Mad Men: Mystery Date

Posted on April 09, 2012

The horror of the Richard Speck murders loomed large over the story this week, sending multiple characters scrambling to (or under) their beds after opening the door on a Mystery Date they’d rather not have. Yes, the imagery was perhaps a little obvious and forced (Stan’s stocking head was a bit too on the nose as was the foot sticking out under the bed in light of the Cinderella pitch) but the themes it was exploring were both timely and timeless.

The doors open on the elevator and in steps Andrea, Don’s mystery date, here to wreak havoc. The door opens in Joan’s apartment and in steps Dr. Rape, Joan’s mystery date, here to wreak havoc. The door opens to Don’s office and in steps Peggy, Dawn’s mystery date, here to, well… not so much wreak havoc as to stick her foot in her mouth. And throughout the story sits our narrator, Grandma Pauline, flashlight in one hand and knife in the other, terrifying Sally with lurid details of the murders and then drugging her until she falls asleep huddled under the couch. The theme this episode was violence against women and even Cinderella couldn’t escape a darker fate when seen through the eyes of an SCDP employee.

Megan is coming up against the other big obstacle in her marriage (the first being Dick Whitman): Don’s long history of sexual compulsion and addiction. She once again shows herself to be pretty much perfectly suited to him. She challenges him on things he’d rather not be challenged on; doesn’t back down if she feels it’s important, and refrains from becoming too emotional about it. In other words, she talks about what she’s feeling and doesn’t let those feelings overwhelm her. More importantly, she forces Don to talk about things inside him; his fears, mistakes, and hopes. Betty never managed that (and to be fair to her, Don would never have been as open with her as he is with Megan). Don says he wants to be with her for the rest of his life and we believe him – that he wants it, that is. We simply don’t believe someone with as many demons as Don can just get on with his life without dealing with them or treating them in any way. In the real world, we don’t have such literal dreams that we can “kill” our darker impulses and fears and wake up healed and ready to grow. And Mad Men doesn’t trade in such simplistic life solutions. If anything, the theme of Mad Men has been quite the opposite: people don’t get over their demons; they merely learn (or not) to live with them. Don tells the angelic Megan that she won’t have to worry about him anymore, but come on. Who really believes that? He didn’t “kill” his sexual addiction, he fantasized about it and then shoved it under the bed. This hasn’t put the question of Don’s fidelity to rest; it’s opened it up and put it on the table.

And in fact, certain things about Andrea didn’t quite add up. There were freelance women copywriters utilized by Sterling Cooper six years ago, before Peggy was hired? Since when? She mentioned that he took her on the loading dock of Lincoln Center while his wife waited inside, but which wife? Most of what we consider Lincoln Center wasn’t completed until after the Draper marriage ended. We fear the whole reason Andrea’s presence bothered Don that much wasn’t because she was a dalliance from his distant past, but a dalliance from his recent past. He may have already cheated on Megan.

Across town, Joan is opening the door on her own set of problems. Greg has come back from Vietnam a changed man, but not in the way you would have thought. He’s become rigid and militaristic; highly impressed with himself for accomplishing something after a string of career disappointments. He’s finally found something to make him feel like a man and that has been his driving goal since we met him. Unfortunately for him, his definition of manliness doesn’t line up with Joanie’s and she’s had it with his insecurities constantly threatening to uproot her life or delay her plans. Mad Men is one of – if not the – most feminist television shows in the history of the medium, but even after all the trials and triumphs of its female characters, no moment was more overtly a feminist moment than Joan kicking out Greg. This wasn’t Betty kicking out Don after a decade of lies and adultery, only to run straight into the protective arms of another man. This was a woman looking at her husband and saying “I can do better without you in my life. Get out.”

And like all the other stories this episode, the specter of violence hangs over the Harris household. We didn’t think Joan would ever really bring up her rape again, simply because it would have taken a rare mind to even consider what happened to her to be rape. But Joan knows herself and she knows her husband. He’s not a good man. And good for her for making sure he knows that she never forgot that event and it forever tainted him in her eyes. It was a cheer-worthy moment and we have to say, of all the possible character developments, Joan as a single working mother really makes a ton of sense to us and opens up a lot of story possibilities (not least of which is the Roger question). Even better, she didn’t wait for Vietnam to kill her husband; she took care of it herself. In other words, she chose this path she’s now taking. It doesn’t get more feminist than that.

Peggy, on the other hand, as she so frequently does, takes a moment of career triumph (her scene with Roger was PERFECTION) and, through the power of her own awkward social skills and tendency to be a little self-absorbed, turned it into a night of embarrassment. She wanted Dawn to think that she’s sympathetic to her position and experiences, but with each word and action, she only revealed how out of touch with those experiences she really is and how she’s just as likely as anyone else to contribute to them. She couldn’t just have Dawn over as a co-worker who needed to crash for the night. She had to turn it into a “Let’s talk about how you’re black” conversation and even worse, “Let’s talk about how much I understand what it’s like for you to be black.” Dawn’s discomfort here was palpable. The violence themes weren’t particularly strong in this storyline (except for the brief horror-movie moment when Peggy was in the office alone), but we were struck by how uneasy Dawn looked, stuck in an apartment on a couch with someone who’s practically a stranger to her. And to make matters worse, Peggy all but accused her of wanting to steal her purse. It was an awkward moment made all the more so for its obviousness. To be fair to Peggy, there was a wad of cash in that purse, courtesy of Roger, and she’d have been just as likely to not want to leave it out for any slightly unfamiliar guest. But if it had been some white secretary crashing on the couch, she almost certainly would have found a way to get her purse off the coffee table without making an issue of it. Because of Dawn’s race, all Peggy could do was stare at it and make it perfectly clear why she was doing so. This is the second episode in a row where Peggy’s awkwardness and self-centeredness has caused her to hurt a co-worker’s feelings. With the equally-as-awkward Michael Ginsberg making waves (and let’s face it: his pitches were genius), we’re thinking Peggy’s relational issues are going to be front and center this season. If you base your entire adulthood on a man like Don Draper, it stands to reason you’re going to be dicey at best when it comes to personal relationships.

And finally there’s the supremely damaged Grandma Pauline, who’s so used to the idea of violence that she laughingly tells Sally stories of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, and like a good victim, relays how good it was for her. And yet, for all the fucked-up things Pauline did this episode (like giving Sally her first -of many, no doubt – taste of recreational drug use), it struck us how her conversation with Sally was some of the most direct, honest dialogue that girl’s ever participated in. No one in Sally’s world really wants to talk to Sally about all the things she’s feeling and seeing. It’s not that Pauline would make a good person to turn to, but it’s a statement on how lonely Sally is that she’s probably her best option for an honest answer. Granted, one conversation with Pauline left Sally drugged and huddled under the couch (again, they weren’t subtle with the imagery this episode), but at least she had an actual conversation with an adult, instead of being told go to her room, go outside, or hang up the phone. Sally’s been the victim of such terrible parenting that her fucked-up and frightening step-grandmother may actually be a good thing for her.


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  • Logo Girl

    Tlo, you are awesome! No other recap that I found since last night zeroed in on the major flaw of the Andrea situation: six years ago, Peggy was the first female copywriter in years. I was ready to call out continuity. This makes the most sense that she was a recent conquest. 

    • Yes, but also… just because he said six years, doesn’t mean that it was six years. Could have been 2 or 3 or 4 years. Six could just be a number he came up with to make it seem like further away than it was. 
      But yeah, it was a lie. Big lie, and Megan’s not dumb.
      Either way, I loved Megan’s quiet “there are parts of town where we can go and run into people I used to work with”. She wasn’t buying the lie.

      • Andrea Rossillon

         It doesn’t have to be a lie– Peggy started in 1960, so it’s feasible she came and went before Peggy got there.

        • Am watching the second episode from the first season now that AMC played yesterday morning. Paul tells Peggy that there are female copywriters. So, it is not impossible that Sterling, Cooper had hired a female freelancer before Peggy started.  

          • Lulu Lafurge

             I don’t mind TLo theorizing about how long ago Don’s last extramarital affair, but when they said this:

            “She [Andrea] mentioned that he took her on the loading dock of Lincoln Center
            while his wife waited inside, but which wife? Most of what we consider
            Lincoln Center wasn’t completed until after the Draper marriage ended. ”

            … My response to that is that this dialogue took place during the *dream sequence* and in dreams lots of things, including timelines, get contorted and swapped.

          • Exactly.  His fear of getting caught pervades the whole episode but it’s not because he cheated on Megan, but because he’s cheated before and is afraid he will screw up and cheat again.  You can tell from the dream that he doesn’t even entirely blame himself for this: after all, even fora  handsome man like don a woman forcing herself on him like dream Andrea is a bit hard to believe.  But his fear is that it might happen, and through (little) fault of his own.  

            Yes It’s a bit on the nose that he killed her and then promises that Megan doesn’t have to worry about him, but as we are in the series I think it’s a legitimate claim. Much of this season is about subverting what everybody’s expectations were at the end of last season.  They got married, are reasonably happy, she knows about dick… etc.  If their marriage fails I do NOT think it will because don slips back into his self destructive patterns from his (second) marriage. 

          • Of course it is possible. But I’m just saying that “copywriter from 6 years ago” is one of the most benign roles to assign to Andrea. The job and time frame could be accurate or a complete fabrication. 6 years is a very long time to have passed for someone to just assume they can just pounce all over you in a public elevator. And Megan is a lot of things but not dumb.

      • Additionally, I remember Peggy stating pretty directly at some point in s2 “I was the first girl they had writing copy since the war!”

        • fursa_saida

           Could easily mean first girl on staff. A freelancer comes and goes, doesn’t require as much commitment or daily respect. Having one on staff (lord, I sound like Roger talking about Jews) is a different kettle of fish.

          • Found the exact quote: “I’m the first girl to do any writing in this office since the war. Marge told me” – Peggy to Joan in s1e7. “Any writing” is very broad, and would include freelancers. It indicates to me that the “writer from six years ago” thing is probably a fabrication, persuading me that this is a more recent conquest.

            Of course, that’s assuming Marge wasn’t just ignoring some sexy lady freelance copywriter, which also seems quite unlikely. And I think Joan would have certainly known and more certainly corrected Peggy, had Andrea indeed breezed through in the late 50s. 

            Good casting for the suspense factor – she looked like Jane Seymour, sexy but not young, making her a not unlikely choice for Don, then and now.

    • Yes, but also… just because he said six years, doesn’t mean that it was six years. Could have been 2 or 3 or 4 years. Six could just be a number he came up with to make it seem like further away than it was. 
      But yeah, it was a lie. Big lie, and Megan’s not dumb.
      Either way, I loved Megan’s quiet “there are parts of town where we can go and run into people I used to work with”. She wasn’t buying the lie.

    •  Please, in the dream sequence, Andrea said she “knew all the doormen.”  Andrea was an occasional employee of Don’s, but not at Sterling Cooper.

      • janedonuts

        I thought she said she had a way with doormen.

        • She does “say” something like that, but she never “says” how she got his address. 

          I think one has to question the reality/probability that a recent fling would not know that Don is married and to whom and would disregard her so blatantly in the elevator (before being corrected that he’s married and said wife is standing right next to them, after which she visibly deflates).

          • mtraptor

            Don was dreaming that part. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense that she would show up at Don’s apartment at all, and that’s because she didn’t do it in real life.

          • ohayayay

            Actually, I think the whole set-up where Don is coughing and Megan moves away from him to go stand on the other side of the elevator makes it pretty obvious why she assumed they weren’t together. Generally husband and wife don’t go to work together, and they don’t stand 4 feet apart on elevators as a stranger walks in. 

    • EveEve

      Did he ever say she was a copywriter?  The dialogue clip that AMC runs has him saying to Megan that he *worked* with her six years ago.

  • God, I just loved this episode, especially the Joan storyline and Sally under the covers with the newspaper and flashlight (not so different from me when I was little). I think the Francises aren’t going to let grandma babysit anymore!

  • ccinnc

    Before I read this (which I’m REALLY looking forward to), I have to say that dream sequence was cheap. I was irritated even though I knew it had to be a dream.

    • Browsery

      I did feel a tad manipulated, and the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure it was a dream sequence (although that was my suspicion) made it worse. 🙂

    • Jacqueline Wessel

      I thought the dream sequence was cheap as well…a little too much blatant manipulation of the audience. 

      • gubblebumm

         i see it as forshadowing, cheap, maybe, but mark my words, something like that is gonna happen to someone

      • Lulu Lafurge

         For once, I did not because (a) they broke up the sequence with other scenes in other locations, etc., and (b) I knew  by the time Don stuffed Andrea’s corpse under the bed that it was a dream. I don’t think straight-on murder by one of the regulars is ever going to happen on MM, let alone a straight-on murder followed by a totally inept cover-up by Don of all people.

    • Lulu Lafurge

      For once, I did not think the dream sequence was cheap because they broke up the sequence with other scenes in other locations. I knew well before the time Don stuffed Andrea’s corpse under the bed that it was a dream. I don’t think straight-on murder by one of the regulars is ever going to happen on MM, let alone a straight-on murder followed by a totally inept cover-up by Don of all people. Still, I didn’t mind knowing it was a dream.

      • Nancy Flake

        I was so expecting Don to throw her body off the balcony, especially since he’ d said earlier she could leave either by the stairs or the balcony to avoid running into Megan. 

        I just discovered this blog last week and have read every single Mad Men post. Love it…the Mad Style breakdowns are especially brilliant. It adds that much more pleasure to watching this amazing show.

      • mtraptor

        I watch MM with my mom (yay funemployment!), and she was freaking out while Don choked Andrea. I had to yell, “Ma! There’s no way this is actually happening!” But this is my mother we’re talking about here, and she gasps if she sees a bad spill in a commercial.

    • filmcricket

      Too reminiscent of The Sopranos, for me. I know Weiner cut his teeth there, but they went to the well of “Tony hallucinates stuff that has some deeper meaning” WAY too often on that show, and I was disappointed to see it turn up here.

      • EveEve

        agree completely. cheesy and trite. the interview with Weiner on AMC about this scene just reinforces the use as obvious symbolism.  as if the viewers couldn’t figure that out themselves.

  • I found this episode thoroughly uncomfortable and more than a little chilling.  I did, however, have a good guffaw when Sally asked Grandma Pauline, “What’s that for?” before we can see what it is, and Pauline pulls out this enormous knife and puts it to the other side where Sally can’t see it, and then doesn’t answer the question. 

    Re: Andrea, initially I didn’t think the 6 years part was the lie (it was the “copywriter” part I wasn’t buying), but now I’m not so sure.  If they hadn’t seen each other in 6 years, how did Andrea know where Don lived, unless she did some poking around and found him?  At the same time…I don’t know, her reaction to seeing him didn’t suggest that their relationship was particularly current or even recent.  Some part of it was phony, I’m just not sure which.

    •  We’re pretty sure none of the scenes with Andrea in the apartment were real. The only “real” Andrea was the one we saw on the elevator.

      • Ahh, okay.  I thought the first one when she said that she had a way with doormen was real, but it makes a lot more sense. 

        And thank you guys so much for posting.  I live in Europe, so every Monday morning I watch Mad Men streaming online and then I wait impatiently for it to be late enough to check for your analysis! 🙂

        • I’m not sure either. I guess that’s the point!

          • Browsery

            I thought the second scene, when she first appeared apartment door, could have been real.  I’ll have to watch again.

            I grew up in New York, and major parts of Lincoln Center were open in 1964.  It’s possible he had the affair when he was still married to Betty.  He also could have lied about his marital status to the freelance copywriter because he wanted to keep her at a distance.

          • Spicytomato1

            My take was that she was only real in the elevator and never actually came to the apt…that was all a feverish hallucination/dream.

          • Mefein

            “I grew up in New York, and major parts of Lincoln Center were open in 1964.”

            So the mention of Lincoln Center was certainly deliberate, and you can just imagine Matt Weiner wondering which of the show’s astute bloggers would pick up on that first!  Betty and Don were finished sometime shortly after the aftermath of the JFK assassination at the end of ’63.  It’s POSSIBLE that the wife was still Betty.  And if it was, then it definitely was after Betty’s discovery of Dick Whitman, around Halloween of ’63, when Don appeared to be on thoroughly good behavior.  Either way you cut it, Lincoln Center + Wife = Don up to his usual tricks after an avowal to change his ways.  (And I’m doubting that he was making up a wife during that tryst).

          • MadAboutMen

            I also think it’s very possible that Don just pulled the “copywriter 6 years ago” out of his head.  He was on the spot and I doubt that he’d remember the exact number of years.  He also had affairs with LOTS of women, so I think it’s very possible that he knew her from work but didn’t really remember what she did.

        •  How would she have found his building, entered his apartment, and gotten into his room? At that point, I knew it was fake.

          •  Exactly.  Don and Megan are living in a new house. How would Andrea have known where Don lived now if she had been with him years ago? 

      • Lilithcat

        We’re pretty sure none of the scenes with Andrea in the apartment were real. 

        I’m sure of that, too.   When Don went home and lay down on the bed, the music and the tone were the same (or similar) to those the show generally used when he had flashbacks to his life as Dick Whitman, or other hallucinatory moments.  I was positive we’d get something like that again, and we did.

        •  Excellent catch Lilithcat!  I’ll have to watch it again with that in mind – I didn’t question it when I was watching it – I thought that part was real.  I woke up this morning thinking about the episode (I am so invested) and began to wonder if any part of that was real except for the elevator.

          • Also, Megan told him she had come home right away, not late.

        • No doubt Megan came home and helped Don best she could (a drink of water, removal of shirt). He was prob so out of he saw it all as the Andrea hallucination. He might have even said too much, or even gone for Megan’s neck! 

  • NurseEllen

    Nicely done, gentlemen.  I thought this was an odd episode; I’m not used to all this “hit you over the head”, glaringly unsubtle imagery, dialogue, and action, and actually gasped a couple of times when what happened on screen was really outlandish (Don’s choking episode–although at that point I knew it was some kind of hallucination/dream; Grandma feeding Sally seconal;  Peggy getting “friendly” with Dawn.)  These seem to be isolated vignettes, it makes me wonder where they are going to take these threads over the course of the season.  Hooray for Joan!  I hope she gets 90% of hubby’s probably not inconsiderable for the time salary in alimony and child support.  I hope their son does not grow up to be “just like dad” and volunteer to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    The whole theme of voyeuristic obsession with the Richard Speck murders gave me the willies, and made me realize that not much has changed about the prurience of human nature.  Don talking about “going off the balcony” of course echoed lots of references to such an exit in previous shows this season.  And Don himself is getting more and more unhealthy.  He should have kept up his swimming.  Betty looked a little thinner.  I wonder where she & Henry went while they were away?

    • ccinnc

       I was half expecting Joan to tell Greg that Kevin wasn’t his son, and was glad that she didn’t.

      • Sweetbetty

         I was waiting for that too and expect it to happen eventually.

      • Musicologie

        Admitting Kevin’s not his son would be ceding the moral high ground–it confirms his suspicions and would make him think he had justification for being a dick.  If he still thinks Kevin is his, he has no leg to stand on.

        • ccinnc

           Plus, she would lose out on child support … although I wonder if Roger is going to help?

          • Would she, though? I don’t know what the law is like in 1960s New York, but I have to imagine disestablishing paternity of a man who was married to the mother at the time of conception and birth would be a chore. The law really didn’t like to “bastardize” a child.

          • The only way of proving it at the time would be either a signed statement from the mother (possibly), or a blood test IF the blood types were incompatible.  But since there’s only 4 blood types with 2 Rh factors, that’s a major if. 

          • Well if they can prove what the window of conception was, and that Greg was in Vietnam at the time…. But, even if you do prove the husband isn’t biologically the father, it may still be difficult / impossible to disestablish legal paternity. 

          • Greg was at bootcamp at the time. After Joan decide against the abortion, they show her on a bus. The viewer can assume she went to visit Greg during this time, which would do away with timing issues.

          • To this day, any child born to a married woman is her husband’s responsibility. Period. My family law professor gave a great lecture on how that’s one of the few things that has been consistent with family law for hundreds of years. Michael H. vs. Gerald D. is a fascinating/horrifying supreme court case from the 80s, which set the most recent precedent (that I know of).

