Mad Men: The Monolith

Posted on May 05, 2014

Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-4-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO

Jay R. Ferguson, Elisabeth Moss and Ben Feldman in AMC’s “Mad Men”

If each season of Mad Men is a novel – and since the show’s literary aspirations are in its DNA, we’ve always seen it that way, with each episode a chapter and each season/novel part of a larger, ongoing story (Proust with miniskirts) – you sometimes have to stand back from it and look at the whole to get a sense of how well it worked. We have always had to rewatch an entire season after it aired in order to properly gauge its quality. It’s why our weekly reviews are so heavy with critical analysis but relatively light on actual criticism. When we rewatched season 6, we came to the conclusion that it was easily our least favorite season because the writing had gotten broad to the point of farcical. Pete’s mother got murdered on a cruise ship by a gay, Spanish gigolo? That doesn’t even sound like Mad Men to us.

In a similar vein, we never quite bought Matthew Weiner’s explanation for Joan’s prostitution. It was a character moment that made some sense thematically but made very little sense given what we’ve seen about that character for most of her existence. Joan would sleep with a man to get a partnership out of it, but she’d never have done it knowing that half the office – and all of upper management – were going to know about it. Weiner’s point was that this was the natural progression for a character looked on as merely a set of female physical attributes by the men around her. Our counterpoint was always that Joan is a character all about control of her image and what people get to know about her. And besides, she wasn’t exactly destitute when she agreed to it. She had a well-paying job and a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. As single mothers in the 1960s go, Joan was doing all right, if not particularly great; especially considering she had no higher aspirations for the bulk of her career.

Our point here is two-pronged: the writing on the show has gotten too broad and unsubtle, and the creators sometimes fail to sell the actions of the characters properly. These are the two major criticisms we have of the latter seasons of Mad Men and they were on full display in this episode. We thought last week was the chapter where all the people Don pissed off got to ask for their pound of flesh. We found out this week that it wasn’t a one-time thing. That’s the story now. Everyone Hates Don.

Which is fine, because the show has done its job in selling what a shithead the character is. We don’t have an issue with Don being brought low or having no allies. But having worked in offices for several decades and in advertising for the better part of one of them, we found the politics here to be hard to swallow. As the show – and Don himself – keep reminding us, he’s a senior, founding partner of the agency. There literally would have been no agency without him and it would have remained a farm-team, lower-level one if he hadn’t taken the bold move to propose a merger with CGC. Everyone who’s treating Don like crap now has benefited tremendously from Don’s work. Sure, people are short-sighted and petty (Peggy seems to be the queen of that little group at the moment), but no agency would take its star creative person and founding partner and treat them like a junior staffer just because he had a drunken crackup in one meeting. The optics of it would look terrible once it got out – and it will get out, since the ad industry of the time was notoriously incestuous and prone to gossip. And since when was Hershey the be-all and end-all of all clients? It’s not the first client Don – or anyone else in this story – has lost. The punishment far outweighs the crime here. And Peggy has been driven to tears this season in part because no one around her cares about the creativity or the quality of the work. Is she really so petty as to treat the man she knows is a creative genius like a junior copywriter?

This is not a defense of the privileged white man and his innate right to always be forgiven his many transgressions. Don deserves a lot of anger that he’s getting, but it’s really hard to explain just why people like Joan, Peggy, and most confusing of all, Bert, seem to hate him so much now. The way Joan and Peggy were talking, you’d have no idea they were discussing the one of the few men in the office who ever treated them with respect for the bulk of their careers. The father of Joan’s child gave her the go-ahead to prostitute herself and Don’s the one she saves all her anger for? Ginsberg makes crude masturbation jokes about Peggy in work, Pete spent several years humiliating her, and Ted slept with her and dumped her, but Don’s the one she wants to punish?

Fine. Argue that it’s transference, then. That Joan and Peggy are mad at other people and taking it out on Don. It’s not there in the writing, but we might accept that as an explanation. But Bert? The Randian lion, refusing a pitch for new business because it came from Don? Since when does that make sense for the character? He’s long been established as someone with very little in the way of morals when it comes to business. Why is he so offended by Don that he’d dismiss a good idea like that? Especially by making such a crudely over-the-top remark about sharing a dead man’s office? That wasn’t Bert sounding coldly Randian so much as sounding like a Bond villain. “I don’t like the way this office is spoken of” isn’t an explanation for essentially telling someone to go kill himself.

And continuing that over-the-top feeling, here comes progress, literally ripping out creativity to replace it. “It’s not symbolic.” “No, it’s quite literal!” We’ll give them that. At least they can see they’re being unsubtle about it. But the replacement of the creative lounge (“Your lunch room,” as Harry sneers) with a gigantic 1969 computer is pretty on point for the period and is yet another aspect of the story signaling the conservative, money and status-oriented years to come. The death of creativity and the rise of corporatism. We always assumed the show would transition from looking like the ’50s to signaling the coming ’70s at some point. And it did, starting last season. But we’re pleasantly surprised to see they’re foreshadowing the ’80s as well. After all, they were as much a response to the ’60s as the ’70s were – probably more so. But this episode’s script and/or directing was lacking, so the scenes where Don and Lloyd discuss computers and their meaning to the world came off rather annoyingly stiff and un-natural. “Isn’t it god-like that we’ve mastered the infinite?”

Mad Men likes to go all dream-like every now and then and that’s fine. But there’s a fine line separating the establishing of a dream-like atmosphere and getting all stagey and weird and unrealistic. Perfect example – and the one that signaled the weird unsubtlety of this episode: the receiver hanging off the hook as Don came into the office, adding to that unsure-of-himself feeling established in the opening shots of his scared face in the elevator. One problem: it makes no sense for a phone to be left dangling like that just because an office-wide meeting was called. It was all visual with no real world correlation to it. The show getting a little up its own ass. And since we’re getting all whiney about it, we might as well continue and say that we found Don’s drunken “Satan, I cast thee OUT” bit with Lloyd to be more than a little silly. Remember last season when drunken Don was being shuffled onto his elevator by Pete and Ken after Mrs. Sterling’s funeral and he asked his doorman what he saw when he almost died? “Was it the ocean?” That’s how you get a drunken character to say a universal truth or reveal a deeply held sentiment and still sound like a drunken character. “You go by many names!” Oh, please.

But to be fair, this episode did a really good job of showing that SC&P is so dysfunctional at the moment because everyone involved has a different agenda and no one really communicates with each other anymore. Even at moments of connection, like the much welcome one between Joan and Peggy, information is withheld. Peggy asks if Don is breaking the rules set out for him – which he is – but Joan doesn’t really follow up on it. As Lou said to Peggy when he gave her a rather hefty raise, nothing’s worth anything around those offices unless it’s written down (Don’s contract and shares being the only thing keeping him there, for instance). It’s no coincidence that all those bi-coastal telephonic partners’ meetings (including the one this episode) are practically monuments to the concept of miscommunication. The company is fractured and all its principals want different things from it. Not to mention most of them seem to be desperately unhappy people. The grudges, counter agendas and secrets are piling up so high that SC&P is either a slowly decomposing garbage heap or a bomb ready to go off at any second.

In other news, the Sterling family go on a trip. Thank God for Mona Sterling, who came along at just the right moment to inject some get-the-hell-over-yourself attitude into the proceedings. Talia Balsam had her best outing ever as the character, dropping zingers left and right in the manner only a fed up mother and ex-wife can. “These people are lost and on drugs and have venereal diseases.”But it wasn’t all comedy in the end. All of Roger’s sins came back not to haunt him, but to almost literally roll around in the mud with him. Margaret may have told him he was forgiven, but Marigold let loose with a lifetime’s worth of deep hurt and anger that revealed he was anything but. The story has always shown us parallels between Don and Roger’s lives. Roger and Mona were held up as the distant, resentful couple Betty and Don were threatening to become. Roger got divorced and married Don’s secretary and after judging him harshly for it, Don turned around and did the exact same thing. “See? This is how to live,” said Roger at the news, noting the similarities of their paths. And now, Roger and Don have both been forced to deal with angry daughters who have good reason to be so, and who are in danger of becoming more like their fathers than they’d ever have wanted to be. Walking to the train station, covered in mud and defeat, Roger’s just as much on the bottom as Don is. We fear the story’s only going to give one of them the option of bettering himself. And Roger lacks the one thing Don has right now; the miraculous discovery that he has a friend looking out for him. Freddie Rumsen, of all people. How perfect. Once again we point out the opening words of this season, spoken by him (but written by Don): “Do you have time to improve your life?” To that cri de coeur masquerading as ad copy we can add his best lines yet: “What the hell are you doing? I mean are you just gonna kill yourself? Give them what they want? Or go in your bedroom, get in uniform, fix your bayonet and hit the parade.  Do the work, Don.” Hell, yes. It wasn’t our favorite of episodes, but that might be one of our favorite moments in the show. That’s beautifully full-circle. Don and Roger pushed Freddie into a cab and wished him well when his life fell apart. He’s clearly a better man than they are. He might turn out to be the best of them all, given how sour and nasty most of the characters are now. Freddie Rumsen. Of all people. The ultimate hero of Mad Men.

 

Much more to come in our Wednesday Mad Style entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC]

    • G. M. Palmer

      Each season isn’t a novel. The whole thing is.

      • Johnny Neill

        I fully concur with that!

      • blondie65

        Ken Cosgrove’s novel perhaps? (not my idea originally…read it here in the comments awhile back & it stuck with me).

    • Aisling O’Doherty

      I completely agree with you about the writing on this show. Whatever about Peggy and Joan, Bert’s reaction was absolutely out of character. Profit has always been the bottom line for him and suddenly he’s turning down the chance of new business in order to get back at Don?! It makes no sense and that comment about Lane’s death was needlessly cruel. Bert Cooper has always been amoral but he’s never been petty before.

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

        But remember his meltdown in S3 (I think it was), after Don published that full-page NYT ad writing off cigarette ads forever. “We’ve create a monster!” he declared. He hates Don’s impulsiveness, and what it costs their business in the long-run (TLo had a good point about how that merger last season was a good thing; but he wasn’t consulted), as much as Joan does.

        • larrythesandboy

          S4

        • Anita Karenin

          Plus if Don is forced out all the partners stand to profit.

          • VicD

            Which made me wonder if that was why Roger was trying to get him to drink in the office? Just thoughtless? Or trying to trip him up?

            • Matt

              I thought that myself — that Roger was trying to set out a trap for Don…and an obvious one at that.

            • Lady Bug

              I don’t think Roger is deliberately trying to set up Don at all. I think the drink was just Roger being Roger, and not thinking about what he was doing, I didn’t see any kind of malice. I think he was genuine about wanting Don back at the office, remember he did go to bat for him pretty hard in the last episode. Also, Pete & Roger both wanted Don on fast food account because Don is the best creative they have. It’s a pretty big account-national franchise, 3 million in billing. There is no way Pete & Roger would deliberately set up Don to fail, when that failure would hurt the company as well.

            • L’Anne

              I wondered that too, or if Roger was being Roger and thinking about hanging out with drinks, exchanging quips with his “friend” It seems clear that he missed having Don around so I thought it could also be a moment’s reflex from the “old days.” Also, Don went to Roger’s office first with his idea for new business, suggesting a relationship still exists for those two.

            • ItAin’tMe

              Right. Has he missed his old carousing buddy and the good old days when Joan was at his beck and call, he wasn’t paying 2 alimonies, and his was one of only 2 names on the building? Or was he testing Don? Like when he checks to see if Don has come in yet.

            • Chris

              I think Roger is just thoughtless, like his not showing up until afternoon the day he told Don to come back to work and not having discussed it with the partners.

            • Zoey

              I don’t think Roger cares about the rules. Don was always a drinking buddy for Roger.

            • andrea

              Exactly! Roger is a cad in many ways, but I think at the bottom he IS loyal, and truly loves Don

            • d4divine

              I think it was just thoughtless Rodger. I was hopeful for a moment that Rodger would go to bat for Don, but if course he half assed it as usual.

            • Adriana

              I think he was kind of testing Don to make sure that he can follow the rules…like later on when he stops by Don’s office just to make sure that he had come in on time.

          • Nancy Aronson

            Also, maybe it’s helpful for Don to give up identification with his role as man at the top, to shed his ego, be completely torn down and become rebuilt, a newly integrated version of Don that is no longer split into Dick and Don.

          • Inspector_Gidget

            Roger is barely more responsible than Don is on most days. I do think the partners set these conditions so Don would fuck up and they could get rid of him without buying him out. But it seems to me like Roger is the only one that’s on his side. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make the best choices either.

            (Woops, should have been a response to VicD’s comment. Won’t let me move it down.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1180174329 Elizabeth Phillips

          But he still smokes…

      • Vanessa

        Yes–the fact that the partners set out rules for Don and then didn’t tell anyone that there were rules???? Even Bert just “warns” him not to talk to clients on his own.

        • L’Anne

          Right, but what rule was he potentially violating? Right now the Leasetech guy is not a client. He’s a contractor. I was confused about what rule Don was breaking in that exchange.

          • T C

            Don went to Bert with the prospect of selling a new client, their computer vendor. No client contact would include prospects.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              That’s a fine line, but if Bert et al. are serious about forcing Don out, that’s where they’ll draw it.

            • Uncivil_Servant

              Unenforceable. By that definition anyone on earth is a “prospective client” and hence Don cannot converse with them.

            • L’Anne

              Dear Don,
              It seems you need to protect yourself from any contact with any one who is a potential client. I am not. Why don’t you stay with me?

        • ItAin’tMe

          Yeah. Peggy answers that she doesn’t know if he’s violating his rules. Because she simply doesn’t know what the rules are. And Joan doesn’t enlighten her.

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          I wasn’t surprised that the partners didn’t tell the staff about Don’s rules. I saw it as a private disciplinary matter for the partners only. And apparently, so did the partners.

          • gloriana232

            Absolutely. That wouldn’t work for morale to know their former creative director came back on a leash like that.

      • ybbed

        Have we all forgotten about the Hershey meeting and Don’s confessions? To a man of privilege like Bert. Don is the son of a whore, lived in a whorehouse, raised by whores etc, (even though technically not all of that is true). In Bert’s eyes Don is trash.

        • Travelgrrl

          See earlier season where he finds out from Pete that Don is Dick Whitman. “Who cares?” was his answer. What you bring to the table is all that matters. So this is out of character, despite Burt’s blue blood roots.

          • MartyBellerMask

            Yeah, sorta. But the info about Don’s identity was private, nobody knew it. Pluuuuus he really didn’t like Pete anyway.
            The Hershey situation was semi-public.

          • ybbed

            What Don brought to the table was so reprehensible to Bert that he simply cannot stomach him anymore. When Bert found out about Dick Whitman none of that other information was out, so of course he says, “who cares?”. Now he cares. Alot.
            Remember when he said last episode “I don’t like what they’re saying about us,” or something like that. He cares.

        • Angelfood

          Yes and his blatant racism supports this elitist position.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        Yeah, this is the same Bert Cooper that didn’t care at all that Don deserted the army and stole someone’s identity. I get that his outburst cost them money, but Don’s also responsible for the lion’s share of what they still have left. So many of the characters aren’t ringing true to me any more.

        • SparkleNeely

          Man, I second this! The writing is so bad this season, I can’t believe it. The characters seem all over the place and people who were aging nicely and learning from some mistakes (Betty, Pete) have backtracked in the most unbelievable way. Well, Betty anyhow. Pete remains to be seen. MW will screw him over too, I’m sure. Ugh. The is the most turgid, depressing season ever. I may not tune in next year. I can barely stand each episode this ‘season,’ as it is. TLo brilliantly pointed out my issues with the Joan/Partnership plot, and other major writing problems since Season 5. Season 6 was much better and a return to Season 4 form so I was excited about its last season but no more. I’m relieved the read that TLo and at least one other reviewer are having major problems with it and precisely why. I couldn’t have said it any better. I’m so grateful for their analysis. And glad I’m not the only one scratching my head after the last episode. This once compelling show will end with a whimper and not a bang, I’m afraid.

      • andrea

        So glad this was pointed out because honestly I was like….what did I miss??? Why is Burt so hateful? And Joan? Peggy I get because a part of her wants to be better than Don and knows she might not ever really top him, even as his superior as she seems to be now. I also really don’t understand how his one Hershey transgression cast him out as a pariah. I mean, it’s not like he lost Lucky Strike. :/ The stuff with the computer guy was just weird, especially since i thought he was going to make some pitch and get it approved….

    • Scimommy

      So… you didn’t like it? I have to say that I am picking up most of what the show is putting down, and I am on pins and needles as Don struggles to pick up his life and become more of a decent, REAL human being. At least that’s how I am interpreting this season’s Don’s character arc. I thought it was rather marvelous how Don was willing to put up with a ton of crap the company was throwing at him UNTIL… he had to answer to Peggy. THAT pushed him right off the wagon! And I agree that it was a rather beautiful symmetry that Freddy Rumsen, of all people, was telling Don to buck up and do the work. You have to answer to Peggy? Then you answer to Peggy! Freddy knows that Peggy ain’t half bad. And you know what? Don knows that, too.

      As an aside, I thought of the point you made a couple of recaps ago about how women’s advancement on this show is often a side effect of the power struggles between the men. Peggy getting promoted by Lou is a classic example of this. He did it strictly to sabotage Don (and probably to sabotage both Don AND Peggy) and it almost worked. Almost. Can’t wait to see how the Peggy-in-charge-of-Don dynamic works out and what happens with the Burger Chef pitch.

      • ConnieBV

        Not only that, but that they make it so painfully obvious. She knows it the moment he tells her Don is on her team. For all that it is a promotion and more money, she is basically back to where Roger was counting out money to get her to cover his ass. To me, the blatant obviousness of everything almost adds to the vicious sense of discomfort. It is like when you were little and embarrassed and you had to cover your face when something was overwhelming. If anything, Weiner is making me feel this phase in Don’t life more so than any other before it.

        • Chris

          I find they make Peggy almost unbearably naive at times. She’s been working with Lou for months and he’s harassed her at every turn. Now he praises her, gives her a raise and makes her Don’s boss and it takes her how long to see it’s a machination? That just rang false. Peggy’s seen office politics before and she isn’t stupid. She studied under Don and understands all his tricks. Lou is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

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

            It’s not that she’s naive — she’s been written consistently as someone who’s kinda self-centered. Like when she just took Shirley’s roses for her own. Of course she thinks it’s all about her. And she had no idea of the shit that went down before Don came back.

            • Chris

              Peggy has negotiated a lot of rough waters as Don’s secretary and understood immediately the game Don was playing with Ted from day one. Just because she’s self centered like every other character (except Freddy) doesn’t mean she’s dumb. She knows how office politics work. Or should.

          • DailyDose

            Peggy knows what Lou’s doing, she said to Joan: “he put Don in my team and hope one of us would fail”.

            • Chris

              Yes, but it seemed like it took her a while to figure it out when it was pretty obvious from the start. That’s all I was saying.

            • Nancy Aronson

              I don’t think that’s what Lou was doing, though. He put Don on her team in the hope that Don would fail.

            • ybbed

              He gave her a $100/week raise to make sure Don fails.

        • Aldona Dye

          I love your typo, “Don’s” as “Don’t”. Pretty apt, haha.

      • siriuslover

        Exactly. I know Don’s been a shit to Peggy many times, but he really knows her better than anyone. He and of course Freddie (is it Freddie or Freddy? Both work for me) saw potential in Peggy from the get go. And Don saw her ambition. When he needed a secretary to replace poor dim Lois, and Joan said, “another Miss Olson” Don said “no, someone who actually wants to be there.” I wish the two of them could get over their crap and make nice. I have some hope, since if there was some reconciliation with Sally.

        • Chris

          I think they will. Peggy seems more over her anger than the rest of them. She wasn’t eager to get Don in trouble when Joan squealed about the conditions. She enjoyed being his boss, but I don’t think she is as vindictive as the partners. She still has a certain amount of professional respect for him.

          • VicD

            Plus, if he gives her good tag lines, they may just find that balance again where they enjoy and admire each other’s creative instincts.

            • Kitten Mittons

              This. I think she’ll forgive him when she gets another taste of their creative synergy, and/or when Lou buries their creativity for his own purposes. If Don earns her respect professionally, I think they’ll be ok.

          • Nancy Aronson

            But she was so mean to him! Who knows how she feels?

            • Elizabeth Meadows

              Everyone says Peggy was so “mean” to Don. And yes, in “Field Trip” she was pretty cold, saying that he hadn’t been missed. But in this episode I don’t think she was horrible; she just didn’t treat him as if he were special. And why should she, if her nominal boss told her to put Don on “her” team? She’s got no reason to be nice to him after the way he’s treated her. I find Joan’s reactions much more difficult to understand.
              And I agree that the best hope for Peggy and Don is to recognize that they care about good, creative product, and work together to inject new life into SCP’s dying ad work.

            • TheDivineMissAnn

              “And I agree that the best hope for Peggy and Don is to recognize that they care about good, creative product, and work together to inject new life into SCP’s dying ad work.”

              Spot on! Peggy has been complaining lately of the lack of creativity and energy in the creative dept. (influenced by Lou, I think). She and Don could bring it all together again and…..maybe even branch off to a new firm of their own making?

            • Chris

              Well said, I agree with all of this.

            • Uncivil_Servant

              She was beyond mean. She is being artificially mean for the writer’s sake which is leading to lack of enjoyment by those who view the character behavior as out of their expected. Do you ever recall Don giving her “X lines of Copy to deliver”? No, he asked for ideas, the best she could come up with, not some arbitrary number. Numerous times he’d ask her for advertising ideas on projects. Sometimes he liked, sometimes he liked someone else’s. Asking a set number shows lack of respect that the person will really think it through. Then, let us consider calling a part OWNER of the firm into her office as a power trip and enjoying it. If she had walked into his office but still asked for him to give ideas it would have been meeting him halfway. He’s technically a managing partner yet assigned to her. No – she did it in the meanest most insulting way she could – telling his secretary to tell him to come to heel.

            • Chris

              The number of lines is directly from Lou. Thanks to Don’s behavior, Lou is in charge and dictating how everything is presented. Peggy has had to work under these rules for months as this is how you must present to Lou. If she and everyone else has to adhere to these rules and mandates about artwork etc. why would everything change now Don is working on an account? He knows he agreed to work under Lou and should know that means he is following the rules not making them. Peggy is working with the hand she was dealt. Sure she enjoyed being the one in charge for once after all the things Don has done for her, but when he didn’t work, stayed in his office, left drunk in the afternoon etc. she didn’t even speak to him about it let alone rat him out. She’s hardly being artificially mean by asking him to do work. And she is still treating him better than his so called friends and partners like Bert and Joan who are looking to make him fail.

            • snarkykitten

              I’ve had to deal with that kind of asshole “I’m going to ignore you instead of working with you because I’m pissed at the situation” behavior before and I gotta say, Peggy handled it the best she could. You either hound the person (which doesn’t work), or you say fuck it, and do the work/have someone else take over. She was smart to pick the kid who is going to see the extra tags as a reward for good ideas, not someone like Ginsberg or Stan who would see right through the facade.

          • Micaela Cannon

            I’m thinking this arc of Peggy/Don working together will either lead to devastation….or to creative synergy and understanding. Peggy has always been a bit self-centered/naive…but she forgave Don so many things….I’ll never forget how emotional the scene was when she finally left. I feel like the two of them are going to fall back into creative-love with each-other…and the synergy is going to be hot. Lou and Cutler are going to do their best to tamper that and squelch it….but something tells me that this partnership is a huge way in how Don’s life finally turns around. The two of them need each-other.

            • Chris

              I think you’re right that they will get back in sync professionally at least which will lead to some personal reconnection. Freddy pitching Don’s idea to Peggy earlier and her loving it shows that she genuinely responds to Don’s ideas and way of thinking whether she knows it’s his or not. Peggy was willing to hire Ginsberg despite his initial rudeness to her and lack of social skills because she recognized his talent. She defended her decision to hire him (despite Stan saying he was a threat to her job) by saying “I like working with talented people”. After the stale mediocrity of Lou for months, there is no way a fully committed Don won’t re-impress Peggy. Both Don and Peggy thrive when there is a challenge and new business to be won. Lou is providing a common enemy to work against and around which should serve to unify them, and hopefully the rest of the creatives smarting after the dismantling of their lounge and the symbolic devaluing of their work.

        • Nancy Aronson

          I wonder if Peggy’s anger isn’t a way of taking her power back. Remember seasons ago when she said that she wanted what Don had? And she had to accommodate his moods as his underling. He def. put her though her paces. But underneath there was a deep affection. Hate to say it, but Peggy seems like an enraged woman who’s coping with the many stresses of inhabiting a role in transition. Since Don knows her best, they have the deepest connection, she can spew her venom most poisonously in his direction.

        • Bev Wiesner

          what i love about the Don/Peggy dynamic is that he helped her navigate this world she was so hungry to enter. remember in the first episode where she puts her hand on his hand? not because he gave her a signal that he was attratcted to her- she was testing a hypothesis. it was almost clinical. and Don respnded very generously by stating briefly and clearly what the rules were( what the Code is) this in contrast to the sweaty and sophomoric broadly sexual comments by the junior gang. The moment when Peggy decides to order Don into her office is the bookend- shes trying something, shes testing her authority in a world where the rules are hidden or just the guys know them. I think its so facinationg how we cant help but view these women characters through the prism of what they gave us. When Don tells Peggy-” You wont belive how much this never happened” Hes giving her the wisdom of Lao Tse. ( not literally )

          • lbee

            I agree. And I really wanted Peggy to find Don on the couch when he passed out this time just like when they first met (“I’m Peggy, the new girl”) – but maybe that would have been too over the top.

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

        True point, about Peggy’s raise being Lou’s machinations to push Don off and, I think, gain her as an ally/pull her away from Don. Seriously, $100/week is $5,200/year, a hell of a raise even in today’s terms, let alone in 1969.

        • oat327

          Especially considering her salary was $19,000 when she went to CGC. That’s about a 30% raise!

        • Floretta

          It’s the equivalent of about $33K today.

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

            God damn.

            • Matt

              You wonder if Lou actually thought about how much he was giving her? Or if he just thought to himself that $100 a week would shut Peggy up and cope with Don. Lou doesn’t strike me as a very smart man. Wonder if him doing that will end up biting him in the long run and the partners (maybe Joan?) will take him to task for giving such a steep raise to anyone, let alone Peggy.

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

              Well, they approved it the same day, so it must not have been too much of an issue.

            • Matt

              True. But since Joan was the one who congratulated Peggy, maybe she vetted it and gave her ok. Or not. I don’t know. I think there has to be some sort of repercussion on Lou for that.

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

              Well, Joan said that her pay raise “went through,” which didn’t sound like she personally rubber-stamped it. Also I don’t think she’d do that for Peggy if it wouldn’t be okay with the other partners.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QFW22QV426LUOEPGASPZJWJMDE MishaFoomin

              It totally sounded like a bribe to me as soon as Lou said it, but later when Joan did not act like it was a big deal that it was approved I was surprised. Maybe all the partners, sans Roger, are viewing it as a bribe to get Peggy against Don, such is their distaste for him now.

            • SylviaFowler

              Roger wasn’t even there. How did he approve it? Seems like there is a lot being done by that little cabal of Bert/Joan/Cutler/Avery that Roger, Don, Ted and Pete know nothing about.

            • Floretta

              Yeah – I’d be gobsmacked, not to mention speechless (and immediately suspicious) if I ever got that kind of raise.

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

            Which makes Peggy’s pettiness and crankiness all the more annoying. Who’s petty or cranky the week they get a $30,000 raise they weren’t even expecting?

            • Nancy Aronson

              Someone who feels they’ve been set up to fai. That’s who.

            • TeraBat

              Or someone who can sense that the raise didn’t come from meritorious work, but as a side effect of some other scheme. Peggy would have been over the moon if she felt she’d been given the raise in all sincerity – she desperately wants her work to be valued by those above her. But she quickly figures why she got the raise; and the fact that it wasn’t for merit made her feel even worse.

            • Chris

              It’s almost like she’s being paid by Lou to be a hit man. Finish off Don and here’s your payment in advance. Never mind the months she was turning herself inside out trying to gain Lou’s approval, her raise comes from professionally killing her first mentor. A man she may be angry with but whom she considers a genius and whom she shares a long history and a lot of secrets. It’s like saying Joan shouldn’t have been unhappy after sleeping with Herb because she got a lot of money for it. It’s actually worse in a way because Joan knew what she agreed to. Peggy thought she was getting the money and position because of merit. She didn’t realize what the situation was until after the money was board approved.

            • Qitkat

              That is a terrific insight! And a gut-wrenching way to put it.

            • ACKtually

              Perfect way to put it. I didn’t think Lou could be so shrewd at first. Then I realized it was calculated and cowardly of Lou, he took the one person he knew is frustrated and talented and has a complicated history with Don, and manipulated her by giving her a raise.

          • Nancy Aronson

            Peggy has always seemed like a deep gal to me: moral, not one to be bought off, cares about creativity. While she enjoys money as much as the next guy, she’d rather derive satisfaction from her job and feel respect for herself and the people she works with. Does she like/respect Lou?

        • greenwich_matron

          They never get the points about money quite right. I actually feel for the writers about this point because it must be hard to come up with numbers that make sense in 1969 but still resonate with the 2014 audience.

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

            Yeah, but with Mad Men’s audience, they ought to know people are going to do the math! A huge draw of the show is period accuracy.

            • greenwich_matron

              Agreed. If they asked, I would be their number checker!

            • Nina B

              On that note of period accuracy, I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed people switching off a tv via remote control. Harry in his office most recently (last week I believe). I tend to believe the show on all things historical since I was born in 1970 and therefore this is all before my time.

              My family didn’t have a remote control until the 80s and I’m pretty sure our first one was wired to the set.

              Has anyone else noticed this or did I imagine it? Is it realistic?

            • decormaven

              The model would need to be a Zenith. They made the Zenith Space Commander remote. It made a distinct clicking noise.

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

              Lololol, that they actually called a product “Zenith Space Commander.”

            • http://inanimateblog.com/ NoNeinNyet

              Thus why, even in the 90s, my grandpa would often say “Bring me the clicker, Emmy.” I don’t think he even owned a TV with a remote until the late 80s but the terminology stuck.

            • Elizabetta1022

              Ohhh, I always wondered about that term! Thanks.

            • Ginger Thomas

              We had a television with a remote in 1968. If you pointed it across the street, it opened the neighbor’s garage door.

            • Kitten Mittons

              Really???

            • VictoriaDiNardo

              Ours was interchangeable with keys – if you came in the living room and dropped your keys on the table the TV would go on or off. My dad loved doing that when we were watching something.

            • snarkykitten

              I would have had too much fun with that.

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

              We had a remote way earlier than 1969. If she walked by the TV in just the right way, our dog would change the channel with the clinking of her tags .

            • suburbanbohemian

              Yes! We had the same experience with our fox terrier! Same thing with drooped keys. That was technology, people!

            • Heather

              It’s been discussed on other posts. I’m also a 1970 baby and while my family didn’t have a TV with remote till the 1980s, they apparently did exist in the late 60s. Notice the ‘clicking’ noise it makes – different technology.

            • BayTampaBay

              I remember several episodes of the Dick Van Dyke show with Rob and Laura having a TV remote control for their TV.

            • Floretta

              This has been covered in the past, several seasons back when showing Don, I think, turning off a tv using a remote. They’ve been around – from wikipedia:

              “…The first remote intended to control a television was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950. The remote, called “Lazy Bones”, was connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote control, the “Flashmatic”, was developed in 1955 by Eugene Polley. It worked by shining a beam of light onto a photoelectric cell, but the cell did not distinguish between light from the remote and light from other sources. The Flashmatic also had to be pointed very precisely at the receiver in order to work.

              In 1956, Robert Adler developed “Zenith Space Command”, a wireless remote. It was mechanical and used ultrasound to change the channel and volume. When the user pushed a button on the remote control, it clicked and struck a bar, hence the term “clicker”….”

              They were very basic but we had one in the early 1960s with our big console TV (probably Zenith. I can see the logo still.)

            • VeryCrunchyFrog

              Don has been using a remote at home for years. Previous discussions at other sites confirm that they were available (but pricey) in the 1960s.

          • SparkleNeely

            There’s always inflation to be considered. They should have kept it 1969 numbers. The American Dream has died for many b/c it was so much cheaper to afford the basic things than it is now. Costs were in keeping with real income back then. Since around 1980, it’s been getting steadily worse. I remember the inflationary 1970s well b/c my parents were always bitching about the rising cost of everything!

      • Cherielabombe

        I’m with you, Scimommy. I thought this was a great and relatively well-written episode.

        Two parallel stories that really take us back to the consequences of Don’s and Roger’s behavior from the early seasons. And I was watching it through my fingertips when Don was having his drunken moment in the office.

        I do agree that Bert’s refusal to investigate the possibility of new business Don suggested AND the cruel comment about Lane seem very out of character in terms of what we know about Bert.

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

          Thirding this as someone who really enjoyed the ep. I’m about to flee all the negativity here…

          • L’Anne

            Now now, have some tea and help me stitch the potholders.

        • Elizabetta1022

          I liked the episode but I’m frustrated with the characters doing things that ring falsely to me. As an old creative writing teacher of mine once said, “You have to earn your readers’ trust.” Some of those actions/lines last night weren’t earned. (Burt, Peggy, etc.) It makes me wonder if the same writers are working on Mad Men, because some of the characters have changed quite dramatically.

        • Nancy Aronson

          I yelled “NO!” as Don snuck the bottle out of Roger’s office.

      • Nancy Aronson

        Lou is all about towing the line and maintaining his position. He’s doing whatever he can to show that Don is unstable by doing whatever he can to make Don unstable: not giving him work, and putting him under Peggy. Initially Lou undermined Peggy as a way of reinforcing his power. Now he promotes Peggy to undermine Don. Lou is a bummer.

        • MaggieMae

          Lou is the kind of boss that ruins a good job. It’s so hard to work for people like that. Soul crushing!

      • Qitkat

        I didn’t totally NOT like it, and I agree with all you have said. I’m just bothered as some other kittens are by the seeming discontinuities/irregularities of character development. But I also can’t wait to see what happens next.

      • KCF

        I agree. I liked last night’s episode. And while I think T&L had some good points (the overly dramatic phone off the hook), I think most things worked for me. Bert is sick of Don, sick of the excesses and the screw-ups. He has hit a wall and completely doesn’t trust him. Now he’s blinded by all the bad and refuses to see any good or advantageous angle in Don. Just wants him gone. He’s tired and at his career’s end game and doesn’t need this loose cannon around for another minute. And while Roger is, at times, a loose cannon, too, he’s accounts. Something Bert understands. And I like that Peggy was petty. I think she has a right. Why do we hold her pettiness to such lofty standards? The guys can get peevish and snappy and bitchy at each other, so let her enjoy a moment of power over a former boss who has not always treated her nicely, which is galling especially because he knows what greatness she is capable of. I liked her giving him his comeuppance and I don’t think she overdid it beyond the subtle being clear what’s what and who’s who, which is a charge she was given by her boss anyway. And I think Freddy was the right guy to set Don straight–just do the work. Because Freddy, like Don, also truly knows how great Peggy is. And by the way, I don’t think it was mentioned, I loved Dawn setting the entire office straight, yelling it out for everyone to hear loud and clear. Move your shit or it will be thrown out. I’ve got the right to tell you all that. Truly a new Joanie in the making!

