Mad Men: The Runaways

Posted on May 12, 2014

Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-5-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-1Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm, and Ben Feldman in AMC’s “Mad Men”

 

Last week we kind of dismissively referred to Mad Men‘s love of dream-like atmospheres that often work to tell the story but just as often work to bring the viewer out of it, depending on how well it’s rendered. This episode was weirdly off from beginning to end, but “dream-like” seems too benign a term to use to describe it. From  Sally getting into swordfights to Betty sounding like a junior Phyllis Schlafly to Megan suddenly dipping her toes in the ladypond to Ginsberg pulling a Van Gogh on Peggy, characters weren’t so much turning on a dime as they were turning into the people they were inevitably going to become. In fact, we tend to think that’s pretty much the entire point of this season: people becoming the people they can’t help becoming. Peggy is career-driven, but epically bad at interpersonal stuff; Joan still enjoys being a Queen Bee in the office; Roger is under a pile of naked bodies and liquor bottles, struggling to find his way out from under it. Despite all the changes in their lives and throughout the decade, they are all, essentially, the same people. This week, we find out that Megan, Ginsberg and Betty are … pretty much what we all knew they were.

Megan is perhaps the biggest “surprise” (if you can call it that): the scheming, jealous wife. Unlike a lot of the viewers, we’ve always liked Megan, although her character flaws were more than evident over the years: a sort of petulance that’s different from Betty’s brand of petulance only by a matter of degrees. Betty is a petulant child and Megan’s more like a petulant teenager, using drugs, sex, and money this episode to try to get her way or get the response she wants. At a different point in their marriage, she never would’ve been that threatened by the existence of Stephanie, but this girl came into her life and shone a harsh light on Megan’s pretensions and insecurities right at a time when she didn’t want to hear it. Pregnant and living the counterculture life, she is both what Don wishes Megan was (pregnant) and what Megan wishes Megan was (more adventurous than she actually is). So Megan wields a checkbook like a weapon, even though the fact that she can write out a check for a thousand dollars so casually is representative of just how far she is from the struggling actress role she likes to pretend she inhabits. The irony seems to have been lost on her. And when her bizarre little attention-seeking dance failed to get Don angry at her (as it was designed to do), she wound up throwing a three-way at him out of left field. We’re not entirely sure what her intent with that was, other than trying to give Don what she thinks he might want. But even then, it came off like an odd move. Is Megan so desperate to keep Don that she’ll resort to this kind of maneuvering in her life? Or is she merely trying to punish him by driving away Stephanie and taking a more assertive role in bed? Either way, that marriage is worse off than it’s ever been. Worse than we imagined it might get, actually. We figured Don would cheat, Megan would find out, and that would be the end of it. But Megan’s becoming more insecure over time (something that seems inevitable if you’re Don Draper’s wife) and it seems like she’s casting about desperately in panic.

Meanwhile, the second Mrs. Draper (because all three Mrs. Drapers, alive and dead, loomed large in this story) continues her Feminine Mystique-inspired journey from pretty, long-suffering wife to angry and loudly opinionated woman. Like all of Betty’s journeys big and small, it’s not necessarily a pretty one. On the one hand, you want to cheer her standing up to Henry’s (it has to be said: out of left field) chauvinism and screaming that maybe she’ll run for office just so she can say what she thinks. On the other hand, she thinks young people having sex are why we haven’t won Vietnam yet and that Sally’s greatest worth as a young woman resides in her perfect nose (“THAT’S YOUR FACE, YOUNG LADY!”). Once again, the show is exploring the rise of the new conservativism in the wake of the ’68 Democratic convention. And we have to say, we’re loving the slightly devious take on feminism here: that it gave voice to plenty of women who would later stand up to denounce feminism. Of course this is who Betty would become. Even if her politics revolt us, we’re looking forward to seeing what she does next.

And sadly, Ginsberg turned out to be exactly what the show had been hinting he was for years now. Rather than repeat ourselves, here’s what we said last season after he was seen rocking on the floor and talking about the voices in his head:

“Michael’s having a serious mental health crisis and because he’s surrounded by a bunch of lunatics already, no one can see the signs, except maybe Stan, who doesn’t seem to know what to do about it. It’s not just the inappropriate outbursts, or the silent rocking on the floor, but the admissions of auditory hallucinations; once last season when he told Peggy that he received a message from Mars telling him “Stay where you are,” and then again this episode when he said, “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm; they’re beaming them right into my head.” This isn’t colorful language or joking. People were far less well-informed about mental illness back then than they are now. See this for an idea of how it was viewed in the popular imagination at the time; it was Napolean hats, pink elephants and little green men, according to the conventional wisdom. People did not know enough about it to be able to make jokes about “receiving transmissions into my head.” That’s too specific and knowledgeable a choice of words for him to be merely colorfully talking about how stressed out he is over Dow Chemical. For such wording to be used twice in the very few scenes we’ve seen of him is highly notable. Again, you only have so many minutes of screen time to define a character in an ensemble drama. All choices are highly deliberate ones. Taking these quotes, looking at his general affect, lack of social ability, and a parent who seems to hover and fuss over him, we think it’s clear that Ginsberg is suffering from serious mental illness.”

Whatever the diagnosis – and we’re not likely to get an exact answer on that – his deteriorating mental state has been obvious to everyone but his co-workers (except for Stan) for a good while. The nipple moment was shocking, but like everything else this episode, sadly inevitable. They’re all becoming the people they can’t help becoming.

Or are they? Because Don seems to be the one person in the story right now who is struggling to become more than what he is; better than what he was. This episode was the first time we wondered if the show wasn’t actually heading toward a somewhat happy ending for Don (instead of long dive off the roof many people seem to think is going to happen). Not that he won the day or anything. He’s still in a terrible position, both professionally and in his personal life. But maybe that three-way helped him get some of his mojo back (Weiner does tend to like that kind of reductive writing when it comes to Don, where a hot sex scene re-energizes him James Bond-style), because he swaggered into that Phillip Morris meeting and (you’ll pardon us) slapped his dick whitman all over Jim and Lou’s astonished faces. Then he shoved them in a cab and literally whistled his way back to work. He deliberately broke the rules right in front of the man who wrote them (Don’t go off-script in front of clients and don’t meet with clients without permission) and wants to see him fail. Result? Nothing. The rules are bullshit. Jim Cutler is bullshit. Don Draper’s big dick and intimidating talent are all that matters.

But is it? Is Don “back?” Doesn’t it seem silly asking that question now? Hasn’t it been asked every season for the last three or four? And hasn’t it been untrue in every case? It sure felt like he was back. Jim and Lou were open-mouthed and incredulous at his boldness and swagger. And in typical Don fashion, he took someone else’s idea, put a spin on it, and used it for his own ends. After all, his “pitch” to Phillip Morris was pretty much exactly the argument Roger used to prevent the partners from firing him: Do you really want to see Don Draper working for your competition? It remains to be seen whether Don is truly “back” (or even if there’s a “back” to return to), but until he is, he’s quite happy to use past glories and his own reputation to stave off the looming ruin that’s been around the corner of his life for a long time now. Can people change? Can Don? All indications in the story say “No,” but if that was truly the case, we’d be writing about the series finale this morning.

In the end, maybe all the people in this story spinning their wheels and failing to escape who they are should heed Michael Ginsberg’s ominous advice:

“GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!”

 

 

Much more to come in our Mad Style on Wednesday.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC]

    • Marla

      Nice to see peggy babysitting. In fact that whole seen was strange. Letting Ginsberg in to work. Falling asleep. Peggy is weirdly uptight yet also strangely ok with the oddest of situations.

      • FayeMac

        I am wondering what kind of effect Ginsberg’s breakdown will have on her. Who is prepared for a shock like that?

        • Marla

          She seemed very shaken up, and so did Stan. This trauma could serve to make them closer. They do seem to act as protectors to each other already.

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

            It was very sweet that Stan followed Ginsberg’s stretcher out of the building. Gah. If we hear or see any more of Ginsberg (rather than him vanishing like Sal), it’ll be because Stan won’t let him disappear.

            • megohd

              Stan has been a favorite of mine since the beginning, one of the few characters who grows more likable with every scene he’s in. His reaction, and Peggy’s, endeared both of them to me. In such a strange episode, Ginsberg’s decline was a summons to reality. Well done.

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

              Really, since the beginning? When he lay on tables and threw pencils at the ceiling, and deliberately sent Peggy into a client meeting with lipstick on her teeth because she rejected his kiss? I couldn’t stand him for the longest time.

            • megohd

              He was definitely a boor in those days, no doubt. But there was something about him that I was rooting for. (Like, I know I shouldn’t like this guy, but I do.) I think maybe it was clear that his horrible behavior was an attempt to puff himself up. Not exactly sure when I started to like him wholeheartedly—it may have begun when we met his cousin, who was going to Vietnam. This season his maturity and roundedness has impressed me (esp. in comparison with some of the other characters.)

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

              Yes, he’s definitely grown.

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

              It’s kind of similar to Ken’s evolution, in a way. He too was kind of a dick when he first appeared and then has turned into one of the most likeable and level headed people at SC&P (I never understood people’s “omg Ken was such an asshole!” reaction to his stress-fueled outburst early this season beacause well – it was obviously stress-fueled). And I think that like it happened with Ken, Stan’s assholishness was a matter of immaturity that he outgrew, rather than it being his “true nature”. Of course people can be immature and perfectly nice so that doesn’t excuse it, but it’s good to see that at least some characters on a positive trajectory.

            • elevan

              YES. Stan & Ken are two of my favorite characters, & I think it really has a lot to do with their evolutions over the series.

            • Therese Bohn

              Me too!

            • Chris

              Ken snapped at Bob Benson last season too and people were all “OMG” but I think it just makes him human. He’s fully involved in the rat race now and the pressure can get to you.

            • Nancy Aronson

              I wonder if Ken wasn’t reacting to something being off about Bob. He didn’t realize that Bob “didn’t know how to play the game,” so he interpreted Bob as being scheming. Ken’s an ivy league guy, after all.

            • 3hares

              Bob WAS scheming. Ken saw exactly what Bob was and what he was doing and it irritated him.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Can’t say I know for sure. In the ambiguity lies the wonder.

            • 3hares

              Didn’t Bob’s entire storyline turn out to be about him scheming in exactly this way with everyone? With the ultimate revelation that he was a big liar etc.? What other reason would he have for sending stuff to a funeral with his name attached to it? Bob was playing the game–he was just being obvious about it.

            • Nancy Aronson

              When Pete took Bob on, Bob fought back. Like Dick Whitman, Bob, or whatever his real name is, was trying to succeed in a white shoe world without a traditional upbringing or a college background. Also, he’s gay. This is not a man who can be honest about who he is and attain success. Bob’s ability to lie got Joan help in the hospital — I never know how to work those people. There are a number of ways to figure out how to survive the various systems out there. But then again, I root for Dick/Don. From what I can tell, Bob B is a new model of Don D. I can think of many motives for sending cold cuts to a funeral, among them, as previously stated, trying to do the right thing after working for super rich people and not knowing when you’re going over the top. If he were expertly calculating, he wouldn’t make such an obvious miscalculation. He is scheming in the sense that he’s doing everything he possibly can to succeed. He’s bringing people coffee, offering them tickets to ball games, making himself available, making himself agreeable and open to criticism (sucking up). He’s desperately trying to figure out the formula for attaining the American dream.

            • 3hares

              Bob established a pattern throughout the entire season of always wanting to be able to give something to people so that they would rely on him and remember him. This happened over and over and over with Bob, whether he was handing over coffee and claiming he didn’t want it or lying about his history with Manolo to make him sound just right for the Campbells. Even if Bob’s gay and just trying to figure out the American Dream, this is his M.O. There’s no reason to look for other reasons for him to send cold cuts (with his business card) to the funeral since this one reason was hammered on over and over. (Also, note that Bob’s story about his motivation for sending the cold cuts contradicted his equally sweet story about why Manolo was a great nurse for Pete–neither of which lie had to do with him being gay.)

