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“Whoa! Rock bottom was a lot easier on the lungs.”
“They say as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem,” says Don’s inner monologue. Wait, what? Yup, the first thing we hear is the voice of Don’s journal, presumably part of another one of those New Leaves he’s always turning, waxing philosophic about booze and being old. It’s a little jarring, but it works for me because Don, Don’s apartment, and Jon Hamm’s narration are all totally Noir. The Philip Marlowey voiceover combined with the fact that the episode is called “The Summer Man” and the opening shot is a brightly lit sparkly swimming pool is exactly the kind of juxtaposition people who write about Mad Men love to point out. So there you have it. He’s realizing how scattered his thoughts have been. “I’ve never written more than 250 words,” Don says, “not even in high school,” which I guess makes sense for a guy whose job is reducing complex emotions to single sentences that can fit on cereal boxes. Also, he finally opened some damn shades in that place, and it’s still brown, just more like, golden brown rather than sadness brown. So all in all, Don is off to a smashing start! Except swimming a single half lap exhausts him, on account of he’s breathing through two dense black crumbly charcoal briquettes that used to be lungs. But never mind, we’ll work on that later! For now let’s give Don a pat on the back for drinking coffee with his Morning Pages, and for not only bothering to go to a gym, but actually doing something athletic. Roger would have headed straight to the sauna.
He struts into the office with his gym bag, “Satisfaction” playing behind him, because fuck yeah! Every week this season there’s been a “yeah, okay, NOW we’re in the 60s” moment or two, and here’s another one. Mrs. Blankenship (AKA the Queen of Perversions) is rocking these hilarious “goggles” from her cataract surgery. Don asks how she’s feeling, and tells her it’s fine if she needs a few more days off. “I told you, I’m fine, Roger!” Don stares for a beat, then: “I’m kidding around here!” She grins. Ha! He wants the number for Bethany Van Nuys. Zzzz. We’re not done with her yet?
“I feel like Margaret Mead!” Peggy giggles, which pretty much sums up the utter buffoonery occurring in the vicinity of the vending machine. Stan, Joey SweaterVest, Harry and Ken are all trying to get Joey’s watch back, which he apparently lost fishing after a dime the machine ate. Imagine this scene with orangutans and nothing about it changes, except that the orangutans are stronger and would probably figure it out quicker. They might smell better, too, if the big Pig Pen dirt cloud I always imagine surrounding Stan is any indication. I don’t know why I think he smells, but if you think about it I bet you do too. Anyway, Poor Joan has to come out and break up the fucktardery, again, and when she tells them to get back to work Joey decides to be a smartypants. “Okay, MOM!” He snarks. Those Creative types are SO clever! That thing took his watch, he bitches. What’s he supposed to do? “Call the complaint number,” Joan suggests, “have an adult solve this problem.” Hilariously, Pete takes this exact moment to make his only appearance of the episode, marching in to grumble about an important phone call and essentially yell at them to get off his lawn. It’s cute, cause aw, Pete’s a grownup, mostly. Joan would like a word with Joey in her office. Now, Joey’s said some dumb stuff and generally acted like an ass, but nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing as vicious as Stan’s nastiness toward Peggy. Obviously he’s been saving it up for this week, because I spent pretty much the entire episode, and a couple days afterward, fantasizing about someone punching him in his adorable face, repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. Where’s Drunk Duck when you need him? Joey can’t keep a straight face while Joan tells him to watch his punkass mouth, because behind her, Stan is smashing his punkass ass against her office window. Joey giggles and Joan is disgusted. “I’m glad you’re amused. You’re so arrogant.” For some reason this hits a nerve for The Artist Formerly Known As Joey Sweatervest. “Me?” He smarms. “What do you do around here besides walking around here looking like you’re trying to get raped?” SAY FUCKING WHAT? Come again, you douchey little smartass twerp? Joan is dumbfounded and he continues: “I’m not some girl just off a bus. I don’t need a madam in a Shanghai whorehouse to show me the ropes.” And he walks out, leaving Joan speechless. He puts out his cigarette on her desk on his way out, just for that added touch of class. Oh, Joey, you card. If there’s anything more hilarious than rape, I don’t know what it is!