        • Scimommy

          Agree with everything you said. I was trying to keep my comment reasonably short, so the awesome Dawn-being-in-charge moment didn’t make it in, but it was pretty darn great.

        • Chris

          I think Dawn may be even be better than Joan was because she doesn’t seem interested in the office politics and isn’t dating (that we know of) out of the office. She is all about business. She has the drive to get ahead Peggy has and is developing some poise and sophistication like Joan has. She has a much more polished look and seems to have a better sense of fashion than Peggy does. I see great things for her.

        • buddy100

          Insert slow clap here.

          Really. I can understand annoyance with Peggy’s overall attitude, but am beyond confused by the accusations that she has been overly mean to Don. She asked him to do his job in accordance with orders from her boss. Hell, she was actually quite patient with him, given that it would’ve been relatively easy for her to report on his laziness. This is to the man that sometimes treated her as his work whore. So what if she’s a little smug and a little irritable? Compared to Don on his worst days, she’s practically saintly.

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

            Peggy was the one who assigned him 25 tags by Monday. He’s a senior partner and an award-winning creative director. It’s way beneath him and she didn’t have to handle it that way.

            • buddy100

              According to Peggy, Lou “starts with the tags.” She is probably obligated to get him those results. Plus, Peggy cannot start pandering to Don’s ego, as she did before. He will steamroll her. She needs to exert authority if she wants to keep her new position. If it’s unfair to Don, tough. That’s where he put himself. When he does the work, he can demand ass-kissing again.

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

              There was no reason for Peggy to call him into her office, sit him on her couch and ask for 25 tags. She went out of her way to humiliate him. There were countless other ways to handle that and she chose the one that treats him like a junior copywriter. No one’s claiming she has to pander to his ego, but it’s ludicrous to treat a senior, founding partner that way.

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

          “Why do we hold her pettiness to such lofty standards? The guys can get peevish and snappy and bitchy at each other”

          And people like Pete, Harry, Roger and even Don are constantly referred to as petty or flawed in countless reviews, going back years. It’s okay to point out a negative character trait in a female character. It doesn’t have to be swept under the rug in order to be more “fair” somehow.

    • Rhonda Shore

      And remember Roger Sterling, making racist remarks to the Japanese Yamaha (was it?) clients in a previous season? The plotline has gotten a bit out of control.

      • Gatto Nero

        The rage of a WWII vet, combined with alcohol. I think that outburst also underscored how old Roger is compared with the up-and-comers, who didn’t understand why he was so angry.

    • Teresa

      Great analysis, I didn’t like this episode. A lot of what’s happening is implausible. But hooray for Freddie (and not seeing Megan this week) were redeeming factors. Just when we think Don has hit bottom he goes lower. Could Freddie be his AA sponsor one day? Seems Freddie is one character who HAS changed. And how in heck did the Mets pennant get from the trash to the wall?

      • Rhonda Shore

        I liked the pennant moving from the trash to the wall…

        • Gatto Nero

          Didn’t the Mets come from behind to win the World Series that year?
          Maybe there’s an underdog theme in there somewhere.

          • Mismarker

            Yes! This episode of Mad Men brought to you by things that mean other things. : )

          • Floretta

            Hell yeah. I was on a bus leaving Port Authority that afternoon on my way home and the streets were crammed with ecstatically screaming New Yorkers.

          • MasterandServant

            My poor husband got a rousing rendition of ‘Meet the Mets’ from me last night. And yes- they were dubbed the ‘Miracle Mets’ in 1969

            • asympt

              Not by us in Chicago.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Heck, no!

            • TheDivineMissAnn

              Yep, true that. Was that the same series a black cat somehow got on the field?

          • Lisa_Co

            In his review of last night’s episode, Alan a Sepinwall made a lot of that Mets pennant. He thought it definitely meant good things in store for Don.

        • EarthaKitten

          Brought to mind the cigarette lighter that moved from the trash back to Don last season. I saw the pennant as a sign of Don’s defiance but then my mind keeps wandering back to the way in which Don treated Lane at his time of need. Lane, like Don, made SCDP possible and yet both failed at playing the game with the boys (which now includes Joan).

          • Kitten Mittons

            I thought of the lighter, too!

            Love your name, by the way.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Didn’t think of the lighter (good catch!), but I like both of your names. Especially EarthaKitten.

            • Kitten Mittons

              Thanks!

          • betty draper

            Yes, dead people’s property keeps coming into Don’s possession….

        • decormaven

          That was almost too convenient that Don found the pennant. No one- not even the cleaning crew- found that item? Oh well, Don’s office had a mouse once, so maybe things aren’t that tidy.

          • Matt

            I sort of got the feeling that after Lane killed himself, they pretty much shut that office up and didn’t touch it. Or if it WAS used, nobody moved or replaced anything. So that would make sense that the pennant was never found. Maybe even the cleaning crew did a quick dust-and-get-out.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              It was under the radiator, so even if the cleaning crew came in to dust or vacuum, they probably wouldn’t have found it. OTOH, how did it get there?

        • Nancy Aronson

          I had some vague memory of Don taking Lane to a game, but I’m probably wrong.

      • Gatto Nero

        Don pinned it up. Preserving a bit of Lane’s legacy, which was both touching and unsettling.

        • Mr. Dart

          When Lane embraced the Mets he was trying to fit in with the Americans. But he was, sadly, rooting for the biggest losers in history. Now, it’s the summer of 1969. Those “losers” are in the middle of what will become one of the most improbable baseball championship runs ever.
          That team will be called “The Miracle Mets.”

          And Don is flying their flag.

          • Valdri8

            As an 9 yr old who was allowed to stay home from school to watch the Mets take The Pennant, the reference was not lost on me.

          • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

            Great point! How did I miss that. Gives me hope!

        • TeraBat

          Especially considering how much they liked to frame the pennant either on the ceiling or with the door from which Lane hung himself.

          I thought the pennant was a symbol of the choice which Don presented Lane, and which Don now has – Start Over. Lane couldn’t, or wouldn’t, and took the easy way out. But Don appears to be trying to actually start over.I think that’s what the recurring pennant means – is Don going to go the way of Lane, or the way of the ’69 Mets?

      • suzq

        Nobody has occupied Lane’s office since he offed himself. Now, Don does. Yes, Bert found that a bit too neatly symbolic. Bert, who bought his Rothko for investment purposes, once told Harry Crane to stop trying to see the symbolism in it.
        The only explanation I can see in this is that Bert is just happy that it isn’t him they are trying to kick to the curb. Better the focus be on Don. I agree, though, IBM is a bigger bird than Hershey.
        “Did the Mets win?” Yes, Don, they won the World Series in 1969…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

        • L’Anne

          Peggy was in it after the merger.

          • Chris

            No she is next door. Her last office was Pete’s old one with the pillar. That’s where she was when CGC moved in. It had the “coffee chief” sign on the door.

            • L’Anne

              I could’ve sworn that Joan had told her when she moved back she’d be in Lane’s old office.

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

              No, she originally moved into the office on the opposite side of the creative lounge, down the hall from Roger’s-then-Ted’s office. It was, as Chris said, Pete’s old office with the pillar.

            • L’Anne

              I think I was remembering this:

              We would be remiss if we didn’t point out the dress hanging on the
              back of Peggy’s office door. This used to be Lane’s office, after all.
              That’s some sneaky use of costuming as props. Well done.

              As for Peggy’s navy blue dress, with its row of military-like buttons?

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

              Yes, she was in Lane’s office at the start of this season, but last season, upon the merger with CGC, she was put in Pete’s old office.

            • L’Anne

              They sure like shuffling offices and secretaries!

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

              That part feels accurate and true to the office politics going on. In our experience, offices in turmoil tend to have a lot of physical shuffling going on, usually because of competing agendas or a panicked management.

            • L’Anne

              same here– I worked for law firm after a merger and while they combined the 2 buildings they were in. Chaos doesn’t begin…

            • MartyBellerMask

              If you could just move your desk over here, that would be great…

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

              She was in Lane’s office at the start of this season. They’ve moved her one office over. You can tell because her office door is now on the opposite side of the room as it was in the first episode of the season.

            • Chris

              Wow, good catch. Was anyone in that office before?

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

              It seems that they could have put Don in another office, but deliberately chose to put him in Lane’s as a way of sending a message; yet another example of the kind of mafia tactics going on at SC&P that seem a little heavy-handed to us.

            • Chris

              I agree, I expected the partners reactions to be more like Cutler’s was this episode, not so openly hostile just pragmatic.

            • SparkleNeely

              Heavy-handed nails it. Mafia tactics, heh. This from an old Sopranos writer, Matthew Weiner. You guys are clever. I was so psyched for the final season after Season 6. The last season really gave the series some great oomph, what with the merger and all. I couldn’t wait to see how Don’s affair would tank his marriage too. You knew fallout from that was coming, somehow. I just didn’t think it would be Sally. Anyhow, Six was a nice return from the slow hot mess of Season 5, which I don’t blame on Megan but just bad plotting. I yawned and shrugged until the moment when Don retreats from the set, and into bar, only to get propositioned. What a cliffhanger. Not. Weiner said he used up all his ideas on Season 6 and it shows. I’m watching this the same way I watch an ingrown toenail grow back in, with ambivalence and painful dread.

            • Matt

              Oh, I’m sure nobody wants to be in Lane’s old office. But I suspect this was a twofold thing — space is likely at a premium for a personal office (especially since the computer’s taking up space in the former creative lounge), plus I took this as a pseudo-slam on Don — “ok, we’ll take you back, but here are these conditions and also, we’ll put you in the office a partner killed himself in as another comment on how we view your status around here now.”

            • Chris

              Yes I get that. I meant why wouldn’t Peggy rather be in the one she has now rather than take the office Lane died in. Was someone using it or is it smaller or somehow less desirable?

            • thelibraryworks

              actually… when cgc moved in, joan told peggy she’d be in harry’s old office. I remember because the shot emphasized the lack of windows, like harry used to gripe about.

      • Travelgrrl

        He found it peeking out under a desk, I thought?

        • Mismarker

          Yes, and then he crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.

        • Teresa

          I thought he found it, threw in the circular file, then you see it on the wall later. Interesting comments about the Mets in ’69. Feel like I need to go read a recap of that year (even though I lived it) so I’m up to speed here.

      • NDC_IPCentral

        Don fumbled plucking a cigarette, I believe, out of his pocket, it fell on the floor and rolled under the radiator that is covered by a panel. He knelt to retrieve the dropped cigarette, felt around under the radiator and found the Mets pennant forgotten and abandoned under there.

        Don’s momentary pang as he looked at it was poignant.

      • mary_berry

        The thing with Freddie, though, and the reason I think he was able to change (or to get sober, at least), is that he isn’t plagued by all the demons that Don and Roger are. He just came up in a really boozy era, and everything got out of control. When Don and Roger fired him and told him to dry out, he was able to because he wasn’t really running from anything. Don and Roger are both working massive overtime to not face themselves, notwithstanding Don’s recent spate of relative openness. I don’t know how perverse Weiner & Co.are, but I wouldn’t be that upset to see the whole thing end with Don finally hitting his actual rock bottom. I thought he’d hit it several times, but, no, not yet, apparently. I want to believe this latest “wake the fuck up” from Freddie is going to work, but I think for Don, he’ll need about ten thousand more of those. I really wanted to slap him upside his head this episode.

        • SparkleNeely

          I think Weiner is pretty perverse. This is not but-kissing, however, TLo is one of the reasons I’m still watching. Mostly for the nostalgic fashion and furniture. Anything deeper isn’t going to happen, I can already tell. Those colorful, exciting ads that prefaced the season are bull. What a letdown, not to mention the completely greedy asinine way that AMC will lose money by splitting the season. See, that’s what happens when suits win out over creative continuity.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Didn’t Lane have that pennant on the wall when that was his office? His way of embracing America. Maybe in their haste to clean up the office it was shoved under the cabinet, where Don found it. I thought it was bittersweet that (presumably) Don hung it back up on the wall.

        Coming back from the dead, perhaps?

    • siriuslover

      oh.my.god. I cried at this recap. Yes, Freddie Rumson, the most human–and heroic–of them all.

      • Travelgrrl

        There is not a single Murray brother I don’t leap with joy on seeing on the screen.

        • Musicologie

          What about John, the one you get when you can’t afford Bill?

          (Joel is my favorite Murray.)

        • momogus

          I did not know that he was Bill Murray’s brother!! Mind blown.

      • MichelleRafter

        Because he’s been to the bottom and managed to crawl back up a few rungs. I could totally see him as Don’s AA sponsor. He’s pretty much doing it already.

      • Gatto Nero

        I love Joel Murray. He brings a gentle and down-to-earth humanity to every role he plays.

        • asympt

          Not gentle in Shameless–angry. But terribly vulnerable.

    • VicD

      YAY! Ask and ye shall receive. I LITERALLY been thinking about this show for the last 12 hours… (thanks to Chris Traeger for accent on literally)

    • T. Sticks

      Thank you for putting into words the reason I didn’t like this episode. It didn’t feel real. I love the moment you talked about — Freddy counseling Don — but the rest of it just felt “off” to me. I just couldn’t enjoy it and I usually love every episode. It just felt awkward and too hard to believe. Still looking forward to the next one, though.

    • Mismarker

      So much 2001: A Space Odyssey last night. Like anvils. We get it.

      • Gatto Nero

        Including the unrelenting construction noise at the office, which underpinned all the discord.

        • marlie

          Yes. And as someone whose office is in the process of moving, I’ve been living with packing boxes and moving men for the last two weeks, and that kind of office upheaval does quite a number on one’s productivity and creativity. That discord was the most “real” thing about the episode to me.

          • Gatto Nero

            My own nerves were fraying by midway through the episode!

      • larrythesandboy

        Yeah – clubbed another ape, perils of technology, unable to make fire, human error, Lou giving Peggy a mission. Also in the film, the space station (which resembles a carousel) contains a Hilton (Conrad almost literally on the moon) and Howard Johnson’s.

        • Mismarker

          And talk of going to the moon between Don/Hawley and Roger/Margaret. Also, monolith! I got it right when the elevator doors opened and the camera lingered on the black door across the hall.

          • larrythesandboy

            Nice!

          • Teresa

            I’m thinking the moon landing will be a focus of the last episode this “half” final season.

            • Mismarker

              That makes sense. Would put us in July with the rest of the episodes playing out over the final months of 1969. Weiner has said Mad Men will not go into the 1970s.

            • Teresa

              And something else that could be referenced, the Chappaquiddick incident occurred the same week as the moon landing.

          • larrythesandboy

            Also – since the dawn of time (just re watching!)

      • Travelgrrl

        I saw a lot of “The Shining”, too: Lloyd, Roger’s secretary and the little boy, voices in a distant room when Don arrives at the office, the empty hallway, a writer driven to the bottle.

        Kubrick Men!

        • Mismarker

          Didn’t Ellery even look a bit like Timmy from The Shining? Brunette bowl cut. Plaid shirt and overalls. Creepy.

          • Jaialaibean

            Every kid looked like that in the ’70s. He’s fashion forward.

      • MichelleRafter

        Wasn’t the objects that the apes discover in 2001: A Space Odyssey even called the monolith?

        • VictoriaDiNardo

          yes it was

      • TeraBat

        Considering how much of the episode’s theme was science fiction made real, I’m disappointed there was no Ken Cosgrove.

        • Danielle

          I’m disappointed with any any episode where there’s no Ken Cosgrove.

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

      I almost fell off the couch when Bert attacked Don like that. Where the HELL did that come from? Since when does he turn down business, especially since business seems to be so poor lately? And I have to say that Bert looked like hell, too. Are they trying to imply that he is getting addled/demented?
      Loved the poster for the NY Philarmonic concert on the wall in Peggy’s office…so typical of the graphics of the era.

      • VicD

        The Bert scene was the most unsettling of a very unsettling episode – pointing out that he’s just another dead man in the dead man’s office.

      • larrythesandboy

        Haven’t there been some suggestions recently that Bert was slightly losing his marbles – e.g. his strange incomplete speech in the episode after the merger, in the one they were working on the St Joseph’s pitch?

        • Azucena

          But I don’t think he wrote that. There was some comment afterwards that there were too many people working on it as a result of the confusion of the merger and that’s why it ended up half-baked.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I think he is.

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

        Eh, impulsive things can be said in offices everywhere, and I think from the look on his face, he immediately regretted it, but couldn’t apologize. Also I’ve been reminding people about how he called Don a monster in S3, after he publicly rejected all cigarette business forever.

        • MavisJarvis

          season 4

      • Floretta

        Yeah but Bert says they are doing fine. Fine and adequate seem to be the buzzwords of the company in 1969 — but things are NOT fine financially or any other way and there is no way Bert could not know this. I think they’re whistling past the graveyard and their treatment of Don may very well come back to bite them in the butt. Bert is still holding back what he knows about Dick Whitman for a final killshot I think. It would behoove Don (Dick) to consult a lawyer for many reasons, not least of which is quietly putting the original deception to rest with the Army before Bert can use it as ammo.

      • NeenaJ

        All I know is that when he uttered the “dead man’s office” line, I wanted Bert to be the one to kick the bucket this season.

        • ybbed

          yeah agree Bert needs to die

      • VeryCrunchyFrog

        I don’t get the impression business has been poor of late for SC&P. Chevy is going great guns, and as Cutler said last season “and they DO pay us.” From Joan’s improved wardrobe and general self-confidence (not to mention attending breakfast meetings with Ken), I think we are to infer that she’s becoming a natural accounts person and perhaps bringing in new business. Pete has solid leads in CA.

        As for Bert, his Randian philosophy seems to have its limits. As someone noted elsewhere, it was one thing for Bert to know (when almost no one else did) that Don had assumed a new persona and built himself into a young Republican who could glide into any social set. It’s quite another to have it widely known that Don is “white trash.” Bert’s tolerance for Don’s increasingly mercurial nature came to a hard stop with that news.

    • gthradecky

      Yeah, this one was a little clunky with misplaced and baffling motivations but Freddie was solid gold.

      • VicD

        I love Freddy Rumsen so much!

        • larrythesandboy

          Countering the unsubtle devil references, Freddie seemed very much Don’s guardian angel in this episode. He even bears a passing resemblance to Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life!!

    • ideated_eyot

      Well, it has certainly become about impossible to gauge where the show is going now, unfortunately because everything has become so broad that any integrity maybe sacrificed to exploit a ‘great TV moment’.

    • Shawn Taylor

      While I always enjoy a new episode, this one felt so wasted and pointless given how little time there is left in the series, did we really have to go all the way there with Margaret? It would have taken a half dozen well timed remarks to establish where she is in her life and her parents reaction. Margaret’s angst over Roger working as she grew up just sounded…made up, perhaps it was supposed to. C’mon, man.

      • Gatto Nero

        I was disappointed that the episode devoted so much time to Margaret, a peripheral character. But maybe it was intended to show that Roger finally fully understands how completely he has failed in his personal life. He abandoned his “baby” and now she is doing the same. If he continues to be irrelevant at the agency as well, he’ll have no purpose anymore.

        • Aisling O’Doherty

          I agree. The storyline about Margeret is really to show that Roger is reaping what he’s sown. He neglected his duties as a father by spending most of Margaret’s childhood getting drunk and womanizing. Then he left his wife for his secretary. Also history is repeating itself. Margaret is running away from her child the way Roger ran away from her.

          • Mismarker

            Yes. When Mad Men focuses on two stories like this we are expected to either draw parallels or find contrast. Both Don and Roger are reaping what they’ve sown.

            • Jackie4g

              But Don has a chance at redemption. Sally wants to believe in him. That final “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you” was HUGE.

          • asympt

            There’s also that Roger needed to be absolutely tied up for the whole episode. Otherwise drunken Don with his inspiration to play hooky would have called on Roger, rather than being forced to go with the only other vague excuse he has for a friend at all–Freddie Rumsen. Luckily for him.

      • MK03

        Margaret has always been a piece of work. From her first appearance, she’s been sullen, resentful and rather nasty to her father. I think the reasons she gave for running away are perfectly in line with her character. That’s not to say that she was right to do it, because she wasn’t; Roger was absolutely right when he said she abandoned her son. And she, true to form, took that and spun it to make it Roger’s fault. We’ve seen her do that time and again, most recently when she pretended to forgive him for “making her beg” for money.

        • EarthaKitten

          Let’s not forget that Roger has abandoned his son (by Joan) too. Granted Joan won’t let him be the little bugger’s daddy. Imagine Marigold’s attitude towards Roger if she had any clue as to the extent of his depravity…Sally could clue her in.

          • MK03

            Yeah, but this is a little different. He wants to be part of his son’s life but Joan is actively keeping him out.

        • TeraBat

          Given Margaret/Marigold’s comments to her mother, I wonder if she saw her choice differently: either live on the commune, or turn into the sort of mother Mona was and make Ellory as miserable as she is now. Marigold’s choice might be a more self-centered version of the poor woman who gives the child she loves up for adoption because she knows that’s how she can give it a better life. She thinks it’s better for Ellory to have no mother at all than to have a dysfunctional mother; and she fears going back to the New York housewife life will destroy her.

          • MK03

            Well, if that’s the case, then she’s wrong. Giving a baby up for adoption is not the same thing as walking out on your four-year-old.

            • TeraBat

              I didn’t say I agreed with her choice, just trying to see it how she might. What would make a woman who seems to love her son decide he shouldn’t live with her?

          • greenwich_matron

            The problem is that she is leaving her son with the very people who she felt were such awful parents.

            • TeraBat

              Hey, I never said her decision was a good one, just spitballing about her motivations! Her decision certainly isn’t rational, however you slice it, but the characters on this show aren’t really known for their rational decision making.

            • greenwich_matron

              Having been on both sides of the parent/child wars, I know rationality has nothing to do with it.

        • MartyBellerMask

          She did say that she wanted her husband and son to move to the commune with her. Why she didn’t bring Ellery in the first place, I don’t know.

      • L’Anne

        If she had lashed out over his affairs, leaving Mona and her for Jane– THAT would have been fine. That he abandoned them for affairs and a younger model would make sense. But to equate her running away to a commune with him going to work, no. Not even close. To call him on having a secretary buy a gift for her, vaguely referencing “hotel” (a mention of infidelity, perhaps?). Oddly, she’s noting that he remembered her and made sure he did something for her.

        I guess this was a “cat’s in the cradle” kind of rant for Marigold.

        • Aisling O’Doherty

          Maybe Margaret didn’t mention affairs because she is cheating on her own husband. Although I agree with you 100%, she has a right to be mad at Roger but she’s angry about the wrong things.

          • Kathy G

            I don’t feel she has any right to be angry at him anymore. She has a right to feel cheated of time from him but seriously, back then fathers were expected to be breadwinners, even wealthy ones. In fact, if she had grown up in previous generations in that moneyed family, she would have been raised by nannies and shipped off to boarding schools and summer camps, then coaching/lessons to ultimately to be presented to society as a debutante at some cotillion covered by Page Six.

        • Shawn Taylor

          See, that’s exactly what I meant. Not even close. Margaret’s words to Roger came off as “I know you are but what am I?” Would a woman of that time and class (she’d be slightly older than my mother) even know to get buttthurt that her well providing father worked all the time?

          • Chris

            That struck me as anachronistic, as well as how she resented his secretary picking out her presents. I was born decades after and few fathers of my generation were responsible for toy selection, presents etc. No one thought any differently of it. It was “Mom’s job” or “woman’s work” just like clothes shopping and food shopping was.

            • L’Anne

              Shawn Taylor and Chris– that’s it exactly. Most fathers of that station were expected

              to work long hours and even have a room at the “club” or their own “pad” in the city for those long hours, late business meetings, late business dinners, etc. And in general, people expected women to buy the gifts. That could mean a guy would ask his secretary to pick things up for his children or his wife or the wife would do it automatically.

              People would talk about how hard the men worked and talk about missing daddy or their spouse, but it was expected, assumed, and even encouraged to work those hours to get ahead and provide. That Margaret turns it as abandonment is out of context– unless that’s the “language” she has/ uses as a cover for the real things that make her feel that her father abandoned her.

            • tallgirl1204

              Very interesting– my dad spent long hours (days and weeks) away from home working in the space industry– it certainly was viewed as normal in our neighborhood for dads to spend long hours at work and even longer trips on tracking ships. However, beyond good local island beers (he often worked down range), I had never pictured any kind of serious bacchanal attached to his work (engineers are different, certainly)– and I never felt abandoned. It was simply the dads’ jobs to be away from home.
              Everything you said about the wives doing the heavy lifting was absolutely true– my dad never knew what my birthday or Christmas presents were until I opened them.

            • Lisa_Co

              My experience is quite different from yours Tallgirl. I grew up in an affluent community in Wesrchester (born in 1956) and though Dads worked hard they were usually home for dinner. My father was Director of Research at Lehman Brothers in 1969 yet he virtually always took the same 5:23pm express train home and we all had dinner around 6:30pm. It was the rare night he had a client dinner; instead he brought work home and worked (somehow, due to good tuning out abilities) in our den even if the TV or music was on. If he went on an extended trip my Mom and I often went along (I’m an only child). I got see lots of the country I never would have, thanks to that. Certainly the lifestyle shown on Madmen (special apartments or hotel rooms in the city) were not the norm where I grew up.

              Also most adults and kids back then didn’t seem so “miserable” as Madmen portrays them. IMHO expectations for life/job were lower then than now. Especially as many adults in my community were children of poor European immigrants, they were thrilled to have decent jobs, relative job security and a tolerable marriage. Hey, they were doing ALOT BETTER than Their parents had. I think the high expectation the boomers and all subsequent generations have had for happiness and self-actualization has upped the misery quotient considerably. It just doesn’t ring true to me for most people in 1969 (many of whom were old enough to have lived through the Depression).

            • Chris

              My Dad was home every night too. We all had dinner together, took all our trips together, watched night time TV together etc. He just, like many other Dads mentioned, had no part in toy shopping, clothes shopping, food shopping etc. My Christmas presents were as much a surprise to him as they were to me. There was a strong divide between what was the “men’s work” like garbage, lawn care, cars, repairs etc and everything else that was “woman’s work” anything to do with shopping, the kids, food. Although my Mom did handle all the bill paying etc. which wasn’t the case in every home. They both knew all the money and had equal access to accounts and things even though my Mom didn’t work outside the home.

            • TeraBat

              That’s how I read it – that Roger invested more into his relationships with his mistresses and secretaries than he did with his wife and daughter, and that’s what really stung.

        • ybbed

          I think it is very hard for people to see the Marigold/Roger situation through 2014 eyes. The generation gap at that time was so strong in many families it was like aliens living together. Peoples values were completely different and you add to that the “self- actualization” movement with young people exposing the rampant hypocrisy on display by the older generation, you get something like Marigold and Roger and Mona.

      • Chris

        I always thought Bert was a d.b. but a practical one. Now he is just vengeful? He didn’t get emotional over PPL and their machinations but he does over Don and Hershey? Even his remark to Don was strange about thinking they would have to bring him back. It sounded like Don walked out on them, when they put him on leave. I also agree 100% with you about the Margaret storyline. With so few episodes and time left, devoting half of this episode to her story (even though it was about how it affected Roger) was just a huge waste.

        • Shawn Taylor

          If it’s indeed the case that Margaret wanted to point out how abandoned she felt, it’s even more tone deaf for my money. My thought was maybe they were trying to make the point of how delusional Margaret is in trying to equate a 50s era working father being unavailable and the mother of a 4 year old being GONE.

          • Chris

            Yes, that struck me too. I will never argue that Roger was any kind of a good father but he was never her primary caregiver. I find it hard to believe her husband was the modern type who would have spent much time with his child. Mona may be the only one, apart from any nanny etc. that her son now recognizes as a regular caregiver. Margaret was also an odd choice (apart from being spoiled and selfish) to be the one that snapped and rejected her life. She has a lot of money and one child, I find it hard to believe she didn’t have a team of nannies at her disposal. It was socially acceptable in those circles for a mother not to take care of the day to day tasks of children, especially if they were active in society. It would have been more meaningful to see a middle class mother with money stress, lots of children and not much parental support bolt for a commune and a sense of freedom.

            • T C

              It was my experience back then that many who left the establishment to live off the land came from wealth. This is being repeated today with many trust-fund activists and their rejection of technology (all coordinated on iPhones and Twitter).

          • ughughughugh

            Worst of all is that Roger seemed to accepted it as being parallel and gave up.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Well, to be fair, he was covered with mud at that point and probably too demoralized to fight back. Also “Marigold” has the home-field advantage.

            • Chris

              Plus I think by that point she had gotten across that she was like Roger. She was going to do what she wanted to do. I’m guessing he realized then how much like him she was in some ways and understood it was futile.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Also, the way he physically grabbed her and tried to force her to leave…I would refuse to go for that reason alone. That’s no way to treat someone, especially your kid. It doesn’t bring them over to your side, that’s for sure.

            • Chris

              Yes, I don’t know how he thought treating her like a naughty two year old was going to work.

            • Danielle

              It was desperation. They tried talking and humoring her, but after she snuck off in the middle of the night and then was still gone in the morning, he realized just how much she could actually get in real trouble. His little girl was living in a shack with god knows who doing god knows what. In the moment, throwing her in the truck and driving her back to the city and her good life didn’t seem like a bad option.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Well exactly. This storyline parallels Don’s, but it’s more than that. I actually found it to be quite poignant. As much as Margaret has “daddy” issues, Roger has “daughter” issues. He doesn’t mind free-love-hippie-orgies in his hotel, but to see his little girl being a part of the same thing? That’s too much for him to take.
              And then he’s going to look at his young girlfriend and realize, “Well damn, she’s somebody’s little girl, too”. This is (hopefully) the wake up call Roger needs to quit his playboy ways.

      • decormaven

        It was overlong in that respect with”Marigold” and Roger. When they got into the tussle, all I could think was “Never wrestle with a pig. The pig won’t like it and you’ll both end up dirty.”

    • Matute Lyons

      Seems to me that Don is coming full circle; he’s back to being little Dickie Whitman, everybody’s whipping boy. Nobody loves Dick Whitman.

      • Floretta

        Anna did. And Sally is coming that way. But until Dick loves Dick, even a little, the work won’t be complete.

      • EarthaKitten

        You might be onto something but I sure hope that is not the direction. We had enough of poor little Dickie last season.

    • NDC_IPCentral

      Thank you, thank you for this perceptive analysis, and the final paragraph especially. Yup, Freddy Rumsen really stole the show last night, and that was (despite the other faults in the episode you identified) a brilliant piece of story-line tapestry.

    • Froggae

      I agree the various characters’ treatment of Don seems like punishment exceeding the crime. But Peggy’s and Joan’s do make sense to me: call it the harsh bigotry of high expectations. Peggy knows Don is one of the few people who knows her worth… and he still threw money in her face and treated her like shit. That hits a lot harder than anything Pete could say or do to her. Don was the only person to tell Joan not to prostitute herself… and then he shits the bed with Hershey in a publicly embarrassing way. For Joan, that is a huge betrayal–knowing what she did to get a major account and put their company on the map and then he puts the company she sacrificed her self for at risk. With Bert, I think it was just knee-jerk annoyance that Don hasn’t accepted his new position in the agency. They took him down a few notches and now want him to wallow in it, if that means losing a client so be it. Of course it’s a huge mistake for Bert to ignore a good idea just because it came from Don, but looking around it’s clear the agency is making a lot of big mistakes re creative, so it a way it’s not out of character for where they are at.

      • Mme. Moriarty

        Joan’s dislike of Don seems to me true to character as well.

        • JeanProuvaire

          Yeah. Joan made it clear after Don threw Jaguar away that her anger wasn’t JUST about that–it was just the final breaking point after his long pattern of doing whatever the hell he wants without considering or caring how it’ll affect the people he works with, and expecting them to just smile and nod and deal with it because Don’s entitled to do it.

          Peggy, likewise, has been able to forgive Don for a lot of his maltreatment of her in the past, because of what she owes him professionally and how well they used to understand each other and work together–but throwing money in her face was one small preliminary breaking point, and his deliberately sabotaging her chances of getting credit for her career-defining Rosemary’s Baby campaign was truly the last straw.

          I can understand people being upset at how she placed him on a level with the junior copywriter this episode–I personally wasn’t, at first, but reading TLo’s analysis above, I see now why it was tough for other people to watch and how it was an unrealistic decision for the show to make. But it wasn’t Peggy’s choice to put him on the account; she was dismayed that she was going to have to have him working under her, and I think she knew that if she let him have more free rein with it, he ran the very real risk of taking it over, running roughshod over her and possibly ruining it with his loose-cannon ego like he’s done so many times before.

          Even when unstable people like Don are ostensibly trying to turn things around, the people they’ve hurt badly in the past aren’t obligated to put themselves in a position to be hurt again and trust that it’ll all be okay this time. Peggy’s been in a bad place, professionally, and being put on an account like BurgerChef is a big break for her, one that she’s earned. I can’t blame her for being wary of Don and trying to keep him on a tight leash to reduce the chances that he’ll pull another St. Joseph’s or Hershey or Jaguar from which she’s afraid HER career might not be able to recover.

          I’m not sure what Bert’s reasoning for being so cold to Don is, though, and I completely agree that it was totally out of character for him to reject a good business idea just because it came from Don. That made no sense and really annoyed me, because it could have been amazing to see Don pitch IBM, and that would be the kind of turnaround for him that would feel earned to me and not come at anyone else’s expense.

          • Froggae

            It’s especially acute for Peggy because 1) it’s Don’s fault she now answers to Lou and 2) as she explained to Joan she’s forced to have Don on her team even though there is nothing she can do if he doesn’t do as she directs or if he fucks up. She knows Lou set her up–once again she’s a pawn in someone else’s battle with Don. And when she can’t steel herself to call out Don to his face, she take it out on whats-his-name instead and demands the 25 more tags by the end of the day.

            • JeanProuvaire

              Oh, man. I didn’t even think of that, but it’s so true. I feel awful for her–she thought her professional life was finally looking up, and that Lou was treating her with respect for once, and it turns out to be just one more way in which she’s powerless and her feelings aren’t even being considered at all.

              At least she got a big raise out of it, though. That’s what the money’s for, etc. (Although Don’s still making the same salary he always did, isn’t he? Funny how he doesn’t apply that to himself.)

            • Mismarker

              Lou didn’t intentionally set her up. He agreed to give her Burger Chef even before Don’s name was brought up by Pete. And Lou sort of made it right by offering the raise when he knew she’d have to deal with Don. Peggy doesn’t know how the conference room meeting went so of course she thinks she was set up.

            • Chris

              Well Lou knew the only choice other than Don for such a big account was Peggy. They could never make Ginsberg responsible for such a client. He just wanted to make sure Don didn’t get it. He used the raise as a way to cover and sugar coat what he was pulling with Peggy. He never gave her the slightest bit of approbation before and needed her “on his side”. He completely set it up so if anyone has to discipline Don it’s Peggy and his hands are “clean” like Pontius Pilate’s.

