Mad Men: Man With a Plan

Posted on May 13, 2013

There we were, near the end of our second viewing of the episode and struggling mightily to marry Janet Jackson to Don Draper and come up with a joke about how privacy is his middle name and his last name, it is control, when a sleepy, cranky, thoroughly demoralized Pete snapped at his addled, MMS6E7+3assassination-upset mother and clicked everything into place for us.

“That happened years ago!”

So much of what happened this episode could have happened years ago. Some of what happened this episode DID happen years ago. From Don & Sylvia’s affair, to Burt Peterson’s second firing, to Don & Ted’s alcohol-fueled dick-slapping contest; this episode was stocked to the rafters with callbacks to previous seasons or subtle echoes of past scenes. Probably the most obvious occurred when Joan walked Peggy to her new office, chatting all the way, until the scene ends with one of them practically doubling over in pain. Sound familiar? And since Bob Benson is the 1954 version of Don Draper, spit-shined and buffed to 1968 college-grad youthfulness, his scene in the Emergency Room with Joan echoed another one both very similar and very different. Don drinking Ted into submission recalls the various times he did exactly the same to Roger, either to bully him into giving him a job or to punish him for flirting with his wife.

But it wasn’t until the news of the assassination broke that we realized why there were so many calls to the past. The second Kennedy assassination – especially in the very early days just following it – was a very eerie time for most of the American public, who felt momentarily like they were stuck in a time warp, forced to watch events repeat and echo over and over again, never getting anywhere, jaws dropped at the grotesque repetition of it all. What a perfect metaphor for this season of Mad Men. We’ve been thinking that part of the reason this season has been so plodding and felt like wheel-spinning is because there’s been no sense in the story of things being written toward an ending. Unless Weiner & Co. make a radical shift in their stated intentions for the series, Mad Men is very near the end of its story. There are only 18 months left to the 1960s at this point. There’ve been a few echoes and callbacks to the past throughout this season – and we don’t think it’s a coincidence that, in everything from attitude to aesthetics, Don & Sylvia’s affair could have easily been inserted into season one or two and not feel remotely out of place. There’s a reason why Sylvia’s clothes are roughly 5 years out of style, after all. But as the sixties and this story winds down and heads toward its conclusion, it’s looping back on itself before then; showing us how things have changed (the Peggy & Joan scene, which was almost an exact reversal of the same scene from MMS6E7+1season 1) and how things haven’t changed at all (every fucking thing Don Draper does). In other words, Don is a mess and an asshole, and the show is finally at the point where that’s what the story is about. It’s no longer subtext underlining the story; it is the story. Don Draper is, to borrow a beautifully crafted and dead-on phrase, a human tire-fire. The question from now until the end of the story is whether or not he can achieve some form of redemption or whether he’s simply going to keep falling into the abyss. People think the credits sequence of this show is foreshadowing a literal jump off a building, but we tend to think it’s been depicting the decade-long fall and decline of Don Draper. And while we admit the likelihood of Don somehow overcoming the outrageous urge to be an utter shit to the people around him is very, very slim; we like to think Peggy’s the one person in the story who might have a shot at steering him away from disaster. After all, what’s the perfect response to “That all happened years ago?”

“Move forward.”

A fabulous spray of bullets:

  • The dynamic between Don and Peggy has changed dramatically and it’s not clear yet whether Don knows it. Peggy’s coming back a full-on executive, used to throwing her weight around and having people listen when she speaks. Don’s in for a major shock if he thinks he can throw dollar bills at her in the office or scream at her in front of her co-workers. Not only will Ted not put up with that shit, more importantly, Peggy’s not going to. And she’s no longer the former secretary who wonders if she can ever be someone outside of Don’s shadow. She knows she can. She’s proven she can. And she’s not going to wait for Don to realize that. She’ll storm into his office and inform him of it.
  • It’s a testament to the meticulous writing on this show that you can have these major character moments that are only accomplished with a few words, or sometimes none at all. Peggy saying with admiration of Dawn, “She’s an excellent secretary” not only touches on years of stories and relationships, it calls back to a scene in season 2 where Peggy dressed down and humiliated Lois for not keeping Don’s secrets like a good secretary should. And when Ted stumbled drunkenly into the creative room, she quietly got up out of her seat and gently pulled him into it. Regardless of whether or not they’ll have a full-blown romance, she clearly respects and appreciates him, and it hurt her to see Don shit all over him.
  • While the merger of the two agencies was bound to cause some friction, it’s notable that the accounts team seem to have their shit together, and aside from some momentary griping about pre-paid media buys and the loss of Vick Chemical, they all seem to be getting along like gangbusters. It helps that Roger and Jim are flip sides of the same droll, silver-fox coin. Creative, on the other hand, is going to be a mess for some time, it seems.
  • Joan’sMM_607_MY_0129_0868 not stupid, but she’s kind of emotionally vulnerable at the moment. She knows that Bob Benson was good to her because his head was on the chopping block (witness the look of horror on his face when cranky Burt Petersen set him straight about his prospects), but there’s a part of her that truly loves that someone’s paying some sort of kind attention to her in this goddamn office. We’d like to think she’s got her head on straight enough to think that her clever save on his job is payback enough, but there’s just one problem: She wore green and blue outfits in every scene. Ruh-roh.
  • The scene with Joan and Peggy was beautifully played and a wonderful emotional payoff after watching their relationship change so much over the years. If you watch the original scene it’s calling back to, Joan is kind of a snotty bitch to Peggy, but in 1968, she’s warm and thrilled to have her back in the office, chatting with her about how far they’ve come. We hope they can be friends. They’ve been working together on and off for a long time now. When their goals were so different from each other, they were far more confrontational with each other, but now that they’re two women who’ve achieved some degree of power (if not respect), they really need to turn to each other more. We hope Peggy isn’t judgmental about how Joan got her partnership, but we suspect she might be.
  • Is it possible we have the capacity to feel sorry for Pete?
  • Sayonara, Sylvia. We hope this is for good. We’re pretty sure it is. That’s about as final as a breakup scene can get. And Don Draper sure as hell doesn’t deal with being dumped very well. He went from enormous asshole to scared little boy in a second. It’s interesting how much this affair tended to call back to the one with Rachel Mencken in season one. Like Rachel, Sylvia was defined in Don’s eyes through her ethnicity and religion. Sylvia was about her Italian Catholicness the way Rachel was about her Jewishness. Don even used similar phrasing to describe each woman when asking them their perspective on their backgrounds. Like Rachel, Sylvia called it off with Don when she finally saw enough of his soul to realize it was bad for her. Domination play in sex isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Certainly, many, many people manage to indulge in it and simply have fun with it. But Don’s domination was cruel (taking her book away seemed to be the final straw for Sylvia) and egotistical, and born out of a need to control, control, control everyone around him so that they can’t get a bead on him and figure him out for the mess of a man he is.

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC]

    • Sobaika

      I loved me some Don Draper once upon a time, but I can not understand the fascination with him after last night. What a broken pathetic man. His scenes with Sylvia were cringeworthy and uncomfortable.

      • http://twitter.com/Alyssa_T_Robot Alyssa T. Robot

        yeah i spent most of the episode angrily shouting the tv (and my poor confused dog) about what an ass don is. also, watching ‘mad men’ alone is no fun.

        • MK03

          I spent my time yelling at Sylvia. “Why the hell are you putting up with this shit?!?!” I expect that kind of dicketry from Don, but I was kind of shocked that she would go along with it. I mean, really, it’s like he was TRYING to get her to break up with him. It’s like he said “Okay, you really want me? You got it, baby. Here’s the REAL Don.”

          • Danielle

            I can’t count the number of times I said ‘Oh HELL no!’ last night.

          • Glammie

            I don’t think it was the “real Don” more than any of the other Dons. I do think, though, he was trying to break up with her and then surprised himself by having feelings about her.

            I think it was a callback, actually, to his scene with Bobby–again, the realization that after going through the motions, he turned out to have feelings for someone else after all.

            And guess what? He doesn’t *like* it.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              I don’t buy that theory. Don has never needed to do anything that elaborate to break up with someone.

            • Glammie

              But has he needed to? Rachel broke up with him. Midge fell in love with someone else. Betty uncovered his identity, which disrupted his affair with Suzanne. He did get sadistic when he broke up with Bobby.

              Sylvia knows his wife and he overheard her arguing about splitting with her husband–that’s a game-changer that threatens Don’s set-up. I think we saw Don overhear the argument and saw his grimace of dislike for a reason.

        • charlotte

          I said “What?” several times, especially during the Don and Sylvia scenes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

            I did too, but suddenly I’m thinking more about Joan and Roger in the hotel in “Babylon.” He had a fantasy of keeping her alone in an apartment that he locked from outside. I admit, Don’s lived fantasy took an abusive/ humiliating turn that wasn’t implied by Roger’s only spoken fantasy but they both were laden with the idea that the women “exist in that room for his pleasure.”

            • charlotte

              That’s funny, I just rewatched that episode, like, five minutes ago, and had exactly the same thought.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              Great minds think alike. Great military leaders become dishes that are served in hotels, then try to take over the world (again).

      • Spicytomato1

        Yes. And I think JH knocked it out of the park in the elevator scene with Sylvia after the breakup. He just oozed broken and pathetic like never before, imo.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

          His face there reminded me of his face in Far Away Places last season, when he clutches Megan after chasing her– broken, desperate.

          I do think he has advertising mojo still. That farmhouse margarine setting– even Ted seemed impressed.

          • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

            I thought the margarine scene was lame, personally. I wrote in my blog (because I’m that kind of dork, one who has so many Mad Men thoughts I had to start a blog) that it seemed out of touch — Dust Bowl imagery in a moonwalk world. He was really trying to impress Ted, but that idea only sounded impressive because Don Draper was saying it.

            • TheDivineMissAnn

              Actually, that was a real commercial in the 60’s.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              Right, but isn’t Don supposed to be this amazing creative force? The best he can come up with is the same margarine ad that’s been done a hundred times?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              I wouldn’t take that scene necessarily as the best he can come up with. It was a drunken “rap session,” as Ted would call it. They were throwing ideas around. This might not be the final pitch.

              If it is the final pitch, however, it will be very much of its time and set the standard for margarine commercials for at least another decade. Since he came up with it on the fly while drunk, we tend to think, as hackneyed as the idea sounds to our modern ears, it actually is evidence of how good Don is at casually tapping into what people want to see and hear.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              I missed so much not being born until 1982!

            • Spicytomato1

              Great point. I was thinking it was cheesy and overdone and not as brilliant as Ted seemed to think…but of course that was my own modern sensibilities that I was projecting.

            • NoGovernmentName

              So my question about that commercial was, why would a dairy farmer serve MARGARINE on her pancakes?

            • Chuck Chuckerson

              Because it’s SO GOOD even someone with unlimited access to butter would prefer it.

            • uprightcitizen

              When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, margarine, thanks mostly to advertising, was considered to be better for you than butter. Butter was thought to be more fatty. People bought margarine (we actually called it “butter” in our house) as a “healthy alternative.” We bought milk with the cream still on it from a local dairy, lived in the country, grew a lot of our food, raised chickens and cows for beef (though we had no dairy animals), but my mother bought margarine at the store like most everyone else we knew.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Because it’s just as good as butter. That’s what the ad is saying.

            • NoGovernmentName

              I got that much, but as everyone at the creative rap session knew, it totally isn’t. Margarine is nasty. I would think that, putting on the table with a sweating pitcher of cream, with cows in the background, would make any person who has eaten both butter and margarine call bullshit, and thus would be a big fail as a commercial. But maybe not? I guess it wasn’t until people’s diet really came under scrutiny that margarine’s big marketing coup became selling it as the alternative to cholesterol-laden butter…

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              But that’s what advertising does; it sells bullshit.

            • NoGovernmentName

              And you’d have to be a skilled bullshitter indeed to sell margarine to a dairy farmer, but that’s Don’s forte, right? Selling ice to Eskimos.

            • makeityourself

              Speaking of ice . . . I got a memory-jolt when Pete’s maitenance man pulled the handle on that aluminum ice cube tray. I had not heard that specific sound in decades, but I recognized it immediately.

            • BigShamu

              I hated that sound and feel. Long Live the Automatic Icemaker!

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Or ice slush to Satan!

            • megohd

              Or perhaps more accurately, selling DRY ice to Eskimos.

            • siriuslover

              I grew up with margarine. There were eight people in my parents’ working-class household (1970s). I don’t recall having butter until much later. Margarine (or oleo as my depression-era parents called it) was cheaper than butter and served the needs of the large family “like” butter. If that’s what you know, it’s what you know.

            • NoGovernmentName

              I’m sorry, I just find it hard to believe that a dairy farmer would go out and buy margarine, esp. if they were working class. It seems illogical to me, but of course, most people probably don’t think about their ads that much.

            • siriuslover

              I do alot with advertisements in my classrooms. They don’t deal with reality at all, that’s the point. Since when did the aria for Madame Butterfly make you want to buy a business class airline seat, or images of women in bras and panties having a pillow fight make you buy axe spray (because of course you will be irresistible and women become fetish objects), or people in white coats convince you to purchase a particular toothpaste? Of course it’s not real. It’s the illusion and it’s part of a larger framework, deployed by advertising men since Betty Friedan’s early career to “manipulate” an audience to convince them that what they see is “reality” and buy into the image.

              And for the record, I wasn’t saying that my parents were idiot sheep who bought margarine because it was better than butter. My parents bought margarine (and other types of foodstuffs) because we were a large working-class family trying to make the dollars stretch as far as they could each month. As a poor example in my own life, I usually buy maple syrup for my kids. This is frugal week (actually until the end of the month), we’re out of maple syrup. I ended up buying the half the price “short stack” syrup from Trader Joe’s. It will go a little bit longer even if it’s not the same. And there are no commercials for that.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Well, certainly no one on this blog cast any aspersions on your parents. You do realize that my comments were directed at a dairy farmer. Dairy farmers are knee deep in, well, stuff you make butter out of. Selling them margarine would be an exact equivalent of selling ice to Eskimos. Selling margarine to poor people, if it’s cheaper, not as much of a stretch.

            • http://twitter.com/PilatesNinja Donna Luder

              Here’s an interesting point: a friend of mine grew up with cows and the flavor of the butter/milk/cream was entirely dependent on whatever the cows were eating. Your butter could be grassy or weedy or sour… totally depended on the time of year/season. We don’t have to deal with that what with our modern dairy farms. She says the butter was often: yuck!

            • Amelia

              Grassy tasting butter actually sounds kind of interesting.

            • siriuslover

              Right, and I thought that was pretty brilliant on Ted’s part. Kind of like those coke commercials where the pepsi guy is drinking it (or vice versa, you know what I mean)/

            • ZnSD

              Because “nothing else will do”? ;)

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              But not everyone was in a moonwalk world. There were a lot of people that still clung to the idea of the bucolic paradise and the good little women in the kitchen, preparing plates of food lovingly for her family Megan tapped into the same thing with her beans pitch, even if she included a lunar setting. In a world that seems to be spinning out of control, for many people the most comforting thing is home, family, and tradition.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              As a resident of Indiana, which still rejects the moonwalk world, I can acknowledge this as a fair point! But I still think it showed a lack of creativity on Don’s part.

            • Glammie

              It was certainly in Don’s wheelhouse, but compared to the way other people were riffing–i.e. getting nowhere, Don’s suggestion hit the spot. Also, just because the world was spinning so fast, there was a real ache for nostalgia. Of course, with margarine, it’s a *false* nostalgia. It’s a callback to the family farm, whereas we know that Don’s had personal experience with just how awful the family farm experience can actually be.

              Don sells dreams–and he does it well. At this point, he’s tapping into the nostalgia that eventually led to the election of Ronald Reagan with Hal Riney’s “It’s morning in America.” Jon Hamm once said he figured that’s what Don would be doing in 20 years–working for Reagan, writing those ads.

              Interestingly, Hal Riney was a San Francisco ad man. That big nostalgia thing came out of wild and crazy SF. Hal Riney was also known for having a great voice (he did the VO for the Morning in America ads), it would be pretty funny if Don Draper finally did VOs the way Jon Hamm does.

              Don doesn’t have to be “creative”–he has to write ads that make people want to buy a product. No one else could get over the fact that they didn’t like margarine, though Ginsberg was the only one with the guts to say it.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              I didn’t know that Jon Hamm had said that. That’s spot-on! I didn’t know that about Hal Riney, either. Very interesting. Don certainly had the voice for it in 1968. I wonder how gravelly it’d be after another decade of smoking and drinking.

            • formerlyAnon

              On the plus side, you get another decade or two before you join the little kaffeeklatsch some of us have going, posting about how you “wish you made the most of it while you still had it!” or bemoaning how much maintenance it takes just to get out the door looking barely presentable.

            • http://twitter.com/TereKirkland Tere Kirkland

              Even if it does, it works to emphasize the theme of “that was years ago!” woven into the show. The writers are often more thorough than subtle.

            • decormaven

              Absolutely. For every hipster, hippie, free-love person in the 1960s, there was a huge cadre of people who did not want change, and clung fiercely to traditional values. Richard Nixon reached out to that cadre.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I loved Ted’s drunken, offhand dismissal of Nixon and that one creative kid.

            • decormaven

              Yep, he won my heart with that.

            • joything

              As another resident of Indiana, I have noticed that any commercial regarding breakfast food or drink harkens to a bucolic rural past – even if it’s in the suburbs.

            • Glammie

              Yep, as did third-party candidate George Wallace (who walked off with the Southern Democrat vote)

            • MK03

              Kinda like today, where the people who don’t want to let gay people get married, let women have control over their own bodies and think businesses should be allowed to run roughshod over us all are making the most noise. Whoever they pick for 2016 will be catering to that small but extremely loud group…

            • lilyvonschtupp

              Pac and Big 2016

            • P M

              I disagree – that kind of need to return to tradition and safe familiarity is what brought Nixon and Reagan to power.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kate-Thomas/1061191356 Kate Thomas

              And because Ted was drunk.

          • sarahjane1912

            Basically the setting for Every Single Butter/Margarine/Sliced Bread ad in the 70s, amirite? Well, it was in Australia anyway. I still remember two FAMOUS ones from the ’70s — ‘Good onya Mum, Tip Top’s the one’ [for bread] and ‘You oughta be congratulated’ [for MeadowLea margerine].

            Just as Don described: the food is all laid out on the table, good old-fashioned farmhouse setting with fields of wheat/corn visible through the window, sunshiney pats of margarine glistening on various foods, the mum smiles while being hugged for her good deeds … Total meme there.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              That’s what I mean. It was completely pedestrian and unoriginal.

            • sarahjane1912

              See your point totally, but maybe it wasn’t so unoriginal then?

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              It did get my mother to purchase margarine for the past 40 years!

            • sarahjane1912

              Ha ha! I think we went through a margarine phase as well [way back when] but then the 80s hit and it was low-cholesterol this, oatbran that … Becel. Ugh. Revolting. Now we’re Lurpak all the way. Yum. :-)

            • http://www.GiftedCollector.com/ The Gifted Collector

              But it was original the first time.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              Thanks, I have already conceded that point three times. ;)

            • http://twitter.com/latxcvi LaT

              Well, apparently not, since you keep saying it wasn’t original/was played out/didn’t seem fresh and people keep having to tell you that in 1968 it WAS original. Conceding a point would be … not continuing to bring it up.

            • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

              Sorry to bother you?

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Come on, guys! Margarine is groovy! Peace!

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I, for one, can’t believe it’s not butter.

            • Froide

              C’mon people now,
              Smile on your brother
              Ev’rybody get together
              Try and love one another right now

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              LOL!

            • TheDivineMissAnn

              I thought the bit meant that even farmers couldn’t tell the difference between Fleischmann’s and butter.

            • Topaz

              In the UK we had a similar set of adverts for Hovis sliced bread directed by Ridley Scott, would you believe it. It’s a very effective marketing theme.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgjLJSuGPt8

          • miagain

            The one thing that surprised me about all the margarine attributes mentioned in the meetings, was the one that I most remember… that it was supposed to be healthier than butter. Since I was 13 in 1968, I remember my mother buying it specifically because she thought it was healthier and had fewer calories.

          • Logo Girl

            I actually thought Don was trying to get Ted to throw up, like with Roger and the dozens of oysters and the flight of stairs. I sure don’t care to hear about big goopy stacks of pancakes when I’m drunk.

            • makeityourself

              I did too. I was sure Ted was going to be reaching for a wastepaper basket.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1241487378 Lauren Lynch Fox

        Agreed. Really made me want to be done with this show. Not sure they needed to go there.

      • http://profiles.google.com/ruthieoo Ruthie O

        I feel like this is the biggest difference between Don of early seasons and Don today. He may be going through the same motions, but both the viewers and Don are finally seeing his mortality. He was once invincible– doing so much wrong, but with no consequences. He could easily bounce back from the biggest disaster. Now, the falsehoods, disappointments, and betrayals are finally weighing on him. For me, his fall began when he assaulted Bobbie Barrett, and he’s been slowly crumbling ever since.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

          The three affairs, with Sylvia, Bobbie, and Rachel, make an interesting triangle. Don pressured Rachel into the affair, despite knowing she didn’t want to be in an affair with a married man, then makes her plead for sex when she gives in. She dumps him when she sees better the kind of man he is. Bobbie pursued Don and continued the relationship even after he assaulted her. He broke it in the middle of sex games after she violated his “don’t talk” command by revealing that someone was talking about him. Sylvia gets his shoes and then undresses for him, and after their phone call, she actually seems to be touching herself. Her turning point comes in that dream, when she realizes that they’ve betrayed their spouses– and to some extent the friendships they have. She seemed annoyed that he took her book and perplexed at his “who told you to think?” schtick, but it seems to me her desire to get out came when she woke up and understood that she violated her values and whatever she needed the fling for had passed.

          Oddly enough, her break up was as much about her feelings and her desire to not cheat on her husband, but Don seems far more broken than he did even with Rachel– and in that case, he had Pete’s threats hanging over his head alongside the loss of her.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            Then there’s the wild card, Faye Miller. I thought it was ironic that even a psychologist, who thought she could read Don Draper, had no clue as to how damaged he was. She made a lot of interesting, astute points of note on his personality, but I’m relieved for her that she never saw just how sick this dude is. And that’s someone who knows about his dual past!

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I think she sussed out a lot about him, but it didn’t seem they were together that long for her to see some of his darker tendencies. One other thing– after the first tryst, and Sylvia is complaining about Arnie and wondering about her son in France, Don tells her she can’t talk about Arnie with him. Reminded me of Don talking about Betty with Midge and she said not to bring her up, it made her “feel cruel.” Sylvia’s complaints give us some insight about why she might have gotten into the affair. Don’s response is to be cruel to her, possibly because he felt marginalized by her bringing up the “other man” in her life.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              GOOD CALL! I completely forgot about Midge’s comment. And yes, knowing a little more about Sylvia was a good thing for us. Don is already angry with Peggy for having Ted in her life, and like usual he misdirected his anger over that power play with another woman. Don is baaaad news.

            • Froide

              Don’s telling Marie not to bring up Arnie reminded me of:
              … Marie’s telling Roger (who wanted her to look out for him during his LSD trip) not to look to her to take care of him
              … Joan’s telling Roger (when Roger visited her apt. after Lucky Strike’s defection to BBDO went public) she didn’t want to be his port in a storm any more.

            • Alice Teeple

              Oh yeah, great point! I think Faye inherently knew he was messed up, but not to what degree or why. And yes, I agree with you on the Sylvia front.

          • Danielle

            “after their phone call, she actually seems to be touching herself.”

            That seriously creeped me the hell out.

          • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

            Not to mention Suzanne, Sally’s teacher…

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I think the Suzanne affair is more similar to the start of his relationship with Megan. He saw them both as free spirits, good with children, hopeful, and optimistic. We don’t see sexual power games with Suzanne, and didn’t see them in Megan until later.

              I think the otherness, desperation, and rejection and also his need for a kindred spirit early in the Sylvia relationship mirror Rachel (I’m thinking of some of those early scenes about prayer in relation to telling Rachel that his mother died as she had him), while the turn to power games that border on abusive and the transition to “don’t talk, don’t think” mirror Bobbie.

          • siriuslover

            I noted that Sylvia did NOT crawl on her hands and knees to get the shoes for him, though. She got them, and she put them on his feet, but she didn’t crawl.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          I actually like this approach. I’ve always been a little afraid of Don, actually, especially after the Bobbie scene. You’re right, that’s when you really started seeing how messed up he was. Because he’s so hard to read, he is able to hide a lot, so I was wondering what he was doing when we didn’t see him, or how he would react. I think his weird moral code has been kind of a buffer for him for a long time, which might be part of his small margin of likeability, but with the glamour and sheen that hid him being slowly chipped away by people who really are better than him, I think more is being revealed about Don. And that’s a brilliant move! He’s still the same old sleazeball, but while shit is getting real out there in the world, his Glamourshield is showing more of his lie. Bringing Ted into the picture is going to be the key to chipping away his shell more and more.

      • Jennifer Coleman

        And the callback scene for me was when he held her hand and kissed it, really echoing his scene when Peggy quit. Both women had simply outgrown their need for him and he knew it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

          And that makes me think of when Don ran into Peggy at the movie theater, and he mentions how you help people and they move on to new success. And she asks don’t you want them too? And of course, he doesn’t. I don’t think its the succeeding issue that sticks in his craw. For him, its the leaving. He seems to regard every departure as abandonment.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

          Another Peggy moment– the way her first conversation with Joan called back to the episode last season when they discussed proposals and then shacking up. Sadder– coffee chief calling back to The Summer Man and the cartoon. After all, they draw a cartoon or make a quip, and the woman are reduced to subordinates and servers no matter how much they achieve.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            I didn’t get anything overtly mean over “coffee chief,” it wasn’t anything disgusting like the blowjob cartoon. I figured it was just the guys being goofy and teasing her like they always did. She’s in a familiar dynamic with them again.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I’m not convinced who did it. After all, the CGC guys left her feminine powder to “make her nicer (when she’s stinky)… [because she’s a} career girl.”

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Good point, you know – it’s funny, I completely forgot about the CGC guys. I was thinking Stan or Ginsberg, but it would totally be up the Dweebatrons’ alley to make her Coffee Chief of Pizza House.

            • fursa_saida

              It takes her from creative exec to secretary again. (As in, secretaries get people coffee.) It only works as a “joke” because of her earlier, subordinate, gendered position. No dude in her situation would have had that joke made, because it only works for a woman in that environment. (Though I suppose that’s changing, since Bob Benson is definitely coffee chief now.)

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              At least they didn’t sprinkle her desk with Quest powder. Speaking of coffee chiefs, I wish I had one. I’m so tired.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              Harry had sex in that office. It might have been stinky. The Quest might make it nicer. I could use a coffe chief too.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              EWWW! I forgot about that. Also, Pete smashed his face into that pole. That office has a crappy history.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I just hope Mother Lakshmi’s Tissues are long gone.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              *shudder*

            • siriuslover

              I thought it was a brilliant sign, actually, and so representative of the impetus behind second-wave feminism in the ’60s, as women who were involved in what they perceived were progressive campaigns (against Vietnam, for Civil Rights, etc.) found themselves in “typical” female jobs.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              Yup– “the only position for women in SNCC is prone.”

      • Missy Covington

        Once upon a time everything last night would have been *hot*.

        Now? It was just pathetic and painful to watch. I kept saying to my TV, “Ohgod, just stop. Just STOP.”

        What a difference 5 years makes in the life of that character.

        • sarahjane1912

          No it was freakin’ creepy is what it was. I was waiting for Don to pull out a few toys to really make the sub/dom portrait complete and was NOT looking forward to it.

          As someone else pointed out, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of kink, but this was wrong on so many levels.

        • rainwood1

          The ‘Fifty Shades of Don’ was really hard to watch. I’m hoping that this is Don’s low point and he starts some sort of redemptive arc. Otherwise, the story lines in his personal life were for nothing. I know reality is that most people don’t change and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, but it makes for boring and frustrating TV.

          • Missy Covington

            It’s totally fascinating for me that what most thought was kind of novel or interesting or even charming in a weird way about Don years ago is now…not acceptable or cool or interesting.

            Don hasn’t changed, but his actions are no longer palatable.

            • Inspector_Gidget

              I think a lot of that is down to sheer repetition.

            • fursa_saida

              That’s it, that’s the show! Don hasn’t changed, but his context has. The audience experience of Don the character is a perfect reflection of how as time passes, Don as a person no longer fits so well into the world. Metanarratives ftw!

          • Glammie

            Well, I know Weiner’s said people don’t change, but being older than Weiner, I can say I disagree with him. People can and do change, the times change. Don has changed–he’s older and as a womanizer he’s a little worn out.

            I had a different take on the affair than a lot of people. I think Don was going through the motions because that’s how he (doesn’t) deal with things. But Sylvia, unlike some of the others, didn’t expand his horizons or give him room to explore another world. She was the housewife not even next door. When Megan went adventuring, he sought security through sex, as always.

            While there had been some excitement in the affair–the steak diavolo episode, in particular–by the time he overhears the fight, he’s A) temporarily reignited things with Megan and B) annoyed by Sylvia’s neediness. I think he started the whole domination thing as a way of punishing Sylvia for making demands on him. Then as work gets more tumultuous, he gets into it because he wants to control something. Ultimately, though, she leaves, her soul intact.

            Don began by wanting to end the affair–it’s similar to the way he ended his affair with Bobbie, sans ropes–and then regretting it.

            Ironically, by the end, he’s lost his connection to Megan again and, interestingly, to the world at large. He can’t respond to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.

            • Czarina5 Czarina5

              So was Don “the man with a plan” and that plan was to end the affair, especially since his day started by overhearing the fight between Arnie and Sylvia?

            • Glammie

              I think so. He didn’t like Sylvia making demands, so he flipped it on her.

              But I also think we’re seeing, this season, Don’s crumb of self-awareness–that with all his efforts to control the emotional responses of others, he’s slightly aware that he can’t control his own. It wasn’t my favorite bit of writing, but his speech about realizing he loves Bobby is key, I think–loving his kid isn’t a *happy* thing for him, it’s an “explosion”.

              And I’ve been convinced pretty much the whole season that we’re supposed to be tired of Don’s affair with Sylvia. It was supposed to ring hollow because Don’s (mostly) hollow.

            • Sweetpea176

              Agree that the affair with Sylvia felt old and tired for the viewers on purpose. In addition to punishing Sylvia for making demands, I think Don also realized that he was being used by Sylvia. She tells him that “nothing else will do” after he knows she’s been fighting with Arnie, so he knows that she’s using him — using sex with him — to “medicate” her wounded feelings. She’s not calling because he’s so irresistible. Well, that’s right out of the Don Draper playbook, and if there’s one thing true assholes can’t stand, it’s being treated the way they treat others.

              The beauty part was when Sylvia broke it off. To me, it looked like Don Draper was actually feeling shame and humiliation for the first time in his life (as opposed to running away from the feelings). For me, the payoff of that scene sort of made the creepiness of the previous scenes between him and Sylvia worth it. Of course that shit’s likely to roll downhill onto Megan, who I predict is in for being denigrated and debased to an extent she probably doesn’t even know is possible.

            • SonOfSaradoc

              Megan probably recognizes a fairly extensive range of denigration in a relationship. Look at her father. Look at her mother.

              But I agree that Don can take things to another level, with his background. I imagine we’ll see some further flashbacks to the house of ill repute in which he spent some of his formative years in the balance of this season.

            • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

              That’s brilliant, Glammie. Thanks for sharing.

        • pamasutra

          Those of you that were grossed out by the Don/Sylvia BDSM moments – yes, they were sad and pathetic, but I think that was the point. These are not two young hot free people engaging in a fantasy. This is a middle aged alcoholic with intimacy issues having a sleazy affair with his neighbor- a lonely wife and mother who needs to feel wanted and appreciated. It IS pathetic, and I think on some level Sylvia always knew that too.

          • Zaftiguana

            I don’t think the character’s ages had anything to do with it, tough.

          • http://twitter.com/latxcvi LaT

            Their ages don’t have anything to do with it being creepy (or, rather, their ages shouldn’t have anything to do with that, because, well, middle-aged people have and like sex – even kinky sex – too). What makes it creepy is that at least one of them – Sylvia – didn’t really want to do it because she wanted to do it; she was doing it because she believed it was what HE wanted. In general, we all do that in our relationships with the people we care about – you (general ‘you’) go to a movie you’re not interested in, or eat at a restaurant you’re not crazy about, for example, because your partner’s looking forward to the movie/likes the restaurant. And that can be an OK sacrifice because it’s not about putting your *safety* into someone else’s hands. With kink, though, there HAS to be trust and intimacy there and both parties have to want it for themselves (in addition to wanting to do it for their partner) or else it goes from being sex-with-an-edge to flat-out abusive. THAT’s what makes those elements creepy with Don & Sylvia – it’s not about intimacy and trust for them and it’s not something she even wants. Their ages are irrelevant (or should be, IMO, unless people are just being ageist).

