Mad Men s2e13: Meditations in an Emergency

Season 2 finale. Lots to unpack, lots to talk about. We find ourselves around The Cuban Missile Crisis, putting the end of this season in October 1962.

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Betty awaits her doctor in his homey practice, perched perfectly upon the exam table. She looks fraught with nerves, and he confirms her fear; she’s pregnant. Jail sentence, dread. She expresses that this is a bad time, yet the doctor remains encouraging. Once she starts telling people it will feel right, yadda yadda yadda. She and Don are estranged, so this is literally the last thing she needs right now. Bets splits as soon as he runs out to find the space heater.

It’s a touch of bedlam at Sterling Cooper, everyone has to turn their numbers in early. Harry, Kenny, Sal and Kinsey pull the demoted Lois off the switchboard to get the scoop — Sterling Cooper has been sold to PPL! Lois is very dramatic in delivering the news. Transatlantic. Merger time.

Betty is at the stables, riding out her feelings. Once she dismounts her horse, she sees Don approaching her. Shocked, she maintains her cool. The most he’ll ever admit – “I was not respectful to you”, he sincerely expresses that he wants to be together again; Betty is relieved to have her suspicions confirmed, no matter how cagey that vague admission was. Borrowing a line from Helen Bishop, it hasn’t been all that different without him; Betty keeps her distance. Wise move.

Big difference from the Season 1 finale, which ends with Don longing for a warm family moment and mourning the loss of what he’d ultimately fucked up. Maybe now he feels the bona fide loss and actually wants the reality of a family, a connection.

As a nervous Pete imparts the bad news of Clearasil pulling out, Duck appears unfazed. Instead, Duck shares that he will be their new overlord post-merger. He wants Pete to replace him as Head of Account Services, and they share some fairly large glasses of gin. Pete is advised to keep it under his hat.

Don heads into the office, a sight for sore eyes. He sees Peggy’s new office and haircut, and a big ol’ pile of correspondence. True to form and entirely outraged that Don’s back in town as if nothing happened, Pete is wondering why in the hell he left him high and dry at their hotel in LA. Don spins it like he knew what he was doing instead of being impetuous, and Pete buys his compliments in his handling of meetings; Don expresses confidence that Pete is now ready to move on up. Music to his ears, twice in one day! A thing like that.

Getting the PPL merger news from Roger, apparently his little manpain jaunt to LA netted him $500k. Holy schnikes! That’s almost $4 MILLION today in 2016. What the fuck?

Betty is at the salon, which is currently filled with very nervous ladies. She somberly shares her news with Francine, who can recommend a lady doctor to take care of it if need be.

Heading into the city, Betty drops the kids off at Don’s hotel, declining his invitation to have dinner with them as a family. Lingering in front of a department store window display, she wanders in Manhattan with the mystery of Don.

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Shopping bags in hand, she takes a seat at a bar, orders a gimlet. A young proto-Don pays for her drink; she shoos him away initially, but later she corrals him into having a fuck in a vacant back room. A little role reversal; Don is playing family man with the kids, enjoying a meal and their company while Betty is an anonymous person at a bar, banging a rando. It’s the end of the world, after all.

Back in the world of Catholicism, Peggy is being admonished by Father Gill in the church basement. He’s laying on this guilt bullshit pretty strong, and Peggy stands up for her own personal beliefs– “I can’t believe that’s how God is”. It’s plain that she’s made peace with herself in her own way, Padre. Step aside.

Friday morning at Sterling Cooper, news of the merger is flitting around. There’s canapés in the fridge (fancy ones), the conference room is signed out all day.. everyone is on edge because of the news on TV and inside the office.

Confiding in Don, Pete drops the bomb that Duck is set to be the President of Sterling Cooper under PPL’s gaze. Let that marinate for a bit.

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At home, Betty receives a letter from Don.

Dear Betty,

I’m sitting in The Roosevelt looking at the backs of Bobby and Sally’s heads as they watch TV. I’m not letting them change the channel, because watching the news makes me sick, and they can see it.