            • Froggae

              I think that raise was Lou’s way of making Don Peggy’s problem–and the scapegoat if/when Don really becomes a problem.

            • decormaven

              Yep, Lou’s no dummy. He’s worked enough shops to know to find a fall guy in what looks like an untenable situation. I thought that shot of Lou outside the board room last episode was especially telling. He sees that unit is unstable and is going to blow. He’s just protecting himself.

            • Nancy Aronson

              And what was Lou’s motivation for giving Peggy the account? Fear of Don.

            • Mismarker

              He may be afraid of Don but, at this point, I’m just not buying into Lou being a nefarious plotter. Ted brought up Peggy and Lou went along with it. He was taken aback when Pete wanted to bring Don onboard. Like it hadn’t even occurred to him that Don would or should be involved…based on his “what the hell, man?” convo with Cutler afterward. If I were in Lou’s shoes, I would also try to avoid any contact with Don. Giving Peggy the raise was sort of a genius move.

            • MK03

              Peggy’s lashing out at Don because he’s the only one she can lash out at. Ted’s in California, Lou is her boss, the partners are the partners.

            • L’Anne

              What’s a girl to do when there’s no boyfriend to stab?

          • Chris

            I agree with everything you said about Peggy. For some reason so many recappers and commenters keep saying Peggy is just some scorned woman who blames her break up with Ted on Don (even though she has never said that) and they ignore the fact he has decimated her professional life. Even in the last episode, which pointedly brought up the aspirin commercial again, and how she felt it was her best work, everyone said Peggy’s anger with Don was about Ted moving and ignored the fact it was Don sabotaging the ad that caused her to confront Don. Despite that, and her pleasure in being Don’s “boss” Peggy is trying to work with him, not just sandbag him and get him kicked out.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Peggy treated Don terribly before trying to work with him. Also, she’s been dealing with the frustration of working in a creativity-free environment with a boss who continually supresses her strengths

          • Babyboomer59

            Peggy has kept a tally of every slight Don has ever done.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            If anything, I expected Bert to say something noncommittal to Don and then have someone else handle things with the computer guy. That would be a typical SCDP power play. But whoa! What he said to Don was just….WTF?

          • Sonny

            I didn’t read Peggy’s behavior as angry at Don either. She was visibly upset when she found out that her raise meant being Don’s superior. Peggy being Peggy, she doesn’t have the tact to try to soften the blow to Don’s ego and overcompensated to make up for her insecurity about being in a position of power.

      • Chris

        I disagree that Don and Hershey put the company at risk that much. It’s a flourishing agency with a lot of clients and no one big “be all or end all” client like Lucky Strike. Don has a reputation as a creative genius him weird-ing out on one pitch isn’t going to end the agency. Don also has the benefit of being a “creative” or artsy type person not an accounts man. It’s not the same as the accountant handling the money acting weird. Roger cost the company clients at a time when the agency was at make or break points and no one tossed him to the curb. Nothing Don can ever do will be as bad or as threatening as Roger’s behavior with Lucky Strike.

        • MK03

          Don’s ruinous behavior started years ago when he ran the “open letter” after Lucky Strike left. After that, he shot the agency in the foot when he dumped Jaguar after they had spent the previous season courting them and whored out one of their own to get them. The Hershey debacle was just the icing on the cake.

          • Jessica Peterson

            Let’s not forget the time Don was MIA in California.

        • Froggae

          As MK03 said, Hershey’s was a culmination of events. But also, in this late 60s still heavily WASP-male dominated and very elitist world, outing yourself as a child of a prostitute while in the midst of what seems to be some kind of breakdown is a big no-no. Much bigger than losing a major client or being an outright bigot (if anything the latter is still by and large rewarded in that circle). What Don did was put the company up for ridicule that maybe the SCDP folks were not just run by incompetents but crazy undesireables as well. This is an era where that kind of childhood + this guy can’t handle his liquor + maybe psychiatric problem is a scandal from which no one could recover. We’re still a few years from the Eagleton shock therapy fiasco.

          • Chris

            The agency seems to be humming along as Bert and everyone else takes great pains to point out to Don. Putting Don on leave rather than just brushing the Hershey incident off probably brought far more attention to it. Roger insulted the Honda representatives to their face and pretty much tossed them out. I’m not saying the Hershey pitch wasn’t anything, but it also wasn’t everything. Especially in that agency.

            • Froggae

              My interpretation was the partners were reigning Don in before he did real unrecoverable damage, that the fear was he had more Hershey-type meetings in his future. And of course that it would get harder and harder to chalk it up to creative-type quirkiness as opposed to unstable mess on their hands. That’s why they were so resistant to letting him come back–he wasn’t just getting a time-out for bad behavior, they need to know for sure he’s not that unstable mess.

            • Chris

              I thought some time had already gone by when they put him on leave. Ted wasn’t around for the meeting as Cutler was speaking for him and I assumed he was already in CA. The leave struck me as more punishment for all past sins rather than damage control. As I said above, it certainly would have brought more attention and gossip about the incident. Hershey could let whatever rumors out they liked, but putting Don on leave publicly confirmed it. In the past their tactics were always “put a good face on it” no matter who screwed up, now it became a matter of public knowledge.

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

            McCann Erickson, one of the largest agencies of the time, and Wells Rich Greene, one of the hottest agencies of the time, both were eager to hire Don. If he’s such a liability to SC&P, the writers did a rather confusing if not poor job of getting that across.

            • decormaven

              Yes, it’s an imbalance. Hoping the heavy-handedness is balanced out in the next episode.

            • Froggae

              I chalked that up to the success of containing him. The partners pounced pretty quickly after that meeting to put him on leave and kept that fact well covered up.

            • Over It

              The thing people seem to be missing here is that it isn’t about Don’s genius, its about the everyday Don. The one that all the people in that office have to put up with. Dealing with that kind of person for what amounts to a couple of great campaigns a year gets to the point where it is not worth it.
              It’s very easy sitting across the road deciding you want a creative genius when you haven’t had to deal with his destructive side.
              Look at his first day on the job making amends. He arrives late, then lies to Roger about being late, throws a typewriter at the window, slams the door, steals alcohol, gets blind drunk, attacks the IBM guy and leaves early for a ball game.
              The only thing he missed doing was screwing a Secretary on his couch.
              In a real life situation, Don would have been fired years ago and the other partners would either have bought him out or taken legal action against him.

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

              Don has been on the job gain for over three weeks. These weren’t his first and second days on the job.

              “In a real life situation, Don would have been fired years ago and the other partners would either have bought him out or taken legal action against him.”

              I tend to agree. Either option is more realistic than what they’re portraying now.

            • http://SkyDancingBlog.com/ Minkoff Minx

              Perhaps all this has something to do with Dante’s Inferno from Season 6? The writers must be making the audience go through the 7 levels of hell in the final episodes? (Actually the last two seasons.) Because I agree with you TLo, their work on this episode…along with the direction, can be summed up in a phrase best used by Jay Sherman: “It Stinks!”

          • justanotherfan

            There was also the IPO that Don thwarted which Bert, Joan and Pete had worked very hard to put together. That was a big turning point for Bert and Joan I think. Bert was pretty much irrelevant until he got to work on the IPO project and negotiated a very good valuation out of that accountant. Although, with that one, I feel like those three did themselves a disservice by not sharing their plans with the rest of the partners. Shouldn’t those kinds of plans be approved first by the partnership before they meet with the accountants for a valuation? Why was Roger and Don left out of that discussion I will never know. And If Don had known something like that was coming down the pipe, would he have acted as impulsively? I guess we will never know.

        • Nancy Aronson

          Hate to say it, but Don has offset his creative brilliance, and not in a good way. His interpersonal skills have been lacking. Unpredictability, inability to play well with others, out of control drinker (Roger’s alcoholism seems conducive to his job performance). . . Don has never had a positive role model for being a man or a father or an executive. He only knows how to be beautiful, mysterious, creative and live by his own hobo code.

    • VicD

      Foreshadowing in this episode … for one, the “Satan” of IBM may be a client and also knows Don was drunk in the office. I am wondering if that little encounter is Don’s final undoing? And, had Joan not stopped to talk to Peggy, she would have been in the elevator with Don and Freddy, and the jig would have been up for Don. I was coming right out of my seat at that point with the suspense of it all. Everyone may hate Don, but I’m still pulling for him.

      And Jim Culter … what a Machiavellian bastard!

      And Roger … I had the very unsettling feeling that was the last time he and his daughter would meet in person. She’s never going to have the chance to apologize for what she said to him. She knew it hit home. He nearly staggered away. I think the final unkindness between the two of them is going to be that moment – that it all ended so badly.

      As to your point about the silliness between Don and Lloyd, and the off kilter, over the top writing – that was the first time I looked at Jon Hamm as Don Draper and thought and knew that he was an actor, acting, instead of the character. However, in their earlier interaction, I saw Don getting intrigued by the guy’s business model, and it was almost like the adman in him was coming alive again. It was definitely uneven.

      • Mme. Moriarty

        But I kind of feel that Roger has had it coming his whole life? Margaret is a brat, but I don’t feel too much sympathy for him. Was he ever there as a father?

        • Gatto Nero

          He wasn’t. And it could be one of those terrible, irrevocable things where one person dies or disappears and the other person has lost the chance forever to make things right.

          • Mme. Moriarty

            I know he wasn’t. It was a rhetorical question. It’s not like he made much of an effort for Margaret until now. I got the strong impression in season 1-2 that he didn’t even particularly like her.

            • Aisling O’Doherty

              Yes. In Babylon, Roger complained to Joan that Margaret’s last boyfriend had killed himself and that he couldn’t wait for her to be some other man’s problem. It didn’t seem to concern Roger that Margaret might be upset about her dead boyfriend, all he could think about was how it affected him. For that reason, I can’t feel any sympathy for Roger.

            • Gatto Nero

              Yes, I got that. (It’s so hard to be nuanced in these comments.) I think you’re right — clearly he never made an effort and didn’t seem to care much, until now that he’s come face to face with his utter failure as a husband and father.

          • TigerLaverada

            Speaking from personal experience, one CAN make things right by oneself when the other party is dead. It takes some maturity, though, and Margaret seemingly has none, so far at least. She appears to be one of those people who will always blame her parents for the misery of her own life, avoiding taking responsibility for her own shitty decisions.

            • Jackie4g

              That’s what drove about half of all the middle class white kids who flocked to communes in the late 60s. As soon as it got a little too earthy, they blamed their own bad decision on their parents. This was the beginning of the movement, there won’t be time to show how muddle headed it became. Although some hippie outposts survived, after a while, mostly everybody had to go get a paying job of some kind.

            • TeraBat

              Not to mention, a lot of those communes fell apart because they were so averse to authority of any kind. Being able to choose your tasks is great, and it looks like good old fashioned fun to peel potatoes on the porch with your hippie friends – but someone will have to muck out the privy, and crops don’t grow without hard work. You eventually come to a point where you need someone who has the authority to say, “The privy is going to get mucked out today while the rest of us harvest. Or else.”

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Roger was right, there has to be a hierarchy.

            • Alloy Jane

              My favorite part of that was Mona saying “I’d think she was brainwashed but there’s nothing to wash.”

          • Kitten Mittons

            I said above that I think that Sally and Don’s relationship may become a big focus for the last season, as part of Don’s redemption arc. I think Roger and Margaret’s storyline will contrast that, showing damage that can’t be undone or made right. After reading other comments, I’m wondering if that will come in the form of death, either Margaret’s or Roger’s.

            Roger is partaking in some pretty unhealthy behavior as well, and I’m starting to fear for his character.

            • Beth

              I really can’t see Roger surviving the rest of the series.

            • EarthaKitten

              He may not even make it to the bus station. : (

            • Babyboomer59

              The thing is Roger has been fine using plenty of young hippy girls himself. Has he ever thought what their father’s might feel about it.

            • siriuslover

              I think he did in last night’s episode. Waiting on the porch for her to come strolling out, he seemed very attuned to everything.

            • Kitten Mittons

              No, I really don’t think he has. Until he saw his little girl do it, I don’t think it occurred to him at all.

            • NeenaJ

              Exactly. He was going along with the whole thing fine until Commune Dude #2 took his little girl away to do the dirty.

            • SparkleNeely

              It could be Margaret. In one of the synopses for the next part of the split season, one of the descriptions is “Roger gets a phone call.”

        • Nancy Aronson

          Apparently Marigold doesn’t forgive Roger.

      • Gatto Nero

        The Don and Lloyd scene felt forced, for sure.
        The whole “you go by many names” screed seemed so out of character — unless in his drunkenness Don was channeling some of Dick’s experiences with religion as a child. But that seems like a stretch.

        • decormaven

          Yes, I figured after Bert’s cutting remark to Don, he curled up in the fetal position on the couch and returned to his Dick Whitman roots. The drunker he got, the more he channeled Archie Whitman or maybe even Uncle Mac. Remember the flashback to the whorehouse last season when Uncle Mac tossed the preacher off the porch? The way Don pegged Lloyd felt like that- sort of like a preacher calling out the demon.

    • nosniveling

      Agree with the recap, just wanted to point out one thing- the Hershey meltdown (ha) was just the most recent of a long line of Don sabotage- firing Jaguar for instance. Very unpleasant to watch, but it’s going to get worse when Lou starts pissing on everything Don. ugh.
      and what WAS that with the computer guy?

    • leighanne

      I love Mona and Freddie in this episode and never really liked him that much before. The show did feel fractured and clunky but there were some great lines.
      The moment when Don sings “Meeeet the Mets” drunkenly was just bizarre. Creative director Don never would have done that, but then again he’s never been in this position before.
      Glad to see Peggy confiding in Joan and their comradery for a moment.

      • ConnieBV

        Yeah, that was crazy. I wondered if it wasn’t supposed to be his “hitting the bottom” moment, but the fact that they made it so ridiculous and a propos of nothing was odd.

      • VicD

        And Mona, heading up to the commune in her blond mink! That was hilarious.

        • leighanne

          There’s no way she’d be in the mud with that on ; )

        • Musicologie

          Both my husband and I were chuckling at Mona’s mink, but when Marigold walked up in her animal skins, we both went, “Oh. THAT’S what they’re doing.” Margaret has always been dressed as a mini-Mona, and this was another instance of that (even though later they posed her to make it obvious that she’s actually mini-Roger). I wonder if it will make Mad Style!

          • VicD

            It will now!

    • greenwich_matron

      I hated this episode so much that it may be my last. The show seems to be trying to change its nuanced characters into unlikeable comic book villains. The show has simplified Don to the point that he is an after-school-special alcoholic. The entire work situation is unrealistic, and the clunky writing has made it too difficult to suspend my disbelief. I feel like my favorite show has been taken over by pod-people and I don’t know if I can bare any more episodes of this pseudo-Don circling the drain.

      • L’Anne

        I agree, but we got Caroline: “Hey, genius. Brooks is in jail in Kingston.” Definitely moving that up the queue for a pot holder. Also, Pete promoting Don for Burger Chef. Indeed, “one never knows how loyalty is born.”

        • MartyBellerMask

          Caroline is the best!!!

          • Matt

            I like that Caroline is one of those secretaries that seems comfortable where she is and knows how to handle Roger adroitly. Because of that, she’s actually able to gain a little more flexibility. She obviously doesn’t mind Roger’s grouchiness. (Plus, I loved that she was playing with Ellery. She reminds me of a secretary my father had in the 70s who would give me quarters for the Pac-Man machine in the lunchroom at my father’s job. :) )

      • SparkleNeely

        Couldn’t agree more. I’m verrrrry disappointed in this show now.

    • megohd

      What I’ve gleaned from various online discussions is that people aren’t enthusiastic about this becoming a show about the 12 Steps. But damn, Freddie nailed it with Don and his problems, which are as much about alcoholism as they are about somebody who is always trying to do things his own way and how that is a recipe for unhappiness. My late father—20 years sober thru AA when he died—NEVER liked plot lines about alcoholics and their recovery, b/c they are usually so sanctimonious and poorly depicted. But this is one I think he would have embraced. Don’s life is fucked up because he is an alcoholic, but he’s also an alcoholic b/c he’s fucked up, and this show is really nailing it.

    • AZU403

      I wish JUST ONCE, or even more than once if it isn’t too much to ask, that writers/directors would get hippies right. Sure, the commune was probably no more stereotypical than the advertising firm and the suburbs, but I’d have to go back to “Alice’s Restaurant” to find anything that really reflected the real people I knew (and was).

      • msdamselfly

        I agree. There’s always a darkness to Weiner’s hippies as opposed to the innocence and light that I remember. That period of time was a blast.

        • megohd

          Suzanne (?) Sally’s teacher from a few seasons back, is an example of the early hippie prototype. A lot of the early hippies I know would have identified with her. As time moved on, the movement was coopted by a darker element (Manson and his ilk) and that’s what I see Weiner depicting.

    • larrythesandboy

      Agree there are weaknesses but the re-appearance of IBM into the story may foreshadow Don’s eventual undoing – cf Don’s (or rather Dick’s) S1E3 encounter with Larry Pruzinsky, who knew him from Korea and was on his way to meet with International Business Machines. He gave us the first intimation that Don was not all he seemed.

      • Amanda Miller

        Woah! Good catch.

      • decormaven

        Awesome memory!

      • egurl

        That’s a very astute point! Thanks!

    • Mme. Moriarty

      Did anyone pick up on how faaabulous Joan looked in the scene in Peggy’s office? Otherwise, I agree with most of what you say.

      Although I have to say that actually, season 5 is my least favourite of all till now. Too much Megan. I just didn’t buy that she was this hidden ad genius and the character didn’t have enough depth, and the actress not enough mettle, to sustain my attention.

    • Christine Stephens

      I felt the same way about Bert’s harsh reaction. I thought it wasn’t real. Peggy AND Joan are super one sided too. it’s like working at that office makes people cruel and feelingless. Not my favourite episode. My only hope in this episode was that the 1969 underdog Mets and there unlikely world series. It seems just as unlikely that Don will come out of this victorious. But I guess crazier things have happened? Rogers face when Marigold told him that the reason she is the way she is and is ok abandoning her son is because of him was pretty heartbreaking. Thank goodness for Freddy.

      • VicD

        Ah yes, the miraculous turnaround 1969 Mets! That may be the biggest piece of foreshadowing of all in this episode – is it all about turnarounds?

      • housefulofboys

        And the repeating mention of carousels, I can’t think that is coincidental.

        • decormaven

          And they’ll end up playing Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game.”

    • MK03

      Looks like Margaret has taken the path that most people assumed Sally was going to take.

      • Kitten Mittons

        I think the ultimate redemption of Don and Sally’s relationship will play a big part in this last season, especially when they contrast it with Roger and Marigold/Margaret. I hope.

    • http://www.snoskred.org/ Snoskred

      I totally agree re I can’t understand why is Don the spawn of Satan due to the Hershey thing..

      I can’t believe how badly they have treated him and I can’t believe he has accepted their terms. I’m just baffled at how anyone could think his stuff up with Hershey gives anyone the right to try and take his partnership away without rightfully paying for it.

      The workplace at SCD&P is not a place the characters are enjoying spending their time – and therefore neither are we. Everyone is miserable, the show is enormously depressing to watch at the moment. Joan & Sally are the occasional bright spots in a very dark and ugly canvas.

      I’m stuck here till the end, I guess we all are, though some have dropped out over the past couple of seasons.. if anyone had told me a couple of seasons ago that this is where we would be, I would have quit watching. Especially if that same anyone mentioned Megan and how annoying a character she would be.. and that they would take Peggy a character I did enjoy and turn her into.. well.. I am not even sure what they turned her into. The way she spoke to Don last week.. that was not the Peggy I thought I knew. I have no idea who that was, and no desire to know that person :(

      So if the point is to make us hate 75-80% of the characters, MW is certainly going all out to achieve this. But I feel like that does not create a show that people want to tune in and watch. Even Bert, who I considered loveable and quirky.. who is that man and where did the Bert we’ve watched for 6 seasons go?

      It is like the characters have taken a magic pill at the start of season 7 which deleted all their previous attributes and assigned them with bizarre new personality flaws and petty hangups that we have no clue about and nobody is bothering to fill us in on what we’ve missed..

    • MartyBellerMask

      But let’s talk about Ginsberg and the couch!
      Really though, he’s going to crack up. I’d say seek employment elsewhere, but who else would put up with him?

      • JulieTy

        The shot of Ginsberg from next week’s teaser, where he has Kleenex or something sticking out of his ears is troubling . . .

        • Chris

          That had me puzzled too. Maybe he was napping on the couch in creative with homemade earplugs and wakes up to see or hear something he shouldn’t because no one knew he was still there so late sleeping.

          • JulieTy

            Ha!!! Was I right, or was I right? ;-)

        • Vanessa

          I assumed the construction noise was driving him nuts…

          • JulieTy

            You’re probably right. *sigh* I was predicting a full-blown psychotic break. You know . . . to lighten the mood of this season.

      • MK03

        I could do with a lot less GInsberg. He’s a fucking lunatic.

        • Matt

          He is grating, I will admit, but I do agree with TLo that he could very well be mentally ill and that nobody quite knows what to do. The fact that he’s made some seriously wild comments out loud (the Valentine’s Day comment to Peggy still shocked the hell out of me), I think he’s eventually going to lose his allies because they simply don’t know how to deal with him.

        • Nancy Aronson

          I find myself feeling affectionate as the tide turns against him. He’s like The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time protagonist autistic — innocent, naive, oddly smart. I have nephew like that who refuses to take his meds — amazing musician. Kind of looks like Ginzo, in fact. Poor Ginsberg. I hope he doesn’t blow.

      • NeenaJ

        “That one’s full of farts!” So much potholder material in this episode.

        • L’Anne

          awww… blushgigglehairflip… but seriously, I am working on potholders with Mad Men lines. Gifts for the holiday season, you know.

          • L’Anne

            But I have a classic from season 1 (said at least twice!) that is a must:
            “Do you like Ukrainian food?”

    • Frank_821

      The episode was okay.

      I will concede I felt a little bit of pity for Margaret/marigold…whatever. She normally gets on my nerves to no end. But she she really is a very unhappy person. That being said Mona has her pegged perfectly. She selfish and self centered. She’s too much like Roger and not enough like Mona. Rather than really look inward and make true internal changes, she takes the easy way out. She runs away and she still blames her parents for her problems. What she is doing to her own child is shitty and hypocritical. He wont be okay

      • Musicologie

        I’d be okay with her running off to a commune, even leaving her husband, if she didn’t have a child she was straight-up abandoning. That makes it pretty unforgivable.

        • Babyboomer59

          At least she didn’t take her son with her! Roger always uses money to solve problems now money will not solve this problem.

          • ybbed

            That would have been the right thing to do, take the kid with her.

      • Nancy Aronson

        Sounds like Marigold pegged Mona and the mother was not about to tolerate that.

    • Travelgrrl

      I think it’s important to note that what people think of as “the 60’s” with it counterculture and generation shifts pretty much started in 1968 and lasted until about 1974. The change back to conservatism started in the late 70’s, kicked off by the whole Bicentennial thing.

      So it’s not a far cry at all for Tom and Lorenzo to comment on the computer storyline as presaging “the 80’s” which really started a few years after “the 60’s” ended (say, about 1976). “The 60’s” (in the sense of hippies and whatnot, as opposed to the winsome early 60’s mop topness) roughly 1968 – 1974, with “The 80’s” shift to Reaganism and greed starting about 1976. “The 70’s” were short indeed.

      • Nancy Aronson

        The Me generation!

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          Margaret/Marigold is definitely part of the “Me Generation.” Self-centered, putting her own happiness before her child’s well-being. (It seems to me that there might be other options where Margaret could improve her life situation and still be there for Ellery.) There was at least one kid at the commune; when Roger and Mona first arrive, we see a woman carrying a toddler. But Margaret doesn’t want the responsibility at all, I guess.

    • Christine Stephens

      Or maybe Bert looks down on Don know because of his background and upbringing. He is a rich old guy who is a racist. Maybe know that Don is the son of a prostitute, Bert doesn’t think he deserves his respect…i don’t know. I hope has a heart attack and dies next week. (Bert)

      • Gatto Nero

        Though Bert defended Don when Pete tried to out him as Dick Whitman.
        Bert strikes me as doing whatever is financially expedient. As others have said, I don’t understand why he would turn down new business just to get back at Don. (Unless he’s developing dementia.)

        • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

          Or unless Bert was playing Don. He was being mean to Don to his face. But how do we know the second Don walked out of the office that Bert didn’t pick up the phone and call someone about this chance with IBM?

          • T C

            Bert has to weigh new business with LeaseTek as a client vs. terminating Don for violating his employment contract by having unsupervised client contact. We wait to learn what he says to the other partners.

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

              When did Don have unsupervised client contact?

            • T C

              Don sees Leasetek as a virgin client. He said as much to Bert.

            • asympt

              But isn’t a client yet, and Don was very careful to tease but not actually himself solicit the business.

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

              He sees them as a potential client for the agency, but that doesn’t make them an actual client.

            • Matt

              I think I see what TC is getting at. The fact that Don was chatting with the LeaseTek guy (even though he’s the one who initiated the conversation with Don) could be argued as Don inadvertently having “unsupervised client contact.” But LeaseTek wasn’t a client — SCP is THEIR client.
              I think that’s way too iffy to be valid, though. And I don’t think Bert thinks of it that way.

      • T C

        Bert had an opportunity to call Don on his new employment contract the moment Don mentioned new business with LeaseTek. He was unwilling to terminate Don and reabsorb his shares of SC&P, especially considering the expense of installing and leasing an IBM 360.

      • ybbed

        Thats it totally. Bert’s white privilege cannot stomach the “raised by whores” Don.

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

      YESSSSSSS have been refreshing madly for this :D

      “Pete’s mother got murdered on a cruise ship by a gay, Spanish gigolo? That doesn’t even sound like Mad Men to us.”
      Seriously — I’m STILL not sure that actually happened.

      “In a similar vein, we never quite bought Matthew Weiner’s explanation for Joan’s prostitution. It was a character moment that made some sense thematically but made very little sense given what we’ve seen about that character for most of her existence. Joan would sleep with a man to get a partnership out of it, but she’d never have done it knowing that half the office – and all of upper management – were going to know about it. Weiner’s point was that this was the natural progression for a character looked on as merely a set of female physical attributes by the men around her. Our counterpoint was always that Joan is a character all about control of her image and what people get to know about her. And besides, she wasn’t exactly destitute when she agreed to it. She had a well-paying job and a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.”

      THANK. YOU.

      As for the rest — aw, well, I’ve really enjoyed the eps so far this season — I feel they’ve really delivered in the understated Mad Men version of drama and action, and it’s great to see Don make some progress (while staying in-character, as he does here in his response to Peggy being made his boss). But I have to admit you have many good points.

    • housefulofboys

      Thank you for all of this. I am a diehard Mad Men fan but, with the exception of a few moments (Yay, Freddie!) I found this to be an extremely unsatisfying episode and now I know why. It is straining my understanding of people and how – even with many faults – they really behave.

      My other favorite moment? Playing “Carousel” during the final credits, the second mention this season.

      • Mismarker

        I noticed the use of “Carousel”, too. I re-watched season 1 last week and Don’s epic Kodak pitch was fresh in my mind…”Around and around, and back home again to a place where we know we are loved”. Also, the use of “nostalgia” in that pitch. Pain from an old wound. Both Don and Roger were dealing with pains from old wounds.

      • Janice Bartels

        I loved the secretaries this week- Caroline really had some great moments (her “getting shot” face was hilarious, and reading Mona’s message- perfect), Meredith just keeps getting funnier, and Dawn’s only line (having people clean out the lounge) had her owning her new authority.

        • Matt

          I cannot STAND Meredith. There’s someone who needs to get fired. I could see Dawn doing it, too.

          • Janice Bartels

            I’d probably shank Meredith if I had to work with her, but she is hilarious to watch.

    • Coleslaw McGraw

      I also find the way Joan and Peggy and Burt are treating Don to be very strange writing. And Don, who went into Burt’s office AFTER taking off his shoes, without Burt having to say anything to him about it (there have been a few times this season where he has to remind people “SHOES!”) shows that even with all these conditions, Don still has respect for Burt, so it seems to me to be very out of character for Burt to dress Don down that way. I would have liked Freddy to have given Peggy a verbal tune up though, “Don’t you know what he’s done for you, and me?” type rant… That would have served to get Peggy’s head out of her own ass. Joan, though, that’s a whole other discussion with a different character to remind her that there was a time when Don was HER only friend, too.

      • siriuslover

        maybe that “verbal tune up” is on its way. Clearly, the main goal for Freddy/ie on last night’s episode was to get Don out of the office as fast and as inconspicuously as possible.

      • Chris

        I think Peggy is the one who will get over it first because she will be interacting directly with Don, and IMHO she is the one with the most justifiable anger as she feels Don screwed her over directly on the aspirin commercial (her best work) and spent all the time after the merger causing problems in creative. Everyone else has already had their face to face revenge when they tossed Don out, but that was Peggy’s first meeting in months with Don in the creative room and all the anger she had festering since the last time when she called him a monster came out. Even now, despite her enjoying the moment when she got to give him an assignment, she wasn’t overly cruel with him. She could have run to Lou or someone else, especially after Joan told her Don had conditions. Peggy will always respect Don’s talent in a way none of the others (apart from Pete and Roger) will. I can’t imagine Peggy getting Don fired or even wanting to. I see an eventual thawing there. Joan is beyond anger, she is stone cold. She doesn’t seem to care at all if Don gets tossed out and his shares absorbed. I find her personality the strangest. She is a partner with all the benefits but had none of the monetary risks all the start up partners did, particularly Pete who was less solvent than all the others and really sweated it out for a while. The company wouldn’t have existed without Don and he could have raised a stink that they handed over a partnership for Joan’s one night but didn’t. They always had a great relationship with him showing her far more respect than he ever did Peggy. Joan practically assaulted Meredith over the divorce papers and Don was there to whisk her away. I find her continuing hatred of him puzzing. Bert, as I said elsewhere is like a man with a personality change. It’s like seasons of character development for him have just been swept away.

    • Miss Disco

      i spend too much of monday and wednesday looking for you guys to write.

      Are there plans to talk about costuming on another show/s when this one is over?

    • Munchkn

      Did Roger and Marigold/Margaret’s little tussle in the mud remind anyone else of the mud sliding in Woodstock? I thought about Woodstock last week after the field trip to an Upstate dairy farm. Any chance that was Max Yasgur’s farm?

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        No, the farm belonged to the teacher’s father, “Farmer Sy.” I’d forgotten about the mud sliding at Woodstock, but that scene with Roger and Margaret/Marigold was kind of an anti-Woodstock moment. Maybe some sort of love, but no peace and no music.

    • czarina

      I also think that the anger towards Don is a bit much, but then I remember that Don has done much to piss people off — Don didn’t do any work during season 6 and the season before that he was on “love leave.” He ruined the IPO, which I think is the source of Cooper’s nastiness, as they were poised to make a tremendous amount of money with the IPO. They could recoup some of that money if they force Don out by reabsorbing his shares and not having to pay his big salary. Bert is now shown to be both shortsighted as well as nasty, and also very greedy and driven by money. We also saw Cooper pretty nasty last episode in terms of his racism. I think part of the petty behavior we are seeing also reflects what is going on in society at the end of the 60s — the Vietnam War, three major assassinations, Nixon’s tickle down economics looming, the decay of NYC, the decline of the hippies and so on. Despite all the peace and love on the commune, most of America was not a very happy.

      I was surprised, however that there was no mention in the recap of how this episode is setting the table for what will be Don’s EPIC comeback, just like the mediocre Mets, who in 1969, did the impossible to win the World Series. The writing may not be as tight as it used to be, but there has to be tension in the agency to force Don out in order to show that he will try to change and that his creative genius will be the driving force to overcome his humiliation.

      • shopgirl716

        Don may have an epic comeback. I think it’s more likely some of the principals are going to spin off their own agency. Lou’s character is ridiculously terrible at his job and the people who value creative – Don, Roger and Pete – are going to get fed up. The current agency is a complete mess and will most likely collapse under its own weight.

      • texashistorian

        The whole idea of Bert’s racism, lack of empathy, meanness and greed – all wrapped in this avuncular, Colonel Sanders look – is a brilliant move on Weiner’s part. Because, when it’s all said and done, who’s going to be the clear winner here? Bert, not Don. Bert’s ways continued – and still continue – to dominate American social and business culture. Honesty (like Don’s exposure of Dick) gets literally “drowned” and those who fail at the game (like Lane) become sacrificial lambs to people like Bert.

        • Seattle Nancy

          That’s exactly how I see Bert. I wasn’t surprised a bit by the way he treated Don.

      • Babyboomer59

        What does Bert do there all day? He must know he has very little use to the company as things become more modern. Don still has value and can again be a shining star. Also just want to say how happy I am to finally be posting here after lurking a long time. I love me some TLo!

      • Nancy Aronson

        This first half of season 7 is going to be dee-pressing

    • Jacqueline Wessel

      First of all, thank you Tom & Lorenzo for helping me get through to the end of Mad Men. I have been tempted to bail may times, in fact my cable was not working when the first episode of this season premiered and I wasn’t even upset about having to watch it later. That being said, I don’t really understand the Bert thing at all. Does he not want new business?

      I could really relate to the creative versus computer struggle. When I started my job (graphic arts) all my work was done on a drawing board. Now I work on a computer all day and I pretty much hate it. In the past I spent my time at work solving graphic problems, now I spend my time trying to get my machine to communicate with another machine and all my problem solving involves cleaning up files and saving them so they can be recognized. Thankfully, and hopefully, I will only have five or so years left of this.

      I pretty much hate professional sports and don’t follow them at all, however I remember a character on Thirtysomething telling his kid that 1969 was the year the Mets won the pennant. (That’s pretty much all I know about the Mets.) Is that a good sign? Nothing in Mad Men is an accident.

      • Jackie4g

        The Mets won the World Series in 1969, in a very unlikely scenario that had people calling them the Miracle Mets. Yes, it is a good sign.
        I am sorry about what your work has become.

      • Alice Teeple

        I related to it too, which is why I think I’ve been so interested in the Stan character and how he deals with technological changes. The same thing happened when I was in college in the late 90s: the switch to digital arts was really getting underway, but there was a lot of resistance. The graphic design professor said that computers would never take over the industry. This was in 1997, when they already had! At first I was really snotty about the change and steadfastly said I wasn’t interested in computers, but as each new thing came about each year, I could see their possibilities and how I could do new things with my art, and embraced the change. I hated standing in a darkroom all day with vinegary-smelling chemicals and temperamental paper, trying to get a photo to look right. So I got swept right along with the transition. It’s when a business gets to a point where they put too much stock in technology over human innovation and communication, where you get in trouble, and that’s clearly what has happened to SCP. I thought it was telling in this episode that Harry Crane, the only person on the show ever really looking to and embracing the future, becomes the “hero” to the company. Harry is always right for the wrong reasons, so my guess is that with a demise of Creative at SCP, they won’t be true competition with the more creative-oriented companies like Wells Rich Greene or Ogilvy & Mather.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        I remember that scene from “thirtysomething.” Elliot’s son, Ethan has been reading some dirty magazines. Elliot has a little talk with him about it (where he doesn’t actually tell him much) and ends by saying that Ethan can ask him anything at anytime and he’ll always tell the truth. So Ethan asks, “What’s 69?” and Elliot immediately makes himself a liar by evading the question and telling Ethan that that’s the year the Mets won the pennant. (As a Cubs fan I naturally took exception to that characterization, but whatever.) It was interesting because there were two things going on there. 1)Elliot didn’t mean what he said about “Ask me anything,” and 2)He couldn’t explain the sexual meaning of 69 on television, at least on network television in the late 80s/early 90s.

