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“Followup question: Are you fucking kidding me?”
Well. Last week was early, this week is late, so let’s call it even. Real jobs. Pthhbbt.
I loved this episode from the first few seconds, because yay, Danny Strong! That’s two awesome “Hey! It’s That Guy!”s in a row. He’s got his teeny tiny portfolio out for Don and Peggy to snicker at, because it’s kind of hilarious. Greyhound: The Cure for the Common Bus! Budweiser: The Cure for the Common Beer! Etc. Don is almost giggling, but Danny is beaming with pride. And you know, someone somewhere came up with that ubiquitous little turn of phrase, and it had to have been an ad guy, so there you have it. Based on a true story. Anyway, he drops Roger’s name in the least subtle way possible (he’s Jane’s cousin), and there’s a pipe involved, and he uses the phrase “ad game” and Don just can’t handle it anymore. “Well, best of luck!” Danny (whose name is apparently Danny) is confused that he wasn’t hired on the spot, but Peggy smiles and says “we’ll let you know.” Danny brightly asks for a restaurant recommendation, and Don tells him “Tell my secretary you’re hungry. See what she says.” After Don shuts the door we hear Mrs. Blankenship’s muffled “I don’t work for you!” Ha. Don pours a couple of drinks, because of course he does. I love Team Don & Peggy. I don’t want them to hook up or anything, ever, but I want them to hang out more. Seeing Danny has made her all reflective of how far everything has come. “I mean, look at Glo Coat!” She says. “Yes, your work was invaluable, thank you for your years of dedication,” Don fails to respond. Poor Peggy. Anyway, it cannot be a coincidence that this episode went up against the Emmys, because it’s full of stuff like Don saying “You finish something, you find out everyone loves it right around the time it feels like someone else did it.” The entire cast and crew of Lost clears its collective throat. “Is that your speech for the Clios?” Peggy says, and yay, a Clio nomination! It’s about time! I say that not knowing how long the Clios have existed, but the point is, that little cowboy kid has done more for Don’s career than anything he did for Sterling Cooper. Don sort of downplays the whole thing, but acknowledges that it would be good for the agency. Speaking of which, how’s that Vick’s stuff coming along? Peggy says they’re very behind. The new art director (?) is waiting for “synchronicity” and generally being an ass. Don says she has to get used to working with him, not the other way around. He looks pretty pleased with himself. Shut up, Don. Peggy doesn’t even bother protesting. She just tells him “good luck/break a leg” and leaves most of her drink behind for him to finish off.
Roger really does just blend right in to his awesome dichromatic office. It’s perfect. He’s dictating the book he’s been talking about since he found out about David Ogilvy’s like three years ago. “Hardy was so mean to Laurel,” Roger says thoughtfully to his notetaking secretary. Don knocks at the door, and Roger does a high-pitched fake lady voice. “Who iiis it?” Hahaha. It’s the little things. Don comes in honest-to-god laughing about Danny’s portfolio, which was full of five versions of the same tagline, then a bunch of other people’s ads. “Plagiarism,” Roger says. “That’s resourceful.” Roger says he told Danny to be himself: “I guess that was kind of mean.” And Don is just downright jolly! That’s nice to see, right? After all the sadness and brownness? Huh? Anyway, Roger asks when he starts, and when Don giggles “the first of never!” Roger reminds him how these transactions work: If he doesn’t hire Jane’s cousin, it will cost him a personal gift expenditure between $500-1000. He smiles and shakes Don’s hand, wishing him a genuine good luck at the Clios this afternoon.
Why wait for a man to buy you a fur coat, when you can just use the alimony and child support you got in the divorce to buy like ten of them?
