****Please welcome back our long lost Lost recapper! ACK!! LOVE YOU, GIRL!
We open on Memorial Day weekend, 1966. A bunch of privileged assholes, whose shabby office space shows it’s not the bright and shiny Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, decide to throw water bombs at the cast of The Help. This is pre-Occupy Wall Street days, when protesters were actually protesting something! They come up to the agency’s floor, all dignity and grace, and demand that someone apologizes for literally raining on their parade. They get nothing but shit eating grins. They don’t even care about the emo little boy ;_; LOOK HOW EMO HE IS. I think it’s time for some Civil Rights up in here.
Sally Draper wakes up and walks through a house that is unfamiliar to both she and the audience – she’s confused enough that she tries to go to the bathroom in Don’s room, greeted by Jon Hamm’s spectacular torso and Megan’s ass crack. Let the Electra Complex begin! Their new place is modded out, and looks like a cross between the Brady Bunch set and where Austin Powers probably lives. We’re not sure exactly how long Megan’s been the new Mrs. Draper, but at least the kids don’t seem to hate her yet, which is a good sign.
Sally’s pretty chill with the set up, as is Gene and some kid that maybe came over for breakfast? Or something? Oh wait, it’s just Bobby #4! And he’s as bright eyed and bushy tailed as Megan! Later, Don drops the kids off at Casa Francis, and since Bobby’s kinda new to the family, he asks Don how old he’ll be this year. Turns out Don’s hitting the big 4-0! Nothing says mid-life crisis better than an adorably optimistic young wife and an uncharacteristically sunny outlook on life, amiright?
Pete Campbell must have moved to the ‘burbs during the break because he is totally BFFs with some dude on the commuter train. Pete confides in BFF that Trudy has totally let herself go, which means she probably isn’t done up like she’s about to go to a cocktail party when he gets home from work. Full of great advice, BFF basically tells Pete that it only gets worse, that married life ain’t it all cracked up to be.
BFF: Me and the wife got in a fight the other night. I went to some motel and punched a hole in the wall.
Pete: Been there, brother.
BFF: Is it possible I’m just a teensy bit selfish? I mean, I just want to drink and smoke and sexually harass secretaries all day and then come home and not have to like, DO anything!
Pete: Hey, we’re the breadwinners! What do they have to do all day?
BFF: Just cook and clean and take care of our offspring! What’s the big deal?
Pete: I know, it’s like they don’t even understand what we do all day. Drinking 6 martinis at lunch is hard.
Last season, Roger saw his importance/clout/self worth downward spiraling when his longtime client Lucky Strike headed to a rival agency. Six or seven months later, things have gotten so bad that *gasp* he doesn’t even have his own secretary anymore! He remedies this by bribing his former secretary with the promise of fancy hats, but tells her she can buy a mask instead, just to be an ass.
Speaking of asses, we get an inexplicably gratuitous and graphic introduction to Joanie’s new baby! His name is Kevin! And he looks just like his father! No, not that ass that’s probably catching VD from a Vietnamese hooker in Hanoi right now, but the aforementioned silver fox ass, Roger Sterling. Joan’s been home taking care of the Once and Future King of Ads with her mother, a passive aggressive pill of a woman that makes you wonder where classy, elegant Joan even came from. A little later her mom is like, “You think your husband is going to allow you to work?” and Joan’s all, “Allooow me?” and it made every female viewer happy that it’s 2012!
Like many of the moments in this episode, Bert Cooper missing the quick and dirty status meeting in the hall represents the idea that things are starting to change, both inside and outside the office. If you’re not on your toes and/or an old man, incapable of adapting with everyone else, you’re at risk of being left behind. Out with the old! In with the new!
During said meeting, Roger suggests running a fake Equal Opportunity ad to really stick it to that rival agency, which stole a client from SCDP a while back. Lane pooh-poohs the idea, but you know they’re going to run the ad anyway.
A marriage to Don Draper obviously comes with many perks (stud husband, posh pad, cute well-adjusted kids, etc.), and apparently this includes a job as a copywriter! Which I’m sure Peggy really appreciates, considering she was also totally handed her job too! Anyway, it’s obvious from the start that Don is even randier than usual, and that he is digging the power (both personally and professionally) he’s got over Megan. I’m sure that won’t cause any problems. Wink wink.
Oh, Faye Miller, where are you and your quiet self-respect? Probably getting dumped by some jerk. Sigh.
Peggy: Wow, Megan. Your work is very…important.
Megan: Gee Peggy, thanks! btw I’m having a surprise party for Don!
Megan: Yeah, it’s going to be the tits. People are going to go home afterwards and have sex.
Peggy: I don’t even know what that means.
So Peggy helps Megan invite all of Don’s “friends” to the party, which is hilarious because the audience/Peggy knows that Don doesn’t really have any friends, but Megan doesn’t know that – I mean, she’s only married to the guy.
In an attempt to steal Pete’s client right out from under his nose, Roger shows up for Pete’s meeting with Mohawk Airlines. After spouting every airline pun in existence, Pete kicks Roger out and plasters on a permasmile for the remainder of the meeting.
