First and foremost I give you this:
Thanks, internet! I knew you’d come through for us.
Tuesday, May 25th 1965. Harry’s proudly handing out his free tickets to the Loew’s theater showing of the Liston/Clay (AKA Ali) rematch. I’m so happy to see both Danny AND Ken there that I almost don’t care that Stan, for some reason, still is. Harry gives them out to his pals, but the new guys owe him $10. “Why do we have to pay?” Danny asks, reasonably. “You’re such a Jew,” Harry retorts delightfully politically incorrectly. “You’re the Jew, trying to make $30 on something you got for free,” Danny retorts, and Harry makes a face that says “touché, my fellow cheapskate, our money grubbery knows no religion.” Stan knows a bookie, because of course he does, so he’s taking bets in his tiny notebook. Danny puts $25 on Clay, ”by a knockout.” Good call. I guess it’s nice that he doesn’t seem to be as thoroughly, laughably dull as we thought at first. (Although there is much debate about the outcome of this particular contest, interestingly enough.) Don’s going with Liston though. They invite him to pre-fight dinner at the Palm. Sure, Don says. Then, ten seconds later, he asks Mrs. Blankenship to make dinner reservations for him and Roger “anywhere but the Palm.” Heh. Mrs. Blankenship takes Harry’s stereotypical Jew humor and raises him some actively offensive “Negro” humor. I feel like being the whitest whitey who ever whited compels me to leave it at that.
“You’re gonna have to give me a pretty great Samsonite ad if you want to sit on my shoulders during the fight.”
The Samsonite team, presumably emboldened by Faye Miller’s focus group she was cleaning up after last week, follows Don into his office to show them their work. And they’re freaking visionaries – years before someone realized “Joe Namath, like all obscenely highly paid athletes, will do literally anything for even more money, including wearing pantyhose!” these guys’ imaginary commercial has a fresh-faced rookie Joe Namath winking cheesily about how his suitcase holds up to defense, or some other lame football metaphor. Despite Joey’s charming Namath impersonation, Don is underwhelmed. Bzzzt. Not even close. “Could you leave us, please?” He asks the boys, and when he’s alone with Peggy, the first thing he says is: “Peggy, I’m glad that this is an environment where you feel free to fail.” Ah, this is going to be a fun conversation. He likes the toughness angle – which was Danny’s idea, interestingly enough – it’s just the execution that’s a giant stinking pile of crap. No offense, Peggy. “Should it be funny?” Peggy asks, annoyed. “Actually funny? Maybe. Funny like what I just saw? No.” Sigh. Happy birthday, Peggy.
Seriously, happy birthday, Peggy! And Duck remembered. There are flowers waiting on her desk. She calls him to say thanks, and he tells her to open the present that came with them. It’s a box of business cards: “Phillips-Olson Advertising, Peggy Olson Creative Director.” Ah, we knew it was only a matter of time! Well, good for him that he’s gotten his shit together since humiliating himself at the Clios, and is now in a position to voluntarily leave his job to…oh no wait, he’s still a drunk. A sad, unemployed, testy drunk. It doesn’t take long for Peggy to see this for what it really is: a truly pathetic gesture from a total fuckup trying to scrounge up some accounts so he can do what Don did. Only, you know, less cool, by several orders of magnitude. “…So, what do you have so far?” Peggy asks skeptically. “Look,” Duck snaps, “I know it’s not a diamond necklace or anything but I did spend some money on those cards!” Poor pathetic Duck. Peggy politely says that she appreciates the gesture, but she doesn’t know whether to take any of it seriously, because she suspects he’s been drinking. She heard about the Clios. Duck changes tactics and the subject: “I have to see you tonight!” Sigh. “Peg, I’m fallin’ apart!” he whimpers, but she has to go take care of the succession of progressively shorter fart-joking frat boys filing into her office. Don hated it. Back to the drawing board.
