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May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

In 2007, a little over a month after the final episode of The Sopranos aired, a new television show began on AMC. Called Mad Men, it was the creation of one of The Sopranos regular writers, Matthew Weiner, though he had come up with the concept years earlier while working on comedy-drama series Becker and gotten the gig on The Sopranos based on the strength of the pilot script.

Centered on a fictional advertising agency in New York during the 1960s, the series was a period piece and an immediate success for AMC. It would run for 7 seasons and win a multitude of awards and launch or enhance the careers of multiple members of its cast. It remains to this day a series regularly spoken of as well-deserving its company with other great prestige dramas.

And I've never seen it.

When the show came out, it was lauded and absolutely on my radar to watch. But I just never did, the one episode I ever saw I loved, but then I figured I'd wait for it to finish and catch up, and when it finally did I just never got around to it. Every time it came up I thought,"I must get onto watching that show" and then something else would get in the way and I'd forget about it. But while doing write-ups of episodes in The Sopranos thread, people asked me to do Mad Men next, and became very insistent when I admitted I hadn't seen it. Since the old Mad Men thread appears to have fallen into the archives, I decided that is just what I'd do.

This thread is intended as a watchalong thread, but also a discussion one. I'll be doing write-ups for each episode in the same vein as I've done in The Wire thread and The Sopranos thread. Unlike both those series though, I'm not coming into this having seen the entire show multiple times and knowing everything that happens backward, forwards and sideways. I am going to watch each episode blind, not knowing what is coming or where anything is going.
As a result, my write-ups (which, be warned, tend to be extremely long) are likely to have takes or cover themes that end up going nowhere or prove to be hilariously wrong or misguided. I think that will be part of the fun though, seeing the show unfold as it happens and seeing where I get it right and where I get it wrong.

This is intended to be a discussion thread, and I will try to keep new episode write-ups coming frequently. That said, I understand people may be eager to talk up things that happen in later episodes and I would kindly ask you make use of spoiler tags when doing so. This is going to be a long-term project and I'm eager to encourage as much discussion as possible, but it would be nice for me and anybody else who is coming to this show for the first time to get the chance to be wowed by events as they happen.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Episode Index

Season One: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes | Ladies Room | Marriage of Figaro | New Amsterdam | 5G | Babylon | Red in the Face | The Hobo Code | Shoot | Long Weekend | Indian Summer | Nixon vs. Kennedy | The Wheel | Season 1 Retrospective
Season Two: For Those Who Think Young | Flight 1 | The Benefactor | Three Sundays | The New Girl | Maidenform | The Gold Violin | A Night to Remember | Six Month Leave | The Inheritance | The Jet Set | The Mountain King | Meditations in an Emergency | Season 2 Retrospective
Season Three: Out of Town | Love Among The Ruins | My Old Kentucky Home | The Arrangements | The Fog | Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency | Seven Twenty Three | Souvenir | Wee Small Hours | The Color Blue | The Gypsy and the Hobo | The Grown-Ups | Shut the Door. Have a Seat | Season 3 Retrospective
Season Four: Public Relations | Christmas Comes But Once a Year | The Good News | The Rejected | The Chrysanthemum and the Sword | Waldorf Stories | The Suitcase | The Summer Man | The Beautiful Girls | Hands and Knees | Chinese Wall | Blowing Smoke | Tomorrowland | Season 4 Retrospective
Season Five: A Little Kiss Part 1 & Part 2 | Tea Leaves | Mystery Date | Signal 30 | Far Away Places | At the Codfish Ball | Lady Lazarus | Dark Shadows | Christmas Waltz | The Other Woman | Commissions and Fees | The Phantom | Season 5 Retrospective
Season Six: The Doorway Part 1 & Part 2 | The Collaborators | To Have and to Hold | The Flood | For Immediate Release | Man With a Plan | The Crash | The Better Half | A Tale of Two Cities | Favors | The Quality of Mercy | In Care Of | Season 6 Retrospective
Season Seven: Time Zones | A Day's Work | Field Trip | The Monolith | The Runaways | The Strategy | Waterloo | Severance | New Business | The Forecast | Time & Life | Lost Horizon | The Milk and Honey Route | Person to Person | Season 7 Retrospective

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:48 on Oct 2, 2022

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 1 - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Alan Taylor

Don Draper posted:

We can say anything we want.

Following an incredible set of animated opening titles showing a suited man seemingly falling/leaping to his death from a high rise only to end up relaxing in self-assured comfort, an informative but frankly clumsy descriptor of what the term "Mad Men" means takes up a black screen. There was surely a more elegant way to get this information across, but it does offer a VERY important little tidbit: it was the advertising executives of Madison Avenue who came up with their own nickname. With the three words "they coined it", the show has already made it clear that the subject of their show will be utterly full of their own perceived self-importance.

It's 1960 in New York, and one of those Madison Avenue advertising executives - a man called Don Draper - sits alone in a crowded, smoke-filled bar scribbling notes on a cocktail napkin. Handsome, middle-aged, and well-dressed, he looks for all the world like somebody who should be enjoying the prime of his life. Instead he looks agitated, concerned even, his indecipherable notes bringing him no solution to his concerns. A waiter stops by to ask permission to clear his table, and Draper asks him for a light, spotting that the waiter smokes Old Gold and pointing out he himself is a "Lucky Strike man", seeing no issue with identifying either of them by the brands they choose to consume: if anything it is a point of pride.

Here though, even moreso than the smoke-filled room, comes the first reminder that this is a show set firmly in the past. Because before the waiter has any chance to respond to Draper's polite, charming observations, another waiter arrives at the table and asks if "Sam" is bothering him, scowling at his workmate and pointing out with derision that he can be "chatty". Because Sam is black, the other waiter is white, and the unspoken rebuke is that it isn't Sam's "place" to make conversation with the patrons, just quietly, invisibly clean up after them.

Draper is annoyed, not out of any particular liberal mindset or desire for racial equality (this is almost half a decade before the shamefully late passing of the Civil Rights Act in America) but because he'd spotted in Sam a chance to do what would eventually come to be called market research. He asks the other waiter to refill his drink, then continues to question Sam: why Old Gold as a brand? Is there anything he could say to make him change brands? What if Old Gold ceased to exist etc?

Sam, who clearly enjoys chatting but is also painfully aware of the dangers of doing so, offers short answers even as in spite of himself he feels himself warming up. When he was in the service (20+ years before the Civil Rights Act passed, guys like Sam were still considered "American" enough to fight in the war) he was given Old Gold as part of his supplies, and now that's all he smokes. He loves Old Gold and he loves smoking, even if Reader's Digest and his wife keep warning him they're bad for you.

Draper cringes a little at hearing the Reader's Digest article referenced, but he is delighted by Sam's "I love smoking" and scribbles it on his notepad. It's the closest he's come to an answer to the problem that has been bedeviling him all night. But as he looks around the bar, full of happy, laughing couples, groups, dates and one nights stands, all smoking heavily and drinking, he grimaces. Is it distaste? Jealousy? Desire? Does he simply not understand why or how they can seem happy when he himself clearly is not. Or is it more simple than that? The music playing in the background is Don Cherry singing about wanting somebody to share a life with. Is Don Draper simply just... lonely?

Perhaps so, because despite the late hour Draper isn't done for the night. He knocks at the apartment door of a female artist named Midge Daniels who seems amused but not all that surprised to see him. She's burning the midnight oil too, working on greeting card designs for "Grandmother's Day", drawing little babies and cute puppies: work she clearly finds creatively unfulfilling but financially rewarding. She teases Don that he's lucky she was both up AND alone, and actually seems surprised when it turns out he really did come up to discuss work with her rather than looking for sex (which she seemed inclined but not enthusiastic to give him).

Draper is fixated though, admitting that he's spent all night trying desperately to come up with a new advertising campaign for Lucky Strikes. As ridiculous as it seems to modern eyes, for decades before 1960 advertising had sold cigarettes on their health benefits. Not anymore, the Trade Commission won't let tobacco companies claim that cigarettes are good for you anymore, and Draper can't figure out a way to spin the increasingly known fact that they are actually potentially lethal. 5 years earlier advertising companies responded to health scares by having doctors say they smoked, but all that is out the window now.
Enjoying his display of despair, Midge laughs at the idea that he's come to have her fire him up by telling him how smart he is. Hell, she thinks all this is a precursor to wowing her with a solution he's already come up with, but he insists it is the truth: he has nothing. Tomorrow he has to go to work and pitch a solution to the tobacco industry's enormous public relations nightmare, and he has nothing but an old waiter's shrugged,"I love smoking" to offer. Tomorrow everybody is "finally" going to know that he's done, a spent force, and the young advertising executives will sense the weakness and tear him apart.

There's a lot to pick apart in that "finally". It's almost 20 years before the term "imposter syndrome" would be coined, but that one word seems to indicate that Don Draper is somebody who has been living for some time with a fear of exposure, that his carefully groomed appearance belies an inner belief of his own inadequacy. Maybe it wasn't there when he was younger, but as he has gotten older he's found it harder to keep up the pretense. After all, he's an advertising executive, so it really any surprise? His entire worldview is about appearances, about the fact that the actual quality doesn't matter so much as your ability to sell the idea it has it.. but also about selling the new model, about in-built obsolescence, about something better always coming up right behind you.

So if she can't offer him any advice on how to sell killer cigarettes, Midge offers him the next best thing: a distraction. Popping open her shirt and enjoying the chance to get off the treadmill of pumping out saccharine greeting card designs herself, she lets him join her in a temporary distraction from their respective job troubles.

The next morning they lie in bed, and of course despite what they both know about the dangers, they're smoking. Don seems relaxed at last, and casually comments that they should get married. She's amused, does he think she'd make a good ex-wife? Still casually, he lists off the reasons they'd be a good match: she runs her own business and she doesn't mind his late comings-and-goings, what more could he want? But amused as she is, she isn't going to accommodate his flights of fancy, dangling his watch in front of him and reminding him he knows the rules. This isn't a relationship, it's an accommodation, two professionals who every so often get together to discuss the business and maybe enjoy a little sex. Midge is surprisingly modern (or rather, a reminder that our own view of 1960 is colored by media representations), and it's interesting to note the pleasure that Don seems to take in her independence.

Getting dressed, he complains that he now only has nine hours till his meeting with Lucky Strike, and he still has nothing to offer. Once again he raises the specter of that younger model coming to pick at his bones, mentioning a young executive who has clearly been eying up his office. All Midge can give him in return is a joke about trading in for the younger model herself, but also a deviation of what Sam told him the previous night: it doesn't matter what anybody says or knows, the fact is that people still love smoking. She clearly can't imagine anytime that smoking would ever not be a vice enjoyed daily by a majority of the American population.

On Madison Avenure, a tall building houses the Sterling Cooper advertising agency. Three of the hotshot young executives that Don Draper is feeling breathing down his neck ride up in the lift - Ken, Paul and Harry - demonstrating the cocksure arrogance of princes of the city. A young woman stands in front of them as they ride up, and they take great pleasure in openly and without any subtlety throwing "charming" comments her way about how much they're enjoying the view. Talk shifts to the bachelor party of another young executive called Pete Campbell, all while they openly leer at the young woman.

Once off the lift, they chide the lead instigator since the new girl will probably be assigned to one of them as a secretary. He's unmoved, smirking that you have to show secretaries the kind of guy you are so they will know the kind of girl THEY need to be. The others are amused but don't let this go uncommented on, joking that they're unlikely to be attending HIS bachelor party anytime soon. Despite this barest nod to the idea that women might be people too, though, they ignore and openly dismiss the protests of Campbell's secretary as they burst into his office to see him, where he's taking a call from his fiance.

Earlier, Draper told Midge about a "kid" who was eying up his office. It must surely be Campbell, because kid is exactly the right word for him. He looks all of 17 years old, a baby-faced little boy in a suit, and he simply exudes arrogance as he tells his fiance to go shopping and assures her the bachelor party will be a staid affair (as he is gleefully shown a pamphlet for "The Slipper Room"). He promises her that he loves her, after all, by marrying her he's "giving up his whole life for her" and with that "romantic" declaration hangs up. When the others laugh that her old man being rich probably had a fair bit to do with that, he simply smirks, and it's unclear if he's just playing along with the joke or has no qualms about admitting they're right on the mark.

The girl from the lift, meanwhile, is being shown her new workplace. She's Peggy Olson (played by the wonderful Elisabeth Moss), and today she starts as a secretary at Sterling Cooper. Showing her around is Joan Holloway, the officer manager who clearly adores her role as the major female authority figure in the firm. With practiced self-assurance she strides through the desks past secretaries, offices and account executives (who toss back openly appreciative glances at both women) giving Peggy happy assurances that with the right moves she can move into the city like so many of the other staff... or even better, hook up with an executive and never have to work again.

She brings Peggy to her desk, just across from Joan's own, as they'll both be taking care of Don Draper until Peggy is more firmly settled in. Being his secretary mostly consists of having a 5th of rye, bandaids and aspirin in her desk drawer for when he needs it. Joan it seems is somebody who both respects and looks down on the men of her time: on the one hand they're valuable catches who can look after you and make your life a paradise, but on the other hand they're little boys who want a mommy to look after them. They're simple to manipulate by using your body, but also clever enough to design complicated technology in a way that is "simple enough for a woman to use".

For her part Peggy just drinks it all in, either naive enough to be awed by Joan's smarts, or savvy enough to play to her ego. She takes no offense at being told to put a paper bag over her head and look at herself naked in a mirror to figure out where her "strengths and weaknesses" are; she is thrilled to be told she has "darling little ankles" that she should "make sing" for the men in the office; she is awed by the hyper-modern technology of a single one-button intercom, telephone and typewriter, and betrays no sense of frustration at being assured she'll eventually get her head around it.

Don Draper arrives with an older man in tow and both women quickly greet them, but are offered no more than a brief smile and a "hello girls" before being promptly forgotten. Peggy isn't acknowledged beyond that at all, but seems thrilled all the same, she's just had her first encounter with both her immediate boss AND one of the owners of the company.

The owner is Roger Sterling, and he can't help but notice that Don isn't looking at his best. Is it the tobacco thing? Don, his guard back up after briefly letting it down with Midge, is all projected confidence and swagger now: the tobacco meeting at 4pm with the owner of Lucky Strikes doesn't concern him at all. In a classic case of reversal, he asks Sterling if HE is concerned, and Sterling promises him if he was he would be asking Don what exactly he planned to pitch at 4pm.

The basis of their relationship is established expertly in this scene. They clearly know (and like) each well enough to be open about certain things, to joke in a half-serious fashion but also to take each other at their word. Sterling has enough confidence in Draper that he hasn't asked him to tell him what he will actually be pitching at this vitally important meeting with a gigantic client, but also aware enough of the firm's position to drop meaningful hints about how they can't afford to gently caress this up. Don hides his failure from Sterling, but makes no bones about having been out late at night, going so far as to change into a fresh shirt from a draw full of them right in front of him. It's a different culture, a different age, where men going out drinking all night and needing to take aspirin and a little day drinking to get through their hangover was considered completely normal. These "mad men" lived wild lifestyles, "rockstars" of their industry, and it was not only tolerated but encouraged... so long as they kept delivering the goods come pitch time.

That's the problem Draper has to consider after Sterling leaves (in search of a "Jew" employee to help make a Jewish department store client feel comfortable with them at an 11am meeting). He was easy and relaxed with Sterling, but the truth remains he's still no closer to anything to pitch to Lucky Strikes. The aspirin he swallows, the fresh shirt, the luxurious (for the time) corner office.. none of them are helping inspiration to strike, and time keeps on ticking.

He reaches for a chest expander to exercise with (while smoking, of course) and knocks a small box as he does so. What falls out is a purple heart, and he tucks it back away in its box with his name on it: it seems he was a Lieutenant during the war (presumably Korean rather than World War 2). He's interrupted by the arrival of his Art Director Salvatore Romano (an Italian-American, Draper offered him up as the closest thing to Jewish he could think of when Sterling asked) who wants to show off his prospective art for the Lucky Strike people.

There's not much to it, a sketch of his neighbor shirtless on a hammock with RELAX written in one corner, but as he correctly notes he's the artist, not the writer, this is all he has had to work with so far. Don notes that Lucky Strike will probably want sex appeal so he'd like a girl in a bikini next to the guy, and Salvatore - so clearly gay that I actually can't figure out if he actually is or not - completely overcompensates with his enthusiasm for the chance to sketch a sexy girl.

They're joined by Greta Guttman, a German psychologist who works in the Research Department, a division that both Don and Salvatore obviously have little time for. They're not research people, they're "ideas" people: inspiration, art, a catchy jingle, something that preys on people's emotional reactions. So they're less than impressed by the older woman's officious manner (they're used to women fawning over them, not lecturing them) and insistence that her surveys have found a solution to the problem of cigarettes killing people: market them to people with a death wish.

Those aren't her exact words, of course, rather she points out that Americans enjoy feeling like they're exhibiting an independent streak by ignoring or dismissing warnings about danger. Salvatore, in a very clumsy bit of on-the-nose writing, says the idea of somebody pretending to be something they're not is ridiculous. Guttman is insistent though, talking glowingly of her studies with Adler in Vienna before the war, of Freud's musings on the "death wish", and it's those words that give Don the ammunition to dismiss her entire argument. Calling it perverse, mocking the concept entirely, reminding her that it was her who found them the medical testimonies 5-years-earlier to claim smoking was fine, he goes so far as to dump her research into his wastepaper basket. He warns her to share her findings with nobody. Satisfied that she has done her job and now his failure will be entirely on his own head, she makes a dignified exit, knowing that neither man takes her seriously if only because she is a woman who dares to speak her mind or to insist they refer to her by her proper title of Dr. Guttman.

But once she and Salvatore are gone, Don lets the mask slip again. He's talking a great game, full of confidence and self-assurance, but he has nothing. Nothing. The meeting grows ever closer and he's tired and old and past his prime and that revelation will soon come to everybody else too. He settles onto his couch and sleeps, too exhausted to think, feeling like the fly he can see caught behind the panel of one of his ceiling lights.

He's woken just before 11am by Peggy, carefully shaking him awake to let him know Pete Campbell is outside so they can go to the Menken Department store meeting. That wakes him up, has Campbell - a clear rival if not now then soon in the future - seen him asleep inside? She promises him not, then belatedly introduces herself when he realizes he has no idea who she is. He asks her to entertain Pete while he freshens up, and is amused when she apologetically asks if she really has to, glad that she finds Pete as off-putting as he does. He also appreciates that she has brought him aspirin, and gulps it down before telling her to get Pete. As if he'd been outside waiting to hear those words, Pete is immediately an intrusive presence, walking through the door and smugly talking about Peggy as if she wasn't there, or was simply a nice piece of ornamentation to be admired without consideration of how she might feel.

That might be preferable to the alternative though, as he deigns to speak to her at last and immediately begins openly ogling her. He tells her to show off her legs, to tighten the waist of her dress, and actually has the temerity to be offended when she isn't wowed and asks Don's permission to go. Not unsympathetic to her plight, Draper gives her leave and she's straight out the door, though not before Don offers a mocking (towards Pete) apology for Campbell's behavior.

As Don and Pete head towards the meeting, Pete is laughing and joking with Don like they're two contemporaries, asking if he's coming to the bachelor party, wondering if he can have first crack at Peggy, making jokes about her reputation. Don waits till they're relatively alone and then oozing a sophisticated charm that completely knocks the 26-year-old Pete off-balance, lays out a withering indictment of his personality and character: advertising is a small world made smaller if he tries to sully the reputation of a young stenographer on her first day, and if he continues down the road he's on, then even if he does somehow get Draper's position (an admission he's fully aware of Pete's ambition) it's as far as he will ever go. He'll live and die in that corner office, a pathetic loser who women only sleep with out of pity.

"Because no one will like you," Don declares simply, the barest tug of a smile on his face, then turns and leaves a speechless Pete behind.

They enter the room, where Roger starts to introduce them to the client only for Don to gently caress up whatever confidence he'd regained from his takedown of Pete. Advancing forward, he shakes the male's hand and warmly greets Mr. Menken... only to discover that the woman beside him is Rachel Menken, and SHE is the client they're trying to woo. Making things worse, Don asks who the clearly uncomfortable man is, and Sterling tries as smoothly as he can to "remind" him that this is David Cohen from their art department. Don immediately pivots to declare David is a rising star, but as they take their seats he quietly notes to Roger that Cohen is wearing one of his shirts, and Sterling admits that he pulled Cohen from the mail room.

At the Midtown Medical Building, Peggy is using her break to suffer the utter humiliation of meeting with Doctor Emerson at Joan Holloway's direction to request birth control. Commonly to be known to history as "the pill", the oral contraceptive had only been approved for use by the FDA in 1957, but by 1960 it was still only available in certain States and then only under certain conditions. Doctors were only allowed to prescribe it to married women, and then only with their husband's written consent. There was of course always a difference between theory and practice, but Peggy's situation was far from unusual. Forced to lie on her back and undergo a gynecological exam by a (smoking!) doctor who simultaneously makes inappropriate sexual comments AND moral judgements, she is warned that he will take her off the medication if she "abuses" it, and warns that even in the modern times of 1960 America, "easy women don't find husbands."

But modern times are coming to America, whether men like it or not, as Don Draper is quickly discovering. He's been so focused on his 4pm with Lucky Strike that he hadn't considered the 11am Menken meeting might be anything but a walk in the park. After detailing a completely standard advertising campaign of television spots and 10% coupons to get people into the department store, he's flummoxed when Rachel Menken is utterly unimpressed. The best he can offer her is coupons? She doesn't care if they work, her store has six decades of history and shares a wall with Tiffany's, she's not in the discount market. Don doesn't know how to react when she reminds him that her father isn't here and SHE is, and it is HER whose opinion matters.

Things go from bad to worse when Pete tries to dance around the fact that she's Jewish and her store is likely to only attract a Jewish clientele. She cuts through the bullshit to straight up ask if that is what he means and he seems relieved to agree that yes, yes her being Jewish is the problem! Disappointed in the fact they offered the exact same strategy as her old (Jewish) advertising firm did, she critiques Sterling Cooper which was supposed to have a reputation for innovation. Don has had enough, declaring that he's not going to sit around and be spoken down to by a woman! Sure he's impressed by Midge's independence, but the idea of a woman actually giving him instruction or looking down on him - a man! - is beyond the pale. He storms out, quickly followed by Pete, and Rachel makes her own offended departure soon after. That just leaves Sterling and poor Cohen, who reaches for a drink and thinks better of it when he sees his employer glaring at him.

Pete follows Don down the corridors, assuring him he agrees that Menken was way out of line. Don, who already knows he hosed up, and more importantly that he pissed off Roger as well, comments that this is probably going to work out in Pete's favor. Pete stops him to give him a speech about how he admits he wants Don's job but not yet, and not at Don's own expense. He admits his own faults, agrees that Don's earlier assessment of him was accurate, and for a second Draper actually seems touched and starts to apologize for being so hard on him. But when Pete pushes it too far by declaring he'd follow Don into combat blindfolded and throws out a hand for a handshake, Don sees right through it. With a sardonic line about not wanting to get pregnant, he walks away and leaves Pete with arm foolishly extended. Looking around to make sure nobody saw his embarrassment, Peter grunts out a tiny little,"gently caress you" under his breath and storms away.

That's the problem with Pete. At 26 he's clearly smart and talented, and has a bright future... but the speed of his ascent has only added to his arrogance. He's the kind of guy who not only thinks he is smarter than everybody else, but that everybody else is too stupid to see the contempt he holds for them. His crude attempt to work Draper just not was embarrassing, not just because he was left with hand extended like a jackass, but because he thought that line about being a soldier under Don's command would work.

In addition to her humiliating visit to Dr. Emerson, Peggy has also picked up some specific gifts at Joan's command, the purpose for which she'll learn now. She's taken to the switchboard room, which Joan classifies as the nerve center of the entire office. These are the women she must always approach as a supplicant, never giving orders but only making requests, bearing gifts and never demanding anything. Opening the door, she points out Marge, Nanette and Ivy, who are expertly taking multiple calls and redirecting them via the switchboard even as Joan introduces them.

As they're handed gifts, Peggy listens wide-eyed as they chat with Joan and she picks up several key points: Don Draper's former secretary "moved on" because Don "wasn't interested"; She also couldn't get any calls through because she was rude to the switchboard operators; and they note she has good legs and that Don Draper would be impressed by them... if he could see them. Joan thanks them for their time and they wave a cheerful goodbye as they return to their calls.

The dreaded 4pm meeting has arrived at last. Lee Garner Senior, owner of Lucky Strikes, is complaining bitterly about "Government interlopers" who aren't satisfied with their "safer" cigarette. All the men cough in the smoke-filled room, another one of those clumsy little writing moments, before Garner goes on to warn that one of his rivals is now being sued because of the health claims they made about their cigarettes, a fate Garner wants to avoid. Roger explains that "media manipulation" is what has caused the public to believe cigarettes are somehow linked to fatal diseases like lung cancer. Garner and his son dismiss this, pointing out their father/grandfather died at 95 from being hit by a truck after a lifetime of smoking... besides, they pay Sterling Cooper to manipulate the media for them! Sterling agrees with them but points out regardless of the reason, the law now says they can't claim health benefits... and then turns at last to Don Draper for the moment of truth.

Nothing comes.

As he feared all along, there would be no last second reprieve. No flash of inspiration. Don is lost at sea, he cannot think how to advertise cigarettes without avoiding the public perception that they're dangerous. He opens his notes, he stammers, he mentions how he is a Lucky Strikes man.... and that's it, that's all he has to offer.

So Pete makes his move.

Standing up, reveling in the attention, the chance to shine, he holds forth on his brave new campaign: so what if cigarettes are dangerous? Likening it to driving a car despite the fact people die in those too, he proclaims the answer is to say people know cigarettes are dangerous but don't care, if you're a man you'll smoke anyway because you have to. Garner Jr, middle-aged but used to being the young man in the room, isn't entirely put-off by this idea, "if" cigarettes were dangerous then maybe this might work? Garner Sr is having none of it though, because cigarettes AREN'T dangerous, and is Pete really suggesting a slogan of,"You're going to die anyway. Die with us"?

Pete is warmed up though, and says the fatal words: death wish. This knocks Draper out of his daze as he recognizes the term from his earlier meeting with Dr. Guttman. Pete explains the psychological principle of the death wish and says they just need to tap into that. But Garner is revolted, selling death? They're not selling rifles, they're selling cigarettes! Disgusted at the notion that this is what America - which he claims the Indians "gave" to them - has come to, he can't believe Sterling Cooper is throwing this at them as an advertising idea. Seeing his father has no interest, Garner Jr says it is time for them to go, and they all raise from the table, Sterling as well, watching one of his biggest clients about to walk out the door. As they go, Garner Jr admits at least every other tobacco company will be having this problem too, and that finally does the trick. Don Draper finally sees the light.

All this time, he's been trying to think of a way to do business as usual, to get around the restrictions that prevented their successful prior advertising campaigns. What he hadn't truly considered until Garner Jr mentioned it is that it is a level playing field, a blank page. Because NONE of the other tobacco companies can advertise the way they used to, everybody has to change up their game, and that gives them the opportunity to get in first.

He asks Garner Jr how they make their cigarettes, and Garner Sr is outraged to discover his son actually doesn't know. So he takes Don through the process, who seizes on the word "toasted" in the process. Eagerly he writes on a blackboard "Lucky Strike: It's Toasted" and beams with pride back at the Garners, who are confused. Garner Jr points out that EVERYBODY's tobacco is toasted, but here Don corrects him: no, everybody else's tobacco is POISONOUS.... Lucky Strike's tobacco is toasted.

Beaming, Sterling turns with pride back to the still confused Garners, so Don gives them the sell, charming the socks off them as he explains that advertising is about happiness: the smell of a new car, the assurance of driving down the road and seeing a billboard that tells you that everything is okay. "You... are okay" he says almost wistfully, in complete denial of Guttman's (and Pete's) embracing of the death wish. Garner Sr finally sees what Don is selling, assurance for the customer, and returns to his seat happily, already seeing the returns from this campaign with the added bonus of his competitors still scrambling to find their own twist. Sterling is thrilled, his confidence in his old friend has paid off yet again, while Pete almost protectively touches Guttman's red folder and considers how badly he misplayed his hand.

Don and Roger celebrate in Don's office, where Sterling admits he was worried and Draper in turn admits that he really did have nothing and simply pulled this win out of thin air. That doesn't bother Sterling though, the point is that he DID pull something out, and reminds him that he's still hoping to convince Don to work on a Presidential campaign too. Draper isn't keen in spite of Sterling's selljob on the obvious pluses of the candidate: a young, handsome Navy hero... yes, America is going to fall in love with Richard Nixon!

Ken, Paul, Harry and Pete come spilling into the room barely seconds after an attempted warning from Peggy via the intercom. They've brought alcohol to celebrate Don's success in the meeting, Pete saying he told them all how amazing he was. Don flashes the briefest scowl Pete's way before his calm face returns, while Sterling decides to make his exit now that the "mid-level" executives have arrived. Before he goes though he asks Don to consider turning his charm on Rachel Menken to make up for the disastrous 11am, and Don says it's really been enough magic for today... so Sterling offers back the magic words: "she's worth 3 million dollars."

Funny how seemingly locked-in gender, race and religious beliefs completely fall apart the moment large amounts of money get involved.

The executives want Don to join them for Pete's bachelor party but he begs off, an unmistakable snub that Pete tries to blunt by insisting Don will join them later and leaving a Slipper Room pamphlet on his desk. But Draper stops Pete as he is leaving to remind him of something: he'd have used Greta's research if he thought it was worth using. He ignores Pete's protests that he doesn't know what he's talking about, reminding him he had the only copy of the file and there's no magical machine that can make a copy of a paper record in an instant! Pete, to his credit, shows a little backbone by noting that even if the pitch fell flat, he still thinks Greta's research was right. Don, perhaps just because he's in a good mood, maybe because he sees the value in not making unnecessary enemies, steps up and gives Pete the handshake he denied him before, and wishes him a fun party.

Pete makes his exit, and Peggy approaches to thank Don for making her first day so easy, as well as congratulate him on how well the meeting went. Taking the opportunity after a full day of hearing how important it was to get "Mr. Draper" to like her, she lays her hand on his meaningfully, staring at him waiting for the inevitable.... and he removes her hand and offers her two pieces of advice that Joan should have: he's her boss, not her boyfriend, and if she ever lets somebody like Pete into his office to rifle through his wastebin again she's fired.

Horrified, she promises that Pete told her he'd left a fountain pen behind and had no idea he stole the file. He's said his piece and moved on already though, dismissing her with a request to put through one last call for him before she leaves for the day.

At the Slipper Room, Salvatore has joined Ken, Paul, Harry and Pete, where he insists that he plans to do more than look at pretty woman tonight. Several show up right then, having spotted well-dressed young men without dates throwing around money to the waitresses and figuring they're likely to welcome them with open arms and buy them drinks. As the women take places between the men, Salvatore agrees happily with one who says how much she loves a place that is hot, loud and filled with men (very subtle writing here).

One of the girls flirts playfully with Pete, but he goes from 0-60 in a second, reaching down and strokes one hand up her leg. Still laughing but insistent, she pushes his arm away, but when he continues to try his luck the laughter stops and she tells him firmly that enough is enough. He still isn't done though, and when she tries to suggest to the others they go he clamps down firmly on her wrist. "You're hurting me" she grits through a forced smile, and this gets the attention of the other men as well who cast him questioning looks. Realizing at last he's taken things too far, Pete releases her, promises sulkily he will be good and tosses money on the table, telling the waitress to bring the girls whatever drinks they want. His would-be conquest quickly slips over to join the safer Ken Cosgrove, and asks what they do for a living. They're the best drat ad-men in New York... hell the world! is the answer, and they all laugh, except for Pete, who continues to sulk at being told no not for the first time today.

At a far less hot and loud Zebra Lounge, Don Draper has taken out Rachel Menken to follow up on Roger Sterling's request to make up for his disastrous morning performance. She sips on an enormous Mai-Tai as he apologizes for treating her like anything other than a client, assuring her it was mostly down to stress over a different client before admitting that this really doesn't matter or excuse it anyway. She admits in turn it was actually refreshing to hear somebody say out loud all the things she's always assumed people think about her anyway. She's no stranger to being overlooked or dismissed purely because of her gender (or religion), but it's usually couched in polite or coded terminology.

With that unpleasantness out of the way, he asks her with obvious fascination WHY she wants to run her father's business. It's a genuine question from him, he is after all a product of his time, and he simply doesn't grasp why any woman would choose the headaches of business (and dealing with people like himself) when she could simply get married, have kids and be "happy". Irritated, she points out that as a woman she is not allowed to ask him questions like that, and if she was a man she wouldn't have to make that choice. In any case, all she has ever dreamed of is turning her father's store into the success she always thought it could be, and even if she hadn't, she's never been in love anyway.

Don, feeling on firmer ground now the apologies are out of the way, is amused by the notion of love. He declares love is simply an invention by people like himself to sell things like nylons. She's never felt in love because it doesn't exist, at least not in the storybook, billboard advertising sense. There is no happily ever after, no perfect relationship, no perfect partner. It's why he lives like there is no tomorrow, because there isn't, only the enjoyment of today. Rachel listens to all this and comes to a realization, that he doth protest too much. He was too impassioned in his defense of his lifestyle, too fired up after the laidback mockery of her concept of love. With disturbing precision, she notes that she suspects he understands too well her own condition of always feeling somehow disconnected, an outsider. For her it is due to be Jewish AND a woman... so why does HE feel that way?

Now he's shaken again, his usual smooth patter replaced by awkwardly failing to meet her eye and nervous asking if she wants a drink. She doesn't, but she will let him off the hook in another way, he can tell Sterling he charmed her, and she will see him on Monday morning... for a REAL campaign pitch. He gratefully accepts this, for all his joking that Sterling was a whore, he can't deny that a client worth 3 million dollars is more than worth forgetting silly little things like gender over.

Pete, meanwhile, is not being a good boy. Drunk as a skunk, barely able to stand, he's not dropped around to see his fiance and her mother as promised. Instead, he's tracked down Peggy to her tiny apartment in Brooklyn, where the door is answered by her suspicious roommate Marjorie. Reluctantly she gets Peggy who assures her she knows the very drunk Pete from work, then steps outside and closes the door on her. Pete mumbles that he's getting married on Sunday, that she probably thinks he is a creep... then does himself no favors by stepping forward and sniffing her hair. But when he explains he wanted to see her, that he had to see her, she does a surprising thing. Calling out to Marjorie, she tells her she is going to bed, then quietly opens the door and reenters her apartment... and takes Pete with her.

Who IS Peggy Olson. In this first episode, knowing nothing else about her beyond what is shown, everything up to this point has seemed to indicate she is exactly what she appears to be: a young, somewhat naive girl stuck in an incredibly lovely part of history for her gender. But this move with Pete leaves me pondering everything before now in a new context. Is she playing a game? Putting on an act? Is the fresh-faced young girl act simply to make her more appealing to men she wants to trap? Once her move on Don Draper failed she was clearly off-balance, is this why she grabbed at this opportunity when Pete - who make no mistake is a GIANT creep - showed up at her door. Is he a backup plan? Does she intend a relationship? To be a mistress? Does she harbor fantasies of replacing his actual fiance? Blackmail? Or is she simply what she appears to be, a naive young girl overwhelmed by Madison Avenue and romantic ideas of the type of love Don Draper made up to sell nylons?

The episode is essentially over and there's more than enough there to have really captured my interest. The production design is of course top-notch, the actors are excellent and their characters well-realized, and there is a kind of horrified fascination in seeing the blatant racism and misogyny just nakedly in everybody's faces at all times without feeling forced. If anything, it is normalized, a reminder that not all that long ago in a time that was considered "modern" these backward concepts weren't just the province of a select minority but almost a blanket population-wide mindset. If the episode had ended with the Peggy/Pete scene I'd have been intrigued enough, but there is one more scene that acts as a double whammy on top of that one.

Don Draper rides by train through a raining night, then catches a cab that drives him out into the suburbs far from Madison Avenue, Midge, Rachel, the Zebra Lounge or the Slipper Room. He enters a charming, well-appointed suburban home and walks up the stairs to the bedroom, where a blonde woman lies sleeping. She wakes when she hears him, and a wide smile crosses his lips. She called his office and was told he had left for the day, so when he didn't arrive home she assumed he was staying overnight in the city again. There's food in the oven if he wants it, but he only seems interested in beaming with adoration at her, kissing her, loving her.

He tells her he'll be right back and heads to another bedroom, where two children lie sleeping peacefully, angelically in bed. Cupping both their heads in his hands, he is filled with happiness at the sight of his children. His wife steps into the doorframe and looks at the paternal scene with her own sense of adoration: Don Draper, loving husband and father.

Who IS Don Draper? Has every single thing he has said this entire episode been a lie? His marriage offer to Midge? His proclamation of hedonistic short term excess to Rachel? His contemptuous dismissal of love or happily ever after? Or is THIS the lie? This suburban home and perfect family? After an episode in which he dominated almost all the screen-time, in these last couple of minutes I find my entire idea of who Don Draper is completely thrown for a loop. I have no idea who he is. And, based on the final image of this episode...

...I'm not entirely sure Don Draper knows who he is, either.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 02:25 on Sep 27, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It should really come as no surprise given the Sopranos alumni present in the credits, but it really is remarkable how assured and confident the pilot is. This doesn't feel like a show trying to find its footing, it feels like we've walked fully formed into a pre-existing, breathing world with characters who have real history. There are some clunky moments in the writing that stand out mostly because they're so few and far between, like the too-cute comment about there not being a magic machine that can make copies of things. The only thing that I was really sour on was the on-the-nose writing for Salvatore. It's one thing for him to be in denial (or overcompensating to hide) about being gay, but lines like,"Why would anybody pretend to be something they're not?" feels incredibly awkward. I'll be interested to see if that gets more subtle as the series continues, or how they adjust for the character.

GoutPatrol posted:

Are you referring to Dick when you're talking about Paul Kinsey? Did they gave him a different name after the pilot?

I ran off the pilot script for the names of people that weren't explicitly named in the first episode, it's possible I had an older version that gave him a different name (or I just screwed it up!). The names of the three young execs hanging out with Pete were listed as Ken, Dick and Harry, is that inaccurate?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Thanks, I've edited Paul's name in and removed Dick's, hopefully it won't take too long for me to become more familiar with the various supporting characters' names.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 2 - Ladies Room
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Alan Taylor

Joan Holloway posted:

You might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

Don and Betty Draper enjoy a relaxed, enjoyable dinner with Roger and Mona Sterling ats Toots Shor, where the booze keeps coming at Sterling's laid-back but insistent direction. Their salads are prepared at the table while the conversation flows smoothly, Sterling fondly remembering his childhood nanny Belva (the German girl with the enormous bosom who preceded her was fired after the Lindbergh kidnapping) and the meals she would prepare him as a child. Betty, eager to be involved in the conversation, notes they've flirted with the idea of a nanny but are so far sticking with a part-time maid/babysitter.

It's all very charming and enjoyable until the conversation naturally comes around to Don himself: what about HIS childhood? Did he have a nanny? Betraying not a iota of unease, he smoothly rejects answering the question, first joking that he is saving the story for his autobiography before insisting it's a rather dull story and not worth knowing. Betty, adoring wife, claims that she knows better than anybody that her husband doesn't like to talk about himself, an idea that Roger seems surprised and amused by: an Ad Man who DOESN'T like to talk about himself?

Roger, of course, DOES like to talk about himself, and like so many incredibly wealthy people, he likes to complain about how tough he has it. His sixteen-year-old daughter is going to see a psychiatrist, a notion he finds ridiculous even if Mona points out that many young people see them nowadays. It seems she wouldn't get out of bed, and the word "depression" would have a different connotation to this foursome than our modern sensibilities. Roger's reply probably goes a long way towards explaining her dejection though, as he "jokes" that he can't wait till he can marry her off and she becomes another man's problem.

The ladies excuse themselves to use the bathroom, leaving the men to relax alone for a moment in companionable silence. Roger makes an astute point that largely went unnoticed due to the focus on Don: Mona doesn't talk about herself either, in fact he jokes he feels like he knows Betty better than his own wife.

In the ladies room, Betty struggles and ultimately fails to open her lipstick, her fingers fumbling over it. Forcing a smile, she asks Mona to please help her, noting that her hands appear to have gone numb as if it might just be a common occurrence. Mona of course notes that she's never experienced it, but is happy to do Betty's lipstick for her, complimenting her lips while sternly telling her not to smile and make it harder to make her look pretty. (gee I wonder why their daughter has depression). Betty enjoys the compliment though, but admits things have been tough recently what with the kids and running the house... and timidly mentions that her mother died recently. Mona simply stares back, a friendly acquaintance but certainly not a friend, offering no comfort. The words,"I'm sorry" come not from her but a bathroom attendant, who is politely asking them to move on so other women can use the mirror. The two wives leave, with the African-American attendants watching them go and commenting sourly on their fashionable but tiny purses and the lack of tip, all but invisible to the other women.

Don and Betty drive home, and she revels in what has felt like a perfect evening beyond the odd numbness in her hands. Don too is beaming, arm around her shoulders and one hand resting rakishly over the steering wheel as he and the multiple alcoholic drinks he consumed drive them home. She gushes over how much she loves seeing him in social settings, how in control he seems and how clear his vision of what he wants seems to be. He's grateful for the compliment but also slightly surprised, noting that he likes to think he ALWAYS knows what he wants.

There's no tension between them though, even when she clutches at her stomach and admits her lobster and drinks didn't mesh too well it's said with a laugh and taken in good humor. She admits she drank a little more than she usually would, but she didn't want to offend Roger by turning down his drinks, after all he is Don's Boss and it is obvious he likes him. Don agrees, going to Toots Shor is a clear sign that Roger likes him... but it's the Four Seasons he wants to be taken to, because then he'll know Roger trusts him, and that is far more important to him.

Tension does slightly creep in when she brings up that Roger was very open about his childhood and this seemed like an invitation to share that Don didn't take up. Careful to maintain an easy air, he explains that he was raised to believe talking about yourself was a sin of pride. She's amused by the idea of a reverent Don Draper, and her still upset stomach puts an end to the conversation as she shifts away from him to sit by the open window and get some fresh air, but not before offering him a loving smile.

At home and in bed though (he is, of course, smoking), she can't shake her fixation on this giant gap in his life she doesn't know about. Did he have a nanny? Cornered, he grumpily says no he didn't, but when she starts asking about his parents he won't be drawn, instead using his considerable charm to distract her with a quip about religion, politics and sex before they begin to kiss and end a perfect evening in a physical way. But with the sex over and Don sleeping peacefully beside her, Betty can't sleep and can't shake the desire to know more. They're married, they have children, they have been together for years, but there is still so much she doesn't know about the man she is supposed to share everything with. "Who's in there?" she asks out loud, and gets the same answer she'd get if he was awake: none.

At Sterling Cooper, a glowing Peggy Olson has finally received her first paycheck and is over the moon: $35 (minus $6.75 FICA), she's loaded! Joan Holloway is amused by her excitement, assuring her the amount (roughly $245 in 2020) is nothing to celebrate beyond being her first one. But Peggy sees it a different way, this is proof of what she's been crowing about to everybody she knows for the last two weeks: she works in Manhattan!

They enter the ladies room, where Joan moves right past a crying woman without a second look or the remotest surprise. Peggy is not so callous, stopping and asking the woman - Bridget - if she is okay. Bridget just keeps sobbing, and Joan waves at Peggy to ignore her before heading into a stall. Peggy hesitates a moment then heads for her own stall, leaving behind the weeping woman uncomforted and alone.

In Don's office, his executives are gleefully unpacking a box of Gillette's latest product: Right Guard, a deodorant that comes in a new-fangled invention called an aerosol can. Gillette has the sole rights to the combination of deodorant and spray, Ken Cosgrove excitedly explains, and they have the advertising account to sell this concept. As he waxes lyrical on the "modern man" concept he wants to push, Salvatore and Harry start playing with the spray like a toy, grabbing Ken's and playing keepaway with it, mocking his poor basketball skills despite his height.

A sudden word from Don shuts them all up, at first it seems like the adult in the room is talking as he leans against a window frame and peruses the file on Right Guard, commenting that it needs further research. A tiny smirk though clues them in, and Paul gleefully asks who smells the worst, leading to the three of them stripping a protesting Ken to his undershirt and spraying him down with Right Guard.... just as Bertram Cooper, co-owner of the firm comes walking in. Peggy had tried to warn Don by buzzing him but he hadn't heard over all the giggling, and the old man glares at them, it seems the adult in the room HAS finally arrived... until he cracks a homosexuality joke about Sterling usually the one bringing the "navy" to the office.

Don is, as always, utterly smooth as he quips that they were working on a brassiere account and only just realized they can't sell them to men, and Cooper softly laments about how much yarn they could have moved. In this brief exchange we see that the culture of the firm is established from the top down, and that while Sterling and Cooper both are careful to avoid socializing with the mid-level execs (who in turn are intimidated by them), there is very much a boys club mindset here. Don stands high enough to enjoy a level of familiarity with both his bosses and his underlings, to attend dinner with Sterling and to crack jokes with Cooper who happily cracks them right back.

But he IS Don's boss, and that soon becomes apparent. Because Sterling is waiting outside sitting against Peggy's desk, and this is a full court press, they're here to make it clear to Don that they're no longer asking him to work an advertising campaign for Richard Nixon, they're telling him. Don doesn't outright refuse but he also doesn't agree, instead simply noting that not only does Nixon not want them he doesn't need them. He lauds Nixon's Checkers speech as a classic example of distraction from financial impropriety, what can they offer in return? The answer convinces him beyond any shadow of a doubt that this is going to happen.

