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May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 7, Episode 2 - A Day's Work
Written by Jonathan Igba & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Michael Uppendahl

Sally Draper posted:

Just tell the truth.

Don Draper's alarm clock wakes him early in the morning. It's 7:30am on a Thursday, and with a grunt he turns off the alarm and then closes his eyes for a few more moments of sleep.... and opens them to find it's already 12:30pm. So clambers out of bed, doesn't bother to get dressed, and eats Ritz crackers straight out of the box while watching television. He woke up early because for most of his adult life (and child life, given he was a farm-boy) that's what he did.... but why do it now? It's not like he has anything to do or anywhere to go.

So he reads magazines, he looks at the advertising of what were once competitors but are now just companies, and he sits at his typewriter typing nothing, carefully monitoring the level of his whiskey bottle to ensure he's not drinking too much in any given day. It isn't helping his creative juices any, though that may be down to the fact that he isn't actually working for anybody. He spots movement and is not pleased but also not overly alarmed to see a cockroach crawling around the edge of the room. It seems in keeping with his current mood, a sign of the rot starting to set in.

But come the evening, a transformation takes place. Suddenly there's an element of the old Don Draper back. He's washed and cleaned, he's dressed up, he cleans up around the house, turns the omnipresent television off, then answers the door when the doorbell rings.... for Dawn? He invites her in and offers to take her coat (a reversal of their usual roles) but apologetically she notes it's 8pm and asks if he minds, making it clear she doesn't intend to stick around. She passes him a manila folder and a brown paper bag, explaining the latter has Sweet'N Low and Coffee-Mate since she noticed he was out... this is not the first time she has visited him at his home.

The reason why quickly becomes obvious, she's bringing him notes on the week's business at SC&P, in addition to having arranged for Megan to receive a Valentine's gift from him. He's very grateful for the latter (I presume he forgot Valentine's was coming), but as to the former, while it's not exactly immoral or even out of the ordinary, after all Don remains a Partner there and he hasn't been fired technically, but while she answers his questions regarding meetings - where did Mohawk Airlines' Henry Lammott met with Lou? When did Dow give SC&P their handi-wrap business? What Creative Team is working on it etc - she becomes uncomfortable when he starts pulling out money to pay her, reminding him that she's bringing him this work because she's still technically his secretary in addition to Lou's, but there's something about he money he offers her that makes what she is doing feel wrong.

He's quick to assure her this is just extra pay for extra money, but when she insists she will continue to bring him things she is comfortably bringing him for free, she has to carefully correct his assistance he never would put her in that position, reminding him he already has: he asked for photocopies of the Butler work!

With a smile he assures her he doesn't need her to do that, but still insist she take SOME money to cover her carfare. They part with a smile, Dawn reminding him the cleaning woman is coming tomorrow. But once she is gone, Don drops the supremely confident and in control act, shoulders slumping before he returns to the kitchen, loosens his tie and then turns the television back on, because even with the documents she bought him he still has nothing to do besides torture himself staying bored in New York instead of taking this opportunity he always longed for to go live in California and be with his beautiful and loving wife.

At Miss Porter's, Sally joins friends in their room where they share cigarettes, bitch about their mothers... and discuss an upcoming funeral they'll be attending for fellow student Sarah's mother. They all affect normal teenage indifference, complaining about what they'll be wearing, how they'll have to be back by a certain time, how unfair it is that Sarah gets to miss out on school till Easter (and all it cost was her mother's life!), claiming how much they wished their own mothers were dead... and plotting out how to sneak out of the funeral service early.... so they can go shopping!

Part of that involves claiming Sally is too upset to remain at the funeral, but they largely ignore her quietly pointing out that she actually IS upset, instead critiquing her fashion choices for the funeral, one of them exclaiming to ask if this is her FIRST funeral if she really intends to wear her black turtleneck!

Far off in California, moods are far brighter as Pete and Bonnie stumble into the SC&P offices late at night, drunk and giggly and all over each other... though Pete is here with a purpose beyond sex, one that certainly explains his good mood. Apparently he was out at dinner and drinks with a top man in the Southern California Chevrolet Dealers Association, and he has managed to get him to agree to take on SC&P as their advertising agency. This is a huge deal, Pete having to explain to Bonnie that it isn't just a matter of tacking on the new business to their preexisting account with Chevy... the Dealers Association is a prime catch itself, perhaps even more-so than Chevy itself (the factory and the store, as Pete puts it), so he's come to collect the contract so he can get it to the right people to sign before they change their mind.

But Bonnie just grins at him and he chuckles that she isn't listening to him, and to show how right he is she undoes his belt buckle and drops his pants, and then is all over him. He lifts her and turns her over onto the desk, and they begin screwing right there, Bonnie gasping about what a big deal he is which is sure to drive him wild.... and then they hear movement from the next office.

Ted Chaough walks out into the dark carrying his briefcase, not looking their way, just calling out to ask Pete how it went. ".....we got 'em!" Pete finally calls back, and Ted - still not looking - calls back that it's good work.... and then adds on a goodnight for Bonnie. "Good night!" she calls back as Ted heads out the door without a backwards look, and Pete and Bonnie both burst out laughing over the fact they were so clearly caught by somebody who made a point of NOT catching them.

My God. Pete Campbell is actually happy.

The next day in New York, Stan and Ginsberg join two women on the elevator, one of whom is holding flowers. Ginsberg ignores a call from Peggy to hold the elevator so Stan has to hit the button to keep the doors open, and Ginsberg continues to appear indifferent to her presence as she greets them both happily and even compliments him on his Butler work.

The other two women get off leaving the three SC&P employees alone, and Peggy continues to talk about the Butler work, wanting new renderings by the end of the day, surprised when Stan insists that he'll get them done on Monday... why not tonight? Because he's buried all day and has plans for tonight, and he puts no stock in Peggy's insistence that if he gets it done tonight he can have the whole weekend for his plans. Teasing him a little, thinking he's got some party planned, she notes that if he invites her maybe she'll give him till Tuesday to get the work done, and is brought rudely back down to Earth when Stan sighs that now she's let them know that SHE doesn't have any plans for Valentine's Day.

"Oh." she says quietly, and it is obvious that she has completely forgotten, the blur of workdays meaning it hadn't occurred to her at all what Stan might have planned that could ONLY happen tonight. To make matters worse, Ginsberg - who I assume is in his own bad mood because he also has no plans for tonight - quips that Peggy surely has plans of her own: to masturbate gloomily.

Jesus Christ, Ginsberg.

They arrive on the floor, Peggy grunting that Monday is fine, in a sour mood after her initial high spirits.... until she walks around the corner and spots the expensive looking collection of red roses in a glass vase sitting on her secretary's desk. Instantly thrilled, she sniffs them, happy to ignore Stan's crack about her cat being able to afford them, though she does have a moment of doubt where she demands to know if he and the others bought them as a prank on her. Rolling his eyes, he tells her to enjoy her flowers, and she carries them happily into her own office to admire and enjoy, an expected gift that has absolutely made her Valentine's Day.

..... these have GOT to be her secretary's roses, surely.

Speaking of which, Shirley walks into the room and gives a little,"...oh" when she spots the roses, made all the more difficult when a beaming Sally wishes her a Happy Valentine's Day and then asks who sent her the beautiful flowers given there was no card. It's an exceptionally awkward moment for the secretary, who approaches hesitantly and starts to explain things only to be cut off by Peggy who suddenly grasps what is going on here.

Shirley is embarrassed but relieved, it was a simple misunderstanding but at least now they can move on. She approaches the table to take the roses back... and instead is handed Peggy's coat, who mumbles to herself about what time it is on the coast (6am) before declaring she'll handle this herself and requesting a coffee. Mortified but too concerned about the consequences if she actually forces the issues, Shirley simply leaves as Peggy puts through a call to Moira's desk to demand she take a message for Ted: she "relayed his message to the client" and there's nothing he can do, they don't want to hear any more pitches, the business is gone!

Oh my God, Peggy :cripes:

Moira of course takes all this at face value, alarmed and asking which business this relates to. Peggy simply insists he knows and then hangs up, satisfied she has put that presumptuous Ted Chaough in his place, then glaring at the roses that initially made her so happy, unable to believe that Ted sent them to her.... which makes sense, because he didn't!

Roger Sterling arrives to work in a delighted mood, gleefully calling out to Lou when he spots him reading his newspaper by the stairs that the most wonderful thing happened to him today: some lady on the street called him a kike! Lou is surprised, but Roger couldn't be happier, explaining that he asked a lady whose dog was peeing on the street to curb her animal and she tossed the insult back in his face. "Maybe it's the hat?" he chuckles, his good mood fading when Lou simply shrugs and casually remarks that the strangest things happen to him before going back to reading his paper.

Realizing he's not going to get some fun, witty back-and-forth and maybe a couple of drinks like he would have with Don over this anecdote, Roger makes for the stairs only for Lou to call out to him... to share business news: Ogilvy signed Hershey. That's a triple blow: Lou's only interest is in business; Hershey was an account THEY wanted and that Don cost them; plus Roger detests Ogilvy! "I hadn't heard that," he mutters, then trudges up the stairs, his good mood wiped out in less than 30 seconds.

The funeral is over and it seems Sally and the girls' scheming worked, they managed to sneak out early and go shopping, and now are on the train ready to head back to the school. Sally perhaps for the first time realizes that returning from a funeral laden with shopping bags might look slightly suspicious, but the others are old hands at bullshitting, happy to continue to exploit their friend Sarah's grief by explaining that they're bringing Sarah's things back to the school with them.

But Sally has a different problem, as she realizes she can't find her purse. One of the other girls says she'll cover her fare, but Sally isn't worried about the money but her address book: EVERYBODY she knows is in there. She suspects she left it in the coffee shop and decides to pop out to see if she can find it, telling the other two surprised girls that she'll get the next train in a couple of hours, and with that she's off the train and alone in New York with no money.

At SC&P, Dawn steps into the break room where Shirley is having a coffee. They greet each other with what is both a cute little shared joke as well as a horrifying indictment of the kind of bullshit they have to put up with daily, calling each other by the other's name. Because, of course, as the only two black secretaries in the Agency, they get mixed up all the time by the other employees despite looking nothing alike.

Shirley reveals that she is deliberately going slow on bringing Peggy her coffee, her minor "revenge" for what Peggy's done. She explains what happened with the roses, they were sent by her boyfriend Charles but because she put the card in her purse (it said "I love you so" and she didn't want to lose that) Peggy saw them and assumed they were for her, and put them in her office. She insists that she TRIED to tell her but it was too late, and Dawn finds the whole thing hilarious, especially when she points out this was an honest mistake and Shirley replies back with a bitter,"Who's sending HER flowers?" retort.

But when Shirley suddenly declares that she is going to tell Peggy so she can get them back, Dawn dials back the humor a little to warn her that this is inevitably going to cause her trouble and is it really worth it. It's not fair, for sure, but both of them know that being in the right means very little when you're a black woman in 1969 New York. Dawn points out that she has two bosses, one of whom hasn't told their wife that they're on leave, so she knows what she's talking about when she says to just keep quiet and not force anybody to confront their own mistakes and have to pay the price for it.

Speaking of that other boss, he's out of the house! Don is taking lunch at a diner with... well, not a friend so much, but an associate at least. He's an Ad Man from Wells Rich Greene, who is intrigued by Don Draper inviting him out for lunch, commenting on how "well rested" he looks, noting that he's glad he's got more time on his hands etc, essentially dancing around what appears to be an open secret in the advertising world: that Don Draper is no longer actively working at SC&P.

Don is also dancing, suggesting but not outright saying that he's looking for work, trying to turn the conversation around so the other man appears to be the one offering while Don of course says all the right things about how he already has a job, a contract, a non-compete clause AND that he's a partner... without saying that he rejects any job offer automatically. In turn, the other man broaches the subject a little more directly about Don's current status, saying there are rumors that he is "dabbling" in the LA office or managing his wife's career, before getting into the juicier stories about Don being let go for pulling a major boner at a client meeting and "crying or punching someone".

But if he's expecting a direct answer, he's not going to get one, because of course they're both Ad Men and they both know it's all about how you package and present something. Don doesn't deny any of these rumors but he doesn't confirm them either, pointedly giving non-answers and refusing to engage. When he motions the waiter for another drink his companion is happy to join him, the two of them ready to settle in for a long liquid lunch.

At SC&P itself, Don's obfuscation is about to blow up in his face though. Sally, presumably having no luck finding her purse, has come to the Time Life Building to see her father and let him know the quandary she is in. But when she arrives at Reception, there is nobody at the front desk (oh Meredith), so she simply lets herself in and moves down the corridor towards her father's office. Dawn isn't at her desk either, so there is nobody to run interference, and she simply heads in... where she finds another man's name on the door AND sitting at her father's desk, a complete stranger.

Confused, she asks him who he is, and Lou - not unkindly - explains he is Mr. Avery and asks if she is looking for Casting, assuming she is a young actor aiming for one of the commercials they're producing. But when she asks for her father, Donald Draper, he quickly realizes he has found himself caught up in somebody else's drama, a very unwelcome situation. As gently as he can he explains that her father isn't here, but starts to get frustrated and irritated when she keeps asking questions: did he change offices? So he simply repeats that he isn't there, that he's probably at home and she should try calling him there.

When she asks if Joan is in, he leaps on the opportunity to get this out of his hair, sending her down the hall to the "Traffic" Office. But when Sally, fighting back tears at the unexpected alienness of this environment on top of the repressed emotional state she has been hiding over her friend Sarah's mother's death, finds the door to that office locked and Lou calls out that everybody is probably at lunch, she has to get out of there. Lou watches her go then slams his door shut, pissed off at having Don Draper's mess dropped in his lap, while Sally is out the door and heading straight for the lifts, not hearing a returning Meredith cheerfully wishing her a good day as they pass.

Unaware that yet again one of his lies of omission has been exposed, Don has managed (aided by plenty of lubrication) to lower his lunch companion's guard and interest in his current employment status for them to enjoy ribald work stories, the type of thing that Roger Sterling is clearly missing from his life right now.

But an intrusive presence appears, an older, bald man slapping his hands far too familiarly on Don's shoulder as he declares that he sees a sheep and a wolf but doesn't know which is which. Don, grimacing but being polite, shakes the man's hand and introduces the two: Jim Hobart (the newcomer) and Dave Wooster (actually invited), the latter also barely hiding his grimace as he acknowledges the other man, the two know each other already.

Hobart pries, asking why Wooster will take a lunch with Don but not himself (because Don isn't trying to buy Dave's company out, he explains testily) before turning his attention to Don to ask if he's "taking lunches now?" before reminding him that he and "all the millionaires at McCann Erickson" would be more than happy to have a chance to "tell you how handsome you are."

"Move along, Jim," grunts Wooster, his patience for social niceties almost worn out. Jim just keeps up the beaming smile, patting Don's arm and telling Dave that HE has paid for their lunch before moving on. The two Ad Men sigh at each other, Dave asking if he even needs to bother to crap on McCann Erickson to Don, who simply winces and points out that he almost went to work for them... twice!

"But you didn't," observes Dave, the two finding common ground as big fish in small ponds (well maybe not so small anymore for SC&P), united in contempt for the monolith that is McCann Erickson.

Peggy returns from lunch to her office, the roses that Ted didn't send her an unwelcome reminder of his pathetic gesture that he didn't make. Fed up, she grabs the vase and carries it out to Shirley's office, placing them on Shirley's desk and declaring that she wants HER to have them, not wanting her office to smell like "an Italian funeral" anymore. Shirley says nothing, simply accepts the gift of her own flowers back to her and goes back to doing her work, a smile on her face, order restored to the world without her having to risk her job.