            • pamasutra

              My characterization of Don and Sylvia as middle aged refers more to the fact that he (and maybe she as well) is in the throes of a mid life crisis, feeling lost and out of control, and not young and virile as he once was. Neither of these characters seem to have any hope and happiness left in their lives ,and are struggling for control over something, anything, to feel powerful, as they did when they were younger, hence the pathos. It is not about ageism or that older people shouldn’t have sex or even about the kink element. I don’t think ANY of their interactions have been about trust and intimacy; Don isn’t capable of that.

      • Mani @ Iz and Oz

        I literally fast forwarded through his scenes with Sylvia. I knew the boys would recap it. And welp, looks like I didn’t miss much anyway …

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          Yup, me too. John Hamm is a good looking dude. Don Draper is an arse.

        • Danielle

          I watched it through to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but I’ll probably fast forward when I rewatch in the future. That’s what I usually do during scenes with Don and his mistresses – or most of his flashbacks.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        They need to stop with spending so much time on the Don affairs. PLAYED. OUT. OK, we get it, he’s a dick with mommy issues and he’ll never change. The only interesting relationship that Don has right now is with Ted Chaough. Let’s hope they can use that to keep the character interesting, because the affairs have gone from boring to look-away ugly.

        • bellesprit

          I don’t take this as a flaw in the scripts but as advancement. What was once (perhaps) disturbing but very hot now has progressed to disturbing and sad. Don’s sex play no longer titillates and seems pathetic. It’s always been where he turns to feel wanted and in control. It doesn’t work anymore. I can’t help wondering if Sylvia’s being done with it is meant to reflect the way we, the audience, feel about Don’s philandering after watching him do it season after season. I remain fascinated by the show.

          • Glammie

            Yep. I think if Weiner and co. wanted to write a hot affair, they’d do it. Hell, they wrote a reasonably hot Don/Megan scene last week.

            There’s also a deliberate attempt to make Don look less attractive–flatter hair, pastier foundation. He looks a bit more bloated, there’s more bagginess under the eyes. Sylvia, while attractive, is retro looking, particularly compared to Megan. Sylvia, in many ways, was the most mature of his lovers–an older Suzanne, in some ways. She’s a bit bored and spoiled, but ultimately, she’s going to head off to Minnesota where Arnie’s headed–I’m guessing the Mayo Clinic.

            Personally, I don’t feel any new disillusionment with Don. He’s been headed this way for a long time. I am interested if Weiner and Co. see any real redemption for him, or if it’s going to be the Star is Born–Peggy rises to the top, while Don drowns (probably metaphorically in booze.)

            • Inspector_Gidget

              Oh I don’t doubt it’s a deliberate attempt to paint Don as pathetic. The problem is, they accomplished that at least a season ago, after a half dozen or so sad little affairs that have blown up in his face over the course of dozens of episodes.

              Is this really all they have for Don’s arc, that he just keeps getting more and more pathetic in his dealings with women? Fair enough, but at some point you realize it’s no longer fun to watch. It’s a little like Lindsay Lohan at this point… interesting to see someone flail in such a public way, for a while, but at some point you just stop wanting to even hear the name any more.

              I guess I was just hoping Don would turn out to be a bit more complex.

            • Glammie

              I think he is fairly complex for a television character–he’s been very exciting and attractive in some episodes and dull and repellant in others, but there’s a consistency of character that makes it feel like one person. I still find, for me, that there’s a real question mark about whether there will be any sort of redemption. Not just for Don, but for any of the Mad Men.

              I don’t think the frustrating thing for people is Don’s lack of complexity, but his inability to move forward. (I’m guessing here because I continue to find him interesting, but my filter is very different. My father was an alcoholic ad man with a horrific childhood; it’s interesting to me to compare Weiner’s fascinated outsider take on this world and people to my own take, which is sort of that of Sally Draper’s baby sister.)

              But, anyway, I think there’s a sense that the women will make it because they tend to be more responsive to the times–even Betty has had moments. The women have all changed much more than the men.

              My sense is that Weiner is trying to draw a portrait of the final decade of when the WASP American patriarchy was an unquestioned status quo. In that sense, all of the WASPier Mad Men are falling, already looking backward even as everything and everyone moves forward.

              Weiner cares about his characters enough, though, that he gives all them little glimmers of moving forward–Pete’s racial awareness (not much, but more than some of the others) and questioning of authority; Harry and television; Roger and LSD; Don, in all his fucked-upness, mentoring Peggy. But the tide of history is against them.

              The Mad Man I’d predict to come out the most intact and least alcoholic is Ken Cosgrove with his secret writer self. He does what he needs to do, but he’s detached in a way none of the others are.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Glammie, it’s interesting that you bring up his mentor relationship with Peggy. I think that was simply another dom/sub relationship Don got his kicks from, platonically. All along we’ve been kind of led to believe that Don’s kind of a forward thinker for letting a woman into that career path, but he gets a high from power. I think all along he’s loved being that guy she looks up to and takes orders from. Their relationship shifted drastically in “The Suitcase,” when he bullies her and says he’s the reason why she’s done well. She flipped the tables on him when she said she knew Don, while standing over him. That hand holding he did with her was more out of fear of losing control, than of his acknowledging they understand each other. He went right back to barking orders at her. After that incident, and then specifically after he married Megan, he and Peggy started really falling apart and she started standing up to him. Weirdly, Stan subtly replaced Don as her real job coach after Megan came along. Stan gave her way more practical advice, on more equal terms, because he genuinely cared about her. (I loved that he said not to hire Ginsberg because he was concerned that Peggy would get undermined.) After Peggy left Don for CGC, he fell apart. After Ted pranked him a few times, Don felt like a fool and sought revenge on him. After the Heinz bake-off, Don felt professionally threatened and out of control. Merging with CGC was his way of establishing dominance over both of them. It really is about establishing dominance over Peggy and Ted.

            • Glammie

              I think that’s reading a lot into his relationship with Peggy. I honestly think Don is too self-absorbed to think that much about Peggy in some ways. What it seemed to me is that after she was established, he took her for granted. He felt free to lash out at her and used her to kick the dog. I don’t think it had a B/D subtext. I never got the feeling that Don enjoyed seeing Peggy submit to him as much as he liked that she could think the way he did and because she’s a woman, he didn’t have to think about alpha-male jousting.

              He doesn’t fall apart after Peggy leaves. He’s the same messed-up functional alcoholic he’s always been. Don, in his way, is a survivor–and part of his surviving, to him, is that he never really trusts anyone–with the exception of Anna. He wouldn’t have trusted her either except that he was forced to–even Anna didn’t know everything–i.e. that he’d accidentally caused her husband’s death.

              I don’t think Don is seeking revenge on Ted as much as he and Ted are, naturally, vying for dominance. Don is late for a meeting–Ted uses his authority to shut down the meeting and cut Don out. Don responds with getting Ted drunk and then coming up with a workable idea while Ted prattles on about Gilligan’s Island. Ted responds with the pilot maneuver–set goes to Ted and Don acknowledges.

              Maybe because I don’t hate Don and don’t have a crush on Ted, I thought the whole back-and-forth wasn’t that serious and was actually pretty funny. And Ted was playing *plenty* of his own one upmanship games. He’s not just a nice guy.

              While I think a lot of viewers sided with Peggy when she berated Don. I actually thought Don had a bit of a point–Ted isn’t a naif. He may not understand Don, but he’s a guy and he knows that men play dominance games with one another. He wouldn’t be a name partner in an agency without it. He’s a smooth operator–and being Mr. Nice is part of that.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              You make some really good points, especially about the alpha-male jousting. I agree about the dominance battles, and Don partially seeing Peggy as out of that loop. But with the money-throwing and bullying, I think Don did get something out of seeing her vulnerable, and that would play into his self-absorption as having a little power. There was a really strange, twisted dynamic between them: she’s a bit of a masochist and a people pleaser, and Don’s got a sadistic streak. You’re right! Ted is a smooth operator, for sure, and he’s completely aware of the one-upmanship game, but I really think for him, having some kind of personal moral anchor, it’s a strictly business game. For Don it’s more a complex one, coming out of his insecurity and emotional baggage. Ted is also not a sociopath.

            • Glammie

              Peggy’s definitely a people-pleaser, I don’t know that she’s a masochist as much as she’s a victim of her times and upbringing. Good girls are obedient and take it. Being assertive is considered unfeminine. It’s hard for a Peggy to stand up for herself in a way that we would expect. And, yes, Don is a difficult boss, no question. While I’ll agree that he’s got a bit of a sadistic streak, he’s not a sociopath by any means. He’s capable of remorse and empathy–and, this is key, he clearly feels lots of anxiety. I don’t tend to think of him in DSM terms–mostly to me, he’s a lost soul, so damaged that he damages the other people around him over and over. I don’t know that he enjoys that as much as he doesn’t know how to be any other way.

              He doesn’t trust people and women, in particular, he’s always testing. But the very testing destroys the relationships.

            • Froide

              RE: “I actually thought Don had a bit of a point – Ted isn’t a naif.”

              Agreed. I was surprised Ted let himself get drunk. He didn’t have to let Don turn drinking into a pissing contest. I think taking a sip (to be polite, since the bottle was an “olive branch”) was sufficient.

      • Zaftiguana

        You could see Sylvia slowly realizing that this wasn’t a fun, sexy game and recognizing it instead for what it was; a sad, increasingly irrelevant man’s desperate grasp at some sort of power. When he took the book from her, I think that was the final wake up call. Don wasn’t engaging in consensual roleplaying with her, he really wanted to treat her like a whore.

        • Lauren Hall

          Also- the dress he gave her? Whore red.

      • JosephLamour

        Well… like Sylvia, I phased between “Wow, this is hot” to “Oh boy, this is sad” until I finally settled on sad. Which I feel is what happens in the head of all the women who date then dump him, for any reason.

        • NoGovernmentName

          I think she thought it was hot until it just kept going on an on. Don made it seem like she was never going to be allowed to leave the hotel room. In the Dom/sub lifestyle, that exact thing does happen, but Sylvia was only playing at it, and it stopped being fun pretty quick.

          So how much of that D/s dynamic is a real part of Don’s sexuality? I mean, is that why he is never satisfied with anyone he is with, because secretly he is always looking for that power and control? As soon as he loses it, he loses interest. Not a lifestyle a person could explore openly in the 50s and 60s…

          • formerlyAnon

            I’m not convinced the need for power/control has a lot to do with Don’s sexuality, specifically (in large part because he doesn’t seem to really enjoy his dominant moments as much as he seems to need them).

            I think his insecurity fuels a need for power & control in general – across his life – and it shows up in all of his relationships at different times. For a long time it was a need best fulfilled professionally, and fulfilling it at work also seemed to result in big rewards – recognition, success, money. But when work gets shaky, his drive to fill that need focuses on other aspects of his life.

            • NoGovernmentName

              I think power and control has EVERYTHING to do with Don’s sexuality, and like any kink, he doesn’t so much enjoy it as it’s necessary to his pleasure. The fact that he needs to have this risky, extramarital sex, and that his sexuality always takes this degrading turn, is what points out the compulsive nature of his sex drive. He’s a narcissist, and he needs the affirmation of his power to feel alive. He flat out told Sylvia he didn’t want to do it anymore. But do it he must.

              I felt like he was going for a win/win with the oppressive fantasy in this episode. If Sylvia went for locked room fantasy, he would get to enjoy that. If she dumped him, he would get away from her. I don’t think he was expecting to feel so bad about it, but then again, Don is also addicted to feeling bad. He doesn’t want to be happy because he doesn’t think he deserves to, a self-fulfilling prophesy if ever there was one.

            • formerlyAnon

              You put it well. Either I’m looking at it wrong or not expressing myself as well, in any case I think maybe I’m saying tomayto and you, tomahto – power and control IS what Don needs, at his core.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sherroddegrippo Sherrod DeGrippo

        That’s part of the point. He’s doing the exact same things he has always done, but in a new light and the dawning of a new era and culture. It’s a lot easier to see him as a complete asshole instead of a charming ladies’ man.

      • http://twitter.com/TereKirkland Tere Kirkland

        JUST finished watching this. I feel like I need a shower.

        • Froide

          Who said you could get out of bed?

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      As much as I hate to say this, Don really is a shit. I think I cringed through every one of his scenes, his behavior was that cruel and self-centered. And his marriage is definitely over; the scene where Meagan is talking and he gradually tunes her out and you no longer hear her voice is very telling.

      And yes, I felt sorry for Pete. Jackass Pete, of all people.

      • Chris

        That’s what is so great about this show. Pete can be a jerk and still do decent things sometimes. He is horrible but you still feel for him when bad things happen to him. His treatment of his mother was far from great but he still tried in his own selfish way. He cares so much about his job you can’t help feeling bad for him on some level. Say what you like about him he has to work for most of what he gets.

        • Sobaika

          I laughed myself silly when Pete exclaimed that his mother could go to hell and Ted could fly her there himself.

          • Chris

            Ted being a pilot is like the ultimate blow to all of those men’s egos isn’t it? That line was fantastic and so very Pete.

            • Topaz

              You could almost see Don’s stomach dropping in fear when Ted said he was a pilot at that meeting.

            • decormaven

              It made me remember Don telling Peggy about his first plane ride in “The Suitcase.” It was his flight to Korea where some equally yokel kid yelled “Man wasn’t meant to fly!” As suave as Don likes to portray himself, he’s got some of that yokel still inside him as well.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I remembered that too! Good call. I was going to wonder if Don was actually the kid he was mocking in his story to Peggy. Every time we’ve seen him on a plane, he’s reading and drunk!

            • Pennymac

              Next weeks episode is titled “Crash” and has me worried for this very reason.

            • formerlyAnon

              Yes. In any good melodrama the only reason for a pivotal character to pilot a small plane is to provide a fiery crash. I will be pissed, if so.

            • MartyBellerMask

              The whole “Chekov’s Gun” theory?
              I doubt it will happen though. The Flood had no flood, it was a metaphor. Crash is probably metaphor for Don crashing and burning.

            • formerlyAnon

              I am hoping it is too obvious.

            • Chris

              Like formerlyAnon said I will be **LIVID** if they kill off Ted next week.

            • Joy

              They wouldn’t be so literal would they? Killing him off in a plane crash with the title being crash? I hope not.

            • siriuslover

              Maybe Don tries to fly the plane…I know they wouldn’t kill off Don, but they could do something interesting like have him some kind of literal hell reminiscent of the Dante he was reading in the season opener. Of course, that’s my desperate call to make myself feel better that this doesn’t bode ill for Ted.

            • Glammie

              I don’t see the point of doing that. Weiner kills off characters when their character arcs are played out. The whole Don and Ted jousting for dominance and Peggy’s loyalty has really just started.

              I think it will have something to do with the disaster that was the Chevy Vega. Right now SCD-whatever is on a merger/we’re-a-big-agency high, but that’s going to come tumbling. Which should make for some good in-agency friction.

            • http://twitter.com/KathleenMKeenan Kathleen Keenan

              I’m feeling like Gleason may die next week (pancreatic cancer is not kind, to say the least) and that will cause Ted to metaphorically “crash”… perhaps hit on Peggy in a more forceful way, or something?

            • Chris

              I got nervous after the “crash” comment so I went back to look at the teaser trailer for next week. It looks like they are all working on the Chevy account- everyone has model cars etc. around them. Ken brings back some document (presumably from a trip to Chevy) which seems to shake everyone up. I’m really hoping it’s an advertising “crash” and not a physical one.

            • formerlyAnon

              Yes. Pancreatic cancer is fast, and that would make sense.

            • AutumnInNY

              I think you’re correct there. Having him in the hospital looking so ill seems like the precursor to this. And it looks like Peggy is another kiss away from something more developing with Ted.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              It’s definitely looking like a mirror plot to Don losing Anna, with some callbacks to “The Suitcase.” There’s a big difference there: Don wasn’t physically there when Anna was dying and he was too cowardly to face it; Ted visits with Gleason and faces the inevitable, even if he is in denial when other people are around. Ted sees the writing on the wall and is there for his friend in his hour of need. That said a lot about his character: he cares about others.

              Gleason knows Ted probably better than anyone else, they’re work partners and close friends. Ted’s feeling really vulnerable, despite the sunny appearance. It would be interesting if Peggy did the same for Ted as she did for Don when Anna died, but it would be equally interesting if Ted found a new friend/ally in someone like Stan, which would chip away even more from Don’s power. Man, my heart broke for poor Ted when he sat there looking out the window, after Gleason fell asleep. He looked so alone and sad.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              I agree about the parallel, but they haven’t really earned our investment in their relationship or Gleason’s death, beyond just general human empathy and sympathy. After all, we’ve barley seen Gleason, and this season has seen Ted being redeemed after being a toady little nemesis during most of seasons 4 and 5.

              Also, based on the interactions between Gleason and Ted, they are the inverts of Don (cynic– Gleason) and Anna (sunny optimist- Ted).

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              That’s true, but I don’t think Ted was really “redeemed.” I think we just got a different point of view of him once we started seeing him through his interactions with Peggy. When he was first introduced, he was a pain in Don’s ass, so we saw him as that – but it’s become inferred through Peggy and now Gleason on his death bed that Ted’s actually a pretty stand-up, decent, normal guy with no dark secrets. If Ted were secretly evil, Gleason wouldn’t have called him boring. I don’t think we really need to invest much more into their relationship to know that it’s going to be a really difficult phase for Ted and he’s going to be personally lost for a while when his friend/coworker dies. But while Anna’s death completely shut down Don because of all his personal crap wrapped up in her, Ted’s just going to be really, really sad.

            • siriuslover

              I thought that was a beautiful scene, and Gleason was so wise in his advice to Ted.

            • Dyana Aziz

              I think back in the day being a pilot was a BFD. One of my mother’s older cousins married a pilot who was a fighter pilot during wartime and a commercial pilot when he was done with military service and there’s all this awe over him being a pilot that I don’t think younger generations have.

            • Chris

              I think it was second only to being an astronaut then.

          • sarahjane1912

            That was actually a very funny line: agree.

          • charlotte

            My head went straight to picturing that.

        • Jennifer Coleman

          No one can match Pete in throwing a hissy fit. I kind of expect him to do a little jump/hop and ball his hands into fists one day!

          • TheDivineMissAnn

            And the actor (sorry, not good at remembering names) does it so well, I was sure a vein was gonna pop right out of his forehead.

            Haven’t we all had a period in our lives when everything has gone batshit crazy?

            • joything

              I f*****g love Vincent Kartheiser. Pete is tearing me to bits (I’m within range of many elders with dementia) and VK is incandescent.

            • Glammie

              Yeah, Pete’s a Peter Pan–and reminds you just how unpleasant it is to have someone who never grows up. And he’s so screwed over with his marital collapse. VK is so good at making Pete an ass, but keeping you interested, anyway.

          • zenobar

            He’s such a Rumpelstiltskin!

            • AnneElliot

              THIS, x 1000!

            • Lattis

              oh zenobar, that is so much more poetic than what I was bitterly yelling: “Pete is a big fat babbling baby head!”

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          I always got the impression that Pete’s mother wasn’t exactly warm and loving, so I think given that, Pete was almost sweet to her.

          • 3hares

            Yes, I think she was the opposite of loving. So it was all the more interesting to have him not only having to look after her but to do it himself, unlike the usual way on this show of having the wife deal with her. (Obviously not saying this is because Pete chose it that way, but Trudy apparently never had to deal with her.)

          • Jackie4g

            In the early years, it was shown that Pete and his brother always protected the Mom. She was the one who had the money and Pete’s late father blew threw the fortune by living above his (or practicaly anyone’s) means. Pete and his brother had to sell stock and possessions and fiddle things to provide the mother with a place to live and not allow her to know the bulk of her money was gone. The boys weren’t as concerned that their inheritance was gone as they were united in protecting their mother, who was a princess and remains one now, even in the throes of dementia. If Pete fawned off his mother’s care to his brother and wife, it was probably because he knew Trudy wouldn’t put up with her for a minute. Trudy is/was also a princess. No, a warm and happy home life is not a part of Pete’s experience.

            • not_Bridget

              If he & Trudy had still been together, he would have had to take her home with him. After a few “incidents”, Trudy would have very quickly & efficiently seen to the paperwork so “Mom” could retire to Happy Acres.

              Now, Pete is stuck with his dreadful mother & Trudy is probably working on the most efficient way to end the marriage. Don’t think the word’s out yet–he’s still staying in town “for work.”

            • formerlyAnon

              Yes. Trudy’s non-appearance makes me know that it is really, truly, really over. People talk divorce a lot more quickly than they do the divorce – and get sucked into all kinds of half-way arrangements for reasons of care-taking or finances or ambivalence or just foot-dragging. But NObody at the time, not a doctor or insurance company or hospital clerk or social worker or a single one of an upper middle class couples’ friends or relations would expect anything other than that Trudy would caretake Mama until a suitable institution was found, given that Trudy is the stay-at-home mom and Pete works. Even people who know that they’re separated would probably assume that, DEFINITELY anyone who thinks their marriage is still on the rails would.

          • MK03

            Well, until he fucked with her head just for kicks. Telling her it was St. Patrick’s day, just to play with her dementia, was just mean.

            • http://twitter.com/NancyEMcDermott Nancy McDermott

              With this point I disagree. He didn’t want her to leave the apartment and she was determined to do so; he gave her HER best reason to not be on the streets – St. Patrick’s Day. That’s how it works with dementia patients – you have to climb into their world.

            • MK03

              I don’t know, that’s not how it felt to me. Pete is nothing if not petulant and childish; it would not be so out of character for him to do something like that.

            • 3hares

              But it’s a completely straightforward scene with a problem and a solution. She’s a woman with dementia announcing she’s going to leave to go to her apartment that currently isn’t available. He’s trying to get her to stay there to be there when he gets home. He gives several reasons for her to stay in, and hits on one that works, then he leaves secure that she won’t wander off.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I definitely understand that! We dealt with something very similar with an elderly relative who was convinced there were robbers outside the window. I sat up half the night with them pretending to tell the robbers that I was going to beat them up. It was kind of surreal and uncomfortable, but it was the only way to calm them down enough to go to sleep.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              If you’ve ever lived with someone with dementia, there are worse things than lying to them in order to make them drop a ridiculous request.

            • siriuslover

              oh man, no kidding. Those scenes brought back all kinds of bad memories of my grandmother. We had to blockade the doors to keep her from leaving and getting lost. She once hit me because she thought I was a bad person coming into the house (she punched me in the eye). Eventually, even with several people in the home, we couldn’t take care of her. There were going to be times she would be by herself, and the last time she left the house and we had to have a police search. Eventually, she went to a home where she had 24-hour care. By then she was in the most advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

            • 3hares

              He didn’t tell her that to play with her dementia or for kicks. He told her that to make her stay inside where it was safe instead of wandering out and getting lost. It’s a pretty common thing in dealing with people with dementia.

      • http://twitter.com/Orange_Swan Orange Swan

        I did too. Pete’s parents were really terrible, and now that his awful mother has dementia he has to take care of her, and he has neither the skills nor the will to do it. I’m seeing a home in Mother Campbell’s future, and it’s not going to be a particularly nice one, nor will her boys visit her any more often than is necessary for practical reasons or appearance’s sake.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          Great observation!

        • AZU403

          Unfortunately, something of the same thing happened to my aunt.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            Yup. A couple of my relatives, too, when I was still fairly young yet. It’s one of the most painful experiences ever. It taught me to be pragmatic about things, and separate what you see in front of you from the person you always knew, but it’s horrible when you come to the realization that it’s at that point. Pete’s situation was really tragic on so many levels.

    • LearnedFoot

      Ok, two things:
      Don isn’t a charming rake. He’s not a damaged guy with mommy issues. He’s abusive and I am really uncomfortable watching him interact with women. It makes me anxious. In each terrible hotel scene with Sylvia I wanted to shout at the screen, “Get out! You in danger, girl!” I don’t know where this is going but for me, he’s pretty much beyond redemption at this point.

      And there’s something really “off” about Bob Benson, right? It’s almost like he’s visiting from another show. I thought fir a while that he didn’t actually work at the agency, that he was hoping to bluff his way into a job, or he was doing some corporate espionage or something. I mean, he’s always just lurking with no real purpose. And there was the weird scene wjere Ken caught him sitting in the lobby, and Bob made all these weird excuses why he couldn’t just go work at his desk. (Because he doesn’t have an office! I thought.) But now we know he’s a legit employee, I guess.

      • Topaz

        He’s behaving the way he’s been taught to by his upbringing, I expect. Find ways to make yourself useful and indispensable to the people around you, always be amenable, never judge or question, and you’ll succeed. Unfortunately for him he’s just so obvious about it. And he doesn’t know how to get people on side by just being as much of an asshole as they are.

        • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

          I think it’s less even than that’s he’s obvious than that he’s so out of step with everyone else in this workplace. He’d probably have fit right in at Ted’s old firm — eager, can-do, positive.

          • Topaz

            Quite possibly – though more from the management style, which probably would have got Benson to calm the heck down. Seeing Ted sitting there listening to everyone, guiding them to better ideas while Don was off somewhere acting like a pissy teenager was brilliant. Though I don’t want to forget that at the end of the day Ted is also an ambitious, competitive businessman who will be happy to see Don fail to secure his place in the business. He just appears to have better coping mechanisms.

            But what will he do if his confidante dies? That could profoundly shift the balance of power in the office, unless Peggy ends up taking his place as someone for Ted to vent his fears to.

        • http://twitter.com/theparsley Anne Boyd

          Bob hasn’t done anything important yet. Helping Joan is the most significant thing he’s done, but it’s not important in itself, unless he plans to induce some gratitude he can make use of. I think it’s mainly for narrative reasons – to establish that he’s an opportunist; that he immediately accepts/understands that Joan needs to avoid showing weakness in the office at all costs; and that’s he’s a smooth talker who can manipulate people (the nurse in the ER). So far none of that makes him any different from other Mad Men – at least the old-school Mad Men – except that he doesn’t do it in big arrogant MANLY ways. It’s not manly to try and get ahead by being helpful. That’s what secretaries do.

          • Glammie

            Yep, he may be the new version. Opportunistic, but touchy-feely as well.

          • fursa_saida

            Oh my god, I love this. And I’m sure far fewer of us would have blinked an eye if the same things had been done by a female secretary. Excuse me while I go roll around in my pile of gender subversion parallels.

            Also, I agree that that establishing work was needed. If he’d just shown up and we’d never seen him before, or seen him only once, he would have been bizarrely superheroic in being able to get her to the hospital and in to see a doctor. This all felt like stuff I believed Bob could do.

        • siriuslover

          We are first introduced (or I was anyway) to Bob in the elevator offering coffee to Don. He said he was in accounts upstairs and never got to see all the creative stuff people do at the agency. Last week there was a great discussion that Bob is a spy. But I wonder if he has so much time on his hands because there simply were no accounts to work on?

          • Topaz

            I don’t think he’s a spy. I suppose it’s possible, but I think he’s just hanging around hoping important people will speak to him and ask him to do things. He’s just trying to do well in his career and being embarrassingly obvious about it.

      • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

        Nice recalling of “Ghost”! Benson, he’s like the Jiminy Cricket of the office. Which of course makes Don our Pinocchio, whose nose/dick gets bigger and bigger with every passing episode.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

        I love the observation ….”like he’s visiting from another show”. Well said! I hope that they give him some weirdly convoluted interesting back story, it’s amusing watching him be the eternal kiss-up, but so many of us have made comments of “I wonder what he’s REALLY up to”.

        • C. C. Winslow

          Yes, he’s very 1960s sitcom! Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Andy Griffith…

      • T_A_R

        I don’t think it’s “off.” He’s just young and trying way, way, way too hard to get ahead. Since he’s a junior accounts guy, he doesn’t really have much say with the clients – so he’s just trying to get noticed. However, buying coffee for people and offering to run errands for them doesn’t really establish your value for the company…it gets you noticed, and not always in a positive way.

        What is interesting here is what he does for Joan *was* valuable and kind, even if there is an element of self-interest involved. He showed some understanding of the position she was in (one where she doesn’t have a whole lot of allies) and treated it with some sensitivity. It’s a lot different than just offering to buy people coffee all the time – the gesture meant something and Joan recognized that, even if she was a bit conflicted about the whole thing. It’s not protection; it’s seeing value and potential in someone. Time will tell how he turns out once he gets into the bulk of the work, but for now…he’s got potential to be someone who could be of value to both her and the firm.

        • Chris

          That was very well put. I’m hoping he is decent and is just trying to be helpful in any way he can and that he does care about Joan. I keep contrasting him with Season One Pete and as smarmy as the coffee business can be it’s far better than Pete’s methods: sneaking, cheating and blackmail.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

        I think he’s up to something. I haven’t been able to buy anyone being genuinely that earnest since first season Peggy. No one on this show is what they seem to be.

      • Mani @ Iz and Oz

        In response to Bob, there is definitely something “off” about him. Maybe it’s because 99% of the other males on the show are pretty despicable, his kindness and over-enthusiasm is wrought with suspicion. “He’s too good to be true” is the first thing that popped into my mind when he played Knight in Shining armor to Joan. But his sweetness did soften my heart a little for some reason … it was cute, and what Joan needed after a bit of rough road last week.

        I do think he’s got some skeletons, though, or else he’d make for a really dull character. The MM creators definitely have something up his sleeve. All I ask is please don’t screw with Joanie, Bob. I’ll come after you.

        • Spicytomato1

          I initially thought so, too, but maybe not. Remember last season people started to speculate that Ginsberg might be a serial killer? That doesn’t seem to be panning out and it’s leading me to think that Bob really is just who he seems on the surface, a decent guy eager to get ahead.

          • Mani @ Iz and Oz

            I must have missed the Ginsberg serial killer gravy train! I guess I never got that vibe because at his core, Gins was (and still is) inherently flawed. He’s a good guy, but he’s rude, socially awkward, anxious and honest to a fault.

            Bob now, is a little *too* perfect. And as we learn rather quickly, nobody on this show is perfect (except Megan, who seemingly does no wrong. Ever. Which is what makes her so fantastically flat) … though Weiner & Co. are really stretching out the burn with Bob. He’s a ticking time bomb. Just a matter of when, perhaps?

            Though, I tend to be skeptical :-)

            • Glammie

              Some other poster described Megan as being the girl who can do everything well, as Peggy described her, but also not having a lot going on inside. Don likes to marry the perfect woman–the girl literally in the commercial, so he can be the boy in the commercial.

              But he’s not that boy, so there’s a failure to connect in his marriages.

        • fursa_saida

          I feel like the writers directly addressed us with Joan’s little exchange with her mom (“Not every kindness is part of a plan” or something like that). The question is: is that true in this case, or is that just what they want us to think?

      • Macrochelys

        I think he might realize that he doesn’t fit in – last night when he escorted Joan out, he said that he would annoy her all the way to the door as cover. I’m very interested to see where things go. And he’s awfully cute to look at.

        • sweetlilvoice

          I liked the implication that since everyone thinks he’s annoying, no one will notice him talking to Joan. And he is pretty cute. I’ve got two cups of coffee! I wonder how many coffee breaks he takes.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        My favorite theory (someone posted on Twitter, can’t find it now) is that Bob is really a time-travelling Bobby Draper, and he’s come to shove Don off the roof at the end of the series, ala the credit sequence.

        • siriuslover

          OK, that’s a pretty f’in awesome theory.

      • Bakerlooline

        Bob is the dramatic equivalent of J Pierpont Finch

        • MK03

          I’ve been waiting for a nod to Robert Morse’s claim to fame on the show. Maybe that’s it!

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        I’ve wanted to punch him in his smarmy face all season long but I was actually completely convinced of his sincerity with Joan. Go figure!

    • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

      I found last night that I was finally willing to admit to myself that I am thoroughly bored of Don Draper. I don’t find his decline interesting moreover, inevitable, predictable and pedantic. I found myself wishing for more Roger, Joan, Barry Bostwick, Peggy, Ted, Stan, Ginsberg and even sad Pete. I’ve never been. Megan hater and I found I even want more of Megan in the story.

      Like you guys, I am happy Sylvia is out. It is a huge factor in te boringness of Don.

      • Chris

        I found the scenes in the hotel boring beyond belief. I just wanted to get back to the office and everything happening there. Don at the office interacting with Peggy, Ted etc. was fascinating. Don and Sylvia in hotel- unbelievably boring.

        • charlotte

          I actually thought about fast forwarding them.

      • MK03

        Wait, Barry Bostwick? Was he in last night’s episode?

        • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

          Sorry – :) That was Harry Hamlin as Jim Cutler – my bad.

          • Qitkat

            LOL. I knew exactly whom you meant.