Because just like their strongly held opinions about a woman's place crumbled in the face of Rachel Menken's millions, their disinterest in politics is swept away by the financial interests of their biggest advertising accounts. Proctor and Gamble, the United Fruit company etc, they all benefited greatly from a Republican Administration, and they want to make sure those good years continue. If the good years continue for them, the good years will continue for Sterling Cooper too, so Don Draper is going to run an advertising campaign for Richard Nixon regardless of Nixon's owns thoughts on the matter.

Behind Cooper but unnoticed by him, a fireball can be seen going up from Don's office, where the giggling executives are having more fun with the deodorant spray. Don notices it, of course, and he also can't help but notice as Cooper walks away that he isn't wearing shoes, his socks flopping along on the carpet as he wanders off to his own office. It's okay though, he's rich, so this just makes him eccentric.

Sterling tells Don to assemble a team and start working up files on potential rivals for Nixon like Symington or Kennedy (obviously the second choice!), so Don declines joining Paul and the others for lunch as originally planned. That is Peggy's cue though, it's lunch time, and she pulls out a paper bag which catches Paul's attention. He notes there is a pie cart that comes around he sometimes buys lunch from, but she politely declines the unspoken offer, simply saying she'll keep that in mind. Disappointed but unfazed, he says his goodbyes, and Joan pops over to compliment her on rejecting him. Peggy insists it was nothing so cruel, she just can't afford anything but her own lunch until after the first of the month. But when Joan sees the blackened banana and stale sandwich in plastic wrap she means to eat, she can't stand it, and offers to buy her lunch instead.

They pass into the tea room, where a large number of the staff have gathered because... well, it's lunch time! In 1960, Peggy eating at her desk was considered unusual, because everybody takes lunch at the same time and the office effectively grinds to a halt and empties out for people to have an actual, honest-to-God break from their work. Secretaries mix with copywriters mix with account executives, the latter of whom are laughing uproariously over a postcard Pete has sent from his honeymoon in Niagara Falls with the double entendre "the wettest place on earth" scrawled on it.

As Joan and Peggy pass, Joan suggesting they skip lunch and go shopping instead, they are overheard by the executives who quickly offer to take them to lunch, though Harry is quick to remind them he is married. Joan pretends to be of two minds, while Peggy makes the men preen by noting that they - dripping with deodorant - smell nice. She notices the postcard from Pete and casually asks if he's on honeymoon, but her face falls when they laugh about how he hasn't left the bedroom yet. It seems her peculiar decision to accept him into her apartment at the end of the previous episode wasn't some calculated move at all, but what she thought might be a precursor to something more?

At the cafe, Ken "charmingly" asks in a convoluted fashion if Peggy has a boyfriend, and Joan coolly declares that Peggy is looking AND like all the other single women is sorely disappointed by what's on offer. But the jokes and innuendo become progressively less charming and more ribald, as the men openly declare that there are bets going around about who will be the first to bed her, "joke" about paying her for sex, and Ken straight up places a hand on her waist and tells her to take the afternoon off so they can go to the zoo and "see what the animals are up to." She quickly begs off, saying she has work to do, and Joan smirks that no money will be changing hands today. With a complete lack of shame, Ken openly declares that he'll get his way with her eventually, all while Peggy is forced to hold a fake smile and pretend to Joan that she's unaffected by their crassness.

Back at work, Peggy settles back into her desk when Paul Kinsey arrives and cracks a joke about her having lunch with the "Hitler Youth". Uneasily she forces a smile (she has to do that a lot) and tries to explain it was a last minute thing, but he quickly puts a stop to that, obviously not offended. Rather he just wanted to give her a folder for Don to look through when he returns from his own lunch. As he starts to leave he pauses though, and with a grin tells her to feel free to look through it too. He leaves, and Peggy feels a wave of relief, not only was he not offended by her turning him down, but he's actually treating her like a person in her own right?

Free from at least one aspect of daily bullshit thought are Betty Draper and her neighbor Francine, who are having tea at the Draper home (and smoking, of course) as they gossip about the PTA and their new neighbor Helen Bishop... a divorcee. Betty is shocked, a divorced woman? In THIS neighborhood? To make matters worse, Francine gleefully shares, she has a nine-year-old boy and a baby. Betty is horrified at the thought of being alone like that without a man to lean on, while Francine has more material concerns: imagine having to still worry about money at their age! Spotting that Betty isn't quite on the same page she admits that wouldn't be the worst part of being divorced, but she is concerned that a divorcee on the block might somehow affect the real estate value of their neighborhood.

Realizing how quiet it is, Francine gets suspicious and calls for her son Ernie, and Betty similarly calls for her daughter Sally. They arrive, having been playing Spaceman, and Betty is livid to see Sally fully enveloped in a plastic dry-cleaning bag, sucking the plastic into her lips with every breath. She demands she come over that instant, glares at her... and warns her she better not have dumped the dry-cleaning onto the floor when she got that bag out!

Oh the 1960s.

Later that day, Betty drives slowly down the perfect street of her perfect neighborhood, her perfect children playing happily without seat-belts in (and over) the backseat. She passes a moving truck, staring in horror Helen Bishop - a woman around her own age - having to drag a large box up the driveway herself because she no longer has a man to do those things for her. Turning back to face the road, she feels her hand locking up once again with numbness, and struggles to get feeling back into them. Focused on her hands and not the road, she looks up and realizes with a shock she has curved off the road and into a neighbor's yard, knocking over their water feature as the slow-moving car comes to a halt.

For a moment she sits in shock, struggling to unlock her hands which finally respond, then clambers out of the car, at which point she belatedly remembers her children. Frantic, she pulls open the back door... and finds them lying on the floor giggling at the great fun of their tumble.

While his wife comes down from her fright, Don Draper is enjoying afternoon sex with Midge at her apartment. It's all laughter and relaxation until it's over, and as he lies basking in the afterglow finally notices that she has of all things a television. He's surprised and suspicious, he remembers her ranting about the evils of television and now she has one? Midge, no stranger to the way the minds of men work, immediately picks up that what he really upset by is the notion another man gave it to her. She tries to move past this petty jealousy but he continues to sulk, so in a fit of exasperation she hauls it up and shoves it out the window, causing an alarmed protest from a woman at some level below her. There, she demands, is he happy now? Don pauses for a moment, then agrees he is, which causes them both to laugh, and the tension passes. It's replaced by delighted alarm as Midge has her own delayed shock response and realizes how dangerous what she just did was, and runs back to the window to make sure she didn't actually hurt anybody.

Don returns home where Betty is feeding the children their dinner. They're thrilled to see him home and tell him about their adventure to the hospital where they got lollipops. Careful to betray none of their concern to the children, Don and Betty speak in broad terms about the accident and how Betty herself is doing. Don, feeling at least a little prickle of guilt, apologizes for being unreachable, explaining they were out to a business lunch and had to carry another executive called Freddy Rumsen out of the place.

The children are excused to watch Shirley Temple, and once alone Don asks more serious questions: what happened? Especially at only a little above 20 miles per hour? Betty admits she has been having trouble with her hands again, it seems that the event at Toots Shor was far from the first time. He insists that she needs to get this problem taken care of, that Dr. Patterson on Park Avenue is a quack who didn't thoroughly check on her. But while she, of course, agrees with everything her husband says, she explains that this time she saw an older doctor who offered the exact same advice that Patterson did, suggested the same tests she already did at Patterson's and learned they came back negative, and then told her the same thing Patterson has been trying to tell her: there's nothing physically wrong with her.

Don winces, because he knows what this means, and she confirms it. They want her to see a psychiatrist, and he's outraged at the concept, declaring this is just an easy out for doctors who don't want to admit when they can't figure out a real problem. Betty is doing her best not only to keep her composure but her "place", agreeing with Don while still reminding him that they've undertaken every physical check possible. When she timidly suggests she might have a nervous condition he barks that if she is nervous about driving he'll take her to a parking lot and practice with her. She doesn't know what to say, everything inside her is clearly wanting to scream at him that she needs help he won't let her get, but instead she goes with what a lifetime of conditioning has taught her is the correct choice: ask her husband what to do. What he declares is that they need a GOOD Doctor to look at her, and he'll go to Bert Cooper and get a recommendation from him since he's got his name up on the wall at St. Vincent's. Betty agrees with him of course but that doesn't stop him being angry, snapping at her to stop doing the dishes and leave it for their quasi-maid/babysitter to do later.

That evening before bed, Don does push-ups beside the bed and, with the benefit of time, has calmed down enough (especially having gotten his way) that he wants things to be back to normal. He jokingly jumps his push-up count from 12 to 98, but fails to get the smile or laugh he clearly expects. Pulling on his pajamas, he actually talks to her instead of at her, explaining that he does care and he does worry about her, calling her by her pet name of Birdie. She knows that, and seeing he has calmed somewhat she takes the opportunity to explore the notion further: she understands at last that Dr. Patterson was trying to lead her in this direction all along, and reminds him that psychiatry doesn't have the stigma it once did.

Don considers this, especially in light of her forgoing the Doctors and instead asking it of him, does HE think she needs a psychiatrist. Quietly he admits that he always considered psychiatry as something for unhappy people (like Sterling's daughter), and when he looks at her and their home and their children and their perfect life, he has to ask a question he finds unsettling... is she unhappy? Of course not, she assures him, and giggles when he asks for $35 (Peggy's weekly pay!) for curing her. "Whatever you think is best" she says not for the first time and far from the last, and with that he considers the matter settled. The lights go off and Don looks ready to fall asleep immediately, while Betty is left lying in the dark, her fears remaining unresolved, her unhappiness plain for all but her husband to see.

Don, of course, could just as easily ask the question of himself. He's ALSO got everything: great job, respect, a beautiful wife, beautiful children, a wonderful home. So why is he off sleeping with Midge, getting jealous of her possibly having another lover, and drinking and smoking his nights away in an effort to fill some obvious hole in his own heart. He can't understand why Betty could be unhappy, but either doesn't or won't ask the same thing of himself.

Distracted at work, Don smokes up a storm as he and the other executives wait in his office for Paul Kinsey's arrival. With a casual reveal that somebody committed suicide in front of his train on the way to work, he leaps straight into pitching the Right Guard campaign he and the others have worked up with Salvatore's art. It's a space age theme, astronauts and the future, and they're all very excited about it... until Don tells them astronauts are morons who pee their pants. They're startled, but he's largely ignoring them as he muses to himself, supposedly about the campaign but really of course about his concerns regarding Betty.

Even then his instincts are strong, as he notes that they're trying to market to the end user and not the purchaser. Men aren't going to buy Right Guard, it's going to be bought for them by their girlfriends or wives or mothers. So the campaign should be asking the question,"What do women want?" This kicks off the usual jokes, particularly from Salvatore, but Don isn't in a laughing mode. Smoking, considering, he ponders whether women still want cowboys? The strong, silent type (Gary Cooper?) who always bring the cattle home safe. Or is it something else? Some mysterious want they hide from men?

The others have no idea what to make of this, but what they do know is that Don isn't biting on their campaign pitch so they'll need to come up with something else. They leave despondent, Kinsey noting to Peggy when she asks how it went that at least he still has that novel he's been writing to fall back on. She's genuinely sorry to hear it didn't go well, and with boyish hopefulness he asks if she feels sorry enough to buy him lunch?

She does, it seems, as she takes him to the pie cart he told her about. He attempts to talk hip with Samuel, the African-American man who runs the cart, who replies back with dignified, smooth diction that his "sad drape" is lightweight and functional before politely telling Peggy the total of the meal. It's 60 cents, a not insignificant chunk of her bi-weekly pay, and Kinsey is quick to pay instead, giving Samuel a dollar and telling him to keep the change.

In a refreshing change of pace, Kinsey doesn't make lewd comments or make a move on Peggy. Instead he inquires about her time at Sterling Cooper, corrects her on her understanding of the structure of authority within the office, then takes her on a tour around the facilities. It's lunchtime so the place is deserted, meaning he can show her the media department, accounting and account management. As a copywriter, he takes great pleasure in mocking the talents of the Account Executives, and does a Rod Serling impression as he cracks a joke at the absent Pete Campbell's expense. She's not familiar with Twilight Zone though, and he's wounded by her admission she's not a fan of sci-fi either.

The tour continues into the Creative Department as he happily smokes his pipe, and they take a seat side-by-side at her desk to eat their sandwiches. There, Kinsey gains extra points when he notes that there are women copywriters, and while he feels you can always tell their copy from a man's, that isn't a bad thing: sometimes a woman is the man for the job. As he eats, he asks if she likes Ukrainian food, a clear if not unwelcome offer of a meal together, but she reminds him she still has work to concentrate on and with a whisper indicates that Don may still be in his office. Thanking her for the heads-up, he heads back to his own desk, though not without an amused admonishment for her reminding him of his earlier failure with Don when she offers commiserations.

Peggy is left alone, eating but for once not feeling isolated. Joan is friendly, her Boss isn't trying to get into her pants like every other man in the office, and now Paul Kinsey has spoken to her like a person and acknowledged the ability of women to do more than be secretaries or girlfriends/wives. This high powered Manhattan advertising agency is starting to feel more and more like a place she can fit in after all.

Lunch ends and the office is in full swing again when Sterling enters Don's office and finds him drinking alone. He comments half-joking that it should concern him how much of Don's working hours seem to be spent drinking, but has no qualms about joining him for a drink either, noting that 4:30pm is close enough to 5 to count. He's come to offer Don a friendly warning, Cooper is going to want Pete Campbell on the Nixon team and there'll be no getting around that. Clearly Cooper has some investment in belief in the young Campbell, because Sterling certainly does not. He scoffs at the fact Pete went to Niagara Falls for his honeymoon, it demonstrates a lack of imagination which for advertising is a great sin.

They sit quietly for a moment, and then Don asks the question that has been on his mind all day, and Sterling's immediate response sums up so much of this episode in a nutshell.

Don Draper: What do women want?
Roger Sterling: Who cares?

Don is searching though, and brings up that Sterling mentioned at dinner sending his daughter to a psychiatrist. Sterling pours himself another drink and flatly, dangerously responds that Don is mistaken, he never said that and Don never heard it. Don is smart enough to neither correct him nor apologize. Instead he simply sits and waits, and let Roger do what he does best: talk about himself. Without admitting to the psychiatry again outright, he acknowledges that in his experience the best thing to do with a woman when she is having issues is to hand her off to an expert to fix it, because he has no idea what they think or why. Don, keeping on safe ground, comments on a psychiatrist his unit had to contend with during the war and how nobody trusting him because he was a gossip. Sterling claims nothings changed since then, and goes so far as to exclaim that psychiatry itself is just a fad for bored women. What do women want? Everything, and more of it, all the time. His disdain is clear, as far he seems to be concerned, women are little more than children or animals, lesser beings and beneath him, to be indulged at times but also kept in firm hand. It is, unfortunately, far from a unique viewpoint for the time.

Don returns home where his children are watching People Are Funny, the same show that Midge was happily asking about earlier. He joins Betty in the kitchen where he admits that he was wrong when he said she had everything... and hands her a jewellery box with a white gold watch in it. She's thrilled by the present of course, but if he thought he could buy happiness in the same way Sterling claimed, he's soon proved wrong. Because as Betty brings him dinner, she asks whether he saw a bruise on Sally's face (he didn't) and ponders whether it was caused by the car accident (it wasn't) and what if she'd been scarred (she wasn't) and in some ways wouldn't that be worse than death? Living a long, cruel life with a horrible scar down the center of your face?

Don is horrified to hear all this come spilling out of her in a rush, but so is she. Trembling, she drops into her seat and he quickly moves to comfort her. Standing behind her, holding her shoulders, kissing her head. This is beyond his comprehension, far beyond any ability he has to fix, clearly beyond any simple physical medical condition. Despairing, she asks him what is wrong with her and he has to admit that, like the medical doctors, he doesn't know. Once again she asks him if HE thinks she needs to see somebody, and at last he agrees that she does. "Whatever you want," he tells her, and those words causing the faintest glimmer of happiness to shine through her despair. Because for once it isn't about what he wants? Or just the fact that he has at last acknowledged the problem at all?

Midge staggers home at 11am and is surprised to see Don seated in the corridor outside her door. She jokingly asks if he was fired, but when he tells her he called in sick after feeling upset from dropping Betty off at the doctor's, she's furious. Coldly, with almost naked contempt, she tells him not to bring "that" here. She's serious, she doesn't want to hear him talk about his wife when he's at her place, it makes her feel cruel, it's a reminder that she is the other woman, that she is a threat to his family but also that he has a domestic bliss and life that does NOT include her. No, she's not his wife (in spite of his joking marriage proposal last episode), she's the woman he sometimes has sex with, and now he's being jealous of her being with other men AND telling her about being with his wife? gently caress you, Don Draper!

Not wanting another woman in his life to be in emotional turmoil, he tells her she's right, then ponders if she has everything or nothing. She proclaims both, everything IS nothing. He's not much for philosophy though, but he is useful for something, she locked herself out of her own apartment and now that he's here he can climb in through the fire escape so she won't have to (at the moment it looks like she can barely walk a straight line). Now THAT is a problem he can solve, and he happily does so.

At Sterling Cooper, Salvatore asks Peggy if Don is in and she explains he called in sick. Without missing a beat Salvatore declares he's taking the day off too and she's not to tell anyone he was ever there, and turning on his heel he's immediately out of there. Lunch is coming though, so Peggy heads over to let Paul know she can't join him. She knocks at his door and he responds with a hearty,"Bienvenue!" She corrects him, it's not Bienvenue, it's Peggy! Rather than explaining, he pauses then simply calls out,"Hello!" She steps inside and tells him she can't leave the office since Mr. Draper isn't in.

Kinsey is amused, doesn't she know this means she CAN go out to lunch? She is worried he might call in though, and admits sheepishly that given this is her second week she doesn't want to risk anything, but she would like a rain check. Happily he steps up from behind his desk and comes around to join her as she happily tells her new friend how much she enjoyed the tour the other day... and then he's all over her, kissing her, telling her they can put the couch up against the door and have sex right there.

Startled, at first she tries to pretend it isn't happening, offering to go to the cart to get him a meal. But he keeps pushing, confused by her reluctance... but then he understands.... oh, she belongs to someone else? Dumbstruck, she listens as his imagination fills in blanks for her, he can't believe he made a move on Don Draper's girlfriend, he doesn't even like to sit in Don's chair! Realizing the wisdom of not correcting him, she doesn't agree that she "belongs" to Don, but does say there is somebody else. She quickly makes her exit, telling him there was a misunderstanding, and Paul is left ruing a lost chance, surely if she wasn't taken his 5 minute tour and 30 cent sandwich would have gotten him laid!

Instead, Peggy sits working throughout the day, all illusion of any male friendship dashed. As it grows closer to 5pm, she can't take it anymore and prepares to cover her typewriter and leave, but Joan catches her before she can go. Gone is the friendly (if sardonic) office manager, replaced by a cold stare and unflinching demands: the letters she typed after lunch after riddled with typos and unacceptable, she will have to redo all of them.

Some of the old humor comes back though when she sees the normally demure Peggy being aggressive, and she is even more amused when she discovers that Peggy is furious about every man from every corner of the office constantly making moves on her, leering at her, making lewd comments, trying to make her the dessert for their cheap lunches. Joan is delighted, pointing out that Peggy hasn't ever really experienced this kind of attention before, which Peggy unhappily admits is true. Cruelly, Joan explains that this is all down to her being the new girl, and since she's "not much" she might as well just enjoy it while it lasts.

With that horrifying bit of office mentor-ship out of the way, she leaves Peggy to type, but not before forcing Peggy to thank her for it. So Peggy types, and as she does, she's gratingly aware of every passing male staring, smirking, openly lusting over her (even Salvatore!). She suffers in silence, and only takes solace from one thing. Inside her desk drawer lies a hidden treasure, stolen from the noticeboard in the lunch room. Pete Campbell's postcard from his honeymoon is now hers, and she touches it and seems to take some reassurance from it. The creepy little man who drunkenly made his way from his bachelor party to her place for a single night of clumsy passion is somehow, someway, the object of her affection.

The correspondence done, she can hold herself together no longer. She retreats to the ladies room where she stops in front of a mirror to finally let it out and have a good cry. But when she arrives, she spots another woman sobbing in a corner. Face to face with herself in the mirror, seeing the crying woman and remembering Joan's indifference to Bridget earlier, Peggy makes a choice. Steeling herself, refusing to be just one more crying woman ignored in the ladies room, she keeps her eyes dry, her face controlled, and exits with her dignity intact, if not her emotional well-being.

Betty sees her psychiatrist, lying on a couch where she finally is given free reign to just talk. Uninterrupted, unprompted, uncorrected. She just talks and talks, almost a stream of consciousness, as he simply sits and writes and considers and lets her get it all out. It all spills out, and at the core of it is her mother and her recent death, and all the still unresolved issues she has from that death (and probably the life that preceded it). As she talks, she removes the watch Don gave her, and she smokes, and with a flat face she mutters words she clearly doesn't feel even if she believes in the wake of her mother's death: that they're all so lucky just to be alive.

Midge meanwhile is ready to go out and about on her independent way again. It's 7:30pm and she's all dressed up and off to a writer friend's reading where she jokes she'll have to act surprised that Jack Kerouac didn't show up. Don is asleep in her bed, and she tells him to lock up when he goes, showing him that this time at least she has her key with her. He gives her a kiss before she goes and she grunts that he stinks, but he insists it's a smell most women like. Then, instead of telling a woman what she thinks for once... he actually asks one. He asked the Junior Executives, he asked Roger, now he's finally asking a woman: what do women want? Her answer, of course, doesn't please him, because she says they don't want to be asked questions like that. But it does let him riff on some potential slogans, and with great pride he declares that what women want is any excuse to get closer.

"There's that ego people pay to see," smirks Midge, who gave Don an actual answer to his question only for him to reject it and make up his own on behalf of her gender.

From sex with Midge to dinner with Betty, Don takes her to Toots Shor on his own dime this time. She's thrilled of course, though anxious when asked by the waiter to decision on a number of potential side dishes. Don, of course, just says what he wants and is thanked for his choice and that's that. They enjoy their drinks, and Don gives her the giggles when he tells her that people are protesting paying for unlisted numbers by giving pornographic nom-de-phones like Pat McGroin.

Genuinely enjoying this happy, natural and romantic dinner, she holds his hand and lovingly tells him how nice it is, and he seems equally happy. They return home and she heads eagerly upstairs, and he promises to join her soon. First though, he takes a stop in his study to put through a phone call, apologising for the lateness. The person on the other end is not bothered, they were expecting his call and are ready to proceed. Without a hint of any moral or ethical concern, Betty Draper's psychiatrist proceeds to discuss in full detail the entire breakdown of her private session from earlier in the day. Don at least, has the decency to be ashamed enough to close the door, or maybe that's just because this discussion is private and not for Betty's ears.

After all, one continual message hammered home again and again during this episode is a sad reality faced by all these women in 1960. They "belong" to men. They are objects, prizes, burdens, territory to conquer etc. They have no real rights of their own, no expectation of privacy, no consideration that they might ever be in and of themselves people. Midge and Helen stand apart as independent women, and they're ostracized or considered lesser than. No wonder women cry in ladies rooms. No wonder Betty's hands go numb and she panics over imagined fears to explain the uncertainty she still feels in an otherwise perfect life. No wonder Peggy has to excuse and apologize and lie to get out of situations with men who are being monstrously sexually inappropriate towards her.

The episode ends with the door closing and the camera pulling away. The last thing we see before the credits is a long hallway leading down to the modern stove set into the wall. Just one more beautiful, expensive thing that ultimately won't bring Betty Draper the happiness she so desperately wants.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:13 on Jul 7, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I am amazed and impressed by how easily the show in its second episode took Betty Draper and immediately made her into such a compelling character, considering that she is entirely absent from 99% of the first episode and basically exists in the other 1% just to stare lovingly at Don. All while also having this fantastic running subplot of Peggy's miserable experience in the working world that acts as a kind of warped reflection of Betty's own unhappiness.

It was an interesting choice to have Pete completely absent after making him such a heavy part of the first episode. It's helped by him looming large by his absence: he's referenced, mooned over, laughed at, lauded and insulted by various different characters, and it's clear that in spite of his age he's firmly entrenched in Sterling Cooper.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I am being very careful about avoiding things behind spoiler tags! :)

Also I am currently writing up Marriage of Figaro, so that'll be up soon.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 3 - Marriage of Figaro
Written by Tom Palmer, Directed by Ed Bianchi

Pete Campbell posted:

I just... felt this calm come over me.

A peculiar thing happens on a train. An overweight, middle-aged man named Larry Krisinki spots an old friend and joyfully greets him. At first the other man, Dick Whitman, doesn't seem to know him, seems confused and perturbed as to why he is being accosted by this stranger... but then he admits he remembers. He continues to stare as the man happily recounts joyful memories of their time in Army training before the Korean War, of memories of another old comrade-in-arms he recently saw. Larry is thrilled but in a rush as they've reached his stop, but insists they get together to catch up. He gives Dick his card - he works for IBM, still better known as International Business Mechanics - and leaves with a big smile on his face. Dick Whitman is left behind, looking more than perturbed, looking genuinely upset. He doesn't notice the ticket collector who clips his ticket and grins with pleasure at the advertisement in the magazine Whitman is reading. Instead he stares at nothing, pondering.

Why is this chance meeting peculiar? Because Dick Whitman is Don Draper. He never corrected Larry, he was careful to offer nothing more than generalities: he's married and works "upstate", and he didn't give his own card in response to Larry's. What is this? Who is Dick Whitman? Is Don Draper living under an assumed name? Is this why he won't tell anybody about his childhood? How does he have a purple heart with Don Draper's name on it if he is not Don Draper? What the hell is going on? And if he is living under an assumed name, how terrified must he be of exposure now at this chance meeting on a train?

While Don Draper is having his brush with the past, the future of Sterling Cooper are boarding the lift to their offices, discussing France now having access to nuclear weapons. This serious talk (which they're not treating seriously) is forgotten when then junior executives discover one of their own has returned: Pete Campbell is back. He shakes their hands and takes their ribald comments in good taste, but he doesn't rise to the bait when they push him for details of the honeymoon. Instead he leaves them slightly off-kilter by revealing that something in him changed during the wedding ceremony, he feels different now. Not too different though, at only the barest goading he does brag that they never got around to doing all the things his new wife wanted to do because they were too "busy".

That's not the level of detail they want though, nor do they want his facts about Niagara Falls. The various secretaries greet him as he walks by and he's pleased if a little surprised at how friendly everybody is being... till he opens the door to his office and discovers a Chinese Family inside eating a meal, a chicken perched on a chair, and they angrily demand he shut the door. Everybody erupts into laughter, his return was NOT a surprise and they've been looking forward to pranking him like this, and he takes it in good stride. Everybody applauds and he laughs with them, while Don Draper passes by heading straight for his office, in no mood to join in on the fun.

Peggy, a spring in her step with the return of Pete, happily takes Don's coat and hat and hangs them up for him (he literally walks past the coat-rack she puts them onto while following in his wake), then lets him know that Mr. Romano, Mr. Kinsey and Mr. Crane are here for their meeting. It's to discuss the Secor Laxative Account, something they've been putting off for too long because none of them can think up anything. That by itself is enough to put Don in a bad mood, not helped by his earlier encounter, and he is in no mood to celebrate the "Chinamen" prank or their bad constipation jokes.

He's even less impressed by them referencing the same Volkswagen ad he was focused on in his magazine, grunting that he hates the ad and he hates the car. Harry is not so sure though, remembering how well Think Small worked out for them the prior year. Don has to admit it must be getting results if they're doing the same thing, and even cracks a joke about the "Chinamen" when Roger Sterling pops in to join them before pointing out the ad to him. Secor Laxatives has been forgotten, it's all about Volkswagen now.

Outside, Pete approaches Peggy's desk and she smiles warmly at him. Smiling back, he notes he's back and then awkwardly decides how to approach what's next, and she waits with baited breath to hear what he has to say.... and he points out that he should have been included in the meeting happening in Don's office right now. Surprised and disappointed, she hides it well, stammering out that he wasn't on the list because she didn't know he would be back. He prepares to head inside and finally, belatedly, decides to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and it's far from whatever schoolgirl fantasy she had in her head. He brings up the night he came to her apartment and she happily agrees she was there, and then listens in despair as he reminds her he is married now and things are different. With a herculean effort she pretends compassion and understanding, smiling and assuring him that as far as she's concerned nothing happened. Pete of course is immediately satisfied with this response and takes it at face value, and heads in to join the others. Peggy is left behind, forced smile dropping, miserable at the realization that their one night stand was simply that.

Inside the office, they're still talking about Volkswagen and Pete joins in. He thinks the advertisement is brilliant, while the others critique it for being more about the ad than the product, or failing to have the selling points that American cars do, or disbelief that a Jewish man would be spearheading a campaign to help a product first invented by the Nazis. But Don raises a good point, especially considering the fact he already established he hates ad and product both: for the last 15 minutes, none of them have been able to talk about anything else but this magazine ad.... a magazine ad in Playboy magazine of all things. That clearly means something.

Don reminds them that once again they've put off doing anything about Secor Laxative, and Sterling immediately excuses himself: he does NOT want to be in a room when his employees are saying they haven't been doing their jobs. The others promise Don they'll have something for him at their next meeting and beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind Pete. He takes a moment before going to greet Don, telling him he missed him, which causes Don to quip it mustn't have been much of a honeymoon.

It's a hurtful comment, and uncalled for, and even Don seems to realize it. Putting on a smile, he apologizes and notes it was meant as a joke, and asks him how he is enjoying married life. That's Pete's favorite subject and he quickly forgets the insult to explain how his wife - Trudy - has surprised him with her wit, and how he finds himself looking forward to going home tonight. Don grunts as one of his cuff-links falls to his desk and distractedly says he looks forward to meeting Trudy, while simultaneously not looking or paying attention to Pete in a clear message of,"The meeting is over, go away." Pete takes the line as a chance though, suggesting they get together for dinner with their wives some night. Don's response is as non-committal as Dick Whitman's was to Larry Krisinki's.

Joan and Peggy head to the lunchroom, where Joan hands off from her purse a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover she had borrowed from another woman. They giggle over the infamous book, exciting Peggy who of course immediately wants to read it. Joan laughs that off, declaring it's a bit too much for a girl like her and showing her one of the "four letter words" that helped make it infamous. Peggy is a little frustrated at being treated like a wilting flower, and even more intent on reading it when the other women talk about how the book demonstrates how men think marriage is a joke. Thoughts of Pete and forbidden love must be flooding her brain as she takes the book, amusing Joan who is also quick to make her hide it away before they head in among the bigger crowd of workers... after all, it wouldn't do to attract the "wrong element".

Rachel Menken is escorted into a meeting room by Pete Campbell, where Don, Harry, Ken and George Pelham have been listening to a bad joke about golf, doctors and dead wives. They quickly cut that chatter when they see Rachel, standing to attention as Don greets her and assures her that they appreciate her business. That's what this meeting is about, a proper and actual approach to achieving the business changes she wants via their advertising know-how. That's why George Pelham is there, he's from research and has conducted a thorough investigation into the methods employed by the same high end department stores she wants to turn Menken's into.

She listens, impressed, as they offer statistics, systems, philosophies etc that she can emulate... but she also takes time to slide over Don's cuff-link when it slips loose again, exchanging a warm smile with him that Pete Campbell can't help but notice. Warming up, Ken excitedly details the notion behind headless mannequins, and Rachel takes it all in and again appears impressed... until she quietly folds up her copy of the research and reminds them that HER Department Store already has many of the features they're so excitedly telling her to adopt. They've provided her comprehensive research into her competitors, but have any of them even BEEN to her store?

Looking at schoolboys caught out by a schoolmaster, the chastened men struggle for excuses or cover-ups. "I was on my honeymoon" offers Pete lamely, while Ken mumbles that he's been a few times and Harry compliments her on such a lovely "old" store. Don, seeing the lay of the land, declares to Rachel that he guarantee nobody in this room other than her has ever set foot in Menken's, but he will correct this oversight himself personally this afternoon. Seemingly more amused than irritated at this lack of thoroughness from the agency (they did at least clearly put a tremendous amount of work into their research), she agrees she will see him then, and Don is quick to pull rank on Pete and walk Rachel out of the room himself... another thing Pete can't help but notice.

As Don walks her out, he admits without hesitation that he wasn't irritated at his juniors for lying, but for not being able to sufficiently cover it up. This makes her laugh, a genuine surprised laugh. She remarks that there is something about him that gives her confidence, and with false humility he plays this off as the timbre of his voice. He's not even shaken when the chicken from the prank of Pete comes strutting by, simply introducing it to her as their newest account executive and getting another laugh from her. She tells him she'll see him later in the afternoon, and his response would send even more alarm bells ringing if Pete heard it: "It's a date."

Pete has heard enough though. On his way back to his office he's made a point of requesting Harry come with him. Harry thinks it is so they can revel in the fact that to achieve Rachel's goals they'll be working on her account for potentially up to a year, and raking in the cash all the while. That's not Pete's interest though, he wants to know if Harry noticed the obvious flirting going on between Don and Rachel?

If he thought he was being particularly perceptive, he wasn't. Yes Harry noticed, he figures everybody did, and what's the big deal if so? Pete admits that he's always heard the talk about Draper being a ladies man, but he's never seen that switch get flipped before and it legitimately surprised him. Harry, sucking a lollipop in an attempt to quit smoking, notes that some men want more than marriage provides, hell even he sometimes goes out looking. Not for "a bit on the side" he quickly assures Pete, more than he likes to enjoy the company of women every so often, though he admits he's never been good at flirting. But he's been happily married for two years now, and his wife remains enough for him. Pete, who until two weeks ago was considered overly sexually aggressive even for the horrifying standards of the time, calmly declares that he's exactly the same, and until today always thought Don was too. That makes Harry laugh, pointing out that none of them know anything about Don Draper, nobody from the office has ever successfully been able to get into his head.

Pete gets a reminder of just why he's so satisfied with his newly married life when his wife calls. She wants to know what he wants for dinner, and he is thrilled at having this question posed to him. He tells her, assures her he loves her, and this is the complete opposite of his smug near-contempt from the phonecall he had with her in the first episode. Hanging up, he declares with wonder that when he goes home tonight, his loving wife will have dinner waiting for him on the table. Harry agrees it's a wondrous thing, and the two men bask in the glow of newlywed bliss.

Don arrives at Menken's, and takes in a very upmarket store and a surprisingly dressed down Rachel Menken. She's dealing with one of her department managers over an issue with one of their younger salesgirls, and Don smirks that everybody hires young women because they cost almost nothing. Rachel isn't offended by this at all, she in fact seems to find it charming, and leads him through the lobby with a brief history lesson to explain how they managed to get such a prime location and building despite their inauspicious beginnings. They originally ran a small hosiery store on 7th Avenue, but the original owners of this building lost everything in the 1929 Crash and ended up selling the location dirt cheap to her father in 1932, and Menken's has held this high profile spot ever since.

The lobby is crowded, customers moving briskly through to each department and freely spending money. Don notes that this may be down to their Spring Sale, but even if it is that just further proves the danger of her strategy to "improve" the store: to get the customers she wants, she'll have to lose the customers she has. Raising prices will chase off the former but not necessarily bring in the latter, they have to find something that makes them willing to shop there in the first place, and makes no bones about the fact that figuring out what that is will NOT be easy.

They stop at a jewellery counter, where Rachel has a salesgirl called Carol bring out a tray of cuff-links, and picks out a pair of medieval knights for Don to replace his own loose cuff-links. He allows her to apply them, the brief physical contact clearly welcomed by both of them, as well as the somehow domestic intimacy of the act itself.

Moving on to the second paints a different picture of the store though. Downstairs was light, airy, open and busy. Upstairs is dark, quiet, subdued. A large woman is seated in a chair by a bed display showing a papa bear, mama bear and baby bear on different sized beds in front of a forest backdrop. Few enough people use this part of the store that the saleswoman has dozed off. Rachel admits she likes the quiet of the floor and seems almost motherly over the older woman sleeping in the chair. Don agrees the space has charm, but little appeal. It's too dark, too old-fashioned, and it makes the products they're selling seem old as well.

Rachel isn't done with the tour yet, though, and tells him it's time to see he favorite part. She leads him away, as the saleswoman belatedly jerks await and quickly gets to her feet to stand ready to be of service, well past the point it might have been useful.

Work is wrapping up at Sterling Cooper and Pete leaves his office to head home to that loving wife and delicious dinner. A group of executives and secretaries are all gathered together though, excitedly chatting and smoking. One secretary spots Pete and lets him know that they're going as a group to Lansky's, excited at the thrill of it all - it's Friday night, they're in Manhattan, young and about to go out on the town. Pete considers this for a moment, smiles in the knowledge of his superior evening of domestic bliss and wishes them all a good time, but he has plans. As he goes he pauses, spotting Peggy and smiling at her... and tells her that she looks nice. He walks away, and she watches him go, hungrily devouring the compliment.

What the hell was that? Pete's devotion to his wife is commendable even if it is largely down to the thrill of being newly married, and a smug belief that he's better morally than others is at least somewhat of a step up from the smug arrogance he displayed in the first episode that he was simply better than, period. But why stop and single out Peggy? Why tell her she looks nice after making it so clear earlier in the day that the ill-advised sex they had before his marriage was a one-off and nothing more could ever come of it? Does he have any idea of the impact this statement will have on her? Of course he doesn't, and even if somebody told him he'd probably declare that such thoughts never crossed his mind because of his utter devotion to his wife. But goddamn, Pete Campbell, even when you're trying to be good you're a piece of poo poo!

Rachel brings Don up to the roof of Menken's, displaying a fine view of Manhattan. But that's not why she loves being on the roof, it's for the dogs. In a cage waiting happily to see her are two German Shepherds named Carla and Leona, and their job is to be walked through the department store at night to sniff out anybody who might have tried to hide away in a nook or cranny somewhere. Don is as happy as anybody would be to see a couple of dogs, but also understandably nervous in case they view him as a threat. He gently reaches out for one to sniff his fingers through the chain-link fence, but they mostly just want to see her.

Rachel explains with nostalgic pleasure that when she was 9 she has her father's legal counsel add to the store's bylaws that every generation of Menken's dogs MUST be known as Carla and Leona. Don finds the story adorable, but also the idea that even at such a young age she was ordering men about. But it was also obviously a lonely childhood, the store was practically her home and her friends were the original Carla and Leona. "For a little girl, a dog can be all you need," she states, noting her mother died giving birth to her, and her sister was the only other company she had... and she far preferred the dogs.

Standing alone on the roof, a beautiful view of Manhattan behind them in the clear night sky, Don Draper reaches out and cups Rachel Menken's chin. "Don't tell me you were ever unloved," he states, and then leans in and kisses her. She returns it, and when they break away at last she is actually trembling, a mixture of passion and fright for what she just allowed herself to think and feel for perhaps the first time in her life... at which point Don destroys the memory forever. Thinking better of it only AFTER the kiss, he admits that he is married (he doesn't mention he has a mistress!) and her face falls. Kicking herself for her foolishness, she admits that she didn't ask because she didn't want to know, and chides herself for bringing him up to the roof and allowing something like this to happen in the first place.

What Don thought would happen next is unclear, but it certainly wasn't this. Getting her quivering under control, smoking a cigarette to calm her nerves, she fixes her face and becomes all business once more. Calmly she informs him that this is not something anybody can ever know... and that while the account will remain at Sterling Cooper, she doesn't want him running it anymore. Now it is HIS ego which is damaged, and she fixes him a stern glare and asks him a question he has probably never ever considered before, not for her and certainly not with Midge... why should SHE live some half-life running alongside his? She grunts she has some checks to sign and walks away, leaving him alone with the dogs. It's a first for him, he did the right thing (belatedly) and got chewed out rightfully for ever allowing the situation to happen in the first place. Unlike Peggy, she doesn't swallow her pride and do what she can to assuage the ego of the man who took advantage of her. She tells him straight to his face what a dipshit he is being and walks away with some level of dignity, and leaves Don for once feeling like the one who has been rejected,leaving no possible crack open that maybe there is still hope of something between them.

So Don collects his things and boards the train and to ride home to his beautiful wife and children. He's feeling utterly miserable, like the ground has fallen away beneath his feet, to the point he flinches when the ticket collector approaches to hand him the newspaper he dropped, almost as if he's expecting another Larry Krisinki. He hands over his ticket, lights a cigarette and tries to regain some sense of equilibrium. This morning he was Don Draper, confident and assured Creative Director of Sterling Cooper. Since then he's had his identity called into question, seen a successful advertising campaign he can't wrap his head around, failed to make progress on TWO clients and effectively gotten himself kicked off the latter, then raised and dashed the hopes of a bright, intelligent young woman who in turn put him in his place. It has NOT been a good day.

Saturday morning finds Don woken by his excited daughter Sally, thrilled that today is her birthday. He lifts her up and tickles her as she giggles wildly, reminding her that today isn't her birthday, just the party. For her it's all the same, today is HER big day and she can barely contain herself. Betty reminds him that the party is at 2pm and he needs to put the P L A Y H O U S E together, and he decides to joke to Sally that it will be difficult to put together a pony. She doesn't get the joke though, all she heard is pony, and she zooms out of the room in delight, crying out to her brother that she's getting a pony!

Betty is amused but still a little put out, there's a little girl who is fully expecting a pony now, but Don promises her all thought of that will disappear when she sees her playhouse. Betty leaves, and Don can't help but focus his attention on the cuff-links sitting on his bedside drawer... a fresh reminder of Rachel and the disaster of the previous evening.

Not long after he's out on the lawn, out of his regular suit and ready to just be a dad doing dad things on his little girl's birthday... though not without the aid for a beer from the fridge in the garage first. Then another one. And he continues to work, the playhouse slowly taking shape... at which point Sally and Bobby came racing outside super-excited to see the present she's not supposed to know she's getting yet. That's okay though, Don looks around to make sure Betty hasn't seen, then suggests his daughter go get daddy yet another beer, and off she races.

Inside, Francine the neighbor is helping Betty prepare snacks, complaining that due to her pregnancy cravings all she wants to eat right now is raw hamburger. Based on the numbers coming, Betty thinks they have enough, and runs through the guests... including Helen Bishop. Francine is shocked, she took her a pie purely as a neighborly duty but once she had the tray back she intended that to be the last time they ever had dealings. Betty though felt guilty when she met her while buying birthday balloons at the market and felt she had no choice but to invite her.

Francine remains dubious, hasn't she seen Helen.... walking? She... she walks! She goes out of her house and she just walks, and Francine doesn't like that!

In any case, Betty invited her and Helen said she would do her best to come and bring her son, though only if she could get a sitter for the baby. Francine expects she will, getting invited to a neighborhood birthday party will be a big deal for her as a divorcee. They stop talking to look out the window and admire Don working on the playhouse - he's such a great example of a father and husband, they adore him.

Mr. Dad-of-the-Year is onto at least his fourth beer and his bladder only has so much space. He heads inside to use the bathroom, and his need is great enough that he violates his wife's powder room to do it. Urinating into the toilet, he flushes and washes his hands, then remembers that every single towel in the room is designed purely to be seen and look pretty, not to actually have any function. This is his wife's domain and this party is spearheaded by her, in this rare instance he knows that SHE is in charge so he simply wipes his hands across his shirt instead.

Spotting him leaving the room, she chides him but he assures her he left the place spotless. He looks in the fridge, perhaps for another beer, but she reminds him the guests will be arriving soon and suggests he go take a shower. Francine offers to join him and they all laugh together, Betty included. After all, it's not like she did anything scandalous like take a walk.

The guests arrive as Betty prepares a jug of Mint Julep, bringing metal cups around for the guests including the very pregnant Francine who smokes and drinks alcohol without batting an eye. Children zoom around squealing and chasing each other, including one boy in leg braces and on crutches. Don, looking dapper though not as formal as his business-wear, exchanges a beer for a mint julep, but also offers Francine's wife Carlton the chance to get something a little stronger if he wants it. Francine is quick to answer on Calton's behalf, clearly having no desire for her husband to get drunker than necessary.

Henry Darling and his wife ask Don if he made a wonderful advert they saw on television recently, and he politely says he's not familiar with it. Betty, unable to stop moving and planning, goes to lay out the children's food, and Chet Wallace eagerly decides to tell a bad joke over his wife Nancy's protests. All the men laugh at a joke about how husbands hate their wives, apart from Henry Darling who puts a comforting arm around his wife - clearly the idea of "the old ball and chain" isn't something either of them find particularly amusing.

Carlton follows Don away from the group and makes a point of noting how nice the house and all his possessions are, declaring that the two of them clearly have it made in life. Don, who has everything and yet clearly lacks something and feels decidedly unhappy, takes a moment then forces a smile and agrees: yep, this is it, life is good.

The wives gather together in the dining room where they discuss little Kevin Farrelly, the boy on crutches. Like far too many he was a victim of polio and his mother Marilyn admits that though Kevin is determined she knows he is more than aware of his differences. But while her husband Jack is enraged any time somebody mentions the vaccine that was too late to spare his son, she takes a different view: he could have ended up in an iron lung, and what happened to their son will never happen to any other child, because the vaccine is there to stop the disease from spreading.

It's a lovely scene and Marilyn comes out of this scene shining. It's easy to forget that only 60 years ago, well within the lifetime of some of our parents or grandparents, polio was an epidemic running rampant and leaving people in terror. Today, thanks to the vaccine, it has all but been eradicated from the planet. Given the situation in the world today with COVID, it's nice to remember that these things do eventually become nothing but history.

