeless, sweaty salesman knocking on doors trying pathetically to make one last sale. Roger complains that the reason they look desperate is because they're going after scraps, when they should be chasing big clients like United Airlines and General Motors. Pete is infuriated at the notion that this hasn't occurred to them, or that they're taking the easy way out by Pete being out there every day beating bushes trying to drum up some business... any business!

Peggy listens against the wall of the next office, horrified and fascinated like she was listening to her parents argue. Which means she also hears Lane quietly but firmly warn them that out of caution he met with the bank to discuss thier financial options... and while they have agreed to extend SCDP's line of credit, they want the Partners to post collateral. That means $100,000 from each of Cooper, Sterling and Draper as the Senior Partners, with Lane and Pete both to put up 50k for a total of $400,000. It will buy the Agency roughly six months... provided they make a severe reduction in staff to bring down their day-to-day costs.

On the side side of the office, Harry and Ken are plastered to a wall as well listening in, as Pete in particular bridles at the thought of having to pay 50k and is reminded it is part of the responsibility and obligation that comes with being a Partner. Pete though insists they they just need a bridge to get them through the cold and flu season, and Vick Chemical will get them through the holidays, at which point Sugarberry Hams and Samsonite will also see increased business and advertising to go with it.

Lane understands Pete's concerns, an outlay of $50,000 is a hardship for him as well... but it is a necessity to keep the Agency alive. Cooper takes the opportunity to air an old grievance, saying they should move out of the building that he never wanted them to occupy in the first place. Roger of course rightfully points out a move to a new location would only make them more desperate.... and Don has had enough.

This is the side of the advertising world he's never been comfortable with or even all that interested in. He wants to produce creative work that sells an idea, and he thinks that alone should be enough to run a company with. Finishing his drink, he tells them they know where to find him when they figure this out, and he leaves the office. As he goes, hat in hand, he's watched nervously by the SCDP employees, all of home have far less money than any of the men in that room, or even the ones hiding in the adjourning offices listening in on everything.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Sally meets with Glen again, where she tells them all about her most recent dream of floating over town, standing straight up rather than flying like Superman. What intrigues her is that it wasn't Ossining but London, and she likens it to being like Mary Poppins. Glen apparently wasn't listening or really paying attention, instead making the charming offer of the backwash from the remains of his coke. Weirdly Sally isn't enamored of that idea, simply saying no like she did to the cigarettes, without hesitation but also without any kind of revulsion: to her it was just something offered that she wasn't interested in, so she said no. Don would be proud (maybe?), this is a girl of simple will!

He finishes his coke and tosses the bottle against the fence, where it shatters and he doesn't give it a second thought. It seems he was listening, he tells about he also sometimes dreams of flying, but for him it feels like swimming. Sally ponders the meaning, saying it felt like she was going to heaven... except she doesn't believe in it. Now THAT, Glen really pays attention to. She doesn't believe in heaven? Then what happens when she dies? Nothing?

Sally's answer has childlike simplicity that many adults could probably use.... it doesn't really bother her, apart from the fact it is forever. She admits that when she thinks about forever, she gets upset, but she says it in an academic way, like she understands it is a reaction she has but one she can consider in a detached way outside of the moment. But she IS a child, and so she likens infinity to the Land O'Lakes girl, asking Glen if he's ever noticed how the image repeats forever.

He hadn't ever noticed it, and with a grin he says he wishes she hadn't said it, because of course now it's the only thing he will EVER be able to notice about it. She apologizes for that, but then notes it is probably time for her to go, and he agrees he should as well. He gives her a hand to help her up, and the obvious and redundant thing to do here would be for him to try and kiss her, and her to reciprocate or reject him.

The show (thankfully) doesn't do that though, he lets her up and she goes, though not without promising to save her Fritos for him and glancing back with a smile as she collects her bike. That's enough, that says it all. This is a boy and a girl stopping to chat, enjoying each other's company, but both still too young to really be or do anything other than understand they like being together. Even if Glen is a weirdo who walked in on Betty in the toilet, asked for a lock of her hair, and broke into Sally's playroom after running away and assumed he could just hang out at the Drapers without his mother ever being called to collect him.

In Don's office, he's sipping his drink when Pete bursts in asking to speak with him. "Are you busy?" asks Megan, launching in after Pete, making a futile effort to maintain the decorum of a visitor being announced before they just burst in. Don tells her he's not busy and then offers Pete a drink which he declines, closing the door before revealing what his own connections have found out that Dr. Geoff Atherton's did not. Philip Morris used him to set up the meeting... then told Leo Burnett they were doing it, knowing that it would leverage them a better deal than their existing one to prevent potentially losing them as a client.

Don sighs, so they were used... it doesn't make him feel better. With a sigh, Pete explains that everybody at Leo Burnett is already bragging about SCDP didn't even get a meeting out of the affair. Don isn't happy to hear this news of course, but he also isn't sure what Pete wants him to do about it, or what he wants from him in general. Pete complains that he is being punished despite being the only one who has brought any business to the Agency, and Don reminds him coldly that they are ALL being punished, though he doesn't go so far as to remind Pete that he himself is on the hook for twice the amount Pete is.

