Mad Men: Time Zones

Posted on April 14, 2014

Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-1-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO

Elisabeth Moss in AMC’s Mad Men

“Do you have time to improve your life?” asks Don Draper (via Accutone pitch, through Freddie Rumsen).

“Haven’t you ever dreamed of a place where there was peace and security, where living was not a struggle but a lasting delight?” asks the Lost Horizon title card on Don’s gigantic new TV.

You’d think, with bookending questions like that, this episode would be somewhat uplifiting or optimistic. Instead, it was one of the most depressing episodes the show’s ever had – and that’s REALLY saying something. It was certainly the most depressing season opener they’ve ever done. The show tends toward more optimistic, place-setting season openers that say “Here’s the new status quo, and aren’t you glad to see everyone again?” This one was more along the lines of “Nothing’s changed. Everyone’s miserable.” Literally everyone. Not one character was happy or in a good place in this world – and in some cases, it was truly painful to watch. Actually, that’s not true. There was one happy person. And his happiness was the most ironic fate of them all.

Not that we’re complaining about the depressing parts. On the contrary; this is pretty much where the show needs to be as it kicks off the beginning of the end of the story. Everyone’s dealing with the consequences of various choices or circumstances. And almost everyone is stuck or hurting in some way because of it. On our book tour last week, while giving an answer to a question about Mad Men, we said something that seemed to initially take our audience aback. “Mad Men is a show about how we never really get over our own shit.” Of course, people might have been taken aback because we were sitting right in front of the children’s section when we blurted this into the microphone. “Instead,” we continued, “The best any of us can do is learn to accept our shit and work within the boundaries of our own paradigms.” Sure it’s a bit New Age-y, which we’ll chalk up to jet lag, but that, to us, has always been the main theme of the show. “People can’t get over their own shit.” People don’t change. At best, they just learn to accept themselves. Don and Peggy have always exemplified these ideas. He can’t change and she can’t either (she will always be the person in the room observing the other people in the room rather than engaging them directly; always at a remove from others), but she blossomed when she came to terms with who she is.

(Edited to add: Mo Ryan, who was at the signing where we answered this question, after having treated us to a fabulous dinner, wound up mentioning this exchange in her review. We had no idea our vulgar little outburst was going to get such traction.)

But she’s not exactly at the top of her game now. Having been lifted up and then punished by two male mentors, she’s now stuck with a boss who has absolutely no regard or use for her whatsoever. She’s so powerless and unappreciated that the old humiliations and gaslighting techniques of Don and Ted would seem almost preferable in comparison. At least it showed they cared about her, in some sick way. Lou couldn’t care less about Peggy. “I guess I’m just immune to your charms.” Having spent the better part of the last decade relentlessly pursuing a career over a personal life, she’s now utterly alone and powerless, literally sinking to the floor in tears in her shitty (but someday outrageously expensive) Upper West Side brownstone. Don is gone, Ted is gone, Abe is gone. Whether it’s true or not, in that moment of despair, she’s got nothing in her life. Nothing at all.

Joan is also paying a heavy price on the professional front, although it’s less a result of her choices and more a result of the times she lives in. Having landed the Avon account for the agency, she essentially gets promoted to a full accounts position and handed the problematic Butler Footwear account by a distressingly overworked Ken. Unfortunately, at every turn, she’s gets treated like she’s brain damaged by every man she encounters. In some ways, Joan has it harder than Peggy does as a career woman because most men find her attractive and assume that’s all she’s got going on. But by the time she started her little crash MBA course, she’d had about enough of that shit. “You’re going to need another pad,” she tells the condescending professor. And when the guy from Butler pretty much ignores her request, she finally brings the full weight of her Joan powers down on his head. Because if there’s one talent Joan freaking Holloway Harris has learned and perfected in the last sixteen years, it’s how to cut an obnoxious man down to size. Granted, she ended the episode mostly on an up note, it’s still obvious she’s never going to get the kind of respect she deserves as a partner of this company. Ken yells at her like she’s a secretary. And what’s sad about that is Joan would never have allowed him to yell at her like that when she actually was a secretary. Her moment of strength on the phone with the Butler guy was wonderful to see, but we’re struck by how timid she is now in comparison to the old days. Power has actually made her more vulnerable, ironically.

And it’s REALLY depressing to see Ken, with what looks like a permanent eye injury from those crazed Chevy execs of last season, screaming and yelling, and just generally pitching a Pete Campbell-like fit. This from the guy who never let the job get to him and devoted his real energy to writing science fiction stories.

And then there’s Roger, whose hilarious romps through the counterculture have taken a seedier, darker turn. He’s another one who has no ties anymore. His wife is gone; his daughter is gone, his second wife is gone and his mother is gone. He doesn’t even have the guy who was the closest thing to a best friend Roger could abide: Don himself. No one seems to care about Roger, not even Roger himself. And as for Margaret, we’re a little early on the timeline for est, but she’s clearly on some sort of consciousness-raising schtick. Roger being out of breath at the restaurant felt like some ominous foreshadowing. We never did find his hedonism all that believable, considering he had two heart attacks years ago.

And speaking of ominous foreshadowing, here’s Megan, discussing the coyotes which sound like they’re right outside her door but aren’t :”It’s just what happens to the sound in the canyons.”

And here’s the opening lines from the first chapter of Helter Skelter, the book about the Manson Family murders, including Sharon Tate’s:

“It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.

The canyons above Hollywood and Beverly hills play tricks with sounds. A noise clearly audible a mile away may be indistinguishable at a few hundred feet.”

God, we almost hated pointing that out. We still maintain, as we did in the face of all that Tate hysteria of last season, that Weiner’s not that literal in his foreshadowing, but even we were shocked at how clearly he’s making a direct reference here to her murder.

Meanwhile, Don and Megan’s marriage now consists of some of the most tense, least romantic scenes ever seen on the show. And again, that’s REALLY saying something. Everything about their interactions seem prickly and awkward. And Don as much as admits, when he engages in that odd little Emotional Mile High Club tête-à-tête with Neve Campbell, that he thinks the marriage is pretty much over and he’s fucked it up again. His wife is gone, his job is gone, his family is gone. He’s left literally out in the cold in every aspect of his life; shivering and scared on a balcony. Utterly alone, all his demons having destroyed him, all his fears having come true. Just about the only reasons to be optimistic at all about him are the fact that his Accutron pitch was pretty much flawless; the best pitch we’ve heard from Don in years. And Neve Campbell’s character almost seemed like a parody of the bored, middle-aged sexy women who spew deep statements and philosophical musings at him before offering him sex. If Don has a type, that’s it. And he rejected her outright this time, choosing instead to literally turn away from her and open a window. Does it mean anything? We’ll see. They can’t spend the entire rest of the story showing him in the depths of despair, can they?

After all, isn’t that what the two questions quoted at the top of this review are asking? Is there time enough left for these people to improve their lives? Will life ever stop being such a struggle for them? That would seem to be the theme of the story this season. Can these people be happy? Can they learn to accept their own shit and move on in their lives? Or is it nothing but despair for them all?

But one person in this story is not wallowing in despair. One person seems to be, against all odds and reason, pretty happy and content where he is – and could serve as the way out of darkness for some of the other characters. The least likely of them all to be in such a state:  Pete Campbell of all people; in Los Angeles of all places. After watching him pout and stomp his feet for almost a decade of story time, it’s almost hard to take this happy, contented, generous person who seems to be doing well in his life. We think it’s highly notable that he seems to be the only person at SC&P who stays in touch with Don and thinks his exile should end. We imagine that when Pete, who’s kept Dick Whitman’s secret for almost a decade now, heard the other partners recount the story of Don’s Hershey pitch crackup last year, he reacted with a bemused “Grew up in a whore house, you say! A thing like that!”

 

 

 (More to come on Wednesday, in our Mad Style post for this episode.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC]

    • shaan

      Interesting tidbit I noticed: Don Draper didn’t smoke a single cigarette this episode. Maybe the first episode in the series in which that’s happened.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        They know where the fire starts… an interesting metaphor, that comment.

      • Kelly Jeanne Fowler

        He was actually smoking in the diner when he met Pete.

        • Alanna

          He was? Huh. I was originally going to reply that it could be because of Hamm’s throat surgery over the hiatus, but then apparently not! Also, did Freddy Rumsen say that he brought beer with him to Don’s apartment? I only saw the two bottles on the table, and those looked like orange soda.

          • warontara

            I think he was saying that he had never eaten the sausages he brought without having a beer to go with it.

            • Alanna

              Oops, you’re right. I was going on memory, and I barely got any sleep last night. (Why can’t Mad Men be on Friday or Saturday night? That, or why can’t my employers give me the following day off work?)

            • warontara

              Lol hey, I’m just excited that I caught something. I’m usually lost!

      • UsedtobeEP

        He smoked one when he got in the car with Megan, I think—I could just see the smoke. But yes, very little smoking and drinking overall.

      • Laura Carney

        He didn’t smoke in Canter’s Deli when he was meeting Pete?

    • Frank_821

      Oh god yes this was very depressing. Lou is an idiot. he probably assumed Peggy screwed her way to a job

      I was really weirded out by Ken

      • P M

        I thought he was just irritated by what can seem like her over-eagerness. Note that the way she is dressing in that scene is like a schoolgirl. Oh dear, Peggy, after all that effort, she’s taken a few steps back.

        • Spicytomato1

          I didn’t see Lou as irritated as much as sort of amazed that Peggy cared so much about something he didn’t think was worth that much thought. He seems to me the classic example of someone who’s achieved his position more through his boys’ club connections than through actual talent. If Peggy keeps this up, I’m guessing he will become irritated that he might be exposed for the hack he seems to be.

          Agreed that Peggy seems to have regressed. The dynamic among the creatives seems highly tense with Lou at the helm, everyone seems sort of impotent and stuck. I liked how even Ginsberg was appalled by Lou’s treatment of her. In the old days he might have spoken up but I thought it was telling how he stayed silent.

          • Eric Stott

            Peggy has gotten a bit nasty, and she’s using one of Don’s least attractive tricks- taking Freddy’s Accutron pitch (yeah, Don’s really) putting her slick spin on it, then dismissing Freddy. He treated her better than that back when she was a secretary.

            • Spicytomato1

              You’re right, I did notice that she was giving Freddy the “Don” treatment and I liked how he called her out on it. Which is why I was surprised when she was so unassertive with Lou. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s actually very crappy, but maybe she uses Freddy to make her feel better about herself and inability to get anywhere with Lou.

            • heartbot

              Classic Don move.

            • AutumnInNY

              I agree. That “you really put the free in freelancer” comment to Freddy was rude. It’s just coffee Peggy, relax.
              I guess she forgot how nice Freddy was to her back in the day.

            • jbinsb

              And Peggy’s spin on the pitch was really poor and changed the meaning. “It’s time for a conversation” means nothing, the “about how great this watch is” does not occur immediately, obviously as it would need to in an ad. Cryptic for 1969. Peggy is pissed, rightly so, but she seems unable to parse that out and get beyond it in her important professional interactions.

        • Laura Carney

          Peggy wore that same dress last season, in the scene where Ted broke up with her. Bryant likes to repeat one item of Peggy’s wardrobe in the first episode each season to establish the fact that she’s an average person who doesn’t buy a lot of new clothes all the time.

          • Amanda

            Hmmm I am pretty sure that was not the same dress. The dress she wore when Ted told her he was going to LA was the same dress she wore on her interview with Ted in season 5, and this wasn’t that dress.

            • Chris

              Yes you are right, it was the blue suit dress with the orange trim she wore on her interview with Ted. She began and finished with him in the same outfit. The one she wore here is a different one.

            • Laura Carney

              Ack, you’re right! But the colors are so similar…and there’s a silky scarf! Maybe Janie chose a more buttoned-up version of that look on purpose?

            • Alexis Musa

              I the scene where he is taking to Jim, Ted is wearing the same green plaid sports coat he wore is the scene where he tells peggy he’s leaving. I don’t know if that means anything.

      • tallgirl1204

        I still think the whole series, in the end, is Ken’s memoir…

        • Eric Stott

          “One Eye On The Prize…..my Madison Avenue Years”

          • Pennymac

            Love!

            • Eric Stott

              blush

          • librarygrrl64

            Marry me.

            • Eric Stott

              Double blush!

          • Trent

            LOL! Genius!

            • Eric Stott

              Oh My!

          • Lady Bug

            LMAO!

        • formerlyAnon

          That’s a fascinating perspective.

        • http://batman-news.com Stephaniekb

          That has been my theory too! I think the series is going to end with Ken sitting in a director’s chair, watching the filming of his screenplay/memoir.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            Ken writes the book, and Paul writes the screenplay version.

            • Froide

              Paul’s a hack; it’s more likely Daniel P. “Danny” Siegel would be involved, as a producer.

        • Karen

          I agree…he is a cock-eyed optimist:

          “I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
          That we’re done and we might as well be dead,
          But I’m only a cockeyed optimist
          And I can’t get it into my head.”

          Just because we don’t hear about the book, doesn’t mean that he is not writing one.

          • Megan Kennedy

            High five for the South Pacific reference!

      • Chris

        It only took about one sentence out of Lou’s mouth for me to decide I hated him. Before he even insulted Peggy. That’s good writing.

        • Pennymac

          And acting.

          • Linlighthouse

            You guys made me look him up. He’s Allan Harvey, and he’s a standup comic as well as actor. He’s doing a really good job of appearing to be a douche.

        • Zaftiguana

          He lost me at Gladys Knight and The Pips. That was an Oh, fuck you, buddy” moment for sure.

          • Karen

            And when he called Dawn “nurse,” as in Diahann Carroll of “Julia” fame.

            • jbinsb

              He’s a right bastard, for sure. I have a feeling a big burn will be coming his way.

        • aeascot

          I think the cardigan helped.

      • Lattis

        Lou is an idiot.

        For my money, that could not be said enough or too emphatically.

      • bigeasybridget

        I wondered what Lou knew from Duck about Peggy. Given that Duck was the one who brought Lou in, and I’m sure Duck has bragged about Peggy. And then if any of the old rumors about Don/Peggy still exist, and, of course if any whispers are still circulating about Peggy and Ted. Lou is a doink, but he might just want to make it clear to Peggy that the dazzle doesn’t work on him.

        • jbinsb

          Lou is the perfect Duck “find.” As for the rumors about Don and Peggy, I’ve never understood them. She is so clearly not his type. Hate to sound beautyist or something, but Don goes for striking beauty, and Peggy doesn’t have that. I have never understood her sex appeal to a range of men.

        • MartyBellerMask

          Oh that’s right. I would so not put it past Duck to brag about his exploits with her. UGHHHH.

    • Frank_821

      I forgot to say. Margaret was so condescending. I wanted to barf all over her “enlightened” face. She’s as big of spoiled brat as ever. Her girlfriend must really love to gossip about her

      • MilaXX

        yeah that forgiving Roger for making her ask for money was a bit rich.

        • Alloy Jane

          I dunno, considering he lavishes money on the women he has sex with but doesn’t bother to make sure his own daughter is taken care of, I can see how that would feel like rejection when money is all he has ever had to give. He’s not a particularly doting father from an emotional standpoint. But yeah, the “I forgive you” stuff was disingenuous. Although her making Roger eat it on the shit he has pulled sure did get to him.

          • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

            I’m not sure what you mean by “doesn’t bother to make sure his own daughter is taken care of” — Margaret married just fine, it seems. We certainly haven’t seen her in rags or anything resembling need. As far as I remember, the one time she asked for money was for her husband’s business venture, right?

          • MilaXX

            The daughter was well taken care of. She got mad because the husband wanted money for some business venture and he told them No. She wasn’t lacking or in desperate need. This was not only a #thirdworldproblem, it was a #richfolksproblem

            • Alloy Jane

              Interesting. @laura_renee:disqus & @MilaXX:disqus Maybe I’m getting my shows crossed, but I thought she married “beneath her station” to a guy who had a hard time staying employed. Either way, problems are relative, and if the way Roger expressed “love” to his daughter was with money, and then he stops being generous with her, that would equate rejection. It’s like how dysfunctional children lash out in pursuit of negative attention because that’s the only kind they know how to process and they reject anything other than the negative attention they are accustomed to. Daddy’s money=Daddy’s love=Daddy’s money. You don’t have to agree with the behavior to understand it. Besides, this whole show is about #richwhitepeopleissues.

            • MilaXX

              Nope her husband wasn’t beneath her. He had good job and was doing well. I think it was a partnership or something. I remember thinking at the time the request was ridiculous, but she got in a snit over it. It never felt like anything more than a spoiled child being told no for the first time in her life.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              I don’t agree with MyLifeInPlastic, I can tell you’re theorizing on the character’s perspective, not speaking from what you believe — anyway, no, there wasn’t any suggestion that Margaret married below her station. The only time we saw her asking for money was for her husband’s business venture.

          • MyLifeInPlastic.com

            He’s expected to take care of his grown-up, married daughter? Wow, sounds like someone else born with money and entitlement seeing the world from a very spoiled perspective. You turn 18, you aren’t ‘entitled’ to one red cent from mom and dad – and be damned grateful for whatever they give you after that. Otherwise you’re just a spoiled little whiner, like Sterling’s daughter.

            • Alloy Jane

              What a sad little creature you must be to not only make a sweeping judgment about my existence from one simple sentence, but to see the world so meanly.

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

              In case anyone’s keeping score, this would be a perfect example of the kind of comment that’ll get you banned from this comments section. If you can’t talk about a TV show without slinging insults and making judgments about your fellow commenters, don’t bother coming here.

            • http://www.tweevalleyhigh.com/ Kristina, TweeValleyHigh

              I just want to hug you guys. This comment is not good, but much tamer than what you see in so many places. If this kind of negitivity is moderated, then I applaude you for keeping this a safe space.

            • mylifeinplastic

              I apologize for directing the comment at the previous commenter and not restricting my opinion to just the character being discussed. I was opinionated without being fabulous, apparently, but I still do think the daughter has no right to complain and judge her father so harshly, for all his faults. But I would gladly retract my harsh judgment of my fellow commenter.

            • jbinsb

              Harsh.

            • jbinsb

              This comment string oozes good will from folks interested in a compelling show. Your remarks belong elsewhere.

          • Amanda

            Margaret is spoiled, but don’t forget these people are old establishment money. She is expecting to inherit wealth just as Roger did. Remember, when Roger’s mother died, she was interested in money and left behind the sentimental gift Roger gave her.
            Practically, she has seen her inheritance split more than once. First in her parents divorce, then in the divorce with Jane. She was probably expecting all that money, being an only child.
            I dont like Margaret, but I can see how her character, given her socioeconomic status at the time, would have expected to be handed more of what she considers her own money.

            • Alloy Jane

              What I think is great is how they’ve mirrored Roger in Margaret. They’re even traveling a similar path now, him with his LSD epiphany, her with the Landmark type “enlightenment” stuff. Yet in the end they’re both still petty and self-serving. The writing really is brilliant.

          • KayeBlue

            Nittiest of nitpicks, but I cannot stand the way that actress says “The”. She always overpronounces the word as “Theeeee”. If it’s an affectation to make Margaret subtly irritating, good job! If not, lord, relax the vowels.

          • Jenz42

            This is so true. My grandmother was like this – once I told her that I thought another girl (not in the family) was replacing me as her granddaughter, and she said she was sorry I felt that way and gave me a fifty-dollar bill. Money was very literally the way she showed or withheld love.

        • MK03

          I actually said “Really bitch??” when she said that. Kudos to the actress, though, she really nails the character. She’s very good at edging Margaret toward sympathetic, then yanking her back into bitch mode just when you’re starting to feel bad for her.

      • MRC210

        There was a weird disconnect between her Junior League getup and the way she talked. I’ll bet the next time we see her, she’ll be wearing a maxi-dress and a macramé vest.

        • Spicytomato1

          Ha, yes. Easier to transform/evolve your consciousness than your wardrobe, isn’t it?

      • decormaven

        Maybe she is an early follower of the Jesus Movement? She’s definitely had a conversion experience.

        • Farthingale

          I thought est, or Unification church, but TLO says too early for EST. Actually, Roger is the one most likely to be herded into some kind of trendy religion–especially one that attracted pretty, young women.

          • EveEve

            EST didn’t come along until 1971. More likely Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (transcendental meditation).

            • Roz

              Or TA–Transactional Analysis

            • Logo Girl

              I take back my previous comment: I think you’re right that it’s TA. My sixth grade actually had a “TA for Kids” book. “Warm fuzzies” versus “cold pricklies”. Still remember that.

            • snarkykitten

              woooaahh I haven’t thought that about that book in ages. I didn’t know it had anything to do with cult(?) religion.

            • Musicologie

              Given the way she mentioned Roger smelling of incense with disdain, I don’t think she’s into anything Eastern.

          • Susan Collier

            My husband guessed the Moonies, which I didn’t know until now refers to the Unification Church and not the catchall term for which I had been using.

        • Kate Andrews

          I wonder if she’s going to a therapist. Someone who advocates love and forgiveness as a way to inner peace. That seems fairly modern, though. Of course Margaret’s interpreting all this in her own favor!

        • Logo Girl

          My guess is Esalen or Dianetics.

      • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

        Agreed, in my opinion she should be apologizing not forgiving people.

      • melisaurus

        Yea when you make amends or forgive someone you don’t call them up to remind them of all their sins. You just accept them and if you can allow them back into your life do so with boundaries. (As a child of divorce & alcoholic & and a dad who expressed his feelings with money) Most of the things Roger has done have had little bearing on her. She was out of the house & married, not his little girl anymore. It sucks when your parents get divorced but you gotta move on little lady!

      • Roz

        I remember that the BIG self-help book was, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay”. Published in 1967 and sales climbed for several years. Can totally imagine Margaret reading it.

        • the_archandroid

          Yeah but in her case it’s “I’m ok, you’re a piece of crap, but that’s ok”

          • ccinnc

            “… but that’s ok, I forgive you.”

            Wish Roger had taken down that smug, entitled brat.

            • Eric Stott

              In a few years she’ll write a book: “Tarnished Sterling- a daughter’s revelation” which will never be published.

            • editrixie

              Or self-published with Daddy’s money?

            • Eric Stott

              or sold to the Daily News.

            • malarson2

              You are on a roll, Honey!

            • Eric Stott

              I’ll cross my fingers that I don’t shift into the wrong gear.

            • Spicytomato1

              He appeared to be considering it, didn’t he? It seems he went through a range of emotions/potential reactions and chose the path of least resistance because he didn’t have the energy for anything more strenuous.

      • French_Swede

        I don’t know … she sounded sweet in her initial phone call to Roger. He’s been a crappy husband, father and grandfather. He really only cares about Roger. Maybe as her son grows up she realizes more and more what he has done to the family. I can imagine Margaret crying to her husband about what a shit her father is, and finally *maturing* enough to realize he’s never going to change and she has to come to peace with that.

    • MilaXX

      When I saw Ken’s eyepatch, I was wondering ow much time had lapse between seasons. Hearing Freddy say it’s been 2mths make me think the eye is indeed permanently damaged. I thought Freddy’s pitch sounded too good to be true, so it made perfect sense that it was really Don’s. Poor Don just look old. Everyone else picks up modern styles of dress and Don looks more and more like a grumpy old man.
      Poor Joan & Peggy. Still stuck in stereotypes. Peggy’s new boss is dismissive and Joan is mistaken for just a pretty face. I have to say though it was funny when she thought the professor was asking for sexual favors when he really wanted legit info.
      The Sharon Tate stuff was creepy and of course twitter lit up the moment it happened.

      • P M

        I’m sad at the turn Ken has taken. The bastards from Chevy took his spirit it would seem :(

        • sweetlilvoice

          I think the fact that he is completely overworked has sent him into a tailspin. He obviously needs some help, so I’m glad he delegated something to Joan.

          • decormaven

            I didn’t care for his handoff. The stress level is palpable with him.

          • P M

            Which brings to mind Bert’s comment to Pete during Season 6: ‘You’ve increased profits (or something) while keeping us lean’. Yes….. at who’s cost??