Helen arrives with her son Glen, carrying a present in her arms and clearly nervous. She apologizes for coming in with apologies, explaining the sitter was late and half her things are still packed, so the only wrapping paper she had available for Christmas themed. Betty takes the gift, adorned in Santa Claus, and forces a smile while insisting every day should be Christmas. She leads Helen into the lounge where she introduces her to the gathered husbands, who are listening to a radio broadcast of The Marriage of Figaro (the title of this episode, more on that later) while, of course, drinking and smoking. All of them men say a friendly hello... very friendly in fact, Helen Bishop is divorced and attractive. Don takes Glen with him to get a sandwich and a BB Gun so he can join the others playing outside, and Betty leaves with Helen, leaving the husbands to share appreciative glances.

Betty stops Don on the way back, reminding him he needs to pick up the cake from Hightop but also requesting that he shoot film of the day. Don, who has been drinking all day, seems a little put-off by the order but she reminds him that he bought the camera specifically to record special days like this but always forgets to use it. Scolded and not feeling happy about it, but also not wanting an argument, he nods and trudges up the stairs to retrieve it.

Betty introduces Helen to the other wives, watched with great interest by Carlton from the lounge. He, Chet and Jack joke about the wives henpecking her to death then gossip about how her car - a Volkswagen, of course - won't help her find dates given there is no backseat. Jack jokes the last Volkswagen he saw he tossed a grenade into, and they all continue to laugh at their own wit.

In the kitchen, they're chatting about vacations over the Easter Break, and Francine declares that in Boca Raton mosquitoes aren't the only big noses you have to deal with. Betty knows enough to know that being so blatantly anti-Semitic is clearly wrong, but too timid to do more than to laugh and tell Francine not to say such things. Francine insists that there's nothing wrong with pointing out that they felt "outnumbered". She's not racist, you see, she just doesn't think it's possible to relax when around people of a different culture!

Talk turns to the seemingly safer subject of honeymoon locations, which turns out to be another landmine when Betty asks Helen where she went and then realizes this brings up the thorny subject of her divorce. Helen is fine with it, though, she got the trip of a lifetime to Paris and she wouldn't give up that memory for anything, even having been with Glen's father. The wives are torn, Paris IS a wonderful and romantic place to have gone and they enjoyed her joke about having forgotten her high school French... but also... she's divorced!?! Francine simply cannot help herself and ignores Betty's attempt to shift the chat to a trip to Italy she took, declaring that Paris is a great place to walk... just like Helen walks around the neighborhood now!

Helen is rightfully perplexed, especially when the others also note they've seen her walking and insist on knowing where she is going, what she is doing, WHY she is walking. It's no great mystery, Helen assures them, she just likes to walk, it helps clear her mind. Francine absorbs this, considers it, then simply asks,"....but where?", completely unable to fathom the idea of simply going for a walk. Or, more to the point, unable to believe a divorced woman could be going anywhere without some sort of ulterior motive or purpose in mind.

Don films the children racing around the house, Sally waving happily to him, Kevin bringing up the rear on his crutches. Helen pops in and sees the camera, immediately shielding her face in embarrassment and explaining she was just looking for Glen. Carlton quickly offers to show her where he just raced to and leaves the room with her, while Chet and Jack force smiles to wave to the camera, clearly uncomfortable being on film too. Don, his batteries nearly empty but doing his duty as requested, pauses to knock back yet another drink, having moved from beer to mint julep to scotch across the course of the day.

Alone at last with Helen, Carlton decides to play the white knight, explaining that he feels badly for her boy and he'd like to be there to provide a masculine role model in his life: to toss the ball around, maybe take him to the beach, that type of thing. Helen, obviously no fool, smiles broadly and agrees that would be nice, and then proceeds to detail exactly the fantasy scenario Carlton has been building in his own head: maybe she'd join them one day on the beach, and then they'd come home and put the kids to bed and it would just be the two of them, reminiscing fondly about the day and then maybe something happens. Carlton quickly declares that he never said or did anything inappropriate and he doesn't want her telling Francine that he did, while she hides her amusement at his crude efforts and agrees she must have misunderstood, while making it perfectly clear she understood perfectly.

The tension is broken when they realize Don has come around the corner down the hall and is now filming them, so they break into big wide smiles and wave happily. He crabs on past the corridor, clearly even his alcohol tolerance levels struggling now and starts to film Henry and Marilyn... until he sees something truly intimate and special caught on camera. Unknowingly echoing Don's moment on the rooftop with Rachel, Henry gently cups his wife's chin and lifts it, then kisses with her true love and passion undimmed by the years of their marriage. Don sees this through a lens, a vision of what he couldn't have with Rachel and seemingly does not believe he has with Betty. He stops filming, stops looking through the lens, staring with a mixture of longing, confusion and revulsion a the loving couple. Looking at what he isn't.

Out in the yard, he knocks back more scotch, listening to the kids playing house in the new playhouse... and it's not a flattering depiction of a married couple as they playact out arguments they've seen or heard their parents having: you dented the car, you can sleep on the couch, I don't like your tone etc. For them its play, for him it's a reminder of what he thinks are the realities of marriage. He's joined outside by Helen, who comments wryly that it's an "interesting" crowd inside. Staring at the children mirroring the lives of their parents, he comments back that it's the same crowd here.

Inside, the wives are gossiping about Helen's revelations to them that she... walks. They're incredibly catty, noting that Glen is too quiet and his clothes haven't been ironed, critiquing the Christmas wrapping paper, dismissing the idea that working a jewellery counter as a job surely isn't that demanding. Marilyn at least notes she once had a job in sales and it was no picnic. Glen pops in looking for Helen and Betty suggests he try the dining room, but then Marilyn spots her out the window and quietly motions to Betty to look. Outside, she sees that Helen is standing near Don. That's it, she's standing near him. Earlier she laughed off Francine offering to shower with him, but now seeing a divorced woman in physical proximity to her husband is enough to set alarm bells ringing.

She heads outside (Don and Helen aren't talking to each other or even looking in each other's direction) and asks Don to please head out to get the cake now. He sighs, then gets up and leaves without a word to either Helen or his wife.

Inside, Carlton's son Ernie comes racing after another kid in the hall and knocks over a glass, shattering it. Jack is standing nearby and immediately reaches out and hauls Ernie over, slapping him in the face. Carlton is immediately striding over and demanding to know what is going on, but not out of outrage over another man grabbing and slapping his child. He's come over to see what Ernie did to make that necessary, and agrees with Jack that he shouldn't have been running in the house, and demanding he apologize. In fact, he warns him he'll get another slap if he doesn't apologize. Jack speaks up now to assure Carlton that Ernie's been disciplined enough, now judgmentally but with a smile, saying they should go find his mother so SHE can clean this mess up.

Don, who straight up took his drink with him when he drove to Hightop to get the cake, is on his way back home. As he draws closer to his perfect house, however, where his daughter is enjoying a wonderful birthday party and lovely day she will never forget, he can't take the idea of returning. All day he's had to be the dad, the builder, the husband, the host, the cameraman, and he's had enough of playing all these different roles. He's exhausted, he's drunk, and he can't even give his wife and daughter one single day where he isn't the master of all he surveys. So he drives past the house, and he just keeps on driving.

It gets to be past 4pm and with no sign of Don, a worried Betty has called Hightop and learned he picked up the cake almost an hour earlier. She's worried he might have had an accident, but the men are under no illusions. Chet and Jack enter the room and Chet tells Nancy they're going, openly telling everybody including Betty that they'll be no cake and he can't be the only one who knows what is happening. Actually admiringly, he declares that Don Draper is a first class heel and he salutes him for it. Jack laughs, they think it's great comedy and an enviable act that a husband and father would just gently caress off and abandon his family for the day rather than spend any more time at his own daughter's birthday party.

Chet and Nancy leave, but Helen does offer one possible solution, if not an ideal one: she has a Sara Lee cheesecake in her freezer at home. Francine, so quick to judge and belittle Helen behind her back, immediately asks if she can please get it, while Betty just silently pleads for anything she can put down for her daughter and friends to mark her birthday with in the traditional fashion.

Soon after, the remaining guests are gathered around singing,"She's a jolly good fellow!" to Sally, lead on by a drunken and boisterous Carlton. Sally and the kids, of course, have no concept that anything is wrong, there's a cake and treats and drinks and they're having a great time. Betty is burning with humiliation though as she struggles to cut through the still half-frozen cake and the thin, half-melted whipped cream atop it.

Don wakes in the dark, he'd fallen asleep (passed out?) in his car parked under a bridge in front of train tracks. He lights a cigarette and considers his situation, and it's hard to say whether he's thinking of just keeping on driving or just trying to figure out how to get away with this bullshit he just pulled.

His solution is a monstrous one. As Betty struggles to maintain her composure while doing the dishes in the finally quiet house, she hears barking and Sally's squeal of delight to see her father. She walks into the lounge and forcibly stifles whatever emotional reaction she had: probably equal parts fury and misery. Because Don has brought home a dog, remembering Rachel's words about how it was the best friend a little girl could have. Sally has no concept of the emotional manipulation at play here, how could she? All she knows is that today was a special day: all her friends came to visit, she got treats and a new playhouse, there was a cake, then her daddy brought home a doggy for her.

Betty can't cry, she can't scream, she can't rage and she certainly can't be the monster who tells her daughter,"No you can't have a dog." So she glares at her husband, those adoring looks she gave him all day that weren't enough for me replaced by cold fury. "I don't even know what to say," she whispers, and leaves the room. Don simply sits on the floor, still half-drunk, watching Sally and Bobby happily playing with the dog. Don grabs Sally and hauls her up to his lap, beaming at her and wishing her a happy birthday before giving her a kiss on the forehead. She wipes that off and goes straight back to hugging her dog, which she has decided to call Polly, safe and secure in the knowledge that she has the best daddy in the whole world.

This is the first episode not to have been written by Matthew Weiner, and it's the weakest of them. It's still a good and interesting watch, but there are structural issues that weren't present in the first two episodes. Written by Tom Palmer, who was co-executive producer for the first season and has a solid if unspectacular record as a writer, it captures the characters well but is guilty of dividing the story too firmly into largely distinct chunks. The removal of all the usual supporting characters and the Sterling Cooper backdrop in the back half of the episode also creates an odd feel... but maybe that's the point, it's uncomfortable being in Don Draper's family home for too extended a period of time, and Don certainly seems to feel that too.

The Marriage of Figaro and Lady Chatterley's Lover are both referenced in this story and it is interesting to consider the plot of both. Each, very broadly speaking, considers matters of infidelity and the value of marriage, which is reflected strongly in the plot. Pete's insistence that marriage has changed him; Harry's admission that he values spending time with women but would never consider cheating on his wife; Don's shameless flirting followed by an uncharacteristic bout of honesty followed by characteristic surprise that he's going to be rejected; Henry and Joyce's genuine love for each other; Helen as a woman confident in her own worth; Carlton as a lech; Don's frustration at having to put his own ego in check to do as his wife asks and put his daughter's needs first etc. It's an episode all about marriage, about happiness or the lack thereof in a relationship, of desiring somebody you can't be with but desperately want.

But the Marriage of Figaro also strongly features stolen or mistaken identity as a plot point, and that's where this episode probably most stands out. Because what the hell is this Dick Whitman business? There's something going on here, and I could speculate till the cows come home, but I imagine the answer will come at some point, and hopefully soon. Was he considering abandoning Donald Draper when he sat in the car watching that train going by in the night, off to some different location where he could become somebody else? (again?).

Regardless of if he's Don Draper or Dick Whitman or any other name though, Betty is his wife and Sally and Bobby are his children. That's something undeniable, something that cannot be discarded or set aside. It should be a source of great shame to Don that he failed to be there for them that day, and for the most petty and unworthy reasons. I'd like to think he's aware enough to feel shame (hence the dog), but I also strongly suspect that he's egotistical enough to blame Betty or have some excuse for why it's not his fault he couldn't man up for a single afternoon.

With the bribe to his daughter acting as a shield to blunt his wife's ability to call him out on his bullshit, he seems to consider his duty done. He leans back in his seat as the closing credits music sings,"Nothing more to do!" and closes his eyes. It's been a long day and it's finally over, and as mad as Betty might be at him, Don Draper knows he has "won".

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 4 - New Amsterdam
Written by Lisa Albert, Directed by Tim Hunter

Rachel Menken posted:

We both know how we'd like it to be.

In Pete Campbell's office, they're listening to a Bob Newhart comedy album with great delight, though Paul Kinsey admits he likes Lenny Bruce better. The party is broken up by Pete's secretary Hildy, who announces that Mrs. Campbell has arrived to see him. Pete seems surprised, while Harry compliments him on the smart decision to take his new bride out on a lunch date.

Outside, Pete greets his wife Trudy with a chaste kiss (played by Alison Brie) which gets the other executives to insist he show a little more passion for their benefit. It seems Trudy knows Ken, Paul and Harry, though she obviously knows Harry better than the others due to his status as a fellow married man, asking after his wife Jennifer. He admits to still being somewhat put out that she has continued her job at the telephone company rather than staying at home, but begs off when Trudy points out that getting her pregnant would quickly see her leaving the workforce.

The others leave the two alone, and Pete - pleasantly but with some apprehension - points out there was definitely not a lunch date scheduled for them today, and he can have Hildy show her his appointment book if she wants to claim he forgot. Now she seems a little upset, but more at the though that she has done something wrong. She thought it would be nice to surprise him and take him to see something together, she even called Hildy to make sure he was free... has she made a mistake? It's spoken genuinely, but it's a trap all the same: Pete isn't happy about this assumption she can just push herself into his working life, but he also can't say,"Yes, wanting to surprise me and spend time with me was a mistake!" So he apologizes, assures her spending lunch together will be a pleasure, and pulls on his coat to leave with her.

As they are about to walk out though, Don Draper and Peggy Olson are coming the other way, so he is quick to introduce his wife. Don is as charming as always, greeting Trudy and talking up Pete's importance and value to the firm. Peggy meanwhile takes in her "rival" for the first time, the woman who has the man she for some unfathomable reason has decided she wants for herself. Pete has the conscience to feel at least a little awkward at the two being so close together, and retreats to safer ground by insisting he is the one who is lucky to have Trudy and not the other way around. Don is just a little too quick to agree to that, and just a little too quick to agree to Trudy's insistence that she loves having Pete around more than the Sterling Cooper firm does. He and Peggy leave, and Trudy gushes over what a nice man that Don Draper is, nothing like she thought. Pete, of course, read between the lines, and leaves feeling snubbed and offended.

The surprise that Trudy wanted to show Pete is an apartment at 799 Park Avenue. 1500 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a terrace plus a maid's room (for a very small maid), and on the market for 32k though the realtor thinks they could get it for 30. Pete is amused but quick to remind her of mathematical reality (with a little condescending, paternalistic aside that she isn't good at it), he is paid a good salary for his position but it still only works out to $75 a week. If they were to get a mortgage, they'd still need a 10% deposit and that would be an entire year of his salary, which is money they simply don't have.

P.S - 30k in 1960 is the equivalent of 260k in 2020, but in 2020 the 2 bedroom apartments at 799 Park Avenue start at 2.5 million and quickly go up from there.

But Trudy is a woman who is used to getting her way. Not in a strident, tantrum throwing way, but in a sweet smile and gentle explanation way. Sure he only makes $3500 a year now, but that won't be forever, he'll be making more at Sterling Cooper soon she's sure. Besides, it's not like they would be taking this all on alone, they're a young couple in need of a little help is all, and there is help to be had from those who love them. Charmed by her obvious and complete faith in him, he allows himself to be convinced to consider taking on a monstrously expensive weight he cannot lift.

Don leaves a meeting in the Art Department where he has been watching a television commercial produced for the Menken account, and encounters Paul coming the other way, escorting Rachel Menken from their own meeting. It's an awkward moment for them all, including Paul who can clearly sense there is something going on here. Rachel compliments Paul on being the perfect choice to spearhead her account, and he takes the opportunity to get out of there, offering to "let" Don be the one to escort her from the building.

Left alone, Don for once seems awkward with his words. He asks how she is doing and her guard is immediately up, demanding to know what kind of question that is, what does he think he is doing? He apologizes, he doesn't want this tension to be present between them. She softens slightly at that, regretful as she notes that they both know how they would WANT it to be. But there's also a finality in her, she actually smirks as she turns down his offer for lunch together some day, there would be no conceivable reason for them to do that. The implication is clear, if they have no business reason to meet and no personal relationship to pursue, a lunch would only be inviting trouble and pain that neither wants. She leaves, and now Don finds himself in Pete's position: he's been spoken to politely and kindly, and left feeling wounded.

Early in the evening, Betty Draper is reading Sally and Bobby bedtime stories from Nursery Friends from France. Sally would like another story from the book but Betty, loving and kind but also firm, is having none of it and tells her that daddy will see her in the morning, giving her something to look forward to and encourage her to sleep.

She takes the dog, Polly, for a walk through the quiet suburban street before it gets too dark. Polly is eager but Betty finds herself and the pleasant neighborhood disturbed by an intruder. A man is standing on Helen Bishop's door, hammering on her door and demanding to be let inside. She tries to move on, but he spots her and calls out to her, not letting her get away with pretending not to see or hear him. He asks to use her phone, explaining that he is Helen's husband and is here to see his children, but she is pretending not to be home even though he just called a few minutes earlier from the gas station.

He actually has the temerity to not only be surprised but offended when Betty rejects his request. More polite than he deserves, Betty explains that while she is sure he is who he claims to be, she also isn't about to let a strange man into her home. Turning around, she hurriedly walks Polly back the other way, Mr. Bishop staring after her in disbelief at how the world has gone topsy-turvy... women keep saying no to him! A man!

Later in the evening, the Drapers' doorbell rings. It's Helen, of course, and like her husband she doesn't let Betty pretend ignorance when she apologizes for the scene earlier. She doesn't have time for polite, pretended blindness to her humiliation, explaining that she saw Betty talking to her ex-husband outside the home while she was hiding away inside. She admits she ended up letting him inside after all, and goes so far as to say he isn't a bad man, almost apologetic that she created a scenario where Betty might have thought he was crazy.

Betty pours them both drinks and Helen tries to make light of the situation. He husband - Dan - never spent any time with the children while they were married, burying himself in his life insurance work, but now wants to see them all the time. She jokes that thanks to life insurance, if he does die she's set for life, but Betty doesn't see the humor in it.

Betty asks what happened and Helen seems keen to unload, explaining that all of Dan's various work and social engagements in the city during their marriage were cover for affairs. Betty, feeling intensely uncomfortable, explains she actually meant what happened TODAY when she let him into the house. Helen isn't embarrassed by what she's blurted out though, after all she knows all the neighborhood wives have been gossiping and eager to know. Betty assures her they haven't been speculating on anything, and the uncomfortable moment is thankfully ended by a DIFFERENT uncomfortable moment as Don comes walking in the door.

Clearly tired, he removes his hat and then takes in that his wife has company, Helen Bishop is in the lounge and they're drinking and smoking. He offers a quiet,"Hello" to Helen and a nod to his wife, then is straight up the stairs. Betty explains that he likes to be alone and have complete quiet straight after getting home, lovingly noting how hard he works (kind of like Dan supposedly way all those year?) and Helen sees that as her cue to leave, having left the sleeping kids alone in the house.

The awkwardness continues elsewhere though. Pete is visiting with his family, who are in the tail end of preparations to move to their summer home on Fishers Island. Pete and his father Andrew struggle through small talk regarding the family. His mother, Dorothy, is friendlier, saying how much she is hoping Pete and Trudy will be able to join them on the island during the summer. Pete promises they will try, though admits work may make that difficult, which fires up his father again.

Full of contempt for Pete's career, he declares you can't call what he does work, and it certainly isn't work for a "white man". He sees him at the club, in restaurants, and this is his "work"? Wining, dining and whoring? Dorothy winces at the last word, while Pete sighs and notes he simply will never be able to explain business to his father (one would assume Andrew's experience with "work" is sitting on Boards that never meet and owning a shitload of inherited stock), who clearly wanted his son to become a lawyer.

Trying to turn to more pleasant talk, as well as the real reason for his visit, he tells his pleased mother that he and Trudy have actually found an apartment they're considering buying. This even gets Andrew off his case for a moment as he and his wife mildly debate exactly what block of the city "falls off" from civilization. Dorothy insists that 83rd and Park is a fine area, and Pete agrees... which means it is also an expensive one. Which is why he and Trudy need help. He says the last firmly, staring right at his father and challenging him to disagree.

Disagree he does, though. Andrew Campbell simply considers for a moment and then declares with finality that they will not help him financially to buy an apartment for he and his new wife. Pete struggles to maintain his composure, asking why, and all he gets back from his father is that he doesn't think it is a good idea. Losing his cool a little now, Pete reminds him that he didn't seem to mind paying money to get Bud (a brother?) out of trouble when he hit a girl on a bike in Montauk, but helping his son make a down-payment on a home for his wife is a problem?

Dorothy, a fastidious woman, is straight out of the room at this unpleasant reminder of something she would clearly prefer to remain swept under the rug. That leaves Pete and his father alone, with Andrew complaining about Pete's lack of manners and dismissing his assurance he'd pay him back, saying it isn't about the money and know sit. Pete slams his glass down on the table (and not on the coaster Dorothy specifically went out of her way to place there) and demands to know why "you people" are always so reluctant to give him anything. Andrew, with the smug assurance of somebody who has had everything his way his entire life and somehow believes he deserves it, retorts that they gave him EVERYTHING... because they gave him his name. With a smirk, he asks his son what he has done with this "magnanimous" gift.

That night as Pete prepares for bed, Trudy asks how his visit went. Diplomatically he just mentions that they're hoping they will join them on Fishers Island during the summer, but Trudy just cuts right to the chase: will they help with buying the apartment. Desperate to save face, Pete claims he didn't actually ask, making up health problems for his father that made it unseemly to discuss finances. Trudy to her credit is immediately nothing but concerned, asking what is wrong with Andrew. "Nobody knows" Pete replies finally, as his loving wife kisses and comforts him and he ponders just how the hell he's going to make the money to get her the home she so desperately wants.

The next day he sees his opportunity. Attending a pitch by Don Draper to the owner of Bethlehem Steel, Walter Veith, Pete watches as Don and Salvatore unveil their campaign: Brought to you by Bethlehem Steel. It's a concept for major advertising campaigns in magazines and billboards, ads that highlight the great cities of America and reminds Americans that all these mighty places are built with Bethlehem Steel. Don does a hell of a job selling it, and Veith's immediate objection seems more aimed at the ads borrowing too heavily from WPA ads pre-World War II.

Don assures him these are simply prototypes and can be thrown away in a second (Salvatore swallows this insult uncomfortably), but Veith isn't done complaining. These are ads for cities, not for Bethlehem Steel.. if anything they simply make his company look like a middleman. Don, well practiced at selling his pitches (unless it's a woman disputing his creative ideas) isn't afraid to chide the client on this point, reminding him that steel may be a commodity but it is not something regular consumers have access to: they're selling the potential of Veith's product, the irreplaceable nature of it as a bedrock foundation of America. He even reminds him that 3 months ago they discussed the early genesis of this concept and Walter was highly enthusiastic about it. Except Don gets no help here, because Account Executive Pete has seen the writing on the wall and his own opportunity, and decides to plant himself firmly on Veith's side.

Without openly criticizing his Creative Director, Pete declares that if the client is unhappy then that puts an end to things, and the pitch has been rejected. Don is wide-eyed at this move but forced to stand and smile as Pete lays on his own oozing brand of charm to assure Walter they can have something new for him tomorrow, and it will be their pleasure to put him up at the St Regis for another night and find entertainment for him in the meantime. Veith puts himself across as all business, not interested in tickets to Bye bye, Birdie, but he is willing to give them the extra day.

Pete moves to escort him out but a smiling Don asks Salvatore to do it instead, noting he needs a quick word with Pete who immediately grasps the significance of this statement. Veith as least is nice enough to apologize for making GBS threads on their idea, claiming coming from a small town is maybe why he doesn't get it, and complimenting Salvatore on the prettiness of the pictures. Sal takes this graciously, assuring him it is no insult to be likened to the WPA, whose ads were so highly respected.... 20 years ago.

Left alone, Pete gets a dressing down from Don that he isn't willing to accept. He didn't help push Walter because Walter didn't like the pitch and that was it... he's clearly a guy who needs to see a couple of pitches before he'll accept anything. Don disagrees, he was leaning Walter in his direction and just needed help from Pete to get him over the line. Regardless of which was right, Pete's place wasn't to go against Don anyway. With obvious contempt, he reminds Pete to stay in his lane: his job is to entertain, to take the client out to have fun... he can leave the ideas to Don.

Already smarting from his father's rejection, Pete isn't going to take this from Don Draper. He insists that he has plenty of ideas, good ideas! Words spilling out of him in a heap, he undermines his own point as he brags how he used to carry around a notebook to keep up with all his good ideas, and takes credit for inventing direct marketing before admitting that it turned out it already existed... but he came up with it independent of that! All his life he has been an idea man, but then he came to Sterling Cooper and they told him not to think because he's a people person. Well nobody in his life had ever told him that before, and he's tired of being stuck in a role that he feels doesn't reflect who he is and what he is capable of. He storms out of the room, more a tantrum-prone child than a man standing up for himself. Don doesn't call after him or even really consider his complaints, he feels Pete did a more than adequate job of belittling himself just then... but he is stuck with the clean-up: now he has less than 24 hours to come up with an entirely new advertising campaign after 3 months of work was thrown in the trash.

At home that evening, Don lays on the couch looking through the rejected artwork, a legal notepad on his lap, trying to come up with ideas. Betty is cooking dinner when the phone rings, it's Helen who is making dinner herself and in a bit of a jam. It seems her sitter canceled, and she is meant to be working with the Kennedy Campaign tonight stuffing envelopes, would it be possible for Betty to come over to keep an eye on the children for a few hours. Betty is, quite understandably, surprised at this request, and sensing her hesitation Helen tells her not to worry, she shouldn't have asked. Feeling guilty though, Betty looks at her own children watching television and her husband firmly in place on the couch working and guesses that they could get by without her for a brief time. She says she'll get dinner on the table first and then come over, and a relieved Helen thanks her.

Shortly after she arrives at the Bishop home, where a dressed up Helen apologizes for the mess (the babysitter is ALSO a cleaner) and thanks Betty effusively for coming to her rescue. Glen is playing the piano, which impresses Betty, but Helen snaps at him to stop so he doesn't wake the baby. She reminds him who Betty is and warns him not to do any ironing, which surprises Betty until she explains she pays him 5 cents for each item ironed. As she checks her make-up, Betty can't help but notice how dressed up she is, considers the fact she is divorced, and asks if there will be a lot of men volunteering there too? Helen seems surprised at the thought, agreeing there will be some but noting it is mostly women, then grinning and asking if she's seen Kennedy. Betty can't help but smile herself and agree he is very handsome, but then quickly insists "we" haven't decided who to vote for yet. Helen promises to bring her back campaign literature, reminds Glen to go straight to bed after The Real McCoys and is out the door, leaving Betty alone in a strange house.

Pete and Trudy have dinner with Trudy's parents, and the contrast with his own couldn't be clearer. Tom Vogel is happy, inviting and extremely impressed by Pete's chosen profession, and doesn't dismiss Pete's assurance there is more to the work than martini lunches and getting to see beautiful models. Jeannie Vogel is delighted to hear from Trudy that Pete's Boss was so complimentary of him when he met Trudy, even if Pete awkwardly has to insist that Don isn't technically his Boss. When Trudy announces she has great news, Tom and Jeannie are even happier, clearly thinking it is a pregnancy, which makes a Trudy gasp (happily) before explaining it's not that.

Before Pete can stop her, she is telling them all about the apartment he can't afford. He tries to explain it is out of their price range but they're all already talking past him: it's 30k, it's got two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a terrace, it's in a great part of town etc. To his relief, Tom suddenly grunts that he's not sure about all this... before bursting out laughing, his daughter shining with gratitude at the realization he is going to help them with the down-payment. Pete, desperate for some measure of control, tries to talk him around but finds himself caught between his desire to assert his own will on proceedings and avoid offending his in-laws and upsetting his wife.

Things are made even harder for him when Tom, as different from his father as could be, declares that he is making an investment in Pete because he believes in him, believes in the good husband and provider he will prove to be for Trudy, and has no doubt that Pete will be a wealthy man in his own right soon enough. It is the kind of positive reinforcement his father has never given him, and coupled with his wife's yearning look, he has no choice but to swallow his pride and silently accept the offer.

On the taxi-ride home after dinner, Trudy lays her head on his shoulder, contented beyond her wildest dreams. She knew her parents would help, and she's surprised when she realizes Pete is upset with her, even more-so when he complains he doesn't know what accepting this money from her father is going to mean about his relationship with him, and whether they'll truly be able to consider the place truly theirs. She laughs that off, her parents aren't like that, and it makes her father feel good to help them which is all that should matter. Bitterly he complains that it was different taking money from his parents because that is HIS money, or will be eventually. But he can't deny her turning her own logic against him: so then she was just taking money that would eventually be hers, too. The important thing is they got what they wanted: the apartment. "You always get what you want, don't you?" he pouts, and again she completely undercuts him when she reminds him that what she wanted was him.

He wants to stay angry with her but he can't, but just when it seems they might have reached an equilibrium, she asks the driver to take them up Park along their way. Grumpily he reminds her that while she's going home, he has to go meet an important client to entertain him ahead of their meeting tomorrow. She ignores his protests though, shushing him with a laugh that this won't take long. Once again he finds his thoughts and feelings secondary, rejected by a loved one who simply thinks they know what is best for him better than he knows himself. The only difference is, his father does it callously while his wife does it out of love.

Betty sits on the opposite end of the couch to a pajama-wearing Glen watching The Real McCoys. He keeps casting little looks her way as she smokes, and she excuses herself to use the bathroom. Once inside, she can't help but have a little peek in spite of her insistence she wasn't one of the gossips about Helen's divorcee life. She looks through the bathroom drawers, spotting that Betty has a case for birth control pills. Finally she uses the toilet, pulling down her panties and settling down on the seat... at which point she sees a shadow at the door and a turning knob. She calls out that she's inside, but the door opens and Glen is just standing there, staring at her without saying a thing as she yells at him to close the door. Getting to her feet and awkwardly waddling over, she closes the door on him, demanding to know what is wrong with him.

Back in the lounge, Glen continues to blank-faced watch the television. Betty returns, furious, and shuts it off. She wants an apology from him, but he just stares at the ground. Sitting down next to him, she makes him look at her and angrily reminds him the bathroom is a private place and is wrong to enter it when somebody else is inside. She makes him apologize and finally he stammers out the words, wiping a tear from her eye. When she tells him it is okay now, he latches onto her with a hug like a lamprey, surprising but also pleasing her as she sees it purely as a desire for maternal affection. She hugs him back and tells him she isn't angry anymore, but is taken aback when he sits back, stares up at her wide-eyed and declares,"... you're pretty."

Probably no stranger to love-struck looks from the opposite gender, this is still a new one for Betty who isn't quite sure how to respond to a literal child telling her how beautiful she is. She thanks him, tells him he is sweet, and is quick to remind him when he asks how old she is that she is the same age as his mother, a reminder that he should be thinking of her the same way as his mother. She can't help but enjoy the fact she's actually younger than Helen though when Glen tells her she is 32, while Betty herself is 28. He seems confused at the thought of her and his mother being the same though, pointing out that Betty has beautiful hair and looks like a princess. Again, Betty is flattered if a little weirded out, and then things go into overdrive as he asks her if he can have some: he wants a lock of her hair.

She says no, of course, but he is insistent, he just wants a little piece, she won't even miss it! Against her better judgement she decides this creepy request is harmless, takes some scissors from the ironing board and cuts a tiny lock of hair away. She hands it to him and he cups it in his hands with wonder, and is quick to rush straight upstairs to his room when she tells him it is bedtime. She settles on the couch, seemingly satisfied that she has defused a weird situation, when she may in fact have just handed that boy a match to light the roll of dynamite he's got wrapped around his body.

Pete arrives at the bar where two women are waiting. Collecting them, he joins Walter Veith and Ken Cosgrove, all of them pretending to believe the fiction that they're his cousins who he invited along with him for drinks. Walter greets them, taking particular note of the blond calling him "The Man of Steel", but also grunts to Pete as he greets him that "Cousin Wendy" was supposed to be a redhead. No no, Pete assures him smoothly, that's "Cousin Doris" who was unfortunately engaged this evening. Walter grins, he will "make do" with this branch of the family.

They all settle in for drinks, Pete ordering a bottle of champagne and another round of the drinks everybody already has - Pete may not have money of his own, but he has a Sterling Cooper expense account for "entertaining" clients to keep them happy and spending money of their own at the firm: like he told his father, it's all business, albeit one he'll never understand. He can't help himself though, Don's dressing down, the dinner with Trudy's parents, Trudy taking the lead in their relationship (on the matter of the apartment at least) and his own parents disdain.... he has to prove himself a man of his own worth. So he tells a distracted Walter that he's been thinking about the advertising campaign, and he's come up with "The Backbone of America" which he thinks is a real winner. Walter scoffs, he can't believe it... did Don put him up to this? Pete is confused, Walter complaining that he's here to enjoy himself, not be pitched too, and it's wrong of Don to have forced Pete to do this. He tells him to get off the clock (entertaining Walter is literally his job) and goes back to "seducing" Wendy with what he thinks are smooth lines. All the time, Pete stews in his own juices, having been given another fresh reminder that all he is, is a conduit for other people's plans.

Helen returns home where Betty has been reading a Life World Library book on Italy. She lies and tells Helen that everything was nice and quiet and there was no drama like a little boy bursting in on her in the toilet or demanding a lock of her hair. Helen gives her a Kennedy pamphlet as promised, and thanks her again for coming through and promises to return the favor some day. Betty assures her it was no problem and is out the door.

She returns home where Don is asleep in bed, notepad on his lap having worked his entire evening away. The best he could come up with was a deviation of the original "Brought to you by..." idea, using the same imagery but now calling each city "Oh little town of Bethlehem". Salvatore has rushed out the art and is clearly not happy about it, while Don struggles to sell this warmed over idea that Walter already rejected. To the surprise of all though, Walter compliments Don on doing such a great job of selling an idea he clearly isn't behind, and tells him to run with the other idea instead. What other idea? Why the one he forced poor little Pete Campbell to ambush him with last night of course! The Backbone of America idea!

Salvatore has no idea what they're talking about and neither does Don, but when Walter notes that what really impressed him was that Don's enthusiasm got him to put Pete to pitch it to him over drinks, Don is quick to agree and take the credit. But he also stares a hole through Pete, who can't control the sloppy smile on his face as he takes notes while reveling in the confirmation of what he has always believed: he has good ideas!

The meeting over, they bid Walter a fond farewell as he shakes Pete's hand warmly and admits that New York is starting to grow on him. With him gone though, the shield between Pete and Don is also absent. Don offers an acid-tipped "Nice work" and Pete completely fails to read the room, smugly reminding him that he told him he had good ideas. "Enjoy it," agrees Don, and Pete stumbles again by deciding to get angry himself, reminding Don that it was his good idea but that Don got the compliment for it. That's enough for Don, who might have possibly been able to get over the humiliation if Pete had been apologetic or at least bothered to offer an explanation for overstepping his bounds as an Account Executive. He didn't though, so Don takes a puff of his cigarette, looks through his files, then calmly tells Pete to go get a cardboard box and pack his things into it. He walks out of the room, and a delighted Salvatore drinks in the dawning horror on Pete's face, gleefully telling him he chose the wrong time to buy an apartment.

In a daze, Pete staggers back to his office where Ken and Harry are enjoying listening to Bob Newhart again. He screams at them to get out, and tosses the album out after them. The secretaries, including Hildy, take note of the tantrum, but don't think much of it, just simply go back to their work.

Meanwhile, Don hasn't exactly overstepped his own authority, but he knows this decision can't go through purely on his say-so. Luckily he has an excellent working relationship with Roger Sterling, and when he storms into his office and tells him Pete finishes TODAY and explains that while Don himself was working through the night to fix a pitch that Pete helped sabotage, Pete himself was pitching to a client over drinks... and to make matters worse, Pete was pitching his own copy, not anything approved by the agency. That is more than enough for Roger, who snarls out a,"That little poo poo." He is completely onboard with Don: Pete Campbell has to go.

In what will soon NOT be his office, Pete pours a large drink and knocks it back. Seating on the couch, he fights the tears welling in his eyes, the realization that he has failed, that his father was right and he has botched everything that his family's name opened a door for him. He has failed his wife, who loves and trusts him implicitly but also has wants he was already struggling to fulfill. He is a failure.

Feeling less like a failure is Betty Draper, who attends another private and confidential therapy session with a therapist who will be sharing every word she says with her husband at Don's convenience. She talks about Helen's situation, about her poor boy who is clearly in need of a more present mother, about the clear pity she feels for Helen... though she doesn't speak of or is perhaps unaware of the sense of superiority that she feels as a result of this pity.

Roger is a named partner of Sterling Cooper, and in almost every situation what he says, goes. There is however one final hurdle to be cleared before Pete's firing can be finalized: Bertram Cooper. The senior partner has a large office decorated with Japanese art, and not only does he only wear socks in this room, but both Roger and Don have had to remove their own before entering. There is a wonderful, unspoken moment before they enter that must be commented on: Sterling stands roughly Don's height, but when they remove their shoes he suddenly drops a good inch or two. He enters first, and for just the slightest moment Don hesitates, looking down at the shoes, aware for the first time that Sterling wears lifts.

Inside the room, Roger takes a moment to bow slightly before a shrine(?), noting a picture of himself as a child on the older Cooper's knee. The meeting is not unexpected, they called ahead to let him know it was regarding Pete Campbell, and he's all ears. They explain the situation, the untenable breach of protocol, and remind a doubtful Cooper that there can be no disagreement here, there are some rules that aren't broken. Cooper, however, reminds them that this is true only when there aren't other rules that also have to be taken into account.

Because Andrew Campbell wasn't wrong. Pete Campbell works at Sterling Cooper not because he's a people person or he has ideas, but because he's a Campbell. His mother is Dorothy Dykeman-Campbell, and her family owned giant swathes of Manhattan back when it was New Amsterdam (hence the episode title). They don't own those giant swathes any more because they sold up in a panic back in the 1929 crash, but they're still an enormously wealthy family with a name that opens all kinds of doors. Cooper doesn't particularly care for Pete or have any concern for if he stays or goes... but what he does feel concern about is Dorothy Dykeman-Campbell summering at Fishers Island with the other powerful dynasties and complaining about Sterling Cooper. What he cares about is that Pete working for him opens doors to High Society that benefit Sterling Cooper immensely, and those same doors being closed will hurt it even more.

Don is horrified of course, because even if Pete himself is not the reason why, this means that they value a talentless (to his mind) junior accounting executive over their own Creative Director. Cooper is amused at the notion, pointing out that there is a Pete Campbell at every large business firm in America, the sons of dynasties who use their names to keep their children engaged or feeling valued. Don complains they should get one of the other ones then, but Cooper knows he already has him, especially with Roger having clearly jumped immediately to Cooper's side when he grasped the significance of the situation. Now its just about sweetening the medicine being forced down Don's throat.

Together they tag team him, reminding Don that there can be no doubt of the high esteem both Roger and he have for him... but that they're also both aware that unlike Pete he is an adult. They know he will get over this, he has the maturity and self-esteem to swallow his pride and accept he cannot be rid of Pete Campbell, and that Sterling Cooper will continue to make sure Don is amply compensated for the trouble. Don swallows it, forcing himself to thank Cooper for the lesson, and he and Roger leave as Cooper returns to his desk and the important work he was doing before they arrived... cleaning his nails and whistling This Old Man.

Pete has gathered his things in a cardboard box, a sad reminder of the ease with which an entire career can be consolidated into a single small space. Laying on the couch, half drunk, he leaps to his feet as Roger Sterling bursts in followed by Don Draper. His lifts restored, Sterling looks down on Pete figuratively and literally as he snarls at him that he wants him to know that he was fired, that he personally wanted him gone and they even took it to Cooper who wanted him gone as well.... but then Don Draper spoke on his behalf. Pete is stunned, as is Don who at least has the sense to hide it. Sterling rants that Pete is from a generation who went to college instead of serving in the army, but he has to accept that Don is his commanding officer and do exactly what he tells him. He has to always remember that his continued employment is only at Don Draper's largess.

Stammering, in disbelief, too shocked (and drunk) to stop and think for a second that it was Don who wanted him fired in the first place, Pete can only gasp out thanks to both Roger and Don for the second chance, promising Don he won't let him down. Roger is disgusted by that too, telling him this is never something you say out loud. With that out of the way he leaves, Don leaving and taking a moment to fix Pete with a pointed,"You loving idiot" look before going. He swallowed a bitter pill at Roger and Cooper's request, and now Roger has made up for it by selling Pete on the lie that it was Don who saved him. It's a clever bit of management, not only is Pete grateful to Don, he's in utter fear of Sterling. Plus Don himself will be grateful to Sterling for not forcing him to swallow his pride and tell Pete he got to stay. It's a win-win for everybody, even Pete who collapses back onto his couch once they are gone. He's gone from the highest highs to the lowest lows in a couple of hours, and now somehow he's been pulled back from the brink to be satisfied and grateful for being back in the position he initially wanted so badly to get out of.

Now THAT is how you sell something!

With humiliation avoided narrowly, Don and Roger retire to Don's office for a drink and to calm their nerves. Don's nerves at least, Roger complains that Don's generation (The Silent Generation) drink for all the wrong reasons: to calm nerves or deal with problems. His generation (The Greatest Generation) drink because it's good, because they deserve it, and because it's what men do! He thinks Don's generation are too caught up in their feelings, in doom and gloom and licking imaginary wounds. He also, however, admits that every generation probably thinks the next are the worst, and that you could probably go back to Biblical times and find adults complaining about kids these days.

Theirs is an amicable, friendly relationship with mutual respect, but Don - perhaps still smarting a little despite his gratitude for Sterling's cover - makes a dangerous move by commenting that he isn't as content to be powerless as Sterling is. Roger lets that sink in for a moment and then asks a dangerous question back,"Pardon?", daring Don to repeat himself. It's a clear reference to Cooper as senior partner running the entire show, of how quickly Roger capitulated when Cooper declared Pete Campbell was to stay.

Don is smart enough to realize his mistake and not repeat himself, and Roger lets it slide, though not without a warning: it is pointless to try and compete with Pete. Don thinks the idea he is competing with that little twerp is ridiculous, but Roger notes he didn't mean with Pete on a personal level, but for the world. He doesn't elaborate, but the meaning seems clear: Pete has his whole life in front of him still. In his mid-twenties, a college education, newly married, an apartment in a nice part of town, the senior partner of the firm looking out for him. Don Draper has been master of his world for so long that seeing a younger man who will one day have it all instead can't help but rankle, or at the very least remind him that his own prime is no longer ahead of him.

Pete and Trudy are looking about the apartment with the realtor when Trudy's parents arrive, joined by Mrs. Clifford Lyman. The latter lives in the building too and is a member of the Co-Op board, and this neighborly greeting is also a chance for her to take their measure and decide if the board will allow them to purchase. Pete shakes Tom's hand and thanks him again for helping make the down payment possible, and Tom again warns him that this is not something he needs to keep thanking him for.

Trudy greets Mrs. Lyman and Pete comes over to say hello too, and she admits sheepishly that she's intrigued by the story Trudy's mother told her about Pete's Great-Great-Grandfather... did he really farm with Isaac Roosevelt? A little unsettled, he keeps his smile on and agrees this was true, but Jeannie wants to keep pushing: it was Nicholas Dykeman, right? Indeed, agrees Trudy, who even knows exactly where Nicholas is buried. Lyman is thrilled, noting that she can't wait to tell her husband that a Dykeman will be living in the building. Pete lets it wash over him, yet another reminder that these doors open to him because of his family and nothing else. Tom's money let them make the down-payment, but it is his family name that makes the co-op board so eager to welcome them, and probably what helped drop the price from 32k to 30k in the first place.

Trudy giggles and asks him to tell the story of his Great-Great Aunt getting into a fight with a British soldier and a Hessian. Only willing to capitulate so far, Pete forces himself to be all smiles as he sweetly insists she tell the story because she does it so much better than him. Trudy needs no further prompting, launching into the tale for the fascinated social climbers who put so much status in his family's name.

As they walk together to run through the story, Pete walks to the window and stares back at the group, feeling as much an outsider here in his new home with his wife and in-laws as he ever has at Sterling Cooper or with his own family. He looks out the window over the beautiful view of Manhattan, a man in an admirable position of status and influence and feeling like he has earned none of it. It is a remarkable achievement of this remarkable episode - so much better than the previous - that somehow a character as disgusting as Pete Campbell has come across as... well, not sympathetic perhaps, but understandable. He is still an arrogant, smug prick with severe woman issues but in less than 3 episodes I have gone from detesting him to, well, pitying him.

With his upbringing, his family, and a city and society willing to excuse any mistake he made... is it any surprise he turned out the way he did?

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 12:36 on Oct 4, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The look on Betty's face when he asks for the lock of hair is amazing, you can practically hear the alarm bells ringing wildly in her head. I had no idea that was Weiner's kid, that must be a mindfuck - "Hey son, I need somebody to play a creepy kid and I immediately thought of you!"

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Escobarbarian posted:

Him saying nobody ever told him hes good with people before is such an amazing self-own too

I love how he seems to think he's really given it to Don with that line too. He walks so angrily but triumphantly out the door, you can tell he's thinking,"Man I was really impressive in there!"

Hamm's acting during the scene where Cooper and Sterling force him to swallow his pride is so good too. He's far more adult than Pete but you can see how devastated he is trying not to feel when he says,"He means more to the Agency than I do." Like, it really hurts him to think that Pete might be considered more valuable than he is.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Knowing that as good as the show gets, I can look forward to season 4 and 5 being even better is a-ok by me :)

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Also I had no goddamn idea that Alison Brie was in this show! For like the first half of New Amsterdam I kept thinking,"She looks really familiar, but I can't remember her name because I keep thinking of Alison Brie instead" until finally I looked it up and welp, it's Alison Brie!