But the issue IS the money... or rather the lack of it. Pete simply doesn't have the money. He's doing well, he is a Junior Partner in his own firm at a relatively young age, he's got a strong reputation as a guy who brings in business and works tirelessly for his clients... but barely two years ago he was an Account Executive making roughly $3000 a year, he has a wife and a child and an expensive apartment on 83rd and Park. He isn't like Don Draper, who was already wealthy when he got paid up big by the PPL purchase, or like Cooper who made his millions over the decades, or Roger who was born into a vast inheritance that his father did NOT squander like Pete's own did.

All Don can offer him is that he is doing everything he can, and if Pete can just get him into a room, he can do more. He doesn't let Pete know he already got into a room with a man from Heinz and it went nowhere, but that probably wouldn't be of much comfort to Pete right now anyway. Thankfully he's saved by Megan buzzing in to say Miss Olson is here to see him, and he calls her her to be let in, which signals to Pete he should go.

He leaves, clearly not eased by this encounter, and Peggy explains to Don that everybody is waiting in the conference room. Why? he asks, puzzled, and she explains they were all waiting for him to leave before they did... but he hasn't left, and none of them know what to do. They're clearly troubled and looking for guidance from their leader, but Don isn't offering it, just grunting in response to her questions he doesn't care if they go home, and that nothing happened at the meeting that never was.

She asks what they're going to do, and unbelievably he says it isn't her problem, as if her own employment - and she may be paid well, but Pete is rich in comparison to her - isn't at stake for her as well. Peggy offers her own thoughts on the matter though... if there is a problem with the company, why don't they just... change the name? After all, that's what they'd suggest to a client if this was, say, dogfood (they did this very thing before, and looked down on the woman who refused to accept this option), and it would give them a chance at a fresh start.

The difference here, Don insists, is that they only JUST got started so a restart isn't on the cards. But Peggy has his own wisdom to throw back at him, reminding him that he always says if you don't like what they're saying about you, change the conversation. But change it to what, he complains, and insists that they're just going to go ahead and sit at their desks and typewriters and work away while the walls fall down around them... because they're Creative, the least important most important thing there is.

There it is. He's vented his frustration, that his obvious Creative talent - the thing he thinks is the actual steam engine of the Agency - is useless against the frustrating and bullshit financial and political and strategic aspects of account management. The trouble is, he's a Senior Partner and the Creative Director, and his Senior Copywriter has just come to him clearly hopeing for guidance, leadership and direction during a trying time... and gotten nothing from nihilism from him.

Peggy is shattered, her General has no battle plan, apparently has no willingness to even fight, and that leaves all of them to get mowed down by gunfire while he sits and drinks bitterly in his office. If the Agency collapses, they all go. He'll still be there, humiliated and angry but still close to a millionaire who could easily live off the money in his bank for the rest of his life without issue. Her? Maybe she can get another job, despite the still clear barriers to women in this industry... but it will never be like it was at SCDP. She will never have the working relationship with a Creative Director that she has with Don Draper, the freedom to think and spitball and tap into a creative energy that is in its own way incredibly addictive.



A miserable Pete returns home where he's greeted by a delighted Trudy, warmly chiding him for slamming the door and risking waking the baby. She kisses him and tells him the bank called to ask about a loan application, alarming him that they called home AND told her details about what he was calling about (presumably the account is in both their names?). He tries to play it off, but a playful Trudy keeps pushing him, a bright smile on her face because she has decided for herself what the loan application MUST be about, and why he was upset the bank called the home. She assumes he was calling about a home loan, that they're going to start looking for a place in Greenwich to move into to give them more space for the baby to grow into.

A devastated Pete now has the double blow of having to explain it is not this, as well as what it actually is: they're not buying a house, and he and the other Partners all need to put in a lump sum to keep the payroll - and thus the Agency - going, and keep people from losing their jobs. Trudy's face falls, and now you can see those remaining elements of the bratty little daddy's girl who always got her way, and how she reacted on the few occasions she didn't. When Pete tells her he needs 50k and they only have 22k in the bank, he tries to assure her that the money gifts for the baby will remain for the baby, but she's outraged.

It's ALL for the baby, to make sure little Tammy has a yard to run around in. She doesn't give a thought (and to be fair, her daughter is always going to be her primary consideration) to all the people who will lose their jobs if Pete doesn't meet the obligations of the role SHE wanted for him. Pete tries to point out that running around in Central Park as a kid was always good enough for him, but Trudy snaps back that if you bet big and lose you don't double down.... you get out of the game!

An eager cheerleader of the formation of SCDP, Trudy is the first to declare it a sunk cost to be discarded, likening him losing his partnership to losing a State Room on the Titanic. She has a point, after all it's already been made clear to Pete he has other options, including a partnership at CGC, and Tom did make the point that as a father you do whatever is best for your kid rather than your own interests/passions. But she takes things a step too far when she declares with authority that he is FORBIDDEN from making the payment to the company.

"You don't get to forbid me!" he snaps back as she walks away, and she turns back and hisses through gritted teeth for him to lower his voice. All the loving adoration is gone in this moment, him getting a loan was fine when she thought it was for a house, but now she is outraged at him. In a final emasculating proclamation, she warns him that he better not dream of asking her father for the cash, and returns to the baby's room to check on Tammy.

Pete is left behind seething but quiet, because he knows that for as emasculating as it is she does have a point in some ways. Which doesn't make it any less frustrating, especially since he is the one who has at every step of their marriage resisted or tried to avoid Tom paying for things. To have her sneer at him not to go to him for money now betrays an underlying fear he has probably always had: that she doesn't think he can provide for them without her father's support.