          • Maggie_Mae

            When Joan told Roger she was pregnant, he gave her money for an abortion & told her he was not going to take any responsibility for a child.  With Joan back at work (& getting divorced,) he might find it hard to keep a distance from his only son.  But he can’t afford another divorce & I hope that Joan waits for a better man. 

          • The way Roger is doling out these little “tips” around the office, I wonder if he CAN help. After all, he has his own little baby Jane at home to think of as well. 

          • It would certainly give up any right to alimony, though not necessarily child support now — a lot of states will assign child support to any child born during a marriage regardless of paternity.  I don’t know how child support worked then, in terms of court orders.

            But if she told him that Kevin wasn’t his, he’d certainly have no reason to want to PAY the support, and NOTHING was done to deadbeat dads in the ’60s. 

          • Sweetpea176

            Do you think she’d accept child support from Greg, knowing Kevin isn’t his?  I don’t see Joan being able to do that (unless there’s no real out for her under the law — that I have no idea about).

      • I have no doubt they will still be officially married once Greg bites it in Vietnam. His pension will certainly help Joanie and Kevin out, especially her being a single working mom.

    • ballerinawithagun

      Peggy so wants to be hip but is still haunted by her upbringing. That was very realistic in my mind.

      • Similar to Pete who wants to be like Roger, but is too entitled to figure out why he’s not…

        • I think Pete wants to be Don more than he wants to be Roger. He just resents Roger’s un-earned status in the firm.

          • He doesn’t do what Don does, he does what Roger does. He’s not a creative, he’s an account executive. And Roger status is far from un-earned, if not so much lately.

          • I know, but he didn’t start out wanting to be an account executive. I think he’s accepted it and grown into it, but I still don’t see him wanting to be Roger. In fact, I think Pete has some contempt for the accounts side of things, and transfers that contempt to Roger, the epitome of the accounts man.

          • Hmm, never saw that. 

          • Sweetpea176

            The irony of that is that Don tried to fire Pete, but Bert and/or Roger (Bert, I think?) stopped him because of Pete’s family connections — so his status isn’t entirely earned either.  And there was that whole blackmailing Don thing.

    • gotgreyhound

       I don’t think you have to worry about Kevin being “just like dad” and volunteering for Afghanistan since not only is he not Greg’s son, he’ll be in his upper 30s by the time Afghanistan rolls around…

      • He’d be 24 during the first Gulf War, but that was over so quickly…

        • mousetomato

           I think this show is going to show us the 60’s and not go further. Besides, he’s a fictional character.

    • I didn’t mind the less-than-subtle imagery at all, with one big exception. The accordion player that showed up at dinner at JUST the right moment basically came with a neon “remember that dinner where Joan first found out her husband wasn’t Super-Doc?” And then Joan’s mom’s comment had the comedic timing of a punchline, as if the editors knew how over-the-top it was, and decided to time the comment to cut the tension as a joke. A false moment in an otherwise fantastic episode.

      • Musicologie

        Also (as has been pointed out in other threads), Joan was even wearing the same dress from that party. There were clues even before the accordion player came out.

        I love how loud the accordion was. Perfect!

        • MK03

          No, she wasn’t. Check it out:

    • TonyGo

       Yeah, again with the talk about going over the balcony or terrace/out the window.  Am I reading to much into it?  Or is somebody literally taking a fall sometime this season?

      • Laylalola

        ~~~ (deleted because I haven’t been watching long enough to really speculate)

      • Sweetpea176

         Who knows, but if it happens, I’ll be annoyed if it’s been so foreshadowed that it’s expected.

    • Geoff Dankert

      Ellen, I’m with you on the “unsubtle” nature of this episode. I thought it was a riveting installment, but Matt and the show’s creative team appear to be operating with the mindset that since so much time has passed between seasons, the viewers need to be bludgeoned with recurring themes to remind them of what’s gone before. I had been thinking of it through most of the episode, but the accordion scene sealed it. And also: Ginsberg’s reaction to the Speck murder scene pics mirrored so exactly what Peggy’s reaction was to so many things at the old Sterling Cooper. He really is her, isn’t he?

    • Betty and Henry went to see Bobby at summer camp where he was wetting his bed.

  • miagain

    Grandma Pauline’s character flummoxed me… from previous episodes, she appeared to be an old line, moneyed, WASP…. but last night she went from blue blood to blue collar… so who is she?
    I am old enough to remember the Richard Speck murders… where was my mother???  cause I poured over the paper, reading all the details, and scaring myself witless!  I distinctly remember rolling under my bed to see if I would fit…  just in case!!
    One thing that bothered me… I’m an army brat, with a father that served two tours in Viet Nam… I don’t think the Army would ever send someone back to Viet Nam immediately after one tour there.  He would have been sent to Germany or Walter Reed.  Small point… but it bugged me.  Also, I don’t think you’re supposed to salute while indoors… especially in a non military setting.  
    I thought Don’s feverish, halucinations were done so well.  Speaking of his cough… I fully expected him to start coughing up blood, and that this might be the beginning of lung cancer.  Who knows?

    • But didn’t Greg volunteer to go back?  I don’t imagine the Army would say no to a doctor who actually WANTED to go back to Vietnam.

      • miagain

        You are probably right… it’s just my experience, that no one really wanted to return to Viet Nam.  And if Greg could only find the respect and appreciation he so needed in Viet Nam, well there you go….  Maybe he found himself at China Beach and is having a fling with Dana Delany!

        • Chaiaiai

          Well, I think in Greg’s case, he’s a bit…twisted?  He gets off on feeling in control.  So being a surgeon in a combat setting might really ping that for him.   Full disclosure: my dad was stationed at a medical evacuation hospital in Vietnam 66-68.  So I know there were some perks…like not having to be at the front lines. 

          • annieanne

            He’s getting respect — even if its only the formalized ‘respect’ of military rank structure — that he’s never gotten on his own but always believed he more than deserved.

          • Jennifer Coleman

            Greg was humiliated in his quest to become a surgeon. Not only did he not get the position he wanted at the hospital, but he was told he did not have what it takes to be a surgeon AT ALL. One does not easily recover from that type of disappointment. He was prized in Vietnam & got some of that hope and respect back. I understand his wanting to go back completely, it is his not asking Joan that’s the problem. 
            And regarding Joan – her outrage and kicking him out smacks somewhat of a petulant child. She married him mostly for his potential as a doctor, not for his character. So things didn’t go her way initially (but if Greg could survive the war, she could’ve been set up nicely, I’ll bet), if she really loved him, she would have weathered this difficult time. Instead, she emasculates and abandons him. Neither of them are innocent and it’s best they both move on.

          • Chantelle James

            I don’t see her kicking him out as emasculating and abandoning him. I had a sense that Joan married Greg because she was getting older and needed to get married for the times. She knew she wasn’t going to be able to marry Roger and she found Greg. I think she saw that his potential as a doctor made up for his lack of good character. Things didn’t go well initially, and she knew it, but she was determined to be a good, caring, loving wife. She had already weathered the difficult time when he found out he would never be a surgeon – she was every bit the loving, caring wife then. She’d also weathered the difficult time of him being in Vietnam. 
            I think she finally saw him for what he was: a man who lacks a sense of his own worthiness and so gets off on power and control over others. Had she stayed with him through and after his second tour, he would have treated her even worse than he had already done: I expect that he’d have started to beat her because she didn’t make him feel as good/manly/respected as the military did.

        • fnarf

          Or maybe he found himself some China White (heroin) as so many servicemen in Vietnam did, and is eager to get back to his supply cabinet.

        • Celandine1

          I worked with a retired Air Force NCO who volunteered for three tours in Vietnam. I don’t think it was uncommon for career military to do multiple tours.

        • jmw1122

          My dad volunteered for two tours in Vietnam, he wasn’t a career man though. He’s just a little odd and really had nothing worth staying in the States for.

          • rowsella

             My uncle did too.  He lied about his age to enlist in the Marines too.  Home was worse than Vietnam.  He ended up retiring as a Captain.

    • Sweetbetty

       I expected that cough to turn out to be much more than a summer cold too.  Maybe it still will be.

      • rainwood1

        Agreed.  I’m thinking that Betty isn’t the parent who’s going to turn out to have cancer.

      • annieanne

        I dunno, it didn’t sound like he was having any problems in the previews for the next episode. And lung diseases aren’t something that come and go. I think the cold was just very, very bad as an excuse to give him a hallucination.

    • AZU403

      I figured his coughing might be smoking-related, but I used to get horrendous summer colds around that era due to the  excessive air conditioning in offices I worked in.

    • juliamargaret

      I think Grandma Pauline could be an old line moneyed WASP _and_ the victim of a violent and cruel father. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • miagain

        Very true… it just seemed odd that only one episode earlier, she is portrayed in a very different way… and then last night she’s just like Betty… popping pills and shoveling Bugels down her gullet.. come to think of it, maybe that was the point… we’re all just a couple of bugels, and seconals away from a life on the couch in our nylon bathrobes…. (gulp!)

    • juliamargaret

      I think Grandma Pauline could be an old line moneyed WASP _and_ the victim of a violent and cruel father. They are not mutually exclusive.

    • ballerinawithagun

      I’m sure Grandma Pauline somehow married money. If she had been pregnant, she would have just been bought off and taken care of. Can’t wait for the twist in her story. 

      My husband brought up the saluting in a casual setting. But perhaps the military men felt so maligned that it happened more often to show comeraderie?

      Don’s feverish hallucnations were great. Did the fever breaking symbolize a breaking with Don’s sexual habits?

    • Charley18

      Pauline character change bothered me too. She’d been created as a perfectly sensible, controlled (and a bit controlling) upper crust woman – one who instantly saw through Betty and her son’s attraction to her, and was aghast at Betty’s parenting. Wasn’t she especially kind towards Sally at their first Thanksgiving together? Now she’s a gossipy, rather vulgar characterture, seemingly from a whole other class. Odd.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Too much Seconal maybe?  Mother’s Little Helper to span all ages….

      • Not to get all Trotsky over here, but what’s up with Pauline’s unsavory characteristics being attributed to an economic class thing? I’ve known plenty of monied people who were absolutely trashy and crass, made all the more worse by their sense of entitlement because of their money. Also, child abuse and mind fuckery aren’t specific to the working class.

        Pauline’s had about five minutes of screentime over the entire series.  She hasn’t been a “character” yet, just a two dimensional plot line to serve as an antagonist/foil to Betty. This season we’re beginning to learn about  more about her through Sally’s POV.  She’s entering into adolescence and is observing the different types of women archetypes she’s surrounded by – Mother, Crone, Virgin (that burst of sunlight as Megan walked into her and Don’s bedroom the morning after the sickness was eyeroll inducing) – and trying to figure out where she fits in. 

        This episode it seems as though Pauline has developed a bit of sympathy for Sally over time. She still seems like the rules maven she was in prior episodes, but she truly seems to care about Sally’s welfare in her own way. And as TLO pointed out, Pauline’s the only one willing to have a conversation with Sally, something not even the sainted Megan has done. 
        She crazy. But now, at least, she interesting.

        • Spicytomato1

          Great points. She is indeed interesting.

        • Sweetpea176

          How funny was it that she bit the Seconal in half to give to Sally — and swallowed the other half herself?

    • Spicytomato1

      Yeah Grandma Pauline really was different. She even made fun of the house, which I found odd since we’d all sort of guessed it was a family home. Maybe not her family home, though, which I guess would make it a fair target for her new sassiness.

    • I knew of one Army Colonel, with a family in the States, that did 2 tours of Viet Nam, and I do believe there was a very short break at home. Obviously, it was very rewarding for some to stay longer, and return home at a higher rank. The indoor saluting was awkward, I agree, and most likely done in order to illustrate how immature the young soldier was, compared to Greg’s new-found  “maturity.”  Don’s lungs, well, Megan did tell him not to smoke, which could help to underline his dragon-like qualities.  By the way, I also knew of a young nurse during the Speck murders who was told by her boyfriend “to quit nursing immediately!” As a result, leaving what she loved caused her to choose less fulfilling careers.  Truth, stranger than “Mad Men?”  Go ask Sally.

    • annieanne

      The Navy doesn’t salute indoors. The army does, I think. But nobody salutes sitting down.

      • donnaINseattle

         Unless they are in a wheelchair.

  • katwoody

    I couldn’t wait to wake up this morning and read you review. As always you sum it up so well I’m beginning to think you write for the show!

  • frcathie

    Thanks for the quick and thorough recap! Last night was one of my favorite episodes so far. One curious thing I noticed: three episodes, three scenes of Don fully clothed (white shirt, black pants) lying on the bed – once after his surprise party, one after the Stones concert, one with a fever. I wonder if the theme will continue, and why?

  • Oh how I loved watching Peggy and Joan assert themselves. Peggy with Roger, I loved every second of that exchange. I think the majority of the bitter kittens had the feeling Joanie would end up a single mom, but as usual, MM took us down a different road of how she gets there.  Last night was a brilliant show.  You can’t argue this is the best show in television right now. 

    • Sweetbetty

       I had just watched a rerun of the very first episode of MM on Sunday morning and the contrast between that Peggy and the Peggy with Roger last night was just amazing.  Even better, we saw her grow over the course of the seasons so it was totally believable, not like it happened in just two or three episodes.

      • I did that not too long ago either, and I was floored just seeing Peggy then and Peggy now.  Who would have thought…I honestly hope they turn her into a trail blazer for women in her field, which is what I think they were setting up with her last night with Roger.  This isn’t going to come without some terrible upsets, of course, it’s Peggy.

    • Patricia Biswanger

      What did you think of Peggy’s outfit, the green jumper and those fabulous shoes?

      • LOVED it! Those shoes are amazing! And green of course. Right when she comes across money… whoa. They really weren’t subtle this episode, were they??

      • ballerinawithagun

        I love those shoes!

      • OMGeeee….it was better than those horrid button ups and skirts they’ve had her in.  Loved it.

      • dress_up_doll

        Chiming in late, but those green shoes were awesome! They were so perfect for our gal Peggy. Loved the green jumper as well.

    • ballerinawithagun

      I thought Joan would wind up a single mother, but in the predictable soap fashion of Greg would be MIA and return at a later date. This is really taking control and becming a career woman!

      •  Same here – I was cheering when she kicked him out. Joanie’s back!

      • dress_up_doll

        I was almost certain Gregg would be killed off and Joan would be a widow because of the whole Umbrellas of Cherborg clue from last season. Fooled moi! I, too, cheered though when Joan kicked Greg to the curb. I can’t wait to see what life as a single mother in the sixties brings our little Joanie.

    • CozyCat

      I think Peggy’s victory over Roger was the source of the awkward scene with Dawn.  Peggy was feeling particularly successful at that moment, so she reached out to someone below her in the power structure (in many ways) to “help” and “mentor.”  That meant her exchange with Dawn had an element of condescension.  But Peggy’s experience is still drawn from a pretty sheltered existence–catholic good girl; madison avenue upper middle class workplace.  All her advice is completely naive and off base.

      Then comes the bit with the purse and reality hits like a sledge hammer.  By trying to “help” Dawn, she has made things worse….

      • well said. 

      • I think so too.  Peggy is still socially awkward even though she seems to be getting a handle on her life at the office. Last season she didn’t like to spend time with the “boys”, and now she’s getting drunk with them in her office. But,  every time you see in a social setting outside of work, she appears to feel completely out of place, and acts that way as well.  I was embarrassed for her when she was trying to “understand” Dawn’s hardships b/c she at one time had been the only female copywriter.  She is trying to relate when in reality, she has no idea how hard it must have been to be a black female in the 60’s.  Dawn didn’t even feel safe to go home, Peggy has probably never felt that way.

  • Joshau Norton

    I’m wondering about Don’s sudden cough. It can’t be anything as fatal as lung cancer because I recall an interview with Matt Weiner where he said he’d like the very last episode of Mad Men to show Don in the present day as an 80 year old man. Maybe it’s just what was called “smokers cough” mixed in with a bad chest cold.

    • Sweetbetty

       Oh, I hope it does end with all of the characters aged and the people who should be together finally matched up.

      • Lilithcat

        and the people who should be together finally matched up.

        Although I expect there would be differences of opinion as to “who should be together”!

    • Did you see the preview where they are in bed and Megan rubs her hand over his heart…maybe I’m looking too far into it, but he was damn sick in this episode.  

    • Lung cancer isn’t always fatal — even in the mid 60’s, they could have removed a tumor that was small enough.  Though my guess would be TB.  Same nasty cough, same blood, and more common then than now. 

      • Boy, wouldn’t Betty be pissed if he did get cancer?? Upstaged yet again!

    • Glammie

      Well, he had a high fever to go with it, so I’m assuming the flu or maybe pneumonia.  It’s not sudden–he’s just sick with something or other–and his smoking doesn’t help his poor lungs.

    • I always thought it would end with Don committing suicide by jumping off his office building. You know, using the opening sequence as foreshadowing. 

  • TheDivineMissAnn

    We played Mystery Date on my friend Kathy P.’s front porch all.summer.long.

    • ccinnc

       Poindexter was my fave.

      • Logo Girl

        Yes! Plus Poindexter was the one who becomes a billionaire in the software industry! 

    • Jennifer Coleman

      My Mom never bought Mystery Date for me because she thought it was too trifling and silly. Yay for mom, but the game has some sort of forbidden pleasure status in my mind.

      • Spicytomato1

        Same with me! Plus Three Stooges and Speed racer cartoons were deemed too violent so I had the same “forbidden pleasure” feeling with those shows, too. 

      • filmcricket

        My mom wouldn’t let me watch Brady Bunch reruns because it was sexist. I now think she was doing me an enormous favour.

      • I gotta admit. I wouldn’t buy it for my daughter either, LOL. But she is super rebellious at age 5. She’d play it at her friends’ houses. 😉

    • dress_up_doll

      My big sister had Mystery Date and we always got a huge kick out of the bedraggled, deadbeat guy.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        OOHHHH Yesssss!  This! This! This!  I forgot about that guy.  Hahahahaha – for some strange reason, you just made my day!

  • It struck me that Sally might be receptive to Grandma Pauline because of her experience with Grandpa Gene, the only other adult member of her family who didn’t talk down to her. Albeit in a sort of “off” way.

    Also, minor and unrelated, but I love the detail that the couples in this era have full-size beds that look tiny to modern eyes. I don’t know anyone younger than 70 who settles for less than queen-size, but I know several elderly couples who think that’s too big and lonely. Except Roger and Jane. Their bed is huge.

    • Actually, my husband and I have a full-size rather than a queen.  We sleep all snuggled up and we aren’t particularly tall or large people, so it’s always been big enough.  And we’re under 30:)

  • Scimommy

    Fantastic recap. I needed one because the episode left me pretty discombobulated. I always read the Sepinwall recaps, too, and notice that frequently you guys pick up on the same themes, etc., but I think today you were more on point than he was.

    An interesting (and disturbing!) suggestion that Andrea might in fact be a recent affair. God, I hope not! Is it possible that Don’s fevered mind concocted the docks of the Lincoln center story?

    • Cabernet7

      I thought dream Andrea was more a stand-in for all the women Don’s had affairs with.  I don’t think he’s cheated on Megan yet, but I’m often wrong.

      • Glammie

        That was my take as well.  He was fantasizing to the point of imagining he’d killed her, so why would he be accurate about where and when he had sex with her?  I think it was how his mind works–he still wants to have quick and dirty sex–he *wants* to have it at Lincoln Center.

  • I think Joan kicked out Greg not because she was particularly furious about him volunteering to stay in combat, but because she was looking for an excuse; any excuse. He is a doctor – it’s only a matter of time before he figured out that the baby isn’t his. And he has a history of violence, so when he did, Joan’s life would be hell. No, she wanted him out of her life – and she wanted it to be his fault, not hers. There is a reason for her decision, and it is not shameful, like rape, but something socially acceptable. Even his own mother – and, seemingly, Joan’s as well – would understand why she ended it.