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yoshi Wins posted:

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I think it's fair to call it "heavy handed". They made a good adjustment to how those moments are handled in later seasons.

The moment that most stands out to me is in episode 3 when the other dad just without blinking slaps Carlton's kid across the face, and Carlton comes storming over to... demand his kid apologize and threaten to give him another smack if he doesn't.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 5 - 5G
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter

Adam Whitman posted:

Who is Donald Draper?

Don and Betty Draper come home from an advertising awards ceremony, more than a little drunk and very, very happy. Don and Roger Sterling were presented with an award, and while Don pretends nonchalance and notes that Roger's satisfaction with the award is more about Sterling Cooper's reputation for selling being enhanced over any interest in creativity, he can't help but admit that he himself does actually care that he won the award.

Betty is proud of her man, and proud of how good he looks all dressed up in a tuxedo, herself in a lovely dress with a large diamond necklace. She shimmies out of her dress and they beam at each other with obvious pleasure, but any thought of adding sex to the celebrations disappears the moment they're both in bed. It's late, they're drunk and exhausted, and it's all Don can do just to pop his shoes off. He can't even work up the energy to reach a half foot to switch off the lamp, instead he just unplugs it directly from the wall. Betty has already crashed next to him, and he's asleep himself in a matter of moments.

Don wakes a little before 8am, still in his tuxedo and looking very much the worse for wear. He wakes Betty who didn't even get her necklace off. They both sit up, hacking and coughing and looking the exact opposite of the glamorous couple of the evening before, their heads pounding from their mutual hangover. Sally comes bursting into the room full of energy to declare enthusiastically that Ethel is downstairs making breakfast (presumably this is "the girl" who comes in as part-time maid/sitter). Betty, once carefully made-up hair now spilling in front of an exhausted face, mumbles that she has a headache.

Sally spots the award Don received on the dresser, it's a horseshoe which confuses Sally: daddy won an award for good horses? To beat-down to try and explain, he mutters for her to go eat breakfast, and staggers into the bathroom. Closing the door, the vibration causes the horseshoe on the award to come loose and turn upside down, typically seen as a sign of bad luck to come.

Don arrives at Sterling Cooper still feeling the effects of the night before. The front receptionist congratulates him on his award and lets him know that Advertising Age ran a picture, and he jokes that fortunately nobody reads that magazine. He finds Peggy complimenting Ken Cosgrove as she passes him back a magazine. She tells Don that Mr. Kinsey and Mr. Campbell were waiting but left, but she will go get them for their meeting now. Don, who is running a little late himself, seems more amused than put out when he says them leaving was rude. As Peggy puts up his hat and coat on the rack that he has to walk by anyway, she congratulates him on his NYOC Award, and offers a congratulations to Ken as well before leaving.

Don is confused, why is Ken getting a congratulations? With forced indifference, Ken explains that he just got a short story published and hands a surprised Don an issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Don is impressed, as are Paul and Pete when they arrive, but certainly not with the same surprised sincerity that Don is offering. Both seem actually alarmed, even more so when they finally offer their congratulations and learn that their old pal Ken has actually already completed two novels. Pete seems stunned, while Paul is even more disconcerted to hear what the novels are about and realize they actually sound like the kinds of thing he himself would like to read.

Forcing the point back to the actual purpose of the meeting (and safely away from Ken's intimidating creative accomplishments), Paul moves to discussing their current client: Liberty Capital Savings bank. Jack Konig wants Sterling Cooper to bring him "fireworks" to entice people to the bank since interest rates being level isn't conducive to getting people through the doors. The usual strategy is giveaways, appliances like toasters or blenders. Don however thinks this is a flawed strategy, it is banks courting family business but the fact is that the majority of women in America (Don Draper's America) are NOT involved with the family accounts/banking.

This is still a period where the wives didn't know how much money the family had, what their position was, how much the mortgage payments were, how overextended or flush they might be etc. So if this is the case, why are they trying to get people who aren't banking into the banks? No the key is to get people already banking to bank more, and the key there is private accounts: accounts separate from the family. All the men in the room immediately jump on the idea, especially Pete as a married man himself: an account that promises discretion. Paul adds an extra step, statements will be sent to the office and not to the home, an extra added level of "security" from a wife's prying eyes. He suggests the "Liberty Capital Private Account", but Don prefers "Executive Account" and they can all see the appeal of that: it suggests power, privilege, not something hidden away like a dirty secret but a marker of success.

They head out of the office to start putting the art together to go with the pitch. As Don makes his own notes, Peggy lets him know via the intercom that there is a call from Bix Beiderbecke waiting for him. He answers and it turns out that it isn't a Jazz musician who has been dead for 30 years on the other end of the phone after all, it's Midge. She's just had a phone put in at her place and decided to call Don and invite him over for the afternoon. Don is a little concerned that she's called him at the office, but he also can't resist her offer.

Unfortunately, he's not the only one getting this message. At her desk, Peggy has been typing away and turned to make a phone-call only to discover she hadn't hung up her end of the line when Don picked up. So she overhears Midge talking dirty to Don, telling him to come ravish her. Quickly, but as gently as possible to not let either "Bix" or her boss hear the click, she hangs up the phone. Moments later Don emerges with coat and hat in hand (he was able to get them off the coatrack by himself!) and tells her he'll be back after lunch. She nods, unable to speak, watching him go and knowing exactly where he is going.

While Don is off for some "executive" time, Pete Campbell and Paul Kinsey join Harry Crane in Pete's office to stew in disbelief over Ken Cosgrove's success. It's especially galling for Pete, who clearly looks down on Ken's working class background. Because as Don noted in the previous episode, Sterling Cooper is full of failed intellectuals, and Paul and Pete are both just two of many who have unfinished novels sitting forever unwritten in drawers and desks. Paul's story is, of course, about his own life: he once spent a night in Jersey City with some Negroes and got along with them! Pete though seems more concerned about the prestige than the creative recognition: The Atlantic Monthly isn't just some small-time periodical, it's a national magazine.

The "ravishing" done, Don and Midge lie in bed together in post-coital bliss. Midge is very satisfied, he gave her exactly what she wanted, and she declares that haven't gotten what she wanted he can go now. Don got what he wanted to, of course, but now there is the unpleasantness that must follow. He warns her that she can't ring him at his office, it's a risk he isn't comfortable with taking. At first she tries to play it off as a joke, teasing him that he must have enjoyed the danger a little bit. He agrees that he showed up so he's clearly not mad at her, though she points out he waited till AFTER the sex to bring up his concerns.

More serious now, she notes that his life is in a million pieces and she knows she is one of them, and she imagines life would be easier for him if that one extra piece was gone. He's quick to assure her he is in no hurry to end their relationship and he's sorry to have upset her, but what they have now works and he doesn't want to risk that. Allowing herself to be mollified (as well as perhaps being a little too desperate not to appear too clingy or emotionally attached to him and risk scaring him off), she tells him how much she loves that whenever he comes here he seems to completely change who he is, to drop whatever troubles he has been dealing with and just become her lover and nothing else. He promises her he is making no conscious effort to do this and she agrees, and that's part of why she likes it. She likes being his "medicine". He agrees that this is a good arrangement, and both appear satisfied with how things have worked out. I cannot help but feel, however, that Midge is becoming increasingly unsatisfied with the unchanging status of their affair but knows that pushing too hard will only result in losing him entirely, so forces herself to accept the status quo.

In bed that night, Pete sits in his pajamas waiting intently as Trudy reads through his own short story, completed but sitting un-submitted until Ken Cosgrove unwittingly lit a fire under his rear end. He can tell she hasn't enjoyed the story, but she insists she does, before warming more to the idea of him in the process of creation: sitting in front of a typewriter, drinking scotch, a romantic image of the creative at work. He doesn't care about any of that though, he just wants what creatives crave: recognition of their effort and compliments for their work.

She couches her criticism as lovingly as possible: she's mostly familiar with the classics, his style is very "modern" and she isn't the best person to judge that. Grasping at that, he proclaims this is actually a compliment... but also that he doesn't think she meant it in that way. She admits that what she most struggles with is that there is a talking bear, and with a sigh he explains that the bear doesn't talk, the hunter in the story merely imagines what he thinks the bear he is hunting might be thinking. In any case, she thinks it's been written well regardless of the style, and encourages him to submit it for publication.

Like so many creatives before him, he says that he was fully intending to once he finished dickering with it (aka, never), and then tries to smoothly slip in a rather unwelcome instruction: she can give it to Charlie Fiddich to consider. Who is Charlie Fiddich? Well apparently he's in publishing, but more than that as Trudy finally reluctantly reminds him: he was her "first" and that isn't a rock she wants to be lifting again. Pete knew, of course, though he pretends not to have remembered and forces her to bring it up again. In his desperation he's ignored his probably usual first territorial instinct to instead try to turn this to his advantage: surely Fiddich will have no choice but to publish if Trudy asks him.

Why is he so desperate? Because Ken Cosgrove is a nobody whose name is now out there, who is known by the right people. The Atlantic Monthly is a prestigious magazine, one that his father reads, and the idea of his father seeing that one of Pete's colleagues has a published piece in it fills Pete with dread. Enough to put his loving wife into a horrible position of having to go to a man she once slept with and ask for a favor. All to assuage Pete's ego and his daddy issues.

End of the last episode I pitied Pete. Already I find myself detesting him again.

The next morning a far less disheveled Don Draper arrives to the office and passes his hat and coat to Peggy, a little surprised that he has to prompt her to wish him a good morning. She lets him know that the traffic meeting is starting in the conference room and he turns and heads in that direction, leaving her to hang up his coat and hat (at least he isn't walking directly by it today). Don Draper is a different man to her today, he rejected her clumsy advance in the first episode and has been one of the only men not to openly sexualize her since she started working at Sterling Cooper. The realization that he is actively cheating on his wife came as a shock to her, one she now has to keep entirely to herself.

In the conference room, Roger Sterling is enthusiastically praising Ken Cosgrove's initiative and drive in getting published in The Atlantic Monthly. He freely admits that he didn't like or understand the story itself, but that this is irrelevant. It's a sign of drive, of commitment and dedication, something he would like to see from more of the account executives working for him. Most importantly, he recognizes that even if he doesn't understand or like the story personally, Ken wrote something that DOES appeal to people: as partner of an advertising firm, there is no greater quality that Roger can think of in somebody who works for him.

Don joins them and smoothly throws in self-deprecating jokes and a quip about the low pay Ken got for his successful submission, but it's a happy atmosphere. They move to business, Joan Holloway actually leading the meeting to inquire and push for firmer answers on the executives making deadlines. Nobody begrudges her this, it's entirely in keeping with her role in this setting, she wouldn't be doing her job properly if she didn't. Ken is reminded to follow up with a client on payment; Pete proudly reveals a magazine spread they produced did so well the client wants to follow up with another in Reader's Digest (Salvatore will need to find a way to fit the smaller dimensions of this VERY widely circulated publication); and Don explains that their Lucky Strikes campaign has resulted in great sales but they still need to come up with an advertising plan to counter a pending lawsuit against the tobacco company.

Roger instructs that this is something they will be able to more effectively deal with after the election (especially if they can help Nixon win is left unsaid). Peggy interrupts the meeting, apologizing and passing Don a note from somebody who has arrived insistent on seeing him. As first Don jokes that he's happy for any excuse to get out of the meeting, until Peggy tells him who is waiting to see him: Adam Whitman.

Suddenly the usually calm, cool and collected Don Draper is a stammering mess. He wipes his brow, struggles to articulate his thoughts, and finally declares he has to take care of this. Roger is fine with him going so long as he returns, and he lurches out of the room mumbling to Peggy that she doesn't need to bring Adam to him, he'll go to Adam.

At reception, a tall man in clean if rough clothing is waiting with a newspaper tucked under one arm. Don asks him what he wants, the man simply staring back at him. There is no recognition in Don's eyes, just a confused and polite hostility, but Adam isn't seeing that, he's just seeing what he hoped to see and now believes has come to pass: Dick Whitman. "It's you," he smiles, Don frowning and casting quick eyes towards the front desk when Adam declares himself to be his little brother. Quietly he insists his name is Don, but Adam is already moving forward, showing the paper he held under his arm. It's the Advertising Age, the paper Don thought nobody read, and on it is a picture of him and Roger accepting their NYOC award.

Happily, completely failing to read Don's mood, Adam - a janitor for the American Calculator company at the Empire State Building - explains how excited he was to spot the picture when he was emptying a trashcan in an office. Right there on the page was his older brother staring back at him, just with the wrong name attached to it.

Hastily, Don leads him out of reception and into the corridor, insisting this is all a mistake, he's not whoever Adam thinks he is. Adam isn't to be denied though. He's not angry, not demanding, just filled with wonder and happiness at finding his brother, and maybe slightly confused as to why his brother is denying this and pretending not to recognize him. Don, unable to even look him in the eye, tries again to insist he isn't this Dick Whitman, but it's the worse sell-job he's ever done and Adam isn't buying. When Adam notes he can come back later to talk more on this, Don jumps into action, leading him away down the corridor again while promising him he will meet him at the Deelite diner 3 blocks west of the building at noon. Adam is excited by this and doesn't even notice that Don has hit the elevator button to hasten Adam's departure.

Returning to reception, Don walks in a daze through the office and back into the conference room. He rejoins the others at the desk and sits uncomprehending through the rest of the meeting, eyes on his watch as it grows closer and closer to 12pm. Finally he snaps back to attention when the final matter of the day is reached: the upcoming Liberty Capital meeting. He manages to keep his voice calm as he acknowledges the meeting is set, and with that finally the endless meeting ends. He's quickly out of the room and straight out of the building itself, so fast that Peggy doesn't have a chance to ask him where he is going, though based on yesterday she has her own suspicions.

At Deelite's, Don joins an excited Adam at a center booth, shaking his offered hand but also staring around in fear of being seen by somebody he knows. Taking a seat, he gets right to the point: What does Adam want from him? Adam again can't understand this, why his brother is acting this way. Doesn't he want to say something? To ask about him and how he has been? This should be a joyous reunion, he thought his brother was dead(!) and it turns out he's alive and now sitting directly across a diner booth from him, a beautiful dream come true.

Don again insists he isn't Dick Whitman, but this rings even more hollow than before now that he's come all this way out to a diner to see Adam. Adam just stares him right in the face and asks him to say his name, and when Don does he ignores the follow up that he's not Dick to flood him with questions that I'm asking myself: what happened? Did he fake his death? Why didn't he come back? Don absorbs all of these and then answers, and it's the first truthful thing he's said and a final, tacit admission that Adam was right all along: he couldn't go back there. He IS Dick Whitman, or at least he was, and he's not talking to a complete stranger but his own younger brother.

Adam's responses simply raise further questions as to what exactly has happened in Don's past, as Adam claims that he was positive he saw Dick hiding in the window in his uniform "that day". Adam was 8 but he never stopped believing in what he saw that day, and when he saw the picture in the paper he immediately knew it was his brother, the only thing that had changed was the skin around his eyes. Excited, a little too loud for Don's taste, he asks what kind of name Donald Draper is, finding this whole thing perplexing but amusing while Don is in hell, his past a giant part of those million pieces Midge was talking about earlier.

Don shrugs, the name makes no difference, people change their names all the time. Adam accepts that (but then what's the deal with the purple heart in Don Draper's name? That was BEFORE he abandoned the Dick Whitman name, surely?) and in spite of himself Don finds himself asking questions about his own past, ones that give fleeting and tantalizing glimpses of his mysterious past. What happened to "her"? She was Adam's mother but not his, a fact she apparently never let Don forget, and he's pleased to learn she died painfully of stomach cancer. They have (or Adam does at least) an Uncle Mack who was apparently close to "her" and he died too.

But the questions aren't leading to the reconciliation that Adam was clearly hoping for. The longer and longer their awkward meeting continues, the more it becomes impossible to shake the fact that Don isn't happy to see him and isn't happy to be there. He tries to make light of it, to eat his meal, to get Don to join him, but finally he asks the question that is really weighing on him: did Don miss him at all? Don stares back with a mixture of longing and self-loathing, and finally manages to get out that of course he did. The sad thing is, it's hard to tell if he's speaking genuinely or just forced himself to say the "right" thing in this moment.

Trudy meets with Charlie Fidditch, doing her duty for her husband in much the same way she expected him to do for her when she wanted the apartment. She's arranged to meet him in his office, having been careful to reject an offer of a lunch date and at pains to "casually" drop in that she has an appointment to meet the decorator for the new apartment she and her husband own together, a reminder of her married status. Charlie doesn't need that reminder, he's painfully aware that she is no longer "on the market", and he's also fully aware of the point of this meeting. The small talk on whether he enjoyed Pete's story is irrelevant, and they both admit it: the point of this meeting is that she wants him to publish the story and knows it.

With that out of the way, Trudy feels more comfortable with just speaking as friends, and asks after her friend Laura who he has been seeing. He admits that she is "fun" and then takes the meeting into an incredibly uncomfortable direction. He misses her, he misses being with her, and he wants that again. Not love, not a break-up with Pete and reunion with him. He will force himself to be satisfied with simply being with her, an affair he will keep secret if only so that he can have her in the way he once did even for a little bit. She's horrified of course, the part of her life where she had to fend off men's advances was supposed to end with her marriage, and his offer is massively inappropriate.

In an attempt to let him salvage some small part of his dignity, she suggests that maybe many decades from now when they're both old (and Pete is dead) they might end up together again. He's not interested in romantic notions of two souls coming together in old age though, to put it frankly he wants to have sex with her and is willing to do anything to get that opportunity. All she can do is repeat herself and make it as cut and dried as possible: the answer is no. No. No.

Peggy is working away at her desk when her worst fear comes true. Two children come bounding up to her desk and a familiar voice calls out to them not to run. It's a voice she's heard countless times on the phone: Betty Draper. She has come in with the children to meet Don so they can go and get a family portrait taken, something that has completely slipped Peggy's mind until now. She has no idea where Don is (though she suspects) or when he'll be back, so what the hell does she tell his wife?

She stalls her way through a greeting as long as she can until an uncomfortable Betty asks if Don is in his office. Peggy leaves it at him not being there right now but offers them to wait inside, then rushes around the office looking frantically for Joan. She finds her in the break-room chatting with other secretaries, and pulls her into the corridor. Joan is surprised and a little irritated at this treatment, but amused when Peggy babbles out a jumbled explanation of what is going on. Calming her, she makes her repeat it all more clearly, and Peggy inadvertently lets slip that she thinks she knows where Don is but can't let him know that she knows.

Now Joan IS intrigued, and enjoying having Peggy where she wants her insists she tell her the secret too or she won't tell her how to get out of this situation. Miserable but caught, Peggy admits that she overheard Don talking on the phone to a woman before going out to see her and coming back "all greasy and calm". Joan thinks this is hilarious, but what is even funnier is that Peggy is completely over-complicating things. All she needs to do is entertain Betty and "her brats", say that she forgot to remind Don about the portrait and she doesn't know where he currently is, and when Don comes back he'll have an excuse himself and she won't have to worry about it not matching any she made up.

Peggy, who is grumpy at Don for having sneaked out before she had a chance to remind him ahead of lunch, is now mad at herself. Because this is what she probably would have done anyway if she'd taken a second to think, and now she's let Joan know one of her boss' secrets unnecessarily. Joan agrees that this was a mistake, and though she won't be telling anybody Don's secret either, it was something she should have never told Joan in the first place. Peggy leaves in a huff, leaving behind a delighted Joan, who is greatly enjoying watching this drama unfold from a safe distance.

Don isn't with Midge, of course, he's suffering through a miserable reunion with his confused little brother. He's been willing to finally admit that he is(was) Dick Whitman, but he's clamming up as Adam understandably asks questions about his current life: Who IS Donald Draper? Where has he been? What has he been doing? Is he married? Does he have a family?

Is Don suspicious of his motives? Suspect blackmail? I don't think so, I think he's just desperate to keep his old life and his new life entirely separate. Whatever caused him to run, to change his name, to become an entirely new person and refuse to acknowledge his past, he does NOT want the two to come together. If it was simply a matter, as he said, of changing his name like many people do, why would he care if his younger brother knew about his current life? Especially if he missed him like he said. There is much more going on here, and in spite of all the revelations in this episode I feel like it is the barest tip of the iceberg.

So Don stubs out his cigarette and declares he is going. He initially offers to pay for the lunch, but when Adam despairs that he just wants to be part of his life, the hardened Don Draper comes to the fore. With finality he declares that this isn't going to happen, that whatever fantasy Adam imagined from the time he was 8 will remain just that. He isn't even going to pay for the lunch, because as far as he is concerned none of this - the lunch, their meeting, Adam's sudden arrival in reception etc - none of it happened. He walks out the door without a backwards look, and leaves a stunned Adam behind.

Peggy's idea of entertaining is standing awkwardly in the middle of Don's office while the kids are bored and Betty is trying to maintain an awkward conversation. Following Joan's advice, Peggy has apologized profusely for forgetting to remind Don of the portraits. They talk briefly about Peggy's dating life, commiserating over the disappointment of blind dates. A brief distraction of the phone ringing is greeted by Peggy until she answers and finds Joan on the end gleefully asking how things are going. She politely declines as if she was offered lunch and hangs up, in no mood to play.

She might be regretting that though when Betty tries to joke about how sometimes Don can talk too much, since the last thing she wants to do is agree to a criticism of Betty's husband. Worse is when Betty only half-jokes that Peggy probably knows him better than Betty herself, an unpleasant reminder that she certainly knows at least one thing that Betty doesn't. So she jumps to the old tried and true, telling Betty she looks beautiful and complimenting the way the light plays on her features. Betty is flattered, and just then Don returns which relieves them both.

Don takes a moment to take in the sight, and winces as he remembers the portraits. Peggy is immediately to his rescue, apologizing for not reminding him, and he's quick to use this as a way to casually slip in his excuse without directly answering Betty's question of where he was. He simply states that it is his fault for going directly to the printer's from the meeting and not giving Peggy a chance to remind him. Peggy offers apologies again anyway to both Don and Betty, who says a pleasant goodbye to Peggy before casting a grumpy look Don's way. They all head out the door, and Don has the presence of mind to stop before he leaves to tell Peggy that she doesn't need to worry about this. She will, of course, but in this case Don isn't going to blame her for a problem entirely of his own making. He's got bigger fish to fry at the moment.

When Betty gets the results of the portraits back though she isn't happy, looking through them with Francine in the kitchen while the kids play elsewhere in the house. Don being late ruined the whole thing, and that is evident in the photos where the usually dapper and handsome Don looks like he's been spooked by a sudden noise or is intimidated by this strange invention called a camera. She also complains that Sally looks fat (Francine is quick to disagree), and she thinks the color is off, she's gonna need to get the photos done all over again and she knows that Don won't understand and will claim this first batch are fine.

What she's really upset about is that Don didn't seem to put the same level of importance on this family portrait as she did. That itself is symptomatic of a wider issue, one that Francine can commiserate with: they feel like outsiders at their husband's workplaces. Betty expects the royal treatment but rarely gets it, and Francine admits going to Carlton's office makes her feel stupid. It's a world neither of them know or feel part of, and it intimidates Betty at least that her husband fit in so well in a part of their life that does NOT include her. She has no idea how true that is, and how much it relates to other parts of his life as well. All she knows is that she prefers the Donald Draper she gets at home or out at dinner, and not the one who works in that office with strangers doing things she doesn't understand.

Jack Konig from Liberty Capital has come to Sterling Cooper for the pitch, where Pete is using those people skills he keeps being told he has to charm him. He greases Jack up by saying their concept was born from the basic principles Jack initially pushed: the use of products to appeal to the consumer. Except they went with banking products and not household products. He's sure to denigrate he and the others so as not to look arrogant, making up dumb ideas like bank accounts for children that they initially considered, before using "roman candle" in a nod to Konig's desire for "fireworks" to talk up the amazing quality of Creative Director Don Draper's genius idea.

Don, still not at 100%, lets the compliment sit for a second then calmly declares that Paul Kinsey has a good handle on this. It both removes his need to pitch as well as making Paul feel valued and grateful towards Don. He certainly looks grateful as he happily finds himself the center of attention, including from a slightly alarmed Pete who already has Ken Cosgrove's success to worry about.

Adoring the attention, Paul reveals the artwork Salvatore has mocked up and pitches the idea of a businessman with so many different aspects of his life he has to keep straight... and how Liberty Capital can help that with a private business account with statements that come directly to the office. Konig is no fool and immediately grasps exactly what they're pushing here, and with great pleasure declares,"Liberty for the libertine."

Pete laughs dutifully and follows suit by joking that the Statue of Liberty's torch which features in the mock-up reads,"Don't get burned!" to him. Konig chuckles happily, declaring that they can drop "Liberty" from the name and run with Executive Private Account. Don, his own life a mess of different aspects in danger of crashing together, asks Konig what he finds so funny. Konig, a banker through and through, admits that some of their customers are already doing something similar to this by themselves just without a name, but now the bank can charge them for it, and that delights him. He certainly has no moral objections to the idea that their bank is effectively advertising,"Hide your extra marital affairs by banking with us".

The meeting over, Don returns to his office, handed his mail by Peggy as he arrives. She's opened and checked through each of them except for one, which was marked private. Don heads inside and looks at the envelope, it is unstamped, Donald mispelled and no address beyond "Sterling Cooper Advertising" given. It was clearly dropped off directly to the building, the envelope taken from American Calculator's in-house envelopes, the address crossed out in pencil. Inside is a piece of paper from the Hotel Brighton in Times Square, with the message "If you change your mind. #5G." Also in the envelope is an old, often-folded photograph. A young Adam Whitman stands next to his tall, handsome older brother in his army uniform. It's Dick Whitman, undeniably the man who is today known as Donald Draper. One last reminder from Adam of a bond Don is trying so hard to forget/deny.

Paul enters the lunch room where he discovers Ken Cosgrove giving the summary of his novels to impressed secretaries. The Atlantic Monthly is tucked into his pocket, and by this point it's become almost parody that he's still carrying a copy around with him. Paul calls out to declare he's just finished reading it and was very impressed. Ken is delighted, thanking him for that... until Paul pulls the magazine from his pocket, claims he wants a copy for his girlfriend and tears the pages with the story in it out. The secretaries giggle while Ken is aghast, what the hell is he doing? Paul reminds him he told them he plenty of extra copies, and Ken snaps back that whether he does or doesn't, there are plenty of copies in newsstands all over town if he wanted one. Paul simply stuffs the remains of the magazine back into Ken's pocket, waves to the secretaries and saunters out, feeling like he has put Ken in his place... or at least knocked him down a peg or two.

Don leaves his office, telling Peggy he's done for the day. Peggy nods and Don hesitates, then clarifies that he's going home and she can reach him there if need be. She's thinking about Midge, he's thinking about Adam, and once he's gone Joan is just thinking about gossip. She sweeps over to Peggy and grins that she's always wondered why Don never made a pass at her, but given he's so handsome she figures he is able to go out to find women unlike many of the men working here. She seems surprised at Peggy not rising to the bait, and explains that whatever Don is doing in his private life is exactly that: private. It's why they love these men, after all, though Peggy is very quick to complain that she absolutely doesn't love Don Draper.

Joan doesn't care if she doesn't, but it's not on them to judge, and if Peggy wants to do that she's in the wrong business. She just has to make sure Don's home, work and private lives don't clash and make a mess for him, and if she can do that then she'll be set for a career with him. Peggy is a little disillusioned at the thought that THIS is what her job is, and an exasperated Joan tells her to lighten up. Whenever she comes over, Peggy looks like she needs a drink, she needs to relax. Forcing herself to do just that, Peggy puts on a smile and tells Joan what she wants to hear. She's getting good at that, it is ALSO part of her job, it seems.

Ken is leaving for the day too, but Paul stops him to apologize. Once the heat of the moment was over he realized he really went too far. Sheepishly he admits that he's been competing neck-and-neck with so many other people at Sterling-Cooper, but Ken's story being published made him realize he has been competing with Ken too. Ken considers that, considers the insult from earlier in the day, and with great pleasure informs Paul.... that he has already lost. He walks out triumphant, Paul watching him go in surprise, a tiny bit of anger and... at least a smidgen of admiration?

Pete comes home to dinner on the table, which directly after he was first married was a thing of wonder to behold and appreciate. He's still pleased to see it, and to be handed a drink and given a loving kiss on the cheek. But it's already becoming something that he's grown used to, and he always wants more. This is made evident when Trudy informs him that Charlie came to the house today with good news: he is going to publish Pete's story. Pete is over the moon, forgetting his initial poor reaction to learning Charlie was in the apartment. All until Trudy tells him that he'll be published in Boy's Life magazine. Not The Atlantic, now The New Yorker. Boy's Life. And he'll have to pay a $40 fee for the privilege to boot.

He's revolted, he put in a year's work and his story is going to be in Boy's Life? Glaring at his beautiful wife who he forced to have a meeting with an old boyfriend, who - unknown to him - had to face an unentirely unwelcome and indecent proposal, all to try and make HIM happy... he sneers,"You don't want me to have what I want."

She's furious, and rightly so. Just like he was angry when she essentially forced his hand into buying the apartment, except her anger is far more justified. He wanted to be published and she arranged that for him, and yes she could have gotten him into the New Yorker. She leaves HOW she would have accomplished this unsaid, but the meaning is clear, which makes Pete's response all the worse. Because he glares at her and demands why she DIDN'T get him published in The New Yorker, essentially telling her she should have whored herself out for his vanity publishing dreams. She can't believe him, and asks why he would put her into this position knowing that she didn't want to have to see Charlie. The two are left in uncomfortable silence at the table, the first active and serious fight of their still brand-new marriage.

No longer newly-weds, Betty and Don eat dinner together and discuss holiday plans. She's spoken to her father about them using the summer home at Cape May in August. Don is pleased, though Betty notes she wishes it wasn't quite so far from the city. Don continues to work through August, and only gets out to Cape May when he can to join them, which means they don't see him for a significant amount of that time.

She brings up Peggy, saying she liked her. Don, distracted, agrees she's as fresh as driven snow, and when Betty comments on that he actually smiles and jokingly asks if she read some terrible article in Look Magazine, implying that she might think he and Peggy are having an affair. Betty laughs too, it doesn't seem like she had any such suspicions, though she notes a wife can't be expected NOT to comment on her husband's secretary. Don's brief burst of humor is gone though, he's back to staring at nothing, fingers idly circling his scotch. So she outright asks him if something is wrong, and coming back to himself he assures her everything is fine, he's just trying to figure out if he actually needs to go back to the office tonight to take care of something. "I haven't decided yet."

In his study, he stares at the photo, a memento of a past he wants gone. He takes this literally, setting fire to perhaps the last image of himself from his time as Dick Whitman. He considers his options, the note from Adam, and comes to a decision.

At the Hotel Brighton, the manager knocks on Adam's door and tells him there is a phone-call. He walks into the hall and picks up the receiver, and is thrilled to hear his brother Dick telling him he'll be coming to see him soon. "From where?" he asks, excited, and Don simply replies he'll be there in 25 minutes. Hanging up, Don unlocks his desk drawer and considers what is inside very, very carefully.

Don arrives at the Hotel Brighton with attache case in hand. Adam lets him into 5G and apologizes for how terrible the room is, promising it is only temporary. He's so pleased to see Don, saying he looks more like himself now. But this still isn't the fairy-tale reunion he was hoping for, as Don settles down on a chair and explains to him that he isn't going to get what he wants from him. He has a new life now, and it is only moving in one direction: forward.

Adam considers for a moment, then refuses to acknowledge this and simply asks him what he wants to drink, showing off a bottle of gin he stole from an office at American Calculator. Don just wants coffee though, and as Adam prepares some, it is Don who asks questions: Abigail ("her" presumable) and Uncle Mack are gone? There's really nobody else left other than Adam? Adam agrees this is the case, and how strange it is, and Don casts a look at this attache case, which holds what he took out of the desk drawer in his house.

Everything seems pregnant with double-meaning, most of which is filtered through Don's paranoia. All these questions Adam keeps asking are about Don's private life: is he married, does he have kids, where does he live. He comments on how big Don's office must be, how the award indicates he is a man of some importance etc. All the while Don is glancing looks at the attache case, and the shorthand seems to be a fear that Adam is looking for blackmail material. What's in the case? The obvious answer is a gun, that Don has come and asked his own questions to confirm that Adam has nobody else, and that if he does away with him nobody else will come asking awkward questions about his past.

But this isn't The Sopranos, and Don Draper is an advertising executive. He hasn't come to kill Adam, and Adam appears to be for all intents and purposes exactly what he claims: a little brother desperately trying to reconnect with a beloved older brother he thought was gone forever. Inside the case is money, stacks of it that Don has been keeping in his drawer. He places it on the table and informs Adam that it is $5000 dollars, and it is the ONLY thing he will ever give him.

Adam is shocked, but also offended. He didn't come for money and he doesn't want it. Don knows this, too, for all that he kept demanding to know what Adam wanted and for all he hid as much of himself as he could, I don't think he ever considered Adam was being anything but sincere. It's just that it was a sincere desire that for whatever reason Don believes puts his entire life at risk.

Again, he tells Adam that he cannot give him what he wants. What he can do is give him $5000 to make his own life. Since he was 8 he's believed that Dick Whitman was dead, he just needs to go back to believing that, because it's true. Dick Whitman IS dead, Don Draper is all that's left, and he is not Adam Whitman's brother. He doesn't say this cruelly, though it is cruel. For the first time he actually speaks to Adam like a brother, with real and obvious love. He speaks openly and honestly, or at least as much as he can, and when his weeping little brother hugs him Don hugs him back, and even allows himself a moment to feel the agony of this parting.

But then it's over, he steps back, tells Adam it will be okay, and walks away. Once again it is without a backwards glance, and he strides down the hall without hesitation. His choice has been made, and it is final.

He returns home where Betty is still awake in bed. She asks if the crisis at work was averted and he tells her yes, he found the papers he needed on his desk. He gets changed into his pajamas, turning down looking in on the kids because he just wants to sleep. But his emotionally exhausting day isn't quite over, as Betty tells him she wants to talk to him about something and doesn't want him getting upset.

Tired, split into a million pieces, feeling hollowed out even after removing one of those million pieces (Adam, not Midge), Don also knows he can't just shut this down or it will cause more problems. So he braces himself and tells her to go ahead, and actually seems relieved when this is just about her being worried he is avoiding Cape May because he doesn't like being there or around her father. He hops into the bed and promises her that Cape May is great and he is looking forward to it, though he admits that he is unsettled by the way her father looks at him.

This actually pleases Betty, who smiles and reminds him that he took away his little girl. But she gets serious, she thinks they should buy their own summer house rather than using her father's, one closer to the city so he can be more present during the holidays. After all, from what he's told her (she doesn't get to do the banking, remember) they'd had a good year.

The horror for Don, of course, is that their own summer house WOULD be good, but he just gave away 5k to his younger brother she doesn't know exists to continue to protect the mystery of his own past/other identity from her and everybody else. So he has to lie, to say that actually they're not all that flush at the moment... nothing to worry about, just they can't afford to splash out like that right now, maybe next year, until then Cape May will be fine.

She accepts this, she has no reason not to believe her husband when he tells her things. She turns off the lights, snuggles up close to him, and says she's glad, because she likes seeing her dad. Did Dick Whitman? What happened to his father? Who was Abigail? Uncle Mack? Why did he fake his death? How did he become Don Draper? Why is he so desperate to prevent anybody from knowing his past to the point he paid off his brother to disappear forever?

These questions go unanswered, hidden away only in Don Draper's head. His wife sleeps happy and contented in his arms, but there is no sleep for him. Removing Adam hasn't removed his fears, and his life remains in turmoil. A million little pieces, so many different aspects, and it doesn't matter how many you hide away or pay off or segregate into a different bank account... eventually a man whose entire life is built on lies upon lies will discover that the center cannot hold.

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I love that they all make fun of Konig for his clumsy advertising efforts like toaster wars and "fireworks", but then Pete is freaking out trying to get himself published while Paul is moaning about how his novel would be so good if he just wrote it, all because Ken happened to do it first.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Got sidetracked by some real life stuff and haven't had a chance to do the next write-up, I'll try to have it done by tomorrow sorry.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 6 - Babylon
Written by Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Directed by Andrew Bernstein

Peggy Olson posted:

I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box.

It's a very special day, and Don Draper is doing a very special thing: he's making his wife breakfast in bed. It's Mother's Day, the one day a year a housewife might be able to expect being waited on by her husband and children. Though Don probably thinks this is simply yet another "invention" like love to keep people content or buying things, he also knows the value of a gesture. So he makes toast, orange juice and coffee and puts it all on a tray with a single flower in a vase. Still in pajamas himself, he quietly moves it to the stairwell to sneak up and surprise Betty... and disaster strikes.

Sally or Bobby have left a toy on the stairs, and Don - distracted by reading the paper in one hand and carrying the breakfast tray in the other - treads on it, slips, loses his balance and stumbles backwards, crashing to the floor and whacking the back of his head. He lies dazed for a moment, and then a voice calls out to him, warning him to watch where he's going or he'll break his neck. It's not a pleasant or comforting voice, and it belongs to nobody living.

It's Uncle Mack.

Where an adult Don Draper hit the ground, a child Dick Whitman gets back to his feet, holding back tears for fear of inviting Uncle Mack's further contempt. He passes a midwife with a bowl of bloody water and moves through the assembled members of his family. Seated in the bed is "her", his father's second wife and the mother of the newest addition to the family: Adam Whitman.

For the first but not the last time in his life, Dick rejects his brother. Uncle Mack is having none of that though - they have the same daddy, that makes them brothers. Dick turns and looks back to the floor, where his adult self lays staring at this unwelcome memory. The spell is broken by Sally's shout of alarm, and he's drawn back to the present where he sees Betty, Sally and Bobby staring in concern from the top of the stairs. Betty races down to check on him, and with signature smoothness he conceals both his pain and the fright of his unbidden memory and offers a somewhat sardonic,"Happy Mother's Day."

Last episode's encounter with Adam offered us a few hints about Don's past, but this episode brings us visuals to go with them. The family look, for want of a better word, "rural". Uncle Mack was short and not powerfully built at all, but looked the type who could put the fear of God into a small boy. "Her" (Abigail?) didn't appear as hateful or resentful of Dick as he made her sound, if anything this brief peek makes it seem that it was Dick himself who generated the resentment between them. But she does appear to have been strongly religious - noting God's blessing, naming Adam after "the first man" etc.

A picture is painted in this brief scene: a religious family, not particularly well-educated, proud but poor, riddled with early deaths and tragedies that strained familial ties none of them thought it was possible to sever. Until Dick Whitman faked his death and became Don Draper, at least, and Adam Whitman was left alone in the world and ended up working as a janitor for American Calculator. At least, this is the impression I'm given in this single scene: a stifling environment for young Dick Whitman, a miserable existence he was only too eager to leave behind forever, and terrified of ever returning to.

That's the past though and this is the present (of 1960). That evening they return from a long, exhausting but happy day celebrating Mother's Day. Betty carries Bobby and Don carries Sally, both already fast asleep, taking them to their beds before retiring to their own. In bed, Don reads The Best of Everything, enjoying the story of young women working in Publishing in New York City a great deal... particularly the "dirty bits" as he jokes to Betty.

She just hopes it was better than the film version, noting that Joan Crawford's attempts to fight aging had turned a once giant star into a pitiable figure. Snuggling up in the bed with him, at first Don thinks they're just having some fun joking as she talks about her own fears of growing old, of wanting to hide away if she lost her looks. He even defends Joan Crawford, who would have been a sex symbol of his childhood/puberty, mentioning that Salvatore in particular is enamored of her (another less than subtle reference to his apparenthomosexuality).

But she becomes more maudlin as she talks about her own mother, who was two years older than Joan Crawford (claims) but held herself together far more impressively. Don tells her not to be melancholy but she insists it is okay to be sentimental about her mother on Mother's Day, and notes that Dr. Wayne has told her this type of "mourning" can be helpful. He isn't particularly keen on her bringing up her psychiatrist when they're in bed together, and she doesn't like that he mocks Wayne by saying he'll only declare her cured when his summer house is completed.

But it's been too nice a day for them to devolve into an argument that neither wants, and so he cracks a joke about pygmies and they begin playfully flirting as they discuss her college days studying anthropology. Kissing and snuggling closer, they turn talk to "advanced reproduction" where Betty miscalculates with her own joke about Don being caught cheating, which almost dumps cold water over their romantic endeavors. Don considers for a moment, calculating whether it was a joke or an accusation, then goes back to kissing her.

She asks him to turn off the light, despite being married with two children apparently the idea of sex with the lights on would be considered sinful. Don, who has had plenty of sex with Midge with the lights on or in daylight, is a little disappointed but complies. But though Betty remains a product of her sexually repressed time, there is an openness she feels she can express to Don that she would never express to anyone. Slightly embarrassed but eager to convey the depth of her passion, she explains to him that even after all this time she yearns for him. Not just today, a romantic Mother's Day, but every day. Sex with him is all she can think of, she looks forward to it, enjoys it when she gets it, and is desperate for more once it is over.

Don listens to all of this and for once doesn't say a word. He lets her express herself, her desire, lets her get it all out. Finally, when she has unburdened herself of her guilt for having a healthy sexual appetite, of the fact that she wants him so badly, he assures her that she has him. Not just an empty statement, he looks deep into her eyes and in the moment at least he seems to genuinely mean it: they are husband and wife, a union before the eyes of God and Man. They kiss passionately and prepare to make love, the perfect ending to a perfect day.

The next day, Don joins Roger Sterling in a conference room where he's introduced to Nick Rodis from Olympic Cruise Lines, as well as Yoram Ben Shulhai from the Israel Ministry of Tourism (Roger pronounces it Urine) and Lily Meyer. Don greets them all warmly (there is no David Cohen from the mail room here today) and takes a seat, and they get down to business: selling Israel as a tourist destination. They have a visit with another advertising agency but wanted to see Sterling Cooper for a more traditional approach. This makes Roger wince, and Don carefully notes they don't see themselves as a traditional firm. Yoram shows his diplomatic skills by rephrasing this to mean "glamorous" - they want the glamor and sophistication that Sterling Cooper produces to be associated with Israeli tourism, in much the same way they worked their magic on Rio de Janeiro.

Lily passes Don a copy of the book Exodus, which at the time was a gigantic bestseller (it was also criticized - and sometimes praised! - as naked propaganda for Israel and being extremely anti-Arab). The book was regarded as generating a tremendous amount of sympathy and support from Americans for the then "new" Nation, and Lily wants to capitalize on this to draw more Americans to the country. Don thanks her for the book, quips about the Bible as his only other research (Yoram quickly suggests they steer clear of religion) and then gets back to work: what kind of tourists do they want, how much money should they make? The answer to that comes quickly: whatever Don makes. The implication is clear: they want him. Or rather, people like him: successful, urbane, well-off men of the world who have money to spend and enjoy the finer things in life, which Israel will be only too happy to provide to them.

The meeting over, Roger is on his way back to his office when he spots his wife Mona and daughter Margaret standing by his secretary Ginger's desk. He greets them happily with kisses, his daughter pointedly ignoring him. He was unaware they had lunch planned for today, but Mona explains they actually came in to get Margaret a haircut. Margaret finally responds when Roger notes he likes how her current hair makes her look young, acidly retorting that his current hair makes him look old. Irritated but not wanting to show it, he asks Ginger for advice on where Margaret should go, but she - buttoned up and as far from the image of a "sexy" secretary as you can imagine, she was specifically picked out by Mona - can't help, she cuts her own hair. Luckily for them, Joan Holloway - the exact opposite of Ginger - is coming by with Don and will be their saving grace.

Margaret lights up immediately upon seeing Don - like Betty and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, she wants Don too - and clearly likes Joan as well. Joan knows how to flatter, likening Margaret to Brigitte Bardot, and promises to introduce them to a wonderful hair-stylist. They leave together, Mona in tow, and Roger notes with a mixture of amusement and self-pity that she used to love spending time in his office. This time, she didn't even poke her head through the door.

Later that day, Roger lies in bed discussing Margaret's issues. He complains about how her haircut is the least of her problems, she has no direction or focus: she doesn't date, doesn't want to work or go to College, isn't even interested in bullshit charity "work" to give her something to do. He unloads these problems to the one woman he knows he can rely on to share his problems and concerns with about his daughter.... Joan Holloway.

Yes, his wife may have picked out a homely secretary, but Roger Sterling gets what he wants and what he wanted was Joan. The two have been having an affair for a year now, and Joan maintains the same heady combination of sexuality and no-nonsense authority with him that she demonstrates in the office itself. She rejects his insistence they just spend the rest of the day here in bed, pointing out that he can take the day off but she can't. She dismisses the food he's ordered, noting that it reminds her of being in a hospital. She laughs off and even playfully slaps him for his comment about considering leaving Margaret. She gently turns down his suggestion that he buy her an apartment so he can have her all to himself, noting she doesn't like being alone and is happy with her current setup, and laughing at his solution of buying her a bird.

Each rejection is masterfully done, she never says no to him or gets upset, she simply diverts his attention or offers reasonable counters that put him onto another tangent. Used to getting his own way, he's also keenly appreciative of a woman who makes him work at it, and in some regard despite being far older than her he's essentially that little boy enamored with his nanny he talked about being in episode 2. Each rejection is a challenge to him, part of the fun of the affair, something to be worked at to convince her, while she knows that keeping him at arms length only increases the appeal... plus she's more than smart enough to know that she is at best his mistress and shouldn't be reliant on any kind of long-term relationship no matter what he says. As she outright tells him, eventually she'll find a more "permanent" situation (i.e, get married) while she knows he'll eventually want to change up to next year's model. She has a self-awareness and self-assurance that comes only from experience, and she wisely isn't banking her entire life on a wealthy man going through a mid-life crisis being her salvation.