Don arrives home at his apartment, remarkably not drunk despite the horrors of the day. Spotting Number Four he picks it up and steps back into the door, ready to throw it out as a $120 piece of trash... and then stops and contemplates the imagery. Returning inside, he sits it on the couch and sits and stares, the silent scream of the woman as she puts on her (forced?) performance.

He drinks, and thinks, and then as day turns to night he settles down at his desk and picks up his notepad. He leafs through the pages of his journal.... and then tears them out. That brief period of introspection is over, his past discarded as he has done before, the clean sheet that terrifies some Creatives a refreshing blank slate. Seated at his desk and, ironically, smoking a cigarette, he begins to write an explanation of why he is quitting tobacco.

He writes in the third person about losing Lucky Strike, of being relieved at the loss, and details all the horrible things that they KNOW tobacco does for your health and that they have ignored in pursuit of money. He lambasts tobacco as a product that never improves because it doesn't have to, because people can't stop themselves from buying it even as it makes them sick and unhappy. Midge's inspiration is clear here, the heroin she hates but also craves and perversely adores is the way he writes about tobacco now.



He writes this all up, then he sits and reviews it, types it up on his typewriter, makes corrections and then types it again, before sealing it up in an envelope and taking it with him the next day before going to swim at the New York Athletic Club. Why in an envelope? Because he didn't just take inspiration from Midge to vent his feelings onto paper... he took inspiration from Peggy to find a way to change the conversation.

He didn't write a journal entry... he wrote an ad, one that appears in the New York Times that day and is read by people all over the state, including Henry Francis at the breakfast table, Pete Campbell at his own, Roger Sterling in his office, and Danny (with Joan and others reading over his short shoulders) in the SCDP elevator. They read Don Draper's words speaking for the Agency, as he provides the leadership and direction at last... by declaring SCDP will no longer take on ANY tobacco companies as clients, and lists a number of Agencies that will be happy to take the blood money instead... while SCDP themselves welcome all other business.

There is is, the change of the conversation. The story is no longer that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce can't get new business (particularly tobacco business), but that they are REFUSING to take new tobacco business. But if Don is expecting a hero's welcome when he arrives at work the next morning, he is unsettled by the reaction. Everybody is reading the article, of course, but secretaries give him glares as he passes, and workers scatter from around Megan's desk as he gets there, all except for a delighted Stan who welcomes Don, probably mostly just pleased to see somebody shake things up.

In the conference room, the other partners are gathered and waiting, staring expectantly at him, waiting for an explanation. Don simply waves, asks if there were any calls (mostly from reporters, "citizens" and Dr. Miller) and then ignores her telling him that the other Partners are waiting for him and goes into his office instead, asking her to get Dr. Miller on the phone.

So the Partners come to him, Roger growling that somebody used Don's name to kill their Agency.... it wasn't actually him, was it? Don just grins, but Pete doesn't have time for the verbal sparring and gets right to the point, in a near panic as he insists that this is suicide and asking how Don could have done it. Don, affecting complete calm, says somebody had to do something, and a similarly calm Lane makes his own objections clear: Don put the company name on an advertisement without clearing it with them, and that can't happen.

"Why?" is Don's simple response, complaining that he wasn't going to waste time evaluating strengths and weaknesses or measuring risk vs. reward. Something HAD to be done, he did it, and he slept properly last night for the first time in a month.

Oh, well as long as HE slept comfortably, that's the important thing!

Roger, Lane and Pete are for once an entirely united front, disgusted at Don's presumption and believes all he's done is sped up the euthanization of the company. Pete makes a salient point, he just attacked a client they had for nearly 30 years (counting Sterling Cooper), which means the rest of their clients are now going to fear that he could turn on them at any time if it suits him.

Don defends himself, THIS is the part of the business he not only understands but is a master of. This was an ad for the Agency, and if Pete doesn't understand that he shouldn't be in this business at all. But the answer he gets to that comes from a man who nobody can dispute knows the business backwards and forwards. Until now, Cooper has said nothing, but he speaks now and with force: he has humiliated them. Not the company. Them. He made an enormous policy and strategy decision regarding the Agency's future without them, he publicized that decision, and he did it all under HIS name only. This wasn't about Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, it was about Don Draper, but they are left to deal with the hypocrisy of a 30 year history with an industry HE has no said is immoral and dangerous.

Pete backs up Cooper, pointing out that Don was doing what was best for him, because he's impatient and childish, and just threw the equivalent of a temper tantrum.... except he did it in a full page of the New York Times. Don is beside himself, not able to understand how they don't see this as a master play, asking if he's really the ONLY person who is happy about how this went.

He gets a quasi-nod of support from Roger, who shrugs and points out that if the Agency is going down, he's happier that it went down because of a monumental act of self-immolation like this than a slow death as a result of some rear end in a top hat rich kid letting his Board of Directors abruptly shift advertising agencies after 30 years! That's about all Don is going to get though, which is when a shaft of light pierces the clouds as Megan enters the room to inform he has a call... from Senator Kennedy's office... Robert Kennedy wants to speak with him.

Roger, Lane and Pete turn as one to stare with surprise at an equally shocked Don, who agrees to take the call. Even Cooper is stunned, and they all listen as Don picks up the phone, is told to hold for the Senator, and a moment later the familiar accent of Bobby Kennedy is heard on the other end, praising Don for his integrity and bravery in standing up to one of the great menaces to civilisation as we know it.