        • Violina23

          Me too… He always had a positive attitude about things…

          Although his failed attempt to throw something at the end of he episode, followed by the huff of disgust, made me laugh, and then consequently feel like a horrible person

          • Chris

            Don’t feel bad, Mad Men always goes for the dark humor: Pete falling down the stairs, lawnmower accidents and the jokes that follow. It’s just Ken’s turn now.

            • JCF

              SC&P seems to be treating Ken better w/ one eye, than Brit-owned SC did that young Brit interloper when reduced to one foot! ["Well, he'll never be able to play golf now"]

        • Chris

          I wonder if we will see he is having problems in his marriage. Ken’s home life was always his oasis and something he tried to keep apart from his work life.

          • P M

            Doesn’t his Father in law work at Dow? They were mentioned in episode 2. Hm…..

        • Musicologie

          My husband and I audibly gasped during Ken’s first scene. That is a broken man.

          • abby536

            “I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.” Psalms but I can never get the chapter and verse right…

            That’s what I thought of during the airplane conversation and your choice of words really drives it home. The only person who didn’t seem broken was Pete. Pete who has been broken his whole life but is now utterly free: no parents, no wife, no old New York expectations, forgotten in the best possible way. The only other person who seemed free was Freddy, who puts the free in freelancer.

            • SamuraiEngineer

              FTR, your apt thought was from Psalms 31:12 (don’t worry, friend, I had to look it up to verify it myself) — and there are enough broken vessels among the Mad Men and women to overrun a landfill with human crockery shards now. This was a painful beginning to the beginning of the end, all right.

              I’ll admit here that I also found myself cringing at Ken’s glaring decompensation under stress: here’s the one person at SC&P who seemed to have a healthy perspective, but that was prior to his ordeal by (gun)fire with Chevy — and, yes, the state of the medical art was clearly not where it is in 2014, but seeing him still wearing an eyepatch two months later doesn’t bode well for the eye. (And don’t tell me that SC&P will fortuitously win the Hathaway shirt account in the near future.)

              Apropos of Pete, however: yes, he did seem remarkably untrammeled, to the point of embracing a gobsmacked Don — and his mention of “vibrations” as part of the attraction of California for him was about as incongruous as could be WRT his established persona in New York, sure…but am I the only one here whose gaydar was also twinging a bit, as if Pete has possibly, finally slipped fully out of a closet that he had never admitted to himself that he was living in, that his earlier encounter with a smitten Bob Benson had previously further locked against self-discovery?

            • http://ferdinanda.com Ferdinanda

              That’s an interesting interpretation. It would put a different spin on how Pete introduced the real estate agent to Don. He mentioned that she turns on the charm for every would-be client, but the inference is that Pete, himself, is immune. He didn’t pull the typical *wink wink, nudge nugde* act to show off a recent conquest (something the always-competetive Pete of Old would do).

            • malarson2

              You are NOT the only person who twitched a little. I sensed it even in how he answered the door back at the office. Even in how he seemed neutral in the super-obvious flirtations of the realtor (Brittany Snow?). It would seem like a very Matthew Weiner thing to do; make everyone miserable except for the one guy who finally is living as himself.

            • malarson2

              Twinged/twitched…

            • Lady Bug

              I hope you’re right re: Pete being in the closet-cause I think that would be an absolutely brilliant plot twist. After the “knee brush” incident in Season 6, I was POSITIVE that this was the direction they were going with the character. Pete, was either gay or bisexual. Suddenly, everything over the last six years could be seen in a whole new light: his self-loathing, his need to prove himself as an ‘alpha-male’ his admiration, love/hate relationship towards Don, his unhappiness even though he seemingly ‘has it all’, even his frequent affairs and trips to the brothels could be seen as part of Pete’s attempt to completely deny his feelings, even towards himself.
              That being said, as much as I thought this was the direction the show was heading towards after “Favors” and as much as I like the idea as far as character development, at this point, I’m not sure this is where plot is heading. After “Favors” (IIRC) there hasn’t been any other references to Pete’s possible questioning of his sexuality. No, I wouldn’t expect Pete Campbell to move to West Hollywood the moment his settles in California (was West Hollywood a gay neighborhood in the late 60s?), or bed Bob Benson while on the trip to meet with Chevy, but there hasn’t really been any other indication that Pete is questioning his sexuality at this point.

              But I could very well be wrong too!

            • 3hares

              There wasn’t actually any reference to Pete questioning his sexuality to begin with. I mean, everything you say here applies just as much to Don, Roger, Joan or Harry Crane being gay or bi.

            • Lady Bug

              When I say “questioning his sexuality” I was referring to the knee-brush incident. When I first saw that scene, I thought the big point of the reveal was not so much that Bob Benson was gay, but that Pete Campbell might be. Granted, that was probably a minority interpretation of the scene! In that same vein, I also saw the cereal throwing box scene as Pete being filled with self-loathing for possibly being attracted to Bob in return.

              But, and I probably didn’t articulate it well enough, but I was replying to the posters who think Pete Campbell might be gay, and while I think it would be a great plot; at this point in the series I no longer think that’s the direction the show is going in.

              I agree that a lot of the issues mentioned could also be applied to the other characters. What I was trying to say was that based on my original interpretation of the knee-brush scene (that Pete was gay or bi-sexual) it put the character’s previous behavior, personality in a new context.

            • Farthingale

              The only thing Pete’s missing is New York bagels.

            • http://ferdinanda.com Ferdinanda

              That gave me a laugh. I moved to CA over 12 years ago. I miss East Coast bagels too. Noah’s is an insult to bagels–and the owner went on record as saying, “so what, they don’t care in California, our bagels sell, so whatever.” Not his exact words, but… the sentiment was there. Depending on who’s baking in the local Safeway bakery , that’s where you’ll find the most New Yorkish bagel–at least in the SF Bay Area.

        • Little_Olive

          And I love that it is that particular industry. I can’t put my finger on it well enough to be articulate about it, but there is something about the that over-ambitious, somewhat blind, flesh-eating (as it seems to have been now, I don’t really know about then) machine that seems so fitting for the character’s circumstances.

        • KayeBlue

          And his wife is still pregnant! Poor Cynthia, she and Ken were always the modern, true-love couple.

      • Grumpy Girl

        I don’t watch the show, but as someone with significant eye issues . . . two months is nothing as far as recovery–and that’s nowadays. Back then things would take much, much longer, but, yes, probably result in permanent damage.

      • MartyBellerMask

        With the professor guy– I took that to mean that Joan is NOT necessarily being seen as “just a pretty face”. Maybe she’s getting older and losing her sex appeal. Which, I imagine, is why she felt comfortable saying she’d worked at SCP for 16 years. No longer hiding her age.

        • Chris

          Well the way he tossed it out left him the ability to wiggle out of his question. If Joan had responded in a provocative way his answer may have been different. Or he could have just been genuinely interested in an exchange of data. I don’t think Joan has lost her mojo yet, she still looks great. Poor Peggy is the one who is aging from her job. She needs to dump that plaid stuff once and for all.

          • Froide

            And that knit tam. Peggy’s light-colored knit tam and peacoat-like jacket, her career troubles, and her despair on locking the door after her brother-in-law’s departure evoked Mary Tyler Moore’s very optimistic and happy opening to her show, in which she – wearing a peacoat – triumphantly tosses her dark-colored knit tam in the air, after leaving her light and airy apartment on the way to work.

          • Ali2044

            It’s amazing how dowdy they make Elizabeth Moss look on this show. If you’ve seen Top of the Lake, she’s looks absolutely gorgeous.

        • Verascity

          I took it more as a sign that she’s so used to that treatment now that she immediately assumes it, even when the exchange turns out to be innocuous. Like TLo said, she’s more vulnerable (and defensive) now.

          • MartyBellerMask

            The fact that they can pack so much subtext into such a short exchange of dialogue, says a lot about the writing. If nothing else, what this REALLY says to me, is that Joan is going to get a bigger storyline this year. :)

      • VeryCrunchyFrog

        The show has actually told us exactly how much time has passed: from Nov. 29, 1968 (the day after Thanksgiving) to Jan. 17, 1969 (the Friday before Nixon’s inauguration). I’m hopeful Kenny’s eye will heal!

      • lunchcoma

        A couple months might not be enough to recover from a serious eye injury. I’m hoping that Ken’s eye and spirit both heal. It was painful to see one of the few unequivocably good and well-adjusted people on the show be so sad and angry.

        • Kate Andrews

          Yes, but last season’s Ken dance was one of the best moments. So I don’t mind seeing him squirm some!

    • KingCrazy

      SO happy this show is back!

      It almost seems inevitable Megan will die. They have to be messing with us at this point.

      • CommentsByKatie

        I almost thought the same thing. “Sharon Tate, you say? How is THIS for Sharon Tate?” It was so incredibly on the nose. Maybe Weiner is trolling us. I hope he makes some sort of audience jab about Bob Benson being a secret agent, too! :)

        • The Counselor

          I definitely thought it was a shout-out when Megan’s agent(?) said something at dinner about Megan (and presumably her acting) “inspiring strong feelings.”

          • Nina B

            And he made mention of fixing her teeth. I’ve never been a Megan fan but I love that the show is calling out the things that people get caught up in.

            • The Counselor

              The show called that out early, in the episode where Megan plays nanny for Don at Disney. I like that this episode called back to it, and Megan’s face in response was actually a good little bit of acting by JP.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              Not discounting JP’s acting skills, but I wonder if that bit didn’t need much acting, if she heard that a lot herself as she was getting into acting.

            • Heather

              it was something her LA actress friend said to her the first time Megan was in LA with Don.

            • Spicytomato1

              I wondered about how realistic the “fixing your teeth” comment was, so it struck me as trolling too. It seems to me Hollywood was less fixated on cosmetic enhancements back then and imperfections were not scrutinized nearly as much as today. Remember Lauren Hutton and her gap toothed smile? I wonder if she was pressured to have it fixed?

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

              I’m afraid I disagree. Everyone from Joan Crawford to Marilyn Monroe got “corrective” cosmetic procedures done. It was widespread throughout Hollywood’s history. And Lauren Hutton did, in fact, face a lot of pressure to get her teeth fixed. It’s why we remember her teeth at all.

            • Donna Tabor

              In fact, Lauren Hutton wore a prosthetic in the gap for the early part of her career.

            • Angela Langdale

              Even Madonna did in her early days – seems crazy now!

            • lillyvonschtupp

              Audrey Hepburn had her teeth capped.

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

              Oops! I didn’t read down far enough and wrote the same thing.

            • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

              Lauren Hutton used to stick embalmer’s wax in the gap cover it up. EWW!!!

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              This reminded me of the scene where Megan gets back from her night out with her friend who makes a comment about her teeth in Tommorowland.

            • Spicytomato1

              Ok, I stand corrected. I definitely don’t have an insider’s perspective on the business, and was just commenting from a “layperson’s” view. I do think the pressure and intensity to achieve a certain standard has racheted up in this day and age, maybe because procedures have become more affordable and accessible? Using Megan/Jessica’s teeth, for example, it seems there are so many people with obvious veneers nowadays, all with a distinctly uniform look that we didn’t see 40-50 years ago. A “simple” “fix” that even my kids’ dentist is pushing early, as if their natural, slightly imperfect choppers couldn’t possibly be acceptable.

            • Qitkat

              It’s funny, these days when cosmetic procedures are so ubiquitous, I do notice when someone has resisted that siren call, and has kept a perfectly normal human imperfection, and I respect them for that. It’s a way of keeping one’s individuality, uniqueness to not be lumped in a generic category. Just look at how we often on here (on other topics) confuse one person with another because so many look almost alike.

            • KayeBlue

              Check out Rita Hayworth (her birth name Margarita Cansino)’s “transformation”. Hairline tweezed back, eyebrows completely reshaped, skin lightened (with actual bleach solutions)- surgical procedures may not have been as advanced, but back then the pressure wasn’t just to be beautiful, it was to explicitly, literally be a “white” concept of beautiful.

            • Spicytomato1

              Oh, eek, I guess I hadn’t ever really considered how far she and other old Hollywood film stars had gone to achieve their signature looks. But I can relate to that old standard of “white skin” on some level — my grandmother constantly pushed home remedies to help me attempt to erase my freckles.

              In her eyes, and I know in those of many, only the smoothest, creamiest skin was considered beautiful. She could not fathom that I actually liked my freckles and the flushed look that a little sun exposure (the horror!) gave me.

            • KayeBlue

              Just to be clear- I mean white as in Caucasian. Rita Hayworth was bleached, re-hairlined, and dyed because she was too “Hispanic”, not to have a ‘polished’ appearance. Megan’s teeth are, in part, to make her look like the perfect ‘American’ star.

            • Chris

              I thought of her too because I was amazed they had electrolysis back in the 1940′s- they used it on her hairline to give her the higher forehead. It must have been extremely painful.

            • Munchkn

              Didn’t Rita have electrolysis done on her hairline? That what I’ve always read.

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

              Actually, Lauren Hutton often wore a little appliance to fill in her gap when the situation called for it.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think that agent was based on the guy who “discovered” Suzanne Somers & Farrah Fawcett. I cannot remember his name but is face is very clear in my mind and the actor did a good parody of him.

            • decormaven

              Jay Bernstein. Good call!

            • BayTampaBay

              THANKS!
              My mind was totally blank. I kept thinking Bernie Brillstein but I knew I was putting the wrong agent with the name with the wrong face.

            • Eric Stott

              Was the guy coming on to Don?

            • BayTampaBay

              I do not think so. I took it as to be a stereotypical “Hollywood Agent” who comes on to everyone if he thinks there’s a buck laying on the table he can get his hands on just as Elliot Gould was a stereotypical “Las Vegas Roller” in Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13.

            • AZU403

              Besides, he was so clearly gay that I chuckled when Don assured him he wasn’t worried about Megan’s virtue.

            • Redlanta

              I thought he was doing a take-off on Paul Lynde! Good catch!

            • stonecoldcuddlewhore

              Was that agent famous in some way? Tell me more.

            • BayTampaBay

              YEA! Jay Bernstein managed Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Landon, Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Sommers.

              He managed all the big big TV people in the 70′s, 80′s and early 80′s.

            • Shelley

              Was Jay Bernstein Sharon Tate’s agent by chance?

        • Guest

          Lol Like when the agent said she makes people have strong reactions! That was definitely an audience jab.

      • Violina23

        When she got dizzy, I was wondering if she was ill, not just drunk. But I figured that drunk was more likely…

        • Alanna

          I worried it was pregnancy, given that dizziness (along with nausea) is TV shorthand for it. Thank god I was wrong. I actually like Megan, but a baby would be a bad idea for so very, very many reasons.

          • MK03

            Which is why it’s so very likely to happen. The last time Don accidentally knocked up his wife, it ended up bringing about the end of his marriage to Betty in a roundabout way.

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

            I’m definitely voting for a baby girl.

          • Little_Olive

            Speaking of that, what was the white thing in her hand when she came out of the bathroom? I though I saw a diaphragm. But maybe I imagined the whole thing.

        • melisaurus

          I was worried she wasn’t eating. Dizziness is also TV shorthand for anorexia.

          • mariahwg

            That was my take too. This stage of her career, plus the change in trends toward the willowy figure, it doesn’t seem unlikely.

        • stonecoldcuddlewhore

          The dizziness plus her not showing off her body when they finally did the deed had me yelling “she’s pregnant with another man’s child!!!” which my husband (who is likely right) responded with “too obvious.”

        • Redlanta

          I got a Valley of the Dolls vibe. She’s not too interested in sex either-at least with Don.

        • MarinaCat

          I think she was trying to thwart any romance at that moment.

      • megohd

        I don’t think so. This show tends to allude to disturbing events, incidents and trends but huge THINGS (like murder) don’t tend to happen to our main characters. I think they are just trying to create a sense of foreboding to indicate the moral decay in these characters and in society as a whole, rather than foreshadowing that any specific thing is going to take down Megan or anyone else.

    • Domenica

      I had a feeling Megan might be having an affair. Also, I was so saddened to see Kenny act so much like the perma-hysterical Pete of yore. And speaking of Pete: did anyone notice his bubble butt? Slightly thicker torso? I think I noticed when the real estate agent comes in and it surprised me and made me laugh.

      • LuluinLaLa

        All that driving in LA vs walking in NYC… ask me how I know.

        • LaLeidi

          You think Pete drives now? Funny, Vincent Kartheiser lives in LA and doesn’t drive.

          • MilaXX

            He said so. In the scene with the real estate agent he says eh could walk but he doesn’t.

            • Laura Carney

              Pete being able to drive now would be hilarious. Remember his driving school and how Benson made him screw things up at Chevy?

      • siriuslover

        Didn’t notice his bubble butt, but I noticed his poetic streak. When he talked about picking the orange on a 75-degree day where you could see the snowcapped San Bernardino mountains in the background, I thought, Pete, maybe you needed this to get some kind of redemption. And his hair looked better than when he was in NYC. Yeah, I’m predicting Pete’s a better person based on his hair. :p

        • decormaven

          Trudy said he always did better with sun.

          • melisaurus

            Maybe he just has season affect disorder. I’m practically a different person once the first day of spring rolls around and right now I live in one of the greyist cities.

          • Chris

            He was always excited about the idea of California. Remember the first time he and Don went he was like a kid at first but disappointed in the end. He thought the people weren’t friendly.

            • decormaven

              He’s definitely mercurial. I’m hoping that life on the West Coast will even out his swings.

            • bxbourgie

              Which is such a change. The first few seasons he couldn’t bare to be away from his precious New York City. “What are we doing out here?” to Trudy, talking about their house in CT. “There are no good night noises anywhere.” I remember these words because as a person living in NYC I wonder what it must have been like back then. Because in 2014 I’d trade places with Pete in a minute, just to have some quiet. There are TOO MANY night noises EVERYWHERE.

            • Chris

              Maybe he is OK because he is still in the “city” and not out in the burbs? Maybe being free of his mother has finally made him feel better or maybe the tough times are to come.

        • MyLifeInPlastic.com

          I think the tan plays down his receding hair line, since his forehead (and everything else) is less pasty white and less noticeable, so it actually is returning some youth and vigor to him (until he hits 40 and looks 55 with leathery wrinkles, and then gets melanoma).

      • ccinnc

        Was anyone else surprised by her telling Don, “Don’t tear the ads out of my magazine,” then handing him a Playboy? “My” magazine?

        • decormaven

          I think there’s been a gentleman caller at Megan’s. The morning after shot with her & Don- there’s some guilt there.

          • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

            I agree; I think she is seeing someone.

        • BayTampaBay

          I may be wrong but did not Sharon Tate pose for Playboy? I think Roman may have taken the photographs.

          • ccinnc

            You could be right about Playboy, but I think John and Bo Derrick were 10 years later.

            • BayTampaBay

              John and Bo were 10 years later. I meant getting the “couple” mixed up not the “date” mixed Up.

            • Chris

              Yes, John Derek was with Linda Evans in 1969 I believe.

          • Wendi126

            Sharon Tate posed for Playboy. So did Bo Derek

            • BayTampaBay

              Therefore….What do you predict?????………….Did Megan pose for Playboy?…..Another Sharon Tate reference????

              INQUIRING minds want to know!!!!!

        • decormaven

          I wonder if the issue shown (February 1969) has any special significance. The camera lingered on it for a bit.

          • ccinnc

            Good eye. I found an issue on Ebay. Contents: Playmate of the Month Lorrie Menconi photographed by Bill Figge and Ed DeLong. Interview Mort Sahl by Nat Lehrman. On the Scene Peter Max Wendell Phillips Janis Joplin. “Whispers in Bedlam” by Irwin Shaw. “Curiouser Courtships” by James Prideaux. “The Intellectual as a Political Force” by Carey McWilliams. “Shindai!” by Woody Allen.
            “Midnight Snack” by T.K. Brown III. “Jazz & Pop ’69″ by Nat Hentoff. “The Myth of the Organization Man” by J. Paul Getty. “Another Way of Dying” by Francis Clifford. “Looking Over the Overlooked Elbow” by Richard Armour. “On His Way to Epley’s Bike Shop” by James D. Houston. Model Pamela Tiffin photographed by Chiara Samugheo.

            • Spicytomato1

              Wow, fascinating. I’m not sure of the significance of any of this but I love that you tracked the info down.

            • Qitkat

              Seconded.
              The only one that jumps out at me is “The Myth of the Organization Man.” Wonder what that alluded to?

            • Eric Stott

              The “Organization Man” of the era was seen as a conformist- someone who didn’t think for themselves, put the company view and needs ahead of their own & craved nothing but the stereotypical trappings of a secure and successful life. These days the closest paralel would be the Japanese Salaryman.

          • verve

            I’m surprised no one jumped on the “Another Way of Dying” article. :p

            It could be significant, or could just be a way of establishing to us that only a couple of months have passed.

        • Karen

          What Playboy magazine was that one?

          Anyway, back in the day, to read Playboy was considered to be an enlightened move and “for the articles,” in part. They really were cutting edge in terms of their content.

          • Eric827

            I suspect that may be the reason they chose Playboy as the magazine Megan had.

            Matt Weiner said that he chose the airport setting for the season promo photos because air travel used to be seen as sophisticated and glamorous.

            Maybe this was a similar sort of thing – how, back in the late sixties, you could picture a hip young woman reading Playboy, and how much times have changed.

            • SEPA_Q

              I was a young woman/college student in the late 60′s, though I doubt I would have called myself “hip”. [Yeah, I'm REALLY old.] I regularly read “Playboy”. Excellent articles and contemporary fiction — and the jokes and cartoons were very funny. The pictorials were… I don’t know, interesting but clearly their own kind of fiction.

            • Eric Stott

              Their articles and fiction were definitely of high quality, but the porn content was always rather idealized and (in its way) tasteful. I think that Heffner said his idea was the Girl Next Door, but naked.

        • lulubella

          And maybe that’s why she was worried about the TV. She said she was pissed because she didn’t want to show up her poor actor friends, but she could have meant “friend.” The scenes between the two of them were achingly painful.

          • Susan Collier

            Megan’s clearly seeing herself as single. She didn’t mind wearing expensive-looking clothes to acting class or hosting her actress friend at their posh highrise apartment in NYC.

          • melisaurus

            As a kid growing up in a wealthier family it was very important to me that I didn’t project the image of having money, honestly it still is. The more money I make the more I hide it. There is a certain stigma to being a rich kid. And I bet with her counter-culture hippie friends there is definitely a stigma to being a “kept” woman, or a woman trying to make it in hollywood that has a husband who can afford to pay for two homes and a giant color tv.

        • Logo Girl

          I was struck by that. My thought now is that it is an LA cool thing, maybe she has met HH and/or has been approached to pose.

          • Eric Stott

            If true, I’d love to hear her parents attitude about THAT! Her mother would probably advise her to ask for more money.

            • Logo Girl

              Ha! You are right. Spreading her legs and flying and all that, as her father would say. ;)

        • Froide

          I thought maybe Megan had posed or had considering posing for Playboy. (Sharon Tate appeared in and was interviewed by Playboy in March 1967.)

      • MartyBellerMask

        I did NOT notice the bubble butt, but you know i will be rewatching it…. ;)

    • amy_raks

      Loved the first Don scene, on the moving walkway in the airport! When do we get to see Betty and the kids?

      • StillGary

        They always make us wait for Betty don’t they?

        • BayTampaBay

          As strange as it seems…Betty (and Sally) has turned into my favorite character.

          • SparkleNeely

            Oh yes! I can’t wait to se what has become of the Betty/Sally dynamic now that Sally knows the kind of man her mother had to put up with all those years.

            • Spicytomato1

              I’m also curious about the Don/Sally dynamic, especially in light of his new “bi-coastal” status. Will he see much of her and her brothers? And what about Megan? Will she try to maintain any contact with the kids from CA or is she out of their lives for good?

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              I’m guessing it’s still the arrangement (every other weekend,) and he times his CA visits so it’s not on a weekend when he has the kids. I doubt Megan stays in touch with the kids.

            • teddy partridge

              I think it’s weird Don seems to have kept his job status a secret from Megan (“I have to go back to work.”) Does she not call the agency to speak with him? Wouldn’t that be even more likely with the time difference?