              As you said, he’s scheming to succeed. That’s exactly what Ken correctly noticed him doing. He does not have to be “expertly calculating” to be doing this. He only needs to be calculating, which he proved to be on numerous occasions. And his main way of being calculating, probably drawing on his previous experience with the guy he worked for, was via personal assistance.

            • Nancy Aronson

              maybe we’re saying the same thing with a different energy.seems to me that everyone is trying to succeed. and the game is rigged.

            • andrea

              Speaking of Bob, where IS he? I forget…..

            • ccinnc

              I miss him! Isn’t he in Detroit working on the GM account?

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Yep, Bob’s in Detroit.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              Completely agree

            • Azaelia Bearson

              I rewatched the first episode of the first season and couldn’t believe Ken was the same person!

            • Nancy Aronson

              Ken does seem lost and angry and, again, venting these feelings on a woman and expecting her to take it. He strikes me, on the whole, as an honorable man with good values. These days he appears overloaded and traumatized.

            • Azaelia Bearson

              Agreed, though I kind of hated his character in season four. I actually groaned when we saw his shoulders in the first episode of season five (because I knew as soon as I saw the shoulders who they belonged to). I think he’s really grown though, and still continues to, which is nice to see. I do think it started with his cousin.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Def. like him now. Earlier, his insecure acting out was at Peggy’s expense. Sympathy zero.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Thank you.

            • suzq

              Last week, a friend of mine met the actor who played him. He’s a very lovely man in real life.

            • megohd

              and easy on the eyes! (even with the beard)

            • MartyBellerMask

              I would hope he’s grown since his “Pussy Posse” days. (Google it.)

            • MRC210

              Yes, I saw that Gawker article yesterday. And I know the actor’s behavior is no reflection on the character and that this happened 20 years ago and for all we know Jay R. Ferguson has been a mensch and a gentleman ever since. But I still can’t feel quite the same about Stan.

            • T C

              Stan was the likely choice to “represent” the corporation in the elevator as a Creative Lead/Manager. Peggy was too shook up, her boss Lou wasn’t around and probably thought it beneath his status, it’s no longer Joan’s responsibility and Dawn (now handling Personnel) didn’t appear to be available, nor did any of the partners (who would have delegated the responsibility).

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

              I don’t think anyone was required to go with Ginsberg down the elevator.

          • schigodi

            She was shaken up, but I wonder if it somehow makes her fearful, since she has also had a mental condition that she has never truly dealt with?

            • 3hares

              What mental condition does Peggy have that she’s never dealt with?

            • schigodi

              I think having a pregnancy and baby that you are disconnected to and “unaware” of qualifies :)

            • 3hares

              I don’t think it qualifies at all. It’s not an ongoing mental problem with Peggy, it was a specific situation that Peggy was in denial about and then dealt with. Now she’s just a normal woman who gave up a child for adoption.

            • Nancy Aronson

              I was thinking about this. I don’t really know what normal means. I wonder if Peggy could have spiraled down if Don hadn’t found her. We can all agree that she doesn’t cut her nipple off and present in a box to a co-worker. So that’s something.

            • 3hares

              We saw her once after a traumatic event looking traumatized
              and listless. Ginsberg is presented as having a biological mental illness that
              causes him to hallucinate and self-harm. I don’t see what Peggy is supposed to
              be dealing with that she hasn’t already dealt with. She knows what happened to
              her, she knows why it took her some time to get over it. She’s never had any
              break from reality and she doesn’t have recurrences of symptoms.

            • TeraBat

              Right, I agree with 3hares. There’s a huge difference between having situational problems and having something actively wrong with your brain structure or brain chemistry. As bad as Peggy was after the birth of her child, it would have been *highly unlikely* for her to just not recover. Peggy is, as far as we can tell, neurotypical – her brain has come programmed with methods to help her bounce back after a trauma and to become productive after recovery. For Ginsberg, sadly, there is no hope of full recovery – only treatment and management of symptoms.

            • Alloy Jane

              That made me laugh. Indeed, Peggy has not resorted to gifting bits of her body to people she has feelings for. Can you imagine what Ted would find in his inbox if she did? Yikes. But considering the level of emotional stunting we see in dear Margaret, I do wonder how long it would’ve taken her to reconnect with reality after giving birth, had she not had Don help her snap out of it. His exit strategy required an even bigger disconnect than she was already experiencing, and that probably made it easier for her to make it out of the hospital. But eventually, she did come to terms with what happened. Being faced with total nuclear devastation probably helped accelerate the healing process.

              But Ted is a perfect example of how precarious the mental state is. From ambitious and active to moping and useless, all because of a broken heart. He may not be receiving transmissions from Mars but he’s been in this funk for months now.

            • Stella St Page

              Yes. I was thinking “what is she going to do” when she was sidling out of her office past the newly-nippleless Ginsberg, but then once she picked up the phone I remembered that of course Peggy knows who to call – she’s been committed herself.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              At first I thought she was going to look for Joan, who would surely know what to do…but no, Peggy knew what to do without help from Joan. (Joan didn’t appear at all in this episode.)

            • not_Bridget

              Peggy dealt with it. At first, she took Don’s advice to “pretend it never happened.” That got her out of the hospital before they decided to try electroshock therapy.

              But, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pete told her he loved her. So she told him about their baby. Then crossed herself before she went to sleep. She’d “confessed.”
              (Putting the kid up for adoption was probably the best decision–for her, for Pete & for the kid….)

            • Chris

              Yes, she told Stan (when his cousin was killed in Vietnam) that she had known loss, and that you had to face it in order to deal with it. Don’s solution only worked temporarily for her. The whole time the young priest in season two kept trying to get her to confess she was conflicted. It wasn’t until Peggy as you say, “confessed” to Pete she felt some kind of peace over her decision. I agree about the adoption, even if she had wanted the child, Peggy’s mother would have made her life and the child’s miserable.

            • Azaelia Bearson

              The thing that confuses me about Peggy seeing it as a decision is, wasn’t it given away for her? She had a meltdown, so I always assumed that her Mother just gave it away, and yet she does seem to think it was her active choice to.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              She must have signed the papers or something, unless she was declared mentally incompetent. We don’t know how much time passes between Peggy delivering her baby and her ending up in the psych ward. It’s quite conceivable that she could have delivered the baby, signed the papers, and *then* been diagnosed with whatever mental illness it was and hospitalized. But we really don’t know.

            • ItAin’tMe

              Wait, I’m confused now. Wasn’t the kid living with Peggy, her mother, and her sister for a while?

            • T C

              No. Peggy’s sister also had a child.

            • Alloy Jane

              Yeah, I thought Peggy’s sister adopted her son. I swear that’s what was alluded to when the priest gave her the blue egg on Easter. He was giving it to her to give to her son, which is how she finds out that he knows she had a child.

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

              Peggy’s sister did not adopt her baby. She was pregnant at the same time Peggy was and the little boy they showed was her child of the same age as Peggy’s.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Thanks, Uncles.

            • Alloy Jane

              Aaah ok. I only vaguely remember her being pregnant. One of these days I’m going to have to binge-watch all the seasons. So much of the show feels far away, like a foggy memory.

            • VanessaOwen

              Wait…! I always thought Peggy’s sister, Anita adopted the baby as well, and went back to
              your synopsis of Season 2’s “Three Sundays.“ At the time, you said (referring
              to her sister), “After all, she’s the one cleaning up Peggy’s mess by raising
              her child for her. Granted, it’s doubtful that this is what Peggy wants. We
              presume that Peggy would have eagerly given the unnamed child up for adoption,
              but the state (and apparently her family) took that decision out of her hands.”
              Did we receive information to the contrary in a later episode?

            • 3hares

              No, Anita did not adopt Peggy’s baby. That was a fake out. We did indeed receive contrary info later. Anita had her own child the same age, not Peggy’s

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

              Yes.

            • kerryev

              I always figured it was her choice because I took it literally when she told Pete she gave the baby away. I didn’t even think about her mom being involved. Hmm.

            • Azaelia Bearson

              I took it literally too, but when we see Peggy at the end of season one, she’s in a literal state of shock, and it seems she was like that for quite some time. So I don’t know when she would have made that decision.

            • Nancy Aronson

              “Well, one day you’re there, and then all of a sudden, there’s less of you, and you wonder where that part went, if it’s living somewhere outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back, and then you realize it’s just gone.”

          • ConnieBV

            Yeah, that was some great acting by Moss. Her horrified, tear-streaked face at the end there has not been so honest since Her Great Heartbreak.

          • abby536

            Yes, I wondered if this would finally pull the trigger on those 2. And then Ted will return and want to marry her.

            • elevan

              Yes. I can very easily see this happening in the season part 2. The planets finally align for Stan & Peggy, & here comes Ted trying to undo his decision.

            • shopgirl716

              If that does happen, she should pick Stan. I don’t think Ted knows what he wants.

            • Nancy Aronson

              maybe this stretch of misery will help him to figure it out?

            • Chris

              I can so see that happening. I was predicting something like that the end of last season. I call it “pulling a Joss Whedon”.

            • FayeMac

              Really would like to have some time given to Ted. So far this season his acting direction has been “stare down at your desk and look marose.”

            • ItAin’tMe

              Yuck. I can’t think of anyone less attractive than Ted. Unless it’s Pete.

            • Danielle

              I’ll take both of them over Duck Philips.

            • ItAin’tMe

              ooh yeah…I forgot him. The worst.

            • SparkleNeely

              Yes, the pooper.

          • 2ranma75

            Oh If only!!!! Then we’ll finally get to see the Peggy-Stan romance I’ve been anticipating for what seems to be forever!

        • SunDevilWitch

          I think it’s going to reinforce her feelings that:
          1. She can’t trust men
          2. She’s a terrible judge of people
          3. The only men interested in her are taken or damaged or both

          • ConnieBV

            I think you are giving her way more credit for introspection than she has ever demonstrated. That said, YES to everything you listed.

            • Inspector_Gidget

              Yeah, the sad thing about Peggy is she doesn’t seem to have learned a thing from all these other people self destructing around her. She’s Don 2.0, without quite the level of talent. She could be so much more.

          • Janice Bartels

            Although it has to be said, when she was hiring Ginsburg she had serious misgivings about him, and Don pushed her into hiring him because his work was good.

          • charlotte

            4. This never happened?

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

          My bets are on her taking a baseball bat to the computer mainframe in the name of avenging him.

          • ConnieBV

            I need a screen cap of that bitchface she made at it there at the end. It was almost comically evil. Then I need to have it flash into a closeup of Dinklage snarling last night.

            • TropiCarla

              Dinklage was in fine form last night. He gave us goosebumps with that snarl.

          • MartyBellerMask

            I see Stan doing that, more than Peggy.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Oh, man, that look on her face!

        • Alyssa_T_Robot

          me too! i hope it’s not back to business as usual next week – i’d love to see peggy take ginsberg’s advice and leave the agency and start her own with stan and don or even just take a better job somewhere else. i always believed that peggy would come out on top in the end, at least career wise.

          • FayeMac

            Maybe Peggy will take a vacation. She has never had one, that we know of.

            • P M

              I wonder what Peggy would do, exactly, on a vacation. Would she know how to relax on one?

            • FayeMac

              Since she is the lead on Burger Chef, maybe she will be sent to Cali to work with Pete.

            • P M

              That’s pretty feasible actually :)

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

          Yeah, I saw a comment like that on tumblr: “Ginsberg really just cut off his nipple and gave it to peggy in a fucking box. how the fuck do you move on from there”

          • Shawn Taylor

            Unfortunately, for the most part, Peggy is about as deep and altruistic as a saucer, if anyone can find a way to move on, she will.