And deedle deedle doo! Deedle deedle doo! (Wayne’s world flashback sound) An even jollier, salesmany Don is shaking the hand of a slightly younger, equally smartassy Roger, who’s still wearing the three-pointed pocket square (it’s been a square square lately), trying to buy a fur coat. Cause remember? That’s where Roger’s always saying he “found” Don? Whenever he gets bitter about how brilliant everybody thinks Don is? Anyway, Roger’s looking for something that says “I’m getting to know you, but I don’t want to scare you.” After trying on a fetching mink stole, Roger decides to split the difference and go with something waist-length. He glances at the poster on the wall and reads it out loud: “Why wait for a man to buy you a fur coat?” it says, and there’s a beautiful photo of OH MY GOD THAT’S BETTY. I hadn’t noticed the first time around, but isn’t that how Don met her? She was definitely a model, but apparently he either met her on the job or he asked his girlfriend/fiancée/future ex wife to do him a favor for work. Cool! Anyway, Roger’s like “That’s a dumb question. Who does your work?” “I do,” Don says, choosing not pretend it’s not awkward. It’s an interest of his, and they let him do it. Roger hands him a card, and he’s all ZOMG squee does this mean I can maybe talk about working for you guys? And Roger’s like, no, it means you can call that number and get some specific delivery instructions. “Of course, Mr. Sterling,” Young Happy Don says without missing a beat.
“I saw you leave the office with something under your arm,” says freaking JOAN, ten-or-so years ago Joan, sitting on the edge of a hotel bed with a glass of champagne. Aww. Wow, that means they were together-but-not-really for a looong time. They only broke it off in season 1 or 2, right? And this was at least 5 or so years before that. “Oh Roger,” she coos, “you shouldn’t have!” in a way that means “you absolutely should have.” He tells her to try it on, but take off the dress first. “One gift at a time,” she purrs. Yowza. Roger finds Don’s portfolio tucked tackily away inside the box. He grumbles that it’s out of line, but it is soon forgotten when Joan says “when I wear it I’ll think of everything that happened the night I got it,” looking and sounding exactly like a Tex Avery cartoon. Aooooogah! Aww. Memories. (Deedle deedle doo, deedle deedle doo!) Roger snaps out of it and calls his secretary in. “I think I finally have a work story!”
“How’s about you take off that mink and wrap yourself up in some SILVER FOX?”
So everybody’s waiting in the conference room for the Life Cereal people, which is the last thing Don has to do before the Clios. He’s excited. It’s cute. Harry’s like “Here’s my story about how I went to the Emmys and here’s my Red Skelton namedrop!” But I can’t hate Harry for that – the TV department did kind of fall into his lap but that doesn’t mean he’s not good at it. Except for that time he didn’t hire Joan when she was so awesome at that scriptreading job. On my shit list forever for that, Crane. Also: This scene aired a few minutes before Rich Sommer stood on stage at the Emmys with all of these other people. Rich Sommer could drop some way more impressive names than Harry. Meta-licious! Anyway, oh no, turns out the Life Cereal guys’ flight is delayed, so whoops, they’re just gonna have to get pre-drunk for the Clios instead! Oh, and by the way, Peggy’s not invited. “There were only four tickets,” Pete explains, and for some reason they go to Don (obviously), Roger (of course), Pete (maybe it’s his account?) and Joan (???). “There’ll be a lot of other people’s clients there,” Don explains, like that makes any goddamn sense at all. Really, you need arm candy at the freaking Clios? And Peggy may not be a Tex Avery cartoon, but she sure is pretty, if that’s a requirement. Sheesh.
So Peggy is already pretty annoyed when she tries to get some work done with this new guy, who I don’t think we’ve ever seen before, and oh my god. He’s a Hipster Douchebag prototype (beta) v1.1 (upgrade from Paul Kinsey, v1.0). Where the hell did he come from? What happened to Peggy’s lesbian pal or that cute writer she made out with or any of the other jillion one-off characters we’ve gotten this season? We get this guy instead? Anyway, apparently this guy is Stanley Rizzo, and I don’t know if I should get used to him or not. He’s showing a couple of the secretaries a “Vote For President Johnson Because The KKK Says So” ad that never aired. Classy. “Girls, do you mind?” Peggy tells Clara and Megan (she of French Extraction). Ha! “Girls.” Peggy’s balls get bigger and bigger with each passing week. Anyway, Stan is really into “nudity is freedom! You’re brainwashed to think your body is dirty!” Whereas Peggy’s really into “Oh my god shut up and do your job!” Poor Peggy has no one else to vent to about her heavy involvement in and utter lack of recognition for Glo Coat, so it has to be him, and he’s totally compassionate and comforting and reassuring. No, I kid, he’s (wait for it) a douche. “Okay, I’m just gonna riff for awhile. Speechitize the whole Vick’s experience.” Peggy’s eyes cannot roll far back enough. Also, he calls her “toots” without irony.