“YOU GOT A CALL WHILE YOU WERE IN THE TOILET,” the always delicate Mrs. Blankenship tells Don. Stephanie from California. It’s urgent. Well, shit. Don knows exactly what that means, and so do we. He sits at the phone, brow furrowed, and does nothing. He looks at the last picture Anna sent him, which is displayed on his desk right next to his kids. He can’t call, not yet. And it’s a good thing, cause Roger picks that moment to burst in unannounced. “Our night is ruined!” He moans. Turns out they have to hang out with Freddy Rumsen and his fellow AA member the Ponds guy. So they’re going to have to drink before dinner if they drink at all, and worse, there’s all the talk about drinking, “where they start with the funny stories and end up crying.” Don has even worse news: Roger’s on his own. Don has to work on Samsonite. “We can solve this problem with a flask!” Roger pleads. Don hands Roger his ticket, saying he wouldn’t be good company anyway. “That’s never bothered me before!” Ha.
In the Creative room, Peggy has obviously been treated to a boozy birthday lunch by her fart joking colleagues. She’s wearing a pink construction paper birthday girl crown, and Danny’s barely keeping his eyes open. “I don’t know what it is,” Joey tells him, “but I see the side of your neck, and I wish I had one of those James Bond pens so I could jab a dart in it.” “I think this is a good place to stop!” Peggy announces. Joan scolds them for leaving a mess, but only Joey Sweatervest has the balls to not obey immediately. Let’s keep an eye out for the repercussions, shall we? In the ladies’ room, Peggy is freshening up next to Megan of French Extraction, who asks how old she is. Peggy says she’s 26. “Well, you’re doing alright, aren’t you?” Megan says, with what appears to be genuine admiration. Hell yes she is. Megan’s growing on me. And then TRUDY! Hilarious pregnant Trudy wearing one of those hilarious 60s maternity outfits that say “HELLO I AM PREGNANT DID YOU NOTICE?” She very politely wishes Peggy a happy birthday, and Peggy very politely asks how she’s feeling. Because for some reason, pregnant lady small talk is the same as cancer patient small talk. Trudy says she spends all day sleeping and peeing, although “it’s an incredible feeling having this baby kick me,” she says dreamily. “Yeah, when I was carrying my own tiny Campbell around in my womb, I was too deeply in some weird fucked up denial to notice any movement!” Peggy fails to respond. (Million dollar idea, Peggy: Cheap exploitative documentary series I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant! Imagine the birth control ad revenue!) When Peggy idly jokes that the being kicked can’t be all that different from living with Pete, Trudy lets out a single guffaw followed by a bemused “You’re witty!” She always assumed that, but it turns out it’s true. “You know, 26 is still very young!” Trudy says on her way out, to Peggy the poor spinster with no husband or babies. At least Megan gets it. The look of fleeting but absolute panic on Pete’s face as they walk out of the bathroom together is golden. I guess he can’t ever really let his guard up about that whole thing, can he? “Good night,” Peggy tells everybody. “I want a rare steak, and I want to see those two men pound each other!” Trudy announces merrily. Everyone’s jealous of Pete and his hot pregnant bloodthirsty wife! Way to win the awesome wife contest, Trudy!
“Ohshitohshitohshit! Er, I mean hey look, it’s my lovely wife and secret baby mama casual work acquaintance!”
Don’s been looking for Peggy, so she stops by his office “on her way out.” She runs into Mrs. Blankenship wackying it up all over the place and tells Don “Why don’t you talk to Joan, get rid of her?” “No,” Don says, foreshadowing the evening with some uncharacteristic candor. “Joan knew exactly what I needed, and made sure that I got it.” Peggy’s got her hat and coat on and her purse ready, and she might as well be wearing a sign that says “I’M LEAVING NOW,” but Don chooses to ignore that and Peggy chooses to humor him. Which is super cool of her considering she doesn’t even know why he’s so obnoxiously determined to bully her into not leaving him alone to call Stephanie. She rushes off to her office to grab the Samsonite book, going through sketch by sketch, to which Don reacts with increasing dickholery. “I gave you more responsibility and you didn’t do anything,” he bitches. “…that you like” Peggy finishes. “We did work. A lot.” Don says she can work ten seconds if she brings him something that isn’t crap. “We’re gonna do this now,” he decides, seemingly arbitrarily, although see above re: avoiding making depressing calls the outcome of which he already knows. Peggy grumbles a little but what else can she do? She calls Karl From Lost at the fancypants restaurant and tells him she’s going to be late. “I’m the only one who can help him with this,” Peggy explains, which is a pretty interesting way to put it. “She’s going to be a few minutes late,” Karl From Lost announces to the rest of their intimate dinner party, by which I mean Peggy’s family. The one she doesn’t really like very much. And who doesn’t really care for her a whole lot either really. That family. So romantic!