        Hmmm….”thirtysomething” is also about admen…but it was more oriented toward their family lives and less toward the business (though the business was featured sometimes).

    • siriuslover

      on a different note: for the preview for next week, Shirley says to someone that she wishes s/he hasn’t seen something (maybe Stan?). But she’s kind of harsh about it. I wonder how “likable” a character she will be as we move forward.

      • Chris

        I get the sense from the preview that Stan finds something Shirley left on the copier belonging to Lou that is secret. Shirley is probably mad because she is the one who messed up and will be in trouble with Lou when it gets out. She’s taking that anger out on Stan because of her laxity.

        • siriuslover

          I can’t believe we have to wait seven days to figure out what that is…I hope you’re right, because I like her sassiness.

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

          That’s a lot to extrapolate from the notoriously misleading Mad Men previews.

          • Chris

            Well they show Stan sneaking a folder off of the xerox machine in the preview. I assume Lou doesn’t do his own xeroxing and Shirley was griping before about doing Peggy’s. She is also Lou’s secretary so if anyone besides Lou lost the papers it would be her. She was also extremely angry about the whole thing and yelling at Stan. Just putting two and two together.

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

              Lol, again, Mad Men previews are intentionally misleading. You can pretty much bet on anything except the characters in the preview reacting that way to each other.

            • Beth

              Exactly. The very tantalizing previews for this week’s show were all resolved within the first few minutes of the show, and none of them really had anything to do with any of the storylines.

            • greenwich_matron

              you can’t even count on the “to each other” part!

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

              I meant that they’re having the reaction we’re seeing to someone, but it’s likely to be someone who wasn’t even shown in the preview.

            • greenwich_matron

              I half expect the reactions to be to “wrong number” phone calls. Sometimes I can glean something by checking for consistent lighting.

          • L’Anne

            Oh yeah. I thought the way she said that sounded stilted, more like the way Megan said “do as your told.” I thought it sounded like she was reading a script, maybe dialog for a commercial?

    • suzq

      I didn’t mind the show so much right now. Maybe it’s because I understand some of the character motivations. I’ve worked with many “Peggys.” Hell, I’ve been Peggy-like, a time or two. It is so easy to make your work all about you. What else does Peggy have but her work? So everything that happens is a personal slight. Peggy and Ted are two sides of the same coin. Both miserable, with no personal life outside of their work. Pete is disconnected and paranoid–again. We have a drinking game in our house where we down a shot every time Pete mentions Bob Benson.
      My theory on Bert is that while he’d admire the entrepreneurial nature of the guy installing the computer system, he’d see that it’s a small company (“We’ve had to hire 19 people…”) and not much worth their time. He’s just happy that Cutler doesn’t have his sights set on him. Don’s a better target.
      As I was saying to someone at work, Don hasn’t hit bottom yet. So he doesn’t see the need for help. Can he still be saved?
      “Did the Mets win?” Don asks. Oh, they won. They won big in ’69. They won the World Series.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Ohhhhh, and Pete. Could it be a bit of humanity seeping through? Could he still be in love with Trudy? I adore Bonnie, but I kinda do want him back with Trudy. For Tammy’s sake. And for “not becoming Don”‘s sake.

      • Eric Stott

        Pete still has moments of human decency each season- I’d like to see him find some kind of balance.

        • P M

          I always think Pete is a shit who’s a walking wound inside. Whenever he does something bad, or something happens that should make him feel better, he has these moments of humanity, instead of acting like an old-time villain (twirling his moustaches with glee :D)

      • 3hares

        If nothing else, it did feel like a set up where Pete’s with Bonnie, who’s all ambition and business, focused on the future, and then suddenly he’s confronted with not only his old life, but a guy expecting him to take pleasure in Tom’s heart attack. Only Pete doesn’t have that reaction, even if he’s able to get on board with the business after learning Tom’s okay etc., and afterwards he isn’t all happy when Bonnie praises him for being a good salesman. So yeah, that seemed like a tiny scene that was flagging something-there’s no other reason it to stick in the whole story about Tom, especially since he was okay.

        • insomniacattack

          Totally agree with this. His comment to Bonnie at the end of that scene was like the sort of thing he’d say to Trudy when she tried to grab his attention and she wasn’t the thing of immediate interest to him. He was off in NY (or, rather, CT) for a moment.

      • texashistorian

        I just want to see Sassy Trudy again. She’s just as focused as Bonnie Whiteside is. Pete is such a lout, though, that he doesn’t deserve any of these women.

      • Vanessa

        Yes–Bonnie seems like the most “liberated” of the new women in the show (and of course she is from the west coast). I’m enjoying her matter of fact equality with Pete.

        • UsedtobeEP

          Me too, and I am in the vast minority of people…I never cared for Trudy much.

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

      While I agree with you that Randian Bert Cooper shouldn’t have shoved away new business like that, I do think it’s important to bring up his (version of a) meltdown in S3 (I think it was), after Don published that full-page NYT ad writing off cigarette ads forever. “We’ve create a monster!” he declared. He hates Don’s impulsiveness, and what it costs their business in the long-run (though I think your point is true about how that merger last season was a good thing; but he wasn’t consulted), as much as Joan does.

      • oat327

        It was Season 4. But I think it’s important to remember the NYT ad was WAY more of a meltdown than the Hershey’s pitch–it was public, it was incredibly unprofessional, it was unilateral, and it nearly sank the entire agency. Hershey’s was just one client that you can explain away as being some avant garde pitch they didn’t go for–but the NYT ad nearly collapsed their business, and years later, they were still suffering from the fallout of clients that would “give Don awards but never work with them.” If everyone could get over THAT, I can’t imagine why months later there’s so much vitriol from Peggy, Bert, and Joan–three people that have had strong personal and professional ties with Don for at least a decade now.

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

          Good points. Maybe it’s not the NYT ad they’re still reacting against, but the large amount of money they missed out on when he foiled their IPO plan. Also see Froggae’s post below about “high expectations,” I think it’s a great explanation for Peggy’s and Joan’s feelings toward Don right now.

          • P M

            Now THAT would be a good thing to turn Burt’s head. Does anyone remember how much the IPO was worth? I remember Pete said that Joan’s share alone would be over a million.

    • JulieTy

      As usual, my dearest Nephews, you said (so succinctly and beautifully) what I thought but couldn’t articulate.

      ” . . . the writing on the show has gotten too broad and unsubtle, and the creators sometimes fail to sell the actions of the characters properly.” Amen. Bert’s treatment of Don (and, I think, his racism last week) came way out of left field. Maybe the character has dementia!

      I am STILL bothered by Sally’s quick turnaround last episode; going from seeing her father screwing the neighbor and then learning he’d lost his job and was lying about it to saying “I love you” as she got out of the car. Has she ever said — or heard — that from anyone in her life? It made no sense to me, in the same way that Joan’s, Bert’s and Peggy’s actions seem so bizarre this and last season. Matthew Weiner said in a recent interview that Mad Men has really been the story of Sally Draper all along. Horse shit. From the beginning, he always said it was about Peggy (who, he said, was a stand-in for himself). He struck gold with Kiernan Shipka and now wants to rewrite history? Puh-LEEZE.

      I know I’m in the minority, but I have NEVER liked Peggy. Her “pettiness” seems to me to be just more of her ongoing love/hate relationship with Don. My pet theory is that the character is a little Asperger’s-ish. She really has never understood how to read people correctly, and even her best pitches are less about her own personality (or persona) than about her weird ability to mimic Don’s flair.

      As for Don’s descent, ENOUGH already. We have very few episodes left. I’m really bored with seeing him drunk/vomiting/beaten up, etc. If his story is his continued disintegration and humiliation, we didn’t need a seventh (or even a sixth) season.

      Roger rolling around in mud/shit — “It’s literal.” DUH. Sheesh. Give us some credit, writers. I am sad that my beloved show has come to this.

      A couple of things I did like last night, though, were:

      1. The IBM guy with his short-sleeved shirt and pocket protector. I worked in the computer industry in the early ’80s and just seeing a big old IBM 360 (which had less computing power than a current smart phone) made me smile.

      2. Season 1 started with the introduction of new technology (Xerox machine) in the office and ended with Don’s “Carousel” pitch. “The Monolith” started with the introduction of new technology in the office and ended with the song “Carousel.” Heavy-handed, but still nice.

      OK, rant over. Sorry, BKs. :-*

      • Twix

        Sally’s forgiveness of her father is not that unbelievable. Remember, she is still a CHILD and she still wants to love her father! She hasn’t had the years to resent him (like Jane of Roger) … doesn’t anyone remember the look between her and Don when he brought his kids back to Dick’s old house? It’s not that sudden of a turn around.

        • JulieTy

          I respectfully disagree. She is young, but a rebellious teenager living in a time when disdain for one’s parents was almost required by one’s peers. After the many horrors she has suffered because of Don’s neglect (remember the break-in granny?) I find it hard to swallow that she would forgive so quickly — and especially to say, “I love you” when I doubt that is something she is used to saying or hearing. She’s starting to understand her father, but she’s nowhere near mature enough to have processed it all to the point where she can put it behind them. IMHO. ;-)

          • 3hares

            Yeah, Don’s actually gotten off amazingly easily with her. Especially given how little effort he’s made.

          • TeraBat

            However, Sally’s taken a particular tack which is familiar to me – she’s decided one parent is the Good Parent, and one parent is the Awful Parent. This allows her to make all sorts of rationalizations – she’s unhappy because she’s Betty’s daughter, all of Don’s shortcomings are because Betty sucks, etc. This allows her to preserve her relationship with her father, though at cost of her relationship with her mother.

            • Lisa_Co

              I agree Terabat. Sally has only really seen one of Don’s transgressions while Betty is mother from Hell. I don’t know if she will ever forgive Betty but I see a loving future with Don.

          • Glammie

            Keep in mind, though, that she hates her mother. So, siding with Don means siding against Betty. Sally’s always been a daddy’s girl and she *wants* to be able to love him.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Agree. Don is absent a lot, but when he’s there, he’s more engaged with the kids and kinder to them and more understanding than Betty is. It’s not fair, because Betty spends a *lot* more time with the kids, but I can totally see why Sally would decide that Don’s the Good Parent. At least he comes around to telling her the truth.

      • Melissa Brogan

        Sally’s turnaround wasn’t that quick. It’s been several months. The last episode of S6 ended at Thanksgiving; now it’s the 1969 baseball season.

        • JulieTy

          Sorry to dig my heels in, but that’s not very long — especially when you consider how little she sees her father to begin with. If I saw my father (a married man who split from my mother) shtupping a neighbor it’d take me YEARS — or maybe never — to get over it, and that’s WITH therapy. Maybe I’m feeling this so strongly because I was exactly Sally’s age in 1969.

    • Chris

      You perfectly articulated every thought and gripe that went through my head and has been percolating in my mind since watching this episode. Thank you. Bravo, for expressing what I couldn’t find in any other recap or discussion I have read so far. As you discuss in your critique above, Bert was the biggest WTF moment for me in this episode and this season so far. Somehow he and Cutler switched personalities. The cool, emotionless “computer” Bert who was only interested in the bottom line now has a personal vendetta against Don that is so strong he’s willing to toss out a great business idea? Cutler, who seemed to resent Don from day one and spearheaded a very targeted attack on him is now shrugging his shoulders at Lou’s complaints and recognizing what a great ad man Don is. He is the practical one advising Lou with a very sanguine attitude that they will likely get some good work out of Don. Did Cutler and Bert accidentally switch their scripts in rehearsal?

      • Alice Teeple

        I thought that was a little heavy-handed, too, but it’s possible that the idea of advertising for IBM would have been way too ridiculous in 1969 for them to take that seriously, so to Cooper, who’s already elderly and on his way out, Don would look insane trying to pitch business for a machine large enough to take up an entire room. Advertising computers like that would also take away the novelty of SCP having their own computer, so there would be a conflict of interest on the company’s part. And there would have been no mass market for computers at all, until IBM introduced personal computers in the late 70s.

        • T C

          IBM spent considerable sums advertising in business publications and magazines subscribed to by C-level decision makers in the 1960s. SC&P is not doing business with IBM, they are doing business with LeaseTek which is a new business model making the prohibitively expensive big iron (what we called mainframes) a budgetary possibility for corporations outside the Fortune 100.

    • Lisa Petrison

      One consistent characteristic of Peggy is that she is an absolutely terrible manager, with everyone. And so the idea that she would be a terrible manager to Don, treating him as she treats everyone else who works for her and expecting that he will just suck it up and take it, is not that unbelievable. Her poor managerial skills was a good explanation for the problems that she had a couple of weeks ago with Shirley, and they seem responsible for the problem with Don as well. Rather than malice toward him. (Though of course, having power over him does make her feel a bit heady for a bit. That is different than malice though.)

      If the partners truly believe that Don is a washed-out alcoholic, then their actions make a lot more sense. No one (to my recollection) thought that the decision that Freddie was a liability and needed to be let go was unbelievable, regardless of his skills or likability. And if he had remained at the agency after peeing his pants, probably it would have been in a junior copywriting position with no interactions with clients. I will be pretty surprised if in a future episode, the Randian Bert does not take Don’s idea of pitching to computer companies and make it happen with one of the other partners. He just doesn’t want Don involved, because he thinks Don is too far gone to not screw it up, I think.

      Considering how hard the show has focused on smoking and drinking (and how shocking it seemed back in Season 1), perhaps it should not be surprising that a major point of the whole series is how a character that (for all his faults) we all admired at the beginning has been brought low by alcohol. Should we expect a lung cancer story as well?

      • suzq

        Roger’s already had one heart attack.

        • MK03

          Two, actually.

      • siriuslover

        Curiously, Jim Cutler seems to think we might find some good work from Don. I was a bit surprised by his exchange with Lou. I am beginning to think, like Joan, that he just doesn’t _think_ about things. What? We don’t have a computer? Let’s get a computer? What? Ted’s in CA? Let’s bring him home! I want my buddy! So to me, that small conversation with Lou make me think that he’s not as malicious as previously thought. He just thinks in the moment.

        • ItAin’tMe

          Cutler is thinking the agency wins no matter if Don implodes or gets it together and gives great ad.

          • Chris

            Yes, it seems like Bert and Cutler switched personalities. Now Cutler is the completely cool practical one and Bert wants revenge.

        • Alice Teeple

          No, I think he’s still pretty Machiavellian. He recognizes people’s strengths and weaknesses and plays people against/for each other. But in this case, Cutler doesn’t care if Don fails as much as Lou does, because he is not in direct competition with him in his job. Lou chooses to take the Let Don Fail route, so he put him directly in the spot Lou himself would hate the most: working with Peggy. Peggy, in turn, knows this is a setup, but still takes the opportunity to rub her newfound power in Don’s face. That was the strongest part of the episode: the office politics regarding that new client brought in by Pete, of all people. I liked how everyone took Ted’s relatively straightforward suggestion that Peggy do the work for Burger Chief, and turned it into a massive setup to suit their own egos.

          • Chris

            Yes, I was glad that Ted rightfully endorsed Peggy for the job and gave his reasons why. It was a straightforward business decision and showed he does respect her talent. While Pete’s attitude towards Peggy annoyed me, I did like that Pete still sees Don as the creative genius he is. Pete wanted the best for his pitch and in his eyes, that’s Don. Cutler is in a win-win situation. If Don does great work, he wins, if Don violates the agreement, Cutler also wins. Lou, as you say, is in direct competition with Don and needs Don to fail in order to win.

      • Lisa Petrison

        I’ve not read “Portnoy’s Complaint” (maybe soon), but the book that the show is reminding me most of at this point is “Valley of the Dolls.” Published in 1966. Beautiful people, stars, often using stage names, screwed up from difficult events in childhood, turn to chemical substances for solace. And as a result, fall into a pit of despair and failure and shame and – ultimately – death. A better book, to my recollection, than one would think. I hate that ending for this show though. I don’t recall there being a Freddie character in that book, so maybe there will be a different ending here.

    • MichelleRafter

      Watching the computer related scenes I kept thinking about the title of a non-fiction book about the rise of corporate computers, The Soul of the New Machine. Ripping out the creative’s lounge to install the IBM 360 was ripping out the agency’s soul. Also as T+L pointed out, shows how little stock the agency is putting in creative, which is what got them where they are. And like a lot of other companies that bet big on technology — then and now — they bought into the machinery before buying into what problems it was going to help them solve, which was obvious to me when Harry Crane starts asking the Leasetech guy for recommendations for “a good punch card company.”

      This episode also links back to an episode in one of the early seasons where Joan’s office space is displaced when the agency buys another cutting edge piece of technology in its day, a photocopier. Flash forward, and the technology is so much bigger it literally threatens to overwhelm the business because it’s right in the middle of the office. Funny, really, considering today, computer rooms (if companies still have them) are stuck in a basement or corner.

      The optimist in me would love to see Don quit to start another agency with Freddy, grab the Leasetech business and beat the other guys to becoming the go-to agency for the computer biz.

      • siriuslover

        The copier was put in Peggy’s (and that other guy’s) office. Again, displace creative for the technology.

        • MichelleRafter

          Thanks for that, was relying on memory.

          • siriuslover

            I’m rewatching the old episodes now and they’re all fresh in my memory. I just rewatched that episode last week.

        • Babyboomer59

          There also was the disturbance when a vending machine was added. Joan did not like what it would do to the secretary waste line.

      • Floretta

        Freddy, and Ginsberg and Stan, Dawn, Roger, Pete for accounts, even Ted. They could specialize in computer and other tech companies’ advertising. Without creative the bean counters got no beans to count.

        • siriuslover

          I don’t think Ginsberg would go because he seems somehow strangely enamored with (by? of?) Lou even as he welcomed Don home.

          • Chris

            I think Ginsberg likes being Lou’s favorite and he likes the fact he can pawn off old copy Don and Peggy never would accept on Lou. He probably doesn’t respect Lou creatively, but takes advantage of Lou’s lax nature.

            • Alice Teeple

              I agree with that. And I still think Ginsberg is ambitious enough to want to gun for Peggy’s position.

            • Chris

              I could see him wanting to be in charge yet I’m still amazed they let him meet with clients at all. There is no way he could just be let loose with them on his own. He needed Stan and Bob Benson last season to pull him together. Plus those clothes!

      • ItAin’tMe

        The “apple” is right there he said.

    • msdamselfly

      I completely agree with this. The writing lacks the nuance and subtlety that marked its first seasons. It’s hard to believe that none of the main characters all of a sudden have no compassion or forgiveness for Don, especially since the late 60’s and 70’s were marked by an emphasis on personal reflection and psychological awareness. I am surprised that Peggy is not in therapy.
      My only exception to this critique is the part about Pete’s mom. I think Pete has always been an exaggerated and comical character so any absurdity in his life seems appropriate.

    • TippiH

      I loved that Don was laying on his couch reading Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, “the book” of 1969. It takes place on a therapist’s couch and was a big deal because it explored masturbation (in detail), Jewish identity and lots and LOTS of guilt. Nothing’s done without meaning on MM and the fact that the writers chose that book is significant. Awesome call.

      • L’Anne

        Also interesting because of Don’s low opinion of psychiatry. Not to mention to of the women he’s been honest with– by choice– have been Jews– Faye and Rachel.

        • Teresa

          Thank goodness they haven’t dragged out “I’m OK, You’re OK” yet.

      • 28judy

        It’s not just a book about masturbation and guilt. The last line of the book, that now that Portnoy had spewed all that stuff they could begin (the real work of analysis) is the point.

    • dea

      I think that it makes good directing skills to make us feel sorry towards Don because of the way most of the characters are treating him now, given how he has behaved the last six seasons. Also, I think that Bert, Joan et co. are maybe just taking out their personal or professional frustrations on who is now the “weakest link” in the office, which is a way most people would act normally.

    • PowerfulBusiness

      As we go into Season 7, a part of me fears that maybe I’m just not interested in the same story that Matthew Weiner wants to tell. For many seasons I was, but now I think we’ve parted ways in a sense. I liked when the show had everyone actually interact with each other, in some energized yet realistic way, instead of constantly being trite, dismissive, sullen, or despicable. I missed when it was a team of SCDP, and the actors, in big scenes around a conference table or going over a pitch. I liked personal moments where Peggy visited her sister, or Ken went over Sal’s to dinner. And at the core, I liked seeing Don and Peggy have actual conversations and real interactions instead of these stilted lines they just spit at each other now. I want to see great actors work together, and so far, everyone seems on their own island. Most of the characters, besides Don, just seem to be people who get a few lines to further the story, but there is so little depth to any of their moments. ‘Will Don find salvation’ is an interesting concept, but not at the expense of the show that was my favorite show ever and its once incredibly rich characters.

      • Vanessa

        YES! I was thinking the same thing. I love every time a new client comes in because I want to see how the group dynamics, period attitudes and creativity play out. But I do feel like the show has been spinning its wheels for two years now as far as my interest goes. I keep coming back but I am not so enthusiastic.

    • 28judy

      “Proust with miniskirts”. Love that!

    • kipper

      Maybe someone already covered this , I have not read everyone , but why would snobbish patrician Burt pic NOW to bring out all the knives on Don? He was the one who saved his ass from ( fellow snobbish patrician ) Pete. Also, it is STILL 1969 – the whole ” Peggy as your boss ” ride is way way to 2014. Another thing, and this one is just personal – This is the best Sunday night in the history of tv. Call the Midwife/Game of Thrones/Cosmos/Veep/Bletchley Circle – so it is not just stand alone Matthew Weiner night- he is going head to head with some GREAT television writing – and so far this season, losing pretty badly. It totally makes sense for Don Draper/Dick Whitman to hit rock bottom, crash and burn, what ever – but like TLo said, the actions of others have to make sense as well …..
      Also, it is just insulting to us, the dedicated fans – to break this in two years. ” Only three episodes left this season”. Didn’t I read somewhere that the ratings are way down this go round? Won’t be surprised if they are even lower in 2015.

      • Bob Ross

        I agree, it was a stupid decision to split up these episodes. This show is 180 degrees different then breaking bad. AMC is desparate for a hit and they are burning their bridges with the one fan base they have left. They also put out a crappy DVD for season 6 with no commentaries, which made me mad.because I bought it and the extras were terrible.

      • Babyboomer59

        Bert is a germaphobe and Don is now dirty from his whore house childhood?

      • P M

        Whoa whoa whoa – Bletchley Circle is back? Cool!

        • Lisa_Co

          Bletchley’s last episode was last night ( Season 2). Last week UK’s ITV announced they are not renewing the show:(

          • P M

            I am shedding many tears, but I’m not surprised. The writing seemed unsure where to go. At first they were about the math and stats (even that had problems: once you start to understand a bit of either, you start seeing that the artsy-fartsy don’t get the concepts and that translates to awkward writing), then they shifted into various women with different handbags banding together to solve crimes. I thought they squandered and even ignored the enormous potential of these characters and their history and intelligence: A multi-lingual expert, various math geeks, a human memory bank and whatever the supervisor lady did (a library whiz I think? BTW I believe librarians are extremely useful people – the good ones anyway). How can you go wrong with that cast?
            In trying to tell big stories, writers forget little ones: All the Presidents’ Men, I thought, should have been titled All the Men’s Ladies (or something like that): I mean, nobody makes great mention in the movie about the many women. But for their information and record-keeping and so on, there wouldn’t have been much of a trail to go on. Now *that’s* a story worth telling (IMHO).

    • ktr33

      “Daddy, do you think we’ll ever land on the moon?” “Yes, Marigold, actually in like 2 weeks or so.” Surely the public knew a moon landing was imminent, While we’re on Marigold, didn’t every well-off father in that era have his secretary buy his kids’ birthday presents? Not exactly the equivalent of a mother abandoning her young child to live in a barn with hippies, as we know. My question is: does Weiner know that? Is he commenting on that disconnect, too? Or is he just speaking unironically as/for Margaret with no other meaning? Discuss!

      • siriuslover

        Yeah, that part bugged me too. I think Mona had it right: “I’d say she’s brain washed, but there’s nothing to wash.” She can be mad at her dad all she wants, but they didn’t abandon her when she was four years old to go off to some commune. Also, she was what, eighteen or something like that when her parents got divorced?

        • smayer

          I think the Marigold monologue to Roger served to demonstrate just how much like Roger she is. All he had to say was, “Congratulations, you’re me. How about you prove this to be wrong and be a good and present parent to your son,” and back to the city she’d go.

          • Matt

            I don’t think that would have worked, sadly.

        • Kathy G

          You know, that struck me too I had to go and look up Weiner’s age to see if he was in my cohort and yes, he is 48–born in 1965. The family stories of most of my contemporaries born after 1965 were eerily similar. Our parents, mostly boomers divorced and went to go find themselves abandoning their kids in the process. The movies of our time: Kramer vs Kramer, Irreconcilable Differences –these were a commentary on the self-centeredness of the Marigolds/Margarets. Even the feel good shows like ET — kids were on their own. Now you might find lots of fault with Roger but at least he waited til Margaret was grown before divorcing, and he didn’t withhold support. I would say 1970-1978 were the peak years for this. Margaret is wealthy and can afford to do this so maybe that is why she is a little early. At this point, Brooks can bring a divorce to court sue for adultery and have her judged incompetent if he wanted.

    • Judy_J

      I must say I agree with you two on every level regarding this episode. Freddie Rumsen is my new favorite character. He is the only one who seems to have it all together, and Don is damn fortunate to have him as a friend. As for Bert and the rest of the SC&P partners, why do they repeatedly mention that Don should get or be looking for a new job? Wasn’t a no-compete clause part of the deal they made when he was asked to “take time off”?

    • VDbloom

      I always thought Joan’s motivation for prostitution was essentially financial. You say she had a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan and a well paying job, but I was under the impression that she could only afford that place with the help of Greg. In season 3, when Greg has to do another stint as a resident, he tells Joan that she has to keep her job. I took this to mean that only with their combined salaries could they afford the apartment. Furthermore, since Joan has a child now, expenses have obviously gone up since then.I always thought it was important too that Joan didn’t actually get divorced until late in season 5. She and Greg separated early in the season, which gave the impression that she was getting by just fine on her own. But really, she doesn’t get divorced until Season 5, Episode 10, Christmas Waltz. I’ve always thought it was symbolic that immediately after Joan was served her divorce papers, Don takes her to the Jaguar dealership. The very next episode is the one in which the partners ask her to prostitute herself.

      I do think you are right about Joan wanting to control her image, but I also think that is addressed in the episode The Other Woman. When Lane comes to talk to Joan about the proposal, she is horrified that everyone is talking about it. She says she doesn’t even want the partners to know she was asked. But then, when Lane says they would pay her $50,000, she admits that she is tempted, saying that that is more than she makes in a year. I always assumed she was just trying to make ends meet after her divorce from Greg.

      • Lisa Petrison

        Lane knew how much money Joan was making and (both from being oriented toward finance and through his own financial issues) he knew better than anyone just how much money it takes to raise a child in a decent way in a place like NYC. He knew that Joan would be influenced by the offer of money, and he stressed the idea that a partnership would take care of a woman and a child for a lifetime in his discussion with her. So I agree with your comment.

        • Gatto Nero

          Yes. She may have been making a decent wage at the time, but she was thinking about her child’s future.

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

            That’s not really a compelling argument as to why she’d prostitute herself. She’s a smart, capable woman who had a good job and was providing for her family. I think you could have made the point that she felt pushed into doing this if her life looked like it had less options, but the writers didn’t choose to do that. They just put it on the table and had her accept it.

            • greenwich_matron

              I also think that Joan is smart enough to realize that prostituting herself is ultimately a very flawed way to provide for her son. Also, she achieved a lot more than security: she was immediately catapulted into the 1%. It seemed possible that Don’s stepmother didn’t have any real choice. Joan had plenty of choices.

            • VDbloom

              I disagree that Joan had plenty of options. The way I see it, she could either take the deal, or keep the job she had in which case she wouldn’t be able to provide for herself and her child, at least not in the same way she had been able to in the past. And I don’t think she would’ve been able to find a higher paying position outside of SCDP. Undoubtedly, she is very good at her job, but much of her prestige within the company was a result of her long tenure there. Don even tells Peggy that this is the reason that they made her partner, because she’d been there for around fifteen years. In order to earn the same salary and respect at a different company, she would have had to put in a lot of time at a lower position first.

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

              Where is the indication that she wouldn’t be able to provide for herself and her child?

            • Lisa Petrison

              Joan did not grow up affluent, but she acquired a sense of herself being part of at least the upper middle class through working at the agency all those years and when she married a doctor. The idea that her child was going to be deprived of having a decent upbringing (including things like college) would have been unacceptable to her at that point. Heck, it would have been unacceptable to me, and I don’t even care that much about status. And the kind of job that Joan had would not have provided for that. Especially not living in NYC. Of course, they wouldn’t have starved to death. But it wouldn’t have been an acceptable life either. So she either would have felt forced to remarry or to find some unconventional way to make money. The fact that Lane focused so much on using those words in his conversation — “a 5% stake would provide for a woman and a child for a lifetime” — is further evidence.

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

              But there is no evidence her child would have been deprived of a decent upbringing, let alone college. When the original $50,000 offer was put on the table, she told Lane it was four times her salary, putting it somewhere between 12 and 13 thousand dollars a year. In 1967, that was a decent salary, akin to $45 – $50 thousand a year in today’s dollars. Solidly middle class, but enough to raise a child.

            • Lisa Petrison

              It’s hard to imagine a woman today living in Manhattan and raising a child on $45-50k per year, in a manner anything like what Joan would have wanted to raise her child. And if she’d moved out of Manhattan, that would have involved spending more time commuting or getting a different job with a similar salary, which (based on what we saw with her going to work at a department store) she likely wouldn’t have been able to do very easily.

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

              It was a salary well above the national average – and NYC wasn’t nearly as expensive to live in as it is now.

              I repeat what I said earlier: none of these are compelling reasons for a woman like her, in her position, to agree to prostitute herself. Plenty of single mothers of the period – and even now – would have killed to be in the position she was in just prior to becoming a partner.

            • L’Anne

              Additionally, she also could have gotten child support from Greg, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his family didn’t send money for the boy as gifts. As long as everyone but Roger and Joan thinks Kevin is Greg’s son, there’d be no reason for Greg or anyone in his family not to contribute Kevin’s life in whatever way they could.

            • Azucena

              The thing is that she might have thought that this would be just another rumor around the office of her sleeping with a man to get what she wants– it wouldn’t be the first time, no one would be able to prove it and the partners wouldn’t tell (Harry Crane and his big mouth are another issue entirely). Everyone assumes that about every woman who is higher than a secretary in the hierarchy. Peggy doesn’t even escape it.

              She probably could have supported her son on her salary but the way we have seen her thought process work, the values of her mother’s generation are seared into her mind. She is worried that her getting older will eventually lead to being replaced by a perky unmarried 20 year old, whether that is realistic or not. Becoming a partner is the ultimate job security. And even if they buy her out, that payoff will keep her financially secure for a long time, if not for life.

              She may have considered that her best option because she is too proud/ wary to take money from Roger and probably worries that no one will want to marry a woman in her 30s with a child from another man. And she cannot afford to deal with another Greg at this point in her life.

            • Babyboomer59

              I think Joan still rembers when she was out of a job and finally called Roger to help. She got the job at the department store then. Experiences like that stay with a person. It was very bold of her to kick Greg out and security for the future was all important.

            • Kathy G

              My father supported a family of 4 on $75/week salary as a bank branch manager in eastern L.I.. We transferred/moved to the suburbs in upstate NY and he got a raise to $115/week and bought a tract house for $20,000 in 1969. I don’t know what the rents were like in Manhattan back then but our small 2 bedroom home my father owned in L.I. was about 4 blocks from the bay.

            • Chris

              If Joan really needed money for her child she could always turn to Roger. I think it’s more than a little ridiculous that Joan would consider prostitution OK to provide for her child but asking the very wealthy father of her child, who should be obligated to support him anyway, was not. It’s very unlikely Roger would let his son, acknowledged or not suffer any deprivation. The one thing Roger always does provide to the women in his life is money.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              I think it would be more out of character for Joan to go to Roger for support, especially since she’s still publicly maintaining that Greg is Kevin’s father.

            • Chris

              Who would know if she went to Roger? They both know whose child it is. I think it’s more ridiculous that she would think a wealthy man shouldn’t have to contribute to his child’s welfare.

            • 3hares

              Roger went to her and wanted to support Kevin secretly. She refused him because she didn’t want that much Roger in her life.

            • Chris

              Yes, but people were trying to say Joan was so desperate she had to take the Jaguar deal to support her son. I was pointing out that not only was she doing relatively well job wise, as others have said, it’s very unlikely she ever would have been so destitute she needed to sleep with Herb to survive. Asking Roger to help support his child is hardly shameful and could be done without anyone knowing.

            • 3hares

              Oh, I totally agree. It’s a little bit of a Walter White situation where there’s this idea that he cooked meth because he was desperate to keep his family from going bankrupt from his medical bills when in fact he rejected an offer to pay all his bills out of pride. There was no Jaguar offer when Roger made his offer, and if it was about desperation surely she would have had to have taken it–as you say, nobody would have known. (Unlike with Jaguar.)

            • AnnaleighBelle

              I think it would have been out of character for Joan to accept depending on Roger. She didn’t want him to feel any reason to expect that he would have any privileges.

            • TeraBat

              Not to mention, Roger’s money would have strings attached which Joan doesn’t want to deal with. She’d rather be able to dictate the terms of Roger’s and Kevin’s relationship herself.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              If the agency went under (my memory is faulty but wasn’t it on the edge at that point?) because Joan was too “moral” to take one for the team, she would be out of a job. Of course she could get another, but she may have been daunted at her age and family status to try and sell herself to another office at that point.

            • 3hares

              No, Jaguar was not needed to keep the company from going under. It was just an account they wanted.

            • L’Anne

              Getting Jaguar was also about status. Getting a car was a sign that the agency “had arrived” as a major player.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              I’ll have to watch those episodes again. I remember downsizing and fear of losing the whole shebang.

            • L’Anne

              When they were laying people off and downsizing was when they lost Lucky Strike. Once that happened, other clients started to jump ship, thinking the small firm wouldn’t last. The company was basically stable– or so it seemed– when they decided to woo Jaguar.