This is the kind of thing you expect from a show set in the 1960s. The cameos/interjection into the lives of characters by prominent historic figures of the time. It's something Mad Men has mostly avoided till now, even the focus on Nixon in season 1 was all about trying to convince the GOP to convince Nixon's campaign team to hire them. Don bought Beatles tickets for Sally but we never saw them attend the concert and certainly they didn't bump into John and Paul on the street or backstage. The closest person to the Kennedy assassination was Henry Francis, and that was several steps removed as a campaign advisor to Governor Rockefeller. Paul Kinsey went to march for Civil Rights but didn't share a bus with, hang out with, or chat to Martin Luther King Jr. About the most public historic figure to spend any time with these characters was Conrad Hilton, and even that didn't last long despite an obvious connection to the work of the then Sterling Cooper.

So here all of a sudden is Bobby Kennedy, showing up EXACTLY when he's needed to throw a lifeline to Don in the eyes of the other Partners, to endorse his selfish and self-serving actions and inspire everybody by the sheer force of his weird status as American quasi-Royalty. Bobby Kennedy, erming and uhhhing in a thick accent that seems an over the top choice by the actor they got to portray his voice, thanks Don for standing up to the tobacco companies... and asking him to go after that evil Secor Laxatives next!

"Who the hell is this?" demands Don, realizing he's been pranked far too late, and laughter bursts from the other end as Ted Chaough - surrounded by employees roaring with laughter - thanks Don for including CGC in with the "big boys" who would happily take business from tobacco companies. Don hangs up, infuriated not just at being pranked, not just at it being Ted Chaough, but that it happened in front of the other Partners.



Because of course it was Ted Chaough. Bobby Kennedy isn't going to loving call up some random Partner at a small ad agency just because he saw something in the paper he liked (he's not Reagan for God's sake). That Don bought into it at all shows just how desperate he is for this Hail Mary to have worked, and just how badly it hurts him when it didn't. Like Trudy said, you don't double down when you bet big and lose.

He tries to play it off with a joke of his own, that it was actually Eunice Kennedy, but Cooper is in no mood. He calls Don craven and a coward, somebody who let tobacco put a roof over his head and feed his children. Don coldly hits back that it also killed his business (note he calls it his, not theirs), and an enraged Cooper snaps that he never thought Don had the stomach to be a Partner, neglecting to mention it was Lee Garner Sr who pushed hard for Don to get the nod in order to calm that same Board of Directors who would later abandon SCDP.

Not above drama himself, Cooper declares he's no longer a part of this Agency and snaps for Megan to get his shoes, refusing to calm down when an alarmed Roger tries to reason with him. He declares they've created a monster, motions to Don, and then storms out of the office. A horrified Pete follows him, then Roger, which leaves Lane who calmly explains that given this situation he has informed the other partners and now Don himself that the financial contribution to ensure their line of credit must be given in by the close of business today.

Quiet now, Don mutters to Lane almost as if trying to convince himself that this big move could work. Lane's reply is an unpleasant reminder that Don was playing with other people's lives with this gambit, as he points out that he has just moved his family back to New York. This is the first we've heard of this, but now we know the result of his trip back to London.

He has reconciled with his wife, probably not to either of their tastes, and she has allowed herself to be returned to a country she hates. Lane's affair with Toni has either ended or become clandestine (I hope to God not for Toni's sake), and yet he returns to an Agency in peril of falling apart and rendering his massive gamble and betrayal of PPL a disaster... and now on top of 50k of his own money he has to deal with this bullshit from Don. He leaves, and now Don is alone, his giant performative gesture having failed to do anything but drive a wedge between him and the other Partners and give CGC a little boost and an opportunity to humiliate him.

Megan returns, deeply apologetic for being fooled by the fake Senator Kennedy call. She did get hold of Dr. Miller as well, but because Don was.... on a call she diplomatically puts its.... she said she would call back later. There's nothing else he needs, but before she goes she tells him she loved the letter, she was so pleased to see him stand up for something.
With a sigh, Don explains that standing up for something wasn't really what it was actually about, and Megan surprises him yet again by succinctly summing up what the letter actually was about : it was a "he didn't dump me, I dumped him" situation. But she doesn't care that it was performative, she loves that he actually did it... and it had some effect, the atmosphere at SCDP feels different today to how it has felt since the Lucky Strike news hit. Don can't help but allow a little smile at that news, at least that is SOMETHING.

In the Creative Lounge, Stan and others sit across from Ken, Peggy and Harry as Harry looks through messages he has received since Don's open letter: Smokey the Bear, Smokey Robinson, Chiquita Banana, Aunt Jemima. Just endless prank calls from people taking great delight in mocking Don's declaration that SCDP was taking a moral stand against tobacco.

Danny, of course, ponders if Don is going to quit smoking, causing Stan to call him an idiot. But Ken has a slightly different take on things. He took calls from all his clients this morning, but none of them were angry, mostly just morbidly curious... and none of them are talking about the loss of Lucky Strike anymore. A pleased Peggy, who has guessed or at least hopes Don took her message to heart, agrees, saying that she thinks this was the whole point. Harry though, forever gloom-struck and fearing the worst, figures that a bunch of people are going to get fired... and worse still, they might make HIM fire them.

Wh... why would they make the head of Media fire people?

