This episode opens on the train, Don staring at that ironic Volkswagen ad in his Playboy. He gets called Dick Whitman by some schlub rando, and he’s visibly rattled. More on that to come!
Oh hey, it’s Sally’s birthday! Time for Don to get absolutely shitfaced and assemble a playhouse. #men
From the women of the club, we hear about the arresting suburban scandal of Helen Bishop .. AND HER WALKING.
I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE
image courtesy of Imgur
A lot of this episode centres around marriage and where these characters fit in. It’s pretty plain where Don fits vs. where he doesn’t fit; at work, and at home. He’s in charge of it all at the office, but at home he’s relegated to filming the party, building the playhouse (yet he’s not permitted to wash his hands with the weird porcelain-handheld soap), being told repeatedly to pick up the cake.
Don doesn’t wear a wedding band (and is continually losing his cufflink in this episode), but Pete Campbell actually digs it.
image courtesy of 9gag
Ladies and gentlemen, Pete Campbell. He’s back from his honeymoon and trying to clumsily navigate being a married guy in a post-banging Peggy world.
Speaking of Peggy, she is trying to figure out where she fits in at Sterling Cooper. It’s clear that she’s very different from the other ladies in the steno pool; Pegs is cut from a different cloth.
The way Don’s written is fascinating. Here we have our main character, the guy we’re ostensibly rooting for; he’s simultaneously good and infuriating, yet we can relate to all of it. Who hasn’t just wanted to ghost on some garbage party filled with a simulation of friends? These people can be absolutely exasperating in reality, yet he’s relatable in this instance. Sneaking a peek at his world allows us to see the motivations behind bouncing, his desire to get way the hell away from those faux friends.
Pausing on that secret kiss he captures with the camera – Don feels a pang, and he feels even more isolated. Maybe he’s realising that love he haughtily claimed he created for products may be legit. But then again, Don is a guy that so clearly does not understand intimacy in real life. You can’t be ~mysterious~ and play everything so close to the chest but also have true intimacy; shit just doesn’t work that way. Gotta give some to get some. At first, Don is cloying with Rachel, listening and probing with questions like a fun flirty first date but revealing nada of himself, and she already seems to be over it. Especially when he pulls the “I’m married” card. Mess.
As he’s watching the train to Manhattan blast by in Ossining, I bet he’s thinking of trying to reach Rachel somehow. How to Human, 101.
Hours later, daddy saves the day by bringing home a dog for Sally. Betty is seething with palpable rage. He’s thinking back to when he snogged Rachel Menken on the rooftop, and her saying that, “For a little girl, a dog can be all you need. They protect you and they listen”. She told all her secrets to those dogs, apparently; and Don knows that he’s probably total shite at being a father to Sally, so uh.. here’s a dog.
But where in the fresh hell did he get that dog? Did he just jack someone else’s Golden Retriever from their yard? Fucking bizarre.