Peggy patiently rattles off ideas in Don’s increasingly dark office. “What if an elephant either sits on or steps on the suitcase?” Great idea! Don: **pained expression, wordless headshake** “What if an airplane rolls over it?” Don: “You like Cassius Clay?” Peggy says he’s very handsome, but Don thinks he has a big mouth. “’I’m the greatest.’ Not if you have to say it!” Peggy is getting annoyed now, because oh my god, I thought you were in this huge hurry and I have shit to do, and also do you hear yourself right now? “Do you like the airplane?” She tries to steer him back to the topic at hand. “Liston just goes about his business,” Don continues, ignoring her, and doing that fake boxing that guys like to do, and concludes that Clay will dance around and tire himself out. “A suitcase under a plane looks like there’s been an accident,” he says as an afterthought. Then, light bulb: “Three classes of suitcase: Lightweight, middle weight, heavy weight. ‘For whatever class you’re in.’” Clever! Except he’s thinking in print; “How do you do that on TV?” Peggy wonders, and Don gets all defensive. “You don’t like it?” No, Peggy says, she loves it, let’s do that, okbye! But Don’s phone rings. He sits there frozen, but Peggy answers it and he picks up when he hears it’s Roger. “I am BEGGING YOU,” Roger says, dead serious, “get over here right away.” “You think I’d rather be working?” Don says. Roger does, actually, and so do I. Apparently Freddy Rumsen collects Indian arrowheads! Don chuckles. He’s been doing a lot of actual laughing lately, in addition to the whole downward spiral thingy. It’s nice to hear. “…And they’re self so righteous!” Roger declares drunkenly, which is presumably a completely awesome lineflub that John Slattery was smart enough to work through. Apparently the Ponds guy killed someone with a motorboat. “Know what gets you over something like that? Drinking!” Don says it’s an attractive offer, but leaves him to it. “Goodnight, sweetheart.”
“I’m pretty sure The Others used that subliminal torture room to turn me into an unstoppable killing machine, so maybe you should get down here and eat some goddamn crab cakes.”
Now it’s Peggy’s phone. Karl. “Fifteen minutes? It’s almost an HOUR!” She says he should just go to her apartment, she doesn’t know how much longer it’ll be. “I’ll make it worth your while!” she flirts half-heartedly, but he finally admits he’s got her whole family there and she feels like an ass and swears she’s on her way. “Do you have somewhere to be?” Don asks her dickily as she stands in his doorway wearing her coat and hat and holding her purse. Again. She says she was supposed to be at her birthday dinner an hour ago, and he’s annoyed with her for being annoyed with him because shit, why didn’t she just tell him that? “Well enjoy your evening!” he whines. “By the way, you are twenty…something years old, it’s time to get over birthdays.” Ha! She storms off and stares at the open elevator for a few seconds before admitting defeat and running off to call Karl. (Whose name is Mark. I see no point in starting to call him that now though.) “Yes, I’m that important,” he confides to the annoyed maitre d’ who keeps bringing him the damn phone. Peggy says she won’t be able to make it at all. “I’m sorry, but no one asked you to do this.” To prove her point, Peggy’s mom grabs the phone and says “Happy birthday, my beautiful smart successful daughter!” No, I kid, she tells her that there aren’t nice boys like this lining up to see her and she should be grateful for this one. Aww. Karl gets back on and Peggy, annoyed to tears, tells him she’s sorry she ruined this and she’s sorry he had to spend the evening with her mother. “You know what?” Karl says. “She’s right.” Yikes, Karl. Hope you weren’t planning on seeing the insides of those Hanes nylon briefs again anytime soon. “You used my birthday to get in good with a bunch of people who drive me crazy,” Peggy finally says. Yeah, that’s about the size of it. He wonders if he should have invited Don, since she never stands him up. “It’s been nice knowing you,” he snaps. “Happy birthday.”