Don is finding the idea of selling Israel to American tourists a little more troublesome than Lily, Yoram and Nick tried to push. Their research files, unsurprisingly, are mostly focused on Jewish experiences during and directly after the war, including pictures of concentration camp survivors and the experiences of the real life SS Exodus that served as partial inspiration for Leon Uris' novel.

His office is silent but he's not alone. Pete, Salvatore and Paul are also looking through the files and trying to figure out an angle for their pitch. Selling it as a summer destination is a no-go, Bermuda is only three hours away. Salvatore suggests parting the Red Sea to show a four-star motel called The Promised Land, which gets a giggle, but Don points out that religion is not to be part of their pitch. Pete has other concerns beyond Israel still being considered a dangerous place: it's communist! Communes were the order of the day in Israel at the time, and to Pete that reads as Soviet and therefore bad... even if only from a PR standpoint.

The thing is though, despite American hatred of Soviet Russia.... plenty of Americans are active supporters of Israel and the plight of those who survived the Holocaust. The Daughters of the American Revolution have been pushing sales of Exodus and they're about as far from Communist as you can get. Salvatore's mother cried when she read the book, and Paul found the story exciting, dramatic and inspirational. America really does have a love affair with Israel, but everything about Israel seems designed from an advertising standpoint to be the opposite of what Sterling Cooper would usually try to push: it's quasi-communist, the women have guns, hotels get blown up, and despite the previously mentioned love-affair with Israel there is still an unhealthy amount of casual Anti-semitism from Americans, but they'd be asking Americans to go visit a place full of Jewish people. But there is one thing that cuts across all this, a universal constant in advertising that can be exploited. It's stated by Salvatore explicitly but also Paul Kinsey in passing earlier: there are a lot of exceptionally attractive Israeli women.

Don considers this and makes a decision. He calls a halt to the meeting, asks Peggy to give him a private line, and then puts through a call to Rachel Menken. Against her better judgement she takes the call, and isn't pleased when he declares he needs to see her. It's purely business, he assures her, but she won't meet him for dinner, claiming to already have plans. She will agree to lunch though, tomorrow at The Pierre. He agrees and hangs up, already ready to move on to other things in his day. On her end, however, Rachel sits holding the phone, perhaps already regretting allowing him back into her life after being so pro-active about getting him out of it.

That night in bed, Don has made significant progress reading through Exodus, absorbed enough to barely pay attention to Betty chatting to him as she prepares for bed herself.... until she mentions that the first boy she ever kissed was Jewish. That gets his attention fast, and he lowers the book and asks her how on earth that came to be. She explains her friend Deirdre knew a Jewish girl who invited them to a mixer at her synagogue, where she danced with a very attractive if gloomy boy called David Rosenberg all evening.

Don is fascinated, asking what type of kisser he was, laughing at her suggestion that he might have been disappointed in her lack of experience. She explains that he was only interested in her because she wasn't from the synagogue, and she did get teased about it on the bus the next day... but all the girls quickly dyed their hair blonde to match hers not long after it.

It's yet another example of the complete lunacy of bigotry that Don is surprised and almost intellectually fascinating at the thought of his wife once having kissed a Jewish boy. He at least doesn't react angrily or with disgust, but it's clear he finds the entire notion somehow alien. Yet he also sees absolutely zero problem with the fact he's intensely attracted to Rachel Menken and wants a relationship with her.

In any case, Betty has taken the discussion as a prelude to their own chance to do far more than kiss. But as she leans in for more, he doesn't reciprocate, instead complaining about the heat and reminding her he has to finish reading Exodus. She quickly accepts this, though is plainly disappointed, especially after baring her soul about her sexual desire to him on Mother's Day... but she also believes a wife's lot in life is to be sexually available to her husband but not vice versa. She heads into the bathroom to freshen up before bed, but stops to suggest they put an air conditioner in, leaving unspoken that then it won't be hot and they CAN have sex. Don just nods distractedly and says they'll see, and goes back to reading while his beautiful, loving wife is left unsatisfied.

The next day, Freddy Rumsen is enjoying the breakfast of champions in his office: a small amount of orange juice and a LARGE amount of vodka. He isn't embarrassed or try to hide his drinking, openly leaving the bottle on the desk and happily greeting Salvatore and Ken when they pop in to discuss their current account. Freddy is a Senior Copywriter, name-dropped in a previous episode as a heavy drinker, and he lives up to his reputation... but he's also no fool. When Ken Cosgrove drops in a little tidbit about lipstick mimicking the color of a woman's cheeks post-orgasm, Freddy openly mocks him for trying to pass off something from the same research report they ALL read as if it was something he found out for himself.

The product they're trying to advertise is lipstick, produced by Belle Jolie, and they're stumped. The company makes a wide product range offering every color imaginable, but sales are not doing well and they can't figure out how to turn that around. Offering a mixture of insight into his own limitations AND deeply entrenched sexism, Freddy suggests that since none of them "speak moron" they should "throw it to the chickens", indicating the secretaries outside. Whatever disdain they might have for women as somehow being "lesser than", they also know that none of them will ever know lipstick as well as women do.

Joan is recruited to lead the secretaries - expecting lunch - into a survey room where multiple mirrors have been set up on benches. At first the secretaries are disappointed until they discover they'll be getting to test out all kinds of new lipsticks. Eagerly they move to take seats, none noticing that Joan has quietly locked the door so none can leave till the testing is done.

All this is watched through a large one-way mirror on the wall. On the other side, Freddy and Ken have settled in comfortably onto seats while Salvatore pours himself a drink, enjoying the thrill of watching without being seen. As the women all excitedly grab up lipstick and begin trying them on, Salvatore on the other side of the mirror takes pleasure in making acidic comments about their taste, clothing and wigs, enjoying being so close and being able to openly mock and deride the women who are actually helping THEM out by taking part in this "brainstorm".

Greta Guttman moves around the room, flanked by Joan, taking notes and asking questions. This part of the process is not so enjoyable for the secretaries, who feel somewhat intimidated by Guttman's severe appearance and no-nonsense tone.

Paul Kinsey has joined the party, and Harry Crane slips in as well, treating the entire process like they're schoolboys who have managed to peek through the window of the girls' changing room. Pete rushes in with his lunch to snack while he enjoys the show, and even Roger Sterling zips in to be part of the sophomoric antics. His amusement ends though when Joan - knowing full well the men are watching on the other side - makes a point of bending over to present her rear end to their view. Wriggling it a little, she then stands and turns as if she was checking her own make-up, while Ken Cosgrove leads the others in standing up and saluting Joan and her tremendous buttocks. Roger though just stands and stares, not happy that other men are looking at what "belongs" to him, or that she made the showing to the others in the first place.

Paul - who once made an unsuccessful move on Peggy - notices that during all this she's been quiet, simply sitting at her mirror and barely trying on any of the lipsticks on offer. Indeed Peggy simply sits, but not passively. She takes in the entire room, every woman, every lipstick, every reaction and move they make, absorbing it all while doing nothing herself.

At The Pierre's tearoom, Don is drinking as he waits. Spotting Rachel's arrival, he stands and pulls out her seat for her, offering pleasant small talk and flattery while she goes out of her way to try and maintain a stoic face and keep this purely business. She orders a coffee and presses him for the business he so desperately wanted to speak about, and isn't impressed when he admits he wanted to talk to her because she's Jewish and he is trying to get Israeli Tourism as a client. She points out she is far from the only Jew in New York and that there are plenty of books to read. He rejects both though, because she is his "favorite" and the books are all sentimental war trivia.

He spills some of his drink on his hand and tie, breaking his composure. Surprised and pointing out he is usually so well put together, she gently dabs at his tie for him, a small intimate moment beyond the business this meeting is supposed to be about. He happily lets her, and she offers him some advice: don't cross the Israelis. She dismisses his claim that the people he met were Zionists, noting that Zion is just another word for Israel, and critiques his own dismissal of "sentimental war trivia", reminding him that Eichmann was just arrested in Buenos Aires last week: these wounds are still fresh for the Jewish people, and particularly the Israelis.

He accepts the admonishment and explains his focus: he's trying to convince tourists to go to Israel, and it has to be something different from what everybody else is already doing. Again she points out that she's not an expert just because she's Jewish herself, hell if her mother had lived she might have called her Marilyn and she could have grown up as "just" an American, nobody would have known the difference. Don asks a very pertinent question without seemingly grasping how much it highlights the idiocy of his own casual anti-Semitism: what IS the difference between an American and a "Jew".

All Rachel can offer is a very generalized sense of what it means to be Jewish. To know that your people have spent hundreds if not thousands of years in exile: in Babylon, Shanghai, Brooklyn... and every place they've managed to survive and even do business with people who actively hate them. Don is quick to assure her that he doesn't hate her, and she can't help but smile and agree.... individual people are great, the problem is that groups aren't.

That is why Israel is important. Because after all this time, all the exile and being shunned or treated different or second-class... there is a country that is THEIRS. It belongs to them, and even Rachel can acknowledge how important that is. That doesn't mean she's going to immigrate and live there: her life is America, her home and family and business are here. She will visit Israel, she will be one of those American tourists... but just because it is THEIR country doesn't mean that SHE has to live there.

Don can feel the germ of an idea there: Utopia. Rachel considers that and points out the term can have two meanings: Eu-topos: the good place, but also ou-topos: the place that cannot be. Without meaning to, they have drifted from Israel to themselves: they both want to be together, but as much as they would want it to be good, they know that it cannot be. Or at least she does, while Don clearly wants it to be eu-topos. Rachel announces her departure, she's already given more time than she can spare. She warns him (half-joking but also very serious) that she better not have this lunch charged to her account at Sterling Cooper, then leaves him to consider the words of wisdom she has given him.

The brainstorming session is over and the secretaries have to return to work after using up their lunch-break to provide unpaid research material for the agency. Freddy explains to Joan that now they have to count the shades the secretaries tried to see which were most popular. Spotting that Peggy has been collecting up the used tissues the women were using to blot with, he asks her to bring them over. She does so, and as she passes them over a thought crosses her mind, and with a grin she can't help but quip,"Here's your basket of kisses."

Freddy is immediately struck by the phrase, and asks her where she heard it. Confused, Peggy says she just thought of it now. Freddy is intrigued, but as he asks Peggy further questions, Joan spots them talking and mistakes Peggy being confused by Freddy's interest as her potentially causing issues. When she tells Freddy that she didn't pick any other colors because her favorite was already gone and she's too particular to take another, he's further intrigued and asks what she means. "I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box," she explains, and Joan is immediately in place, assuming Peggy is critiquing Freddy (or that he will take it that way, after all she isn't immediately agreeing with everything he says). She instructs Peggy to get back to her desk, and leaves Freddy contemplating the most useful actual information he has gleaned from this brainstorming session... all because he actually spoke to a woman instead of spying on them.

Don is considering in his office, still wrapped up not only in the Israeli Tourism problem but Rachel's warning about utopia's double-edged sword. Coming to a decision, he gets on the intercom and tells Peggy to clear his calendar, but she reminds him he has a 3pm meeting with Snider's Catsup. That's easily enough solved, he instructs her to send a box of cigars to Jim King with his apologies and is pleased when rather than asking what brand, she says she will find that out for herself.

Before he can go though, Freddy pops his head through the door followed by Salvatore. Freddy is straight to the scotch to pour them all drinks (when Don declines, Freddy doesn't miss a beat and pours the third glass into his own) while complimenting Peggy standing out during brainstorming. He gives him the basket of kisses line (Salvatore insists bucket would be better, which is why he sticks to the art), but more than that her line about not wanting to be one in a hundred caught Freddy by surprise. He's impressed by her if a little flummoxed. It is 1960 and he is a middle-aged alcoholic businessman after all, don't expect groundbreaking awareness of gender-equality from him, he likens the experience to watching a dog play the piano. But what he does know is talent, no matter who has it, and all three men find themselves staring at earnest Peggy Olson with new eyes as she sits at her desk working away, forcing a smile as endless paperwork is dumped on her because she knows how to sell what people want to see.

Rachel calls her sister Barbara because this is something she can't talk to the dogs about, prefer them as she might. Barbara is a house-wife and new mother, smoking and enjoying a moment's peace now that the baby is asleep and eager to talk to anybody. Rachel admits that she thinks she might have met a man she's actually interested in. Barbara thinks that is great and peppers her with questions: does he work at the store? Would daddy like him? The answer is no, to both questions. Barbara immediately guesses that means he's not Jewish, but she also doesn't particularly care what their father thinks. After all, she doesn't want to end up like Aunt Rosie with her fake stories of failed engagements (Rachel had no idea they were fake), and at the ancient and haggard age of 28 (!) she needs to find a man soon.

Rachel isn't sure, though she admits she does want to be with this man, though it means she will have to ignore everything she knows about him in the process. Barbara tells her to stop overthinking though, he doesn't have to be the perfect man and she can pursue and marry somebody she loves rather than somebody who makes a good match. Or if she doesn't want to marry, then its 1960 so why not just enjoy the time with him and not worry about the future? Barbara herself is married and has a kid, and as she sits rocking her now crying back in its crib, she admits that right now she would do anything for even a little romance in her life.

Peggy is finishing up the extra filing she was given when Joan approaches with even more folders.... and some news. "Mr. Rumsen" (no longer Freddy, this is business) wants her to come up with copy for Belle Jolie Lipsticks. Peggy is shocked, but that quickly passes and is followed by pure pleasure. Paul Kinsey mentioned female copywriters to her but she probably put that from her mind after he tried to make a move on her in his office. But now, they want HER to write? Joan reminds her that she's still expected to perform her duties on Mr. Draper's desk and any writing will be on her own time, and Peggy quickly agrees to this extra work, mind racing with the sudden unexpected opportunities. But is she also getting a raise? Joan laughs at the idea, but agrees that she might possibly be entitled to a little dinner money.

Being Peggy, she immediately wants to go and find Freddy and the others and thank them, but Joan quickly assures her this is unnecessary and they instructed her to pass on the message to Peggy, and that's enough. Peggy quickly agrees, and Joan walks calmly away. I have to wonder about that last part though, did they tell Joan that or was this her own addition? After all, Joan is queen bee of the secretarial pool and enjoys a level of authority and even respect the other women are not privy to. Now here is this new girl, the new model she mentioned to Roger earlier, and within only a few weeks of starting at Sterling Cooper she has been picked out for an opportunity as a Copywriter? Does Joan see this as a challenge? Does she fear being technically subordinate to another woman in the office, particularly a former underling? Or can all this be taken at face value and the men simply want Peggy to go work on some copy and hand it over for them to review?

Don cleared his calendar for one reason: he wanted his medicine. After being rejected by Rachel yet again, he's rushed to Midge's to have sex with a different mistress, since apparently his beautiful young wife who desperately wants to be with him physically every night is not enough for him. She opens the door and accepts him with open arms, dangling a small potted plant from one hand as he lifts her and carries her to a pillar in the middle of the room and presses her against it.

The pot ends up smashing on the floor as they try to set it aside, and her top comes off as their embrace becomes more passionate... but then there's a knock at the door and she extricates herself to answer it. Don settles on the edge of the bed and removes his shoes, watching suspiciously as she answers the door to a young bearded man named Roy Hazellit who gives her a familiar kiss and happily invites himself in. Spotting Don, Roy isn't offended, upset or devastated, just shrugs and notes that he guesses Midge was already busy. She introduces the two, and Roy explains he came by because their mutual friend Ian was going to be playing down at the Gaslight, and he wanted to invite her along.

Midge is keen to go, but she wants Don to come to. Roy is happy to invite him too, though more because he thinks Don will say no and he gets to make a few barbs at his suit and his status as a "visitor" to the city rather than somebody who lives in it. Don, well beyond caring what the likes of Roy thinks, comfortably declares he'll just be staying right here, but is convinced when a cheeky Midge whispers to him that she'll wear a skirt... and nothing else.

Joan arrives to her hotel room for a rendezvous with Roger, though she's late. She's amused by the reason why though, a media buyer tried to convince her to go to the ballet with him and she had to get clear without offending him. Roger is a little miffed at somebody having the gall to hit on the woman nobody knows he's sleeping with, but then smiles and admits that they can't help it, given how she "glides around that office like some magnificent ship". His hands are all over her, groping her as she giggles... till she hears a chirp, spots a cage with a sheet on it, and realizes that Roger's only gone and bought her a bird after all.

She laughs about it but her initial reaction upon seeing it is angry disbelief. Roger treats it as a joke but the bird IS for her, and she knows there is a serious undercurrent to his moony talk about not wanting to share her and trying to convince her to move into an apartment he pays for. Roger loves to sell, he loves to convince people of things, and he's already convinced himself he wants her. Joan is caught between a rock and a hard place, if she alienates this man she risks blowback to her careeer and life - plus she does seem to be enjoying the relationship, just only as it currently stands. She's been completely open with him, she doesn't want anything more from him that what she's already got, and he's running the risk of ruining that... but she knows she'd pay the price if that happens.

So she giggles about the bird and lets him strip her down (but does make him cover up the bird again) and tries to get him back to what this is supposed to be about - sex and a good time and nothing else.

At the Gaslight, a man on stage is stumbling through reading wedding announcements out of the newspaper, facing away from the crowd and barely audible above the background murmur of conversation. Don, Midge and Roy arrive, the latter two talking about an exciting new artist (he jams monument souvenirs up his rear end) while Don grumpily notices there is nowhere to hang his coat (or give to the likes of Peggy to hang up for him). He notices Roy has taken the seat next to Midge and tells him to swap, but Roy refuses, and a grumpier Don settles down at the table as Roy eagerly talks about creating REAL theater and not the middle class mediocrity born on Broadway. Don, amused at his efforts to get under his skin, looks up at the droning artist on stage and notes that if it is born on Broadway, it is conceived in the Gaslight.

The rounds that Roy ordered arrive but he makes no move to pay, and Don has no hesitation in handing over cash, getting a genuine thanks from Midge and a sarcastic "L'Chaim" from Roy. He does however ask Don what he does, and when he realizes he's an ad-man he is thrilled, because now he gets to be angry! He accuses Don of creating the "religion of mass consumption", an accusation that doesn't bother Don in the slightest, retorting that people want to be told what to do. Roy, who considers himself a free-thinking artist/revolutionary is ready to go several rounds of philosophical aggression with Don, who responds with the rather immature retort that Roy puts more work into his hair than Midge does. It's a kind of lame if on-point for the time bit of toxic masculinity, but it also goes towards Don's ability to spot a product being sold. In Roy's case, the product is himself, the image of the poet/artist/co-operative theater director, and he's putting a lot of work into generating that image.

Midge of course just wanted to hang out, support an artist friend and maybe have some good conversation, and shuts them both up by mockingly asking if they want to go compare dicks in the rest-room. Roy wants to create a cooperative theater and wants Midge to (or rather, like Roger with Joan, he declares Midge will) paint some flats for it. Midge reminds him she only said she'd think about it, and then they're interrupted by the new artist, a woman who has good voice projection but whose idea of poetry is proclaiming she dreamed of having sex with Fidel Castro while Kruschev watched through a window. Somebody in the crowd bellows at her to take off her shirt and she does without hesitation. Maybe it's a laudable comfort in being a sexual being, maybe it's a desperate desire to shock or get attention, maybe she can't think of any other way to be heard without this kind of performance?

Whatever the case, neither of the last two artists have impressed Don, and Roy is an actively aggressive element he really doesn't feel like bothering with. He wants to go, but Midge convinces him to stay as Ian is finally coming up, and she promises they'll go after. Don doesn't leave, but he isn't happy, glaring at Midge for taking him out of his comfort zone: this isn't his medicine, he wanted an afternoon/evening of guilt-free sex and then either sleeping there or heading home. Instead he's had to sit through an evening with people he doesn't like, putting on an act he likes to drop when he's with her, being "on" and actually catering to her needs for once.

But there is one benefit. Ian is actually talented. With two backing musicians, he sings By the Waters of Babylon. It's an especially topical song, a lament of the Israelites who wept over the destruction of Jerusalem and their captivity in Babylon. As it plays, for the first time this season we see a montage: Rachel continues to work late into the night at Menken's while considering for the first time a man she would rather be with instead; Betty applies lipstick to Sally, already at a young age teaching her daughter to be "pretty", having established in this episode and Ladies Room that she ascribes a woman's value being in her looks; at the Gaslight, Don watches and listens to Ian, his face trembling with either rage or fear... what exile/lost home is he remembering as the song plays? Finally, Joan and Roger finish up their tryst and leave the hotel.

Joan carries her unwanted bird with her, a reminder of his attempt to control her life for his own pleasure and benefit. The passion of the hotel room is replaced by blank faces, they leave the hotel separately but stand on the same road waiting for a taxi, giving no indication of awareness that the other exists. Separated by a dozen feet, there is an insurmountable gulf between them.

Joan already knows their time together is temporary. Now she just has to figure out how to survive it long enough that Roger realizes it too and lets her go without destroying her in the process.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:37 on Oct 19, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It's a bit heavy-handed perhaps, but I love the shot of the pretty Israeli woman showing lots of cleavage being dropped on top of photos of holocaust victims - they're advertisers, image and appeal trumps everything else.

Also Christina Hendricks really comes into her own in this episode, I loved watching her carefully navigate the power dynamics in her relationship with Roger.

God Hole posted:

lol that's either a great freudian slip or I really didn't pay attention in season 1

I keep doing that as I write and having to go back and correct it! Thanks for the catch, I've edited it out now.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 7 - Red in the Face
Written by Bridget Bedard, Directed by Tim Hunter

Betty Draper posted:

You're painting a masterpiece. Make sure to hide the brushstrokes.

Don Draper is going behind his wife's back yet again. He makes a call, apologizing for not being in touch, explaining he hasn't been able to get alone. But this isn't Midge or Rachel he's speaking to, it's Dr. Wayne. As before, the doctor has not the slightest qualm about openly talking to his patient's husband about the supposedly private revelations she makes to him. If anything, his only objection is that Don is calling him so before the day is done: while Don is packing his things to go home, Dr. Wayne still isn't done with his sessions, and he prefers to violate doctor/patient confidentiality in the evenings.

He notes that so far Betty has only really offered surface level material, consumed by petty jealousies and overwhelmed by everyday tasks. It's anxiety, and it's becoming increasingly common among housewives, though clearly neither Don nor Dr. Wayne can figure out just why educated women left to sit around the house all day and be treated like children are not a picture of mental health. Wayne has no problem with casually insulting his patient, saying it's like dealing with the emotions of a child.

Don meanwhile is looking for the easy answer as always, jumping on Wayne mentioning the recent death of Betty's mother as the be-all/end-all excuse for her problems. Wayne at least understands it is more complicated, saying this is just the jumping-on point and what she really needs is more talk and more time to delve deeper into her issues. He's not wrong, but Don isn't wrong in his prior suspicions that this also works to the doctor's benefit: the longer a patient needs him, the more money he makes.

Speaking of grown children, Roger Sterling is having a big glass of milk at his wife's insistence... just with a large dose of vodka thrown in. Talking to her over the phone from his office, he insists she take their daughter Margaret to Mont Clair to help improve her mood. Bertram Cooper knocks and enters and Roger ends the call, promising he'll try to join them by Sunday afternoon.

The news is good, the United Fruit Company has organized for representatives of the Nixon Campaign to stop by at the end of the week. Cooper didn't even blink when he saw Roger was drinking vodka and milk, but reacts disapprovingly when he sees him lighting up a cigarette. He complains it is a sign of weakness, pointing out that Hitler got Chamberlain to agree to his demands at the Munich Peace Conference by holding their meetings in a smoke-free building.

Remember when a smoke-free building was a novelty?

Roger, who is clearly the junior partner in this relationship in more than just a business sense, doesn't just accept this chiding though. With a grin he points out that all this story tells him is that Hitler didn't smoke, and he's just fine with not being the same as Hitler. Cooper can't help but smile at that, and wishes him a good night.

Everybody else is wrapping up for the evening as well, some heading out to Chumley's for a drink or 10. Roger walks onto the floor, waits for it to empty out a little more, then steps up behind Joan who is checking her make-up (and observes him approaching). With great pleasure he informs her of the good news: his mother-in-law fell down the stairs! What he means, of course, is that Mona and Margaret are going to be visiting her which leaves his place free, and he wants her to come join him for the weekend.

Joan has plans though, carrying a small suitcase and making a not-too-subtle reminder that she doesn't wait around to come running at his beck-and-call. She's joined by another woman and introduces her to Roger as her roommate, Carol. He greets her politely then requests that "Miss Holloway" answer an accounting question for him before she goes. Carol doesn't look stupid, but that means she's also not dumb enough to give indication she suspects there is something going on here. She waits as they walk away, Roger declaring (not asking) that they WILL go away some weekend even if it isn't this one. He tries to impress her by suggesting Puerto Rico, but she's no fool and not easily swayed, especially after his recent bullshit with the bird. She informs him back that she doesn't care if it's Cuba (lost to dreaded Communism a year earlier), the point is that if he wants her to go away with him somewhere, he MUST give her notice.

Don is about to head out the door himself, though he's having a brief discussion with Peggy first. She's working late to produce copy for Belle Jolie in her own time, and Don reminds her that as admirable as this is he doesn't want her overworking just for dinner money and then being in no fit state for work the next day. Roger approaches and asks about plans for the evening, and an alarmed Peggy quickly proclaims she'll be working late and then going home. Delighted, he says he is tempted to let her keep thinking he was asking her, but he was actually talking to Don.

She's a little embarrassed but more relieved not to be fighting off yet another unwanted suitor, though Don isn't so lucky. Roger, having struck out with Joan, has decided that Don is going to take him out for a drink. Don is pleasant, polite, joking, but also continually pointing out that he was planning on heading straight home and that Betty is expecting him and has made dinner. Roger waves that off, plans with your wife are the "easiest" to break he insists. When Pete arrives and tries to horn in on the conversation, Roger takes great pleasure in letting him down roughly (which Don also greatly enjoys), going so far as to call him Paul as he takes Don away with him.

Pete is left standing like an idiot, humiliated by the rejection. Turning, he tries to hide his embarrassment by asking if Don is pushing Peggy hard considering she's still working. She surprises him by revealing she's working on copy at Freddy Rumsen's request, assuming it must be on a "sanitary napkins" account. She explains it is for Belle Jolie, and he takes the chance to offer to look over her work for her if she'd like, noting he does it for the others too (I'm sure they love that). Hildy arrives to pointedly remind him his WIFE is waiting at the Four Seasons. He thanks and dismisses her and she leaves with a quick look Peggy's way - not accusing Peggy, but clearly not trusting Pete all that much either. With Hildy gone, Pete makes the offer again, telling her they're all in this together. With that he leaves, and Peggy is glowing: not only is she working on something beyond secretarial work, but the man she - bafflingly - is enamored with is paying her attention AND treating her like a peer. Life is good!

The Oak Room Bar is crowded with people and smoke, Don and Roger sitting at the bar to have their "one" drink. Roger spots a couple of young, attractive girls at the bar and gets their eyes. He comments on "the glow of pure youth", complaining that when they hit 30 "somebody puts out a light" without for a second thinking that maybe that somebody is people like him. Don is appreciative of their looks too but also cognizant of the fact they'd be lucky to 30-years-old between the two of them. Maybe they're not underage, but they're certainly too young for him - a man in his late 30s - though he passes no judgement when he suggests that Roger - a man in his late 40s - might have a go at them.

Realizing how this one quick drink is already running late, Roger is far from subtle when he comments that Don must be starving because he is, then complains that Mona hasn't cooked since Margaret stopped eating. It's all boo-hoo poor him as he complains that he's the one who gets hurt by their fighting, and Don takes the hint and declares that he'll call Betty and tell her to expect Roger for dinner too. Roger quickly declines for politeness sake then asks almost before finishing if Don is sure he wants him around. Don promises him it will be fine, in fact Betty will be delighted to learn she suddenly has to prepare an extra meal!

He leaves the bar to go make the call, and Roger is pleased to see the two girls smiling at him again... until Don passes and they turn and watch him with hungry eyes. Don is tall, handsome, powerfully built and at an age where he still has appeal. Roger, for all his wealth and success, has to face the fact that his own prime is behind him, suffering yet another rejection like earlier with Joan.

Betty carries Bobby out of the bath as the phone rings, only half-dressed herself and distractedly telling a cartwheeling Sally not to do gymnastics in the house. She's irritated at the thought Don might be calling to say he'll be late, but when she hears the bar in the background she sighs and asks if he is coming home at at all. He is, but she's not pleased at all to hear he's bringing Roger with him. Don commiserates, this is clearly an obligation neither of them want to deal with but he IS Don's boss and has backed him into a corner where not inviting him would lead to bigger problems than having to put together an extra meal.

So it is that a half-drunk car ride in Roger's car later, they're all sitting at the dinner table so Roger can enjoy a home-cooked meal.... Betty's meal. He and Don are eating steak while she suffers through what could charitably be called a salad: consisting mostly of lettuce, a couple of olives and a couple thin strips of bell pepper. Roger is raving about the meal, asking Betty if she's sure she doesn't want steak herself (of course she loving did!) but she assures him that she is fine with the salad, she's a vegetarian "sometimes".

But hey, she's making the best of this situation Don dropped in her lap. She talks about being pudgy as a child, and how swimming helped her to lose the weight. It's the kind of talk she usually gets to enjoy with Don, and she is appreciative of it now and offers the usual little witticisms he likes to drop in to make her laugh... but Roger's there too today. He offers his own story of swimming at night in a pool when he was younger, making a point of noting he sometimes did it in the nude.

Once again, Roger makes a little probe into Don's mysterious childhood, asking if he ever went night swimming (or skinny-dipping) too. Don actually offers something back this time, and instantly regrets it. He mentions he used to swim in a quarry, and a surprised Roger notes that he has noticed sometimes Don drops G's when talking so assumed he was brought up on a farm. Don absorbs this quietly, doesn't let his smile drop, takes the moment to keep himself composed, then smoothly decides it's time for a commercial break "brought to you by more liquor", and goes to some vodka to replace the wine they're used up.

The evening continues. The children are long ago in bed, the food is gone and cigarette after cigarette has been smoked as Betty has enjoyed coffee and the men have REALLY enjoyed booze. Roger is self-aware enough to be horrified when Betty brings out a cake with "mommy and daddy" written in frosting, asking if he's injected himself into their anniversary. Betty is quick to assure him this is not the case, they bought Sally a frosting machine and she used it to write the message on the cake.

Relieved, Roger immediately uses the opportunity for another probe (dig?) at Don's past, noting that Sally's writing is simple, to-the-point AND colloquial, she writes just like her father! He lets that slide of course, and they all pull out cigarettes to break the quiet. Roger lights Betty's and his own, but tells Don to do his own because of "three on a match". Betty has heard the phrase before but never really understood it, and Roger explains he got it from his father: a World War I veteran who learned in the trenches that by the third time you light somebody's cigarette, the enemy will have zeroed in on you.

Don, as always, credits it to simply being another clever advertising story to sell matches, and an amused Roger asks if he told the kids there is no Santa Claus too. Betty though is intrigued, this dinner was dumped on her but she's enjoying getting to sit around and drink and talk with other adults for a change, especially about things other than children. She asks Roger for another story, and this leads to an interesting little sideline as they discuss "their" wars. Don had the Korean War, which was "the war" to him but not to Roger, whose "the war" was World War II. For Roger's father "the war" was World War I, and both Don and Roger share the mindset that the older man had the true glory.

Don never talks about Korea, but Roger is eventually convinced to talk about World War II, telling them a story of his naval service running oil down to the islands in the South China Sea: he served in the Pacific Theater, not the European. Three days into a convoy run they started being circled by a Dinah doing recon for enemy submarines. They were able to shoot it down, and Roger found himself unable to resist going off course to check on the wreckage, morbidly fascinated with seeing the plane go down with so little fanfare, knowing that a man had died in a way that somehow felt unreal. They found the wreckage but no body or parachute, and it clearly struck him deeply how somebody could be alive one moment and then more than gone the next: dead but also disappeared, swallowed up forever into the seemingly infinite deep of the ocean.

Snapping himself out of it, he notes the vodka is empty and - not wanting to switch to gin - asks if Don has anything stashed away in a golf-bag (where obviously he likes to stash his own booze). Don agrees he might have something leftover from New Years in the garage, and heads outside to track it down. Betty meanwhile clears the table and moves into the kitchen to wash up, and Roger follows her like a puppy - an enormously wealthy, powerful and drunk puppy.

Sliding up behind her, he "seductively" notes that he "ate the m in mom" on the cake and slides his hands over her waist, moving in close to sniff her. She pulls away with a disheartened,"...Roger..." but he ignores her discomfort (story of his life) and grips her waist tighter, marveling at the notion that she has had two babies. Quietly she asks him not to do this, and leaning in uncomfortably close he declares that she has been making eyes at him all night and it's obvious he is giving her "hot pants". Desperately trying to extricate herself without making a scene, she suggests she make coffee, but he continues to lean in frighteningly close, informing her as if she'd ever want to know that he will be "thinking all about you" tonight when he goes to bed.

Luckily Don returns and, hearing the door, Roger pulls away. Don enters the kitchen brandishing another bottle of vodka, but immediately picks up on the tension in the room and Betty's troubled look his way. As if he hadn't just groped and harassed his friend's wife, Roger cracks a joke about Russian, grabs the vodka and strides back into the kitchen. Don gives Betty a suspicious look as she tries to maintain a facade that everything is fine, not wanting to admit what just happened and put Don in the position of having to confront his boss. That's how people like Roger get away with this poo poo, of course, the victim feels like they'd only make things worse by revealing what happened.

He's not do drunk not to realize he's overstayed his welcome though. He bellows - no thought for the sleeping children - to Don and Betty to join him for a bon voyage drink. Don simply stands and lets Roger talk as he rambles about enjoying your children while you have them, then offers to walk him out when Roger declares he is going (and taking the vodka and the glass he's drinking with him). Don stands in the doorway and watches him leave, never once thinking (or willing) to claim Roger is far too drunk to drink despite trying to get into the wrong car and forgetting to turn on the headlights once he's in.

Once Roger is gone too, Don turns his fury on his wife. Straight back into the kitchen he demands (NOW he demands) to know what happened. Betty tries again to not cause waves, leaving it at Don's drunken boss ruining a nice evening. But Don isn't having it, he clearly knows exactly what happened but in his impotence at being able to do anything about it, he's turned his anger on the victim of the whole thing. He snaps that she made a fool of him by batting her eyelids at Roger and giggling at his stories, that she somehow practically threw herself at him. For once Betty sticks up for herself, pointing out that what he calls "throwing herself" at Roger was her being a good host and being friendly towards HIS friend (and also his Boss). She doesn't throw in that he hauled said friend over at the last minute with very little warning.

Don doesn't want to hear that though, he wants to vent his anger, and actually grips Betty tightly by one arm and snarls at her that he doesn't like being talked to like this in his own house. Betty has already had to put up with unwanted aggression from one man tonight though, she sure as hell isn't going to put up with it from her own husband for the crime of be sexually harassed. Looking him right in the eye, she asks him if he wants to bounce her off the walls, would THAT make him happy?

Stunned, he turns Dr Wayne's words onto her, snapping that he feels like he's living with a little girl, and storms away. Yes, Don Draper - pouting, being physically aggressive, all but throwing a tantrum at his calm if understandably upset wife - is the clear adult in the room here.

The next morning at Sterling Cooper, Pete carries a large box into his office while telling Paul and Ken about his evening at the Four Seasons with Trudy and her parents: rubbing shoulders with Norman Mailer and Mayor Wagner. They of course were at Chumley's getting extremely drunk, but what really intrigues them isn't Pete's social life but the box he's carrying. He explains it is a wedding present he needs to return: a Chip 'n' Dip. They've never heard of such a thing so he shows it to them, a garish tray shaped and colored like two giant lettuce leaves with a giant tomato in the middle.

Warming to explaining the concept, Pete explains you fill the center tomato with dip, then place chips on the side. He can't quite grasp why they find the whole thing so ridiculous, noting he and Trudy attended a party that had one and he thought it was a neat idea. He just needs to return it since they got two despite it being listed on the Wedding Registry. It cost $22 so he's going to return it for the cash (near Peggy's weekly salary!), even forgoing a wet lunch at Ratazzi's courtesy of Freddy Rumsen's cousin at General Mills. Paul and Ken mock him for following his wife's instructions to get the return done today, but he is happy to admit that he enjoys running errands for her, it makes him feel good.

Don is smoking in his office when Peggy informs him over the intercom that Roger Sterling is here to see him. Taking a moment to prepare himself, flipping open a file and pretending to have been hard at work researching, Don tells her to let him in. Roger, looking remarkably composed despite the heavy drinking of the night before, has come in to beg forgiveness. Or rather, to playfully admit to being a little over-the-top. He's brought a good bottle of wine, admits that he stopped at the Knights Inn off the Taconic rather than drive all the way home, and then tells a story of the time he drunkenly staggered into the wrong building and tried to get into an office that wasn't his own.

The parable is obvious, and he admits that "having your name on the building" can sometimes make you forget that everything isn't yours. What he's doing without explicitly coming out and saying it is that he knows he went too far the previous night (mostly because Betty is Don's "property", not because she's a person in her own right) and wants to apologize.... while at the same time suggesting that hitting on your friend's wife is just something that happens sometimes to everybody. Don pretends confusion, acting like there was no problem at all both as a way to avoid a conflict with his Boss but also to make him feel uncomfortable: a passive and petty revenge but also not an undeserved one.

The trouble is, Roger's still his Boss, and as friendly as they are this is not a relationship of equals. So Roger essentially forces Don to forgive him, if not in so many words on either of their behalf. The best Don can manage is an admonishment to Roger to return the glass he took, and Roger decides to be "magnanimous" and buy her a whole case. He walks out the door, a spring in his step having unburdened himself without actually suffering any consequences. Don meanwhile is left staring at the bottle of wine, his acceptance of it effectively setting a price for his willingness to let another man get away with being sexually inappropriate towards his wife in Don's own home.

Pete is good to his word and waits in line at the Returns desk, commenting at how long it is taking. The other women in the line enjoy his freshness, marking the blue box as a sign that he's a newlywed... as well as the fact he was willing to come to the store to do the return himself, this is the kind of gesture they don't expect any husband past that initial honeymoon period to engage in. He finds himself caught up in chatting with the woman behind him, her husband is Jim Wallace, a Media Buyer for BBDO, though he admits he hasn't heard of him before. Her response of,"That's because you're here at lunch" hits hard for him, he knows the value of networking that comes from these long drunken lunches.

He makes it to the front desk, explaining the Chip 'n' Dip isn't damaged but needs to be returned since they got two. He stifles his irritation when he's told he should have registered to avoid duplication, since they DID register. Nor does he have a receipt, given it was a gift. She passes him over to another woman, Rosemary, to check the register, though she finds nothing under his name. He's surprised to learn that Wedding Registers are under the wife-to-be's maiden name, and has them look under Vogel.

As Rosemary looks, Pete is surprised to be greeted by Matherton, a friend/associate who has popped in to get his squash racket restrung. Tall, well-built and attractive, Matherton has Rosemary flustered with a big goofy smile as she gives him directions to the men's room. At Pete's less than charming direction to keep searching, Rosemary goes back to looking while Pete makes small-talk with Matherton, explaining what the Chip 'n' Dip is and why he is returning it. Matherton doesn't seem particularly enamored with the eyesore as an entertainment set-piece, but does enjoy letting Pete know that his cousin Bethany at the wedding was a real "bridesmaid's bridesmaid", leaving Pete in the uncomfortable position of having a knowing laugh over the objectification of women - hardly a rarity for him - while having to acknowledge this is his own flesh and blood they're talking about.

Luckily he's saved by Rosemary finding the registry entry, so Matherton says his goodbyes, though not before pointing at Rosemary and declaring confidently (having just openly bragged about his conquest of another woman in front of her) that he's coming back for her. But he's tall and good looking and obviously doing well, so Rosemary is charmed rather than disgusted. The opposite is true with Pete, who tries to turn on his own oily charm (despite her literally knowing he's a newly-wed) when she informs him she can only give store credit. He offers to take her out to lunch if she can get him cash instead, but she's not interested in his "charm" and just repeats that without a receipt the best she can do is store credit. Grumpy at his clumsy moves falling flat, he cattily informs her that Matherton has the clap. It's probably the most childish thing he could do.

Nevermind. :cripes:

Paul, Keny and Harry are delighted of course. They settle in at his office as he shows it off, it's a .22 caliber bolt action and it's all his. "Boys will be boys, right?" he laughs, and then... and then he starts pointing it each of then. Harry and Paul flinch while Ken actively recoils at the sudden movement, throwing a hand up and leaping out of his seat. Pete loves that, the instant reaction, and jumps up himself and steps into the doorway of his office. Without any hesitation he begins aiming the rifle around the room at various different secretaries, moving with them as they walk.

Nobody in the office reacts, after all it's 1960 and a guy with a gun in an office is hardly cause for alarm, what's he gonna do, shoot up the place!?! The others giggle behind him as he happily picks out targets, until Hildy steps right up in front of the rifle and with a school-mistress like glare lowers it down with one hand and gives him a file with the other, informing him it is time for his 4:30 appointment. Sullenly he accepts the return to work, straight up just tossing the rifle without a care in the world into Paul's hands who holds it gingerly. As they follow in Pete's wake, Hildy offers a polite smile but puts out her hand leaving no illusions that she expects him to hand the gun over. Paul does and they're on their way, all of them little boys who got caught playing when they should have been doing their schoolwork.

Roger leads the meeting of the Nixon pitch, the group consisting of himself, Don, Pete, Paul and Harry, with Bertram Cooper present to oversee everything and make final decisions as required. The Nixon people are coming in tomorrow, the Republican nomination is already locked down and what they need now is to know who Nixon's opponent is going to be so they can plan accordingly. Cooper, gobbling down grapefruit, assures them that rumors of Lyndon Johnson making a play at the convention will come to nothing, the opponent WILL be Kennedy.

They run through Nixon's pluses: knowledge of foreign affairs and a strong record against Communism. Don notes that Nixon's silence on Castro isn't doing him any favors, but Roger feels the fact he isn't Catholic is already a huge plus. Pete is surprised to hear that, pointing out that political opponents who have attacked Kennedy's Catholicism have seen it backfire, all of them forced to apologize to Kennedy which is something Nixon can't afford to do. Roger disagrees with Pete's assessment, getting in yet another dig at his youth in the process. Pete's reasoning is sound, but Roger is absolutely right in his read on Nixon's character: none of them should EVER expect Richard Nixon to take the high road.

They all get into the multiple obvious weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Kennedy as a Presidential candidate. He's too young, he lacks experience, he's the Catholic son of a millionaire who only knows how to go on vacation, he doesn't even wear a hat!

Pete however points out that some of these weaknesses may be strengths: Elvis Presley also doesn't wear a hat, and that's who they're dealing with. What he means, of course, is that Kennedy is a "star", somebody that attracts and excites people. All they hear is Pete making a bizarre comparison between a politician and a rock 'n' roll star. Cooper cracks a joke about hiring young people,but Roger takes it a step further, complaining about only wanting the adults in the room to talk, snapping at Paul to write down the points he is making or does he need "a girl" to do that for him. Don watches all this uneasily, seeing Roger in a different light: an entitled brat who belittles underlings and feels free to insult or mock them at will.

When Don returns home that night, however, he is still taking his bad mood out on Betty. Despite being the victim, she has gone out of her way to try to "make up" for the crime of being sexually harassed. She's prepared a roast beef for him, she greets him sunnily when he walks in, she does everything she can to make him feel appreciated. In return for all this what does she get? A sullen look, a "surprised "oh roast beef?" followed by asking her cruelly if she knows it is just him she'll be dining with tonight. Her face falls, he continues to glare at her, then silently leaves the room, making her feel miserable for absolutely no good reason: it doesn't even make HIM feel better about himself.

They're far from the only couple having troubles though. Pete is getting what can only be described as a scolding. Sitting in his chair with the .22 on his lap, he sits staring at nothing as an unseen, weeping Trudy yells at him for using the money from the return of her Aunt Letty's gift to buy a gun of all things. Pete takes it in silence, a child being told off and thinking the entire time how unfair it is, how he's not even getting credit for doing the return in the first place when he could have been out drinking it up with his buddies on an expense account. It's not the first time today he's been humiliated due to his age, not the first time he's been made to feel small and unnoticed, and that gun is like a security blanket as he takes more of the same from his own wife.

To be fair, Trudy is throwing a bit of a tantrum herself, but to her credit she throws back in Pete's face a comment he has apparently made to her in the past himself. Much like Don to Betty, he's told her she needs to grow up, obviously thinking of her a daddy's girl who is also a bit of a brat. She reminds him of this, and points out that HE also needs to grow up, instead of going out and buying toys.

At Sterling Cooper the next day, a far happier Don waits for the elevator. The doors open and Pete emerges wordlessly carrying his rifle. Don is surprised and amused rather than concerned, he and Hollis the elevator operator quietly watching Pete go. With this odd distraction out of the way, Don takes Hollis aside to ask him a question.... and fork out some money?

In his office, Pete sits on his couch brooding when Peggy knocks at the door and enters to ask if she can take him up on his offer to look over her copy... unless he's busy? He waves her over and takes the folder from her, setting it to the side and going back to staring at the carpet. She spots the gun and asks about it, shutting down when he explains it is a wedding present. She thanks him again for his support and he, still wrapped up in himself, asks if she's ever been hunting?