    I may be crazy, but I am envisioning and hoping for a Joanie/Lane love affair. I loved their moment in the premiere episode! Genuine, gentle love, respect and affection, particularly on Lane’s part.

    • Sobaika Mirza

      I don’t see romance between them, but I do love the relationship between Lane and Joanie. That exchange (with Lane mimicking Megan) was so full of laughter.

    • Yea, while people are seeing hints of Don and Joan in the future, I see hints of Lane and Joan.

    • Scimommy

      Interesting points, but I disagree about the “looking for an excuse, any excuse” bit. I thought she wanted to get back to the “normal” life she had been trying to build, with a husband and a son. She had been covering for Greg for years, trying to convince others – and herself – that he was the person to have that life with. But his decision to go back was the final straw and Joan realized that the whole thing is futile and it’s better to cut him loose.

      That said, I have been wishing to see something develop between Joan and Lane for *ages*. His behavior in the 1st (2nd?) episode creeped me out, though, so now I am a little more cautious in my wishing.

      • Final straw, exactly. And now she really does have an excuse to go back to SCDP.

    •  I think that there may be a love affair between Joanie and Lane, but not a sexual one, if that makes any sense?  I see them emotionally confiding in one another, and becoming sources of solace and caring for each other.  So I see Lane committing emotional infidelity with Joan…. but as far as sexual infidelity, well… he did have a thing with a Black bunny before.  I think he may cruise Dawn at some point in the future. 

      Re: her reasons for Greg, I’m not so sure if it was just because of the parentage.  I think we saw a lot of the major issues in their relationship happen in miniature and it made Joan realize that nothing is going to change with Greg.  He is a dictator in their relationship, he sees Joan as a show piece or piece of furniture, and he doesn’t give her autonomy or credit in anything.  I think she would’ve continued the farce, if only Greg could love her like she deserved. He couldn’t so he had to go.

      • I can see Jane and Joan having a very intimate friendship but not carrying it to a sexual stage. I don’t think that either is the other’s type.

        • Jane and Joan or LANE and Joan…because I just don’t see Roger’s wife wanting to hook up with Joanie 😉

        • Browsery

          One of my favorite scenes was when she tried manipulate him into letting her take off more time after the holidays and he said he was the exception to the rule that everyone was putty in her hands.  But then they had the fight, he tried to make it up to her with the flowers and his secretary mixed up the deliveries.  As of the first episode of this season, he clearly respects her.

      • FloridaLlamaLover

        They have that married office couple relationship — office wife, office husband — emotionally support one another, but no sexual/physical relationship

    • malarkey

      perhaps, but I really don’t think that being a single mother at that time was ‘socially acceptable’ ~ if your marriage “failed” it was still the woman’s fault. Granted, I grew up rural, where these mores hung on way into the 70’s and beyond. The urban areas had shed a lot of that stigma earlier. 

      Also, while T & Lo say this is the ‘most feminist’ show on TV, I just gotta say I’m still disappointed they haven’t highlighted any of the feminist literature of the time. Surely at least one of these women read “The Feminine Mystique” and was changed by it. 

  • Ozski

    I’m such a MM nerd that I know the costumes usually have some significance to the storyline and once I saw Joan wearing a black dress with red roses, it harkened to the humiliating “Accordian scene” from a few seasons back. I had a feeling there was going to be another scene like that in the episode and I was correct! I know you’ll probably mention this in your ‘Mad Styles’ post but I just had to comment on it. Also, another insanely accurate post. I can’t help but kind of like crazy Grandma Pauline and her straight-shooter talk with poor Sally and glad you pointed that out.

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      Great observation about the dress and the Accordian.  And while at the restaurant, I think Greg (or someone) says “Joan plays Accordian.”

      • Her mom mentioned it, and yeah, that was such a great party.

      • MissAnnieRN

        The accordion scene was pitch perfect for this episode, since the theme (along with “Mystery Date”) seemed to be “hit you over the head with symbolism.”  In a lot of shows (or books for that matter) I’m often annoyed with that device, as often it is the result of an unskilled story teller, but here it is such a break from the usual subtlety and nuance that you expect from Mad Men that it works.  The timing/choreography of Joanie lighting the cigarette practically made me squeal with delight.  

        • Lola67

          That was one of my favorite scenes. The emotion that goes through Joan’s face when she realizes that her husband is choosing to go back. She’s devastated, but not surprised. When she leaned over to light the cigarette it made me a little teary.

    • Musicologie

      I noticed that too, impressing the other people at the viewing party when the accordion came out–and then Joanie’s accordion skills were specifically mentioned.  Thanks, TLo!

    • Pants_are_a_must


  • NDC_IPCentral

    Excellent recap, gentlemen.  I remember the Richard Speck murders – their horror was mammoth, so this event’s coloring the whole episode was on point for the time.  This was a thought-provoking, multiple story-line establishing episode, and I’m going to enjoy re-reading your recap and recollecting what I saw last night.  The best show on TV, and your recaps do it justice.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    Great recap! It didn’t even occur to me that Don might have already cheated on Megan. That comment about Andrea being a copyrighter at the ‘old office’ also was disputed by Peggy in her talk with Dawn – she said she was the only one for awhile.

    I got a kick of all of the Cinderella shoes in the episode – first, Peggy had those cute green slingbacks on when Roger came asking for work in the Mohawk account, which Peggy needles him about looking for a date at first. Then, we have Andrea’s neon orange shoe sticking out from under the bed. And finally, Joan’s momma’s sensible pair lined up by the bed in their last scene.

    And sarcastic Sally is totally awesome. I do agree that batshit stepgranny did make some good arguments between serving up the crazy. And secanol? Damn. 

    • ballerinawithagun

      We already know that Megan is a little kinky. Were the murders hitting too close to home for her?

      • Jennifer Coleman

        I’m not so sure Megan is truly kinky on her own or knowledgeable on what turns Don on (which turns her on).

    • Spicytomato1

      I know, the seconal shocked me probably more than anything in the episode. Makes you wonder what she put in Henry’s baby bottle to stop him from crying.

      • AZU403

        About a year earlier the mom next door for whom I babysat advised me to put some phenobarbitol in the baby’s bottle if he fussed too much. Fortunately I had enough sense at 14 not to.

        • mstzilla

           I was born in 1956 and my PEDIATRICIAN prescribed phenobarbitol for my mom to put in my bottle (I was – I think? – a colicky baby). I still find this difficult to believe!

          • Hey, go to Target today and you can find homeopathic teething drops that contain belladonna for infants — and the dosing instructions always suck.  While belladonna is a great natural sedative if taken in correct doses, I sure as hell would never use it on one of my babies.

    • I’d imagine Don cheated on Megan within the first two weeks.  Chronic cheaters generally do.

  • I loved how Sally’s “It IS Friday morning” mirrored Betty’s “It IS Sunday!” in last season’s Waldorf Stories episode– the last episode where Don blacked out/hallucinated. Kiernan Shipka really is perfecting her January Jones.

    • MissAnnieRN

      Totally.  “I’m on Vacation.”  She declares to Don – it’s Betty Draper Entitlement at it’s finest.  

      • k op

         Sally resembles Don, too, in many ways.  Her way of absorbing the Speck murders was PERFECT Dick Whitman, silently, full internalization, putting the horror of it into other situations.

        Kiernan Shipka is a great little actress and she is getting some wonderful coaching.

  • EveEve

    Other than Joan kicking Greg out, I didn’t see this episode as moving things forward.  The scene between Peggy and Roger was amusing, but ominous.  In fact, I think she’s about to get fired.  She brought in a brilliant new copywriter who is not only male, but hitting the ball out of the park with his presentations. She’s female, and apparently not doing squat but getting drunk and being flip with the guys.  If the current finances at the company don’t improve, she’s going to be the first one out the door.

    • That scene with Peggy and Roger was so weird and out of left field to me. I’m not sure if they’re continuing the trend of no one takes Roger seriously anymore or Mike’s (or Don’s) carefree attitude is rubbing off on Peggy. Either way, it seemed out of character for Peggy to give Roger such a hard time. Last episode when she was all deadpan “I’ll get right on growing a penis” seemed in character. Outright being kind of a bitch and asking for money from one of her bosses just seemed so out of character for her.

      • Browsery

        She wasn’t being a bitch.  He was asking her to do something at the last minute that clearly was not her responsibility. They hired Michael to handle Mohawk.  First, she accepted his measly $10, then she realized she could push back a bit.  After 5 years, it was time.  She handled it with aplomb. She also probably is underpaid because she’s a woman.

        The promo for the next episode made it look as if she could be fired, but those are often deliberately misleading.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          I agree.  I may be wrong, but it seemed like it was 5:00 pm on a Friday night.  Who wouldn’t be pissed about being put in that spot by your boss right before the weekend?

          • I’d be pissed and I’m sure the Peggy we know would be pissed. But the Peggy we know wouldn’t have spoken to Roger like that, in my opinion.

          • I’m sure that by this time, everyone in the office knows that Roger is throwing his money around to get what he wants. Why shouldn’t Peggy get some too when he is asking her to stay over the weekend to cover up for him by doing someone else’s work?

          • I didn’t say Peggy shouldn’t, I’m saying the Peggy that has been protrayed wouldn’t have.

          • Kriesa

            Peggy was already a little drunk. Just like at the party in the first episode, when she put her foot in her mouth by saying out loud something she should have kept in her head.

            Also, she was extra pissed off because Roger had made such a production of how she couldn’t handle the Mohawk account without a penis.

        • Well, my interpation of the scene was she was being a bitch. Yes, it was the last minute and it may not of been her responsibility depending on where she falls ranking wise (ie, if Michael reports to her, she’s responsible for him.) In 2012, she would of handled it with aplomb. In 1966 and considering Peggy’s character? I thought she was being a bitch.

          • Pete also just completely belittled Roger in the last episode in front of everybody. This scene might be more of an indication of Roger’s position of authority evaporating which enables Peggy to demand a little more consideration from him. Also Roger has, what, one account??? How can he drop the ball on the only account he has to deal with and he has a special copywriter just for that account? 

          • I indicated that this scene was probably more about Roger since Peggy was out of character.

      • Sweetpea176

        I really enjoyed that scene — I thought Peggy was brilliant.  But I agree that it seemed out of character for her to speak to Roger that way.  Sure, she was understandably pissed at Roger, but it’s a whole other thing to ask for all the money in his pocket.  Spectacularly ballsy.  Maybe she was already drunk?

    • Laylalola

      I was struck by the undercurrent this episode of threatened firings — Roger over Peggy (and it’s interesting how their interaction played so well with the audience for the amount of gumption she showed, but come on, Roger spelled out — multiple times! — that he’s her superior, which really usually naturally strikes terror and gives nightmares to inferiors in a workplace that’s already cutting, she’s really blase at the moment) and Don over Michael Ginsburg, who was as clueless as Peggy that he really was THISCLOSE to getting the ax.  

    • Laylalola

      I was struck by the undercurrent this episode of threatened firings — Roger over Peggy (and it’s interesting how their interaction played so well with the audience for the amount of gumption she showed, but come on, Roger spelled out — multiple times! — that he’s her superior, which really usually naturally strikes terror and gives nightmares to inferiors in a workplace that’s already cutting, she’s really blase at the moment) and Don over Michael Ginsburg, who was as clueless as Peggy that he really was THISCLOSE to getting the ax.  

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        I was surprised she took it as far as she did too, at first.  Roger really is on his way down and has lost the respect of his co-workers, particularly given Pete’s attitude toward him lately.   Maybe she recognizes this.  Or, she somehow found out about the cash Roger gave Harry to get him to switch his office with Pete.

      • Maybe it’s a way of displaying the 60’s growing lack of respect for authority figures. There is clearly a shift going on in Peggy’s character from hard working, uptight and humorless good girl to something else – though I can’t put my finger on where it’s going. Michael is also a hard working, uptight and humorless good boy – as people have said – he is Peggy Olsen’s mirror image. There was a time she would have been overtly offended by the voyeurism of those photographs too. 

      • CozyCat

        Peggy knew very well that she was in no danger of being fired.  “The $10 is for the work.  The rest is for the lie.”

        What was Roger going to do?  Fire Don’s protoge, who actually did the work, because she wouldn’t help him hide his screwup from Campbell? 

        A Nixon would learn half a decade later, it’s the coverup that gets you….

    • Musicologie

      She didn’t indicate that her heart’s not in being a copywriter–she just said that she didn’t want to act like a man.  If anything, she still sees copywriting as desirable; in a display of self-absorption, she thought Dawn wanted to be a copywriter instead of a secretary because she just assumed that everyone thought of copywriting like she did.  If she was dissatisfied with being a secretary, of course other people would be, too.

      • EveEve

        I thought she said she wasn’t sure she had it in her to always act like a man for the sake of her career. By that I thought she was questioning whether she had what it took to succeed in the world of copywriting at that time.  And also,  Michael was roundly complimented for understanding women so well.  Isn’t that part of what she is around for?   If Michael can do everything she can do, and do it better, which one would they most likely let go if they had to make a choice?  Just speculation….

        • bluessis

          It was a man complimenting Michael on his understanding of a woman. Would a woman have said that? I’m not sure Rachel Menken would agree.

      • Browsery

        I didn’t think it was self-absorbed; in fact that kind of interest is how women find mentors.  And as Dawn was brave and self-controlled enough to break one barrier, Peggy thought she might want to try to break others.

    • Spicytomato1

      Interesting Ginsberg seems to be stepping into Peggy’s shoes now that she’s “one of the guys.” He was squeamish about the grisly photos, put his nose to the grindstone, focused on the pitch and impressed the client…very Peggy-esque, I thought. Although I didn’t see Peggy’s job threatened as much as I imagined Don being upstaged by Michael at some point. 

      • Michael’s presentation of the Cinderella concept was pure Don Draper at his peak. We don’t see that kind of razzle dazzle from him any more.

    • Not to mention that Michael was supposed to be freelance, just for the “manly” Mohawk job. And there he is, pitching for LADIES’ shoes.

      • Laylalola

        footwear 😉

  • I thought Andrea was the prostitute who slapped Don around last season–is it just a similar looking actress?

    • luciaphile

       I’m pretty sure Andrea was played by Madchen Amick. I believe Erin Cummings played Candace (the prostitute from last season).

      • Is that why she looks familiar? I was trying to place her the whole time. I didn’t watch the credits, but I think you may be right…

        • Yes, it was Madchen Amick, from Twin Peaks! I do think there was a parallel between the two women – especially the “you know what I want” scene between Don and Candice and the scene with Don and Andrea where she says, “you’re a sick, sick…” and then he begins to strangle her – like an S/M scene gone horribly wrong.

          Loved TLo’s thought that Don has already cheated on Megan – really interesting – or perhaps hasn’t actually cheated but the thought has certainly crossed his mind. 

    • Jacqueline Wessel

      I thought so too!

  • Melanie Harrison

    Thank you for the excellent recap. Your point about Andrea had not occurred to me and makes a whole lot of sense. I cheered Joan’s decision to divorce Greg AND tell him he’s not a good man by alluding to his rape of her pre-marriage. I’m so glad the writer’s didn’t take away her agency by just having him die in Vietnam, but instead allowed her to choose to leave him and be a single parent.

    • I’ve always had the feeling that the rape was not a one-time thing. She definitely put up with a lot.

  • TheDivineMissAnn

    Did anyone else notice Andrea was wearing yellow? 
    Even tho’ I was probably 8 or 9 when the Speck murders occurred, I remember it well, as we lived in Chicago at the time.  They occurred in July 1966;  when Peggy and Dawn were talking in Don’s office, riots were mentioned, which I thought started a year or two after.  Was this when Malcolm X was killed?  I don’t remember rioting in Chicago until Dr. King was assassinated. 

    Hurray for Joan, although I must admit I didn’t see divorce coming.  I thought Greg would go back for another year and be killed during that deployment.  I like this scenario batter.  I think our Joanie might just burn that bra (symbolically, of course)

    And isn’t that just like the 60’s? Let’s give the kid a Seconal.

    • The DIvision Street riots occurred in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago in June 1966, but they certainly didn’t have the violence of the ’68 riots. But of course Peggy and Dawn were discussing nationwide race riots generally, and by the summer of ’66 there had been several, most notably the Watts riot in L.A. in ’65.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Oh, okay, thanks.  I don’t remember the Division Street riots, tho’ I was pretty young; we lived just south of Diversey Ave.  And for some reason I though the Watts riots were later.  It was such a tumultuous era in our history……

        • The Division Street riots were pretty minor in the larger context of the era. It was a tumultuous time to be sure!

    • mommyca

       I did notice Andrea was wearing yellow too…. now I’m confused at the meaning of yellow…. 🙁

    • juliamargaret

      Yes, definitely noticed the yellow!

      • Yellow is the opposite color on the color wheel from purple, which is what Megan wore this entire episode.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          You know, I noticed Megan wasn’t in her usual bright colors.  Your explanation nails it!

    • AZU403

      I wa considerably creeped out by the Speck murders storyline, as I not only remember them from the time but had to read a book about it (“Born to Raise Hell”, if anybody hasn’t gotten enough) for freshman Psych a few years later. Going to bed in an empty house after this week’s MM was not very comfortable.

      It really was brutally hot then – 106 degrees at Newark airport.

    • margaret meyers

      The Valerie Percy murder was more disturbing — they still don’t know who killed her, and she was the daughter of a Senator and wealthy man.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Oh, that’s right!  I remember that…I did not realize her killer has never been found.  Was that in the mid-to-late 60’s also?

    • miagain

      I think they were referring to the Watts riots, in Los Angeles.

    • Browsery

      I think giving a child Seconal would have been a bit much even in the 1960s.

  • Patricia Biswanger

    PREDICTION:  Ginsburg will be revealed as a Holocaust survivor, and his mother was killed there, hence his reaction to the rest of the crew’s titillation at viewing the Chicago nurse massacre pictures.

    FLASHBACK: I had that “Mystery Date” game! I always got stuck with Poindexter, but in a way, I liked him best.

    Also note that Sally is under the sofa, like the only survivor of that massacre.  Sally is a survivor.
    There were so many excellent moments in this episode that I could go on and on, but I have to get to work!

    • Your prediction is pretty good, I think. I was about to note that Ginsburg is too young to be a Holocaust survivor, but of course ’66 is only 21 years from 1945, so it is indeed possible. At the very least, I believe we’re meant to think the Holocaust colored his reaction to their gawking at the Speck photos.

      • Yes, definitely. I don’t think he is a survivor, but the Holocaust likely affected his family. He had a very strong reaction to those pictures and the murders, and of course nobody picked up on it. It will come up again.

        • I think he’s a survivor in the sense that his parents sent him to NY to live with relatives when things started to get bad, got sent to the camps themselves and then came over when they were freed.

          • Or that.. his dad came over when he was freed/survived but his mother perished.

          • sherrietee

             Or they got out and lost family that was left behind.  My great-grandfather left what is now Belarus at the turn of the 20th century.  There was family that stayed behind.  Of course, anyone left was dragged out of their homes and shot, then thrown in a mass grave in the ’30s.  There is no family left in Amdur.  I didn’t know them but it still colors my perceptions.  Just the fact that I know that I had aunts and uncles that were killed horribly is enough.

          • Andrea Rossillon

             I think this is more likely–the baseball conversation Michael and his dad had in the last episode would seem to indicate that his parents had been in NYC in the ’30s; his dad mentioned the recent (1966) death of a guy who’d pitched in 1937.

      • Browsery

        I don’t think Michael could be more than 30 at the very oldest.  He has worked at some other ad agencies, and Don noted that he had been at one job a long time.  

        So he could have been born in 1936, and would have been 6 or 7 in 1942 or 1943, years when many Jews were sent to the camps.  I don’t know how he would have survived them, but he could have been hidden somewhere, or simply been in America and had family who were not able to get out of Europe.

    • ballerinawithagun

      Agree with your Ginsberg and Sally survivor ideas.

    • AZU403

      He would have been a small child during WWII, and even if he wasn’t born in Europe he could have relatives who didn’t make it. At the very least he would be excruciatingly aware that it could have been him.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Yes.  Or perhaps he and his father are the only survivors of his entire (including extended) family?