If you’re going to sexually harass this woman, at least have the decency to do the kind where you try really hard to have sex with her, sheesh.
And okay. This is not even close to the first time we’ve gotten a “Hey, remember how in the 60s men were total assholes to women at work?” scene/line/plot/theme on this show. I mean, Peggy’s entire character is about that, as is Joan’s really. But this one made me want to take six or eight Silkwood showers in a row.
Joan, speechless for the first time I can recall this entire series, is still standing, mouth agape, when Peggy’s awesome sense of timing kicks in. She opens the door: “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were in here.” “Where the hell else would I be? This is my office!” Joan says, and all in all is a little snippy but certainly a lot more composed than I could have been at that moment. You sweatervested little shit. Peggy can see she’s upset, and apparently they do cut through Joan’s office a lot, which is annoying, so she apologizes and backs away. She offers to help Mrs. Blankenship (QOP), who’s lugging 4 bottles of Scotch toward Don’s office. Don sees her unloading them onto her desk and is all no, “I told you, I’m set.” “…And then you’re not!” She finishes. “Take those back to the storeroom,” Don says, “and while you’re there, get me some cigarettes.” Ha! What a great sentence. “Your wife called earlier,” she tells him, and he tries really hard not to be an asshole when he explains again: “She’s not my wife.” Well, the point is, Mrs. Francis wanted to remind Don that he can’t have the kids this weekend because it’s Bobby’s birthday party on Sunday. “It’s GENE’s birthday,” Don corrects, and how sad is it that the fact that he knows when his kids’ birthdays are makes my heart swell? Sad, that’s how sad. Mrs. Blankenship doesn’t miss a beat: “Did you want me to buy him or her a gift?” Ha, okay, fine, I love her. Don says no, which presumably means he’ll also be buying his own kid’s birthday present! Father of the goddamn year!
“I’m sorry, were you saying something about being desperately alone and devastated because you get no respect and are treated like meat? No? Good, now take off your dress.”
Joan is home early. But it wasn’t just Joey AssHat’s rape jokes that sent her there, it’s her rapey husband’s last day before he’s off to Basic Training! He spends the next couple of minutes trying to have sex with her, and to his credit, he doesn’t shove her face into the carpet. Progress! But the point is, she’s just so fucking sad, and he doesn’t really notice. I was thinking about this last week: Do we know anything at all about Joan outside of work and Douchey Howser, MD? Has she ever even mentioned a mom or sister or friend or book club or anything? I really can’t think of any. And on top of that, she doesn’t have any actual friends at SCDP, except Roger. So when she asks him who she’s going to talk to while he’s away, and he responds, halfassedly, barely paying attention, that she can talk to her friends at work, she just bursts into tears. Joan would punch Season 1 Betty and her manufactured ennui right in the face if she heard her complaining about her life. Betty had kids and family and friends. Joan, as far as we know, has only this: A job where spoiled little jacktards like Joey get paid more than she does to call her a whore, and a clueless rapey failed surgeon husband to come home to. And now even he’s leaving for 8 weeks of basic training, then after that, almost certainly being shipped off to what will become the defining tragic clusterfuck of an entire generation. But that’s fine, cause he convinces her to have sex with him before he goes. I know that’s how I like to unwind after a long day of being objectified!
And speaking of generation-defining clusterfucks, Don’s at home watching horrible Vietnam news in his marginally less brown apartment, sitting at the windowside desk he’s been hanging around lately, eating some Dinty Moore, drinking a big can of Budweiser (The Cure for the Common Beer!), and writing in his totally manly journal. His voiceover even says “I sound like a little girl, writing down what happened today.” He’s thinking about Gene’s birthday party, though. And Gene, who he barely knows. “Conceived in a moment of desperation and born into a mess.” I don’t think any of the parties involved would disagree with that assessment.