            • VDbloom

              In season 3, when Greg finds out he needs to complete another residency, he tells Joan that she has to keep her job. To me, this means that they can’t afford the apartment except by combining their salaries. Now, even if Joan’s salary has gone up since then, she has also incurred the added expenses of a child and a divorce, not to mention the loss of Greg’s income. I will admit that her financial situation is largely ambiguous, but the way I see it, even if she could survive in her former job and provide for her child, it would be a struggle. However, with a partnership she would never have to struggle again. Nor would she ever have to remarry or count on a man to provide for her. This is, in my opinion, why she didn’t want help from Roger. By accepting the partnership she won indefinite security and independence. I think she saw it as a one time act that would allow her to live better for the rest of her life.

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

              In season 3 she was only the office manager of SC. By the time of the prostitution offer, she was the personnel manager and traffic director of SCDP, with her own office and a much higher salary. As noted upthread, she was making the modern equivalent of roughly $50,000 a year at the time of the offer.

            • VDbloom

              I believe that at the time of her promotion to Director of Agency Operations, at the end of season 4, her salary is not increased due to the agencies precarious financial spot. She even tells Peggy that she was promoted in title only. The show is rather ambiguous as to whether she ever receives the raise that Lane promises her. It seems to me that her attitude in her scene with Peggy shows she doesn’t think she will ever get the raise. And thus, it would be possible that her salary hasn’t changed much since Season 3. Just my reading though.

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

              She stated to Lane that the original offer the partners made to her – $50,000 – was “four times her salary.” In 1967, that’s roughly equivalent to a $45 – $50,000 salary today.

            • L’Anne

              The bigger issue in season 3 is that Greg was out of his residency– had no income– and looking for another one.

            • greenwich_matron

              This isn’t Dickensian London. She had a job and she was providing. Partnership would never have been an option. Partnership is not a good conduct medal: it’s golden handcuffs you give to someone because you are afraid they will leave and take their revenue with them.

              Joan wasn’t going to get rich being an office manager, but most people will never get rich and manage to raise children without selling themselves outright.

            • Redlanta

              This is a woman who married the man that assaulted her on the office floor. She bit the bullet then for appearances and security, so it isn’t to far fetched to see her compartmentalize one night into a long secure future…

            • Lisa Petrison

              If Joan’s job (the one that Dawn has now) had a large enough salary to raise a child on in a decent way in 1969, a man would have been doing it.

            • greenwich_matron

              Yea, but lots of women did it.

            • Lisa Petrison

              I think it is much more unbelievable to think that Joan would have been content raising her child on the money that she believed herself to be capable of earning herself than the storyline that Weiner came up with. I would think that in Joan’s mind, there would have been three options: 1) Get remarried. 2) Try to shame Roger into giving her money to support the child. 3) Take the prostitution deal. Of those three, subsequent to her experience with Greg, the prostitution deal may have seemed the least negative, even if everybody knew about it.

            • greenwich_matron

              Part of my problem with it was that the prostitution deal was so implausible (sane men would not give 5% of their personal fortune for a woman to have sex with someone else!). Joan never believed herself capable of earning anything, though, until quite recently. I agree though, that between selling herself to husband number 2, begging Roger, and one act, Joan may Well have found the one act the most palatable.

              The other option was personal integrity and a lot less money.

            • 3hares

              There was no need for her to shame Roger. Roger offered her money and Joan rejected it.

            • Lisa Petrison

              I didn’t remember that, but upon reflection it is not surprising.

            • Gatto Nero

              I’m guessing that she didn’t want to owe him anything — including access to their child.

            • 3hares

              Yes, she basically said that the money would come with strings attached–strings tying her to Roger.

            • 3hares

              Also, Joan’s position is done by a woman in part because it
              grows out of the secretarial pool. But it’s still a more senior position. So it actually probably was a job where she
              was making enough money to raise a child—if not anywhere near the level of what
              the male executives were making.

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

              Yep. It was hard for single mothers in 1969, but it’s not like none of them ever managed it – and we saw no indication that Joan couldn’t handle it financially.

      • Babyboomer59

        Joan accepted being raped by Greg because she was going to marry a doctor and it was her way to climb the ladder of success. Before that she was OK with sleeping with Roger when he was married and got a fur coat for it. In her mind this was not the first time she prostituted herself.

        • P M

          “Accepted” a rape? O-kaaaayyy……

      • ItAin’tMe

        Yes, and I thought that her desertion and rape by Greg, the doctor husband of her dreams, taught Joan that she would never be valued as anything more than a body. Her own mother regards her that way. Joan was uncomfortable with the partners knowing about the proposition, but she got past it because of the need to provide security for her son. At least, that’s what she told herself. But she was seduced by the notion of being a partner herself. And she loves the power of the position. It’s not dependent on the size of her chest. When Don let her know that she didn’t have to sleep with the guy, he made it easier for her to decide to do it. Because it became her choice.

    • Bob Ross

      I get the criticism, and your not alone. I think seasons five and six after rewatching them as compared to the first three are in retrospect, not good. That is why they have not received any emmy love for a while. This is my favorite show but I do feel that they have moved entirely in the direction of making art rather than making a show people will watch. (entertaining) A lot of the bad characteristics in each of the characters were present from the start. The difference being it was entertaining to watch. Don was a cheating, alcoholic ass from the start, but he was an entertaining cheating alcoholic ass.

      I do agree that the attitudes towards him by Peggy and Joan seem to be out of left field, and although there is some reason to speculate as to there behavior, it is not shown on the actual television program. (maybe Joan really does hate him for blowing up Jaguar after she prostituted herself for it) The only thing I can think of for Cooper’s attitude is that he views Don as an alcoholic and a failure, two things consistent with his randian philosophy as undesirable. Rand hated “second handers” and altruism, so he may see Don as someone around only because they cannot fire him, so he is taking from them in his eyes.

      The other thing is that Roger and Pete clearly meant Don should be on the account, but this was twisted by Cutler and Lou to embarrass him instead. I do not think anyone is thinking about “how it looks” to treat Don this way. They wanted him out, and he refused to quit, so they are making his life hell. It will be interesting to see how they resolve this, but I am thinking the firm is going to bust up. It is not sustainable. As Harry pointed out, they have three creative directors in a firm where the other partners do not even like creative types.

      • Babyboomer59

        I believe Joan hates Don because of his confession about being raised in a whore house. It hits her too deep that she prostituted herself to get the partnership. The others now look at him as a lower class because of this knowledge. Pete and roger do not because they are quite fine with a whore house.

        • P M

          I’m not sure I agree with the Joan thing, but I do agree that class is sure to be playing a role in the attitude towards Don.

      • Glammie

        Best reasoning I’ve seen yet for Bert’s behavior–however, doesn’t seem like he’d turn down the prospect of new business just to put Don in his place.

    • Melissa Sjerven

      I can’t believe you didn’t even mention the best line in the entire season. “Please don’t eat that, you’re so trim.” “Anything else?” replied Don with deadpan stare.

    • empath

      For an episode that seemed to frustrate many, it was rife with symbolism and gave everyone much to talk about, so I don’t think it was a miss at all.
      This episode also was an overt homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The elevator door opens, and Don faces the big, black monolithic elevator door to the executive suite — a door he cannot enter at this time. The up-angles of the deserted office was much like Dr Bowman walking through the ship. The building of the clear-walled space for the monolithic IBM 360, with all of the noise of construction and people talking, kind of reminiscent of the monkeys and the monolith…
      We also have the Miracle Mets in the mix. Don finds Laine’s Mets banner and discards it at first and then hangs it on the wall. I think this may be the most relevant bit of presaging yet. That, and the Hollies’ “Carousel”, much like the Zombie’s “This will be our Year” in the valentine’s episode, the music is the message.
      One other thing, John Hamm continues to amaze me with his ability to act with all of the muscles in his face. True, lighting and makeup assist, but he can act with his facial muscles — from a flaccid drunk to the dark desperation to cool and sharp to smooth and sexy — like few other actors can.He is most deserving of an Emmy!!!

      • Chris

        Yes there were a ton of references, including Roger talking about how Don hasn’t clubbed anyone in the cave yet. I just found them all incredibly heavy handed. In addition, it felt like they ignored previous character development to make the characters do certain things to fit the scheme for this episode. For a show so rooted in reality it seems they abandoned it for symbolism and drama this episode.

      • Christine Stephens

        I agree. Jon Hamm needs an Emmy. His facial expressions convey so much emotion. Pretty amazing.

    • Gracie82

      Seems to me, this season that the offices of SD&P are looking much shabbier than before too. I dont know if it is the way the show is being lit or what, but the offices looked so modern and fresh two seasons ago (2 years in MM time) now look dated and cheap.

      • Christine Stephens

        I agree, they look as bad as Don’s apartment.

        • T C

          I could not tell if the sliding glass doors in Don’s apartment had been fixed. They were still broken last week.

      • ItAin’tMe

        Yes. More like cubicles. Corporateness is taking over. The monster that advertising helped create.

    • HiddenMickey

      About the dangling phone, I realized it isn’t such a bizzare event considering Meredith is now Don’s secretary.

      • Gracie82

        I honestly thought it was a metaphor for Lane when I first saw it. His ghost was all over this episode.

      • Babyboomer59

        I figured Meredith took it off the hook so her phone wouldn’t ring while she was away from her desk.

        • Lisa Petrison

          Back in the day, people used to take their phone off the hook assuming that people would know to call back later if they heard a busy signal. I would not be surprised if Meredith did it on purpose at the office using the same logic.

          • 3hares

            She didn’t just take it off the hook, she left it hanging there as if they’d all been raptured or something!

            • L’Anne

              Couple that with Don going up to find everyone…

          • L’Anne

            Yeah, but you’d rest the phone on the desk, not leave the phone dangling, which could stretch and kink the cord.

      • TeraBat

        Interestingly enough, I got a very apocalyptic vibe from that scene. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought the Russians had finally attacked. On further reflection, I think that’s precisely what Weiner was going for – The Apocalypse, in terms of the destruction of The Way Things Were, is here, and it’s name is IBM 360. Which makes the inference between Lloyd and Satan that much more apt.

        • HiddenMickey

          I think this indeed is what they were going for, but the first thing that came to my mind “was there a fire?”

    • Not applicable

      I thought I was frustrated last week- but it just continued on today. I agree that the last few seasons have been just painful… and off the mark. I also watch old episodes- and I notice that the whole tone is different since Don broke up with Betty. The smoothness the cadence… the swagger that IS dastardly, dashing Don Draper. And so what if he is a rube that is really Dick Witman? He fits the Don Draper role as well has he fits into those suits. It’s who he’s meant to be. So, the whore child back story makes him interesting, explains some of his more errant motivations, but is he really going to sink into that hole completely? Is he really that self-destructive for living this lie?

      I’ve always felt like the people around Don were the satellites- like pieces of his own self the things he relates to- but all the while, moving off in different directions while staying in orbit. I get that Don has some cosmic bills to pay- but we’ve already seen him skim the bottom- now deeper still? to this complete humiliation? It seems unnecessary- because I don’t believe for a minute that he won’t come out of this in the end.

      All said MW- Don won’t change. I get it- so why put us through this? This, after all, isn’t reality.

      • greenwich_matron

        I will never forgive MW if Don is changed by the healing power of AA. I don’t have any problem with the way AA can help people, but the Don from seasons 1-4 would still have been a mess even if he never drank. I really feel that sober Don is the happy ending we are being set up for.

        • Glammie

          I don’t think it will be that simple. Heck, in real life, it’s not that simple with AAers. Don’s alcoholism has always seemed a secondary rather than primary issue with him. It’s different than Freddy Rumsen who really does function if he stays off the sauce. When things are going well for Don, he can control his drinking, but when things go wrong, he becomes a problem drinker. I saw his drunk-at-the-office a self-destructive FU moment. Bert’s response hurt and angered him. (Like TLo, I have an issue with Bert issuing that message–it wasn’t Bert like.)

          • T C

            Bert could have immediately terminated Don for breaking the new employment contract as he saw a “client” unsupervised. What held him back was Don’s shoe removal without a prompt and the cost of the IBM 360 lease coupled with the cost of reabsorbing Don’s shares in SC&P and allowing him the freedom to pursue opportunity with competitors. We viewers have no knowledge if Roger reported the results of his earlier test of Don to Bert. There is much to weigh here; in the moment the best Bert can do is remind Don he’s a dead man. After all there are three heads of Creative.

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

              Are you referring to the guy from Lease Tech? He wasn’t a client. He was a vendor. Bert couldn’t fire him just for talking with a vendor.

            • T C

              A vendor that Don sees as a virgin client.

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

              But that doesn’t make him a client. Especially not from a legal sense.

            • Matt

              That’s what I was saying up there a few comments back! ^^^ :)

            • Glammie

              Which he didn’t pursue on his own, but brought to Bert’s attention. Don’s behavior there was by the book. Which made Bert’s reaction all the stranger.

            • Chris

              If that were the case anyone could be considered a potential client. The idea behind the prohibition seems to be to keep Don from saying anything unapproved to one of their clients.

        • Not applicable

          I don’t think that’s what the story will be… only b/c they did the AA storyline with Freddy. That’s what I mean the supporting characters are all satellites- they are little offshoots. Don’s story won’t go the AA route (I believe) b/c that path has been shown already. Twice actually– Duck (falling off the wagon) and Freddy who has worked the program. I think Don will control his drinking. I think we are being set up for a Roger demise, actually- and I think that’s what will shake Don to his roots and relieve him of his last temptation…Roger his only ‘friend’ in the office- the ‘friend’ who only misses him because he no longer has a playmate/drinking buddy in the office.

    • Matute Lyons

      Stan has really been giving us Oliver Reed realness.

    • MarinaCat

      My Hollywood ending version of the series is, Don comes back big, as in Kodak big, says, “Eff it” as he realizes his happiness is with Megan and moves to CA. Or he jumps out the window.

    • grahamcracker3

      I disagree completely, thought this was the best episode since ‘The Crash’ and probably since ‘The Other Woman.’ The tension the last 3 episodes is so tangible. I wouldn’t say season 6 was sub-par, just muted, but right now MM is on a roll on mid-season 5 levels.

      • grahamcracker3

        Then again, I like MM best when it gets more surreal…so I can understand why, if on-the-nose symbalism isn’t your thing, it’s been a tad clunky

        • Ginger Thomas

          That’s why my first reaction to the Mets pennant was that it was a red herring. Too many lists of “what happened in 1969″ include their miracle World Series win.

          • grahamcracker3

            yeah that was the second thing I thought of after ‘aw, Lane’. I do love that they totally know they’re going to get us talking by doing things like that though. I’m sure Weiner chuckles every time someone mentiones Sharon Tate/Megan Draper

          • DeniseSchipani

            minor point, but didn’t Don throw the pennant in the trash at first, and then you see it hanging on the wall?

            • Ginger Thomas

              Yes … guess my comment should have read “reaction to the whole Mets pennant thing”

            • Chris

              Yes, but I took it to mean he thought better of it and fished it out. Don is more sensitive now to “throwing things away” like the computers the IBM guy was talking about.

    • Paula Pertile

      Don nicking a bottle from Roger’s office was sad. I had to wonder what he did with it, after he was so careful to pour the vodka(?) into the soda can. What if someone finds it, besides the janitor. He managed to get out of the office with only Freddie and the creepy computer guy knowing he was drunk (his secretary didn’t even pick up on it – or, maybe she did, and didn’t think anything of it, because she doesn’t know he’s not supposed to drink at the office anymore?)

      Joan definitely did something jolly with her hair! She looked fabulous. I was trying to remember what that color green means … am sure we’ll discuss it in they style post.

      Noticed Don wasn’t wearing his wedding ring when he was on the phone with Freddie. So I guess he and Megan really are the splits, and he’s accepted that.

      Loved the whole commune thing, especially Mona. And Roger saying he’d get Cletus to give him a ride to the train station!

      A weird episode, for sure.

      • Lisa Petrison

        I think that green by itself means focused on money. LIke the green robe that Joan was wearing after sleeping with Herb from Jaguar.

        • P M

          And did anyone notice last week in the client meeting that sparked this whole computer thing that almost all of them were wearing green?

      • Cherielabombe

        BUT he’s got a picture of her (in a bikini!) on his office desk.

        • L’Anne

          And Lane also referenced seeing Joan in a bikini.

      • Victoria Ramirez

        Small point, but Don never/rarely wears a wedding ring.

        • Paula Pertile

          Maybe I knew that, and forgot, or had never noticed. Thanks!

      • T C

        It’s possible Freddie removed the empty bottle when he removed Don. Green is the color of the three-headed monster.

        • Paula Pertile

          Yes! I didn’t even think of that.

    • Janice Bartels

      There were a lot of science fiction references in this episode. I found the beginning kind of like an episode Twilight Zone (and just on the heels of a mention of Rod Sterling last week). Lots of talk about computers replacing people, numbers replacing creativity, people on the moon. Margaret/Marigold as a pod person.

    • Jessica Freeman

      I am one of the few that does not have cable and am so grateful for the TLo Recaps to keep me informed until the current season comes out on Netflix….but I always think the benefit of not having cable is being able to watch the full season like one long movie. It is a completely different experience, I’m sure of it.

    • NeenaJ

      Bow down before Freddie Rumson. Don singing “Meet the Mets” was everything! Since when is he a fun drunk? “Can I hang up, now?” LMAO.

    • Kimberly Southern-Weber

      I had a very similar comment last night about Freddie…instead of this show being about Don or Peggy – what if it is Freddie’s is the story that triumphs in the end?? #teamfreddie

    • Qitkat

      I didn’t think I’ve have much to say about this episode, (and apparently I’m wrong), because in spite of enjoying moments here and there, I’ve really been left wanting over and over again this season. I would like another episode like The Suitcase so much it makes me really sad that the quality isn’t all up to par with what it was. It pisses me off that the final season is split in half, and that it’s more because Breaking Bad, now looking like a superior show at this point in its arc, did it, or that Weiner is scrambling because he didn’t know, after all, like Lost, just how his unique everyman story would end. And damn it, the writing shows it. Although I was happy to see Don have his “come to Jesus moment” after drunkenly teetering on the ledge of dismissal if he had been found out at the office, after he suggested the IT installer guy was the devil, and what a peculiar, off-kilter, say whaaat? moment that was; after Freddie Rumsen, yes, of all people, was his apparent savior, we really have no more idea where this story will go, than we did, after last week’s ending. It didn’t seem to advance the story, the major characters’ story, at all, in spite of the hulking, noisy, hot elephant in the middle of the offices. What a terrible place to install that 1969 era computer. No one will ever be able to ignore it.

      The comic relief of Roger and Mona and Marigold was delicious, and sad and funny. Margaret runs away to a rundown little hippie commune, on a dilapidated farm out in the country, full of disenchanted former silver spoon kids, probably just like her, pretending to find the meaning of life in drudgery, and making do, or doing without. Espousing the charms of the Great Depression, without having the slightest comprehension of what it really meant to live through those times, playing at being real adults, who aren’t selling out to the establishment that Roger and Mona beautifully represent, looking so very out of place as they roll up in their fancy car and fancy clothes and superior attitudes. We cheered for Roger as he realized what he needed to do to reconnect with his daughter, but it was short-lived, and failed, where Don and Sally succeeded. But there’s no comparison. Margaret left her child, not just her husband. We’ve all heard of such things, some of us have had them happen in their own family (one of my husband’s aunts walked out on two boys and her husband, and returned years later), but her cavalier attitude seems off. She’s so happy go lucky now, she screws around with a random housemate, then she screams the truths at her father, she has a moment of seeming enlightenment of what’s she’s doing, and it vanishes. Will we be left hanging, to ever know what happens, where we wonder if she copes by staying stoned, or drunk, to not recognize the enormity of what she has done? I know she’s really a peripheral character, but this is important. Here is a woman who has apparently made the ultimate counter-culture choice, and ran away, whereas Betty, and Joan, and Peggy, and Trudy, while not always making the best choices for themselves, all have moved on from their own traumas of varying degrees, and stayed, in the game. Roger’s life is just draining away from him, his career, his wife, his daughter. Margaret is throwing away her life. She could make Trudy’s choice instead. But at this point we aren’t seeing Trudy, only learning that her father had a heart attack and Pete was not told. We don’t know if she is happy with her choice. But she didn’t abandon her child. That’s a pretty significant life choice. Literally. Other characters wander in and out of their children’s lives, through overwork and divorce and moving away. There’s a bit of parallel to Don with her, callbacks to childhood feelings of abandonment, and paying it forward. In the worst possible way.

      • Kathy G

        Well, Betty can at least relax, there is at least one worst mother on the show lol (besides Betty’s mother, Don’s mother and Pete’s mother……)

        • Chris

          I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I think Betty gets demonized a lot. She was pretty cold to Bobby about the sandwich last week but it doesn’t make her the worst mother in the world as some people like to say. She’s a naturally cool and reserved person and she has a problem relating to her kids but she always has their welfare in the forefront of her mind. She never would have run off like Margaret did and abandon her children. If Henry, who is better father to those kids than Don ever was, hadn’t come along she would still be sticking it out with Don in that house in Ossining no matter how miserable she was. She never would have left Don for a guy that wasn’t good for her and the children. Don makes all his decisions on what is best for him at the moment. He also didn’t try to relate or take care of the kids in the brief times he had them visit. He would push them on Megan or leave them with a babysitter or even alone like the night his apartment was broken into (or walked into). I’m not saying Betty is the greatest mother in the world but she’s not the devil incarnate a lot of people think she is.

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

      It’s a long weekend in the UK, and it took this post to remind me that it’s actually Monday!

    • Vanessa

      I got the impression from Joans comment that Peggys raise actually came from above and Lou wanted to pretend he Was responsible in order to get her to take Don.

      • P M

        That did strike me as odd. I mean, even when Roger paid Peggy as a bribe, Peggy knew why it was coming. But then again, that’s the miscommunication in this office. Peggy didn’t dare ask why Lou was giving her a raise, and if she had some suspicions, she didn’t let on, even when Joan talked to her.

        • ItAin’tMe

          I wasn’t sure if it was because Lou put it to the partners or vice-versa. Because what had she done that would’ve earned her a spontaneous raise? And 5k a year is sizeable for her job in 1969, right?

          • Lisa Petrison

            He’s trying to buy her loyalty to him against Don. And the partners thought that was fine for him to do that, since they approved the raise.

            • ItAin’tMe

              Sure. And not only buy her loyalty, but really put a pin through her since he knows that Don was her mentor and that it will be tough for her to manage him.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            If I heard correctly, it was an extra $100 per week. That comes to $600 per week in todays money.

      • Chris

        No, Lou wrote it down but it still had to be approved by the partners. He wrote it down so it wasn’t a case of “Lou said” and to make a point with Peggy it was real. The partners then voted to approve his decision and Joan passed the message along.

    • MsKitty

      Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one who thought last season was lacking, though my complaint centers mostly around Don. Seeing him regress back to his trifling habits got really boring to the point that I spent the last half of Season 6 FF through the Don-centric scenes. When the storylines of the supporting characters are more compelling than that of the main, it’s never a good sign.

      At the point where I’m still watching because I’ve invested so much time that I need to see it through. Sadly, this isn’t a problem limited to Mad Men. I’m really hard pressed to think of any series I watched that ended its run in the last 5 years that did so in a satisfying way.

    • Melissa Sjerven

      I can’t believe you didn’t even mention the best line in the entire
      season. “Please don’t eat that, you’re so trim.” “Anything else?” replies with deadpan stare.

    • DeniseSchipani

      Margaret/Marigold is being an ass, but doesn’t she look pretty as a hippie? I think there must be some reason there was that other, female hippie with a child and a pregnant belly. Points out, why doesn’t Margaret take her kid with her? She’s too much like Roger — wanting her cake and to eat it too. Mona has it right about her selfish, self-absorbed daughter.

      But on the note of everyone hating Don out of proportion to what he did: I think there’s a logic to it. The whole place is imploding. Hershey and that debacle would have been relatively minor in the old days, but these aren’t the old days. Since Don left, and despite Peggy and Joan SAYING they thought everything was going swimmingly without Don, it’s not going swimmingly at all. The ripping out of creative in favor of computing is just a symptom. No one’s working together, there’s poor communication between LA and NY (literally and figuratively), alliances are forming and breaking, and as we just heard Crane point out, there are three creative directors. All this isn’t Don’s fault, but it’s pretty clear that (without realizing why) everyone’s blaming him. It’s like it’s all vaguely but surely going bad, and everyone can point back to the Hershey moment with Don as the time it started. Fairly or not. Everyone’s attitude toward Don: Can’t live with him, can’t live without him. And finally: Go Team Freddie!

      • Kitten Mittons

        I agree with all of this, especially about Margaret. I kept looking at the pregnant woman with a child on her hip thinking that Margaret could take her child with her, but she chose not to. Maybe Brooks and her parents wouldn’t have allowed it, but I thought it served to underline her selfish behavior.

        • 28judy

          Margaret feels something’s wrong in her life and doesn’t know how to fix it. So she’s gone away to what she imagines is a better life. I think what she gets from the commune, besides free pot and free sex, is a sense of belonging and connection to other people, something which, for all her money and easy life, she has never felt. But not to worry. She’ll come home when the weather gets cold.

          • Kitten Mittons

            Yes, I think she has found something there that she wasn’t getting from her real life, whether it’s acceptance or attention or freedom. She did seem happy. But it’s all an escape. Temporary indeed.

      • bluebee

        I’m pretty sure either Brooks or Mona said in the scene in Roger’s office that Margaret wanted Brooks and Ellery to come live with her at the commune. (And of course, Brooks clearly isn’t into doing that.)

      • ybbed

        Its become the type of agency they hated 10 years ago.

      • Azucena

        Margaret did look pretty as a hippie. But I just kept imagining the smell- I bet it was pretty rank in that room they were sleeping in.

    • nycfan

      I haven’t seen the ep yet b/c I am behind on the season but have caught many references to the dangling phone, which is funny because pretty much that exact thing happened to me once. I came back to work (many years ago in an NYC office) from a lunch that ran a little long and the receptionist is not at her post and walk into a dead still office with no one around and a phone hanging off the side of the desk. I swear I thought for a split second the entire office had been murdered or something. Then I hear a big “surprise” around the corner from the conference room and apparently everyone had dashed over for a surprise birthday greeting in the conference room (for the guy they all loathed, of course), and I guess the phone got knocked off in the rush or something. Anyway, means nothing and I’m sure the Mad Men thing looks totally staged etc., but kind of funny that I’ve seen several comments about that around the web having had the same experience.

      • Gatto Nero

        The season so far has been peppered with (somewhat random) eerie moments meant to give the viewer (and Don, too) a sense of foreboding.

    • Beth

      Is Freddy the Neville Longbottom of mad men? Didn’t see that coming.

      • Lattis

        That is brilliant, Beth.

      • Elizabetta1022

        Yes!!!

    • ItAin’tMe

      Don’s shunning because of the one drunken meltdown. Isn’t because of the revelation that he grew up in a whorehouse? Isn’t that why Bert is so abhorrent of him now?

      • Glammie

        That’s the best excuse I can come up with, though it doesn’t make a lot of sense with Bert, who didn’t care about who Don really was before as long as he produced. The idea of Bert turning down a possible new client because the approach came from Don just rings false. Love Bert Cooper, but that was the worst scene of the episode. Clunk.

        • ItAin’tMe

          Agree. But Bert never did find out what Pete knew about Don, did he? Because he didn’t want to know? So is he now thinking that it was the whorehouse background, and is disgusted by it? Kind of goes along with his racism.

          • verve

            I think he did, and his response was the famous, “Mr. Campbell…who cares?” He later held it over Don to force him to sign the contract (heh, a contract which is now one of the only things that kept Don’s foot in the door at SC&P).

          • Glammie

            My recollection is that Bert didn’t want to know the details . . . so, I suppose it’s a bit like his casual racism in that it’s fine to hire black secretaries, but not to have them be the face in reception. By the same token, Don can come from a sordid background, but he can’t tell clients about it.

            I wish the scene had connected to that if that’s the thinking behind Bert’s attitude–or if it’s about Don’s unreliability. We need something somewhere as to why Bert agreed to take Don back in, but is turning away a potential client because Don came to him with it.

      • greenwich_matron

        I think that Bert’s main problem with Don was that he felt the need to tell everyone that he grew up in a whorehouse. Bert felt that the revelation was personal weakness and he isn’t in the business of making people feel better about themselves. When Don had a mysterious past that he seemed to have mastered, Bert was fine. As soon as Don became a sentimental whiner, Bert lost interest.

      • ybbed

        yes

    • rainwood1

      I’m with you, T Lo, on the implausibility of their treatment of Don, particularly Bert. That whole story arc now also seems old and tired because it’s been beaten to death by the Oliver Stone ‘use a big hammer’ kind of writing. We get it; move on.

      I also loved seeing Mona, but the whole Marigold story line seems so clearly written by someone who’s read about the 60’s but wasn’t there. Margaret abandoning her child to go live on a commune seemed so false to me. And Mona and Roger driving up there in their establishment-best style in three-piece suit and fur coat also seemed ill-chosen. They’re smarter than that. And Roger would have had a lot of comebacks to Marigold’s berating him as a father. “We were terrible parents. Don’t be like us.” He wouldn’t have walked away without saying something more. At least not the Roger I know.

      And the curious thing that’s missing from all these episodes is one of the things that so widely defined the times: the draft. A very small percentage of people went to live on a commune. Everybody was affected by the draft – not just men – because it happened to sons or brothers or boyfriends or friends. Finding out if you had a low draft number was a life-changing thing in the late 60’s because fewer people went to college to qualify for a deferment, but decided to go to get out of being drafted, but the deferment was only for 4 years. After that, if you had a low number, it was Hello, Vietnam. If you didn’t go to college, going into the arm happened right after high school. But if you had a high draft number, life went on as before. It was surreal how much impact this had on young people’s lives yet, none of this seem to percolate into MM.

      That’s the danger of writing about a time you didn’t live in. Unless everyone who lived it is dead, they’ll know better than you if you got it right.

      • L’Anne

        You could also work with a really good historian. There’s ton of scholarship and material out there that talks about the draft and its omnipresent place in American life. At least they dealt with it last year. I keep wondering about the age of some of the young writers like Mathis.

      • NDC_IPCentral

        I am remembering draft numbers being announced in the fall of 1969; I was in my sophomore year at A Big Ten University. A a fellow I was dating a little at the time got a low number and was really shook. Don’t remember what happened to him. I don’t recall when the draft number system began, and I really should be doing Real Work here at IP Central, so I’ll leave the research to another BK, with apologies.

        • rainwood1

          Oooh, good point. The draft was in existence and a lot of men were drafted and sent to Vietnam before 1969. The lottery started in the summer of 1969 though so you’re right. The draft was real for people before that, but the lottery is what made it real only for some people and surreal for everybody. I hope they do something about the lottery in an upcoming episode..

          • NDC_IPCentral

            I thought the lottery started in 1969; glad my memory was accurate on this.

      • Janice Bartels

        Didn’t they talk about the draft last season with Sylvia’s son? Not that it should be a one-off, but I think it has come up before.

        • Gatto Nero

          They did; and I think that was the only mention — except for the ghost Don encountered during one of his drug-fueled dream sequences.
          It strikes me that most of the young men who were drafted were not in the “Mad Men universe” demographic — though I’m sure the younger brothers, boyfriends, and sons of many in the support staff at the agency would have been affected.

          • T C

            Once the lottery started in 1969, it did not matter what one’s demographic was. Low number meant Nam, Canada, faking gay or mental illness, Coast Guard, and only if one had the right contacts, Air National Guard.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            Aside from Sylvia’s son, how woud it come up? No one in the office is eligable (Stan and Gizno are too old). Maybe one of the secretary’s might have a brother, but unless they mention something about it in the breakroom, we wouldn’t know about it. I feel like they already covered the draft issue last season anyway.

            • JeanProuvaire

              Stan is too old, but I think Ginsberg is actually supposed to be just about the right age, despite Ben Feldman being in his mid-thirties. I thought his storyline last season was potentially setting him up to be drafted in the 1969 lottery, but I don’t know that they’d expend that much screentime on him anymore, especially since it would have to happen in some of the very final episodes (wasn’t the lottery at the end of the year?)

            • L’Anne

              If he was born in a concentration camp, that would be ’45 at the latest (unless he was in a concentration-turned-DP camp after that period). So 24– definitely draftable.

            • JeanProuvaire

              Yeah, Wikipedia says the lottery encompassed those born from ’44 to ’50, and I imagine Ginzo was probably born in ’44 or ’45, so I’m pretty sure he’s draftable. Whether he’d pass a psych evaluation is another story, but who knows.

            • MadMenMurphy

              I remember Joan using the draft as a comeback when the jokers in the art department we’re giving her a hard time. Something like, “you’ll all be over there but don’t think you’re fighting for me!”

    • siriuslover

      There were LOTS of great lines, usually Mona’s or Mona’s mouthed through Caroline. I laughed out loud when Caroline read the note something like, “OK, genius, Brooks is in jail.” hahahha. And her VD comment to Margaret, and her brainwash comment to Roger. She was on a roll last night. I’ve missed her character. And I felt so bad for Mona when Margaret said that to her. She took Mona’s marital problems with Roger and made it all about herself.

      • AnnaleighBelle

        Can we get a little love for Caroline? It can’t be easy being Roger Sterling’s secretary. It’s nice, though, that she’s also not an office bunny, but a mature woman who isn’t at all afraid of him. I think she stole the episode with her recitation of Mona’s message.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          Joan knows what Roger needs. I’m guessing Joan is the one who assigned Caroline to Roger.

          • Matt

            I thought the very same thing. Joan has a very keen sense of what secretary should be assigned to the various folks. Granted, there’s been a couple of clunkers, but in general, Joan has a pretty good track record. ;)

      • Elizabetta1022

        She is her father’s daughter, indeed.

    • Becky

      I’m not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but small point: if Joan had not stopped in to Peggy’s office to talk for 2 minutes, she would have been on the elevator with Don and Freddy, and seen him drunk.

      • siriuslover

        That’s a great point.

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

        YES, they were so freaking close the entire time, OMG. It’s crazy how there are six seasons of characters getting wasted at work, then they do it and you’re holding your breath the whole time.

      • Gatto Nero

        Yes — it was a tense moment!

      • BluesD

        I cheered when Freddie and Don got out of there without anyone noticing!

    • Erica

      I have to wait for my husband to get back in town to watch this one (well, I’m going to be nice and wait), but everyone’s attitude in the office towards Don–except for Pete–has irritated me this season. But, then I think about how his character is written. First, we forgive him almost all for several seasons because of his charm and talent, coupled with the imperfections of those around him (Betty). Then, the show reminds us that he’s a total shit, actually. Then, this season, they make you think, well fine, he’s done some shitty things, but he’s not THAT bad. I mean, he could be Lou, for instance. Plus, all the other partners have been total shits at times, too. So, then I wonder, is this all writing, or is it more how Jon Hamm plays it? He’s really fantastic in this part.

    • P M

      Of all people, Freddie would have the best reason to let Don destroy himself. Of all people, it is Freddie who has turned out to be Don’s friend. And if Don turns on him again, Freddie will still be the person that he is. Because he is a fundamentally decent guy.

      That or the actor playing him is exceedingly likable. Either way, go Team Freddie/Team Rumsen!