But as they consider firings, suddenly Bert Cooper steps into the door holding his hat in one hand and his shoes in the other. "It's been a pleasure working with you all," he declares,"I wish you the best of luck." Just like that he's gone, which leads to an incredible comedic moment as a gaping Stan remarks,"I didn't think they'd start with him!"



Things get serious though when Megan pops her head through the door and tells Peggy that Mr. Draper wants to see her. The immediate suspicions flood them all, including Peggy who squeaks out a quick,"Okay!" and then stands and slowly leaves the room, watched nervously by the others. If Cooper is gone (they're not entirely sure if he is, and it's not entirely clear if Cooper can just.... leave....? He surely has obligations too) and Peggy could be gone too, are any of them safe?

Peggy enters Don's office and asks if she should close the door, and isn't reassured when he - staring fixedly at nothing on his desk - tells her yes. Gently she closes the door and braces herself for the worst, asking if she should sit down, and Don stares with haunted eyes up at her, his protege and surprisingly sometimes confidant, then opens his mouth and croaks out what he needs to say.... who can she live without?

She allows herself a moment of open relief, sighing,"Oh good," before quickly adapting and immediately picking Danny as somebody who can go, even if she has to admit she has gotten surprisingly used to having him around. Don reads through the memo Lane sent with his own suggestions: all the tobacco people can go, Mark, Danny, Bill, and a "Polish kid" whose name Don can't pronounce.

Peggy is surprised, that's a lot of people, and she quietly asks if they're going under. No, Don promises her, but he wanted her to have notice, because when the firings start people are going to go to her (an acknowledgement of her status, this would have been unthinkable 2 years ago) and he wants her to know what is going on so she can reassure the right people, and offer some comfort to those who aren't.

But with this unpleasantness out of the way, Don does something he rarely does, and then only usually with her... he actively looks for an endorsement of his work. She hasn't said anything about the letter, what did she think? Peggy, only moments ago sure she was about to be fired, considers for a moment and then can't resist referencing something Don once told her: she thought he didn't go in for these kind of shenanigans? She smiles, and he grins back, and for now at least in spite of everything else going on, the mutual creative respect and the strong personal bond each has for the other remains intact.

Betty drives down the pleasantly perfect suburban streets of Ossining. But as she drives, she passes one bit of overgrowth, trees gone without trimming surrounding an abandoned property. Walking alongside those trees, purely by chance, is her daughter Sally, who she spots walking with purpose and familiarity through a gap in the treeline... and waving hello to a boy who has clearly come to meet her there.

Horrified, scandalized, immediately thinking the worst, Betty pulls over and launches out of the car and through the gap, following them around the corner and ordering them to a stop and demanding to know what they're doing there. Glen Bishop stands holding two bottles of coke, confronted by the woman he had a childish crush on and her daughter that he has slowly been building a relationship with. Tough football player smarter than his psychiatrist thinks he knows what makes Betty tick broke into the house and vandalized it Glen stands staring.... and then drops the cokes and then zooms off without a word or a second thought or even a word to a startled Sally.

Betty yells after him to stay away from Sally, then hauls her daughter away. Glen has stopped down the track, realizing he's not being chased, having to lean over to catch his breath... this guy is a football player? Whatever the case, he didn't exactly cover himself in glory just now.

Back at the Francis Residence, a fuming Sally heads inside while Betty angrily tells her they won't be going back for her bike. A furious Sally insists not for the first time that Glen's just her friend and they didn't do anything, which is completely true but of course saying that just puts more thoughts and suspicions into Betty's head. She insists that Glen is bad, and she knows him better than Sally does. Sally considers this for a second, much like she considered what being dead is like, and then answers with the full confidence of somebody who assumes she has all the available information on a subject: her mother doesn't know Glen at all.

Sally, of course, has no idea of the weird and twisted little back history between Betty and Glen, and Betty sure as hell isn't going to fill her in on it. So she falls back on her standby, using her role as an authority to bring an end to the conversation by ordering Sally to her room. Enraged but knowing she's powerless to do anything, keeping in mind the lessons learned via her sessions with Dr. Keener, Sally does as she's told... but with that contempt for her mother's actions coursing through her veins.



Megan and Don return from getting coffee and Don is pleased to see Faye has shown up after all. He jokes that everybody wants to kill him but Megan is his bodyguard, and Megan helpfully offers to get Faye a drink as well which she politely declines. Don leads Faye into his office, noticing at last as she enters that she's carrying a box full of her things... what's that about?

Atherton has, of course, ended his contract with SCDP (to be fair they probably weren't going to want to keep paying him after this debacle) given he wants to work on cigarette accounts somebody and now that is never going to happen at SCDP... and never happen for Atherton at other Agencies if he's also working with SCDP. Don is aghast, apologizing and admitting that he didn't think about that (of course he didn't, it didn't affect him directly!).

Faye is not troubled though, though she jokes that she knows he didn't think about her when he did it. She's all smiles though, and as he steps in close to apologize again she takes great satisfaction in saying that once the day is done he is going to meet her for dinner somewhere public where they will talk about anything BUT work... because now they can finally do that.

"It's a fair trade," she promises him, and they kiss. Getting the door for her, he suggests La Caravelle at 8pm, which she happily agrees to, saying he can get his girl to make the reservations. Don pauses briefly on this, keeping his face fixed, but his mind racing as it must in a time like this: did she say that because she knows or suspects? Of course not! It's just something people say... but is getting Megan to make the reservations going to be rubbing her nose in it? But she said she was fine with keeping things separate... but did she REALLY mean it or just say it?