            • melisaurus

              DD is all about appearances. If he was suspended while he was with Betty he would have taken the train to work every day and sat at a bar. She is probably working/socializing, or he scheduled a phone time, or there are lots of solutions to her calling him at work.

            • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

              ….now that Sally knows the kind of man her mother had to put up with all those years.

              Exactly, yet I don’t think that Betty’s off the hook regarding Sally’s anger, frustration and disappointment in both her parents.

              Sally, now knows that it just wasn’t her mom that pushed her father away.

              Don’s been trying to escape for years.

          • stonecoldcuddlewhore

            I have turned into a Betty lover. She has been unfairly maligned in my opinion…imagine being married to that guy and staying sane in this day in age let alone back then…IMPOSSIBLE.

    • Bob Ross

      I think its profound that the only thing that will help Don now is his motto, “move forward”. He seems to be trying and knows his mistakes, but people may not forgive him. See Megan this episode. She clearly does not want to get too emotionally involved. Once they slept together, he had her back, but its an illusion. She clearly was avoiding it because she knows its pointless in a way. She is very disappointed in him, “knows” (but cannot prove) he cheated, is a drunk, and yanked the LA move at the last second, and as she said last year, they have no kids. Once she meets someone, she is gone. I think that is why they started the season after only two months since he was put on leave. Further on, she would have left him by now. She is still “married” in her mind, but just barely. This relationship, unlike with Betty, will end in a whimper, not a bang. I’m betting on maybe one more Megan scene the whole year when she calls and asks for a divorce.

      • decormaven

        Unless there is some strong element of reversal, I do not see the Don/Megan storyline going forward. There’s just too much bad history there.

      • http://www.jaimieteekell.com/ Jaimie

        It’s telling that her agent made all those jokes about her not straying. He’s probably picked up she’s not that into him.

        • AZU403

          No, HE’S not into women!

          • http://www.jaimieteekell.com/ Jaimie

            That was my impression as well. But the two aren’t mutually exclusive (him not being into women, her not being into Don) so I’m not sure where the ‘no’ is coming from…

            • Angela Langdale

              Maybe I’m wrong, but I took that sentence to read “He’s (the agent) probably picked up (that) she’s (Megan) not that into him (Don).

            • http://www.jaimieteekell.com/ Jaimie

              Ah, I see the confusion from AZU403 now. I edited it. What you said is what I meant.

          • lunchcoma

            Yeah, I thought it was strongly implied that the agent is gay.

            Which doesn’t mean Megan won’t meet someone else.

      • Spicytomato1

        Agree about Megan. Her comment “My next house will have a pool…OUR next house…” confirmed for me that she’s half checked out for sure.

      • Chris

        Like Don said something on the plane about breaking the vessel. Once it’s broken, can you really fix it?

    • stephbellard

      I love how happy Pete also translated to gayer Pate.

      • Golfkat

        That’s exactly what I was thinking too :P Oh the irony.

      • Ali2044

        Time for Bob Benson to make his move!

      • Farthingale

        The only thing missing was one of those man-clutches.

      • Chris

        Pete reminded me so much of Tommy Kirk in this episode. He was even walking like him.

        • Lattis

          Tommy Kirk! Good eye!

          • BayTampaBay

            Who is Tommy Kirk?

            • Lilithcat

              Disney kid star in the mid-’50s, early ’60s.

            • Lattis

              He is an actor – the Disney movies (I think he may have started out as a Mouseketeer), “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Absent Minded Professor.” Then gobs of B movies. Mystery Science Theater did “Catalina Caper,” and sing a song with the lyric, “Lyle Wagner’s a total jerk, second only to Tommy Kirk.’

            • Munchkn

              Tommy Kirk is also gay. In fact, his being gay led to his firing by Walt Disney himself. Seems like his boyfriend’s mom complained to ol’ Walt about Tommy’s behavior. Walt did get another movie out of Tommy though. It was The Monkey’s Uncle with Annette Funicello. Yep, I saw this at the theatre.

      • lunchcoma

        He’s so much more likable now that he’s relaxed all that defensive masculine puffery that was never an authentic part of his personality.

        • Eric Stott

          Pete has often started the season on a hopeful note – remember last year when he & Peggy were cute and casual over a slightly tipsy late working session? It quickly went downhill from there. I’d like to see a change. He often does act like a little S*it, but part of it is frustration- he puts in a lot of effort but gets no recognition.

          • lunchcoma

            Yeah, I don’t really have any hopes that it’s a huge change for him. I’m sure he’ll be back to his whiny, devious ways soon enough.

        • stephbellard

          And basically making Don his top.

    • siriuslover

      I thought this was a great episode, and I’m on my way to my second viewing in a few minutes. Peggy’s new boss is a real piece of work, and I hope that he gets some kind of comeuppance this season. I just felt like both Joan and Peggy took steps backward in this episode and it was really sad to watch. I was bothered by Ken’s obnoxious behavior. Yeah, he’s stressed, but I hated watching him take it out on Joan. You’ll probably discuss this on the Mad Style post, but I loved all the framing this episode–very thematic. From the airport escalator to the open window at the end. And Peggy and Stan just need together.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Does everyone know about Peggy & Ted? I can’t remember. I mean, Stan and Peggy always had a bond, so he would know, even if he didn’t know. And Don knew. And Moira, I guess. Yeah…. I guess everyone probably does know then.

        • snarkykitten

          IIRC, didn’t Don tell Peggy that she better stop acting like a schoolgirl and falling all over herself over Ted? And I’m pretty sure Joan & Don exchanged a “they’re totally fucking” look in one of the latter episodes of last season

          • MartyBellerMask

            NOTHING gets past Joan. :)

      • Chris

        I felt like Joan was setting herself up for a move forward. She wasn’t considered an “accounts” person when she pushed her way into Avon. Now she is legitimized and actually has the backing for the position. Her meeting with the professor showed how clever and tenacious she is. She also doesn’t have the ego the men do, so it gives her more room to maneuver and ask for help from people who know more. Look how quickly Bob Benson moved up by being liked by the right client. Once Joan “owns” enough big accounts she will have the real power to go along with her titular status.

        • Laura Carney

          Did you really just use the words “titular” and “Joan” in the same sentence?

      • Eric Stott

        I don’t see Peggy & Stan as a couple. He’s a nice guy, but kind of a big lug- one of those guys who’s going to act like a high school student well into old age.

    • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

      Vanilla Fudge for the end credits, I love it.

      • EveEve

        Same song that Weiner used in the final espisode of the Sopranos.

    • par3182

      And [Don] rejected her outright this time, choosing instead to literally turn away from her and open a window.

      That was very optimistic; especially as his line before was “I’ve got to get to work”.

      I’m so happy this show is back.

      • jen_vasm

        Don mentioned that several times about getting back to work. The episode reminded me a little of the pilot with the twist at the end with the Don/Freddy situation. So the west’s healing properties ‘cured’ Pete, but do not seem to aid Don as he visits this wife out there. And time ticks on as we start with everyone with no place to go but up (or out).

      • rhymeswithorange

        Also, Don said to the real estate agent that he wanted to move to a house near the ocean, which was were he had his “baptism” after Anna died. And not sleeping with the lady on the plane was a pretty huge contrast with his past behavior. I think all of these point toward redemption for Don.

        • Froide

          I thought it was telling that Don wanted to live near the ocean, but Megan chose to ignore that to move into a hillside canyon. Fits here here “I” and “my” statements rather than “we” and “our”.

    • Retrogirl

      I am so happy you two are back!!!

      The most visually stunning, iconic image of the whole episode was Don on the moving sidewalk. I am sure I will read about this on Wednesday, but what did you think of the color scheme? Lots of greens and blues….

      • lillyvonschtupp

        with a splash of yellow, which calls back to Megan’s signature color when she first started at SCDP. Peggy, too.

      • Gatto Nero

        That was a powerful visual. And the music!

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        I primarily saw blues, and it made me think of the ocean — that pitch he did last season about a man diving into the sea (which even the clients said made them think of suicide), and that other episode seasons ago, where he walked into the sea for a bit.

      • leighanne

        I loved that scene too and thought of Don moving through the time zones/color zones down the moving sidewalk.

      • decormaven

        Another stunning image is the closing shot, Don framed in the broken sliding doors. There’s a very Door in the Wall/Doors of Perception feel.

      • Kwei-lin Lum

        The moving sidewalk is actually in Los Angeles International Airport. It’s in two very long parts, and the colors change and morph wonderfully.

      • Tracie

        When I saw that shot, my immeadite thought was “there goes the Man In The Gray Flannel Suit, moving through the Age of Aquarius.”

        • Verascity

          That was almost exactly my thought too.

    • siriuslover

      By the way, thank you so very much Tom and Lorenzo for working so late to get this post up so quickly for all of us who’ve been missing Mad Men for nearly a year.

      • The Counselor

        I know! When I had one of my middle-of-the-night wake-ups a bit earlier than usual at 1:00 a.m., I thought I’d see if TLo had put up anything over the weekend. Was NOT expecting this treat!

      • Alice Teeple

        Agreed! TLo is the best part of Mad Men.

      • EveEve

        Alsmost seems as if they were given a media advance episode to watch.

        • Lisa_Co

          They might have. Several other reviewers (including Alan Sepinwall) mentioned having gotten screeners but asked not to reveal certain things Weiner considered spoilers.

    • siriuslover

      Is Peggy’s new office Ted’s old office?

      • shineoftheever

        I think it’s Lane’s old office.

        • decormaven

          If it is, she needs to reverse her karma quickly. I haven’t felt so sad for Peggy since she had the baby.

        • siriuslover

          Yes, THAT makes sense. Thanks.

          • shineoftheever

            Also, I thought it was really eerie that Peggy had some clothes (not sure if it was a dress or a coat) hanging on the back of the door, calling back to Lane’s suicide.

            • MartyBellerMask

              OOH. I hadn’t thought of that. Shit.
              I noticed it. I was thinking, “smart girl.” But now that you mention it, oh man. No, I don’t think she’s going to die, it’s just a reminder that this is the office of death. Poor Peggy.

            • Erin

              You are amazing! Got chills after reading this comment.

            • Elizabeth Meadows

              I think that dress is the one she wore when she and Ted finally had sex last season–the short one with the pink bow and the low neckline.

        • Alice Teeple

          No, Lane’s old office is the staircase now.

          • siriuslover

            I think we’ll have to see if TLo points it out during their Mad Style recap, because this inquiring girl wants to know.

            • Alice Teeple

              I thought the SC&P offices in LA were interesting, in that they didn’t look very modern at all. It looked almost like an office from 20 years earlier.

            • Spicytomato1

              At first I thought it was Pete’s hotel room and that he’d set up an office in it. It was a letdown for sure.

            • mlle

              I thought he mentioned that they were in the Beverly Hills Hotel until they found a permanent space? And I can’t remember: was the real estate agent helping him look for a new place, or for an office?

            • decormaven

              She was helping him look for a house.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              Maybe they do most of thier work in clients at lunches, or dinners, or over drinks.

          • Hoyt Clagwell

            No, it’s not–staircase is between the corner offices, facing the conference room. Peggy is in Lane’s former office, and the black dress hanging on the back of the door was indeed an eerie callback to his suicide and the stigma of death that most likely no one in the office can truly completely forget or ignore.

          • Chris

            Yes, weren’t they using it as a storage place before that? Better that they just got rid of it altogether.

        • decormaven

          I don’t think it’s Lane’s office either. The landscape outside the window isn’t the same. Look at S5 “Commissions and Fees” – it’s a different set of buildings you see outside, compared to the ones seen out Peggy’s windows.

          • shineoftheever

            Yeah? I assumed it was based on it’s location to Don’s old office and how Peggy’s secretary was right across from her office.

          • Cabernet7

            I thought it was Pete’s old office, the one that was originally Harry’s office.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      I’m surprised that Peggy didn’t smell a rat when Freddy gave that pitch. It literally reeks of Don, and Freddy’s never been that eloquent. The best Freddy would have thought of is: ‘Accutron: It’s a watch’

      • siriuslover

        Poor Freddy.

      • sweetlilvoice

        I love that Freddy and Don are friends, especially with Freddy being a former drunk and AA member. He can really help Don.

        • not_Bridget

          Yeah, he & Don had a “business dinner” with sausage sandwiches & soda pop. Which didn’t keep Don from drinking later–but The Old Don wouldn’t have bothered with food. So Freddy is a good influence.

          One reason for the dark feelings–Richard Nixon has just become President!

          • decormaven

            Yes, I had a dark feeling just watching that clip.

          • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

            I noted how Don picked up that unopened bottle of wine, but put it back down again! So yes, Freddy’s a good friend/reminder for him.

        • http://www.facebook.com/1033main Marci Smethurst Wolcott

          I haven’t seen the episode -no tv so I have to wait for the dvd but read the recap to stay up on it- but when I read about Freddy working with Don, I thought that Freddy would be just the one to show Don that there is a way back and that the fact that Don is giving him the pitch shows Don that he can do it.

          • MartyBellerMask

            I watch on Amazon streaming, but it is available on iTunes as well.

            • http://www.facebook.com/1033main Marci Smethurst Wolcott

              Thanks! I am aware of those but waiting for the dvd means I Have to buy it and complete my collection for posterity!

        • Chris

          And why doesn’t Don and/or Peggy give him a full time job? Clearly they both fall back on him in their hard times. I really love his character, he’s one of the few gentle and kind people on this show.

          • lunchcoma

            I don’t think Peggy is able to hire people on her own initiative. If she had some control there, I think she would have also tried to find someone to help out her pal Ken.

        • AutumnInNY

          I know right? I love Freddy. He’s a great character and he and Don are a good team. Don won’t forget him if/when he (Don) gets back in the fold.

      • NeenaJ

        I was so delighted when the show opened with Freddy! I missed him. He’s having the time of his life pitching Don’s ideas. I bet he’s never been looked at with such respect on the job.

      • Roz

        I imagine Freddy practicing the pitch for Don, over and over. And one more time!

      • siriuslover

        “Accutron: It’s a watch.” That’s pretty much the pitch Lou went with.

        • Danielle

          Ocean Breeze Soap will get you clean.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            You are awesome!

        • Froide

          Accutron: it’s accurate.

      • VeryCrunchyFrog

        With Tallulah Bankhead hawking it.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      This episode is trippy. I felt more the oncoming of Roger’s demise than Megan’s. I’m not buying the Manson shit.Seeing his depravity was rather forthcoming in the fact that he may not be long for this world, especially at the pace he’s going.

      And boy did Ken drink that Campbell KoolAid! He’s running and screaming like a one-eyed crackhead, while Pete is California Dreamin’. Comes to think that Ken had an easier job all this time than Pete.

      • Gatto Nero

        Ken’s transformation was especially sad, since he was the one character who seemed to have maintained a rich creative life outside the office and a healthy perspective on Madison Avenue. Seeing him with the eye patch was a shock; I guess a permanent injury like that — and sustained on the job while trying to please his crazy clients — would change your world view.

      • StillGary

        Pete likes those good vibrations. LOL!

      • Chris

        I also thought Roger was the saddest person in this episode. Despite Don being in a bad place and having done awful things, he still tries. He’s trying with Megan and he’s still capable of making amazing campaigns. He stuck around in NY for his kids. Roger’s daughter basically told him she forgives him but their whole relationship in in her rear view mirror and he didn’t even get it. Roger’s whole life is so empty.

        All I could think is if Don hadn’t been so cruel with Peggy the two of them could be scheming together. They’re so oddly alike in that what holds them together even when everything else is falling apart is their work. They always had that connection and mutual validation.

        • Qitkat

          I knew guys living like Roger back then, most of those had the excuse of being young and adjusting to life back in the States after serving in Viet Nam. I’ve often wondered what became of them.

          If Roger continues this way, he will be a pathetic, drunk, drug-addled shell of a man, probably with a VD or two. The Empty Man, as you say, selling The American Dream. How ironic.

          • decormaven

            He’s definitely angling for VD.

        • Lattis

          About Don and Peggy working together -
          Man, it physically hurt to see Peggy in such a subordinate position. How I wish she and Don would break out and do something on their own.

          • Chris

            I keep thinking of how dysfunctional yet touching they were around the time of The Suitcase and how I wish they could find a way back to each other as colleagues and friends. They really could use each other and they have a similar way of working. For all her time with Ted, Peggy really is closer to Don in many ways. Say what you like about Don, he never would have hired a “Lou” who is the antithesis of everything Don believes in.

        • flint

          Peggy is still connected with Don through his work but in an indirect way due to Freddy.

    • Alloy Jane

      You boys are working overtime putting this up so quickly! Anywho, how much did I not give a shit when I saw Don onscreen? SO MUCH. I don’t care what happens to him, really. I just hate all the ominousness surrounding Megan. I hate the hills part of Beverly Hills. It’s super duper no-sidewalk creepy. But I thought they said Megan was in the Valley? She must be if she’s living among the mostly poor. But I suppose the point is that it’s very remote and she’s out there and vulnerable.

      It was nice to see Pete looking happy, and I really loved the imagery he painted about the orange groves in San Bernadino. That is definitely life in Southern California. Poor Peggy though, I just wanted to hug her. I wish she wouldn’t take her spleen out on Stan though. Ken is definitely the most depressing character aside from Don. I wish after the eye incident he just threw up his hands and went back to writing. Oh! And how funny is it that the character who played Bob Bensen is now on another show, The Crazy Ones, and he’s still in advertising!? It cracks me up all the time. I hope they do show him at some point.

      Also, Mr. Rogers, or whatever that cardigan-wearing old fart’s name is, he can eat shit.

      • lillyvonschtupp

        I thought I read someplace that James Wolk (B.Benson) was still willing to work on the show. Let’s see what happens in the next few epis.

        • Violina23

          I find it amusing that James Wolk is in the comedic version of an Ad Agency show. He’s actually really good on “The Crazy Ones”, which has kind of become a guilty pleasure show of ours.

        • siriuslover

          Well, at the beginning when Ken gets the call when shooing Joan out of his office, his secretary says that “Bob Benson is on the line.” And then he says something scatological.

        • MartyBellerMask

          Well, he’s still in the Mad Men universe, which makes me happy. Could be showing up sometime. Fingers crossed.

      • decormaven

        I figure Megan is in Laurel Canyon. She’s going to be totally caught up in that scene.

        • AZU403

          I’ve always wished that LA scriptwriters would explain for us non-Californians the socio-cultural meaning of places like “the Valley”, “Laurel Canyon”, etc. When the series “The O.C.” began I though it referred to the main character’s job title, and were “The Hills” another family? How is anyone outside of southern California supposed to know this? I suppose the NYC references are just as bad for the rest of the country – e.g. the distinction between living in Queens and living in Brooklyn.

          • decormaven

            I call Laurel Canyon because that’s where all the artistic types were in the day. Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash lived there- so many musicians, etc.

            • siriuslover

              If you have Hollywood and West LA (where UCLA is located), the “Hills” like Laurel Canyon are just above them. You can take surface streets or the 405 freeway to get over the hills and into the San Fernando Valley where you get Northridge, Burbank, etc. To the eastish is Glendale / Pasadena (for you Big Bang watchers) and just above those two cities is the San Gabriels. I’m trying to find a fun interactive map online.

            • Mismarker

              This sounds like dialogue from a “The Californians” SNL sketch. Love it!

            • ccinnc

              Would love a link to a good map if you find one. I’m befuddled.

          • BayTampaBay

            Could a CA bitter kitten please post and explain/describe the “burbs” of LA?

            I thank you in advance for your efforts.

            • Dixie24

              The hills refers to the Hollywood Hills, the valley is the San Fernando Valley (N of Burbank) the Canyons refers to usually Coldwater, Laurel and Topanga – they tie the valley to Hollywood and Malibu.

            • stonecoldcuddlewhore

              I’ve never really thought of Topanga as the hills. Too far away.

            • Dixie24

              No – it’s one of the main Canyons though. ;)

            • stonecoldcuddlewhore

              The Valley, less now but definitely back then, was VERY undesirable. See the movie Clueless for more info. When I first moved out here about eleven years ago and settled in Sherman Oaks which is “nice” valley, people would wrinkle their noses and be like, REALLY? The “hills’ especially during the 70′s, were bohemian and artsy. Laurel Canyon has a lot of little rustic places like Megan’s and an old hippie grocery store still in existance. Crosby Stills and Nash, Jonie Mitchell, Jim Morrison…they all lived there. Nowadays, there are still a lot of creative types and that grocery store is always teaming with gorgeous willowy people. It’s a very expensive neighborhood (but not as bad as say, Beverly Hills or the Palisades or Brentwood…)There is also Coldwater Canyon which is fancy Beverly Hills type people – white, boring, families. Beachwood Canyon is a little more East and is similar to Laurel but wealthier.

              Here is a cheat sheet for today. OTHER BITTER KITTENS, FEEL FREE TO KNOCK THIS TO SHREDS!:
              Malibu, Palisades, and Brentwood – Very wealthy. Few apartments. Quiet and quaint. Sort of shabby chic. Kind of boring but I’d take it. Valerie Cherish lived in Brentwood. Jennifer Garner, too. I feel like that sums it up.
              Santa Monica – Wealthy families, expensive houses and condos. Some apartments that aren’t nice or updated but cost a good amount. Larry David filmed there a lot for Curb.
              Venice – Bohemian and cool but very pricey. Some parts are still rundown gang areas. Few basic bitches. I can’t think of anyone who lives there that represents the vibe…Samantha Ronson and Julia Roberts have places there but that’s not interesting. OH! Dennis Hopper lived there. Angelica Huston.
              Marina Del Ray – for those of us on the “up” who want to live west but aren’t cool or wealthy enough for Santa Monica, Venice, etc. I know a few execs who are making upwards 250k a year who are buying in that area. Kind of basic though. No style, no cool stores. Just condos and boats.
              Culver City – Inland of the marina and less expensive. Design and advertising centric. Regular folks live there. It’s great.
              Beverly Hills – total snooze fest. Mostly old people and tourists. Huge houses.
              West Hollywood – Boystown. Beautifully maintained. Great night life if you’re a gay man or woman or like the atmosphere. Also has Sunset Strip which isn’t really a “thing” anymore but still hangs on.
              In the hills above West Hollywood and Hollywood – Laurel Canyon, Beachwood Canyon. Keep going on those roads (basically) and you’re in the valley.
              Hollywood- Cheap, kind of crappy housing towards the hills but as you go south you run into Hancock Park which has amazing old mansions (the murder house from American Horror Story is in Hancock). I know a lot of basic bitches who live in Hollywood and a lot of omg this is the LIFE I WANT in the Hancock area. Larchmont Village is in the area, too…sort of a mixed bag of bohemian and regular california mom stuff on one street amongst great houses.
              East Side: Los Feliz, Silverlake – Like Venice without the beach and more multiculturism. Sad gentrification in a lot of ways. Lots of young people.
              East side: Eagle Rock, Echo Park – Like Los Feliz and Silverlake but not nearly as gentrified. A lot of people my age are buying there right now.

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

            OK, I’ll take a crack at this.

            The city of Los Angeles is divided in two by the Santa Monica Mountains, which run east to west, ending at the Pacific Ocean. The part north of the mountains is the San Fernando Valley, which is considered the suburbs. Originally farmlands, it became the bedroom community for those working in Downtown LA and the other side of “the hill.” Land was cheap and so were the houses. Studio City and Burbank house NBC, ABC, Disney, Warner Bros., Desilu, and other media. Universal City is also there. Calabasas, which has gotten a lot of attention lately, is at the far west end of the Valley. In general, more expensive homes are located south of Ventura Blvd. (where my store was). The weather in the Valley can be 30 degrees warmer than by the beach in the summer.

            Those of us in the Valley call the part south of the mountains “the City.” This is also called the Los Angeles Basin. You get from one side to the other via the 405 (San Diego) freeway or the canyon roads. The area on the west side of the 405 is cleverly referred to as “the Westside,” which also encompasses West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills (home of the Playboy Mansion) and Westwood (UCLA) to the east of the freeway. Those living on the Westside rarely go east unless they’re going downtown to the Staples Center, LA Live or the theatre or opera.

            Orange County is located directly south of Los Angeles County and is another world entirely. It was never referred to as The OC” until the show.