I think about you, and how I behaved, and my regret. I know it’s my fault you are not here right now.

I understand why you feel it’s better to go on without me, and I know that you won’t be alone for very long, but, without you, I’ll be alone forever.

I love you.

-Don

In the big meeting with the PPL guys, Duck expresses ~quelle surprise~ when Sinjin states Duck will be prez over at Sterling Cooper once the merger is complete. He makes a bizarre speech, yapping about media buying, pinpointed with incredible accuracy; Cooper correctly points out that Duck failed to mention their clients at all. Time to drop some bombs.

Don: “What? I think it sounds like a great agency, and I think Duck is the man to run it. I just don’t think I’ll be a part of it.”

Sinjin: “You don’t want to be a part of it?”

Don: “If this is the agency you want, Duck is the man for the job.”

Duck: “This is what I’m talking about, artistic temperament..”

Roger: “Don, is this really necessary?”

Duck: “It is. Because he loves this room, and hearing his own voice, and saving the day.. except this time he’s got to get with a team. You can either honour your contract, or walk out that door with nothing and start selling insurance.”

Don: [pauses] “I don’t have a contract.”

Roger: “We’re close! We didn’t think we needed one.”

Don: “Gentlemen, I sell products, not advertising. I can’t see as far into the future as Duck, but if the world is still here on Monday, we can talk.”

Once Don leaves the room, Duck makes a fucking mess of things and completely embarrasses himself in front of the PPL guys. Don gets under his skin. As Sinjin asks Duck to please excuse them, he knows it’s all over for him as prez. Adios, Duck! “He never could hold his liquor.”

Peggy is finally lulled into confession of sorts, sitting with drunkenly pleasant Pete in his office surrounded by panic. He confesses his love for her, expressing that she’s perfect, that he wants to be with her. Trudy doesn’t really know him. File under Things Men Say. She drops the bomb and tells him that she had his baby, and she gave it away.

This is the first time this is candidly said aloud on the show, by the way. It’s been alluded to, referenced, but never actually acknowledged by Peggy’s character or any of the other characters in such stark terms.

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Pete is stunned and has no idea how to react. He’s a captivating character for a million different reasons, but I love that he knows who he is, yet tries to valiantly escape it every single day. He’s had a privileged upbringing, not unlike Betty, and is trying to escape that inalienable truth along with his picture perfect marriage and absurdly domineering mother. He craves no expectations, no baggage due to his name, and sees that clean slate of sorts in Peggy. Turns out there’s mad baggage there too. Sorry not sorry, Pete.

Betty rings the office, wanting Don to come home. Just as the threat is neutralised, she lets him know she’s pregnant. They share a somber moment together, he reaches out his hand and she grabs it. Fade out.

“To not thinking about things.”

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image courtesy of MadMenWikia

Welp, that’s another season in the books. Thank you for reading and following along! You can see my reviews for all of these first 2 seasons over here. Next post will come after a brief hiatus. Gotta let Season 2 marinate. Happy Halloween, and seeya soon!

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Mad Men s2e12: The Mountain King

“The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.”

One of my favourite episodes right here, my god. Roger and Bert wrestle for a bit over the PPL merger, but come to an agreement. Meanwhile, Don disembarks from a San Pedro bus, the Pacific Ocean greeting him. Where in the fresh hell is he going?

Betty catches Sally smoking a cigarette in the bathroom! The horror.

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Natch, Betty is more concerned with Sally burning the house to the ground rather than the fact that she was, you know, smoking an actual cigarette, but whatevs. Locking her in the closet as a temporary punishment, Sally shrieks that Don left because of Betty, because she’s “stupid and mean”. She doesn’t understand why Betty won’t let him come home. Looks like the idea of separation without telling the kids isn’t so hot, Bets. Kids are smart little people, they catch on to things..