Order is restored to Pete's world too, as he enjoys a return to his natural state of over-confident preener waxing lyrical about what a great Account Man he is. He and Ted are on a conference call to New York, though Ted seems more interested in building a model plan (for his sons or just himself?), and their secretary is trying to take notes accommodating both the long distance line to New York AND Pete's elaborate recounting of the night's events.

Cooper, Roger, Cutler and Joan listen in from an Office on the Creative floor, Moira taking notes. Cutler has little time for Pete's showboating, asking if this is a Partners' Meeting or "the most tedious wireless program I've ever listened to", getting giggles from everybody that confuse Pete who isn't sure what was just said. Ted encourages him to get to the point and Pete bellows down the line that Honeywell - who rules the SoCal Dealerships with an iron fist - wants to sign them and get them to work in time for the big Summer Sale.

THAT everybody is pleased to hear, Roger insisting that Pete get Honeywell's signature on this intent at all costs, and Pete proudly telling them he's already handled that. But then Cutler - who is also pleased and excited about this deal - sours things by noting he wants to fly Bob Benson in from Detroit for the signing, reminding them that Chevy is their client and they don't want the tail wagging the dog.

Pete obviously disagrees with this, but so does Roger, pointing out that Pete landed the Dealerships so Pete should be the one to "mount" them, just like when Roger himself did the hard work (getting an executive laid!) to land Chevy. Cutler reminds Roger that Ted was part of the combined team that signed Chevy, and in California Ted writes a note warning Pete to stay out of this pissing match as he tells Cutler that there is no need to keep score.

But Pete ignores Ted's very clear and helpful warning, insisting that the Dealership Association's size is almost as big as Chevy so they are their own dog, not a tail. But he does offer a compromise, suggesting that HE fly to Detroit to brief Chevy, especially after Cutler reminds them all that fees aside, Chevy is an entree that might get SC&P to the dream main course of representing General Motors itself, a company that bills more than anybody on the planet.

Unfortunately for Pete, technology fails him. His voice cuts out on the New York end, and though their secretary - Dee - calls out that she can hear New York, in New York they can't hear California and assume that the line has been cut. Which, of course, means that they start talking openly, Roger and Jim arguing about their differing opinions on how to handle the signing. Pete is not pleased at all to hear Cutler insist that while Pete will service the Dealership Account he will still report to "our man in Detroit", meaning Bob Benson, and Roger isn't happy to hear it either.

He doubles down on his earlier insistence that he signed Chevy, though this time he includes Don's name in the mix, which upsets Cutler who snaps,"Don who?", referring to him as their collective ex-wife who still recieves alimony. Ted senses danger and tells Dee to hang up, but Pete insists they listen, wanting to hear what they say when they think nobody is listening. Roger insists on polling the Partners, upset when Cooper has no problem siding with Cutler, while in California Ted and Pete can still hear everything that is going on. As Cutler complains that they shouldn't be arguing over such a rudimentary thing as this, Moira's attempts to restore the connection finally results in the line being cut, and the meeting effectively comes to a close.

Roger, irritated, snaps that he'll be in his office till the phone gets fixed, bitching that they should have had this meeting in the Conference Room in the first place. He stomps out, Cooper warning Joan not to go after him when she moves to follow, while in California Ted's reaction to all this drama is.... to ponder that they never learned which of Peggy's accounts they lost!

Oh Ted :shobon:

Don returns home, hearing the television is on and calling out,"Hello?", not alarmed but confused, thinking perhaps it is the cleaning lady Marta. He's surprised to see Sally, who stands up and tells him she looked everywhere for him, asking what she is doing there. When she demands to know where HE was, he tells her at the office, leaving her utterly baffled. Mistaking this for confusion as to why he is home early, he explains he wasn't feeling well so came home, and Sally is completely at a loss how to respond. Her father is lying to her face, just openly telling her things she knows isn't true. Which makes the fact he is also suddenly sternly judgmental in reminding her she shouldn't be off-campus and asking if her mother knows where she is feel even stranger. She can't reconcile this authoritarian role with his own (sadly now obvious) line of bullshit.

Collecting herself, she sets aside his lies to explain her own position, more to stop him talking than from any feeling that she should have to explain herself: her roommate's mother died and she attended the funeral, but lost her purse and can't get back to the school. That disarms him, he gives a little quiet,"Oh," and says he is sorry to hear this, and she explains she just needs money for the train and a note to excuse her lateness.

But she's alarmed when he offers to drive her instead, not keen to spend more time with him after catching him unknowingly out in a lie about what is clearly a major change in his life. Using his own lies against him, she reminds him he is sick, but he insists he'll be fine, and dismisses her noting he must have a lot of work to do since they both know that isn't true at all. Instead he picks up a blank page and asks her what he needs to put in the note. Her response applies to a lot of things in Don's life: all he needs to do is tell the truth.

Dawn returns from lunch to SC&P, but is confronted by Lou who demands to know where she was. She holds up a bag and reminds him she was out buying the perfume he asked her to (presumably an extraordinarily late Valentine's purchase for his wife?), but he ignores that to complain about Draper's daughter showing up and that HE had to deal with it. She's alarmed to hear that Sally showed up, Lou complaining he doesn't know what he name was and getting even madder when she gasps that she has to call Don to let him know. Outraged, he snaps that there's no need to apologize to him (for what!?!) and returns to his office, slamming his door shut. More concerned for the moment about Don being ambushed by Sally, she doesn't quite grasp the significance of his (utterly unjustified) rage, just calling out that she's very sorry even though having to do so is utterly ludicrous.

Don takes the call just before he and Sally are about to leave, Dawn frantically explaining she doesn't know what was said but Sally showed up at the office and talked to Lou, and may be on her way to the apartment right now. Don takes this in, then thanks her and hangs up, peering at his daughter who asks if the call means he can't take her after all. Deciding to play this out, ironically suspicous now about what SHE is up to, he simply says things are fine and they head out the door together.

Joan arrives at Dawn's desk, letting her know that Lou wanted to see her. Dawn buzzes in to let him know, and he responds that he needs to see them both, which is news to Joan. So they head in together, Dawn holding the door open for Joan and closing it at Lou's command. Lou of course has now decided that he's very much composed and sensible, explaining calmly that he very generously agreed to share Dawn with Don Draper, but that was for the purposes of correspondence and NOT cleaning up his messes. Surprised, Joan asks what happened and Dawn starts to explain about Sally, but Lou cuts her off to say it isn't worth the time of explaining, talking past Dawn straight to Joan as he declares that he knows she can't fire Dawn... but he wants her moved to another part of the building.

Dawn, who earlier warned Shirley about the dangers of complaining about something 100% justified because they do not live in a fair world, refuses to take this veiled insult lying down though. She knows exactly what Lou meant by Joan not being able to fire her and it enrages her: he's suggesting she was a diversity hire and it's bad PR to fire her, as if she only has her job because she's black as opposed to the fact that she's an excellent secretary who has to work twice as hard as everybody else BECAUSE she's black.

Joan tries to get Dawn out of the room, sensing the explosion coming, but a furious Dawn sarcastically points out that if she can't be fired then she can say what she wants to, ignoring Joan's quiet echo of Dawn's own earlier advice to Shirley that she doesn't want to. Angrily, Dawn reminds Lou that she skipped her own lunch to buy HIS wife perfume because HE failed to do so despite the fact she reminded him to do so 10 days ago, and THAT is why she wasn't at her desk and he was forced into the unforgivable position of having to talk to a teenage girl for 30 seconds.

Lou snaps back not for the first time that this isn't his problem, before actually looking vaguely uneasy for a moment as he admits that maybe he said the wrong thing just now without actually elaborating what that was (claiming she can't be fired because she's black). Dawn leaves, having said her piece, and Joan bitterly asks him if that was really all necessary. Lou's response is disgusting, that moment of unease having passed as he reverts to form and ignores everything about Dawn as a person, telling Joan that once she is back from the ladies' room (he assumes she is going to go and cry) he wants her to collect her keys. It's hard to tell if that line is him assuming vindictiveness from her because she's a woman, or that she might steal something because she's black, but neither paints him in a particularly flattering light. Joan knows better than to say anything, but she slams the door on her way out, disgusted by Lou whose grandfatherly "charm" gets turned on infrequently and usually comes across as paternalistic more than anything else... and he certainly wasn't being charming during that meeting.

In California, Dee lets Pete know she has New York on the line. It's only Roger though, and at first Pete thinks this is a chance for them to coordinate on Pete handling the Dealership Account, only to hear Roger feeding him a line about how he and Cutler had a meaningful discussion and mutually agreed it would be best for everything to run through Bob. Pete calls him out on that, letting him know he was actually able to hear that "meaningful" discussion and knows Roger is full of it. He insists that he should be in charge of the Account, and starts to explain about how this has nothing to do with Bob but he does see it as a chance to rectify his status with the Chevy people in Detroit... only for Dee to let him know that Roger already hung up on him after delivering the news.

Enraged, Pete storms into Ted's office, demanding to know what point there is in even bringing in an Account in the first place? He storms back out and Ted simply sits, thinking this is the extent of things and he can go back to his paperwork, indifferent to the machinations between New York and Detroit... except Pete returns with a glass and a bottle, clearly intending for the two of them to drink their way through angry discussion of New York's shortcomings.

This, unsurprisingly, is of zero interest to Ted who has been checked out for a long time now. When Pete complains that he feels like he died and ended up in either heaven or hell because nobody seems to feel his existence, Ted just shrugs and tells him to cash his checks since "you're gonna die one day", a nihilistic approach that is NOT what Pete is looking for. He was on top of the world when he convinced Honeywell to sign, but he wanted the acknowledgement and the attaboys AND the prestige of running the Account, instead he's being told - him, a Partner to boot! - that he'll have to report to Bob Benson, an underling who he also knows to be a fraud, a conman, and may even possibly be tangentially related to Pete's mother's death!

So he puts the words into Ted's mouth, saying he SHOULD have said they should start their own Agency together. After all, what exactly is Pete working towards here in LA in the first place? Ted's office is only slightly bigger than Pete's own, if the best he can hope for in this job moving to a very slightly bigger office?

"You can have my office," shrugs Ted, either not getting things at all or not interested in engaging beyond the surface level with Pete's complains. Grumpily Pete states that isn't the point, bitching about how Cutler is too Machiavellian, obviously HE sent Ted out to LA because he wanted the freedom to plot and scheme. Ted insists that is NOT why he is LA, though he doesn't correct Pete regarding Jim being a schemer since he knows that is actually true! But that does raise the question for Pete... why is he here then? All he does is answer the phone and mope around? But he doesn't wait for an answer, finally realizing he's not going to get the satisfaction or even the convenient target he might have hoped for from Ted. He declares they're not talking anymore and Ted should just consider that Pete is working in New York now (reminder, Pete was the one who forced himself along to LA when he wasn't even in the picture at all initially) and storms out. Ted watches him go, then simply goes back to his paperwork, still indifferent to Pete's concerns which are utterly irrelevant to him.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

If ignorance is bliss, then nobody is happier than Meredith. She approaches Dawn's desk with her own things in a box, happily telling her that Joan told her she'll be working on Lou's desk now (Joan's own petty revenge on Lou, much like she once put Ms. Blankenship on Don duty). What does that mean for Dawn? That she'll be on front desk reception, the face of the Agency when people come in. Dawn takes this in with surprise, but recovers quickly, she knew that she was going to face consequences for the crime of not taking bullshit from an ungrateful old white man.

But she doesn't even get the benefit of time to grab a box and collect some of her things, Joan wants her on the front desk right away. Uneasy, a professional to the end, Dawn tries to give Meredith some pointers about how to be Lou's secretary: whose calls to put through, how he takes his coffee, which lines are his and which go to Don's apartment etc. Meredith is quickly overwhelmed (to be fair, as her conference minute taking shows, she will eventually get things) so Dawn kindly suggests that Don's calls will be redirected to her at reception instead. With that, not even allowed to collect her things, she leaves the desk that she has sat at since she was first hired by obligation only to quickly prove herself an able and accomplished secretary.

Don drives Sally towards Miss Porter's, listening to The Turtles on the radio until Don turns down the music to ask her about her friend's mother and how old she was. Sally corrects him that Sarah isn't her friend but her roommate, which Don absorbs but doesn't comment on, asking her where the funeral was and where she was buried. Sally gives him the answers, getting suspicious when he asks her if she lost her purse at the cemetery, asking why he is interrogating her. "Because I know you went to my office," he snaps back at her, having the temerity to look offended that SHE is lying by omission when his own lie was far, far, far bigger.

When Sally justifiably gets angry about this and points out there is some man working in his office now, he seems genuinely outraged that she is questioning him, shouting back that they're not talking about him. But now that HE has brought up her presence at the office, the floodgates are open, and Sally - willing if not content to just not broach the subject before - demands answers: did he lose his job? He refuses to answer, yelling at her to answer HIS questions, and outraged she tells him that she doesn't need to tell HIM anything, telling him to stop the car, preferring to walk or hitchhike the rest of the way rather than stay in the car with him.

Of course he's not going to do that (he wouldn't just drive away and abandon her in the middle of nowhere, she's his daughter, not his wife!), but he continues trying to play the adult card, insisting that he's just talking to her. When she corrects that he's yelling at her, he demands to know why she would just "let" him lie to her like that, unbelievably blaming HER for HIS lies, and she hits him back with a bodyblow by pointing out it's more embarrassing for her to catch him out in a lie in the first place than it is for him to just be lying in the first place.

"So you just laid in wait?" he retorts, contempt in his voice, and then hits her with a line designed with meticulous and cruel precision to hurt her as badly as possible for the crime of being lied to,"Like your mother."

Oh you unbelievable piece of poo poo.

Sally in enraged, but she's also not (completely) a child anymore. Seething, clenching her teeth to hold in her rage, she takes a moment to breath and then offers back her own more crudely designed but still effective attack in response to his own, one made more powerful by the fact it is born of the truth: does he understand how hard it was for her to go back to his apartment? Knowing she might see "that woman" at any point, in the corridors or in the elevator (or, unspoken, in the apartment itself). She just unloads on Don, who for once is at a loss for words, perhaps because this is his daughter unloading on him: she would have had to stood there in the elevator, faking a smile, wanting to vomit from the smell of her hairspray, knowing this is the woman her father was cheating on his wife with, a wife that Sally knows and likes in spite of everything that could have caused her to loathe her instead.

For a long time, Don simply can't respond. They drive on, and finally he manages to whisper out a barely heard,"I'm sorry", an acknowledgement at last of his own fault, one untempered by justifications or projection or redistribution of blame. "Just stop," Sally moans, but he insists he won't stop the car.... but that's not what she meant. She wants him to stop talking, she was willing to endure this trip back to the school with him, but she never wanted to have this discussion with her father, a discussion that he forced on her by getting offended at getting caught lying in the first place.

They drive on in silence, Sally holding back tears, Don miserable, the radio reporting on the weather and wishing everybody a chilly Valentine's Day. Finally Don speaks again, simply to say they need gas, pulling off the road, stretching out even longer a trip they are not both dreading.

In Peggy's office, she's lying in the dark with a cigarette and a drink when Shirley buzzes in to let her know that she has Dee on the line. Peggy has no idea who Dee is, and Shirley explains she's from the LA Office, and she has Ted Chaough on the line. Amazed at the temerity of this rear end in a top hat for calling after she gave him a crystal clear (utterly opaque) message regarding the roses (that he didn't send), she snaps at Shirley to tell Dee to tell Ted that she has no interest in talking to him today. Shirley is confused, should she take a message then? No, insists Peggy, she'll leave the message she just gave her. Shirley, a good secretary, just does as she is told, while a satisfied Peggy enjoys the fact that she really put Ted (unknowingly and utterly confused) into his place.