The Clios are at the Waldorf, hence the punny title! Don and Roger sit at the bar chatting with colleagues when who should walk by but Ted Chaughahgah! He calls them Pebbles and Bam Bam, for some reason. He thinks he’s being all scathing and intimidating, but that kind of thing only works if anyone cares at all about anything you say, ever. The degree to which Don and Roger utterly fail to give a single shit is truly magnificent. His arm candy is Major General Frank Galvin. For some reason. Don introduces Ted, and Roger’s like “Oh, that’s how you say it!” Ted does some more ineffective taunting, and after they walk away Roger says “General Rufus T. Bullshit!” which I want to change all of my screennames to right now. He says the guy’s an actor, paid to look important next to “Chow-guh-guh.” Roger has already made my night with those two quotes right next to each other like that.
Joan and Pete run into Ken! Cosgrove! Accounts! along with with the BirdsEye guy – that’s one of the accounts they lost when they left Sterling Cooper. “I hear the old team’s getting back together!” Bird Eye announces. Pete’s all “Arooo?” “Judas Priest, are we merging?” Pete whispers to Joan. Ha! I like this “one wacky Pete turn of phrase per episode” thing we have going. A thing like that! “Talk to Lane,” Joan answers knowingly, since she always knows everything about everything. Oh, hey, there’s Duck! And wow, he needs to have a talk with Freddy Rumsen, because if there’s any way to get any further off the wagon, I’d like to see it. Like, standing up, heckling the host, dragged off by security, that kind of off the wagon. Yeah, go ahead and smirk, Don Draper. It’s not like you’re an actual “make an ass out of yourself at work and lose an entire weekend” kind of drunk, right? “God, I miss working with that guy,” Roger says with genuine fondness.
It’s Don’s turn now. As the nominees are read, there’s a super cute shot of Joan’s hand holding Roger’s under the table. And before they announce the winner, there’s an even cuter shot of Don grabbing her other hand. She’s the glue that holds them together! Or something. They probably just wanted to show her pretty knees, but it is fun that Don cares enough about this thing to be nervous about it. Don never cares about anything! Also, in general, there is not nearly enough interaction between Joan and Don. Although man, he sure plants a pretty fat kiss on her when they announce that the winner is “Billy The Kid” from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce! Yay! Really, that is one serious smooch. Don goes up to the stage, smiles for the camera as he is handed a little statue, then goes and sits right back down where he was before. Yay! Now we can celebrate! Isn’t that right, Megan? Wait, what? Megan sheepishly congratulates him, then tells them that she had to run down the block and interrupt because the Life Cereal people rented a car and are sitting at the office waiting for the meeting they’re like 3 hours late for. But whatever! Don’s got this, no problem. Didn’t you just see him win that award? Surely he can handle some damn cereal, right? So let’s do this thing!
“Life: It Makes You Throw Up In Your Mouth A Little!”
Harry is entertaining the clients in the conference room, pouring drinks and spoiling future Peyton Place episodes for them. Cause he gets to read them, and there was no Internet for him to post them on, and almost certainly no confidentiality agreement like Rich Sommer must have to sign when he gets his Mad Men scripts. This episode is SO META. So yay, hail the conquering hero and his little golden statue! Jon Hamm, incidentally, is thoroughly, aggressively awesome in this episode. Between this and the Emmys, Jon Hamm wins Sunday night. And delirious Clio-high Don is kind of great, at first. I mean, it’s nice to see him actually happy, that’s not really something we get a lot of. Roger at least includes Peggy in his drunken victory lap around the conference table, then he’s off to let the worky people do their “work.” “Is everyone set?” Joan asks. “That’s one word for it,” Lane replies. Heh. Pete is the kind of annoyed that you get when you’re not drunk but you’re surrounded by a bunch of drunks who don’t know how drunk they are. Joey’s supposed to deliver the pitch, but Don’s like “I got it!” He’s drunk on success AND whiskey, and I’m not sure which one decided to wing it here, but I’m pretty sure I know which one he’s burping up. And really, this would qualify as coasting no matter what – it’s the same “nostalgia” thing that worked so well for Carousel all those years ago. Which, to be fair, can and does sell just about anything, but this is pretty much Don going “Hey, remember that time I said all that stuff about nostalgia? Remember that? That was awesome!”