          • HengRu

            But you just made me realize that that’s who Bob Benson reminds me of — the young Barry Bostwick!

          • Amy B

            Was Jim Cutler/Harry Hamlin’s hair less gray last night or was I imagining things?

            • makeityourself

              I thought the same thing. Grecian Formula I guess.

          • Guest

            I get Hamlin and Bostwick confused too. I think it’s because I first saw them both in “Movie Movie,” back in the late 70s.

          • MartyBellerMask

            Maybe it was the Brad Majors glasses that threw you off! :)

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        I thought during one of the hotel scenes, “I wonder how many times Jon Hamm has shot a version of this scene?” You know it’s bad when your mind starts to wander during a sex scene.

      • Kianna

        Well said. I’ve been bored since his affair with Sylvia was revealed. And this episode was constructed beautifully with all the callbacks and repeats, but watching it felt like an hour-long repeat of that scene where the partners check out SCDP’s new space – the five of them arranged artfully along that long bank of windows. Mad Men is pretty television but it’s no longer interesting television, and repeating its own themes and tricks like an ouroboros makes me think Weiner et al should have told the story in five seasons, not seven.

        And there’s no way this was the last we see of Sylvia, unfortunately.

        • Qitkat

          ouroboros
          Another great analogy. If nothing else, Mad Men has upped our collective imagery skills.

        • http://twitter.com/MichelleRafter MichelleRafter

          So far this season reminds me of the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — a lot of backstory and build up before a rip-roaring ending. Let’s hope that’s what we get going forward.

        • Inspector_Gidget

          I think you’re right. If all they have left is callback scenes, they can do that in a two hour finale and give us a satisfying conclusion.

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          I had to look up ouroboros – cool!

      • shopgirl716

        I feel exactly the same way. Don just seems played out and his trick bag is empty. I wonder how long it will take Ted and Co. to figure this out. Peggy has his number and she also has Ted’s back.

      • http://twitter.com/KathleenMKeenan Kathleen Keenan

        Agreed. I could watch an entire episode of Ginsberg going on awkward dates, Peggy and Joan bonding (with occasional appearances from Dawn), Peggy and Stan on the phone, and Roger and Cutler having a quip-off.

        • Kianna

          I’d watch an entire series of all of these things, but I’d swap Roger for Sally. Also, Dawn and Phyllis being in the same room could be lovely.

          • http://twitter.com/KathleenMKeenan Kathleen Keenan

            The Roger Sterling Babysitting Hour, with Special Guest Cutler.

        • NoGovernmentName

          I could watch a whole show of Roger Sterling: Secret Agent!

          • fursa_saida

            His irresponsibility and unreliableness are just a briliiant cover identity!

      • fursa_saida

        I’m starting to wonder what I have to do to get more Ginsberg on my screen.

    • Caitlin O’Brien

      I’m kind of bummed that Sylvia dumped Don before it could blow up in his face with Megan. She has been so consistently likable that he deserves to be brutally dumped by his lovely wife, not yet another mistress. Not that I want Megan to be hurt (because she truly loves him) but I want this to blow up in Don’s face. It’s his only chance.

      • LearnedFoot

        Oh, there’s still PLENTY of time for it to blow up in his face. I still think that the good doctor suspects that something is/was up.

        • Caitlin O’Brien

          Right, we are halfway through the season now so there are 6 more episodes. I have no idea where this season is going and I couldn’t be happier. Don Draper is atrocious. I’m praying Megan will drop that pathetic man and go on and be the sweet successful woman she is. And I miss Betty.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

          In one of the …”previously on MM” which precedes each episode (someone pointed out that the scenes for these usually show which plots will be focused on or expanded in the episode, or will show actions/decisions that turn out to have set certain events in motion, even if it wasn’t realized at the time), Don giving “the doctor” the camera was shown at least once in these previews, and I could swear it was twice. Also, the dynamic of Don giving him the camera during the original episode (when the doctor came to the office and Don took the camera out of the “goodie closet”) had a bit of a surreal (and oddly mildly menacing to me) feel to it. I had convinced myself that the doctor was going to use it to take pics of Don and Sylvia fooling around. It may not end up being used for that purpose, but I feel as if they’ve been pretty heavy handed in referencing that the camera gift. I’m wondering the camera is going to come into serious play soon here.

          • Aurumgirl

            Well a trip to Germany to visit Leica has already been talked about post merger. Maybe all the camera references point to something that’s going to happen within the newly merged company soon.

            • greenwich_matron

              Interesting. Also, the scene when the doctor got the camera, he seemed to have some sort of connection with Dawn that was never developed.

            • HengRu

              “never developed” — ha! Good one!

            • Topaz

              I assumed he was her doctor or a member of her family’s. My reading was just that it’s important to her that her private life stays private – I’m not sure it needs more development than that.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Arnie’s a heart surgeon. He’s not a family doctor. If he had performed heart surgery on some member of Dawn’s family, why would she not mention it when unexpectedly stumbling across him in her office?

              We think a lot of people have misread that scene and spun off some fairly unlikely potential plot twists because of it. Dawn was taken aback because Don had a friend paying an unexpected social visit in the office and, as his secretary, she would know how unheard-of that kind of thing is.

            • Topaz

              Fair enough and you may be right on that count -perhaps that is the more logical explanation.

              Though I wasn’t expecting it to be developed anywhere beyond that scene, I did read Dawn’s reaction as recognition and I wasn’t alone in that, but I admit I found it confusing and random. But I guess Dawn seems to spend a lot of her time bewildered by the weirdos she works with.

              Having said that, I can still imagine her feeling some panic at the idea of her family life intruding into her workplace and don’t think she would necessarily talk about it there. But I suppose in storytelling terms it would be a bit much to just introduce that idea for a scene and then leave it.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I’m pretty sure she was just reflecting everyone else’s reaction: “Don has a friend? Who comes to visit him in the office? Something’s weird.” I didn’t get recognition out of that at all, just confusion.

            • Froide

              This. Plus, Arnie got past Dawn’s screen.

            • Joy

              I really just thing she “is a good secretary” and did not know he was coming to see Don, so she felt like she didn’t have control for minute at her job.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Yes.

            • Aurumgirl

              I just thought that since Dawn is in charge of all of Don’s appointments, and she had suddenly come upon Don with an “appointment” she didn’t know about, she was surprised to see him occupied when she went to find him for his photo shoot. I didn’t get any idea from that scene that the doctor might have known Dawn from some other place outside of their impromptu meeting at Don’s office.

            • JeanProuvaire

              My not-entirely-serious theory about Dawn’s flustered reaction to Rosen is that it’s actually cryptic foreshadowing for a potential romance with Ginsberg. The show has gone out of its way to establish their respective romantic issues and desire to be with someone, and Weiner always does say that everything that happens during the season is foreshadowed in some way during the premiere, so maybe the incident with Rosen is just telling us that Dawn has a secret thing for tiny
              Jewish men.

              I don’t mean to imply that bitty Jewish dudes are interchangeable, but using Rosen as a stand-in for Ginsberg would add a layer of mystery to keep the foreshadowing from being too obvious.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Dawn and Ginsberg have never had a scene or any dialogue together, have they?

              The show has gone out of its way to show romance issues with every single main, and most recurring characters.

            • JeanProuvaire

              Oh, I know. I don’t think it’s actually going to happen, since they haven’t had any interaction yet and most likely won’t. The idea that they might hook up was a theory going around Tumblr a few episodes ago, and someone made an interesting case for it because she thought their respective romance plots were being sort of paralleled–being set up with guys isn’t working out for Dawn, being set up with girls isn’t working out for Ginsberg, and her mention of “men crying in the elevator” could have been a reference to him after the “I don’t think about you at all” scene last season.

              It’s not a serious theory, just an “it could be fun if.” It’s very far-fetched.

            • Froide

              Agreed, though several episodes back (when Ginz had a blind date) I’d thought Dawn and Ginz might have a go sometime in the future. Now, I’m hoping Phyllis has an eligible relative she can introduce Dawn to.

            • Zaftiguana

              The mistake many of us make (and it is “us” because I’m certainly not immune) when watching this show is assuming that the rule that everything is foreshadowed works in reverse and thereby everything that happens is foreshadowing. But that’s not the case. Sometimes people just eat a sandwich or get frustrated with the office equipment or worry about their love life, like we all do at some point, and that’s all it is.

              In terms of the deeper meaning of Dawn’s reaction, I think it’s much simpler; Don doesn’t have any friends. He never has. Dawn would have occasion to notice that, and she’d know how out of character it is for Don to have a buddy visit him in the office and interact with him a friendly way. Which is deeply, deeply sad.

            • greenwich_matron

              I think you are right both about Dawn’s reaction and seeing too much foreshadowing. I tend to see one or two “loaded guns” per episode.

            • http://twitter.com/kepsternyc Kelly Payfer

              OK because I’m a giant dork I put together Leica + “Crash” (the title of next week’s episode) and looked up 1968 air crashes. There was one in Munich on 9 August 1968 with 48 fatalities. Could we be losing Roger and Jim Cutler?

            • AnneElliot

              Noooooo!!!!! Not Roger!!!

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              No– a silver fox-less Mad Men would be a sad shitty little world.

              No more Shalimar lines. No more Fiddler on the Roof quips.

            • P M

              And no fantasy scenarios of Sterling and Cutler painting New York fabulous, chasing women, and one-upping each other with one-liners. Oh, that’s just me? As you were, then.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              And dropping acid? Does anyone else imagine being the creamy filling in a silverfox sandwich?

            • Froide

              Gag me.

            • fursa_saida

              I really am dying for them to get matching glasses. I want a musical montage of the two of them taking four women to the theater and making out in the balcony, drinking, etc. Basically I want the two of them to star in Down With Love. Roger can be Ewan McGregor and Cutler can be Renee Zellweger. It’ll be beautiful.

            • Eclectic Mayhem

              It was a British flight on its way to Austria so – hopefully – Roger is safe for a while longer!

            • http://profiles.google.com/denise.alden Denise Alden

              Holy crap!

      • sweetlilvoice

        The idea of Megan trying to plan a nice vacation for them and take time off from her career to try and save her marriage with that sleazeball greatly saddens me. I cannot wait for him to get served! He deserves to be dumped.

      • C. C. Winslow

        That’s the thing … nothing ever seems to go wrong for Don, not like it does for Pete. He lives a charmed life. Or maybe he rolls with the punches so well that the punches don’t seem like something bad has happened. Yes, he seemed stunned when Sylvia dumped him, but he gets over things like that very quickly.

        • http://twitter.com/MichelleRafter MichelleRafter

          DD doesn’t really roll with the punches that well — witness most of season 4, when he was living in that sorry apartment after he split from Betty, hiring call girls and drinking himself into oblivion.

        • SonOfSaradoc

          Don does get past things, but Dr. Faye was right when she said that Don likes the beginnings of things. The whole ‘woman kept in a locked room’ fantasy was a marvelous beginning that Don was liking very much. But it got cut short in no uncertain terms by said kept woman, which pulled Don out of his fantasy.

          I wonder if we’ll get any further backstory of his adolescence in the house of ill repute that will shed light on his reaction. He seemed quite stunned both in the hotel room and through to the elevator in their apartment building. He wasn’t processing it very quickly at all.

    • Topaz

      I was really interested in the different ways Don and Ted coped with the power play in the office. Don tried to exorcise his anxiety by controlling Sylvia, someone in his life he felt he could own. Ted went to his sick friend and admitted his fear and weakness, and received sincere reassurance that he could cope. It’s a good callback to Peggy telling him he was “strong” last episode, which in her mind was in obvious contrast to Don.

      I’m definitely at the point where all I want is to see Don get his comeuppance. I don’t usually take “sides” on this show because it’s the interplay that’s fascinating, but I actively hated Don for everything he did this episode.

      Also Bob Benson. Bob Benson. I just laugh every time he comes on screen, he is the closest thing Mad Men’s ever got to comic relief. Joan. Don’t go for another man so stupendously unworthy of you. Writers, please don’t let him go away.

      • Chris

        They did a great job contrasting Don with Ted didn’t they? All I could think of was does Don even have one friend? Let alone someone he could go have a heart to heart with like Ted and Frank did? I guess Roger is the closest thing to a friend he has- and they have had a very rocky relationship. Ted is so well rounded with friends, hobbies and accomplishments and Don is just sad and alone. No matter what Don gets it never makes him happy.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          I guess Don’s counterpart to Ted and Frank’s relationship was with Anna (who also died of cancer). I think he mental demons and generally shitty behavior towards others (due to said mental demons) prevent him from having real friends. Maybe if he gets his shit together his relationship with Peggy can improve.

          • Chris

            Yes Anna was Don’s only real friend wasn’t she? Peggy and he had a friendship of sorts but it was always so unequal. As you say, maybe Peggy’s new-found independence will allow their relationship to evolve.

            • fursa_saida

              The inequality was the only reason Don was able to allow that relationship to be as real as it was.

        • MartyBellerMask

          He’s lost Peggy to Ted, too. Not just professionally, but he can see how close they are. Don and Peggy were very close at one time.
          But now, the way things are going for Don, it wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to sleep with Peggy. Ugh, that would be a low point, even for him.

          • Chris

            Yes, I have a feeling he may try that as he gets increasingly desperate. It would be so creepy.

            • Topaz

              That’s an interesting and disturbing notion. And given how many callbacks we’re seeing this season, would be a definite replay of the scene from the first ever episode, where Peggy awkwardly tried it on with him.

          • C. C. Winslow

            Interesting. What better way to strike back at Ted, with a dagger straight to the heart? I suspect Peggy would gag if he tried it.

          • Mani @ Iz and Oz

            You know, I kind of got that vibe too – that Don, as some wild gesture to assert his dominance – will try to sleep with Peggy.

            If that happens – RUN, GIRL, RUN.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            Oh god. That scenario is utterly nightmarish. To be fair to Peggy, getting out of Don’s orbit for a while with a kinder boss is in her favor. She’s not pleased with Don, and she is angry at his dick-shaking. I think she sees Don in a whole new, negative light now, and if he tried that on her, she’d eviscerate him. Maybe. Yeah, probably. Come on, Ted has a plane.

            • Topaz

              Oh yeah, no way in hell would she go for it. And if Don did try it on he’d have to be stupendously drunk first and realise really quickly what a dumb idea it was. Probably around the point she started throwing his Cleos at him.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I’d love to see that!

          • buddy100

            Is it sad and sick that I really want to see that?

            Not because I think it’d be appealing or anything, but because DAMN the drama. And it would be so perfect. In my opinion, Don’s been a little bit in love with Peggy ever since The Suitcase. Or, at the very least, in love with controlling her. He’s had her loyalty and friendship to hold her to him all these years. But now that Peggy may truly stray, to a rival no less, it may be all too tempting for him to resort to his weapon of choice.

        • Topaz

          Yeah, Roger’s just a drinking buddy really. Don would never really tell him anything.

          I think he probably wants that person to be Peggy. But she knows it and she doesn’t want that millstone round her neck.

          • Chris

            I loved when Peggy told Don he didn’t even try to take her out to lunch. You know there is a big part of Peggy that wanted him to try and win her back when she first left. Once she settled into her new job and really enjoyed working with Ted, Don came back and screwed it all up.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I like that Don tried to play it off as if a part of that whole thing WEREN’T about Peggy. Of course it was.

          • librarygrrl64

            Don shared a little with Joan, a little more with Peggy, and quite a bit with Anna Draper, of course. But that’s about it. Ironically, considering his generally shitty view of women, he seems to trust the women with whom he has NOT had a sexual relationship more than he does his wives, lovers, or even other men. It’s a different power dynamic, I guess.

            • MK03

              Because once he sleeps with a woman, she becomes a whore. He’s just that fucked up.

            • librarygrrl64

              Truth. Dude is a hot mess.

            • Froide

              Don shared quite a bit with Faye.

        • MK03

          Ted is the anti-Don. He’s pleasant, nice to his employees, isn’t drunk all the damn time, and he has friends. Oh, and he can FLY.

          • librarygrrl64

            Yep. HE’S Superman, Megan, not Don.

          • joything

            And he gets to meetings on time, stays in the office and gets shit done. He CARES.

        • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

          Great point.

        • kassy

          I think another point of contrast between Ted and Don was with their respective secretaries. Ted brought Moira to the partners meeting, Don would never even think to bring Dawn. Moira was visible in the office and Dawn was missing. Moira appears to have had more power at CGC than Dawn does at SCDP, or at least Moira was more involved at CGC to the point where she didn’t seem to have a problem speaking up to Joan. Dawn wants Joan to respect her and would never speak to Joan the way Moira did.

          • Chris

            I also saw it as Moira sticking up for Ted’s interests in the new office, making sure she and he were “in the loop.” Also she seems like she may be a bit of a busybody. But remember Joan back when PPO or whatever it was called took over SC. She butted heads with the male secretary- they had their own little power struggle. Even though Joan is a partner she still ends up doing “secretarial” things.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.quinn.14 Ellen Quinn

            Dawn is just Don’s secretary (other than her recent ‘time card’ promotion by Joan), whereas Moira was identified right away as the chief secretary/office administrator for CGC. So, she’s in effect the counterpart to Joan’s position prior to Joan’s partnership – and that’s why she’s in the meeting.

            I can’t remember the name of the bubblehead who currently takes notes at the SCDP meetings, but it always surprised me that she was the replacement for Joan and not Caroline or Dawn. For comic relief, I guess.

            Moira being at the meeting along with bubblehead was a territory marking thing, the same as when she tried to cockblock Joan with the clipboard at the beginning of the episode. The presence of two secretaries is why Pete’s chair was unexpectedly taken.

      • Amy B

        I saw two different coping mechanisms at work last night: the team player (Ted’s giving up his seat at the meeting, Bob’s taking Joan to the hospital) who trades on building loyalty versus the alpha male swinging dick (Don and Burt Peterson). The team players really cleaned up last night. Ted won so many brownie points with the women at that partners’ meeting it wasn’t even funny Interesting too that Ted’s behavior is so, so different from the other guys at the table, who’d still expect a woman to give up her seat. Change is comin’ and Ted’s on top of it.

        And the Alpha Males? Roger (correctly) predicts that Peterson would talk over him at meetings (rude Alpha behavior) and plays the Alpha trump card: get rid of the annoyance. Don, well, we saw where his power plays went in both cases. Sylvia was throwing pretty broad hints to Don that she would like a plane ticket to Paris so she could see her son: if Don had indulged her there things might have come out different. But no, Don’s ego had to be fed in another way, although I think Sylvia would eventually have dumped him anyway. LOVED Ted on the plane, too.

        Did anyone notice the glance Don gave Ted after the blond secretary made googly eyes at Ted at the partners’ meeting? I think that’s when Don’s resentment (and fear) really got going. Only one rooster allowed in the henhouse at a time.

        • AnneElliot

          Great point about the contrast between Ted and Pete during the meeting. While I was watching, I wondered why the hell didn’t Pete just stick his head out the door and ask a secretary for another chair? It’s clear now, just another way to show that Ted’s a good guy and Pete’s a dick.

          • 3hares

            I think even more it showed that Ted’s secure in his position. Ted had already been given a seat for himself and his secretary. Pete was a partner, yet when he walked in nobody thought he needed a chair. He didn’t want to have to hunt down the chair himself so asked an assistant to get him one. Ted could then put on a show of his own position by being able to give up his chair. Had Pete gone and sat on the bookcase it would have been admitting he didn’t deserve a seat at the table. For Ted it was showing he was so secure he didn’t even need his. And even if he didn’t do it on purpose, he’d created that scenario by bringing who was probably the extra person.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          Speaking of alpha males – or reformed ones – I noticed Stan sort of sizing up Ted Chaough at first, then deciding he was alright when Ted politely put Ginsberg’s snarkiness in his place. That dynamic is an interesting one. Stan’s always been a pretty positive team player, but now Ginsberg’s ingenue polish is starting to wear off. He came across as a total jerk and bully last night, like a whining mini-Don. (Although I was charmed by him playing Cat’s Cradle with Marge the Other Lady.) There’s no love lost between him and Peggy, either. It’s going to be interesting with the creative dynamic. Stan’s clearly still on good terms with Peggy, but Ginzo never liked her much, and now that they’re moving more into a team direction, he’s not going to appreciate being knocked down a few pegs.

          • MK03

            Pegs. Heh.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Oh dear. I didn’t even intend that. Hahaha!

          • fursa_saida

            Huh. I may just not be remembering things, but I don’t remember Ginsberg and Peggy particularly hating one another. They are completely opposite types of people and so they have trouble getting along smoothly, but she’s the one he opened up to about the concentration camp stuff. We’ve never seen him talk that way to anyone else.

            I don’t think it’s all that weird for people to test the new boss when he shows up. Notice that Stan didn’t try to defuse the situation; he wanted to see how Ted would do. Also, I think Don’s a terrible influence on Ginsberg. The way he runs that department (ha, “runs”) encourages all the negative traits Ginsberg has in common with him. I’m hopeful that with Ted around, Ginzo may even graduate to wearing clothes that fit him!

            I’m hugely biased pro-Ginsberg, though, I’ll be the first to admit it, so grain of salt and all that.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I like Ginsberg too and want to root for him…but that fella’s got a huuuge chip on his shoulder! You’re right – Don is a bad influence for encouraging those negative traits in him and letting him run amok. They’re both self-made men with murky, tragic pasts; they are both alpha males. Ginzo can’t really engage with anyone on a personal level, even his own father. He’s incapable of being normal because he can’t fully engage with anything or anyone. He’s also jealous and competitive and a little ashamed of his poor background. I think Peggy annoys and perplexes him, just like everyone else in life. I do think he trusts Peggy, even if he doesn’t care for her. I’m not sure what the concentration camp story was, other than a kind of roundabout explanation for why he’s so weird. He might also have been a little jealous of being a third wheel to her and Stan’s friendship.

            • fursa_saida

              He had this whole speech about being a Martian, but it becomes clear he was born in a concentration camp. His father isn’t even his real father (according to him, anyway). It was a way of talking about his profound sense of alienation; as I recall, a lot of the Jewish BKs related to it, at least in terms of people they’d known. It was definitely as sincere and open as we’ve seen him with anyone.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              That makes sense! I was at a point where I couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t. He wove in the concentration camp story into his alien story, and while I got that was what his real situation was, I couldn’t tell if he was exaggerating that, either. I imagine he’s not sincere very often, so it’s probably difficult for him to express anything except irritation and weird stories because it’s a safer emotion to have than grief or alienation.

      • roble ridge

        I thought it was also great how the scenes were directed when Don was getting Ted drunk. John Slattery directed this episode and the way he contrasted Don & Ted as if they were yin & yang was great.

        At one point, the camera has both facing in directions towards each other, but sitting a few feet away. Don is in focus when he speaks while Ted is slightly blurred. Then, when Ted is speaking, the camera position switches. Now Ted is the one in focus and speaking and Don is off focus.

        Brilliant camera work to show the juxtaposition between these two men.

        • leighanne

          Brilliant camera work, and transitioning between scenes: one door closes and you see another open (shot goes from door of 503 to someone knocking on an office door. Great shot of Don sitting away from Megan at the end- they are in different worlds.

    • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

      Lol judging from the comments so far, this week looks like “let’s all shit on Don Draper” week.

      • MilaXX

        Well to be fair that’s because the episode was full of Don being pretty shitty to other people

        • Jennifer Coleman

          I think Weiner & Co want the audience to finally let go of their Don Draper romance. Those comments by Ted about Don being mysterious & him not knowing if it was real or not and Burt calling him a cold fish are more indicators to the audience that Don has no desire to escape his loop of assholery. He’s primed for all the wheels to come off – losing the top dog position at the firm, losing Megan, but I don’t think that’s the worst that can happen to him (they might be good things, and necessary to getting his act together). It’s the refusal to exit the loop that is the absolute worst thing in his life.

          • Sweetbetty

            It’s the refusal to exit the loop that is the absolute worst thing in his life.
            *********************
            Which calls back to what he told Sylvia was his New Year’s resolution as they lay in bed: “I want to stop doing this.”

          • MilaXX

            If that’s the intent, they have succeeded.

          • fursa_saida

            I agree, they were deliberately showing us that this was noooooo good. We were not supposed to enjoy those bedroom scenes at all, and from what I can tell, most people didn’t.

      • Pennymac

        “Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit” ~ Lil’ Jon

    • hmariec19

      I love Bob Benson. Weiner & Co.: Can you just let him be a good guy? No deep, dark secrets, or anything? Please?

      The hotel scenes were so uncomfortable, but I knew things were going to end when Don told her to crawl on her hands and knees to get his shoes and she refused to do it.

      • Sobaika

        Bob Benson is way too cheerful, it’s creepy. He was very good with Joan but there’s something brewing there.

        • hmariec19

          I KNOOOOOOOOW…. but can’t they just let us have this one? Just ONE nice, normal guy? For Joan? HASN’T SHE EARNED IT?!

          Sorry, I’m really invested in this character for some reason.

          • Topaz

            I think your heart does go out to him. As someone who is also completely useless as networking and tends to come on too strong in every situation, I also just relate.

          • MartyBellerMask

            Joan should hook up with the accountant from last episode. The guy from “Herman’s Head.”

          • Chris

            Maybe he will turn out like Ted? I remember the end of last season when he had his meeting with Peggy and told her he would be taking her out to great restaurants to celebrate their future victories I had hoped it would be true. Maybe we are all so cynical from SCDP.

          • librarygrrl64

            Arnold, Ken, and Ted are still decent men at this point.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              And Stan!

            • librarygrrl64

              I don’t feel like I know enough about Stan’s personal life to make that call, although he’s less of a dudebro to Peggy than he was. But he’s a fun and accomplished co-worker, I’ll give him that! :-)

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              You know, though, I think Stan’s personal life IS wrapped up in his work, just like Peggy. He doesn’t really do anything besides work and toke up. Remember in Season 4 when he initially started bragging about the buxom date he had, only to devolve into him worrying about photography changing up his trade? That was the last we heard of him dating, and he was trying to get a reaction out of Peggy. And hanging out at night during New Year’s Eve to work…and talk to Peggy on the phone? I think Stan’s a workaholic and fairly lonely. I’m guessing when he’s off work, he just kind of hangs out, reads, looks at girly magazines and chows down on pastrami sandwiches.

            • librarygrrl64

              “I’m guessing when he’s off work, he just kind of hangs out, reads, looks at girly magazines and chows down on pastrami sandwiches.”

              Hahaha! And smokes LOTS of weed while drawing endless pics of naked breasts. Totally plausible.

            • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

              After reading your comments here I suddenly believe that Stan is secretly an underground cartoonist drawing comics for the East Village Other, and that he will soon depart for San Francisco to join Spain, Crumb, and Gilbert Shelton as they spearhead the comics revolution that made me & my kind.

            • librarygrrl64

              Yep, I’d believe that.

        • decormaven

          Bob B is pleasant with a purpose. I felt the same way when Megan was introduced. “Why’s she so nice?” “What does this mean?” He may not turn out to be evil, but something big is going to spring from his character. Remember when he told Pete he spent a year in finance, that his family has been associated with Brown Brothers Harriman for three generations? He may be the link to that firm doing the deal on the stock financing.

          • Topaz

            He so randomly popped his head into every big drama in the first few episodes, you’ve got to assume that character’s building to something more significant than an unsuitable love interest for Joan.

            • Pennymac

              Megan did that random pop up thing before she became Mrs. Draper, or even Dons secretary.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            Bob is constantly hanging around the partners. That’s what makes me think he’s got ulterior motives. He spends way too much time waiting around for one of the partners to notice him.

        • Danielle

          I was kind of hoping that Burt Peterson was going to punch him on the staircase. He seemed to take this firing a little better than last time.

          • MK03

            Well, this time he doesn’t have to worry about how to pay for his wife’s chemo. Of course, that’s because she’s dead, but still.

        • Mean Dovey Cooledge

          Kind of like how serial killers are clean cut and charming re: Ted Bundy

          • hmariec19

            This is what I’m afraid of.

          • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

            I so hope they don’t go there. Given Don’s charming surface masks his violent or at least menacing/ controlling/ cruel tendencies, that would be Too Much.

          • Topaz

            It would be so off key for the show I don’t expect anything like that to happen. I think he’s just not very good at impressing other men.

        • Ariane Mandel

          Did anyone else notice that when Bob was in the ER with Joan and she told him to go home that he said there was no where else he needed to be? Somehow I thought that might be significant–who is he? We know nothing about him. Kind of like someone else we know (even though he is way more pleasant to be around than Don!) But wait–I am remembering the way Don was so eager to impress Roger back when he was a fur salesman…hmmm..

          • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

            I kinda see Bob Benson as accounts version of Stan– a character who has been around for important scenes/events yet we know very little about this person that seems to be inserted into important things. I think we actually know more about Bob than Stan. We know Bob has worked in finance (and I think he even mentioned college). We know nothing about Stan except that he likes Playboy.

            • http://twitter.com/theparsley Anne Boyd

              And that he admires Peggy to the point of idolizing her.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              yup, and I forgot the too-edgy campaign ad he worked on. I think this last one is the only thing we have on his background (though the Playboy thing is too). The Peggy admiration is an evolving trait that’s taken shape for the now 3 seasons he’s been on. I’d like to know more about his younger days. Is he such a womanizer/ chauvinist because he was teased mercilessly as an artistic boy, for example?

            • Chris

              Did you notice that when Peggy just blurted out the history of margarine and Napoleon III trivia she was bookended by Stan and Ted who were both dressed in green and completely impressed with her? They were admiring her from either side. Loved it. Ginsberg couldn’t have cared less of course.

            • siriuslover

              YES! I totally noticed that!

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              That’s not entirely true. Stan worked at DDB and another firm before SCDP. He didn’t get any recognition for his KKK ad and he’s insecure about due credit. He told Peggy he’s insecure about his art trade changing in favor of photography. He likes music and food; he’s pretty straightforward personality-wise, he’s kind of a prankster. He’s all bark and no bite; ironically he’s been the most chivalrous at SCDP (I liked how he was nice to Margie). Janie Bryant’s been dressing him in the same colors as Ted for the entire season. It’s implied that he and Peggy are close friends (he’s clearly in puppy love with her) and he’s ultimately got Peggy’s back. For what it’s worth, Stan at least has a solid, familiar presence with people who know him and trust him. Also, he’s not particularly ambitious; he just wants to do his work in peace and feel part of a team. Bob….total wild card. No one knows anything about him and he has no alliances.

            • jtabz

              Love your Stanalysis ;)

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              He’s my favorite! :)

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              But he needs to shave and get back in the Banlon shirts.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Agreed! I loved his long-sleeved striped polo, when he was Clean-Cut Mad Magazine-character Stan. Has anyone else noticed Jay Ferguson’s voice has completely changed with the beard? If you listen to Stan pre-Peggy leave, he has a clearer, kind of sneery voice…but as Stoner Stan, he sounds a little rougher, like Mountain Man. If he’s doing that on purpose, that’s a really great touch.

          • Mani @ Iz and Oz

            Oooh, Bob Benson being Don Draper 2.0? Exciting stuff! Even though he was slightly annoying a few episodes ago, I’m genuinely interested now.

            And the similar dark features, bland handsomeness rounds out the package too.

            • Topaz

              I think T&L have talked about something to that effect in their recaps – that he reflects a younger version of Don. Does this mean I and all the viewers warming to Bob are just falling victim to a Draper-style ploy? Are we about to experience the same disillusionment as Don’s many mistresses? Great. Well now I’m depressed.

          • siriuslover

            he’s always at the office, remember when he got the toilet paper for Pete? Maybe he’s homeless and cleans up at the Y or something.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Yep. I like Bob B. too. Maybe he is just one of those overly-earnest people who want to be all things to all people?

        • MrsAtaxxia

          Or he could be a chameleon like Don who has no real center. I feel like there is some kind of mirroring going on with them. Bob is trying to be all things to all people and Don is trying to constantly re-invent himself, and those things seem interconnected. Given the flashbacks we have seen of Don, and how eager he was, perhaps Bob is a glimpse of what Don was before he soured and became this man we currently see. Or Bob is what Don would have been without Don’s horrific upbringing? Just a striver who has the ability to adapt and play any situation to his benefit but without being a total creepshow about it?

      • MilaXX

        Bob Benson is like the “Other” of SCDP

      • VanessaDK

        Interesting that I am so conditioned by MM to be suspicious that I keep wondering what Bob Benson is up to and am convinced he can’t be sincere. I’ve thought that about Arnie too.

        • MissKimP

          I found Bob Benson to be the most interesting character of the episode. My spider sense was tingling–so many moments where his behavior, or the scene elements, were echoes of Don, the (seemingly) charming opportunist: chatting up Joan in the waiting room (reminiscent of the lawnmower ep), the way he charmed the nurse into getting Joan seen right away, the followup visit to Joan’s apartment in which Joan is wearing a silk robe (reminiscent of Don’s visit after the Jaguar “date”). Maybe Bob Benson is Don Draper 2.0? This will keep me watching for the rest of the season…

          • Robyn M

            whose wardrobe does bob’s mirror?