      • Alice Teeple

        Bill Murray’s brother, as a matter of fact! I like Freddie Rumsen – it’s interesting that he has that very pronounced Chicago twang. Midwesterners are often seen as more genial than east-coasters, and his fundamental decency might be subtly wrapped up in his origins on the show.

        • housefulofboys

          I did not know this! Thanks for that!

        • Elizabetta1022

          I’m from the “Chicago-land” area, but haven’t lived in the Midwest for 30 years. Boy, did I notice Freddy’s accent last night! Very much the Chicago boy. Love those Murray brothers, too.

      • Glammie

        Disagree. Freddy was given another shot at SCDP when the company regrouped and Don didn’t want to fire him in the first place. He’s also, recently, been giving Freddie work and money. I’m assuming that Freddie’s sober enough to hold himself responsible for losing his job at SC.

        In a weird way, the bond between Freddy and Don makes sense. Freddy’s the least judgmental guy Don knows. And Don/Dick needs acceptance.

        • P M

          I like that the acceptance comes from a man as down-to-earth as Freddy. If Don were to ever confide in Freddy about Dick, Freddy might even shrug and say that it was in the past, that it’s all in the past.

    • Sofia

      the fact that don and roger gave no emotional support to freddie in his time of need is because they had no experience with recovery from alcoholism. freddie has lived through what don is experiencing now, so it makes sense that he is helping don. i wouldn’t go so far as to say freddie is a better man than don, at least. don was there for peggy after her pregnancy and he offered his support in the only area of which he had mastery at the time: how to run away from your past. not every person is equipped to deal with every crisis. roger, on the other hand, seems determined to avoid learning anything about life.

      • Chris

        I think Freddy has been shown as kinder throughout the series. He was always gentler with Peggy and encouraged her, even before he stopped drinking. That was why she was so mad at Pete for exposing him. Freddy was always her friend and confident. I think he achieved a lot of clarity when he got sober, but his nature was always kinder and better than Don’s. Which isn’t to say Don can’t be kind at times, just that Freddy is consistently so.

        • Sofia

          you’re right that freddie is consistently gentler than don. don was wonderful to peggy about her pregnancy and other matters, only to throw money in her face in a later season. the only people don is consistently caring with are his children (also anna). he busts his ass to make sure that he is never cruel to them. i can’t imagine freddie being a dick to anyone, which is one benefit of not being an alpha male.

    • hellkell

      When Freddie Rumsen tells you to get your shit together, it’s time to get your shit together. I loved his real talk moment with Don.

    • Stephanie Joyce

      Matt Weiner loves Don almost as much as he loves Peggy. The more SC&P piles cruelty on top of insult regarding Don, the more sympathetic Don becomes. Bert, Joan, and Peggy are displaying their own rotten cores here, and Don’s mostly obeiscent quietude makes him look all the better.

      • Glammie

        Yep, I feel like Weiner’s piling it on too thick so we’ll root for his hero. I don’t mind the idea, but I really mind the lame writing this episode. But, hey, Peggy smiled when Don got to work, so she’ll turn around if he continues to show her some respect.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      yes peggy and joan are mad at other people and taking it out on Don…this is completely clear

      • Scimommy

        They’re mad at a bunch of people, including Don, but Don is bearing the brunt of their anger.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Right and even though he deserves some of it…he doesn’t deserve all that he is getting

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      Oh, it is so good to read you guys in the morning. I didn’t like the episode at all and was cringing at the lack of subtlety as well. Glad it’s not just me. And I agree about the unreasonable hatred towards Don. Things just aren’t making a lot of sense to me but oh well. There is always next week. Excellent commentary – thank you! And glad you party went well. Of course it did. How I wish I could have been there!

    • NMMagpie

      Freddie Rumsen is the man. Who knew?

      I laughed when I saw that Lou had started to suit up, now that Don is in the office. While I am very tired of all the Don-hate, I am holding out that it is the foundation for a real phoenix-from-the-ashes moment.

      The one moment of asshat-ness that really got to me was Bert’s. Every time you hear another weak defense of the current SCP (“this is working”) just drives me nuts. SCP only got one Clio nod and then one of the senior partners threw away a foot in the door with what will be a defining industry. Bert needs to stop talking about death because soon enough, he will be presiding over the death of his company for sure.

      What I want to see is Stan get on this computer thing and stay with it. He could become a part of that soon-to-be newfangled movie company, ILM. I would love it.

      • siriuslover

        That’s right, Stan isn’t as averse to the computer as the other creatives. ILM for sure, or at least some form of graphic design computer use. What’s that mega important design program used by architects?

        • NMMagpie

          CAD. :)

      • NDC_IPCentral

        Compare the fit of Lou’s suit to Don’s haberdashery. I noticed that Lou’s suit jacket wasn’t filled out in the upper back, and the shoulders were fitting well, either. Don, on the other hand, sports suits that fit as though he’d paid a visit to the tailor the day before.

        • L’Anne

          Another sign of his being fine and adequate, not stellar, genius, stunning. He’s just okay, his clothes look and fit okay.

      • Alice Teeple

        It’s interesting that Stan is the one who praises the computer – because he was once lamenting the obsolescence of illustration (and his work) with the advent of photography.

        • NMMagpie

          That’s what got me thinking about where the character could go.

        • Chris

          How sophisticated were computers then? I had thought the computers were just data gatherers then with a bunch of cards. Was there even an idea in 1969 that they could someday generate art in a useful and meaningful way?

          • T C

            They were generally good for accounting and statistical work back then. Data was entered by keypunch operators onto Hollerith (80 column) cards who re-entered handwritten information on paper forms prepared by clerks, which was approved by supervisors and collected into batches. Programs ran when batches were completed and reports were printed onto 14″ wide greenbar paper. It took until the mid 1970s for major banks to use terminals at teller stations for entering customer deposits and withdrawals. There was text editing in the form of Script but that was used primarily by programmers and systems analysts to document their work. End users were never allowed near the computer itself.

    • MilaXX

      Didn’t the computer guy make some sort of remark that sounded like and Apple shout out? I need to rewatch but I remember thinking it as a bit too cute. Like in Forrest Gump where they had him being involved with all every pop culture invention in the 70’s & 80’s.

      Oddly I am enjoying Don this season even though I have to admit his treatment by the agency is unrealistic. I was rooting for Freddy to get him out of the office safely and literally shouted “Hell Yeah!” when Freddy gave him his come to Jesus speech and again when Don showed up at the office the next day and got down to work.

      • Joe Mitstein

        He was describing a literal apple, but yes, I’m sure the writers put it there for that coy reason. (Apple Computer itself was years in the future.)

      • Malia C.

        You changed your kitty av! :)

    • Alice Teeple

      The scene that weirded me out the most in this episode was Don on the telephone, joking around. I thought for a second that he was playing pretend or talking to a ghost or something, his presence was so unsettling.

      I shouted to my boyfriend that the lease rep sounded like his speech had been written by Rod Serling for an episode of Night Gallery; it sounded so heavy-handed and artificial.

      The Mets pennant was an interesting theme, but so were all the crazy death metaphors floating around: the hanging telephone, the throwaway line Harry says about Tim Conway wanting to kill himself when Don walks out the door, putting his shoes on Roger’s shoeshine kit that he got the day his mother died, the Mets pennant under the radiator (like the rat in The Suitcase), etc. Stylistically there was a lot of Kubrick, both 2001 and The Shining seem to have been referenced a bit. The sound stuff; the elevators, etc.

      I didn’t hate this episode overall, but that whole “old man look at my life” theme with Roger and Margaret got really tired really fast. I grew up the child of Back to the Land hippies, and it wasn’t like that at all. That scene felt like something from a student film about the 60s.

      • Elizabetta1022

        I agree about the surreal quality they were trying for with this episode. I also thought it was a callback to last week, when Rod Serling was mentioned. (And didn’t they show a scene from Twilight Zone at one point?) I was almost waiting for Rod Serling’s voice to start narrating this episode when Don walked into the office!

      • camdiggidy

        School us! What rang false to you about the commune? I for one would love to hear about your childhood!

        • Alice Teeple

          Well, we didn’t live on a commune, but a bunch of hippies – some from affluent families, some just middle class suburban kids like my parents, moved to rural central PA in the 70s to attempt a simpler lifestyle. One family lived in a barn milk house, one lived in a chicken coop, we lived in an old farmhouse with Amish people next door and had to live downstairs half the year because that was where the woodstove was. Sometimes our electricity was shut off because my parents had no money to pay the bills, and it sucked. There were some hardcore hippies who didn’t have electricity for a time and bragged about it, but they didn’t put it in idealistic terms – it was a competition between them of who was more “primitive” and “purist.” What I found especially false about this commune was the unnatural dialogue, it’s like how writers try to write Amish dialogue. The characters also wore these long, flowy Woodstock clothes – the hippies I knew mostly wore practical farm clothing: jeans, t-shirts, headscarves. In our experience, people did do their own things, but they just went ahead and did them – they weren’t spouting constant philosophical discussions about, say, peeling potatoes. The reality of that existence was harsh – most of those people either moved into more comfortable digs within a few years or renovated their existing places. The other thing is, most of them were conventionally married, but sleeping around on each other (there weren’t free love “understandings”). There were a lot of destroyed and swapped marriages, though. I’d say the environment was much more like that of SCP. Oh, and none of them changed their names to flowers. My guess is that Margaret’s stint on that farm will last until the first frost.

          • Rose White

            I grew up on a hippie commune and the hippie scenes rang a little false to me too. You know what it made me think of? What hippies THOUGHT they were going to be like when they joined a commune: dressed in flowing rags, living without modern conveniences, and waxing philosophically while peeling homegrown potatoes. That never happened on the hippie commune I grew up on.

            The thing that rang most false to me though was Margaret forgiving her father in the previous episode. Hippie lifestyles were based upon a foundation of resentment and rejection of one’s parents, not serene forgiveness! No one said that to their father before running away to a hippie commune. Joining a commune was all about giving your previous life the middle finger. I thought all the other posters were right on about EST making more sense.

          • camdiggidy

            Fascinating — thank you for sharing! It’ll definitely be interesting to see where Margaret’s story goes (if anywhere, other than as a foil for Sally’s).

      • T C

        Drunks with telephonitis are unsettling. IBM had school for all their sales reps and they wore a uniform. All was scripted if it faced the customer. It wasn’t until the 1980s men were allowed to wear a shirt of a color other than white, including the tech support who assembled and dismantled equipment at customer sites (was there in the late 70s and DH in the 90s). Neckties remained for quite a while longer.

        • Eric Stott

          In about 1980 I had a conference partner with a very full beard. When he said he was an IBM man I told him “A few years ago I’d have said that you were kidding”.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I had basically the same reaction about how Peggy and Joan treated Don. Sure, he deserves plenty of flack, but I thought Peggy would realize that Don actually cares about creative work and might be able to help improve their output. I guess at the very least she didn’t do as Joan suggested and run to Lou. I wonder if Peggy will be bought so easily with a $100 raise (I’m starting to think of Lou/Cutler as the dark side!). Don’s dialogue with the IBM rep was fairly ridiculous all around, except when they discussed his thought process for creating an advertising campaign.

      On a side note, I know the next week preview clips don’t really reveal anything about the next episode, but from what I could piece together it looks like Betty loses a spoon and has to rely on Don to help her find it (LOL)

    • ShaoLinKitten

      I freaking LOVED Freddie Rumsen so much in this episode. He was so right– by behaving like a petulant ass, he was giving the partners what they want. Don can come back from his downfall if only he does the work.

      As for Roger and Margaret: that was the classic child/parent standoff. To wit, my bad behavior is justified by yours, Dad. A classic tu quoque. I wish Roger had said, “Because I was an asshole and a bad parent, that means you should be too? Why don’t you choose to be BETTER than me, Marigold! Doesn’t your son deserve it?”

      • Elizabetta1022

        Exactly. Maybe seeing her behave the way he does was the last straw for him…she screwed the hippy, and then she told him basically, “I’m just like you.” There’s some self-loathing there, on both their parts. Also, I think Roger has certain standards for how mothers should behave. He can be a bad little boy until he dies, but Margaret is a mother, and therefore can’t play that game…

        • ShaoLinKitten

          There was definitely some sexism there, which is what Margaret was reacting to. However, she is rationalizing like crazy to justify abandoning her kid, just as we’ve seen Roger medicating his own guilt and emptiness away with sex, drugs, and alcohol.

      • Gatto Nero

        If he’d had any presence of mind or self-respect in that moment, he might have. But he just looked devastated. It’s maybe Roger’s lowest moment so far in the series.

        • Kathy G

          I think he just realized who Margaret was: a spoiled whiny child invested in her victimhood. Poor widdle rich girl.

    • AnnaleighBelle

      Regarding Joan: I’m not sure why she’s so against Don (unless she’s afraid he’ll take everyone down with him when he implodes), but I do think it was in character for her to acquiesce to having sex with Jaguar the Hut. I don’t think she would have been any more respected if she had refused, but would have been treated like Sal (who I think may be the closest example on the male side that we can get) – for not doing what she did anyway for the benefit of the firm. Everyone put her in the position of do-it-or-lose-vital-business-and-put-everyone-out-of-work, or just grit her teeth and take one for the team. There’s no money in virginity. She had to prove that she could play ball like one of the big boys.

      Regarding Peggy: she can be mad and lash out at more than one person at a time. She was trying to punish Ted when she gave him that message about the flowers she thought he had sent to her. Lou is not in a position for her to punish any more than her attitude already does – she has no power over him. Ginsberg is just being Ginsberg and I don’t think it really makes any impact on Peggy. For some reason Peggy feels like Pete is a war buddy of some kind. Peggy was pretty punitive toward Shirley.

      Don is now the wounded lion and we know what happens to a wounded lion. No one wants their fingerprints on that train wreck when he goes down to his “inevitable” crash. No one (except Freddie who has really no reason other than his own goodness and paying it forward) in that office is altruistic enough to take on all the Don baggage except Roger, and he only does it because he’s lonely.

      Regarding Bert: I saw his central thesis as “Why ARE you here?” Bert is certainly not going to give Don anything – he expects Don to sink or swim on his own. Although Bert should love the idea of getting in on the ground floor in computer advertising, maybe he doesn’t see the lasting value in the product – he could see computers as an expensive toy that will go the way of any expensive toy when people get bored with them. I don’t know. Just spitballing.

      I love Mona. She’s always Mona.

      Did Roger turn against the peace-and-love vibe just because his baby girl went off to screw the hippy? He seemed pretty into to the situation until that point.

      The entire episode was a study on how people were reacting to the intrusion (?) of technology into their lives. They could embrace it, fear it, fight it, or walk away from it.

      • 3hares

        Joan wasn’t in the same position as Sal at all. With Sal, thanks to Harry, the client walked in and threatened to dump the company–and the client was the main account. Don then was also annoyed because he thought as a guy who had sex with dudes anyway Sal should have just gone with it. In Joan’s case the guy was threatening to block their attempt to pitch for Jaguar–the weren’t a client yet. All the partners were ready to accept that they might have to just let it go. Even Pete. Joan’s choice was about the benefits to her, not fear of punishment if she didn’t say yes.

        • L’Anne

          And Lucky Strike was their biggest client.

          • 3hares

            Yes, the company depended on Lucky Strike. Jaguar wasn’t even a client.

        • Chris

          Plus as TLO pointed out, it was out of character for Joan to sleep with him for a partnership when all the partners knew. Joan is all about discretion. She carried on an affair with Roger for years and people still aren’t sure if it was a rumor or not. She dropped Paul because he was indiscreet about their relationship. She would have died before she let anyone at SC know she needed her job back because Greg was failing at surgery. When Pete saw her at (Bonwit Tellers?) she covered with a story about wanting first crack at the fashions. Joan does everything in a very secret agent like way. She was mad at Peggy because she fired Joey outright when Joan had a plan to manipulate a client and get him sacked. To do something that would expose her to any kind of public ridicule or talk is not her style at all.

          • oat327

            It’s important to remember that, yes, she’s all about discretion but the stakes were MASSIVE over this. At the time, she was getting divorced and would be a single mom. As Lane put it, a partnership would be life-changing for her and her son–she would have been a millionaire had the agency gone public. So she bit the bullet. Out of character? Sure. But for a million dollars and a seat at the conference room table, people have done crazier things. She could stare down everyone else, if one night meant literally going from a “glorified secretary” to a millionaire executive.

        • AnnaleighBelle

          There isn’t really any equivalent situation for a man to be in – Sal’s was the closest I could think of. No man of that time would have been put in the position of having sex with a powerful female to save the company, at least none of the men on this show. Don knew that Sal was open to having sex with a man, so why not have sex with the man who could help or hurt the company? The same with Joan. It wasn’t like they were asking a virginal 20-year-old to take one for the team (although I’m not sure they wouldn’t).

          I felt like Joan had the fear of being the cause of losing Jaguar, which may have pushed the company over the edge at the time iirc. Or of downsizing and people losing their jobs because of her. At any rate, I don’t think it was out of character for her, and I still love her.

          • 3hares

            Yes, I see where the two positions are similar with Sal and Joan, but I just mean there was no threat to Joan of the company going under or downsizing because of her or any big personal repercussions. It was the other direction, where Joan could make demands that would make it worth it to herself. I have no problem with her making that choice. She there was no threat of bad things happening to her or anyone else if she didn’t.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              Well, Sal was damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t. What Joan was asked to do was at least seen as normal. I can’t see Sal coming out of that situation unscathed no matter what choice he made. But I think that Don’s attitude toward Sal was similar to the men’s attitude toward Joan – you do it anyway, why not do it for the company’s benefit? Be a team player!

              I still feel like the company was on the edge but I’ll have to rematch to see why I feel that way (or it may just be my budweiser’s disease acting up).

      • Kathy G

        That move by Marigold was real classy.

    • Johnny Neill

      I wonder if it turns out that Don Draper coined the phrase”Burger Chef, you’re incredi-burgible!”?

    • BabsinMD

      Wow, this recap was awesome. I used to live for this show, but I am struggling with this season. Everyone is so miserable, and except for Bobby and Freddy, I am starting dislike every single character. I know Don is an ass, but it is painful to watch how they are treating him in the office and, for the most part, I don’t understand where it’s coming from. Mona and Freddy were the only high points of the episode. Although I liked the ending scene with Don getting right down to business (no time for a danish or coffee even!) and typing his tag lines. It makes me curious to see what he has planned to get himself back on top. He looked pretty focused, and I’m glad he took Freddy’s advice. Maybe he can eventually get Don to stop drinking. Don can be a pretty unlikable character most of the time, but for some reason I am still rooting for him.

    • BayTampaBay

      Did Harry Crane quit AC&P? I thought I heard that last night sometime during the show.

      • ItAin’tMe

        That was from the previous episode when Cutler brought up Harry because of the computer. Roger values Harry so little that he’d sooner fire Harry to appease Cutler than listen to a whole paragraph about him.

        • BayTampaBay

          Did not Bert say something along the lines of “Harry’s gone”? Was he talking about gone from SC&P to another agency or gone from NYC to LA?

          • Chris

            Cutler brought up Harry being a problem and Roger just yelled out “He’s gone!” It was like he was a distraction from what Roger wanted to talk about (Don) and he can’t stand Harry anyway so he basically said “fine, fire him, done” even though they didn’t do that.

            • BayTampaBay

              Chris thanks for the clarification. I drank too much wine last night.

          • verve

            I had the impression that line was meant to be dismissive of the subject of Harry Crane in that conversation, not that Harry was leaving.

          • ItAin’tMe

            Hmm..I thought it was Roger who said that.

    • Joe Mitstein

      I found it particularly unlikely (not impossible, unlikely) that Margaret would join a commune. Generally, commune-joiners never quite fit in the mainstream world well before the time they joined the commune. Margaret is straight-arrow up until this season, a dressed-to-the-nines Manhattan blue blood, and suddenly she — not a Baby Boomer, it should be remembered, but someone born during WW2 at the latest — ups and joins some two-bit commune that doesn’t appear to have a strong, guru-like leader? It’s too easy, too slotted to try and get a hippie storyline into the show. Doesn’t really seem authentic or plausible as something that character would actually do.

      • Chris

        The line that struck me was when Roger said to her “You wouldn’t even go camping.” I find it hard to imagine such a privileged, wealthy girl would adapt to no plumbing so well! I could see her going off with some expensive guru to an exotic place funded by other bored wealthy women rather than a commune.

      • NDC_IPCentral

        The Boomer generation, of which I am a member, is calculated as those born between 1946 and 1964, so Margaret falls within that range, doesn’t she?

        • Joe Mitstein

          No, absolutely not. She was married in 1963 and was definitely not 17 at the time of her wedding. Obvs. some people born before 1946 joined communes but Margaret doesn’t fit demographically or socially in other ways. I could easily see her getting into EST or TM in the 70s, or something New Age-lite at that point in time, but up and joining a particularly grubby commune in 1969, when she was still dressing like Tricia Nixon just earlier this season? Implausible.

          • Susan Velazquez

            Agree wholeheartedly. She was every inch an uber preppy Upper East Side wife when we last saw her. Not even any clunky jewelry or wild paisley prints. If she was going to experiment with counterculture, I imagine she would have done it like Jane, by hanging out with intellectuals who handed out LSD.

          • Logo Girl

            She was 18 or 19 when she married. When Roger had a heart attack I think she was still a minor.

            • Joe Mitstein

              OK, then she still wasn’t a Baby Boomer. As I said, she was born during WW2 at the latest.

            • Logo Girl

              Still close. My parents were hippies and they were born in the 30s. There wasn’t a hard delineation of who followed that path based on generation. I knew many hardcore barefoot radicals who were 50s Ivy League sorts who dropped acid in 1967 and the rest was history.

          • ybbed

            baby boomer or not, it doesn’t really matter, she is ripe for the counter culture. privileged, miserable, pushed into marriage and motherhood at a young age, all the expectations and trappings of upper crust society….perfect situation to rebel against, IMHO

        • BayTampaBay

          Some demographics for the Boomers use the cut-off as 1960.

      • ItAin’tMe

        I’m a boomer and I was around communes and commune people at that time. There were rich girls like Margaret/Mariigold, though they had usually come to the communes through more dissipated lives, and attached to a male. I think Margaret’s story is one more of the 60’s runaway wives. Betty as runaway wife would have been more interesting and I think, likely. Was hinted at a couple seasons ago when she spent a day at that east village squat.
        And I do agree that the lack of a charismatic leader is a real problem here. Even the farmhouse was ugly and depressing. Should have been overgrown with flowers and antiquey charm.

      • Glammie

        But it did happen–Marina Rust, who’s a blueblood writer at Vogue, wrote an essay about her society-wife mother leaving her father and herself and joining a commune in the 1960s. I wouldn’t be surprised if that essay influenced Margaret’s storyline.

        Margaret is feckless, immature and needy enough to lose her moorings in the 60s.

      • Kathy G

        My Dad was born in 1938 and while he was very preppy, he did have some friends who embraced the counterculture– I think it was all those young women….. Alan Ginsburg was born in the 20’s and Abbie Hoffman in the 30’s, Ken Kesey 1946, Duane Allman 1946, Greg Allman 1947…. many from Silent generation embraced Boomer culture.

        • Joe Mitstein

          Ken Kesey was born in 1935. Yes, a huge part of the counterculture and its leaders/gurus were born before 1946. The Allman Brothers — wha? They were Baby Boomers, in any event.

          As I said above, my Baby Boomer comment was a distraction of my own making. My only point in saying that is that Margaret is older than some people assume. I could have phrased that in a different way.

      • Joe Mitstein

        My Boomer comment was a distraction. My only point mentioning that is that Margaret is not as young as some people assume. Of course people deep into their 20s and 30s and maybe even older joined communes in 1969. My first sentence qualified that none of this is impossible, just improbable, due to the specific personality and circumstances with which Margaret had been portrayed up until this episode. I’m as aware of anyone of the breadth and nuances of the 60s counterculture; two of my aunts joined similar groups, one of which became a certified cult.

    • NB

      Freddie Rumsen will turn out to be the Neville Longbottom of the Mad Men universe.

      • BluesD

        I hope Freddie gets a really awesome storyline like that!

    • Fjasmine

      Roger stayed out of the Joan prostitution issue and didn’t vote on it because of Pete’s manipulation. Joan doesn’t know that because of Pete’s manipulation. I really wish that would get cleared up.

      • 3hares

        Roger did not stay out of it and not vote. He said she could do it but he wasn’t paying for it (meaning not out of his own pocket). Pete’s reporting Joan’s words of “she said we couldn’t afford it” is often seen as him lying that Joan told him she’d love to do it, but he was actually reporting her reaction the way he would any other potential client, saying he (Pete) thought she would be open to the idea, and repeating the words she chose to say no as part of the reason why. Don said no. Lane said no but then suggested Joan go for a partnership rather than cash. Bert and Roger and Pete all said yes. Nobody abstained (which would have been a yes anyway).

        • verve

          Pete is considered to be lying about Joan’s answer, because he misrepresented her actual response with her verbatim words. It wasn’t technically lying, but it was nowhere close to honest, especially since her reaction was definitely in the “no” camp. His presentation of that definitely impacted how the partners decided to vote.

          • 3hares

            But even if we accept the idea that Pete saying “I think she would be amenable” (which says she isn’t yet) followed by Joan’s no response (“she said we couldn’t afford it”) is somehow interpreted by an experienced Accounts man like Roger Sterling to mean that Joan’s totally into it, that in no way makes Roger any less culpable for going for it. Pete wasn’t hiding his desire for everyone to say yes. He stated that outright. (In fact, Pete was totally correct in his assessment of Joan’s true attitude–she was amenable if they “could afford it.”) Roger and Bert were willing to go along with it but didn’t want to look Joan in the face. So I can’t see how there’s some information that Joan doesn’t know about Roger’s reaction that would absolve him of blame to her. She’s not going to let him blame Pete’s silver tongue for voting yes and never admitting it to her or speaking to her about it. They can’t hide behind the guy they usually dismiss when it comes to something as huge as asking Joan to prostitute herself because Pete made it sound like she was kind of into it. That’s just cowardly.

        • ItAin’tMe

          That makes me sad, remembering that Lane was in love with Joan, and how gently she backed him off. I truly believe that by suggesting the partnership, which, after all, diminished his own holdings, he was looking out for her.

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

            He was trying to wave her away from accepting the $50,000 offer because it would have revealed to the partners that they didn’t have the money because he embezzled it. He may have cared for her, but his actions were almost entirely self-serving.

            • ItAin’tMe

              Ah. Pardon my romantic fantasy.

      • greenwich_matron

        I always thought Pete got way too much of the blame. Pete said she might be amenable, and he was RIGHT.

        • Fjasmine

          That is true. Bert told Pete to make sure Joan knew she didn’t have to do it. No one “pimped out” Joan. She made a choice.

    • Colette La Pointe

      When Burt told Don “you thought we’d have a creative crisis, but we’re fine” I just kept thinking, yes, you were fine because Don trained and assembled the entire creative department and did such a good job they could survive without him! Even though it doesn’t seem like they’ve done as well as Burt would like to believe. Even though I cringed when Don picked up the bottle, it did annoy the hell out of me how petty and ridiculous everyone was being this episode, especially Joan and Peggy. Peggy has never been one of my favorite characters, but they’ve taken her to a really ugly place with her disdain for Don emanating, purely, from her anger that he helped her ex-lover run away to California… I mean, it’s not as though Don gave Ted an ultimatum. This is supposed to be a woman who cares only about her career for 8 episodes and now she’s throwing away good creative work to nurse a grudge against Don for something like that? And I honestly can’t even come up with much of a reason why Joan is so angry. Season 6 was my least favorite season but I’m not liking these episodes much more to be honest! I’ve always loved Mad Men because it was such a character-driven show but I feel like they’ve gone quite out the rails with character development this season.

      • Chris

        “…but they’ve taken her to a really ugly place with her disdain for Don
        emanating, purely, from her anger that he helped her ex-lover run away
        to California..”

        I disagree with this assessment of Peggy. I have seen so many people interpret her behavior this way but to me, her anger was and is primarily about the work. Peggy was angry with Don most of last season and much of it was about work. His merger took her from her first really pleasant work environment and dropped her back working for Don. Worse, it put her in the position of being pulled in two directions by the boss who discovered and trained her and the one who admired and “nurtured” her. Don was undermining Ted and the creative department since day one. His worst sin was in destroying her aspirin commercial that she considered the pinnacle of her work. Salt was rubbed in this wound again right before Don showed up when she found out it hadn’t even been submitted for the Clios. When Peggy yelled at Don and called him a monster it was as much about ruining her commercial as it was about destroying Ted. Furthermore, Ted didn’t decide to go to CA until days after that, when he had slept with Peggy and regretted what it would do to his family. He made it very clear to her that he chose to go and why. I’m sure there is resentment on Peggy’s part for how Don treated Ted, but more importantly he threw the creative department into chaos, got himself thrown out, got her saddled with Lou and “destroyed” her commercial. Ted being on the other side of the country is just icing on the cake.

        • Glammie

          I think it’s more than the icing, but I agree that there are numerous factors contributing to Peggy’s unhappiness–a big one being a lack of respect. Unlike the last episode, she actually smiles a couple of times–when Lou butters her up with the raise and makes her feel, momentarily, that her work is valued and when Don actually gets to work.

          Thing is, Don wasn’t wrong about the St. Joseph’s commercial, but Peggy and her commercial were pawns in his battle for dominance with Ted. In that sense, Peggy’s anger over her love life and work life converge–Don didn’t respect her enough (nor did Ted, really) to treat her as a full person.

          • decormaven

            Yes. Peggy is always going to link Don to the St. Joseph’s campaign. So much of Peggy’s happiness centered around the commercial- her creative rapport with Ted, the physical attraction they shared. When the pitch was squelched by Don (even though it was right to call it off due to the residuals), it started to bring Ted back around to an awareness of his responsibilities. Peggy not only lost out on bringing that creative “baby” to fruition, she lost Ted as well by the time it was all over.

            • Glammie

              Peggy’s still childish in a way. She has a tendency toward self-pity and envy–both of which are understandable given how she’s treated and her upbringing–but those traits get in the way of her moving forward and her happiness. So far, she’s absolutely refused to see that Don might have had a point about the St. Joseph’s ad and her involvement with Ted.

              This is in contrast to Freddy, who’s clearly not holding being fired against Don, but trying to get Don to learn from his own experience. Freddy owns his own problems. Don’s learning to own his–i.e. apologizing to Sally. Peggy’s got less to own, but she’s not there yet.

            • decormaven

              Good observation. I’m ready to see Peggy move forward.

            • Chris

              Well Joan had a point about the aspirin commercial. Don was on a sabotage mission. Joan was looking at it from a number’s prospective. Don used it as a shiv to stick Ted and Peggy. Don never got involved in a money issue before- if it was someone else he would have told Joan to reign them in, or that it was accounting’s problem. He certainly wouldn’t have put on a show for the client to embarrass Ted and Peggy if it was about money. The money issue was his excuse to behave like that. Peggy may have her childish moments but no one on that show has acted like a child more than Don. Peggy has never deliberately sabotaged anyone’s work as revenge. Don arranged it so someone else was given credit for Peggy’s idea. I don’t see why she should thank him for that.

    • rkdgal

      This isn’t a comment about the plot or writing, but rather the appearance of the show this season: in several eps my hubs and I have noticed that it looks like the actors are in front of a green screen. Is this just our TV? Are we seeing things? Is it the lighting?

      • Christine Stephens

        When Sally and Don were driving it was pretty obvious

    • Glammie

      Didn’t hate the episode, but on-the-nose writing and the out-of-character stuff annoyed me. The moving of the chess pieces was way more obvious than usual. Yep, you don’t abuse Grade A talent like that–it’s too rare. You either give the guy a real second chance or throw him out the door. There were more subtle and character-driven ways to handle all of this and put Don in the little-guy position.

      Also issues with the whole computer thing. I’m an ad agency brat and, furthermore, a tech-biz ad agency brat. We didn’t have a computer ’til the first PCs came out in the mid 70s–and that was because one of the early PC makers was a client. The ad business just doesn’t require that kind of heavy-duty number crunching. What number-crunching there was was largely handled by other companies–it’s way more cost-effective to pay someone else for the research. In this case, the networks, the publications and the corporations themselves would be gathering the data about market share.

      It’s also my recollection that early computers needed to stay cool–i.e. if you worked in the computer room, it would the coldest room in the office–doesn’t make sense to put it in a room that’s centrally located with multiple doors. I suppose they’re showing it off, but it makes no sense as far as function goes.

      It’s just one of those situations where the symbolism overtakes history in a way that’s jarring. Just clunky all around. I’m only giving it a pass because of Freddy Rumsen–Don has a friend despite himself–and Mona Sterling. (Oh, and to be fair to Don about Freddy–he didn’t want him fired and, I assume, had something to do with his coming back to SCDP.)

      • 28judy

        The computer would have to be a very cold room with very pure air. I think they would have to build a special inclosure and probably no one would do that in the middle of a work floor. MW may just avoid reality on this.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, it bothers me though when MW makes such a big deal about accuracy in some things to be this off-base. Even in the 1980s. you had cold rooms for the computers.

          • decormaven

            Perhaps it’s placed in the middle just to show what a complete azzhat Jim Cutler is. Even though the location is the most ridiculous in terms of machine operation, etc., Jim wants the computer it to be front and center, practicality be damned. How many times have those of us in creative pursuits had to do something complete impratical to soothe a client’s whims? The Leasetech guy is just going to cash the check and whistle a happy tune. I think the computer is a clear signal that Jim has complete control at SDP now. He said in the last episode, “We need to invest in a computer, period.” Voila!

            • Glammie

              I hope. But it’s like a lot of stuff on this episode–the writers just didn’t work hard enough to make it all a bit more plausible–and they could have. People are coming up with all sorts of good suggestions as to why various things could occur or people could react the way they do, but we’re not getting the set-up or the reasons on the show.

              The last big piece of technology they introduced was the Xerox machine, which was in poor Peggy’s office–and the whole scenario was funny/awful and *believable.* The computer story line just isn’t.

              Even the episodes I’ve liked this season have been less nuanced and sloppier on the details than on some earlier seasons. Though, to be fair, this episode did have things I liked–Freddy’s rescue of Don. I think this is the closest thing we’ve seen to a genuine male friendship for Don and it makes a beautiful weird sense. Just with the same kind of care with the rest of the episode.

            • decormaven

              Agreed. There has been a lack of finesse that graced the early seasons. It’s interesting that the Freddy/Don interaction in this episode has resonated the most with the BK posters. I can’t decide if it’s because it was the strongest writing in the episode, our wish for a solid closing season, or both.

            • MadMenMurphy

              And, even though they have that Xerox machine, Don is typing up his tags using carbon paper?!?

        • Kitten Mittons

          They may work that into the script, though. I could easily see an episode centering around what a huge mistake it was to put the machine there, given noise and heat, (and/or the machine breaks?) and how it would further illustrate the chaos into which the office is devolving.