Dinty Moore: The Cure for the Common Rock Bottom! Inner Monologues: The Cure for the Common Crippling Alcohol Addiction! Sunlight: The Cure for the Common Sad Brownness!
I wonder who Don’s been talking to. Where did he get this “keep a journal” idea, I wonder? Freddy Rumsen? He’s also following more general self-help-infomercial stuff like writing out his goals. “1) Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro. Go anywhere in Africa, actually. 2) Gain a modicum of control over the way I feel.” Not the most exciting Bucket List, but it’s a start, and those things are both going to take a lot of work, so we might as well start small. Swimming Don plunges underwater, letting himself sink, presumably allllmost all the way to the bottom but not quite. Get it? GET IT?
Work Don is realizing how much free time he has now that he’s not drinking literally all day long. He doesn’t really even know what to do with his hands during a Mountain Dew meeting with Peggy, Stan and Ken. He can’t keep his eyes off everybody else’s drinks, especially Peggy’s, and I think there’s a bit of guilt there, or at least fear, for just how much his first and only protégée will wind up emulating him. Everything is silent slow motion. This show really knows how to use absolute silence, that’s for sure. They’re having to start all over with Mountain Dew, so Don calls Joan in to get Joey (who’s freelance) on the books as a full-time artist. Joan takes a moment to seethe invisibly, then closes the door and tells Don that Joey is, let’s say, not a gentleman with the girls. Don says they’ll talk about it later, actually using the words “boys will be boys.” Seriously.
“Am I a tool or a douche? I ask because I feel like I should update my resume soon, and I respect your opinion as a walking vagina.”
And speaking of Joey, he’s in Harry’s um. Office? Is that where we are? It looks like their old hotel room at the Pierre, or an old lady’s house. Betty’s fainting couch would not be out of place in this room, is the point, but the signed 8×10 of Jed Clampett really ties the whole thing together. He’s telling Joey that there actually is such a thing as overnight fame, and he thinks he can get Joey, who is after all very handsome, on Peyton Place. Harry says they liked his photo, but Joey thinks it’s weird that Harry apparently runs around Hollywood with a Christmas party Polaroid of Joey on his person at all times. He even says so to Peggy – people are always coming on to him! Sheesh! I think that’s just Harry trying to get in good enough with the Hollywood guys to be a TV bigshot, but whatever. “What did you do to Joan?” Peggy asks him, and he says he told her off. “Well you shouldn’t have. She’s very important around here.” Joey scoffs. “Let me tell you something,” he starts, and let me tell you something, if somebody starts a sentence off with a scoffy “Let me tell you something” you know you’re in for a real treat. “We’re Creative, and she’s an overblown secretary.” There’s one in every company, says wise old 22-year-old Joey, some lady like his mom who runs around telling everybody what to do. “She even wore a pen around her neck so people would stare at her tits.” There is so much wrong with that sentence, but let me sum up: Don’t you dare talk about your mother that way, young man, and in addition, on what planet does Joan need any help at all drawing attention to her tits? “She’s not your mother,” Peggy says, “and she and Lane basically run this place.” Ain’t that the truth.