And it’s a nice ad. “Eat Life by the bowlful!” But he oversells the psychology angle and the guys think it’s too smartypants. They want a slogan. Pete’s kind of relieved. “Why don’t we let Don work that over? We can meet on Monday if you stay the weekend-“ “I got it! I got it, Pete!” Don protests, EXACTLY like a drunk guy trying to open his car door with his house key. “I’m totally fine to drive!” I don’t know what those drunk guys are trying to prove, but Don is trying to prove that he can still just pull awesomeness right out of his ass at a moment’s notice. Spoiler: He can’t. I mean, some of them aren’t bad. “Life is Sweet!” Others are pretty awful. “Life Is Just a Bowl of Life Cereal!” **crickets** His colleagues glare at him like he just did a little booty dance with Betty White. Pete chuckles awkwardly and says “I’m sure they’re not expecting you to do this right now!” By which he means “Christ on a cracker, you’re making an ass of yourself!” But Don soldiers on, trying to keep the clients interested. He’s desperate. “The Cure for the Common Breakfast!” He blurts out. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s the one they love. Score one for Danny! Whoops. Peggy shakes her head in disbelief. Pete’s just glad it’s over. Peggy tries to confront Don in the hallway but he just acts like a total dick in her general direction and tells Mrs. Blankenship to “Book a room with a lock on it for Misters Olson and Rizzo.” And don’t come out till you have something! “Are you kidding?” she says, and by way of answer he completely ignores her, downs the rest of his drink and hands her the empty glass like she’s a cocktail waitress. They have an afterparty to get to, Mr. Olson! He’ll get to the whole “stealing ideas he just ridiculed earlier” situation later.
She tries Pete: “I need to speak with you.” But he’s got Ken (Cosgrove! Accounts!) on the brain and he blows her off to bitch about it to Lane, who sighs heavily. That’s pretty much Lane’s default reaction to Pete: Heavy sigh. No, Lane tells him, they’re not merging, he just heard through the grapevine that Ken wasn’t especially happy at Gray, and that he was thinking of taking all of his big accounts elsewhere. Pete throws a cute little Pete tantrum. “Over my dead body!” and “I’m a partner, dammit!” and “You’ve never liked me!” But Lane stops him mid-stormout to sigh heavilier. “Roger Sterling is a child,” he explains. “We can’t have you pulling the cart all by yourself.” They know Ken’s good. Plus he comes as a package deal with Birds Eye and “a beverage called Mountain Dew!” Pete softens a little. Lane’s having lunch with Ken on Monday. “If your tantrum has subsided, you’re welcome to join us.” Pete heads for the door, but Lane adds “And on a personal note, I’d like to add that I’m quite fond of you, and it pains me to hear you say otherwise.” Aww. Way to take all the storm out of a stormout, Lane!
“Hey baby, come on back to my Fortress of Brownitude and we can see if your Freudian slip looks better crumpled up on my bedroom floor!”
At the afterparty, Joan is still serving as arm candy for Don and Roger, who is just as embarrassingly drunk as Don. Roger pesters Chaugogughh’s General, the one Roger thinks is an actor, but from the scary way the guy reacts to Roger’s smartass, jovial “Name some aircraft for me!” I’m thinking maybe Roger is mistaken. Joan’s charm saves him from an asskicking, for what I’m guessing is the billionth time Don spots Faye Miller across the room and plucks her away from the guy she’s talking to. Don thinks he’s rescuing her from an unwanted advance. He’s not. Don is a drunk fucktard. “DDddhhjjoo see the part where I won?” Don asks her, hilariously. It probably goes without saying that his lame attempt at picking her up is politely declined. “I think you’re confusing a lot of things at once right now,” she says, more correct than she can possibly imagine. Hang in there, Don! Stick around long enough and eventually someone won’t care how drunk you are!