Aaaaand, flashback! Picking right up from The Gold Violin, Don is at his shit apartment with the blonde woman; he’s been found out. She’s his wife — the real Don Draper’s wife, that is. He quietly tells her that he died, and that he’s sorry. That they got mixed up at the hospital, “I just had to get out of there”. He introduces himself as Dick Whitman, and she is Anna Draper.

“Well Dick, what do I do with you?”

Back to the present day, a door opens and that same blonde woman is behind it. Looks like he’s visiting Anna in California! Some weird kid is in the midst of a piano lesson at her house, rapping away at ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’. Don introduces himself as Dick, and right away, seems different than the guy we know from New York. Calmer, happier, a little more genuine.

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image courtesy of Fanpop

Almost immediately you can tell that he and Anna share a deep bond. She’s loving and sincere to him; Don is shaken and sad, not his usual bulletproof exterior. Unlike his home in Ossining, here he is welcome to have a shower and a lie down. No judgement from Anna’s end of things.

Infuriated that Trudy booked a meeting with an adoption agency behind his back (while receiving praise from Hildy), Pete loses his whole entire goddamned mind when he gets home. They have a yelling argument about it, he screams out “HELL’S BELLS, TRUDY!” .. And then he launches a fucking whole roast chicken dinner out the window!

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Who on God’s Green Earth does that?? What a complete fucking lunatic. Iconic Pete Campbell outrage.

Collateral damage from the dinnerpocalypse, Pete’s father in law buzzes him at the office to let him know Clearasil is now under review. Pete ain’t happy about it and can see right through him, totally flies off the handle at Tom, tells him to pull Clearasil anyway. Probably for the best.

Adding to the “Greg is an Asshole Manbaby” report, he gets all butthurt that Joan tries to take control and give him a good bang. Ugh. It’s also implied that her sexual history is a problem for him, double ugh. More on that to come.

Post-shower and nap, Don and Anna chat on the porch. Anna is pretty much the only link to his past at this point, to who he really is. Don can be himself around her, let his guard down. He can say things he would never say to Betty. He can admit fault, he can talk about how he really feels without fear of tarnishing the image he’s so carefully curated.

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image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

Anna has always felt that they met so that both their lives could be better, which is a lovely way to look at things when it could have so easily gone south. At one point, Don is fixing a chair for her, unlike the one he failed to fix at Casa Draper.. which Betty ended up destroying. And it’s revealed that Don mailed that copy of Meditations in an Emergency to her as well.

“I have been watching my life, it’s right there.. and I keep scratching at it, trying to get into it. I can’t.”

Don doesn’t know who he’s supposed to be or what he’s supposed to do, or how to mend things; so he wanders.

Flashback to the Christmas Eve right after Don and Betty met, Don is in California with Anna. Don speaks of Betty in the lavender haze, talking about how she’s so beautiful and happy. “I just like the way she laughs, and the way she looks at me.” He expresses gratitude to Anna, how if it weren’t for Don, his entire life in New York wouldn’t be possible.

Anna reminds him that meeting Betty and having a family is a chance at a whole new life, a really positive thing for him. She is over the moon that he’s found love, but she’s got to grant him a divorce first.. just a minor snag! Ha.

Peggy’s Catholicism-infused Popsicle pitch goes perfectly. Virgin Mary-esque artwork depicts a holy mother granting a snapped popsicle to her kids, two equal pieces, love, all that jazz. She knocks the pitch out of the park. Don who?

Betty rings Sara Beth to yammer about Sally, but really she’s ringing about her pot stirring. She brings up the stables, and their conversation turns to Arthur. Acting as a confidante, Betty prods her for more information, then turns it on SB playing the morality card when she pieces together that they had a bang. SB is devastated that Arthur is set to be married that weekend and is absolutely sick over it; Betty relishes in it a tiny bit.

“No one made you sleep with him!”

DAAAAAAAMN. Way harsh, Bets. Guess that friendship’s over!