          Also, as someone who deals with a lot of technology upgrades, etc., it’s always amazing how little people think through tech decisions. Need a new machine? Buy one! Wait, where will it go? Wait, do we have a surge protector? WAIT, does this even interface with the rest of our system?? Things that you would think are common sense in an office setting in today’s world are often NOT common sense at all. Given the setting and that this is the very first computer many of these people have ever even seen, I would imagine that SC&P knows absolutely nothing about proper care, and they probably care even less.
          The installers should know better, but all SC&P wants to do is show the thing off anyway. I got the distinct impression that they have absolutely no idea what it will do once running.

          That may not really make it more plausible, but again, I could see a storyline showing this to be a long, ongoing, installation because nobody thought it through, and just wanted to buy a COMPUTER.

          • Glammie

            I hope so–it’s still really stretching plausibility for the time period. We’re still a few years off from computers being part of an office’s set-up, but I assume Weiner wanted to push things. Of course, he consistently gets the Harry media job stuff wrong. Always has.

            • Kitten Mittons

              That’s more likely, I’m sure :)

    • Linda

      My one comment — the closing music “The Carousel” playing as Don gets back on the pony and starts typing, and “carousel” immediately brings back the terrific Kodak pitch Don made that had me mesmerized early in season one. The ups and downs of the creative life….

    • Kristen

      I liked the episode (“bad” Mad Men is still pretty good) but agree that the anti-Don sentiments don’t make sense.

      I also wonder if Roger considers Kevin his baby and how much he was thinking of him when asking Marigold/Margaret how she could leave her baby.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Kevin is his. If Joan asked for help, the checkbook would be out in a nano-second. However Joan would never ask Roger for help.

    • TeraBat

      I think the anti-Don sentiments make sense if you consider that it wasn’t just the Hershey’s crack-up which landed Don in hot water. Throughout Season 6, Don was just unavailable. He was drunk or out of the office or physically present but not mentally there. And everyone knew he was drinking and making mistakes, probably hoping he’d turn it around. But he didn’t.

      Also, both Peggy and Joan have very good reasons to be mad at Don. Don was horrible and condescending to Peggy in the leadup to Peggy leaving him for CGC, and he wasn’t much better to her after the merger. Even worse, he gave her no tools to deal with someone like Lou – I think part of Peggy’s resentment of Don is displaced anger at Lou. As for Joan, Don pushed the Big Red Button to scuttle Jaguar; which made Joan’s sacrifice meaningless. Joan knows Don did it because he didn’t like what happened with Herb – and to Joan’s perspective, he was also someone who put personal feelings ahead of business.

      Also, I think Bert will approach the computer guys on his own. But Bert knows Don, he knows how Don can scheme, and he knows Don isn’t happy working under his former (female) protege. So I don’t think that scene was as much Bert being ‘no new business!’ but more trying to deny Don as many footholds as possible to being back in his old office.

      • Logo Girl

        This is how I read it too. Bert is all for the self-made man, but Don has been blowing it for maybe a couple of years.

        • TeraBat

          Yeah – I mentioned this in an above comment, but it could be that the scene between Bert and Don was meant to indicate just how far Don had fallen from grace. Even Bert was willing to give up the prospect of more money if it kept Don down.

    • Angelfood

      Hershey was a real account and was up for review in Feb 1969 (won by Ogilvy & Mather). It was worth $10M back then. While I agree it seems extreme to treat Don this way for one transgression (although he did lie about his identity as well) but it was a huge account to loose.

      • oat327

        Huge account, but they didn’t lose it per se–they took a meeting that went badly, and the client went elsewhere. Certainly it was no more disruptive than Roger almost losing Honda by being racist, or Don firing Jaguar to make a point, or Pete losing Vicks because he slept with a prostitute.

        But you also have to consider how many clients they must’ve lost by sacking Don. In season 1 they said it was “half” of SC’s clients who were there solely for Don, which is why he got his partnership in the first place. And sure, at a bigger agency, nine years later, it’s undoubtedly less, but you’d assume more than a few clients–millions of dollars–would put themselves in review after finding out the star creative director was gone.

        • Glammie

          Yep. This is sloppy writing–they should have made the decision to allow Don back and not oust him outright partially because of the clients wanting/expecting Don. As I’ve said before, I’m an ad agency brat and, at one point, the agency split up–after the partners tried to force one guy out. *However*, the guy they wanted out was the best copywriter and was bringing in the bulk of the business as a result. He ended up with most of the agency for that reason.

          And that was a small-potatoes regional agency. A true ad star has that much more clout. Only Pete seems to act the way you’d expect everyone to act, which is Don’s talent is something to sell to clients.

          • TigerLaverada

            Yes. I’m an ad agency vet myself, and no agency worth their salt would treat the creative heavy-hitter like this, at least in the world I worked in. I have seen agencies get all hierarchy-happy and risk-averse, though — signs of an agency on its way out of business.

            • Glammie

              Yep, I don’t have a problem with the story line in that sense or having AEs who don’t like creative, or Jim Cutler being a corporate shark, but Mad Men, which has normally been fairly good on nuances is just being kind of careless or rushed, or something.

              Also feel like they’re cramming things into 1969 which would have happened five years later. 1969 is still pretty far out there as far as the whole creative risk-taking thing goes. There’s also still a pretty high tolerance, too, for boozing. The crackdown on that behavior also comes a bit later. Though I suppose Don’s meltdown is so public . . . but, anyway, we’re getting aftermath when the 60s are still going. (The 60s zeitgeist really goes ’til about 1972.)

            • Inspector_Gidget

              That’s an interesting point. Cutler does seem to represent the more modern, multinational corporation mindset. It’s all about the bottom line, creative is a nuisance that is barely necessary, ads only have to be good enough to keep clients paying their bills, individuals are inconsequential, and all that.

            • Glammie

              Yep, but when you’re with the agency that mindset seems a bit off–it’s a poor salesman that doesn’t think much of his own product. Jim should/would be selling his clients on the wonders of SCP’s advertising and pushing them to increase their budget . . . though I think TigerLaverada’s got a point that the risk-aversion is a sign of deeper troubles at SCP. All the protests that things were fine without Don come of doth-protesting–too-much. People don’t want to be beholden to Don’s talent. With some interesting exceptions–Pete, Roger and Ken.

        • gogobooty

          I agree with this. Also would like to add that some clients are drawn to working with DD, sort of going the cutting edge, dynamic route, while plodding Lou probably works well for the meat & taters kinds of workman ad jobs. Perhaps it is matter of each person having his/her own resentments toward DD…plus gradually over time becoming accustomed to slow & steady accumulation of low-drama but still well-paying clients. Maybe for some people dealing with Don’s glamour dazzle + unpredictability is no longer worth it.

    • EddieA

      Joan doing her best Angela Channing in Peggy’s office. Ha ha. All she needed was Chao-Li.

      • Matt

        I could totally see Christina Hendricks playing Angela Channing if they ever did a “Falcon Crest: The Beginning” movie or something. ;)

    • ItAin’tMe

      Is Don/Dick’s status as a deserter still an issue?

    • Rachel McDowell

      Speaking of heavy-handed writing, the computer guy actually said, “It’s been my experience, these machines can be a metaphor for whatever’s on people’s minds.” So, just in case we hadn’t noticed, the computer is a metaphor!

      • 3hares

        Except when it’s replacing the couch. Then it’s literal.

        • decormaven

          And the couch is full of farts.

    • Glammie

      Okay, this episode really did annoy me as far as reality-check/character consistency go, but I did like the way that Don was given a choice between two paths–Freddy and Lane. The guy who survived being canned and humiliated and the guy who couldn’t. I like the narrative arc well enough this season, which makes the clunk factor last night all the more annoying.

    • Alloy Jane

      I really loved seeing Mona back on-screen. I particularly loved what she said to Roger about why he should be the one to go get Margaret, too funny. But oh boy, they are getting quite heavy handed and last season’s clunkiness is still showing in this season. It made zero sense for Don to turn on the tech guy like that, and maybe it’s been a while since he’s been that deep in his cups but that was OTT drunken shenanigans.

      You know, I have to disagree that it was “just” the Hershey thing that back-burnered Don. Like @terabat:disqus mentioned, he was either drunk or absent all of last season and before that, he was on “love leave,” as Bert put it. So that’s two years or more of Don jeopardizing the firm by allowing his personal life to interfere with business. This is after years of being the “temperamental genius” that they depended on and often had to tiptoe around. His time away showed them that they didn’t “need” him, even if they weren’t being particularly productive creative-wise. Things were stable and most people will take stable over dynamic. Hence why they all rallied to protect the status quo.

      It seemed like a bit much for Don to go diva on being part of Peggy’s team when I thought it was implied that with all those conditions, his role would be junior in order to keep him in line. The conditions were a clear stripping of authority (which is why so many of us were surprised he took them) and that’s his penance in order to continue on with the company. And while Peggy’s been fairly petty up to this point, I don’t think her calling in Don was about being petty. She wasn’t the one who “picked” Don to do work for her, she was given him and told that she was the one in authority, complete with a raise to hammer the point home. “Have you told Don yet?” “You’re the one in charge, Sweetheart.” Creative genius or not, it would have been wrong of Peggy to defer to Don after being told that it’s her responsibility to lead the pitch. She did her best to be diplomatic about informing him that she’s in charge, but the bottom line is that she IS the one in charge. It’s like in a music ensemble, or the military. It’s all about working together and making things happen, and if that means accepting or deferring authority to get the job done, so be it. But that was a hugely dickish move by Lou to put her in that position just to make Don eat it.

      And I love Freddy for being there for Don, not just to pull him out of the shitter, but to hit him with reality that this is his second chance and if he wants it, he needs to get in there and do the work. Don needs Freddy’s “been there” tough love.

      But that Burt remark was just, wow. Considering his response when they found Lane, I can’t believe that they would have him say such a thing so glibly. I can almost buy him going off on Don about not understanding his new place (sort of since new work is money and Burt’s priority), but the Lane remark was too low.

      • Zoey

        She definitely enjoyed having Meredith call Don to her office. She wasn’t diplomatic about it at all. She very clearly told him that she’s his boss and seated him on the couch next to the eager beaver that can’t afford to get married. It wasn’t about “working together”. She lorded it over him a bit.

        • FibonacciSequins

          I need to re-watch. I thought Peggy was right to establish the pecking order with Don very clearly, but now I’m feeling I missed something in their dynamic this episode.

        • Alloy Jane

          But she IS his boss. Lou made Peggy Don’s boss and the truly diplomatic thing to do would have been for Lou to mediate the power shift. But since Lou is just using Peggy to put Don in his place, that was never going to happen. Peggy called in Don because that’s how that works. “I’m in charge, you come to my office.” She told Don she had good news and that she hoped he would see it that way. It was her way of acknowledging the table turn in terms of power while showing that power. There’s not much she could’ve done that wouldn’t be handing over authority to Don. Soloists, like dogs, stand their ground at the center. Peggy was asserting her authority. It’s not like she was shooting down Don’s ideas before they came out.

          • ShaoLinKitten

            How can she be his boss when he’s a founding partner? She’s the head of the creative team on this account, but he is still the one who attends the partner meetings. It’s just super awkward all around.

          • Zoey

            That’s not how it has to work. You don’t have to assert dominance the very first chance you get. She could have talked to him privately. But instead she sat him on the couch next to Johnny Mathias and demanded (albeit nicely) 25 taglines out of the both of them. She should have known that she needed to tread lightly with Don. I doubt that Don would ever have taken Peggy as his boss well. But her actions only served to shake up the bee hive.

            • Alloy Jane

              In 1969, hell, in 2014, in a male-dominated profession, as a woman, you absolutely have to assert your authority immediately or you risk giving it away. Especially when working with alpha males. You don’t ask for permission to be in charge, you show that you are. If Peggy was in a position of real authority, having a private word with Don might have been effective at getting him to accept the new hierarchy. But she isn’t and those whose authority is in question have to assert it.

              Don may be a partner, but this is Peggy’s campaign and it’s her chance to show her worth and she can’t do that by tiptoeing around Don’s ego. Peggy may be presumptuous and at times obtuse, and recently she’s been wildly petty, but in this instance, this isn’t pettiness so much as an inconvenient, awkward necessity.

              I’m not sure if you’ll see my perspective, but I’ve seen what happens when a young (female) leader tries to be polite and tread lightly around a dethroned, former (male) authority figure. It was ugly, and messy, and came with many ass-reamings from those that put her in charge for not keeping him in line. So I can’t fault Peggy for her actions.

            • TeraBat

              And it must have been worse for Peggy. She wasn’t brought up to be a leader or a manager or to have authority over anyone except small children. She was a Brooklyn Catholic growing up in the 40s and 50s, probably chastised as a girl for being ‘too bossy’. I cringe every time I see Peggy mishandle an underling, but I totally understand why she’s doing it. She’s trying to emulate the male leaders around her, but gender expectations keep screwing that up for her. Even in 2014, if you’re not a doormat, you’re a bitch. And Peggy did not even convince Don to do the work – that was all Freddy and his pep talk.

            • Chris

              Plus Peggy’s only example of a woman with any power in that office was Joan and her tactics are completely different. Joan is all about behind the scenes machinations. Peggy is more confrontational and doesn’t seem able to work a scheme to save her life so emulating Joan wouldn’t help. Peggy has always acted more like one of the guys and found that acting like a strong male boss just gets you feminine powder jokes in your work folder.

            • Alloy Jane

              Can you imagine if Trudy had been raised to want a career? She would never have to convince anyone of anything because she is naturally authoritative and utterly unapologetic about it. Peggy doesn’t have that, plus she’s generally awkward so it’s much harder for her. It’s not like she’s incapable, she’s good at her job and recognizes quality, hence the Ginsberg hire despite him being someone who could “threaten” her position. And speaking of Ginsberg, he’s as much as a creative genius as Don. Don is even threatened by him, but no one is itching to make him creative director. Why? He’s volatile. That’s why Don’s being put through his paces. He’s too volatile to be put back in charge, but why not get good copy out of him while he’s there? What did Cutler say? “He’s nothing if not a good copywriter.”

            • TeraBat

              Honestly, I think Peggy could benefit immensely from a weekend leadership seminar. Some people know instinctively how to lead, other people need to be taught. I think Peggy’s in the latter camp, in a setting where no one really realizes what she needs or how to give it to her.

            • decormaven

              Yes, think about it. How many powerful women (as in terms of the corporate culture) has Peggy truly come in contact with by this time? Faye Miller. I’d give a nickel to have that character come back in now.

        • TigerLaverada

          A terrible dynamic for producing good work. She’s emulating Lou, under whom she suffers in the same way she’s treating Don. Stupid. In a large cast of characters pretty much lacking in any sort of personal insight, she seems to be the most blind at this point.

          • ShaoLinKitten

            Feels like they’re rehabbing Don this season at the expense of Peggy this season.

          • Zoey

            Yes, she hasn’t had a lot of great role models on how to inspire your team, with the exception of Ted. She could have used him as a role model. She said last episode that she would never produce better work than her St. Joseph’s ad which was under Ted’s direction. But instead she chose to do what Lou or even Don does and attempted to assert her dominance. Very short sighted.

        • P M

          Regardless of how nice she could have been (and lord knows Peggy doesn’t have very developed people skills), it’s a very awkward situation to have put her in. How is she supposed to treat the Creative Director anyway? How was she supposed to include him?

      • T C

        Burt could have terminated Don at the mention of new business. Don was in violation of his new employment contract by seeing clients (potential clients) unsupervised.

        • FibonacciSequins

          But he was just answering a question for someone contracted to do work for the agency. He didn’t consider the guy a potential client until some point during/after the conversation.

          • Glammie

            Yep and he did follow protocol by bringing it to Bert and saying just to send someone out to them–that it didn’t have to be him.

        • siriuslover

          I thought that it was OK to talk about potential clients but “pitches” had to be run through the rest of the partners to ensure he didn’t go off script (as with Hershey)

        • 3hares

          But defining clients that way says Don can’t talk to anyone. The guy was in the office doing a job, he wasn’t looking for advertisers.

          • T C

            Having been on a corporate leash (well in the past), I have been in the hot seat with advocates and adversaries splitting hairs on the definition of their terms, especially the words speak, talk, client, customer, competition (internal and external).

      • Fjasmine

        I think you are right that people are fed up with Don cumulatively. They have all been covering for him for the past 2 years.

    • Elizabetta1022

      Right before falling asleep last night, I was thinking about how Don is in some ways like Ebenezer Scrooge (looks out for himself, not given to being overly generous with his fellow man or woman, with a few exceptions), and that Freddie is like the Ghost of Marley. He serves to remind Don that if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll end up like him: a freelancer bouncing from place to place; a “ghost” on Madison Ave. If Mad Men is a story of redemption and rebirth, Don may just end up walking away and starting over somewhere else where he can be who he really is without fear of rejection or shame.

      • FibonacciSequins

        I like your analogy and your vision of where the story is headed. I’m half-hoping Don will walk out (taking Peggy with him, after getting back on good terms) and start fresh, having learned from his past mistakes.

        • Elizabetta1022

          Me too. The other choices for the narrative are a bit dismal. PS I LOVE your screen name!

          • FibonacciSequins

            Thanks! It’s a character from PowerPuff Girls (voiced by Ringo Starr, no less) – I wish I could take credit for thinking of it!

            • AnneElliot

              And I LOVE your avatar. I’ll never see Edith Head without thinking of Edna Mode from The Incredibles.

        • Guest

          Me too. The other choices for the narrative are a bit dismal. PS I LOVE your screen name!

      • Laylalola

        It’s a hamfisted reference to the ghost of Virgil in the Divine Comedy.

        • Elizabetta1022

          Aha. I’ve never read the Divine Comedy, so just checked out the synopsis online. Makes sense. They will be traveling through purgatory for awhile until Don gets to paradise, seems like. (So that makes Sally Beatrice, perhaps?)

          • Glammie

            Don’t rule out Peggy–it’s a nonsexual relationship and all that focus on Beatrice’s eyes.

            • Elizabetta1022

              Now I’m wondering if Stephanie is Beatrice…

    • FibonacciSequins

      Spot. Effing. On.

      I’m at a loss to understand how a founding partner with a ‘creative genius’ rep has been busted down to copywriter (working under Peggy, really?). As others here have already pointed out, Don’s been established as having been responsible for a good chunk of the firm’s client base. I understand what the new computer represents (not to mention Lou and his cardigans), but Don’s fall at work has been a little too far, if you ask me.

      But maybe it will make his anticipated (by me, at least) redemption/triumph all the sweeter?

      • TigerLaverada

        This scenario with Don is, in my 20 years in the ad biz, wildly unrealistic. I guess they’re going for a big redemption arc for him in the agency, but IRL he would have been courted by other powerhouse agencies for megabucks as soon as he hit the pavement. Creatives like him are rare and highly prized. Blowing up accounts happens, it’s not that uncommon. Alcoholic CDs are a dime a dozen, believe me. Nobody would give two shits about his rocky personal/professional history as long as he could produce Draper ideas.

        • Glammie

          We did see him courted, but it would have been a lot more aggressive–and, yep, agents always lose clients–so agencies are always on the lookout for the next one. Harry’s value, which we don’t see much of, would be that his connections would let him know which companies were on the look-out for new agencies.

          I know one other fellow ad-agency brat–her father, unlike mine, was a pretty high-profile guy. One of the first things she said to me is “Everyone is advertising is a functional alcoholic.” Both of our dads were and they were far from the only ones. Not just the guys in the agencies either–lots of the ad managers, space reps, etc. drank a lot as a matter of course. Usually at lunch, though–people don’t remember, but the three-martini lunch was a *limit* as far as tax deductions went.

          I suppose the whole boozy culture started to pull back around the 1974 recession when cost and efficiency started to become bigger concerns.

    • Are you nuts

      Is the commune the same house that Dick Whitman lived in as a boy?
      Also, do we know what happened to Peggy’s secretary (the one with the flowers)? I love that she and Don are SHARING the least competent secretary in the history of the show.

      • Zoey

        She is with Lou.

      • Malia C.

        As Zoey said, Shirley is with Lou and from the preview, she’ll be back in some significant way next week.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Meredith is with Don, Peggy has a new secretary, the redhead (we saw her, but she hasn’t been named yet,)

      • Eric Stott

        If you mean the farm, I don’t think so – and definitely not the whorehouse in Hershey PA.

      • MissKimP

        According to the Gothamist site, it’s the same house, though not meant to be literally the farmhouse that DW grew up in.

    • Malia C.

      I really hope I’m off on this, but this episode and the last have really felt like “fever dreams” episodes (if that makes any sense). I kept waiting last week for Don to wake up and us to see his “real” return to SC&P, especially given the cross-cutting of him looking at his watch and arriving at the office. I had the same feeling again last night. I really hope we are not going to get to episode seven and find that this has just been some hallucination, before the real final season begins.

      • siriuslover

        that would piss me off.

      • mad girl

        My husband keeps saying that too. Yeah it world make us angry, but at least it would justify why everything has been so off :)

      • decormaven

        There have been some dream-like qualities to these last two episodes in terms of the office scenes. I also would be disappointed if that turned out to be the case.

      • CommentsByKatie

        I agree, for me there is definitely discordant notes and strange cinematography that create sort of a dreamscape feel. I thought maybe it was purpose to reflect the paranoia/uncertainty/stress of the times, and of Don’s current situation.

    • msdamselfly

      Having just watched this episode, I much preferred it to last week, except for the conversations between Don and the computer geek which were too on the nose and boring. Also, I thought Mona’s acting was horrible. The scenes with her were so awkward. But I enjoyed seeing Don’s reaction when Peggy told him of his assignment. His expression was priceless and his subsequent tantrum revealed him in a different light which was nice for a change.

      • Glammie

        I don’t think Mona was awful, but there was something off in the direction as well as the script. I generally love the character and the rapport between Mona and Roger. The computer guy struck me as kind of awful as an actor, but, again, the direction seemed off.

        • Annaline39

          Well he did get killed off in the hospital shooter episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

          • AnneElliot

            THAT”S where I’ve seen him!! Thank you!

          • decormaven

            I love that so many Mad Men actors have appeared on Grey’s Anatomy. Peggy, Jimmy Barrett, Francine, Kitty Romano, Anna Draper, Mirabelle… it goes on and on.

        • lillyvonschtupp

          Isn’t John Slattery and Talia Balsam (Mona) married in real life?
          Talia Balsam also had the privilege of being the first Mrs. George Clooney.

          • FibonacciSequins

            Yes, they are married. Love Talia Balsam and she’s a lucky lady to be married to that silver fox.

          • Glammie

            Yep, I’ve always thought the reason Mona and Roger were so effective is that the two actors are married–I’m thinking of Roger’s heart attack and his calling for Mona. When he left her, it felt like a big mistake–that Roger had really lost his mooring. I prefer him with Mona than with Joan. There’s that sense they can hold one another up if need be.

        • mad girl

          Agreed Glammie, I also thought some direction was off.

    • Malia C.

      Am I the only one who celebrated another Megan-free hour? :)

      • Fjasmine

        No.

      • Therese Bohn

        I for one hope this is IT for Megan — She said to Don last week “This is where it ends”, and I hope she meant it. Don has no need to go to CA not unless Ted and Pete need him. I suspect we’ll see more of Megan anyway, after all Pare said herself that Megan gets ‘put through the ringer’ this season — with only 3 episodes left until next year, I think it’s possible that she’s not entirely through the wringer yet. (There are wolves in that canyon).

        • Garry Todd

          Did anyone else notice that Don heard sirens at his NY penthouse after Megan said “This is where it ends” and she hung up? Didn’t sound to promising for Megan.

      • Frankie Carter

        I’ve noticed that the episodes I’ve liked this season feature very little of her or none at all. Which is a shame, in a sense, because frankly I liked the *idea* of Megan and felt another person in the role could have pulled it off much better. It was handled awkwardly and while Jessica Pare is a lovely young lady her acting skills are almost jarringly off compared to the rest of the cast. She just doesn’t jell.

      • Teresa

        I am with you 100%, never cared for her.

    • Man Dala

      I tend to agree with your view that there appears to be too much hate directed at Don right now. The only explanation I can find is that Matt W and his team of writers sometimes see the world though Don’s eyes and, Don being mostly a self-centred and egoistical child that tends not to register that others exist, we get that much hate directed at him because that’s all he’s seeing right now.
      My favourite storyline was Roger’s. I absolutely LOVE Talia Balsam, and her portrayal of Mona is incredible. When she shows up at the commune with her fur, jewellery, big hair and makeup I died. As radical and devastating that the abandonment of a child is, Marigold has a good point when she reminds Roger that her form of neglect is no worse (and arguably much more honest) than Roger’s. He being literally dragged through the mud after this confrontation with his reality as an awful parent resonated heavily with me.
      And, of course, I also loved how the tables turned between Freddy and Don, Freddy was always humble about his downfall and thankful for second chances, and him dick-slapping that little-self-entitled-bitch-called-Don’s face was the perfect 360 for his character.
      Solid episode in my view.

    • d4divine

      TLO…mucho love…this analysis says it all. The only thought I could muster last night was, this shi! is getting in my nerves.

    • Angel O’Leary

      I really like this episode despite it being another downer. I think this will prove to be one of those episodes upon which the future of the show hinges. Freddie, with his ‘Fix your bayonet’ speech, helped Don find Don again. I feel that Don has been fully Dick for quite some time now and I think that Freddie reminded him that he is Don also.

      I thought the use of The Hollies’ ‘On a Carousel’ for the closing music signified that Don has come back around.

      I don’t know what is up with Roger. I hope that all the doomsayers are wrong. I would like to think that he and Mona get back together and raise their grandson together. Or that he becomes a counter culture spiritual leader.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        So Freddy gives Don the “fix your bayonet” speech, and Don straightens up and goes to work and sits down at the typewriter. I just wonder how long that’s going to last. It’s rare that someone hears one “fix your bayonet” speech and does great forever after. It wouldn’t be realistic if Don stayed on the straight and narrow from now on; he will have a few setbacks, and he’s still in a precarious position.

        • Angel O’Leary

          Don has been trying to change for a while and keeps getting kicked back down. Freddie’s speech wasn’t an instant fix, but did happen when Don needed some support. By basically telling him that it was up to Don to fix himself and to just do the work, Freddie showed Don a way to drag himself out of the gutter. Obviously Don is not fixed: he’s an alcoholic, his family life is a mess, and most of his coworkers hate him. But by focusing back on his work- the thing he is best at- the return of some of his confidence may act like enough of an armor against the blame for past transgressions so that he doesn’t slide all the way back down.

          • 3hares

            I have to say, I don’t feel like Don’s been kicked back down much at all.

    • starfish

      Probably already been said this late in the day but my theory on Berts anger is all about Don firing Jaguar and ruining their offer to go public. Of course Bert can’t be direct about it because the partners wrongly went behind Dons back and left him out of the proceedings. Why do you suppose they did that? Bert could have cared less when he found out from Pete about all of Dons lies and illegalities. It’s not like he never saw anyone drinking in the office before. Remember the lawnmower?

    • Samantha

      I was interested in all the talk of the Mets and going to the moon this episode. Since later in 1969 man would walk on the moon and the Mets would win the World Series I wonder if it’s some kind of foreshadowing of Don coming out on top after all.

    • Mia Bard

      Loved the comment by Roger (to “Marigold” and the other hippies) that “there’s always a hierarchy”. But the comment is more pointed to the office than the commune. For poor Don, the hierarchy has now come full circle, and now the master (Don) is answering to his protege (Peggy).

      • Elizabetta1022

        I think in many communes, there always was some kind of unspoken hierarchy, which is why so many of them failed in the end.

    • Azucena

      Is it just me or did this feel like the end of Matt Weiner’s Dante Inferno metaphor? Freddy is the Virgil to Don’s Dante. All the loud noise and chaos, what Don feels is betrayal (traitors inhabit the 9th circle of hell), and the center of it all, computer guy who plays at being God (and has Don basically call him Satan?). I feel like the scene with Freddy was them coming out on the other side of the earth at dawn, both poets and ready live life having faced death and survived. The Carousel references in the song at the end suggest that Don has come full circle, but his experiences have changed him.

      That all said, the dialogue really was heavy handed in this episode, I assume because cramming all that symbolism on top of the Kubrick references takes some doing. But I think it was supposed to feel bizarre and hellish. Still, I am hoping that they get back to realistic character development in the rest of the series because there’s only so much the audience can take of this– it has started to seem like the characters are being used as puppets for Matt Weiner’s philosophizing.

      • Laylalola

        We’re still in the Divine Comedy, but I’m pretty certain we moved out of Hell and into Purgatory at the start of the season (Pete even explicitly said he didn’t know whether he was in hell or limbo a few episodes ago). And yes Don was calling the computer guy Satan, I think he might have been playing off the Rolling Stones “hope you guessed my name” lyrics saying he knew his name. This is going to go all the way through the last episode, with the ascent through Heaven too.

        • Azucena

          Ok I’ll buy that we’re in Purgatorio here- Virgil is still present and he’s back but in limbo at the same time.

          But there must be more to him calling the computer guy Satan. That is very heavy handed to be referencing music that Don doesn’t even listen to.

    • Melissa Brogan

      I loved Freddie in his scene with Don at the end.

      • Daphnemcl

        Yes. I like feeling the feelings these characters have for each other.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      I thought Roger’s Cletus line was pretty hilarious. It reminded me of the Simpsons:

      Some folk’ll never eat a skunk,
      But then again some folk’ll,
      Like Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel.

    • 28judy

      Let’s see if Margaret/Marigold stays on the commune when she is pregnant and the weather turns cold.

    • John G. Hill

      Sounds like T & L are getting ready to divorce themselves from Mad Men. I agree this whole thing against Don seems like it’s going on forever. It’s like MW wants to hammer this home before the redemption is possible. This also felt very TV like. I remember the first episode of season 1. It was shot as well as any movie. The commune stuff felt borrowed from a bad tv show. The best thing?, Don’s slow burn towards Peggy. However, if Don had thrown the typewriter, every person in the office would have heard the commotion, especially Peggy right next door.

      • 28judy

        the commune story was borrowed from life Magazine.

        Things are very bad for Don right now. Everyone hates him pretty much and most of the partners want to get rid of him. Do his past misdeeds warrant all that anger? Maybe not, but maybe that anger and precipice of danger are reflecting the world on 4/18/69. Nixon and his chums were considering nuclear retaliation over the Korean incident. Walt Frazier was back in the line-up and crucial to the team but they lost. Things are not going to get better for the country. Will they get better for Don?

      • decormaven

        The commune stuff did seem to be borrowed from bad TV dramas. Reminds me of “Maybe I’ll Come Home in the Spring,” featuring a very young Sally Field and David Carradine. At least one of the hippie kids didn’t have a bad acid trip!

      • P M

        If that’s true about T & L that would be really sad.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Looking back, Joan’s sex-for-partnership swap was the point the show lost me just a bit. I mean, I still watch and enjoy for the most part, but it seems like it’s getting cheaper and less realistic. It’s never a good sign when a show uses some crazy, implausible plot device to shove a character into a new role. (“Hey, we know Lucy Liu was just a client but… she actually went to law school and never used her degree! Yeah, that’s it. So now she’s a lawyer and a partner!” … It makes me sad when Mad Men makes me think of Ally McBeal.)

      A late 60s female secretary/office manager suddenly becoming a partner in an ad firm just seems so… loony, regardless of the circumstances. Wanting to do something new and interesting with the character doesn’t really justify the wacky premise.

    • Lady Bug

      Love Roger & Mona, but could have done without the Margaret/Marigold storyline. Not because the actors did a bad job (they didn’t), but the entire time, I kept on thinking-there are only 3 episodes left this season, I wanted to see more of Roger & Cutler, Pete, Joan, Dawn, Peggy, Stan etc. That being said, Roger’s look after he mud wrestled with Margaret and she told him off, was absolutely devastating and made me really feel for him. Very well done moment.

      Speaking of Roger, I love that he & Pete Campbell of all people, are now somewhat allied together regarding Don Draper. It’s a purely business alliance on their part and not based on any mutual like or even respect between Roger & Pete, but I would love to see Pete & Roger ally against Cutler & Lou.

      California Pete! I feel cheated that Pete was featured in the promo clip, but was only on air for 2 minutes. That being said, I thought VK made the most of the scenes he was in, especially when Pete finds out about Tom’s heart attack. Pete may be ‘starting over’ in California, but he still has real connections with his NYC life as well-Tammy, Trudy, SC&P. Please, please, get Pete back to NYC ASAP. I like Bonnie, so he can bring her along too. Hell, I would DIE for a Trudy-Bonnie scene. His line about a “cruise trip that only one of us will enjoy” had me LOLing.

      I like Meredith. :)

      • Daphnemcl

        I think the Roger and Mona story had its purpose. It was to show that Roger’s being an absent father had it impact and while it was too late for him it wasn’t too late for Don because his kids are still young. In the end Don will also redeem himself by becoming a better father.

    • Adriana

      I got the impression that the conversations between Lloyd and Don were stiff because Lloyd was trying to sell Don the idea of advertising his business; his demeanor and many of his lines came off like he was presenting an as pitch to Don. And maybe Don saw a bout of himself in Lloyd…an upstart with intelligence and ideas and the presumption/determination to seek out the right person to push those ideas into reality.

      • Shawn EH

        They were getting along because Lloyd was being fairly up front about his intentions; but Don was being treated so badly by everyone else he lost it at an easy target.

    • Daphnemcl

      I really liked the “godliness of the computer” discussion that Don and Lloyd had. It was very Shakespearean. It reminded me of Hamlet’s “What a piece of work is man”. Fast, deep, a little hard to understand. The office is certainly a sterile promontory, full of pestilence.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      I got two words for this episode: Stan’s lovebeads

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      The scene with Bert and Don in Bert’s office struck me deeply when Don took off his shoes. Last episode, much was made about having to take off the shoes (“Why doesn’t she have to take them off?”).

      My interpretation of Bert is that in taking off your shoes isn’t just to follow Asian custom that he favors for no reason, it’s how you display your manners – do you question it, do you point out when other people aren’t following the rules, do you make a show out of following the rules? How do you respect others request? Watching Don take off his shoes, he made sure he made eye contact with Bert as a way of noting that he is observing the rules and following them, as he did when saying that there is a potential new client instead of trying to get the computer’s business himself.

      In my opinion, it showed that Bert doesn’t care that Don is acting the part. Bert, as a Randian, would consider Don, who has gone lone cowboy too many times to count, without balls for even wanting to come back to the conditions they laid out. It was a way of saying, “If you want to impress me, you’re going to have to do a lot better than office gossip and taking off your shoes.”

      If Don wants to succeed, he can’t do it by becoming what he thinks SC&P wanted him to be over a year ago.

      • Glammie

        Another good interpretation, but Weiner, again, didn’t get it out there and it doesn’t explain why Bert tossed aside the possibility of new business after letting Don/Dick back in.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/divine_aphasia/ Constant Cat

      Something about the lighter, between computer man and Don. Passing the flame of knowledge. The Monolith. Very 2001: Space Odyssey, baby. (I felt like using ‘baby’. There’s a giant sky baby in the film, after all!)

      Peggy’s a classic people pleaser. (Takes one to know one, unfortunately.) Angry Daddy Lou finally comes to her with some good news after she ‘underthabreath’ talked shit about him and was fearing the worst. I fully believe in a change of heart when you thought your neck was on the line.

      Bert is out of touch. I’m still not certain I buy his treatment of Don either.

