An iconic episode, one of my favourites. The mystery of Peggy and Pete’s lovebaby is revealed, Peggy gets some great lady schooling from Bobbie, and Don miraculously manages to look debonair while wearing a sling.
Pete and Trudy are at the doctor, yapping about pregnancy, lack thereof, and all that crap. They are having issues conceiving a baby, though we know Pete is plenty virile. Pete brings up the then taboo idea of being one of “those childless couples”, and Trudy simply isn’t having it; she wants to have a family with him, and as she tearfully explains that idea, he gets it. The good news is that the doctor can blow up her ovaries, or do whatever..
Joan is engaged! The office is buzzing. Roger makes a crack about “relatively young love”, but she looks happy. He seems reticent, and Joan picks up that maybe he’s over the entire idea and concept of marriage, not just his wife.
“This is America. Pick a job, and then become the person that does it.”
Actual Don Draper realness in that quote right there.
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Bobbie is set to celebrate selling Grin and Barrett to CBS. Don goes to meet her at Sardi’s, and he runs into Rachel Menken (Katz) and her very boilerplate Husband(TM) Tilden. They have a strange interaction, it’s awkward and short; Rachel sees what he’s doing with Bobbie and appears disappointed, almost. Don is in a cloud of disenchantment and sadness after they run off to the theatre, so he and Bobbie drunk drive to Long Island to hit up her beach house. Always a great idea.
“God, I feel so good.”
“I don’t feel a thing.”
If there was one sentence that sums up Don Draper, it’s that. He’s constantly seeking out stimulation, something to shake him up and make him feel something, but at the end of the day it’s a flatline. It both motivates and paralyses him.
Natch, they get into a car accident. Don fails the sobriety test (the legal limit in 1962 was .15%! Jesus Christmas..), and comes up short on the $150 fine. Don rings a mystery woman, who is revealed as Peggy! She offers to let Bobbie stay with her to allow time for the black eye to heal, and these two women could not be more different.
Bobbie is generally insecure around Peggy, wondering what the real reason is that she’s helping her out. Bobbie offers a bunch of sage Lady Advice to her in the meantime, though Peggy fires back at her with shade at every turn.
Bobbie: “You have to start living the life of the person you want to be.”
Peggy: “Is that what you did?”
Bobbie: “You’re never going to get that corner office until you start treating Don as an equal. And no one will tell you this, but you can’t be a man, don’t even try. Be a woman. Powerful business when done correctly.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
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We flash to Peggy in a hospital in 1960, all fucked up on tranquillisers. She can’t remember what happened clearly, and the doctor informs her that she’s had a baby. Peggy stares off into space in disbelief, or wishing to forget it entirely. Her mother and pregnant sister are there, appearing supportive.
At some point, Don comes to visit Peggy in the hospital and offers some sage Don Draper advice to her. After all, she essentially bounced from a job she was beginning to flourish at.. what’s the deal?
“Is that you? Are you really there?”
“Yes I am.”
“What are you doing here?”
“You got a promotion and disappeared.. your Christmas present is sitting on your desk. I called your house, and your roommate gave me your mother’s number.”
“Your mother told me you were quarantined.. TB. I guess that was supposed to lessen my concern.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do they want you to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do.. Do it. Do whatever they say. Peggy, listen to me. Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”
In this instance, I think this is really stellar advice. I know that Don is ultimately just trying to get her back into the office and doing his thing, but I feel that he knows a bit about her as well. He knows that she wants to succeed at advertising, not be a housewife; he knows she’s different from the rest. He sought her out to remind her of the importance of getting on with it, to let go and to move on with life. What the doctors are saying and the judgement doesn’t matter. He sees a bit of himself in her and wants to bring that out.
At home post-accident, it sounds like Don recommitted to his marriage at some point. Betty is understandably upset that he didn’t phone the house after his accident, but he plays it as that he didn’t want to worry her and call so late. He has high blood pressure, and thinks the booze and the meds didn’t make good bedfellows. Betty offers a sensible response.. “You should call me. I’m your wife. You promised you wouldn’t disappear like that anymore.”
Peggy takes Bobbie’s advice to heart, and point blank asks Don for her bail cash she loaned him. The flaw in moving forward is that sometimes you forget it almost entirely. She thanks him, and calls Don by his first name; he’s clearly taken aback. Good for you, Pegs!
At dinnertime, Betty withholds the salt with their meatloaf dinner. When Sally asks why, Betty replies that it’s because they love him. Upon hearing this, Don stares off to some far away place.
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“I’m sure glad I don’t have problems.”