            • Gatto Nero

              Quoting Don: “This never happened.”

            • EveEve

              She seems to have many of those “this never happened” experiences, doesn’t she?

            • buddy100

              At least she didn’t get him drunk and dump in a cab. Could you imagine Don and Roger handling this situation?

            • Nancy Aronson

              i don’t see why people see peggy as shallow and selfish. nope. don’t get it. she’s career-driven, and frustrated, but I don’t think she acts without a conscience. she’s not political. it takes a lot of energy to put up with all the politics and degradation and lunacy.

            • SparkleNeely

              Thank You! Yeah, geesh, where do people get this stuff? Peggy is resilient, as you mentioned. She has a lot of stamina. Really one of my favorite characters until this season. She’s a Catholic, although probably lapsed. It still plays into her moral code in a big way. That said, I HATE this season. My opinion after last night is that Weiner just ran out of shit. He even said that he used up all his ideas in Season 6, which I mostly liked. I hardly recognize any of these characters anymore. They’re all acting like they dropped acid or had some brain-altering trauma. Bad writing is my diagnosis.
              The Betty that bitched at Sally and the Sally that bitched back didn’t exist in Season 6. In fact, they were getting along much better as of the boarding school entrance. Betty was quite introspective and wondered what she could do for Sally at the end of Season 6 when Sally was caught drinking. That’s just one example. I could go on….. I think I’m just watching this the way people stare at car accidents, out of curiosity. Which is quickly waning. I’ll be so glad when the next 2 episodes end and doubt that I’ll be back next year. What a relief. They should have ended this with Season 6, most of the plotlines were pretty tied up, IMO.

            • Alloy Jane

              Agreed, but Betty and Sally have been having it out for years. Betty hates seeing Don surfacing in Sally and Sally is a teenager, predisposed to rebellion and hostility towards authority. She wouldn’t need much more than that to give Betty massive lip, but you add the generally contentious terms of their relationship and you get the sort of vicious conflict we saw between them.

              I really don’t understand why people view Peggy so negatively, but as they say, life is a mirror. What we see in it reflects nothing more than our internal landscapes. That’s what makes this show so compelling. It’s so open-ended and there are numerous ways to interpret what is happening.

            • SparkleNeely

              Not sure about that. If it’s so open-ended then why does AMC show its Behind the Scenes clips interpreting everything for you. Weiner loves to tell you what to think b/c he definitely has a POV about the whole meaning of things. It’s his creation and he’s an auteur so no, there really aren’t numerous ways to interpret his show, according to him. He’s even gotten quite snarky about the things people come up with on ‘the Interwebs.’ The endless Manson theories, who Megan really is (she’s a spy! LOL), Peggy’s baby and so on.

            • lbee

              I don’t know, I think the way they’ve portrayed their relationship in both seasons is pretty dead-on. I have a similarly complicated relationship with my own mom and when I was a teenager we’d go back and forth like this all the time, even down to sharing smokes and fighting about how I looked. Also, Betty isn’t really mad at Sally, she’s mad at Henry (and the hippies and vandals, etc), and because she’s so emotionally stunted she takes out her rage on the easier target, in her most tried and true way – defending the outdated status quo, in this case the notion that a woman’s worth is in her looks. And she’s also mad that her “she’s from a broken home” fears seems to be coming true, from her perspective. She’s always vacillating between these two extremes – despair and rage. And Sally sees through all of it and rejects it, just like she saw through Don and rejected him – the only reason she shared that smoke last season.

            • Alloy Jane

              I stand corrected. I had no idea AMC did analytical, behind the scene clips where the creator tells the audience what to think. That kinda takes away some of the charm of this show for me. But that might explain why he’s so heavy-handed this season. He’s trying to caulk the story to prevent theorizing maybe? That whole satan bit with the tech guy was like an inch of cream cheese on a bagel chip.

            • 3hares

              Well, it’s more like a short video where MW talks about some things he was doing in an ep and the actors talk a little bit about their character in the ep–they’ve been doing them for a while. It’s not telling you how to interpret everything. The other things mentioned–Megan or Bob Benson being a spy, Manson theories and Peggy’s baby stories or thinking her sister’s got him–are beyond open-ended, so saying they’re wrong is really shutting anything down about the show.

            • SparkleNeely

              Again, I’m not shutting anything down about the show. Those theories have been mocked on this very site. And as I mentioned, it was WEINER who mocked them as well, bitching about the ridiculous theories people come up with after watching his show. He’s even said, “Have people even been watching the show?” Le sigh…………….

            • 3hares

              But those particular theories were really silly so they’re not really shutting anything down. Theories like that don’t pay attention to the creator saying anything anyway.

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

              “Not sure about that. If it’s so open-ended then why does AMC show its Behind the Scenes clips interpreting everything for you. ”

              All art and expression is open to interpretation, regardless of whether or not that artist has anything to say about their work. Those behind the scenes videos are just that – short clips with the people who make the show talking about how they saw the latest episodes. They’re not “interpreting everything for you.”

            • SparkleNeely

              Well, I was being somewhat snarky. Of course, I know that they’re not “Interpreting everything for you.” Perhaps I should have responded to the line about life is a mirror, which is a narcissistic viewpoint that invalidates what you’re saying about art being open to interpretation. I’m certainly not shutting anything down, while Weiner might be in light of his comments above. He does have a very proprietary attitude about his show, right down to the fanatical control he has over spoilers. It’s gotten so bad that even Christina Hendricks has all but rolled her eyes in a video with nominees while relating a story about losing her script once. (She later found it.)

              I suppose my massive disappointment with the season’s writing has led me to huge sarcasm but I don’t think I warranted a smackdown either. Not trolling this site, in fact, its Wed. style reviews are the only thing keeping me watching.

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

              I have absolutely no idea why you’re getting defensive and lashing out at me. I’m not smacking you down and I haven’t accused you of trolling.

            • VirginiaK

              Yes – about artists and their work – very often in my experience valid interpretations, that hold up over time and under scrutiny (i.e., when tested against the text they refer to), are not thought of by the writer/artist when you hear him interviewed. The stronger the writing is, the more layers there are to the characters and the situations.

            • andrea

              I don’t see her that way either. She’s just very different than the women of her time. I think she is in some ways very childish, or just not overly mature, and that works both in her favor and against her. She is kind of like the youngest child not being used to not getting her way, which enables her to keep PUSHING for her career. It doesn’t necessarily register with her that as a woman, she’s not *supposed* to behave the way she does. On that same line of thought, the resistance she meets from the men around her is what brings out her immaturity. She’s definitely an interesting character. I find myself applauding her, and yet regularly cringing at her behavior.

          • siriuslover

            She was looking angrily at the monolith after they took him away. I was like, oh no, Peggy, don’t you go having a nervous breakdown! Just take Stan and maybe that other creative guy and get out of there!

          • HiddenMickey

            She once stabbed the man he was living with, the other man she was dating pooped in Roger’s office. She’s been through stuff. She’ll get over it again.

        • NeenaJ

          Seriously, I did such an air-suck at that moment! Imagine if it actually happened to you?

        • Chris

          I think it may help her in some way decide to take a chance or branch out if the opportunity arises. It could show her not only that life is short, but that agency isn’t a place for creatives anymore. It was clearly a very big shock to her.

          • Qitkat

            Wouldn’t that be great if this moment is finally what it takes for her to wise up to all her situations, Ted gone, Lou undermining her talent, her lack of an intimate personal life. But she may have to grit her teeth and create her own opportunity.

            • Chris

              That would be wonderful to see. I could imagine her and Pete doing something, they have worked well together in the past as in Sugarberry Hams and Ocean Spray.

            • Qitkat

              Absolutely, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Pete and Peggy in a shining moment together. They overcame all that difficult past history and they could show Lou how a great collaboration is supposed to work.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Last week’s episode seemed to raise the possibility of Pete returning to NY. So we’ll see!

        • shopgirl716

          I thought the whole situation with Ginsberg was just sad. Peggy will probably be shook up about this for a while, I know I would be.

      • Oh Goody Goody

        That whole scene, pre nap, was like the premise to a 70s sitcom. “She’s a lovelorn ad woman, he’s her adorable Puerto Rican tennent. Together they are ‘Peggy and Julio”!

        Next time on “Peggy and Julio” wacky co-worker Michael come by! What hi jinx will he get up to?

        Tuesday at 7:30, on NBC.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          That actually sounds more watchable than half of the shows premiering next season

        • Damien W

          We lost Community, and will probably get something like that in its place. Sigh.

        • ConnieBV

          It says so much about her mental state that her permanent hang is a kid.

          • asympt

            At least it’s not creepy the way it was when Betty’s closest friend was a kid of about that same age.

            • Nancy Aronson

              i think it’s sweet. i liked julio telling michael that typing was too loud.

            • andrea

              Right! But then he had a major crush on Betty, so that was awkward to watch. I don’t think Julio has a crush on Peggy, it’s more like he sees her as a peer. lol

        • Alanna

          Does this sitcom take place down by the schoolyard?

        • PowerfulBusiness

          This is the best thing I’ve read all day.

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          I thought it was kinda nice that Julio and Peggy are comfortable enough to hang out together…however that happened. I wonder if they sort of bonded because Julio’s mom is like a common adversary. We’ll probably never find out, though.

          • TeraBat

            Julio made a beeline for the couch, and complained about the noise from the typewriter; so I assumed that he didn’t have a TV in his apartment and would come downstairs to watch TV at Peggy’s.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              I thought he meant the typewrite was so loud he could hear it in his apartment and it bothered him, but I think you’re right. It would make it too noisy to watch Peggy’s TV.

            • FayeMac

              I am sure Julio has come over to watch TV and workaholic Pegs was typing away and he pointed out to her that is was too loud.

      • Gatto Nero

        Peggy is a weird mix of buttoned-up and “seen it all.” She’s the good Catholic girl who had a secret pregnancy, smoked weed, and worked naked alongside Stan to provoke him. She can’t leave her working-class Brooklyn upbringing entirely behind, but she’s had to deal with things her mother and sister could never dream of.

        • Bev Wiesner

          she wasnt provoking him, she was calling his bluff to get him to stop acting like an “a-ole” and work.

          • Chris

            Yes, she was poking a hole in his pretensions. It must have worked, because from then on their work relationship has slowly evolved to what they have today.

          • Gatto Nero

            That’s essentially what I meant. He never expected it. And when he became aroused, she had the upper hand (so to speak).

            • Bev Wiesner

              Peggy facsinates me. Shes so deliberate and strangely exempt from responding the way she has been taught to back them. I was born in 1951 and Ive collected so many Teen and Womens magaizines from the 60’s. The feminism in the show is so spot on and shes almost like Temple Grandin in her response- how people act is such an alien world to her. She is a wonderful wonderful charcter and Ms. Moss is such an incredible actor. I bow !

            • SparkleNeely

              Uh, haha – Temple Grandin? What do you mean? She’s not autistic. LOL People have speculated about her in that way and I just think that’s way off, inaccurate. Peggy is creative. She’s also idealistic. Such personality types do find the messy, real world to be foreign and depressing. I suspect Don is actually a bit like this too. He’s a man so his behavior is less governed by societal expectations. Peggy has chosen to break from not only her family and how she was taught to be, but also from societal ‘norms’ as well. Which is really a blessing. If she had bought into any of that nonsense, she probably would have had a nervous breakdown by now. I find her complicated and independent in her thoughts and actions. Well, the Peggy that existed in Season 6 anyhow. This episode really brought back the old Peggy for me, her humanity, compassion and common sense.