        • Browsery

          Agree with the above replies.  He could also just be an unusually sensitive young man.

          I’m American born, and I notice accents.  I could have made the same comment as Michael.  Michael’s sounds like a certain kind of New York Jewish accent I’ve heard all my life. 

        • sweetlilvoice

          I’ve glad I”m not the only one who thought about the Holocaust connection with young Ginsberg. His description of a woman running away only to be caught had me thinking about the Gestapo or SS.  Very creepy…especially with the Cinderella story.

      • rowsella

        He is a first generation immigrant.  My mom was born in 1943 and came here in 1950– the effects of Nazi barbarism and holocaust were very very fresh in the Jewish community in Queens they moved to with garbage thrown daily at her family’s door and little Herman next door was told he could not play with her (they immigrated from Berlin).  Of course there were those pictures in Life magazine of the concentration camps.  I think Ginsburg was viscerally turned off by the Speck murder pictures because of that (violence or holocaust porn) which can be exploitative as it is or cause survivor guilt.  Well, it did not take long to move out of that cold water flat.  Fast forward to 1966, my mother was 23, married with baby (think Pete & Trudy) in small village on Long Island.

         She lost her language in the first year  she was here, becoming fluent American English, wanting to fit in, be an American.  Luckily the first school she went to had a Dutch boy who could speak German and English to translate (only in NYC) as there were no such thing as ESL classes/teachers.  She worked really hard and picked it up.  Interestingly, despite her first 7 years in Germany, then 15 years in NYC/Long Island– no detectable German nor downstate NY accent.
        She told me everyone wore jeans outside of school in the boroughs (if they were poor).  She received 2 pr. dungarees in September and 2 skirts.  In summer the dungarees were cut off for shorts.

    • MissAnnieRN

      If Ginsburg were a Holocaust survivor, I think he would have a different accent.  Though, he does note “regional accents” which could be a clue to the fact that he has studied dialects in an effort to come up with an authentic one for himself so that he can blend in.  Though a non-native english speaker would have more trouble with the kind of work required of a copy writer whose stock and trade is nuanced American English and cultural mores.

      • Glammie

        Depends how young a survivor he is.  If he came over before the age of 9, it’s unlikely that he’d have an accent.

        It’s clear his father’s an immigrant and probably a post-WWII given his not speaking English.  I knew a fair number of kids growing up who were the children of child survivors–mostly because they’d been hidden and didn’t end up in the camps.  

        Anyway, good catch–it would explain why we met Ginsberg’s father so early.

        • MissAnnieRN

          Someone else made a comment about how ginsberg would not necessarily have an accent depending upon when he arrived in the states. I have no background with which to evaluate that. From what I’ve read most of the small children were either sent to the gas chamber (ugh just saying the words suckssss..) or died very early. Given that small children were not “efficient workers” in the eyes of the nazis, they were often picked in the selections right off the trains. Historically, it would be unlikely that someone of his age would have survived a concentration camp. I have no doubt that his family members (given the euro accent of his father) were in Europe during WWII and his familial and cultural response to horror and torture is far more personal than anyone else in the SCDP office. 

        • ldancer

          My mom and aunt were born to Holocaust survivors, my aunt in a DP camp in the Soviet zone in 1945, and my mom in Paris three years later. They came to NYC in 1953, and when they did, they came to the Bronx. Ginsburg clearly lives in the Lower East Side, in a tenement with a post-Tenement Act of 1905 cutout window in the internal dividing wall. To me, this says that his family came before the war. His dad is clearly from the old country, but I’m guessing not a postwar immigrant. However, the Holocaust would still likely have informed their reactions to things, and it’s probable that they would have lost loved ones and entire villages back in the old world. In the late 1960’s, most people didn’t think of the Holocaust the way we do now, from what I have been told. It did not loom as large for people outside of the community. Later, it had a name.

          Anyway , the Lower East Side Jews were largely an earlier wave of immigration.

  • Also, Michael Ginsberg describes a Cinderella story (“It’s too dark”) that’s like a menacing mystery date offering her her shoe (“she knows she’s not safe… she wants to be caught”). Don’s dream has an echo to the one shoe. The end music is “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss”) by Goffin and King, which was produced by Phil Spector, who would be convicted of killing his girlfriend some 40 years later. Violence against women indeed. The theme was in-your-face, but I think it was supposed to be — it is so often hidden — and I think it worked.

    • MissAnnieRN

      “The theme was in-your-face, but I think it was supposed to be — it is so often hidden — and I think it worked.”  Agreed.  

      And well done on the song.  Interesting bit of trivia.

  • mommyca

    I feel embarrassed now that it appears I was one of the few who thought the choking scene was for real while it was happening…. it got me out of the couch and screaming “No, Don, no!” at the TV…. suddenly the prospect of a whole new show when Don is a killer was too much to bear…. and even for a moment I thought Megan was an accomplice getting rid of the body…. Boy, I’m too involved in this show…. 😉
    Great recap as usual…..

    • Patricia Biswanger

      You’re not the only one!  I had visions of Don dragging Andrea’s body down the service elevator, and now we have a second big secret in his life.  When Megan came into the bedroom I thought, did he get rid of the body???

      • AZU403

        Me too! I kept thinking, if this isn’t a dream they’ve really jumped the shark.

    • I thought “Andrea” was actually Megan and I was all “No! I want her gone but not this way!”

      Glad that wasn’t the case.

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      That was my first thought too and I was kinda pissed about that.  Making him a murderer would put this show into soap opera territory.  But when he just shoved the body under the bed with his feet and crawled back under the covers I figured it was a dream.  

    • Evy Colón

      I actually thought it would’ve been Megan dragging out the body… In my head she was the one who dragged out Andrea.

    • olaurie

       Don’t be embarrassed — I was totally caught up in it too and thought everything you did in your comment.  Glad it was a hallucination.  On the one hand, a cheap way of getting out of horrific scenario, on the other hand, I’ve been so sick with sinus infection that I can’t say what I truly remember going on while I had it.  I like that they didn’t spell it out clearly and kept waiting for him to check under the bed.  Also re:  Andrea — thought back to Bobbie Barrett’s comment to him that she’d heard all about him and was expecting the “full Don Draper treatment.”  Did anyone else pick up on that?  One of his many work-related flings.  Also, why was I not shocked that he could commit some kind of horrific violence?

    • Browsery

      I kept yelling (to myself):  “DREAM SEQUENCE, DREAM SEQUENCE!”  But it did seem that they made it completely real; there were no early tip-offs as there were in Betty’s dream in which she returns from the dead to see her family mourning her.

      I did recall that Jon Hamm apparently said during pre-season interviews that someone was going to die.  I wondered if this episode was what he meant.

      •  I’m not ruling out a plot twist at the end or the season where don DID kill Andrea and Megan disposed of the body-but that really would take it into cheap soap opera territory.

    • I thought it was real too, and definitely had a “No, Don, no!” moment. You’re not alone!

  • Joshau Norton

    Joan originally thought she would be sitting pretty as a doctor’s wife. That’s the main reason she married Dr. Rapey. Instead she’s stuck at home trying to make it on an army paycheck and what she could earn by going back to work. She obviously saw life getting harder, not easier. And not much chance of getting better.

    She obvioiusly wants more out of life than to be arm candy for some mediocre army sawbones who isn’t a good enough surgeon to get hired by any local hospitals.

    • Jodie_S

      Perhaps Roger will also help them out (unofficial child support) and be able to spend more time with his son, which might  abate his downward spiral. 

    • BostonBuddha

      Once Joan realized that her husband was never going to change for the better or give her the respect she deserved, she also realized that she had to divorce him asap if she ever hoped to remarry again to someone more suitable.  Although still a beautiful woman, time was not on her side — she would be aging, her kind of good looks was becoming less fashionable, and her having an older child would reduce her marriage marketability.  So she needed to cut her losses, and throw herself back into the marriage pool as soon as possible.

  • Musicologie

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned–Megan and Don have their discussion in the office kitchen. Not only is that the perfect setting for their blend of office and home life, it’s also where Don had a significant discussion with Faye. That setting had to be intentional!

    • Browsery

      It’s interesting to me that they have an office kitchen/galley in the mid-Sixties.

      • I think that was common. I do some work with office renovations, and a lot of them have kitchenettes (including little stovetop/ovens) that date from the 60’s.

  • Amazing recap as always, guys. How do you do generate your deeply insightful recaps so quickly?

    To me, this episode felt even more spot on for what the sixties “felt like” than most (which is saying something, since they usually get it 95% right). The clothes, the mannerisms, the furnishings, the parenting style or lack thereof…. this program is ingenious and has forever raised the bar on period pieces.

    And thank G-d they got Ginsburg out of his jeans and into chinos! As TLo noted, that was the one kind of off-note last week.

    • ciotogist

      Though the chinos were incredibly ill-fitting.

    • ciotogist

      Though the chinos were incredibly ill-fitting.

      • That seemed in character to me. I was just glad they were chinos!

        • margaret meyers

          Much more in character.  I thought the blue jeans were a real misstep on wardrobe’s part.  No one, not even this character, would have worn blue jeans to a job interview in 1966.  Not for an ad agency, epsecially if you were from the NYC area. You would know that you had to dress for the city.

          • The blue jeans were a total misstep for a job interview in 1966, no matter how “out of it” or young the person. Maybe if you were applying for a position at the Berkeley Barb, they’d have been OK, but that’s not the case here.  I’m glad they corrected the error (if they recognized it as that) so quickly.

      • MissAnnieRN

        ha!  The crotch was soooo long!  I think he has borrowed them from his father, and that is why they were so ill-fitting.  There was some monkey-business happening along the waistline which almost looked like he had a belt cinching them up, lending some credence to the idea that they are his fther’s pants.  *drums fingers and awaits Mad Style Post*

  • Windy Goodloe

    Did anyone read Dawn’s note to Peggy?

    • yes, it said “thank you for your hospitality. I’m sorry for putting you out.”

      • Windy Goodloe

        Cool. Thank you both for replying.

    • Thank you for your hospitality. Sorry to put you out.

    • jeeplibby02

      I loved that she left the note right on top of Peggy’s purse.  

  • Frank_821

    Thinking of those scenes with Sally and Mama Francis, who’s idea was it to buy the house. Probably henry’s. Everyone else seems to hate that place including his mom who is a twisted piece of work. I mean how did Henry turn out so normal?

    Poor Sally. But it’s eerie how much she is like her Betty. The whole issue with food and the brattiness. Her claiming her mom has no rules when we all know that’s not true

    •  Is Henry normal?   I wonder if there’s more under the surface that we don’t know.  

    • Browsery

      “Her claiming her mom has no rules when we all know that’s not true”

      That’s what kids do with people who aren’t their parents.

    •  I think something pretty nasty happened to Pauline and she’s done a lot of suppressing.

    • rowsella

       Who says Henry is normal?  We haven’t been shown too much of him. 

  • I wonder if Peggy knew about Roger’s other bribes? To Pete, to the secretary (sorry, blanking on name). She seemed to be milking the situation. I wonder if he has been making a habit of it.

    • margaret meyers

      I feel like it is more of a theme for the season.  Roger is on the skids, the only thing he has over anyone in the firm is his ready money, so Roger will be paying people off — either at his instigation or theirs.

  • Hmm, not sure I buy that he has already cheated on her while they’ve been married… but yeah, it does seem that he lied to her, and I don’t doubt that he would lie. Have to ponder that. There is definitely something qualitatively different for Don in his relationship with Megan. He is genuinely afraid of losing her and is genuinely in love with her, and he will have to fight his demons in order to keep her. I’m not sure I’ve seen what it is that’s caused this shift in him. I mean, she has a different confidence than the other women, for sure. And the fact that they work so closely together is an insurance policy against other affairs at work. It’s like she’s a shield for him from his old life and his worst self, and something he’s clung to now that Anna has died? Is it because he’s getting older?

    There was a lot that was a bit too on the nose for me with this episode. Peggy’s manly costumes were a bit much in an episode where she was talking about how she has to act like a man. She was wearing a tie in most of the episode.  

    And there was something a little too… easy and clean with Joan dumping Greg, although we might assume that she never loved him after the rape incident years ago.  But I was VERY happy to see Greg get dumped. He is not nearly enough man for our Joanie!

    • And the thing is, he didn’t HAVE to lie (if it was an older affair). He’s just Don being Don. And Don can’t help lying.

      • yes, and I’m positive he doesn’t see lying in a situation like that as wrong, even, as a betrayal at all. It’s what he does. 

        • formerlyAnon

          It’s not just what he does – the cheating is “what he does.” The lying is “protecting” the people who’d be hurt by it – and, not coincidentally, call him on it.

    • And too fast for Joan and Greg.  Divorce was still a VERY huge decision at that point in time, and most women would agonize over it for much longer — years in fact.  Hell, my mother never loved her first husband (she tells a story regularly about trying to jump out of the car on the way to the church on their wedding day) and he didn’t provide any financial or child-rearing support.  When she found out she was pregnant with my middle sister, she not only dropped any idea of divorce (which had taken her 4 years to consider previously) but stuck it out for another 5 years before considering it again.  And she was from divorced parents herself, and it was almost 10 years later, so far less common for her than for Joan. 

      • Glammie

        Except that Joan has already cheated on Greg, already felt betrayed by him before the marriage with the rape and Greg has been gone during most of their marriage.  They don’t have a life together so there’s less holding them together than with others.  Divorce wasn’t such a big deal that a marriage with that many strikes against it would survive–particularly given that Joan has a career and is the daughter of a divorcee.

      • Laylalola

        My mother divorced in 1967, the year I was born. It was huge, as you say, but she moved swiftly.  

      • VanessaDK

        Totally agree. And the fact that her mother didn’t go ballistic that she was doing it seemed false. Another year in the military would mean another year of income without dealing with Greg, and divorced women with children weren’t very desirable on the marriage market. I also find it hard to believe he really left. He’s the boss-she probably couldn’t get a divorce without grounds.

        • I somehow had the impression that while it was “over,” Greg would go back to Vietnam without a divorce per se.  I guess I just thought that there would be no time to divorce before he returned, and that was somehow fine by both of them (for very different reasons, of course).

  • A couple of things I made note of: Grandma Pauline tells Sally not to
    sneak up on someone her age “especially in a house like this” or perhaps
    “especially in this house”. That, plus the flashlight and knife,
    certainly indicate she’s scared of the house because she either
    experienced major terror there in her past (Daddy kicking her or
    worse?), or that she never lived there and it’s just a dark old
    foreboding mansion to her, which would mean it wasn’t inherited but that
    Harry and Betty bought it when they got married. I agree – she’s like
    Grandpa Gene in many ways – Sally can push her into being open and
    honest with her, no matter how inappropriate things get. Sally needs
    honesty in her life and is willing to be scared witless if it means
    being dealt with honestly.

    You’re absolutely right, this is a very feminist show. Things are messy
    and don’t happen over night, but the women in the show still manage to
    move forward. Joan, finally seeing that Dr. Rapey is never going to put
    her first, simply and quietly puts herself first, and has the quiet
    confidence to do it. Re: comments about her and Lane – I do not like the
    idea of a relationship there. A nice, supportive, platonic, office
    friendship would be refreshing. He’s married and clearly has problems,
    why wish that on her?? 

    • Browsery

      I’m younger than Grandma Pauline and I freak out when people sneak up on me.  Nor do I like big, empty houses.  And if there was news of a sex murderer abroad?  All lights on all the time and I would have two knives. 

      I don’t think her fear had to be grounded in previous mistreatment, although her father sounded horrible.

  • A couple of things I made note of: Grandma Pauline tells Sally not to
    sneak up on someone her age “especially in a house like this” or perhaps
    “especially in this house”. That, plus the flashlight and knife,
    certainly indicate she’s scared of the house because she either
    experienced major terror there in her past (Daddy kicking her or
    worse?), or that she never lived there and it’s just a dark old
    foreboding mansion to her, which would mean it wasn’t inherited but that
    Harry and Betty bought it when they got married. I agree – she’s like
    Grandpa Gene in many ways – Sally can push her into being open and
    honest with her, no matter how inappropriate things get. Sally needs
    honesty in her life and is willing to be scared witless if it means
    being dealt with honestly.

    You’re absolutely right, this is a very feminist show. Things are messy
    and don’t happen over night, but the women in the show still manage to
    move forward. Joan, finally seeing that Dr. Rapey is never going to put
    her first, simply and quietly puts herself first, and has the quiet
    confidence to do it. Re: comments about her and Lane – I do not like the
    idea of a relationship there. A nice, supportive, platonic, office
    friendship would be refreshing. He’s married and clearly has problems,
    why wish that on her?? 

  • I love this show and I liked this episode, but this particular one felt a little bit like other television shows where major moments aren’t quite justified by the writing that leads up to them… 

  • I love this show and I liked this episode, but this particular one felt a little bit like other television shows where major moments aren’t quite justified by the writing that leads up to them… 

  • I think its possible that he’s a survivor in the sense that his parents shipped him out early, got sent to the camps themselves and then found him later. Like he had relatives in NY that he lived with until his dad was freed and came over. Would explain the strong NY accent with no hint of anything else.

    • A minor point, but even if he had been born in Europe, he could have a New York accent and nothing else. As long as you start speaking a second language by the age of about 10 (conservatively), you can do so without a trace of your first-language accent. See the critical period hypothesis.

  • I was shocked to see Megan sitting in Don’s desk in his absence.  Was that part of the dream sequence too or does she have some pretty big balls? 

    I was not the least bit impressed with Peggy shaking down Roger the way she did.  It felt awfully Pete Campbell-y. 

  • Favorite line: “Hey. Trotsky. You’re in advertising.”

  • Browsery

    Nice recap.  The creepiest part for me was Grandma’s sex-fantasy gloss on the Speck murders (although she clearly was scared.)  Richard Speck was not a “handsome man” who appeared at the door.  Google him, he was rather ugly.  He broke into the house.

    This was kind of an anti-feminism theme.  Not to second-guess a bunch of frightened young women in an unimaginable situation, but one wonders if today other young women would have tried to fight him off.

    Michael’s imagining of the Cinderella story was the darkest version I’ve ever heard. Interesting that the stocking company was captivated by an idea implicit with rape, or at least dark imaginings of danger.  That would not be the way to sell me pantyhose.

    • Lilithcat

      Richard Speck was not a “handsome man” who appeared at the door.  Google him, he was rather ugly.  He also broke into the house and caught them unawares.

      Right, but at the time of this conversation, no one knew that.  He had not as yet been arrested.

      • sherrietee

         Which indicates, rather ominously, that women are to blame for what happens to them.  (“How did he get in and kill seven women?  He must have been cute and they let him in.  Their own stupidity killed them!”) 

        • MissAnnieRN

          Yeah, I totally cringed at the part where Mama F was basically giving the “they asked for it” line to Sally.  “Think of the young nurses in their short uniforms stirring his desires.”  I think she may have actually said “they were asking for it.”  What is it that Sally asks in response she says “Asking for what?”  And Pauline says “what do you think?”

          • Susan Crawford

            Absolutely typical of the era to place the “blame” on the victim. And in a case this spectacular, it was NOT possible to avoid the issue of “rape”. In fact, in reporting on this case, for many newspapers and news magazines, the very word “rape” was used for the first time. This was not just a case of a frenzied break-in robber who lashed out and killed – it was the considered, brutal work of a sexual deviant who enjoyed the bloody process of murder. Yet still, societal norms went to the “they asked for it” place initially.

            But ultimately, out of this horror, there was a rising awareness about rape, about predators, and about the need for justice, not judgement. It took years, it still needs work, but this awful crime did start a great many people thinking that the old, pat maxims just don’t apply.

          • 3hares

            And Ginsberg’s Cinderella pitch picked up on exactly that—if he’s a handsome man, she “wants” to get caught. For all his disapproval of young women being fascinated by the pictures, he identifies more with the mysterious man in the situation and gets congratulated by other men for being inside women’s heads by doing so. Meanwhile the actual women are huddled under beds and brandishing knives to protect themselves.