          • leighanne

            Perhaps Bob is meant to be a foil to Don in the sense that Bob will work his way up in the company and be able to adapt to changing times and changes in the company (unlike Don). His start is similar to Don’s years ago- eager young salesperson/businessman willing to do what it takes to get ahead. I think we’ll see a steady increase in Bob scenes as he becomes more integral in the company. I hope to see more of him, anyway!

    • Tovah

      If I were Sylvia, I would have dumped his ass the moment he told me to crawl around on the floor to look for his shoes.

      • bxbourgie

        This. In my head I was giving Don the neck roll and teeth suck of my LIFE, and saying “Are you crazy?” at the TV, but when Silvia went and picked up his shoes and knelt down I was through.

        • Tovah

          Yeah, I lost respect for her when she did that, and then got undressed and then… I just couldn’t lose anymore respect for her. And I am totally over Don.

          • librarygrrl64

            Yes, but you could see the thoughts going through her mind, and her finally settling on, “Okay, this is new, but let’s see how it plays out.” And, even though she got the shoes and knelt down to put them on, she didn’t crawl to get them.

            • Kwei-lin Lum

              It took her awhile to get used to the situation declining to a new low, but fortunately for her, it took her a only a couple of days and she was out, and she walked away with dignity. At least I hope this is the end of it.

            • librarygrrl64

              Ditto. Current problems aside, Arnie seems like a complete mensch compared to Don.

            • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

              I don’t see anything humiliating about anything she did. She thought they were playing and it was hot for her. She played along while refusing some of what he wanted. He was the wrong guy, because you need to be playing with someone reliable, but she didn’t know that.

            • librarygrrl64

              There is nothing inherently humiliating about D/s play if both parties are on board with it. But it seemed like Don just “sprung” it on her (never a good idea, IMO) and she took a minute to process before she decided to go along or not.

        • Joan Blackheart

          On the contrary, I lost the last bits of respect I had for Don. He was the one who was abusive, not her.

        • NoGovernmentName

          The top/bottom role play is a totally legit form of sex play, if both people are in on it. Sylvia went for it until it went too far, and the desperation started to show on Don’s end. He wasn’t really playing. He was doing that whole “I’ll show her my dark side, and she’ll either totally embrace it or she’ll run away.” Either result is a win for him, in his mind, until she does leave, and then he’s crushed.

      • AZU403

        In Light of Recent Events, the entire “You’re not leaving this room until I tell you” scenario thoroughly gave me the creeps. I loved her telling him, “Your shoes are over there, get them yourself”–something she’s probably said many times to her husband and son! But soon she recognized that it was more a sick game than fun, and her dream (or perhaps conscious fantasy) reminded her that she was not a prostitute for hire but a wife – a partner.

        Also noticed that she was frantic with worry about her son’s safety in Paris. which was consumed with riots, while Don couldn’t care less. I had a similar experience with an extra-curricular relationship. Note to adulterers: if your partner is worried about their child, act sympathetic.

      • not_Bridget

        I’m thinking Don was so conflicted that part of him decided to end the thing with Sylvia. She called him at work & complained she needed him. OK, how did she like being stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do but wait for his return? Without even a book….

        Eventually her brains & her morals kicked in & she realized the affair had to end. She could have had the same experience at a retreat.

        Yes, he was upset that she wanted out. But it’s better for him, too….

      • DogintheParthenon

        I was hoping she would throw them in his face

    • http://twitter.com/Orange_Swan Orange Swan

      I can’t believe how much I like Ted Chaough. He always looked like such a dick when he was trying to compete with Don. But now that we see what he’s actually like on his own turf and at work, it turns out that he’s a pretty decent, genuine person who really cares about the people he works with and has a really effective modus operandi as a copywriter and as a boss. The aviator glasses and bomber jacket in the plane scene were hysterical (though it would have been even funnier to put them over a turtleneck), as was the terrified look on Don’s face. But despite the apparent silliness of Ted’s fly boy costuming, he actually did have matters under control; he can fly the damn plane, he has integrity, and you can safely trust him. The contrast between Ted and Don really points up who Don is. Don looks like The Man, but Ted, who isn’t suave and doesn’t look like a man in an ad for ad men and doesn’t mind looking a bit silly or being teased, is the real deal, the one you can count on to show up for the 1 p.m. meeting and listen to your ideas and help you develop them. He shows Don up as the egocentric, selfish, irresponsible bully he really is.

      The idea of being kept in a hotel room à la Sylvia was, well, hot. Seriously, as a game with someone I trusted I could… go for that. But with Don you know it’s not just a game and he can’t handle the stresses and hard work entailed in a relationship with a woman who expects her independence and equality to be respected, so… yikes.

      Oh, Burt Peterson. You’re the Charlie Brown of Mad Men. Don’t even go near any version of a Sterling Cooper Draper agency again, because they’re totally going to keep pulling the football manuevre on you.

      I hope the Joan Harris/Bob Benson storyline goes somewhere good. It’s time Joan got treated right. And I can’t tell you how relieved I am that she didn’t have cancer — I was waiting for that diagnosis with a sick dread.

      • Sobaika

        There’s nothing wrong with a little kink. But Don was manipulative, misogynistic, and controlling. It was telling that the uncomfortable stuff began post-sex, Sylvia was putting her clothes back on when he told her to get on her hands and knees and look for his shoes.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          That’s a really good point about it initiating post-sex.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.quinn.14 Ellen Quinn

            Don starts the whole thing when she begins, post sex, to prattle on about her day to day life. He doesn’t want the whole woman, just the mistress, and he underscores that by changing the dynamic.

        • Topaz

          I think she realised fairly quickly that Don had no interest at all in what she was getting out of their little power play.

          • Aurumgirl

            Exactly. He needed it; and that would have been great if that need arose out of the relationship with her, or if it were something they wanted mutually. But he didn’t bother with that part! And ultimately, it wasn’t something she needed to do. There is nothing wrong with a little kink except when only one partner wants it.

        • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

          I thought Don’s motivation for being a misogynistic asshole post-sex was all an answer to Sylvia’s post coital comment “we can’t fall in love.” He thought he could keep her from falling in love with him if the sex stayed the same and he became a guy she could loathe but desire the idea of.

          • VanessaDK

            you give him way too much credit…

          • Joan Blackheart

            nope, still don’t see how this can be an excuse for abusing somebody

            • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

              Oh – certainly not making excuses for that sorry sack of shit. I said his “motivation.”

          • Glammie

            That, and her making demands on him while he was at work. He overhears the argument where she’s pretty much browbeating Arnie and pretty much gives her the opposite–play-acting at being very, very dominant. But not doing it with much passion because, frankly, I think he’s kind of bored.

            Of all his affairs, this one was the most out of the prostitution handbook.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

          Yes, I didn’t notice it started post-sex until you pointed that out, so perceptive. My thoughts as the interaction between them progressed were: hot, hot, um…selfish but still kind of hot, then, his taking the book away (as well as a few other dick-ish things he did as that scene evolved (DE-volved), I was then thinking “Not Hot, and I bet Don is (now) bad in bed” (I add that last part in just to dis him, but I could be right). Also, for some reason, all of his outside of the office facial expressions made him look like Dick (heh) Tracy in the old time cartoon strip. (Not sure that was intentional, just a random observation I had which I decided to tack on here because I particularly noticed it when he and Sylvia were in the elevator together)

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I thought the whole thing was gross, but that was just because I knew where it was coming from for Don. None of it was about Sylvia. It was all about him and his ego and the fact that he is no longer the big man at work.

          • Kwei-lin Lum

            I thought it was interesting that in the elevator, she looked down (in shame) and he looked way up, almost at the sky (for some enlightenment?)

        • VeryClaire

          Plus, it was done with malice. There was no playfulness there. It was all about control beyond sex.

          • flamingoNW

            So I’m trying to figure out if he did it on purpose to push her away, or if he did it without being that aware of why, but just because he was drunk and freaked out about both home and work. That suitcase by the elevator freaked him out, clearly.

            When Sylvia said “I need you and nothing else will do” apparently that was kind of true in the end but not in the way she expected.

            • Sobaika

              He did it to exert control over another human being. The idea that she needed him and only him struck a chord and he took it to the extreme. The last thing on Don’s mind was Sylvia, this wasn’t about pushing her away or her feelings. Her cutting it off was gutting – perhaps because he’d developed strong feelings for her, but also because it was a woman unequivocally saying ‘I don’t need anymore’

            • Glammie

              I disagree. He looked really fed-up when he overheard her arguing in the elevator. Then she called him at work when he wasn’t really in the mood for a booty call. And it wasn’t something sexy, it was, “I need you.” At this point, nothing’s happened at work that makes him feel undermined.

              Since she’s bugging him, he decides to make her go through the motions–she has to meet him at the hotel and, as the experience goes on, he makes her play more and more the part of a whore. It’s payback for her acting as if she could own him.

              As stuff blows up at work, he begins to enjoy knowing someone’s obeying his every command, though even then, I’m not sure if it’s all that sexual for him at that point.

              Once she puts an end to the game, he feels, finally, his own investment in his “meaningless affair.”

            • roble ridge

              I agree with you. It was interesting to me that in this episode, you start to see glimpses of Sylvia not just as Don’s mistress. You get clued in by the look of horror on Don’s face when he overhears her screaming at the top of her lungs at Arnold.

              There are also more bits of how Sylvia really is, which is actually a pretty assertive woman. She isn’t just a meek woman. The scenes with with her and Don in the hotel are all about a power play between the both of them. You see several slices of Sylvia trying to take charge, but Don ultimately assuming sexual control over her and making her submit to him (until she doesn’t want anymore.) But Don sexually dominating a woman isn’t new. Anyone else remember his negotiating techniques with Bobbie Barrett??

              If there’s anything we know about Don, it’s that he won’t stand for a woman who becomes messy or aggressive. I think part of his treating her like an object was not only his disgust at how she behaved towards her husband, but also his own screwed-up views of most women as disposable and as whores.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Why would he buy her a dress then?

              I don’t think this reading jibes with what we saw on the screen. He was into it. It wasn’t a scheme to drive her away.

            • Glammie

              I think he transitions from doing it as punishment to getting into it. The dress purchase happens after he gets back from his nooner and Ted shuts down the meeting. Then the fact he’s got this woman who wants him and will do his bidding–will be his for hire–gets more and more appealing.

            • formerlyAnon

              I think he did reflexively. No reasoning, it appealed to him, or he felt compelled and he acted on it. I think that’s how a lot of his asserting-control stuff happens, at least in personal relationships. In the past he’s been more analytical in business, at least on the surface. I think that might be slipping, though.

            • flamingoNW

              yeah, that’s what I’m leaning towards

          • MasterandServant

            No, he treated her as thought she was a whore for hire. Then he gave her a whore red dress. Made her believe (or at least tell herself) that they would go out to dinner, but who takes their whore out for a night on the town? No, they stay in the room that you pay for by the hour or so and do what you tell them to do, no? I think his reaction was less about being dismissed by Sylvia and more about being dismissed by what he viewed as his whore for hire. Flophouse women don’t typically say no…

      • gogobooty

        I was thinking “Kidney stone!”

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          I thought appendicitis!

      • HobbitGirl

        The hotel game could be sexy with someone you trust, but Don doing the thing with making her get on her knees clearly revealed to Sylvia that she can’t trust him. Even domination play is about mutual sexual satisfaction in some respect, and he clearly didn’t care about her side of it. When I saw the red dress he gave her I figured it was over.

        And then when he took her book away — you don’t mess with a girl’s reading, Don Draper! A bookworm will cut a bitch for less.

        • Joan Blackheart

          One of the most important things about being dominant is to keep your own emotions under control. You absolutely m-u-s-t keep your cool in order to monitor the situation and keep your partner safe. Being angry or manipulative is an absolute no-go because many kinky situations are highly emotionally loaded for the submissive. And as the dominant part your goal is not to traumatize but to satisfy your partner.

          That is why there is nothing kinky about Don’s actions. It was blatant abuse!

          • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

            Yes, but she didn’t know that! I mean, there are some comments where people wonder why she didn’t up and leave the moment he began playing. Dude, she doesn’t watch the show! He’s a hot-looking dude whose sex appeal is based on the power he projects. She played along.

            • Zaftiguana

              Lol @ “Dude, she doesn’t watch the show!” Exactly.

        • SonOfSaradoc

          Possibly this is noted downthread, but Sylvia GAVE Don a book. Don TOOK away her book.

          This was the straw that broke it for Sylvia, I believe, after she’d been kind of into some of the previous dominance play.

          • Zaftiguana

            I thought it was really interesting that the book was The Last Picture Show, too, which is all about a little town full of affairs and secrets and lies and people making almost laughably terrible and immature relationship choices (teens and adults alike), while also being about the decay of this small town and and older way of life. A perfect book for this relationship and this show.

          • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

            Reminds me of a King of the Hill episode: Bobbie says- “You won’t let me read a book I want to read. Mom makes you read a book you don’t want to read. That’s what the elves would would call the justice of the unicorn.”

      • Spicytomato1

        I completely agree with you about Ted, I felt like last night was a revelation in that regard. He truly is the anti-Don.

      • MartyBellerMask

        You hit the nail on the head, with Ted.
        He was always weaselly, before Peggy went to work for him. That’s because we were seeing him through Don’s eyes, in a way. Maybe not EYES, but in relation to Don, as his nemesis. This of course when Don was still our hero.
        Then we started seeing him through Peggy’s eyes, as a romantic type. Obviously it ha worked because there’s been a lot of Ted-swooning.
        Now were are starting to see Ted as Ted. This should be interesting. I LOVED the scene in the plane. Confident, aviator glasses, talking about God’s majesty. Loving this.

        • http://twitter.com/Orange_Swan Orange Swan

          Great insight about how we were seeing Ted through Don’s eyes, as some smarmy also ran. Funnily enough, I don’t see Ted in a romantic way – I don’t find him attractive at all and I don’t want Peggy to get involved with him. (She should stick with Abe, who will keep her from turning into an insufferable yuppie who winds up working on Reagan’s campaign.) But Ted, while not hot, is just so damn *loveable*.

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          I loved the shot of him in the hospital room, hollow-eyed, hair a mess and vulnerable.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            Oh my god. I know. My heart broke. It felt too familiar.

      • librarygrrl64

        “But despite the apparent silliness of Ted’s fly boy costuming, he actually did have matters under control; he can fly the damn plane, he has integrity, and you can safely trust him.”

        In a nutshell. :-)

      • greenwich_matron

        Don is margarine and Ted is butter.

        • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

          Nailed it!

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          Amen!

      • mlurve

        Don and Ted in the plane, in gif form! http://i.imgur.com/iUa9zv1.gif

        Such a hilarious, well done scene.

    • decormaven

      Moving my early a.m. comments in TLounge to here. Question: what might the significance be of the Sherry Netherland room number 503? That’s the episode number for “Tea Leaves.” Are we to infer that there’s an even more defined distance between the Establishment and the Age of Aquarius? And kudos for picking “Reach Out in the Darkness” by Friend and Lover for the closer. What a great way to use an innocuous song to make such an ironic point! Genius.
      And: I am hoping some kind of redemption for Don, but there’s going to be some pain in the next few episodes. While I don’t think he’s completely lost his mojo, his standing is much less secure in every area of his life. Somehow I think it will be Peggy who will pull him from the depths, much as he did for her after she had the baby. I was so proud of her for calling him on his BS in this episode. She’s the only one who has the chutzpah to hold the reality mirror to his face.

      • OrigamiRose

        Yes, I thought that too. Episode 503 also focused on Betty’s cancer scare and the question of “what will happen to the children” (or next generation) when the parent is gone, which was explicitly brought up by Joan with Bob at the hospital. Also, I think it came up a bit more subtlety with the way the episode concluded – the contrast of Bobby’s death with the exuberant (or groovy) “Reach Out of the Darkness” overtaking the soundtrack.

        • decormaven

          Ooh, good call. It must have significance; there was definite camera focus on that detail.

        • MartyBellerMask

          Crap. Please don’t let Joan be lying about the cyst. MAD MEN, I will be so pissed at you if Joan gets cancer.

          • Girl_With_a_Pearl

            Nah, the doctors would have operated on her and she would still be in the hospital by episode’s end. They didn’t throw people out of the hospital after a few hours like they do now.

      • HobbitGirl

        I think the hotel significance is that the hotel room looked very old-fashioned: antique furniture, heavy textiles, the works. Granted, that reads “luxury” in hotels, but it also had no sense of 60s “modern” design at all: Don and his latest conquest are very out of date by this point.

      • VanessaDK

        Reach out in the darkness was not just innocuous, it highlighted the difference between the sixties spirit of “getting together” which you hear in lots of songs form the period, and the events that could push people closer together or further apart (like the assassination). We see Don and Megan even further apart than ever.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, but there was a sustained shot of the room number when the door closed–it stood out, not at all sure why, but I think decormaven may be on to something. Wonder if it does involve Don and his kids–there’s been some set-up, but we’ve seen almost nothing of Sally and I can’t see Weiner wasting a young teen Sally in 1968.

      • AZU403

        Heather Havrilesky on Salon.com says 503 is computer code for “Bad Command Sequence.” Hah!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

        Wow, great insight. I noticed the heavy focus on the 503 room # (I’d do it in bold face and larger font if I could, because that’s how it felt when they kept showing it). I would never have thought to tie it in to another episode number, brilliant! I was thinking in terms of (calendar) dates and was going to look to see what happened on May 3 historically around that time, but your analysis is so good.

      • MK03

        Oh, that song. That has got to be the most bitterly ironic closing song choice to date.

        • Kwei-lin Lum

          Still, that assassination was a turning point. I recall the social and political landscape changing rapidly after that. And different types of people really did come together during the very late sixties and beyond, in a way they hadn’t before.

      • librarygrrl64

        With the heavy focus on that number, I, too, looked up both S5E1, and May 3, 1968. :-)

      • roble ridge

        The significance of room 503 has to do with Weiner paying an homage to Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8. It’s a great flick, one of my favorite Liz Taylor movies. Here’s the opening scene from that movie:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4P5s6sgYus&noredirect=1

        ET plays a prostitute named Gloria and the movie opens with Gloria waking up in a client’s bed, wrapped in a sheet, next to a phone that’s taken off the hook. The color of the walls of the bedroom are very similar to the color of the walls of the hotel room 503, the way Sylvia is styled as Gloria, the way Don treats Sylvia as a prostitute, it’s another call back.

        I also googled “BUtterfield 8 503″ and came up with this: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=907102

        It’s an image of the vinyl record for “Gloria’s Theme” and the right side of the label says “E-503″. That’s the significance of room 503 at the Sherry Netherland.

    • decormaven

      Server burp. Move along…nothing to see here.

    • bxbourgie

      Ted darling… Don isn’t as deep as he would have you believe. Take that guy at face value.

      • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

        Thank you, long pauses do not make you deep

        • P M

          I’ve found this out the hard way.

          • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

            so did I:) LOL

    • hellkell

      I’m done with Don after last night. While he was tuning Megan out, all I could think was, “What a soulless asshole.” I’m not sure why I’m being asked to continue to give the smallest of fucks about him by Weiner & Co.

      I loved Bob! When he told Joan his plan to get get her out of the office, I though it was kinda cute that he knows he’s a pain in the ass.

    • http://twitter.com/almcafee Alison McAfee

      As noted by AV Club, Nixon’s also running again, which ties into when Don fed Sterling oysters and vodka until he puked in front of the client. Back then it was funny and clever, now he’s just an asshole.

      • Topaz

        I think at that point it all felt so much like dreadful people being horrible to equally dreadful people. We could all just gawp and revel in the grossness. But over time not only have we seen Don impact much more likeable characters in awful ways, even someone like Sterling has humanised. He’s a jackass but he will admit to weakness, mistakes, flaws, and he is capable of actually liking other people. I don’t root for him but neither do I want to see him fail. Don, on the other hand, has just gone further and further down the rabbit hole of self delusion and obsession.

    • http://viridianpostcard.blogspot.com/ viridian61

      Think about the acting mojo of Jon Hamm to portray Don Draper this episode.

      • Spicytomato1

        I was thinking the exact same thing, especially when he was in the elevator, post-breakup. Great work indeed.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

          I guess this is where I should have stuck my “He spent his out of office time looking like Dick Tracy in the old comic Strip”-all straight angles and lines for mouth and eyes, everything completely closed off to the outside world (not comparing the character of Dick Tracy to Don, just the style of drawing in which Dick Tracy was depicted).

      • flamingoNW

        Kevin Rahm did pretty damn well too, I must say, as Ted.

    • Heather

      I also thought it was interesting how the sound faded out on Megan while she was talking–reminded me a lot of last season’s finale and her reel. That was the moment the relationship changed for Don. Last time a Kennedy was killed, Don got divorced. May be a trend?

      • VanessaDK

        And the premiere episode — Don’s silent Hawaii vacation.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          This actually has happened a lot over the course of the series–Don tuning out all of the ambient sound of the scene and honing in on one sound or it being replaced by something else. I was surprised when I went back and rewatched the first season how frequently it happened.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            He did it in that episode sitting in the office where he was zeroing in on people in slow motion, like Peggy drinking whiskey. I think it was during that time he was trying to do better for himself, before the Megan crash. I’ll have to go back and find it.

    • ikillplants

      Call me crazy: wouldn’t it be an awesome shitfuck if Don has impregnated Sylvia, and she then decides to keep their child? Now THAT’S taking the Madonna & Child imagery to the next level, and will guarantee the fall of Don (not to mention harking back to Peggy’s pregnancy in season one). And Megan can have some hellraising scenes with Don and leave his ass. But on the flip side, that scenario is a bit too perfect.

      • Topaz

        She might keep it but she’d never admit it was his.

        • not_Bridget

          Besides, I doubt she could get pregnant that easily. When discussing Megan’s miscarriage, didn’t she say she’d had one after her son’s birth? I’m betting she was not able to have more children. As a good Catholic wife with a prosperous husband (who was so wrapped up with his demanding profession), she would have loved to have more kids. Early on, she said she was a bored empty-nester. The one & only child had gone off to college.

          If, by some miracle, Sylvia did turn up pregnant, she’d just have it & not tell her husband. Good Catholic women don’t divorce!

          • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

            Miscarriages are pretty common. They’re not usually an indicator that a woman can’t get pregnant again. But you’re right that she sure would keep it and keep the paternity secret. Until her resentment at her husband’s moving her to the Midwest overflows and she spits it out. Fantasy…

      • http://samanthatennant.tumblr.com/ Samantha Tennant

        I commented on this before I saw your post! I think you’re right especially with all of the foreshadowing with Sylvia’s faith and the talk she had with Megan re: abortion. Might not be the last we see of Sylvia… I really hope it isn’t true though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Heim/708520610 Katie Heim

      Decline of another Draper marriage in the shadow of a Kennedy assassination. I want to know what this means for Megan and Don. It seems like there is no escape to the fact that the relationship between them is about to come to a screaming halt.

      I have no trouble waiting and seeing how it all plays out, the writers have always been worthy of the wait.

      They don’t call it a slow burn for nothing.

      • HobbitGirl

        Given what we’ve seen of Megan’s temper — and she will be MORE than justified in losing her shit when she inevitably finds out — I’m expecting an Epic Shitstorm. It’s going to be great.

        • Topaz

          I really would love to see Megan destroy him. But her confidence is being ground down by his alternating indifference and jealousy. I’m not sure she’ll have it in her by the time the relationship ends.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            This is what I think. Don is manipulative and emotionally abusive. I’ve always thought Betty was probably once a very different person, but years of Don gaslighting her twisted her.

        • MK03

          I’m tellin’ ya, she is going to expose Don’s past. He made a tremendous mistake in telling her about his past.

          • Qitkat

            Now that is a really good point. I’m trying to remember how many people know about Don’s past. Burt, Pete, Betty, Megan, ?Roger?

            • Librarygirl

              Dr. Faye knows about his past as well. For a while, I was waiting for her to come back and do something with that information.

            • MK03

              I believe it’s Pete, Bert, Betty and Megan. He also told Rachel Menken and Faye select factoids. The only ones who actually know the whole story are Betty and maybe Megan (we never saw him explain it, so he may have cherry-picked what he told her). Everyone else has only bits and pieces. And I don’t think Roger knows anything more than that Don grew up in the midwest.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Anna’s niece Stephanie, too! And Anna’s sister.

            • Laylalola

              And Sally has some weird piece of information about Anna belonging on the family tree.

            • gogobooty

              Dr Faye

          • Topaz

            I wouldn’t want Megan to be that petty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tracy-Alexander/3234141 Tracy Alexander

      I thought there were also a few references to “Flight 1″- the airplane, Pete’s confusion at the office regarding phone calls about his family, and obviously the airplane itself and plot surrounding Mohawk Airlines. I believe “Flight 1″ may have also been the episode where we last saw Pete’s mother.

      I loved Pete’s “This is a pied a terre!” He’s such a perfect WASP.

      • sarahjane1912

        Ohhhh yes! ‘Pied a terre’! Just sniggered like crazy when I heard that line.

        All we need now is for Pete to refer to the incoming agency personnel as ‘wretched arrivistes’ and it’s a slam dunk!

    • http://viridianpostcard.blogspot.com/ viridian61

      One little scene I liked: near the beginning of the episode a pair of male feet are shown walking in the agency hallway. You expect them to be Don’s, but the camera pulls up and you see it is Ted, walking with Peggy.

      • decormaven

        I loved Ted’s comment to Peggy: “First day of school. Nervous?” It reminded me of Harrison Ford packing Melanie Griffith’s lunchbox for her first day at Trask Industries in “Working Girl.” There may be nothing further of Ted and Peggy’s kiss, but there’s definite chemistry there.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          If anything, their kiss simply cemented Peggy’s alliance to Ted. She sees him as kind and “strong.” Even if there’s ultimately no romance behind those two (please god no), she clearly has his back and is his friend. They care about each other and like each other for who they are. If they can avoid the office romance scenario, Ted and Peggy are perfect work partners with a common goal. Their chemistry is already pissing off Don, because he sees Ted as “the other man” in his and Peggy’s work relationship, and he doesn’t like losing his dominance. That conversation where Don was mocking Peggy for trying to win her back by merging was very astute, because that really was part and parcel of it. He didn’t like Peggy rising to his level professionally, and wanted to establish dominance again. Now he’s barking at her like she’s his secretary. If Ted has her back, then this will get quite ugly.

          • P M

            Ted as the agency’s Henry Francis – I like the sound of that.

      • Spicytomato1

        Funny you mention that scene because that was the first time I saw the hotness in Ted that others here have been gushing about. He’s got one sexy walk.

        • librarygrrl64

          Yes, a cross between a saunter and a swagger. He has an easy confidence, that one. :-)

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        I liked that, too!

    • Chris

      I feel like Matthew Weiner has reached his “Godfather II” phase with Don. Francis Ford Coppola’s goal (in part) with G II was to make the audience understand Michael was not a great guy and to show his personality and flaws more explicitly because because of Michael’s charisma too many people saw him as heroic. John Hamm’s good looks (which they seem to be artfully distressing) aren’t enough to overcome Don’s rotten personality anymore. Megan is so blameless and fresh people can’t “blame” poor bitter Betty anymore. There are no excuses for Don anymore.

      What makes him even more horrible is how he treats men who are clearly his “betters.” Dr. Rosen skis through the snow to save lives and Don cheats with his wife. A hungover Ted can spend time with his friend fighting cancer, be respectful and creative in the office then fly a sullen and resentful Don up and into the sun but all Don can do is goad him into drinking to much. It’s sad that’s the only arena in which Don can “beat” him. I adored watching Ted have his hero moment in his aviator’s glasses and jacket.

      • bxbourgie

        Let’s just hope this show never gets to a Godfather III level. What an AWFUL movie. GII was my absolute favorite though.

        • Chris

          I feel like Weiner has been setting Don up for a Michael Corleone type fall for several seasons now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall out of his chair alone at the end like Michael did (only no dog because Don doesn’t even seem to like pets)

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

          Chris, brilliant! I cannot believe that I didn’t get the Michael Corleone comparison until you pointed it out (watching the Godfather movies was a ritual in my extended family, and I also agree about G II and G III). I definitely think that you’re onto something with the Don/Michael comparison. And the ‘artful distressing’ description of Don’s looks is perfectly apt.

      • VanessaDK

        Don is increasingly reminding me of Tony Soprano, and not in a good way. The hotel room escapade may have simply been meant to show Don’s reaction to his powerlessness at work, but it was creepily close to looking like sex-trafficking, especially after the events in the news recently.

        • Chris

          The scene where Sylvia was in her black underwear and garters reminded me so much of the scene way back in (Season one?) in the hotel with Betty and Don where Betty was in her black garters but Don is unable to have sex with her. So much of this episode, as TLo have pointed out is about callbacks to previous episodes.

      • VictoriaDiNardo

        Oh, I like this. I was thinking Tony Soprano because of the format, but Michael is apt too. Funny how we are equating Don with….Dons!

      • Topaz

        It’s making me think of Breaking Bad, though I don’t know if that’s a good thing given that they’re both airing on the same network. In Breaking Bad for the first few seasons a lot of people (me included) saw it as a story about an underdog, an unlikely hero in the criminal underworld. I’ve got friends who have just started watching it who are talking about Walt becoming a father figure for Jesse, feeling that this is supposed to be a positive story with a redemptive message. But it’s clear at this point that Walt was always a narcissist who desperately wanted to be bigger than the small man he was and is minimally interested in the needs of those around him. Providing for his family was only ever an excuse. And if you go back and watch the first season that now seems very obvious from the get go and I wonder how I ever saw it as anything else. Mad Men seems the same.

      • Pennymac

        Re: Artful distressing: in some of the screen shots from last night it looked like John Hamm had circles/bags under his eyes. I didn’t notice it during the airing, only in the stills. Is that what you mean?

        • Spicytomato1

          I’ve noticed a bloat and flush to his face as well as the bags under his eyes, he generally looks worse for the wear this season. It is subtle but unmistakable and I’ve had a hard time discerning whether it’s makeup or natural aging that happens to be mirroring the character’s decline.

          • Topaz

            He looked much older and more tired than I’ve ever seen him in the elevator scene with Sylvia towards the end of the episode. I’m sure that was deliberate.

          • MartyBellerMask

            Deliberate. Just like Pete’s receding (shaved back) hairline.

          • librarygrrl64

            I have always assumed it was a combination of makeup and lighting.

          • not_Bridget

            Recent pictures of Jon Hamm out of character show him looking pretty fine…

        • Chris

          Yes, that’s exactly it. I don’t think John Hamm has them in real life does he? It’s a great makeup job if it is manufactured. It’s exactly enough to be noticeable but not over the top.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          During the show, my boyfriend said “Don Draper looks a lot like Michael Jackson in Thriller. Great job, makeup artists!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/beccalise.deveaux ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

      Ugh, I know they can’t write off the main character of the show, but I’m done seeing Don be a creepy asshole. Everybody else’s storylines are good and interesting and I get annoyed when we’re back to Don and all his drama.

    • Laylalola

      Peggy and Pete’s “little boy” is coming back into the storyline, which to me was about the only interesting new-old development that occurred last night. I actually cringed when Ted said Don is, wait for it, mysterious.

      • Topaz

        Woah I missed that! When did that come up?

      • bxbourgie

        Peggy and Pete’s little boy? When was that mentioned?

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        When was Peggy’s baby mentioned?

        • VanessaDK

          No–but it was a double take for me–Peggy asks Joan about her little boy and Joan says “He’s the man in my life.” then asks “How’s yours?” Meaning the man in her life, I assume.

          • Aurumgirl

            Yes, that was deliberately full of double meanings–you just don’t know if Joan is asking Peggy about the “man in her life” or her “little boy”. But it certainly made me think of Peggy’s little boy, right away. Like I think it was supposed to.

            • Qitkat

              I agree with you, whether or not we ever learn anything more about that child, I do think we were meant to flash back to that. Mad Men is so full of double meanings, that can only be deliberate. I would actually love to see just a peek more into all the many threads that have been dropped over the years, not a whole episode certainly, just a scene, or conversation here and there until the end of the series. Unfortunately, because it doesn’t often happen in real life, it may not here either. But it does make viewers feel connected, in the way an excellent novel rewards a reader who has been paying close attention.

            • Amy B

              Abe has been presented to us as pretty childish this season so it wasn’t too much to make the leap from Joan’s toddler to Peggy’s “baby”. :-)

              I really don’t think anyone officially knows about Peggy’s baby except for Don and Pete, although Joan is savvy enough to know from young women suddenly disappearing from the office, so she might have figured it out on her own.