            • andrea

              I didn’t interpret that as Bev thinking she’s autistic like Temple Grandin, just that Peggy only knows the “Peggy way” of processing things, so everyone else is a bit foreign to her. In reality, her behavior actually sets her well apart from other women of the time, and she is viewed as the “strange” one. I think there’s a very clear reason why Peggy has NO friends; other women simply can’t relate to her. They might admire & respect her, but not in a “you go girl!” way. lol. They respect her as long as she’s still getting props from the men in the office. They cut her loose, and those office women would be the first to claim she had overreached in an “unnatural” manner becoming a lady. Unlike Joan, Peggy has never used her sex appeal to get anywhere in the office.

            • TeraBat

              Though Peggy and Joan seem to be enjoying a warmer relationship than they did in previous seasons. I can see the two of them developing a closer friendship.

        • Nancy Aronson

          also: lingerie, not naked. big diff.

          • verve

            Nope. She paused briefly in her lingerie to issue the challenge to Stan, then finished stripping everything off. They were both starkers until Stan caved.

    • Frankie Carter

      “…..And when her bizarre little attention-seeking dance failed to get Don angry at her (as it was designed to do), she wound up throwing a three-way at him out of left field.”

      ^^ This made me think of their role-playing early in their marriage (cleaning the carpet in her underwear and being all provoking leading to argument sex.) Don could care less at this point and she knows it, and possibly, as an attention seeker, is more upset about THAT than anything else.

      • Gatto Nero

        It made me think immediately of that earlier scene, too.

        • Nancy Aronson

          bisou bisou

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            I thought of Zou Bisou, but not the argument sex.

      • decormaven

        Yes, she’ll play any part, only to hold his attention.

        • Mazenderan

          Reminded me of a bit from ‘On Self-Respect':

          “If we do not respect ourselves, we are the one hand forced to
          despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little
          perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we
          are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to
          live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notion of us.
          We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an
          attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our
          willingness to give. Of course I will play Francesca to your Paolo,
          Helen Keller to anyone’s Annie Sullivan; no expectation is too
          misplaced, no role too ludicrous. At the mercy of those we cannot but
          hold in contempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun,
          each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and
          meeting the next demand made upon us.”

        • Leah Elzinga

          “I’m an actress”. Couldn’t have been plainer that she wasn’t referring to her career, but to herself directly.

          • decormaven

            Good observation!

      • JulieTy

        I think she’s trying to freak Don out so much that it will make him stay away from her new life in California. She wants the financial security he provides her, but she is marking her territory like a greyhound.

        • Chris

          I think it’s that Betty’s words were spot on, that loving Don was the worst way to get to him. She’s getting desperate and will do almost anything to hold onto Don but it’s pushing him away instead.

          • JulieTy

            Please allow me to clarify: When I said she was “marking her territory,” I was referring to California, not to Don. I think she’s tired of him and wants him to stay away (but keep paying the bills).

            • Chris

              I felt like she was desperate to keep him around. Her acting career isn’t working out like before and she needs someone or something. I thought that was why her redhead friend was always around to keep her company. (I guess she is replacing her NY redhead actress friend she lost or dumped when she got work on Dark Shadows).

            • Nancy Aronson

              Don explicitly told her to get rid of the redhead. Megan thus does not feel threatened by said redhead. Thus 3-way. It’s all kindsa crazy.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Yeah. He said he wanted to keep it “just family”. I think to Megan, she IS family. And Don doesn’t see it, has no interest in her life. The threeway could have been her way of sharing with Don what (who) was important to her. Maybe it wasn’t a desperate, random thing at all.
              IDK, just supposing.

            • Nancy Aronson

              That’s interesting. Perhaps the only family Megan can have is other people who present no competition — another version of a narcissistic Betty. Oh no! Is that why she can’t have children? Would Matthew W do that to us? Perish the thought. Does Megan want philandering Daddy all to herself?

            • Leah Elzinga

              Betty does have her own redheaded bestie, too!

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Maybe Megan simply doesn’t want to have kids. Her relationship with her own mother isn’t that great. (Remember when she told Dr. Rosen he could give her flowers, the ones Megan had given her for Mother’s Day, to Sylvia because she was “quite done with them”? Real nice, maman.) I’m not so sure Betty would have had kids if she thought she had a choice, but when she and Don were first married, that was what young couples did. Megan is probably no more than 10 years younger than Betty, but she has a far more modern attitude toward having children: she will have them if she wants them, not because it’s expected.

              I wonder if Megan saw her mother as “competition” growing up. Maybe. And doesn’t she have at least one sister? How did that play out?

              Megan told Stephanie that “Don’s kids are plenty.” Does she not see them as “competition”? Or maybe not, because she only sees them when they visit Don, and since she’s been in Cali, not even then. So she can put them in a mental box. Whereas her own child would live with them 24/7. Also, the kids were a given when she met Don. A new baby would disrupt their relationship even more than it already is.

            • 3hares

              I think she does see them as competition at times. She said last season that Don would rather be with his ex-wife and his screwed-up kids that she used to feel sorry for, but now realized they were all in the same boat.

            • lbee

              Or maybe she simply doesn’t want kids because it would mess up her career. Sure, Megan also has issues. But would we question all this in relation to the kid thing if she were a man? Just saying.

            • TeraBat

              ^ I agree. Megan’s not wanting kids seems more like a decision based on wanting her own life rather than not having to share attention with Don. If anything, given Don’s approach to fatherhood, having a baby would probably be a better strategy for keeping him than threesomes with her maybe-also-lover.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Don does want Megan to have a kid, or at least get pregnant. (Or he did.) Why? To prove his virility? Satisfy his ego? I’m not so sure that Don’s modern counterpart would have married at the age he did, or had kids right away, if at all. But in the fifties, it was expected. Now we’re in the late 60s, and Megan sees having kids as a choice, not an expectation, but I think Don still sees it that way. He expects to have children because he’s married. I don’t think he’s given it much thought beyond that, except to see it as a way of tying Megan more closely to him…or simply as a way to prove he’s sexy enough to knock her up. I’m sure he sees childrearing as mostly women’s business. That’s certainly how he acted when he was married to Betty. He can be kind and understanding with his children when he’s around, but he’s not around a lot, and it’s hard to tell if he really likes kids.

            • 3hares

              She’s basically said as much, that “it’s impossible” to have kids right now. Which is actually a good thing since she’s married to Don and he certainly shouldn’t be having any more.

          • Nancy Aronson

            I don’t get that. Megan isn’t loving. She’s clinging. And nobody appreciates clinging.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        I am trying to figure out what I missed here. When did Don & Megan go from Megan not wanting to see him to Don flying back to Cali every few weeks?

        I am guessing the timeline has moved ahead a couple of months? Peggy was cordial when they met in the elevator, Don seemed settled with “doing the work” as Freddy suggested.

        And for the record, Lou really, really irritates me. More than a fictional character should.

        • annejumps

          I was confused by that too, but I suppose it’s true to life for someone to declare an ultimatum and then kinda backslide on it. But it did feel shoddy and I didn’t totally buy it.

          • Nancy Aronson

            Someone above talked about Betty the little girl and Megan the teen. This behavior supports the Megan=teen hypothesis.

        • ConnieBV

          I felt like she was performing for her girlfriend on the phone the entire time. Don’s brow kept wrinkling too, like even he didn’t know what she was up to and why. She Betty Drapered it the fuck up, yo.

        • cookable

          Talk about fine acting. The guy who plays Lou is a very likable comedian. He’s really captured this insecure, vindictive, passive-aggressive asshole.

          • suzq

            I thought I saw him from somewhere else. Allan Havey. There’s a wonderful profile on him in the April 26 TV Guide. By the way, Matthew Weiner told him that “You’re just coming in. Everybody loves you.” He wanted Havey to play Lou egotistical and disconnected. Havey is spot on! He also ekes the comedy out of every line that calls for it.

            • Matt

              Holy CRAP! That’s Allan Havey! I remember watching his show he had on…USA? It was some late night cable talker or something. That’s when he had some seriously big ’80s hair or something (like a mane, LOL). I didn’t even recognize him! :)

            • MartyBellerMask

              I had to google. WOW. I think I may remember that show. Crazy.

          • MK03

            My dad used to work with him during the 80s standup boom. He says Havey couldn’t be more unlike Lou and that he’s been under a gag order since he started on the show.

            • SparkleNeely

              Me too. I’m gagging also, although for a different reason. God, Weiner really is an egoist, isn’t he?

        • dixie pomeroy

          I thought the same thing, but the ease with which Megan wrote out that check to the legit hippie in her house showed how dependent she is on Don’s money to prop up her hippie-lite “struggling actor” lifestyle. I’m guessing she took a look at her finances and job prospects and realized that she couldn’t quite make it on her own. It’s funny because Betty reached the same shitty conclusion when she was married to Don; she couldn’t get out until another rich man came to rescue her.

          • TheDivineMissAnn

            “hippie-lite “struggling actor” lifestyle”

            I love, love, love, that description!

            • P M

              Megan ought to just be a supporter of the arts – hand out big cheques to artists, etc. In a sense, be the kind of person Abigail Folger was in ‘Helter Skelter': participating selectively without being part of something. Yes, it’s superficial, but what can she do? Unfortunately, Marie was right: she has the temperament without the talent. The truth hurts.

            • TeraBat

              I don’t know that Megan’s not talented. Marie might just have been cruel. We haven’t really seen her acting much. She had trouble with her one role in the soap opera, but also got written some very good storylines. The sad truth is, lots of talented actresses never end up with a successful career.

            • P M

              Good point.

              What do you think Megan’s stumbling block is? Apart from luck, that is?

              Oh, incidentally, it’s mentioned in Helter Skelter that Sharon Tate was on the cusp of stardom for a long time, but never really got a role that went beyond looking pretty. I wonder if that’s going to be Megan’s fate.

              And while I’m rambling, wouldn’t it be funny if Harry, by some incredible luck, or Pete, end up doing Megan a favour?

            • TeraBat

              I think Megan’s stumbling block is that she doesn’t know who she is. She’s torn between having a comfortable life as a Madison Avenue wife who acts on the side in small productions; and wanting to be a freewheeling, free love bohemian artist. She fears that letting Don support her means she’s sold out, but she doesn’t have the courage to leave him and try making it on her own.

            • dixie pomeroy

              Last week my friend and I were fantasizing about a Mad Men spinoff where Megan and Bonnie Whiteside dump their respective men and move in together in Hollywood to solve crimes. Shirley and Meredith can run the New York office.

            • lbee

              I would totally watch that.

            • Matt

              Or they end up doing a ton of television in small roles. Television today is totally different from what it was in the late 60s and what it would become in the 70s. Megan could be one of those actresses that does all those small roles (woman in grocery store! girl in party scene! witness to crime who gets three lines with Columbo!). I have to hope she has some sort of “happy” ending.

            • Kit_W

              Lol! This reminded me of how it was Courtney Cox who was purposely chosen to be ‘pulled enthusiastically and unexpectedly on stage out of the crowd’ to dance with Bruce Springsteen during a live concert because the producers wanted that ‘effect’ while they filmed the Dancing In The Dark music video in the 80’s.
              I guess everybody’s gotta start somewhere.

            • Matt

              I’ve never heard that story. I always thought Cox was hired to be the video’s other “star” (Springsteen being THE star of the video).
              But you’re right — everyone starts somewhere. I can’t recall which cable network it is, but they’ve been running a promo about Law & Order with clips culled from the early seasons where one can see actors in some of their early roles — Samuel L Jackson, Felicity Huffman, a few others I can’t remember. The idea is to say “they’re big now, see what they did on ‘L&O’ when they were just starting out” (at least that’s how I recall it went). I was aware that with filming in NYC, the original series used to cull a lot of Broadway and soap actors for various roles (sometimes the same actor was used in different roles in different seasons).
              Just useless trivia from me. Sorry. ;)

            • Kit_W

              Not useless, that was fun : ) .