The gargantuan Xerox machine has finally outstayed its welcome as Peggy’s officemate. Time for something better. At the end of the day, Peggy asks for Roger’s blessing to move into Freddy’s now vacant office, feeling deserving of it due to the Popsicle success. “You young women are very aggressive. There are 30 men out there who didn’t have the balls to ask me!” Amazing. Her wish is granted! Moving on up.

Joan’s fiancé Greg meets her in the office to head off for a dinner date. Vexed by Roger knowing that she doesn’t like French food, he strangely feels the need to assert himself as the alpha male in her life, and the one in control of their relationship. And in one of the most upsetting and shocking scenes on this show, he pins Joan down to the floor of Don’s office and has his way with her right there on the carpet very much against her wishes.

She tells him very clearly to stop, but he rests on the idea of “this is what you wanted, right?”, referring to the other night, showing her who’s really in charge. Gross. As she submits and stares off into the distance, it’s utterly chilling. Where is that perfect life she had envisioned for herself, marrying a doctor and living happily ever after? Greg is seriously so fucking vile, a truly subhuman trash heap. After she spruces up, they head off to dinner, roses forgotten on her desk.

Don yaps with some car guys, expressing an interest in building custom cars, working with them. There’s something about that all-American blue collar life that magnetically draws him, and he’s flirting with staying out in California. Maybe he can reboot his life out there. He introduced himself as Dick, trying it on for size. Again, his demeanour is different than the Don we’ve seen, he’s more at ease; a happier guy on the outside.

Kinsey is back, turns out Sheila dropped him a few days into their trip down south, shocking nobody. He and the junior execs are all pissed about Peggy’s new office, especially Harry. Tough titties, Harry.

As Peggy is moving into her new office, Joan lets her know the nameplate will be changed out ASAP, and chats about her wedding a bit. She seems envious as Peggy is moving up the ladder, and Peggy seems wistful that Joan is getting married.

In Ossining, Betty tries to have a more adult conversation with Sally about what’s going on at home. She speaks to her simply, that she and Don are “having.. a disagreement. And he went away.” Betty admits to Sally that she doesn’t know where Don went, which is pretty unsettling. Just then, Betty notices she’s lady bleeding.. not good.

Congratulating Peggy on her new digs, Pete confides in her that Don disappeared in Los Angeles. She expresses worry while Pete wants to talk shit, which is pretty typical. I feel like she reminds him to be less of a dick sometimes. Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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image courtesy of EW

And there goes Don, ruining a pair of khakis and a perfectly good leather belt in the Pacific Ocean.

“Let Roger Sterling have what he always wanted– to die in the arms of a 20-year old.”

Mad Men s2e11: The Jet Set

“Cheers to our guest.. to not being carried out in a box.”

Ah, post-bang poetry by Jane, partially inspired by being 20 years old, mostly inspired by drugs. Roger wants to marry her, he believes Jane is the key part of life he was always meant to have. Mona is gonna give him hell in the divorce proceedings.

Duck has been at Sterling Cooper for about 2 years now, and is expecting a partnership in return for his work with them. Roger does not agree, tells him to go out and make it rain if he wants to move up in the ranks.

So, Duck takes a meeting with Sinjin Powell, an old Putnam Powell and Lowe buddy from his days living in London. He falls off the wagon straight into a gibson, then takes their temperature on buying out Sterling Cooper. Duck knows Roger is in a compromising position as Mona is about to bankrupt him, so he’ll be able to force their hand. He wants to have Creative reporting to him, as President Duck. Fascinating..

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Like his luggage (no thanks to TWA), Don is lost. Squinting by the pool in the stark Los Angeles sunlight, Donald Draper grey suit uniform intact, he looks distinctly out of place. He chides Pete for treating it as vacation, and tells him to go out and make some connections pre-rocket fair, really make an impact. Once he’s changed into some new clothes, he sees a vision of Betty at the bar, breezing right past him.