At a fancypants restaurant in Manhattan, the Franciseseses are all dressed up and meeting Some Guy for dinner, a last-minute meeting at Congressman Lindsay’s behest. Hey, Betty, remember how you had to sit through all those insufferable business dinners with Don? Well thank god you married a politician! They never have to sit through insufferable dinners or have wives whose job it is to stand around looking pretty. Speaking of Don, Betty’s pretty face falls when she sees him across the room, on a date with Bethany. (“Are you a Felix or an Oscar?” Zzzzzz.) “Why don’t we get a drink at the bar?” Betty blurts out before she remembers that’s probably unladylike. Awkward pause. Henry follows her eyes across the room, and to his credit, he acts about as much like a grownup as possible. Kudos, writers, and actor guy whose name I don’t even know, for how this Henry thing has been playing out. Last season I had absolutely no interest in this guy except a burning desire to punch him, but he’s been the unlikely voice of reason for Betty so many times I shudder to think what Sally’s life would be like without him around. And he mans up around Don. Brief, stiff, awkward introductions ensue, then everybody goes back to their dinner feeling really weird. When Bethany realizes she’s staring at Don’s ex-wife, her eyes go wide. “Her?” And I don’t really know what that means – is it because now he knows he marries women who look exactly like her? Or was she picturing a haggard old shrew with screaming babies climbing all over, but instead she’s Grace freaking Kelly? She pesters Don about how she knows they’re from different generations (HA! Hahaha) but she’s going to need more from him. Intense, prolonged contact, to be precise. Don sighs. It is SO not worth the trouble at this point.
And the reason Henry’s been dragged here? Officially, it’s to thank him for getting the Governor to endorse Congressman Lindsay. In reality, it’s to ask Henry to head up Congressman Lindsay’s Presidential campaign for the ‘72 election. Betty’s not paying any attention AT ALL. She’s smoking and drinking and fidgeting and staring at Don and Bethany. “This part’s almost over, honey!” the Congressman’s aide or whoever tells her, like she’s twelve, but she excuses herself to the ladies room where she sits, all ladylike, dabbing her sweaty armpits and smoking a cigarette on the toilet. And I get it, because it’s worse than just “Oh, Don’s on a date, how awkward.” It’s “Don is a fucking pro at this, this is what his late worknights looked like for our entire marriage,” which is so much worse. I’d sulk too. January Jones’ body language is pretty spectacular here, especially on the ride home when she’s leaning up against the window EXACTLY like you used to after your mom insisted on coming inside the skating rink to pick you up, right in front of the cool kids, when you specifically instructed her to wait outside. She’s all “I can’t believe you made me sit there and look at them!” Because that’s where your priorities should be when someone’s asking you to run a goddamn presidential campaign for them. Henry – again, somehow, the voice of reason – is like “I have an ex wife. She bothers me. I don’t like seeing her, but I don’t hate her!” Betty rolls her eyes. “You’re a saint.” Henry: “I’m an adult.” He says Don’s taking up too much space in her life. And maybe her heart. “Maybe we rushed into this,” he says. Really? You think? Betty even says “I was six months pregnant when we met!” Then she does that thing where she pretends to want him to pull over, and then she’s like “No! Drop me off at the house, cause you don’t want to live there anyway!” Right, what kind of asshole would feel a little weird renting a house from his wife’s ex husband? “And you can go stay in a hotel, or wherever you were when I met you. In your mansion, with your servants.” What? I always did wonder about that. People ask him to head up presidential campaigns and he has to rent Don’s house? Weird. “Shut up, Betty, you’re drunk,” is his reply, and she can’t really argue.
“God, wife-ing is SO BORING. Let’s go to the mall, I need some new bangles from Claire’s.”
Don is also acting like a teenager. Not the petulant tantrumy kind of teenager, the kind of teenager that gets blowjobs in backseats. Bethany is no strumpet, for heaven’s sake. She can’t just have sex with a guy she’s only been on a few dates with! But she can give him a quick hummer in the backseat of a cab. Well, as long as you’re being classy about it. “To be continued!” She says all sexy-like when they drop her off at her building, and Don’s voiceover suspects she’d been thinking of that line all night. “She’s a sweet girl, and she wants me to know her. But I already do.” Don’s journal narration also reveals that he’s grown quite fond of sleeping alone, “stretching out like a skydiver.” Meanwhile, Henry tells a hungover Betty that everything’s fine, but when he heads off to work he glares at the boxes in the garage marked “DRAPER,” then rams his car into them in a petty but understandable and borderline awesome display of passive-aggressive territorial pissing.