          • Susan Crawford

            Exactly! Which is why Ginsberg’s Cinderella-noir was really so deeply disturbing. For a guy who called his colleagues “sick” for examining the crime scene photos, he has some odd mental pictures stored away beneath that adorable mop of curls, no? I imagine there are going to be some very interesting revelations coming in HIS story arc!

      • Browsery

        That was exactly my point.  Why would she imagine a scenario with a handsome stranger full of sexual longing?  That was her gloss.

      • Browsery

        That was exactly my point.  Why would she imagine a scenario with a handsome stranger full of sexual longing?  That was her gloss.

        • asympt

          There wasn’t “no” information.  The police sketch of the suspect was prominently shown in the papers–and it was of a handsome enough face (not much what Speck turned out to look like).

    • Dolores Ashford

      When I was a child, somehow the Speck murders came up.  My mom, who would have been in her teens/20’s at the time, told me that the girls cooperated with Speck, on the assumption that so long as they did what he said they wouldn’t be hurt (or be hurt the least.)  It was part of an overall “if someone is hurting you, FIGHT, don’t help him hurt you because you think he’ll somehow go easier on you” lesson.

      No criticism on those poor girls, but they were DEFINITELY operating under a pre-feminism mindset.

      • I feel that for every article that comes out that says to fight back another pops up that says you should cooporate. I think its a crapshot – if someone wants to hurt you, they will find away. I don’t see what a pre-feminism mindset really has to do with it, sense even today people will go along thinking it’ll be safer that way.

        That said, I wonder if Mad Men will get far along enough to deal with the Manson murders.

      • Glammie

        Except for the one who survived.  She suggested that they could take him on, but the others thought if they didn’t provoke him . . . sigh . . . 

  • AZU403

    It was something like, “Thank you for your hospitality. Sorry for putting you out.”

  • Browsery

    She had to turn it into a “Let’s talk about how you’re black” conversation and even worse, “Let’s talk about how much I understand what it’s like for you to be black.” 

    Out of fairness to Peggy, that’s how a lot Negro/White conversations went at the time, and the very reason Dawn was there was because she was black; her neighborhood was too dangerous because of race riots for her travel home late at night.  And Peggy did at least acknowledge that she wasn’t really in the same situation as Dawn.

    I liked Peggy’s discussion of what it was like to be an outsider.

    • It’s a common thing- there are a lot of men who can’t get their lives right but who are super competent while in the Army. When they leave service it’s as if the ground gets cut from under them.

      • I know someone in that exact situation right now. Couldn’t hack civilian life (he too with a young family) and re-enlisted.

    •  Yes, I think TLo were a little hard on Peggy. It was certainly easier to be a woman than to be black in 1966 but that doesn’t mean that women didn’t have to deal with a lot of prejudice and insults – just look at Harry’s comments about Megan after the birthday party. She was trying in her self-centered and socially awkward way to connect.

      TLo wrote “Because of Dawn’s race, all Peggy could do was stare at it and make it perfectly clear why she was doing so.” My take was Peggy had that worry – momentarily – but Dawn saw it and then there was no way to take it back. That’s why she left the purse there, to show that she had made a mistake.

      So proud of our Joanie for kicking Greg to the curb. Hope that doesn’t mean her mother will be there permanently, though.

  • Akh621

    I was confused b/c last season Pauline was so irked by the way Betty treated her kids at the dinner table, yet last night’s Pauline would’ve approved of Betty’s tactics. They did take some liberties with the military details to really make the point that Greg is VERY important, finally. Also thought it was interesting he was showing baby Kevin how he good he is with his hands- didn’t his surgical career fall apart because he WASN’T very good with his hands? Vietnam is apparently giving him the chance to resurrect his failed attempt at being a surgeon

    • MilaXX

       I’ve always imagined Greg as a sort of Frank Burns (MASH) inept, but kept because of rank and any respect he gets is because if his rank. Hence the reason that military life would suit him, he gets respect because of his rank and position, not because of his skill.

      •  I imagine military & civilian surgery to be two different things. At the hospital he was one of many jockying for a staff position. Overseas he’s got a position and can concentrate on the work- skills can improve when the pressure of competition is lessened.

        I think there’s a good chance Greg will get killed before the divorce and Joan will have to take the role of grieving widow, genuine or not.

        • rowsella

           Exactly, practice makes perfect and perhaps he is approaching or has past a certain level of competence.  Plus, politics in hospitals is very ruthless and relies on higher level person skills. In the military, rank is rank.  In Vietnam, with the high level of turnover, I’m sure it didn’t take Greg long to be top dog.

    • marishka1

      Just because his superiors told him he wasn’t good with his hands doesn’t mean he isn’t delusional about his own skills and will brag about them to people who aren’t as knowledgable.

  • Browsery

    I agree.  She’s not a cliché, like Mrs. Pynchon.  I don’t think her actions broke character.  And although she obviously not very likable, I’m delighted to spend some time in the company of an older, overweight woman, who is portrayed as belonging to a particular class and not doing a Mitt Romney.

    But if you’ve ever had been a child put in the care of kind of nasty, unindulgent older relatives, usually women, there was a universality to that scene regardless of class, race or ethnicity.

    • The scene with Granny P rang very true to me as well! I remember my aunt proudly told me after my young daughter asked me a question a second time because I said “no” the first time, “Why my mother (grandma I never knew) woulda’ smacked me so hard if I did that, I woulda hit that wall over there!” “you’ve got to demand respect!”  This from a woman who had no children. The bastion of child psychology. There’s some kookiness there for sure. I love Sally’s character too. I can relate to her so well. 
       No one EVER explained anything! If we heard something horrible or read something horrible we were on our own. When I was in 5th grade (’64) a classmate’s mother went berserk and shot and killed his brother, his older sister, wounded him and finally killed herself, and I don’t remember anyone talking about it to us at all! I talked with a former classmate recently about it, and we were noting how we were just made to feel like it was wrong to be curious about it. 

  • golden_valley

    Am I the only person that resents the fact that Mad Men and Game of Thrones are on the same night?  I don’t get the chance to savor each episode and analyze each completely.  Then I read TLo and Alan Sepinwall’s recaps and think “Oh I missed that symbolism, allusion to the past, parallel constructions, etc…”  I feel rushed and robbed of the chance to fully enjoy the two finest shows on television.

    • bookish

      So far I’m watching Mad Men on Sunday night and then Game of Thrones on Thursday night with HBO Go. But it’s tough not to look at recaps for Game of Thrones!

    • MilaXX

       I DVR Games and usually watch in the morning. Sunday night’s are always time shifting for me.

  • I feel like I need to watch the episode again to see the interaction in the elevator between Don, Andrea and Megan. If Andrea had been a copywriter, albeit freelance, for SCDP during the time that Don and Megan were together, wouldn’t Megan have been previously introduced to her? Between Megan’s position as Don’s secretary and now as a copywriter herself, it doesn’t make sense to me that an affair could have happened under her nose. Unless, of course, Don is just lying about how he knows Andrea and she was never affiliated with SCDP or perhaps even a copywriter.

    • Andrea Rossillon

       also, Andrea is obviously surprised to see him– she says, “Well, well, Don Draper, my bad penny.” How he explained when he knew her doesn’t quite add up, but I don’t think he knew her since his tenure at SCDP–she wouldn’t have been so surprised to see him in the elevator in his own building.

      Actually, the more I think about it, the more likely it is that he’s telling the truth– isn’t Young and Rubicam in the same building? If she’s still freelance, that would explain her presence–she’s going to the other agency. And Peggy started at SC in 1960, and if Don knew Andrea 6 years ago, she could’ve been freelance at SC and disappeared without ever having crossed paths with Peggy.

      I think the Lincoln Center reference was just his fevered brain. I think she was supposed to represent every encounter he’s ever had. I’ve no doubt he did eff someone at Lincoln Center while Betty waited–I just don’t think it had to be Andrea.

      Yeah, I don’t think he’s cheated on Megan. Overwhelming lack of opportunity, if nothing else.

      • Logo Girl

        They say in Season 1 that Peggy was the first female copywriter “since the war” or something to that effect. I still think there is something (intentionally) broken in Don’s story. Though, who knows? Maybe she was brought in to help with Clearasil when Peggy landed in the hospital.

  • MK03

    Bullet points:

    *I cheered when Joan told Greg off. Actually, I think I said “FUCK YES!!” 
    *My mom and I always watch Mad Men together and she really identified with the Speck storyline. She was 13 when it happened and said her reaction was exactly the same as Sally’s. She was terrified. 

    *You have an episode about one of the most notorious murders of the 60s, where a stranger knocks on the door of a house full of women and proceeds to kill almost all of them, and what do you call it? Mystery Date. That is sick. Sick but brilliant. 

  • MissAnnieRN

    Ok so this was a marvelous episode, and as usual, I think I’m more interested in your Mad Style post than the actual recap, although there is plenty to chew on here.

    First of all – did you (or any of the bitter kittens) hear the Fresh Air interview with Matthew Wiener?  He says “the central conflict in Don and Megan’s marriage is already on the table.  The audience already knows what it is.  It’s just not what you expect.”

    The interview is fascinating for all sorts of reasons, and any MM afficionado ought to download the podcast.  I had no idea Matthew Wiener’s father was personal physician to Ronald Reagan.

    Anyway – moving along.  Back to Wiener’s quote in that interview re: the scenes with Andrea and the timing.  Based upon that quote alone, I’m going to have to believe that Don’s most obvious flaw in a marital sense is his compulsion for sex with just about anything with a pretty face and a nice pair of gams.  So Wiener’s statement that the audience already knows what the central conflict between the two of them is and that it’s “not what you think” leads me to believe that Don has not yet cheated on Megan.  

    Although, it’s a brilliant theory.  Can’t wait to see how they contextualize the scenes with Andrea.  I have to expect we have not seen the last of her this season.

    I cringed through Peggy’s entire scene with Dawn at her apartment.  When Peggy first insisted she come home with her, I was all “RAHHH!  YAY PEGGY!  YOU GO GIRL!” and that quickly rolled downhill into “Girl, you are DRUNK, shut your mouth, please don’t say anything more.  PLEASE SHUT UP.”  Do we think Dawn spent the whole night there and left at first light?  Or do we think she left after Peggy went to sleep because she was so uncomfortable?

    Kiernan Shipka’s Sally – man, I could write an entire essay on her after this week.  The scenes between her and Grandma Pauline were riveting.  Both for Pauline’s hideous behavior as an adult and for Kiernan’s fierce honesty “How old are you?” she practically spits at Pauline with her hair all a mess.  She is the best brooding pre-teen on TV right now.  

    • Joshau Norton

      I think the main conflict in the Draper marriage 2 will be the age difference. She’s not yet 30 and want’s to go out and party. Don’s 40 and getting stodgy, and even though he may want to go out and booze it up all night like he used to, his body is yelling “for cripe sakes, go lay down!” Believe me, it happens. I used to party straight thru the weekend. Now at 10pm, I’m thinking of going to bed, not going  out.

      • MissAnnieRN

        I considered that, too.  But I’m thinking that the main conflict is going to involve their work/home life dichotomy and how they go about balancing it.

      •  Totally agree with this.  I think we’ve seen Don lying down in exhaustion in EVERY EPISODE thus far, and Megan standing above him fresh faced and full of vitality and colorful, while Don is in staid Greys and Whites.  He is getting old.  I think that I read on this site that one of the big themes was the city in decline and decay, and what with Don hitting his forties, coughing his lungs out, being out of touch at the Stones concert, Don the vital young man is in decline as well.  I keep thinking of past seasons where we’ve seen Don kind of seamlessly shift into the Bohemian lifestyle, I can’t see this Don blending in as well…

        • MissAnnieRN

          All excellent points.  Someone else mentioned somewhere the repetition of the scene with Don laying down fully clothed in the bedroom….These are excellent ideas to consider and very Mad Men-esque to tie in the decline/decay of the city to the Don/Megan conflict….

    • Browsery

      Central conflict: Wild guess, although it is supported by something in precious episodes.  Megan’s gay.

      • MissAnnieRN

        I considered that after a few of her interactions during the party scene in “A Little Kiss.”  But my surmise was that she was simply bi-curious and willing to participate in a little of the swinging 60’s.  And I think Don would be a willing participant, so I’m not seeing a lot of conflict in that idea.  She and Don have loads of physical chemistry, so I can’t believe she’d actually turn out to be a lesbian.  But I can see a threesome being believable with the new Draper marriage.

    • Calling it now.  The central conflict is that Megan is wildly, WILDLY ambitious (and marriage to Don was part of all that) but too self-absorbed to be a very good advertising person.  The Ginsberg hire isn’t so much a challenge to Peggy, who is good enough to roll with it, but a challenge to MEGAN. They’ve been careful to emphasise that Don, Peggy and Ginsberg all have that knack of getting inside someone else’s brain, whereas all we’ve seen of Megan is her wanting to do a cliche’d coupon campaign.

      • MissAnnieRN

        I agree that the main conflict between Don and Megan will be work related, although I do see it relating more specifically to Don and Megan, not Megan and someone else at SCDP.  It will be interesting to see what happens between Joanie and Megan once J is back. 

        • But I think it will end up being about Don and Megan.  If Ginsberg keeps getting the good jobs, the interesting accounts, the promotions etc and Megan doesn’t, she’s going to end up being angry.  With Don.

          •  I don’t think Megan is at the same level as Michael. She’s not at Sr. Copywriter status at all whereas Michael comes with experience and was hired to be Sr. Copywriter for the Mohawk account – he’s nearly equal with Peggy, without her longevity. I doubt Megan worries about him. I don’t think she’s really ambitious work wise at all. We haven’t seen her be remotely interested in work. She comes and goes with Don, mostly on his schedule. I think she likes working, wants to do more than sit at home, but more importantly, she’s canny enough to know that by being there, giving Don regular quickies, she keeps him in check.

      • RE: getting into people’s heads, it seems like Don and Peggy have sort of been failing spectacularly in that respect of late.  Don couldn’t connect w. the rolling stones kid, Peggy couldn’t connect with the Heinz folks, but Ginsberg and Megan are with it and hip and understand more how people’s minds work. I mean, Jesus, Megan understands how Don’s mind works, that’s a feat in and of itself!  So I think that might be a component of the conflict, that Megan/ Ginsberg just get the times and get people better than the OGs Don and Peggy.  That would be lovely to see play out.

        • I think the issue with the Heinz folks is they didn’t get the times. Peggy, if I remember correctly, was proposing a stop motion ad or something, and they wanted something more traditional.

        • Megan understands Don because she has STUDIED him and made it her business to do so (part of wild ambition above) but that’s only because it relates to herself.  She is up with a certain segment of sixties culture (the French/European sex kitten, Bardot/Christie vibe) again as it relates to her. But we don’t have a shred of evidence that she is particularly empathetic or can connect with people. The ‘fabulous mother’ act from the end of last season seems to have disappeared, she spectacularly misread people’s reactions to her performance at the party, she hasn’t shown any great insights in a work context.  I just don’t think she’s as good as she thinks she is.  

          • Such great points! This conflict seemed very clear after the “power play” in the first episode. She wants to get ahead, but I don’t think Don will let her, for personal and professional reasons. Will she get a job elsewhere? Well, does Don trust her enough to not be in his sight all day? I don’t think so. Does she trust him, knowing his history? NO.

          • 3hares

            And even there her understanding of Don can be limited. She thought Don would love the surprise party and she didn’t exactly connect to his fears about Betty having cancer. She also has no idea what sorts of things that meeting in the elevator brought up for him.

          • I don’t think she misread people’s reactions to her performance – rather, she didn’t have the foresight to think about what their reactions would be.

            I think even by today standards, her performance would of been awkward/uncomfortable at (basically) a work party.

    • Vlasta Bubinka

      I suspect the conflict might be one he had with Betty too. Megan’s desire to please her family and have connections and contact to her family.

    • Logo Girl

      I feel rather strongly that the conflict has to to with Megan also being a “Don” – maybe she isn’t really Canadian, maybe her name isn’t really Megan, etc. It would be too absurd that she is a Soviet spy sent to investigate forms of western propaganda or whatever, but I think she is someone other than she seems. I know many have gone 180 on this since the end of season 4 and Matt Weiner expressing that in DVD commentaries that her emotions are sincere, not calculated, and I would agree with that. Still, I think there is something… else, and that the something else is what is going to throw us.

      • Remember the comment someone made at the party about her being and actress, and she changed the subject real fast? Maybe a little porn in the background?

      • MissAnnieRN

        I don’t know if I agree from a place of Mad Men voodoo or just agree from a place of fanfic, because I have to admit, I’m HOPING she’s not what she seems because it would be fun, no?

  • A question. What was Megan doing in Don’s office?  It’s a long time since I’ve watched season 4, but wasn’t she also sneaking around Don’s office then?

    Also re. Andrea wearing yellow, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it seems to be the colour of sunny optimism on this show and that Megan’s been wearing it a lot.

    And I’ve always thought that GREEN dresses were the colour of freedom of spirit and reflected what was going on in Don’s heart.  Megan wore green a lot last season, but hasn’t at all this season, whereas PEGGY has been wearing green every episode.

    It’s probably best saved for a Mad Style post. But colour me confused…

    • Musicologie

      I took Megan sitting in Don’s chair as yet another indication of the uncharted waters they’re in as a married couple working together. Don is two levels above her on the office hierarchy; there’s no way she should be sitting at his desk (Peggy’s even a higher rank, and she would never sit at his desk), yet she just does because she’s his wife.

      • It’s another indication of how tied her career is to his. I feel like it was both a sign of arrogance and entitlement as well as a sign that she’s uncomfortable fitting in with the rest of the team because of her relationship to Don….

  • Megan Patterson

    Wait, didn’t crazy copywriter lady say that stuff about the Lincoln center in the middle of Don’s fever dream? Maybe that’s why it didn’t make sense.
    Also I assume he met Midge (a freelance artist) as a result of work, so if SC hired freelance artists, it stands to reason they hired freelance copywriters. Either that or she is/was actually an escort. 

    • I hadn’t thought of that. I always wondered exactly how Don met Midge.

      • judybrowni

        No office would have on-staff artists (art directors, yes, but not illustrators.)

        Whereas on-staff copywriters were/are the norm. Not saying there couldn’t be freelance women copywriters at SC, but it’s much less likely.

    • Browsery

      But parts of Lincoln Center were open in ’62, ’64, and the whole complex was open in ’66.  It could have been a lie, but it wasn’t crazy because of the LC detail.

  •  I think the point of that was to show how little power Roger actually has.  At this point he’s bribed everyone in the office, and it’s a tiny tiny office, there is NO WAY they don’t know that this is how Roger operates now, bribes and pleading and groveling.  I think Peggy just figured that it was finally her turn and she was going to make good on it.

    • If she knew how much the others got, there’s no way she would settle for $10. Please. 🙂

      • asympt

         Which is what suggests she did know how much the others got–she immediately went for the whole ball of wax.

        And if she knows, everybody probably knows.  Nobody’s going to respect Roger anymore.

        • I’m wondering if Joan will put him (Roger) back in shape when she comes back. 

      • MilaXX

         She ended up with $410

      •  She didn’t settle for $10.  She got all the cash he had on him (about $400).

      • judybrowni

        She didn’t — Peggy got $410 out of Roger.

        Approximately, $3,000 adjusted for inflation.

      • Oh, no, I know that! I worded it badly. 🙂

  • Pants_are_a_must

    What a disturbing, frightening, exhilarating episode. So many things are laid in the open: Don’s issues, Joan’s marriage, Salley’s childhood, racism and most tellingly, feminism. The retelling of Cinderella in SCDP was, for me, the most disturbing scene in the whole episode, not the least because it struck me as precisely phrased to bring out a shade of the Twilight/30 Shades of Grey phenomenon and how anti-feminist it is. To delve into those kinds of depths while at the same time narrating the first signs of outward feminism (Joan, Peggy) is nothing short of masterful.

    There were so many dominating storylines seamlessly woven into this episode, it’s also easy to overlook how Michael, the one person who refused to look at gruesome crime scene photos, was also the one to spin a yarn of sexual seduction and domination that probably gave all the hosiery guys boners. He doesn’t need to look at violence and gore to know how it works and why it interests, and that makes him a much more interesting, and ominous, character.