But now there is a worm in her head, burrowing away and refusing to let her move on. She moves out of her office, glaring at the roses still sitting on Shirley's desk as Shirley relays the message to Dee. Approaching, she admits that this is silly... but she'd like Shirley to throw the roses away. Alarmed, Shirley asks why, and Peggy insists that they're cursed, and when Shirley argues that they're beautiful, Peggy bemoans that she should have bought Shirley flowers in the first place.... out of respect! Not because of some holiday, as intelligent working women they don't need men to send them flowers to be loved! With that she grabs the vase, meaning to toss them out herself, and finally Shirley can't take it anymore and just tells the truth she tried to tell earlier in the day. These ARE her flowers, they were sent by her fiance Charles.

Just as Dawn warned, this backfires spectacularly. Because not Peggy is humiliated, realizing belatedly that everything she has done today has been predicated on a complete misunderstanding. Though she should know better (she may not be black, but she is a woman), she immediately dismisses any notion whatsoever that Shirley was stuck and couldn't correct her once she (her boss!) made the mistake and insisted the flowers belonged to her. Instead she accuses Shirley of embarrassing her, projecting onto her because she knows she has embarrassed herself, proclaiming that she should have just kept her mouth shut, clutching the flowers tightly to herself even now, all but outright saying it was Shirley's job to let Peggy destroy the expensive flowers that didn't belong to her rather than mildly embarrass her by explaining she made a mistake this morning.

Far too loudly, Peggy snarls that Shirley wears an engagement ring so she doesn't need to rub flowers from her fiance in everybody's face, accusing her of embarrassing her as if it was a deliberate and malicious choice. "Grow up!" she snaps, and storms back into her office, slamming the door and then cringing dramatically, knowing that she just WILDLY overreacted and probably destroyed her relationship with Shirley utterly pointlessly.

The day is drawing to a close and Cooper is ready to make his way home, cheerfully heading out the door when he realizes that Meredith on the front desk does have her usual blond hair... or white skin. Pausing, he turns to see Dawn busily and efficiently taking calls, already doing a far superior job to Meredith. She smiles up at him and he smiles back.... then returns inside and goes straight to Joan's office, informing her that he noticed the change at reception. Joan, as always discrete, simply says she had to shuffle the girls, and Cooper hits us all with a proto-"I'm not racist... but...." as he declares he is all for the National Advancement of Colored People... just not all the way to the front of the office.

Oh dear. It's easy to forget given he's such a charming old fuddy-duddy, but this is an old rich white man who made his money in the 20s and 30s, and as we've seen in previous seasons he's openly talked about how black people weren't ready to be considered equal to whites. It's just decidedly disappointing to see him be so open about this again now, as he objects to the idea that Clients and visitors to SC&P should see, horror of horrors, a black person as their first exposure to the business.

"People can see her from the elevator!"

Joan, who has had racist moments of her own in the past, forces a smile and with dangerous sweetness apologizes and asks if he is telling her to dismiss Dawn based purely on the color of her skin? Cooper of course is all smiles as he insists he said nothing of the sort, he is just "suggesting" a rearrangement of Joan's rearrangement. "Suggesting?" asks Joan, and with that same charming smile Cooper adjusts to "Requesting" before leaving her to deal with the bullshit he just dropped in her lap.... and you can bet he'll be all smiles as he passes Dawn at the front desk, too.

In LA, Bonnie is cleaning up a property she is aiming to sell when Pete shows up clutching the FOR SALE sign, presumably having pulled it out to prevent others from showing up and interrupting his time with her. She's pleased to see him but surprised, they had plans to meet at 5, but he insists those plans have changed as she'll now be showing him around her body at the Beverly Hills Hilton. She grins and agrees that sounds like fun... at 5:15 when she arrives after showing people around the property.

Pete sighs that he's decided there isn't any point to not enjoying yourself in the moment, after all he put in all that work to land a whale only for New York to take it away, so why even bother? Seeing her man has come to her looking for support and comfort, Bonnie decides to offer him something better: a lesson. She explains that she once sold a house for $108,000... only for it to burn down two weeks later during escrow. For a year she had endured dealing with an Okie couple, taking them to lunches, looking at pictures of their hideous children etc, all in order to get the sale and a massive commission that she could have lived on for months.... and then it all got taken away in a moment in a manner completely outside of her control, by some rear end in a top hat who threw a cigarette out a window.

He takes this in, but tries to insist it isn't the same thing. On a matter of scale it isn't, though Pete is also wealthy while Bonnie's fortune is tied entirely to her fortunes, but she reminds him that they are BOTH in sales.... and she isn't some housewife complaining about getting oatmeal out of a carpet, she understands the frustration of hard work and accomplishment in business being robbed from you by chance.

So what is the lesson? That these Acts of God are part of the thrill. Their fortunes are in the hands of OTHER people, which means they have to spy out opportunities and take them. When it fails, it's miserable, but when it succeeds, there's nothing like it, and that's the high she keeps chasing... and that he should too. It's a lesson Pete actually takes, utterly aroused by her talk of business and likening them both to explorers, revolutionaries, adventurers. When the doorbell rings, she instructs him to put the sign back and walks out of the room. Almost any other time you would expect Pete to be furious or frustrated by being told what to do (especially by a woman)... but not this time. Her self-assurance and her philosophy both appeal to him enormously, and he does as he's told with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.

My God, Pete Campbell is happy. Again!

Don has taken the chance to grab a meal at a restaurant presumably near the gas station, though Sally has declined to order anything, just watching him eating and counting the minutes till they can be on their way again and this torture of a trip can end. They sit in awkward silence for awhile, and then Don tries to make conversation but gets only single word answers from his daughter, who is unimpressed by his bonding attempts.

She asks if he actually needed gas at all, and he explains that he wanted to talk to her.... which clearly isn't working out. Not wanting to look at him, she notes she needs to call her friends so they're not worried about her, but needs money for the phone. He pulls out some coins, asking if she wants ice-cream which she does not, and places two coins on the table. But when she reaches for them he plants his hand on them, taking the chance given by her attention to do exactly what she told him to do earlier: tell the truth.

He admits that he didn't tell her he wasn't working because he didn't want anybody to know. "Got it," she grumps, not wanting this conversation, but he continues, admitting that he didn't "behave well" and said the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time, and NOW she is interested: what did he say? He takes a deep breath, struggling with this because most of his life has involved NOT being open with people, and explains that he told them the truth... but at exactly the wrong time to do so. So he was made to take time off from work and.... and here he hesitates before openly admitting something he perhaps hasn't even admitted to himself yet.

"I was ashamed."

Sally's attention is laser-focused on him now, and she quietly asks him what the truth he told them was. "Nothing you don't know," he explains, suggesting that he may have told at least her more at the end of last season than we saw, or considering that due to her age it is best to leave it at the fact he told people at work about the place he grew up in, which is mostly the truth.

So what is he going to do? She asks him and he admits that he doesn't know, but when she points out that if he isn't working he could just go live in California with Megan, he explains that he wants to be in New York so he can fix what he broke. He doesn't know how, he admits, but he has to try, though he insists when she asks that yes he absolutely does still love Megan, pointing out that he visits her every couple of weeks and they talk on the phone all the time. Sally seems less convinced of this than everything else he has said, and asks him a question that suggests she has more insight into her father than he may sometimes have into himself: why doesn't he tell Megan that he simply doesn't want to live in California?

He chuckles at that, then motions to her to go and make her call, much like in his earlier lunch being careful to neither confirm nor deny a question. The ice broken between the two somewhat, Sally asks if she can have a coke and he agrees, and she heads away. That leaves Don alone with himself again, pondering that last question, perhaps openly for the first time to himself. For most of Mad Men's run, Don has seen California as his escape route, the place he dreamed of going to live when New York got too much for him. Now that he has a built in excuse AND life there he could live, however, he seems to be doing everything in his power to avoid it. He told the truth when he said he stayed in New York to try and fix things in some way he wasn't sure how... but how does that jive NOW with taking lunches with other advertising firms? Is he shopping for a new place to work, or just trying to get the word out so SC&P get jealous and take him back? Does he even know himself? And while all this happening so he can "fix" something, is he irrevocably breaking the best thing in his life by jeopardizing (further) his marriage to Megan?

Peggy leaves her office again, Shirley's desk empty but the hated roses still in pride of place. She stands glaring at them for a few moments, perhaps she came out to apologize to Shirley or just to ask her something and pretend everything was fine, but seeing the flowers again has set all that aside. She marches to Joan's office, apologizing perfunctorily for bothering her before explaining she wants Shirley off of her desk because.... there was an incident, and she isn't comfortable working with her anymore.

Joan doesn't see the issue, Peggy can just fire her herself if there was a problem that bad? But Peggy is quick to explain she doesn't want Shirley fired, she can work anywhere else... just not with her. She doesn't want to explain that the incident was caused by her and SHE is the problem, and Joan accepts that she doesn't have to tell any more than she wants to about WHY she wants Shirley gone, so she suggests she share Moira with the mostly LA-based Ted. Peggy is quick to dismiss that idea, Moira hates her, so Joan recommends Meredith, upsetting Peggy who points out she has the mind of a child.

Now Joan has had enough, leaping to her feet in a rage: Dawn can't work with Lou, Shirley can't work with Peggy, NEITHER is allowed to work out the front thanks to Cooper (she doesn't mention that last part) and Scarlett and Harry are practically married... she isn't being left with many options here! "FIX IT!" yells Peggy back, not liking being yelled at herself, complaining that today was a work day but she didn't get anything done! She storms out, still not mentioning that SHE was the cause of nothing getting done, not Shirley, and Joan barely has a moment to herself before Cutler marches in and she erupts at him, demanding to know what he wants.

Taken aback, Cutler apologizes with more sincerity than Peggy did and explains he came in to ask for more details on Avon, since the Partners' meeting was cut short and he couldn't get them there. He can see now is a bad time though and is happy to deal with it on Monday and makes to leave, and Joan apologetically offers that they're having some personnel issues. Cutler pauses on that, and says something only just occurred to him... she has TWO jobs.

"I'm not complaining," she smiles, and he points out that maybe she should. What exactly does her role down here require? Organization, fortitude... and unconcern about being disliked? She smiles at that and agrees this largely covers it, and he points out that right now there is an unused office upstairs on the Account Floor... but it's for an Account Man, not the Head of Personnel. Surprised, Joan asks what he is saying, and he makes it as clear as he can: she actually does have a choice. Forget the fact she's a Partner, she's also Account Man on at least two accounts, one of which is one of the biggest cosmetic companies in America... does she need to be doing this job down here?

He tells her to let him know what her decision is, and this isn't an ultimatum to be either an Account Man OR the Head of Personnel... it's an opportunity given for her to choose for herself if she wants to keep doing both jobs or just be an Account Man only. Regardless of what she decides they can discuss Avon on Monday, and with that he leaves and Joan finds herself with the most unlikely Valentine's gift of all: control of her own destiny.

Sally makes her call to Miss Porter's, Carol answers and asking where she is, saying they've got her covered till Light's Out because they told "Ankle Fat" that she stayed at the Church to comfort poor sad Sarah. Sally explains her dad is bringing her back and wrote her a note, and Carol launches into an excited story about how a creepy salesman from Milford tried to get them to come with him to the Smoker on the train.

At the start of the episode, Sally had admitted that she was actually somewhat upset about Sarah's mother dying, which was largely ignored by the other girls. Though she won't actually say anything it's clear she finds it somewhat distasteful that Carol treated the whole thing as nothing but an excuse for a shopping trip, even if Sally happily took part in that aspect of things herself. She says she has to go and Carol tells her where they hid the "booty" from her shopping trip, and she hangs up and returns to the table where she finds a meal: Don went ahead and ordered for her anyway.

She doesn't get mad at his presumption, just nibbles on her fries. Don watches her for a moment, then tells her he doesn't like that she went to a funeral, and winces when she explains how awful it was that Sarah's mom was "yellow" and wearing a wig. He admits he hates that she had to see that, but when she quietly offers that she only went so she could go shopping, he demonstrates some level of insight into his daughter's character by telling her he doubts that.

"I'm so many people," she notes quietly, surprising Don. It's such an.... adult way of thinking, a reminder (not necessarily a welcome one) that his daughter is growing, that her mind isn't simply childish but increasingly introspective, aware and thoughtful of ideas and concepts he may have thought heretofore were in his province only.

But she is still young, she is still his daughter and he still her dad, and so when the waitress arrives with the bill he decides to enjoy appealing both to her youthful sense of fun and her teenage sense of rebellion. Almost like he might play with a date, he instructs her to sit and finish her meal while he walks out to the car and starts up the engine... and then she is going to get up and leave the restaurant too and they'll take off without paying.

"Really!?!" she gasps in disbelief, and he lets her believe it for a few moments before he chuckles and takes out his wallet to pay for the meal, enjoying the fun of the moment, setting aside for now at least the tension and shame and anger of their recent relationship. A slow smile crosses her face as she realizes that he had her for a moment, and she goes back to eating the meal she claimed she didn't want but now happily devours.

In New York, Joan has made a quick decision. She carries a box of her things up to the Account Floor, Roger leaving his office and spotting the flowers in the box and assuming they're for somebody else, telling her not to bother since most everybody has left for the night already. But no, they're hers, they came from her son.... before she thanks HIM, since she knows he was the one who ordered them in Kevin's name for her. Roger still doesn't get it, thinking she is giving them away, but she explains she is taking them to HER office, as it was decided she needed one given she has Accounts of her own now.

Roger is surprised, asking if Jim suggested this, and she asks him if HE disagrees with Jim's suggestion, which is a very dangerous question. Roger's response is more concerned with himself than her though, as he responds with a question of his own: does it matter? He leaves, and Joan sets aside his problems to enter her office and enjoy for the first time that she has her own place that double as a throughway for Creative and Accounts alike to traipse through.

She's not the only one moving though. Dawn carries her own box, for the second time that day, down the corridor past a departing Lou... and Shirley. She's clutching HER flowers happily to her chest, walking alongside her new Boss, as Shirley has in fact become the Dawn that people were always mistaking her for, now Lou has his "own girl" as requested, and he seems very happy with the situation, as does Shirley herself. After all, she just moved from Secretary to the Copy Chief to Secretary for the Creative Director.... and she got to keep her roses!

They pass, Lou not even acknowledging her presence, and Dawn enters her new space. Not a desk, but an office. Yes it's the Traffic Office, yes she will face the same issues that Joan faced, yes the phone is already ringing and she faces a host of new responsibilities and pressures and stresses. But how does she react to this? The woman who was only hired because Roger and Don placed a joke ad in a newspaper and then got caught up in having to follow through on the joke? The woman who was initially given aspects of the Office Manager job as a quasi-punishment for helping another secretary falsify time reports?

She smiles. Big and broad. Because she's exactly where she should be, rewarded for her exemplary work with a promotion. Is she the new Head of Personnel or simply the Office Manager? Either way she's taken a step up in the world, she did her job and she ate poo poo and somehow, someway, in spite of a lifetime of experiencing the opposite, she has been rewarded for it.

Jim Cutler joins Roger in the elevator for an awkward ride down. Cutler mentions that they can finish the Conference Call on Monday, but Roger tells him it won't be necessary, he already set Pete straight. Cutler is glad to hear it, but then offers an ominous line to Roger, who has realized far too late that Pete wasn't being paranoid (well, he was, but he was right too!) last season when he warned Cutler was trying to consolidate power in the merged Agencies.

"I'd hate to think of you as an adversary," he declares, then turns to pointedly look right at Roger,"I'd really hate that."

He turns back to look at the opposite doors, and Roger does the same, wisely saying nothing. They got on immediately upon their merger, the two sharing largely the same mindset and delighting in taking advantage of the opportunities for travel, food and hobnobbing with top business-people their roles afforded them. But Cutler IS Machiavellian, he DOES plot and work things to his advantage. For Roger, things have mostly just come to him throughout his life, and he's been very happy with that state of affairs. For awhile, Pete challenged his ascendancy thanks to the loss of Lucky Strikes, but with a little hard work and his charm in networking, Roger did claw things back with the likes of Dow and of course Chevy.