Just then, Don encounters some absurdly attractive Eurotrash nomads. There’s Willy (with a very complex name), his wife Rocky, and a young lady named Joy. They seem magnetically drawn to Don, but when Pete shows up they can’t get away fast enough. A thing like that!

The rocket fair has begun, and it’s The End of The World presentation. Don and Pete watch slides about missiles being launched at the USSR, about how the USA could knock out the entire country if need be. “Total annihilation”. Don is wholly rattled by this idea, this intense escalation.

Back in the sunshine, Don runs into the exceedingly young (and aptly named) Joy at the valet pool. Suddenly, he decides to take her up on an impromptu trip to Palm Springs to some stunning, palatial flophouse she and her hot companions are crashing at; Pete is left poolside with some potential clients. He’s really up shit creek in LA, because the guy can’t drive.. thanks for that, Don. And there’s no taxi that will take you to Pasadena, Pete.

Once they arrive in (very hot) Palm Springs, Don falls over poolside. He’s collapsed from heat exhaustion, and comes to surrounded by Euros in expensive threads. “Who are these people?”

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Dinnertime. Don makes the mistake of verbally assuming they’re all well off, and is met with dead silence. He fits in with them aesthetically, but the actual lifestyle part of it? Not so sure. Are they con artists? Gypsies? Simply evading taxes? On the lam? Don impresses them when it comes to the city capital word game, at least. Then Joy locks onto his face like Alien in front of everyone and then drags him inside for a bang, claiming she’s 21 when he asks.

Who makes out at the fucking dinner table, anyway? Teenagers, that’s who. Gross. Damn kids.

Like most teenagers acting more Grown Up, Joy is pretty much intolerable, with her “I like sex” tryhard garbage pillowtalk. She talks about school in vague terms, and Don picks up that she’s younger than 21 but at least in high school. And then, it’s revealed that Willy is her father making everything infinitely weirder, during a morning-after still-in-bed conversation with him. “I make beautiful babies, don’t I?” He doesn’t want people thinking he’s old. How about N O P E.

Word gets out that Kurt and Peggy are going to see Bob Dylan together, much to everyone’s surprise and delight. Is it a date?? Adorable. While he gets a good natured ribbing, Kurt doesn’t see the humour and casually lets it drop that he’s a homosexual. Record scratch. Most are shocked, Sal raises an eyebrow then averts his eyes, there’s some bizarre homophobic comments, and Peggy isn’t ruffled. They keep their date. Sal is hurt by Kenny’s instant aversion to Kurt’s admission.

Kurt heads over to Peggy’s place. She lets him know that if he would rather take a man to the concert, she gets it; “I don’t know why I pick the wrong boys”. Sensing she needs some friendly advice, Kurt lets her know she’s a touch old-fashioned in the looks department, gesturing at her bangs and curled ponytail. Peggy is sort of resistant, but then she lets Kurt hack a a bunch of her ponytail off with a pair of kitchen scissors. And what do you know, it looks great! Much more modern. Fresher start for Pegs.

Joy invites Don to run off with her and her band of nomads, and though it’s realistically what he yearns for in life, he’s hesitant. Methinks he’s a man who wants to do it on his own terms. A gentleman shows up with a little boy and girl, and Don is suddenly brought back to a splash of reality, his own kids and marriage. The guy is going through some shit, referencing attorneys and how awful everything is. Holding a cracked glass in the pool, Don knows he’s gotta split.

Duck receives a box of Tanqueray, presumably from Sinjin over at PPL. Chewing on a lifesaver, he heads to Cooper’s office to share the news. Putnam Powell and Lowe want to open a New York office to service the American clients, and Sterling Cooper is just the place to do it. Bert is exceedingly pleased that the man he’d heard so much about has finally shown up; looks like Duck needs the sauce to be a more effective, ballsy businessman.

The next morning, Don rings someone from Palm Springs. He identifies himself as ~Dick Whitman~ to the caller. He notes down an address in the very back of Joy’s copy of The Sound and The Fury, tearing out the page after. Where is he headed?