            Any questions?

            • Kwei-lin Lum

              And some of us live in the flatlands of the west San Fernando valley west of the 405, and we’re essentially off the map culturally. We’re in Los Angeles, and we live in a very populous area but everyone considers it nowhere, including the government of the city of L.A. We’re not Burbank or Studio City, which are the east San Fernando Valley and notable for the film industry. We have malls and big box stores for culture. And the malls aren’t what they used to be.

            • Eric827

              Does “the hills” refer just to the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of LA?

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

              Technically, “the hills” is all of the Santa Monica Mountains. Saying someone lives in the hills really just means they don’t live in the flat parts of the city or the Valley.There are communities other than the Hollywood Hills whose names have “hills” in them, such as Beverly Hills and Woodland Hills, where I live.

          • AMC

            When the real estate agent asked whether Megan’s house had a view of the city or the valley, it was a snobby way of asking how much money they had. A view of the city would command a much higher price than a valley view.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      And I’ll wait for the Mad Style post to discuss Shirley’s hair.

    • Qitkat

      With all the darkness that defines Don Draper, it was interesting to see the promos for Jon Hamm’s new movie, Million Dollar Arm, obviously much lighter fare than MM. Evidently he is making efforts to not be solely defined by this iconic role. Back to the episode, not only awkward but how sad were he and Megan together? They had better hope that an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t result from this visit, just in time to ruin her big break, and give Don another child to ignore. Along with so many others, one theme that runs through this show is the absence of fathers, either emotionally or physically, in so many characters’ lives. That shot of Don on the balcony felt such full of loss and desolation, weariness, and depletion of his emotional resources. Such a contrast is Pete in his new California Livin’ Lifestyle. But he’s a young absentee father, with all the heartbreak and drama to come with his daughter that Don and Roger have lived with their children.

      Peggy is full of heartbreak too, so unappreciated by that dog Lou. She is going to really have to change her approach with him. Joan appears to have some talents for rebounding in the face of dismissive men, Peggy could learn some tactics from her. Perhaps we will get to see them team up along the way, they both have different strengths that would be great to see joined together.

      So we end with our two principals, dejected, rejected, lost; a far cry from the optimism of their very first appearances on the show, when the road ahead looked so promising, the future so bright. I hope we’re not headed for a season of bleakness. But all in all, a good episode, and so much more to talk about.

      Great music choices! And how I loved seeing that little Triumph convertible, a friend had one just like it, and I had an MGB ragtop, that same year. And oh yeah, I went to RN’s Inauguration. Lots of ’69 memories.

      • decormaven

        Yes, that car was a visual treat. Very impressed Megan jumped from NYC no-car lifestyle to LA convertible with a stick- and living in the hills.

      • Heather

        I am fairly positive Megan’s car was an Austin-Healey (a Sprite, I think?), not a Triumph

        • decormaven

          Believe it’s a 3000. Mr. DM had one (before we met)- he’ll swoon when he sees this one.

          • Heather

            My brother rebuilt a ’69 Triumph GT6 and I used to go to British car shows with him so I could recognize the logo, but I don’t really know my models. I think you’re right–the Sprite was boxier now that I Google it.

        • Qitkat

          You may be right, I’m in the throws of antibiotics messing with my mind, and didn’t bother to make sure myself :)
          Either way, a sweet car.

        • sundaynightaddict

          It was definitely an Austin-Healey – they showed the nameplate briefly.

      • Munchkn

        I don’t like to think about the Sharon Tate ominous-ness of a pregnant Megan. Sharon was 7 months pregnant when she was murdered by the Manson family.

      • Pennymac

        Off topic, Qitkat, but I just got back from the ER. Kidney infection. Thanks for yesterdays encouragement!

        • Qitkat

          Oh wow, good thing you got checked out. Feel better fast. Here’s to better health all around!

    • CommentsByKatie

      LOL uncles; I haven’t laughed so loud and long at the computer in ages! “Grew up in a whole house you say! A thing like that!”

      • Chris

        Christ on a cracker!!

      • girlsaturday

        Citrus! Can you imagine such a thing?

      • Froide

        Hell’s bells, Trudy!

    • Qitkat

      By the way, gentlemen, thanks for the super early post. A nice surprise. So much hard work since the latest book/bitter kitten tour :)

      • sweetlilvoice

        You two are true professionals! I greatly appreciate the early blog post as I have a horrible meeting first thing this morning at work.

      • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

        seconded… thank you!!!

      • UsedtobeEP

        It was stinky that I saw it was on here and then had to be at work and errands for SO LONG before I could read it!

    • katiessh

      Yeaah! This bitter kitten is very excited for the mad style returns. But I don’t know, I’m so sick of depressing mad men- I really need Joan to catch an extended break. I just want her to succeed, is that really so hard?
      I think the transformation of Ken is the saddest- who thought he and Pete would switch roles?
      I’m still rooting for stan and Peggy.
      I don’t care about Don in the slightest

      • UsedtobeEP

        It’s interesting. Apparently Pete, who was sour and pissy, actually absorbed a lot of the impact so Kenny could stay nice and pleasant. Appreciating Pete a lot more now, I guess.

        • katiessh

          I think that was particularly clear in season 5 (I think?) where Pete is complaining about how they have to keep moving forward, and trying to grow the company. clearly they kind of need pete

        • Chris

          All I could think about was how Ken and Pete were both upset because they only got half of the accounts each. Now Ken has them all! Not quite what he wanted. I Agree about Pete doing a lot of the nasty work and being the buffer for a lot of people. Pete is a huge jerk a lot but business wise, I do think he was under appreciated many times.

          • Phaedra

            Well actually — Ken was really pleased with sharing the head of accounts gig with Pete! Maybe because he knew how much work it would be to do it all himself! Then Pete tried to leverage for more accounts, but the more work he did (and the less appreciation that he got for it), the more disgruntled he became. Now we can see Ken simmering, up to his nose in work that he never wanted in the first place.

        • Froide

          Ken to Joan: How many accounts do I have?
          Joan: All of them.
          Ken: Feels like more.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      There was one other character that seemed content: Dawn. Notice her easiness with Lou (calling him by his first name), and the snappy retort to Ginzo. Plus including her in important meetings and her upgrade in dress. I can’t wait to see how she responds to Shirley next week. I’m hoping they’ll become good friends, but Mad Men’s never been that simple in human relationships. More for Wed.

      • VastAmphibians

        Dawn was at the meeting to take notes, and she bristled when Lou referred to her as Gladys Knight–I suspect that she was much happier working for Don than this new guy with his old-fashioned, boys’ club attitudes.

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          I didn’t notice the bristling moment, but she looked really happy and confident in her other scenes. I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t prefer working for someone as steady as Lou, compared with (in Alan Sepinwall’s words) the alcoholic disaster area that was Don.

          • BayTampaBay

            True but I think Dawn really liked Don no matter how hard he was to work for as their is not a racist bone in Don Draper’s body.

            • Shawn EH

              She did seem more than willing to cover up for his slips, drinking, indiscretions … experience with dysfunction at home perhaps?

            • ccinnc

              I think that’s a hallmark of “the good secretary” back then. Maybe now too.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              A couple years ago, I worked next to an admin whose boss (a VP) summarized her duties as, “Just make me happy, that’s all you’ve got to do.” Honest to God. But he probably learned everything he knows about management and working relationships during the Mad Men era.

          • siriuslover

            except he is so over the top good ol’ boy dismissive. Steady or not, he’s an asshole and a nightmare! (edit: Lou, not Don).

            • AutumnInNY

              truly. Lou’s a tool. Haven’t we all worked for a jerk like that.

      • decormaven

        Dawn is smart- she salutes all flags. That will be the key as SCP moves forward.

      • BayTampaBay

        Who is Shirley?

        • jen_wang

          The secretary (maybe Peggy’s?) who gets Peggy during her meeting w/Freddy in the beginning.

          • MartyBellerMask

            She was Peggy’s secretary when she was at CGC, and followed her to SCP.

            • kimberly

              Wasn’t her CGC secretary Phyllis?

            • MartyBellerMask

              Ohhhhh….. you are right. My mistake.

            • Froide

              Phyllis (with straightened hair, who worked for Peggy at CGC) and Shirley (who’s darker and wears a ‘fro, and works for Peggy at SCP) look NOTHING alike!

      • Spicytomato1

        I think Dawn’s easiness comes just from having settled in and not being the rookie anymore. At first I was thinking she was joining the meeting as a junior writer so I was disappointed when i realized she was just taking notes. I don’t think she likes Lou at all; she is far too professional to let it show, though.

        • http://bidonica.wordpress.com/ Poggy

          My thoughts exactly. She just shook off the newcomer anxiety she had about her last season and fully entered the routine of SC&P.

      • Lisa_Co

        I was really struck by Dawn calling her boss by his first name. I took it as a sign of the changing times.

    • MarinaCat

      Did anyone feel that the production was different? I’m ignorant of filming techniques, but there was something *different* in the look and feel of this episode. There were several scenes where I almost felt like I was watching a movie, most memorable Ted and Peggy in the break room.

      • In_Stitches

        The slow motion “Megan dramatically gets out of the car” scene felt a bit out of place. I mean, it was fabulous and clearly served it’s purpose, but it may have been just as effective done more subtly.

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          It’s been mirrored, though, in another premiere — one TLo mentioned in their Friday post, for their favorite look for Betty in S2E1, when she came down the stairs toward Don.

      • Karen

        I wonder if these effects speak to the advancements and style of film making in the late 1960′s.

      • twigg

        Agreed. It was also darker (as in someone needs to turn on a lamp). I had to change the settings on my VLC player to be able to see several scenes.

      • Logo Girl

        Weiner very pretty much does not use framing techniques that would not have existed in film in the period it takes place, but there are a bunch more techniques now to work with.

      • Lisa_Co

        I found it different too. The DP (cinematographer Chris Manley) is the same one Weiner has used in all seasons except S1 and the director is also a frequent one (producer Scott Hornbacher). I think the editor might be different, though, which would account for some different pacing and feel.

    • Janice Bartels

      I can’t be the only one who got the giggles at poor Ken’s lack of depth perception when he threw the earring to Joan.

      • ovarB

        Yes!! I thought it was funny too!!

      • Heather

        the occasionally slapstick humor on this show is so under appreciated

      • Hoyt Clagwell

        That was great. At first I thought he was being especially dickish to her, deliberately not throwing it to her when she put out her hands and childishly chucking it at her desk instead. Then I got the joke.

        • Shawn EH

          His look was just so resigned when he left her to look for it and exited. I think he actually gave her an opportunity, and the best part is she’s really trying to take it.

    • ovarB

      I thought it was intriguing that the last scene pulls back to show Don sitting in his underwear, shivering from withdraw, perfectly framed by the slightly ajar patio door frames as if to be in his own personal jail cell. While walking a free man he is still very much imprisoned by his personal demons.

    • Kate Andrews

      I loved the Don and Megan entrance to I’m a Man. That was beautiful. Also, I guess she doesn’t know he doesn’t have a job currently?

      • Violina23

        That’s an interesting theory… I assumed she knew, but I guess it makes sense that she might not…

        • Kate Andrews

          She told him not to work too late the first morning in LA, so I think she doesn’t know. All Don had going that day was lunch with Pete, it seemed like!

      • decormaven

        I don’t see Don being forthright with Megan about his present circumstances. She’s on the ascendance- what’s he got to show? He’s playing his cards right now through Freddy Rumsen.

      • Farthingale

        Reflecting on that scene makes me think they were really both gearing up physically and emotionally to play the roles of husband and wife. Don getting his shave on and coming off the plane is all business, and Megan makes her “entrance” in full-on style as well. Both so phony

      • VicD

        Plus, if she knew he no longer had an actual “real job” / tie to the office, then she would know that he doesn’t need to be back in NYC. No reason why he can’t stay in the California. She can’t know.

      • UsedtobeEP

        I wondered about that, too. They both kept referring to his need to be at work, so I suppose so.

    • clevRcat

      Excellent review, guys. Spot on.! Your recaps have become an eagerly anticipated and essential part of watching ths show for me.

    • Ali2044

      While this episode was mostly depressing, it was totally worth it just for the scene where Ken throws the earring at Joan, misses by a mile because he has no depth perception and then storms off in a huff. Oh and the bit where Megan gets out of the car at the airport in slow motion because goddaaaaaamn….she is so far out of Don’s league it’s almost embarrassing.

      • ccinnc

        And that car was suh-weet.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I want the car.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      Okay Ken’s story seems to be the most interesting this episode. What happened to him? And Pete ended up with the happy ending proving that sometimes people who don’t necessarily deserve happiness still get it.

      • 3hares

        I wouldn’t describe Pete as getting a happy ending–it’s only the start of the season. Even VK said that he thinks a lot of his attitude is a cover. He’s unhappy at having lost his family but trying to look on the bright side.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Agreed, it is the start of the season.

      • JulieTy

        Pete has been in LA for only 2 months, in the middle of winter. I predict it will wear thin, and soon.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          It will be interesting to see what happens but I have always thought that part of Pete’s unhappiness was that he seemed to chase the ideals of other people’s happiness and not his own. I think this situation suits him more. Not LA necessarily, but living in the city sans children.

          • Gatto Nero

            Pete always struck me as being the sad product of an upper-crust family — the demanding, belittling father, the emotionally bereft and distant mother. He spent his life trying to prove himself to others and never really made the grade. I always pitied him more than disliked him.
            It was refreshing to see him relaxed and upbeat for a change, even if it’s temporary. (He hugged Don! The apocalypse is nigh.)

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              All this is true. Even though, I have not only disliked him but hated him on ocassion especially with the Joan/Jaguar situation. But it was refreshing to see him seemingly thriving in LA…on the other hand it was discouraging to see Ken tossing stuff at Joan.

            • Spicytomato1

              Agreed. And the Don hug was funny and sweet. Don was so taken aback and played it cool yet I sensed that a small part of him, at least, was appreciative of the affection.

            • Gatto Nero

              Hamm played that so well. He didn’t return the hug — kept his hands out — but looked bemused by it.

            • Chris

              Pete has always been impressed with Don, awed by Don and just wanted Don to like him. It wasn’t just b.s. with Pete, if he were in control he would have Don back. It’s kind of beyond his imagining that Don isn’t still there in charge back in NY. Don was always who Pete wanted to be.

      • breathlss79

        It’s Cooper’s quote.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          You’re right…because agency used to be called Sterling Cooper…I always get confused that sterling isn’t his first name. Mondays, LOL

    • Therese Bohn

      I wonder where Bob Bensen is, and what he’s up to? This was an incredible ep. Only watched it once so far, but will watch again as I always do because there’s always Easter eggs hidden within.
      Guys, your whole point about “Getting over your sh!t” is particularly poignant to me at this time. I am the youngest of 8, born in ’61. My darling Mom passed away last year, (Dad 40 years prior) and we are now in the process of housekeeping. A million memories and a lot of stuff we’re still figuring out what to do with, it will take a while, but it is literally getting over parts of your life that seemed would last forever. We will move forward, and keep our happy memories. Thanks for the great review. :-)

      • Kate Andrews

        Bob’s in Detroit! I missed it in passing, but a friend pointed it out. Hugs to you and your family.

        • Therese Bohn

          Thank you Kate! :-) Hugs back!

      • SportifLateBoomer

        I feel you sister (?). Born the same year, dealing w/a dying parent, clearing out the homestead, finding old photos. Brings up lots of the feels. Like you I’m a little younger than Sally Draper would be/is in the show, and it’s so interesting to remember tidbits of culture, fashion and politics that are playing out now in late 60s Mad Men time. And yes, I too ascribe to TLo’s astute observation about getting over your shit and dealing with its parameters.

        • Therese Bohn

          Thanks Sport — (Yes I’m a woman) I wish you luck with your housekeeping too. We were just going through stuff this morning and the funny thing is that housekeeping, even though it is sad as you clear away so much of your childhood memories, you also find yourself saying “remember this?” and it often just makes us laugh and smile. Very thankful for what we had :-) Take care.

      • librarygrrl64

        OMG, yes, where’s Bob??? Hoping to see him and Sally soon.

    • Anne

      I’m so glad to have this show back that I don’t even feel like criticizing. Laughed out loud at California Pete and poor Ken’s lack of depth perception. I loved the moment when the college professor looked at Joan after she said the thing about the 4 P’s and said, “Do you have an MBA?” And it didn’t occur to me that Neve Campbell was sort of a parody/amalgamation of all the women Don has been involved with over the course of the show, but you’re spot on. I was wondering if they were going to just go into the airplane bathroom and get busy, but it’s more interesting that Don chose not to. He’s also always at his most authentic and honest with total strangers.

      • Kate Andrews

        So true — and I sort of hope that it’s Neve’s only scene. I would hate it if we had another Sylvia situation this year.

        • Gatto Nero

          Don’s philandering is such a played-out theme at this point; another affair would just exhaust the viewers.

          • decormaven

            I’m hoping that all his references about “I’ve got to get back to work” means that he’s serious on getting his work mojo back. We’ve had ample illustrations about his other mojo.

          • Spicytomato1

            True but had he accepted her offer for a ride, it would have been another indicator of his inability to get over his shit. The fact that he declined and then turned toward *the light* from the window seemed like a telling step towards redemption to me. It kind shocked and astonished me that he didn’t hook up with her.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I said pretty much the same thing. I hate to repeat comments, but at the time, disqus wasn’t working for me. :) Glad it is now, but also glad I am not the only one with THAT EXACT THOUGHT.

        • Chris

          It was amazing to see “Sylvia” on New Girl this season as Jess’s sister. It was like Linda Cardellini dropped twenty years off her age without that wig.

      • Chris

        Yes, I saw in another review somewhere that all Don’s mistresses are versions of that brunette woman on the train who told young soldier Dick/Don to forget about the guy in the coffin he was bringing home and go live. Words Don sure took to heart.

    • Sean

      It was interesting to see that Don is lying to his wife in a similar fashion to how Sal did.

    • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ Alicia

      I love your Mo Ryan name drop!

      I am so not ready for Neve Campbell to be a middle-aged woman.

      • ashtangajunkie

        Gah, me neither! I almost couldn’t believe it was her.

      • marlie

        I didn’t even recognize her! (I kept wondering why she looked so familiar, though.)

        • mlle

          Me neither! I did a double take when I saw her name in the end credits.

      • Paula Pertile

        At first I thought she was Annabella Sciorra.

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ Alicia

          I can see that!

      • Hoyt Clagwell

        But she looks great though! Never would have necessarily thought she’d be one of those women who just gets more beautiful as she ages, rather than dimming as the youth fades.

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ Alicia

          She does, but she is my age and I am personally not quite ready to be a middle-aged woman.

          • abby536

            Yes, me too but I think that’s realistic. 41 in 1969 was equivalent to 51 now.

            She looked great but she was made up as a middle aged woman, that makes a big difference. Any current picture of her looks younger.

    • Gatto Nero

      When the Neve character sat next to Don on the plane, my first thought, before they even spoke, was here’s another Sylvia, Rachel, Midge, …
      There’s one plot point that doesn’t make sense to me: what does Don have to gain by feeding pitches to Freddy Rumsen?

      • BayTampaBay

        Control over SCP work and the pleasure of eventually throwing it in the face of SCP that they cannot survive without him.

        Talent has always been Don’e silver bullet with SCP.

        • Gatto Nero

          Yes, but it’s anonymous at this point. No one but Freddy knows that this is Don’s work.

        • decormaven

          It’ll be really sweet if that Accutron pitch is made based on Don’s original copy and it gets a Clio.

          • Eric Stott

            And Freddie Rumsen gets up to accept it.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I think Don just wants to keep working, even if it means working via someone else. I think without his creative outlet he would spiral down even further.

        • Gatto Nero

          That seems to be the only explanation. It’s not for money or exposure.

          • BayTampaBay

            It’s about control and calculation.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              Yeah, I’m sure he must get some kick out of how SC&P is still using his ideas, even if they dropped his initial from their name. :)

            • Pennymac

              How did I miss that they dropped his D? Someone answered the phone on the episode last night and It sounded odd to my ears, but I missed it. I’m gonna have to watch again!

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              It’s when Joan meets with Butler’s head of marketing at the bar, she refers to her company as “SC&P.”

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              I thought it was SCDP and then it became SC&P.

      • Spicytomato1

        I’d add that the other, related thing that confused me is that he said “I’m still getting paid” when he and Freddy met at his apartment. Was he talking about severance pay or is Freddy giving him a cut of his freelance income?

        • MartyBellerMask

          I took it to mean, he’s still getting his salary. Not fired, but on leave. It did surprise me a little. Seems like someone needs to shit or get off the pot.

        • Gatto Nero

          He’s on paid leave.

          • Spicytomato1

            Ah, I had forgotten what the terms of his departure were, thanks.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I’m assuming the chance to stay busy and hopefully get back in the game. Plus, Freddy may be splitting the money with him.

    • http://lazycircles.blogspot.com/ Sam Hawk

      Dawn certainly seemed upbeat and confident. Maybe the show will explore that some more.

    • Bob Ross

      does anyone know why they did not do commentary on the season 6 DVD? When I bought the CD, I was pretty upset. Since you can watch the show anywhere now, they only reason to buy the DVD is because of the extras. And the extras were crappy.

      • Lisa_Co

        I don’t know why they dropped the commentaries but I had the same WTF reaction when I got the discs from Netflix. At first I thought it was a Netflix thing (in the last year they have started dropping extras from their DVDs). But then I read some DVD reviews on the Mad Men ImdB page and saw there simply were no commentaries. I suggest checking out ImdB critic reviews and then look at the ones that review the DVD before buying anything, so you won’t be disappointed.

    • Laylalola

      I really do think we’re on the Purgatory leg of the journey through the Divine Comedy now.

    • http://www.jaimieteekell.com/ Jaimie

      OMG please always provide extended dialogue for Pete kthnxbye.

    • Roz

      Peggy standing in the office kitchen repeatedly yelling for Stan. Just pure panic, as if Ted is a rat she spotted on the counter.

      • Alice Teeple

        I thought that scene was really powerful and a great callback to the time she called him to get the rat in her house. This time he actually had her back and realized what was going on, but didn’t judge her. He might be her only real friend. It’s funny, Stan seemed to have the healthiest attitude of everyone, besides Pete. He does his job, but doesn’t seem to let it completely control his life, and he seems to have the strongest sense of boundaries. That spat in Peggy’s office where she snaps at him was an interesting scene. He just sort of slinks off.

        • MartyBellerMask

          Peggy, don’t push him away. :(

          • Chris

            The great thing about Stan and Peggy is they have always been able to battle it out and come back as friends. Remember how rocky their beginning was? He can flip her off in a bar and be pals the next time they meet. They have been through far worse and come out just fine. Work will never define him the way it does Peggy. It’s sad when he showed genuine excitement over CA last time it was snatched away.

            • JCF

              The scene they did together when, on his dare, they both WORKED together NAKED? Classic Mad Men! [Up there w/ the time Peggy first got high: "I'm in a very good place now" ;-/--~~]

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            This is just one more setback, but eventually they will end up together. It’s destiny.

            • Chris

              I keep going back and forth whether they will just hook up, or have a relationship. Because it’s Mad Men, she will probably get involved with Stan then Ted will come back saying he left his wife or something.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              I don’t think Peggy wants a hook-up. During “The Crash” she had a chance for that and turned it down. My guess is that she’s holding out for a real relationship. It would be interesting to see Peggy having to chose between two men.

      • siriuslover

        I love Stan. “This has nothing to do with coffee, does it?”

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        Also, I giggled when Ted stuck his toast in his mouth and fled, just like an anime character.

        • Chris

          I find myself more angry with Ted than Don over the situation at SC. As crappy as Don was to Ted, he ceded California to him when Ted begged. If Ted really cares about the business the way he always seemed to, he should have backed Don, or not gone to CA if they were dumping Don, checked in on Don, or paid more attention to who they got (that crappy Lou). Just like when Don checked out with Megan, Ted left Peggy holding the bag. As much as I loved the character of Ted before I’m SO GLAD he is unhappy in CA. He deserves it. First Peggy had too many bosses fighting over her at SC now she doesn’t have enough.