He proceeds to get drunk, slam his own face into the support beam in his office, and scream at his secretary Clara for letting Roger spy on his calendar, all with his signature pomposity! “I’m not supposed to worry about Roger, I’m supposed to worry about other agencies!” Touche, Pete. Touche. Then Kenny Cosgrove lays out the rest of the series, or at least one version of it, in which everyone ends up a millionaire, hobnobbing with Elvis on a tropical island.
Unlike Pete (and Roger, and Don, and Peggy, and Joan, and Lane, and almost every character on this show), Ken hasn’t become so jaded that he has lost all hope for his future. Most of these people have supposedly gotten the things they wanted most in life and ended up varying degrees of miserable. But not Kenny! Not yet, anyway. Pete finally goes home to Trudy in the middle of the night, and she is just as ass-over-tea-kettle for him as she used to be, despite his grumblings this morning on the train. Pete might be starting to crack at work, but he’s not going to be punching any holes in any walls any time soon.
Peggy and Stan (who I hope are secretly in love with each other) pitch the fabulous Baked Bean Ballet idea to the guys from Heinz, only to be rejected, then double rejected when Don comes in and doesn’t have their backs.
Heinz Guy: Bean Ballet? I thought I asked for a Bite & Smile.
Peggy: But…Bean Ballet is awesome.
Stan: As awesome as my lime green blazer.
Heinz Guy: But I wanted a Bite & Smile. Ken, you said I’d get a Bite & Smile!
Ken: I think I said there was gonna be a Bean Ballet, Raymond.
Raymond: Bite & Smile!! *pounds fists on table*
Don: Raymond, you’re a genius. Let me just throw these story boards out the window, along with all of Peggy’s hopes and dreams.
Peggy speaks for the audience when she talks about Don, saying, “He’s kind. And patient. I don’t know that man.” I mean seriously, wtf is up with Don lately? Could this new, kinder, gentler model be for real?
It’s time for Don’s big surprise party, and Megan’s trying to get Don into their place, but he’s practically humping her in the hallway – that is until the vision of them a few years from now, aka Roger and his lovely wife Jane, ruin the big surprise. (Remember when Jane was the hot/young/dumb one?) Don looks like something prickly crawled up his ass and Megan seems like she has no clue that he’s pissed.
Since Don’s only friends are part of the agency, we get to see some of those super awkward work party conversations between people that should never be speaking – Cooper hanging out with Peggy’s writer boyfriend Abe, talking war and body bags in front of a soldier. Harry, looking more and more like Moe Green every day, hanging out with Megan’s hipster friends who look like they just jumped out of a Banana Republic ad. In comparison, Don and Roger look like stodgy old guys. Could they really be going the way of Bert Cooper? Out of touch? Don’t their cool, young wives count for anything any more?
One thing’s for sure – Peggers and Abe are still cool as hell.
So after some small talk and some reefer, everyone’s ready for the evening’s entertainment: Megan sings Foux du Fafa! Okay, no she didn’t, she sang “Zou Bisou Bisou,” a translation of which is here, but she might as well have been singing:
Kiss kiss kiss
Did Betty ever do this shit for you?
Kiss kiss kiss
Look how young and silly I am!
Kiss kiss kiss
Why do you look so uncomfortable?
All the party people were freaking out, but not the way Don was! His face was partially frozen, trying to plaster a smile across his face, while underneath he is seething over this ridiculous display. (Lane says it best later when he tells Joan, “I saw his soul leave his body.”) After everyone goes home, Megan gets a Don Draper Daddy speech in which he tells her how embarrassing she is! Classic!
And not just that, but he doesn’t give a shit about his birthday because his real birthday was 6 months ago (he does seem like more of a Capricorn than a Gemini), and she’s like, “Nobody loves Dick Whitman,” which is supposed to like…make him feel better? Or something? Her incessant fawning over him makes no difference, and for once, she is less than chipper. Get used to it, girlfriend! I hate to break it to you, but Don Draper? Kind of a dick.
The next day, Lane finds a wallet in a cab, and instead of just giving it to the driver, he weirdly insists on taking care of it himself. He finds a photo of a bikini-clad girl in the wallet, and he’s so quick to stray from his wife (again) that when the mystery girl calls later, he goes from being helpful to creepy in about 15 seconds. That’s…normal, right? I mean, what is he doing? Borderline phone sex with a complete stranger? What’s next? Running around Central Park, flashing your junk from under a trench coat at tourists?
Joan comes home to find a swarthy gentleman manhandling her baby and eating cake with her mother. After Joan drops some excellent backhanded compliments, Mommy Dearest retaliates by showing her a want ad for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – the same ad that Roger joked they should write to mock those water bombing assholes from the opening scene. Her mother is convinced this means that they are looking to replace Joan, even insinuating that Don’s new wife wouldn’t want Joan around her husband. Does this mean that her mother knows Joan’s baby is really the love child of the silver fox? And come to think of it, what was that scene like, when Roger figured out that Joan’s pregnancy had not been terminated? Joan’s mother says, “Sometimes life makes decisions for you,” – it sounds a lot like what Roger said when he found out Joan was pregnant. Those crazy kids are meant to be together!