He's amused when she says she doesn't know, saying you either have or haven't. He has, his uncle took him a couple of times in New Hampshire, and they're obviously treasured memories, especially given the subject of his short story. Peggy explains she meant she once saw her cousin shoot a rabbit near Coney Island, but he's really more interested in having an audience so he can talk about himself. He explains the thrill of the process, tapping the couch beside him for her to seat as he explains how hunting works before admitting a fantasy of how he wished it ACTUALLY worked.

Peggy listens adoringly as Pete wistfully speaks of his dream life. Of being a hunter who stalks his prey, kills it, drags it back to his cabin in the woods where his "woman" is waiting for him. He'd cut off a chunk of the meat and give it to her and she'd cook it in a cast-iron skillet on an old wood-burner stove. She bring him the food on a plate, he'd wipe his knife on his knee and then he'd eat it, he'd eat and she'd sit there and she would watch him.

Unspoken is that she wouldn't chide, she wouldn't question, she wouldn't scold. She would be there to serve him, to never question, to simply be. Not a wife, not a girlfriend, not even a name, just "woman", an archetype to fill some space in his heart. It's his fantasy, but Peggy listens and indulges in her own version of the same fantasy, of being that woman, that person to fill the empty space in his heart and make him (and thus, herself) feel whole. "That would be wonderful" she gasps. Pete smiles and nods, and then the spell is broken and he agrees he'll look over her copy, and she leaves with a thanks and returns to her desk. She can't bring herself to sit though, she's too fired up by the unexpected arousal of the encounter and the emotions she's tried to suppress regarding Pete since his return. So she grabs her purse, heads to the lunch cart, and buys some food to comfort eat her way back to normalcy.

Betty has gone grocery shopping, filling her cart when she spots Helen Bishop passing by. Helen looks her way and then right past her, but they've made eye contact so Betty calls out a pleasant greeting. Stopping, a clearly uncomfortable Helen tries to be polite but short in her responses until Betty asks how Glen is doing. That's crossing a line for her so with a sigh she notes that she was willing to just walk by without making this a thing. Because, of course, she found the lock of blonde hair. She confronted Glen about it and he told her that Betty willingly gave it to him.

Betty is horrified, of course, and tries to explain the situation. Helen doesn't want to hear it though, and even though Glen did pull some creepy poo poo that she probably doesn't know the full extent of, Helen is right to shut down Betty by pointing out that he's a 9-year-old boy and she's a grown rear end woman. Betty has no answer to that... until Helen says the magic words,"What is wrong with you?"

Infantalized by husband and doctor both, suffering and being blamed for being groped by her husband's boss in her own home, constantly told there's something wrong with her by people who have plenty of problems of their own, Betty has finally had enough. The fact that Helen Bishop of all people - a divorcee who Betty pities! - is now smirking at her, judging her, asking her what is wrong with her? That is Betty's breaking point, and she slaps her right across the face. Helen is shocked, other women moving through the grocery store turning to stare in surprise. Betty starts to walk away with her trolley, then leaves that behind too, taking her purse and getting the hell out of there.

Roger and Don are enjoying lunch before their meeting with Nixon's people from the GOP, and it seems all is forgiven and they're back to their old happy medium once more. They're eating oysters for lunch at theGrand Central Oyster Bar, and Don is slurping them down right alongside Roger despite never really being all that keen on them before. Roger finishes his martini and asks if Don has had enough, but is pleased when Don agrees to keep going until Roger himself is satisfied.... hell he'll even keep drinking martinis with him rather than his usual Rye.

Delighted, Roger orders more drinks and more oysters, and Don orders more oysters for himself too. He compliments Don on being a "man who could keep up", and keep up as he does as they gulp down oysters and martinis both, over and over. With the oysters done, Roger takes the chance to wallow further in excess given there seem to be no restraints on today and he doesn't have to worry about going home to a wife who wants him drinking milk to keep his ulcer from flaring up. He raises the prospect of cheesecake and Don orders too, Roger making it clear to the waiter that he wants the martinis to just keep on coming.

The lunch is supposed to be a chance to review material ahead of the GOP meeting, but nobody is going to question Roger putting this on the expense account. So instead they just shoot the poo poo about anything and everything: the Russians sending dogs into space, Desi and Lucy getting divorced AGAIN, Roger's love of redheads and Don's hatred of cows. Roger admits that if they keep at the martinis at the pace they're going, Don is gonna end up with a ulcer of his own, but doesn't object when Don suggests one more for the road.

Betty sits smoking alone at home, dressed up and drinking wine in the middle of the day. Francine pops around to drop off one of Bobby's shirts she claims she had at her house because Bobby spilled grapejuice on it while over there playing one day. Betty is confused, this is clearly one of her son Ernie's shirts, and the pretext is obvious: Francine wanted an excuse to come over so she could find out what the hell happened at the grocery store.

She has to work her up to asking though, so she notes the wine and asks if there is a party. Betty's excuse for day-drinking (men don't need one, apparently) is that she was testing wine ahead of a dinner party she is planning so she develop her palate. She offers a glass to the heavily pregnant Francine who accepts, then finally gets down to brass tacks: Jill Sandifer told her what happened and she wants to know if Betty is okay (and also why she did it).

Betty admits that ever since she did it, she's been asking herself if it REALLY happened. She doesn't want to know what other people are saying, her own version is plenty enough for her. Francine though wants to stress that nobody is going to be taking Helen's side on this - they like Betty and they dislike her, she's an anomaly in the neighborhood (Francine once more complains bizarrely about the WALKING) who doesn't fit into their dynamic... and also reminds them that there IS life without a husband or other man defining you.

They bitch about her pathetic job at the jewellery store, Francine complaining that she almost threw a gift of earrings from Carlton back in his face when she realized he bought them from the store Helen works at. Betty, who takes her cues on voting from Don, has also decided she hates John Kennedy, surprising Francine who probably has no idea what the connection between Helen and Kennedy could be. Betty does allow herself a moment to cringe at what people are probably thinking at last, and Francine assures her again. It's actually nice to know that she isn't soft, she's so sweet and perfect that everybody kind of assumed she had no malice or fight in her and it's nice to know she does. Besides, if Betty doesn't like Helen then none of Betty's friends will have any problem with excluding the single mother who didn't want a grown woman encouraging her 9-year-old son's romantic infatuation with her.

Talk turns to Betty's mother, as she remembers her mother telling her that when you paint a masterpiece you hide the brushstrokes. This has come up frequently over the last few episodes: Betty's obsession with beauty, or rather her fear of ugliness, all of which clearly stems from lessons learned from her mother that she is starting to pass on to her own daughter. Dr. Wayne has been no help there, in spite of what he told Don about Betty not really getting beyond the surface level, he's done nothing but simply sit and listen to her talk and every so often say,"Tell me more." He offers her no insight, doesn't lead her towards any self-awareness or discovery, in fact the only person he offers his analysis to is her husband in clandestine phone-calls.

In fact, Wayne might be part of the same problem, she's sure she caught him trying to look down her neckline at a recent session. She admits that when she catches mean looking at her she feels it somehow justifies her, that she is "earning her keep", another bad lesson learned from her mother. But sometimes she admits that the looking discomforts her, it feels wrong and she doesn't want her husband to see it.

I can't quite tell if she means that she is discomforted by the severity/inappropriateness of the leering, or if she is concerned she is enjoying the leering too much. I like to think it's the latter, the look she gives Francine when she says this and her happy reaction to Francine admitting she loves to be looked at in that way too seems to point in that direction. It is, I think, the first stumbling of realization for Betty that it is okay to be a sexual being independent of her husband's knees.

Francine's admission is a relief to Betty, a reminder that there's nothing wrong or unusual about her. It's a reminder she desperately needed in a world where she is constantly told to look pretty, be quiet, be available but also chaste, to be friendly and polite and not make a fuss but also to be blamed when men misinterpret that or try to take advantage. In short, it's a reminder that she's a person too.

Meanwhile, the means of Don's revenge finally becomes clear. Returning to Sterling Cooper's lobby, Don and Roger discover from an apologetic Hollis that the elevator is out of order. They're already overdue to meet with the GOP on the 23rd floor, but Hollis can't give them an ETA on when service will resume. Don makes sure that it is Roger who makes the suggestion that they take the stairs, offering instead to just go back to lunch since they have a good excuse not to attend. Roger has belittled or insulted those beneath him recently, but one person he will never cross is his Senior Partner who is up there on 23 waiting, so he braves the stairs instead.

Up they go, wearing heavy suits and full of oysters, martinis and cheesecake. Flight after flight, step after step, Don happily smoking as he goes and joking as Roger gets tired that they could bring the GOP down the stairs and present to them on the 8th Floor Landing. It's all about appealing to Roger's ego to keep climbing, to keep pace with Don who is a decade younger, stronger, fitter and doing this all while smoking. Don is cheerful but insistent and Roger of course has to take the lead, which means he has to up the pace, especially when Don asks him if he wants to rest and then talks up his fitness as a Navy man. Earlier Roger said Don was a man who could keep up, now Roger is the one struggling to maintain the pace.

They pass an office worker and secretary making out on the 18th landing, the two quickly pulling apart and then racing back to their floor after Roger and Don pass. She was a redhead which makes Roger speak fondly of redheads with big breasts (he at least has the self-awareness not to mention Joan by name), and Don promises they'll find him one if they both manage to avoid being fired... then adds insult to injury by asking Roger if he wants him to "run" ahead. Roger, sweating heavily now and laboring for breath, insists that they can wait for him: his name is on the building after all.

So they keep on climbing, making it to 20 where Roger actually trips. He quickly declares he's fine and is just bending over to collect his tie-clip, and tells Don to go on while he looks. Don asks if he is sure, then to Roger's horror rushes on ahead at a light, easy jog like it was the easiest thing in the world. Waiting a moment to catch his breath, he calls up that he "found it" and then braces himself for the last three floors.

Don arrives on 23, coughing heavily now that he can show a little of the exertion his own fitter but still horribly abused body suffered with all those oysters and martinis weighing him down. He steps through the door, straightens his suit and hair and is joined by Pete who is impressed at the fact he just came up 23 floors. They walk together to join a clearly relieved Cooper, who introduces the three GOP men to Don who apologizes and explains the elevator was out of service.

They're all fine with that, eagerly shaking hands and getting introductions, Cooper joking that Pete will be handling their account but in reality running everything by him. They all laugh, including Pete who really doesn't find this particularly funny after a long week of being talked down to. They're all distracted by the arrival of Roger Sterling at last, soaked with sweat and staggering, hand on his protesting stomach. He can't even speak, just nods and tries to maintain composure as the GOP men declare that United Fruit have given him such glowing recommendations you'd think he invented the banana. Everybody laughs and Roger, though still pained, seems like he can at least stand up str-

Don quickly calls for ice water, while a dazed Roger mutters,"Oysters" as Pete helps lead him away. "I can see that," nods Cooper, the entire contents of a long boozy lunch out for all to see. This gets a laugh from the GOP men, who joke in turn that they would have preferred lunch with Don and Roger to the cottage cheese they ate with some Quakers instead. Cooper is relieved that they're taking it all in stride, and suggests they leave Roger to regroup, and Pete quickly leads them away.

Don tells Cooper he'll be right in, waiting behind for a moment with Roger as he's given a glass of ice water to help settle his stomach. He asks Roger if he's okay, and Roger takes a moment, mind racing as he joins the dots at last. "Yeah, fine," he grunts, and Don gives him a attaboy slap on the shoulder, says,"Good" and walks away with a smile on his face: his revenge is complete, he has humiliated Roger in front of "adults" whose opinion he deeply cares about. Roger watches him go, knowing that Don did this but also knowing that he can't reasonably accuse him of anything, after all at every single step of the way Don followed his lead and offered him plenty of outs... knowing all the time that Roger's own ego would direct him more efficiently than Don ever could.

It's a fantastic ending to a rather fantastic episode. It's just a shame that Don's revenge was, as always, entirely about himself. He's taken out his aggression on Betty when Roger was to blame, he's accused her, he's thrown a tantrum (a recurring theme of this episode, the men who think of themselves as "adults" are all a bunch of petulant children) and now after doing all that damage, he feels great because HE got HIS revenge on Roger. But still... as self-serving as it is, there's something to be said about the satisfaction of watching Don's plan unfold to perfection. The episode title refers to a number of characters being left embarrassed, but most especially Roger (also red in the face from the physical exertion) who here at the end is left behind to suffer, for the first time in a long time, the consequences of his actions.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:05 on Mar 10, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It's been quite some time since I've laughed quite as hard as I did for the vomit scene the first time I saw it. It just KEEPS coming and something that gross-out happening on a show like Mad Men was just such a wonderful surprise :)

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Oct 12, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Escobarbarian posted:

I love Hildy

The gun scene stands out for obvious reasons (I'm also imagining Pete just walking down the street or riding the subway casually holding his gun) but I also love Hildy coming over to Peggy's desk to remind Pete that his WIFE is waiting for him for dinner :allears:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I had the impression that she was okay with her Aunt's gift being returned, but with the mindset that the money would be used to buy something else for the two of them to share as a married couple, essentially creating a "new" gift from her Aunt.

Instead, Pete turned a gift for the two of them from a beloved family member into a toy purely for himself.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Gaius Marius posted:

They both come from families that are (theoretically) loaded though. I don't think they see two hundred bucks the way we do.

Tangentially though, I think it is interesting that Pete is probably feeling the money pinch for the first time in his life now, considering he's now got a hefty mortgage plus feeling like he has to pay back his father-in-law regardless of what he tells him otherwise. He's taken on a 30k apartment which is basically 10 years of his current salary, and he is completely unaware that his position at Sterling Cooper is secure since he bought Roger's line that he's only still employed because of Don Draper. Sure he knows he's got a hefty inheritance coming when his parents die, but that could be decades away which at his age probably might as well be forever.

If it wasn't for his expense account, he'd probably be pinching every penny. As it is he's got to brown-nose his way through evenings with clients, spending money that isn't his for THEIR enjoyment.

He's still a scumbag though!

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Oct 14, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

He gets so excited explaining how it works while people just stare at him utterly confused as to why he's so enamored with it :allears:

"The dip was sour cream with little pieces of brown onion in it."
"'ll have to give me that recipe...."

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 8 - The Hobo Code
Written by Chris Provenzano, Directed by Phil Abraham

Salvatore Romano posted:

I know what I want.

Pete Campbell arrives early for work at Sterling Cooper, though of course not as early as Hollis, the elevator operator. As the doors are sliding closed a woman's voice calls out for them to wait, it's Peggy Olson who has also come in early. Her and Pete make small talk, she's come in at 7am because she's nervous about Belle Jolie seeing the copy she wrote in a pitch meeting today. Pete has come in early because he'll be moving into his new apartment today and has to take time off work later to supervise the operation.

Hollis apologetically informs them the service elevator is not operating and asks if they mind sharing the lift with a janitor. They offer no objection, but Pete is clearly less than impressed to have the black janitor not just visible to him but sharing his space. He's used to the maintenance staff being invisible, he just comes in to work each day and the place is clean and he doesn't think anything of it. He complains to Peggy about spending a day watching other men work, and when the janitor gets off on his floor, Pete also takes a moment to complain about the lift being "the local" - Pete is used to being the "express", an important person who gets taken where he wants to go without delay. Hollis is quick to apologize for the great crime of making Pete stand in an elevator with another man.

Once on their own floor, Pete sits quietly in his office doing no actual work. Peggy comes by and hesitates a moment before asking if he wants her to grab him a coffee. He declines, but asks her to step inside his office, and then to close the door. Quickly grasping what is going to happen, she's not alarmed, far from it. Rather, she points out that the office is empty and the door doesn't necessarily need to be closed. He insists though, and once they're safely ensconced gives her the line thousands (millions?) of married/partnered up men have given women who are NOT their wife/partner: does she know how hard it is for him to see her walking around every day and not to be able to have her?

He kisses her, and she reciprocates. She's in ecstasy in fact. Early on in the series I pondered whether Peggy was more calculating than she appeared, but it's since appeared far more likely that she's just - for some unfathomable reason - legitimately attracted to a slimy little worm like Pete Campbell. She's in ecstasy as he kisses her neck, places her on the couch and pulls it up against the door (like Paul Kinsey once tried to do with her). She eagerly accepts his advances, thrilled both by the unexpected reality of her fantasy coming true as well as the adrenaline hit of doing this in the workplace. Pete is excited too, struggling with her skirt and tearing her collar in his eagerness to get her blouse open. She has him pull the skirt up and in about as least a romantic manner as possible they have sex, alone in an empty office.

Well, apart from that invisible janitor. He passes by outside while cleaning up, stopping to smirk slightly at the "secret" couple visible in silhouette through the glass as they have their hurried, animalistic sex. If the train was "the local", it seems Pete's office is the zoo.

The sex done, Peggy is adjusting her clothes when Pete decides to come clean about something: he hasn't read her Belle Jolie copy. To his surprise, she's relieved. She admits that when he didn't say anything to her about it, she assumed that he simply didn't like it and was trying to spare her feelings. Pete, excited and emboldened by her lack of judgement, anger or demands, proceeds to unload about all his own problems. Primary among them is that he is frustrated by his relationship with Trudy: he wakes up each morning and looks her in the eyes and expects to see a soulmate, but instead it's just another person who doesn't get or value who HE is.

Yes, he literally just told the woman he cheated on his wife with that "my wife doesn't understand me!"

Peggy of course is drinking it all up, because her head is still filled with romantic visions of being the woman who truly gets Pete and makes him happy, because at the moment she finds simply being with Pete in any capacity to be more than enough for her. She promises him that he isn't in this alone, and even grins when he apologizes for tearing her blouse, indicating that maybe she enjoyed the display of passion. Time is moving on and the office isn't quite as empty anymore though, so she is smart enough to grab a folder from his desk to make it look like she was collecting something. She heads out the door, walking on air over having her fantasy life appear to come true. Pete meanwhile is left basking in the afterglow of cheating on his wife AND having a woman who seems willing to subsume her personality and needs to cater to his own.

Peggy's not the only one with fantasies running through her head though. The switchboard ladies Joyce and Marge have a new third member making up their trio: Lois Sadler. She's only been there for two weeks, but in that time she has become enamored with the voice of one of Sterling Cooper's employees.... Salvatore Romano. She listens in, enraptured, as Salvatore speaks in Italian with his mother. She understands the language and thrills to hear the intimate conversation, Salvatore's loving exasperation and his mother's minor quibbles but obvious devotion.

When Joan Holloway pops in with some snacks as a treat to make sure that Mona Sterling's call later that day goes DIRECTLY to her, Joyce and Marge take the opportunity to pump her for information. They never leave the switchboard room so they've never seen Salvatore: is he handsome or does he look like Ernest Borgnine? Joan fills Lois' head with an even more idealized version: Salvatore is tall, handsome, debonair AND smells good! He doesn't wear cheap cologne, she thinks it is an expensive European brand. Joyce and Marge are impressed by her eye for detail, while Lois remains caught up in her exciting fantasy world, none the wiser that Salvatore is REALLY not ever going to be interested.

Don arrives to work, greeted by Peggy who hands him a note and tells him Mr. Cooper wants to see him. He asks her to tell Roger he'll join him soon, and is surprised when Peggy explains it is JUST Bertram Cooper who wants to see him, there is no Sterling involved. That raises a red flag in Don's mind, but the extra moment he takes to consider means he notices something else. A details man, Don spots that Peggy's collar is torn and asks her what happened. She waves it off as having caught it on something, but can't resist telling him she's going to start bringing in a spare.

Even a details man can be blind sometimes, and Don is lacking the context to consider this anything but a slightly odd thing to inform him. Distracted by the Cooper news, he goes into his office. Left behind, Peggy is further delighted by the thrill of getting away with an explanation to cover up what she clearly intends to be further workplace dalliances with Pete Campbell in the future.

Soon Don finds himself waiting awkwardly out of Cooper's office like a schoolkid waiting to see the principal. He's removed his shoes as is custom, and Cooper comes to greet him personally and let him into the office. Once inside, he takes a seat and reaches for a cigarette, but Cooper waves his arms and tells him (not orders) that he would prefer he didn't smoke. Don here shows another difference to Roger, who continued happily smoking against Cooper's protest in another episode, he just tucks his cigarettes back away.

Cooper's first line must raise more alarm bells for Don, as he starts to talk about the good work he's done for the firm. It sounds like preamble for a "but.... we have to let you go." It's the opposite of that though, Cooper has been continually impressed by Don's abilities, personality and actions, and decided to reward them. A stunned Don is handed a check for $2500, for once speechless as he stares at the frankly shocking amount of money. He's effectively been handed a $20,000 bonus in 2020 terms, which doesn't even account for changes in purchasing power. This is roughly 70% of what Pete Campbell makes in an entire year, just casually handed over as an unexpected bonus. It's half the money back that he scrimped and saved only to hand over to his brother Adam to keep him out of his life. Essentially, it's a Godsend.

Cooper explains that he sees in Don qualities he sees and values in himself. Don assumes this is a compliment, and it is, though he is a little uneasy at Cooper happily proclaiming them both men who are powered entirely by self-interest. For Cooper that's not a negative quality, and in one moment we learn far more than we'd probably ever want to know about this affable, slightly comical senior partner... because he points out a book to Don and declares he needs to read it to learn everything there is to know. That book? Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, the insipid and revolting objectivist bible of libertarians the world over.

Don has never read it, doesn't seem particularly excited by the idea of reading it... but he also just got given $2500 by his Boss, so he's sure as hell not going to turn down the suggestion. He manages to stutter out that he will buy a copy, then realizes Cooper has turned back to his bonsai tree and realizes the meeting is over. Still in somewhat of a daze, he makes his own exit from the office.

At the Art Department, which is NOT casting as the handwritten sign on the door proclaims, Lois Sadler "just so happens" to find herself wandering by. Two of the artists - Duane and Marty - are delighted to see her, but she only has eyes for Salvatore as he comes marching out of his office demanding to know who was working on the compositions for Firestone. Lois introduces herself, just drinking in everything about Salvatore the entire time.

Marty is young and skinny, Duane is middle-aged and bald. But Salvatore? Oh he's dreamy! Tall and well-built and wearing a fine suit, a full head of hair and a handsome face and a charming smile. She lies that she was trying to find accounts to give them her paperwork but got lost. Marty offers to walk her up to the right floor but she quickly insists she just needs directions. Sal gives them to her as she listens in awe to his voice. Finally she leaves, but not before she can't resist throwing him a,"Ciao, ciao!" just like his mother does.

Duane is happy for the unusual distraction from everyday work, and rolls his eyes at Marty's belief that she was flirting with him. He points out that she was flirting with Salvatore, who credits it to the tie a salesman gave him the hard sell on. It's not the tie though, Duane notes, it's him, they can tell he makes money. Salvatore, who enjoys every chance he can get to make people think of him as a real ladies man, smirks that you don't need money to dress better than Duane does and walks away, but not before dumping some more work on his desk. Just a little reminder that for all the friendly banter, he's still Duane's Boss.

Pete is sitting in his office, brooding over something - his infidelity? Or just bemoaning how "tough" his blessed life is? - and drinking scotch when Hildy informs him over the intercom that his wife is here. Grumpy, he tells her to light up a line so he'll know which one, and Hildy informs him that she means Trudy is LITERALLY here. Hurriedly, Pete hides his day drinking by slipping his scotch into a drawer, then rushes to the job to greet his wife as she steps happily through the door.
She's arrives to share a romantic moment, she's brought champagne and wants them to walk together to THEIR new apartment. She's excited and keen to be with him, and Pete once again finds himself seething over her dismissing or correcting his concerns. It's 30 blocks? Well it's a beautiful day! What will people think about her showing up to his office? That he is beloved!

Pete, feeling guilty at his wife being right here at the site of his infidelity (he quickly turns over a couch cushion where he banged Peggy only a few hours earlier) of course takes out his own self-loathing on her. He declares he is too busy to come supervise the movers after all, makes her feel bad for wanting to be with him, and then too late realizes that he's being an rear end in a top hat and makes a half-assed attempt to apologize while still insisting that he's going to be too busy (sitting in a dark office drinking) to come to the apartment. He will drink champagne with her, and Trudy - who Pete thinks overrides him and insists on getting her own way - is of course eager to make things good, putting aside her own upset to make HIM feel better.

The Belle Jolie pitch finally happens. Freddy Rumsen is doing the talking, Salvatore's art is on display, but this is all Peggy who is, of course, NOT present at the meeting. The concept is "mark your man", with the wide range of many lipsticks reduced to a single example in each piece of art. Don as Creative Director oversees the meeting, while Ken Cosgrove is the account executive, and they're all fully behind the direction Peggy has taken them in.

The trouble is, Belle Jolie isn't.

Rather, the senior rep - Hugh Brody - isn't. His junior Elliot Lawrence seems intrigued by the idea, but Brody shits all over it. They've only shown one shade of lipstick, they're trying to refocus the entire direction of how their company works etc. With the utter confidence of a white male in his 50s, he informs all the other men in the room "what women want", and what they want are lots and lots of choices. Ken's job is to prep and push the client to be conducive to the pitch, and unlike Pete with Bethlehem Steel he is quick to try and do his job. Unlike that situation though, this time Don doesn't want him to.

Reading Brody's character, perhaps having taken some inspiration from his earlier meeting with Cooper and his talk about personality types, Don takes a surprising stance. He declares he doesn't want to waste anymore of his own time and tells Brody they can go, clearly this business relationship isn't going to work. A shocked Ken, Salvatore and Freddy watch in awe as a calm, authoritative Don explains to a bewildered Hugh Brody that he either has Jesus in his heart or he doesn't. He lays out how Belle Jolie's own direction has dropped their sales and left them in 4th place so it clearly isn't working. Then he re-pitches essentially what Freddy Rumsen already said, but couches it in terms of talking down to Brody as if he's idiotic for not being able to see the point they're making.

Like Freddy he borrows from Peggy's feedback at the brainstorming session: no woman wants to be 1 in a 100, she wants to own her man, to mark her territory and declare to the world,"He's mine, not yours." Brody is caught up in the spell and tells Don to sit back down to continue, but Don refuses again, insisting he won't sit down until he knows he's not wasting his time. It's a gamble, but one that pays off, as shortly after they all leave the pitch in a great mood, shaking hands and laughing, client and firm in lockstep for the direction they want to take.

Ken, true to his role, offers to escort them back to the Roosevelt and then diplomatically suggests they might arrange for "somebody" to meet them there. Brody laughs happily at the offer, while Elliot takes the opportunity to wax lyrical about the exciting nature of the Roosevelt bar... he got to share a drink with Robert Mitchum! He also happens to mention the place recently underwent renovations, and there is a blink and you'll miss it widening of the eyes by Salvatore at this reference.

Brody and Elliot leave, and now that they're alone the others lose their minds over Don's balls in forcing the client to accept the pitch. They reference a legend that Don once dangled a client out the window by the ankles, then all head into Don's office laughing and adrenaline buzzing from a wildly successful pitch... and walk right past Peggy without a word in the process, closing the door behind them and leaving the architect of their success isolated and unrewarded.

Even worse, they do actually contact her over the intercom to order her to bring them ice for their drinks. She dutifully does as she is told, asking them if they want her to leave it, then reluctantly asking if they actually want her to do the further indignity of putting the ice in their own drinks for them. But it's actually something else entirely, because Don actually called her in so she could put the ice in her OWN drink. In shock, Peggy finds herself temporarily part of the boy's club. They laud her, the presentation was a home run, and Don even pretends like her idea sold itself before Freddy lets her know just how hard Don fought to make them believers.

For Peggy today must feel like heaven. She has moved her relationship with Pete in the direction she wanted, her copy was a success, the pitch went brilliantly and now she's been treated for the moment at least like an equal, a peer with the executives who usually only show interest in her as a sexual being. They even playfully tease her for being a real writer when she is mildly upset that Salvatore changed her wording slightly, then playfully tease her for NOT being a real writer when she turns down another drink. Salvatore won't let her keep one of the art pieces as a souvenir, but he isn't cruel in his denial and she doesn't take it personally. Why would she, today has been a banner day for Peggy Olson.

Lois is in the break room signing up to join the bowling league when she's warned by Marge that "they" keep track of everything, reminding her about Joseph McCarthy! Joan steps up to brag about her mysterious plans, saying she's going out and they shouldn't ask where she's going. Before she can revel in their attention though, she finds herself surprisingly and unwelcomingly overshadowed by Peggy who rushes in to eagerly share her happiness. She tells a thrilled Marge and Joyce about selling her copy, about how the executives even poured her a drink! Lois is especially enthralled (and a little jealous) when she learns that Salvatore was there too. They insist they need to celebrate, they'll head out a little before 5pm to go to P.J Clarke's. Everybody is keen, and they rush off, leaving behind Joan who for once finds herself completely ignored.

In Pete's office, his "busy" work day consists of drinking and joking around with Ken, Harry and Paul. When they spot the champagne and ask where it came from, he says it was a "grateful client" rather than admitting his wife bought it for him. They point out that they heard he was supposed to be moving today, and he smugly explains he informed "the concerned party" (his loving wife!) that he already has a job. Harry, normally keen to talk up how much he enjoys being married, commiserates with Pete, asking if "they" ever stop asking for things. Ken and Paul, single men, share a surprised look and a silent relief that they're not in the same position as their peers.

Peggy enters, saying she'd come by looking for Hildy who must have gone to lunch. Ken congratulates her again on her success and the others (not Pete) chime in to add their own plaudits, as well as enjoying mocking each other. Ken is a published writer but can't do copy, and Paul's own copy they make fun of for being full of puns. They ask if she means to celebrate and she explains this is what she was looking for Hildy for: so far mostly just the girls in the office are going to P.J Clarke's at 5 to celebrate, but she leaves the invitation open to the rest, most particularly Pete.

To her surprise, they inform her that Cooper, Sterling and Draper have already left for the day which means there is nobody left to do work for. They have a traffic meeting they can't get out of (Joan is a tattletale, they note) but that ends at 3pm, so why not start the party then? She asks about Freddy Rumsen and they laugh he'll ALREADY be there even without knowing there is a party. Pete attempts a feeble effort at authority, saying he's senior man when the others aren't here, but Paul dismisses that and insists he will be.

So Pete appeals to his domestic life he was complaining about only a couple minutes earlier: he should really go home. Peggy points out that if they start the party at 3, he can still go home at 5 like normal, then reminds him that they all work so hard they deserve the break (the janitor and Hollis aren't invited, by the way). The others all look to Pete, backing Peggy though not knowing the reason for her desperation for Pete to join them. Finally he agrees, and the party is on.

Peggy leaves and walks back through the floor towards her desk. She looks around a moment to make sure nobody is looking, and then allows herself the indulgence of a brief skip on the way. Life IS good.

There is however one last "boss" to consider. Salvatore Romano takes a call at his desk, Lois on the other end informing him she was about to leave for lunch but received a call for him. She waits a moment, then gasps that the call has unfortunately been disconnected. Salvatore, no fool, allows her the deception, enjoying the clumsiness of it in fact. She tells him how everybody is so excited by how well the Belle Jolie pitch went and Peggy in particular lauded his spectacular artwork. Salvatore knows that she was disappointed the words weren't exactly as she wanted but again is happy not to call Lois out on it, and she gets to her point. They're taking Peggy out to celebrate, and she thinks he should join them. Lois pauses a moment, realizes she never said who she was, and tells him. She's thrilled when he calmly tells her he knows, and even more thrilled when he says he'll be there. she disconnects the call and lets the excitement wash over her, while in his own office, Salvatore smokes and considers something seriously.

Don, meanwhile, has gone not to take his medicine but to dish some out. He's arrived at Midge's still high off the success of the presentation and the imposition of his will on Brody. The $2500 is burning a hole in his pocket and he's gotten a wild idea in his head, he wants to grab Midge and fly to Paris, spend a couple of days or more on an escape with her. Unfortunately for him, it appears that Midge doesn't just hang motionless in a void between the times he sees her. She has friend around, including Roy Hazelitt, and her own special plans: getting high and listening to Miles Davis!

Midge's friends - two males including Roy, two women, one of whom is black - don't seem particularly happy to see a middle-aged man in a suit, he looks like a "square" even if Roy grumblingly admits that Don is "okay". As Midge points out to Don, just because she can't call him at his office doesn't mean he can't call her at home. She's made her plans regardless of how excited he is about his own, but she has a counter offer to make... they can do this and then do that, and that'll make a trip to Paris more fun.

So, to his surprise, the Creative Director of Sterling Cooper finds himself smoking marijuana with beatniks at his mistress' studio apartment while listening to Miles Davis. It's apparently pretty good poo poo, because they all end up laying about on the bed or the couch, Don admitting he feels like Dorothy seeing color for the first time. He does want to share this experience with Midge, but unfortunately Roy is a constant instructive presence. Don doesn't like to share, or rather he likes to choose who he shares with. As he places a hand on Midge's stomach and tries to enjoy the moment with her, Roy proclaims that he is good with "the words, man", which causes Don to shrug and agree that this essentially sums up who he is as a person.

As the others marvel over the fact that the record has stopped playing and they're just listening to the needle at the end of the groove, Don stumbles into the bathroom. Inside, he finds himself staring into the mirror, his high causing his mind to wander places it hasn't gone in a long time... to memories of his childhood.

Its 30 years earlier and a young Dick Whitman is digging holes with a shovel in barren dirt. Abigail - who is NOT his mother - hangs out clothes on the line, and for the first time we see who I can only assume is Dick's father, working on an old car in the front yard. As they all work in the hot sun, a man appears on the road and slowly approaches the fence. Abigail spots him and he removes his hat, revealing oily hair, an unshaven face and shabby clothes. He's a hobo, and he admits that while he knows EVERYBODY is feeling the hard times he was hoping he could trouble her for a meal and hopefully a bed, he is more than happy to work for it.

Mr. Whitman is quick to grumpily declare they're not Christian anymore and there is no food or bed to be found her. Abigail, a harsh looking woman, disagrees with this though, they ARE Christian. Mr. Whitman, obviously knowing not to argue this point, agrees that work may be good for the soul but it doesn't change that there is no more work to be done today... if he comes back tomorrow, maybe they will have something for him.

Realizing he'll get no relief here, the hobo prepares to move on, but is stopped by Abigail. The Christian thing to do is to provide charity, and she will. He can eat dinner with them tonight and sleep there too, but tomorrow he'll be expected to work and before anything else she'll need to boil his clothes before letting him in. He admits the latter would be as much a relief to him as her. She shouts to Dick to stop digging holes and get a fire going under the pot, and he backs up in fear from her and the strange man. The hobo waves and smiles, and says the timid child reminds him of himself. Abigail, a harsh woman who nonetheless is trying to do what she thinks is the moral thing, can't help herself and sneers, saying this doesn't surprise her in the slightest.

At dinner they say grace, and Abigail is surprised at the manners the hobo shows, and asks where he comes from. He's from "East", around New York which to a young Dick Whitman must sound like a magical, alien place. Mr. Whitman grunts that this explains why he took easily to being a bum, and Abigail chides him, noting that nobody takes easily to accepting charity. The hobo carefully watches the back and forth between husband and wife and takes his cues for exactly what to say and when from it.

He admits to Mr. Whitman (Archie, Abigail calls him) that though he has never pulled weeds he has worked docks, mills and factories and is no stranger to working for a living. He shares in Abigail's disdain for communists, agreeing with her that they are beyond God's salvation. Does he believe any of it? He does in that one moment, because he needs to - the hobo creates an identity, personality and beliefs to suit the environment he is in.

It works for the hobo too, as Abigail takes a quarter from her paltry stash and places it on the table for him. The hobo's eyes lock in on it, but so so Archie's. He reaches out and takes it before the hobo can, putting it in his pocket and declaring that he can have it tomorrow... AFTER he has done the work he promised to do. The hobo doesn't take offense, he just nods and blesses them for their kindness. All while a young Dick Whitman watches the stranger with great interest, unknowingly seeing an adult mindset he himself will one day match: the cipher who tells people what they want to hear

Salvatore, meanwhile, has decided to take up an offer he got earlier in the day... but not from Lois Sadler. He arrives at the Roosevelt bar, where Elliot Lawrence is very pleased to see him. He mentions that he had hoped Salvatore had heard him mention the "renovation", and what follows is a delicate dance of coded words and terms to tease out whether both men are what they believe the other to be. Elliot stresses he is a traveling salesman, no wife or kids, that he won't be around for long, that he has a hotel room with a view and hasn't eaten yet. It all paints a picture and sends a message without saying anything: you won't have to worry about bumping into me again, I'm not involved, I want to spend time with you and I have a place we can go.

Salvatore, for his part, is warm and friendly but careful not to offer too much back about himself. Everything he says is couched in terms to explain why he is here, to avoid any possible blowback if this isn't what he thinks it is: he was intrigued by Elliot's description, the renovation might be inspiration for a job he is working, as a New York resident he finds Elliot's outside perspective intriguing etc. The dinner invitation is less easy to think of a non-romantic explanation for though, but Elliot saves him there by noting he has an expense account. Now it's not just a free meal, but actual proof/evidence that this was a business dinner between two representatives of their respective firms.

At P.J Clarke's, a few of the staff are dancing the cha-cha while others stand or sit around chatting. Peggy is dancing with a drunk Freddy Rumsen, who has been making up for lost time since the Belle Jolie pitch which he seemed to make an effort to be sober for. Joan chats with a distracted Lois Sadler, sweetly bitching about Peggy being the center of attention: sure she obviously has something upstairs, but at Sterling Cooper the interest is usually "downstairs". Lois is only half really taking it in, looking around and noting that the Art Department aren't present. Joan points out Duane and Marty ARE there, in fact about the whole office is there (and Peggy's popularity is obviously a sore point) and Lois uneasily says she must have had too much to drink if she didn't notice.

Luckily for Lois, Paul arrives to offer Joan a dance, which she takes with a smirk. Male attention? Now she feels stable again, and she makes a point of smiling smugly at two of the other secretaries about the fact an executive has made a move on her. The cha-cha finishes and Peggy gives Freddy an affectionate kiss on the cheek, and he bows to her, accidentally spilling a little of his drink. This gets a laugh, but is followed by a squeal of delight from ALL the women present when the next song on the jukebox turns out to be Chubby Checker demanding they all "Do the Twist".

Nobody is left standing or sitting now, save for Pete Campbell. Everybody rushes onto the dance-floor to do The Twist, even Hildy allows herself to dance with Harry. As the place really gets fired up, Peggy - for whom life really, really is good right now - spots Pete still sitting alone. Spotting an opportunity, she twists her way over to him, leans forward and seductively asks him to dance with her. She is expecting him to eagerly accept, for them to yet again bask in hiding in plain sight the secret of their affair. Instead, Pete stares up at her and quietly states,"I don't like you like this."

Suddenly her entire world falls out beneath her feet. Pete stands and leaves as she is left to force on a happy face and dance her way back in with the rest of the over-excited group. She wipes tears from her face as she goes through the motions of having a good time, rejected by the one person she - bizarrely - wants the most.

As for Pete, his rejection says so much about himself. Because he never thought of him and Peggy as being in this affair together. She was "the woman" from his cabin fantasy to him, a stand-in, a thing that existed to just be there for him to suit his needs, whether those be sex or just agreeing with him in lockstep on everything he says, or to stare with adoration at him when he said anything. He bemoaned Trudy not being his soulmate, but he doesn't want a soulmate, not really. What he wants is some idealized fantasy woman, and the moment any of them don't live up to his exacting (and often contradictory) specifications, he blames them for it and leaves them to miserably try to pick up the pieces and try to figure out exactly what they did wrong. In one day, he has managed to ruin for two separate women what should have been one of the greatest days of their lives.

Elliot and Salvatore have finished their dinner, and now Salvatore enjoys a sambuca con la moscawhile Elliot has coffee to finish up the meal. Elliot asks Salvatore what he plans to do, and Sal misunderstands the question, pondering whether he can find a writer in the agency to break off with him so they can start their own little shop. Elliot though has danced around the subject enough, it is time to be more direct. He means what does Salvatore plan to do about seeing the view in Elliot's room: it looks all the way out to the park, though it's dark now... in other words, you won't be coming up to see the view.

Salvatore isn't sure, but it is obvious he is interested. Elliot decides to push a little hard, and asks if he can try some of the Sambuca. In reaching for it, he allows one finger to gently brush Sal's own, then gulps down the rest of the drink, an intimate gesture between the two that can put no further doubt in the mind of either that this entire process has been a long seduction. But Salvatore can't go through with it, even when Elliot quietly assures him he can "show him". Salvatore's response is beautiful if heartbreaking, as he tells him,"I have thought about. I know what I want... I know what I want to do."

In the first episode I found Salvatore's writing and performance far too broad and obvious, a clumsy piece of writing and over-the-top performance that detracted from the show. By this point though, the writing has found its voice and Bryan Batt has developed his character. His performance here in this scene, the mixture of longing and fear to take that final extra step, but the acknowledgement of his self-awareness of his homosexuality is just pitch perfect. As is his angry shock when Elliot asks him what he is scared of.

Because there IS something to be scared of. This is 1960, and as unfair as it might be, if Salvatore was discovered to be gay it would end his career in a heartbeat. He has EVERYTHING to lose, and EVERYTHING to be scared of. So he offers his hand, thanks him for the dinner, then walks away - they were just two men having a nice dinner and that is the end of that. Elliot is left behind with his coffee and not the night he was hoping for, but this probably isn't the first time this has happened to him and it probably won't be the last. Navigating a homosexual relationship in 1960 is a lot like defusing a bomb: you can make all the right moves and still run the risk of it all blowing up, so a night where nothing happens is not a result to be upset about.

At Midge's, a dazed Don emerges from the bathroom and finds the others dancing in a line and having a great time. The sound of sirens and screaming from next door breaks up the dance but not the party, as they all rush to the window to see what is going on. Midge figures it is the husband, who uses his wife "like a speedbag". This puts paid to any chance for them to head out of the apartment though, beatniks smoking marijuana do NOT want to be anywhere near police. Don spots Midge's Polaroid (which in 1960 was still an enormously large "portable" camera) and picks it up to get a photo of her, and she quickly rushes to pose on the bed beside Roy. He takes the shot, then sets the camera down to allow it time to develop.

His mind drifts back to his childhood in the meantime. At Abigail's command he's brought blankets to the hobo in the barn where he'll be sleeping, as well as a reminder he is meant to say his prayers. Freed from Abigail or Archie's presence, emboldened by his audience being a quiet child, the hobo speaks honestly and openly. He calls himself a Gentleman of the Rails, and unlike the humility he showed with Abigail he seems almost arrogant when he talks himself up as a free man not tied down to any one place.

Dick reveals something about himself too, a sulky recitation of something he has obviously been told many times in the past, particularly by Abigail: he is a "whore's child". I had always assumed that Abigail was simply Archie's second wife, that Dick's mother died and he remarried. This admission makes me assume he had sex with another woman out of wedlock, or possibly that he even had sex with her WHILE married to Abigail. It would just be like Abigail's harsh acceptance of her religious and moral duty that she would agree to raise Archie's son but hate the sight of him, a constant living reminder of her husband's moral failings.

The hobo takes some pity on Dick's situation, and warns him that he senses death is coming to a place like this which is why he doesn't plan to stay long. He's been running from death since he went on the bum: once he had a wife and family, a home and job and mortgage and he was miserable. One day when death came for him he "freed" himself (I wonder his his wife and family felt about that?) and just started moving, and he has slept peacefully every night since.

Since Dick is too young to smoke, the hobo offers him something else: a lesson. He takes out chalk and shows him the code: images left on fence-posts outside homes that hobos have visited. He shows Dick the sign for good food, dangerous dogs, dishonest men, and a kind heart that will swallow a sad story. He tosses the chalk to Dick and tells him he doesn't need to be scared, he's not a man yet. What does that mean? I can only assume it means both that he doesn't have to fear being assigned a code by anybody, but also that he doesn't need to fear the tensions, stresses and problems that adults do.

A grown up Don has plenty to fear, but his reaction to the Polaroid he has now developed is more a bemused resignation as he comes to an inevitable conclusion: Midge and Roy are in love. The photograph shows the two on the bed, and everything from their eyes to their body language to even their simple proximity screams,"These two are meant to be together."

Midge of course thinks this is ridiculous, tossing the photo aside when Don shows it to her. She thinks it looks like a magazine photo and nothing more, while Roy proclaims that love is a bourgeois invention anyway. Don is convinced though, he spends all his time trying to capture or emulate the look that Midge and Roy generated unconsciously.

This gets both Roy and the other male beatnik heated up though, as they complain about Don being part of the system, about how pointless and useless his so-called "important" life is. Don gives as good as he gets, noting that their empty posturing pretending to be vagrants (at least the hobo he met as a child was an actual hobo) is far from world changing activism either.

When Roy decries Don as being for "them" and not for "us", Don humiliates Midge by telling her friends to grow up and "make something of yourselves". He mocks their raging against the system, telling them there is no such thing, no conspiracy or mysterious "them". "The universe is indifferent" he lays out flat for them, alarming the male beatnik who is far too high to deal with such a nihilistic philosophy.

Don puts his coat back on, takes his hat from the sleeping female, and makes Midge the offer one last time: come to Paris with him. Now. Sad but firm, she tells him no. Don considers, regrets for just a moment, then he makes what feels like a very final goodbye. He endorses the check, slides it into her top and tells her to buy a car. He goes to leave and Roy - who probably isn't sad to see him go - a warning reminder, there are cops out there, he can't leave. "[i]You[/i can't," Don gives back as his own reminder of the reality of the world, and steps out the door.

Outside, police are taking away the abusive husband. One of the patrolmen spots Don, his expensive suit and confident stride, well-groomed hair and air of authority, and simply offers him a respectful nod and a "sir" which Don returns with a,"Good evening" before walking on by. There might not actively be a system, but there is A system, and Don is a valued and respected part of it... or at least he is able to make people believe he is. Like the hobo of his youth, Don knows how to make people see and hear what he wants them to see and hear.