But Cutler is something else, something far more dangerous than the needy Pete Campbell. He's accomplished, clever, respected, smooth, and also utterly immoral. He likes Roger, he genuinely does, and he meant it when he said he would hate to make an adversary of him... but he will if he has to, and he won't hesitate to destroy him to get what he wants. Roger knows it now because he's already seen him do it to Pete with Chevy and then Don entirely. Roger was with him on those, so it wasn't a problem, but now he faces the unpleasant idea of being in his sights for targeting, and of being part of an Agency that becomes less his every day: even Cooper sided with Cutler over the SoCal Dealerships, Lou is absolutely NOT Don Draper, and now Jim has curried favor with Joan as well?

In regards to that, it's interesting to think just how that came about. It would appear Cutler was caught off-guard by Joan erupting at him and the office offer was born naturally from that. But I suspect that Cutler may have been coming to see her with the express purpose of "naturally" coming to that point anyway during their discussion of Avon. Why? Because I don't think it's coincidence this offer came the same day as he saw Joan's natural reaction was to go after Roger when he stormed out of the Partners' meeting, having to be stopped by Cooper.

Cutler made it clear to Ted last season that he wanted to orchestrate a situation where the CGC side of the merger came out on top, throwing SCDP the bone of the Agency Title while putting the grateful Bob Benson in at Detroit, taking advantage of Don's refusal to work on Chevy, and further sidelining Cooper and Sterling till they basically ran everything anyway. With Ted now in LA, the moderating influence on Cutler is gone, and it's no surprise to see him identify Roger as a threat the moment they were no longer in perfect lockstep. So now Joan is grateful to him, Cooper agrees with his policies regarding business, Don is gone, Lou is pure business and also not a factor since he isn't a Partner, Pete is exiled (by choice!) in LA and Cutler's own man is firmly entrenched at Chevy.

Right now, SC&P absolutely is Jim Cutler's Agency in all but name.

But far away from these machinations, Don and Sally's unexpected road trip is drawing to a close at last. They pull up outside of Miss Porter's and sit quietly for a moment, before Don asks if he should come in to talk to somebody and explain her lateness. But no, she has the note, that's all she needs. So that's that, it's time for her to go, but not before something truly unexpected and, indeed, utterly magical happens.

At the end of the first episode of this season, I interpreted Don going outside to sit in the cold as almost an act of flagellation: Don punishing himself, but doing so in a very selfish and self-aggrandizing way that ignored the complicity he had in his most current miserable lot in life so he could play the victim. Another interpretation suggested in this thread was this was more an act of Don trying to feel something, that his life has become numb and he was trying to force some feeling because intellectually he understood those losses, and it worried him that he didn't feel them. Both I think are perfectly valid interpretations, and I don't think are mutually exclusive: in either case, whether wallowing in his own misery or trying to break through his ennui, Don Draper strikes me as a man who sees himself as the victim of all this even if he acknowledges his own part in causing it.

Well he loving feels something now.

Because as Sally steps out of the car, she hesitates a moment, then offers her father one final message.

"Happy Valentine's Day. I love you."

With that she is up the stairs and through the doors, not looking back. But Don is looking. Oh God is Don looking, as an absolutely appropriate song starts to play ahead of the closing credits. Those words pierced him directly to the heart. He FELT that in his very soul. For much of this series, Sally was a "daddy's girl", she worshiped her father with a simplistic and literally childish love that was pure and sweet and very much taken for granted. As she has gotten older, as more of her father's flaws have been exposed to her, that hero worship was replaced by an active disdain and even revolt for her father.

This is an episode where we have seen how telling the truth can have unintended consequences, both negative and positive. For Don Draper, telling the truth at the end of the last season marked a tipping point that has cost him almost everything. But in this episode, he told Sally the truth. Belatedly, after being backed into a corner, true... but he did tell her the truth.

So how truly, stunningly beautiful it must be for Don to hear her say those words. Forget intellect. Forget cynicism. Forget that Valentine's itself is literally a holiday designed to sell things to people. Because the love Sally offers him now in this moment isn't a formality. It isn't just an olive branch.

It's real.

She KNOWS her father now, with more insight into him than some people he has known as long as she has been alive, if not longer. She knows he has flaws. She knows he has fallen and made terrible mistakes and that his arrogance and selfishness has destroyed relationships. She knows he isn't perfect. He isn't a hero. Which is what makes this such a beautiful moment, and one that strips away all of Don's defenses and hard outer shell as he grasps hungrily and gratefully to a truth he didn't dare hope might be true, and one that could feasibly sustain him for the rest of his life.

She loves him anyway.

Episode Index

Aug 2, 2005

Nihilist Ted might be my favorite form

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Love him just not giving a gently caress and making his model plane during the meeting :3:

Not as much as his utterly unaware,"They didn't tell us which of Peggy's accounts we lost!" comment, but close!

Jan 14, 2010

This show just loving nails ending an episode sometimes and this is one of those times. Great writeup.

Jun 19, 2012

There are a lot of parallels between the second-to-last episode of the second season, and this episode, the second of the second-to-last* season. Don's at a very similar crossroads: through his own actions, he has ruined his life, he has gotten himself stuck, and he has to figure out how to move forward.

Season 2 Episode 12 posted:

In San Pedro, Don fixes a chair and is skeptical when Anna offers him a tarot deck because she wants to give him a reading. He claims it is like an ink blot test, you see what you want to see, but plays along and places his hand on the deck before she starts laying it out.

...The cards don't worry her though, even if they do show him in a strange place, because they show the sun and indicate that things will get better. He spots the Judgement card and assumes it is bad news, the end of the world and so-forth, but she corrects him that it actually stands for resurrection.

"The warmth of your love is like the warmth of the sun." Don hasn't felt that kind of unconditional, non-romantic love in a long time.

Jun 30, 2012

When I watched this episode when it first aired, Sally's "I love you" at the end hit pretty hard. Like I actually felt my heart get tight as Don's face registered what she said. What a great moment.

Scallop Eyes
Oct 15, 2021

It's both funny and sad that going to California didn't fix Ted's life , but it sure hosed up Don's. Another time where one of Do'ns rare good actions backfire on him completely( though it kinda opened the way for him to open up to his kids at least).

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

if you didnt cry during the ending scene ur a monster

R. Guyovich
Dec 25, 1991

for people wondering why joan "turns" on don later....well, here's exhibit z. cutler showed he valued her talent when no one else did, especially not roger. factor in don spoiling the ipo and costing her a million dollars and it's no mystery why she switches teams. i think at the time people couldn't comprehend it because she was a legacy character and her siding with newer ones went against tv logic

Jan 2, 2005

Jerusalem posted:

in addition to having arranged for Megan to receive a Valentine's gift from him. He's very grateful for the latter (I presume he forgot Valentine's was coming)

I always assumed this was part of keeping up the charade that he is still working, rather than him forgetting it. the gifts would probably be sent on behalf of the company, which would just add another smoke screen for the big lie.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I always assumed the secretaries sending gifts were always in the name of the husbands and that it wasn't showing up the door "via <x company> name" or anything. That's part of their job, to make sure that these half-drunk idiots at least manage the least that's expected of them by buying gifts for their wives/girlfriends on special occasions.

Mar 16, 2001

Jerusalem posted:

Love him just not giving a gently caress and making his model plane during the meeting :3:

How have I never noticed that?

For those of us who know about Ted's association with suicide and flying, that's an F-104 Starfighter he's building. It had a reputation for being a dangerous aircraft, even by the time that Ted is building that model. It had one of lowest safety records of any aircraft ever.

Mar 14, 2001

There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.

Started reading the thread this morning.

Now I'm fifteen pages in, and I've decided I have to start at least throwing these eps on as background if not a full rewatch.

Okay back to season 2 I go...

misguided rage
Jun 15, 2010

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


If ignorance is bliss, then nobody is happier than Meredith

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

R. Guyovich posted:

for people wondering why joan "turns" on don later....well, here's exhibit z. cutler showed he valued her talent when no one else did, especially not roger. factor in don spoiling the ipo and costing her a million dollars and it's no mystery why she switches teams. i think at the time people couldn't comprehend it because she was a legacy character and her siding with newer ones went against tv logic

i think anyone who was confused at the time somehow didnt watch any of the show at all. joan turning on don is sad, considering their relationship in season 5, but 100% rational.

Jun 30, 2012

Lady Radia posted:

i think anyone who was confused at the time somehow didnt watch any of the show at all. joan turning on don is sad, considering their relationship in season 5, but 100% rational.

Yeah its easy to see why from her perspective. But its also a huge bummer because of the genuine friendship they seemed to have before then. Their friendship, especially in season 5, was such a bright spot.

Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.

I mean she kind of lays it all out there with "I'm tired of him costing me money."

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

Harrow posted:

Yeah its easy to see why from her perspective. But its also a huge bummer because of the genuine friendship they seemed to have before then. Their friendship, especially in season 5, was such a bright spot.

their wholesome friendship was so so good :smith:

Jun 19, 2012

I don't want to call too much attention to it outside of spoilers, since it doesn't become relevant until the second half of season 7, but it's pretty awesome that they brought Jim Hobart back after he only appeared once prior, all the way back in season 1. I wonder how people interpreted his appearance in this episode at the time of airing; I would think it ought to be a big siren that they want to do something important with the character

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 7, Episode 3 - Field Trip
Written by Heather Jeng Bladt & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Christopher Manley

Megan Draper posted:

This is the way it ends.

Don Draper only has a job in the technical sense anymore, so he is spending his day watching a movie instead of being at the office... which, well, isn't all that different to how things were when he was actively working at SC&P! In any case, he's watching The Model Shop, a film about an unemployed man having relationship problems with a love interest who is trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles.

I love this show, but sometimes it is VERY on the nose.

Returning home early in the evening, he gets dressed up in a suit but he's not going anywhere. No he's dressing up now he's home because he's calling Dawn at the office, his wardrobe change perhaps some creative effort to get into the working mindset? Is this what he considers "working" now? He no longer has a direct line to her, having to be asked to patch through, and when Dawn answers in what was Joan's old office she's flooded with work but does her utmost to handle Don's frankly pathetic demands: he needs ribbon for his typewriter and a ream of onionskin paper, as well as an airmail envelope so he can send a letter to Leica, one of their clients.

She promises to get them sent straight over and he's confused, SHE isn't coming over herself? That explains him suiting up, he wants to maintain the appearance of an in-control executive at least in her eyes. She points out how busy she is, noting she has to prep a schedule for a shoot and he complains that she can just come over AFTER that, before asking what the shoot is and giving a quiet,"Oh," when she tells him Mountain Dew. That's an in to Pepsi potentially, and he knows very well that prepping a schedule for that is not going to be a simple matter.

He asks for more details but cuts her off when she starts to explain the plot, recognizing it immediately as a pitch Ginsberg has been pushing for a long time. She promises she can get a messenger to his apartment in 20 minutes unless he has plans to go out, and he grumpily complains that obviously he doesn't have plans since he was expecting her to come over. He gets even more pouty when he asks if he had calls and she tells him only the one, from a Mr. Alan Silver from the Paul Kohner Agency in Los Angeles.

THAT gets his attention, he winces and asks her to get him on the phone but she can't, her own phone is ringing off the hook. She says Silver told her Don had his number but she can give it to him again so he can call himself, outraging Don who snaps that he wants HER to put him on the line. Overwhelmed now by her phone lit up by multiple calls, Dawn asks if he can please hold and he's had enough, hanging up. He's furious, this is untenable, what is he expected to do, fetch typewriter ribbon or buy an envelope... himself? Pick up a phone and dial a number with his own hands!?! Next she'll be expecting him to hang his own coat up on a coat-rack!

But needs must, so he undertakes the enormous and physically taxing task of reaching into his inside pocket and taking out his card case to fetch Silver's business card. This is followed by the onerous process of pushing buttons on his telephone with his own finger, and the call goes through somehow, magically, to Alan Silver, a herculean effort indeed.

Alan answers, it's still bright and sunny (and smoggy) in Los Angeles and he's all overbearing charm and false downplaying of the significance of his call before he gets down to it: Megan did an "adequate" audition recently and actually called casting to request another audition afterwards thinking she could do better. Don doesn't see the issue with that, it just means she's persistent, right? Alan, trying to be diplomatic, explains this wasn't the end of it. She then got the phone number of the director from somebody in her acting class and rang him at home.... then "ran into him" at the Brentwood Country Market, then confronted him in tears during a lunch he was having with Rod Serling to beg for another chance to audition.

"She met Rod Serling!?!" asks Don, momentarily forgetting the horror story he's being told. Alan explains that she probably didn't even know Serling was there, she was so hyper-focused on getting this second audition. Don is confused, why would she go to these lengths? Silver admits he's seen it before, her confidence has been shaken and she's going to extremes trying to adjust for it... but if word starts getting around about her doing things like this, it'll be a disaster.

So what can Don do? Well he knows Megan better than Alan does plus she won't hang up on him like she did on Alan when he called to talk to her about this. He wants him to calm her down, basically, to assure her that she's still new in town and shouldn't be concerned at not having "made it" yet. With that message dispatched, obviously Silver considers his work done, and he happily declares he won't take up any more of Don's valuable time. He hangs up, and Don returns to his important and pressing work: drinking whisky alone in the dark.

The next day, Peggy is waiting in the chairs near Lou's office, brooding over something when Stan and a very chipper Ginsberg join her. Ginsberg isn't just delighted because he got his "Invisible Boy" pitch for Pepsi approved, but apparently the work he and Stan did for Playtex is up for a CLIO.... and Peggy's work for St. Joseph's (Rosemary's Baby) is not.

Ginsberg assures her she should think of this as a victory for the Agency as a whole, before gleefully asking Stan how patronizing that sounded, reveling in the fact that his work is being recognized and Peggy's is not. Peggy complains that she isn't taking away from the quality of their work, she's upset because she knows that the St. Joseph's ad was better than anything she has done before (and suspects she can ever do again) so it being snubbed has understandably left her feeling down.

Stan offers an olive branch, assuring her that she'll surely be nominated next year, and offers her a hand which she takes to help her to her feet. She reminds Ginsberg that she ran Playtex for years and left it to him when she went to CGC, but Ginsberg isn't going to get her claim the groundwork, cracking that obviously she didn't work it right and miming groping a pair of breasts: it's obvious he went with a more prurient angle than any of the work Peggy was putting in. Lou buzzes through to Shirley to let them in, and they step into their "Creative" Director's office for their meeting.

Don, meanwhile, since after all he honestly has nothing better to do, boards a plane for Los Angles. He's a frequent enough flier on this trip that the stewardess knows him by name, and he her, though she's surprised to see him on weekday, as well as the fact he's not bring a briefcase. He explains he is going to surprise his wife, and she chuckles that as she has told him before she HATES his wife, taking his things and asking if she can get him a drink. Don, who we've seen has been trying to ration or otherwise restrict his drinking (especially as he has nothing else to do) simply asks for a tomato juice, not wanting to "surprise" Megan by showing up drunk as a skunk.

At SC&P, Peggy has Stan show off proposed artwork as she runs through her planned pitch for Chevalier Noir cologne complete with the "more horsepower" tagline. Lou is completely uninterested in the pitch itself though, neither in its merits or its issues, fixated on the fact there is art already. Peggy explains the art helps strengthen the pitch, but Lou complains that every hour Stan works costs money, focused entirely on the dollars and cents side of the equation than the "art" and creativity.

This isn't necessarily unusual for a "Creative" Director in an Ad Agency... except it is at SC&P (and CGC beforehand). Here, the division has always been Creative and Accounts, with the former producing ideas crafted into pitches for clients, while Accounts deals with the executives, and all the money side of things was handled by the likes of Lane and Joan. Lou though comes from traditionally large Agencies where the Creative Director is a part of the business equation, keeping the Creatives in line and under control, and all he cares about in this moment is that more money was spent on producing this idea than needed to be.