    • asympt

      He was able to sell it to them while at the same time personally distancing himself from identifying with it.  An interesting job of pitching.

      •  I think it was rather cool that Michael could snap back to Don the way he did- “It’s a regional accent and by the way you’ve got one too” and very telling that Don didn’t censure him for it. Part of it might have been that he was sick, but Don is not firmly in control at the office. It’s the mid 60’s attitude too- there’s a lot of backchat that wouldn’t have been tolerated in Season 1.

        • Pants_are_a_must

          I think Michael has a lot of hutzpah, and Don recognizes it as his style. It should be mentioned, though, that it took Peggy 5 years and she’s still nowhere hear as brazen as Michael is, barely a month into his job.

        • Vlasta Bubinka

          It isn’t the first time someone has mentioned Don’s speech patterns. Roger brought it up back in season 1, mentioning he dropped the g, like someone from Pennsylvania or rural country. Maybe it’s just something that Don figures isn’t all that exceptional or even interesting, especially when he’s had 2 wives that are bilingual.

          • Patricia Biswanger

            We drop our “g”s?

    • I wondered if Michael got the idea for pitch #2 when he saw how enthralled everyone was by the gory photos. 

      • Pants_are_a_must

         I suspect he had it before, because the idea of Cinderella and Snow White as ad models was brought up in the brainstorming process and consequently shut down by Michael, probably as a possible hidden ace. I think he used elements from the murders in his story to give it a more, shall we say, current flavor? *cringe*

        • Vlasta Bubinka

          There is another layer or interpretation to the “Cinderella” fantasy as Ginzo relayed it.  It also plays on the idea that women are damsels in distress needing their saviour to rescue and protect them. He catches her with her shoe, he has what she needs.  Either way, rape fantasy or rescue fantasy, the scenario is a gross stereotyped vision of what each gender supposedly needs and wants.

  • ETA: This is a misplaced comment responding to someone talking about Greg’s attitude towards negros and how Peggy’s conversation w. Dawn reflected the way many conversations like that went at the time.
    I liked that touch of Greg having this little streak of progressiveness as well. Seemed very realistic to me.  As for Peggy, I was just embarrassed throughout that entire exchange. It started off as trying to connect because of the outsider status, but her self – centeredness breaks through almost immediately.  Plus she came across as, well, primarily she came across as drunk, but she also seemed a bit condescending and patting herself on the back. I was glad to see the moment with the purse, to be honest because it meant that  all of that self congratulatory BS came crashing down immediately.


    • Browsery

      I think that was me to whom you were responding.  I let the Peggy awkwardness slide, because, as I said, I don’t think it was uncommon for the time.  I may have been distracted to the purse scenes, but I had trouble understanding them because it was difficult for me to believe that Peggy, despite her contradictions, would actually fear having her money stolen.  I felt the same way in the past while watching the taxicab scene with Lane and black cabdriver.  I was hard for me to actually think he would think the cabbie wouldn’t return the wallet just because he was black.

      I admit I may be naive.

      •  Oh that’s funny! I forgot, but the scene with the purse reminded me very much of the scene with Lane and the wallet.  I think both are operating on very similar dynamics, but the thing that puts Peggy’s actions a bit more in the red for me so to speak is the fact that she works with this person, Dawn isn’t a stranger in a taxicab, Dawn is a coworker who she just took home and sheltered.  I think I’m probably injecting my own race issues into it, but I felt hurt for Dawn, and I felt betrayed by Peggy.  I think I’m just overly sensitive to the issue.

        • I wouldn’t say you’re overly sensitive to the issue. I think you’re spot on as far as how we as an audience see Peggy’s behavior. She blundered through a gesture of goodwill by opening her mouth and revealing her inability to really grasp Dawn’s point of view – she can only see the situation through her own privileged lens. And Peggy’s super-awkward pause when deciding to take or leave her purse – I think she surprised even herself by her lack of trust in leaving money around a black woman, and the sneaking force of her own prejudices. Even if she would have felt awkward leaving $400 around any not-too-close acquaintance, the act of hesitation about whether or not to take the purse with her suddenly forced the race issue into focus right in front of her nose, and it wasn’t pretty. Even well-meaning people like Peggy should have to deal with their own unexamined prejudices, and this scene really brought this issue out.

  • Dorrie Crockett

     It’s funny, several have mentioned that Sally sounds just like Betty, but it doesn’t resonate with me that way. When Betty is bratty and entitled, it’s like Oh Betty, you case of arrested development, you. When Sally is bratty and entitled, it seems appropriate. Age appropriate, at least. And I love how Kiernan Shipka is playing her, with just the right amount of resentment but not over the top, like when she refers to Henry as “SO important.”

    I find myself identifying so much with Sally, as she sits there with wide, solemn eyes, observing (and probably absorbing) the pathologies of the adults around her. I feel her frustration with every non-answer, brush-off, or dismissive interaction. I cheer when she asserts herself, like by calling Don. Not that it gets her anywhere, but at least he somewhat listens. Hey, he took the call! And told her he felt better for having talked to her.

    But I think my favorite part was that through all her scenes, Sally’s hair was a wreck. With Betty away, she’s away from the tyranny of having to look perfect all the time (and you know Betty would demand that, even in summer) and her way of acting out is to have ratty hair.

    And relish in tuna salad sounds gross to me, too.

    • I noticed that too about her hair!

    • judybrowni

      Sweet pickle relish makes a tuna fish sandwich! Crunch and sweetness counteract the dry tuna.

      But Betty is such a wasp, she probably always made ’em dry.

      • CassandraMortmain

        Sweet pickle relish makes the best tuna fish sandwiches!  That’s how I grew up having them and I’m as WASP as they come.

    • Browsery

      Great comments except for the relish in tuna criticism. DEELISH!  (Although I haven’t eaten it prepared that way in 40 years.)

      • CozyCat

        That’s also the way I was taught–just put a little dab of relish in the tuna salad.  It really “brightens” up the taste.

  • There’s too much to comment on. Great episode. Fabulous re-cap. Was my favorite scene between Peggy and Roger? Or when Joan tossed her husband out? So hard to decide. 

    • MilaXX

       I was happy for Joan, but I LOVED seeing Peggy take Roger to the cleaners.

      • But did she, really? Harry Crane got $1100 from old Roger, just for switching offices!

        • $400 was a ton of money for the time…

  • mom2ab

    The old Sterling Cooper did not have freelance female copywriters, they did however have a policy of reimbursing account executives for prostitutes…

    •  oh. holy. sh*t.  Andrea as a highly paid escort…. I am digging that interpretation!

      • Sweetpea176

        If she were a highly paid escort — or even a $2 one — I’d bet that she’d be discreet and not even acknowledge him publicly unless he acknowledged her first.

  • samo_samo

    Great recap as always, gentlemen! With any luck, Greg will die in combat before anyone even knows Joan wanted to divorce him. 

  • Lisa Carrillo

    Am I the only one who suspects that Sally might be the anonymous author of “Go Ask Alice”? 

  • donnaINseattle

    I haven’t gone thru all the comments so maybe someone else already covered this, but I thought Andrea was the hooker from Season 4 – the one that slapped him during sex. The copywriter thing in the elevator was a cover. And I too thought the entire apartment thing was a hallucination.

    The accordian in the restaurant was so foreboding. So proud of Joan.

    • Don’t know if she was that hooker, but I too thought the freelance copywriter thing was an awkward cover. I don’t get the impression that Don’s been with Andrea recently, though, because of the way she greeted him in the elevator. That’s the way you greet someone you haven’t seen in a long while.

    • Patricia Biswanger

      Someone in an earlier thread said the hooker had a different name, and they were played by two different actresses.

  •  Pauline is one of those women with little more in her life than tabloid scandals, you can see her version of the scene playing in her mind. Her straight talking attitude might do some good to Sally- I think she’s going to be confiding to Pauline in the future. Betty can’t deal with reality and I don’t think that Sally thinks of Megan as a mother.

  • MilaXX

    What a creepy, cringe inducing episode! I get that it was drawing a parallel to the Richard Speck murders, but ick, was I ever creeped out by most of last night.  The entire Joan storyline from mommy making sure Joan knew ( as if she didn’t) that Dr. Rape would want sex  ASAP until the minute she told his stupid butt to not let the doorknob hit him, I was cringing and uncomfortable. HATED that creepy Cinderella pitch, made even more awkward by the lyrics to the final song. I cringed with embarrassment for Peggy.  I picked up pretty quickly that Don was having a dream about Andrea, but completely missed the fact that he may have slept with her recently. I pity poor Sally if effed up Grandma Pauline is the best parental figure she has in her life.

  • I don’t really see Megan as confident, this episode or last. If she was confident, she would shrugged off the encounter with Andrea or would understand why Betty is contacting Don.

    I think Megan realizes that Don views women in a certain role and trying to keep that role up. They always seem to be in motion – party here, beach trip there. She does know that he cheated on Faye with her and I think she’s working over time for it not to happen to her.

  • One of your most most insightful recaps, ever. Especially about our girl Joanie – all along I’ve been waiting for the inevitable news that Dr Wimpness was killed in Vietnam Nam, but Joan’s no-holding-back takedown of him put this episode right up there with “The Suitcase” in my opinion.

    Agree that save for the elevator scene, all of the scenes with Don and his former paramour Andrea were dream sequences. Also, grandma Pauline was as scary a character as I imagine Richard Speck was. Betty’s horrified face at the scene they walked in on insured that the Francis family will be making a move, pronto – or Grandma will be. Then again, Betty isn’t one to recognize stability (Carla) vs instability in her elder babysitters- recalling the scene where her father let a six-year old Sally drive the car.

    • Ps: forgot to add that the scene between Roger and Peggy also highlighted that sexual inequality extended even to office bribes: didn’t Roger give that snake Harry Crane $1100 just to switch offices with Pete??? And Peggy only gets $400 for saving his ass by working overtime for Mohawk Airlines?

      •  Great point, In fact Roger started it out trying to bribe her with 10 dollars! That was $40 less than he gave to Don’s old Secretary to sit outside of his office!

      • Yeah, but having to work over the weekend is par for the course. Giving up your office is a much bigger deal. I don’t think that Peggy would have agreed to give up her own office for any money, but she wasn’t really upset about having to work overtime. She was just having some fun with Roger.

  • Susan Crawford

    Terrific episode!

    From the morbid curiosity brought in by the crime scene photos that had the creative team both horrified and titillated, to the ongoing theme of things breaking down: strikes, riots, police manhunts, fear of attack – this was a great piece of sustained suspense.

    Peggy’s “bargain” with Roger showed that she has, in fact, learned a thing or two about how the old boys play their game. And afterward, sitting alone in the office, open bottle at her elbow, cigarette nearby – quite a change. Until that little noise. Her walk down the empty hallway – beautiful little homage to Hitchcock! Dawn’s revelation that she has stayed over in the office before is such a commentary on the era. Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a black woman or man to get a cab up to Harlem . . . The “sleep-over” at Peggy’s flat was an exercise in sheer discomfort and confusion and anxiety for Dawn, as Peggy floundered around in her usual foot-in-mouth manner, and her final fixation on her cash-stuffed purse was actually painful to watch. Oh, Peggy, Peggy, Peggy. You try SO hard, but . . .

    Don and Megan hit a set of pretty sharp curves in the marriage highway when Andrea stepped into the elevator, but Megan managed to figure out how to deal with it. This is a VERY savvy young woman, we’re finding out. But let’s face it, Don is Don, and Megan is going to have to be on her toes with him. Does she really know the full extent of his sexual compulsions?

    The nightmare about the strangulation of Andrea was horrifying – until Megan walked in, cool and perfectly groomed, bearing a tray of breakfast, I really wasn’t totally convinced it WAS a nightmare!

    As for Joan, I wanted to cheer when she ended it with Greg. It was truly a huge moment of liberation for Joan – a powerful statement that despite everything that went before, she is now ready to chart her own way on her own terms. No more propping up weak, needy, self-absorbed and domineering men for our favorite titian-haired beauty. She has seen a lot of life, and she can take whatever comes her way. I am SOOOO looking forward to her storyline.

    Sally and Grannie Pauline had some amazing scenes together, didn’t they? And, T and Lo really got the relationship perfectly. Here is Pauline, obese, angry, hungry for control and discipline – and it is Sally in whom she confides something key from her own childhood: abuse, fear, physical attack. “And I was all the better for it,” she adds, with some pride. Sally is learning a LOT more from horrible Grannie P. than anyone bargained.

    Being a woman of a certain age, I remember vividly the coverage of the Speck murder of the nurses. And although I was older than Sally, I certainly recall thinking – maybe for the first time – that the world was not really a very safe place at all. These brutal murders seemed to sum up the paranoia that marked the mid-sixties. So much change, so much anger, so much insecurity, so few things left untouched.

    Including, as we saw in Ginsberg’s “fairy-tale” post-presentation presentation to the footwear execs. He left the room when the rest of the team was ogling the contact sheet of gruesome photos of murdered girls whose “mystery date” burst through the door and methodically butchered them all, except for one terrified survivor hiding under the bed, hearing everything. “You people are sick,” he says, leaving the room. And going off to think through that brilliant re-telling of the Cinderella myth.

    Ginsberg’s dark, film noir version of the pastel tale of the story was grimmer than Grimm, but it perfectly captured the mystique that even the square footwear exec could see would blow anything else out of the water. Oh, yes, Don, you’re going to have some interesting times “managing” our rumpled boychik – and that kid is going to shake up the tight little island of SCDP!

    So far, this season is just tremendous – multiple characters are morphing and changing before our eyes, the world is growing darker and more complex, nothing can be taken for granted, and I am loving it! Can’t wait to see if T and Lo are going to do a fashion/style breakdown on this episode – lots to discuss there, as well. (I want Joan’s blue breakfast set, don’t you?)

  • I don’t think anything “Andrea” said should be taken seriously after she left the elevator. There is no indication that she was ever even at Don’s apartment. (And even if she was, she’s a stalker… a whole other can of worms.)

  • That doesn’t make sense because Ginsburg and Peggy are not competing with Megan. Megan has Peggy’s old job as the lowest rung in the creative ladder (doing coupons — which Peggy tells Megan she had to do for two years). This is not an indictment of her talent, it’s simply paying your dues to get started in the field she wants to get started in. I can’t understand why there is this determination to make the leap to her doing coupons means that’s all she wants to do (it clearly isn’t) or all she can do (whether true or not remains to be seen, she has to start here first).

    • Maggie_Mae

      Don gave Peggy a chance. (Well, actually drunk Freddy noticed her first.) But he did not mollycoddle her.  He criticized her work & made sure she met deadlines.  That’s how she learned her craft–& how not to cry.  Yes, he showed concern after she had the baby; just as she got him & Bobbie out of jail after their wreck.  But their work relationship was quite serious.  If Megan has any talent, Peggy will have a hard time training her.  Megan is the boss’s wife, so she can’t get tough.  

      Since his marriage, Don has been coming in late, leaving early–& being pleasantly distracted when he was in the office.  No creativity, no pushing others to be creative.  I think Ginsburg might inspire both Peggy & Don to try harder–which is good.  Can Don do good work if he isn’t dreadfully unhappy at home?  I hope so…..

  • Double post.

  • Bozhi

    That last scene with Joan and Greg was not very realistic.  There was no way a husband or any man gets kicked out that easily. Ladies, I think you know what I mean.  There would have been a TON of drama.

    • I agree, but when things have been brewing for a long time, sometimes they do just end that suddenly. And then usually the guy does come back again even when he says he isn’t going to, which could still happen here.

      At the end of the day, as much as we hate to admit it, Mad Men is still a television show. Sometimes brevity has to take precedence.

    • sagecreek

      Nope. Sometimes it happens just that fast.

    • The best thing about MM is they get the point across without wading into soap opera territory.  And this was a very “Joan” scene.  She never flails and makes a fuss, and she means business.  Once she threw the rape in his face, I think he knew he had to go. He had no other recourse.

    • Joan may have been afraid of him hitting her. Which is why I think she chose that moment to dump him- with her mom in the home. Either so he wouldn’t do it, or so that if he did, she would have a witness and justification for dumping him.

      • Susan Stella Floyd

        This was my thought, as well.

  • BobStPaul

    It’s been very interesting to read TLo’s analysis and everyone’s comments.  I’m in a distinct minority who found this episode to be disappointing.  In fact, I wondered while watching it if this was the episode that signaled the series’ decline.  I certainly hope not as I love the show but I just couldn’t get engaged in it last night.

    • I’m trying to get my head around that. It was so far from disappointing to me that I’d welcome any details you want to provide about how it disappointed you.

  • I actually thought  Michael Ginsberg’s storyline was very telling: he was disgusted when Peggy and the others were excitedly looking at the pictures of the murders yet he pitched what is basically a rape fantasy to a room full of men who liked it, and ended this pitch by basically saying that all women want to be overpowered (or something like that). And the clients loved it! Not even thinking about the disturbing imagery that would be shown on screen. Yes, Michael was grossed out with the crime scene pictures but he didn’t even think twice about pitching that ad, these men see no relation between perpetuating (and justifying) violence against women and deranged men thinking it’s ok to murder as many women as they want. I’m not saying these two events are directly related, i’m saying that I think this is all part of the same cultural system.

    • Browsery

      Great points.  I noticed the same thing in regard to Michael’s pitch.  You’re right, the two scenes were not equivalent, but they are part and parcel of the same system.

    • Roz

       As well, that scene served to point to the reality that Megan is now on the inside, being called out for the type of cold, callous behavior she has criticized the SCDP staff for! She was totally one of the group, eager to get a look at the gore.

    • VanessaDK

      It seemed like his observation that a broad group of staff liked those photos encouraged him to test out a darker pitch on the client. I think he was experimenting. He is intended to be brilliant and probably the new Don. He’s also clearly got an idea of his own value, as those scenes showed.

  • Amy Ellinger

    Oh, Joanie…you’re an amazing fucking woman, and I love you and want to be your bestie. Christina Hendricks is absolutely killing it this season so far. Her face in the dinner scene broke me, then she found herself back to the kick-ass independent woman she is at the office.

    I wonder if Lane is going to try and help her?  Maybe with a substantial raise rather than outright “here’s some cash” like Roger would do.

  • AZU403

    It’s okay, she only got a half tab. 😉

  • AZU403

    He’s only in his mid-twenties, so he’s old enough to have lost any foreign-language accent. The “regional accent” remark he made was too anachronistic for me, having grown up in the NY area. Don has lived in the metropolitan area since the early fifties, so he would have heard plenty of people with that accent.

    • Yes, surely Don hasn’t been so sheltered that he isn’t around that accent every day–if not at work, then everywhere else in Manhattan. It was a pretty weird comment, but then again Michael is the one who brought up the accent specifically, not Don, who just said M’s voice was annoying.

      •  It’s not what he said that matters, it’s impressive that he’s only just started and he has the nerve to talk back to the boss!

      • Browsery

        Don went to City College for a period.  He would have heard that accent.  Michael’s voice can be annoying, but mainly it’s Michael. He’s borderline cute/annoying.

  • sockandaphone

    This was such a good episode, and yes, I was loudly cheering for Joanie in this episode – get that disgusting man out of your life, girl!

    also just an overall note that this season is SO much better than s4. I find myself surprised when the show’s over. I love it so far.

  • AZU403

    I heard discussions, from classmates or among my mother and her friends, around “Why didn’t they do anything? There were 8 of them and one of him. Why was it only the Filipina nurse [the one who survived] who said they should hide or call the police?”

  • Pete is acting like a total ass towards Roger, but honestly Roger deserves it- he’s unproductive and out of touch.

    I’d like to see Freddy Rumsen make an appearance this season.

  • AZU403

    If you’re staying in someone else’s house, which is what this one feels like to Sally, unfamiliar food compounds the strangeness. It sounds yummy not but I wouldn’t have eaten it either at that age.