He returns home, having gained and lost $2500 in a day that Betty will never know about. He moves upstairs and into his children's rooms, where he stares down at his young son living in a comfort and security that young Dick Whitman never knew. Reaching down, he shakes his confused son awake, telling him to stay quiet so as not to wake Sally. Little Bobby is confused, he's tired and doesn't get why daddy is here talking to him... but he seems very insistent on wanting Bobby to ask him a question. So Bobby does... why do lightning bugs light up!?!

Don sighs, he was hoping his tiny, innocent son might ask something like,"Tell me about your history and the family dynamics that plague you even to this day, father." So he admits he doesn't know but promises his son with the sincerity of the very drunk or very high that he will NEVER lie to his son. Bobby doesn't really get what any of this is about, but he gets his daddy is being very loving towards him so he gives him a big hug, and Don embraces him tightly. He never makes it out of the bed either, so exhausted that he simply remained in the bed and slept beside his son.

This was a relationship young Dick Whitman never had with Archie Whitman. Don remembers the day the hobo left. True to his word if nothing else, the unnamed hobo has done the full day of work he said he would. Meeting up with Archie as he works on the car some more, the hobo thanks him again for the meal and the bed. Archie offers back the most charitable thing he has said so far, wishing him luck on the road. He then reaches into his pocket, and the hobo watches hungrily for the quarter that Abigail set aside for him.

Instead, Archie pulls out a match and uses it to light a cigarette. The hobo waits, still hoping but already knowing that the money isn't coming. Realizing he hasn't left yet, Archie betrays no sense of shame or even false anger, just simply tells him to be on his way. The hobo goes, Dick watching him go as he peels potatoes. Alarmed because he knows his father was supposed to pay him, he races after the hobo but he's already well down the road. Suspecting he already knows what he'll find, Dick slides the dry bushes aside to reveal the fence-post, and the hobo code carved into it: a dishonest man lives here.

Dick looks at his father, a tall man who would be handsome if he hadn't been weathered by life, weather, and poverty. His father even now shows no sense of satisfaction, guilt or concern about stealing from either the hobo or his own wife. He simply collects his wheelbarrow and continues on about his day. That code remains though, and Dick will never look at his father the same way again.

Much like Dick's mother, I had made certain assumptions about his father. In this episode we get out first look at the actual man himself and learned a lot about him. He either cheated on his wife or got an unmarried girl pregnant before marrying another. He was a hard and perhaps cruel man, selfish in a way Don clearly doesn't want to be but fears he might be. I had also assumed that he was dead, but after this episode I'm not so sure. Is it possible he simply just abandoned his family and left a pregnant Abigail to lean on her brother(?) Mack to look after the family? There's not enough information to know yet, but it is interesting to have seen this man as well as the hobo in this single episode and seen that BOTH are a potential genesis for the man Don Draper has become despite clearly having entirely different personal philosophies.

Peggy arrives early back to Sterling Cooper once more, and timidly approaches Pete's office to see if maybe he also came in early... perhaps for a repeat of yesterday morning's passion? She hesitates and then changes her mind, moving to her desk instead. More people arrive and then finally Pete as well... walking with Ken, Paul and Harry and joking away with them. He breaks off with them and heads into his office, and he doesn't even glance in Peggy's direction - just like the last time they had sex, he's lost interest in her for now. Yesterday she was accepted and loved by everyone, today she's back to being "just" a secretary and ignored by the one man she wants to pay attention to her.

Don Draper arrives to work too, greeted by Peggy before he heads into his office. He closes the door behind him, and the camera slowly moves in until the name Donald Draper takes up the frame. In this episode we got to see more than ever before of Dick Whitman's origins, of the family around him and the events that may have contributed to the man he became... and I'm still no closer than I was at the end of the first episode to knowing exactly WHO Don Draper actually is.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 07:50 on Oct 18, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It makes his "You either accept Jesus into your heart or you don't" line stand out even more, because it seems pretty clear to me at least at this point that Don probably considers religion just an extremely successful advertising campaign, and you can see that him referencing Jesus even surprises his own executives. I have to figure that his upbringing and his exposure to religion being via a hypocritical father and his severe, uncompromising wife went a long way towards poisoning religious and spiritual belief for him, and going through the Korean War probably didn't help. His line about the indifference of the universe really indicates a nihilistic worldview, a belief that you have the here and now and that's it. Kinda like that hobo, except instead of running from New York and the obligations of a wife and family, Don raced to New York and took those obligations on.

He told Rachel he didn't believe in love, but that same episode he goes home to his wife and kids and creates a perfect picturebook image of a happy, loving family. I think with Don you can never be entirely sure what he's saying is ever entirely the truth, everything with him seems to be calculated or designed to illicit the reaction he is hoping to get, even unconsciously when he's angry or upset. He might not believe in true love, but he can see that Midge and Roy either had it for each other or at least the chemistry/closeness that make up the package people CALL love. Which makes it all the more interesting that he tells her she loves Roy and AFTER that tries to convince her again to come to Paris with him anyway.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Edit: Thanks, Mr Apollo :)

Re: Pete - while yes we do have a privileged access to him that lets us see what a piece of poo poo he is, I don't think it's much of a secret to the other characters either. We frequently see him falling flat in his efforts to hit on or appeal to women: at his bachelor party, his attempt to charm the sales girl at the return desk etc. Yes Trudy thinks he's great, but she's really the exception rather than the rule, and his first interactions with Peggy before she let him into her apartment in the pilot were him being such a creep towards her that Don literally took him aside to tell him to stop being so gross. Which makes her seeming obsession with him seem all the weirder to me. To be fair, there are plenty of cases of people falling for people who are just clearly, horribly wrong for them so it's certainly no unrealistic.

Unless I'm missing something, what I wrote was absolutely that he was upset about "all the stops the elevator was making, akin to a bus or subway route having two kinds of routes: express and local, with the former stopping only at major locations (hence saving time by not stopping everywhere; express) and the latter stops everywhere"? :confused:

Perhaps I should have written Pete is used to being ON the express to make that clearer?

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:15 on Oct 19, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Incelshok Na posted:

Sal is like bacon: just entirely wonderful. I watched the show when it came out and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed him.

Hobo Code really, really sold me on him as a character. His behavior with his mother and with the art department guys as well as Lois goes a long way towards showing how much he presents a particular appearance/demeanor for survival's sake, which makes that genuine moment where he tells Elliot,"I know what I want" really, really stand out incredibly strongly.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 9 - Shoot
Written by Chris Provenzano & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Paul Feig

Roger Sterling posted:

Why entertain the prospect of failure?

On a lovely, sunny day in suburban paradise, Betty is pruning the ivy as Sally and Bobby play in the front yard with Sally's dog Polly. Next door, standing by the meticulously groomed hedge, their neighbor - an older man called Mr. Brestwood - opens a coop and a number of pigeons go flying out through the air. Sally is entranced to see the birds, crying out for her mommy to look, hand on her chest as she stares in wonder at the birds. Betty finds the whole thing a pleasant distraction too, and shares a friendly wave with Mr. Brestwood who smiles serenely at his birds as well.

From a beautiful suburban day to a sophisticated Manhattan evening, Betty and Don attend a performance of Fiorello!. During intermission, a bored Don smokes as he waits for Betty to return from the bathroom. He's spotted and greeted by another man, Jim Hobart, the head of ad agency McCann Erickson. They shake hands and Hobart informs him that his agency ended up picking up the Israeli tourist account that had come to Sterling Cooper looking for "sophistication". Apparently they weren't overly impressed by a pitch that came down to,"Your young people are really attractive."

Don doesn't seem all that cut up about losing the account, but he is a little unsettled when Hobart tells him that Don himself has been the subject of discussion between powerful people behind closed doors. Hobart has been speaking with Jim Jordan from BBDO and "Frank" from Y&R at their Athletic Club where they are all members.

Hobart assures him he should take this as a compliment, highlighting the "Jesus over Rio" campaign that Don spearheaded as one of the best he has ever seen. The reason that Sterling Cooper didn't get the Israeli campaign, he promises, is down to the size of the firm rather than any quality that Don himself is lacking. Which is also why he's interested in giving Don a chance to prove that: at McCann Erickson if Don was Creative Director he'd have 500 people working for him, and that's at their New York offices alone.

Don is charming but non-committal, joking that the only thing he's after at the moment is an excuse to get out of the rest of the show. Hobart's wife Adele arrives and they're introduced, which she openly tells Don only happens if they're somebody from advertising her husband is interested in. Betty arrives too and Adele takes the chance to invite Don to take her to the bar to get drinks for their spouses. This leaves Betty and Jim alone, where their small-talk leads to a flattered Betty self-deprecatingly admitting she used to model years earlier before she met Don.

To her great surprise, this proves to be more than small-talk. Hobart considers her face, likens her to Grace Kelly and then hands her his card after telling her that a "European" face like hers could be exactly what a company like Coca-Cola might be looking for during its current international advertising campaign. She tries to laugh this all off as a silly joke, but Hobart appears to be serious, telling her to seriously consider it. The lights dim and a chime sounds to indicate intermission will soon be ending, and Don and Adele return with drinks. Hobart makes a resigned effort to ask his wife if maybe they can skip the second half which she waves off with a smile (he knew he had no chance), and then the Hobarts and the Drapers go their separate ways... for now.

After the show as they drive home, Betty asks why Don avoided going out to dinner with the Hobarts afterwards. She can see his point when he notes that Jim Hobart is the type who only ever talks about business, because he simply has nothing else to talk about. She was flattered that he gave her his card though, which at first Don mistakes as him trying to convince her to convince him to go to work at McCann Erickson. He gives an evil little grin when she explains he wanted to talk to her about modeling, which gives her a giggle as she insists that he wasn't trying to hit on her, he seemed to genuinely think she might be a fit for a Coca-Cola campaign... does HE think she wouldn't be?

Recognizing a landmine when he sees one, Don assures her that she isn't wrong for anything. But as pleasant as the evening was (even if he didn't like Fiorello!) and as gently teasing as their interaction has been, he closes down when she asks if he intends to leave Sterling Cooper and go to work for Hobart instead. Her face falls but she doesn't press the issue: Don told she she wasn't wrong for anything, but he clearly thinks it is wrong or inappropriate to tell his wife what he's thinking about a career change that would have enormous implications on not just his future but hers and their children's as well.

The next morning, Betty and Francine chat over coffee about the night before. Betty admits that Fiorello! has probably soured Don on taking her out to any Broadway shows for at least another six months, but the subject of Jim Hobart comes up. She gets a kick out of telling Francine that Don suspected Hobart was trying to "sleep" with either her or him and Don wasn't keen on either. But she can't help but speak wistfully of the offer to go and do modeling work, especially when unbidden Francine mentions that Carlton often likens Betty to Grace Kelly as well.

Francine drinks in hungrily Betty's stories of being a model, a past she knew nothing about and which excites her immensely... and Betty too, as she remembers the exhilarating, terrifying but ESPECIALLY freeing experience of being a model. She was even a muse for awhile for an Italian fashion designer named Giovanni who was obsessed with Americans (he wanted to be called Johnny) and gifted her a number of dresses. She kept all of them and of course they all still fit, and she models them to a gaping Francine who can't quite believe that Giovanni did all this for her... and their relationship was REALLY only platonic? It's an eye-opener for her and a treasured memory dusted off and reexamined for Betty, the memory of a time in her life where she was the center of attention and her life was full of energy and excitement.

Don arrives at his office, handing off his coat and hat to Peggy so she can turn around and reach out the less than half a foot between him and his coat-rack to put them up for him. He has to meet Salvatore later to look over artwork for the Menken account that Sal himself clearly isn't happy with, but first there is an intriguing development to deal with: a package left on his desk marked personal and confidential. He opens it up, and is surprised to find inside a set of towels... and a membership card in his name to the New York Athletic Club, with a personal welcoming note from Jim Hobart.

Immediately Don asks Betty to give him a personal line, not wanting anybody to know he's contacting another agency. The fact his call is able to be patched through immediately at McCann Erickson to Jim Hobart says a lot too, especially as he's in the middle of a meeting: this is a serious pitch, Hobart WANTS Don and he isn't going to take any chances to let him slip through his fingers. Like Giovanni with Betty, he wants to shower Don with gifts. Unlike with Giovanni though, Hobart's intentions are clearly to "bed" Don.

He makes no attempt to hide this fact either, straight up telling Don the gift wasn't a gesture but an overture, and admitting that he made a significant effort to "accidentally" bump into him at Fiorello! the previous evening. Now he wants to arrange a private meeting at the Algonquin, so they can thrash out details and make it official: he wants Don working for McCann Erickson. Don though isn't so easily wooed, though he doesn't flat out reject Jim, just says he isn't quite ready to wave the flag... yet. Hobart admits he would prefer to do this face-to-face, but he's the one pursuing Don so he capitulates, though not before first quietly dismissing the other people from his office (they leave without a word) so he can get down to brass tacks.

The fact is, Sterling Cooper is a "mom and pop" operation. It's fine but it's not McCann Erickson, it's not an international company that services gigantic companies like Pan-Am, Coca-Cola or Esso (better known nowadays as ExxonMobil). They'd be willing to offer Don a 3-year-contract at 35k a year, and that's without all the massive bonuses that come with the job like travel, expense accounts, an international lifestyle and membership/access to power and privilege. He suspects - though Don won't confirm - that Sterling Cooper probably aren't paying Don any more than 30k a year. That's still a pretty hefty salary for 1960, but it's probably near the top of what he can expect, while 35 at McCann Erickson is probably only the beginning.

In any case, Hobart has indulged Don enough now, he really prefers not to discuss these matters over the phone, and he hangs up. It isn't rude, it's a signal: if Don wants to talk further about this, he'll need to do it in person. And that will means showing a more active interest than his current passive polite reception: Hobart is an ad-man, he's pitched, and now Don has to indicate whether he's buying or not.

Betty attends a therapy session with Dr. Wayne, where she considers the brazenness of Jim Hobart giving her his card "right in front of Don", a line she immediately regrets and qualifies by explaining she told Don about it afterwards. She talks again about her past as a model, though unlike the fun romp through yesteryear with Francine it's not a sad wistfulness as she recalls this exciting time in her life.

She actually met Don that way: she was wearing a Russian blue fox coat and he was a copywriter for the fur company, and he saw that she was reluctant to give the coat back after modeling with it. He asked her out on a date and while she found his confidence appealing (him being tall, well-built and handsome probably helped too!) she of course turned him down. Just like Jim Hobart though, Don knew how to make a sale, so 3 weeks later that coat arrived at her apartment along with another request for a date. She took him up on it, worked 2 or 3 more jobs as a model and then got engaged.

"And then I got pregnant," she states blankly, her face falling. She explains how it made all the sense in the world to move out of the excitement, bright lights and energy of Manhattan to Ossining so they could raise the kids. "Suddenly... I felt so old," the 28-year-old woman mumbles, and for once Dr. Wayne shows interest, asking her to speak more about this. This of course turns Betty's mind, as it so often does, to her mother.

Without really realizing it, she complains about how her mother was so obsessed with looks and weight, was forever on at her to not get fat and to watch her weight... but then when Betty DID slim down and was good-looking enough to become a model, her mother hated that too. She hated that she was living in Manhattan, ignored the massive amounts of money that Betty could potentially make, she even went so far as to call her own daughter a prostitute.

"You're angry at your mother."

This isn't a question from Dr. Wayne, it's a statement. It shocks Betty, who sits bolt upright, aghast at the suggestion and offended at the sudden shift in their doctor/patient dynamic. Wayne doesn't qualify or argue or mollify though, he simply repeats the statement,"You are angry at your mother," and then points out that she's sitting up, leaving it unsaid that she demonstrated just how emotionally charged she is about her mother.

Betty lets out a steam of invective, aimed at him but really just a chance to vent her fury at a number of other people/things in her life. She accuses him of never listening to her, never actually listening to what she has to say, and now he's actively trying to provoke her. Dr. Wayne, who clearly follows the non-directive mindset that you let the patient talk and talk and only interject to try and get them to talk more and reach their own breakthroughs, asks her to tell him more about why she thinks that.

Fed up, she lowers herself back onto the couch, lights up a cigarette, and retreats into the usual polite revisionist platitudes she reserves for her mother. She simply wanted her daughter to be beautiful so she could find a man and marry, and Betty understands that mindset. She does at least admit that while she misses her mother now, it is both bad and good that she is gone. Safely away from the taboo of criticizing her mother, Betty does however ponder... what next? She got the man, she got the family, she got the nice house in the suburbs... but now what? She's 28-years-old, does she just spend the next 50+ years sitting around the house smoking and waiting to die? Unspoken is that her mother did this very thing, but Betty doesn't mind verbalizing something else: she doesn't actually care WHY Jim Hobart gave her his card. She doesn't care if it was genuine, out of desire to sweeten the pot for Don, or even if he actually is trying to get into her pants. She just likes that SHE was offered even the idea of being able to do something else with her life.

Speaking of wives who do more though, the "dream team" that Sterling Cooper has put together to try and help the Nixon Campaign team are having a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Uneasily, they watch Jackie Kennedy's Spanish Language Campaign ad, where John Kennedy's beautiful wife talks calmly, smoothly in Spanish to a gigantic group of voters on behalf of her husband. She's reaching an audience that the men in the room have no idea how to reach themselves, hell, half of them can't pick up any more of that Spanish than "viva Kennedy" right at the end.

With the viewing over, they discuss the pros and cons of the commercial. Pete and Salvatore think it will backfire: Pete because of her "finishing school" voice that he thinks will make her unlikable, while Salvatore thinks women will be jealous of her fairy-tale life and reminded of more successful sisters. Don, while he doesn't particularly care about the Spanish vote, is worried that they might be backing a losing ticket AND doing so out of pocket. Pete is surprised and a little offended by that, their job is to do what their client wants after all... and besides, Nixon has an 8-point lead over Kennedy. Don doesn't think that's quite the insurmountable lead that Pete does, and reminds him clients come and go and it is sometimes best to rid them of "unrealistic expectations".

It doesn't matter though, Cooper and Sterling are pushing this and their job is to do what Cooper and Sterling say. Harry notes he was told to focus on the Undecided States, to find a way to reach voters there rather than buttressing Nixon States or fighting a losing battle in Kennedy States. He identifies Texas, New Jersey and Illinois as the best candidates, and Paul can't help but point out that this is a wonderful thing to say but it's quite another to do.

At home that evening, Betty is in her nightgown reading a magazine when she is surprised by Don's arrival. She explains she called the office and got no response, so assumed he was staying in the city, and Don admits that since "the girl" (Peggy) got a little extra work she's been distracted. Betty immediately pulls out some bread to make him a sandwich at least, and he notices a full ham in the fridge that looks quite delicious. It's still raw though, she didn't think he'd be home for dinner so she didn't finish cooking it, so it'll just be a sandwich tonight.

As she brings the food to the table though, she admits that she came to a realization today: she misses modeling. He's surprised by this, she always told him how much she hated the grind of it all, and she admits time has made her view it more favorably. He asks if this is purely because of Jim Hobart, both a playful tease but also a quick check to see if the man wooing him has caused an issue for his wife. She agrees that maybe it was Hobart's offer that got this ball rolling... but does that really matter? She misses being "that girl", and would it really be so bad for her to work a few days here and there and bring in a little extra money? Especially since she's already getting Ethel in to look after the kids some afternoons fairly regularly anyway.

Don, to his credit, despite a few minor objections, actually listens to his wife. He clearly isn't particularly keen on the idea for a variety of reasons, not least of which is a fear that Betty is an unknowing pawn in Jim Hobart's game. But he lets her talk and make her reasons, and he correctly guesses that this is something she has already decided she wants to do it and arguing against it would benefit neither of them.

Betty is delighted of course, her man is listening to her and valuing her opinion (or at least giving the impression he is), unlike Dr. Wayne who doesn't listen and provokes arguments. It's not exactly 1:1 but in effect the opposite is more true, for all his faults Wayne is following a process he thinks will get Betty to deal with deeper set psychological issues. For all Don knows when to say exactly the right thing, it's more often than not tied up in his own selfish desires, even if he genuinely thinks those are for Betty's benefit as well. All she knows right now though is that her husband, her perfect husband, has happily accepted her desire for more from life.

The next day, Peggy is working on correspondence when she knocks over a stamp from her desk. Bending over to pick it up, she hears a tearing sound, and to her great embarrassment realizes she has torn the side of her skirt open.

In the break room, Joan is surprised to hear Marge and Lois admit that the switchboard is boring, after an hour you basically stop hearing the voices of the people talking and lose all interest in picking up gossipy tidbits. Peggy comes in with her sweater tied around her waist and Marge and Lois make a quick exit, sharing knowing looks: everybody knows what a sweater around the waist means. Joan does too, approaching Peggy and asking if she needs to go home.

Belatedly, Peggy realizes they think she's having a heavy period day and explains she tore her skirt, too big a rip to repair with needle and thread. Joan is bemused but has a solution, she has a spare outfit she can lend Peggy for the rest of the day, especially since that sweater is "helping your silhouette", a not particularly kind jab about the fact Peggy has put on a little bit of weight recently.

Don is sitting in his office when a peculiar thing happens: Roger Sterling comes wading in through the door lugging a brand new set of golf clubs wrapped in a red ribbon. Don jokes they're not dressed for a round, and Roger gets straight to the point: what is Jim Hobart offering him to leave Sterling Cooper? Don is impressed at first, Roger must surely have his finger on the pulse to have discovered this. Roger doesn't mind admitting the truth though, he saw the clubs being carried down the hallway and thought they were for him, only to discover they were for Don and were sent by Jim Hobart.

Don can't help but laugh at Roger revealing he only discovered by dumb luck his Creative Director was being poached, it's an honesty he appreciates. But it also indicates that Hobart has stopped being coy and is now being entirely open about his approach, which further puts pressure on Don himself to either poo poo or get off the pot by meeting to discuss terms.

Sterling asks what is on offer, he knows it can't possibly be just money because Don knows they'd be open to upping his salary. Don admits the offer is purely "bigger", essentially they're telling him the world will be his oyster, he'll have access to clients like Pan-Am (it pays to remember that Pan-Am was once THE air-carrier in America and arguably the world that simply don't come to Sterling Cooper. Roger corrects him on that though, it is Big Talent that tempts Big Clients, not Big Agencies. He says if Don is interested in clients like Pan-Am, Sterling Cooper can make an effort to bring them in, but warns him it isn't as glamorous as he might think.

Earlier, Hobart told Don that you either leave the farm leagues to join the Yankees or you live the rest of your life wondering,"What if?". Roger has a different perspective. He considered leaving the agency once himself, of going out to work for bigger companies... and he decided against it. There is something to be said for a small agency, one where you aren't beholden to shareholders (you can't fire clients, for one thing!) and you know everybody (that matters) by name.

"Do you want to start over?" Roger asks, not knowing that this has a double-meaning for Don who HAS started completely over at least once before in his life. He admits that he hasn't yet made up his mind if he intends to go or not, and assures Roger that this is purely a business decision and nothing to take personally. Roger isn't quite so sure though, and may be pondering whether that business with his drunken pass at Betty might not have been resolved by his own humiliation in front of the GOP and Cooper.

Hobart's overture is common knowledge now though, and the talk of the junior account executives who are simultaneously jealous and impressed. Sitting around an open desk setup near the secretarial pool, they discuss the size of McCann Erickson and ponder what they must be offering Don who is already on an eye-watering (to them) 30k a year. Pete grumbles that Don isn't worth 10 times what he is, mind probably racing with the thought of what he could do with that kind of salary: he could pay off the mortgage and repay his father-in-law in less than 5 years rather than 20-25, he could go out without having to rely on the expense account, his father might actually treat him with some respect etc.

As they talk up Don's positives and negatives (they often don't understand what Don says, but they know that the clients absolutely do), they notice Peggy walking by. She's wearing one of Joan's dresses which doesn't fit particularly well and she clearly isn't comfortable in. She adjusts it nervously as she passes Pete, and without fear of being overheard or any degree of civility at all they openly mock her weight gain. Paul, who tried and failed to make a move on her, admits that he "considered" her once but has since moved on, and they call her the type that slims down before starting work and then gets fat as soon as she's comfortable.

Ken Cosgrove at the very least points out that her writing for Belle Jolie was well-received, but also has no qualms about mocking her physical appearance, straight up calling her a "piece of fruit that went real bad real fast." Joan warned Peggy earlier that being the new girl gave her allure to the males in the office but that she "wasn't much" and now we're seeing the even nastier side of their already misogynistic attitude. When they all wanted to gently caress her, it was lewd comments and even outright requests for sex - now that she's settled in, put on a little weight, and no longer "new" they're just critically dissecting her appearance with zero regard for her as a person.

Pete doesn't really take part, but not because he's in any way a better person (far from it!): the two had a connection and have had sex twice, but it's all gone sour and he'd rather not reflect on that anymore. He simply says that nobody thinks about somebody like Peggy at all, and with any luck she'll go with Don when he joins McCann Erickson. Finding the subject matter uncomfortable, he asks Harry to come with him to his office to help him with some work that needs doing. Paul is delighted by this, assuming that Pete is fired up to get his work done because he's jealous of Don's success.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 06:10 on Oct 23, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Burning with embarrassment, Betty Draper sits in a line of far younger models who are dressed far more casually than her. She's dressed up, a big billowy dress that looks more like something you would wear to a party for a small but well-regarded advertising firm than to a modeling audition. The other women are in pants or modern dresses that show lots of leg, and Betty has never felt more out of place.

Jim Hobart arrives with a younger man in tow, greeting Betty happily as she nervously admits to overdoing her outfit and admits that being out of the business a few years has put her behind the times. The other man is Ronnie Gittridge, the art director for Coca-Cola (and Jim's brother-in-law) and he happily tells her not to be concerned, he's overwhelmed by her style. Both he and Jim quickly put her at ease, friendly and accommodating, promising her the photo-shoot is nothing to be intimidated by, sharing a comfortable repartee where Ronnie laughs that Jim tries to make everybody else's job seem simpler than it is so his own looks harder.

There is one serious moment though, where Jim reminds her that this is purely a tryout, and they are not guaranteeing her the job. She seems almost relieved that he's said this though, smiling winningly and assuring him that she has modeled before and she knows the score, she's just happy for the shot. Ronnie takes her away, gushing more about the dress, and despite her earlier embarrassment it's about the most perfect return to the modeling world she could have ever dreamed of.

In Pete's office, he and Harry are trying to do their work but have hit a brick wall, one that they've hit before. It's the Secor Laxative account, and it's dull as dishwater and about as far from the sexy international world of McCann Erickson as you can imagine. The angle they're pushing is moving Secor out of print and radio ads and into television, but that is about as far as they've gotten. Pete complains he doesn't even get the benefit of humor out of the situation, the laxative people "have no sense of humor about their product", which indicates he's made some poor taste jokes that they didn't particularly appreciate.

Harry sighs that he only joined college to avoid being drafted, and now he finds himself working with a laxative company. That does get them both talking about college though, they were of course both in Fraternities, and it was the most fun and free time of both their lives. Pete tells a story of the time their mascot, a stray dalmatian named Mamie, died and they came up with the idea to get a permit and throw a grand parade funeral in her honor... so they could interrupt with a rival Frat's beauty parade with a local girl's school happening at the same time and make the girls run away crying.

Apparently they ran out of inkwells to dip their pigtails into?

Harry laughs with glee at the story of a pledge pulling the dead dog in a radio flyer down Main Street, with police barricades up and 30 Frat brothers walking the streets behind it in her honor. But as he laughs, Pete makes a connection between the story and their current situation and realizes he might have the solution to two of their problems.

Currently Nixon and Kennedy are in an arms race for TV advertising in the Undecided States... but what if THEY buy up all the non-Nixon time-slots for Secor Laxatives? Harry is confused, Nixon is selling laxatives now? No, Pete quickly corrects him, THEY are selling laxatives, Nixon is selling Nixon... and Kennedy can't sell himself because all the ads times are bought up.

That evening Don is laid out on the couch as the television tells him about the cleaning power of Lysol. The phone rings and Betty takes the call, then walks into the lounge with a giant smile on her face: the phone call was for her, and that itself is probably enough to make her feel engaged with the world again, but even better than that... she got the job. She is going to be the girl with the Coca-Cola, a couple of days of photo-shoots followed by some testing... she stops herself with a smile, noting that Don already knows how all this works.

Don does, but he also knows (sometimes) how Betty works too. So he smiles and he is happy for her, and he promises her not to worry about trying to explain how she won't let this overtake her time as a wife and mother because he's not going to ruin this moment for her. Joining him at the couch, she admits that she knows that he really doesn't like her going back to work but she suspects some part of him is proud of her as well. What goes unsaid is her deep appreciation for the fact he didn't "forbid" her even taking the chance, and the two kiss, each happy that the other is willing to put in the effort for the other.

She asks him to come upstairs with her and he says no, telling her he wants to do it right there. She agrees, the excitement getting to them both: in a way, she has managed to roll back the clock to that earlier, more exciting time in her life. This is probably closer to how they were when they were first together and couldn't keep their hands off of each other, and a bed was just one of many, many options when it came to finding places to have sex.

So it comes to pass that Betty gets to leave the house, to go into Manhattan and relive the days of her youth. Ethel - an older woman - comes in to watch the children as promised, though she soon dozes off on the couch with her needlepoint in her lap, while Sally and Bobby race around the house with Polly, giggling and having a great old time but largely unsupervised.

Betty, meanwhile, is surrounded by a fake family to play the perfect mother. It is ironic that she gets her excitement from faking being the thing she already is in real life, she even has the perfect husband, plus two children (son AND daughter of course) and even the family dog. But of course in real life you don't have perfect make-up, meticulous wardrobe, a devoted hairdresser, creative people racing around, gorgeous lighting and an Art Director devoted to making sure everything is perfect.

The only thing that seems off to her is that the bottles of coke she is holding in her hand are already open (this predates screwtop lids, of course). Ronnie sternly remarks that they wouldn't want life to look difficult... then breaks into a huge grin that of course makes her laugh too. That helps make her more relaxed and makes her smile look more naturally, and the flashbulbs pop as photo after photo are taken of this one perfect moment of family bliss to convince people around the world to drink coca-cola. All centred around a woman who keeps butting heads with the fact that even a perfect life like hers is full of difficulty.

Speaking of which... the kids. With Ethel asleep, they've headed outside to enjoy a sunny day, and are happy to see their neighbor again out with his pigeons. He's calling them back to the coop, and Sally and Bobby watch as the birds fly in low... too low. Polly, unrestrained because why not, it's their yard, suddenly lurches forward and acts on instinct. Leaping into the air in what is frankly a rather comically bad bit of CGI, she grabs one of the pigeons in her mouth. Mr. Brestwood is horrified and pulls the bird away from Polly who races away, completely unaware she's done anything wrong.

Sally is mortified though, even moreso when Mr. Brestwood - until now so kindly and friendly - holds the luckily still living bird in his hands, turns and glares at them, and acidly informs the two tiny children that he will shoot Polly if he sees her in "my yard" again. It wasn't his yard at all, of course, but Sally is too traumatized to consider anything like that, and probably too young to make the distinction anyway. Instead she grabs a confused but upset Bobby and hauls him back inside, chased by a happy Polly who thinks they're all still playing.

That evening the kids are quiet at the dinner table but Betty is too on a high to really notice. Don comes home and for a nice change, the conversation is all about Betty and HER day. Unaware of the pigeon incident, she tells Don that the kids had a nice day then gets to talking about the experience, all while her husband not only pays attention to her but seems to enjoy hearing what she has to say. He of course knows Ronnie Gittridge himself, and that helps her feel even more like a peer since they now both have work experience with the same people. He even says he'd be happy to help her fill out her paperwork so she can get paid. All in all it has been a perfect day for her, and she continues to be blissfully unaware of Sally's distress (Bobby, of course, has already forgotten all about it and is just happily gobbling up his dinner).

The truth comes out at night though. Betty and Don lay wrapped up in bed sleeping peacefully when Sally walks in crying, waking them up. She had a bad dream, so they bring her into the bed to lie between them and feel safer. They ask her about the dream, and are both surprised when she weeps that she doesn't want anybody to shoot Polly. Betty assures her that would never happen, and are shocked when she tells them that their kindly old neighbor Mr. Brestwood threatened to do so. It all comes spilling out, the story about Polly and the bird, and at first they think it was part of the dream until she tells them it happened earlier in the day.

Betty takes Sally back to bed, calms her down and gets her to sleep. She returns where Don is still awake, finishing a cigarette, contemplating what to do about the neighbor who threatened to shoot his daughter's dog. He wants to go over and talk to him about it now and get the full story, but Betty is the cooler head and points out it's 2am and this is just going to make everything worse: she will go and talk to him tomorrow. Wanting to take out his irritation on somebody, he notes maybe Ethel should do it, putting the blame on her for not supervising the children properly.

Betty correctly points out that the kids play unsupervised in the yard when she's home looking after them too, and they obviously didn't tell Ethel what happened and she thinks they probably wouldn't have told her if she'd been home either. She's already arranged for them to be at Francine's for the next shoot day anyway, and then this Coca-Cola job is over and they won't have to worry until the next one about her not being around.

Having mollified her man, Betty cuddles up to him again and says something rather disturbing. Having critiqued (and then quickly defended) her own mother with Dr. Wayne about her focus on beauty and looks, Betty remarks to Don how cute Sally's big tears looked, and tells him she really wants to get a picture of her crying one day. Don seems to find this idea cute, despite the fact the tears weren't over some silly childish thing they'll look back on and laugh about one day, but due to a threat of murdering her pet. It does make me wonder just how much both he AND Betty tend to view the world through a media lens, both as a result of their own deep exposure to advertising/modeling but also just the general media saturation explosion they experienced growing up in the 20th Century.

Don holds a meeting with Pete, Harry and Paul in his office, minuted by Peggy, to discuss the Lucky Strike lawsuit. With transparent intent, they all take turns praising the strength of Don's "It's toasted" advertising campaign, even Pete who after some hesitation admits that it was pretty good. Of course they want to praise him, for their own future it will pay to have somebody who thinks well of them working over at McCann Erickson.

They have bigger concerns than trying to get on Don's good side though, because suddenly Bertram Cooper and Roger Sterling come bursting into the office demanding to know who is responsible for making a significant commitment to airing as yet unproduced Secor Laxative ads. Don is completely taken off-guard, he knew nothing about this. Cooper has no doubt of that, he was speaking to the Junior Executives, because the buys went though Bob Wilkins in Media who of course took it directly to Cooper himself - Don would never have handled it in that way.

Paul, Harry and Pete sit like deer in headlights - Pete especially looks terrified, he already thinks that both Cooper and Sterling want him gone. Harry finally mans up and admits he was the one who made the orders, and Cooper was surprised, this was his idea? Harry keeps looking desperately towards a silent Pete, not wanting to finger him but silently begging him to speak up himself. To his credit, Pete actually does, finally working up the gumption to admit he bears "some" of the responsibility, even though the entire thing was actually his idea.

Don asks what actually has happened, and almost in awe Cooper explains that in Illinois almost every available ad block is now packed with laxative commercials... and then Sterling adds with a little smirk,"And a little bit of Nixon." Only now do Harry and Pete grasp what is happening, and Pete must be cursing himself a little for only taking some of the "blame". Because both Cooper and Sterling are over-the-moon, Kennedy's made-for-television face is going to be nowhere to be seen, they'll have to make do with radio buys, and his accent will NOT go over well in Illinois. "I didn't think you had it in you... and I mean that," Sterling offers Harry and Pete both, a backhanded compliment that is at least a compliment. Cooper is more effusive, declaring it inspired, and both Harry and Pete stammer out thanks to the two owners of the firm who have just come directly down from on high to praise them.

With them both gone, even Don offers them congratulations - unlike Pete, he didn't hesitate. He was surprised by the idea, but it was a good idea. Pete, of course, can't leave well enough alone and smugly declares that Peggy needs to minute that. Standing up, adjusting his suit, full of confidence after this ego-boost, he states more than asks if they're done here... and Don calmly and authoritatively tells him,"No." Now Pete has to sit back down, the wind taken out of his sails a little... but only a little.

The meeting done, they retreat to Pete's office where they take celebratory drinks and roar with laughter at what they thought would be a disaster turning into a roaring success. Because it was a success, neither Harry nor Pete have any trouble admitting that Pete almost let Harry eat all the blame, in fact they seem delighted by the fact because it just makes for a better story.

Hildy enters the office with a bottle sent over by Freddy Rumsen to congratulate them on their little coup. They're very impressed, the bottle wasn't even opened, which by Freddy Rumsen standards is a minor miracle. Pete tells Hildy to join them for a drink to celebrate, it's an order in fact. Hildy, a professional, has offered her congratulations to Pete and Harry on their success but leaves it at that, politely declining the drink due to having to visit her parents after work. Pete insists though, and suddenly the atmosphere in the room has soured.

The others sit in uncomfortable silence as Pete puts on what he thinks is his charming face and tells her she shouldn't be such a "sourpuss" and she is in fact very beautiful... he loves to watch her walk. She simply stares at him with disapproval, declares she should go ("You should" Paul quietly agrees) and walks away. Once she's gone though, the others - feeling a little safer now that the immediate threat of their jackass friend getting handsy with yet another woman who doesn't want it is over - burst out laughing, turning this more into a joke about Pete striking out rather than being a creep. Pete laughs along with them, as far as he is concerned the joke is on Hildy for not appreciating his "compliment".

Peggy brings Don another private and confidential mail, this time Jim Hobart wants this gift to be for Don's eyes only. Alongside another note telling him to call are pictures from Betty's photo-shoot for Coca-Cola. Don stares at them, his beautiful wife glowing with happiness as she sits center-frame. The message is clear to Don at least: this is another bonus for signing, not only will they pay him more and give him access to bigger clients and more resources, but there's a career for his wife in it too.

He leaves his office and walks past Pete's, whose peers are roaring with laughter inside, thrilling to a creative and out-there gamble paying off, the type of thing that would probably never happen at McCann Erickson. He walks to Sterling's office, asks if he is inside, then enters. Inside, Roger is pleased to see him and pours him a drink, admitting that he's starting to wonder if maybe Pete Campbell isn't going to end up climbing the ranks in spite of his own distaste for him.... hell, maybe Don can take Roger with him to McCann Erickson?

Don smiles at the joke, but he's serious with his reply: he's not leaving. Roger is pleased of course, though there is still a small amount of haggling: he was prepared to go as high as 40k to keep him but of course immediately agrees when Don pretends that he said 45k. It's steep, almost $400,000 in 2020 terms, but it's worth it to keep a Creative Director who attracts quality clients and keeps delivering successful pitch after successful pitch.

With that out of the way, Roger says he knows it wasn't just about money, but he isn't going to be a little girl and ask what made him change his mind... leaving it hanging so that Don can, of course, tell him why he changed his mind. Don admits that he likes the way Roger does business (the odd drunken groping of his wife aside), but he does have one extra condition: he doesn't want a contract. Roger is surprised by this, 45k AND no security isn't just risky for Don but for him too - what is to stop him leaving a year from now and going to McCann Erickson or BDDO or Y&R using that 45k as a baseline for salary negotiation? Don assures him that if he leaves Sterling Cooper... it will NOT be to do more advertising.

That catches Roger off-guard. Not advertising? What else is there in life? For one thing, the chance to live life instead of writing about it. He disagrees with Roger's assessment that men like him would want to die in the middle of a pitch, saying he's done that before (and almost at the cost of his career with Lucky Strikes) and he wants to do something else.

He finishes his drink, leaves Roger's office, and heads straight back to his own, openly telling Peggy to put through a call to Jim Hobart at McCann Erickson - no private lines, no confidential e-mails, he's going to be completely out in the open now. Hobart of course takes the call without hesitation, he's an easy man to reach when he's actively interested in being reached. He talks up how great Betty's photos are and Don agrees... but he's not coming to McCann Erickson.

Hobart reveals a rather surprising turn on my earlier read on the situation: yes he may have given Betty the photo-shoot to entice Don... but he thought that was what Don wanted. He assumed that Don had sent Betty over as a response to Hobart's overture, which is why they gave her the royal treatment. The sad part is, Betty shot well and the photos do look good, but the entire thing only existed as part of a secondary effort to secure Don as an employee.

Don agrees his decision to stay at Sterling Cooper wasn't entirely about money (though he's sure as hell not turning down a 15k salary bump), but partly a reaction to Hobart's own efforts. He doesn't disagree with the idea that you leave no stone unturned when trying to find a way to get what you want... but he also doesn't consider Hobart's move with these photos to be the type of Big League move that he kept being told McCann Erickson was all about. Hobart isn't offended, saying his goodbyes and probably putting it out of his mind as soon as he has hung up. He made his play and it didn't work out: he'll find other talent to hire, he just wanted Don and was willing to go far to get him, but his entire business wasn't relying on it.

Joan sashays into the break room and sees Peggy making tea, and quietly asks for the gossip on what is going on with Mr. Draper. Peggy tells her even if she knew she wouldn't tell her, and Joan is impressed, it's a step up since the debacle where Peggy needlessly told her about Don's mistress. Taking the opportunity though, Peggy does give Joan back her dress, which she had dry-cleaned for her after wearing it.

Joan suggests she keep it and have it taken in, but Peggy declines. So Joan casts her eye to the tea and claims it is the right idea. Peggy is confused, so Joan explains: she is falling prey to a situation that many new girls find themselves in. This just confuses Peggy more, she's not new anyway. That IS the problem, Joan tries to clarify, if she wants to "do well" here she's going about it in the wrong way. Now Joan is the one to be baffled when Peggy points out that she is the first girl to be able to do any writing here since the war. Wait.. she actually WANTS to write? Joan had assumed Peggy was just doing that to get close to Paul? In any case, she knows that Peggy has been considered for an account... but only because the wife saw her and judged her to be no threat physically.

It's time for the subtleties to end, enraged at Joan's smug half-insults, knowing that she's been dancing around calling her fat, Peggy snaps at her that she's hardly a stick herself. Joan takes pride in that though, she never worries about what men think of her because she knows she carries her weight well, while Peggy is hiding an attractive girl behind "too much lunch". Really pissed now, Peggy decides to give Joan some of her own acid tongue treatment, telling her just what men do think of her: she's looking for a husband and she's "fun"... and not in that order.

This confrontation has been coming for a long time, the longer Peggy has been there the less she has had to shelter under Joan's wing and the more she has come to resent her snide comments and little jabs. But as they go at it now, Peggy comes at last to a realization that both horrifies her and also makes her desperately pity Joan: she is trying to help.

All this time, she's thought of Joan as mean-spirited, gossipy and sometimes outright cruel. It never occurred to her until this moment that Joan thinks she is helping the likes of Peggy. That she sadly has assumed that all women only want to be attractive (or are only wanted for their attractiveness) and that their end goal is to entice a man and marry him and nothing more. The same trap that Betty Draper found herself in.

Joan agrees she is trying to help her, leaving unsaid that she can't grasp why Peggy seems to be fighting her on this. All venom and anger drained from her, Peggy just offers a kind smile and tells Joan she's going home, and walks away from the battle she thought was inevitable.

Betty meanwhile is unaware her own escape from the tediousness of a perfect life is almost over. She sits through another photo-shoot, this time dressed up more glamorously as she and her perfect husband/boyfriend sit enjoying a refreshing Coca-Cola together on a park bench. The photos done, Ronnie comes over and asks how she enjoyed it, and then informs her he has good news and bad news, and of course she immediately focuses on the bad.

Doing his brother-in-law's dirty work for him, Ronnie makes up bullshit reasons for why there'll be no more work for her: Coca-Cola is moving their international work to London, and they've decided to go with an Audrey Hepburn type rather than a Grace Kelly type. The good news though is that she can take two amazing sets of photos and use them to start up her modeling book again and find more work. She nods, keeping her smile and thanks Ronnie for how much fun the shoots were, and he even promises her she can keep the hairstyle and the dress. That last line is too much for her though, it must bring back memories of the coat that she couldn't keep that Don ended up getting for her, and that on top of the crushing disappointment sees her face fall as she struggles to hold back tears.

Ronnie of course doesn't want her to cry, not just because it looks bad professionally but because, well... this is kind of bullshit on Jim's part and he is the one having to deliver the bad news. He assures her that this is nothing to do with her, and the sad fact is that he's right. Yes she only got the part because of Don in the first place, but her being let go isn't an indictment of her job as a model: she did fine and looked good, it's just that now there is no further side-benefit to them they're done with her.

So she stands and fights back tears as an assistant comes by and with business like efficiency removes her jewellery, each piece taken away bringing her closer to returning to that empty life waiting for death while the world moves on without her.

After work drinks at Sterling Cooper are going well, with people pondering whether to just keep drinking at work or to head down to MacDougal Street. Peggy walks by, casting a quick look Pete's way before keeping going. Ken notices her and says it's good she went home, it probably wasn't "going to happen for her tonight". Paul, who of course tried and failed with her once more, laughs that it depends on how drunk you get, getting a laugh from everybody including Pete. But then Ken makes one joke too many, saying his brother who works at the stock exchange calls girls like Peggy a lobster, because "all the meat's in the tail."

As the others laugh and talk turns to whether Harry and Pete will get a bonus for their Secor/Nixon initiative, Pete stands up, turns around... and punches Ken right in the face. The two struggle, get pulled apart, slam back together and roll over a desk as they continue to scuffle. In the foreground, Don and Roger come together, completely ignoring the fight going on behind them as they discuss whether Roger can drop Don off at the train station: it's just boys being boys stuff letting off some steam!

Pete and Ken end up on the floor and are separated for good. Ken, who has no idea what caused Pete to snap, demands to know why he sucker-punched him. Paul doesn't care about that though, grabbing both men around the shoulders and pulling them to either side of him. Much larger than both, he's also extremely out of shape and panting roughly, and explains to them that they both just had a fight that he was NOT involved in... which means he has to make it look like he's talking sense into them or he stands NO chance of getting lucky with any of the office girls tonight. They don't particularly care about that, but it helps break the tension and is as good an excuse as any to shake hands and pretend whatever problem they had got resolved.