Peggy, already in a bad mood, snaps that regardless the work was done so he could at least look at it. Amused by her bad temper (would he be amused if it was a man snapping at him?) he dismissively asks what has her pantyhose in a knot, and Ginsberg eagerly jumps in to explain she's mad she didn't get nominated for a CLIO when he did. Lou takes a moment as Peggy grumbles that she doesn't care about awards before offering her an apology that rings entirely false.... if anything he looks delighted as he explains Jim Cutler pulled the ad from consideration because St. Joseph's were still mad about it going over budget, and besides Ted has already won them plenty of awards.

"They don't like winning awards?" complains Peggy, who can smell the bullshit. It's a stink that only gets worse when Lou insists that clients hate ad awards which is why Ogilvy never submits, as Peggy points out that Ogilvy CHAIRED the CLIOs last year! Still, Ginsberg can't help but rub it in, pointing out that she can relax now because her work wasn't rejected.... it was never considered in the first place!

Lou at least does throw the smallest of bones Peggy's way when she stands and asks if the meeting is over now and Stan asks if they should go to color, telling him that he should ask "your boss", indicating Peggy. He clearly enjoyed giving Peggy the news her ad was pulled from consideration, and he's still upset paid work was done on a "theoretical".... but Peggy IS still the Copy Chief, and though he gets the final say he still leaves the day to day management of the Copywriters and artists to her. After all, it's ONLY the creative engine of the Agency that drives all their livelihood, what business is that of the Creative Director's!?!

Betty Francis is having lunch with.... Francine Hanson! Yes, she and her former Ossining neighbor are catching up for lunch at a local cafe, where Betty glows with pride as she talks familiarly about "Rocky" and how he and Henry patched things up, even if Henry's dream of being Attorney General under a Rockefeller Presidency have come to nought. They turn the conversation to Francine, Betty mistakenly believing she is working as a Real Estate Agent now and Francine teasingly but firmly correcting that she's a Travel Agent.

What was once unthinkable is now accepted: Betty got divorced, Francine got a job. In this case, Francine works three days a week at "Wanderlust Travel" and even has her own business card which she proudly hands to Betty. She is torn between her pride in working and wanting to downplay what she does: on the one hand a client told her she redefines "First Class" but on the other it is only a little storefront with some desks and everybody talking on multiple phones without secretaries.

Of course for Betty, her own massive shift in thinking re: divorce hasn't brought with it an overhaul of her other beliefs, and she asks if Carlton is happy about his wife working a job. Francine shrugs, Carlton likes the extra money it brings in plus with the kids old enough to walk to school alone now the house is empty and she needed a challenge. When Betty points out that there are plenty of challenges to come, obviously thinking of Sally, Francine grins and admits that what she really wanted was a reward.

"Aren't they supposed to be the reward?" asks Betty sweetly, a thin mask over the notion of a mother not feeling completed by her children even though she herself has had plenty of problems with her own. But she shrugs it off, saying maybe she's just old-fashioned, and Francine chuckles that this is the perfect description for her. After checking that Betty will split it with her, she motions to the waitress for some dessert, and Betty takes the opportunity to drop her sweet smile, clearly troubled by her friend's evolution. Betty has been through changes of her own, but she still obviously feels like she can be the moral judge of what is and isn't right for a married woman and mother to do.

At SC&P, Harry Crane joins Jim Cutler, Ken Cosgrove and a secretary (not Meredith) in the Conference Room where they are meeting with two executives from Koss: Tom (who Peggy talked down from the Vietcong Ear Crisis) and Randall. Harry thinks they want to ask him about the Media Plan that SC&P are using for Koss' campaign, but Cutler explains it's actually about a recent newspaper article, passing a clipping to Harry who winces when he sees it, quietly noting that yes he's aware of it.

It's a PR piece put out by Grey touting the use of their computer system to sort data and produce even more effective media plans. Tom, who we already know is extremely credulous, has of course become alarmed that Koss should be using this system or risk being left behind, even though he admits he is extremely happy with the SC&P media plan he was given. Harry's role today, it seems, is to be damage control and speak with an authority that Jim & Ken can't regarding media strategies.

But if he's caught off-guard, Harry recovers remarkably quickly. Confidently he assures Tom that while the Grey ad is an effective piece of PR it really is simply that: PR. Tom, for all that he's credulous, IS an engineer however, and points out that he really wants to know what the difference between Grey's computer and SC&P's computer is. Again Harry is ready and able, explaining that a computer can't think, all it can do is process data that is accumulated by Harry and his team.... but what SC&P's system CAN offer is local data. Grey's computer and their computer both process national sales data, but SC&P are currently working on a program that not only collects data on local markets but will collate it into a combined report with the national data, meaning Koss can plan its media strategy at both the national and local level to a high degree of certainty.

Cutler beams with delight at this explanation, especially when Harry points out he wasn't invited to the meeting because it's business and THAT is what SC&P are all about : Koss' business, not promoting their own services like Grey are. He and Ken turning to Tom to see if he is satisfied. He is, taking Harry at his word and apologizing for coming in and putting them on the spot, admitting that Randall (Randy) warned him SC&P were on top of things but that he just had to be satisfied for himself. Of course they're all smiles and assurances there is no problem, offering to walk him out, Tom also wanting to pop in his head and say hello to Peggy, who he still feels immense gratitude to for saving his Superbowl spot.

But despite Harry's salvaging of the situation, the moment Koss are gone Cutler is scowling, furious to see Harry with a smile on his face and demanding to know why they have a client coming in to talk to them about ANOTHER advertising agency. Angry himself and not unjustified in being so, Harry points out it could have been THEIR name in the paper (even if he just criticized Grey for that!) if anybody else at SC&P paid attention to their media department.

Cutler has been exposed to Harry enough now to know he is extremely needy and self-centered, and complains that his self-pity is distasteful... but Harry also knows that the Media Department he heads IS a vital part of the Agency AND that he just salvaged a potential disaster with Koss. So with far too much smugness he simply declares that the conversation is over and he isn't interested in continuing to talk to Jim (a Partner!) and simply walks away, leaving Cutler gaping.

In Los Angeles, Megan returns home from shopping and is surprised but utterly thrilled when she hears Don give a quiet,"Hello." Putting her shopping down she rushes to hug and kiss him, beyond happy to see her husband (who bought flowers and... Kahlua!), admitting after he tells her he got her hints that she never outright said she wanted this but she'd hoped.

Jokingly she asks if he got fired and he holds his smile awkwardly for a few seconds before putting on the charm again and explaining that he had a "hankering." Buzzing with positive energy, she promises he shall get an extra special "hankering" in that case and leads him into the living room and drops onto the couch, pulling him down after her which he gladly obliges.

In Rye, Betty returns home from lunch and finds Bobby going through his homework with the housekeeper/nanny - Carla is long gone, replaced by another black woman, Loretta: some "traditions" haven't changed - at the kitchen table while Gene plans with his toy cars. She chides her for having the television on but Loretta assures her they aren't watching, which Betty tuts at even though she can see for herself neither boy was looking, and asks if she wasn't supposed to be helping her with Bobby's homework... which she is literally doing right at that second!

Loretta though is a professional, she simply agrees that yes she is and passes Betty a permission slip she needs to sign for Bobby's upcoming field trip. She explains they're looking for chaperones and says she'd be willing to go though she'd have to take Gene with her, but Betty - spurred by her talk with Francine about children being a reward - announces that she will go, provided Bobby can be relied on to remember to hand in the slip.

Bobby is over the moon, asking if she means it and bursting into an enthusiastic explanation that the farm belongs to Miss Keyser's dad and they have butter and eggs there! Betty smiles but quickly cuts him off before he can go full steam by simply saying that they'll see all that when they go, then tells Loretta she's going to go change. Loretta shares a smile with Bobby, which is still on cloud nine.... as we saw last season, any time either of his parents pay attention to him is a cause for celebration, and his mother's decision to attend caught him completely off guard but is more than welcome.

On the other side of the country, Megan basks in the afterglow of sex with her unexpected husband. She tells him she needed that and he admits he did too, but teases her to ask if it turns out he could have just been anyone. Equally teasing, she tells him it is his own fault for leaving her all alone up here, and when he reminds her she has more friends than he can count she sighs that life is sunny for everybody but her, she's been walking around in a cloud of no.

Seeing the chance to segue into her recent "persistence" (stalking) fiasco, he tells her that everybody else is hearing no too but are probably just handling it better... which is, well, it's an awful thing to say! She says as much but Don tries to recover but pointing out he is speaking for experience. After all, in spite of his well-deserved reputation as a man who can charm anybody into anything, he's had more than his fair share of rejections, nos, or even worse - being told he did everything right but they're going with somebody else anyway.

So he explains that you just have to keep at it, and the last thing you can do is get desperate... and the specificity he is talking with starts ringing alarm bells for her. She knows all this, they've probably even had a version of this conversation before... but that was when they were living together and he knew where she was all day and what she was auditioning for, not in the dark about what she is doing with whom and where. So she asks him outright exactly WHY he is here in Los Angeles, and trying and failing to downplay the significance he explains that Alan called him.

She's horrified, sitting up and doing up her shirt, growling that she'll have to fire Alan now and how the hell is she going to find a replacement, and turns on Don when he insists she doesn't need to fire anybody, demanding to know if he came down here thinking he was going to find her in the bathtub with her wrists slit. Don, his own temper up now, snaps that he was actually worried even if he doesn't outright say he thought things were that bad.

Mortified that her Agent called her husband like she was some little girl or lost waif who needed her man to come talk sense into her, feeling betrayed that Don showed up not out of a sudden urge to surprise her or just be with her but because he felt some obligation of duty to check on her like she was lost at sea without him, she hits him with a very understandable sneer of,"Well, thanks for the visit, Daddy"

Feeling hurt and wanting to hurt him back, she complains that she was stupid to think he missed her, and when he insists that he does she counters with an immediate,"No you don't" before suggesting maybe SHE should drop in unannounced in New York to see HIM. Spotting the immediate concern on his face she was expecting, with savage triumph she notes that he's scared of that idea, which of course he quickly denies as he hurriedly puts his poker face back on.

But she's committed now, the needling doubts she's been having and trying to stamp down or live with coming to the fore: why is he always somewhere else when she calls him at the office? Why does he always have to call her back later? Why is it always QUIET when he does when she knows from experience just how hard it is to find a quiet spot in that office. She's put 2 and 2 together and gotten 4... it's just that in this one particular case, the actual answer IS 5.

At first Don tries to act like she's just being silly and push past this, but she's not stupid and she's not letting it go. She reminds him she used to be his secretary herself, she knows what he's like when left alone, and bitterly she "apologizes" for interrupting his love affairs with her disaster of an acting career. Realizing far too late that he can't just continue to pretend nothing has happened and get her to accept it, Don finally does what he should have done months ago, what he saw the benefits of only last episode, and tells the truth.

"I've been at home."

He slowly gets it all out. They put him on leave. He's still getting paid but right after she left for Los Angeles they kicked him out of the office. Why? Because he messed up. He doesn't qualify that, simply accepts that he screwed up and it cost him. The only reason, he claims, that he didn't tell her is that he wanted to fix things somehow first. But he insists that he has "been good", that there is nobody else, that he hasn't even been drinking all that much. And there is is, he opened up and it all came spinning out, and Megan absorbs it all and then makes the point that anybody but Don would have seen coming: that ever since before Christmas of last year he has, with a clear head, decided he would rather be in New York than with her here in Los Angeles.

He winces at that, but almost in a "Oh come on don't be silly!" way, approaching her and places his hands on her upper arms, trying to reassure her. But she's absolutely right. He told her he had to stay in New York for business after convincing her to quit her (good!) acting job and come out to Los Angeles, and now as she struggles to find work she learns that almost immediately after that he got kicked out of work and has just been staying at home all the way over there instead of joining her for the life he told her he wanted.

So, with calm finality, she states that she has no intention of walking out of her own home, so HE has to leave. Showing that same infantilization he (and Alan) did towards her earlier, he lets that sit a second and then gruffly asks if she has calmed down yet. But she isn't going to be talked down to or made to feel like she's overreacting. Instead she simply tells him this is how it ends, and it's going to be easier for both of them: they're done as a couple.

For a moment he just stares, like he's half expecting her to suddenly change her mind or burst out crying or tell him she doesn't mean it... and then his face collapses as he grasps that she means it, and that he knows it. Without a word she silently walks away into her bedroom and closes the door, leaving Don standing alone: a stranger in an apartment he pays the rent on and that his wife lives in but has never really been "his".... and now no longer is she.

In New York, Scarlet buzzes through to Harry in his office (he has a signed photo of Buddy Ebsen :3:) that she has a Mr. Grady calling for him from The Wall Street Journal. Pleased to be getting a call from a publication like that, he switches off his television set and takes the call.

Shortly after he steps into Jim Cutler's office for a word, telling him they have a situation. Cutler - who it's easy to forget is as much a weirdo as Roger Sterling in his own way - brandishes the book he was reading, telling him there's something they can all learn, though I imagine he was more interested in embracing the practices that Jessica Mitford lambasted.

The situation is that The Wall Street Journal called Harry, and he wants to know if Cutler was the one who arranged it. Cutler agrees he did, explaining that he actually DID feel bad for snapping at Harry after the meeting earlier this morning, and decided it was time to give him some of the praise and elevated profile he clearly wants. He means it sincerely too, Cutler can be vindictive at times but it seems here his reaction to Harry walking out on their meeting was to consider how to make things up with the head of his Media Department. After all, if they are winning the arms race with Grey, they should let everybody know!

The trouble is.... well, Harry made up everything he told Koss! They don't even have a computer! Cutler is horrified, Harry shrugging since as far as he's concerned it is semantics: they use somebody else's computer to get their national market data... he just called it THEIR computer. He takes some savage pleasure in reminding Cutler that he asks for a computer every year for Christmas and nobody even bothers to tell him no, clearly having decided that by doing so he has done his part and now everything else is on everybody else. But then what about the local markets program he said they were developing? Again Harry shrugs, he agrees it is a very good idea... and he's sure that SOMEBODY is working on one right now.

"You have stiff competition," Cutler says at last, after letting this sink in,"But I believe you to be the most dishonest man I have ever worked with."

Well goddamn!

Harry takes no blame though, simply pointing out that he wasn't the one who called The Wall Street Journal, and as far as he is concerned it is on Cutler now to kill the story. With that he walks out on Cutler for the second time in a day, a bullshit man in an industry full of them who somehow manages to keep standing out.

Don has checked into a hotel, presumably still in Los Angeles while he waits for his flight back. But Megan booting his rear end to the curb has prompted him into action at least, though sadly it seems not to try and save his marriage. He calls Dave Wooster, who he had lunch with last episode, telling her secretary to let him know it is Clarence Birdseye calling. She puts him through, and when Dave answers Don's message is short and simple:

"Enough dancing around. Let's have dinner."

Wooster agrees, Don telling him to meet at 7:30 at The Algonquin, and hangs up, his business done. It's time to poo poo or get off the pot, he's been waiting around in New York for SC&P to bring him back, he's sent work out around advertising agencies around town (including SC&P) via the Freddy Rumsen proxy, but now it's time to see if there are other Agencies who will take him if the one he helped make doesn't want him anymore.

He takes a deep breath in LA, and then we see him in New York, sitting at a booth with Wooster and another man (presumably another Partner or Head of Accounts) as they pass him an envelope with their offer, telling him to open it or put it away to look at later... anything but use it as a coaster! It seems there is still some dancing to do, a test to establish dominance of sorts, as Don asks why they don't just tell him what the offer is and they ask why he doesn't just open the envelope. As they chuckle over the gamesmanship, an attractive woman approaches and apologizes for interrupting, but notes she is sure Don saw her looking at him during dinner and she just wanted to assure him it was because she thinks she knows him.