        • Laylalola

          Oh, maybe I’m reading or misreading too much into it all (and have wishful thinking about such a storyline being revisited). There was an exchange between Peggy and Joan where Peggy asks about Joan’s little boy, and then Joan asks Peggy “How’s yours?” I know Joan was referring to Peggy’s boyfriend, but the moment I heard it I totally thought Yay, there it is, they aren’t going to let the whole Peggy-Pete-little boy storyline just disappear entirely…

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            I think you might be reading too much into that exchange.

            We think the story of Peggy’s baby was effectively wrapped up years ago. It would feel very odd for them to bring it up now – or at all, really.

            • flamingoNW

              I actually thought it was a nice touch, indicating that Peggy’s boyfriend was kind of a little boy to her. Another reference to her being the grown-up with the men in her life, in addition to the Don scene

            • Cheryl

              I don’t think Peggy ever forgot about him. It’s only been eight years. It’s not something a woman easily forgets. In “The Suitcase,” Don asks Peggy if she ever thinks about him. She replies with one word: “Playgrounds.” I think he’s never far from her mind. I, too, was startled by Joan’s question.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              ?

              We didn’t say a word about Peggy forgetting him.

            • Cheryl

              I thought you were implying that when you said, “effectively wrapped up years ago.” I actually hadn’t thought about him for a long time till Joan’s question brought it back.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              I mean wrapped up in the sense that it’s essentially over as a plot line. I doubt Peggy will ever forget her baby, but I’d be surprised if it ever became a plot point. Disappointed, actually.

            • sarahjane1912

              I’m not [disappointed].

              There have been just way too many women mentally tortured by babies abandoned/aborted/etc over the years on TV/in movies for me to handle our Pegs being yet another one on that particular production line. And it certainly fit for me given the time frame. Many children were adopted out in this era and a LOT of mothers just got on with it because that was all they could do [disclaimer: I was adopted in the '60s].

              I actually LIKE that she’s been able to move on; some women *can* do it. I don’t want to take anything away from women who are still absolutely gutted by these wrenching incidents [that often plague their futures] but goddammit, go Peggy. She was young enough and strong enough to move on, put it out of her immediate ‘mind’ and make the most of her future. It WAS as if it had never happened. Apologies again, but I kinda like that they did that for Peggy. It does happen — not often in movie/TV lore — but it does.

              PS. Just to add: it was something of a meme that if a TV show couldn’t show an actual abortion, the character in question somehow/thankfully [?!?!] miscarried. Or something. I always felt that was a cop-out. And didn’t show that there were real women out there who DID either adopt out or abort their babies and they were still able to Get On With Life.

              I don’t want to offend anyone with my personal feelings on this, but I would feel pretty let down if Weiner & Co dredged up Peggy’s baby at any stage when she’s so obviously doing absolutely fine. I reiterate: a lot of women cope beautifully. :-)

            • formerlyAnon

              There’s a way that something which is truly, truly over can stay present with you and become part of who you are that something which is still somewhat “open” cannot. This is just a few years before “finding your birth mother” became a thing, and well before open adoptions. Peggy can carry the memory of the child she’ll never raise with her as if it was a death because there’s no reason to think it will ever intrude on her current life, except as memory (and maybe speculation).

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Agreed! I think the script was worded in such a way that it would have unintended meaning to Peggy (and to the audience), but Joan was just referring to “the man in my life” phrase. If that’s the case, that exchange was actually quite poignant, to illustrate how random little phrases would jolt Peggy’s memory like that, like seeing a playground. I felt a little twinge of sadness for Peggy.

        • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

          Peggy asked Joan: How’s your little boy? Joan replied and asked “how’s yours?” Then Peggy slips on her words twice. She says something like “We bought a building together, to live in. I men we bought a building to live in, together” But they didn’t buy a building, just an apt. She seemed pretty tripped up because her first thought that occurred to her when Joan threw the question back must have been her illegitimate son.

          • Sobaika

            I’m pretty sure they bought the building.

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              cool

            • MilaXX

              yes they bought the building. I rewatched after discussing it with a few BK’s last week. That’s why Peggy says something about why Abe doesn’t put someone (the junkie?) out when he is attempting to fix the wiring.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            They bought the whole building.

            Joan said, “He’s the man in my life,” and then asked “How’s yours?” referring to the man in her life, not her baby.

            By the way, was it ever actually confirmed that Peggy had a boy?

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              Ah. I didn’t think Joan was asking about Peggy’s son, but it seems a few folks felt word play there threw a hint back at Peggy’s son. I remember a few scenes directly about Peggy’s boy- She had dinner at her mother’s home and before she left Peggy’s mother asked “Aren’t you going to say goodbye to him?” and then Peggy checks on the boy. Then her sister tells the priest, Colin Hanks. The priest hands Peggy an egg during an Easter egg hunt for Peggy to give to him. The boy was standing in front of her in the grass.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              That wasn’t Peggy’s son. That’s her sister Anita’s son.

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              Hmm. So Anita’s son is just a reminder of Peggy’s child awkwardness? I’ve always felt it was implied. Especially with the comment Peggy made to Megan about her taxes. Is there a direct reference that the child is Anita’s son? Peggy’s mother is extremely tough, religious, and traditional, and so I assumed she took control of her daughter’s burden, especially because Peggy was mentally distressed at the time. I believe she and Anita are raising Peggy’s baby in the family, possibly as Anita’s other kid. Many families do this. It doesn’t seem in character for Peggy’s mother to let her grandchild be put into the system, or wherever.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Anita was very pregnant when she visited Peggy in the psych ward. That little boy is the only child in Anita’s house the right age to be the baby she was pregnant with in that scene. There are no other children in that household that age. Additionally, when Peggy told Pete about the baby, she said, “I had your baby and I gave it away.”

              Also: it was VERY COMMON for young, pregnant Catholic girls to give up their babies for adoption at the time, and it was very common for her family to pressure her into doing it. Even without the nervous breakdown, Katharine would have almost certainly insisted that the baby be given up for adoption. There’s nothing out of character about that.

              And finally, Matthew Weiner has answered this question definitively: Anita is NOT raising Peggy’s child.

            • formerlyAnon

              Yup. The idea (at least in Catholic households) that you’d keep your daughter’s illegitimate baby, either as hers or passed off as a sibling or niece/nephew was a new (or at least unusual) thing in the ’70s. I remember the evangelical/fundamentalist Christian denominations led the way on that one (at least among white folk. I can’t say about people of color – brown or black – it wasn’t until I was a fully grown adult in the workforce that I knew enough POC well enough to even begin to generalize about patterns in handling family business.)

            • http://www.GiftedCollector.com/ The Gifted Collector

              The practice of of passing an illegitimate child off as a sibling to the actual parent was not new in the ’70s. My father’s younger “brother” was the child of one of my Dad’s older brothers. That was in the early ’20s. Jack Nicholson, Bobby Darin and John Lennon all grew up thinking their Moms were their sisters.

            • formerlyAnon

              You’re right and I didn’t express myself at all well. It certainly wasn’t new (there’s nothing new under the sun) and I’m sure continues to this day – but, at least in my experience there was a new open-ness about things in the ’70s. The families I knew who were raising grandchildren as children (there were three, that I knew of – a number that still seems shockingly high to me in an era of legal birth control) treated it more as an “open secret” that acquaintances might not know, but teenage and older family and close friends knew, because the pregnancies were not as assiduously hidden as they might have been previously. Of course, that it was really hugely different than the 1960s is only my impression – and who knows how many secrets were, indeed better kept because in that case I certainly wouldn’t know about it!

            • not_Bridget

              Actually, Peggy giving up the child for adoption was not a bad decision. She would have had to deal with Pete, who might not have believed her; no DNA testing back then. If the truth did come out, Pete’s marriage & career would have been seriously wrecked. And Peggy’s career would have ended, too.

              Twenty years later, long after the show is done, a young man might come knocking on Peggy’s door….

            • formerlyAnon

              Yes. The unwritten “rules” (and some of the laws?) would have changed between Peggy’s 20s and her 40s. I like to think that she’d be one who’d want to know what happened to her child.

            • Zaftiguana

              I don’t think anyone has said it was a bad decision, just that chances are slim-to-nonexistent that the people around her allowed Peggy any real freedom to make ANY decision of her own, good bad or indifferent.

            • AZU403

              I’m pretty sure that Weiner has explained that the baby was given up for adoption and is gone for good. In the early Sixties raising an out-of-wedlock child was not at all something a middle-class family found desirable, and it was generally marriage, or adoption.

            • par3182

              That reminds me…whatever happened to Anita?

            • 3hares

              Her mother didn’t say “him” in that line. She said “Aren’t you going to say good-bye?” And the boy that Peggy went to say good-bye to was Peggy’s nephew, her sister’s son. Peggy’s baby is gone. Her sister’s son is the same age.

            • Chris

              I don’t think it was- but like the previous posters it was all I could think of too. I think my confusion and assumption over it is because of Peggy’s sister’s son that was shown and had everyone guessing if it was Peggy’s before it was revealed she gave her child away. I automatically think Peggy- boy at first even though I don’t think she ever referred to it, even to Pete as anything but a “child.”

            • http://twitter.com/otterbird otterbird

              I remember the nurse asking Peggy if she wanted to “hold him.”

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Ah. I think you’re right.

            • Musicologie

              There was a flashback to Peggy in the hospital. The nurse tells her she had a boy, and holds him up to her, and Peggy looks away. (Whether Peggy actually remembers this, however, is still up for debate.)

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Ohhhh! There we go, then.

            • Pennymac

              I could swear Peggy’s mother said something about a boy in one of the episodes after her hospitalization.

            • CatherineRhodes

              Yes, we saw the child because her sister had adopted him. Remember the whole story arc with the priest who tried to redeem Peggy at church? I believe it was even Easter.

              At some point, I wonder if it comes full circle with Peggy and Pete together, confronted with the child.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              That’s not Peggy’s baby. Anita did not adopt Peggy’s baby.

            • CatherineRhodes

              I think I need a re-watch. I specifically remember the priest asking Peggy to say goodbye to the child (or some such thing) because he knew the subtext and was frustrated that Peggy would not acknowledge her sin.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              He handed her a blue egg and said “It’s for the child,” referring to Anita’s little boy, who was standing nearby. The way he said it to Peggy made her realize that he knew about her own baby.

            • decormaven

              “For the little one.” Father Gil, “Three Sundays,” Season 2.

            • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

              No, that was her sister’s baby. The kid is long gone.

            • MK03

              As I recall, when the nurse brought the baby to Peggy, he was wrapped in a blue blanket. I believe she also asked if Peggy would like to hold him.

            • Cheryl

              Peggy was willing to invest as much as $28,000 in that co-op on the East Side. No way would she have bought a small flat on the West Side. She had a good chunk of money to invest before the tax man cometh.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think it ever was confirmed. Peggy was too far gone mentally and she probably never saw the child if they sedated her during the birth. The mother and sister probably would have kept that quiet. At this point, Peggy probably has no idea if she had a boy or a girl. I think the general conclusion that it was a boy was from when Peggy was asked if she’d like to see her nephew and she had a little freak-out.

            • 3hares

              No, she had the baby in the room with her. The nurse asked if she wanted to hold him and she turned away to say no, iirc. She never had any freak outs about seeing her nephew that I remember.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Yeah, she went in to see him and didn’t even hold him. I guess by “freak out” I mean “inner gut wrench.”

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              Never mind! Boy! People have better memories than me.

            • Girl_With_a_Pearl

              I know this one. After Peggy gave birth, the nurse asked Peggy something like “don’t you just want to hold him?” Peggy definitely gave birth to a boy.

          • Topaz

            I just read that as her feeling ambivalent about the decision to move in with Abe, so being unable to tell the news with confidence.

            I suppose it may have been a little subtext gag, but I don’t think the issue will reassert itself in the story. Though I was never entirely clear on what happened to that baby. Was it adopted? Did her mother take care of it?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Peggy gave it up for adoption.

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              I just read a article that quotes Weiner as saying the baby was given up for adoption, not being raised by the sister. There’s a convo where Peggy says to her mom that she can make her own decisions, and her mom replies “Well, the state of NY” didn’t think so. So maybe the child had to be given up. Seems strange in the 60s, where Peggy’s family seemed capable to step in and take the child.

            • Topaz

              That could also be a reference to her being institutionalised for a brief period of time after the birth.

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              Right.

            • formerlyAnon

              Respectable middle class/working class white Catholic families rarely did that, then. “You’ll be surprised how this never happened” fit in quite well with how things were handled.

            • not_Bridget

              Peggy was committed to the psych ward after the kid’s birth because she remained unresponsive, unwilling to deal with the facts. Don visited her & told her to pretend it never happened.

              I think she convinced the docs she was OK–& probably sane enough to sign the adoption papers. She did, later, make peace with her actions. But Don’s advice saved her job & probably kept her from getting electroshock.

            • Mattabie

              Also, Don’s specific advice to Peggy when she was in the psych ward was “move forward”. The same line she threw back at him tonight.

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              There have been conflicts in the story about HOW Peggy gave the baby up. She’s said she gave it up, but her mother and sister both allude to the baby being taken away because she wasn’t capable.

              Also, I think in her family’s blue collar Catholic world, taking in her child would have been hard at that point. Everyone would know she had it out of wedlock, she’d be almost impossible to marry off to anyone in the community, she’d be seen as “loose,” etc. As it played it out, she was taken advantage off by her boss (or so is alluded at various points, including The Suitcase) and was so distressed, the state stepped in as she was in a psych ward. Her mother doesn’t seem more cynical to Peggy until the infamous “hope you’ll get raped” line in season 3 when Peggy leaves Brooklyn for Manhattan.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              Peggy’s mother never told her that she hoped Peggy would get raped. She was trying to scare her out of moving to Manhattan by saying, “You know you’ll get raped.”

            • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

              Thanks– couldn’t remember the line exactly. Still, pretty shitty thing to say to her daughter!

            • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

              True!

            • makeityourself

              Not strange at all. At my Catholic high school in the ’70s, all of the girls who got pregnant gave their babies up for adoption.

      • Tovah

        Is this something you heard somewhere, or did you infer it from the conversation? I would love for that to happen!

        • http://kburnell.livejournal.com/ kburnell

          I think Laylalola is referring to that tiniest flash of discomfort when Peggy asks Joan how her little boy is. Joan replies, “he’s the man in my life…and how is yours?” Joan is referring to Abe (the man in Peggy’s life), but syntactically, it does create confusion.

          • not_Bridget

            I think it was just a little flashback to the kid. After the first series, I was quite sure she’d let him be adopted. But it was suggested, at first, that the toddler in her sister’s house was hers. They like to toy with us….

            Peggy told Pete the whole story of the adoption.

      • Guest

        wasn’t it with the discussion with Joan? If I remember correctly, Peggy asked Joan about her boy and Joan asked about hers.Then Peggy responded but as if Joan had asked about Abe.

        • MilaXX

          Because Joan called Kevin the ‘man in her life ‘. She was asking Peggy about the man in her life.

      • KateWo

        Peggy asked Joan how little Kevin was, and in return Joan asked how’s yours or something like that. Joan was referring to Abe, not the Peggy Pete baby. Only Don and Pete know she had a baby.

        • pollatadana

          But it is interesting how it can call up Peggy’s other “little boy” for the audience (and possibly for Peggy too, if she hasn’t completely Draperized the memory)

        • MartyBellerMask

          That was a really funny exchange. Peggy didn’t bat an eye when Joan referred to Abe as her “little boy”.

          • MilaXX

            Pretty sure she was referring to the “man in her life”

            • MartyBellerMask

              Yes, but it could be read either way.

              P: “How’s your little boy?”

              J: “He’s the man in my life. How’s yours?”

              To me it sounded more like she was replying to the initial question, as in “how’s YOUR little boy”. Which is why lots of people seem to think she meant the secret baby. I don’t think that, but it is a funny snarky Joan line, calling Abe a little boy. :)

      • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

        Yeah, no. That kid is long gone. They were both talking about Abe.

    • MilaXX

      Alan Sepinwell recap talks a lot about the doppelgängers in this ep. He compare Sylvia to Bobbie Bartlet,but I think the Rachel comparison is more apt. I sort of understood the double effect as a way of introducing the assassination of RFK, but this was an exhausting ep to watch. Watching Don descent is becoming increasingly unpleasant.

      FYI – Alan gave a nice shout out to the Mad Style post. Thanks to that like the rest of us he knew what Don bought Sylvia from Saks would be red.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I was really impatient with Don’s scenes with Sylvia for the most part, and am super glad that part of the story is finished (I’m guessing Sylvia and her husband will be moving to Minnesota so he can work at the Mayo clinic?). I thought the red dress was too much on the nose (yes, we know, he sees her as a prostitute, let’s move on already!). The new dynamic at the agency looks like it will be a good source for stories to come. I was also dubious about Bob’s attention to Joan, but it was nice for someone there to actually treat her like she has some power. Her subtle way of getting them to keep Bob on staff was almost a triumph compared to her track record of other staff decisions (i.e. firing secretaries). I really hope that her ovarian cyst doesn’t turn out to be something more serious though. Not sure if they were really good at detecting things like ovarian cancer at that time.

      Did anyone else notice that several times in the episode when someone called for Scarlett Pete’s secretary would be there instead? Probably doesn’t mean anything, I just noted it and thought it was strange.

      I think my favorite scene last night was of Don’s white knuckled ride on Ted’s plane. The look of sheer panic on his face coupled with Ted’s smirking pretty much summed up the episode.

      • VictoriaDiNardo

        Ted’s “NOT NOW”. Loved that.

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        Scarlett was a good secretary and she is missed. Especially in partners’ meetings when there’s only that whiny little girl to take minutes. Hee.

    • StillGary

      Hardly ever LOL at TV — but the look of terror on Don’s face en flight, was hilarious — #Tedaviatorstud

    • VanessaDK

      Bob Benson is a riddle wrapped in an enigma dressed in a blazer that is a bit too large.

      • bxbourgie

        But he’s so cute though. Then brought over the football for Kevin. I know he’s probably making sure his job isn’t on the line, which is why he does the things he does, but it’s nice to just have him be sweet and kind and helpful, and to think he had no other motives in that moment.

        • Topaz

          Yeah but he followed Pete to a brothel as well. He’s a crawler.

        • P M

          His niceness has a purpose.But Joanie had no choice at that moment. She’s grateful, but she’s no fool. The job-saving was a favour to him for what he did, but I fear it will bite Joan in the ass….

      • AlexKingstonIsMyAvatar

        @VanessaDK – Props on your excellent Doctor Who riff!
        (To everyone else, watch the “Nightmare in Silver” and fall in love with Matt Smith. Warwick Davis was good too.)

    • Mean Dovey Cooledge

      the dreaded triple D: the Descent of Don Draper. Betty will become a senators wife and will return to her former glamourous self; Ted will win the office rooster contest through creativity and character; Peggy will win the Cleo and find happiness and better living conditions with Stan; Syliva will return to her marriage and become the wife of a famous heart transplant surgeon; and so on. Don will be come a drunken irrelevant broken fool. So shall it be written, so shall it be done. Joanie, Sally? who knows, we see so little of them. Last nights Joan was not all that satisfying.

      how is Ted’s last name pronounced?
      Wasnt Oreo good?
      The dying man’s advice to Ted: best line of the episode.

      • Spicytomato1

        Sounds like they pronounce Ted’s last name “Chaw.”

        Oreo was good, but speaking of ads did you notice Sally’s teacher/Don’s mistress in one of the car spots?

        • Mean Dovey Cooledge

          thank you!

      • MK03

        The Oreo spot was neat, but WAY too long.

        • Mean Dovey Cooledge

          agreed

        • roble ridge

          Not just too long, but the lyrics are kinda creepy when they’re juxtaposed with the cartoon-like animation. After the third time I listened to them, I was like, WTF?! Referencing the Three Little Pigs not getting killed by the Big Bad Wolf, a vampire craving milk rather than blood, and sharks not eating baby seals.

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        I hope you’re right on all of those things!

    • VanessaDK

      I finally realized that Harry will complain for the rest of his career, but never actually leave his job.

      • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-mccandless/1a/238/38a Anne

        Did you have a moment when Joan told Peggy she would have Harry’s office where you thought Harry left SCDP unceremoniously and off camera until he appeared a few scenes later? I did.

        • Topaz

          Yeah I totally did.

      • MilaXX

        Doesn’t everyone work with a Harry?

        • AnnaleighBelle

          Sadly, that’s kind of me. I’m lazy.

    • bxbourgie

      So my love for Ted Chaough grows with each passing episode (especially since Kevin Rahm tweeted me and I fluttered about my apartment for 3 whole minutes). Joan, Moira and Meredith were ready to sit on his lap in the conference room after he gave up his seat for Moira. Chivalry is DEAD in that office and Ted brought it back to life. Plus. Ted’s a pilot. And he can’t drink. AND aviator sunglasses. I want to marry Ted Chaough.

      • janneyb

        He even inspired one of the best lines of the episode from Pete Campbell: “My mother can go to hell, and Ted Chaough can fly her there.”

      • Topaz

        That was interesting though. Both Pete and Ted were really using a woman in the room to signal their superiority. It had very little to do with treating her with respect. She had willingly chosen to give up her seat. If one of the guys had stood for Pete they would have all shrugged their shoulders and thought he was a chump. Bob Benson is an obvious example. And I’m seeing more and more that Bob Benson is a male character who’s main problem is not being able to handle the “maleness” of the office. Submissiveness is possibly a touchstone in this episode, then. And the women, by signalling their pleasure at Ted’s move, were showing that they feel they need a man’s protection in the board room. (Not to say the women don’t have a point, but I found the gender dynamics in that scene fascinating). Even Joan, who’s a partner, later had to subtly manipulate a change of decision about Benson’s firing because she didn’t feel able to throw her weight around. But maybe that approach is actually more desirable anyway. It’s all very, well, interesting.

        • Chris

          I think it all fed back into Peggy’s idea of being “strong.” Ted is strong and secure enough not to need a leather chair to feel he is included in the meeting. The other guys see strong as excluding, bullying (even other partners) while Ted sees it as doing the right thing. The strong owe others something. I loved his exchange at the hospital with Frank (?)

          • Topaz

            I don’t know if I really believe that he was solely doing it because it was “the right thing”. He was definitely trying to say something to the other people in the room. And the way he settled himself on that chest of drawers was very self-conscious – he was clearly loving the chance to show his new colleagues that he was the bigger man. He was telling everyone there how he operates, that he’s a laid back kind of guy with no ego. But the desire to project his lack of ego is an egotistical act in itself. He might have a more positive management style, but he’s playing a game same as everyone else in that room.

            • Chris

              I saw it more as the drawers were a little precarious to sit on. He’s definitely in a contest of sorts with Don but I feel like he is reacting to Don’s behavior rather than initiating it. Weiner has shown all season that Ted is a considerate person even when it isn’t for show. Him telling Peggy she should have let the staff go on New Year’s Eve after she had an idea was just between the two of them. Even little things like tidying himself and standing up when Pete’s secretary comes to his office. He’s used to showing respect to people.

            • 3hares

              Yes, I thought it was very self-conscious and silly. It was a partner’s meeting and obviously they all should have had chairs. They didn’t to begin with because Ted was bringing his own secretary who had already had a little power play with Joan.

            • Topaz

              Yes, and imagine a secretary speaking to one of the male partners the way she did to Joan, too.

            • Chris

              I also thought it was strange that Meredith and Ted’s secretary would just sit there while a partner needed a chair. Wouldn’t someone offer to get one? I thought it was telling that it was Ted’s secretary who offered to get up and not Meredith (who is just the receptionist right?) Meredith works there and therefore knows exactly who Pete is and what his position is there.

            • MK03

              Remember, though, Meredith is an idiot. The girl thought she had to explain what “ascending order” means to a room full of executives. Such a hilarious dum-dum.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Well, he WAS playing the same game. He even dressed the part. But he saw where that got him. His triumph came later when he was being himself, and dressing like it.
              But also, yes, he invited Moira along, which is why there was no chair. He probably wanted to keep her comfortable.
              I snickered when he jumped into Pete’s chair when he had to rush out.

            • Aurumgirl

              He is, but he is also setting a much higher standard than the one set by Don. He does it with the creatives, too; and he does it face to face, with Don, twice (in calling Don out for his lateness to the Fleishmann meeting, and again in the plane). Ted’s mentoring efforts with Peggy have actually brought her not just accomplishment but confidence, and she is now much more aware of her power and worth than she would ever have been with Don. So, yes, perhaps Don unconsciously chose a partner who would challenge him in a way he wouldn’t be prepared to control as easily, someone who could beat all of his “tricks” and manipulations just by being capable, confident, and competent. Poor Ted just needed a lesson to realize that Don’s only fighting tools are all dirty (and it was good that Gleason could see it so clearly and remind Ted to be ready for it).

            • Topaz

              Fundamentally, I suppose, Ted actually has a management strategy, whereas Don just gets grumpy with people. Ted clearly sat down at some point and tried to figure out how to run a business. Don’s always been able to rely on his instinct in the past to see him through. Think of all those killer pitches. But his instincts are letting him down again and again these days.

              I guess what I’m saying is, DUH DUH DUH, Ted is a “Man With a Plan”

              Wow. I just blew my own mind.

            • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

              Yes. It was all laid out last week, when Joan yelled at Don. He’s gotten by this far basically by the skin of his teeth. He has no plan, whether it be life or career – it’s just play things by ear, and charm or strongarm people into doing what he wants. He expects people to actually show up for meetings and to be in the office during the work day. Theirs is a battle of wills, and I really hope that Ted wins out.

            • SonOfSaradoc

              A FLIGHT Plan.

              (Though flying in IFR conditions is incredibly stupid. At least he knew to trust his instruments, unlike another Kennedy who met his demise.)

            • AnnaleighBelle

              “unlike another Kennedy who met his demise.”

              I was thinking that as well.

            • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.quinn.14 Ellen Quinn

              I thought the plane ride was meant to evoke the Kennedys’ long history with plane crashes, from Joe Jr to JFK Jr.

              However, JFK Jr was only VFR certified, and flying in IFR conditions. As Ted said, sometimes you don’t know if you are up or down.

            • KateWo

              I think Ted has a plan to run a company, Bob Benson has a plan to move up, and, well, Don has a plan to keep a woman in a hotel room waiting for sex.

            • http://twitter.com/mousetomato Helene Hertzlinger

              Bob Benson is also a “man with a plan.”

          • Spicytomato1

            Yes!

          • librarygrrl64

            “Ted is strong and secure enough not to need a leather chair to feel he is included in the meeting.”

            Absolutely. As I commented elsewhere, he is confident enough that he has earned a place at the table, even if he is sitting on the credenza. ;-)

      • Chris

        Kevin Rahm tweeted you? So cool! (Or groovy as Ted would say :0) I am officially envious! I think a lot of people have a Ted Chaugh crush now but you can say you were on the forefront.

    • melissaisasnob

      Leaving the red dress behind and not hearing Megan, makes me think that Don is surrendering to marriage. The stereotypical marriage in which it is viewed as a prison.

      • KateWo

        Right, I don’t know if the Megan fade out meant the marriage would break up or that Don would surrender to it. Either way it made me feel for Megan, happily talking about how they should take a trip together completely unknowing of how awful Don is. I couldn’t tell if he felt dread or guilt.

      • AZU403

        In looking for an underlying theme or the episode, what came to me was imprisonment: Don putting Silvia in the hotel room; Pete keeping his mother in his apartment, albeit begrudgingly; Don at the mercy of Ted (hee hee) in the tiny airplane; Harry moved to an office he doesn’t want to be in; Frank in his hospital bed; Don returning perforce to his wife.

    • VanessaDK

      It was very moving to see how much of a mentor Gleason must have been to Chaough, and what a big loss his death will be to him.

      • not_Bridget

        I wish we’d got to know Gleason before he got sick…

      • Mani @ Iz and Oz

        Gleason and Chaough’s friendship was a gem in this episode, even if it was short lived. It showed the good side of how the business can be – where your colleagues can be respected and even your friends – as opposed SDCP, where everyone’s at each other’s throats half the time and going behind their backs the other half.

      • P M

        He’s a wise old samurai “If I wait long enough by the river, the body of my enemy will float by”

        • decormaven

          I loved that line. It was great to have that moment of humanity in the episode in the midst of Don/Sylvia’s excruciating tryst.

    • HobbitGirl

      I’m not bored at all by the Don storyline, but I think that’s because the shift in the show’s take on him has been gradual enough that I’m a little bit surprised by how pathetic he’s become. That scene where Sylvia’s lying on top of him this episode was such a visual callback to the opening affair he had with the village-girl brunette — what was her name? — but now it’s 8 years on and he hasn’t learned a thing. Where the show used to portray him as a glamorous asshole, now he’s much more sad and pitiful.

      Don’s lost his ability to read people, I think. He used to be very good at identifying what people wanted and giving it to them. With his pitches this season and with Sylvia, he’s lost his touch: he can’t see what people want and he can’t identify potential consequences nearly so well. He just keeps getting more and more wrapped up in himself. The scenes this episode where he’s made to realize that he’s not the coolest kid in the room anymore — Ted’s plane stuff, Sylvia finally saying “enough” — were delicious.

      Meanwhile, I continue to lodge myself firmly on Team Roger. He’s just always so sardonically delighted with everything.

      • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

        I think that’s absolutely right. People don’t change for a lot of reasons, but Don’s is that it’s kept working for him, and now that it isn’t as reliable as it used to be, he’s finding himself less and less able to remember how to please others on their own terms to get what he wants (like how he got the job in the first place).

        He’s a bridge-burner, too. For instance, yes, they needed to dump Jaguar to get Chevy, but he burned that bridge to the ground so if ever they would like to go back to Jaguar (or work with people on that team that have moved elsewhere and might have been new opportunities), there’s no way. And he’s done that a lot. I think that approach may come back to haunt him at some point.

      • janneyb

        I am also getting a Team Roger t-shirt. This season has seen him in great form and his scene firing Burt Peterson was hilarious.

        • librarygrrl64

          That scene was a lesson in perfection. The script, the direction, the design, the performances, all pitch perfect.

        • buddy100

          I actually think that was pretty disgusting. I was sickened to see the lying often-lazy Roger being so brutal to a middle-aged widower. Burt Peterson may have been brash the first time around, but the dude had a dying cancerous wife. And besides, no matter what, you should always let someone exit with some dignity unless you have a truly good reason.

          What the scene was great for, however, was setting up yet another direct contrast between CGC and SDCP.

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            From an acting and story standpoint, that scene was brilliant. But Burt brought up the fact he was a widower in the episode with the Carson ear story recounter (which was good because I actually forgot who he was). The fact that Burt lost his wife to cancer and his job was important enough to be repeated, even subtly. I think that act will come back to bite Roger in the ass. It’s funny in a callback sense, but it showed how ruthless and sociopathic Roger actually is.

            • buddy100

              Absolutely. You could tell that John Slattery had a blast directing that scene, and he maximized Roger’s brutal wit to its full force. It does seem that karma is becoming one of the big themes of this season: things are finally coming back to gnaw on the characters’ amoral behinds. I really do hope Burt gets his comeuppance because I think it will some fine writing on that theme. Roger’s humor, so often his weapon and saving grace, will finally end up a double-edged sword.

      • KateWo

        I think Dons affairs are paralleling the audiences relationship to Don. First you’re charmed and sucked in and then you realize he’s crap. I remember wanting Rachel to say yes to running off with Don, but I couldn’t wait for Sylvia to dump him last night. Hopefully he channels his energy into work.

        • HobbitGirl

          Oh, I like that. That’s totally the case, too. He used to be sexy in a “bad boy” kind of way. Now he’s kind of verging into “sad old man” territory.

        • Sobaika

          There are a lot of callbacks to Rachel Menken and their relationship – there was a scene where Don asked her to beg for it and she quietly said “yes, please” like an obedient child. 5 years later he’s making women put his shoes on for him.

        • flamingoNW

          Bingo. I was irritated at him and uncomfortable the whole time, but then the way it wrapped up with Sylvia was so satisfying because he had been such a shit the whole episode.

    • VictoriaDiNardo

      The other day I was discussing the structure of Mad Men with my husband, who watches like he watches Project Runway – glances at it from his iPad while I’m watching it, and makes occasional observations. It has seemed to me that Mad Men has a lot in come with The Soprano’s in it’s form: story centered on a business that can be very brutal, side stories of characters that interweave and involve sexual infidelity, story plotting in the long form, even the often revealing final music comment in each episode. But most prominently, central character who is charismatic but really an awful person, who you come to understand but despise. And has major mother issues.

      In The Sopranos, you always knew Tony was a killer and without morals, but he kind of charmed you, until you really realized his full immorality. I think Don Draper is the same. This episode is kind of a turning point to me.