At SCDP, Don overhears a really tackily loud phone fight between Faye Miller and her ex, while Joey mixes vodka with Mountain Dew and calls it a cocktail. Peggy says you need three ingredients to call something a cocktail. “Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.” Ha! It is indeed. One Emergency on the rocks, barkeep! Joan’s in Lane’s office raising concerns about Joey and the vending machine (she thinks it’s a troublemaker; he says it’s making them so much money he wants a sandwich machine too). “What do you think they’re doing in there?” asks some random non-Danny-Strong guy who’s been hanging around for some reason. And Joey’s like “hur hur, I know what they’re doing! I will draw a dirty picture of a sex act because I’m eleven!” Peggy tells him to stop, but ha, like he gives a shit what Peggy says when he has Stan and Not-Danny to hur hur right along with him. She’s outnumbered, so she leaves them to it, telling them she wants them to come up with three Mountain Dew cocktails. With three ingredients, dammit. “Peggy Olson,” Stan says as she leaves, “pioneering the science of wet blanketry.” Ha. That would be funny if it were accurate, but come on! She’s an alcoholic who hangs out with lesbians for heaven’s sake, that’s the opposite of a wet blanket. “You love her,” Joey accuses Stan without looking up from his art, and I’m pretty sure he’s right.
“Henry Francis calling!” Mrs. Blankenship yells into Don’s answering machine. Well now this ought to be interesting. They have an awkward, gentlemanly conversation that amounts to “Hey, why don’t you get your shit out of my garage so I can park my expensive phallic new boat at the house where I regularly have sex with your former wife.” Don understands. Henry says he should probably come Saturday, since Gene’s birthday party is Sunday. Oooh, that’s fucked up, Henry. You’re supposed to be the reasonable one! Don rolls over, because whatever. I guess he figures he deserves whatever he gets. He hangs up, stares at his booze, checks his watch, but surprises himself by testily requesting some coffee instead.
Peggy, wearing the cutest dress I’ve ever seen in my life, sticks her head into Joan’s office to bitch about the vending machine. Seriously, I need to learn how to operate this sewing machine I’ve had in my house for months, that’s how much I absolutely must have that dress. Anyway, poor long-suffering Joan reaches into the petty cash box to get Peggy her damn 30 cents when she sees Joey’s drawing taped to the window. The worst part is that it’s not even a particularly funny illustration (but points for using the phrase “Tally Ho!” before it was a pun because I don’t think the word “ho” existed till the early 80s). It’s pretty standard seventh grade “teehee sex!” bullshit, but Joan gets up without a word and interrupts their dicktardery to ask who’s responsible for it. “Hur hur!” they respond collectively, pausing to pick nits out of their fur and pop them into their mouths. “I can’t wait until next year when all of you are in Vietnam,” she announces brightly. “You will be pining for the day when someone was trying to make your life easier. When you’re over there, and you’re in the jungle, and they’re shooting at you, remember that you’re not dying for me, because I never liked you.” NICE. That shuts them up for awhile. Peggy grabs the drawing and shows it to Don, saying Joey taped it to Joan’s window, which is disrespectful to Joan AND to Peggy. Don: “Narrative? Forced perspective? Are you sure Joey did this?” Ha. But no, not ha! This is a serious matter, dammit! Don’s like, “why don’t you just go fire him?” Peggy pauses. Um. She thought he’d go out there and yell at him for her. But Don says no – if he gets involved everyone will call her a tattletale. “You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.” Awesome idea, mentor! That’s totally the right answer! Right?