            • AZU403

              I saw a play in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and 4 of the 8 actors had been in one incarnation of Law & Order or another.

            • VirginiaK

              Useless trivia from me — my winter project when the weather was so awful here in NYC was to watch every single episode of Law and Order, in order (still doing it, up to Season 9). So I am super-aware of what you’re talking about. I didn’t have tv service at home for many of those years so had only seen random episodes. Anyhow it’s true, just about every NY-based actor has popped up there, including Julianna Margulies at maybe 19, not even looking beautiful, as a rookie cop.

        • SylviaFowler

          This is just the nature of their relationship. They both have artist temperaments and their marriage works accordingly: argue, make up, argue, make up. They both have a flair for the dramatic every now and then; keeps them on their toes and assuring themselves that the other cares. Fans keep trying to read a death knell/divorce into it, but now that we’ve seen them go through the same mating dance time and time and time again, I think it’s obvious now that this is just how it works for them. I was not the least bit surprised that they smoothed it over and stayed together.

          Don and Megan are really basically the male and female version of one another. In this episode she got territorial over him with Stephanie exactly the same way that he initially got over her with work. The whole check writing thing too is something that he’s done in the past. These two are really more alike than they are different.

          I don’t think the threesome itself is even a problem as they are both quite sexually liberal when you get right down to it. In fact, these are two people for whom a monogamish marriage could probably work wonders. However if a Rubicon was crossed, it was when he said he didn’t feel like it, and she and the friend insisted upon doing it anyway. Megan has no way of knowing that he was rape, and that he consequently has issues with being coerced into sex/not feeling in control of his sexuality, so it’s not really her fault. But if anything really negative comes from their interactions in this episode, I strongly feel like it will be that moment that was the real catalyst. We’ll see though. I think they are good matches for one another when they talk, and they aren’t trying to guess at what each other’s inner dilemma might be.

          Edit: And I totally agree about Lou Avery. The desire to punch his lights out is strong with this one.

          • Rebecca

            @SylviaFowler I think you’re pushing the similarities here. On the surface Don and Megan may seem alike, but they value completely different things, and they are worlds apart emotionally and intellectually. Also, Don has been tremendously successful in his chosen line of work, whereas Megan had temporary success with her soap opera in New York, and nothing but rejection as an actress in California. Megan is increasingly desperate, completely lacking in self-awareness and motivated by jealousy and insecurity. I see none of these characteristics in Don, though admittedly he has many other faults. Don proposed to her on a whim, while in Disneyland, newly divorced with his three kids. He was seeking a replacement, albeit a much younger one, for Betty. The marriage between Don and Megan has been on a downward spiral since it began.

            • Bev Wiesner

              I agree with Sylvia, we HAVE seen them do this dance time and time again. and the check writing thing. Good catch ! I am remembering the acting they did together for the Cool-Whip commercial- thier timing was effortless and it was beguiling to watch them together in action. Then to underscore the point, Megan left and Don did the same think with peggy- awkward, didnt come off the same winsome way -at all.

            • lbee

              I don’t know, I think Don has trouble with self-awareness and motivations too..

          • lbee

            Omg, the rape with the prostitute you mean? That’s a really interesting connection. Brilliant!

        • Fjasmine

          Yeah that was really a big gap. Megan had also seemed like she was trying to control her space (even though Don was paying for her to live in much finer style than other struggling actresses so I was surprised that she was agreeable to Stephanie being there in the first place.

          • Nancy Aronson

            Then she saw what Stephanie looked like. Surprise!

            • Leah Elzinga

              ding ding ding!

        • shopgirl716

          I can’t figure out why he only irritates the creative team. He’s a dick.

        • AnnaleighBelle

          “And for the record, Lou really, really irritates me. More than a fictional character should.”
          I hate him. He makes me think of my boss, the idiot. I really wish Charles Manson would kill Lou.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Just want to say that I’m sorry you have such a bad boss. No one deserves that BS.

            • AnnaleighBelle

              He’s not really that bad. He’s just stupid and tries to come across as avuncular even though you know he’d can you in an instant if it served his useless agenda. Mostly he stays away from me because I’m union.

        • MaggieMae

          I’m with you regarding Lou. He hits a chord. The awful new boss that ruins the job you loved.

        • Garry Todd

          Lou is a TOTAL ASS. He’s unhappy in his job and is determined to make everyone else unhappy also. He needs to quit and pitch his ridiculous little comic strip to the syndicates so the creative team can get back on track. He’s very CLEARLY the odd man out here. He doesn’t give a shit, so any work is good enough.

      • Chris

        I thought her whole LA party was supposed to contrast Megan’s birthday party for Don the way Betty’s was supposed to call back to her disastrous dinner party in her sad clown dress. Megan’s tricks to turn Don on now don’t work as well as they did a few years ago. Her more deliberate sexy public dancing and attempt to rile Don up were in contrast to her slightly naughty but fun Zou Bisou dance. The generational divide we saw at the birthday party is now the grand canyon. Don looked like someone’s parent. (And wouldn’t Megan have said “Don leave off the jacket”?) Betty’s party meltdown was similar to her one after the dinner party when it was Don who “humiliated” her, but in this case, Henry’s behavior really came out of left field.

        • cookable

          But as we recall, the show that Megan put on with Zou Bisou didn’t work any better than the show she put on in the last episode. Neither accomplished her intended outcome. There has always been a gulf too wide to successfully cross. The marriage has been crawling to the end — they are closer to it now than ever.

          • Chris

            I should have added her underwear cleaning show- that’s the one that got her the response she wanted. Her party dance this time was kind of a combination of the two and she upped the ante with the threesome later when the dance didn’t work. Yes, they have been showing since their marriage started there was a gulf. Megan wanting to pursue acting and hang out with the arty crowd is really expanding it. If she were Trudy-like and wanted to be the fabulous house wife they could probably hide the cracks longer.

            • Leah Elzinga

              I think the difference in Don’s reactions has to do with public v. private. Try to be naughty in public and get him to react, and the only thing you’re gonna get is a patronizing half smile. In the privacy of your own home is a whole other issue. This is a recurring theme with Don; he’s got vices, sometimes pretty dark ones, but he doesn’t set them loose in public. It’s hotter for him when hidden away. Don doesn’t like witnesses, and even the redhead counts. Not enough to turn it down, but enough that it’s not the gold star Megan thought she was earning.

        • Tom Phillips

          Some nice observations here.

        • Three Dancing Matthews

          Henry overreacted, but I don’t think it was out of left field. Henry’s a politician working the crowd, so that party wasn’t a social engagement- it was a work obligation for him. Henry was towing the company line: Nixon says the war needs to wind down, so Henry agrees, regardless of what he might really think. I don’t think his problem was that Betty had a different opinion than his, or even that she expressed it to friends. It’s that her job in that moment was to be the supportive political wife and she was rocking the boat and complicating an uncomfortable issue. Don would have been just as upset if she’d brought up anti-smoking research in a dinner with the guy from Lucky Strike. We’ve seen this before with Henry and Betty- he gets upset when she doesn’t “do her job” as the smiling, charming political wife, and doesn’t understand why she can’t always be the perfect, Republican-wife-Barbie he thought he was marrying.

          And I literally thought “Phyllis Schlafly origin story!” during that scene. Great minds…

          • Nancy Aronson

            What he reacted about wasn’t left field. But how. We’ve seen that’s he’s turned by Betty as an object, and Betty likes being an object — and generally he’s decent, even-tempered. Why so temperamental and bossy? Why pushy about Betty leaving the kitchen?

          • Lisa_Co

            The other guy brought up Vietnam, not Betty. But she took the bait and by her looks st Henry, i think Betty THOUGHT she was saying the right things- things Henry believed in. One can see her whole venture into political talk as a fail. But I think the real problem came after Henry voiced his opinion and Betty looks at him and says, REALLY. Shows how little they have been communicating.

        • Mod_girl

          True–and I noticed (only because I watched “A Night to Remember” over the weekend) that Betty served Rumaki at both Sad Clown Dress Party AND last night–LOVE that detail!

          • Rebecca

            @Mod_girl Yes, she served Rumaki at both parties, highlighting that she is stuck inthe past.

            • TeraBat

              Or she could just have a couple recipes which she knows work for her, that she can make easily and without having to constantly refer to a cookbook. Betty seems to me the sort of hostess who would have a couple stock recipes she could use to impress guests she hasn’t entertained before.

          • Sonny

            I missed the Rumaki detail but loved that Megan apparently only eats spaghetti.

            • L’Anne

              Spaghetti is one of our go-to dishes when we can’t think of anything else. Cheap. easy. always have stuff on hand for it.

            • Lisa_Co

              Reminds me of a Blue is the Warmest Color. One of the 2 women (Adèle) is ALWAYS eating spaghetti.

      • http://captivewildwoman.blogspot.com Miss Lisa

        I haven’t seen mention of the correlation between Megan’s behavior with the (off-screen) director who she stalked and begged for another audition, and how she’s treating Don at this point in their marriage. She feels she can’t make it on her own without the attention of powerful men. And when she doesn’t get that from them, she gets desperate and increasingly manipulative. When that fails, she stubs her cigarettes out very aggressively. Poor Megan.

      • Nancy Aronson

        Don doesn’t seem indifferent to me. I think he still cares. I can’t say how he’ll feel if she keeps acting strangely, or if he discovers how she treated Stephanie. For now, to me, he seems committed to Megan. He doesn’t want to be the guy who can’t sustain a relationship.

      • leahpapa

        The redhead was named Amy, same as Aimee the prostitute who took Don’s virginity…not sure what to make of that yet.

    • MarinaCat

      Random observation – it was bugging me who Mathis is as I was picturing him as a child but couldn’t place the face. He played Frederick Crane on “Frasier.”

      • annrr

        thank you! I kept wondering where I’ve see that actor before

      • Nancy Aronson

        you’re blowing my mind, man

    • FayeMac

      “The rules are bullshit. Jim Cutler is bullshit.” thanks for saying that. The whole setup seemed so outlandish.

      I was wondering when Don was going to stop graveling to these people. The partners keep saying they are comfortable without him. Comfortable only because Don with Roger’s help was instrumental in the company landing Chevy and Dow. I am sure they are milking Chevy all they can – what if something happens to that account? Where would they be then? Great review.

      • Alyssa_T_Robot

        yeah i thought it was only a matter of time and enough humiliation suffered until we got to see don start swingin again and i mean that in baseball terms lol.

      • ConnieBV

        I needed to see him turn some sort of corner, and I felt like that phone call with his “niece” did more for him than any three-way with Megan could, and I think Megan could tell, as well.

        • Cabernet7

          Yeah, the three-way seemed to bore him more than restore the mojo.

          • Chris

            Don likes his wives to be angels mostly. He saves anything other than vanilla for the prostitutes. Megan really freaked him out.

            • MK03

              He seemed confused and kind of scared to me. That was not a man who liked what he saw.

            • Matt

              That’s what I saw…Don was like, “what the hell is going on?!?”

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

              The prostitutes or the mistresses.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Brought Bobbie to mind and how he detests being out of control. What an earlier poster brought up about his de-virginizing rape story doesn’t help either. Megan be tone deaf.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              The three-way freaked me out, too. We’ve seen Don with lots of different women, and even seen him do a little light bondage, but a three-way! Whoa! It reminded me of a porno movie, but with clothes.

        • MartyBellerMask

          She was really, really upset. Her face said “DON’T YOU EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DID LAST NIGHT????”
          Poor thing.

    • Damien W

      I like how, although JIm was both incredulous and open-mouthed, Lou was simply open-mouthed. He finally saw the legendary Don Draper in action. He finally gets the difference between Don and him. It was like he saw Jesus. Loved that.