Back home in Ossining, Don’s suitcase shows up at the front door. Nobody’s home.

“He likes having you around. You’re beautiful, and you don’t talk too much.”

Mad Men s2e10: The Inheritance

“It’s not easy for anyone, Pete.”

An LA trip is looming! Looks like Pete and Kinsey are going to Los Angeles, due to a hookup from Crab Colson. Time to hit up the JPL Rocket Fair. The Space Race is on!

Trudy is strongly suggesting her and Pete adopt a baby, and he ain’t having it in the least. His WASPy mother certainly won’t have it, after Bud let that tidbit ‘slip’; Pete retaliates by cooly letting her know her assets are in the toilet on his way out. So bitter, but his parents never seemed to treat him all that well anyway.

Betty’s dad had a stroke, turns out it isn’t the first time either. Thanks, Gloria. Betty phones Don and they drive to NJ together the next day, keeping the appearance of normalcy as best they can. Gloria answers the door in an outrageously absurd cocktail dress with a mammoth foofy hoop skirt, 1955 incarnate.

Every scene with the Hofstadts is strange, with an easily detectable tense undercurrent between everyone. It’s a family on paper, but there’s no discernible warmth to speak of; Betty is excluded from things here, just as she’s excluded from her own life by Don. Maybe her father Gene — apparently a strict, traditional guy.. fining his kids for small talk — is what she wishes Don would be like around their kids. (Y i k e s….)

Her family resents her for moving out of NJ, but it doesn’t seem like they’ve given her any reason to stay. Her brother William is a fairly unpleasant guy, making jabs about New York and Don having mad cash. Rude. He also sheds a little light on how Gene’s been acting as of late, apparently he’s been ‘off’ for a while now. They are both concerned about Gene, and show it differently. Betty slips into the childlike loving daughter persona, excited about milkshakes and the like, whereas William tries to be in charge.

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image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

But Gene’s got Don’s number, and berates him in an outburst during puzzle time.

“Who knows what he does, why he does it. I know more about the kid who fixes my damn car. Nobody has what you have. You act like it’s nothing. He has no people! You can’t trust a person like that.”

That night, though they share Betty’s childhood room, Don gets to sleep on the floor. They disrobe in silence, and a few hours later, Betty comes down to the floor with affection. She realises she holds the cards right now, and uses it to her advantage. They have a midnight bang on the floor, and Don wakes up alone in the AM.

Gene is all mixed up at breakfast, and mistakes Betty for her (dead) mother and gropes her right there in front of everyone, the harsh morning light filtering in. Everyone is in shock, Don is completely horrified; good lord that’s a lot to handle. Gloria insists they have another doctor’s appointment lined up. Good GOD.

Thankfully Viola shows up to talk some damn sense. Turns out Betty’s childhood nanny still pops in to take care of the house, and Gene. Instead of just acting like things are normal when they’re anything but, Viola sees through it.

Viola: “He’s very very sick.”

Betty: “You don’t know how nice it is to hear someone say that.”

Viola: “The minute you leave, you’ll remember him exactly the way he used to be. It’s all good outside that door.”

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image courtesy of Coco hits NY

Viola reminds Betty that it’s her responsibility to take care of her husband and her children, for they are hers. It’s OK to move forward and to love what you have, to remember the better times, but all it does is remind Betty that everything is in shambles. She breaks down and cries, truly at a loss.

Back in Ossining, Don gets the boot from his house; Betty curtly tells him that they were only pretending. Things are still as they were, so he heads to the office a day earlier than expected. Everyone is throwing a baby shower for Harry, another guy who’s uncertain about the reality of kids as much as Pete.

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image courtesy of Imgur/my own nonsense

Bert Cooper pops into the shower for one of the more bizarre moments of the day.. and everyone raided the store room with ‘gifts’ for Harry and Jennifer’s impeding arrival. Kenny gifts him with a massive stack of Playboys, as you do.

(Offices in the 1960s aren’t that dissimilar from offices today; any excuse to have a party where you eat some form of trash cake from the grocery store.)