Peggy wasn't there to see it happen of course, but it's still an eye-opener. Of all people in the world, it was Pete Campbell who - without saying it was the reason why - stood up in her defense. After his mistreatment of her, ignoring of her, crude hitting on Hildy and his complicity in the fat jokes made about her... the fact that it was Pete Campbell who showed even the slightest glimmer of chivalry is quite something.

Don returns home where Betty has laid out dinner and wine just for the two of them. She's put the children to bed after they spent the whole day running around and fell asleep in front of the television. Happy at the meal but steeling himself for trouble, he asks how the photo-shoot went, and is surprised and a little uneasy when she tells him McCann Erickson told her they had a string of possibilities in place for her.

Quickly he realizes however exactly what is going on, she's selling a pitch and he knows he HAS to buy. You see, SHE has decided that SHE doesn't want to work anymore. She doesn't like being in Manhattan alone, she doesn't like him coming home to a dinner whipped together at the last minute, and in any case she's not a teenager anymore, she isn't going to run around the city with her book trying to get jobs.

Playing his part, feeling free to pitch himself because he knows the score, Don assures her that if she WANTS to continue modeling she can, because his job is to make sure she's happy. She promises him she is, and gestures to their home, asking who couldn't be with all he's provided. She can't/won't, of course, tell him that she fears sitting alone in a perfect home growing old with nothing to do (Dr. Wayne will tell him that, of course, unknown to her), because then she'd seem ungrateful which is not the case. She loves Don, she loves all he has provided, and she feels miserable/guilty that she isn't happy with all she has and does want more than what everybody tells her she SHOULD be happy with.

Don's attempt to make her feel better by telling her that HER job is the most important in the world: to look after their two little people, doesn't make her feel any better, though she lets herself laugh when he admits that maybe she's not the BEST mother in the world and only in the top 500. But he's serious when he tells her he wishes he'd had a mother like her, sweet and kind and filled with love like an angel. They eat their meal, and he compliments her on how good something "whipped up" can be. She agrees it does taste good, and takes some pleasure in this achievement. But as they eat, for just the tiniest moment you see her face fall again, see the tears threaten to come again before she hides them away behind a mask of happiness.

Her mother would be proud. In an episode all about women as assets, we've seen once again the disparate and sometimes maddening ways in which women were expected to navigate the world of 1960. Jackie Kennedy would of course become the Princess of "Camelot", but it would mask a miserable and often tumultuous private life between her and her "perfect" husband. Betty Draper lives a perfect life that she finds empty and meaningless, which in turn makes her feel guilty. Peggy takes great pride in her accomplishment as a copywriter, but is reduced to the purely physical by both the men at her work and her own peers. Joan puts all her self-worth and the worth of other women down to their ability to physically stimulate men, and never even considers for a second that a woman might want to be successful and work in her own right. Even Hildy, professional and highly competent, has to suffer the indignity of standing and taking the sexual harassment of her boss who chides her for not smiling more instead of complimenting her for her efficiency.

The next morning, Betty prepares breakfast for the children as they race to the table and tell daddy to have a good day at work. She kisses him goodbye, telling him she's taking them to the community pool to see it get filled up, which he agrees sounds like fun (certainly more fun than a glamorous photo-shoot at an International Advertisting Agency!). He heads out the door and she brings the children their meals, trying to adjust Sally's hair which makes her daughter complain that she's trying to eat. She smiles and drinks her coffee, a happy and contented mother.

Later she empties out the laundry, and hears thumping from upstairs. She calls up to them to be careful and not jump off the bed, and they call back a happy,"OKAY!" in response. This makes her smile, and she goes back to the laundry, a happy and contented mother.

1pm and she sits alone in the house smoking, waiting as time marches by inexorably. A familiar noise catches her attention and she heads outside the house, still in her nightgown. Outside in the sun, in the perfect street outside her perfect house, she watches Mr. Brestwood's pigeons flying through the blue, blue sky.

She watches, then she lifts Bobby's BB Gun and, cigarette dangling from her mouth, opens fire and reloads again and again. Mr. Brestwood calls out in shock, demanding to know what the hell she's doing. She doesn't answer, but she's doing exactly what he threatened to do to Polly: shooting his pets for coming into HER yard. She pays him no mind, just keeps shooting, helping to pass the time. A happy and contented mother.

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Welp it finally happened, after the last 8 episodes maxxed out at like 45k characters, I ended up going overboard on this one. If these things are getting way too verbose, let me know, and I'll try to be a bit more efficient with my wordcount. I tend to - and greatly enjoy - rambling on about a point :sweatdrop:

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 16:46 on Oct 21, 2020

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Adjunct Professor Metis posted:

That final scene of Betty shooting the pigeons is such a clear memory in my mind. I had honestly forgotten what the context was, but it's just a fantastic image.

There's something about the cigarette dangling from her mouth, like she's just sitting there and then kinda shrugs, goes,"Welp, time to shoot some pigeons I guess..." and up she gets to go do what needs to be done.

Yoshi Wins posted:

It's truly the first classic gif from the series.

Roger just suddenly projectile vomiting out of nowhere for me :allears:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 1, Episode 10 - Long Weekend
Written by Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Bridget Bedard & Matthew Weiner, Directed by Tim Hunter

Bertram Cooper posted:

Don't waste your youth on age.

With the temperature nearing 100 degrees, Don Draper is still wearing a full suit and somehow looking cool as a cucumber as he descends the stairs in the morning to head out for work. He stops an excited Sally from running around inside the house carrying a kite, but winces slightly when she excitedly informs him that Grandpa and Aunt Gloria are there. Only half-joking, he conspiratorially asks if his daughter will keep quiet if he sneaks out, giving her the giggles.

In the kitchen, Betty is refusing to allow her father to have sugar in his coffee, telling him he can take or nothing. Gloria was all for giving him some, causing Betty to scowl and remind her amused father that Grandpa Herman "woke up a cold leg" and she doesn't want him getting diabetes and having to have a leg amputated. Sally rushes in to hug her grandfather and Don saunters in and gives him a respectful handshake and calls him Gene, though we already know from earlier conversations that he's not a particular fan of Betty's father.

He's his usual charming - if, of course, misogynistic - self with Gloria though, greeting her warmly before noting having another woman to help cook and clean will be a relief to Betty. Gloria jokes that she lives to serve and Gene jumps on that with great pleasure, declaring they're all witnesses: it's quickly become apparent that "Aunt" Gloria is simply what the kids call her, she's actually Gene's lover. This explains Betty's clear distaste for her too, though Don isn't too quick on the draw this morning and is left confused when Betty asks him to help her with her suitcase, reminding her the trip is only for a weekend.

When the penny finally drops and he joins her upstairs, Betty lets vent with her vitriol towards Gloria: she's a vulture, hanging around funerals with a top button undone like it was a Sadie Hawkins' dance, sinking her claws into her father the moment her mother was dead etc. She shits all over Gloria's character and also her family: her own late husband was a failure who cheated on his taxes! Her daughter - basically only Betty's age - "never" married and her son was (he's dead?) "funny".

Don of course, thinks she's overreacting, and he's right... but he's also foolish for not really grasping that it's probably healthy for Betty to just release all this vitriol to him now as a safety valve. She's about to take the kids and head up to spend a weekend with her father AND this woman she considers an intruder, she doesn't want Don to reason with her, she wants to unload. She especially doesn't like Don reminding her that her father remains a sexual being, telling her that unlike a housekeeper Gloria doesn't have to go home at night.

He might not like Glen, but he's also not unsympathetic to his situation. He was married for 40 years and now he's alone, it's only fair that he be allowed this happiness rather than living as a shrine to his daughter's idealized memories of her mother. He needs a woman around, not just for sex but to help look after him: he comes from a generation even more dependent than Don's on their wives and mothers to handle every single domestic duty there was. He tells Betty to just suck it up for tonight and then he'll join her tomorrow and take them all out to dinner, and they can enjoy the long weekend together as a family. She wants him to come now, but he can't: half the office have already taken advantage of a Friday off to make it a 4-day weekend, and he needs to complete his duties before he can join them on Saturday and enjoy three blissful days in the sun with his family... and "Aunt" Gloria.

Work isn't exactly an escape for Don though. He joins Pete, Paul, and Harry in a meeting room to watch two political ads. One is for the Kennedy campaign and is light on facts, issues or policy... but lighthearted, catchy and appealing. The other is for the Nixon campaign and it covers the pitfalls of federal expenditures... and is dull, boring and lifeless. Don can't even bear to watch the second fully, telling Harry to turn it off.

The team are both bewildered and slightly impressed that the Kennedy Campaign ad basically looks like an advertisement for a product, complete with catchy jingle. It doesn't tell anybody anything other than that it wants you to vote for Kennedy, but it does that very well. Pete Campbell not incorrectly points out that it pays to remember that the Presidency absolutely is a product, while Don laments that Nixon's ad was put together by people who understand policy but not people.

Paul lightens the mood by singing a jingle of his own mocking Nixon's boring campaign ads. That gets a laugh, but Don is still worried: given Nixon's record and status it should never have been this close to begin with. Once polls start closing, the narrative shifts: what was once a fait accompli is now not necessarily so cut and dry.

Roger enters the room late but tells Don that he's already seen the ads, and reminds everybody else that they need to be watching these as they air on television itself: part of their job is being aware of what the general public are seeing, not just what they get their hands on for viewing in meetings in closed rooms. Pete asks why there haven't been any ads making personal attacks on Kennedy... surely the muckrakers must have found something on him, so why hasn't it been all over the news?

The truth, of course, is that what mud there is doesn't actually matter. Kennedy's big "secret" is that he's a womanizer, and all of them understand that a young, handsome man like Kennedy being a womanizer in this day and age will actually be more likely to get him votes than lose them... hell, of all things it would probably get more WOMEN to vote for him. But while they've been all talking up Kennedy and down Nixon, Harry reminds them all that Nixon IS leading the polls. Roger however echoes Don's own earlier comment: it should NEVER have been this close.

Don decides to explore another tangent: why attack? Wouldn't it make more sense to play up the obvious story they have to work with? Nixon is a self-made man, a real success story who came out of the Navy and within six years was Vice President of the United States. If anything, Don sees himself in the likes of Richard Nixon, a comment that really will not age well. But Roger reminds him of a fact Don himself should realize: positive ads only reinforce the mindset of those who were going to vote for Nixon in the first place. Negative ads however might be enough to get some fence-sitters over the edge to vote for him, and Pete points out that there are currently a LOT of fence-sitters.

Roger lays down the law: whether the Nixon campaign wants it or not they ARE going to produce a commercial that attacks Kennedy hard. He wants them to get right on it... after the long weekend. After all, it's Labor Day, he really doesn't want to be the Boss to tell his employees they HAVE to work over Labor Day weekend. Pete's adds in a completely necessary,"I agree" as if he has any say in the matter, and makes things worse when he declares they'll go down swinging, all but declaring that they're going to lose.

Putting his distaste for Pete and his misplaced enthusiasm aside, Roger reminds Don that the final sign-off on their revitalization project for Menken's Department Store is today. Rachel's father - who has the power to nix the entire thing - will be present. They've already been paid regardless, but he wants the whole thing to be a success to add to their portfolio, so Don will be there to "ride bare-back" on Paul. Don agrees, while Paul has to swallow his pride at the indirect insult after being the person who ended up spearheading and running the entire thing. As they all break up from the meeting, Roger tells a surprised Don to be on his best behavior, but not for the reasons Don fears he knows: Roger still thinks Don dislikes Rachel and that the feeling is mutual, and he doesn't want their personalities to cost them the client.

After leaving the meeting, Roger spots Joan talking with some of the secretaries and simply can't resist. Putting on his boss face, he asks "Miss Holloway" to join him to discuss something, and then takes great pleasure as they walk as throwing out double entendres along the way as they pass other secretaries, making it sound like they're just picking up parts of a longer conversation about paperwork. Once in his office though he wants to throw all pretense aside, though Joan was smart enough to leave the door open a crack so he doesn't get TOO forward.

His wife and daughter are leaving town for the long weekend, and so is basically every wife in town (well, all the ones that matter). That means they are free to move about in public: they can go to a Broadway show, they can eat dinner in public (though probably not in the nude, as he suggests), they don't have to hide away.

Joan however suggests a movie, perhaps The Apartment? Proving he's not always the most savvy, Roger explains he already went to see that with Mona, a not particularly timely reminder of the fact he is married and does that type of thing with his wife and not her. Joan has an ulterior motive for bringing up that film though, saying she heard Shirley MacLaine was good in it. Roger scoffs at that, a white elevator operator? A white FEMALE elevator operator at that?

Too late he realizes that Joan has already seen the movie, and she's bringing up Shirley MacLaine because she sees the obvious parallels between herself and Miss Kubelik. She's revolted at the way the men in the film treated MacLaine's character, and the dark and dangerous situations she found herself in as a result.

As an aside, please go watch The Apartment if you haven't seen it before. Seriously.

Roger, still remarkably tone-deaf, laughs this off, likening it to the time Mona got mad at him for hitting their dog with his car. Except it was in a dream. And they don't have a dog. But Joan really doesn't want yet another reminder so close to the last of Roger's affectionate stories about his wife. Peggy's brutal revelation of the way the men in the office think of Joan has to be fresh in her mind, and though she offers a sweet smile and a promise to call Roger later about what they can do over the weekend, it's clear that the mood is NOT there right now. She leaves, sashaying her hips as always, Roger finding the walk as irresistible as always... but this was not the exciting response and promise of passion he was expecting.

Paul is passionate though. He's giving the pitch for Sterling Cooper's modernization plans for Menken's to Rachel and her father Abraham. It's extensive, well-researched and almost intimidating in its scope: a brand new atrium, wider aisles, chrome display cases, a first-floor restaurant and tea-room... and three months of the entire store being shut down while construction takes place.

It's the latter that concerns Abraham Menken, who points out they have gone into great detail on all the things they want (him to pay) to build but very deliberately tucked the construction schedule away. Don steps in here as Creative Director to make the case for Paul and the others' hard work: those three months are used to build anticipation. Think of it like a movie premiere, there'll be a line on the first day desperate to get inside, and Ken Cosgrove admits that yes they'll pay people to stand in that line if it will help to build that anticipation.

Abraham isn't unreasonable, he respects the effort that has gone into the proposal, but what he asks next is directed as much if not more towards his daughter than the ad men... does he have to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Can't he keep what works about Menken's now and ADD new things on top of that? Don is more forthright here, but not necessarily in a cruel way. Rather, he appeals to his vanity as a father to point out that his customer base are now more like Rachel than himself. They have grown up, they are better educated and more sophisticated, and their tastes have grown with them. They know what they want and they are not afraid to spend money to have it.

Playing up his knowledge of Abraham's history, most of which he got firsthand from Rachel herself, Don points out that Abraham's objections to not wanting to abandon his current setup isn't really that accurate, after all he had no trouble abandoning their first location on 7th Avenue. If he wants to hold on to the "marble palace" he currently has he'll just end up being an old man whose grandchildren don't recognize the value of. If anything, they might pity him for not being able to move on (for all Don's apparent dislike of Gene, he seemed to respect Gene's ability to move on with his life after his wife died) and modernize.

This modernization may have been Rachel's idea, but she isn't about to stand for her father being talked down to, especially if it's also Don's way of (far more subtly than Roger with Joan earlier) hiding his desire for her in plain sight. She reminds them that the history and story of Menken's is NOT some copywriter's fantasy printed on a brochure, it ACTUALLY happened. Her father is a self-made man who built himself up from nothing, can any of THEM say the same?

Don, who actually literally said the same about himself in the earlier meeting about Nixon, assures Abraham he meant no offense, and Abraham promises him none was taken. With that out of the way, Rachel tells her father that this IS the plan and he can see it wasn't thrown together willy-nilly, and he agrees. With that he has tacitly agreed to the renovation project, and the meeting wraps up with everybody satisfied... with the exception of Rachel who has gotten what she wanted but is still unsettled by being around Don.
She quietly warns him not to screw this up, then leaves with her father who likens Sterling Cooper to a Czarist Ministry: you walk in and end up being told that whatever they're telling you to do was YOUR idea. He was however impressed with Don Draper... but finds him a trifle too "dashing" for his liking. Rachel smiles at that, perhaps because she both agrees AND because this is part of what makes him so appealing to her. Don might see himself in Nixon, but there's a fair bit of Kennedy in there too.

In the break room, Joan is putting up a notice about the offices being closed over Labor Day weekend when her roommate Carol unexpectedly comes walking in. She's surprised to see her at only 10:30 in the morning, even Joan can't slip out for lunch THIS early! A horrible thought surfaces, is Carol "late" again? Does she need to see Dr. Emerson?

Nothing like that, a sweating Carol promises, which just leaves Joan even more baffled: why did she walk multiple blocks in a heatwave then? Carol explains, she's the secretary for a publishing company executive called Mr. Aldridge, and part of her duties have involved her essentially doing the lovely part of his job for him by reading through the "slush" pile of submitted works and then writing the rejection letters. But today in a meeting the Editorial Director demanded to know why Aldridge hadn't responded to work from a poet from Yale called Marlon Rice, and Carol covered for him by saying she had read and rejected the work herself.

Rather than standing up for her, Aldridge fired her at the Editorial Director's command, and Joan refuses to credit him for at least being apologetic to her afterwards. Fed up with men herself, she declares it's really not worth all the building up they give men in their own heads, and rejects Carol's desire to go sit in a movie and cry. Instead they're going to get a measure of revenge on men in general by going out for a night on the town, finding some REAL bachelors and emptying their wallets.

There's more bad news elsewhere, it seems like the Friday before a long weekend is the time for dumping this stuff on people. Don is reviewing papers in his office when an entirely too cheerful Pete Campbell enters to inform him of some bad news: Dr. Scholls is dumping them in favor of Leo Burnett.

Don is initially shocked but quickly regathers his composure, not least of all because Pete is having far too good a time delivering his news. Why? Because the reasons given by the company for dumping them was due to being unhappy with Creative, calling their campaigns dull and humorless. Pete further twists the knife by saying he has never lost an account before, and especially not one that was with the company BEFORE he joined. In other words, he believes that all the blame for this loss falls squarely on Don Draper, and that there is no getting around or obfuscating that fact. Any chance he sees for Don's image to be tarnished is a good thing, and to add insult to injury he asks Don if he wants to tell Roger or if Pete should do that on his behalf? ....or would Don prefer to wait till AFTER the weekend to deliver the bad news?

Don assures him that losing a client is no big deal - you start losing a client as soon as you sign them! - but he will take care of informing Sterling. He waits for Pete to leave, and once he considers enough time has passed he sweeps his desk clean, smashing everything to the floor in a rage. Don constantly lives with the fear of exposure, imposter syndrome born of the fact he is literally an imposter. Losing Scholl's is just another chink in his armor to leave him exposed.

Peggy, who was nowhere to be seen when Pete arrived, enters the office confused, having heard a weird sound from her intercom. Spotting the contents of his desk on the floor in a pile, she bends down to collect it up but he stops her. He informs her to remove her Dr. Scholl's inserts, everybody on the floor had been instructed to wear them to help appeal to the client's ego but that's all over with now. He tears up his file on Scholl's and tells her to throw it out, then gathers his courage to go deliver the bad news to Roger.

He's getting his haircut (and nosehair trimmed!) in his office, and he isn't pleased to hear the news, but his anger is directed at Scholl's themselves, as well as a little at Leo Burnett. Don admits that Campbell told him with some glee that creative was to blame, but he disagrees, sales were steady which means whatever he was doing was working - though he couldn't help but get in a little quip about hoping the ink on his recent raise had dried before delivering the news. Roger admits that the blame is far more likely to lie with the firm itself (which means himself and Cooper), they let billing creep up slowly over time for no reason beyond the fact that they could.

Don, pouring himself a drink, happily tells Roger that if he is trying to cheer him up then it is working. Roger offers the same platitude that Don gave to Pete - you start losing a client the day you sign them - and now that he's on the other side of the equation Don doesn't mind scoffing and asking if he REALLY believes that? Roger continues to try to play it off as no big deal, but once the barber is gone doesn't mind letting out a little of his frustration. He also sees a chance to turn this to his personal advantage at least, he wants Don to join him for the weekend carousing.

Don is quick to remind him he is meeting with Betty and the kids tomorrow, and Roger after a token effort to convince him dumping the family for the weekend is a GOOD thing compromises and demands he give him tonight at least. He already told Don he didn't blame him, but now he wants payback for that kindness but Don agreeing to be bait so HE can pick up young, pretty girls for himself. First stop is a casting call at 4pm by Freddy Rumsen for a double-sided aluminum campaign, because Roger knows how Freddy's mind works. Don is amused, but he also knows that he is getting out of losing a client spectacularly well and it will not pay to deny Roger at least this much.

Peggy is happily carrying a folder of papers when Pete Campbell descends on her life like a raincloud. Freddy Rumsen has given her the proofs for the Belle Jolie account, so it is no wonder she is on Cloud 9 - she's carrying about the execution of ideas that SHE created. But her good mood disappears when Pete forces her to stop and talk to him, made worse when he has the arrogance to be offended when she isn't willing to pretend like there's absolutely no reason to be upset with him. Not only is he forcing her to talk with him, he's upset that she has the temerity to not be happy about being forced.

She keeps her voice low but her feelings clear: she is trying her best to get along, she is trying to just do her job, but HE is the one causing the problem. Every day that there are anywhere near each other, she has to worry about if he intends to be nice to her today or if he's going to be cruel. Pete of course is outraged at this, doesn't she know that HE is the victim here? Why he's married! Why won't she consider his feelings and how bad it would be for him if people found out he was sleeping around on his beautiful, devoted and loving wife?!? Has she no shame!?!

Tired of being meek and letting him walk all over her, Peggy acidly asks him if he'd like her to lie on his couch again so he can work out his "confusion" over being married. That's enough of a rebuke to send him packing, but not before an arrogant sneer and a declaration that she has "some imagination". He declares that now she's a writer she thinks she doesn't need him anymore, again playing the victim when he has never actually done ANYTHING for her at any point since she started working at Sterling Cooper. But now in his own head she has somehow used him, exploited him, taken advantage of him. Poor Pete Campbell!

By pure "chance", Harry, Ken, and Paul just so happened to be hanging around the Art Department with Sal when who should show up but the casting hopefuls for the double-sided aluminum campaign. Freddy Rumsen's mind indeed works the way Roger thought it would: he's put out a casting call for attractive young female twins to be "Miss Double-Sided Aluminum", and all the eligible men (and Harry) have shown up on the prowl.

But as they try their weak game (Ken's is especially bad, while Paul sticks with the old "You ever try Ukrainian food?" angle), into the mix come Roger Sterling and Don Draper. They beat a quick retreat when Roger asks if any of these men have any work to do, outranked and chased off by the pack leaders who have come to take first pick of, let's be blunt here, the prey. Roger wanders down the line of women, drinking in the assembled twins hungrily, with one pair in particular catching his eye: Eleanor and Mirabelle.

With no testing, no discussion, not even token consultation with Freddy Rumsen, Roger declares to the assembled twins that he and Don are using their authority to declare Eleanor and Mirabelle the new faces of Cartwright Double-Sided Aluminum. The other women are irritated but probably in some way relieved to get out of this particular meat-market. Especially when Roger invites his two chosen ones to come upstairs and have a drink to celebrate. Taking the barest moment to confirm the girls are of age (they're 20), Roger is off with the energy of a younger man, "asking" Don if he is coming. Don, who just wants to go home, get some sleep and then drive to the shore to be with his family, knows he has no choice.

Past 5pm and the office has emptied out, everybody has either raced out to the bars, back home, or out of the city to enjoy the long weekend. Everybody but Roger, Don, Eleanor and Mirabelle. They're in Roger's office, drinking and sweating, the air-conditioning off now which means the heatwave is hitting them full-force. Both girls are clearly slightly uncomfortable but also fully aware what Roger at least is wanting (and perhaps expecting) from them, and things they say indicate they're far from the simple, naive girls that Roger clearly thinks they are. Mirabelle's "special talent" is dressage, which she has won multiple blue ribbons for, and Eleanor's quiet line about everything Roger says having a double-meaning goes to show his "witty" double entendres such as those offered to Joan earlier are far from as subtle as he thinks they are.

What is also far from subtle are the moves he's making now, all backed up by the implication of his power to get what he wants. Don keeps a fixed, forced smile on the whole time as he witnesses Roger's "seduction" techniques, which are crude and blatant and only really acceptable to anybody because of the air of authority granted by his money and his station as a named partner. He asks to touch Mirabelle's skin and then ignores a proffered arm to slide a finger up her thigh. He states rather than asks that Eleanor has to feel her sister's skin too, and both girls are willing to go at least that far for the titillation value... but of course that's not enough for Roger. He insists they kiss, and their faces fall in dismay, not so much at him personally but because this is something they've been asked many, many times before and it depresses them that men keep trying to to turn their blood relationship into a fetish fantasy.

Don is willing to take this as his cue to get the gently caress out of there, and Roger is happy to let him go, thinking he's about to have a shot at a threesome with twins. But Eleanor sees Don departing as a chance for her and her sister to escape too and gets off the couch, saying they should be going to. Laughing, smiling, happy... and speaking with utter authority, Roger declares that NOBODY is going anywhere. If Don leaving is their cue to go too, then Don is staying. Eleanor, seeing Don as a life preserver, asks if he wants to dance, anything to keep herself away from Roger and the risk of him trying to force incest with her sister purely for his own gross sexual gratification.

So, forcing the smile again, Don finds himself dancing with Eleanor. Or rather, she dances and he stands in place letting her sway with him. All while Roger goes back to making his moves on an awkward Mirabelle who is probably not feeling particularly keen about the guy who just tried to force her to make out with her sister.

In their apartment, Joan and Carol are getting ready for their night on the town. Joan is complaining that she's too Doris Day when she wants to be Kim Novak, who Carol promises her she is far prettier than. Carol zips up her dress and takes a sniff of her perfume, and Joan asks if she is wearing too much. Carol takes a moment, staring in the mirror, and Joan thinks she is about to cry again over her firing. It's the opposite, Carol says right now she is happy, because of how much she loves being with Joan. How she lights up a room. How ever since she first saw her in college she hasn't been able to take her eyes off of her. How she came to New York to be near her. How she jumped at the chance to be her roommate. How she's only happy when they're together. In short..."I love you."

At first Joan just thinks it is happy girl-talk, but the more she talks, the more Joan starts realizing the familiar beats of confessions/declarations she's heard from many, many men before. When Carol asks her to think of her as a boy, there can be no confusing what is going on here. So Joan takes a moment to let it sink in, but when Carol starts to lean forward desperately yearning for a kiss, Joan instead just gives her a friendly smile and agrees it's been a hard day for Carol and they should just go out there tonight and try to forget about it.

Carol's face falls for just the barest moment before she pulls herself together. She smiles and nods, pretending like the heartfelt declaration of love she just made wasn't the hardest and most difficult think she's ever done in her life. Joan declares she's starving and heads out of the bathroom, and Carol's face collapses again, barely holding back tears before she jams her emotions down. She took her shot and her fantasy did not come true, and not as much as it pains her all she can do is try not to risk their friendship at least. It's 1960 and she can probably thank her lucky stars that Joan didn't declare her a monster and pitch her out of the apartment, but she sure as poo poo doesn't feel lucky right now.

Roger and Mirabelle have moved out of the office into the empty secretarial floor, while Don and Eleanor have been left sitting to drink and listen to the sounds of their "fun" reaching even through the closed doors. Don is doing his best to keep his "well this is all just great and normal fun, huh?" face on, while Eleanor has been waiting for him to eventually make his move. When he doesn't, she decides to make it for him, kissing him on the lips. He doesn't reciprocate, and she pulls back, asking if he has gum, perhaps thinking her breath stinks or maybe his does and that is why he isn't making his move.

He doesn't have gum and he also can't bear to be here much longer, so he again decides to try and make his exit. As he stands to go though, Roger and Mirabelle return, the latter down to her underwear and on all fours while Roger rides her like a horse. Eleanor cringes at the display, while Don pretends to be amused and Roger and Mirabelle collapse to the ground laughing. Don takes the chance, saying his goodbyes and heading out the door. Mirabelle is alarmed to see Eleanor following him, but she promises her sister she'll be right on the other side of the doors.

Outside, Don takes the chance to speak normally: he'll call Eleanor a car so she can get the hell out of there. She doesn't want to leave without her sister though. She isn't willing to sit in the same room while she has sex (and especially not with Roger who would try to make her join in) but she also isn't going to leave her alone. She admits she has "been around the block a few times" but Mirabelle is far less experienced, and she asks Don to please stay with her so she isn't alone in the building waiting (and vulnerable to Roger).

Roger himself has seemingly calmed down in what I assume is post-coitus, unless all they did outside of the office earlier was horsey-rides in their underwear. He lies with his head in Mirabelle's lap, and again demonstrates his complete lack of tact by not openly talking about his wife, but about his daughter Margaret. He even admits she is fairly close to Mirabelle in age, seemingly lacking the ability to recognize that comparing his teenage daughter to the young woman he just effectively bribed/coerced into having sex and tried to make kiss her own sister perhaps isn't the most thoughtful thing in the world.

Mirabelle finds herself having to console this man more than old enough to be her father, stroking his hair and assuring him that all girls love their fathers. He immediately flips the switch from grumpy dad to horny middle-aged man, marveling at the softness of her skin again, declaring he wants to eat her up like Dracula and then jumping straight into making out with her again.

Unsurprisingly, Joan and Carol have had success going out on the prowl for men. They bring two middle-aged men who are scoring WAAAAAY out of their league back, thanking them for being gentlemanly and walking them up. Neither of the men know each other, they just happened to be sitting next to each other at the bar, and they're extremely thankful for that fact now. As Joan and Carol prepare them drinks, one of the men - Franklin, a teacher at Fordham University - takes the opportunity to whisper to the other that,"The redhead is mine", already divvying them up like prizes to be claimed.

Franklin "regales" them with his hobby of "collecting" examples of bad language like his Polish janitor telling him about his wife "not speaking real good English". He finds this hilarious, why the man only speaks two different languages!

Joan of course knows exactly how to use words to get what she wants, asking the "Professor" if he would kindly help her change a light fixture in her bedroom. He jumps at the chance of course, following her eagerly into the bedroom where she shuts the door behind them. That leaves Carol alone with the other man, who asks her what they're going to do and then answers for her by just abruptly kissing her. Carol, barely holding back tears, utterly miserable, takes a moment and then sourly, defeated, mumbles,"Whatever you want." Well that's all he needed to hear, ignoring all the obvious signs of her distress, he is immediately all over her.

In Don's office, he and Eleanor share a drink and she asks him outright if he's married. He admits he is and she tells him he kisses like a married man: he has his own way and he can't be talked out of it. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though, with a grin she tells him that if he'll tell her what to do, she'll do it exactly as he wants. Don, who is only here tonight under obligation, explains that being in his own office where he hears executives push ideas all day makes it even more obvious to him that she's selling herself too hard.

She doesn't have time to decide if she should be offended or amused by this, because Mirabelle's voice calls out for her, yelling that something is wrong. Alarmed, Don races outside and finds her shaking in her underwear between the desks where secretaries work all day for low wages and constant sexual harassment. She says something is wrong with Don's "friend", declaring she should have never tried to get him to try and have sex a second time.

Rushing into Roger's office, Don is shocked to find him laid out naked on the floor, clutching his chest and complaining of intense pressure. Don shouts at them to call an ambulance and then leave, ignoring Mirabelle asking if he is okay. Shortly after, with the twins gone, ambulance attendants (properly trained paramedics wouldn't be a thing until 1970) wheel Roger out on a stretcher. He moans,"Mirabelle, Mirabelle...." as he goes and Don halts the stretcher for a moment, carefully lifts Roger's head... and then slaps him hard across the face.

"Mona. Your wife's name is Mona!" he sternly reminds Roger, who is shocked to his senses enough to at least stop talking and just glare at Don for the slap.

At the hospital, Don waits for a nurse to finish checking on him, then moves to Roger's bedside and asks how he is doing. Quiet, serious, grey-faced and more than a little belligerent at his own fate, Roger complains that when he got his ulcer he did everything the doctors told him including eating plenty of cream and butter and now he's been hit with a coronary. It seems unlikely the doctors also told him to drink like a fish and chase after twenty-year-old women for marathon sex sessions though.

But his close brush with death and warnings from the doctor have him facing the uncomfortable reality of his own mortality. Almost timidly, he carefully brings up the subject of "energy" to a confused Don, finally outright saying what he means: does Don believe in the soul? Don - whose experience with religion has been far from comforting - isn't quite sure how to answer that, especially when it becomes clear that Roger wants to but doesn't, admitting that he wishes he was going "somewhere". In other words, he knows he is going to die, maybe not today or tomorrow or even a year from now, but eventually... and there will be no heaven or hell for him. He will simply... cease to be, and the idea terrifies him even more than eternal damnation.

Blessedly for Don, Mona arrives at just that moment to take the focus on him and these difficult spiritual questions. Roger breaks down into tears to see her, telling the wife he was just happily cheating on only a few hours earlier how much he loves her. She kisses him and holds him and tells him she knows, and then informs him that Margaret is outside. That makes him break down again, he doesn't want her seeing her father in this pathetic state, but she insists, knowing it is the right thing to do. Don motions for her to come in, and the usually stand-offish Margaret rushes to her father's side and embraces him.

Don closes the door and watches through the window as Roger hugs his daughter close, as his wife Mona joins in the embrace and Roger pulls them both close too. What is Don thinking in this moment? In the power and beauty of family? Or that this is all just a facade bought on by a mixture of guilt and fear? Does he think of the cruel authority with which Roger used those two young girls, particularly Mirabelle? Or is he thinking as he so often does of himself, and his own needs and desires to find something, anything, to cling onto that will make him feel whole?

Franklin walks Joan onto the 23rd Floor of Sterling Cooper, where she's surprised to find nobody but Bertram Cooper, who is uncharacteristically sitting at a secretary's desk. He orders Franklin to leave with no added niceties, and Joan is quick to sooth his bruised ego by thanking him for escorting her but asking him to please go. Still offended, he makes his exit with a sour,"Suit yourself", either because he thought there would be more to the night to come or their encounter was cut short before he could finish: Joan is here because Carol received a message essentially commanding her to come back to the office as soon as possible.

With Franklin gone, Cooper feels free to talk. Joan is horrified as he informs her that Roger has suffered a heart attack. She barely has time to register her feelings though as Cooper continues: it is imperative that every single one of their clients is informed of this first by Sterling Cooper. He is going to read out the details of every single client on their books, and Joan is going to write up a telegram for each one explaining what happened to Roger and assuring them that the firm is still positioned to service their advertising needs and business will not be interrupted.

Keeping herself composed, Joan takes her seat and gets to work, a master as always of keeping her emotional turmoil in check. Whether it be with Carol's confession, Roger's attempts to cajole her into being a bird in a cage, men coming on to her or now this horrible news... she has to keep going strong and refuse to buckle under the pressure. So she types away, tears forming in her eyes and blinking them away, a true professional.

Don calls Betty at the summer home, where she was failing to sleep in bed with both children due to her father and Gloria making a big, performative deal about how they definitely 100% sleep in different beds absolutely. He tells her that Roger has a heart attack and she is aghast, asking what happened, asking if he's okay etc. He offers a sanitized version of course that is technically true: he was at work and keeled over. The doctors don't know if he'll be okay, but Mona is there at least. He starts to explain that he won't be able to be there tomorrow as promised, and she immediately cuts him off to say she understands and isn't expecting him.

But if Don was hoping for the same comfort that Roger took in Mona and Margaret's presence, he doesn't get it. After the initial surprise and concern, and the acknowledgement that he can't leave... Betty slips back into complaining about her father and Gloria, about how much she hates seeing them together. Her father even hovers around behind Gloria while cooking in the same way he did with Betty's mother, and she hates that he is pretending she didn't exist. That's an overstatement of course, but her feelings are understandable and perfectly legitimate... it's just that right at this very moment, Don doesn't think they're particularly important. He doesn't say that, obviously, but he hangs his head and closes his eyes, and then simply offers empty platitudes and suggests she just try not to think about it.

Betty can't, she tried but it just bothers her too much. She knows that people say life goes on, but that doesn't mean that life going on is necessarily a good thing. Forcing herself off the topic, she asks Don if she should come up and he considers for a moment - of having her there to be with him for support - and then tells her no, there is nothing she can do. She tells him to give Mona her love and reminds him to eat, and then they hang up.

Don spots that Pete has arrived, presumably most of the higher ranking executives have been informed either by Cooper or, more likely, Joan. He doesn't bother with even a sanitized version of events when Pete asks what happened, simply telling him,"I don't know." They're distracted by the television, an unwelcome reminder of the uphill battle they're fighting just to get picked up by a Presidential candidate who has gone from unbeatable to seemingly vulnerable, all thanks to a clever and effective advertising style campaign by rival John F. Kennedy.

A Kennedy campaign ad plays up examples of President Eisenhower dismissing his own Vice President Richard Nixon's accomplishments, offering a reminder at the end to vote for Kennedy. It's worth noting that in this and other episodes, we have seen and heard Richard Nixon. We have seen and heard Jackie Kennedy. We've even seen and heard Dwight Eisenhower. But of JFK? Only images. We've seen photos, a smiling face and a full head of hair, an air of confidence and youthful energy. Advertising has played up his charisma, his drive, his inherent goodness. Similarly, advertising has played up Nixon's age and lack of all that. But not only have we not yet heard any of Kennedy's policy ideas (apart from Nixon trying to denigrate them), but we haven't heard any of Kennedy's own words. It's ironic, given he was so good at giving speeches, but I think it's deliberate. After all, as Pete reminded everybody: The President is a product. Kennedy is the advertising age at its highest, the President of the United States is being decided by who has the best jingles and the most effective slogans.

Failing to find the comfort he wanted from his wife, Don seeks it elsewhere. He wasn't interested in Eleanor, but not because as a married man he wanted to be faithful to his wife. He seeks his "medicine" from women he can feel a connection to, and with Midge seemingly in his past now, he goes to the apartment of one Rachel Menken.

She received the telegram from Sterling Cooper and assumes this is what this must be about, but Don has other things on his mind. He asks to be let in, for her to get him a drink, and she allows both, asking if he wants her father to make a call and try and get better doctors. Don shrugs at that, noting that Roger is rich so the best healthcare probably isn't going to be an issue. As for Roger himself? He's gray and weak, and that seems to have hit Don harder than anything else. When Rachel notes that Roger is his friend and he doesn't want to lose him, that hits a little too close to home.

It's hard to get a sense on if Don truly likes Roger, he certainly seems to for the most part but detests those times he has to sit and fake a smile and let Roger wallow in his degeneracy. Wracked by guilt by his conflicting feelings, of revulsion, pity and contempt warring with respect and love, Don tries to shove all that aside by stepping forward and kissing Rachel. Unlike Carol or Mirabelle, she isn't just willing to let a man do "whatever he wants" and pushes him away. She likens this event to a solar eclipse that Don is treating like the end of the world, an excuse for him to go anything he wants only for everything to have to go back to normal the next day.

She refuses to let him pretend he doesn't know what he's doing, but tells him what he really needs is sleep. He sits at least, and asks her to join him, and even that she won't just give him without a fight, asking him why, making him tell her. He admits that he feels like she's looking right through him standing at a distance like that, so she joins him on the couch. He admits what is truly wracking him right now, telling the story of the first time he acted as a pallbearer. He was 15-years-old and the fact he was a pall-bearer made him realize that there was nothing being hidden from him anymore, he was near enough to an adult now. More than that, though, he had "moved up a notch": like Roger he had come to the realization that death is inevitable, and that he was moving ever closer to his own.

Rachel is stunned by the open revelation of such a personal moment, especially from somebody normally as buttoned-up as Don. He tries again to kiss her and again she refuses to go with the moment, even though she wants him in spite of all reason and logic telling her this is a bad idea. She reminds him of his wife, she tells him to go to her, she rejects him declaring that THIS, this moment right now, is all that there is and he can feel it all slipping away. That's just an excuse for bad behavior to her mind, a reason to get away with doing something he knows he shouldn't be doing.

But he knows her protests are intellectual, and this time when he kisses her she kisses him back. Even then, he's aware enough (or perhaps simply still revolted enough by Roger's throwing around of his status to get what he wants) that he stops himself to tell her honestly that if she tells him NOW that she doesn't want this, he WILL stop. Now it is her who has to make the conscious decision to accept him in full knowledge that he is a married man and there is no future in this. She hesitates only a second before saying,"Yes please", and they go back to kissing.

At Sterling Cooper, the telegrams are done and Cooper and Joan prepare to leave. Cooper decides to take this moment for a rare interjection into the personal life of one of his employees below the top executive level: she can do better. She assumes he means Franklin and mumbles that he's just a friend. Cooper lets her know without outright saying it that despite their precautions, he is fully aware that she is having an affair with Roger Sterling. "Don't waste your youth on age," he offers.

Stunned, she does as she's asked. They enter the lift, and he asks her to press the button for the ground floor. The doors close on them as she on some level realizes she has become exactly what she feared: a white, female elevator operator engaged in a doomed affair with a top executive. But there is no sign of any "Buddy Boy" to come save her, no Gin Rummy or fruitcakes. She is Miss Kubelik, and the city that means everything to her is threatening to eat her alive.

Their lovemaking done, Don and Rachel like on the couch naked, Rachel smoking and for once Don not. He mentions her mother who died in childbirth, and tells her his did as well... and that she was a prostitute. It all comes spilling out, more information than we have ever been given, this time not seen in flashback by a silent Don Draper contained all in his mind, but verbalized by him to another person. She died and the baby was brought to Don's father and his wife, and when he was 10 his father, drunk, died after being kicked in the face by a horse. His father's wife married another man, and he was raised by "those two sorry people".

Having unburdened himself of this lead ball in his belly, he waits for her response. She gives him exactly what he wants and needs. She doesn't question him. She doesn't turn that around into a story about herself. She doesn't try to fix him or offer an alternative view. She simply, quietly kisses the back of his head. It is an almost motherly gesture, one of unconditional love and support. It's what Don has desperately wanted and hunted for his whole life, what he yearns to see in Betty without recognizing she (and Rachel!) are their own people with their own issues who need their own support. The physical affection finally comforts him in a way that mere sex never could, and he closes his eyes and relaxes, finally falling asleep after the first very long night of a long weekend.

Episode Index

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yoshi Wins posted:

I think Don seeks out Rachel because the pursuit of a woman enables him to be more emotionally open. I believe a central thesis of this show is that emotional openness is necessary for good mental health, and, well, Don is not mentally healthy. He is totally closed off to his own wife. But somehow he finds it possible to show vulnerability while pursuing a woman sexually.

I don't know if I entirely agree with that, though I think you make a very good case. While Don doesn't just openly pursue any and all women unlike Roger, with those he does pursue he still puts up a facade even if it is in the guise of openness. With Midge he wants uncomplicated in contrast to his relationship with Betty, and he gets upset when she doesn't fit into his perception of the role he has decided for her. Both her and Rachel have something in common, which is their independence, and I think to some degree he resents Betty's utter reliance on him even as he simultaneously considers it the natural and right way for things to be. But that's all mixed up with his clear desire for a maternal figure to help a scared little boy feel safe. I think the closest to the "real" Don Draper we have seen so far is that moment he tells Betty he wishes he had a mother like her, and this scene where he opens himself up to Rachel so she can comfort him.

In that regard, I agree with you that Don craves the ability to be emotionally open, even as - as Incelshok Na says - society and his own perception of masculinity tell him is that he needs to remain closed down. I just think that sex is more a byproduct or misconception on Don's part that this physical proximity is necessary to get the emotional closeness he wants. That's why he rejects Peggy's clumsy come-on in the first episode and is a brick wall when Eleanor tries to kiss him, because he has no emotional connection to or interest in either of those women's personalities, and without that spark he finds no physical attraction to them.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I didn't see any spoilers before the spoiler tags got edited in, thanks :)

Also I cannot get Paul's little Nixon jingle out of my head... I guess that stuff really works!

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Listen fellas, you both just had a fight and I wasn't involved. If you don't make up right now, I stand no chance tonight :colbert:

Speaking of Paul, him having a go-to line of "Have you tried Ukrainian food?" is hilarious, he clearly thinks it works and makes him seem worldly, which is probably why he also smokes that pipe and talks about smoking "mary-jane" to seem cool. I love whenever his writing gets made fun of for being kind of hackneyed because you can tell it REALLY bothers him, especially now that everybody knows how good a writer Ken is (I think Pete already completely forgot about that after his initial obsession).

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Something I really enjoy about Pete is that he's not dumb - he actually does have good ideas and harnessed well he might have the makings of a creative after all. It's just that every single time he has a good idea (Backbone of America, buying up the non-Nixon ad time etc) instead of reveling in the attaboy or using it as a moment for growth, he becomes completely arrogant and immediately tries to use his success to lord it up over others. When Don congratulated him on a good idea, instead of being grateful or just enjoying the moment, he HAD to stand up and draw everybody's attention to the fact he'd been complimented, and try to rub Don's nose in it before also trying to call an end to the meeting.

It's quite fun comparing him to Peggy, who is also trying to get her ideas out there, and being encouraged and helped along because people actually WANT her to succeed because they like her.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

KellHound posted:

Pete is also the one who points out Elvis doesn't were a hat and the appeal of Kennedy's youth, which everyone dismisses.

His line about the President being a product isn't exactly revolutionary thought, but he's absolutely right to bring it up and point out that Kennedy's campaign was running rings around Nixon's.

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