  • CassandraMortmain

    Very disturbing episode on many levels.  I found Michael Ginsburg’s reaction to the staff ogling the murder pics a little odd.  Totally appropriate but a bit odd – so much so that it made me suspect that he has some history or connection to extreme violence against women.  Some people suggested upthread that he could have lost his mother or other family members in the Holocause and I suspect that may be correct.  I don’t think he’s an abuser himself but you never know.  He’s so awkward, socially inappropriate and aggressive to boot that he kind of gives me the willies.  But of course he’s wildly talented.  Peggy should be very, very worried that he’s going to overtake her.  I wonder if they offered him a starting salary that’s more than she makes after years on the job?

    I confess that I initially didn’t pick up on the fact that the apartment scenes with Andrea were all fever dreams.  I actually gasped when Don started choking her.  I don’t think Don’s a potential murderer but there’s always been a hint that he would be capable of physical violence against women.   

    I’m glad that Joan kicked the hubbie out so she can get back to the agency ASAP.  But I’m not finding her sympathetic at all these days.  She’s someone who has made many wrong choices for wrong reasons.  She never seemed to love Greg but latched onto him because she was getting old, her options for a husband were limited, and he was a handsome young doctor.  She was totally going for the prestige and money of being a surgeon’s wife.  And she still married him even after realizing what kind of a person he was.  Then she passes off another man’s baby as his.  Rather despicable.  I see her as an accidental feminist.  If Greg had turned out to be the success she thought he was going to be she would no doubt put up with him.  She wants Betty’s life – without knowing how oppressive that life actually would be.

    • Susan Stella Floyd

      Joan made those decisions and wanted that life because her options as a woman in the early 1960s were so incredibly limited. She thought (rightly) that marrying a doctor was the highest thing to which she could aspire. Remember she’s also several years older than Peggy. I think she’s about 35 by now.

      Remember when she filled in on that ad campaign back in season one or two, and they pulled her off it even though she was doing a great job and was fulfilled by the work?

      It was a different world for women back then.  She’s not an accidental feminist.  It was choices and dilemmas like the one’s Joan’s facing that MADE women feminists in the 1960s.  Brilliant writing and acting, too.

    • FashionShowAtLunch

      She does not want Betty’s life.  Joan is never happier than when she is working, and she knows it.

      • nosniveling

        Joan DID think she wanted Betty’s life…..then, when faced with it, was desperate to get back to work.
        I’m not a huge fan, and agreed with Cassandra’s points about her choices.
        She married Dr. Rapey, after all, was overjoyed to fling his *doctorness* at the other secretaries, slept around after she married him, and is lying to everyone about the baby’s father.  Not a paradigm in my book.

        For the record, I’m a single, unmarried parent….but nobody’s writing about my fabulosity 🙂

        • FashionShowAtLunch

          Joan DID think she wanted Betty’s life…..then, when faced with it, was desperate to get back to work.

          So, she DID want that life, but then she realized she didn’t. People change their minds. That is not a present-tense desire of hers. At this point, the thought of losing her place at SCDP is devastating to her.

          She didn’t “sleep around”: she slept with Roger. Once. After a traumatic incident. Not that it’s admirable behavior, but she wasn’t carrying on a multitude of torrid affairs. Passing off the baby as Dr. Rapey is questionable behavior, but he’s a douche, so I don’t really care. And it’s only him she should be telling the truth to, not “everyone”. It’s none of anyone else’s business.

          And to address people’s criticisms at her “choice” to marry Dr. Rapey. I doubt she felt she had a choice. Why is this perceived as some sort of moral failing or a character flaw on her part? Sure, it would have been better not to marry him, but I bet it took her a long time to even realize that she was raped. And, abused women make decisions to stay with their abusers ALL THE TIME. Unfortunate, but they shouldn’t be judged; rather they should be empathized with. It’s a shitty situation.

          There are no characters on this show (or any other show, or in life) who can be considered paradigms. I love characters because of their flaws, not in spite of them.

  • EEKstl

    Riveting episode and commentary. I have already been so consistently surprised at the turns Mad Men has taken this season;   Just when I smugly think I know the direction they’re going I realize what a hack TV writer I would make.  It is always a pleasure to watch a show that is much smarter than I am.  Best show on television.

  • I was completely distracted during the entire episode because of the flood of memories the discussion of the Speck case brought back.  For a while, even though they had a great picture of him and his distinctive tatoo, he was on the lam and the whole MIdwest was on alert. Then all the lurid details and questions, the dramatic capture  (spotted in a bar? I think?).  And finally, Chicago’s fascination with Speck ever after, like John Wayne Gacy.  Speck ended up cross dressing in prison, as did Gacy.  Can’t get my brain around that pathology.

  • Browsery

    Here’s a theory about the scene with Speck murder photos (I’m not saying it’s necessarily correct.):

      Joyce, the photo editor from Time/Life, is in possession of proprietary photos that are so gruesome they can’t be published.  For the moment, they are a hot commodity that she shares with her friends.  This was not a time when people could Google all kinds of horrible sh_t in a few seconds.  The folks at SDC feel special to be included.  In addition, journalists and others sometimes feel as if they are immune or insulated to horror if they are able to look at it full in the face.  So they may not be quite as callous as they seem, although it was disturbing.

    If they’d been privy to closeups of the Kennedy assassination, they’d probably have ogled them, too.

    Michael, of course, shows some empathy.  I don’t like that many people have tried to explain his reaction by suggesting that he has a tie to the Holocaust, although that of course could be true.  He could be compassionate because he’s a decent person.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    I have never laughed as loud and long at this show as I did while Peggy was openly shaking Roger down. Couldn’t even leave him his dignity. John Slattery seems to be having a lot of fun with his aging enfant terrible role this season. Christina Hendricks was perfection telling Dr. Rape to get gone.

    Ginsberg officially won my heart for being the only one with a moral conscience strong enough to be disgusted by everyone’s titillation at crime-scene photos from a murder (and let them know). The incredible pitch didn’t hurt either.

    Poor Sally. That phone call with Don showed how much she’s already like Betty. Keirnan Shipka even got January Jones’ body language down. 

    Finally: Peggy’s green shoes! Love, love, love. Can’t wait for MadStyle on this one.

    • 3hares

      But wasn’t the “incredible pitch” exactly the opposite of the moral conscience? He disapproved of young women being fascinated by the crime scene photos of women assault victims, then pitched an ad about female assault based on his confident idea that the woman wants to get caught. As a comment above pointed out, he’s having it both ways by disapproving of the fascination with crime while divorcing it from just this kind of attitude that justifies the crime.

      • LesYeuxHiboux

         I guess I saw the pitch differently. I still felt his disgust for their titillation ringing loud and clear through the pitch, I actually found the pitch quite frightening, and that was why I thought Don said not to do that in front of clients again. I actually felt like he was openly mocking the client even as he sold them on their own idea (which he made sound horrific). He did everything but call them disgusting misogynist pigs! It was incredible acting and writing, both. The Cinderella thing was not his idea, it was crap that was pushed on him and he took it to the root of the nasty fascination with vulnerable women.

        • 3hares

          I don’t understand how it was pushed on him. The clients were happy with a completely different pitch and then Ginsberg sidled up when they were shaking hands and gave them a different pitch with a transparent “We were going to do this other pitch but you might think it was too dark…” and they loved it as he knew (and later admitted) he knew they would. He didn’t make it sound horrific, he made it sound thrilling. If he was disgusted with them why didn’t he let them stay happy with the campaign that didn’t include rape imagery instead of being the person in the room to introduce a commercial that romanticized it?

    • EEKstl

      OMG!  Those green shoes!  Loved that they were front and center in the shot.  LOVED!

  • Michael Ginsburg reminds me so much of a young Al Pacino, particularly circa Dog Day Afternoon. Anyone else think that? And he definitely has the vibe of a number of Jewish and Italian actors who were about to hit the scene (Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy for one).

    • Truthfully? Not really getting that vibe at all from the michael character. I was sort of flummoxed by him actually – seeing how he criticized the others for their depraved voyeurism – and then he goes on to describe a Cinderella rape fantasy-as-commercial with complete detachment and impassion.

      • Have you seen Dog Day Afternoon? Pacino plays a complex character who has more contradictions that will flummox you than anyone on Mad Men. At any rate, I mostly meant that Michael seems pretty on point for the era. 

    • Elizabeth Davis

      He reminds me of Jimmy Barrett. Not so much the behavior as the voice and the mannerisms. Perhaps that’s why Don is so annoyed by Michael’s accent. It brings up memories of his old nemesis, just as Andrea’s overtures mimic those of Bobbie’s.

      • I hadn’t thought of the Jimmy connection, but Andrea (very strongly) reminded me of Bobbie.

  • YolandaHawkins

    A standing ovation for Joanie.  I was so pleased that the writers didn’t wimp out and just kill Dr. Rape in Nam, but let Joan end it and referencing the rape, because that is exactly what it was.    As for Don, you hit the nail on the head that this wasn’t some fling from 6 years ago and kudos to Megan for letting him know that she’s not buying what he’s selling.  I enjoyed watching Peggy give Roger the shakedown, but felt bad for her and Dawn over the purse incident.  And did Don call Betty’s house Haunted Manor or did Grandma Pauline?

  • rosiepowell2000

    Megan Draper is proving to be a ridiculously ideal character.  She’s like something out of a fairy tale . . . and she’s boring me.  Where are the flaws?  Because of her magic vagina, Don no longer wants to commit adultery?  Really?  Are we supposed to buy this?  This is as annoying as Weiner’s decision to inform the viewers that Don had told Megan about his real identity . . . without bothering to show a scene of this particular event.  I would have liked to see Megan’s reaction to the whole thing.   If Megan had been a flawed character, I would have bought Don’s new marriage.  But so far, she’s not.  Instead, she’s being portrayed as some symbol of 60s youth, who is also the perfect spouse for the cracked Don Draper/Dick Whitman.

    As for Joan and Greg . . . that storyline was disappointing.  I had expected a more interesting story arc about their marriage.  Instead, Joan finally decides to kick Greg to the curb . . . for wanting to go back to Vietnam.  In other words, she’s angry at Greg for wanting to be in Vietnam, instead of being with her?  And people are cheering about this?   Is this the last of the Joan/Greg story?  I hope not.  I feel that Weiner has yet to tap into the number of potential story arcs about their marriage.

    As for Dawn . . . she has her biggest scene up to date . . . and it’s all about Peggy.  We’ve already had a glimpse into Michael’s home life, yet we haven’t had one of Dawn’s.  Instead, she is being used as a plot device for Peggy’s angst fest.  Dawn is seriously in danger of becoming another Carla.

    • Lilithcat

       Instead, Joan finally decides to kick Greg to the curb . . . for wanting to go back to Vietnam.  In other words, she’s angry at Greg for wanting to be in Vietnam, instead of being with her?  And people are cheering about this?

      There’s more to it than that.  It’s not merely that he wanted to back to Vietnam. It’s that he lied to Joan.  He gave her to understand that he didn’t have a choice, and it wasn’t until his parents’ slip of the tongue that she learned it was his choice.  A choice that he not only didn’t discuss with her, but lied about to her.

    • Andrea Rossillon

      Joan throws out Greg because this is the second time that he’s decided to leave for the Army entirely without consulting her. And this time, she has a baby with whom she’s being left alone.

      If he had come to her and said, Joanie, I’m doing the most important work I’ll ever do in my life, and I’m good at it, and they need me and the things I can do, etc., he probably could’ve convinced her to go along with it. But he didn’t do that. He just told her–again. Actually, he didn’t even tell her–his mom told. So not only did he not view her as a partner, he was too weak to tell her the truth.

      She realized their marriage would always be about him deciding what was best for him, never them together deciding what was best for them. AND he was weak, to boot. That’s why she threw him out. Because he was not a suitable partner.

      Good for her– I don’t blame her for wanting to get married to a doctor and enjoying the perks that would bring–she would’ve been an incredible doctor’s wife– but I’m very pleased that she’s now living life on her own terms. Good for her.

      • rosiepowell2000

        Joan tossed out Greg because Matt Weiner couldn’t find a way to continue the story line regarding their marriage.  Which I find odd, because I see a great deal of potential storylines about this subject.  In other words, I feel this latest story development was nothing but a copout.  Weiner has managed to avoid a story arc in which Greg learns that his child is really not his.  Joan gets rid of Greg and avoids paying the consequences for cheating on him.  Which makes me wonder why on earth Weiner had decided to pursue their story in the first place, following Greg’s rape of Joan back in S2.

        But I am curious about one thing.  Did anyone criticize Joan when it was first revealed that she went ahead and married Greg? I did.  Even more disturbing was that I cannot recall that many criticisms leveled at Joan.  Instead, many fans expressed ways that Greg could die by the end of S3 or in S4.  Every time Joan made a big mistake . . . you know what?  Never mind.

        • juliamargaret

          I like Joan’s character, but it’s true, she’s made some choices that range from questionable to extremely self-interested: She married Greg after he raped her, she cheated on him, she let him believe her baby was his. Her decision, to me, seems like a combination of finally standing up to Greg (a good thing to do), and as a way to not have to continue to lie about her affair on a day to day basis.

          • Lulu Lafurge

            Excellent points, juliamargaret. Like everyone else on the show (and in real life), her motives are not pure.

      • EEKstl

        “She realized their marriage would always be about him deciding what was best for him, never them together deciding what was best for them. AND he was weak, to boot. That’s why she threw him out. Because he was not a suitable partner.”

        True. Not to mention the fact he was also a rapist.

    • FashionShowAtLunch

      Instead, Joan finally decides to kick Greg to the curb . . . for wanting to go back to Vietnam.  In other words, she’s angry at Greg for wanting to be in Vietnam, instead of being with her?  And people are cheering about this?

      This is weird to you?  She has a tiny baby! (that as far as he knows, is his.) He’s OPTING to re-enlist rather than stay with his family. And he doesn’t even consult her! Of course she’s angry.  

      And I disagree: That relationship has run its course.  I don’t know where else they could go with it. There are only so many times you can see him act like an asshole, and her suck it up.

    • Browsery

      I don’t particularly like Megan, but I don’t find her the least bit boring.  I’ve always liked Jessica Paré. I saw her in an interesting if flawed movie, Lost and Delirious, with Piper Perabo many years ago.  Jessica’s character in the film was a tiny bit like Megan in that she wanted to be a wild, individualist until it was no longer convenient.

  • gubblebumm

    My theory about michael is that he is not yet jaded.  Peggy didn’t want to do the ads for union busting airline, but she is in the ad game, as roger pointer out, so she brushed aside her own feelings.  Michael is still fresh to the game, and maybe he isn’t able to do that, yet.

    Either that, or he is playing them, like he did for the shoe presentation.  He is a manipulator and an actor, ala megan…

  • ErinnF

    I’m really proud to be a fan of TLo and these recaps today. This is a civilized, intelligent bunch. I also read the recap over on Entertainment Weekly’s site this morning and I didn’t think it was half as insightful. It also took a whopping one comment over there before people started insulting each other with bad grammar and lack of punctuation. It’s like a breath of fresh air over here after that experience. *shudder*

    • I second that!  It’s probably at the top of my list why I love this blog.  I’ve been reading for a while and enjoy the bitter kitten commentary so often, I go back just to see what others have said…kudos to TLo!

    • I was just thinking the exact same thing, having come here straight from the EW comments.

  • StelledelMare

    I was speechless after this episode. It was amazing and brilliant but it also left me thinking “What the hell did I just watch?” because it was equally strange and disturbing (while also making me cheer on our Joanie). And people have said this show is boring?

  • MM is so weird for me, because I know everyone in the show.  I grew up in the south so there was no sophistication, but there were still people who had been sold a bill of goods, and were very angry about it. They couldn’t take it out on the culture so they took it out on the most vulnerable members of society.  When I was 10 I was taken to “In Cold Blood”, “Two on a Guillotine”, and “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte”.  I never got over those movies and the stories they told. They colored the rest of my life.  I still think about them, and am totally incredulous that people would take children to see such things.  There was no consciousness at all.  MM shows how shitty the culture was that we all have had to overcome.  

    I feel like Sally.  She just sits around and observes all these crazy adults with a look on her face like, “Who ARE these people?!?!”.  

    I think MM is so absolutely brilliant.  It’s really history.  I can’t believe the writers are so clever.

    Thanks, TLo, for your assessment.  Very, very entertaining.

  • rainwood1

    I read the scene between Peggy and Dawn in Peggy’s apartment a little differently.  I thought it was Peggy’s wanting to do the right thing that led to the awkwardness.  She had a moment where she didn’t trust Dawn with her purse, then felt ashamed that it was because of Dawn’s race, then tried to fix it, all because she doesn’t want to be racist even though she is, a little bit.  Most of the white characters would have done the same or worse so I interpreted it as Peggy being more sensitive and trying to be better than the prevailing attitude of the day even when drunk.  

    I’m not a big Joan fan, but this episode was one of the few times I started to root for her.      

    • juliamargaret

      That was my interpretation, too.

    • rowsella

       I think it would have been really easy for Peggy to say “See ya Monday!” to Dawn.  Instead she invited her into her home.  I think she had the thought, (“my purse, out here”) that probably had been programmed into her head since she was a girl.  She felt it, like an instinct almost, Dawn saw it and reacted to it (probably the same expression when she sees shopgirls follow her around and stare at her at the dept. store) and Peggy instantly recognized and was ashamed at her reaction.  All this unspoken and even though she tried to bridge this, it was difficult and awkward– is there a graceful way of handling it?  I also think that this situation wasn’t all that uncommon at the time.   Would she had felt the same with a relative stranger if she were white?  Would you be comfortable leaving your wallet out in front of an acquaintance overnight?

      Regarding Pegs being self centered, I guess I have never met a person in their 20s that isn’t.  Peggy sees Dawn as daring to go where others feared to tread as she did–and with her own talent and that is as least willing to work late and put in the time.  We have not seen Dawn in her home environment and there is little we know about her.  I don’t know why so many viewer/posters are certain she is some cool interesting person d/t her skin color, she likely is as flawed as most characters on this show.  I think she is much like Peggy.  Striving to get out of the box so many are intent on keeping her in.  This is harder than the road Peggy has chosen d/t the racist society –even in NY.  Ultimately, we don’t know her yet and I’m not making any judgments on her.

      • Also, Peggy’s not used to having over $400 in her purse. I’d be nervous about leaving that much cash lying around even if I was the only one home! That’s probably at least four month’s rent. And she was probably remembering that she’d sort of told Dawn about it. The awkward moment would likely have happened anyway, I’m not saying that Peggy’s as color blind as she’s trying to be, but it was exacerbated by the wad of cash she’d gotten from Roger.

  • I loved the Peggy/Roger scene.  Especially when he called her “Trotsky”.  The Roger character is brilliant and inspired.  He always has the best lines.

  • @Maggie_Mae Megan already comes into her job, both as secretary and as junior copywriter, with far more maturity and confidence than Peggy ever had, though. That’s a big part of not needing to be mollycoddled. Don had to toughen Peggy up to where she is now, but Megan is already sure of her footing with everyone in the office — again, because she was not socially awkward and anxious upon arrival to SCDP and also because she’s already been working there for a couple of years, she knows them already.

    • rowsella

       Meghan is a senior partner’s wife.  Who wouldn’t be.  She arrives late, leaves early and dines with clients in 5 star restaurants.

      • @rowsella:disqus But she hasn’t been for very long. For the vast majority of her time at SCDP, she was at the bottom of the pecking order, but she still had more confidence and social skills than Peggy; those things came way before being a partner’s wife or anything else. That’s my point.

        • Browsery

          Nah, I think being the wife of the head of Creative has a LOT to do with her self-confidence. Plus, she’s gorgeous and happy to use her looks.

          • @Browsery:disqus No, what I am saying is, she had self-confidence before she even got to the company. She had it as secretary. It’s kind of incredible to say she didn’t have it before she married Don, I mean the girl’s been to college and tried her hand at theatre: both of which require some talent, work ethic and yes, self-confidence.
            “She’s happy to use her looks” — So? Should she not comb her hair or put on make up or shop at thrift stores for clothes that don’t fit her just so… ? I don’t even know for what reason. And Joan isn’t happy to use her looks? I don’t see the point of this, unless it’s a very anti-feminist, sexist one.