Peggy pulls Joey into her office and he immediately puts on his sad face. He’s sorry. “Good. Then go apologize.” But then Joan will know he did it! Yeah, well, Peggy did warn him not to, now didn’t she? “See, this is why I don’t like working with women,” he explains patiently, using small words she and her uterus can understand. “You have no sense of humor.” Peggy glares at him for a moment, because oh my god. Then: “You’re fired.” “Fine,” he whines, “I see the nostrils are flared, I’ll go apologize.” But Peggy’s like “did you hear the part where I fired you?” “Well,” Joey says, puffing himself up, “we’ll see what Don has to say about that.” Peggy: “Don doesn’t even know who you are.” Ooooh. Joey is juuust starting to realize he’s actually fired. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out,” Peggy says formally, showing him the door. When he tries to protest again she sighs, “It’s just a job, Joey. You’ll get another one.” He marches out to tell his fellow cavemen that the fun is over. He at least has the decency to look embarrassed about it. Haha, you got fired by a GIRL! They all stand around, mouths agape, when Peggy pokes her head in. “Stan, put Vick Chemical on the back burner. You’re on Mountain Dew.” Then just turns right around and walks away. Awesome. Right? I mean, surely that’s awesome? And it shows the guys she means business, or whatever? Right?
Fig. 1: In the presence of a female, the larger male (right) utters a series of grunts, and gestures toward excrement flung at the wall by a younger male rival (left).
Don and Faye are going over some market focus group something something zzzzzz. Don’s bored and hungry. “You wanna eat?” he asks her. She thinks he means order in, but he says she’s dressed pretty nice, and they can bring work along if she likes. She plays coy a little, but also, you know. Justifiably cautious. We’re talking about Don Draper after all. She says that dinner sounds nice, if it weren’t tacked on to the end of a workday like an afterthought. Fine, then. What about Saturday? It’s on! Way to avoid your third strike, Don.
In The Kitchen Formerly Known As The Drapers’, Betty’s washing up when Francine walks in with potato salad bowls. Plural. Aw, Francine. I’d missed you. Betty sighs and says Henry’s mad at her, and she just needs to make it through the weekend. “It’s a 2-year-old’s birthday party. And you’ll have help. And no one cares.” Exactly, Francine, thank you. She lowers her voice: “Is he coming?” Betty shrugs. He knows about it. All they can do is hope he doesn’t show up and ruin it. Francine, like Henry, wonders why Betty lets Don get to her. “Carlton calls him That Sad Bastard.” Ha. But Betty’s hackles are re-raised. “That’s an act!” she spits. “He’s living the life, let me tell you. He doesn’t get to have this family AND that.” That about sums it up. Except for the part where he did have them both for like ten or twelve years. Francine reminds Betty to keep things in perspective. “Don has nothing to lose, and you have everything.” Less true than it was last week, but still a pretty good point.
Yeah, okay, so I guess she does look a little too pleased with herself.
In the elevator, Joan is staring straight ahead while Peggy fidgets. “I don’t know if you heard,” Peggy says with pretend modesty, “but I fired Joey.” “I did,” Joan says sweetly. “Good for you!” Arooo? “Now everybody in the office will know that you solved my problem, and you must be really important!” Peggy and her aggressively awesome dress are horrified. “I defended you!” “You defended yourself,” Joan answers. She had already handled the situation, and if she wanted him gone she could have gotten it done her way. “Same result,” Peggy mutters. But Joan realizes she still just doesn’t get it. This is the story of Joan’s professional life, and she knows exactly what she’s doing. “No matter how important we get around here, they can still just draw a cartoon. So all you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary and you’re just another humorless bitch.” Elevator: DING! Joan: “Have a nice weekend!” Poor Peggy. I mean, she does have a right to make her own stand and get her own respect. But Joan has had it a hell of a lot harder than Peggy, for a lot longer. There have been about seventeen jillion Joey SweaterVests in her life, and she’s handled them all. This is a running theme with these two ladies: Peggy is not a different generation exactly – she’s what, maybe 5-8 years younger than Joan? But Joan doesn’t need rescuing. So it’s a nice idea, in theory, to stand up to the little troglodyte once and for all, but Joan at least would have been perfectly happy leaving it at “I literally hope you are killed in a terrible jungle war.” My point is, I’m not siding with anybody. Peggy was right to take a stand, and Joan is right that she doesn’t need Peggy fighting her battles for her.