Okay, this Rizzo guy is getting kind of ridiculous. Also, typing that has put that one song from Grease in my head all week. But he’s just, I mean, why would he say things like “I know you’re his favorite. I bet he takes you hunting and lets you carry the carcasses in your mouth”? Really, what is the backstory here? That’s just vicious. We’ve seen people giggled at and marginalized but actual outright bitter insults are pretty rare. Peggy, to her credit, ignores his truly awful bullshit and tries to work, but he won’t get his nose out of his Playboy. He’s all “You wouldn’t understand! It opens my mind with freedom!” Peggy wonders why he’s not a nudist, if he loves nakedness so damn much. Well, he totally would be, if it weren’t for all the prudes like her. “You don’t know anything about me,” she says, which is pretty much her catchphrase. “I know you’re ashamed of your body. Or you should be, at least.” Seriously? Jesus. Peggy just wants to get the hell out of there. She decides to call his bluff. She takes off her dress, and he’s all “wha?” “You’re lazy, and you have no ideas. I can work like this. Let’s get liberated!” He calls her a fruitcake, she calls him a chickenshit, and there’s nowhere else to go from here except naked. She keeps taking off clothes, staring him right in the eye, and it’s awesome. He joins her but stops at his relatively loosey whiteys. Peggy glares. “What are you waiting for?” Finally he drops them and sits across from her. Peggy is not at all afraid to call him out on his boner, which he gets all defensive about like he’s some repressed, non-liberated person or something. “Now let’s talk cough drops!” she says brightly.
Suck on this, Fred Armisen! I guess your husbanding is about as good as your Obama impression. (That’s mean. I feel bad. I’m sure they’re both nice people. Sorry.)
At the Waldorf, a pretty brunette ad groupie (those exist?) asks Roger “is that DON DRAPER??? Is he attached?” Roger: “To that glass? Absolutely.” Joan tells her to have at it. Roger mopes that Don seems pretty proud of himself. “Well, it’s a big day for him,” Joan says. “It’s a big day for all of us,” Roger clarifies. “ESPECIALLY YOU! Okay?” Joan chides. Roger grumbles that they don’t give awards for what he does. “And what is that?” Joan teases. “Find guys like him,” Roger says, gesturing toward a canoodly Don. Aaaand deedle deedle doo! Deedle deedle doo! Lil Baby Don runs into Lil Baby Roger TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT in the lobby of the Sterling Cooper building. Don’s like “oh hey, fancy meeting you here, I’m here for a totally different meeting at a totally different office.” Roger: “Name one other company in this building.” Don: “…” Ha. Don’s left some messages for Roger. “And I’ve ignored them. That’s my message to you.” Don just wants a break, like he’s sure Roger once did, and he’d give anything to buy him a drink and hear anything he has to say. “It’s 10am!” Roger pretends to protest, but Don had him at “dr-”. So they sit with their not-even-brunch martinis and listen to Roger talk about himself. “My mom always said, be careful what you wish for, cause then you’ll get it. And other people will get jealous, and try to take it away from you.” “Uh. I don’t think that’s exactly how it goes,” Don says, but whatever, Don is charmed and he wants to buy Roger lunch too. “I’m stuffed,” Roger declines. “I had a jar of olives.” Don is concerned – I mean, look how drunk this guy is already! Who DOES that? “Garcon!” Roger calls out to the empty restaurant. Then, in French, “My name is Roger, and I am a taxi, please.”
Naked Peggy is naked brainstorming. Just lalala, worky work! Naked Stan’s boner hasn’t gone anywhere, and Peggy draws his attention to it, and there’s this completely awesome staredown, which she wins. “Fine!” He finally says, pulling on his not-especially-tighty not-especially-whiteys. “You win!” “Win what?” Peggy says innocently. Why, the prize for the smuggest bitch in the world, of course! Peggy looks like she can totally live with that. It’s not a Clio, but it’ll do!
Come on, brain cells! There are only like ten of you left, but if you all work together you can wake this asshole up before he chokes on his own vomit!