All that in a moment, then pushed aside for the confident demeanor of a happy boyfriend ushering out his happy girlfriend, both of them ready to enjoy the freedom of a relationship unconstrained by professional boundaries. As Faye heads down the corridor though, she spots Peggy at work and decides to pop in to say her goodbyes. Peggy of course is surprised to see her go, but blows things by moaning,"Who is going to do our research?"

"You know I just lost one of my best jobs...." Faye starts, and Peggy is quick to elaborate, explaining she meant she loved worked with her and the thought of somebody else doing it instead isn't a pleasant thought. She even asks if Faye would have a drink with her, and when Faye says she doesn't want to linger, Peggy explains she doesn't mean now, she means a proper drink, somewhere outside of work another time.

Faye assumes she's being polite, but Peggy is at pains to assure her it is genuine. She respects her, she respects her because "they" respect her, and "they" value her opinion and the quality of her work, and she doesn't need to play any games to do it... something Peggy didn't know was possible. The "they" in this case is men, of course, and it makes perfect sense that Peggy would be impressed by a woman who got her doctorate, and even more impressed that she did it without earning the ire of the men around her (something poor Dr. Guttman at Sterling Cooper never enjoyed).

"Is that what it looks like?" Faye asks, betraying that of course there is far more heartbreak, pain and frustration in her success story than is immediately apparent. Peggy should understand that, people like Megan look at her and assume she always had the position and status she has now, and not all the bullshit she put up with on her way up. But she doesn't crush the dream either, simply offering a handshake and assuring Peggy that she's sure they'll work together again at some point... somewhere. Not SCDP? Does she even now think it might collapse, or just assume that eventually Peggy will move on to greener pastures?

Henry arrives home a little earlier than normal, where the family - including a quieter than normal Gene - are eating a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Henry is in a great mood, happily telling Betty he'll be fine with sitting down and eating with all of them rather than waiting till later. Taking a seat, he affectionately tousles Bobby's hair, Bobby of course not pausing for a moment in gobbling down his food.

Betty moves to the sink to prepare him a plate, and comments that she had quite a day, Henry immediately reading the warning signs and guessing out loud to the children, though still cheerfully, that this can't be good. But rather than elaborate on what happened (which in her telling would probably be far more prurient), she simply says that the neighborhood is being taken over by low-caliber people.... maybe it is finally time they looked into moving?

Henry is of course delighted, he's been willing to live here but it has been galling paying rent to Betty's ex-husband and knowing the house is full of a lifetime of memories for every other resident of that other man. He mentions a place in Rye he liked and, Bobby, being Bobby, is forever happy to go with the flow, eagerly asking if that is where Playland is!?!

But Sally is horrified, and enraged at her mother. She knows what this is about, and who. This is her way of getting what she wants, as always, regardless of how it affects Sally herself. Pushing away from the table, she rushes out of the kitchen, Betty watching her go stone-faced. "She'll get over it," she comments to a concerned Henry, handing him his plate and sipping her wine.

Meanwhile, upstairs Sally sobs on her beg, clutching the bracelet Glen made and left for her after vandalizing the house. She hated staying here after Don left, but she used the techniques Dr. Keener taught her to make dealing with her mother tolerable, and she found in Glen somebody SHE could talk to about how she was feeling. Yes about her mother, but also about weird dreams she had, about her thoughts about death and the afterlife (or lack thereof), somebody she could share herself with without it being attached to or subsumed by somebody else. Now even that is being taken from her, and the house whose memories hurt her could be going to, meaning she won't have free access to the trigger to those memories anymore, good and bad.

But hey, Betty got what she wanted, and as Sally warned and Dr. Keener discovered for herself, that's what she really wants.



Don joins Harry, Pete, Joan, Lane, Roger and Ken in the Conference Room (Cooper is still gone) where Joan announces that her, Roger, Don and Harry should begin the process of "letting people go" (hey, Harry is part of that process after all!). It's a nice euphemism for "firing people", and of course the idea is to avoid further damage to morale as if colleagues being fired isn't going to be a downer. It's also unavoidable, there simply isn't enough money to pay everybody.

Lane, unable to help himself after so long at PPL, reminds them to avoid any sympathetic adjustments to severance packages, and Joan adds they'll also keep a hold of any staplers, scissors, hope punches and tape dispensers. The first assumption is that this is a joke poking fun at Lane, except he does nod and say they tend to disappear.... he's serious, things are really that bad.

Roger points out that Don should call back the American Cancer Society which has been trying to reach him, and Don complains that he saw the messages and didn't want to deal with any more prank calls. It was no prank though, after failing to get Don they called Roger directly, they want SCDP to come in and produce an anti-smoking campaign for them.

Don is surprised, and Roger smirks that he hopes he didn't blow it given he laughed so much at the idea of them making an anti-smoking campaign after 30 years of making Lucky Strike ads. Don is pleased though, that's something, though a disgruntled Pete complains there's not much point in providing free work as a public service. Harry tries to dispute that, producing work for the American Cancer Society is prestigious, while Lane curtly points out they can't eat prestige.

But Don isn't daunted, this is a chance to get new work on the air, and Ken points out there are a lot of bigwigs on the American Cancer Society board, and it won't hurt to get exposure to them. Roger even comes to Don's defense, agreeing that in normal circumstances this would be a good opportunity. "Yes, Don saved the company," notes Pete bitterly,"Now go get rid of half of it."