        • Karen

          It reminded me of The Flintstones when Fred punches his time card.

    • Karen

      As the opener for the seventh and final season, it is not surprising that this episode shows life, like “The Wheel, coming full circle.

      Don’s translation of “nostos” = “pain from an old wound.”

      Wikipedia takes a wham-bam quick and poetic turn toward that Greek and, regarding The Odyssey and Odysseus, describes one who “kept turning his face at the blazing Sun, impatient for it to set, as he was longing to be on his way.” (Don’s return to California or moving “toward the light?”)

      More literary connections could be made through a closer and more recent take on depressive and beautiful Look Homeward, Angel (the title taken from Milton’s “Lycidas,” nee Paradise Lost), but more through the association of Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again. Even Gatsby cried, “Of course you can!” when Nick told him that he “can’t repeat the past.” (As “The Jet Set” closes, Don sits in reverse of his usual opening credit silhouette and a winsome “What’ll I Do?”–Irving Berlin, from Redford’s lovely 1970′s turn at Gatsby–is offered through Johnny Mathis.)

      First and foremost, one can hope that Kenny’s eye improves. It is difficult to see him so broken and disheartened when he was ever the promising optimist, but it could be believed that at least one thing points to the fact that it is early on in the 1969 calendar: Ted says, in reference to California, that it is “winter there, too” and then mentions something about January. If that is the case, as we saw last saw Mad Men on Thanksgiving, maybe it is just a temporary wound. A slow to improve, but temporary situation.

      This episode crawled with doppelgangers. Though we do not see Sylvia or Harry Crane, Neve Campbell does relate a more modern/new and improved visage of the monied and older woman of that time. Too, several of the creatives were sporting that whole Lumpy Rutherford, sideburns-and-glasses look that Harry has.

      True to form, Don arrives overdressed in California (Pete once brought a bathing suit), but Megan’s California will not be fashioned into something of Don’s control. Arriving in the convertible, Megan elects to drive home. (This is comical in a M*A*S*H/Hot Lips Houlihan/Frank Burns dynamic as she runs right over him to get into the car as Margaret does once to Frank but with a Jeep.) Though Joy drives the car in “The Jet Set,” it is only because Don lets her, toyed with her first.

      Megan’s Canyon house is dark and let’s face it: is something that will put her in close proximity to Manson business. When the television is delivered, we know that it is for Don’s purpose/addiction, but she also mentions that the delivery men “must have the wrong house.” At the time, “the Canyons” were a place of the transient and “high and low” often collided. People just showed up, and it was rather taken it in stride. As Megan said last season during Don’s pool disaster, “It’s California; everybody shares.”

      On that note, it is thought that the Tate killings were out of a revenge for Manson’s failed music career. Too, further illuminating the free-wheeling, come-and-go-as-you-please attitude that prevailed, it was a stranger/Manson girl (Susan Atkins) that Abigail Folger waved to before later being stabbed by Patricia Krenwinkel. (Bram Stroker vampire rules described that they can only get in if you invite them, and then they can come and go as they please.)

      History proves that Megan will not be involved in the actual killings, but one has to wonder whatever happened to the lost and feckless Paul Kinsey? Harry got him to California, but does that mean that he did well there or fell into another cult? Methinks that weak Megan (one who got into cars with strangers at HoJo’s and did God-knows-what on casting calls–and now WILL FIX HER TEETH?!?) will trip across him again (and Manson) and that, perhaps, she might be a victim of “the Manson creepy crawl,” where The Family stopped in and just rearranged the furniture and such.

    • Tara

      There’s a lot to unpack here, but the thing that struck me most was the look of Don and Megan’s apartment in NYC. Remember when that set was unveiled? It was such a modern change from Ossining and Don’s pad in the village. It seemed like such a cool, swinging place. A sunken living room, shag rugs, expensive crap. But last night, it wasn’t even lighted. It looked like it was covered in a layer of dust. No color. It really looked black and white to me at times. A big change.

      • Karen

        It lets you know that even though during “Mystery Date” when the “strangled” woman said something about people thinking that Megan did the apartment, but that it was Don, that maybe Megan really did do it/care for it. She was cleaning that time on her hands and knees.

        • Gatto Nero

          “She was cleaning that time on her hands and knees” in her underwear to provoke Don sexually, so she could reject him and then eventually give in. It seemed as though this was a familiar scenario for them.

          • Karen

            I agree that it is probably a game, but I still feel that she had a pride about the place. Don is much like Miss Havisham hangin’ out with her bride cake.

      • decormaven

        The apartment is missing a lot of furniture- the couch that was horizontal to the front door, for starters. Megan must have taken pieces with her, though I didn’t see them in her LA pad. I thought it was very telling that we see Don yet again shining his shoes in his empty apartment. I expected Celia to call out from the kitchen, “I made you pork chops. Your favorite.”

      • charlotte

        And Don seemed to have trouble opening the balcony door. I immediately thought “It’s all going down, even the apartment is starting to fall apart.”

        • Lorinne

          Don complained about the maid leaving the sliding door open the night he and Megan returned from Hawaii. It was probably starting to stick and now it’s totally broken.

      • Pennymac

        Dingy comes to mind. Especially that last scene with the balcony. The entire apartment looked like a shell of its former glory.

    • Robert Stack

      It was shocking to see Pete so happy for many reason, and most of the others did seem at their most miserable, but it don’t understand why everyone (read a few recaps this am) keeps discussing Megan only as a plot device and not a character. Like Pete, she seems really happy. Likes her house, her life in la, seems to be doing well in career. No one cares. All these seasons later and she’s just talked about as a don prop, symbolism, like she’s the tv. And this by the same bloggers who keep harping on the sexism Peggy and Joan face.

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

        Megan does not come across remotely happy to us.

        • Robert Stack

          Perhaps she just seemed happy to be away from don! Lol she seemed very unhappy with him and his visit, worried that he was somehow going to spoil her new life there.

          • Chris

            My impression was Don was making her unhappy and was really cramping her style. I felt like she really liked her life in CA where she made all the choices. He really cramped her style literally and figuratively. I think she is pretty happy when he’s gone.

            • Jasmaree

              I have to disagree. We saw a couple instances where Megan’s autonomy was taken away by her agent instead of Don. Even in her moment of triumph, Megan’s agent talked about fixing her teeth and I think he also said something about putting off another show to to go to the NBC callback. He didn’t ask Megan about either of those things and mentioned them offhandedly. You can see her disappointment. I don’t think Megan’s life is so great on either front right now.

          • Chris

            That’s what I thought too. She was very edgy and unhappy around Don but seemed to love her choices in CA. What she didn’t love was him coming in, cramping her style and trying to impose his taste and choices over hers. She liked her car seat, house and life they way they were before he came.

        • Gatto Nero

          Have we ever seen her drunk before? Usually she’s nursing Don through his binges.
          That seemed like an ominous sign.

          • decormaven

            Megan was drunk by herself the night her mom went to see Roger and Don had to carry her to bed (S5, The Phantom). She was also drunk by herself in S5, Christmas Waltz- the one where she made spaghetti and threw it against the wall.

            • Gatto Nero

              Thanks for the reminder! It seemed a little out of character to me. But even the precedents show that she does this only when she’s hitting bottom.

            • decormaven

              Agreed. How strange it seemed- she poured all her effort (and the wine!) into making dinner for Don, only to fall asleep watching their honkin’ new TV. The pm bed scene was so awkward- she wanted to turn the lights out almost immediately. She is hiding something for sure.

      • Heather

        Megan must be a really good actress if you think she is happy. She seems to be putting on an act. Did you see that little flit of emotion when the agent mentioned fixing her teeth? Then she was right back to smiles and fake excitement about her new life in Hollywood.

        I would be surprised to learn she doesn’t cry herself to sleep most nights in the dark listening to the coyotes in the canyons.

        • marlie

          I agree. Pete seemed genuinely happy, but Megan was just going through the motions.

          • Robert Stack

            well, that’s Megan. She didn’t have the 360 that Pete and Ken did, but she did seem happier to me. She literally was in the driver’s seat, not letting Don take over. She was proud to show off HER house, and talked optimistically about HER next one, and freaked out about him inserting himself via the tv. This all seemed to indicate someone who’s moved on, is settled and happy in their new life. I didn’t get “not remotely happy” at all.

        • BayTampaBay

          I think if Megan wanted to back in NYC she would just get on a plane and go.

          It is her marriage she in unhappy about not LA.

        • Chris

          I would think Megan was used to rejection and criticism by now. When she was in NY she went so long without even getting callbacks and when she did I remember them being full of criticism. She was so beat down she was ready to give up until she got the Butler shoe idea from her friend. Now she has had some soap opera success in NY and only been in L.A. two months and she is getting callbacks for TV shows. The teeth comment cannot still be fazing her as she must have heard it a million times over by now.

          • Heather

            She’s putting on an act for Don about her ~*amazing life in California*~ (I mean, the outfit at the airport, the convertible, showing off the view? This is all stuff you’d flaunt and show off for a new boyfriend, not your husband of years). The criticism in front of him was probably what would bother her.

            • Chris

              I’m going to have to watch it again to see if I get the same vibe other people are getting from Megan. I read it as being unhappy with Don throwing her new life off kilter and being uncomfortable with him.

      • MartyBellerMask

        I don’t know if Megan is happy, but I appreciate what you are saying about her being a character, not a prop. That said, this is the only recap I read.

      • Jasmaree

        Like others, I don’t think Megan is very happy. Her marriage is one of her biggest worries, but I also think that her life in LA isn’t nearly as glamorous as she thought it was going to be (or as it looks–there was a lot in this episode about deceiving appearances). Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Pete was really also unhappy. Putting up a front and pretending to be Don are all we’ve seen Pete ever do.

      • librarygrrl64

        I loved the comments from the Hollywood guy about Megan that seemed to be thinly-veiled (possibly passive-aggressive) digs at the criticism that Jessica Pare has received. Something about “the network guy hated you, but his boss loved you; can’t please everyone” and “don’t worry about fixing your teeth right away, we’ll get to that.”

        • UsedtobeEP

          Sometimes, Don is a very classy character. The way he let the teeth thing pass without comment was excellent. Many people would have had to say something like, “You’re getting your teeth done?”

          • librarygrrl64

            He seemed kind of like a deer in headlights in that scene.

            • sweetlilvoice

              Perhaps the Paul Lynne guy (thank you for that reference previous poster!) scared him a bit with his obvious Megan worship. She looked absolutely fabulous!

            • librarygrrl64

              OMG, Paul Lynde! :-D I just thought that Don was amused by him and picked up on what we’ll call a “definite Sal vibe” (i.e. he would not be a threat).

        • Redlanta

          I also referred to that in my post. Not subtle…

    • Judy_J

      When the show opened and Freddy was pitching Accutron, I knew after the first couple of sentences it was a Don Draper pitch. I’m surprised Peggy didn’t recognize it as such. Just like in the days of the Hollywood blacklist, Freddy is Don’s “front”.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Peggy will figure it out soon. She knows something’s up, because the pitch didn’t sound like Freddy to her. It was so different from what she expected.

    • Teresa

      Yes, a depressing opener but it was saved by the blue and green tile background and portly Pete ‘s happiness. I’m looking forward to discussion of the ragbag dirty white beret Peggy wore.

      • Beth Cooper-Zobott

        The crocheted beret was very common back in the late 1960′s/early 1970′s – everything was crocheted from Marcia Brady’s bright yellow poncho to plant holders that hung from the ceiling to a red/white/blue cross body bag I remember being popular. My 3 sisters and I were 6-18 years old in 1969 and we all had the crocheted berets….I thought that was a great authentic fashion note of what a regular person (not a fashion plate like Megan, picking up Don from the airport in her FABULOUS, filmy, baby doll dress) would wear.

        • Teresa

          Lived the era and crocheted myself. My point was it looked so dingy.

          • sweetlilvoice

            Peggy looked so immature…knee socks and the beret. I’ve been re-watching the old seasons and she also dressed like this in last season’s opener where she and Abe have vegetarian food and his stomach is all upset. That’s when she gets the phone call about
            about the headphones and the soldiers cutting off people’s ears.

        • decormaven

          I laughed when I saw those ridiculous yarn God’s eye wall hangings in Megan’s LA canyon pad.

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

          As I mentioned before, everyone’s grandma, including mine, was busy cocheting anything they could think of. Janie Bryant bought several of my grandma’s vests and some winter scarves.

    • StillGary

      Is Pete content? He sure is happy! He got to show Don his “Betty Draper!” Favorite line: Everyone is welcome in this bed!”

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      It was a dreary start for the season, but I figure they have nowhere to go but up from here (not that I expect everyone to have a happy ending). An interesting thought I had last night was comparing Don to his replacement. The audience typically sees Don as someone who has a hard time changing (and he is), but he’s practically a radical progressive compared to the new guy. His dismissal of Peggy and his his unfunny quips about Dawn being a member of the Pips show the type of dinosaur that was probably far more common in the industry during that time (not saying that Don was a saint by any means, but the comparison is interesting). It was also interesting to see Don get his creative mojo going again, even when he’s at a really low point.

      I can’t wait for the Mad fashion analysis this week. The LA versus New York fashions were fun to see!

    • gogobooty

      Megan went full Rhoda Morgenstern this episode!I predict a quilted wrap around maxi-skirt for hostessing a fondue party in her near future.

      The scene where Joan is in her purple suit dress, with her red hair standing in front of the dark cherrywood-looking door: WOW! I dunno if it was the TV I was watching on or intended color saturation but it was so lurid in the best way! I am glad to see Joan still working what works for her.

      Sally? Saaaaaaaaaallllllyyyyyyyyyy! Sally Draper! Oh, where was she? I bet we won’t see much Betty this season, either. And I heart some Betty & Sally.

      P.S.

      1.It was I who asked the Mad Men question at BookSmith, leading to the dirty blurt in the kids’ section.

      2. I don’t think Don will actually die this season, But I think we will see him cast off the DD name and image and go all loner into a new horizon, perhaps with some new chippie on his arm.

      • MartyBellerMask

        You’re famous!! :)

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I think we’ll see Sally and Betty. They had a lot to set up in the first episode of the new season, but I’m sure in the next episode or two they’ll check in with the home front.

    • NeenaJ

      So many perfect moments in this opener: Freddy, cool as a cucumber as he pitches Don’s ideas. Don on the people mover – such a poignant piece of eye candy – the world moves around him while Don stands still. Megan getting out of the car – wow! that dress. Chipper Pete – “coleslaw right on the sandwich!” Peggy falling to her knees. Joan putting that little pisher from Butler in his place, “You can only fire us once.” Ken, unable to throw straight. I’m looking forward to watching it again.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        “the world moves around him while Don stands still.”
        Oooh, so well put!

    • MartyBellerMask

      Damn Disqus. No comments again. Waah.
      But I gotta say, I literally CLAPPED when Pete walked in. Pete!!!!
      And oh, poor Ken. The earring. Aww man.
      Lastly, Neve Campbell. Nothing against her, but I can’t take another Sylvia. Good thing it looks like her appearance was one time only. Whew.
      Now, off to look up the other cameos. They looked familiar…

    • &theJets

      Long time reader, first time commenting, but I have to ask – Did anyone else’s heart start racing when Don walked out onto his balcony? I thought they were going to take a major turn in the show!

      • Gatto Nero

        I immediately flashed on the falling man image in the opening credits and thought, No — they can’t do this now!

      • imspinningaround

        I thought about it for a second, but Matt Weiner doesn’t have the courage to kill off his star in the premiere. This isn’t Game of Thrones :)

      • librarygrrl64

        I feel like the opening credits are symbolic and metaphoric, rather than foreshadowing a literal fall. In fact, I’ll be kind of disappointed in Weiner & Co. if they do get that literal.

      • UsedtobeEP

        I felt like Weiner was doing the same thing when he had that agent say Megan caused strong reactions in people. He was sticking out his tongue at the audience. “Ha ha, here’s your Don on the balcony.” Loved it.

    • ashtangajunkie

      My heart broke for Peggy. Everything (except Pete “coleslaw right on the sandwich!” Campbell) was down, but Peggy really got to me.

      • Farthingale

        At least Peggy made her tenant handle her own shit, literally. If she had to plunge that toilet I would of cried.

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          I’m confused — has Peggy become some kind of landlord now in that building? How much of it did she and Abe rent out?

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

            Peggy owns the building and lives in the first floor apartment. She rents out at least one apartment upstairs.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              Thank you! Well, here’s hoping that even if she moves somewhere nicer, she keeps renting out that building so she can cash in in her middle-age.

            • BayTampaBay

              Peggy needs to hold on to that building until like…today….and sell it for 10-15 million.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              That’s what I said on another board. She needs to find a new place to live, but hold onto the building and hire a building manager to deal with the tenants. If she holds onto it, selling the building will fund a good chunk of her retirement/grandchildren’s college education.

      • Chris

        I think one of the saddest parts was how her sister Anita’s husband was so concerned for his wife he was going to trek to Brooklyn and back in the middle of the night just so she wouldn’t be alone for a few hours. Compare that to how lousy Abe was when Peggy was frightened in the apartment. It just made Peggy feel even more alone and sad as that is the life she rejected in a way by choosing her work.

    • MerBearStare

      I feel like Peggy’s current situation is a case of “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” But Peggy’s a fighter (which is why she’s my co-favorite), so I’m sure she’ll be fine. Though my heart did break for her at the end.

      I can’t wait to see what Sally (my other co-favorite) is up to.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I can imagine Peggy pulling a classic Don move with the Accutrex (I think that was the watch company) people. Lou will probably stick with the lame accurate line, but then Peggy can pitch the more interesting Fred/Don idea and show up everyone else at the meeting. Peggy has always been a fighter, so I think she’ll eventually get the better of this new guy.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I like this. The Accutrex people don’t like the first idea, and then Peggy does Don’s pitch at the meeting, and they love it.

          • Redlanta

            On another note, I loved it when Freddie said the company was going to pitch Oscar Meyer. I have long dreamed that a film of Bobby singing “My bologna has a first name… would be Don’s triumphant return!

    • Heather

      for the first time, Peggy is working for someone who didn’t choose her and she’s not someone’s protege. She sacrificed so much personally for her career and now it’s shitty too. I related to her so well in this episode; I just wanted to reach through the screen to give her a hug.

      • Shawn EH

        “Your charms are lost in me” and said with such an air of bland indifference. Does he only want a room full of males, is it that simple? How could you miss her talent?

        • Heather

          His recruiter was Duck, who may have told him about his relationship with Peggy. Perhaps he has heard rumors about her overt flirtation with Ted. At this point, he is probably dismissing her as a silly girl who he thinks slept her way into her position. At the very least, he is taking her earnestness negatively. If you think very little of someone you are unlikely to hear the good things they have to say.

          It may also be a territorial thing. She is Draper’s Girl–the guy whose seat he very well could just be keeping warm. He’s in a tough position and probably doesn’t want the voice of the agency’s work to continue to sound like Don’s.

          • Qitkat

            With the way Peggy was dressed, and her over-eagerness, like a puppy wanting to be liked, in that scene, there was a clear demarcation of who had the power and who was the underling. Suddenly she did seem even younger, and inexperienced. I felt so bad for her, but understand that society where powerful men could reduce women to tears; at least she had the intestinal fortitude to not break down at the office in front of anyone. I predict Peggy will put on her ‘big girl pants’ and come roaring back.

          • AutumnInNY

            Right. Duck and Lou, two peas in a pod. Good analysis.

        • KateWo

          Lou was such a wet blanket how could anyone there be happy working with him? I know they were all fed up with Don but still…

          • Shawn EH

            Patriarchal vibe goes a long way, maybe. For the boys at least.

        • Gatto Nero

          Lou is Don’s replacement and probably eager to put his own stamp on everything — even to the point of ruthlessly obliterating Don’s influence on the agency. Peggy was Don’s protégé.

    • James Wurm

      I didn’t that professor was so bad, entertaining a free consult, and reasonably annoyed that his questioning was misconstrued for a come-on, and he still helped Joan out. Asking if she had an MBA didn’t come off as undercutting expectations of her, but maybe an attitude that an MBA was a superfluous advanced degree(at least for the advertising industry), not considered required for executive positions, which I’m certain Roger Sterling, Bert Cooper, Pete Campbell and Don Draper don’t have.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        The condescending part was “I’m not sure if you’ll even understand this…”

        • MartyBellerMask

          I thought he was making a jab at her, because she assumed he wanted sexual favors. He seemed like a decent guy.

          • Jared Allen

            I felt that it was a callback to Lane (who initially explained the difference between commission and fees in S5, when no one knew what it meant) rather than an exercise in condescension . I got the feeling it was a pretty big phenomenon that the business/academic world was trying to get a handle on; Joan mentioned that over the past 2-3 years, half their business has opted for a fee structure. Jaguar was their first client to request it.

          • Shawn EH

            He usually played a rich playboy on soaps, it’s sort of nice to see Mark Pinter mellowing into academia.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Holy crap!! Mark Pinter! I totally know who that is, and I did not recognize him. Thanks!
              Hats off to the MAD MEN casting department. You have done it again!

      • Shawn EH

        The MBA thing was totally about the client who mouthed the 4 Ps, not a put down of Joan. And the other part was a test, it’s what Professors do to everyone, not just buxom partners.

      • girlsaturday

        I don’t know if it was free – he mentioned something at the beginning about the price being right, so I assumed that Joan was paying him for his time.

    • Beth Cooper-Zobott

      Did anyone think that the kid at the door talking about how his mother “gets angry”, and then Peggy’s brother-in-law on the couch who leaves to go home saying that his wife doesn’t like to be left alone because it’s dangerous, was ominous? Peggy is now alone – no social life at work, no man, in a dingy apartment where Abe died…and then all of the darkness around Megan in LA: dark apartment, it’s obvious that it’s over with Don (she’s keeping her distance: being late to pick him up at the airport, not letting him drive, getting mad about the TV, she won’t sleep with him the first night because she drinks too much, then she puts off sleeping with him the next night first to brush her teeth, then to turn off the light). These are the 2 women who really “got” Don and now Peggy is physically distant from Don and Megan is psychically distant. I also thought it was interesting how it’s 1969 in Roger’s lunch with his daughter, he’s the one who’s thrown himself into the hedonism of the age, and she is obviously wishing for a simpler time – she’s in a Jackie Kennedy-esque gold suit, with hat and wears white gloves. Yearning for the past through the golden patina of nostalgia???

      • http://dorothydamage.wordpress.com/ Dorothy Damage

        I’m pretty sure Abe’s still alive. He just dumped her.

      • Gatto Nero

        Abe dumped her from the ambulance on his way to the hospital for the stab wound she inflicted. He’s still alive.

      • Farthingale

        You know, someone mentioned downthread that it was odd that Megan said “don’t tear the ads out of my magazine” about the playboy–an odd way to say “hey, in case you’re wondering, that’s mine.” Your comment makes me rethink her objection about the TV as well. Perhaps she is worried about having to explain its appearance to someone more important than her “friends without money”.

    • marlie

      The biggest disappointment that I had was that I was expecting fierce and confident Peggy and Joan, and instead we got frustrated and timid or apprehensive Peggy and Joan. I so wanted this season to kick off with “see, we don’t need Don Draper, and we/the firm are actually better off without him,” but that’s the opposite of what we got.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        Like TLo said, though: the final season can’t start off with all our favorite characters on top, as they’d have nowhere to go but down. It’s actually more hopeful that they’re having a rough time right now.

        • Gatto Nero

          And more realistic.

        • marlie

          Yeah, I see that. It was still fairly depressing (well, isn’t that always the case for MM?). I was hoping that – while the rest of the characters and the business might be in shambles – at least Joan and Peggie would be OK.

          • Farthingale

            I see Peggy and Joan (and maybe even Pete) spiraling up, and Don, Roger, and the other Old Boys spiraling down.

            I like the idea of the spiral, rather than the wheel as metaphor because with the spiral you are cyclically revisiting the same area over and over but at a slightly different place (either a little higher, or a little lower).

            The wheel is interesting because whoever is on top must eventually end up on the bottom, unless they move to the center (hub), where there are no highs or lows, but there is stability and evenness.