      • decormaven

        Revelatory for sure.

      • mommyca

        I kept wondering whether Lou’s “You are incredible” was ironic or sincere…

        • ConnieBV

          Me too!

        • Damien W

          Exactly. Thwarted or not, Lou discovered his pulse in that meeting. You can be in advertising and still be a swashbuckler on the high seas. That hadn’t occurred to him before.

        • Scimommy

          I was wondering if it was praise or censure. As in “That was amazing!” or “Have you NO shame??”

          • Kathy

            And Don said “Thank you.” !

          • http://twitter.com/janedonuts Jane Donuts

            I think it was both.

        • Bonnie B

          It felt like both, in a way. Although Don took it the way he wanted it to be

          • Nancy Aronson

            Exhilarated and cool playing high stake poker.

        • Zaftiguana

          I think it was sincere, but both positive and negative. Incredible that Don is just that good, able to get the leaders of an industry he publicly lambasted to not only not want him fired but to see him working on their business as the main draw, breaking the rules of his return without consequences into the bargain, but also incredible that Don had the unmitigated gall and, frankly, complete disrespect for his colleagues, to attempt it.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Cutler and Lou are trying to force Don out. I don’t think they deserve much (if any) respect from him at this point. He has to pull out the big guns (or slap them with his dick whitman, as the Uncles so brilliantly put it) in order to survive.

            • SparkleNeely

              Exactly. He had nothing to lose. As Harry said, he would have to think his way out of it. And he did, maybe. He had at least something to gain so why not pull out all the stops. I just don’t want this to be more of a downturn for Don. I mistakenly got excited when he agreed to those ridiculous terms and the Hendrix cue played. Then I got dickslapped by Weiner’s writing when Don was humiliated and it was revealed that he had no grand plan. And Bert’s comment was so nasty. What a depressing episode. That last scene was great but I’ve been disappointed before…….

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              I think Don, like many people, can be inspired to make an amazing move when push really comes to shove. When he agreed to the terms, I think he was buying time because he hadn’t figured out a strategy and/or was waiting to be inspired. Learning about Lou and Cutler’s intention to force him out was the push coming to shove that catalyzed his strategy.

            • Zaftiguana

              Oh, no argument there. Just talking about it from Lou’s perspective. Lou is obviously, as is typical of people who are not creative thinkers, very much a “rules” guy. Even in his attempt to have a little break-out side gig with his cartoon, he’s trying to carbon copy what someone he used to work with modeled for him. So Don breaking all of the rules like that would really shake him up.

        • Katie Turk

          Ya know? I don’t think he meant it as praise, so much as “you are UNbelievable” but an note of astonished admiration snuck in.

          • mommyca

            I’m inclined to think this too…

        • lamamu

          It was probably ironic in the moment and sincere when he got to thinking about it later.

        • andrea

          I think it was both! But I LOVE than Don only took it as sincere: “Thank you.” Then sent them along their way in a cab. lol. I do think that part of Lou’s meaning was “you are incredible……to do something so blatantly AGAINST what we told you to do to keep your place here.” But also I think he was marveling at Don’s cajones to even attempt crashing that meeting.

      • Chris

        I thought Lou’s sad, boring cartoon was a great way to show the difference between him and Don. It’s bland and uninspired and he did it because some other guy from Dancer mad a lot of money with Underdog. There’s no art in his work, it;s soulless and all about the money. Don, while liking his money and status, creates because he needs to, which is why we saw him giving Freddy free pitches.

        • Zaftiguana

          What was even more stunning and indicative of how terrible he is for this job is the way he handled it with his team. Not by saying, “Hey, shit the fuck up and let’s get back to work” but by acting like a wounded, angry child and defending it while lashing out at the other kids. Unbelievable.

          • Chris

            And he tried to be cool by referencing Bob Dylan. I very much doubt Lou is really a fan of his. Poor Stan, he really did feel bad for the way his answer sounded. Lou reminded me of one of those grade school teachers who punished the whole class when one kid got caught misbehaving.

            • Zaftiguana

              Oh god, the Dylan reference. Bob Dylan would totally have been the one name that someone of that time who actually knew nothing about cool music and was completely stuck in the 50’s would know, so calling him up and asking if he was “hip enough” would have been painful.

              And you nailed it, Lou was VERY bad third grade teacher, which was actually sort of signaled by his return to the cardigan.

            • Leah Elzinga

              good call, noticing the cardigan there!

            • MK03

              OMG yes. He’s like the sub from hell.

        • Qitkat

          I just realized something. I have confused Freddie with Harry and I don’t quite know why. I actually thought that was Freddie out in California at the party. So many characters, it gets muddled at times.

        • Robyn Garrett

          Keep in mind that Underdog was conceptualized in 1959, ten years ago in show time. People (and kids) had a different view on American life and patriotism back then. In 1969 shows like H.R Pufnstuff and Scooby-Doo are coming out.

          • Chris

            I loved Underdog, I meant his Scout cartoon was bland. Underdog was a masterpiece compared to Scout.

          • tallgirl1204

            HR Pufnstuff! So, so druggie. I remember as a kid being amazed that my folks let me watch it–

            • Nancy Aronson

              Can’t do a little cause he can’t do enough.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              I never caught on to the drugginess until I was an adult reading about it on on the internet. Sid and Marty Kroft, OMG!

          • AZU403

            But Underdog was just a little ironic. It was a favorite of the purportedly cool kids I went to school with, though not as much as “George of the Jungle”.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I thought this was a pretty good episode and helps to build the story up for the last few episodes this year (I’m still mad about them splitting the season in half). Random observations:

      We finally got to see Sally’s relationship with her mother post revelations from Don…and it doesn’t appear to be any better. Of course as a teen she probably would be at loggerheads with Betsy anyway, and she may not have made the connection that her father was perhaps not faithful to her mother. Ugh, my heart just ached for poor Bobby and his stress-induced stomach aches. Don needs to step up and take him to a ball game or camping.

      For a fraction of a second I actually felt a bit bad for Lou and how others were mocking his comics. He ruined that by being his usual enormous ass about everything. Maybe he should have actually taken managerial advice from Don.

      I was convinced at the beginning of the season that Don would end up in California, but now I’m not so sure. His relationship with Megan is on the skids, and lately he doesn’t seem very comfortable in his skin there. Maybe he just doesn’t like Megan and her scene, but now I can’t imagine him leaving New York.

      • Dorace Afton Trottier

        Megan’s “scene” is all lies. She isn’t a “starving actress”. She doesn’t really believe in “free sex”. She is putting on a show for Don. That tantrum she pitched in the kitchen with the cigarette? That sums Megan up tidily.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Yeah, her “scene” is mostly an illusion, but Don still didn’t seem very comfortable during the party. Under normal circumstances I don’t think he would be as relieved to see Harry anywhere outside of work.

          • decormaven

            Gotta love when Harry says in the bar, “We go back a long way.” I thought of the night Harry bobbled the Rolling Stones contract. Get that man a bag of burgers!

            • ConnieBV

              Was anyone else hopeful when he said to Don that they had to get him where he needed to be? Harry does, for all his idiosyncrasies, get stuff done.

            • decormaven

              I think it would be symmetry if Harry indeed helps Don back up. Remember how Harry teared up during Don’s Carousel pitch? He “got” Don at that minute, because Don hit the button on how people feel. I am curious about Harry’s marital status now- is he divorced, separated or just jetting home to see the wife and kids in NYC?

            • 3hares

              Harry’s married and commutes between CA and NYC regularly. I don’t quite get what you mean by saying he “got” Don in that pitch. You mean he understood why Don was good at his job?

            • decormaven

              I think it was the way Don encapsulated what Harry was going through at the time- he was on the outs with his wife. Don’s pitch was classic. “Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.”

            • Qitkat

              Thanks. Love hearing this again, and pondering its meaning. Someday I really do need to re-watch the entire series, maybe after it’s all over, maybe before the final episodes next year.

            • Zoey

              I don’t know. No one really respects Harry. Roger was ready to fire him rather than talk about him for a minute. I think he did all he could for Don, blurted out information he shouldn’t have shared.

            • ConnieBV

              Roger was, but Cutler got him that computer, didn’t he? I feel like people mock him, but he is always effective.

            • Zoey

              That seemed more about Cutler’s ego and the reputation of the firm than placating Harry.

            • ConnieBV

              Yes, but he did it because Harry brought it to his attention. I see Harry as effective, in any case, no matter the indirect method.

            • Qitkat

              Another theme of this show, characters blurting out information they oughtn’t have shared. And aren’t we glad he did, in this case.

            • Chris

              And when he introduced Don to the IBM guy he called him the “Creative Director” even though he did point out they have three of them now. I don’t think anyone else (but Pete maybe) would have used his old title.

            • Nancy Aronson

              When Roger said Harry was fired, I interpreted that as possibly being about Jim digressing from the matter at hand, i.e, Don’s return. It might have been Roger’s way of saying Whatever. Harry’s small potatoes. Let’s get back to what we’re actually here to discuss.

              Also, Roger and Jim are constantly battling for superiority — everything either one of them brings up is, by definition, beside the point. Thus Jim’s tricky phone meeting machinations. In this instance, Roger happened to be right. Jim was floundering, scared and trying to re-direct the conversation away from Don. Rather than be direct, Roger more tactfully said — okay, you want it? done. now let’s get back to business.

              A possible interp.

            • MarinaCat

              It’s interesting to me that the likes of Pete Campbell and Harry Crane are the only ones rooting for Don. Who would have predicted that in season one? (I believe that Roger is sort of hoping for Don’s success but is mostly ambivalent.)

            • Chris

              Well they were always among the ones most impressed with Don. I thought it was a nice touch that Ken was so happy to see Don and referenced his carousel pitch when he saw him. They were the young up and comers at S.C. when Don was the guy everyone wanted to be, clever, handsome, cool, on top of his game with the most beautiful wife and the home in the suburbs. He was their ideal. Pete tried to copy Don for years. Now they are in an agency with no “magic” anymore. Ted is washed out and listless while Cutler and Lou rule by dollars and cents. Don’s the only matinee idol they have. Everyone who has worked with him over the years has seen him pull pitches out of his hat and make last minute saves. He essentially created SCDP on a whim and merged with CGC over a drink in a bar. They expect great things from him.

            • MarinaCat

              Oh yes, I completely agree! My slant was more along the lines that Don never really liked Harry (which Megan confirmed while planning his surprise party) and while Pete has proven to be a valuable asset and has earned Don’s professional respect, he has never really been an object of admiration for Don.

            • Chris

              Yes, I said somewhere else here a couple of times that both Pete and Harry suffer from not being cool. They are both great at business but they really rub their co-workers the wrong way. Harry irks Don the worst.

            • Qitkat

              “Magic”
              Which is a large part of why I cheered Don in the final scene, I actually felt something palpable inside me.

            • Nancy Aronson

              Roger needs someone strong on his side or he’ll become irrelevant in his own firm. Also, he’s bored.

            • Carrie

              “There were twenty! I thought you were getting it for your family!”

          • MK03

            You know Don is desperate when he actually wants to hang out with Harry.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Hey, at least he did his wife a solid. She HATES Harry. :)

        • ConnieBV

          I kept noticing her Pucci-like (probably a Pucci) dress during the party, the elaborate hair and how she was just the Betty Draper of CA. She was planning her food and entertainment with just as much relish as Betty, laquered up and dressed to the nines in a room full of unwashed hippies, trying to pretend like she fit in.

          • decormaven

            Yes- “studied casual.”

          • MK03

            Neither she nor Don belonged in that room, visually. Megan was glammed up like Sharon Tate and Don was wearing his go-to plaid blazer and a polo shirt. Their colors and prints did not connect with a single person at the party, including each other.