    • formerlyAnon

      Don & Sylvia didn’t bother me for *what* it was, but *how* it was. There are lots of ways that sex can be about power and it be a positive experience for the participants (some not requiring even mild domination/submission play). The problem with them was that it wasn’t play, it wasn’t positive, not for either of them. Don’s behavior was as compulsive, as necessary to him, and as ultimately joyless and insufficient as cutting is to those driven to self-harm.

      If only Peggy & Joan could enjoy a real friendship.

      Yeah, I felt bad for Pete. Being a grown up is hard, sometimes. Still don’t like him.

      Yes, my memories of RFK’s assassination was that it felt like the continuation of a weird nightmare, some kind of mythic curse levied on the Kennedy family even more than it felt like a blow against a rational society. Of course, we were a Democratic, partly Irish, Catholic household. The adults saw the Kennedy family as icons.

      A lot happened, but it felt like moving pieces on the chessboard to get them into position for later continuation of the “real” story. If the entire series turns into the Ballad of Don’s Decline and Fall, without some balancing satisfying story development for Peggy, *at least,* I’m going to walk away with a sour feeling.

      • Topaz

        I like that Peggy and Joan aren’t friends. They know they have almost nothing in common, but respect each other hugely as colleagues. That seems like a pretty positive relationship.

        • formerlyAnon

          You’re probably more realistic than I, but I’m reading into it my own experiences working in predominantly male environments, I guess. Now that Joan is doing the financial work that Layne used to do (which I see as even more important than her partnership), I feel like they’re professionally on a more even keel and could each benefit from a closer feminine solidarity. When Peggy was promoted out of the secretarial staff, she and Joan were on different sides of a divide that might be uncomfortable for each of them and which Peggy might not want to be seen crossing. As different as they are, there are things which they will see, that the guys don’t – or which they’ll see from a different perspective from the guys.

    • Frank G

      I’m sure this is deliberate but the more I like Ted, the less I like Don. I really wanted Peggy to pin the asshole against the wall for getting Ted drunk.

      Also, so we got rid of fake-Peggy? They said they axed someone from creative.

      • MilaXX

        Yes Marge was fired

        • Sobaika

          I felt bad for her – after she met Peggy she nodded at Stan and Ginsberg saying, “It was nice knowing you.”

          • librarygrrl64

            Yes, that was a great line. Good luck out there, Marge!

          • MilaXX

            and that also makes me worried about the fates of Dawn & Phyllis.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              It’ll be interesting if Dawn and Phyllis don’t care for each other, in the same way that Peggy and Joan didn’t get along.

          • purkoy28

            there is only room for one woman creative in those days

        • Pennymac

          FYI Margaret Peggy Marge Meg= all forms of the same name. I thought it interesting.

          • MilaXX

            Yep more dopplegangers

          • Aurumgirl

            Me too. And the minute we learned Marge’s name (which hadn’t been mentioned until this episode, I think) I realized she was going to be the redundant party in the group (we don’t need 2 Peggies!). So did she.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I loved the little vignette of her and Ginzo playing Cats Cradle in the background. She seemed like a pretty nice, yet sassy lady.

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

      I loved the scene in the airplane. It reminded me of the scene in “Annie Hall”, where Diane Keaton’s batshit brother (Christopher Walken) is driving them to the airport and talking about how he has always fantasized intentionally crashing a car. Don looked just like Woody Allen did in that scene.

      • VictoriaDiNardo

        So funny – I said to my husband – “where’s Christopher Walken?”

    • sarahjane1912

      My GOD yes: such a stir of echoes in tonight’s episode! I started watching this 10 hours ago but kept harking back [and checking previous TLo posts] to give credence to all those little signs!

      Thankfully, having my own magical history tour helped [not much, but some] deal with Mr Unadulterated A*Hole of the season [series?] Don Draper. Words fail me. Okay, they don’t, but I’m trying to keep this clean and all I can think of is wanting to bash him about the head and rain curses on his character. Shudder.

      Hated [but also kinda enjoyed because of the Roger/vomit incident from earlier in the series] what Don did to Ted. And absolutely adored Ted getting his own back. BURN!

      There’s so much more, just so much more … Can’t believe Sylvia is finally feeling shame! What: it took Don treating you like an actual hooker [or some vanilla version of 'O'] to make you feel like that? Sheesh. About time you kicked him to the kerb, lady, but the fact that it only took being trapped in a hotel and a slutty red dress to do it seemed … overdue.

      Peggy! Peggy puts Don in his place [and he TRIES to do it to her but majorly fails lol!]: I so so hope that she sticks to her guns and makes that Coffee Chief job work for her. Otherwise, she’s audi.

      Joan defending BB and saving him his job. Maybe she pays more attention to Mom than we thought?! Hmmm!

      Thanks again, guys. Fab recap. Love your work.

    • VanessaDK

      Best line? “I’ll just bother you the whole way out and no one will know” (Bob to Joan)

      • VeryClaire

        Yes, had to laugh seeing that Bob has some self-awareness. I’m surprised he only had one coke in the hospital scene. Doesn’t he usually carry two beverages?

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Bob also demonstrated great diplomatic skills when he got Joan moved up in the line to see the doctor (he knew the best way was to flatter the nurse’s skills and expertise). I think behind his howdy-doody exterior he is probably quite good at reading people–which could either lead to very good or very bad things.

          • MrsAtaxxia

            I noticed that too. It made me wonder how much of his aww-shucks stuff is a put on, and if he is really much, much shrewder than he first appeared.

            • librarygrrl64

              Yes, I don’t completely trust Bob yet.

            • MrsAtaxxia

              Me either, but like a lot of other people I was just so happy someone was being nice to Joan I was almost willingly to overlook possibilities of shady motives. It was just so wonderful to see someone help her when she really needed help. Also, it would be nice if he tuned out to be a genuinely good guy who was very ambitious but wasn’t a total shit like just about everyone else. It’s getting morally exhausting to be invested in all these assholes.

            • librarygrrl64

              Yes to everything you just said. :-)

            • MrsAtaxxia

              Plus even if he is putting on the aww-shucks bit, one can hope its just to get by in the office and not for totally nefarious purposes.

            • formerlyAnon

              “It’s getting morally exhausting to be invested in all these assholes.”

              Exactly how I’m feeling.

          • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

            I mentioned elsewhere that he’s learning the ropes in the Accounts area of things, and knowing how to read people and tell them what they want to hear is all part of the job.

            • charlotte

              He should team up with Ken and form a new agency called “Sunny Side Up Inc.”.

            • Topaz

              Except Ken can’t stand him – probably because Ken is a natural at everything Bob wants to seem to be

          • KateWo

            Right, I felt like it was exactly something Joan would have done for someone. He also picked up on the fact that Joan would never want the office to see her in that state by offering her help out. He also knows that it’s good to have Joan’s respect. He’s a smart cookie.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Yes, Bob is a suck-up, but he’s a suck-up with heart.

        • Zaftiguana

          Or…he’s a suck-up who’s very, very good at making people see what he wants them to see in order to get what he wants. Which worries me.

    • jen_wang

      I like how gentle and together Sylvia is when she breaks up with him. That’s all it takes to reveal his power play, however extreme, as the total facade that it is (especially when she corrects him about being ashamed, not satisfied). She’s been a basically decent person with some empathy for Don, and it’s over when she understands that he doesn’t want a person, he wants a faceless, uncomplicated thing. The fade out over Megan’s voice was heavy-handed; I didn’t think we need that to show Don isn’t interested in his women’s actual thoughts.

      • MartyBellerMask

        I was not a Sylvia fan, but her admission of shame redeemed her.

        • roble ridge

          I thought it was interesting that she stated that it was easy to give something up when you’re ashamed of it. She was talking about herself, but that line was also applicable to Don, who’s given up monumental parts from his past because of his shame. The thing that stands out the most to me is how he gave up his brother.

      • HobbitGirl

        I think it’s more than that, though. She’s planning time for them together (she wants to go back to Hawaii without ad business), and he can’t handle that either. It’s more than “Don doesn’t listen to women.” It’s that Don can’t be bothered to imagine himself interacting with any human being anymore.

        • jen_wang

          I agree with you; I didn’t really mean just “Don doesn’t listen to women”. When he leaves the hotel room and sees the red dress on the bed, I wondered if it just illustrated that Sylvia wasn’t interested in wearing that costume for him anymore (or taking on the role it represents), or if (more optimistically) it meant that Don was somehow going to learn to leave that relationship to women behind. I took the fade out as meaning that it’s likely not the latter. He’s still not interested in his partners’ thoughts or them as people; or more to the point, he’s not capable of it.

          • Moriginal

            Did I just read his facial expression wrong in that scene? Because I didn’t see a bored-tuned-out look on his face while Megan was talking, it looked like something was clicking together for him and I thought there was just a hint of a smile.

            • bxbourgie

              I didn’t see a smile… if he did smile it was one of those “let me smile so she thinks I’m actually listening to what she’s saying…” smiles. What I saw was a man who tried to manipulate all kinds of things this episode and failed miserably at all of them. Things don’t usually go that way for Don. Don always wins. He wins the beautiful wife (and the second beautiful wife), he wins clients, he wins accounts, he wins mistresses. This is new for him. He’s failing personally and professionally.

            • Kwei-lin Lum

              Actually, I saw a distinct slight smile. I thought it was interesting that he was with his wife at home and he seemed to be putting on his pleasant public face like he does a lot. You might be right with the “let me smile so she thinks…” analysis. It’s very hard to watch someone flail when the rules change 180 degrees.

          • HobbitGirl

            I really hope that Peggy can help drag him out of this. His greatest moment of humanity was helping her through her pregnancy; it would be lovely symmetry if she could help him recover himself too.

        • formerlyAnon

          I thought it (the fadeout of Megan) was maybe one of the saddest moments of the episode – Don can’t/won’t be bothered to even passively engage positively with his wife. They are on entirely parallel paths and once Megan sees it, and sees that it doesn’t matter what she does or says, he’s pulled back, it’ll be over. Up until this moment, I’ve never been *sure* he and Megan were going to break up (within the timeframe of the show). I’ve felt that staying together in some dysfunctional/misguidedly loyal, even one-sidedly loving partnership for quite a long time was possible, as long as Don was willing to engage with Megan positively even intermittently & occasionally.

          • jen_wang

            Yeah. The blocking in that last scene really reflected that to me; Don walking right past her despite how shaken she is, and the shot of them facing perpendicular directions.

          • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

            To me, that moment was sad because it reflected the depth of his loneliness and detachment from everyone and everything. He’s sitting 2 feet away from this lovely woman who is in love with him but he might as well be a galaxy away. I know a lot of people find it hard to feel for Don, but I was moved.

      • librarygrrl64

        “I like how gentle and together Sylvia is when she breaks up with him. That’s all it takes to reveal his power play, however extreme, as the total facade that it is (especially when she corrects him about being ashamed, not satisfied).”

        Great observation. :-)

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      “My mother can go to hell. Ted Chaough can fly her
      there.” I mean classic Pete

      • VanessaDK

        Twisted Mother’s Day note: yet again, Pete is failing at something Don Draper did–have an elderly parent move in with him–like Betty’s Dad in the Draper household. But Pete has no wife to take care of his mom because he burned that bridge.

        • formerlyAnon

          Yep. And the fact that Trudy isn’t even temporarily babysitting Mom till an institutional setting can be found proves just how burnt that bridge is. Even people who know they are separated – let alone any who believe in their facade of marriage – would NEVER IN TEN THOUSAND YEARS think that Pete (working male) take care of his mother when Trudy (stay at home mom) existed. Even someone who knew they were divorcing would probably assume that Trudy would pick up the slack, at least for a few weeks or months.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Yeah I think Pete was having an episode-long tantrum. First, he’s angry
          that his move to go public was thwarted, he’s lost two accounts, he’s
          lost Trudy, and then Don decided on a merger without informing him even though it affects him. And no one throws a tantrum like Pete. Plus, I think he is a little jealous of Ted. Pete has always wanted Don to like him and now Ted is Don’s new partner in crime. And now they throw him being a crappy son into the mix…your right Don would have at least hired someone to do it…instead Pete has maintenance (?) making his mom a G&T.

          • 3hares

            Don would have had a secretary or a wife take care of her and then pawned her off on someone asap. He would never have wound up the sole caretaker of…anybody.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              completely, his was fine with Betty’s dad because Betty/her maid was doing all the work.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          OH! That’s a great point. Geez, I completely forgot about the senile parent plotline. (And Tammy is too young to learn how to illegally drive!)

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Regarding the almost firing of Bob Benson, I wonder if he’s going to turn out to be a mole for another ad agency and Joan is going to regret not firing him. Either that or he’s a possible love interest that will go south and she’s going to regret firing him. BTW, I was also wondering if his name is nod to the restaurant, Ben Benson’s in New York. It’s a steakhouse that is the type of place that has a very clubby, male atmosphere and feels like a restaurant out of Mad Men.

    • http://twitter.com/FranticButFab Heidi/FranticButFab

      This was episode 7, so we’re halfway through the season now, yes? There were so many little character-setup moments that I can’t wait to see where they’ll all end up.

      Two stray thoughts: Where the hell is Dawn? And the Saks dress Don sent over to Sylvia at the hotel was *red.* (When I noticed this, I felt like such a good student of Profs. T & Lo! Can’t wait for Mad Style now :)

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Me too! I said “uh oh, it’s a red dress!” to my bf, and it made no sense to him (he’s not a regular Mad Men watcher), but I knew what it meant right away.

      • lorem_ipsum

        I’m also wondering where Dawn is. It seemed that nobody knew why she wasn’t there, and they very clearly focused on her being missing multiple times. Seems very ominous to me.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      The best line of the night, “my mother can go to hell and Ted Chaugh can fly her there.”

      • CatherineRhodes

        Oh yes, and the way it’s delivered with his clipped WASP accent is perfect.

      • librarygrrl64

        I laughed out loud at that. VK has great comic timing, and has the gift of making Pete’s rages both helplessly pathetic and funny.

    • VanessaDK

      Oh–and Peggy does own the building!

      • MartyBellerMask

        I’m glad they cleared that up. It was vague. Also, I think it’s cool that they bought the building. But I hope they hire someone to really fix it, then kick the crazy lady out.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      I had really high expectations for last night’s episode after last week’s great switch-up with losing clients but the agencies merging. I was hoping that last night was going to be filled with more plot twists, but instead we had more of mopey Don. Actually, there was a change in that he’s getting creepier. What happened to the guy that got the car for the agency last week no matter who was effected?

    • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

      I was so happy when Sylvia calmly ended things with Don. She was such a grown-up in those moments. To me, it was clear that this affair for her grew out of a difficult transitional time in her life and marriage and when she realized where Don was coming from, she also realized she was above the uncomfortable, controlling tawdriness he was trying to turn their dalliance into. She liked talking to him as much as she liked fucking him, and his desire to shut her up and control her destroyed her illusions about what they were doing.

      • roble ridge

        Yes. And the final scene of Sylvia, dressed, in the hotel room was almost motherly when she told Don “It’s time to go home now.” The look on Don’s face as he said “Please.” was like that of a little boy. It’s a great scene because she essentially kills his fantasy, kills his control over her and she renders him powerless.

        Also, the way she was dressed was in her proper dress with a floral print (the color scheme of dead flowers, TLo!) Sylvia is no longer the prostitute. She’s now returned to her proper housewife dress and posture. She exudes a motherly tone when she tells him it’s time to go home. And we all know that women who are motherly hold power over Don.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Yes, and she left Don’s present behind in the hotel room, leaving the role as Don’s mistress too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bert.keeter Bert Keeter

      It’s Monday AM…and an entire week of TnL ahead…..all is well with the world!

    • http://twitter.com/AShinyOConnor A Shiny O’Connor

      Burt Petersen’s going to go postal.

      • OrigamiRose

        Or Pete Campbell.

        • http://twitter.com/AShinyOConnor A Shiny O’Connor

          I think Pete’s going out the window. Burt’s rage cannot be contained for long.

    • Andrea Gates Sanford

      The book (that Don takes away from Sylvia and is trying to read on the plane) is Larry McMurtry’s “The Last Picture Show”, a story about a man frustrated by his isolation and feeling trapped by his dead-end small town circumstances, not having a clue about who he is, sleeping with women for no reason other than to escape… It’s certainly not “Something” by RWEmerson!!

      • librarygrrl64

        Thank you! I kept trying to see the full cover, but couldn’t.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I also loved how shocked Ted seemed to be at everyone’s behavior and how unprofessional they are. Don getting drunk? Leaving to screw during the day? Just another day at SCDP. It’s all unprofessional. I also liked how Don kept looking for Dawn and she wasn’t at her desk. Are we to think she’s talking to Phyllis (because I would love that!) or because she’s too busy….Also like how Dawn loves cats! Glad she’s personalized her space, that’s a sign she feels comfortable there. Phyllis is such a stylish lady, I hope we get to see more of her.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Another ‘changing of the guard’ moment… That might have been how Don ran things, but there’s going to be serious head butting going on between Ted and Don moving forward because their work ethics (literally and figuratively) are so different. Plus, ted is Don’s equal in this new endeavor, so Don isn’t going to be able to assume that everyone will just wait around for him to get stuff done.

    • Nikko Viquiera

      Totally irrelevant but please do a recap of the Revenge Finale!!!!

    • jen_wang

      Peggy calling Dawn excellent didn’t remind me of her and Lois right away, but it *did* remind me of her freaking out to Joan about what to do in S1, when Betty showed up at the office, and Don was off with his mistress somewhere. I think she respects that Dawn just knew what to do in that situation, not only because Lois didn’t know, but that she knew without being told.

      • Musicologie

        I’m glad TLo mentioned it, because that one line brought up both associations for me. That’s good writing.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Actually, I hate to say it but that line, along with “As long as I don’t have to share Phyllis” made me think Peggy was just trying to remind everyone that she’s not racist at all and totally cool with negroes.

        • sweetlilvoice

          I think she knows the value of a good secretary when she sees it. And I doubt she wants to be ratted out when she goes to the movies.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Sylvia needs a hobby.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Yeah, what does she do all day?

    • Candigirl1968

      I don’t think that the book episode was the final straw (simply) because of its dickishness. I think Sylvia realized with Don’s attempt to take away every last distraction that would prevent him from being the center of her universe, and his sad attempts at being the boss in the bedroom that he was a bottomless well of neediness and a drowning man whose need for an anchor would eventually pull her under if she didn’t shut things down. Her line about only having room to take care of Arnold said it all.

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      He is a man who knows in his soul that he is stuck and out of control of his own life and emotions. Therefore he spent the episode trying to exact some control on others. But he’s not all powerful. Ted showed him that two could play at that game in a BIG way and so did Sylvia. Don’s face was priceless in both those scenes. He sat on the edge of that bed at the end, wearing the same shirt and tie as Bobby Kennedy and you saw a man unravelling and unable to make sense of anything or control what’s happening around him.

    • trixietru

      Don is a dinosaur. He will never be a heart surgeon, never be a pilot, and like margarine- hes an imitation striving to be the real thing. His concept for dressing imposter-butter up by surrounding it with wholesome genuineness was as stale and formulaic as he is. Don and margarine are frauds.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Nice analysis.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659113572 Suzanne Szlaius

        Nice insight and my favorite line on the board today; “Don and margarine are frauds” True that!

      • http://twitter.com/TigerLaverada TigerLaverada

        Disagree. You may think Don’s concept for margarine was stale & formulaic, but that’s 2013 talking. In 1968 — and hell, even now — that could be a killer concept if executed well.

        Draper may be a Class 5 asshole, but he’s written as a real advertising creative.

    • MartyBellerMask

      And Cutler’s “last hired, first fired” line recalled the episode (please don’t ask me to remember which one, I know a lot of you do though!) where they fired Jane’s cousin Danny Seigel.
      And isn’t that when they had to hire Ginsberg because they promised a Jewish copywriter? Am I muddling up some episodes?
      And it was for Mohawk, wasn’t it. Ooooh… they are really tying the episodes together, Mohawk was big in this episode. Hmmmm.

    • CatherineRhodes

      Kinky domination games only work if both parties are playing. Sylvia wasn’t interested, but the person who was a willing partner in “master and servant” was Megan — the last scene was Don finally realizing what he wants is already there. However, that is a rational, conscious thought. The problem with human beings is that we’re often dragged around by our sub-conscious thoughts.

      • trixietru

        Since Don cringed eavesdropping on the Rosens I thought he was pushing the 91/2 Weeks bit because he feared being saddled with a newly separated Sylvia. That he wanted/needed Sylvia to believe the break up was her idea. Maybe the domination ruse was self sabotage to avoid risk of intimacy? Either way, am relieved Megan will be spared the humiliation of the affair’s exposure under her own roof.

        • Synnamin

          I don’t think it was intended as self-sabotage, but definitely as a way of reducing her as a person. She became a whore, a thing to be used as he desired. That’s all fun and games if she was really into it, but that wasn’t what she wanted/needed. She wanted the thrill of being taken outside of herself and the misery of her situation (which the game provided, which is why she went along at first), but ultimately, she needed a shoulder to cry on and a safe place. Don wasn’t going to give her that.

          • http://twitter.com/TigerLaverada TigerLaverada

            Exactly how I perceived her psychology, too.

    • Wellworn

      I am thinking more and more that Bob might turn out to be the new Don by the end of the show’s run. He is similarly cute, similar in coloring. We don’t know anything about his background and he doesn’t seem to do anything but try to be charming and obsequious. It could be that Don started out the same way in the agency, and worked his way up. Bob just might do the same, and who knows what kind of skeletons are in his closet.

      • AZU403

        So far Bob has been personable and ingratiating, but we haven’t heard any actual creative ideas from him, so it remains to be seen what his true role will be.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          He’s not Creative; he’s Accounts.

          • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

            And accounts is all about schmoozing, knowing the right people, and being in the right place at the right time. He’s certainly practicing these skills, and it’ll be interesting to see how fat it gets him.

            • AZU403

              So he does have a job!

    • Pennymac

      This was definitely a polarizing episode for me. My love/hate relationship with Don Draper is teetering on disgust and dismay at the arc his character is inevitably taking.

      But I can’t stop wanting to watch.

      Wait, Did I just get “Room 503’d” by Matt Weiner?

    • CatherineRhodes

      Question: I thought the point of the merger was to create a super-agency that was big enough to handle the Chevy account, maybe open an office in Detroit. So why are people being laid off?

      • http://twitter.com/ZoeyCharles7 Zoey

        Redundancies. That’s pretty typical for mergers.

    • librarygrrl64

      “Move forward.”
      I wanted to stand up and cheer at that moment. Peggy nailed it on the advice front.

      “Is it possible we have the capacity to feel sorry for Pete?”
      Yes, I certainly did. He can be a bag if dicks at times, but there is enough good in him to keep me interested.

      “Domination play in sex isn’t a bad thing necessarily. But Don’s domination was cruel (taking her book away seemed to be the final straw for Sylvia) and egotistical, and born out of a need to control, control, control everyone around him so that they can’t get a bead on him and figure him out for the mess of a man he is.”
      Spot-on with both of those observations. D/s stuff can be fun and playful, but those scenes made me squirm in discomfort (as they were undoubtedly supposed to do). Cardellini did a great job. You could see everything that was going through Sylvia’s mind. But I did a little, “Ohhhhh, HELL no. This is an ITALIAN woman you are dealing with, Draper!” when he told her to crawl and get his shoes. I was half-expecting her to go over, get them, then throw them at his head. ;-)

      I also loved, LOVED the SCDP employees’ reactions to Ted’s chivalry in the conference room, an action that showed not only his basic good-guyness, but his confidence. He doesn’t need a chair to exert his authority and status. He’s “at the table” even when he is sitting on the credenza. You can bet that none of the SCDP men would ever give up his seat for a male co-worker, let alone a female one, LET ALONE a secretary. Kudos to Slattery as the episode’s director. He is expert at finding the humor and the detail in scenes like these.

      • Violaine

        Yes to the chivalry moment awkwardness. Loved Roger’s comment “Now that we’ve got the gallantry over with…”

        • librarygrrl64

          Slattery, you scene stealer, you. ;-)

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Yes, I can’t stand Pete, and he’s one of the most f*cked up characters in the bunch, but every once in a while he says or does something to hint that he does have a heart.

        • librarygrrl64

          Agreed. Rarely have I felt sorry for Don, but I have for Pete more than once. Maybe it’s because he tries, maybe it’s because his demons aren’t quite so entrenched as Don’s are.

          • purkoy28

            i love pete, i think he is great and cute, sure hes an assshole, but all of them are in their own ways. he just depressed and lonely.

          • LesYeuxHiboux

            I feel sorry for Pete because he has chosen a life goal that is so much against his nature/abilities. He could have had a happy life being a high-status businessman with Trudy as the perfect partner to achieve his ends if he wasn’t entranced by the mystique of Don Draper and The Creatives. He suffers and stumbles over and over again reaching for something that wouldn’t even satisfy him if he was capable of reaching it. I think it is that hope and yearning in Pete, the fact that he is deeply invested and still trying in the things he does (no matter how rotten), that makes me able to empathize with him over soulless user Don.

            Don’s “demons” are nothing more than his excuses.

            • librarygrrl64

              All of those points about Pete are good ones, yes. That and the fact that he sometimes values the “wrong” things.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I wonder what Ted would have been like as a boss way back when, if Pete had chosen to work with him instead. Pete made the incorrect choice and went right back into his hellhole, where Peggy made the right choice. They’re totally like Goofus and Gallant.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        The thing that I noticed when Ted gave up his seat was that even though he wasn’t directly AT the table, he was then head and shoulders above everyone else in the room, thus still showing some authority.

        • librarygrrl64

          Nice observation!

          • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

            It hinted back to when someone said earlier in the episode that he seemed shorter in person, or something like that. Was it Pete who said that?

            • purkoy28

              it was ginsburg who said that

            • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

              Thanks, you’re totally right. How could I have forgotten THAT awkward exchange?

      • P M

        I fully expected her to, for no better reason than it would have been AWESOME. I would have done that myself ;-)

        • librarygrrl64

          Oh, it would have been full-on shoes –> face from me. But, then again, I would never have been in that situation in the first place, so I guess I’m no judge. ;-)

          • P M

            Fair point.

    • T. Sticks

      I just noticed something on second viewing:
      SDCP or whatever the firm is now has duplicates or “copies” of everything.
      Butter vs. Margarine (a “copy”) or imitation of butter that no one likes because it’s not as good as butter (and during this creative conversation the men in the background are wheeling by equipment that made me think of a copy machine (not sure if that’s what it was).
      Sylvia to Don: “I want you and nothing else will do.”
      “I just spoke to Dawn,” Peggy.
      Ted: “Black or white?”
      Moira to Joan, “I need a copy. He’s not going to change anything but he’s going to be angry if he doesn’t know what it is.”
      Mohawk plane is not as good as Ted having his own plane.
      Ted “I have something better for the clients. I have this bar cart wheeled in.”
      There are LOTS of other examples.

      And, just have to say, the scene with Roger and Bert P. made me laugh out loud! Also loved Bert’s comment to Bob on the stairs. So great to have John Slattery directing this one with all the funny moments in it.

      • Mod_girl

        Nice! This plays into the Season 6 poster as well (with 2 versions of “Don” looking back at each other)

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        “I just spoke to Dawn,” Peggy.
        Ted: “Black or white?”

        That made me laugh out loud.

        • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

          Oh I just got that. I didn’t quite understand what Ted was asking. Heh!

      • the_archandroid

        Also Roger and Cutler as being copies of each other

    • http://twitter.com/marared Jaime

      I got the impression that Don’s little foray into domination was his attempt at taking control of at least *one* aspect of his life, when everything else (his marriage, his job, his relationship with his kids) is spiraling into one big clusterf*ck. He really needs to hit bottom and get it over with!

    • http://twitter.com/FelinGood Felin Good

      Don’s behavior isn’t likable, but I think he remains our hero. Why do some of us want the opening credit sequence to be foreshadowing? I’m still rooting for Don’s redemption plot. He is an adulterer, and he can be cruel, but the writers have shown us where his sexual confusion and controlling behaviors come from.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ruthieoo Ruthie O

      Two scattered thoughts:

      More Don’s death imagery with Sylvia’s dream. Interesting how so much imagery surrounding Don specifically involves him falling from the sky (broken elevator, the ad for the Hawaii resort, Sylvia’s dream, title sequence); now, Megan is planning a flight to Hawaii. Foreshadowing? I don’t believe we are going towards a literal death for Don, as much as a figurative one; I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. Also, all images of Don’s death are quick, instantaneous deaths: right before he falls from a great distance, he is still “sexy, suave Don.” Contrast that with the slow, painful, and unsexy death of Ted’s friend.

      I love that Ted said “yellow” when they were free associating about margarine. I so connect yellow with Peggy; I wonder if Ted does as well.

      • Chris

        All I kept thinking through the episode was how all the women relating to Ted had yellow on or were carrying a yellow notebook or even Peggy had a yellow sign on her door (Coffee Chief, Lol). Ted’s wife was also wearing yellow when we saw her a couple episodes ago. Ted’s ladies=yellow=margarine=new business/optimism/ the future?

        • Spicytomato1

          Yes, but alternate meanings for yellow include cowardice and decay. I had an English professor who loved pointing out ominous yellow references in an American lit class I took. She clearly was a “glass half empty” kinda gal.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          I wouldn’t say Nan’s the most optimistic person…but that is a really interesting observation. Maybe it’s to reflect Ted’s sunniness or something.

      • gogobooty

        Pete’s father already died in a plane crash. I doubt there’d be a second plane crash to mess with the same circle of people, even several years apart..

        • http://profiles.google.com/ruthieoo Ruthie O

          Yes, agreed. As I said: “I don’t believe we are going towards a literal death for Don, as much as a figurative one.”

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        Actually, I’m pretty sure it was Peggy who said “yellow” and Ted agreed.

    • T_A_R

      I think it says a lot about Weiner’s universe that we automatically assume something sinister about “nice” people.

      Take Megan.

      I’ll fully admit something seemed “off” about her at first – but in retrospect, she was just such a contrast to what we’re used to. Not only because she represents the late 60’s, but because SHE changed the way others around her act. And it was uncomfortable.

      Bob is the most obvious example of this right now. It seems like he’s being cast as a “Don junior”….but what if he’s actually the “anti-Don?””

      1. He’s in sales, not creative.

      2. Don tricked Roger into hiring him, and Roger was too drunk/apathetic to do anything about it. But I get the impression Don continued to act like he was the smartest guy in the room, even has he was green. Not sure how Bob got hired, but nothing about him screams “confidence!” Instead, he seems like a young guy trying his hardest to make himself an asset…despite not really knowing how. Whereas Don acted like he knew it all, Bob just tries to insert himself into conversations and make himself valuable by doing little things since he’s got no power as a junior account exec.

      Ken and Pete are less than thrilled because this just ISN’T the best way to make yourself valuable. Presenting yourself as someone who will eagerly do what you want doesn’t make you an asset – it makes you seem spineless. On the other hand, what Bob did for Joan actually was a valuable. Even if the gesture was opportunistic, he was still kind to her. He recognized the uncomfortable position she was in and did what he could to ensure she got the help she needed. Has anyone at SC done that for Joan? She’s the person who helps others – its odd to see her in this position, and Bob clearly recognizes that.

      So at the end of the day, he showed his value to Joan and she helped him keep his job. Very different than actually tricking someone into hiring you, which is self-interest with absolutely no signs of kindness – just flat out opportunistic behavior.

      3. Casting James Wolk can’t be a coincidence. He looks so much like a young Don it’s eerie. Just like Megan reminded us of the changing “look,” seeing guys like Ben and Ted is a reminder that Don’s hard drinking, “I’m the man” style has not done the company any favors recently. For a guy that loves to reinvent himself, he could stand to learn a little something from the people around him.

      One other note:

      If there is a flaw, it’s that Ted is the guy who once called Don as Bobby Kennedy. While I guess you can argue we were missing a lot of the context around some of Ted’s actions, he did seem rather petulant in Season 4.

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        I agree about Bob. We thought there was something sinister about Megan, and about Ginsburg. Mad Men has always had odd/striking characters. Sometimes it developed into a story, sometimes it didn’t.

    • http://twitter.com/DarrenNesbitt Darren Nesbitt

      Peggy: “How’s your little boy?” , Joan: “He’s the man in my life, how is yours?”, Peggy: “We bought a building to live in together”. (Even in pain Joan delivers a little shade).

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Is it just me, or did the way that Peggy say that almost hint that her relationship with Abe wasn’t perfect? I got a sense from her as if they were living together indirectly, as if they were just house-mates or roommates. I know they haven’t broken up, but it seemed like another hint that they’re not going to last too much longer.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Or it might just be that the social conventions at the time still frowned upon unmarried couples living together. Obviously Joan wouldn’t care, but Peggy might be used to others acting shocked or disapproving if she mentions her new living arrangement.

          • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

            I don’t know… I thought it was already pretty much public knowledge.