      The overt call backs to Lane are fascinating. The Mets flag, the office. These people mattered. He mattered. Don shouldn’t kill himself. Death is hanging overhead but he won’t. Freddie is fascinating. Who knew?

      I think everyone secretly wants Lou to fry in that Mr. Rogers sweater. There’s gonna be some sweet comeuppance a few ep’s from now. I liked it! I agree, the language is on the head, but the jokes landed so well. “I’ll have Cletus drive me back.” Bless you Roger Sterling.

    • Garry Todd

      Maybe this is just me, but did anyone else get a “Green Acres” vibe when Roger and Mona showed up at the commune/farm? And, as my girlfriend noted, THE WIFE LEFT! :) Again, the ending song was perfect. and YAY FREDDIE for giving Don the kick in the ass he needed to get over his petulant acting out. As for the computer leasing guy/new biz that Bert turned down, I suspect that guy was watching Don and Bert had already worked on him about ads(or Harry had that going), but either way, this guy was spying on Don and reporting to Bert. Just like Roger asking his secretary, “Is he here?” and Joan blabbing to Peggy(perhaps in itself a violation of Don’s condition–confidentiality, anyone?), there are eyes and ears everywhere, so I’m glad DD wised up and accepted his penance. Lou is toast though, and his bland ass can’t be shitcanned quickly enough for me.

    • http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/3945/ShowForum.aspx nancykelley

      How about Caroline. You didn’t mention Caroline – and I love her. She is the perfect counterpoint to Roger – she is almost equal to Mona in her droll assessment of Roger and her flip replies, the difference is that Caroline doesn’t harbor the years of resentment that Mona does (that Mona earned) but Caroline is his office wife, for sure.

      • mad girl

        I love how she played with little Ellory, it was so sweet.

        • Shawn EH

          “I’m to keep him playing, you’re to go in now.” and “When could you have left something in there?” She’s got it down, and she’s always nice about it.

          • P M

            Caroline knows everything about Roger, and doesn’t seem to display any rancor towards him. Do we know when Caroline was introduced as a character? She wasn’t in the first season (Ginger who cuts her own hair was)

    • Cincinnatus

      Why do the other partners take their shoes off in Bert’s office? The employees I can understand but for the partners it seems too servile.

      • Joanna

        Bert’s into Japan. It’s what the Japanese do.

      • Not applicable

        they show has never really explained it- other than 1. Bert is a bit eccentric 2. he seems to have a penchant for Asian culture and customs (like not wearing shoes inside the home and 3. May even be an early germaphobe… Or a mix of all 3.

      • 3hares

        It’s not a symbol of servility. Bert’s not wearing shoes either.

      • girlsaturday

        I think it’s a combination of two things. First, even if there are other partners, Bert is the one that started Sterling Cooper with Roger’s father – he’s been there from the beginning and I think they have a certain respect for him because of that. There also seems to be a touch of ‘dotty old uncle’ about it, that the other partners kind of like humoring him because he’s reached the point where his eccentricity is charming to them. It also makes for great little moments like Joan’s “Do you mind? I’m wearing boots today.”

        • P M

          Not to mention Bert’s wincing grimace as a response :D

    • Therese Bohn

      I happily await Wednesday’s MadFashion!

    • DWK

      Seriously, you don’t understand the reference of the phone being off the hook, or make the connection of Don throwing the typewriter against the window? It was no accident that these obsolete technologies were seen in this way, just as a new IBM computer (monolith) is being installed at the agency. And speaking of IBM, do you also not understand IBM’s relationship with Germany during World War II? It was IBM who supplied the Nazis with the technology to tabulate and sort the German population according to ethnicities which eventually led millions of Jews to their deaths, all under the guise of innocent “census-taking”. If this isn’t the definition of evil, then I don’t know what is.

      • Karen North

        I thought the phone was off the hook because Meredith was too dumb too hang it up

    • Not applicable

      I might be confused, but I thought being Bert, being a “Randian” might have more to do with him (at one time) favoring Don for his creative individualism? It’s very Fountainhead- Don taking on the establishment (as he had done throughout the series) and Bert has ranged from encouraging it to tolerating it. He, at one point in season 1, proclaims he’s going to introduce Don to Ayn Rand, but when Rachel Menkin’s father contacts him regarding his daughter and account, he’s a bit annoyed– but still revers to Don as a “cowboy” an ultimate rugged individualist.

      I think Bert (who was castrated at some point??) may have been living vicariously through Don’s ultra-male creative man… BUT Bert has also shown to have zero tolerance for a personal lack of self control. He sees smoking as a sign of weakness (has chastised both Don & Roger in the past for smoking.) He doesn’t really like to drink- and always asks for weird drinks like Elderflower…he is very controlled in his office setting and exchanges.

      Bert, is definitely and eccentric, but I wonder if he is true Randian….or if his age and conservative nature are tipping him toward a more pragmatic approach?

      • siriuslover

        So I watched the episode for the third time this evening and after Bert’s very callous dead man’s office comment to Don, he actually looks a bit ashamed. Don’t know if there’s any meaning to it, but it seemed uncharacteristic 1. for him to have said something like that and 2. for him, once he’d made a comment, to look so sheepish about it.

        • mad girl

          I noticed that too and had forgotten. I wonder? It was very odd, almost as if he had stopped acting after a cut, only I think it really was the character, not the actor. So is Bert acting then? Does he have a hidden agenda and all is not what it seems? We can only hope.

        • Not applicable

          It was a very odd scene to be sure- makes me wonder if it was meant to be heavy/arresting as it made clear the parallel between Don & Lane (as in, could Don handle being fired? would he just give up and kill himself?)

          This was message 1 to Don (and to us the audience) on this and then Freddy had a much kinder second message: Get in there and do the work. I think that’s what Bert was essentially saying- it was time for Don to focus on his own job– they gave him rules because they knew he would likely revert to his bad habits (as he did very quickly) so Don shouldn’t be running in with a big idea for new business. He should focus on the work he does well….creative.

          But yes- “go kill yourself, Lane #2″ was how it came across. Horrible.

    • Joanna

      Another episode of classic Ginsberg moments “The couch is full of farts!!!”

    • katiessh

      Peggy is just killing me this season. I found her irritating on and off during the series; she does get a little self-righteous, especially when she makes incredibly idiotic statements about how her struggles are exactly the same as the fights for civil rights. But that was always just part of her character; this recent pettiness makes it so difficult for me to wish success for her.

      I can’t tell whether this season is supposed to be some kind of punishment for don, or whether weiner realised he was getting too unsympathetic so he decided to make everyone so uncharacteristically short-sighted in an attempt to make us empathise with don again.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        I, too, find it annoying that Peggy is being so bitter and petty this season. So many legitimate messed up things to be mad about, and she blows up over dumb bullshit. OMG FLOWERS on the secretary’s desk! Don sitting in the lunchroom!

        Honestly, I’m not sure whom we are supposed to be rooting for at this point. They are all wallowing in it.

    • guest

      Did anyone else notice the phone off the hook again in promo for episode 5?

      • Garry Todd

        Paranoid as I am, I’m starting to think they’re using the old “phone off the hook” trick to listen for Don’s movements….

    • Alice Dennard

      Yeah, Bert’s reaction in the last episode and this one one struck me as out of character. I guess a case could be made that he’s been around for long enough to see plenty of ad men burn out but considering Don Draper was the selling point of SCP for a long long time it seems silly that Bert would be blind to this. Also, I think it’s funny that Bert says they’re doing fine without him. I just wanted Don to shout HA! YOU FOOL. FREDDIE WAS ME ALL ALONG! Glad to see Pete step in finally though. Pete Campbell, you have turned yourself in to quite a smart cookie.

    • CommentsByKatie

      Wow, I’m surprised to hear that a lot of people including T&Lo were not impressed with this episode. My husband and I LOVED it! Being in Lane’s office is genius – I didn’t realize it last episode when they dropped the line at the end, but it hit me full force this time. I guess I needed the extra the symbolism that others feel is excessive. It brought me back to that line in the first episode – I can’t remember it exactly – “The old guy in the corner office who is obselete and drinking himself to death.” Or something. From that line, Don’s journey has been a will-he or won’t-he become that person. And he is, perilously close, and in the office of an already dead, already obsolete man.

      I felt like every scene of this episode was so tense and exciting. And I haven’t had enough of ‘everybody hates Don’ yet; I feel like he’s just starting back up the staircase. If everything had been resolved in a few episodes, it might have felt like last season’s rock bottom was too easily erased. He isn’t being punished just for Hershey – he’s being punished for everything. Firing Jaguar upset everyone (especially Joan), throwing money in Peggy’s face and then continuing to treat her poorly when the agencies merged, making all of the decisions by himself, etc. I do agree that Peggy & Joan have more people to be mad about, but it’s a quibble.

      And Roger! I had felt like the Margaret scenes were kind of throwaway for the entire run of series, and then here it is, the point behind all of it. This powerful moment, maybe the most powerful moment we’ve seen with Roger. Consequences. What a spectacular job that actress did. My husband said, ‘She’s run away to commune! It’s going to be Manson!’ I joked, ‘That was in California, dear. But I have dibs on Margaret kills Megan!’

      I too was very bored with much of Season 6, but this one feels head and shoulders above that to me.

      • ybbed

        I loved this episode too, its the first one I have really liked this season. I don’t really understand the disappointment everybody felt this time, but I guess its how you interpret the characters, the story etc.

      • decormaven

        Good callback to S1E1 “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” It’s the advice Don gives to Pete: “Advertising is a very small world. And when you do something like malign the reputation of some girl from the steno pool on her first day, you make it even smaller. Keep it up and even if you do get my job, you’ll never run this place. You’ll die in that corner office: a mid-level account executive with a little bit of hair, who women go home with out of pity.”

        • CommentsByKatie

          Thank you for the quote! I tried looking it up and it was really bothering me that I couldn’t remember it.

    • Elizabeth Moore

      How long do you think Don’s redemption arc will last before it unravels?

    • mad girl

      Thank you for this TLo. You’ve articulated what I’ve not wanted to face this season. The writing is definitely off.

      The storylines almost seem forced, and the characters are becoming so one dimensional that their behaviors feel inauthentic. Where is the subtext, the nuance, the subtle quirks that we’ve grown to love? Peggy hates Don. Joan hates Don. Even Bert apparently hates Don. And for what? Because he lost he Hershey account?

      Don didn’t even lose the Hershey account. They never had it to begin with! No money had been spent or revenue lost. He blew a pitch. That’s it. It certainly doesn’t justify all this backlash and ill will.

      I would like to blame the decision to split the season in two, which forced the writers to create two separate mini seasons and as such completely disrupted their flow. If this were a normal season I would absolutely love to see more of Betty’s life and what’s really going with Ted, to follow some of our characters home and visit their lives. With such precious little time left though, I don’t care about fringe characters and their mini arcs, such as the braless teacher, Francine’s career or Margaret ‘s transformation into Marigold. While I thoroughly enjoyed Roger and Mona, I wish they had been involved in a story closer to the central plot. Unless this is all leading to Roger and Don heading back to that hippie/Whitman farmhouse for a revelation/transformation, I don’t much care what happens.

      With such little subtext to go on it’s no wonder we’re reduced to deciphering closing credits song lyrics, trying glean any tidbits of hope. This week we had On a Carousel, which seemed like a nice callback to season one’s The Wheel, but I don’t think it necessarily invokes hope for the future. It does serve to contrast the reversal in hierarchy, from brilliant ad man to junior copywriter slugging out tag lines for a second rate fast food chain. Mostly it just represents Don’s futile quest, around and around and never being able to catch up to anything. Round and round and round and round…

      So we’re all waiting for the big comeback and for things to ether shake up or settle back into status quo. I don’t want to watch Don play solitaire. I want the characters to interact. I would just like things to move forward, as Don suggested so many seasons ago. Is that so much to ask?

    • malarson2

      I think Bert’s ‘madness’ at Don is no longer because he effed up the Hershey pitch. That was just the origin story moment of when and how it began. Now it’s because Don can come into his office, shoeless, after one conversation with a guy they’ve hired and have a better idea about new business than anyone else there has had in a long time. He’s defensive because he wants it to be just as he falsely keeps reminding everyone it is: ‘we are doing fine without you…our creative is better now than it ever was’, etc. Because Don coming to him with such a big idea in such a small amount of time absolutely refutes all of those ‘we are still great in spite of you not being here’ statements. Plus, that new potential business wasn’t coming from a name being dropped in a restaurant conversation or based upon inside scoop or personal relationships with those in ad-starved companies. No, that was Don having a five-minute conversation and figuring out that it could be a huge potential new client. And that pisses Bert off because it’s Don as the one figuring it out. It means they still need him. It makes every irrational angry reaction he’s had to Don just that. Irrational.

      • TeraBat

        That’s pretty much my thought, too. In that context, Bert’s irritation makes complete sense – he suspects this is part of a grand scheme by Don to end up as creative director again, and he wants no part of it. Yes, the Randian Lion which is Bert Cooper would not normally turn down the chance to pursue more money… unless he thought it would cost him more in the long run. Don’s already cost him an IPO and some ‘street cred’, Bert wants to minimize any further damage. Taken that way, the exchange is just another demonstration of how thoroughly Don has squandered his own cred, his personal relationships and any sort of respect his colleagues once had for him – Bert Cooper himself would rather the firm lose out on a client than offer Don a chance to do real work again.

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

          Honestly, that doesn’t sound anything like the Bert Cooper we’ve watched since season one.

        • TigerLaverada

          Well, it’s all fiction, so I guess they can write the characters to be as irrational as they like. But given that Mad Men has been quite good about depicting the agency life up to now, and given how they’ve portrayed Bert Cooper in the past, none of this makes sense. Don would not have lost any sort of respect from his colleagues, because he’s a creative powerhouse and they know it. They’d just think he was a colossal asshole and a loose cannon, but his value to the agency wouldn’t be undercut in the way pictured by the show, unless everyone else running the agency has gone insane. The original Bert Cooper in particular would not be one whose desire to punish Don would outweigh his desire for high-paying, high-profile clients, the type Don attracts.

      • DeniseSchipani

        This is my take exactly — Bert is pissed off, full stop. He says they’re ‘doing fine”. Joan said the same thing. Methinks they protest too much. Don’s on their rational/irrational hate list, for sure. I also think, on second watching of that scene, that his comment about Lane and the office was an outburst that he immediately realized was wrong, but no way could he apologize.

      • Uncivil_Servant

        They have gone way too far in the vitriol being tossed around. Joan – complete 180. Peggy – near 180, maybe more of a 90 degree turn for the Don/Ted stuff but in a situation where Peggy is creatively stifled she should have even more the reason to look favorable upon the one who took her creatively seriously. Burt – complete 180. It is as if the show needed Don’s withdraw from the firm to be a slow death of 100 cuts rather than a simple buyout which is the only legal way to do it. Don technically could sit back and do exactly just as much work as Burt and Jim do – he’s exactly the same level of partner.

    • shelley514

      Thanks TLo for so astutely summing up how I’ve been feeling about this season overall and this episode in particular!!!

    • http://www.dinnerisserved1972.com DinnerIsServed1972

      Freddie Rumsen is Neville Longbottom.

    • Serenity

      T&L are right. these people have no reason to be this mad at Don. Don needs to be more petty. Since he has nothing to do, he should start another business and have offices in the same building. Let the brass know that he doesn’t need them, but THEY have to pay him…

      • Uncivil_Servant

        It reminds me of shows where “bad people” are viewed favorable by the audience so they skew the character to fit the image the audience wants. It is as if the writers think we need to see everyone hate on Don before we get in his corner and root for him to succeed. They have gone way too far in the vitriol being tossed around. Joan – complete 180. Peggy – near 180, maybe more of a 90 degree turn for the Don/Ted stuff but in a situation where Peggy is creatively stifled she should have even more the reason to look favorable upon the one who took her creatively seriously. Burt – complete 180. It is as if the show needed Don’s withdraw from the firm to be a slow death of 100 cuts rather than a simple buyout which is the only legal way to do it. Don technically could sit back and do exactly just as much work as Burt and Jim do – he’s exactly the same level of partner.

        • Daphnemcl

          The vitriol was exciting though! I think we are going to seeing more storylines for the other characters now. Roger for one is all over the map. Weak then strong now maybe a little reflective. He and Joan have to conclude now. It’s likely going to be a tearjerker. I think he’s going to be the one to die.

    • MaggieMae

      I’m not buying the agency’s collective anger at Don. Not buying Marigold’s absent daddy rant at Roger. Give us more Mona. Lou is one of my worst nightmares for a boss. The new boss who doesn’t like you or appreciate your work.

      • Shawn EH

        And even when he gives you a raise or praises you, it’s for an ulterior motive.

      • Babyboomer59

        Mona bolted pretty fast when Margaret mentioned locking a door and having a bottle of alcohol. I don’t think Roger is the only parent she blames for not being there. Plus Mona would be the one pointing out all the short comings of Roger while she was growing up yet she pushed her to marry and be just like her.
        Lou has every intention to use Peggy for his dirty work and will throw her away when its done.

    • DeniseSchipani

      What does everyone think about Ginsberg? He’s on the edge. That couch thing and the shouting about the loss of the creative lounge. I feel as though Stan and the other guy (mathis?) just kind of don’t listen closely to his outbursts, maybe they’re used to them, but for that reason they may be too close to notice that he’s definitely unraveling.

      • Aisling O’Doherty

        Ginsberg is definitely on the edge. I think that no one at SC&P recognizes that he’s mentally ill because of a lack of awareness about such things at the time. Even if someone did notice, I’m not sure there’s much they could do other than maybe take him aside and suggest he see a psychiatrist. If he refused (which’d be very likely) then what else could they do?!

      • Babyboomer59

        I think he has an extremely heightened level to his senses. He commented on how good Don smelled. On how the one sofa holds all the farts. His clothing is very loose its possible he hates the feel of clothing against his skin. He’s unraveling and Bob is not there to calm him down.

        • Azucena

          Hmm that makes sense. It could also be the reason why he talks so loud sometimes- many people who have those issues often can’t control the volume of their own voices. If its related to a developmental disability, it’s just the way he is. That’s the impression I get- and it’s just all the change and chaos that is setting him off in this episode.

          • housefulofboys

            Yes to both of you. He really has a lot of characteristics of an adult on the asperger/autism spectrum. Doesn’t keep him from being brilliant at his work, though. And it would explain why he has limited social life and still lives at home with his father. I know of what I speak, if you met my adult son you wouldn’t be able to guess that anything was “quirky” until you spent some time with him, but then the sensory sensitivities, the loud talking, the lack of filter and rigid thinking comes out.

    • Susan Collier

      The New York Mets as metaphor? The lowly team are going to have a championship year in 1969. Is Don aligning himself for a similar come-from-behind victory?

    • Babyboomer59

      I loved how Meredith scolded Don to not eat the candy bar or whatever it was he had unwrapped and commented on him being so slim. She is crushing on him bad!

      • Chris

        Meredith has gone from annoying to hilarious in the last episode. I found myself looking forward to her chatter. Her goofy good cheer is a nice contrast to all the high strung crabbiness that usually goes on at SC&P. That being said, I wouldn’t want her for a secretary but as Don was mostly playing solitaire and goofing off of work, having an oblivious secretary isn’t such a bad thing for him.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          And if Don wants to skip a meeting, he can always blame it on Meredith, and people won’t know whether or not he skipped the meeting because he wanted to skip it, or he didn’t know about it.

      • DeniseSchipani

        Yeah, and then she offered him a danish!

        • Aisling O’Doherty

          I love Meredith. Everything she says has me in hysterics and I’m so glad she’s getting more screen time. The show badly needs comic relief like her.

          • Lady Bug

            Me too! I like Caroline(?) Roger’s secretary as well. Whatever happens to SC&P at the end of the year (and I’d imagine that at least a few characters might leave SC&P and either join other firms or start their own firm) they better have employment! Oh, yes, the long suffering Clara as well-can’t forget about her.

      • Elizabetta1022

        She’s hysterical. Reminds me of someone who would have been on Laugh-in, along with Goldie Hawn and Flip Wilson.

      • P M

        Oh, that Meredith. I wish TLo would interview the actress to get her take on the character.

        The way I see it, Meredith likes bright and shiny, and is surprisingly competent because a) the bar is set low for her and b) there’s not much else (possibly) floating in her head……. wait, what *would* float around in a Mere-ditz’s head, anyway?

    • snarkykitten

      Can we talk about Ginsberg tho

      • DeniseSchipani

        I brought that up earlier in the comments. He’s SO on the edge, and I think between everyone being sort of accustomed to his quirks and his outbursts,and a general lack of understanding of mental illness in 1969, he’ll crash all of a sudden. That outburst with the couch was definitely signalling it.

        • Aisling O’Doherty

          I think Ginsberg is a schizophrenic (his comments about being a martian and receiving transmissions) and he’s headed for a psychotic break. The atmosphere at SC&P is getting more stressful and morale is at an all-time low. This may easily set him off.

          • yllas

            I hate that stupid mustache. I hate 99% of mustaches, but Ginsberg’s in particular. He is so CUTE, and the hair just ruins it. And I think his horrible shirts with the spots look like bugs are running all over them. Buggy Ginsberg!

          • SunDevilWitch

            I kept thinking they’d end mid-season with Ginsberg going postal and killing Lou.

        • snarkykitten

          I know. Poor Ginsberg!

    • Angelfood

      I hope Don and Peggy leave to start their own agency with Pete. Pete may want to come back to the East Coast and he’s one of the only ones who still likes Don. Perhaps they can convince Joan to come with. And they call it the Whitman Agency!

      • DeniseSchipani

        There’s a hint Pete might want to come back. He seemed genuinely upset by his father in law’s heart attack, and ALSO slightly discomfited by Bonnie’s naked ambition, which is funny considering that describes him perfectly. change of heart of sorts for ol’ Petey?

        • Babyboomer59

          Plus he may be thinking of his daughter losing her grandfather.

        • Daphnemcl

          Pete has grown up for sure. He’s become a good person despite or maybe because of the sad experiences he’s had.

          • Lady Bug

            Agreed. I know that we are still relatively early in Season 7 (counting the full season here), and I know that so much can, and will change; but I kind of love that the characters, at this moment at least, most likely to have some sort of ‘redemption’ are Freddie(!), Don, Pete and possibly even Roger.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Joan won’t leave unless Don offers her a larger share of the new company that what she currently has. Don could get the entire creative team, and possibly Ken, because Ken and Peggy have a pact.

        • P M

          Enh, Peggy broke that pact once already. I want Ken and Sal to open one (yes, he’s never coming back. I know that. This is my dream agency, okay? :D)

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            Do you know something the rest of us don’t? I always thought there was the possibility that Sal would come back for one episode, like Rachel or Midge. Ken and Sal could be good, but who writes copy? You have accounts and art covered, but you’re missing one element.

            • P M

              That’s why I said dream agency. Just like fantasy football. It’ll never happen, but I can dream…

          • 3hares

            Don might like Sal fine personally but I can’t imagine him wanting an art director of Sal’s generation as first choice.

        • Javacat7

          Do they still have a pact? Am I remembering correctly that when Peggy left, Ken asked her, What about our pact? and Peggy snapped, Oh, grow up!

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            I’d forgotten about that.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Maybe more for MAD STYLE, but anyway:
      Look at that picture. Michael is sporting one TRULY ratty, stretched out shirt. The tie is sad. He is a mess. AND YET? He is impeccably groomed. Not really complaining, as Ben Feldman is quite handsome, but it …. just doesn’t make sense.

      • Blueathena623

        Still wonding if there is ever going to be any follow-up re. his meltdown about thoughts being beamed into his head.

        • SunDevilWitch

          I’d been saying this for weeks! Just watched tonight’s ep so no spoilers but my husband thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill…

    • Candigirl1968

      I get what TLo is saying about the partners and Don. Their anger seems outsized. But stepping back, is it really? Other than sitting on the couch in an SC&P paid for drunken haze – which the partners may not see as real punishment, rather just a bit of embarrassment – Don hasn’t really suffered for his crimes. Heck, he still had a secretary at his beck and call! And, it sounds like he did not reach out to anyone. Didn’t say I’m sorry. Didn’t say, how are you doing? Didn’t say anything.

      Don doesn’t come to his original partners saying, “look, I effed up, but I am really sorry and i want to prove to you that I’m willing to earn back your trust.” Instead, he simply shows up. To be fair, Roger didn’t have the partners meeting he should have had beforehand; however, Don knows Roger can’t just decide that kind of stuff on a whim and that it was on him to make sure things were okay. Plus, had Don spoken to somebody other than Roger that one time, impromptu, at the hotel, things wouldn’t have been as awkward. Heck, Don had Dawn running around, and yet he doesn’t bother to tell even her he’s coming in.

      And it didn’t help that, as Bert basically says, things didn’t fall apart when Don wasn’t there. Maybe SC&P isn’t the creative force it used to be. But let’s face it, Don wasn’t doing consistently good – much less great – work before the meltdown). And yet, SC&P still seem to be getting clients, and, based upon what happened with Pete, even turning down work. It may not be as exciting or electric a place, but there is something to be said for things being relatively drama free and not having someone fire or run off clients without warning. Consequently, whether the folks at SC&P think they are better or worse off without Don is a matter of legitimate opinion.

      Jim Cutler’s willingness to see if Don will rise to the occasion (a win) or sink like a rock (a win) seems to be pretty darned fair. How Don handles his second chance is telling. Don isn’t out there trying to be helpful. Rather, he’s holed up in his office doing what he did at home, sans booze. And, when it’s time to do a little bit of crow eating, Don’s response is to ignore the work he’s given and try to dig himself out of the hole with a big splashy save (a well he’s gone to one too many times). When things don’t go his way, Don has a meltdown – which was going to come later, if not the sooner that it did. That suspicion, resentment and exasperation of the partners had seems pretty darned warranted.

      Don may not be in AA, but he certainly is treating Freddy like a sponsor. Good thing. Let’s hope he gets rid of the booze before he gets busted, and that he didn’t run off a potential client with his antics in the new computer room.

      • Babyboomer59

        Dons status in the office has slipped quite a bit. Early in the day he sees the partners plus Lou getting together in the conference room while he is being ordered around by Ginz to help move a couch.
        Things all went downhill for him after that.

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

      Then you’re free to skip these reviews. I honestly wish you would, since you’re so entitled and dismissive.

    • Blueathena623

      I cringed and covered my ears in embarrassment for Don when he went on that drunk rant against the computer guy. Have there secretly been lots more of these type of interactions over the years, that we the viewers haven’t seen, and that’s why people at the office are so pissed at him? Because I agree, the reasons being given don’t make sense.
      Poor Ellory, but he might be better off without Marigold. Not a lot of decent mums on the show. Not a lot.

      • RKA

        That was Don’s airhead secretary. I could totally see her leaving the phone off the hook ;)

        • Babyboomer59

          Exactly . She also left a nibbled on donut on her desk.

    • 28judy

      “we might as well continue and say that we found Don’s drunken “Satan, I cast thee OUT” bit with Lloyd to be more than a little silly”.

      Might it be that Don feels that LLoyd is delivering the computer, but in exchange he is taking their souls. The agency is selling its soul to the devil. The scene was melodramatic, but Don was speaking from Hell.

      • Daphnemcl

        I agree. It was odd. I wish I knew exactly what the writer was going for.

      • Babyboomer59

        I wonder if Don also was upset about losing the creative lounge. Last week he found people who enjoyed having him back and he seemed to be holding court with the other creatives except for Peggy. Now that space has been taken over and he’s shut off alone in his office.

    • Neil

      Great post on this episode. The writing has gotten so in-your-face right now that it’s really getting hard to handle. The is the inevitable path of an intelligent show that garners not only critical acclaim, but a large viewership. They all eventually dumb down, and for some reason begin to feel the need to wail you in the head with what should be a metaphor. Amazing shows, like The Wire for instance, that never really had good ratings manage to keep their initial style. So did Arrested Development, to give an example from comedy. But a highly watched show that doesn’t eventually feel the need to spell out its themes so that a potted plant could see them is the exception, not the rule.

    • snarkykitten

      I have a question: Why did Roger suddenly freak out about his daughter? One minute he was fine, the next when he heard her getting in on (with a chick? am I crazy, or did it look like she totally went off with a gal??), he flipped out and told her to get over herself? I mean, yeah, he’s kind of right, she’s running away from her responsibilities and leaving a trail of destruction in her wake, but still.

      • Daphnemcl

        It is his little girl after all. No parent wants to be around that. And yes she did leave him to be with that guy so he probably didn’t like that. Plus he wasn’t going to stay, he was just visiting and on a mission.

        • Babyboomer59

          Plus seeing the other woman there pregnant he would think soon it would be happening to her.

          • halleygee

            Agree, once he realized she went off to have sex during the night, then seeing the pregnant bellies and babies the next day, he knows what is in store for her and wants her to take care of the child she has.

    • Daphnemcl

      I think these have been some of the best episodes but I can’t wait to wrap things up. I don’t like seeing Don so weak. Very disturbing. I want him to roar again as king of his domain.

    • Daphnemcl

      I think we have to see Roger admit to Joan that he wouldn’t have had a life without her. After he admits that he can die and she can realize that she doesn’t need to be such a hard bitch anymore.

      • P M

        That….. would be sad.

    • Timmay!

      Has anyone else noticed all the references to fire this season? Every episode has mentioned fire at least once. Foreshadowing?

      • P M

        Where was the fire reference this episode? The lighter borrowing thing?

        • Timmay!

          Yep. Something about with all his technology he can’t make fire.

    • buddy100

      Hmmm. Bert Cooper. This is not the first time his laissez-faire Randian beliefs have had their limits. Case in point, his complete and utter disdain for Harry Crane. Were profit truly the only incentive, Harry would be his golden boy, what with his utilizing unique talents to generate unexpected revenue. Instead, Bert has nothing but contempt. Which he now seems to hold for Don.

      Someone else noted a classist touch; I think that certain plays a factor. To Bert, it could also be that breaking down and allowing emotions to overcome in a meeting isn’t just poor business, but a major philosophical offense. He had once been very fond of Don’s ruthless acumen. Now Don has pushed himself off the pedestal, and Bert intends to punish him for that. As pettily as possible.

      Or. Y’know. Bad writing.

    • buddy100

      Congratulations, Don! You have a stable true male friend! Bonus points, he’s a good influence!

      Now try not to sleep with his wife.

    • LC3203

      I mentioned this on another board: I’m not convinced any of this is actually happening. In the previous episode when he’s sitting in his living room and his watch says 9 AM and we keep cutting to the elevator and back to the apartment…I feel like he’s imagining all of this. And we’re going to find out he never actually went it. Because that’s what I said right before they stopped cutting back to the apartment: “Shit. He’s not going to go in.” And that explains for me the dangling phone. There are a lot of “symbols” Don is seeing. So, this is either him imagining, or it’s what he’s seeing as he dies. Maybe.

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

        That’s so unlikely that we’re willing to go out on a limb and say it’s never going to happen. The show has never traded in that kind of long term narrative trickery, and besides, how and why would Don be dreaming up entire scenes that he’s not in, like, well, all the scenes he wasn’t in this episode and last?

        • LC3203

          I thought of that and it sort of reconciled for me the whole business of Burt being so different between the meeting discussing Don’s return and his conversation with Don. It’s by no means a perfect theory. I was just so confused by that whole first day back sequence. Something just isn’t right. Because you’re right. So many people are just behaving out of character. It’s odd.

        • LC3203

          And can I also totally geek out that you responded to me??? Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

          • P M

            I know. It’s happened to me too. Enjoy the glow :D

            • kategs

              well, both times they’ve responded to me, it’s been a bit of a smackdown. ah well…

            • P M

              Yeah, that was my experience too. Eh bien, c’est la vie.

      • Joe Mitstein

        You clearly don’t get Mad Men. It’s not gimmicky in that way.

        • LC3203

          You know what would have been a nicer way to put that? “Nah. Too Gimmicky”. And I’d have probably said “Yeah, you’re right.” Instead I get to say “But thanks for being a dick about it.”

      • Daphnemcl

        That was a little weird. I went back and forth on that several times. 9am seems late for first thing in the morning but he didn’t want to walk in before Roger got there I suppose.

    • Cheryl

      I’m not a stupid person, but I have to ask a pretty dumb question. What the heck are they going to be doing with that behemoth? There is no Photoshop or In Design or even Quark, the things I think of when you have graphic designers around. They won’t be emailing anyone. There wouldn’t even be internal mail. I don’t even think there is a word processing or spreadsheet program at that point. They’re not looking a cute cat videos or reading TLo. So what does it do?

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        It does calculations, so I’m guessing it’s going to be more use to accounts, and media buying. Isn’t that Harry wanted it, some other agency was using a computer to help determine return on investiment for for media buying.

      • P M

        It’s basically an arms race, like Cutler said. You get one because your competitor had one; he in turn got one to out-do his competitors, including you.

      • Daphnemcl

        He was talking about using it to analyze local markets so I would say it was for just collecting and analyzing market data.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          That’s what I was trying to say, but you did a better job of explaining it.

      • T C

        Mainframe computers crunch numbers and produce paper reports. End users had zero permission to enter the room/building they are in. Back then all data was entered on 80-column punch cards, individual programs were scheduled to run batches of cards processed by keypunch operators. Only certain computer personnel were allowed access to terminals. There was a text editing application which used dot commands for formatting called Script. There were ways to communicate with other terminal users but that did not resemble email at all. Word processing as it was once known was not made accessible to secretaries until well into the late 1970s. Graphics and color did not happen until the 1980s as color printing was prohibitively expensive.

        • Cheryl

          Wow, that’s really amazing. I vaguely remember seeing those punch cards when I was a little kid.

        • Logo Girl

          My mom was actually doing word processing in the mid 70s but she had university and government jobs, so they may have been ahead a bit.

      • http://tootcomic.com/ Dick In A Bog

        Specifically analytics; it’s all about quantifying, and exploiting statistical information, to the benefit of their clients ad dollars. Turning it into a science instead of sorcery for businessmen who only know numbers and have never been particularly moved by the creative work don and company put out. Certainly it has benefits for targeting markets and segments and collecting and processing information, but it’s just as important as a symbol for the company as having bert and sterling’s names on the door; a 10k a month mechanical partner.

    • Bill Cord

      The best review of what is wrong with the portrayal of the inner workings of an office and why Don would never be treated like such a leper.

    • Shoshanna

      When Don first did the Carousel pitch, at the end of that episode didn’t they use’the circle game ‘by joni Mitchell (the seasons, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down, we’re riding on the carousel of time) this time it was Carousel by the Hollies

    • Thomas Schaal

      I am

    • Thomas Schaal

      Interesting possibility is that Don’s rejoining the agency may parallel the fortunes of the ’69 Mets, rising from doormats to World Series champions in the span of a few short months. The Amazin’ Mets started off slowly in 1969 (through the Memorial Day weekend) and then went on a prolonged winning streak based on the ability of their young, talented “pitching” staff and their overall team spirit (platooning, self-sacrifice)? Perhaps Don’s ability to “pitch” advertising ideas and his newfound sense of teamwork results in a similar miracle comeback for his career fortunes (at least until October 1969)?