          • ikillplants

            Excellent point. It is a Pucci dress! AMC has a video up online with Janie Bryant for anyone who wants to take a look. Practically salivating for the TLo analysis on Wed!

            • SparkleNeely

              IKR? It’s the only reason I’m still watching this show. It certainly isn’t the writing. And I want that Pucci dress and her yellow flower print dress, AND the blue flower print blouse and skirt combo.

          • Fjasmine

            Pucci dress that Janie had hemmed about 7 inches!

            • ConnieBV

              Really, with the pregnancy subplot I was fairly sure we would see her uterus.

        • E2_Remote

          Thank you! This is exactly what I was thinking when she also spat the dummy over the expensive tv. Girl says she doesn’t want to show off to her starving artist friends, but she drives THAT? Bitch, please.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Remember that in the 60s, TV was still considered by many to be a “mindless” form of entertainment. People didn’t analyze it then the way we do now, and even the best shows weren’t as good as, say “The Sopranos” or “The Wire” or….”Mad Men.” Movie actors had much higher stature than TV actors. Artistic and intellectual types would be scornful of television and think it was vulgar to spend a lot of money on a fancy TV. Megan hangs out with artistic types, so….yes, even in Hollywood. As Don said, “But you’re going to be on it!” Megan probably used the expense as an excuse to say she didn’t want the TV, because she didn’t want to come out and say it wasn’t cool.

      • decormaven

        I loved the scene with Betty and Henry in the kitchen, when she says she is comfortable where she is. In her seated position, looking up at Henry, you see Sally all over again. Both mom and daughter are going to be propelled forward- but to where? Great acting by JJ.

        • Nancy Aronson

          i’m not stupid. i speak italian.

      • siriuslover

        There was a an upcoming scene after the first episode where Pete says something like, “why don’t we start our own company.” I doubt he was saying that to poor Ted, who as Harry said is “useless. Useless and broken.” But to whom? Harry? Does Peggy make a trip out there? Or Don? But how many times can he re-invent a company? Pete, maybe, but Don now seems to be working in the system while hovering around its margins mores than he’d ever done in the past.

        • mommyca

          He was saying that to Ted indeed…

          • stonecoldcuddlewhore

            I think he said that to Ted a couple episodes ago. After the technology busted conference call where it was decided that Pete had to report to Bob Benson.

          • siriuslover

            mommyca, has it already happened yet and I missed it?

            • mommyca

              yes, it was in the episode where Jim wants Bob Benson to oversee one of Pete’s new accounts and Pete is upset about it… when there was all those problems with the phones between NYC and LA… don’t remember which episode number… it did happen…

            • siriuslover

              I’ll have to re-watch the episode. I thought I saw it only in a preview. Thanks.

            • KateWo

              He said that because he wants Ted to have the same passion about his job that Don had.

            • andrea

              Where IS Bob?!?!?

            • 3hares

              Detroit.

            • mommyca

              I guess that since they have cancelled the show he was on, “The Crazy Ones”, there could be a chance he could come back…

      • buddy100

        I know. I actually almost developed a little soft spot for Lou when I learned that he was a secret cartoonist. “Well, maybe that’s why he’s a such a gigantic douche. He’s a sensitive frustrated artist stuck in a….oh, he just opened his mouth. Nope. Sympathy gone. Dickwhitmanslap him, Don!”

      • Fjasmine

        We haven’t seen Don spend any time with Bobby and Gene this season.

      • Nancy Aronson

        Someone needs to rescue Ted.

    • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

      Poor Ginsberg. Was that spying on Cutler/Lou scene a 2001 reference? Hmm…

      • Gatto Nero

        It absolutely was.

        • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

          Except, unlike HAL, Ginsberg can’t lip read. And I wanted to know what they were saying!

          • NeenaJ

            At one point, Lou definitley says “Draper.” What better place to discuss the secret cigarette meeting? They are keeping that prize for themselves. Cutler doesn’t worry about Harry because he is a business guy – not a relationship guy. He 1) thinks he got Harry in the bag with the computer purchase; 2) has no idea that Don’s going to be in California this weekend – where Harry also happens to be;
            3) discounts the fact that going through some real shit together bonds people in such a way that they would put loyalty ahead of prudent business decisions.

            • decormaven

              Good read on Cutler. He definitely thought he had Harry’s loyalty in the bag with the computer purchase. He has fingered (or tried to finger) everyone in the office. Just like when he brought in Dr. Feelgood- he’s all about “helping” people, but he’s just looking for the soft spot for the stab.

          • ConnieBV

            No BKs that can lip read????

      • Julie Parr

        What does that mean?

        • Gatto Nero

          In “2001: A Space Odyssey,” HAL the computer watched two astronauts talking behind soundproof glass about a plan to disable him, and read their lips.

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

            I picked that up, too, but I was also wondering if perhaps Ginsburg wasn’t hallucinating the whole thing. Were Lou and Jim REALLY in the computer room, or was it Ginsburg’s feverish imagination? On the one hand, they were trying to keep a secret (Phillip Morris) so that would be a good place to rendezvous; on the other, it was a time when the office was officially closed, and who has “secret” meetings in a glass box?

            • Gatto Nero

              One of those dream-like sequences that TLo referred to?

            • SunDevilWitch

              The whole meeting with those two really happened; it’s only how Ginsberg sees it that appears warped.

            • Chris

              They were scheming about the secret tobacco account. That way they knew no one could hear them in that room and they could see anyone coming.

          • Julie Parr

            Oh, great. Thank you. I’ve never seen it. I know — it’s on my list!

      • annrr

        yes

      • Aurora Leigh

        Great catch! I knew it looked familiar.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        Definitely. It was mildly interesting that they cast Ginsberg in the HAL role rather than a human one. HAL was reading lips and being paranoid, and was the one who cracked up until his plug got pulled.

        Still, I think they are being kind of heavy-handed with all the “ominous computer” subplots.

        • somebody blonde

          I think the hilarious part about the computer is that it is NOT ominous, everyone is just imagining it to be that way so it becomes ominous. All the creatives see it replacing the lounge and start thinking of it as a symbol of their decreased importance in the agency. Ginsberg sees it and starts going crazy.

          • Nancy Aronson

            just devil’s advocating here: perhaps the computer could be seen as the quantification of advertising that leads creativity in the dust. all that is unquantifiable, that cannot be reduced to a formula, becomes irrelevant.

            • P M

              Take a look around you: that’s what’s happened to the value of labour in general in many ways. If it can’t be quantified, it’s not relevant. If it’s formulaic, it is dispensible.

    • SunDevilWitch

      If only Ginsberg could have taken Lou with him! I dreamt of the mid-season cliffhanger being Ginsberg going postal on the computer and somehow killing Lou Avery in the process, or at least forcing a show-down about who to keep (Don vs Lou) when the expense of replacing the machine means one has to go. I’m glad the show finally dealt with his mental illness, but were his comments about Stan meant to be serious? I wasn’t sure if it was rambling of a confused mind or another layer to his clearly agonized character. If they were legit, it certainly adds dimension to his awkwardness in general, and on the date we saw, if he’s also hiding/denying that part of himself. It just seemed a little late in the game for that idea to be introduced. Perhaps I missed some earlier references or clues…?

      Also, is anyone else thinking the writing of Henry was off this episode? What savvy political player doesn’t coach his wife on something as hot-button in that moment as his position on Vietnam? He knows she’s a fabulous asset so he has no one to blame but himself when she spoke up and wasn’t singing his tune. Lastly, I cannot be the only one that laughed out loud at Betty’s “I’m not stupid, I speak Italian!” comment. Fabulous.

      • Gatto Nero

        I thought the writing for Henry was off in more ways than one. What caught me off-guard most was his chauvanism, which until now had not been evident to the audience. This felt forced, as though Weiner was trying too hard to create a situation for Betty to rebel against in order to demonstrate her character development.

        • http://thejoyfulfox.blogspot.com/ Laura

          ^ This exactly. That came out of absolutely nowhere. Henry has always been a wonderful husband (maybe better than Betty deserves at times) and his behavior was totally out of character. It made me sad; I know he’s a relatively minor character, but I always liked him.

          • FayeMac

            Henry seems to be different when others are around. A few seasons ago he got upset when Betty was anxious when she saw Don with a date and she ordered a drink in front of the guy they were meeting.

          • Gatto Nero

            I was disappointed, too, that the writers would resort to that.

            • clairebbbear

              I could be wrong. but wasn’t this the first time we saw Betty as politician’s wife actually saying something rather than being a pretty trophy, and in the (semi) public sphere? For all Henry’s apparent good points, their interactions and his forgiving nature towards her have almost always been depicted in the private sphere of their home, private parties etc. This is different.

            • Inspector_Gidget

              It is a different role for Betty, for sure. Don actually relied on her personality in public to entertain people he didn’t care about talking to, and keep them occupied. Henry is the opposite.

              It’s an interesting point to make, if they handled it a little better.

            • suzq

              I agree. He’s willing to overlook all of Betty’s faults, except when they threaten his political career.

            • MarinaCat

              Perhaps Henry assumed that Betty would know enough to toe the [Nixon] company line. This isn’t her first go ’round as “someone’s wife” and he actually appeared a bit suprised by her actions.

        • Chris

          EXACTLY! I wouldn’t have minded if there had been so much as one hint over the years that Henry was like that. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine in any man his age at that time but they have painted him as practically a saint so far, lacking only a halo. He’s a kind and gentle husband who adored Betty when she put on weight and enjoyed a seemingly great sex life with her. He’s understanding and good to the children and has been supportive with Betty in every way imaginable. He’s been shown discussing his work with her and she apparently loved being a politician’s wife. Now all of a sudden he’s a guy who tells her what to think, yells at her and belittles her. O.K. It’s like they were trying to recreate Betty’s disastrous dinner party with her sad clown dress. But in that instance it was the build up of Don treating her badly for years, here it’s one disagreement that seemingly came out of the blue. I’m all for Betty finding something, anything, that makes her happy but if Henry needed to be the catalyst for it the writers should have laid some or any kind of foundation for it. It makes far less sense for her to yell “I speak Italian” at Henry than it would have at Don.

          • Teresa

            I need to check the sterno…loved that!

            • L’Anne

              That’s a potholder line.

          • megohd

            I enjoy the Henry Francis character and in general agree that he seems to be a good man. However. Let’s not forget that he creepily hit on a 9-months-pregnant woman. That he seemed to view her as an objet d’art. That he “rescued” her to Reno for a divorce. It doesn’t necessarily surprise me that he likes his woman seen and not heard, esp. if that opinion diverges from his own.

            • Chris

              That’s fine, if it was ever addressed in any way in any of the seasons preceding this. They have had many opportunities to even show a hint of this side of Henry but never did. A word or two here or there would have been enough. It’s not crazily out of line for a man of his age and time and circumstance as I said, but some foreshadowing would have been welcome. He has been a saint up until this episode. It’s just another example of a writing problem.

            • lucky

              a saint?? what about leaving Don’s boxes out on the street to collect only after ramming into them with his car in the garage, telling Don not to show up to his son’s b-day party, not telling Betty it was he who called to see if her tumor was benign, making out with a pregnant Betty in the first place…..hardly a SAINT!

            • Chris

              He told Don not to show up? I thought Betty was the one acting up about Don and she finally cooled it when Henry noticed her extreme reaction. Then at the party she brought baby Gene over to Don and told Henry she was being generous “because we have everything”. When did he make out with a pregnant Betty? Didn’t Don just throw the boxes away because they were an excuse?

            • lucky

              Henry was peacocking that entire episode, which to me is a foreshadowing of an underlying patriarchal nature. Henry calls Don and insists he come pick up the boxes to make room in the garage (DON’S garage LOL). Don said he would come get the boxes at the birthday party, Henry said he didn’t think that was a good idea. FF to Henry mowing the lawn in a tight t shirt with the boxes at the curb, doesn’t bother even greeting Don. Don throws out the boxes because who cares. Don goes to the bday party after Betty invites him, pretty much ignoring Henry, Henry’s about to get upset about it, Betty tells him it’s fine.