            Don is at the bottom of the wheel and in a spiral descent.
            Peggy and (especially) Joan both seem to be in a spiral ascent, because though times are shitty, Joan is in brave, new, territory. Peggy needs to make a decision. It’s time for here to stop playing by the rules. She can’t work the system anymore–she needs to change the game.

            • Qitkat

              I like this analogy.

              Peggy needs to make a decision. It’s time for her to stop playing by the rules. She can’t work the system anymore–she needs to change the game.

              Please let this happen.

            • Gatto Nero

              “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.”
              (Or something like that.)

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              Peggy, Joan, Ken, and Stan could start thier own agency. You would have accounts and both parts of creative covered.

    • Crystal

      Man, I missed Mad Men, but this shit is killing me.

      And I still hate goddamn Pete Campbell.

      I watched the gif of him falling down the stairs on a loop to make myself feel better.

      • librarygrrl64

        LOL! I kind of love Pete, and I think VK does such a great job portraying such a complex and flawed character. But I get the hate, I do.

        • Crystal

          He is one of the few fictional characters who I wish were real so I could slap him.

          But I think the actor portraying him is obviously great at his job!

        • Pennymac

          For some perverse reason, Pete is a favorite of mine. He’s like the Wiley Coyote of SCP, or the Charlie Brown. Plus, I adore Vincent Kartheiser.

    • gloria

      Megan’s airport dress is the same dress worn by the lady holding Don/Dick’s hand in last year’s Mad men Season Six poster.
      Excellent catch by someone on another board.

      New to this forum, so I don’t know the rules about links, but, check out last year’s poster…It seemed to me to be much more revealing of this season.

      • Chris

        I thought it was a good choice because it resembles a blue version of her Zou bisou dress with the fluted sheer sleeves. That was such an upbeat premiere episode and this one was pretty dire all around.

      • MartyBellerMask

        You can post a link, but your comment will get caught up in admin limbo till it’s checked out. TLo is really good at cracking down on spam. :) Thanks for the catch BTW. I’m gonna check out that poster again!

    • AnotherJulie

      I am trying to focus on the positives for Don in this episode: He turned down the woman on the plane (whom I thought was supposed to be a Sylvia lookalike), he apparently is not drinking, his pitch for Freddie was great, and although he admitted he is screwing up his marriage to Megan, he appears to be making some effort.
      I agree with everyone that this episode was truly difficult to watch due to everyone’s misery.

      • Redlanta

        Don’s drinking, especially in California. After his California Dreamin takes a dump, he comes home to NYC and tries Cold turkey in sheer fear and frustration of where his life is…He is trying to break cycles and habits, Let’s see how long it lasts.

    • Karen

      As the opener for the
      seventh and final season, it is not surprising that this episode shows life,
      like “The Wheel, coming full circle.

      Don’s translation of “nostos” = “pain
      from an old wound.”

      Wikipedia takes a wham-bam quick and poetic turn
      toward that Greek and, regarding The Odyssey and Odysseus, describes one who
      “kept turning his face at the blazing Sun, impatient for it to set, as he
      was longing to be on his way.” (Don’s return to California or moving
      “toward the light?”)

      More literary connections could be made through
      a closer and more recent take on depressive and beautiful Look Homeward, Angel
      (the title taken from Milton’s “Lycidas,” nee Paradise Lost), but
      more through the association of Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again. Even Gatsby
      cried, “Of course you can!” when Nick told him that he “can’t
      repeat the past.” (As “The Jet Set” closes, Don sits in reverse
      of his usual opening credit silhouette and a winsome “What’ll I
      Do?”–Irving Berlin, from Redford’s lovely 1970′s turn at Gatsby–is offered
      through Johnny Mathis.)

      First and foremost, one can hope that Kenny’s
      eye improves. It is difficult to see him so broken and disheartened when he was
      ever the promising optimist, but it could be believed that at least one thing
      points to the fact that it is early on in the 1969 calendar: Ted says, in
      reference to California, that it is “winter there, too” and then
      mentions something about January. If that is the case, as we saw last saw Mad
      Men on Thanksgiving, maybe it is just a temporary wound. A slow to improve, but
      temporary situation.

      This episode crawled with doppelgangers. Though
      we do not see Sylvia or Harry Crane, Neve Campbell does relate a more
      modern/new and improved visage of the monied and older woman of that time. Too,
      several of the creatives were sporting that whole Lumpy Rutherford,
      sideburns-and-glasses look that Harry has.

      True to form, Don arrives overdressed in
      California (Pete once brought a bathing suit), but Megan’s California will not
      be fashioned into something of Don’s control. Arriving in the convertible,
      Megan elects to drive home. (This is comical in a M*A*S*H/Hot Lips
      Houlihan/Frank Burns dynamic as she runs right over him to get into the car as
      Margaret does once to Frank but with a Jeep.) Though Joy drives the car in “The
      Jet Set,” it is only because Don lets her, toyed with her first.

      Megan’s Canyon house is dark and let’s face it:
      is something that will put her in close proximity to Manson business. When the
      television is delivered, we know that it is for Don’s purpose/addiction, but
      she also mentions that the delivery men “must have the wrong house.”
      At the time, “the Canyons” were a place of the transient and
      “high and low” often collided. People just showed up, and it was
      rather taken it in stride. As Megan said last season during Don’s pool
      disaster, “It’s California; everybody shares.”

      On that note, it is thought that the Tate
      killings were out of a revenge for Manson’s failed music career. Too, further
      illuminating the free-wheeling, come-and-go-as-you-please attitude that
      prevailed, it was a stranger/Manson girl (Susan Atkins) that Abigail Folger
      waved to before later being stabbed by Patricia Krenwinkel. (Bram Stroker
      vampire rules described that they can only get in if you invite them, and then
      they can come and go as they please.)

      History proves that Megan will not be involved
      in the actual killings, but one has to wonder whatever happened to the lost and
      feckless Paul Kinsey? Harry got him to California, but does that mean that he
      did well there or fell into another cult? Methinks that weak Megan (one who got
      into cars with strangers at HoJo’s and did God-knows-what on casting calls–and
      now WILL FIX HER TEETH?!?) will trip across him again (and Manson) and that,
      perhaps, she might be a victim of “the Manson creepy crawl,” where
      The Family stopped in and just rearranged the furniture and such.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Really insightful post. Thanks.

        • Qitkat

          You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Jasmaree

      RE: Sharon Tate

      I wouldn’t put that amount of obvious symbolism past the show. In the past couple seasons, the show has gotten a lot less subtle and a lot more eventful as the decade has gone on. Season 5 began with Don drawing a noose (and several other death symbols) and resulted in Lane’s suicide. I’d agree with you if this was season 2 or 3, but I don’t think these signs bode well for Megan. I don’t think she’s going to get murdered, but I do think that something violent will happen to her.

      • Chris

        I don’t know if it will happen to her, but living where she is, they are going to have to address the Manson murders when they occur. It would just be weird of them not too. I don’t think Weiner could go down that road now even if he wanted to, it would be just too much after all the outcry last year. Plus I think MW just adores Megan and I don’t think he would do anything like that to her. She like the Lady Mary of Mad Men. Bad things are for the Edith’s in life.

        • Pennymac

          Who is Edith? Peggy?

          • Chris

            Maybe Pete? No matter what he does he never seems to get ahead for too long. Beautiful people like Don can commit adultery and be lousy for years and get away with it. Roger is another Lady Mary to some degree.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I don’t think MW would kill off Megan, but I do think it be mentioned. Don might hear what happened and call Megan in a total panic. “I heard what happened, are you okay?”

        • gogobooty

          Remember Richard Speck. The creepy real things that happened at the time will be used to build dread and fear in the plot. Just like Sally and Mother Francis freaking out about the murdered nurses, Manson murders will be a topic of conversation for Megan and others. No way can they just throw Megan into actual history and make her an extra random murder victim.

          • Chris

            I agree there’s no way she will be a Manson victim but it must be referenced in some way. The impact on the whole country was huge, let alone on the people living close by.

      • KateWo

        I think Weiner might just be trying to create anxiety – the feeling of anxiety that worked so well on Sopranos. And I think he’s just throwing bits of it to those of us who follow the blogs about MM. If it weren’t for this blog I’d have no idea about any if the Sharon Tate stuff, and neither would most people under 35. I hope she’s not murdered anyway, it’s so over speculated that I doubt most of us would care

      • girlsaturday

        CatherineRhodes mentioned that it seems time for Megan’s turn at a true Mad Men unplanned pregnancy subplot – perhaps her ‘something violent’ will take the form of an illegal abortion. My feeling is that it would be suggested/arranged for her by the agent we met this episode, since he’s already starting to assert his power over Megan’s body (the thing about fixing her teeth) and that would seem in keeping with the way he would ‘handle’ a starlet whose career he’s trying to launch.

        Even though Megan had her miscarriage discussion with Sylvia last season, I’m beginning to suspect that it was more setup for something to happen this season than anything else, since there was never any prelude or follow-up to it, but it did a good job of establishing Megan’s conflicting feelings about pregnancy (for herself) and abortion.

    • Paula Pertile

      Pete, all California’d up, gave me life. And I want one of those sandwiches now.

      • Shawn EH

        He was still all about status, but that he knew how to acquire it in LA was the biggest surprise. I feel him on the bagels situation, and love his camaradery with Don.

      • AZU403

        Pastrami topped with coleslaw? And a Dr. Brown soda!

        • Pennymac

          Sounds delish, actually!

          • sisterb67

            It is. It’s even better if you add some Swiss and some turkey, and spread a little Russian dressing on the bread. Manna from heaven, that stuff.

        • AnotherJulie

          Remember way back when Pete “discovered” the Chip and Dip platter? Now Pastrami and coleslaw, right on the sandwich? He is a weirdo but it is endearing how excited he gets about the little things.

      • Spicytomato1

        I know, I thought he was delightful in his plaid pants, trying to adjust by incorporating his own little bits of NYC in LA.

      • MartyBellerMask

        That looked really good.

      • Lattis

        Yeah, when I saw Pete I wished that he and Trudy had stayed together so that we could see them both go “all California’d up.” Trudy would look just adorable. sigh. What a visual treat that would have been. Matt W, couldn’t they get back together pleeeeeeease?

    • John G. Hill

      This is the Mad Men blog of choice for me. Really missed this. So glad you guys see real value in this.

    • Leah Robin

      At the beginning of the last season, I just want to thank you two for such smart, insightful blogging on Mad Men (both plot and fashion). You really increase my enjoyment and appreciation of this show. Thanks!

    • nycfan

      It was a depressing episode but interesting. Plus the one outright joke, Ken’s inability to judge how to toss back Joan’s earring now that he only has one eye, was kind of hilarious. Also funny was Sunny Pete being so possessive of his realtor girlfriend once he introduced her to Don. Couldn’t miss that Pete had the tan everyone kept asking about back in NYC.

      Don’s visit to Megan was utterly awkward and it made their age difference seem even more pronounced. The Canyons locale and references certainly got my Helter Skelter hackles up … those murders happened in August 1969. Perhaps they are more likely to use that as a method to reunite a terrified Megan and Don? But they went out of their way to show how mismatched the two appear, much more like a father an daughter, not husband and wife. And they developed that emotionally with how awkward they were together.

      The reveal that Freddy was getting his pitch from Don was perfect. I shared Peggy’s disbelief when he pitched it in his odd robot style, though hopefully would not have been so tactless about that. But in hindsight it was OBVIOUSLY a Don pitch and I’m wondering how many people sussed that out immediately. I did not, but it makes Freddy’s odd delivery — he had memorized it not thought of it — make so much sense in retrospect.

      Ah, Roger. Ah, Peggy.

    • NMMagpie

      I watched this episode and all I could think was that everyone on this show needs to let that breath out. They are all so tight with expectation of dread or some other unfortunate circumstance in their lives.

      I literally cheered when Joan went full-on Joan talking to that little butter-faced exec.

      My heart failed when Peggy collapsed in her apartment, all alone. I have been there, too.

      • Chris

        Peggy broke my heart but Joan gave me life! I am convinced this is the beginning of great things for Joan.

    • the_archandroid

      Don’t know why I got this impression, but I thought for a minute that the widow on the plane was a fantasy, Don’s conception of Megan in a future where Don has drunk himself to death and Megan has given up on acting after watching Don die of “thirst.” Also loved how gritty and unappealing California is now that Anna Draper is gone.

      • Farthingale

        That’s an astute and compelling read on that scene.

      • Qitkat

        Anna Draper was the best person to ever happen to Don, and the most normal, uncomplicated, reasonable person to ever appear on the show. I’ll never forget the episode when he learned she had died, and Peggy stayed all night with him in the office. (I hope I’m remembering this correctly.) Such a poignant, beautiful, heart-wrenching episode. We haven’t seen one of those for a very long time. I NEED that kind of writing to keep this show on a higher plane. How painful that so many of these characters seemingly live in a world with only manipulative, greedy, grasping people. But I suppose it’s the nature of the Beast, both advertising and Hollywood.

        • decormaven

          Yes- I am looking for another episode like “The Suitcase.” What a great play between Don & Peggy. When the episode closed with “Bleeker Street,” as Peggy asks, “Open or closed?”- that was hope in flight.

          • Qitkat

            It was so excellent, it almost could be a stand-alone two-person drama/play.
            I need to rewatch that to remind me of how this show can soar.

          • AnotherJulie

            I agree. I think “The Suitcase” has been the best episode of the entire series. I have watched it several times and it kills me every time.

    • ACKtually

      Did anyone else think that the last scene was actually Don trying to get over his shit? For years it has been alluded to that Don is scared of the balcony and has only been out there when Megan forced him to be during an argument, I believe. Last night, he looked out there – tried to close the door but it was stuck (another obvious reference to Don being in the same place) and instead of forcing it he opened the door and went outside. trying to face a fear?

      • Farthingale

        Interesting.

      • girlsaturday

        I kind of read it as his sort of painful transition back to New York life (reality) from his California life. In LA, he’s having champagne to celebrate Megan’s callback, having a bottle of red wine with his coq au vin, he has a job, and he’s a matinee idol surrounded by good weather and sunshine with a gorgeous and stylish actress wife. In NY, he’s having sodas with Freddy Rumsen and trying to do his work without actually having his job, it’s winter and he’s alone and sweating and shaking and unshaven as he sits on the balcony in the dark.

        • 3hares

          I actually thought Don’s two sandwich meals (both with notably non-alcoholic drinks, both I think with the other guy noting how the sandwich was tasty) with two guys who knew his situation and were still in his corner seemed much more companionable and pleasant for Don than his night out with Megan with champagne.

          • girlsaturday

            True, but I thought that had more to do with the company – Freddy and Pete were both relaxed and comfortable, but Megan is/was/will continue to be a nervous wreck (being married to Don Draper seems to do that to women). Don’s lunch with Pete was also still in California, albeit in a New York themed restaurant but still unmistakably sun-drenched nonetheless.

            • 3hares

              Oh, absolutely. But I thought the alcoholic drinks vs. sandwiches was part of showing us that. Don with the two guys who know what’s going on with him and are still being encouraging of him are not only easier for him, they’re healthier with good food and no alcohol. Where as the encounters with the women were not as good on any level, so were more associated with alcohol than nourishing food.

    • CatherineRhodes

      Excellent post, Gents. I hit pause halfway through the episode and enjoyed a giddy moment, thinking, “we’re watching a new episode of Mad Men!” Almost surreal. Couldn’t wait to get up this morning and read the TLO treatment. Thanks.

    • Virginia McMurdo

      Wonderful review. I felt like Pete looked like my sunny Floridian uncles wearing bathing shorts, pushing my young dad and his sisters on a metallic swingsets in the yard. Just so familiar to me.

    • Katie

      So, does Megan know that Don was suspended from his job?

      • kimberly

        I don’t think that what we saw necessarily means she doesn’t know, but I haven’t rewatched yet.

        He *is* working, even if it isn’t in the same capacity as before.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        She has no idea that Don was suspended.

    • Dave

      It really seemed to me that Ken’s attitude was a result of being truly overworked (he’s the only ‘young’ account man left in New York with Pete in LA and Bob in Detroit) rather than a new personality. Clearly, Roger’s not working much right now.

    • http://www.paolathomas.com/ PaolaT

      I think it might be time to revisit the Tarot reading Anna gave Don in Season 2. Given that Matthew Weiner is obviously into the Tarot (the symbol of his production company is the Sun card – a sign of great good fortune), and given that he has always said that he knows how the story is going to end, I’ve wondered for a long time if the outcome of the story was revealed in the cards.

      I don’t think I can link here, but you can find pics of the reading online (and a number of interpretations that were given at the time). It’s a Celtic Cross reading and the cards are as follows
      1. The Covering Card: The Sun, Reversed
      2. The Crossing Card: 8 of Cups
      3. The Foundation: Page of Pentacles
      4. The Card of the Immediate Past: 3 of Cups, Reversed
      5. The Crowning Card: Judgment
      6. The Card of the Immediate Future: 5 of Swords
      7. The Card of How I See My Self: The World
      8. The Card of How Others See Me: 9 of Wands
      9. The Card of Hopes and Fears: The Wheel of Fortune
      10. The Outcome: 8 of Wands

      I’ve been wondering if the last four cards (on the ‘Staff’ if you know Tarot) correspond to the last four seasons.

      Card 7 is the World, a card of great professional and personal success and completion, and by the end of season 4 it looked liked Don might have achieved happiness – his own busy successful agency and a new blissful marriage to a hot young wife. Card 8 is the 9 of Wands which is the card of creative tests and challenges – one person holding the fort against the world. Season 5 sees all of the characters, including the new agency, struggling for creative success as they are faced with challenge after challenge. Card 9 is the Wheel of Fortune – a neutral card suggesting that things in cycles, what goes around comes around, what goes up must come down etc. Don has fallen to the bottom of his wheel by the end of the season – agency taken over, out of a job, marriage on the rocks, alcohol addiction etc.

      The card of the outcome is the 8 of Wands. In this card past struggles have been overcome and it indicates having freedom and space to move forward and make progress with energy, focus and enthusiasm. It’s a card of accomplishment, getting things done and is very action-oriented. It can also indicate air travel or moving, and is a card of inspiration and excitement.

      I do hope both Don and Peggy have that card in their future.

      • Qitkat

        Utterly fascinating!
        You may have come upon something very profound here. I’ve always been curious about Tarot, but know nothing about it. This intrigues me.

      • Lattis

        Paola – that is brilliant! I am going to be thinking about your post all day.
        When reading that the last card was 8 of Wands, I thought of Don saying to his seat mate, “I fly a lot.”

        • Lattis

          Also, I think that is a really interesting idea that the series might be written around a Tarot reading – sort of like Italo Calvino’s book, Castle of Crossed Destinies.

          • Qitkat

            BKs read the most interesting books. I’m going to look for this one.

          • http://www.paolathomas.com/ PaolaT

            Wow! I have to read this book. Its Wiki page makes it sound fascinating (I’m half Italian and have read some Calvino, but not this one). Interestingly I see the first part of the book was published as a standalone in 1969 and this is what the Wiki page says about it ‘The novel is an exploration of how meaning is created, whether that be written via words (by the author, via the book, since the characters in the book cannot speak to each other) or by images (the tarot cards – considered prophetic to some and are themselves open to many symbolic interpretations).’

            Of course the above totally applies to Mad Men too. When the series is over I would LOVE to see a bibliography of the books that Weiner read and referenced in its creation.

      • decormaven

        Good call. Anna’s read of the cards is one of my very favorite scenes.

      • Karen

        Well, Weiner’s last panel after every show plays The Sun card.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Really, really interesting. Had me clicking to Wikipedia for a crash course on the interpretation of the cards.

      • pattie capet

        oh gosh. you could read tarot cards in a lot of ways, depending on context and whim, but the first interpretation i ever learned about the 8 of Wands was “danger from too-rapid flight.” like from falling off a building? i hope not! i like to think of don, when this is all over, snappier and better than ever, back at work with his office spouse peggy, and both of them really kicking ass, or else he is just taking his money and running to some beautiful life he wants but cannot yet imagine. a rapid flight, yes, but to some place he’d really want to be.

        • http://www.paolathomas.com/ PaolaT

          I only dabble in the cards but this interpretation I found online refers to the 8 of wands in the deck that Anna uses ‘The Eight of Wands shows eight blossoming wands hurtling through the air at a great pace. The flight of the wands suggests change, movement and travel. The background is clear, indicating that there is now little that stands in your way, and there is a beautiful river flowing freely and giving life to the landscape around it.’

          • pattie capet

            well, i like that interpretation better! but that’s the thing about the tarot. you can often interpret a card with all kinds of shadings, and i’ve seen both. the main idea is movement. i hope he finds his beautiful landscape.

            • http://www.paolathomas.com/ PaolaT

              Anna used the Rider Waite deck, which shows the wands (the suit of creativity and imagination for those not familiar with Tarot) flying through a beautiful blue sky with a lovely serene river (water generally signifies emotions whether calm or turbulent) below, and I think it’s generally meant to be a positive card full of opportunity and good energy, though I agree that you can interpret thing differently.

              I think Don is heading off on a journey and I think it’s to California, though I believe he still needs to find his new Anna. At the moment California doesn’t seem to suit him at all, but it did when she was around.

    • Redlanta

      “They can’t spend the entire rest of the story showing him in the depths of despair, can they?” Yep, they can…. Vulture mag, online, had a review about how utterly depressing all these people’s lives are also. Remember, This is the same guy who was instrumental on Sopranos.
      Good catch about the coyotes. Another “wink” I got was in the restaurant with Megan’s agent Uncle Arthur (So Paul Lynde!) She says she thought she blew the audition “That guy hated me!” He tells her the guy’s boss loved her. Then turned to Don and says “You got to give it to our girl, she generates strong emotions either way” Then he started talking about fixing her teeth- I laughed out loud. Did see Valley of the Dolls in Megan’s behavior also. Seems Don never got around to telling her about his job status…
      Joan continues to amaze. I’m wondering why she lets Ken and the other men talk to her like she’s some temp. I’d be reminding Ken, at least, that I’m one of the partners that provides the company he works for… Perhaps she is just better at playing the long game.
      Roger is depressing, and I bet we see the dark side of Pete’s facade before we know it. He used to emulate Don, now seems to have the fun loving Roger imitation going on.
      Thanks for the review guys- always look forward to it! :-)

    • CoolAuntMary

      I picked up on the Manson vibe with the coyotes as well, but to me the most sinister foreshadowing was Roger and the free love hovel. To me, the beatific naked hippie girl saying, “I feel like we really got somewhere last night” read very cult-y, like they are breaking down his identity under the cloak of love, “family” and unlimited non-possessive sex. I could imagine them getting Roger to subsidize some violent act of class terrorism; or Roger himself being the victim of violence. Does this make sense to anyone else?

      • NeenaJ

        I thought that remark implied that they had taken LSD together. Roger was really motivated by that experience with Jane last season and wanted to trip with Megan’s mother – although she declined the offer. I loved that he wasn’t *that* upset about the random free-love dude wearing his vest.

    • CatherineRhodes

      Two strong references emerged this episode. First, the writings of Joan Didion, and second, the evolution of women’s reproductive freedom. Let me explain.

      Joan Didion wrote several masterful books chronically life in Los Angeles during the late 60s-early 70s: The White Album, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Play it as it Lays. The writings focus on show biz and music industry people, many of whom lived in Beverly Hills or the Canyons.

      Watching this episode of Mad Men reminded me of Play it as it Lays, a Didion novel written in 1970. The lead character is a glamorous jet-setting actress who becomes pregnant and seeks out an illegal abortion with “the only man in Los Angeles County who did clean work.” She gets $1,000 cash from the bank and meets her unknown caller in a parking lot of the Thriftway, who drives her to bedroom in Encino with newspapers on the floor. During the procedure, the doctor says, “Hear that scraping? That should be the sound of music to you.” He then tells her not to scream because there are people next door.  

      When Megan told Don she was dizzy and needed to sit down, I immediately thought, oh no, she’s pregnant.

      Much of the commentary on Mad Men has focused on the plight and progress of women in the workplace since the 1960s. It occurred to me last night that the series has also chronicled the evolution of reproductive freedom before Roe v. Wade.