And Don’s ad groupie is actually a Clio winner. How insufferably sexist for me to assume otherwise. “What did you win for again?” he slurs at her as they tumble drunkenly around in his sad brown bed. “Cake mixes and toppings,” she whispers seductively. She hums the alleged jingle, which is the Star Spangled Banner, and goes out of frame in a way that means “ORAL SEX IS OCCURRING NOW” and Don gets a dumb smile on his face. (Best line of the night: “*zzzzzzip* Oh. Okay!”) And I think, oh man, he’s going to fall asleep, or he’ll finally know the shame of whiskey dick, and THAT will be rock bottom! Cause nobody messes with his mojo, or whatever! But he wakes up in the same position to a ringing phone. Betty has been calling him for hours and screeches harpily at him (with good reason) for not showing up to pick up the kids at 10am like he said he would. She and Henry missed a brunch, or something, and the kids are just sitting around waiting. “We said SUNDAY!” Don says, annoyed. “It IS Sunday!” Betty returns, annoyeder. And another point for the lady! Don is pretty spooked. And he really starts to freak out when he looks over and sees that the girl in bed next to him is A TOTALLY DIFFERENT GIRL. Whoa. It’s not like Don hasn’t done back-to-back random hookups or anything. That’s not the problem. The problem is that the Clios were Friday, he took cake topping lady home that night, then woke up on Sunday with random waitress lady. That’s fucked up even by Don standards. She’s all jolly and flirty and the more she talks about all the stuff that happened last night the more freaked out he gets. Like how he said he was gonna take her picture, you know, right before he ordered those fries and right after his sister left. !!! The kicker? She calls him “Dick.” Hoooo boy.
He stammers that he’s sorry, he forgot he had plans. Then he goes into the bathroom to freak out and pretend to shower till she leaves. Then it’s the hair of the dog, at god knows when, and he flops onto the sofa and falls asleep through yet another time lapse. Still seems to be Sunday this time, though. And it’s a knock at the door that wakes him: Peggy. Of course. I just cannot get enough of Don and Peggy, especially these awesome blatant role switches they do every now and then. She tried calling Friday, then yesterday it just rang and rang, and today it’s busy. Don, mumbling: “…my phone’s not working.” He’s barely even trying, poor thing. She asks to come in, and he lets her, possibly oblivious to how fucking disgusting and sad it is in there. She tells him, finally, like she’s been trying to since the meeting, that he stole Danny/Jonathan’s stupid tagline for Life Cereal. He honestly doesn’t seem to believe her at first. And really, if it were anyone else telling him, I don’t know if he ever would believe it. “Think of ten more tags,” he says, trying to get out of it. “No,” she says simply. She’s been working all weekend in that stupid hotel room with that asshole. Don: “What room?” Sigh. She gives him a stern lecture on how he’s going to have to make it right. Tomorrow. Period. His mouth says “…shit.” But his humiliated slouch says “yes ma’am.”
Lane announces to Pete that Ken’s on his way over and he’s added Pete to their lunch reservations. “No,” Pete says, all important-like. “When he gets here, bring him to the conference room.” Luckily Lane seems pretty amused by all this, so he just smiles and nods. Apparently he is quite fond of the little bastard after all.
Peggy and Stan did end up with a decent ad for Vick’s, but lucky for them, Don can never know that it’s a result of his stupid drunken idea he doesn’t even remember. Captain Asshole says “yeah, that’s pretty much how I pitched it.” And Peggy’s right there to say “Yeah, I only changed one little thing,” holding her fingers up in a way that leaves no doubt at all that Stan has a tiny penis. That explains a lot. Also: Peg-gy! Peg-gy! Peg-gy!