Don is perplexed, he has no idea who he is, and she offers her name - Emily Arnett - which doesn't job any memories either. Of course Wooster and his Partner are delighted to see their prospective new hire getting approached by a beautiful woman unprompted and ask her to join them. She graciously declines, explaining she's going to go back to her room and she hopes she'll be able to sleep.... before turning to Don to add that she's on the top floor right next to the elevator.

With that she leaves, shaking Don's hand, and he turns to the other two men with a smirk and tells them there is no need for a hard sell, assuming they hired a prostitute. They promise it was nothing to do with them though, in fact they wish they'd thought of it! Which leaves Don all the more perplexed, he has no idea who she is (she looks a little like Anna's niece Stephanie, but probably a decade older), did she REALLY just proposition him with that bullshit story? Isn't that the type of thing the man is supposed to do!?!

He grins but doesn't respond when they ask if he wants another drink or "has someplace to be?" with a giggle, looking back over his shoulder, still perplexed. Was this just a casual pickup? Does she know him? Does he know her? Should he go or shouldn't he? Does he think about Megan at all? If he does, does he think of it in terms of their marriage being over like she seems to want? In any case, the next we see of Don is.... yes, standing in front of a door and knocking to be let in. The door opens, and there is the last person I was expecting to see... Roger Sterling!

At first I assumed this was the reveal, that Roger was keeping track of Don's movement at least in regards to potentially changing Agencies, and used Emily to draw him up to the room. But quickly it becomes apparent this is a misdirect. Don isn't at the Algonquin, he isn't at Emily's room, he's gone from the dinner with Wooster to Roger's apartment, surprising him genuinely by his sudden appearance at the door.

He lets him in, noting he's alone... for the time being. But when Don immediately asks him how he sleeps at night he already regrets the decision to let him in, saying he only opened the door because he was expecting a BLT to be delivered. Bitter and angry, especially when Roger complains he sent him a note at Christmas, he complains that he didn't want to hear from somebody who stabbed him in the back, then thrusts the offer that Wooster gave him at Roger, telling him he wants to look at it.

Slipping his glasses on, Roger gives it a quick once-over and notes that it's a nice offer.... in that they tried very hard not to make it look like a demotion from Don's "current" position. So should he take it? That's what Don wants to know, by which he means he is tired or waiting and wants to know yes or no on if he can ever expect to return to SC&P. Angrily he reminds Roger that HE started the company, that he had to talk Roger into it in the first place. Roger, who both revels in the privilege of his wealthy upbringing and yet still thinks of himself as a go-getting guy who accomplishes things himself, reminds Don that HE found him "at the bottom of a fur box", both their bitterness coming out now in the first face-to-face confrontation they've had since Roger backed up Cooper, Cutler and Joan and kicked him out.

Don insists he would never do that to Roger (there have been times in prior seasons when he would have GLADLY done that to Roger!) who bites back at him not to be a baby and take a little thing like booting him out of his own Agency so personally! He insists they did have a favor, because the guy who met Hershey's was the same kind of guy who ends up walking down the street in a sandwich board proclaiming,"THE END IS NEAR!"

He thrusts the offer back to Don who snaps that he guesses now he has the answer he was looking for, but Roger complains he didn't even know it was a question, so if he wants to come back... come back! That takes Don by surprise, he stops snapping back and just stares, motioning quietly to Roger to assure him he means that.

"....I miss you," Roger admits at last, the bitterness drained out of him enough now to talk openly. There is another knock at the door and when Roger asks who it is (he's not making the same mistake twice!) the call comes back Room Service. He opens the door, and it's somebody with his BLT all right.... but not a waiter or a bellhop, it's the girl he's been sharing a bed with (along with multiple others), Sherry, who is pleased to see they have a guest and even more pleased it is somebody who looks like Don.

Roger introduces them, though not before pointing out that for once it is a friend of his and not hers who has shown up unexpectedly. Don explains he was just leaving and Roger opens the door, taking a moment before confirming what he said before: Don can come in Monday. With that Don walks out, pausing in the hallway to consider the offer letter from Wooster, eventually tucking it into his coat. It's still an option, but less the certainty it seemed only a few minutes earlier. He may have lost Megan, but just maybe that job he took for granted (like he did Megan! And Betty before her!) isn't gone after all.

Returning home, he calls Megan who finally answers, restraining a sob when she hears his voice. She tells him she doesn't have much to say, so he asks her just to listen. He thinks they can both have what they want... because he's going back to the Agency. Her heart breaks anew when she hears this, because she immediately understands that he doesn't. Doesn't understand her. Doesn't understand them. Doesn't understand what needed to happen. "Good for you," she offers darkly, and he explains in as gentle a voice as possible that he does understand.... he understands he was wrong to lie, that he screwed up, but he wants her to know he has fixed this.

She can't believe it, because of course she doesn't give a poo poo about him getting to go back to SC&P, that place doesn't matter to her and it shouldn't matter to him. "Fixing it is getting a job out here," she tells him, not angry so much as miserably disappointed. She kicked him out and all but told him the marriage was over, but it is clear that she was hoping, even praying that this would give him the kick in the rear end to do what he should have done months ago: be with her in Los Angeles. Hell, it was the thing HE sold her on going out to LA in the first place on!

She bemoans, not for the first time, that he lies to her and pushes her away, when she is his wife and should be the person he clings to tightest. When he admits - genuinely, it has to be said - that he knows now he didn't tell her the truth because he was afraid it would change how she looked at him, she can't believe he doesn't know her at all. Because of course this is really about his ego, his self-view, how HE sees himself. Megan doesn't care if he's Creative Director and Partner at SC&P. She wouldn't care if he was a Copywriter at a Los Angeles firm. Or a fur salesman. Or sold modified hot rods like he once considered after almost wrecking his last marriage. Or became her actual for real Manager. Or just pottered around the house not working like he has been doing for months in New York... but did it here in Los Angles with her instead.

The point was, he should have wanted to be with her, and he should have known that was all she would have cared about. He offers a paltry version of that now, suggesting he fly back up since he has the rest of the weekend before he has to go back. She takes a moment, thinking about how to respond to this - yet another example of him not understanding her - and finally tells him not now, that it wouldn't be a good idea. Even that is, for him at least, offering a crack of hope, the suggestion that maybe somehow their marriage isn't ENTIRELY doomed after all.

But the signs certainly aren't good, especially when he ends the call by telling her that he loves her... and after a long pause from her as she stifles her sobs, she simply responds,"Good night," and hangs up. Don sits on the dead line for a moment, then hangs up as well. He's uneasy, uncertain. She kicked him out of Los Angeles and he took action, but it was action of the wrong sort. He should feel triumphant, he'll be returning to SC&P on Monday, and he has the Wooster offer as a back-up plan... so why does he feel like he just hosed up big time?

If the answer isn't obvious to him now it never will be. He stands there, alone in his overly large apartment he shares with nobody. An apartment he took as he and Megan's and is now absent her. An apartment he has stayed in needlessly for months, leaving her alone in Los Angeles while he... sits or stands around in the otherwise empty apartment, achieving nothing. The final line from The Model Shop springs to mind, as relevant to Don as it was to George.

"I just wanted to tell her that I love her. I wanted her to know that I was going to begin again. It sounds stupid, I know. But a person can always try."

His triumph earlier in the night is empty. He made the wrong call, and telling her he understands that now is made a mockery of by the fact that he's just repeated exactly the same mistake by choosing to stay here rather than be with her. He's made the same mistake as he did in season 1 when he realized too late he wanted to spend the holidays with his wife and children. In what has become a common image across the course of Mad Men, we see Don Draper small in a wide frame, surrounded by the trappings of bliss that leave him unsatisfied, isolated and alone largely (sometimes entirely) due to his own actions.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Monday comes and true to her word, Betty is attending the field trip with Bobby. She has the bus window open to flick out her ash as she smokes (Yep, smoking on a bus full of children), listening attentively as Bobby takes advantage of having his mother all to himself and lists all the movie monsters he likes. He explains his favorite is Wolfman since he changes into a monster from a man, and Betty points out that Dracula can turn into a bat. Bobby's whole world is turned upside down as he considers this shocking but now obvious notion, admitting that she's got a point there.

As they chat, a pretty young woman - presumably Miss Keyser - walks up the aisle counting the students. She notes it's nice to see that they're getting on so well, many of the other students over-excited by the change from the norm and loudly shouting or moving about. "We were having a conversation!" blurts out Bobby, proud of the fact which is both endearing and also kind of sad: as we've seen before, he revels in getting one or both of his parents to himself but it's a rare occurrence, and the more normal interaction he has with his mother is being told off, called to dinner, or instructed to wash his hands.

Miss Keyser thanks Betty for coming along, admitting it makes her job so much easier. Just then the bus hits a bump in the road and Keyser stumbles forward slightly, grabbing the seat to brace herself. Bent over, Betty gets a direct look down her loose blouse and sees that she is clearly not wearing a bra. She absorbs that, then just smiles and explains that Bobby asked (he didn't) so she had to agree (she decided on a whim to come).

Once his teacher is gone, Bobby happily tells his mother that his teacher really likes her, and Betty simply nods and notes as she smokes that judging by the blouse.... Miss Keyser likes everybody. As Betty herself said and Francine agreed: old fashioned.

But while Bobby is having a rare day of bonding with his mother, his father is facing his own "first day of school" nervousness. Alternating between showing him waiting nervously in his apartment for the time to be right to leave and traveling up the elevator towards the 37th floor, Don is facing a degree of uncertainty he hasn't felt for a long, long time. Perhaps not since he begged Betty to take him back, or even when he was on the train transporting the corpse of "Dick Whitman" to his family almost two decades ago now.

His watch hits 9am and he makes his move, wanting to time his arrival just right: not be there right at the start of the day but give people a chance to arrange things so they can make his return as painless and quiet as possible. But when he emerges on the 37th floor and steps through the SC&P doors into reception he finds both the unfamiliar and no welcoming party. A different receptionist sits at the front desk, reading a magazine and not noticing him. He passes through the doors and walks down the once familiar corridor, spotting Dawn Chambers' name on the door to the office that was once Joan's (and read Transport)... so where is Joan?

Peggy Olsen's office has moved too, seemingly either in or next to Lane's old office. Even the familiar sight that was Dawn's old desk is blocked by the man standing in front of it, so he can't even see who has replaced Dawn as the Creative Director's secretary... and that man blocking the way is Lou Avery.

Don stops by what was once his office, seeing Lou's name on the door now, and gets the man's attention by asking,"It's Lou, right?" Startled, Lou turns around and is clearly bewildered to see him, though at least polite, greeting him but unsure how to continue, simply shaking his hand when offered and asking how he is. "Ready to get back to work," responds Don, and Lou simply offers a non-committal "good for you" and clearly has nothing else to say and no real desire to fill the empty space.

So Don moves on, relieved when he sees Caroline who greets him warmly and happily takes a hug, telling him it has been too long. He offers the take the mug of coffee she is holding up to Roger, which amuses Caroline because, of course, Roger isn't in yet, and she has no idea when he will be! Stunned and feeling the worry kick in, Don points out they were supposed to have a meeting and she simply shrugs and laughs that she is always the last to know.

This is all falling apart, Don looking back automatically to his old office, wanting to retreat into there to wait... but of course he can't, that's not his office any more, it's Lou, who eyes him uneasily as he continues reviewing the paperwork he's waiting to give to Shirley. Careful to keep his perfect mask of composure on, Don tells her he'll keep himself occupied till Roger shows up, and she waves goodbye to him without the slightest hint that anything is wrong. He moves away, and for just a second it looks like he might just go ahead and enter Lou's office anyway.... but then he turns and continues down the corridor.

Shirley arrives with Lou's coffee (presumably he sent her for it, which is why he isn't irritated she wasn't there) and he tells her to forget that for now, he needs to see Jim Cutler IMMEDIATELY and he doesn't care if he's in bed with Joey Heatherton! Clearly Lou had no idea that Don was coming in, and now HIS alarm bells are ringing: are they going to send him on "leave" like they did to Don himself!?!

But for Don this has been an utter humiliation. He wasn't expecting a triumph and maybe not even a welcome... but he was expecting something. Instead he finds an Agency that has moved on (remember when he told Joan that the world moves on without us and you can't take it personally?) and not only wasn't expecting him but seem indifferent to his presence at best. He moves to the reception doors and reaches for the handle, either planning to sit in miserable exile on the couches there or to just go home and brood before calling Wooster to accept his offer (I'd say or fly to LA to be with Megan but let's be honest, he's not doing that).

"Don?" asks a voice at this pivotal moment, and turning he sees Michael Ginsberg in the doorway to the Creative Lounge, calling to him surprised but pleased to see him. Don takes his hand off the doorknob and greets Michael, who tells him to come over, happily calling to Ed to see who it is as Don moves to join them. Wrapped up in his own head as usual, Ginsberg doesn't care that Don has been gone for months, he's here now and Michael wants a second opinion! He leads him into the Lounge, explaining about Chevalier Blanc's new Chevalier Noir cologne, and their efforts to put together a campaign for it.

A little taken aback by the flood of information as Ginsberg explains the tagline and requirements for a freeze frame, he asks if there are storyboards (because of course he would expect to see these, unlike Lou) and Michael quickly slips out of the room to fetch them, leaving Don alone with Ed who he barely spoken to before now. A pitiful attempt at small talk goes nowhere, so Ed asks if he wants to see the strategy, and since Don has literally nothing else to do he agrees, placing his hat and coat down (wow, without a secretary!) and taking a seat.

In Peggy's office, she's surprised by Ginsberg popping in looking for the Chevalier Noir storyboards. Meredith, who is taking dictation (so Peggy ended up with her after all!) explains they're with Lou, and that finally seems to trigger in Ginsberg the understanding that Don and Lou in the same place may be an issue. He points out Don wants to see them, so what should he do, confusing Peggy who doesn't understand how Don could even know about them let alone get hold of Ginsberg to see them.... and that's how she learns Don Draper is only 10-20 feet away from her right now, looking over Media Strategy for Chevalier Noir like it was the most natural thing in the world.

She leaves the office, followed by Meredith, pulling up to a halt when she realizes it is true: there's Don, smoking and looking over paperwork, just.... there! She asks suspiciously what he is doing and a beaming Meredith says,"Who cares?", enjoying the sight of the tall and handsome man who SHE has clearly missed seeing around. Stan joins them, wondering what is going on, and Peggy shushes him, motioning to Don. He's surprised too, and Michael - who took entirely too long to get out of his own head and realize Don's presence was unusual - ponders that maybe he's finally dried out, assuming - you can bet no reason beyond "time off" was given - that Don's drinking had gotten out of control again.

Peggy doesn't know how to react. She has no love for Don after his part (both real and perceived) in the tumultuous last year or so of her life, even if she also knows that Ted is ultimately to blame for his cowardice in deciding to be faithful to his wife AFTER he got to sleep with Peggy first. She takes Meredith (who doesn't take her eyes off of Don) back into her office, wisely figuring that Don Draper is somebody else's problem to deal with and she can stay out of it.

Stan though decides to be more proactive, greeting Don who stands and shakes his hand, either forgetting or hoping to gloss over that their last in-person encounter was less than cordial. Stan joking asking if he's been riding the rails, while Ginsberg apologizes that the boards are in Lou's office and Don shrugs it off as unimportant (and thus avoids a potential issue of Lou refusing to show them). Dawn comes walking by and spots Don, surprised to see him though he's pleased to see her.... because not he has somebody to take his hat and coat!