That marks an end to the meeting and the start of the unpleasant business of firings. Ken figures he and Pete should stay in the conference room for their part of it, but before they begin Pete asks for a moment of Lane's time. Roger leaves, commenting he needs to learn a lot of people's names before he fires them (capitalism, folks), and that leaves Pete to reveal the extent of his troubles to Lane.

The 50K is needed by the close of business today... but the simple fact is, he just doesn't have the money. Hating himself for it, hating Lane's blank face, Pete practically begs for some workaround, some way he can owe the bulk against an advance on a bonus or future salary. He can't go to Tom, he doesn't want to take the cash from he and Trudy's accounts and drive a schism between them (and even if he did, it's barely half the cash), this is all he has, he's come so far so fast and still has nothing to show for it. It's galling and humiliating, but what else can he do?

And a confused Lane finally responds to tell him to calm down... Don already paid his share.

A beat passes, Pete is momentarily at a loss. "What?" he finally asks, and Lane winces slightly and mumbles that maybe Pete wasn't supposed to know that. He leaves, and a stunned Pete steps out of the conference room and watches Don gesture a nervous Danny into his office. Catching Don's eye, Pete raises his cup in a salute, and Don nods, before bracing himself for the pain to come at he follows Dan inside. Pete returns to the conference room, ready to do his grim business, but feeling lighter already. A great burden has been lifted from him, his stake is secured at no cost to himself, a recognition of his hard work and tireless contributions to the success of the Agency.



Bert Cooper once told Don regarding Pete Campbell that one never knows when loyalty might be born. This is one of these moments. Let's not forget that this disaster was in a great many ways caused by Don Draper. Sure, Roger's handling of Lucky Strike was the most powerful blow, but Don has caused any number of issues along the way that have worsened things. He cost Pete North American Aviation, a decision that he made Pete make for himself despite it not really being any decision at all. His letter to the New York Times invited derision, chased off any chance of any further tobacco work, and has gotten them nothing but an offer to free public service work as a result.

Millions and millions of dollars have been lost from the Agency due to Don Draper's actions... but one payment of $50,000 (to be fair still a significant amount to pay on someone else's behalf in 2021, let along the mid-1960s) and all is (momentarily) forgotten. Pete and Don's working relationship has grown from strength to strength despite multiple setbacks, and this only serves to solidify Pete's gratitude, to make him value and respect Don not just for his Creative Talent but his recognition and reward of Pete's own hard work. Don Draper has pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book, he caused a big mess, tidied up a small portion of it, and reaps the credit for doing so.

But then, it's two-way street. Where is loyalty born? It's unfathomable to imagine season 1 Don EVER doing anything like this for Pete. Pete's hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of the Agency HAVE been recognized and rewarded by Don. A man he once actively loathed and tried to fire, and now he's forking out $50,000 of his own money to keep him close to hand. Yes in large part for selfish reasons, but also because he recognizes Pete's value.

"You never say thank you," Peggy once complained, and Don replied,"That's what the money's for!" Well... Don just said a big thank you to Pete Campbell.

In the Creative Lounge, Peggy and Stan are distracted from their work by a loudly sobbing secretary being helped by another as she carries her belongings in a box down the corridor, one of today's many casualties. Another downtrodden man passes by carrying his belongings dragging his arms down low as he lumbers down the corridor on the opposite side of the Lounge.

A shell-shocked Danny steps out of Don's office and thanks him for the opportunity, shaking Don's hand who tells him with genuine regret that it was his pleasure. They hired Danny by necessity due to a drunken mistake by Don, but he actually proved to have some value... just not enough to warrant his ongoing employment, sadly. Keeping what dignity he can, Danny moves on down the corridor to collect his own things and join the sad procession, while Don calls to a waiting Bill (the tall fellow included in Joan's Vietnam evisceration several episodes back) who winces and then marches to his waiting doom.

Don pauses, looking at the collection of fired workers gathered at the end of the corridor, comforted by friends and colleagues who still have their jobs but now probably find them just a little less satisfying and their workplace just a little less collegial. This is part of the reality of running his own Agency, an aspect of the job he wanted no part in but can't avoid. This is Don's responsibility, and one he must undertake. He could throw 50k Pete's way and salvage a valuable Partnership, but he can't stop these people from being let go.... but it's all to keep afloat a company that - should the worst happen - he could survive without.

Maybe these people will be fine, maybe they'll land on their feet or find a new job quickly in a similar field. Or maybe they'll end up with nothing, or keep getting told,"Maybe in six months". And they don't have the benefit of a full bank account and a high demand in their chosen field. This episode, Don Draper has seen the decay of the past in Midge, the collapse of the present in his Agency, and a vision of a terrible potential future.

These firings might keep SCDP alive long enough to recover their losses.... or it might just be delaying the inevitable. All they have accomplished so far is keeping things going just a little longer. There are no more cuts that can be made after this though, no more money to be pumped in that will keep their line of credit open. If this doesn't work, SCDP is gone forever. And as Sally Draper noted, a non-existence that lasts forever is not an easy thing to contemplate.



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 12:58 on Aug 23, 2021

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.