Don sits on his couch staring back and forth between his bottle and his phone. He’s sort of relieved when he hears Peggy and can pretend that he was doing no such thing. “I think I just broke up with Mark,” she says, pouring herself a drink. Don doesn’t quite know what to do with himself, since he can’t really say “well thank Christ for that, because I will do literally anything not to be left alone with this telephone.” He tells her she should have just told him it was her birthday, and she mumbles, “right. No repercussions.” So now this is his fault? “Well, it’s not my fault you don’t have any family or friends or anywhere else to go.” Ouch! Don is surprisingly, or perhaps not, unaffected by that bit of candor. “Go, run to him, like in the movies,” he tells her. “You don’t have to be here.” Oh, but she does, she says. “Because of some stupid idea by Danny, who you had to hire because you stole his other stupid idea while you were drunk.” Again, yes, that pretty much sums it up. “Don’t get personal because you didn’t do your work,” Don snorts. And by the way, it’s not “Danny’s” idea, everything that comes through here belongs to the agency. “You mean you,” Peggy says. “As long as you still work here,” Don answers. “Is that a threat? Because I’ve already taken somebody up on one of those tonight.” Don tells her to relax, which we all know is easily the single worst way to get anyone to relax. She points to a blank piece of paper and suggests he turn that into Glo Coat. He can’t believe she’s pissed about goddamn Glo Coat, because after all, she gave him 20 ideas, and he picked one, which was a “kernel” that became that commercial. “Oh, so you remember?” This is a conversation she’s been waiting for an excuse to have for months. She says all he did was change it just enough so that it was his. “There are no credits for commercials!” Don says, exasperated. “But you got the Clio!” She says, her voice breaking for the first time. Don sighs. This is her job. He pays her money for her ideas. “But you never say thank you!” she sobs pitifully. “That’s what the money is for!” he shouts. Heh. She’s young, he says, she’ll get her recognition, and furthermore it’s ridiculous to be two years into her career and counting ideas. “Everything is an opportunity, and you should be thanking ME when you wake up every morning, along with Jesus, for giving you another day!” And with that, the dam bursts. She never ever does this, but here it is – she runs out, sobbing. “I’m sorry about your boyfriend, okay?” He shouts after her, when we know full well this has nothing to do with him and everything to do with Don.
But she totally went to the ladies’ room to cry just like Joan said to in Season 1!
Don gets out a Dictaphone/tape recorder thingy but before he can get any ideas onto it the tape runs out. Because it’s not a blank tape, it’s Roger’s book! Peggy’s gotten ahold of herself, sitting on the couch in her office, when Don bangs on the wall. “Peggy, get in here!” “…No.” “Come on, you have to come here right now!” he yells. She trudges in to find him with a huge grin. “You have to hear this! Sit down!” His peace offering is Tape Four of STERLING’S GOLD, in which Roger details Bert Cooper’s initial distrust of him, largely due to his romantic prowess. “Including with the queen of perversions, Ida Blankenship.” Ha! Don is giggling. Also, Bert hated Roger’s youth and vigor on account of an unnecessary manhood-removal procedure from a certain Dr. Lyle Evans, who served as a severely awesome google bomb during the Honda episode. Way to bring it back around, folks. The funniest thing about this is how absolutely delighted Don is, especially when Roger’s voice continues: “So somewhere in the summer of 1948…no, 1932,” and Don makes this great, thoroughly amused “what the fuck does that even mean?” face. Peggy scolds him for giggling; “it’s like reading someone’s diary.” And no, wait, this is the funniest part: “Oh, come on!” Don laughs. “Ida was a hellcat? Cooper lost his balls? Roger’s writing a book?” These things are all equally hilarious in Don’s mind. Peggy kind of wants to laugh but is also still trying to be mad. He hands her a drink. “Come on. Stay and visit.” Aww. She says she has nothing to say. It’s personal. “We have personal conversations,” Don says. “No, we don’t, and I think you like it that way. I know I do.” Followed immediately by “We’re supposed to be staring at each other over candlelight and he invites my mother? He doesn’t know me.” Don: “Well, as Danny would say, there’s no use crying over fish in the sea.” Ha! I cannot tell you how much I love funny Don.
“So then I was like,’But you totally hired me at lunch, Mr. Sterling!’ and HE BOUGHT IT!”