Yes, he straight up just hands them to her to hang them up on his behalf, asking her to get him some coffee and muttering that it seems somebody forgot to inform the office he was returning. She admits his return is news to her, which he probably already knew, so he tells her to just inform him when Mr. Sterling finally arrives. She leaves and goes into her office, hanging up his hat and coat and peering uncertainly through the window into the Creative Lounge. Don is giving every impression of pure confidence, projecting an air of belonging as he tells Stan and Michael to catch him up on EVERYTHING. But as they start gathering material, the mask slips a little... this is not the homecoming Don was expecting, and he has no idea where Roger is, he's playing all this by ear with no idea if he's actually back or not.

At the farm, Miss Keyser introduces her father: Farmer Cy. He immediately charms the kids, telling them they can call him Cyrus, Cy, or "hey, mister!" which gets a laugh. His daughter - Pammy as he calls her - explains all the animals they're going to see, the cows and pigs, and Cy happily pointing out that her favorites are the horses. But the farm itself is primarily a potato farm, most of his crops are underground... but the barn has cows, and they lead the kids in now to see them up close and personal. Betty and the other mother who has agreed to come are about to follow but Pam lets them know they can't smoke inside, so Betty tells Bobby that she'll be along shortly.

That leaves the two alone outside for the moment, free from the kids... and of course the other woman immediately wants to talk poo poo about Miss Keyser! She jokes about missing out on milking the cows and comments that she hopes nobody grabs the wrong udders, confusing Betty for the moment till she explains that "farmer's daughter needs a bra". Peggy laughs at that but gives no commentary of her own, she said all she needed to when she made that snarky little comment to Bobby, but she does offer her lighter to help the other woman light her cigarette, having no issue with somebody badmouthing the woman who spends most of every day teaching their children.

At SC&P, more of the top brass are filtering in but still no Roger. Ken spots Don as he passes the Creative Lounge, surprised but happy to see him . After all, Ken has worked at large agencies that focus purely on business before and hated it, he missed Don's rocky but creative-led style before and probably misses it now. Joan was with Ken, and though she also smiles it is a far more guarded one. She is a Partner, one of those who made the decision to oust Don in the first place, and while others might simply think a decision was reached unsaid to return Don to work... she knows that none has been.

He's surprised they're coming in so late, Joan explaining they had a breakfast meeting... because of course Don has no idea how things have changed, that Joan is now an Account Man and running more than one Account. She asks very politely and very nicely WHAT he is doing here, a question that catches him off guard because obviously he thought she would know. He replies that he guesses he is waiting for Roger, to which she gives an,"Oh," response, all entirely pleasant but with a lot of underlying meaning. When she tells him it was nice seeing him, there is an air of finality to it that troubles Don all the more, it isn't the phrase somebody expecting to keep working with you would use, but something said to a former acquaintance you aren't expecting to see again anytime soon and don't seem particularly bothered by.

Of course Ken is just all smiles, he doesn't know or care whether Don is back for good or not, if this is an ambush, or any of that bullshit... he's just happy to see Don! He fishes out his wallet, explaining that Cynthia had a baby boy they named Edward but call Eddie, and Don does the obligatory, looking at photos of somebody else's kid, offering a charming joke that now he knows what Ken looks like bald. But he's troubled, he's now seen a Partner (one of his FELLOW Partners) and they're none the wiser than Lou or the Creative Staff were.... what the hell is going on?

Upstairs, Joan is trying to figure out the same thing. She knocks on Cooper's door who reluctantly lets her enter with her footwear still on since she's got on boots and it would be an imposition getting her to remove them first, and he doesn't want her lingering in the doorway. He forgets all about his shoes concern though when she asks if he knows Don Draper is downstairs, confirming what she suspected or at least removing any doubt that he arranged something without telling her: he had no idea either. She explains Roger appears to be involved in some way, and Cooper growls that Don should NOT be here. Satisfied, she leaves, perhaps to prepare battle stations for the confrontation that appears to be coming.

Downstairs though, Don is holding court, with nothing better to do he sits with the others and listens as Mathis complains about not having the money to justify getting married to his current girlfriend. Lou strolls into the room, unhappy about Don's presence but also about the fact his entire Creative Team appear to have disappeared to sit around and chat with him. He demands to know what is going on in here, and when they tell him they're just catching up with Don he grunts,"That's nice, ladies" before instructing them to come to his office.

Don knows what is going on of course, though Stan tries to soften the blow by suddenly "remembering" they have that meeting... except of course Ginsberg bluntly asks,"What meeting!?!", not grasping this was a nice way of pretending like Lou doesn't want them anywhere near Don. Mathis offers a handshake which Don gives, and even that has an air of finality, like he assumes this will be the last time they talk, which might even explain why he was so willing to be open about his own issues.

At the farm, Cy finishes milking the cow and Pam asks if anybody would like to try some. Nobody wants to be the first to volunteer, but then Betty surprises Bobby by saying she will. Pam passes her the bucket, pointing out how warm the milk is, and Betty Francis of all people drinks right from the bucket, taking a moment to absorb the taste before commenting that it is sweet. Bobby beams with pride, especially when one of the girls grins at him for having such a cool mother, this may be one of the best days of his life!

At SC&P, Roger finally saunters in to work with the day almost half over, passing the Creative Lounge and then pausing and coming back... my of my, Don Draper is here! He pops his head in and gets Don's attention as he reads Time Magazine bored out of his mind, and Don is immediately to his feet, demanding to know where the hell he has been. "I had an early lunch," slurs Roger, and Don grunts that he can smell it, complaining that if he was going to come in late he could have at least told SOMEBODY to expect Don.

Roger takes exception to that, insisting that his name is on the door and he is the President of this Agency, he doesn't have to ask anybody ANYTHING! Which makes it all the better when Don complains that he wasn't going to slink out and wants Roger to use that apparent power to call a meeting right now... and Roger suddenly gets less authoritarian and mumbles,"....let me ask Joan...."

"Don't ask Joan," sighs Don, already knowing that she wasn't pleased to see him, but Roger insists things will be fine and he can just wait here, staggering away and leaving Don no better off than he was before. Dawn at least offers some reprieve, coming in and nervously asking if he wants his usual for lunch, and wearily he thanks her. This has been an unmitigated disaster, but at least before he had the fallback that Roger was going to come in and set things to right. Now he isn't even sure of that.

Don tosses his magazine to the table and in a neat transition we cut to Bobby slapping down the blanket for a picnic lunch with his mother. As other kids race around, Bobby preps the lunch, Betty telling him she is going to go wash her hands before they eat. Bobby, as mentioned, is in heaven, and as he pulls food out of his bag he lets another kid know who has come to join him that the spot is reserved for his mother. The other kid leaves without a concern, at that age you just make friends by walking up to them and existing, while Bobby happily waits for his mother's return.

Dawn has brought Don his lunch, including a coke (the Mountain Dew people wouldn't be happy about that!) and he eats it alone in the Creative Lounge, the other Creatives off having lunch elsewhere or sequestered in Lou's office or given instructions to stay the gently caress away from Don Draper. But his meal is interrupted by the arrival of yet another in a long line of surprised visitors, though this one Don doesn't even bother to pretend to be polite to: Jim Cutler.

Cutler's reaction to seeing Don is reserved and careful, simply stating that he wasn't expecting to see him. Don doesn't bother to say he's waiting to see Roger, simply replies that he IS here, clearly feeling that Jim was the driving force behind his removal if only because it's easier to think that than believe his old colleagues Cooper, Roger and Joan were the ones who wanted him gone. But before things can go any further, Shirley appears to "greet" Mr. Cutler, taking him by the hand and actually pulling him along in her direction. He allows himself to be taken, still staring at Don and trying to figure out what is going on, while Don grasps from her sudden appearance and insistence that the word is going around and action is being taken... all without his involvement.

Shirley of course was sent by Lou, and once Cutler is in Lou's office the Creative Director is demanding to know what the hell is going on, warning that he has a 2 year contract and if they're bringing Don Draper back that doesn't change the fact they have to keep paying HIM... hell, he'll sell newspapers down in the lobby if he has to, but he isn't getting tossed out after only a few months because the guy he replaced has suddenly shown back up as if nothing has changed.

Cutler tells him to calm down, promising that he is going to get to the bottom of this. Lou though is furious, because for as much as Don is miserable and trapped in that Creative Lounge, Lou is miserable and trapped in his office. After all, Don IS still a Partner even if he's basically been forced out of the company, and Lou finds himself in the not unsympathetic position of feeling like a prisoner on a floor that technically HE is the boss of. Jim assures him they're going to ask Don to leave, finally getting Lou to relent and let him leave, but not before he warns him that he has seen this kind of thing before with employees who refused to go.... he may need to call Security. Jim considers that, and it's clear he isn't entirely adverse to the idea.

At the farm, Betty returns from washing her hands, commenting that there were a lot of bees over where she was, Bobby happily showing off his knowledge by explaining they live in "drawers". Betty opens the bag to fetch her meal but finds it empty, and asks what happened to her sandwich, confusing Bobby... what does she mean? Betty points out that there were TWO sandwiches, and Bobby grasps that at least, brightly explaining that... he traded it!

Oh God, Bobby :cripes:

With Susie Rodgers, he explains when Betty is confused, pointing to the bag of gumdrops she gave him in exchange for the sandwich since she didn't have one. Except, of course, that was Betty's lunch! When she tells him that, it only dawns on Bobby now that of course the second sandwich was for her, and he leaps to his feet promising to go get it back. But Betty stops him, grunting that it is fine (oh sweet Jesus oh no) and snapping at him to sit down when he says he is sorry. He does as he is told, but apologizes again, explaining he didn't know she was going to eat.

"There were two sandwiches," she offers back icily, and while she has a point she also isn't considering a couple of factors: first being that he has long experience with seeing her NOT eat when he has lunch, and to in fact barely eat anything at all especially when she was losing her gained weight; secondly being... he's a loving child, he did something stupid because he's a dumb kid!

But while her bad mood is understandable, what follows isn't. Bobby offers her the gumdrops, a sweet if not particularly constructive gesture of reconciliation, and she tells him she doesn't want them and he can eat them. But when he responds sadly that he doesn't want them, his taste for the candy obviously soured by this situation, he face turns hard and she DEMANDS he eat them. Sitting and smoking, she glares and watches as he miserably, tastelessly chews and swallows candy he has no desire to eat, all as a petty revenge from an adult on her child for making a dumb mistake that any kid could make.

At SC&P, Cutler waits impatiently in Cooper's office with Bert and Joan, and finally Roger arrives, acting like he has no idea why they've called the meeting, having to be reminded to remove his shoes.... and it becomes immediately obvious that he STILL hasn't spoken to anybody or discussed the fact that he told Don to come back, even after meeting Don downstairs himself! He just... went to his office and sat around!?!

Cutler demands to know why Don is there, and now Roger takes on a more combative tone, insisting that Don is back because he came to him in remorse and said he was ready to come back. When Cutler mockingly points out that is too bad since they fired Don, Roger is quick to correct him: they very deliberately did NOT fire him, they chose to put him on leave. The fact they did that as a way to give Don time to exit with some dignity is irrelevant, they haven't fired Don which means he still works (and is paid to work!) there.

Roger is often useless, frequently lazy, and more often drunk... but he's also somebody who knows how to get his way and usually gets it (which is part of why he falls apart so badly when he doesn't), and though he had to be dragged into this confrontation now he is here he has an answer for everything, which makes the fact he hasn't brought any of these points up earlier all the more maddening not just for the viewer but for the Partners. He reminds them that Cutler's exact words were the time off was to give Don time to think, using the fact they diplomatically avoided finality in their wording against them. He insists he would have never agreed to FIRE Don, and asks Cooper if he really thought that is what they were doing when then forced him out.

Cooper admits that he didn't NECESSARILY want to fire Don and was open to him perhaps coming back... but it was unlikely, and he certainly didn't expect a return to happen without discussion. But Roger jumps on that too, the days when he was cowed by Cooper as the ultimate authority long behind him, if he wanted a discussion as a group then they're here right now, so they can take a vote! Cutler is fine with that, assuming he has the numbers, especially since he will vote for Ted in absentia (impossible to say how Ted would ACTUALLY vote, he owes Don big time but he's also completely checked out of the business) with Roger countering that he will vote for Pete.

Joan attempts to throw some actual debate into the mix as opposed to just drawing a line in the sand. She admits that Don is a very talented man... but does he fit into the current SC&P? She reminds him that what they're doing now WORKS, they have a successful business that is continuing to build and grow and they're all making plenty of money... do they actually NEED Don Draper anymore? Cooper agrees with her that they're still mopping up the damage Don did while he was there, not liking that SC&P has a reputation and feeling that Don would only damage it more if he returned.

But Roger points out part of the reason SC&P isn't more highly regarded in spite of its impressive size is that their Creative is invisible right now. For all his faults and the fact he is an Account Man, Roger has always credited and championed the power of the Creative side of Advertising, and right now SC&P is NOT known for that, when it was part of the initial appeal of the merged Agencies thanks to the dual powerhouses of Don Draper and Ted Chaough. They received ONE nomination at the CLIOs, and he puts that down to Lou Avery: as Creative Director he chose not to submit anything he couldn't have his own name on. THAT is the real reason St. Josephine's wasn't submitted, he didn't want Peggy nominated or even winning for a campaign that was spearheaded and executed by her before he was anywhere near the Agency.

Even Cutler's defense of Lou demonstrates the man's shortcomings: "Lou is adequate." That is all they were looking for when they replaced Don, somebody they could slot in who would do the job, who has a history at a major Ad Agency, and wouldn't create the tumultuous and emotion driven Creative atmosphere that Don fostered. But Cutler is actually more interested in something that initially feels entirely tangential to the discussion at hand: Harry Crane.

Joan is bewildered as to why Harry's name would come up now, while Roger simply shrugs and agrees they can fire Harry right now, it doesn't bother him! But no, Cutler is actually (STILL!) championing Harry in spite of his attitude and open deceptions: he thinks they need to invest in a computer, and the reason it is relevant to this conversation is because the Agency is still too dependent on Creative Talent.

"You're still speaking for Ted?" Cooper offers wryly.

But Cutler sees things in terms of business sense. Creativity is great and all, but what attracts clients and therefore money is the ability to demonstrate facts and figures and target consumers with specificity to increase the likelihood of purchases. Like Lou he feels that the Creative side of advertising is over-rated, what is more important is a simple idea aimed with precision at the right people. Ironically, he's arguing for largely the same policies that Duck Phillips once insisted would be the way going forward for the PPL-owned Sterling Cooper.

But Roger insists that creativity IS the key, calling Don a genius. Cutler doesn't care about genius though, he cares that Don is costing the Agency a fortune, trying to reduce this to purely a matter of dollars and cents. Except that when Roger - who found himself troublingly in the sights of Cutler last episode and may be enjoying the chance to flip the tables - accuses him of hating Don, Cutler lets slip a more human element to his push to remove Don from the Agency, as he insists he doesn't hate Don, he just hates what Don did to Ted.

Oh my. There it is. Cutler doesn't know the truth, that Ted begged Don to give him the LA position to save his marriage. Like Peggy initially thought, Cutler has assumed that Don engineered his own request for the LA position in order to maneuver Ted into taking it instead and remove him from the picture. Cutler has fallen into the same trap many schemers do, assuming that the other side is as invested in getting one over on you as you are on them, and ascribing motive where there is none. Cutler has been trying for months now to orchestrate things so the former CGC (or really, Cutler and Ted themselves) are on the ascendant, and has only been able to see Ted's exile and now Roger's attempt to return Don to the fold as an effort from the SCDP side to shift the balance of power.

Cooper cuts off the argument to remind them both this isn't about Creativity or otherwise, it's purely a financial decision. Roger disputes that, making it clear he thinks Cutler has an emotional investment in keeping Don out. But Cutler has recovered from his outburst and lays out simply facts: Don draws a sizeable salary and has a partnership stake, all of which is significantly more expensive than a computer.