Great write-up, as usual. One of the big things I felt like the, uh, meeting with Midge was meant to force Don to see is failure - his business is failing and he's, well, flailing, and then he sees a vision of what his future could be. Of course, Don's a rich white dude in 1960s, so he'd really be alright, but I'm not sure that's what he's internalizing.

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


This episode really represents a turning point for Don and thus the United States as a whole. Midge in many ways is the counter-culture, at one point Don saw her and her lover as being more authentic if poor and broke and so left them to their own devices. Now they are heroin junkies and Don uses their struggle to sell loving advertisements. This is the first moment when the culmination of Mad Men is visible in the distant horizon. Don’s anti-smoking campaign is obviously the first blow in a pre-“woke” social justice style branding moment that will, within a few decades, be the only remaining marketing move left. That this occurs precisely when the actual counter-culture movement represented by Midge crashes up against the rock of reality is very telling.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Babby*



Every time the account/creative line is breeched, someone looks stupid. Don is a terrific pitchman, but a bad account man. And whenever Ken, a guy we know does have a creative spark, gets in a line, it may as well be the wettest farts around.

So many future story beats come from this episode . Lane and his money issues, the letter... that letter. The first sign Don is just going to destroy his relationships with his partners.

I also thought that this episode was where they would write about Robert Morse, because I don't remember him coming back for the season finale. There were rumors about senility issues or something around this time.

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005



I just love the ongoing evolution of Pete and Don's relationship. Another show might have kept Pete as an ever more cartoonish foil, or swapped him to a loyal defender.

Mad Men's path is much more realistic, with a growing respect that still has turbulence from time to time.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


The Sally/Glen interludes in this episode crack me up, I feel like they really captured that awkward yet earnest period of late elementary/early middle school friendships. The Land o Lakes bit in particular was a great moment, as was Glen peeling the gently caress out at the sight of Betty

I also gotta say, I know basically everybody hates him (with good reason) but I always thought his "overcompensating but generally well-meaning big brother" dynamic with Sally was overall pretty genuine. I always appreciated that the show never made their relationship anything but platonic even up til the end. The Betty poo poo will always skeeve me out though, the bit with the two of them later on after he enlists is still very :yikes:

also in retrospect I think the final nail in the coffin for Don and Faye's relationship was how ready she was to just completely separate business and pleasure. like for Faye I'm sure she was thinking "finally I can get to know this guy on his own merits without our work getting in the way" but for Don it was basically their only common ground. I think it's one of the many reasons Megan ultimately won out (at least temporarily), she didn't separate the two so much as blend them together seamlessly

roomtone
Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!


I've always liked that Don paid Pete's share of the lifeboat fund. The thing about Don that distinguishes him from other problematic male leads in prestige shows is that he is almost never intentionally malicious, and every once in a while has these gestures of largesse. The problem with Don isn't that he's violent or seeking domination, it's that he's completely possessed by a hollow ideal which is eating away at him every day and is the direct source of all of his bad behaviour. I don't think he consciously realises that, because he identifies the image of Don the family man as the weight he suffers under, when it's actually Don the individualist, but he demonstrates at least an unconscious awareness of it when he makes these gestures of being both kind and reckless with his money/resources, usually at times of great stress. In this case with Pete it obviously serves a purpose in keeping the business going - and if Pete couldn't pay, the rest of them would have to anyway - but he does the same thing with Midge here where there's no practical benefit to it. He's wiping the grime of his infidelity, addictions and self-loathing away with money. It works, until he does the next thing he hates himself for, and then he makes another gesture. Each time he feels like he sheds some weight and 'moves forward', but it's a self-contained cycle where the same things keep happening over and over because his underlying sense of self and purpose is completely vacant.

Hm, I started off the post saying Don's really not so bad and then ended up with him being a hollow shell who never learns.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



roomtone posted:

Hm, I started off the post saying Don's really not so bad and then ended up with him being a hollow shell who never learns.

It can be both! People are complicated! :)

ANOTHER SCORCHER posted:

This episode really represents a turning point for Don and thus the United States as a whole. Midge in many ways is the counter-culture, at one point Don saw her and her lover as being more authentic if poor and broke and so left them to their own devices. Now they are heroin junkies and Don uses their struggle to sell loving advertisements. This is the first moment when the culmination of Mad Men is visible in the distant horizon. Don’s anti-smoking campaign is obviously the first blow in a pre-“woke” social justice style branding moment that will, within a few decades, be the only remaining marketing move left. That this occurs precisely when the actual counter-culture movement represented by Midge crashes up against the rock of reality is very telling.

I really dig this read, and of course Don can't help being Don and uses (not maliciously, and not even necessarily consciously) the suffering of a person far worse off than him as a creative push to try and pull himself out of his own funk. He spends all that time looking at Number Four, and I think the entire time he's probably thinking of how to relates to himself rather than Midge, or... if he is thinking of Midge, via the lens of how her suffering makes HIM feel.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Bye Bye Bertie :sadwave:

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The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Jerusalem posted:


And while they all bitch and complain or argue or debate, Don sits with Dr. Miller in the conference room and reviews her research looking for insight into how to wow Philip Morris. The framing here is quite something, as Don stares at his work, Faye stares at Don.... and between them in the background, out of focus and working away quietly is Megan, the currently unknown to Faye third person in their relationship.



Another Slattery special.

Jerusalem posted:

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

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.

brushwad posted:

The great thing that Slattery does here as a director is shooting Hamm from a low angle with a wide lens as he smokes and delivers these lines.

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