      Consider that each main female character has had an unintended pregnancy:

      • Peggy, famously, who was completely naive and ignorant of the event, and for whom a secret adoption was her best option.

      • Betty, who after accidentally conceiving Gene through a quickie with estanged husband Don, told her concerned neighbor, “it’s not a good time.” Perhaps she was contemplating a termination, but that just wasn’t what affluent married women did in 1965.

      • Joan, who went one step further than Betty and made an appointment for a abortion, but was shamed into leaving when a woman asked the age of her daughter. “Fifteen,” she replied, realizing as Betty did, that married women were expected to give birth, even after an accidental coupling with a coworker. She chose to raise Kevin as a single mother.

      • Now, possibly Megan. (Of course this pregnancy is all conjecture.) However, it does seem like a Mad Men plot to show Megan’s response to an unintended pregnancy, which would be most definitely to terminate, even if doing so was illegal, risky and scary.

      • http://piblet.tumblr.com/ Anastasia

        Conjecture though it may be, this is great! I didn’t think of that last night — reproductive rights definitely come into focus throughout the 70s, so it’ll be interesting to see how Megan handles this amidst all of the existing tension in her marital life.

        I felt that companionship was also a big theme in this episode – Roger, Don, the Sylvia lookalike on the plane, Megan, Pete, and Peggy all reflected upon the idea of being alone (short-term, long-term, free-love term in Roger’s case..?). Whether you’re in a house on the hills, on the floor of your brownstone, or alone on your balcony, if you “don’t dance with the one that brung ya,” isolation and loneliness will hit you, and hard.

      • Vegas Girl

        Except that Megan already had a miscarriage last season and told Sylvia she contemplated ending it and was relieved she didn’t have to make that decision. Not saying it couldn’t happen, but it would seem redundant. And I got the impression Don & Megan were not doing anything that would result in a pregnancy those last few months. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, though.

        • CatherineRhodes

          The unintended pregnancy is such a strong theme on this show! I completely forgot about the miscarriage and the Sylvia discussion.

          As for redundancy, Joan getting pregnant from a quickie with a Sterling Cooper guy was exactly the same scenario as that faced by Peggy. Weiner doesn’t seem to shy away from repeating plots. Sometimes that’s just how life happens.

          • Vegas Girl

            Well, I will give you that they do repeat quite often on this show. I actually got a little bored last season with turning Don into a lush because I thought we had JUST done that over the entirety of season 3. I will definitely keep your post in mind going forward.

            I still don’t think Don & Megan were spending time together previously though. She seemed to be trying to avoid having sex with him in this episode right up until the point it actually happened. I just kept getting the impression she was done with him emotionally, even if not yet officially.

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

              What’s interesting is that he didn’t seem particularly disturbed by the lack of sex the first night. Almost like it’s happened (or not) on past visits.

            • Karen

              It’s interesting how she didn’t really drink when he met her, but now she’s the one falling all over herself. It’s like she drank to escape him.

          • Karen

            Great point of view.

            Somehow I, too, feel that the unintended pregnancy business could just be another way of further illustrating gender inequities and the female desire–and resultant ability–to solve them.

            I have always felt that Betty seduced Don–and became subsequently pregnant–in order to “settle” her life (one where divorce was no longer just a speck on the horizon). Also, Betty seems to get randy when she is out of her own bed (Rome w/Don, her old bedroom w/Don, contraception-worry-free sex in the back room of a bar w/a stranger before she told Gene about Don, with the Maytag after the Don-alike tries to sell her an air conditioner, cars w/Henry Francis–on and on). Perhaps this is how she justified “doing it.”

            Subsequently, I will now contradict myself by saying that it did seem as if Betty tried to miscarry by further riding her horse.

            Joan is no stranger to abortions, but clearly could not take delivery on the idea of one at her age. She knew it was her last chance and that men can be ignorant (both Roger and Greg) about “numbers” and details–she runs their lives, wipes up their messes at work every day.

            Peggy. Peggy’s mother is removed and judgmental, and Peggy’s father is long-dead. Peggy wanted love. She first wanted Don (“I’m not your boyfriend, Peggy.”) and then soon-to-groom Pete (and heartily entertained cooking the beast that he killed in some Unabomber cabin). When the pregnancy thing erupted, her Catholicism could not digest a baby out of wedlock any more than it could a pregnancy, let alone a miscarriage.

            An aside to this is Peggy’s sister and her resentment (and ultimate “outing” of Peggy to the pervy Colin Hanks) of the ease by which she divested herself of the child when she had one on the way and a husband who could not drag himself out of the couch.

            Megan’s pregnancy speaks to the evolution of the process: not only is she potentially on board for an abortion, but she is also willing to speak to a virtual stranger, Sylvia, about it.

            It’s funny about Megan. Given her old fashioned style when meeting Don (and her easy compliance to him in so many ways), I nearly thought that Don might have sought to halt the Ossining house sale and plunked her right into it with Carla and the kids and, again, started over the old anew.

            • BluesD

              Peggy didn’t want Don. She only made a move on him in the beginning because she thought she was supposed to sleep with her boss.

            • girlsaturday

              I really never read Betty’s pregnancy with Gene as intentional – I think the sex she had with Don at her parents’ house was very much related to needing to feel stability and closeness to someone from her ‘adult’ family since she felt her ‘childhood’ family was dissolving completely. I think the scene in the doctor’s office (the one where she’s wearing that big plaid cupcake dress) is the most telling – the conversation where she’s angling for the doctor to bring up the possibility of an abortion and he’s completely shutting her down.

      • Lattis

        “Hear that scraping? That should be the sound of music to you.”

        Startling. Crass. Vivid. I am definitely going to have to read Joan Didion.

        • CatherineRhodes

          She’s an amazing writer, and really captures a time and place. Perhaps start with “The White Album,” which is a book of short essays.

          • DeniseSchipani

            I’ve read Didion over and over a million times (she’s my writing idol; wrote my BA thesis on her work). And her 60s West Coast stuff, that whole zeitgeist, is exactly what came to mind last night. She writes about the protracted sense of rootlessness and fear in Los Angeles in the time before the Tate murder, and calls that event the inevitable thing that broke the fever, broke the spell. It was earthquake weather, and then the whole world shook.

      • stonecoldcuddlewhore

        Just adding that Betty did contemplate a termination but her gyno shamed her into keepign it.

    • http://piblet.tumblr.com/ Anastasia

      I’m honestly happy with the way this season opened. Season 6 started out slow, heavy, and ominous, and we knew it would only get worse. As the saying goes, once you hit rock bottom, the only place left to go is up. If someone like Pete can find happiness in Los Angeles, and Stan can stay chipper in that awful Manhattan office, then I still have hope for Don & the cast.

      Can’t wait for next Sunday. Thank you, Uncles! I truly enjoyed your live tweeting, and this post!

    • lunchcoma

      I hated seeing Joan be yelled at, but I thought there was a glimmer of hope in her interaction with the professor. She will have to work harder than a man to be respected in her position, and she’ll probably never be equal, but she seems like she’s at least willing to pay the price demanded by her times and work twice as hard as the men.

      I have no idea why Megan hasn’t left Don behind yet. Everyone else is depressing in a fairly bland way except for Pete and Freddie (who’s doing quite well for himself after his fall from grace).

      • siriuslover

        Now that I think on it, there was an interesting dynamic between her and the college professor. Sure, he talked down to her at first, but then took her information. It would be interesting to see if an intellectual partnership emerges there. The man with the theoretical experience in business management and the woman with the practical experience of business management. Now that I’m reflecting on it the next day, I am hoping it’s not a one off.

        • lunchcoma

          The dynamic was interesting, and I thought it was a nice way of demonstrating that Joan has picked up a lot of knowledge about advertising even if her coworkers don’t give her an opportunity to apply it. That relationship might also give Joan an opportunity to leverage some knowledge at work – it’d be fun to see her come in with a bunch of research and new ideas and force everyone to take her seriously.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          Also, it was clear this wasn’t their first meeting. I wonder how long the two of them have been having these little chats, and how she first met him.

          • decormaven

            It makes me think of the professor Joan picked up in S1 “The Long Weekend” – the date she had to cut short to come into the office to send out telegrams regarding Roger’s heart attack.

      • Lattis

        I really wanted to see the look on the professor’s face when Joan left his office. I am hoping that she made him feel at least sheepish.

    • librarygrrl64

      “And it’s REALLY depressing to see Ken, with what looks like a permanent eye injury from those crazed Chevy execs of last season, screaming and yelling, and just generally pitching a Pete Campbell-like fit. This from the guy who never let the job get to him and devoted his real energy to writing science fiction stories.”

      For as much as I am invested in Peggy’s and Joan’s arcs, that was definitely the most upsetting part of last night’s premiere. Poor Ken.

      • tallgirl1204

        So, I am wondering whether Ken thinks his career is finishedhe would no longer be considered for advancement– kind of like that british guy who got run over by the lawnmower? The attitudes towards visible disabilities were very different then.

        • librarygrrl64

          He is most definitely disgruntled.

    • Columbinia

      Maybe the darkest hour is just before Don, …uh, dawn.

      At the close of last season we left everyone in a pretty dark place. Pete’s life had crashed, Don seemed to be rejecting his meteoric career, Peggy had been dragged to and then abandoned by a self-righteous boyfriend in a dysfunctional PC dump (both actual and metaphorical) and Ted was in a very typical marriage-work crisis that was screwing with Peggy. The new season opens about two months later. Unsurprisingly, nothing has been resolved — except the biggest surprise of all, Don has picked himself up and instead of crashing into a dirty, drunken heap on his couch, he’s shaving, putting on that suit and tie and getting up every morning and working on writing ads, even though he doesn’t have an office to go to. He’s been humiliated and deprived of his place in the world, and yet he pursues his métier, not because he has to for the money, but because he is driven to be creative, it is what he loves. This is tremendously upbeat. He’s not hanging out with Megan being the pathetic husband in decline in some “A Star Is Born” L.A. scenario. He’s not hanging out in hotel bars and picking up women for an afternoon in the sack. He’s disciplined about his work and he’s supportive of his wife’s work. He doubts himself and he looks failure in the face at the midnight hour, but these are elements of an examined life. It’s Pete that I worry about. Also Ted, who similarly has swept everything under the rug.

      Megan truthfully has barely mattered since she left the agency, California is there because it was part of the 1969 Zeitgeist, where everyone thought life would be better. Then there’s Lou, the burnt out interim creative director whose idea of a day at the ad agency is just another chorus of the “Hokey Pokey.” That’s a clear set up for Don’s return. We have two big questions here: does Don complete his phoenix rise from the ashes, and do Peggy and Joan successfully navigate uncharted waters at the dawn of women having real careers? It’s all about the dawn/Don.

      • siriuslover

        I really like this analysis. When I watch it for the third time tonight, I’ll pay particular attention.

      • Gatto Nero

        All true about Don except — he’s out in the dark and cold at the episode’s end.

        • Columbinia

          That’s where I said “He doubts himself and he looks failure in the face at the midnight hour.” That sitting in the dark and cold is a reckoning he has to have. He’s always had a foot in that place of despair. What he’s not is bitter, ranting and blaming others for where he is while plotting revenge.

      • Glammie

        Yep. I didn’t have as dark a take on it as TLo just because Don seemed to be kind of functional in a situation where everything had gone wrong. He’s on his game. I think he’ll be back on the job, but the marriage is seriously on the rocks–it ought to be over, but Weiner seems to like Jessica Pare, so it’s been a dead marriage walking for a while.

        • Sofia

          weiner does seem to like jessica pare a lot. the only time anyone has been rude to megan was when the agent (?) at dinner said she had to get her teeth fixed. everyone else (besides don, betty, and the kids) falls at her feet and lavishes praise on her.

          • Glammie

            I don’t mind her as much as, other than the clothes, I don’t find her that interesting. The people in the show act as if she has this strong presence and charisma, but it doesn’t come across. Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks are both, to me, far more interesting to watch. I even find January Jones more interesting–Betty’s so beautiful and so pissed off.

          • verve

            *cough* I’d say Harry detailing what he’d like to do to Megan to be rather “rude.” Betty has, at best, given Megan backhanded compliments, referring to her as Don’s “child bride” and her being off on the casting couch. (Not to mention it’s an exaggeration at best to say Don has had nothing but wonderful feelings & actions to her!)

    • FINNlady

      Don meekly accepting Megan being the driver when the two of them took off from the airport was telling. Also, if the car was a stick shift, why would she initially be seen pulling into traffic by steering with her right hand?

      • siriuslover

        I don’t know about that car in particular, but my dad had stick shifts from the ’60s where the clutch handle was on the left side of the steering wheel (like actually on the wheel, like the lights / cruise control / windshield washers are today).

    • BossHogg

      Something to note: Sharon Tate ate her last meal at El Coyote Cafe the night she was murdered by the Manson Family, making that scene all the more foreboding and foreshadowing.

      • Chris

        There were a lot of things people are picking up on- the Folgers coffee as Abigail Folger the coffee heiress was killed in the Manson Murders along with Sharon Tate and the others. I think the writers are just messing with everyone after last season.

        • MarinaCat

          This is all starting to sound very Paul-is-dead/clues on the Sgt. Pepper album.

          • decormaven

            And Matthew Weiner & Co. is laughing all the way.

    • Robin Murray

      This episode made me very hopeful for Joan. She is showing her true mettle: using her wits to go where no woman has gone before. No woman at this ad agency, anyway. I loved the scenes that showed her thinking on her feet, figuring out what to say and do to drag that little marketing nerd along. She is mentoring herself.

    • KT

      Bravo, as usual. Immediately after watching the episode, I anxiously anticipated your analysis. Totally agree on all fronts, though I was a bit more optimistic about Joan’s trajectory upon viewing, and am now reconsidering a bit. As excited as I was for her victory (fist pump included), she does seem more timid and resigned than usual, which is disheartening to see. And as someone with an ample rack, I can empathize with her constant struggle to be taken seriously, and agree that she will probably never outlive that.

      Pete Campbell had me howling. Upon seeing him walk onto the scene, I believe my immediate reaction was something along the lines of, “THIS mother fucker right here!!!”

    • Pennymac

      I LOVED THIS EPISODE! It touched on all of the important storylines I was hoping for with the exception of Betty’s, and its dark foreshadowing and snapshots of how the mighty have fallen (Don, Roger, Ken and even Peggy) kept me enthralled. I watched it with the company of BK’s in the lounge, and had to pay close attention because the references were so rich.

      Also:I detest Lou.He’s every old dinosaur I’ve ever worked with; visionless and stifling.
      And: The TV delivery scene had my heart in my throat. “Wrong house” I was expecting the Manson crew to waltz in!

      • Sally

        I enjoyed watching it with you in the lounge!

      • Glammie

        So true about Lou. He brought back way too many work memories. Ugh. Make him go away.

    • kj8008

      Calling it now how it all ends; Roger is dead, Peggy starts her own agency, Don dies/returns to selling cars as Dick/disappears.

      • Karen

        What a great idea! I had really forgotten the near “elasticity” that Don has with two identities.

        I could almost see Roger overdosing?

        • Gatto Nero

          Take your pick with Roger. Lung disease, heart failure, liver damage, some late-stage STD. Or jumping off a building during an acid trip.

          • DeniseSchipani

            it’s frankly amazing that Roger is still alive.

            • Shawn EH

              Using the counter-culture to resow his wild oats, that he already sowed long ago?

          • Sally

            I agree about Roger. He has 2 heart attacks. In real life, with his smoking and I ‘m sure not eating healthy, I think he would have had a fatal heart attack by now. Men died young all the time then.

      • MarinaCat

        Dick Whitman is dead. He can’t just resume all that goes with being Dick Whitman, unless he wants to go to jail.

        • kj8008

          OK – Dick T. Whitman. I’m sure it will be easy to work his way back. No one knew he switched places until Anna showed up – not even the Army! He can start in a small town or backwoods place. Not that I’ve tried this before….

      • Not applicable

        I think the opening of the show tells the tale- Don in his office as everything melts around him- and he’s falling and falling- but winds up right where he started– a Madison avenue business man cool with his arm outstretched across that sofa, cigarette. Ultimately unchanged. All the characters around Don seem to reflect the different paths he could take. Roger, for example is already through wife #2 and his slide into drugs is easily where Don could wind up. Don is the hub to the whole story- it’s about his downfall, and since nobody really changes, I think he will wind up back where he belongs- make a living out of really creative stories. His own persona being the best of them.

        • kj8008

          I like where your going with this – but Don/Dick doesn’t even know who he is except he grew up poor, son of a dead prostitute. What defines him is his work. Without it – he’s useless; no virility, no family, no life. If he does make it out of the series alive, it would be easy to see him taking that creative path of finding out who he really is. Be it a drifter (hobo code) California car salesman or consultant with Peggy’s new agency. But maybe, in the death scene in my mind, the person trying to save him asks,”What’s your name!?!” – he will answer to who he really is.

          • Not applicable

            I don’t know- I don’t think he’s going to die. I think Roger is a likely candidate. I think it’s too early for Peggy to start an agency (for her, for the times)

            I think Don/Dick has to find the balance of who he is- how much of Dick is Don? How much of Don is a projection of who he ‘needs to be’ in that role of CD. I believe Dick plays Don like a character b/c to him Don can be anything he wants him to be. Dick has no ties to Don– Anna is dead, that was his only frame of reference. But, he really didn’t know Don or his family to be burdened with honoring him in anyway.

            I thought the same thing about Don at one point- that he would just go to CA and fix up hot rods or sell cars again. I just don’t think that’s it for him. I think it’s his fantasy- like he could be happy doing that. I think really hitting a bottom– seems to be stoking his ego- and that, along with the mediocre work and seeing so many of his co-workers declining- will pull him back to the top.

    • Musicologie

      Meghan stepping out of the car at the airport was her equivalent to Betty walking down the stairs at the hotel. Both slow motion, both calling attention to the soundtrack, both shot from Don’s POV. Don wants to live in those heavily stylized moments.

      • pattie capet

        So does Matthew Weiner!

        • Shawn EH

          Can you blame him?

      • Sofia

        joan is my favorite female to look at on the show, and i’m disappointed that she’s never had a slow mo entrance like betty and megs.

    • oat327

      I didn’t dislike the episode while I was watching it, but having watched all the seasons back to back over the last few weeks, I still just can’t shake the feeling that the show just didn’t have enough Don-plot to fill all 7 seasons, and it’s suffering as a result.

      His marriage with Megan is where his marriage was with Betty in season 3–almost over. And then we saw post-breakup Don hit rock bottom in season 4, career stagnating. He’s there once again now, except now the stakes are, if anything, much lower than they were in seasons 3 and 4. Getting divorced the mother of his three children after hiding massive lies and going down with a collapsing startup agency are much more seismic than quietly ending a short marriage to a second wife and taking a paid (and possibly temporary) leave-of-absence.

      In some ways, I feel the last episodes of season 6–the Hershey outburst, Sally catching him in flagrante, Don showing the whore house to his kids–could have been the last ones of season 4. We would’ve been starting the final season (a fifth, not a seventh, season) in relatively the same place, and the storytelling would’ve been so much tighter. But hopefully Weiner et al are building everything up for a reason this season–I still have faith.

      • MarinaCat

        My interpretation of what some call a repetitive plot, is that Weiner is showing that whether Don is in the burbs with the housewife and kids, or in the penthouse with the young artsy, modern wife, he still can’t escape who he is and he can’t be happy. You can’t demonstrate Don never really being happy in different situations, with only the Betty story.

        • CommentsByKatie

          I agree – his “I thought I could do this time” line would indicate that the stakes are higher for his second wife because he knows now it’s not Betty, it’s him. HE knows this behavior and inability to connect is a pattern now.

      • abby536

        The stakes may seem lower to us but not to Don. He’s older, drunker and a failure of a husband as Dick Whitman (Megan knows so it can’t be blamed on that). The stakes are lower because Don is lower.

        The only 2 skills we know he has are creative ads and getting women into bed. He already told us he doesn’t think sex is worth it. He has to sneak around to do the other. Personally I think he’s less interested in cheating since he’s getting his sneaky fix with Freddy, that’s why he rejected Neve Campbell.

        People with big baggage don’t make progress in their emotional lives without a ton of effort, self reflection and therapy. He’s a physically and sexually abused kid who just happened to grow up handsome. There’s no way he’s going to make big changes short of religion or self help or AA or something, anything, where he communicates without riddles. People don’t change, not that much.

    • Annmarie Kane

      I am Mad Men obsessed. Kept up with the TLo lounge and read TLo’s recap while waiting for the show to become available on Amazon. When I saw Megans house I blurted out loud, ” Is that KNOTTY PINE?!” to my cat.

      • Eric Stott

        I know that the look was very on trend for the era (the Hippie eclectic look filtered through middle class marketing) but it is such a comedown from the NYC Apartment. Everything there looked glamorous- everything here looks cheap.

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

          But she wants it to look cheap. That’s why she was upset about the expensive color television. She doesn’t want people to think she gets roles based on her rich husband.

    • Kit Jackson 1967

      One of the key differences between Peggy and Joan in terms of career, is that Peggy is in copy, while Joan is in accounts. There was a long history of women working in copy departments, epsecially for products aimed at women. However accounts was very much a man’s world. Is Joan officially in accounts, or did she just give herself a promotion/new duties?

      • Annmarie Kane

        I think Joan is in accounts as far as handling Avon. Ken, being desperately overworked threw the Butler account at her as if to say, ” You’re in accounts now ( Avon ) – Here, handle THIS mess.”

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      For some reason I imagine Megan’s desperate actor “friends” seeing her new status symbol TV (among the many other more subtle ones I’m sure she parades without even realizing – the car, the shades, her clothes) and robbing her blind at gunpoint (but stopping shy of murdering her, because that would be too on point and it’s easier to get away with robbery than murder).

      I’m torn for Peggy between wanting her to get the big payout in a few decades on that brownstone and wanting her to get the hell out of it for her own wellbeing now. Still hoping for her and Stan to get together, especially with both of them glaring at Ted (with Stan covering his glare slightly better) – “Buck up chief”. (Sidenote: “Lou, he’s-” “Yes absolutely.” LOL Peggy.)

      Anyone else sort of surprised Ginsburg is able to deal with Lou? What’s going on there – I can’t imagine Captain Generic tolerating much from Ginsberg who was not in the best state last season to begin with. I want to know!

      I am annoyed with Ted, who took the coveted California outpost and seems determined to wallow in misery – I can’t imagine he’s actually improving things with his wife with his apparent attitude.

      Poor Don. It’s really something to see him in contrast to Pete, who used to so desperately want to be Don, so happy now just to be Pete. Meanwhile Ken is turning into Pete (“This is a hierarchy, do you understand that?” could have been something he said to Clara in a past season – serious deja vu).

      That opening was so surreal with Freddy giving a Draper pitch (but it’s even more developed and modern even than most Draper pitches had been, so it was really starkly strange to hear coming out of Freddy’s mouth, which last was talking about how women just want to get married).

      • Karen

        Righhhttt…the TV. Fantastic! The TV will be a magnet for ne’er do wells.

        I almost was wondering if Teddy is a sort of sponsor for Don: the one that peed his pants counsels the one who shit the bed.

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

          My husband also showed up with one of those console TVs circa 1968/69. For you younger folk, it came complete with a stereo record player and a radio. Men and their TVs.

          • Shawn EH

            My mom still had one in the late 1970s.

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

          That’s a hilarious connection between Freddy and Don.

          I assume the car in the driveway will easily attract the attention even without the TV, especially to a woman living by all appearances living alone (the TV would just be the catalyst for Don’s guilt). I am hoping for Megan to be safe though.

          • Karen

            Lol…I like Megan, too. It would not surprise me if she has already caught the attention of nefarious forces. She is just beautiful. That alone is a lot, but with the other trappings, she nearly gives the appearance of high-handed slumming. She lives alone, though wants her next house to have a pool (Wasn’t there some discussion of a obtaining pool in Valley of the Dolls? Neely? Some “climbing” conversation with her husband–another “disconnected” man soon to be left behind.).