Peggy squeals when she sees a little mouse (which Don saw earlier) and jumps up onto a chair like a girl. Don crawls around on his knees looking for it, and I keep thinking this is going to inspire elephant/mouse/suitcase commercials, but it doesn’t, and I don’t really know why else these scenes are in here, except that Don says “there’s a way out of here we don’t know about,” which could Mean Something I guess. The point is, Don realizes that it’s still Peggy’s birthday after all, and she’s probably hungry since she’s missing out on her romantic Mom date. “Let me get you dinner,” he says from the floor, holding a hand out as a peace offering and a plea for help at the same time.
Neither of them wants to stop working, really, no matter what else is going on. They both have plenty to avoid thinking about. “What’s the most exciting thing about a suitcase?” Don wonders in their booth at a diner. Peggy says it’s the travel. She’s never even been on a plane. Don busts right in to a Korea story, which is insane. He never talks about Korea! He tells her about another kid, “more of a yokel than me, even,” who freaked out when they’d announce their altitude. There are really only a couple days’ worth of Korea stories between that guy and “…so then I carefully dislodged his dog tags from his mangled corpse and replaced them with mine, and the rest is history!” He’s getting pretty comfortable, with the Korea stories and the picture of Anna on his desk for all the world to see. And hot damn, here comes an Uncle Mac story! Somebody’s just feeling sharetastic lately. Uncle Mac had a suitcase that was always packed, on account of a man needed to be ready to leave at any moment. That sounds like something little baby Dick Whitman took to heart. Peggy says there’s something to that idea. Maybe. “I can’t tell the difference anymore between something that’s good and something that’s awful.” That’s a pretty sweeping statement there, Peggy. Don acknowledges that those two things are often very close. “But your best idea always wins, and you know it when you see it,” he says, looking right at his best idea. If only the rest of her life could make that much sense. “I know what I’m supposed to want, but it never feels right. Or as important as anything in that office.” Then she realizes she just learned something about him – she didn’t know he was in Korea. “Very briefly,” he says through a mouthful of her french fries. He didn’t shoot anybody but he did see people get killed. “That’s memorable,” he understates. “My father died right in front of me,” Peggy says, in full agreement. Heart attack. “I saw my father die too,” Don says, and huh, I don’t think I ever noticed they had that in common. Peggy giggles when he says he was kicked by a horse, but quickly realizes that no, really, he watched his dad get kicked by a horse. “What about your mom?” “I never knew her.” Peggy officially knows more about Don than anybody besides either of the Mrs. Drapers. She looks up thoughtfully at the poster above their booth at the diner. “Why is there a dog at the Parthenon?” “That,” Don announces, “is a roach.” He stands. “Let’s go someplace darker.”
“You gonna eat those fries? I was thinking about violently throwing them up later.”
No, not like that! Somewhere darker = somewhere they serve alcohol and broadcast fights on radios. Poor Peggy, newly single, laments how terrible she is at dating. “You’ll find somebody. You’re cute as hell,” Don says, dad-like. And you know, I never once got scared where this was leading. I’ve always loved this relationship, and I’ve been begging for this exact kind of episode for ages, but it never occurred to me that they’d end up in the sack or anything. Although perversely, by the end of the episode, I find myself less horrified by the prospect than I was before. I’m not rooting for it or anything, but laying all this out for us like this – the stark, terrifying loneliness that they have in common, and the ease with which they can relate to each other even under the weirdest circumstances, despite their different worlds – I guess it would make a little more sense to me if they ever did decide to go there. Which I don’t think they will. Or should. The point is, Don’s trying to tell Peggy she’s pretty without sounding like he’s hitting on her, and it totally works. “Men don’t exactly stop and stare in the streets,” Peggy says, which I do not believe. Don: “You want that?” Peggy: “That’s not what you were supposed to say.” Heh. She tells him that everyone thinks she slept with him to get the job. The fact that everyone jokes about it like he’s so out of her league seems to annoy her more than anything else. Don’s like, apologizing for not sleeping with her, which is kind of hilarious. He has to keep rules at work. It’s not that she’s not attractive. Peggy can’t resist. “Not as attractive as some of your other secretaries, I guess?” She teases. “You don’t want to start giving me morality lessons, do you?” He stares at her. “Secret love baby, anyone?” is left unspoken, but it’s clear. Yup, we’re gonna acknowledge that thing that never happened! “My mother thinks you were responsible because you were the only person who visited me in the hospital.” Wow. “She hates you,” Peggy adds unnecessarily. Don asks if she knows who was responsible. Of course she does. She does not elaborate. I suspect Don would laugh out loud if he knew it was Pete. He asks if she ever thinks about it. She tries not to, but sometimes it comes out of nowhere. “Playgrounds…” she trails off just in time for the radio to change the subject for them. Liston is down! Already! And he stays there, despite the handful of drunk guys half-heartedly yelling “Get up!” at the radio. Go figure. Anyway, Don just lost $100 in 2 minutes. It’s time to pack up and go home.