          • Pennymac

            Joan was one of the first Peggy told about her and Abe living together. Joan was encouraging, if I recall correctly.

        • Zaftiguana

          I think it had more to do with her sheepishly correcting herself that they didn’t buy the building together, she bought it on her own. Joan has probably known that Peggy’s “living in sin” for a while now, and I don’t imagine she cares. The fact that she’s supporting him financially, though? Whole different kettle of fish.

          • Adelaidey

            One of Joan’s kindest moments interacting with another woman: Peggy came in to speak to her, expecting to get dumped by Abe. Joan convinced her that she was going to get a proposal instead. The next day, when Peggy tells Joan that Abe just asked her to move in with him, instead of being snarky or judgemental, Joan just says “How romantic- he wants to be with you no matter what.” It’s lovely.

            • Zaftiguana

              Exactly. That did seem to be Joan putting a little spin on the situation vs. what might be her more forthright opinion (but as you said, it was about kindness), but it was clear that she certainly wasn’t bothered or at all shocked by it. Joan can be snobby and judgmental about a lot of things, but she’s a pretty confirmed moral relativist. It’s one of the things I like about her.

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        I gasped when she said that, until I realized she meant Abe!

      • MilaXX

        I didn’t think it was shade. Joan was asking about the man in Peggy’s life.

        • http://twitter.com/DarrenNesbitt Darren Nesbitt

          Well maybe it’s because I though of him as “her little boy” lol

    • charlotte

      Thoughts relating to the Kennedys: Did the plane ride make anyone else think of John Junior’s death? I just don’t think it’s a coincidence.
      Also, there were and are quite a few Bobbys on the show: Bobby Draper, Bob Benson (a young Don) and Bobbie Barrett. Although I don’t think that the death of his namesake will make Don care about Bobby more, even though he made an attempt…

      • trixietru

        Well Charlotte, Ted’s crack about pilots being upside down and believing they’re straight, needing their instruments sounded like a very thinly veiled reference to John-John’s tragic demise. It also seemed in very bad taste to me. Uncalled for.

        • Aurumgirl

          But I’m not so convinced that the remark was just about John John (it might be, and it may well have been completely unintentional to that end, too). I thought that was Ted making a very subtle remark to Don about Don–convinced he was flying right side up when he was, in fact, flying upside down and ignoring the instruments. Because Don is flying upside down after being shut out by both Sylvia and by Ted.

          • trixietru

            Very interesting insight Aurum, but in an episode which recalls actual film footage of a Kennedy assassination; I don’t think Ted’s remarks during the plane turbulence were unintentional or subtle. I’m expecting some media fallout about this as insensitive in the least.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              But … why?

              Even if it’s true that the script referred to John Kennedy Jr.’s death in an episode that dealt with RFK’s death, why is that something that needs to be called out?

              And if it is a reference to JFK Jr.’s death, we think it’s a secondary point. When Ted referred to thinking you’re flying right when you’re really flying upside-down, it was something of an intentional bitchslap to Don.

            • trixietru

              I found the comment to be in bad taste and expect others to. Maybe it was the casual, almost glib way it was presented in the small plane context that I found so off putting. Being the most over analyzed television program the way the scene is perceived or received will play itself out over the next 6 days. Or not.

        • purkoy28

          i think your reaching

        • Zaftiguana

          Even if it was a reference to JFK Jr.’s death (and I don’t believe for a second that it was, or at least not primarily), why would that be “Uncalled for”? What’s the big deal with foreshadowing? They didn’t say anything disrespectful.

      • EEKstl

        No, I don’t think there was any deliberate referencing of John Jr.’s death. Mad Men has always been about how the past informs and shapes the present, not how that present is shaped by an unforeseen future. Weiner & Co. are far too sophisticated to do anything that heavy handed. I agree with the poster who said the upside down instrument reference is about Don, not an event that is still 31 years in the future. Remember: “The future is something you haven’t even thought of yet.”

        • Pennymac

          Really? What about last weeks “Peaches and Herb?”

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            That was an inside joke about being “reunited.”

      • MilaXX

        yep, John John’s crash was blamed on him not him not being able to tell if he was flying upside down . In an epsidoe that ended with RFK’s death, I don’t think that was accidental.

      • Spicytomato1

        Yes I thought of it but I don’t think there was a connection, since John John’s incident takes place so far in the future. I think Ted was just enjoying see Don squirm.

    • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

      I love the insight that this was history repeating, and picking up on all the callbacks to previous seasons. Pete’s mother’s dementia and inability to know what time she was in also referenced that. I thought this was a great episode, even if every scene with Don made me want to burn my television set.

    • Qitkat

      The T LOunge was itself on fire last evening, and I mostly said all I had to say there. The smoldering tire-fire (what a fabulous analogy) that is Don Draper will be next to impossible to put out, as in real life they can burn for years. And, equally as important, emit extremely toxic chemicals.* Does all this signal that the new agency is poisoned from within from its very beginning? Can Peggy possibly help Don find some redemption without losing her own soul? And, who the hell is Bob Benson? Don’t make us wait for the final finale to find out, Matthew Weiner.

      *In 1983, I lived around 25 miles from the tire fire in Winchester, Virginia, which burned for nine months, according to Wikipedia. From now on, I will blame every one of my ills on that toxic smoke that drifted throughout the area. And I nearly forgot, I once lived near Three Mile Island too. Another meltdown we can liken to Don Draper’s.

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        SCDP is like Centralia!

      • BigShamu

        My parents now live outside Winchester and every once and while I’ll ask them if the tire fire is still burning. They DO NOT enjoy my humor.

    • Jessica Plagens

      Just had to post and tell you that your recaps and the Grantland ones (plus your Mad Style/their power rankings) are the two I read, and I was SO excited to see that you read them too!!!

    • deitybox

      So who do we think put the “Coffee Chief” sign on Peggy’s door? Definitely Stan, right?

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        Totally. I thought that, too. Getting back at her for Ketchup.

      • Zaftiguana

        Hmm, maybe, but I don’t think so. Stan may very well still be pissed at her about Heinz and it’s not like he’s some kind of forward thinking guy, but I don’t think he sees Peggy that way. He took his time realizing it, but I think he has a ton of creative respect for her and her talent.

        I think it’s more likely one of the schmucks on her own staff from CCG. They’ve done this kind of stuff (and worse) before.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          Actually, you know, that does make more sense. I didn’t get that Stan was pissed at her for real, I thought he might get back at her with a gentle prank like the lipstick on the teeth, which is why I read the “Coffee Chief” sign as plain old silly. She and Stan are fine so far. You’re right. I bet it was the smarmy CGC Nixon lover. He was probably behind the Quest feminine powder, too.

    • Joy

      I was so annoyed watching the Don/Sylvia thing. I felt like I was watching Adam on the show Girls. That stuff makes me very uncomfortable and downright scared. That is not the type of situation you want to find yourself in.

      I want sexy Don back!! Not that guy. He really needs a trip to California!

    • royinhell

      A rare continuity mistake: Bert Peterson’s shirt collar being up in one shot and down in the next. For a show this meticulous, that really bothered me.
      Can’t wait for the Mad Style on this one!

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      “Don drinking Ted into submission recalls the various times he did exactly the same to Roger, either to bully him into giving him a job or to punish him for flirting with his wife.” For some reason, it’s making me think more of Don and Duck’s dynamic, but I’m not sure why. Possibly because now Don’s the manipulative alcoholic and Ted is the younger, more charismatic creative. And coincidentally, Peggy is the one in the middle again.

      Roger and Jim are going to be like Tweedle Dick and Tweedle Dope, huh – I want them to get matching BFF tie-clips.

      “Coffee-chief” – I assume that was Stan’s contribution/ribbing. I look forward to seeing Peggy and Stan interact more. Especially since Stan’s gotten so hot. WOOF.

      I thought taking Sylvia’s book away was ironic because it forced her to reflect on their actions (alone in a hotel room, waiting for a man – what else is there to do), which in my eyes was the last thing Don would want her to do, given the circumstances. But he doesn’t really have that kind of foresight, or any foresight at all, to be frank.

    • MK03

      Did anyone else notice the dress Don gave Sylvia? WHORE RED.

      • not_Bridget

        But she looked really good in it. None of the working girls Don knew growing up ever wore such an expensive dress….

    • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

      It’s really minor, but Don’s taking Sylvia’s book away really did seem like the final nail in the coffin of their affair. It changed what was happening from a little bit naughty and kinky, to him being malicious. And the red dress, too? UGH. That part gave me the creeps.

      I loved the scene with Peggy and Joan, too. One of my favorites of the episode.

      And Joan, PLEEEEEAAAASE don’t get involved with Bob Benson!!

      • http://twitter.com/chylde chylde

        Why not? I’m liking the idea bout Bob and Joan.

        • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

          Dunno… it doesn’t seem right for either of them. If Bob is legitimately a “good guy,” I wouldn’t want him to be perceived as keeping his job just because he’s sleeping with one of the partners (even if being kind to her DID save his job this time), and ever since Roger (with Herb being a slight exception), Joan seems to be very adamant about keeping her sex life out of the office.

    • Guest

      One thing that struck me about this episode was how openly people are now talking about what a dick Don is. First there was Joan’s magnificent takedown last week, when she was really speaking for the whole office. Then this week there was Ted puzzling over why Don feels the need to be so “mysterious,” and Burt Peterson saying Don was “still a cold fish.” People have called Don on his shit before, but to his face, privately. (Well, Pete has bitched about Don in front of others many times, but no one cared because he’s Pete.) It’s great that suddenly, finally, everyone is talking to each other about the asshole in their midst. It’s like Joan opened the floodgates and now everyone is talking about him behind his back. And being talked about behind your back can ultimately be much worse than being yelled at in front of others. Don may be the one without a seat at the conference table soon.

      • Cheryl

        Don has been late to meetings for the past eight years. Finally we see a “creative” who keeps to a schedule. What a radical idea!

      • gogobooty

        Pete’s best line needling Don from episode 1 this season: “And then you take a nap!”

    • SublimatedRage

      I picked up on a theme of people standing up to Don — Ted in the airplane, Peggy in his office and Sylvia in the hotel room. Each time someone barked back at him, you could he his expression change from one of dominance to little boy as you describe. I think this is a coming theme — Don is not quite the big cheese that he once was and his luster is fading. People sense it and are taking advantage finally.

    • http://twitter.com/mirrormirrorxx Paola Thomas

      So the difference with this relationship is that I believe Don was falling in love with Sylvia (cf. his worries about her during the MLK episode and being utterly distraught when she walked away in this one).

      Yet it seemed to me that he deliberately tried to sabotage it. That he didn’t want to see Sylvia as another human being but dehumanized her to such an extent that she had to walk away.

      The question for me is why? Did he flinch from the destruction falling in love with his friend’s wife would cause (particularly after overhearing Arnie and Sylvia’s argument)?

      Don’s an asshole but he’s a smart asshole. He must have known his assholishness wouldn’t fly and yet he was clearly vested in the relationship. Why did he do it?

      • Laylalola

        Because suddenly it looked like she and her husband were on the outs and she might want more than an affair. He made sure to deep-six any possibility of that happening. Don’t know (or care, really) if it was self-sabotage or if he never really gave a shit, wanted a definitive end before she got needy, and thought the only way that woud happen is if she thought she were the one ending it.

    • http://twitter.com/chylde chylde

      What irritates me is that we’ve spent yet ANOTHER episode revolving around DON! I want to see more of Joan, Peggy, Ted, Roger, Betty and Sally, and even PETE! But we had to look at that creep, Don again in almost every single scene… I kept saying to my husband, “Where’s Megan? We haven’t seen Megan at all this episode!” I really do not care how the Don saga plays out at this point, I’d really just like him to disappear and leave the story to the interesting characters…

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        And then we finally saw her, and the music in Don’s head drowned out her words!

      • http://www.snoskred.org/ Snoskred

        I feel like every single time they got some momentum in the office, and I got interested in what was going on, they cut back to Don and whatsherface in the hotel, and I got bored and picked up my laptop again, until they cut back to the office.

        This was an episode where so much was going on at work. I wish they had stuck to the office only. There were so many stories at work with the merger that would have been a lot more interesting to me and more worth focusing on. :(

      • gogobooty

        And Sally! MIA!

    • http://twitter.com/acleg10 AC Simons

      John Slattery did a great job directing this episode. He handled the agency crowd scenes (office issues, clashes, etc.) beautifully. He also interjects some great humor into the mix.

    • lorem_ipsum

      I personally thought last night was the most exciting and true-to-form Mad Men we’ve seen this season. There wasn’t a moment that went wasted for me, and I think that’s the first time I can say that this season.
      Was it just me expecting Don to demand a divorce at the very last scene? I was in shock when the credits rolled and he hadn’t said the words. Only two weeks earlier, in the exact same scene, reflecting on a huge public death and blow to the country while they got ready for bed, Don made his speech on love and recognizing it. I think it’s crystal clear now that the speech was indeed about Sylvia and his own feelings—not his kids, or MLK. This time around, there’s nothing left for him to feel, because she’s done with him. And he’s so incapable of realizing anyone’s emotions other than his that he can’t even give a shit about Bobby Kennedy. And he doesn’t even know Megan exists.

      • MilaXX

        I don’t see Don as being the one to ask for a divorce. Don will doggedly live out his fantasies even when they clearly aren’t working. If Betty hadn’t asked for a divorce, Don would have continued living his lie and cheating on Betty. I think until Megan realizes this marriage is doomed, Don will continue to play along even though he’s not really happy.

      • MissKimP

        Completely agree! I had that old disturbed, intrigued, and enlivened feeling I used to get following good season 1-4 episodes. It’s been awhile!

    • annamow

      What about Dawn? None of the Mad Men reviews I’ve read (yes… I read quite a few of ‘em) have mentioned the several scenes where Don sees Dawn’s empty desk and looks confused as to her absence. Where was she? We know she was at the office at some point, because of Peggy’s comment, but otherwise, she wasn’t there and I think the audience was meant to notice that she wasn’t there (because of Don’s repeated reactions).
      Any thoughts?

      • http://darlinglola.blogspot.com Laura K

        Joan did give her the keys to the supply closet and time cards. Either that’s taking quite a bit of time, or she’s had other responsibilities added since.

        • not_Bridget

          Dawn was probably quite busy dealing with incoming & outgoing employees, distributing supplies & unlocking offices. Oh, and not dropping a hint about Don’s whereabouts. (Sylvia was surprised when he answered the phone; she was expecting a secretary. Dawn knows something is up. Or was up.)

          • Joy

            Right. I agree. She is busy now with all of her new tasks that Joan gave her. That will be a storyline soon, I’m sure.

      • purkoy28

        i know, and where was peggys secratary, u think she would be there with all the other staff?

      • Lilyana_F

        I was about to point out the same thing. Don made a notice of her empty desk at least twice. There’s something there.

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          I just assumed she had a bunch of other stuff to do, as an office manager.

      • Cheryl

        I just mentioned that in a comment. MLK is gone, and black people have become invisible again. We’e onto Bobby’s death and then the turbulent protests in the streets of Chicago.

        • KTBSN

          Wondering if next episode will pick up in early summer right after the RFK murder or late August during the convention.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Don made it clear this episode that he needs to be needed. Dawn doesn’t need to sit around and wait for him, she has other work to do (thanks to Joan- and to Don merging the companies).
        I like Dawn and want to see more of her, but her absence in this case was significant to Don.
        (Not that we couldn’t have seen her elsewhere though.)

        • annamow

          Ooh, I like that explanation.

    • lorem_ipsum

      I guess I’m the odd one out, but I thought Peggy’s little speech to Don was pathetic and irritating. She’s not asserting her position, she just wanted to tell Don that Ted is HERS and she likes him more. It was childish. They’re both grown men, and Ted took responsibility for his mistakes of the day (and I daresay came out on top). Neither of them need her playing referee or babysitter.

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        “Neither of them need her playing referee or babysitter.” She’s never been able to help herself.

      • https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.szlaius Dicegirl72

        Yes, I commented on Peggy above (I’m reading this in order from the latest comments to the earliest)-I have never liked the character of Peggy-the only time I didn’t feel like I was chewing on tinfoil when watching her was in S1 when she was alone after having the baby, she looked so broken. Every other time, she just bugs me. Exchanges like this one with Don are a good example why I feel this way.

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        Wow, I didn’t get babysitter or referee at all from her exchange. I got genuine concern from her: she could see that the work situation was about to crash and burn with those two alpha males in charge, and she knows Don is a bully. She also knew Ted couldn’t handle his liquor very well. She read the whole power play situation like a book. I felt Peggy was calling him on his bullshit, and ultimately she made him submissive in that situation by having the last word. He didn’t like it, so he took it out on Sylvia’s sex play. I also think that Peggy genuinely cares for Ted, and since they’re friends with a good working relationship, she saw Don as threatening that balance. I think that was more of a warning to Don, not a territory marking.

    • buddy100

      Don’s pitch for margarine reflects what he is currently craving: a devoted and submissive provider.

      When he was married to Betty, his mistress fantasies were mostly with exciting independent women who challenged him. Now, with a stubbornly individualistic wife with a career of her own, he’s attracted to the suburban housewife ideal all over again. You could just see by the look on his face while salivating over his margarine idea that the appeal didn’t come from the food – it came from the woman.

      Combine that with the fact Sylvia looks a lot like his stepmother and BAM. Freud.

    • Deseree

      Sorry for a potentially stupid question but I haven’t been following T&L regularly, can someone explain what the context is behind Joan wearing blue and green? Thanks!

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        “Blue and green = adultery.” The better question is, why aren’t you following T&L regularly?

      • OrigamiRose

        In short, adultery – but they contextualize it much more thoughtfully than that, so just search the site for posts tagged “Mad Style” for a more thorough answer to your question :)

        I am anxious to hear the analysis for Joan on this week’s MS. As far as we know, Bob isn’t married, so Joan’s wardrobe of blue and green when she is with him is (or seems) contrary to what we expect when we see those colors. Though she does call her child “the man in her life” – so perhaps the thought of Bob (or any man) in her life other than her child is a form of cheating in her mind? I’m eager to hear their thoughts.

        Bob also is with her during a health crisis that, while turning out to be benign, is related to her fertility. Hmmmm.

        • MartyBellerMask

          “AS FAR AS WE KNOW, Bob isn’t married”. :)

      • not_Bridget

        Check out the Mad Style posts….

    • sheryl katz

      When Don started with the domination behavior in the hotel room I thought at first that he had decided to let Sylvia go and that he figured out how to treat her badly enough that she would decide on her own that she didn’t want him. I expected to see him smile when she walked out of the hotel room. However, that certainly would have been contrary to his character because he cares only about himself and his own needs.

    • Otis42

      Does anyone else think Don is getting ready to kill a lady? The way he said “please” when Sylvia left might as well have been “mommy, please”. Looking back one of the prevalent themes if season 5, the secret danger men can pose to women (I.e. the nurses being murdered, while the Sally watches the tv ad for “secret date” where the girl opens the door and who knows what she’ll get). The scene after he marries Megan, and in a fever believes he’s strangled his old sex partner, then the ominous way Megan’s voice fades out, like she’s no longer someone he even regards or acknowledges as a whole person.

      • not_Bridget

        No, I don’t.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I think last season Don had a fevered dream about killing a woman, but I don’t think he would actually go through with it. This was many seasons ago, but Don balked at the idea of punish his children by spanking/physical violence. I know this is a different context, but I don’t think Don would go so far as too hurt someone physically.

        • Otis42

          You may be right, but I can’t help thinking that Bob Benson is a distraction from Don who is real wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Nithya

      TLo, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I was just reading Emily Nussbaum’s recap over at the New Yorker ( of course I read yours first) and she mentions how the first two episodes of season 6 reference the show’s pilot. At the end of the pilot, we were shocked to find that Don had a wife, and now in season 6, we’re shocked to find he has a mistress. They’re cycling back, showing us the Draper we once thought was so cool. He’s still doing the same stuff, but now we think him pathetic. Where are they going with this?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1145236287 Celeste Copeland

      I don’t think that the trigger for Sylvia was Don taking her book, exactly, though that was really a dick move, but the fact that she was left with her thoughts afterwards with nothing to distract her, which was probably Don’s intention. He was thinking that she’d be there with nothing to think about but him, and that this would cause her to long for him. Instead, she had nothing to think about but him, her husband, her son, and the rest of her life, and she realized what she was throwing away with both hands (even if it took her subconscious to give her a good kick in the rear to achieve that.) Shouldn’t have given her time to wise up, Don.

      As far as Bob Benson goes, the one character that he reminds me of is the formerly-fresh-faced Joey Baird. Joey was a bit of a schmoozer as well (although he did appear to actually get some work done) but where Joey went wrong and Bob goes right is that Joey dismissed Joan as not worthy of his respect, but Bob knows she’s got power. I think Bob is definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I hope Joan is wise enough to keep him at arm’s length. She was vulnerable in this episode, but she should be very wary of him. And her mother? When did she ever give good advice about men? Nope, Gail’s dead wrong about Bob.

    • http://twitter.com/1tsplove sara

      Was I the only one PISSED off w/ Don’s “Yes Peggy, we risked our entire company just so I could have you in this office complaining again” line? Don’s jealousy is predictable, but I found myself yelling HOW DARE YOU speak to her like that? He needs to wake up to the fact that she’s not his little punching bag anymore. Get real, Don. Or in the words of Peggy, “Move Forward.”

      • Mani @ Iz and Oz

        I felt the same. ESPECIALLY since Don had already said, “I did this wrong once …” in the last episode, hinting that he MAY have had a change of heart in regards to his previously poor treatment of Peggy.

        Nope. Don Draper never changes. Still is and will continue to be an ass.

      • Chris

        Sadly, Don always tried to belittle Peggy or shame her whenever she asked for anything: recognition, money, advancement. Remember him throwing money at her in front of Ken and Harry after she saved the commercial and he still gave it to Ginsberg? Or back when she was admiring the expensive baby gifts he was getting? He always cut her down before and she took it so I loved that now she didn’t even flinch and gave it back to him times 100. “Move Forward!” Was anything more apt ever said to Don Draper?

      • https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.szlaius Dicegirl72

        That comment was kind of funny to me and one of the few times in last night’s episode that I wasn’t angry at Don or find him pathetic, I guess it’s because I’ve always hated Peggy.

    • roble ridge

      I haven’t read through all the comments yet, but there was something very familiar about the scenes with Sylvia in the hotel room 503 in bed with nothing on but a sheet and then it dawned on me. BUtterfield 8! The 1960’s movie with Elizabeth Taylor!

      The opening scenes of that movie has Liz Taylor as prostitute Gloria in bed, wrapped in a sheet, waking up after a night of partying with a client. The scene with Sylvia is almost a dead ringer for Elizabeth Taylor – from Sylvia’s hair style, to her undressed state, to the color of the walls in the hotel room, to the camera angles – it calls back to the movie.

      I’ve never been able to grasp Sylvia’s hairstyle in all her scenes with Don until I saw this episode, it all came together for me. Matt Weiner had foreshadowed it when Betty dyed her hair dark brown and said, “Elizabeth Taylor” to Henry. Don treating Sylvia as a prostitute, Sylvia being styled as Liz Taylor in BUtterfield 8, and Liz Taylor playing a prostitute in BUtterfield 8.

      Matt Weiner is just brilliant at making references.

      • Adelaidey

        And when Betty tells Francine that her old roommate is now a prostitute, Francine’s immediate response was a scandalized/awed “BUtterfield 8″!

        • roble ridge

          Good recollection!!! I remember Francine’s comment sticking out in my head when she said that, but I’d forgotten all about it when I was thinking about the BUtterfield 8 references in this episode.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1145236287 Celeste Copeland

        OMG, Thank you!! #503 was bugging me, and they so obviously were trying to make the audience pay attention to it. Does this mean Sylvia ends up dying like Gloria did in the movie?

    • Cheryl

      So Martin Luther King has been gone for two months and black people have become invisible again. Referenced, but not seen. Dawn and Phyllis, where art thou

      • the_archandroid

        Yes! I have been trying to understand what purpose Dawn’s invisibility serves but it felt like her absence wasn’t as conspicuous to others as it was to me… but I think this is a GREAT way to contextualize this, truly.

    • flamingoNW

      To me, the episode is summed up by this scene: “You can relax now we’re leveled off” “I am relaxed” “Sometimes when you’re flying you think you’re right side up when you’re really upside down.” “Really” “Gotta watch your instruments”

      Ted has more of a moral compass than Don will ever have. Don’t think Don HAS one most of the time. Clearly Don was freaked out by the suitcases by the elevator doors. I’ve been pondering whether he consciously chose to play a game with Sylvia that would push her away, or whether it was reflexive as someone else described. I do think it was reflexive and because he’s really at a loss. He has got NOTHING to provide Sylvia. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. He does not give one rat’s ass about her life and what she’s going through. He just wants some fantasy he can lock up and control in a room.

      Sylvia said she needed Don and nothing else will do – it turned out to be true but not in the way she expected…

      I was irritated with pretty much every character and found myself just annoyed with the whole episode, but in brilliant Weiner fashion, at the end I was completely satisfied with the way it tied together. Don was deeply disgusting and nothing new, and watching Sylvia play his game was uncomfortable, but her reaction at the end was so satisfying because of it. The repetition/repeated dynamics, the stuck patterns, the power turbulence, the general experience of being unsettled and afraid, the world shaken up. Having it punctuated by Bobby Kennedy’s death just really tied that all together in a satisfying way. I don’t know if they’ll take it up next episode but I’m glad they didn’t repeat the MLK assassination treatment, with individual reactions to the historic tragic event. They didn’t react to it, it was more of an “of course now Bobby Kennedy is dead! The world is in CHAOS!” like the Bobby Kennedy assassination was a reaction to the world they were living in.

      The way that Don looked at Megan sobbing and shocked on the bed watching the news, and he didn’t even look at the TV. It was all about how this was messing up and causing turmoil in HIS life, screw the rest of the world.

      • Cheryl

        Someone mentioned last night that JFK Jr.’s death was mostly caused by his not being familiar with instruments, and he most likely went into a death spiral where he was disoriented and couldn’t tell up from down Not a direct reference, of course, but like the 2nd Avenue subway mention it was a little shout out to the modern-day viewer. (Or just to me; my boyfriend is a pilot and he had explained this to me years ago.)

        • KTBSN

          Yes I thought of JFK Jr.s accident as well! Glad you mentioned it.

    • Mani @ Iz and Oz

      Gins (to Ted): “I saw you taking a little tour the other week and you looked pretty tall …but now i see that you’re about my height.
      Ted: I hope you can still look up to me.

      YES. Ginsberg zingers (well in this case … Ted zingers), once again in the first few minutes, complete my life.

      Echoing the sentiments of everyone else, bored with Don’s affair, and falling even harder for Ted. For me, it was the little moment with Gleason in the hospital … his obvious care for a friend (waiting for him to wake up) and willingness to be vulnerable made him just so damned attractive. His bedroom-eyed praise of Peggy for her knowledge of margarine also hints to me that they’re not completely over. Yet.

      Also, did Maora or whatever her name is rub anyone else the wrong way? Maybe I’m just protective of Joan, but her unpleasant behavior and clear lack of respect foreshadows that she’s probably going to be a huge pain in the rear in the future (or should I say, cyst on the ovary.)

      • P M

        Well, it’s a play out of Joanie’s own book – secretarial power tactics. Remember Joan vs. Lane’s assistant?

        • Mani @ Iz and Oz

          Almost forgot about that! Was it Moneypenny? I actually didn’t watch much of that season so I’m actually not sure what happened to him (oof) … did he eventually get the axe?

          • MartyBellerMask

            You should really try to watch it. It’s a brilliant season and actually set up a lot of the stuff we’re seeing this year.

        • Zaftiguana

          But Joan isn’t a secretary. She hasn’t been for some time. And now that she’s a partner? Forget it. Putting this woman in her place and possibly out of a job wouldn’t be vindictive in the least. It’s not acceptable to speak to a partner that way, and you know Moira’s only doing it because Joan is woman, which is doubly unacceptable.

          • P M

            Whaaa?? No no no – I meant that Moira was trying to assert superiority and what not, by using secretarial power tactics. I mangled my own words :D

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        Moira mouthed off at a partner; I imagine she’ll eventually get the axe. Joan is that vindictive.

        • Mani @ Iz and Oz

          Ha, imagine if she did that to a male partner. The gall …

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            I know! It was really jarring, because most people at SCDP know what to expect out of Joan, so the newbies haven’t met her wrath yet. I kind of like it.

        • formerlyAnon

          So many questions: Would Moira have spoken to one of the male partners that way? Would it be vindictive if Moira got canned for mouthing off to a male partner? Or is it only vindictive because Joan will have to see to it personally that Moira suffers consequences, whereas they’d be automatic if Moira mouthed off to one of the guys? or, Would one of the guys be able to blow off Moira’s inappropriate behavior because everyone would recognize it as inappropriate, but Joan has to make the point that she shouldn’t be talked to like that?

          • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

            I think you’re more right along the lines that Joan’s going to have to establish herself as something more than a glorified secretary. Moira seemed like she was trying to help out her boss, but was attempting to throw her own weight around as well. Joan doesn’t suffer anyone lightly, and I can see her taking it as a personal affront from that new woman. That’s why she made the crack about cutting back personnel.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Honestly, I think it would be incredibly petty and vindictive for anyone to fire Moira just because she spoke a little sharply to a partner. Plenty of secretaries have gotten a little snappish now and then on this show, and no one got fired for it.

        • not_Bridget

          Joan just handed her the list of room assignments. Thus putting her in charge of the troublesome task–when the new girl really just wanted to take care of her boss. Joan needs to let the secretaries do the secretarial work–and I think she’s making progress.

          Then Joan escorted Peggy to her office. They seemed quite friendly; neither one is the “gushing” sort…

    • EEKstl

      Brilliant, TLo. Agreed. Watching Megan tearful in front of the TV last night immediately made me think of Betty transfixed in front of the television after the JFK assassination, which only highlighted the yawning abyss of estrangement between her and Don. And yet another seminal historical event barely able to pierce Don’s armor of utter self-absorption.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

      I see Don being used as the catch-all to demonstrate the power, confidence, and demands that are coming to women as time marches on. Joan took him to task last week. This week, it was Peggy and finally –Sylvia. The demands and control he held over Sylvia were creepy. But she made the choice to break up with him, eliciting the response, “Please!” (it might be a first for Don). In the light of all the societal changes, Don operating system seems out of date. Ted is a hipper version of Don. Bob is young and will be on the rise. Peggy no longer needs Don’s approval. Joan is a partner, capable of running the office. Don’s transformation into a middle aged man will signal more life changes. And these will come either by force or by choice. I see him and Pete as flailing into middle age. (Btw…. I loved Pete’s role in this episode).

      • silaria

        So… Don is basically a symbol of patriarchy? I could buy it. He pretty much embodied the ideology of the 1950s, and now we’re seeing him get broken and torn down as women make gains.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          To put a finer point on it, we think Don is a symbol of the privileges bestowed by the patriarchy, rather than the patriarchy itself.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

          Yeah, he’s a sign of the 1950’s, post-war when commerce was being built by men, and the women who had built the machinery that made the war go in WWII, were largely shoved back into the home. I’m not sure he’s a sign of patriarchy though, the term patriarch doesn’t apply to him! He’s hardly the role model for that!

    • DollyMadisonWI

      Sure Pete will use his father-in-law for business but he won’t lend a hand to his brother on the IPO. What a weasel.

      • Lilithcat

        I don’t see why he’s a “weasel”. Getting someone’s business is a different calculus than giving someone business. I get the feeling that his brother is not particularly competent, so why would Pete have him bid for the IPO? Not to mention that the other partners (- Don) have a say in that.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Someone else commented that it was implied that the firm they went with was affiliated to Bob Benson in some way. Which shows what a smooth talker Bob is.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Wait…what? The underwriter from last week was affiliated with Bob Benson? How?

          • MartyBellerMask

            Oh, someone else put it together. When Bob first met Pete, he dropped the name of a finance company he had worked for, where his family has been with for years (Brown Brothers Harriman?). The underwriter from last week never named his firm (from what I remember) but who knows, it could be them. It could have been a case of Bob planting a name in Pete’s ear. Bob probably gets under people’s skin without them noticing.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              That’s not so much someone “putting it together” as someone “making it up completely.”

    • KTBSN

      Sylvia receiving the little red dress and getting all set to go out with Don only to have to take it off for him after being asked to crawl like a dog and have her book taken. The fantasy became oppressive in a day’s time. I hope she’s out for good.

      • Mani @ Iz and Oz

        I think she is. The creators made her painfully forgettable. Now it’s just a matter of who’s next. And I hope they keep it short. I’m getting tired of Draper’s never-ending conveyor belt of women.

    • Lattis

      I thought this would be the first comment – but I’ll make it as one of the last.