Roger: *saucy little French dance*
Don: Hey, we don’t make fun of each other’s wives here.
Roger: I’m not making fun, I’m glad you’re happy.
Don: Yes, I’m so happy. I’m beside myself.
Roger: Marrying someone half your age is a smart move. They’re all great girls. Until they want something.
Then Harry, who I used to love, but has become such a slime ball (remember when he was the only one who seemed to feel guilt over cheating on his wife?), rattled off enough sexual harassment to get himself fired 3 times over by modern standards. Megan has to hear about all the ways he wants to bang her, which further dampens her quickly falling spirits. This poor girl is teetering on the brink of becoming a jaded asshole like everyone else at SCDP.
Always the drama queen, Pete invites the senior partners into his office to remind them that 1) He is the one bringing almost all the business to the agency 2) He demands more respect around here and 3) By the way, he thinks he’s entitled to Roger’s office. Roger scoffs and swats Pete away like an annoying little brother – everyone may know that he’s done squat for this company in a year, but stealing his office!? Psh! So of course Roger bribes the always-greedy Harry into switching offices with Pete, problem slightly solved. Pete gets his revenge in the end when he sends Roger to a fake meeting at 6 am on Staten Island.
You mess with the bull, you get the horns my friend.
Joan comes to visit the office (and make sure she still has her job) and is immediately met by a gigantic dumbass at the front desk. This new girl Meredith is like a deer in headlights – everything that Joanie is not – she even says “I’m very happy being nobody here!” So ambitious! Joanie rolls her creepy ass old timey baby carriage into the office and is met by Roger screaming, “There’s my baby!” Only he means Joan and not the actual baby, who I guess everyone thinks is her asshole husband’s. The baby is met with an icy wall of zero maternal instinct from Peggy, and Megan can’t figure out if Joan or the baby is more frightening.
Peggy and Megan have a heart to heart in which Megan confesses that the world isn’t made of sunshine and lollipops and unicorns like she thought! Unfortunately, Megan is beginning to realize that she might not be cut out for this cynical, cutthroat world of advertising. It’s as if she didn’t want to believe Peggy that Don would hate the party, but as usual, Peggy knew exactly how he’d react. Later, Peggy goes into the Don’s office and apologizes for upsetting his fragile wife. Even though Megan is naive and doesn’t understand Don, and Peggy always understands Don, Don is still nice to Megan and a jerk to Peggy. Don may get mad at Megan, but he is disappointed in Peggy, which is always WAY worse.
Joan confronts Lane about the Equal Opportunity ad in the paper, and Lane assures her that they are not, in fact, replacing Joan. He tells her (in his adorably British way) that he is “terribly adrift” without her. No wonder she felt so dejected! No one even came to visit her! Jerks. He also tells her they would have had a cake for her, but she’s the one who organizes that sort of thing, which is actually super realistic, as anyone who runs an office will tell you.
Joan confides in Lane that being home with her kid isn’t everything, and then Lane does a lovely little dance for her, forever cementing the fact that they are a ginger OTP.
The schlub who owns the wallet shows up and before he returns it, Lane steals the photo of mystery girl, Dolores. Will we see this women in the flesh? I’ll put money on Lane stalking her out. Maybe he’ll bring his trench coat for giggles. This whole situation was strange, who the hell knows what he’s playing at!? The schlub calls Lane a true gentleman, but that’s because he doesn’t know what Lane’s going to do with that photo later. Ugh.
And then comes the sex scene heard ’round the world! Megan decides to clean the house in her hilarious 60′s underwear, and Don is Not. Having. It. He scolds her like a child, so she challenges him, like, “STOP LOOKING AT ME. But here, look at my ass. But NO TOUCHING! NO! NO TOUCHING!” and he’s all, “YES I WILL HAVE IT, DAMMIT. YES I WILL.”
The whole thing is weird and kinky and all about domination and submission and Don is having a hell of a time controlling this budding feminist wife of his, and Megan’s trying to control this old fashioned, emotionally stunted husband of hers, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, Don grabs her caveman style and they do it right there on the pretty white rug! It was raw and layered and not something you see on TV, pretty much ever. Hooray! Mad Men is back, baby!
Megan: I don’t think these people like me. I’m not sure I like them.
Don: I didn’t want them in our home.
Megan: I don’t want to go to work.
Don: I want you at work because I want you.
Megan: I wanted you to have what you wanted.
Don: I wanted to want what you wanted me to want.
Cheap Trick: I want you to want me.
The episode concludes with “a lobby full of negroes” who, like Joan, didn’t think the ad was a joke. The partners are forced into actually receiving applications after their rival agency sends them a horribly racist gift, which they are seen accepting. Does this mean we’re getting a sassy black secretary this season? How much do you want to bet that Lane calls dibs on her (another chocolate bunny)? How long before [your favorite racist and mine] Roger says something unforgivable to this poor woman? Find out next week!