We can’t start there.
We will start with Don, who has quite the episode and finds both is personal and professional life coming to a head. At the office, Lou is keeping his asshole reputation firmly in check as he goes apeshit over the creative team poking fun at his comic strip, Scouts Honor. The joke is mostly kept between Stan and the writing pool, but when Lou overhears the joking in the restroom it boils over into the production meeting. This leads to everyone being kept late, which sets off a chain of events that leads to a lot of interesting developments.
Don got a call from Stephanie Horton, his “niece” by stolen identity, who has gone full hippie and is very pregnant; and very broke. Don puts her up with Megan and that is where things get weird. Hung up at the office, Don can’t make it out that evening, and this leads Megan and Stephanie to have an interesting couple of conversations. Don desperately wants to see Stephanie, his face lights up for her unlike anyone else, and Megan isn’t nearly as ready to let her back into Don’s life. Megan’s motivations are never made blatant, but she is happy to send Stephanie on her way with a thousand dollars in her pocket. Megan, surprisingly, hasn’t quite quit on Don yet and seems happy to see him out in LA again, but Stephanie knows all Don’s secrets and being a direct connection to his past seems to be a big roadblock in Megan’s views of the future. And Megan’s view of the future might be the problem. She is ready to live free and have three-ways with her husband, whatever she can seemingly do to stay hip and keep her man, but Don is stuck in that plaid jacket and so far behind the social scene Megan needs to be in.
Though, Don isn’t done trying to change his past, as a drunken tip from Harry lets him know that Don might be forced out of the agency as they secretly court Phillip Morris. Don’s op-ed doesn’t sit well with the tobacco industry, obviously, but part of me was sad to see him throw his brilliant move to the wayside so readily to save his ass. Maybe Don has something else up his sleeve, but he sure is confident as he sends the lovely couple(?) of Cutler and Lou on their merry way.
Speaking of that couple, they are the center of Ginsberg’s delusions as the new computer in the office sends him straight to the nut house. Ginsberg going certifiable is something that makes sense 1000%, even though I never would have predicted this is where he would end up. That electronic hum was driving Ginsberg crazy and after spying on Cutler and Lou chatting like Hal-9000, he ends up losing it at the feet of Peggy. Throwing himself at her as an attempt to release wasn’t going to work, so he cuts off his nipple, ala Van Gogh, instead. He’s back to his normal self, so he says, but Peggy calls the asylum on him and I don’t know if I can blame her. Maybe Ginsberg will rediscover his inner-alien we heard about a few seasons ago, but I for one am going to miss the main fantastic one liners supplied by Michael Ginsberg. A hell of an episode for Ben Feldman to go out (?) on.
Betty also comes back into the fold this week, as does Sally, who is dragged back home after getting whacked in the face with a golf club. I forgot how mean these two can get with one another, but Betty had to blow off steam somewhere. Seeing Harry lose it on Betty was not cool and I can’t believe he would straight up tell her to shut up and be eye candy. Betty can have opinions and is smart, she does know Italian, and I have never been more on her side than I was after this episode. Everyone treats her like a child, Henry especially, and I have to imagine she is going to blow sooner or later; hopefully for the better.
You also have to feel terrible for those two Draper kids to, what chance do they have? The scene with Sally and Bobby in bed broke my little heart. Still, I could watch January Jones and Kiernan Shipka spout venom at each other for hours.
Some Mad Men Quick Hits:
-It’s great that Peggy and Don seem to be chummy again and seeing Don fall in line is weird, yet comforting.
-I also got great pleasure out of Don poking and prodding Lou where he can, as he can’t fire Don for just anything. “No, I’d let you go Lou,” might have been the slam of the season.
This makes it two A+ episodes of Mad Men in this short season, which is shaping up to be one of the all-time greats for the show. This episode hit you emotionally on nearly every level and I am on pins and needles wondering where Don is going to end up next. I could totally see him getting kicked out of the office in the coming weeks, or supplanting Lou to the curb where he rightfully belongs. It’s going to be a hell of a couple of weeks, can’t wait to see where they leave us hanging.