      I have been so disturbed by the current story of the three women and little girl being held captive (even literally in chains) by that sick man in Ohio, that the scenes of Don and Sylvia playing at domination and humiliation were alarming. I kept worrying that he was really going to hurt her. My alarm bells were jangling and my red flags were flying. And the biggest red flag was an actual red dress. Don clothes her in a red flag. My favorite shot of the whole episode was the dress left on the bed.

      • https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.szlaius Dicegirl72

        I had not yet heard about this, now I will look into the story. Such depravity and pure evil tends to depress the hell out of me, though.

      • http://twitter.com/Rowsella315 Kathy G

        I’m glad I wasn’t the only one yelling “Sylvia Run!” when he started with the crawl on the floor business.

    • http://samanthatennant.tumblr.com/ Samantha Tennant

      Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the dress Don bought for Sylvia. I was reading another review (Sorry TLo! Your recaps are the best!), but they pointed out that all of the mentions of Sylvia’s Catholic faith and the abortion talk with Megan might foreshadow that she is pregnant with Don’s baby. I really hope that isn’t true, but curious what everyone here thinks about that…

      • not_Bridget

        I doubt Sylvia gets pregnant that easily. She told Megan she’d had a miscarriage–after the birth of her only child. Why no other children? As a good Catholic, she would have done nothing to avoid pregnancy. Or used the rhythm method–after too many kids or kids she could not afford. But she’s got a rich, busy doctor husband. Early on she mentioned her sadness at being an empty nester, since her only child is in college….

        • MartyBellerMask

          I agree with everything except the “rich” part. They have money problems. Of course it’s possible that they are broke because she spends like crazy because she’s depressed over not having more kids. So in theory, more kids could equal more financial stability.
          Also possible she had a hysterectomy after the miscarriage.

    • AbbeyRogue

      My thoughts on the episode: when Joan was showing Peggy (I believe. I don’t have direct access right now) around the offices, she motioned towards Don’s office and said that nothing changes in there, no matter what happens out here.

      And two: I thinkTHAT is Don’s character theme throughout the entire series. He’s the same man as he was in 1960. What happens to a man like Don Draper in the course of the most tumultuous decade in modern history? Our disgust with him seems newfound, but he hasn’t changed, his context has changed, and his behavior is no longer acceptable. He can’t treat women the way he does, he can’t blow off meetings for fuckbreaks, he can’t get hammered in the middle of the day. This is 1968.

      • decormaven

        No, Joan was pointing to her own office. Peggy asked her “Are you still in there?” and that’s when Joan said the line you mentioned.

      • http://www.facebook.com/agatha.guilluame.7 Agatha Guilluame

        fuckbreaks? How indelicate. Hilarious.

        • https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.szlaius Dicegirl72

          Hey! I only get a 30 minute lunch which consists of eating a protein bar in my car, where do I sign up for THIS benefit (F-breaks)? kidding of course

    • Joy

      My new Dawn/Don theory – She is not at her desk, obviously because of the new tasks that Joan gave her. She is BUSY!! Way too busy to give all her attention to Don, like he requires. I bet he requests a new secretary and Dawn is reassigned to Bob Benson or someone. Then Don gets a new secretary, who well, he will probably repeat history with.

      • not_Bridget

        Don never messed with secretaries when he was married. After his divorce, he had a one-night stand with Allison; she left when he failed to discuss it. (Even the “we know this can’t happen again” speech would probably have worked.) Then he started the thing with Megan; actually, she started it. Otherwise, he didn’t screw the office staff.

        Dawn seems to keep his secrets well. He didn’t seem irritated by her absence; it appeared she was at work–just not on camera….

    • AnnaleighBelle

      Sadly, I was angrier at Sylvia for not just walking out when Don started his power play than I was at Don. I felt the same way when he was disrespectful of her at dinner. I guess I have a case of blame-the-victim.

      I also call Sylvia “Don’s Whore” which is totally uncharacteristic for me (I don’t believe that there is such a thing) because she’s been so hypocritical and submissive. I’m hopeful she’s really out of the picture.

      • Zaftiguana

        I think that at first she just thought it was sexy power play. We all have the benefit of a front row seat to the trainwreck that is Don’s life, but (as was discussed in this episode) his air of mysterious power and reserve really snows those who don’t know him well. It’s notable that as soon as Sylvia realized that this wasn’t intended as a mutually pleasurable game, she was out of there.

    • Lilithcat

      1968 was a helluva year. Liked that Weiner referenced the worker/student strikes in France (I was in Paris on Bastille Day that year, and Sylvia was right to worry about her son). Next up – Czechoslovakia, and then the Democratic National Convention.

      • Lattis

        Watching this season of MM has vividly reminded me how chaotic that time period was. I was at a friend’s house (I was 13) when her older brother came in to the kitchen and said to their mom, “Somebody shot down Bobby Kennedy.” Staunch republican Mom said, “Good.” Then she turned to look at her son whose face was white. She sat down on a chair like a rock and said, “You mean really shot down? . . . I thought you meant politically.”

        Seeing Megan crying and watching the tv footage really hit me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1240328 Briana Wymer

      Did anyone else yell “WHORE RED” at their tv when Sylvia opened that box from Saks?

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        Yup!

      • Dicegirl

        I thought it was SO heavy-handed (him sending her a red dress in the midst of all the “I OWN you” dynamic, but I actually loved the dress on the actress, I thought it was really cut beautifully, especially the bodice. (I know nothing about this sort of thing, but I really liked it.

    • beebee10

      Hey, Team Weiner, where’s the dramatic tension? If Don Draper is simply a creepy, stagnant, empty, man, then why watch, because I am bored with him and fast-forward through his scenes. His story has become the LEAST interesting one.

      I think the personal life of Don got lost after he dumped the lovely psychologist for the mirage of Megan (no fault of the actress). I think the writing started to falter, and the office dynamics/relationships, which were always so compelling, really became the much more interesting plot line.

      Still a good and often great show.

      • http://www.facebook.com/agatha.guilluame.7 Agatha Guilluame

        The answer to your questions is below.

        Quote from Simon Doonan, SLATE,
        “The Problem With Handsome, Enigmatic Men”

        Let me explain. Mad Men is like crack cocaine to me. Every Sunday I plonk down in front of the telly, roll down my knee-highs, grab a pig foot and a jar of pickles, and tuck into a new episode. I am not exactly sure why. Nothing much happens, and most of the characters walk around looking as if they just got bad news from the doctor. Peggy is turgid and prim, Betty a withholding bitch. Joan has lost her joie de vivre. Even Megan and jolly old Roger are in a funk. The entire dramatis personae exist in a David Lynchian stupor. And yet I am totally gripped.

        These blank and tedium-drenched characters pale in comparison to the Lord King Bore himself, Don Draper. Mr. Draper is stunningly morose, bad-tempered, and humor-impaired. He is a monosyllabic, unsmiling, ungiving dude with a nasty drinking problem. A real barrel of laughs. Imagine being stuck next to him at a dinner party!

        Despite his lack of pizzazz, all eyes are on Don. Why? Because he is classically handsome. He isthe man in the gray flannel suit, thus giving him carte blanche to be a black hole. Think about it: Would you worship Don Draper if he resembled, say, Buddy Hackett? No. You would accost him and say, “Listen buddy [or Buddy], you are simply not handsome enough to be this dreary.”

        So BeeBee this is why we watch.

      • Cheryl

        I think the problem is that Weiner stayed too long at the fair. Wasn’t the show supposed to end in either Season 4 or Season 5? He may have had the show plotted out that far but hadn’t planned to continue it into the very late 1960s. It’s a very different show than it started out to be; a mystery, character study, and nostalgia fest for those years and the arc would seem to include the solution to the Dick Whitman mystery and maybe Don’s rebirth in the Pacific Ocean. Instead Weiner is trying a bit too hard to be “groovy” and he’s extended it out too far. I know I’m not nearly as interested in these episodes that are basically following the headlines of my adult life as I was in the hazy yesterdays.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cailleach.buidseach Cailleach Buidseach

      For me, a pivotal moment in the final scene between Sylvia and Don is when she says: “It’s easy to say good-bye when you feel ashamed.” When she finally owned her shame about the affair, she simply stopped it. When Don feels shame about *anything* (and there is so much), he immediately externalizes it and uses booze, women, work, anger, disappearing, to wall himself off from the shame. Sylvia will go to confession on Sunday and get forgiveness from her priest; Don will not find forgiveness anywhere and he’s run out of avenues.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001998855370 Fatima Siddique

      Loved that lost shot of Don with his back to the TV while Megan was weeping. It was a nice visual summation of his refusal to cope with change and his inability to grieve.

      • AutumnInNY

        I was thinking in that moment he was going to say “I want a divorce”. Maybe he was thinking it. It looks like this marriage is over.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cailleach.buidseach Cailleach Buidseach

      For me, a pivotal moment in the final scene between Sylvia and Don is when she says: “It’s easy to say good-bye when you feel ashamed.” When she finally owned her shame about the affair, she simply stopped it. When Don feels shame about *anything* (and there is so much), he immediately externalizes it and uses booze, women, work, anger, disappearing, to wall himself off from the shame. Sylvia will go to confession on Sunday and get forgiveness from her priest; Don will not find forgiveness anywhere and he’s run out of avenues.

    • guest2visits

      I find it difficult to comment on the show’s many subplots and characters; but I can enjoy everyone’s wonderful insights – and
      find a lot of intriguing thoughts I never contemplated, while perusing the TLo blog. One thing this past episode really brought to mind is the speedy passage through the 60s and the impending economic brakes the 70s bring to the lives of nearly everyone.
      What kind of offices will MM be showcasing to exemplify the tar and nicotine, sweat and fear drenched places that never remodeled, ‘re-tooled’, or managed to scrape together enough of an existence to see it’s signs stay lit, and it’s doors stay open.
      Agonizing rust and neglect; a precursor to the indifferent Reagan years, and the calculated thievery of the Bush/Cheney reign. Wow; I guess the realistic portrayal of the timeline brought back memories that prickle.
      I’ve been in that cramped, scary cockpit that Don was melting in – and I was almost sympathetic; but after his icy, selfish acts toward Sylvia and Megan; no way. So far, I get the impression that of all the MM lives, Don will simply not find a way to roll with any changes that lead to his happiness. At this point, it might be out of character for him to do so.

      • KTBSN

        The female story lines are more interesting than the men’s especially compared to the first couple of seasons. Far more so I think and Don’s cheating had more intrigue then because of the effect on Betty. If Megan finds out Don is cheating on her, she’ll get over it and move on quickly to something better and not look back.

        • guest2visits

          Although each character is a well of interesting possibilities and stories; and the show doesn’t seem long enough to cover them all ( that’s how good a show MM is, making me want more) – Don surely seems the most destined to never find a path that leads to his personal happiness. Agree; I can totally see Megan getting on with her life after Don, no doubts. I can’t see them together ‘forever’ after he found himself actually in love with Sylvia ( in his own toxic way of course)…..

    • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

      I know people are bored with Don and his love life, but I found his scenes with Sylvia very moving in this episode. I thought Lindsay did a great job portraying the confusion and mixed emotions during the unexpected power play episode. Is this sexy or creepy, when is he going to “break character,” do I laugh or play along, how far am I willing to go etc. I felt for her and liked her this episode in a way I never did before. She seemed to enjoy the novelty of the kink as much as anything at first, until she realized the extent of what he was doing.

      In the end, I kind of wished Don would say “I’m sorry I went too far” and Sylvia would say “You went too far because you’re ashamed and you needed to debase me.” As a viewer, I wanted to hear them discuss what they just went through because it was so interesting for me. Instead, we got a realistic scene in which she turned to thinking about her own life and her marriage instead of digging deeper into the sickness of Don Draper (good for her!).

      As for him, he went straight from controlling creep to scared little boy. It’s a credit to Jon Hamm’s acting that I’m still scared and brokenhearted along with him.

      • jen_wang

        I think part of what I liked about it was how she made a healthy choice for herself, and did it without much fuss, and it’s something Don’s so incapable of doing. She can get into a screaming match with her partner and still do some thinking and recommit, rather than run away to the next thing.

      • guest2visits

        I gotta admit, as much as I would have picked up the shoes and next scene would be the sound of 2 bonks as they hit his lovely forehead… it was very tender and deep between the two of them… in that room, anyway. Linda Cardellini was just wonderful and brought out something extra in Don’s flawed facets.

    • http://www.facebook.com/judy.julian77 Judy Julian

      I haven’t read all the comments, so forgive me if this has been said before. I love the repartee between Roger and Jim Cutler. Those two are a comedy team! I want to see more of that!

    • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

      Let’s talk about how awesome Roger was with Burt Peterson! I mean horrible. And horribly unprofessional. But awesomely so. I missed Bad Boy Roger and his joyful zingery. He is an evil god.

    • http://twitter.com/kerryev kerryev

      Does anyone know whether Weiner picks the final song or if that’s the director? “Reach Out of the Darkness” has not been out of my head for 15 consecutive minutes today, and is going to shape how I remember this episode.

      • the_archandroid

        I was always under the impression that music was Carbonara’s domain with Weiner signing off/ agreeing…

    • AutumnInNY

      I couldn’t help but think of Lane last night with the agency merge. I really miss his character and the wonderful Jared Harris.

    • Not applicable

      MW wrote for the Sopranos… I’m seeing some similarities btw the shows now… The choices of the main characters, the inability to change for the better. As well as twisting it around… Back to the audience, as if to say, why do admire this man? Why do you root for him?

      • not_Bridget

        People have been making Sopranos comparisons since episode 1 of season 1. What makes you think everybody who likes the show is an uncritical fan of Don Draper?

        • Not applicable

          Well, I guess I didn’t like the early comparisons btw the shows… It was too soon to tell how this story would play out and to me, the Don character didn’t feel as corrupt as Tony, for obvious reasons… Rather than make a 1:1 btw Don and tony, I think it’s more about how we, as viewers– even when we are critical of the character for their flaws– we still root for this main character. We are set up to do so. In the Sopranos it was more jarring as David Chase basically flipped it back onto the viewer. I feel like this season, it has become nearly impossible to root for Don. We know all about him and know he has had more than one chance at redemption. Sylvia made it pretty blatant that we should be ashamed. At least, that’s how I’m perceiving this. We all groaned this season when we saw don was at it again. His time is up. The audience knows he can’t change, so we condone his behavior by participating. He is not a good person. End of story. Time to move on.

      • Lilithcat

        What makes you think that people are “rooting for” Don? Viewers can admire and enjoy the show without rooting for the protagonist.

        • Not applicable

          i totally replied to this from my ipad last night and it didn’t show up… sooooo annoying.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1355741217 Melina Barbone Leone

      Hopefully Don noticing Sylvia leaving the red dress on the hotel bed after breaking up with him is symbolic of him realizing she can objective women and get a positive outcome for himself anymore. He was hoping to counter balance his lack of control at work by controlling Sylvia, but leaving that dress behind was a big statement – I am not a whore. I really love all the female characters in this show!!

      • MartyBellerMask

        … And then the hotel so helpfully sends the dress to his home (or Sylvia’s?) because it was left behind. And all hell breaks loose.
        Of course, I am usually wrong with my predictions, but it could happen.

    • bd73

      the hotel tryst reminded me of the scene from “girls” when adam takes natasha to his apartment for the first time. the dominance, making her crawl… don and adam both seemed to be trying to push each woman to leave them because there so messed up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ogorman Maureen O’Gorman

      Ted and Peggy walk in. Ted is holding nothing. Ted gets to Joan’s balcony and is holding a coffee. Bob is behind him with one coffee and one hand in his pocket. I LOVED that subtle touch.

      • MartyBellerMask

        How did I miss that? I need to watch again. I love that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ogorman Maureen O’Gorman

      No woman leaves Don Draper. Betty divorced him, but when she has a cancer scare whom does she come to ? Don. Peggy is spot on when she guess that Don really did put two companies, dozens of careers and millions of dollars at risk to get her back. He is a man with a plan and the plan does not include getting walked out on.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Rachel Mencken left him.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1145236287 Celeste Copeland

          Also, Peggy left him (professionally speaking.)

    • HollyBarry

      Yowza, You men encapsulate this modern American theater better than ANYBODY. Don the Dom. Very sexy. But Sylvia is too vanilla to appreciate!

    • Logo Girl

      The Don/Sylvia scenes had the combined dreariness of the Don/Miss Farrell scenes (which I always mute) and the sheer horror of Joan getting raped (which I always fast-forward), making this the first effectively under 30 minute Mad Men episode, 20 some minutes of which are parts I never need to see again, ever.

    • Mauricio González del Castillo

      And how spot on when Don kissed Silvia’s hand off. Just like Peggy’s

    • http://featurezoo.net memorexe

      Remember in Season 5, after Don wrote that op-ed about giving up big tobacco, and there was all that fallout—didn’t Ted Chaough prank call him as Bobby Kennedy congratulating him?

      • MartyBellerMask

        I do believe he’s also the one who sent the African totem to a roomful of SCDP job applicants. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

        • Zaftiguana

          I’m pretty sure that was Y&R after their harassment of civil rights protestors inspired the “equal opportunity employer” ad that led to Dawn’s hiring. It was Ted who made the Bobby Kennedy prank call, though.

        • http://featurezoo.net memorexe

          Yes, that was also the Prankster Chaough! I like that Chaough as much this kinder gentler guy, hopefully the writers will see it fit to have the shenanigans resurface.

    • jen_wang

      I wonder if Ken will start to overshadow Pete? He’s working Chevy, Pete’s lost Vick, and Pete at least looks worried.

      • Danielle

        In some ways, Ken’s been overshadowing Pete since the beginning of the show. Remember when they were both going for head of accounts, and Lane said that while Pete is great at taking care of all of his customers’ needs, Ken had the ability to make them feel like they had none? Ken could be a partner by now, but he didn’t want it.

        • jen_wang

          True, but Pete had his weird scene with Ken when Ken joined SCDP, where he basically tried to establish himself as the alpha, and he hasn’t seemed too concerned about it since. (Or rather, he’s been focused on spazzing about other things.) And it was surprising, in a nice way, that he went to Ken for advice about his father-in-law. And he doesn’t know that Ken was offered a partnership. But I think Ken working Chevy may reignite all of Pete’s old resentment of Ken and his smoother way of working.

    • Mattabie

      I loved Peggy’s confrontation with Don tonight. I had a nagging urge to go back and watch the scene were Don visits her in the psych ward. I remembered him telling her, “This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened,” but what I didn’t remember was the advice he gave her moments before, which was “move forward.”

    • desertwind

      I think there won’t be a big blow-up scene between Megan and Don. She’ll become bored with the old man and she’ll be the one to drift away. Like Don, she’s only good at beginnings and this marriage is already past the beginning stage.

      She got the copywriter job through Don and aced it, but then she decided to quit and become an actress. She got her commercial through Don, but the soap opera on her own. Now that she’s become a main character with fans asking for autographs, she’s wanting to drift off to Hawaii rather than do what a real actress would, which is keep her steady job while auditioning for more serious work.

      Maybe Megan will go to Hawaii on her own and take up with a pot farmer. Or move to Paris and become a pop star.

      I liked Marge. Shame they didn’t keep her and let those schlubbs from CDC go.

      Maybe Dawn will move up to office manager and Joan can finally ditch that old role.

      Don and Ted in the plane with Ted in control and loving it. He’s not just Mr. Nice. (Stop flying by the seat of your pants, Don and focus on reality) I think they could become a good partnership and Don will get his work mojo back though his personal & inner life will become more and more wretched.

      Peggy will realize Ted is her new father figure and not a romance. She and Don will work something out. She and Stan will continue as good buddies. Maybe Joyce will make an appearance! Peggy and Abe will grow even closer as the world turns. Maybe the next award ceremony they go to will see Abe receive a Pullitzer…

      Wonder what will happen with Ginsburg? With Sally?

      Maybe Bob Benson will become Joan’s assistant. She can play up his strengths — and weaknesses.

      Is it pathetic that I now want a happy ending for Screechy Pete!?

      • desertwind

        ETA: Megan’s pot farmer will, of course, be rich and cater to movie stars and rock stars. No hippie, she!

      • Zaftiguana

        I think you’re reading way too much into someone wanting to take a couple of weeks vacation. People do that and still keep, commit to, and love their jobs.

      • Glammie

        Megan seems committed to getting her marriage right–I think that’s why we’ve seen so much of her mom, so we know what’s driving Megan to be a good wife. I think, though, she will leave the marriage. She’s young with the world at her feet. I can see her falling in love with someone else and going.

    • Guest

      Another callback: How about the way Don kissed Sylvia’s hand when he realized she was serious that it was over? Reminded me of the scene when Peggy quit and he realized she was serious. She got a long, eyes-closed, sad kiss on the hand too.

    • Glammie

      The Man with a Plan gone wrong?

    • Glammie

      Bravo–and Sylvia pretty much has the Liz Taylor hair.

    • http://twitter.com/yellowhannah33 yellowhannah33

      I’ve only just been able to watch so forgive a bullet point approach:

      – I’ve read a fair few of the comments and I think people are giving Don way too much credit re Sylvia. I don’t think he’s capable of loving anyone but himself. That’s why it was such a revelation when he realised he did actually love Bobby – and Bobby is his *own child*. He was upset that Sylvia ended it because he lost control over another element of his life, in Sylvia’s case, given their final scenes, literal control as well as figurative. I always thought his relationship with Bobbi B was the most realistic of his affairs because he didn’t play at loving her; it was always about his own gratification.

      – The office was chaotic and, for the first time since they moved there, seemed really shabby. Struck me as more 1970s than 1960s for the first time. I noticed the dark faux wood more than the crisp white lines and the partition walls seemed to shake as everyone moved in and out of rooms.

      – The Bob Benson/Joan scenes were super cute. It didn’t occur to me once that he might be trying to help is own job prospects but I suppose that’s naive. I’m totes shipping Bob and Joan now though. She could add some naughty to his nice.

    • Chris

      Question: Does anyone know why Joan was at such an awful place- it looked like a clinic or a shabby hospital? It looked far different from the places where Trudy had her baby or Joan and Don were in “Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency.” Surely Joan can afford a better hospital now?

      • Zaftiguana

        I think we’re seeing a couple of things; ERs are frequently much crappier than other parts of the same hospital, and at this point, several years after “Guy”, New York has already experienced a lot of upheaval and decline.

    • MisScarlett

      Any predictions about the future of Stan and Peggy’s relationship? I’ve seen a few say that maybe Stan understood why Peggy (and subsequently CLC) went after Heinz; then I’ve seen some sense tension and a ruined relationship. I was hoping this episode would shed a little more light, but it just had me wondering if Stan was the artist behind Peggy’s “Coffee Chief” door sign.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        I don’t see any evidence of a ruined relationship. He was perfectly friendly to Peggy when she came back into the office.

        • MisScarlett

          I agree, I just watched this episode again and there’s no tension there that I can see. So that leaves Peggy’s romantic interest storyline deliciously open-ended! Thanks, Uncles TLo, for taking the time to reply; and as always, for the great MM analysis.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Meredith probably made the sign and got it wrong because she’s such a ditz. :)

      • Chris

        He and Ted both seemed very impressed with Peggy when she broke out the history of margarine. I loved how they were each kind of looking at her with awe from either side. Stan and Ted are the two who have always been supportive of her and her ideas. And Freddy Rumson. Stan could have left the note but in joking manner.

    • http://twitter.com/1tsplove sara

      I keep thinking about how similar the dresses of Sylvia and Pete’s mom (both women trapped in apartments) were: both older styles & yellow floral. What could it mean? I know its a stretch, but it is reminding me of The Yellow Wallpaper.

      • Chris

        That’s a great catch. I’m sure it will be explored in “Mad Style.” They both had those busy floral prints and they were both disturbed about different things when they went to the rooms and were controlled by the men in their lives. Both of the men told them what to talk about, what not to talk about etc. Sylvia is the only one who got out of her room. The story The Yellow Wallpaper really creeps me out- I wouldn’t be surprised if Weiner/Bryant had it in mind on some level.

        • 3hares

          Mrs. Campbell isn’t being very controlled. She showed up unexpectedly, having driven away all her previous caretakers, and is just as much forcing everyone else to talk about what she wants to talk about by having her own reality.

          • Chris

            Pete managed to convince her it was St. Patrick’s Day. Even when she was correct about Bobby Kennedy he dismissed her.

            • 3hares

              Yes, she’s a woman with dementia. He scored a win with the St. Patrick’s Day card for getting her to stay inside, and she got him to miss an important meeting by starting a fire in the apartment. He mistakenly corrected her about Bobby Kennedy, but just gave up correcting her when she told him he’d be late for school. This isn’t a woman following his orders like Sylvia was with Don for a while.

    • http://www.facebook.com/llamame.eme María Foulquié

      I swear to god, when Don asked Sylvia to fetch his shoes,I wished she had caught them and threw them out the window. I would have.

      • http://www.facebook.com/llamame.eme María Foulquié

        little did I know that was only the beginning …

    • http://twitter.com/frabjuosity Iris Celestine

      For some reason, when we were hearing Sylvia yelling at her husband, I developed a “crack theory” that she had killed him. I found it kind of suspicious that his voice was not heard at all – just her, screaming… Then she went away and stayed in that hotel for a weekend, presumably without him causing alarm. Maybe Pete’s mother’s comment “They’re shooting everybody.” is foreshadowing? What if Sylvia heard Don’s elevator ding and started screaming at her husband’s corpse so he wouldn’t suspect?

      This is probably a completely crazy theory, but I couldn’t get it out of my head as I was watching.

    • tallgirl1204

      I thought Ted’s revenge on Don– the plane flight, where Ted was in the dominant position physically and mentally, was hilarious— our “Mad Men Monday” group howled with laughter all the way through it–

      Also, I noted that Peggy went in to Don to try to protect Ted, somewhat in the way that she tried to protect Joan from the nasty-cartoon-drawing guy a few seasons ago. Joan did not appreciate Peggy firing the guy. And Ted didn’t really need Peggy to protect him either– he took his own revenge in his own way. A guy who pilots a tiny plane through a storm and can casually say “it’s hard to tell which way is up or down” has it all over a guy who can hold his liquor, and Don is very well aware of that.

    • http://twitter.com/donnahoke Donna Hoke

      A big part of me still wants to believe that Don engineered the breakup with Sylvia. Why else did we/he overhear her huge fight with Arnie? Why did the “Last week on…” show her saying “We have to be careful; we can’t fall in love”? Don overheard that fight, then heard Sylvia say “I need you; nothing else will do” and he GOT SCARED. If Sylvia is on the outs with Arnie, she’s going to cling to Don, and if things don’t go her way, she’s going to blow up his marriage as well her own. That’s not something Don wants to risk, so he works it so that she breaks up with him in such a way that he will never be found out. Does he regret it ending? Yes. I think he enjoyed the affair, but I think this idea that he’s crushed and broken by her is a little off base. The scenes we were privy to point toward him engineering the entire thing to save himself, which is still typical Don behavior.

    • buddy100

      Oh my holy blue balls. This season IS The Inferno.

      Hell, it opens up with Don’s voice-over reading the introduction. The following episodes then proceeds to ironically punish every character who has in some way transgressed.

      Pete: Greed. He wanted everything and nothing he had would satisfy him. He kept on looking for new affairs, new business, new accoutrements to fill the hole inside. Now he’s lost everything: his family, his home, much of his wealth, and a good portion of whatever respect he might have gained at work. Then, finally, to top it off, he’s visited by the phantom of the woman who helped to create his deep internal void.

      Don: Pride. He abused his lovers and co-workers again and again because he had the brilliance and charm to always get with it. But now, his luster is starting to fade, and his careless arrogance is slowly alienating everyone around him. Ted, the compassionate and conscientious anti-Don, is gradually becoming more appealing to a workplace tired of Don’s shit. He tried to reinforce his ego by subjugating Sylvia and ended up losing her completely. Now, the series is building to an ultimate punishment in the form of a fall-out with Megan, who might as well be portrayed with a halo over her head.

      Roger: Sloth. Everything was handed to him from the moment of his birth. His wealth, his name, his business, his mother’s love. He takes everything for granted until it’s too late. Not only did he lose his mother in the first episode, but he realized that he had lost his daughter as well. Now he’s left to confront a growing sense of internal emptiness. At work, he’s long been considered a mostly useless relic, and resorts to self-indulgent maneuvers to make connections. So far this season, it’s been working. But I will be damned if the writers don’t figure it’s due to bite him in the ass.

      Meanwhile, the women are looking increasingly saintly in comparison. We have Joan, the Mary Magdalene. Megan, the faultless and devoted wife. And Peggy, Don’s Beatrice, who may be one woman to try and guide him through his trials to redemption.

      If this didn’t convince you that this whole season is littered with Catholic symbolism, I have one more point: Don. Sylvia. Cross. Backwards.

    • KTBSN

      Over 900 comments in 24 hours- record for the season so far?

    • siriuslover

      I’m so late to this thread I’m sure no one will read my post, but man, Don’s treatment of Sylvia on the episode reawakened the loathing, pure loathing I had for him as a character. The utter cruelty and his dehumanization of Sylvia was so over the top, and I am happy that she pulled away when she did. I was half frightened he was going to do something violent to prevent her from leaving the hotel room.
      I was so happy to see Peggy stand up for Ted and confront Don. But equally happy that Ted in his mano-a-mano moment in the airplane. Yes, Don, sometimes you are outplayed.
      So much more to say–about Roger’s excitement about letting Burt go, about the different creatives’ approaches (Peggy, dump those boys already!), about Pete’s relationship with his mother. I will content myself with trying to read the previous 923 comments!

      • Fordzo

        You know, at the risk of sounding like I’m no fun, the first time a man told me to crawl on my hands and knees to find his shoes, I’d place one of mine up his ass. And not in a fun way. He must have some magic dick, because it would take a LOT for me to play along with that crap.

    • eb1966

      That hotel room seemed to me to be not only about control but also a desperate attempt by Don to return to the world of the 1950’s. Everything about the room and Sylvia screamed “retro.” It reminded me of the flashback to Joan and Roger in “Waldorf Stories.” At the end of the episode, you see it sinking in for Don that the dam is opening and the 50’s are gone forever.

    • Emmyllou

      We all seem to care very much about how Don behaves, what makes him tick, & who he appears to be. That’s the sign of a brilliant characterization, which matters much more than whether we like or approve of him.

    • lilyvonschtupp

      I know I’m incredibly late to the party, but what happened to Dawn?

      • desertwind

        She’s probably monitoring the supply cabinet & time-cards. Remember when Joan punished her by giving her the keys?

        • lilyvonschtupp

          Yes, but I’m still a little curious because of Don’s constantly staring at her desk as if to ask, “Where the hell is she?”

    • http://twitter.com/laura_valerie Laura Curtis

      My theory is that this season is the end of Don Draper. Episode after episode, there is no redemption in sight; he is circling the drain, spiralling further and further down into a cesspool of self-obsession, self-hatred and, worst of all, mediocrity. He is doomed to a fall from a high window in the final episode, as the opening credits have foreshadowed since day one.

      Meanwhile, Bob Benson emerges as the “new” Don Draper. A young go-getter, all talent and no past, using his charm and good looks to grapple for an opportunity to prove himself and live The Dream.

      [He and Joan marry and live happily ever after.]

      Wishful thinking, perhaps.

    • aquamarine17

      I was thinking about Don and remembered back when he was cutting down on drinking and swimming and writing in a journal. I wonder if Sylvia breaking up with him will be a catalyst the way the waking up with the waitress was. He does seem stale and you wonder why exactly. Is it from getting married in a hurry? it can work out, but often doesn’t (married in haste, repenting in leisure, love that old phrase). His marriage to Betty and having two kids was a more structured life, not that he was totally involved, but the role there was more defined. Seeing him next to Ted was so interesting in the office. I loved the airplane scene to the utmost. Thanks for the great columns, TLo. Love the comments, too.

    • http://twitter.com/hifigoddess Hifigoddess

      In the earlier seasons of the show, the female archetype was either Marilyn or Jackie, and it was interesting to see Don updating this in his conversation with Ted. Now it’s Ginger and Maryann.

    • John

      Is anyone still ascribing to the Dante’s Circles of Hell theory? If so, this episode was Heresy, which in that ring of hell, heretics are locked in “flaming tombs.” Lots of characters stuck in “tombs” this episode. Also, there’s the quote from Dante’s Inferno about the sixth circle: “Here you will find the heretics and followers of every cult and pagan sect, all buried together, burning in eternal fire.” Several scenes of overflowing rooms as the merger puts everyone from every department across two companies all in one space. As for “buried together,” we see a lot of cluttered offices and piles of boxes as people seemed buried in crap. And the Chevy account is based around the Chevy Vega, which was such a flop it might as well be a doomsday device for the agency. So maybe these characters, and SCDCC, are buried and burning and don’t even know it yet.