      • siriuslover

        And why was Ted, who was on West Coast time in the office so damn early that day? Did he know (of course he did) how early Peggy gets into the office and was hoping for some time alone with her, thinking she’d just go back to him? I was totally in Camp Ted most of last season (until he actually committed adultery and then treated Peggy the way he did). Last night, I was so happy to see Stan come ’round that corner.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Totally Ted still loves Peggy

    • MyLifeInPlastic.com

      Yet she turned down the advances of her female colleague on the soap in NYC – I don’t see her going lezzie on us…yet.

      • flint

        We don’t know if she turned down advances due to her sexuality or her marriage though or maybe it was even because it was her boss or whatever.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      Also, did anyone get the feeling that Don hasn’t told Megan he’s on a forced sabbatical?

      • Gatto Nero

        Margaret’s been hooked into some kind of cult. When did est make an appearance?

        • TeraBat

          According to Wikipedia, 1971. So a little too early for her to be involved in that. Scientology, maybe? It had reached New York by the late 60s.

          • Gatto Nero

            Could be. If so, a weird and interesting tie-in with Elisabeth Moss.

          • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

            Scientology would dovetail in with how her character is always asking for money.

            • TeraBat

              I actually always interpreted it as Margaret understanding that it’s really the only way her father knows how to express love.

            • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

              I can see that, but I also think Margaret is also too insufferably spoiled to understand anything but.

            • TeraBat

              Well, when you look at how she was raised….

            • Farthingale

              1,000 internets!

            • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

              SOLD FOR 1000 INTERNETS. ;)

          • Farthingale

            I think not—I don’t think forgiveness for outsiders means that much in $cientology. What about The Unification Church? I don’t know if they had a doctrin of “forgiveness”.

            • TeraBat

              Scientology did have a giant shift in focus and methodology in about the 80s. Early editions of Dianetics suggested one could perform the core exercises of Scientology with just like-minded friend, no expensive courses needed. I’m by no means an apologist for Scientology, just making the point that 1950s-1960s era Scientology was a vastly different creature from what it’s become today.

        • Glammie

          What about Esalen and Synanon? Both of them were around and gathering steam–this was before Synanon was shown to be a cult. That said, both seem way too California for Margaret. I’m thinking it’s something more “traditional”–such as al-anon, which I think does have a foregiveness riff.

    • Mismarker

      Megan’s callback was for a show called “Bracken’s World”. This is real show which aired on NBC from 1969-70 and was created and produced by Dorothy Kingsley. Kingsley also wrote the screenplay for the 1967 Valley of the Dolls movie starring Sharon Tate. Weiner is f-ing with us!!

      • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

        Why are folks surprised that Weiner’s messing with viewers regarding the Sharon Tate must mean that Megan’s going to be killed fanwank?

        He’s completely aware that there are viewers that hate Megan and do want her to die and he’s playing with them and their wish for her to be killed.

        • snarkykitten

          Wait, people hate Megan? Why?

          • Gatto Nero

            A lot of viewers have commented that Weiner has made her role too prominent, and that Jessica Pare’s acting is subpar compared to the rest of the cast.

            • Karen

              I feel that she is just doing what she is supposed to do: be a pretty face.

            • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

              Well, at least the anger towards Betty has drastically (in a good way) has died down, once the divorce was finalized.

            • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

              I think that JP has gotten stronger in the role of Megan. She’s seeing the cracks in Don’s shiny image and as much as she does love him, she’s learning/understanding that she cannot try and save him.

              Or be the “mother figure”, he’s been searching/looking for in the women that he chooses to marry.

        • Karen

          That’s terrible.

          • Diva in 4 Inch Heels

            It’s really ridiculous, but this need to find some sort of connection between Sharon Tate and Megan continues to be fed upon by some viewers. This being the seventh and final season, it’s just going to get worse, with each episode.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      Peggy has yet to take down her Christmas tree, I just noticed.
      I find some hope for Don in that a sliding door ajar is fixable, you just need to reach out to someone.

      • Mismarker

        It’s January, I think? Not too crazy to see holiday leftovers, especially if she’s busy with work and tenant problems. I’m impressed she bothered decorating at all!

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

          True, but it’s at least mid-January. Imagery-wise, it’s a lonely contrast since Christmas trees usually imply warmth, family, togetherness. Just thought it was interesting.

          • Mismarker

            It’s a nice touch. She’s sentimental enough to decorate for the holiday but too busy (or lazy after a long day) to take everything down in a timely fashion. Very Peggy!

      • siriuslover

        OK, here I go viewing #3 to catch that bit of background!

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

          (That’s what I was doing, haha.)

    • teddy partridge

      No one thinks it’s important that Peggy wears tam-o’shanters all the time, and has a boss named Lou?

      • Annmarie Kane

        She’s gonna make it, after all!

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          Which is even funnier given that it looks like Rhoda took her style cues from Megan.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Great catch!

    • Eric Stott

      I noticed that Don was wearing a hat. By 1969 my father (a conservative businessman) had stopped wearing hats unless the occasion positively demanded it. TLo had it right- though Don looks good to us because his clothes are classic, in the context of 1969 he would be hopelessly square.

    • lulubella

      I was bored and annoyed at this episode, but like the great novel “Lolita,” where Nabakov seems to shift his writing in a way that made me feel intoxicated, then bored, then irritated–mimicking the progression of the relationship between Lolita and HH–I found my feelings about this EP to be synonymous with how I imagine the characters might feel about their state of affairs. I was only happy watching Pete at Kanter’s! When Joan walked down the stairs and the sultry music was cued, and the two staff members ogled, I just thought, “Ugh, that is so OLD. We don’t need to be told of Joan’s sexiness as telegraphed by music/ogles,” but then I thought, “She’s probably more over it than I am. Touche.”

    • Danny

      I thought the scenes with Don trying to shut the damn door was interesting. Try as he might, he kept trying to close the door (on his demons, as pointed out), until he finally gave in and opened the door and faced his cold hard truths. Unlike Peggy, he walked through the door, where she seemed to just crumble. Or maybe she surrendered when she fell to her knees…

      • Karen

        The sliding doors reminded me of Don and the elevators (even that time when there was no elevator).

      • ACKtually

        YES! I am so thrilled someone else saw it this way. Also, remember his fear of that balcony has been alluded to for many seasons. I believe the only time he was seen out there was during an argument with Megan. I viewed this scene as Don, not forcing it, or taking the easy way out and walking away, but instead opening the door, facing his fear? Trying to get over his own shit?
        Also, was this one of the only times Don was able to turn down an attractive woman who was certainly his type? I saw Don as sort of OK in this episode. Older, and a bit out of touch, but getting his Mojo back at work, able to control his demons a bit, and facing his fear.

    • Patrick Cowan

      Great review, but please stop saying “literally” so much. It’s literally annoying.

    • KinoEye

      A few thoughts.

      About 10 seconds into Ken’s fit, I started thinking it was an intentional comparison to Pete. No jacket, the arm waving — even his hair was styled more like Pete’s. And the frustrated, shrill way he intones “Clara!” Never seen that kind of behavior out of Ken, or most other characters besides Pete. The job is killing him, like it was killing Pete for most of the show.

      Megan’s house in the hills reminded me instantly of Sharon Tate’s. like the Uncles, I hate to bring it up because of the wild speculation last season. But the end of the 60s is when everything went really sour. Drug overdoses, assassinations, murder. If nothing else, it’s not foreshadowing anything good for Megan. I also think she’s on the upper/downer cocktail that destroyed so many actresses. Liz Taylor and Judy Garland come to mind, but there are many more.

      The airplane caused me to say out loud, “Another Sylvia.” She did seem like a parody, but the scene also reminded me of Don and Joan’s scene at the bar in Christmas Waltz. They understood one another. No BS. Recognizing hard truths.

      References to The Graduate with Don throughout. Riding the moving sidewalk in the airport, the shots of him in the plane. Don may be an unchanging relic of a bygone era, but the one thing he does have in common with this generation is the sense of being lost. Failing to meet expectations you don’t really want to fulfill, but feeling guilty all the same.

      Pete was in rare form, serving California yuppie realness.

      • Laylalola

        Agree 100 percent on Ken’s fit — in fact, when watching it I think for a second I actually thought it *was* the Pete character.

        • Karen

          Perhaps it could be said that the job is what creates that character and that type of character in a person. As long as we have known Pete, he has been climbing to get into that position (one that helped ruin his marriage). Maybe under it all, Pete is a nice guy like Kenny was/is.

      • Karen

        If the reference to The Graduate was intentional (and of course it was), then it has gone in reverse and for the first time in Don’s life (certainly not at the whore house) he was able to fend off/resist a “Mrs. Robinson,” such as a Sylvia or woman on the plane…a bullying Bobbie Barrett. He cut his teeth on those girls: said Betty, of Bobbie, “She’s so old!”

    • msdamselfly

      SDP does not seem like a groovy place to work anymore. Without Don, Pete and Roger (who probably doesnt show up much), it’s lost its glamour.
      Jon Hamm was great. I thought Ms Moss’ character didnt show her usual sensitivity and depth.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        Really, are we watching the same show? Peggy’s great strength is not her sensitivity.

        • http://stylingdutchman.blogspot.com/ annebeth

          ha! Peggy. Sensitive. As if anyone would say that if she were a male character.

      • Karen

        Your post recalls, for me, a conversation of reminiscence that Roger and Bert were once having while looking at an old photograph (Dead Poets –Seize the day!): the man gave Roger a roll of laxatives as candy (a Roger-alike?), there was a woman who was “the hot one” (Joan?) for the times.

        We always remember “the fun” fondly, but the “problem” is one that forever sets us apart from the animals: we understand our mortality all too well.

        “Dust in the wind.”

        Groovy = relevance.

        SCP–or whatever mouthful of alphabet soup those letters have become–was at it’s grooviest when it was Sterling Cooper and Don was lovely and laughing and handing Peggy a drink after she did, what,the Belle Jolie campaign. Or when Kenny could see and catch the girl to see her blue panties. And Sal was merely interesting (and still around). And Pete was a bra-snapping newlywed. And Joan’s ass was worthy of a salute from behind two-way glass. And Peggy was in “her place,” so to speak.

        Age, unfortunately, implies irrelevance and rapport is hard to come by.

    • oogabougga

      620 comments! I don’t have time to read them all right now, so I don’t know if I’m repeating something already noted, but I loved when you said in front of the children’s section that “The best any of us can do is learn to accept our shit and work within the boundaries of our own paradigms.” I don’t think I ever had heard it put so succinctly before and it immediately struck me as yes, of course, that’s so true – not just for Mad Men, but for all of us. That’s why I told you I thought it was profound (*waves* remember me? tiny embroidered red-orange flowers on a black shirt). I love that Mo picked up on it too, and I’m not in the least surprised. For an off-the-cuff comment, you really hit several nails right on the head. Thank you!

    • lillyvonschtupp

      Did you hear anything about MW&Co splitting season 7? Supposedly they will only air one-half of it this year, and the second half in 2015 for Emmy consideration. If you know, please enlighten us.

      • TeraBat

        That’s not really a secret? I mean, no one has mentioned anything about the Emmys, but it’s not really news that they’re splitting the seasons. Breaking Bad did the same thing.

    • Garry Todd

      I did notice how unnaturally happy Pete was, but also Margaret…was this perhaps 1968 in a nutshell? Anomie and its accompanying “rootless” feeling, expressed by everyone in one way or another? Don refusing a wiling woman, Megan anxious about sex with her husband, chilled-out Ken turned into a stressball, Joan and Peggy both powerless despite the obstacles they’d leaped to get where they are, Ted miserable, Lou “who cares”?, Roger’s first scene straight out of Black Dynamite and then just wanting sleep, Rumsen delivering an uncharacteristically brilliant pitch–in short, everyone miserable/out of character except Pete and Margaret–what Bizarro-world of 1968 have we stumbled into? i CANNOT WAIT for the Wednesday post. You guys have me more excited about tv show fashion than this 51-year-old-hetero-lifer(and not in the least homophobic) white man from rural TN has EVER been!

    • Glammie

      Is Pete really that happy in California? He seems mellow enough, but he keeps looking for New York–bagels, the one deli (which seemed to be mediocre) and, most gloriously, in that amazingly preppy outfit that no one in California would have been wearing. Very much a fish out of water, though he’s clearly happier to be away from his problems than Ted Chaough is .

      I actually think Don’s kind of okay. He’s calmed down and quietly focused on getting his career back in stealth mode. It’s interesting that he’s basically willing to give up Megan to do so. He is, after all, free to go to California, but he hasn’t let Megan know that.

      There’s something that seems a bit doomed about Megan–not that she’s going to be a future murder victim–but that she’s going to somehow be lost. SHe’s a people pleaser and 1969 Hollywood was a bad place for that with the drug culture.

      Roger’s also worries me. No one cares about him and he doesn’t care about himself.

      • decormaven

        I see Pete’s attire as very golf course/tennis/country club- moneyed casual. As he told Don, “Beverly Hills has the patina of show business, but it’s really accountants, lawyers and dentists.” He’s dressing to fit in with that crowd. He ordered iced tea – maybe a nod to Arnold Palmer (although, to be correct, it would be a half and half- tea and lemonade.)

        • Glammie

          I agree he’s dressing to fit in with the more casual attire of LA, but he’s still doing so in a very East Coast country club way. West Coast country club wear was more colorful and didn’t have that preppy knotted sweater thing. Similar to the difference in business attire–East Coast was just more formal in all areas.

          Yes, I spent way too much of my time around a West Coast country clubs as a child. Hated it, so it’s all imprinted on my memory.

          • decormaven

            Pete will get the hang of it soon. He’ll adjust his sartorial compass for the West Coast moneyed look.

            • Glammie

              He will if he wants to, but would Pete really want to leave behind his East Coast WASP identity? His problems, yes, but his identity? He’s kind of the opposite of Don that way who is very good at changing his spots. . . . hmmm, it’s telling that Don stayed in his grey business suit when visiting Megan. We’ve seen him transform pretty dramatically on other trips to California.

              Hey maybe Don has finally found himself–after tossing aside advertising for Hershey, he’s found his mojo. After all, even his identity’s been faked, his ad-writing talent is real and all his.

      • 3hares

        I think Pete will definitely turn out to be in some denial about his feelings and not be as happy as he seems. VK said he thought it was more that he was invigorated by the idea that he could start over and reinvent himself, but that he might just be fooling people for a while. He’s surely still got a lot of shit to deal with before he could just actually be happy.

        However, I don’t think his looking for bagels and a diner and still dressing like the preppie he is necessarily means he couldn’t be happy in California. It seems like a pretty healthy attitude to me–he’s got certain things he would still like to have (and finds approximations in LA), but he’s in general open to the new experience and adapting it to his own way. Maybe after more time in LA he’d look more west coast but for starters he’s just going to break out the summer country club clothes for the sun. Janie Bryant actually talks about Pete’s outfit in her fashion spot for this ep (along with the usual focus on what Megan’s wearing).

        • Glammie

          If Pete were a real person, I’d agree with you. But I don’t think the emphasis on NY things is random on Weiner’s part. The deli, the shipping in of bagels (not that I don’t agree. Getting real New York deli food is still a challenge in CA.) and the very East Coast summer garb–Pete is still Pete, the East Coast WASP wherever he goes.

      • ACKtually

        I also think Don is sort of OK. I posted this a couple of comments back, but I read the last scene as Don “trying to get over his shit” instead of forcing the door to the balcony closed; which up until this episode (and one other, during an argument with Megan), Don has been scared to go out on. He faced his fear and shaking and cold and alone went out on the balcony.
        I looked at that as evidence of him trying to move forward. Also, interesting that he was seen with Freddie “working” in NY, instead of with a prostitute, in a bar, or some other locale.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, I figure he’s hit bottom, but he’s still functioning. And he’s functioning as Dick Whitman–i.e. he’s publicly owned his childhood from Hell.

        • http://stylingdutchman.blogspot.com/ annebeth

          exactly how I interpreted that scene!

    • Karen

      I am looking forward to seeing Sally, Glenn, and Betty and hope that they show a Graduate/Mrs.Robinson-type of dynamic between the three.

      Though Glenn did not sleep with Betty, he did see her “in the bathroom” (a move certainly uber verboten in terms of intimacy, especially for the times). If Glenn was merely curious and naive, Betty’s extreme reaction certainly must have let him know that he hit pay dirt. Betty responded to Glenn (lock of hair, “playing house” when he ran away, holding his mittened hand at the supermarket).

      Following, Betty did not want Sally near him. Why? Because he was “bad?” Or, because she wanted him for herself? Glenn always asks Sally, “How are your parents?” (Don looked through key holes at a blonde, too.)

      Don has long been the harbinger for extreme change through one move: stealing the dog tags. It’s like The Butterfly Effect: his very impossible existence brought Peggy the success that is ruining her, Megan the television that will, I feel, aid in HER destruction, and he taught Glenn Bishop to drive. Perhaps it will be Glenn that drives Sally to Woodstock.

    • decormaven

      Thanks much for this descriptive. Very helpful in getting a sense of the lay of the land.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I loved that Pete Campbell of all people HUGGED Don Draper. Hugged him!

      • somebody blonde

        I know, right? Pete Campbell, of all people, is free as a bird and living the California life, hugs for coworkers included. It’s like hell froze over.

      • http://twitter.com/lauriekalmanson laurie kalmanson

        a thing like that

    • DeniseSchipani

      Good piece here from NPR about Don the liar. The writer notes how, at the end when Don and Freddy are working on their next lie (though Freddy is urging Don to cut his ties with SCP and “get them both jobs” someplace else before he slides into irrelevance, Nixon is on TV with is inauguration speech. Liar, much?

    • bluefish

      Excellent review. Many thanks. I didn’t love this one but will give it a third try, with your comments in mind. Peggy and Ted needs to happen.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      Am I the only trembling in anticipation for the style post? I keep habitually refreshing my browser.

      • Gatto Nero

        It’s coming on Wednesday.
        I’m jonesing for it, too.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          so excited:)

    • Bradio311

      Instantly thought of the opening sentences of Helter Skelter with the Megan and the coyote scene!

    • Linda

      “A thing like that.” So very Pete.

    • livetwice

      “Mad Men is a show about how we never really get over our own shit”.
      Such deeply profound and eloquent insight! And how bold of you to release such an edgy but nonetheless articulate commentary near a children’s book section! Pray tell, which one of you deserves the kudos for this shining pearl of wisdom? Or, more likely, was it perhaps a collaborative effort on the part of two such clever wordsmiths as yourself?
      Either way, I know that your great humility will never allow you to let my praise be seen in the light of day. But even the certainty that you will delete it does not reduce the sense of satisfaction I feel in congratulating you upon this astute and witty analysis.

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

        The hell?

        • livetwice

          Having trouble comprehending me?
          Am I not communicating clearly enough for you?

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

        Not coming back to expand on your sneering contempt? We’re disappointed. We looked forward to a whole season’s worth of pointless “OOOOOH, look who thinks they’re SOOOOO SMART”-style outbursts from you.

        Go ahead. Type “Pray tell” again. That part’s HILARIOUS.

        • livetwice

          Pray tell us more about “your shit” and how you stuck it to those kids in the children’s section. That part’s FABULOUS. Were they looking for the Bitter Kittens books, methinks?

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

            Seriously, lay it out for me: what exactly bothers you here? Give me an honest answer.

            • livetwice

              For starters, how about the fact that you keep deleting my posts when you don’t have a good comeback? Seriously, lay it out for us: what exactly are you afraid of here? Give us an honest thread.

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

              Nope. Nice try. You posted a bunch of crybaby GIFS. You have yet to make any sort of critical comment of any value. All you’ve done is troll. I gave you a shot to explain yourself and you chose not to. You’re gone.

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

        I’m not going to bother responding to the completely INSANE email you sent us, but I will gleefully point out that “sitting in front of the children’s section” does not mean there were any children around. This was a signing at 8 pm on a weeknight and the store’s staff was so thrilled with us that they put our book out on their “staff recommendations” table after we left.

        Not that I actually believe your ridiculous outburst had anything to do with your concern for children. That’s just something you settled on after the crybaby GIFs failed. The 1500-word diatribe about things we wrote in comments sections a year ago pretty much told us what this is really all about. That you’re now trying to elevate this obvious grudge and act of trolling into some sort of high-minded concern for children is hilariously pathetic.

        And you can go into the comments section of ANY POST ON THIS SITE and find someone disagreeing with what we wrote and receiving no response from us whatsoever. Trolls like you always say that we can’t handle disagreement when there are literally tens of thousands of examples that automatically refute that. Trolls like you never understand that we won’t tolerate trolls like you. It has nothing to do with disagreement. It has everything to do with your shitty behavior.

    • Karen

      Interesting how Megan initially–though impairment–refused Don sex. I know that Bethany Van Nuys refused him in the back of the cab, but made him “comfortable” otherwise.

      Interesting how Pete said to Don that the real estate agent “turns it on for everyone,” as if to say to Don: “You’re not as interesting anymore to women like you think that you are.”

      Don asked for sex at Megan’s. It is as if he was waiting for it–passionate for it, chaste, anticipating–and she had already been taking care of business without him there, beyond him.

      Getting old is the pits.

    • Laurie Cubbison

      I just want to say how much your line above “The best any of us can do is learn to accept our shit and work within the boundaries of our own paradigms” has affected me this week. Tuesday I was required to present at a forum to be attended by our university president, provost, and assorted deans and VPs. Monday evening I was panicking over what to wear for it and feeling very fat, frumpy, and insecure. I’ve realized that my insecurities are the shit I need to face and accept in order to move forward. As a professional woman, I’ve identified a lot with Peggy Olson. I’ve done that walking in my door after a day of work and just sobbing, more often than I’d like to admit. So here I am on Wednesday, working on accepting my shit and finding the boundaries of my own paradigm. Thanks for giving me a way to articulate this stuff, and thanks to Mad Men for having a character like Peggy.

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

        Attagirl. You are who you are. Just try and be the best version of you. That’s the trick.

        • Laurie Cubbison

          I think there’s also an issue of recognizing when you are being the best version of you, being able to say “I am who I am, and I am damn good at what I do.”

    • lingli

      I’m days late to this discussion, in part because Mad Men airs on a Wednesday night in the UK, but I just wanted to say that these are absolutely my most favourite recaps – you pick up on things I’d never know (like the Helter Skelter reference) and you articulate things I’m already thinking much better than I could. Thank you!

    • Terri Terri

      Great recap! The scene with Don Draper gliding on the people-mover really reminded me of a very similar (awesome) sequence in the movie “Jackie Brown,” with Pam Grier. I was very struck by that.

    • Lady Bug

      You guys are the best! I’ve occasionally seen references to this blog on Vulture, but this is my first time actually reading the reviews & fashion history. I’m learning so much and I love your reviews.

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

      It’s kind of hard for us to cry like babies when we’re rolling our eyes so hard at you and finding it so easy to make fun of you. Then again, it’s clear that comprehension and communication aren’t your strong points.

      We’re disappointed. We hoped you’d at least have worked in a “mayhap” or “methinks” for your followup non-sequitur. They just don’t make trolls like they used to.

      • livetwice

        Who’s trolling who?

    • Froide

      ” We imagine that when Pete, who’s kept Dick Whitman’s secret for almost a decade now, heard the other partners recount the story of Don’s Hershey pitch crackup last year, he reacted with a bemused ‘Grew up in a whore house, you say! A thing like that!’ ”

      LOL!

      Great recap, T&L.

      I miss Phyllis (Peggy’s secretary from CGC) but was glad to see Shirley, who’s also fabulous.

      Lou’s a real ass. In addition to his having gotten creative Stan to resign himself to doing artwork for mediocre ads and being a complete shit to Peggy, Lou’s cracks – “Here are Gladys Knight and the Pips”, and “Close the door, Nurse” (undoubtedly a reference to the TV show “Julia”, starring Diahann Carroll in the title role) – were insufferable, as were is corny arse jokes that his team felt forced to chuckle at.

      I sure hope Freddy’s advice to Don about its being time to get a new job and about avoiding becoming labelled “damaged goods” will sink in.

    • jrcsfo

      Lou made two comments to Dawn about her race in about three minutes.