Roger points out that Don has a contract and Cutler snaps he is in breach of it, and Roger loses his cool, because on that he knows he stands on solid ground: Don is NOT in breach of his contract, he was placed on leave by THEM. That means the are contractually obligated to pay him his salary, that he retains his significant stake in the company's fortunes, and if they DO fire him then they are financially obligated as Partners to pay him out for that share.

Suddenly Cooper and Joan, who seemed rock solid in their anti-Don position, are shaky. Roger is right, and that's a big financial hit for them to take. Cutler senses he is losing them and points out that yes it'll hurt, but it'll be more profitable in the long term... and finds himself taking yet more hits on finances from Roger Sterling of all people. Because Roger actually has the projections, he has seemingly done his homework, right now they're projecting profitability in 1973 and Cutler is recommending adding a big and unnecessary financial loss on them NOW? And if they do fire Don and buy him out, they also lose his non-compete clause. Does he REALLY want to see Mary Wells sitting on Don's lap the next time they go in to present to a client?

In other words, they might not value Creativity but there are big agencies out there who do, and they'd all snap up Don Draper in a second if he was available. Hell, big Agencies have tried WHILE he is employed by various versions of SC&P already. That Creativity that Cutler doesn't seem to think is important would be turned AGAINST them, with the man leading the battle against him being Lou loving Avery, hardly an inspirational thought.

Cutler has no response, and when he looks to Joan and Cooper he sees that Roger has gotten through to them. How they didn't see this coming is hard to say, maybe they really thought Don would just quietly make his exit and disappear from their lives. Maybe they thought he would flee to LA to live happily ever after with Megan. Maybe they thought he was a spent force, drunk and burned out and no longer a threat. What Roger has - belatedly! - just hammered home is that the man who was the powerhouse that helped build their Agency to its current status (including the merger!) is downstairs wanting to return, and they're arguing they want to set him loose to work AGAINST them!?!

Henry Francis returns home to Betty in the kitchen while Bobby and Gene eat quietly at the table. He asks how the farm visit went and just gets silence, Betty instead asking how his day was as he gives her a kiss. He asks if she has eaten, and she takes a moment before making sure to say loud enough that Bobby can hear that she isn't hungry. Then just in case he didn't get the message, turns to look at him and adds,"I was hungry. But now I'm not."

For gently caress's sake, Betty.

Henry has no idea what she's on about, and she shakes her head that it was a long day before collecting Gene and telling him she's going to go give him a bath. Once she's gone, Henry asks Bobby what happened, more amused than worried, figuring it probably isn't a big deal (in the grand scheme of things it isn't, but still). Bobby quietly stares at this food, then finally offers a childish but sweetly philosophical response.

"I wish it was yesterday."

His father may be thinking the same thing. He's spent an entire day in the Creative Lounge, the anticipation of the night before met by disappointment much like it has for Bobby. Now people are leaving work for the day and he's still here, nothing better to do and nowhere to go, trapped in limbo unsure if anything will come of this day beyond the abject humiliation of returning to a place he wasn't wanted and being tolerated and avoided until he can be told to leave.

But there's one more hit to come. Peggy Olson wisely chose to just ignore him presence and go about her business, but now that the day has ended she steps in to acknowledge his presence at last, asking how his day went. He takes a moment, grinning at the absurdity of what he has been through, and admits it remains to be seen. But she wasn't asking to be friendly or share stories, it was just a preamble to ask him a more direct question: is he coming back?

"I thought so. Now I'm not so sure," he admits, and she considers that for a moment before offering back a very direct observation to a man who could potentially be her boss again soon, in this moment when he is in limbo and she has some freedom to speak.

"Well, I can't say that we miss you."

That pains him more than he wants to admit. Peggy was once his secretary, then a copywriter, then his protege, then his successful peer... but even if he wasn't the one responsible for Ted's pathetic "sacrifice" she still blames him for his part in creating an environment so toxic to everybody, after dragging CGC into his life and upending her own happy position in his continuing quest to "fix" everything with some grand gesture to attempt to fill the void inside himself. He may not be the reason Abe left her, that her affair with Ted was so disastrous, that she's now trapped working for an old fashioned and uncreative numbers man like Lou... but he was a core part of the environment those things happened in.

"Thank you, Peggy," he observes sarcastically, and she simply walks away. Once again his mask drops, hurt in a way he'd never admit, but again largely reaping what he has sown.

It's not so different for his ex-wife. Betty lays on the bed with a now clean and sleeping Gene cuddled up beside her, watching television. Henry joins her, asking for an account of what happened at the farm, saying he couldn't get it out of Bobby. She complains that it was a perfect day and BOBBY ruined it, and Henry takes that in and asks with good-natured seriousness how that can be possible. Maybe she knows explaining HOW would showcase just how ridiculous she was being, or she just feels he wouldn't be able to understand, so instead she asks the question that is really the underlying crux of the matter, the thing that has been on her mind since that lunch with Francine.

"Do you think I'm a good mother?"

Of course he does, and when she bemoans that her children don't love her he points out that Gene is currently cuddled up in her arms as an obvious sign that this isn't true. But that only enhances her misery, because she insists that it is only a matter of time. She doesn't outright say it, but Sally's disdain for her has been bothering her a long time, and now Bobby's thoughtless action just makes her believe it is an inevitability that as her kids age they will detest her or do things to hurt her. Not that their actions are just immature thoughtlessness or the natural testing of boundaries by human beings becoming their own distinct individual personalities, but that there is a cruel intentionality that somehow she is to blame for.

At SC&P, Dawn comes to find Don in the Creative Lounge, letting him know that the Partners want to meet with him in the Conference Room. Now that the moment has finally come he hesitates, the waiting was bad enough but now is the moment of truth. Putting on his suit jacket and adjusting his cuffs, he follows her into the Conference Room where the assembled Partners await. Through the glass he can see Lou Avery glaring from beside Shirley's desk before he stomps back into his (former Don's office) and slams the door, not happy regardless of what he knows about what will come next.

Roger motions to him to seat after he quietly greets everyone, and he finds himself symbolically seated beside Roger but with the other three across from him, a divide that suggests the numbers are against him. He tries to make small talk, asking how Cooper is, then can't help get a dig in by pointing out to Roger that he assumed this is the meeting they would have BEFORE he came in.

He apologizes for disrupting their day but notes his own was productive, he's now caught up on everything, trying his best to couch this in terms of him being not only ready to return but that it is an inevitability. Cooper doesn't let him dictate how this meeting is going to unfold though, simply stating that they've had their discussion and reached their conclusion.... they want him to come back to work.

A wave of relief washes over Don that he does his best to contain, though the smile that briefly crosses his face has just a bit much of that old smug belief that he could get away with anything in it. Getting himself somewhat under control, he notes he is pleased to hear that... but they're not done. There are stipulations to his return, and Joan makes it clear that violation of any of them will result in not only his termination but also re-absorption of his partnership shares.

In other words, they've found a way around the financial hit they'd take by firing him. They'll bring him back with an amended contract that means if HE fucks up (and let's be honest, they probably think he will) then he loses his partnership share at no cost to them. It doesn't prevent the issue of losing his non-compete clause if they fire him, but they can deal with that if it comes up, and in the meantime if they have him working for them it removes that problem... so long as their stipulations keep him in line.

But what are those stipulations? Simple enough: he cannot be alone with clients; he must stick to scripts in meetings; those scripts MUST be approved before the meetings by the other Partners; and there will be NO drinking in the office outside of client hospitality. Don looks to Roger, who of course has always been happy to not only partake but to encourage day drinking, but he just shrugs since obviously these were conditions he had to agree to as a sop after forcing this issue in the first place. He explains that Don will be based in Lane's old office now rather than taking Lou's back, and Cutler adds the final humiliation: he will report directly to Lou.

That slightly smug smile is gone now. After an agonizing day of waiting, Don walked into this meeting and initially heard that once again he was going to get away with everything. That's all changed now, his return is not a return to the status quo but an entirely new situation. He gave up (potentially) his marriage for this? A chance to return to an Agency that doesn't want him, that he actively tried to abandon himself just before they kicked him out, to stifle under restrictive rules designed to stamp down everything that made his work enjoyable in the first place. He has options, the offer from Wooster is on the table, Megan is right there in Los Angeles and though she said it was over she made it clear she was hoping he would understand how she wanted him to "fix" it... or he can sign this new contract and return to a lesser version of what once was.

They slide the paper across the table to him. Don picks it up, absorbing the pile of poo poo they just handed him, the leash they want to force around his neck, the insult they have presented him with perhaps in the hopes that he'll do exactly what Don Draper always does: lash out at not getting his own way and and storm out. He frowns, the distaste clear on his face. This is a man who actively fought to not have a contract, who revels in creative freedom, who speaks out eloquently in the moment and weaves spells in fits of inspiration to charm clients. Now he is being told he must follow a script. He must do as he is told. He will have no authority. He stares at the paper, and then without the slightest hint of hesitation or concern gives a simple, straightforward and seemingly untroubled response.

Episode Index

Jun 19, 2012

drat it Jerusalem, I was about to go to sleep. now I won't be able to until I finish this episode's write up! :keke:

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

Ugh, sad Bobby eating those gumdrops breaks my heart

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

GoutPatrol posted:

Ugh, sad Bobby eating those gumdrops breaks my heart

When Bobby first tells her he traded the sandwich it's like,"Oh goddammit, dumb kid!" but it's also a very kid thing to do. Betty being irritated about it is perfectly reasonable, but holy poo poo does she go way overboard with it. Even in the moment you could kind of understand, but she's still taking it out on him HOURS later.

Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


He frowns, the distaste clear on his face. This is a man who actively fought to not have a contract, who revels in creative freedom, who speaks out eloquently in the moment and weaves spells in fits of inspiration to charm clients. Now he is being told he must follow a script. He must do as he is told. He will have no authority. He stares at the paper, and then without the slightest hint of hesitation or concern gives a simple, straightforward and seemingly untroubled response.

You might as well stop watching now Jerusalem, because Don slots into his new place seamlessly and everything turns out fine, as you probably figured out.

Jun 19, 2012

Torquemada posted:

You might as well stop watching now Jerusalem, because Don slots into his new place seamlessly and everything turns out fine, as you probably figured out.


Jerusalem posted:

Roger is often useless, frequently lazy, and more often drunk... but he's also somebody who knows how to get his way and usually gets it (which is part of why he falls apart so badly when he doesn't), and though he had to be dragged into this confrontation now he is here he has an answer for everything

it's pretty fun to watch Roger get going in this scene. we rarely ever see him get aggressive during a negotiation, but he knows exactly when to push. it's pretty obvious that he prepared for the meeting even though at the start of the scene he looks completely incompetent and even submissive, possibly because he's still coming down from getting stark drunk

Jul 23, 2007

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

In one of the early seasons, Roger said that the advertising industry frequently comes down to "I don't like that guy." And here Don is given a second chance simply because Roger misses his drinking buddy.

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~

My read on Roger's 1973 breakeven point was not that they're currently on track to profitability in 1973 but that it would take them that long to make back the cost of buying out Don, but maybe I misunderstood.

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

My read on Roger's 1973 breakeven point was not that they're currently on track to profitability in 1973 but that it would take them that long to make back the cost of buying out Don, but maybe I misunderstood.

Yeah that is my read of it. They are sometimes pretty nebulous on what percentages each person has in the company besides Pete and Joan having a minor stake compared to the others (Joan with 5%.) I don't remember if they ever fully solve the issue of Lane and Gleason's shares - it is kinda presumed they were eventually bought out at some point.

Also I was always sure that the Don/Roger scene is at a hotel, not in Roger's home - it looks like an old-fashioned hotel suite to me. The BLT line always sounded like room service.

Jul 23, 2007

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

So went founding the company Don, Roger, and Cooper had 25% and Pete and Lane had 12.5%
Joan wanted 5% which takes 1% from each of the partners.

If she keeps that 5% constant after the merger (which I believe is confirmed later). Then there is 95% left for all the other partners. If they want to keep it even between CGC and SDCP, then it would make sense for Ted and Cutler to have 25% each. So 45% is left for Don, Cooper, Roger, and Pete. I think Pete says he has ten percent and it would make sense for Pete to have less than them but more than Joan. So I think Don/Cooper/Roger would all have slightly under 12%

Edit: If they want all the senior partners to be equal, it's 17 for everyone but Pete and Joan.

KellHound fucked around with this message at 23:28 on May 29, 2022

Nov 30, 2004

There's something really sexy about Scrooge McDuck. I love Uncle Scrooge.

I forgot that bit about getting Lane's office. That is just mean.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

My read on Roger's 1973 breakeven point was not that they're currently on track to profitability in 1973 but that it would take them that long to make back the cost of buying out Don, but maybe I misunderstood.

I was curious about that, because it seemed to me that he was talking about their current situation and how eating a further hit by buying out Don would lengthen the time before it paid off in profit. I know the company has been bringing in plenty of money but I guessed their expenditure was outstripping their revenue in the short term with the promise that the big money to come from their Chevy deal (and other big companies) was going to make it all worth it and get them big profits in the early 70s. Their merger seems to have put them in a position where they're spending a lot but it is paying dividends in terms of building their status and bringing even more business along with it.

Entirely possible I just read it wrong though and Roger had the facts and figures checked already and figured out what buying out Don would do to their bottom line.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

farmer crack rear end has the right of it, him saying 1973 before we're even implies theyre dipping into their war chest to buy him out and it wont be back up to the level its currently at until then, which is a big deal because they have to constantly be dipping into that money for spec work on pitching to potential new clients, all the wet lunches, etc.

Jun 19, 2012

clearly "it'll be 1973 before we're even" is a confusion tactic meant to disarm Cutler, because as we all know, 1973 is not an even number

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

I loving love this episode for one big reason: I would also miss Don.

Yeah hes not a good person, not a good boss, and a terrible spouse. But hes an incredible drinking buddy and he is funny and charming and cute. And.. I dunno. Hes trying. He really HAS been good (my own spouse shouted HE HAS when he says it to Megan, lmao), and he is trying his loving best since his nervous breakdown in the Hersheys meeting.

If I were in rogers shoes - rich and white and already successful, but bored at work - I would miss Don too. And to be honest, I dont think anyone in the show completely hates him. They just hate what Don does to Don.

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

also it was a banging episode otherwise and Bettys whole thing shows a lot how introspection is needed for her, but shes super denied it

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

Oh yeah and also because every time people realize Harry is awful is praxis actually

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Lady Radia posted:

Yeah hes not a good boss...

Which is all relative, really. I actually think the creatives *do* miss Don as a boss.

Lou is just a journeyman, has no particular spark or vision and is only there to do his job on a functional level. He truly doesn't care about SC&P's output, whether any given idea is actually good vs. superficially good enough for a client to sign off on it. And for people who came up through SCDP - not the account men, but copywriters or art department - that probably feels like poo poo. The entire point of SCDP was strong creative, making compelling ads that feel smarter and more impactful than the other guys. And Don's leadership was a big part of why. Yes, he was capricious and unreliable and often a massive hardass about it, but the work was good.

Clearly, the money people don't give a poo poo. Cutler or Cooper or Joan are inclined to trust the computer, and appreciate Lou's reliably boring results. But Peggy is frustrated by it, and I'd guess Ginsberg or Stan are equally miserable. The CGC creative team probably is, too...Ted was no Don, but he wasn't *not* Don. Under Lou, they might as well be at Dancer or any other place Lou has ever worked.

That's my guess as to why Don is basically holding court in the creative lounge. SC&P has been zombie-walking through tedious bullshit concepts for months. A lot of people miss Don, because at least under him they were putting *something* interesting out into the world.


Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

Crane is one of the best to watch on a rewatch. Everyone else slowly slowly attempts some matter of actualization and improvement and then Cranes over here just rolling around in the poo poo.

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