“It was a dark and stormy night. When a man walks into a room, he brings his life with him. Dear Penthouse Forum: The other day, this girl totally blew me in the back of a cab.”
“When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him,” Don’s Marlowey Chandleresque Noirtastic voiceover tells us as he pulls up to the house in Ossining. Henry has kindly/passive-aggressively/bitchily piled his boxes up on the curb for him. Don loads them up, watching Henry mow his lawn. The real kind of mowing, where you had to put your shoulders into it and work up a sweat! It pains me to say that Henry’s torso is disarmingly attractive. Betty ices a comically lopsided cake and makes an inscrutable face as Henry pulls off his sweaty shirt. Don backs his car up to some anonymous dumpster and tosses all his boxes in without even looking inside. He goes home, gets dressed, and has a single sip of a single drink before he meets Faye for their dinner. “We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what we had.” True dat, Voiceover Noir Journal Don. True dat.
I agree with your coy smirk, Dr. Miller. A fat stack of unmarked bribe money and a semi-automatic hidden under his jacket does seem like a pretty good look for Don.
Don’s date with Faye goes pretty nicely, despite the fact that he opens with “You smell nice.” She says he smells like chlorine. He says he’s been swimming: “It’s an effort to get in the water, but once you do, you’re weightless.” She’s obviously the best match for him in awhile, just in terms of intellect and wit and age and whatnot. She starts getting all dreamy-eyed pretty early on. Don tells her that despite the shit he’s given her in the past, he really does admire her work. That means a lot coming from him. Also: Her father’s in the mob. Nothing too exciting, it sounds like, but still, ha! Awesome. The cab ride home is pretty similar to the one earlier with Bethany, except he looks like he’s kissing Faye on purpose, rather than just following through with some Pavlovian response. And she is ready to head back to the Fortress of Brownitude! Yeah, here we go! But Don says he’ll just be dropping her off at her front door. She wasn’t expecting that, and we weren’t either. I mean, he just got a blowjob in a cab like three days ago after all. I guess the difference is he likes this one. Later, in the pool, he makes it all the way to the end of the lane, beating the younger guy next to him, with lung capacity to spare! Hey, this whole thing is feeling a lot better than he thought it would! It’s an effort to get in, but once you do, you’re weightless. And you know what? Fuck a bunch of not being welcome.
“Hi everybody! I brought the Elephant In The Room!”
Gene’s stupid birthday party is puttering along at the Draper/Francis house. Ugh, kid birthday parties. Poor Sally is stuck babysitting the little ones, because of course she is. Christ her hair’s cute. And in walks Don, just striding past the crowd like he belongs there, because he does. He’s got a hilarious elephant-in-the-room under his arm, and when Betty sees him, Henry gives her a “Now Elizabeth, behave yourself,” look, but it’s okay. She picks up Gene and hands him over. “Say hi to daddy,” she says, with what seems to be genuine affection, at least for the baby. Don makes baby faces and holds him up in the air and does all those cute things dads do with babies, and Betty explains her change of heart to Henry with Francine’s words: “We have everything,” she shrugs, and kisses him. The last shot, however, is the face of a woman for whom things are not so simple. It’s a woman looking at a man she loved for a long time, the father of her children, who’s turned a corner. The kind of guy you maybe don’t stop loving right away no matter how much of a Dick he is. And also, it’s the look of a woman who can never have what she wants, because sooner or later she stops wanting what she has. Nice face acting, January Jones.
“Maybe I could just switch back and forth between them every few years. That’s reasonable, right?”