The first thing Don says to Mrs. Blankenship is “Call the Pen & Pencil, see if anybody found my award.” Oh now that’s just extra sad. And all heavy with symbolism and shit. He walks, Clio-less and dejected, into his office, only to find Jonathan/Danny perched merrily on his couch. “Hey!” he chirps. “They told me to wait in here.” Cue Mrs Blankenship on the intercom: “Your little friend is waiting!” COMEDY GOLD. Don tries an easy way out. He wants to buy the Cure for the Common Tagline from him for $50. “I don’t need $50, I need a job.” Hm, craftier than he looks, that one. Also, did he mention he’s kind of related to Roger? He’s all pleady and go-getty and hungry, like Lil Baby Don once was, but it’s also not especially clear if he has any actual talent. And all of that is beside the point. They literally have to hire him. Congratulations? His presence, like Mrs. Blankenship’s, is squarely, solely the result of something dumb that Drunkass Don did. Drunkass Don is kind of starting to cramp regular Don’s style.
“What? This is how I sit now. I totally sit like this all the time.”
Pete is waiting, Godfather-style, in the conference room. He doesn’t even acknowledge Ken until Lane has politely deposited him in front of Pete, at which time Pete gives him a truly PeteTacular speech. When someone begins with “I’ve given this a lot of thought,” you know your patience is about to be tested. But this is Ken we’re talking about. Kool as a Kucumber. And like, stupid Pete, all you had to do was say “I’m a partner. You’re not. Good to have you back.” But instead of saying that, he gets all verbose and pompous and almost literally puffs himself up like one of those throat-bubble frogs. Ken keeps his cool, because that’s how he do. But he does let Pete know, with a slight variation on his constant grin (from “shit-eating” to “cautiously polite” on the Ken Cosgrove Grin-O-Meter™), that he gets it. Whether Pete’s display inspired respect from Ken, or whether he just showed Ken all his cards, and Ken will use them against him as soon as possible, remains to be seen. “So.” Pete finishes. “How are those wedding plans coming along?” His “I’m just kickin it, partner-style” posture is downright hilarious. He’s learning, though! I mean, he did stare Ken down without stomping his foot and saying something Peteriffic like “Why can’t anything good happen to me all at once???” And that is real progress.
I hope Danny Strong doesn’t mind the short jokes, because they will never, ever end. Surely he has embraced that by now. This long shot of Don AND Peggy both towering over him is just golden. “You will NOT regret this!” he gushes. “Whatever,” Don says under his breath on his way out.
I hope sight gags like this pay for your car and your house and your kids’ college fund, Danny Strong!
“I always liked chocolate ice cream,” Roger is telling his dictaphone as Don walks in. “But my mother made us eat vanilla because it didn’t stain anything.” I know that Breaking Bad kid is super talented, and one day I will watch that show in its entirety and feel guilty for not watching it while it was on, but I sure wish John Slattery had gotten that Emmy. Again with the meta! Roger Sterling, who did not get a Clio, surprises Don by producing his missing trophy. “I’ll give it back to you if you say one thing: You couldn’t have done it without me.”
That’s truer than he thinks, really. The final scene is in flashbackland, where fresh-faced Don greets Roger in front of the elevator again. Roger’s like “oh my god what is your problem?” And Don’s all confused, because wait, Roger hired him! “You said ‘welcome aboard’” Lil Baby Don says, perplexed. Roger doesn’t know what else to do, so he just stands there while Lil Baby Don waits excitedly and the elevator doors close. Now, the first time I saw this, I thought, for some reason, that Don was referring to another lunch they’d gone on. One that we didn’t see. Like the lost weekend of Don’s we didn’t see either. But I think maybe he was talking about their “lunch,” and just completely made that up because he knew how drunk Roger was. Is that possible? I mean, I’ve seen plenty of seriously drunk people, but they don’t all just black out as a matter of course. Roger could easily have said “I did no such thing, General Rufus T. Bullshit, go away,” and that would be that. But he either believes him or doesn’t have the energy to argue, and ta da, turns out it was one of the best things he ever did for his company.
First you invented yourself, then you hired yourself, and it’ll be another ten years or so before you fuck yourself, so kudos.
So is that what Danny is for Don? Or will Danny be an illustration of what happens way more often, which is that confidence and aspiration and drive mean jack shit if you don’t have the goods? Don had the goods, and he knew a drunken foot-in-the-door when he saw one. The possibility that Roger has spent all this time thinking he hired Don when in fact Don hired himself? That’s just going to add so much delightful subtext to everything that’s happened on this entire show. Fantastic!