          • Browsery

            I think it’s silly to suggest that Peggy was not ambitious, or that it wasn’t actually a much bigger effort for her to get where she is as an initially rather plain graduate of whatever is standing in for the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School.  Peggy’s a nice little Catholic girl from Bayside.  She was raised with zero aspirations except to be married, have babies and be a good Catholic.

            Megan seems to come from an upper middle class French-Canadian family and it’s clear she’s had some adventures  What exactly they were, we’ll find out.  She, like others, assumed Peggy’s rise was owing to sleeping with the boss, and she would have been all too happy to follow suit. And yes, Betty, Joan, Megan, and even Faye Miller use their attractiveness in a way that Peggy has not.  Is that really controversial?

            Peggy tries to be straightforward, while some of the other characters use their “womanly wiles.” She’s a lovely young woman who wants to be appreciated for her work even though she understands how the deck is stacked against her. That is why she is the most modern and the most admirable of all the characters.

          • Yes! Also, Megan had the advantage of seeing Peggy at work. Remember the scene last season, when they were chatting in the restroom, and Megan said something to the effect of “I want to do what you do”?

            I’m not sure that even being a partner’s wife would have given Megan the clout to become the *first* woman in the creative department. It’s much easier to be the second.

          • Browsery

            In the first episode of the season Megan joked (yes, it was self-deprecating), that she hadn’t been very successful as an actress and that she got big tips because she used her French accent.

            Until she got the job as Don’s secretary, all she’s done is smile and look pretty.  Now maybe that’s all she felt she could do, but I don’t see the great self-confidence or competence.

            I’m also not saying that she won’t be very good, I have no idea; but being the boss’s wife and having the financial comfort of a beautiful home and lovely, expensive clothes DOES affect her self-confidence.

        • rowsella

           Seriously you don’t believe Peggy is ambitious?  That she didn’t know what she wanted?  She could have gone the Meghan route and married into the firm with Pete when he knocked her up.  She always knew exactly what she wanted even in the face of mass disapproval from her family, her priest and being treated like a joke among “the boys” who assumed she slept her way to her position (which, ironically is what Meghan did).  She might not have the social graces, mien and poise of Megan but that is also what makes her good.  She, like Don and Ginsburg –and even her journalist boyfriend stand apart, are observers, see the motivations and the desires of others play across the social and cultural landscape.  They take what they observe and learn and apply it to their craft.   They get inside the heads of others.  We have yet to see if Megan has any talent in this regard.  All we have seen is that she is a hard worker, good actress/entertainer, a great hostess, hip when she wants to be; she and Don are still in the honeymoon phase of their marriage and she is significantly threatened when all is not perfect and goes into manipulative overdrive to resolve those situations.  Many talented creative people are not socially agile.  Peggy did not fit in as a secretary and she knew it. 

          • @rowsella I think Peggy is ambitious now, but she wasn’t (and certainly was less poised and sure of herself when she started than Megan was when Megan started) in the beginning. There is a difference in knowing that you do not want to have a child out of wedlock (or in it) with a weasel, and in knowing exactly where you envision your career going. Peggy knew the first yes, but she didn’t know the second. That’s not an attack on Peggy and you don’t have to perceive it as one, it’s just a statement of observation. Peggy knows she doesn’t fit in a lot of places — so does her boyfriend — but it’s not because she always saw herself having Don Draper’s job. And just because Peggy is socially awkward doesn’t “make her good”; there are plenty of fine people in this world who are not bumbling, milquetoast wallflowers. 

          • rowsella

            ” are not bumbling, milquetoast wallflowers.”  Well, so long as this is not an attack on Peggy….

    • 3hares

      I wouldn’t say Peggy needed more toughening up than Megan. Peggy decided practically her first day not to be the person who cried in the bathroom. Megan went home early this season because she was upset about the reaction to her dance, and she snapped at Peggy about the bad reaction her party got. Peggy was also shown trying to be supportive to her in ways nobody was to her. I think we’ve seen that Megan is definitely getting more mollycoddled because she’s Don’s wife and that that’s where she gets her confidence these days. Not that she was a wreck as a secretary, but she hasn’t been thrown into the creative pool the way Peggy was. In fact we’ve barely seen her interact with them as a junior copywriter.

      • rowsella

         Toughness.. I’d like to see Megan walk around unmarried and pregnant and not say a word for 9 months (by an accounts executive) in the workplace, staying late, working secretly on creative, hoping to get a break.  I wouldn’t have called Pegs a delicate flower needing mollycoddling ever.   She’s needed mentoring sure.  Who hasn’t?

  • You know, I was just thinking this morning that my mother did the same thing as Joan, just around the same time, getting rid of a bad husband at what you would think is the most vulnerable time of her life (having a baby) and knowing that she is doing the right thing. I loved that she reminded him of the rape and sent him packing! Love seeing a strong woman from that time period, entering the unknown, yet somehow knowing she is better off.

    How about “Grandmom” giving sally half a pill?

    • rowsella

       My mom asked for the divorce when she found out she was pregnant with my sister (child #3). 

  • Joan’s finest hour. 

    • AuntFiona

       Truly random question: If Joan kicks Greg out the day after his return, why is his duffel bag still packed and sitting by the front door? (I think after all this thoughtful analysis, I find myself looking for continuity errors or credibility gaps.)

      • He probably had just been too busy to unpack.

  • PS I actually remember playing Mystery Date.  That frisson of anticipation as you open the cardboard door.  Hoping and not hoping to get Poindexter.  Life is weird.

  • Sally’s unbrushed hair reminded me of my summers.  Summers were all about not brushing one’s hair. 

    • rowsella

       I miss those summers.  A day lasted a week.

  • Laylalola

    I don’t know why but Michael’s “And I’ll see YOU later!” to Don — when Don wasn’t speaking to him and nearly gave an eyeroll — made me burst out laughing both the first time I saw it and then again on rewatching it. Michael most certainly is not clueless — in fact, we’ve already seen him be manipulative — and I’m starting to think it’s not really accurate to compare his form of social ineptness to Peggy’s. It’s easy to suggest that socioeconomically their types of approaches are coming from the same sort of place — but the gender difference allows him to assume more than Peggy in many ways and frankly it’s hilarious and fascinating.

  • chatelaine1

    I, too, am now finding Megan boring. She handles Don too well.  Dramatically this needs to go somewhere different fast, and I expect that is exactly where Matthew Weiner is headed.

    Tom and Lorenzo, I love how you picked up on how Pauline is honest with Sally.  I’ve observed this in my own life with grandparents–an ability to “get real” with grandchildren in a way their parents just can’t.  Sally has always been a sophisticated child, and I agree that Sally needs this and is getting it from Pauline.  And Kiernan Shipka just never disappoints as an actress!

    I believe when Betty’s character took a turn for the worse in the last season or two that Weiner protested some that he didn’t understand the Betty-hating and said something about how she was a lot like his own mother or mothers of that generation.  I imagine he (or the other writers) had someone like a Step-Grandma Pauline in his life and he doesn’t find her quite as ominous as you two do. 

  • It was a dream; it could have been *any* years. Mostly, it was about the demons. Peggy was certainly not the first woman copywriter on madison Avenue; just at Sterling Cooper. Andrea could have been just in the building. 
    Anyone else notice how upset Michael Ginsburg got about the photos that Joyce was showing them in the beginning? We’re not too far away from the Holocaust, much less understanding the magnitude of the evil; that would come even years after the Nuremberg Trials. So Michael must have an interesting set of his own demons, living with his father in an obviously mother-free apartment. 

  • bellafigura1

    Well, yes, definitive and cogent analysis and all true, true … but really?  Not a peep about Jon Hamm’s fevered, sweaty chest hair?  It was positively glistening.

  • the foot under the bed actually seemed more like crushing the wicked witch of the west to me. ruby slippers and all.

  • Susan683

    I don’t ever get the impression that Megan knows how to control Don.  I feel like she does whatever she does, and Don gives in because 1) she is 26 and that fact alone reminds him daily that he is 40 and 2) he doesn’t want to get divorced again.  

    • rowsella

       She seems to be operating under the illusion that many young women have that she will change him.  I think she needs a sit down heart to heart with Joan.

  • T Lo, I love your insights about Pauline. It was easy to recoil from her and regard her as a villain but you made a very good point about how she’s the only adult being straightforward with Sally (albeit with a rather sadistic and prurient edge). That observation surprised me but I totally agree with it now that you mention it. I would wager that Sally will someday look back on Pauline as being someone she has an odd affection for from her childhood for that reason.

    Typical for Mad Men (recall the Death of Blankenship) I found myself laughing out loud (between gasps) in the midst of macabre events… eg, butcher knife on sofa (!!?)Was I the only one that was terrified about Stan smoking a lit cigarette while his head was tightly wrapped in nylon?? Good God…lolAnd I can’t figure out why the Francis household can’t afford better than a crappy black and white set whose tube is obviously on the fritz (or needs to have its roof antenna replaced). In 1966 a color TV console was pretty common for even us middle class folks, and we didn’t live in castles 🙂

    • Patricia Biswanger

      We didn’t get a color TV until 1969, and only then because my brother had broken his arm and was stuck in the house a lot.  It was such a novelty half the neighborhood came to see it.

    •  We didn’t get one till the 1972 Olympics and were upper middle class. We used to go to the neighbor’s to watch The Wizard of Oz. Frugal Yankees – why buy a new tv when the old one works perfectly fine? This explains why my now 84 yr. old mother refuses to get a DVD player when she can still use her VCR.

      • the phrase ‘perfectly fine’ still makes me twitch, it preceeded have the reasons I didn’t get what I wanted as a child 🙂

      • Logo Girl

        My parents didn’t get a color TV until my grandfather passed away in the early 80s. I think they were the only people in town who had HBO and a black-and-white television. Must have been a WWII era “movies are better in black and white” thing. 

    • rowsella

       We didn’t get a color tv until 1969 and I’m sure there was some kind of deal my dad made to get it (as there always seemed to be).  He “bought” the first one– a plastic B&W RCA with Raleigh cigarette coupons as well as our “automatic” toaster.  The tv was on a metal tubular tv cart with plastic wheels.  I remember watching Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room on it.  I guess I am Kevin’s age– born in 1965.

  • AuntFiona

    Random question: If Joan kicked Greg out the day after his return, why was his fully packed duffel bag still sitting by the front door?  (All the thoughtful analyses here have me looking for continuity errors or credibility problems.)

    •  Because he didn’t intend to be living there. He was only home on a 10 day leave and he knew he was going back for another year. So, why unpack. It speaks to his underlying emotions about coming home.

  • Lulu Lafurge

    I can’t make it through 445 comments – I wish there was some way to search them – but has anyone discussed the teaser for the next episode? It seems to indicate that Peggy is going to sell a great campaign to Mohawk, but somehow not get the credit. I hope that I’m wrong and my suspicions are based on clever editing.

    • nosniveling

      Haven’t seen the teaser, but suspected that Peggy was going to get screwed on the Mohawk account from the get-go.

  • My husband and I were such suckers! We were saying “on no! is Don going to murder her?” He’s killing her! I can’t believe it! That’s not really happening is it?!”
     I felt the same way with the episode last season when he asked Megan to marry him. I just KNEW it was a dream. I couldn’t believe it. 
     I thought Joan looked especially beautiful in this episode. 
    I remember being really scared about the Richard Speck murders,(I was about 10) and my husband has always said he was terrified until they caught that guy. I don’t remember my parents ever talking to us about anything like that. We talked about the Kennedy assasination because we lived in Dallas, and it was horrible to have that happen where we lived. 

  • librarygrrl64

    Loved Pauline and Sally, loved Joan kicking Greg out. And even though I haven’t been the biggest Megan fan so far, this episode got me respecting her. She always seems to be able to handle Don in just the right way.

  • librarygrrl64

    And what was with Michael Ginsberg being extra uncomfortable about the rape and murder talk? Hmmmmm….in Mad Men world, stuff like this doesn’t come up and NOT become a plot point…

  • aesteve212

    Did anyone else feel that *possibly* Meghan had come home and was role playing as the mistress? And Don in his feverish state couldn’t tell the two apart? I know it doesn’t totally track (why would Meghan start that role right at the front door when her husband is so sick, and she is genuinely concerned) but maybe some of the details get explained away by Don’s mind filling in the gaps. Her being an actress (that was focused on a bit in that first episode); her desire to know if he is still a cheater; the already established kink in the relationship; his clothes coming off throughout the night; the weird timeline (she says she’ll come home after work but we/Don don’t see her until the next morning; maybe the Lincoln Center comment was about a time that she and Don slipped in the back for a quickie at intermission; and then the questioning look at the end/the next morning.

    I realize I am digging here, but it felt like there was something more than just a straight dream sequence. The whole thing was so nerve wracking!

    • Logo Girl

      Maybe Andrea didn’t even exist, and she was a fabrication between Don and Megan on the elevator, and they are slipping into a very deep disconnect / role-playing fantasy. Hmm.

    • i think megan came home, checked on him, maybe said a few things (“you’re a sick sick man”, “i was worried about you”), brushed her fingers across his face/forehead, and don incorporated them in his fever-dream. 

  • I think the use of the word “addiction” to describe Don’s… extracurriculars is contributing to the dilution of the word. Addiction is serious, and should not be used to excuse either a lack of willpower, poor decision-making, and out-of-order priorities.

    • FashionShowAtLunch

      I agree with you in theory, but over the past couple of seasons I’ve actually begun to think that he legitimately demonstrates addictive behavior. Not that this excuses his poor decisions, but it does seem like there’s a compulsive element to it.

  • What I got stuck on was how terribly awkward it was to have Joan’s mother there, in the way. They kept sending her out with the baby for beer (wink wink). To have all that personal drama unfold with her RIGHT THERE. Why didn’t Joan send her home before Greg arrived? I know she still needed help with the baby, but really? who would want there MOTHER there in the same tiny apartment. I was horrified when Joan answered the door for him, and saw that she was right there in the background.

    • That is a good point, it did seem awkward. At the same time, I thought her mother was really in tune to the situation, telling Joan how he would be different and telling her things like “you don’t know what he has seen over there or what he has done”, trying to prepare her the how awkward the situation really would be. Even telling her not to worry about making a cake because “he does not want cake, he wants you”. The wink-wink, I’ll get the beer may have seemed a little weird, but it also seemed very supportive to me. We have seen the two women have some conflict, but now there was some real understanding between them.  I also liked the way her mother was so supportive in the end.

    • This struck me as a less odd and more plausible scenario for 1966 than it would be today. Families were generally tighter-knit, and as long as pretenses were kept up, that she would leave them alone to make love, as long as everyone called it “going out to the store for three hours,” family togetherness and expectations could trump absolute privacy and individual wants. Especially in a city like New York, where people are used to having to share spaces.  I also don’t know where Joan is from originally, but I don’t think the NYC area, so “going home” may have entailed a lot of travel.

  • The thing with Don’s dream sequence is that it’s the type that you wake up from and think that what happened really happened. It just means that everything was plausible to Mr. Draper. He actually believed that Andrea could have found his place, could have went back in and could have really fucked him. When he woke up, he steals a glance at the floor where Andrea’s Cinderella foot should have been. He expected it to be there!

    Did the ever bubbly Megan clean the body up for Don? C’est possible. Non? Oui? She did say he “was a mess.”

    • rowsella

       I wonder if fighting with Andrea was symbolic for “Don Draper” and  “Dick Whitman”- – fighting with himself and his um… appetites and perhaps his penchant for needing a secret life, or just secrets in general.  He does not want to sabotage himself.  I thought it interesting that even though Megan knew he was sick, she chose instead to “work late at the office” after he asked if she would meet him.  

  • rowsella

    Didn’t Peggy cash out there!  Holy crap.  My Dad was a bank branch manager and made $75 a week in 1966.  She has nerve!

  • rowsella

    Re Pauline:

    While my grandmother would have never given me a Seconol, she probably would have given me a shot of whiskey if I was that frightened (after having me mix her a Scotch & water).   I was only a year old during the nurse murders but I remember being really scared about Son of Sam.  I remember my father’s girlfriend’s son crying  because he thought the Son of Sam would kill his mother when we were vacationing at Tom’s River in NJ.  Funny, he grew up to be a police officer.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    This episode was way too scary for me. I lived in Peoria and was about ten when Richard Speck was tried there. So awful. Like I think is going to be true for Sally, I think those murders affected who I was and whether I felt safe for a long time. And I was living with two sisters and two parents and my grandma was nice and never would’ve drugged me or scared me like that. She did tell me about the Cossacks torching her village, but no lurid details of true crime. So, anyway, while I can recognize it was a good episode and well-done and I can cheer for Joan for kicking out Dr. Rapist, I was still creeped out by the episode. I think I didn’t need to remember the Richard Speck days.

    • sweetlilvoice

      Although I don’t have first hand knowledge about Richard Speck, I also found it really creepy. I talked to my Dad (who is a doctor) about it a few months ago (his mother was a nurse in the 60s) and even he still found it really upsetting. And he’s seen some gross stuff.

  • Dying to see the fashion break down on this episode??!?  

  • SignLadyB

    Not to run the subject into the ground (Don’s dream or not?) but I just got to see the episode last night and noticed at least two (and maybe three) changes in Don’s appearance during the sequence. When he gets home he falls on the bed after taking off his shoes, suit coat and (maybe?) shirt. When he answers the door to Andrea I believe he is in his undershirt and trousers (which would be only proper) but by the time he kills her (and I believe when he wakes up the next morning) he no longer is wearing his tee shirt or trousers.
    A side note that I found kind of ewww icky (if it hadn’t been a dream) was he was nude when he strangled her (that has all sorts of nasty overtones to me). I know that would have been right tho’ since he did the deed after doing the deed so to speak.

  • lisettedemontmartre

    I am a huge fan of Madmen, and of this blog, but this latest episode I found hugely disturbing, and not in a good way.
    I’m not even sure that I can articulate the unpleasantness with which the real life massacre of the nurses in Chicago was used as a means to work through the fictional narrative. Ultimately, I find the writers guilty of the salaciousness that they attribute to their characters; I found it frankly unbelievable that of Peggy and her colleagues, not one visibly recoiled at the images; even Michael G’s – frankly a little belated – outburst, called attention to the women being ‘trussed up like chickens” – for those viewers too young to know what actually happened to real people, dying an unimaginably terrifying death, well,  now you know. Yes, people react in different ways to horrifying news, but not one, not one expressed shock, dismay, or sympathy for the victims of a crime of unimaginable horror. And as for the Grand Guignol of a Step Grandmother, on the phone to her friend while Sally is in the room, positively relishing counting through the number of young women, lingering on the woman who survived – if your  friend was describing such an awful event in such a creepily salacious way, would you not just put down the phone and go ex-directory? This event is still recent enough that the families of the victims are still alive. How comforting for them to know that these deaths have now been incorporated into a clever piece of pop culture. All the clever use of allegory, of fairy tale symbolism, of significant colours and of Don’s feverish split personality sits so unpleasantly with a real,unspeakable crime that, to misquote Ginsberg, I really wish I hadn’t seen it.

  • 28fairplay

    Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) in Lincoln Center opened in 1962 and it has a loading dock in the basement. The timeline fits.

  • megalomania79

     As per usual, you guys are awesome.  I completely agree about the Pauline/Sally conversation.  As royally messed up as Pauline is, I think she realizes exactly why Sally is messed up and I’m glad to see them sort of bond.  Although the Seconal was a bit much. 

    I also want to marry Ginsberg.  Although I am technically married to his real life counterpart.  lol

  • clairellis

    I loved Joanie kicking Greg out. It was amazing. I want to be her when I grow up!

  • Linlighthouse

    I was struck by Sally trying to convince Pauline that she’s really a good person. She is! We know that. But she’s surrounded by people who want to think she’s a bad person because of their own screwed up self-images. You go, Sally girl. You are good. And you’re not going to get into drugs or anything. Are you?

  • Kent Roby

    I’ve been binging on this series recently, just saw this episode, want to catch up before the final (half) season airs….I may be reading too much into it, but I was startled after the scene where (Jewish) Gingsberg got upset at the murder photos, then the next shot was from the interior of the oven as Joan took her cake out. Concentration camp reference perhaps?