“Yikes! Glad I didn’t eat those fries.”
“Damn elevator’s like a rocket,” Don is saying as he and Peggy stumble into the SCDP lobby. “I’m gonna be sick.” Peggy hesitates a moment at the MEN/WOMEN signs – despite clearly imminent pukage – but finally bites the bullet and drags him into the men’s room. During the truly athletic bout of vomiting that follows, she stares at a urinal like she’s never seen one before. Which I bet she totally hasn’t. I remember that feeling. Fascinating! Also fascinating: someone has scribbled on the wall “For a good time, call Caroline.” That’s Roger’s secretary. Ha! Anyway, Peggy’s trying to figure out what to do with herself (Peggy: “Do you want some water?” Don: “…what? **blorrfff**”) when she hears someone calling her name. She follows the sound to Roger’s office, where she finds Duck squatting over a nice white chair, attempting to leave Don “a present.” “That’s disgusting!” Peggy yells, and furthermore, “This is Roger’s office!” She gets him up and re-pantsed but he just babbles “Babe! I need you so bad!” Peggy sighs heavily. Another drunk asshole to babysit. At least Don is entertaining, and keeps his hands to himself. “What’s going on?” Don slurs when he sees Duck. “You don’t belong here!” Nice job with the puke stain, Wardrobe! Anyway, Duck is equally drunk and equally indignant. “Well, Peggy, I see you’re not alone! I guess when screwing me didn’t get you anything you had to go back to Draper.” Peggy winces in humiliation. Don’s all “arooo?” “That’s right,” Duck says, approaching Don. “We were in love. Turns out she’s just another whore.” And BAM! Don punches him square in the face! Connecting beautifully despite his obvious impairment! No, that’s what would have happened on a lesser show. Mad Men is a more-er show, so Don’s chivalrous punch, satisfying as it is for the audience, sails hilariously off the mark (AIR BALL!) and they grapple like a high school wrestling practice while Peggy tries desperately to get them to stop. Duck finally pins Don down and hovers over his face with the heel of his hand. “I killed seventeen men in Okinawa,” Duck growls. “Uncle,” Don whispers disgustedly, somehow coming out less pathetic by doing so. “Still think you’re better than me?” The unemployed, publicly humiliated-at-the-Clios Duck taunts the successful, honored-at-the-Clios Don. I’m going to go with yes, although at this specific moment in time I’ll grant you it’s pretty close. “Come on, Peggy, let’s go,” Duck says, like it’s a foregone conclusion that she goes home with the winner. Don putters sadly back to his office and is visibly relieved when Peggy follows a few minutes later.
Mad Men: Your source for hot Duck-on-Don action.
She stammers an apology – she never meant to, she has no idea why she was with him, it was a confusing time, but Don raises his sad pathetic drunk hobo hand and tells her she doesn’t have to explain. “Can you get me a drink?” He asks. “How long are you going to go on like this?” She asks gently. “I have to make a phone call, and I know it’s going to be bad,” he answers. Peggy: “Do you want to be alone?” Don: “Could you just make me a drink?” Of course she can. He pats the seat next to him on the couch and she sits, holding his drink out for him. He quietly lays his head in her lap and drifts off. “Sorrrry ifff I embbbrssssed you,” he slurs sincerely. Awww. She shushes him and he’s out. She sort of shrugs and takes a drink for herself, and eventually falls asleep too.
This falls under that “5% – Other Duties As Assigned” part of the job description.