Don changes up the plans and decides he’s heading to LA with Pete, axing Kinsey from the trip. Roger gives him his blessing with a vaguely icy exchange; things aren’t exactly healed there just yet.

Joan gets to publicly ask for Kinsey’s credentials back during the baby shower, and relishes it. Kinsey frames it well to Sheila, trying to mend their spat earlier in the week when Pete let it rip that he was headed to Los Angeles. He made it sound like it was his idea to ditch the LA trip (LOL) and ends up heading to Mississippi to fight for civil rights alongside her, likely irritating the shit out of everyone around him.

Everyone’s loaded on punch post-shower, heading home for the day, yet Pete lingers. He’s a little tweeked about flying to LA since his father died on American Airlines Flight 1, but that’s not really the root of his issue(s). He may never truly grasp why he doesn’t get what he feels entitled to, and on top of that, he may never understand how grim it is for everyone who doesn’t have what he has in the first place. Pete’s got some privilege, everyone. Peggy handles his “woe is me, first world problems of the now” drunken schpiele fairly perfectly. She is friendly and cordial, actively listening, but keeps him at arms’ length. Probably a good idea, Pegs.

Hey-o, Glen Bishop shows up at casa Draper, having run away from home a couple of days ago. Glen has been crashing in Sally and Bobby’s playhouse in the back yard. He hasn’t seen Betty for ages, and is in need of some kindness and attention. He insists that he’s there for her– “I came to rescue you. We can go anywhere, I have money!” His name is Don, etc.

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image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

Once Sally and Bobby get home, she does the right thing and rings Helen Bishop knowing she’d be worried about him. Betty endures his child wrath as he spots his mother in the foyer, feeling betrayed and shrieking that he hates her. Betty responds calmly with, “I know”. Maybe it’s some catharsis for her, some link to the way she thinks Don feels about her. She accepts it.

After things quiet down, Betty and Helen Bishop have a moment in the kitchen. Helen admits her shortcomings as a mother in the wake of her divorce and new boyfriend carousel, which compels Betty to share the news with her. After all, Helen is a divorcée; Betty confides in her that Don isn’t living with her anymore. She’s unsure if it’s forever at this point.

Helen: “Is it over?”

Betty: “I don’t even know.”

Helen: “That’s the worst. For me, it wasn’t that different without him there.”

Betty: “Sometimes I feel like I’ll float away if Don isn’t holding me down.”

Helen: “The hardest part is realising you’re in charge.”

On the plane, and true to form, Don just wants to watch the city disappear behind him. Time to get the hell out of Dodge for a bit to recalibrate.

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image courtesy of Fanpop

(Fun fact, the guitarist from The Tornadoes is George Bellamy– the father of Matt Bellamy of Muse fame. Not bad!)

Mad Men s2e9: Six Month Leave

“Some people just hide in plain sight.”

Don is living in a hotel on the morn of Marilyn Monroe’s death. In the office, Peggy is thinking like Don, grateful that Playtex didn’t buy their Jackie and Marilyn campaign.

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image courtesy of Tom + Lorenzo

Betty is taking care of some house shit in an attempt to feel normal. Time to put new contact paper in the drawers, defrost the icebox, attempt to open your bastard husband’s locked desk drawer with a letter opener.. then pass out, face down in the lounge with a glass of red. Just then, Sara Beth swings by to borrow a dress; Betty claims she’s sick. SB is crushing on Arthur, and Betty raises an eyebrow.

At Sterling Cooper, Freddy Rumsen overdoes it. He’s excessively sweaty and red, even for him, a guy who consistently looks dank; he pours Sal a comically enormous glass of whiskey that nearly has a meniscus, rehearses the Samsonite presentation, then pisses himself. Pete is disgusted, Peggy is concerned, and Sal can’t stop laughing. Since Freddy passes out almost immediately in his office chair, Sal tells Peggy to present in the meeting for the first time. On her way, she chides Pete for being a judgemental dick.