Don wakes up, or rather “wakes up,” to see a lovely, smiling, translucent Anna walk through the room, Samsonite in hand, then turn around and fade out all metaphoric-like. Don’s drunken subconscious is clever, mashing up those two preoccupations like that. “Samsonite: Shuffle Off Your Mortal Coil In Style!” When he actually does wake up, it’s around sunrise, and he knows he can’t put it off any longer, even though it’s the middle of the damn night in California. I guess it’s safe to assume Stephanie wasn’t sleeping especially well. “It’s me,” he says when she answers. “She’s gone.” Stephanie says. “I know,” Don says. He’s sorry he didn’t call. “I was…” He trails off. “Did she want to talk to me?” Stephanie says Anna wasn’t really there. Don nods. “I’m coming out. I’ll make the arrangements,” he says, glad to find some use to put himself to, but Stephanie says there’s no need. “She donated her body to science. She wanted to go to UCLA Medical School tuition free,” she says fondly. “Of course she did,” Don chuckles sadly. Well, okay, in that case he’ll be out there to take care of the house, but once again he’s not needed. Stephanie wants to stay there for awhile if it’s okay. Of course it’s okay. “She’s in a better place,” Stephanie says. “That’s what they say!” Don says, by which he means “I’m pretty sure that’s total bullshit, but what the hell else can you do?” He hangs up the phone, eyes all wide and shiny, to see Peggy sitting upright, staring right at him. Then for the second time I can remember, he just loses his shit. Just sobs and sobs, and Peggy doesn’t really know a whole lot better than Betty did how to comfort him, but she does a way better job anyway. “Somebody very close to me died,” he squeaks out between sobs. “The only person who ever really knew me.” “That’s not true,” Peggy says gently, patting him on the back significantly less robotically than Betty did when he broke down in front of her. It’s just incredibly sad and sweet and touching. Finally he tells her she should go home. “You can come in late. I’ll be alright.” And for the third or fourth time tonight Peggy presses the elevator button but doesn’t leave, opting instead for a Don Draper Office Power Nap.
“If I just stay perfectly still he won’t notice I’m here…No, wait, crap, that’s for sharks.”
Are you crying? I might have. A little. Shut up. Here, this will help: Thanks, Internet! Part II: Sad Don Draper.
Peggy wakes up to the incredibly loud yammering of the utter fucktard frat boys she works with. Ha ha, you slept at the office! I bet it was SO HILARIOUS! What an awesome night you must have had! She shrugs them off to check on Don, who is absolutely pulled all the way together. Not a crunchy greasy hair out of place, pukeless shirt, the whole nine. Because of course he is. He does this – or at least the “getting your shit utterly together after a night of drunken trauma part – literally every day. “Look,” he says, not missing a beat from this time yesterday. He shows her the hugely famous, iconic photo of Ali towering over Liston, then, next to it, a sketch of the same scene only with suitcases. “How do we know it’s the Samsonite who won?” She asks. “Why are you shitting on this?” he returns defensively. “I’m tired,” she says, an argument he has to accept. “I like it. It’s really good.” Then, aww, he grabs her hand on the table and squeezes, giving her a look that says “we will not be talking about this, but I will not be forgetting it either.” This, somehow, is the opposite of two things: It’s the opposite of how he handled things with Allison, but come on, Allison is not Peggy. But it’s also a nice bookend to the pilot, when Peggy awkwardly squeezes Don’s hand because she thinks it’s what is expected of her as his secretary. “I’m your boss, not your boyfriend,” is what he snaps at her if I remember correctly, but this is more “I’m your boss cause I have to be, but I’m really glad you stuck around.” It’s just lovely. She takes the sketch over to the frat boy fucktards to work on. At Don’s door she asks: “Open or closed?” “Open,” he says in a ham-fisted metaphor that I do not mind at all because this show earned the fuck out of it. And in case that wasn’t enough awesomeness for you, the end credits roll over “Bleecker Street” by Simon & Garfunkel. It’s officially the 60s.
I don’t think I have to tell you that this was easily my favorite episode of the season, and once I watch the whole series all in a row again next year when I’m preparing for Season 5 I might find it’s my favorite of the whole damn thing. I love the one-story eps, and this one was especially beautifully directed and performed. A Plus Plus, Mad Men.