Samsonite goes really well for Peggy, and Freddy apologises for being a drunk mess the next day. She’s very encouraging and positive, hoping to sweep it under the rug. However, Pete wants to look good to the execs so he spills the beans and takes the credit for having Peggy present at the last minute.

Don, Roger, Duck and Pete meet about Freddy, he hears the news. “The man is a trainwreck”. Don is very much opposed to firing him, but he’s one against three.

Don: “I don’t want to throw him away..”

Roger: “Your loyalty is starting to become a liability.”

Betty is back at the stables, observing how Sara Beth interacts with Arthur. Time to stir the pot. She plants the seed that SB talks about him a lot, and invites him to the lunch she was supposed to have with only SB. If she can’t control anything in her own life, it’s time to fuck around elsewhere. Childish, sure, but she doesn’t have any legit coping skills.

Speaking of teenage girls, the junior execs are making fun of Freddy. Word has gotten out. Don gets real pissed off when he overhears and puts them in their place. “Sure. It’s just a man’s name, right?”

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image courtesy of Giphy

Don, a man with two names, takes that shit very seriously. He’s trying to build something with the Donald Draper persona, and to hear junior execs malign the reputation of an old player in the game like Freddy Rumsen, he just ain’t having it.

Joan is taking a breather in Roger’s office, surprisingly upset about Marilyn’s suicide. After all, Marilyn was an icon as an independent woman of the time. She used her femininity to get where she needed to go, and was very successful at it. Her death appears to represent the loss of that strong female figure that Joan has been trying to emulate, but despite all the good things, Marilyn still got knocked back down to size; just as Joan did a couple of weeks back with her temp job in Harry’s department. Tragic.

Roger, as an older guy of the time, has no goddamned context for her sadness and doesn’t take her seriously.

“This world destroyed her. One day you’ll lose someone who’s important to you.. you’ll see. It’s very painful.”

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image courtesy of Mad Men Wikia

Speaking of guys of that time, it’s time to send Freddy off for a leave of absence to dry out. Natch, Roger and Don make a booze-soaked night of it.

“To Monday morning– it’ll be here faster than you think.”

“I’m Dick Dollars, this is Mike Moneybags.. and this..” “Tilden Katz!” Don opts to use Rachel Menken’s Boilerplate Husband(TM)’s name to get into an underground casino. It’s 1962 rich people speakeasy time, and thankfully it’s not one of those intolerable hipster speakeasys with $23 cocktails made by equally intolerable “mixologists” with overly curated facial hair.

Roger pieces together that Don and Betty are separated, and asks what’s up. Natch, Don is cagey. Right in the midst of that, Don spots Jimmy Barrett and sees red; he walks right up to him and punches that fucker square in the face.

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what did the five fingers say to the face? // image courtesy of Giphy

Freddy gets a right proper sendoff, and Don really emphasises the clean slate idea. The man with the escape plan wouldn’t see anything particularly awful about this situation. Freddy is concerned with what he’ll tell his wife, something that Don has likely never considered.

As Don and Roger have a nightcap together, he reveals that he’s staying at the Roosevelt. He also reveals that he doesn’t feel badly like he should, he feels relieved and doesn’t know what to do. Don is so disconnected with most people in his life, that this is not shocking news. He imparts some words of wisdom that Roger takes a little too on the nose..

“It’s your life. You don’t know how long it’s gonna be, but you know it’s got a bad ending. You have to move forward.”

Peggy gets word that she is taking over all of Freddy’s business. Don is peeved that Peggy didn’t tell him and was ambushed by Pete.

Mona barrels into Don’s office, clearly pissed. Roger is splitting from their 25-year marriage, due to drunk nightcap talk he had with Don, and she blames him. Turns out it’s Jane!

Don figures out that Jane must’ve slipped something Roger’s way about him being separated from Betty. Time for yet another new secretary..

“If I don’t go into that office every day, who am I?”