              He didn’t make out with pregnant Betty, I was mistaken, but he was overly familiar with her, especially for the era, and he did make his move on her while she was married.

              The point is Henry totally has a darker side / male ego and we have seen it a few times but this most recent episode was the most blatant.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Oh, I loved that scene with Henry mowing the lawn. That was some Alpha Dog stuff right there.

            • L’Anne

              They didn’t make out when she was pregnant. He asked if he could touch her stomach, and yes I do find it creepy that perfect strangers feel perfectly entitled to touch women’s pregnant stomachs. BUT it is hardly an unusual event. Pregnant women get belly-touched ALL THE TIME, and most people don’t even bother to ask. I’m not justifying what Henry did, just saying that this incredibly common. Its one of the ways in which pregnant bodies are viewed, in some ways, as public domain that people can comment on, control, touch.

              Betty and Henry didn’t even kiss until after she found Don’s stuff locked in his drawer.

            • lucky

              ok i concede on that point. but if him touching her belly was done in the manner you mentioned – pregnant bodies as public domain – then it plays to the fact that Henry is a typical 60s era patriarch and this most recent episode is just one of the first times we’ve seen him express that vocally, and one of the first times we’ve seen her react to it.

              and they did make out while she was married which is def not saintly.

            • P M

              How is it patriarchal if people of both genders and many ages do it?

            • verve

              How is it patriarchal if people of both genders… think women are better off as housewives? …think women should worry about looks foremost? …expect women to be more nurturing and gentle? Et cetera, et cetera.

              Though I suspect lucky was being literal with the “patriarch”– he’s the man tending to the pregnant woman, the head of a house checking on the progress of a young’un. (The rooster in the hen house, if you will.)

            • P M

              I was referring specifically to the belly touching.

            • lucky

              I’m not sure how to answer that…our culture is patriarchal and therefore our customs are patriarchal….

            • http://www.pinterest.com/linlin Linlin

              I would be very surprised if it was usual during the sixties for strange men to touch a pregnant’s woman’s belly.

            • Gatto Nero

              You’re right. It would’ve been unthinkable.

            • greenwich_matron

              I don’t even mind that he turns out to be a patriarchal chauvinist type: he is a Westchester Republican in 1969, after all (although I do think the writers are playing a cheap game of “gotchya” with the audience.) What I do mind is that they turned Saint Henry, the epitome of a WASP gentleman (except the accent) into Stanley Kowalski, having a loud argument with his wife in the kitchen.

            • ConnieBV

              A million times this. Henry pursued her as a trophy wife, and now she is breaking the deal. The chauvinism is only remarkable because up until this point, she has not directly challenged him. She has let him guide her as a father, and now that she *is* challenging her, he acts not atypically for a man of his time. “I gave you this nice house and put up with you, shut up and look pretty WTF”. I disagree that he was ever a saint. He has always been creepy.

            • Chris

              She gained a lot of weight and he didn’t mind, that surely didn’t fit in with the trophy wife mold. We have never seen Henry yell before and now he is telling her to shut up and say what he tells her?

            • jinco

              Sally’s line about not needing a cute little nose to bag a husband because she already had Betty to push her around was a big clue to everyday life in that house.

            • AZU403

              It may well transpire that Betty will finally stand on her hind legs and tell Henry, “I’m not putting up with this dismissive marital crap a second time,” and take off to pursue her own life. Then we Bitter Kittens will have to decide which is better, a conservative powerhouse or a doormat?

            • Shug

              Thanks for pointing that out about Betty and Henry’s origins. For as nicely as Henry has treated her in general. it is super fucking skeevy to hit on a pregnant woman at a party. She was very clearly married and her pregnancy seemed to be a fetish to him.

          • brooklynbull

            I actually had a fear that Harry would hit her as the argument after the party progressed. Never saw him that way before – but he has always been portrayed as a control freak about his career’ and – control freaks often hit.

          • Man Dala

            Henry has been firmed with Betty before. Remember when she fired Carla?

            • Chris

              Yes, but he has never treated her the way he did here, yelling at her and basically telling her what she should think. Before, Henry was always a voice of reason arguing for Carla and Sally. He is the one who would calm Betty down when she and Sally would fight and he is the one who suggested Dr. Edna for Sally. He’s gotten cross before, but usually with good reason and he has never been painted as a dictator.

            • Man Dala

              Maybe he has lost his patience. That’s what 5+ years with betty would do to you.

            • FayeMac

              Right after they were married, they were coming back from a dinner, where Betty saw Don with a date, Henry stated he may have made a mistake with the marriage, or something like that. He was really angry with her for drinking so much in front the guy they had dinner with.

        • 3hares

          I thought chauvinism in general made sense for him since their whole courtship had that air of “let’s pretend we’re Victorians” to it with the fainting couch etc. But this type of chauvinism, where he’s telling her to keep her fat mouth shut unless she’s talking about toast was out of nowhere. While Betty handled the thing badly, he actually was at fault for not telling her he was flip flopping.

          • NeenaJ

            Totally. I was thinking this falls exactly in line with the fainting couch.

          • MartyBellerMask

            But then again, we rarely see them. Screen-time-wise. This could be their whole relationship, we just have never seen it before.

        • busterholl

          Henry hates Betty now. He’s just fed up and the very act of her taking beath annoys him. He’s not really a chauvinist; he’s just misplacing his anger towards her in any way that shows up. The Vietnam discussion was just a catalyst for something more profound about their marriage — it’s over.

          • Chris

            I read it the other way around. Betty was the one who kept getting angry with Henry. Everything he said made her mad. He yelled at her once but she got mad at everything he said. He wanted to just make up and be together but he pushed her past that point.She hated him telling her what to think, but he is also getting the backlash of all the years Don did it to Betty too. She’s mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. From anyone.

            • Qitkat

              I think you and @busterholl:disqus are both right. And it’s not even contradictory. Thus is the complexity of most marriages.

      • Julie Parr

        Yes, I agree. He would have definitely talked this through with her before that night.

        • ConnieBV

          Only if he thought her opinion mattered, or that it would ever come into play.

        • EveEve

          Political wives were not supposed to publicly express their divergent opinions about politics when their husbands were working the room. They were supposed to make sure the chafing dish was warm and the guests all had drinks. Henry expressed his shock and dismay that she had broken the rule, not that her opinion was invalid.
          This rule still holds in many social spheres. Couples don’t disagree with each other in public.

          • SylviaFowler

            Exactly. People all along have kept saying that Betty would make the perfect politician’s wife, that it’s the type of “work” to which is naturally and best suited. Well, 98% of that role is NOT TALKING POLICY. Ever. And certainly not talking about it first. You wait for the politician to speak, then you support whatever he said. That’s really it. So I am honestly confounded at all of these comments saying that she didn’t do anything “wrong” (well technically, she didn’t, but for her “job”, yes, definitely she did), that it was Henry’s fault (no) or that she is smart enough to pursue her own political career (no).

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              You’d think Betty would be good at NOT TALKING. She’s very adept at not talking about real problems or real feelings.

            • T C

              Women and children were expected to know their place and not talk about real problems or real feelings back then. This suppression is precisely what drove the majority of cultural change in the 1960s. I cannot begin to enumerate the number of times I had my mouth washed out with soap and water or of being sent to my room without dinner precisely because I brought up a problem or feeling. The mantra was “children are meant to be seen, not heard.” The same applied to wives when presented as ornamentation at business functions.

      • decormaven

        Maybe Henry’s getting overwhelmed as political events move forward. He just assumed Betty knew his position; he forgot to fill her in.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I think his political positions change depending on who he’s talking to.

          • decormaven

            The sands were shifting beneath his feet- he’s just scrambling. There was a lot of scrambling in this ep, for sure.

        • suzq

          It would have been perfectly acceptable for a conservative person to believe the US should have continued in Vietnam. People believe that to this day. Of course, her connection of “kids having sex” and “lack of progress” in Vietnam is the same sort of claptrap we hear today with gay marriage and the like. She’s a social conservative and her personal experiences have made her even more of one.

      • imspinningaround

        Betty and Henry looked bad here. Henry’s apparently latent chauvinism came out in an ugly way, but Betty didn’t cover herself in glory either by forcing the neighbors to talk about Vietnam.

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

          I did a big facepalm when she said, “Since when?” That’s just…one of the dumbest mistakes for a politician’s wife to make.

          • decormaven

            I think the writers are leading Betty to a place where she finds herself tired of her status quo. Betty’s been to enough events to know when to steer away from hot button issues. She may be ready to burn it all down.

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

              Leaving her where, though? I can’t imagine her in any other environment or culture.

            • imspinningaround

              @laura_renee:disqus Agreed. Betty has had opportunities to pursue something other than being a homemaker (the thing with the reservoir comes to mind) but when it’s time for her to make hard, unpleasant decisions or do real scut work she shrinks from the responsibility and falls back into the cosseted, privileged life she’s used to. I mean, didn’t Grandpa Gene call her a housecat once?

              Also I KNOW I’ve seen Betty try to steer a conversation toward something she wants to talk about and other people don’t, and she shuts down or stomps off in a huff (I just can’t show receipts right now other than last night’s conversation about Vietnam).

              My gut is telling me her “I’m smart!” snit is leading Betty toward going full-on Feminine Mystique on Westchester County, but frankly I don’t think that transformation is earned.

            • busterholl

              Betty will age; not gracefully. She will become that stunningly beautiful lady who thinks plastic surgery will preserve her looks, but instead of maintaining youthful beauty, she will become grotesque and barely resemble a human face. [Faye Dunnaway anyone?] She will have no relationship with any of her children; and probably be divorced again.

            • 3boysful

              That’s what I was thinking–she can’t go all women’s lib and take care of her kids, nor can she dump them on Don.

            • TeraBat

              Though we’ve rarely had people go to social extremes on the show – Weiner only shows us the people who were influenced by the extremist position, and how that influence trickled into everyday life. Betty won’t abandon her children and her comfortable home life; but she’ll probably demand Henry start changing how he treats her, and re-define her role as his wife.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              I think TLo nailed it when they said Betty was “sounding like a junior Phyllis Schlafly.” Schlafly was (and is, she’s still alive) a virulent anti-feminist and very socially conservative, yet she spent a lot of time doing political stuff and (according to her kids) missing their ice skating shows and piano recitals and all that mom-type stuff. Apparently, she prioritized her political work above her “job” as a mom. I can totally see Betty doing that sort of thing, especially as her kids get older.

            • abby536

              Running the moral majority? What was the name of the celebrity who keeps railing against gays in And the Band Played On? That’s where I see Betty winding up, the pretty face of a nasty crowd.

              California conservatism was very big in the 70’s and 80’s. We’ve seen a hint of that with the Carnation people, I’m curious if we’ll see more.

            • altalinda

              Anita Bryant

            • Gatto Nero

              Contrast her current behavior with the alluring, charming wife who accompanied Don to client dinners and swept everyone off their feet. For a long time, money and status (and a handsome husband) were enough for her. But her family life is unfulfilling, her husband is (suddenly!) stifling her, and she may be reaching the breaking point.

      • MartyBellerMask

        I don’t necessarily think she would have been coached. The other wife at the party kept the conversation to the food. All of Betty & Don’s business dinners were the exactly the same. The wives are accessories, and don’t think about the man stuff. It’s not in any way new. (Megan was the exceptions because she was in the business.) We’ve just never heard the rules explicitly stated. The fact that Henry felt that way was not shocking to me, just hearing him state them may have been.
        But it’s just a TV show.

      • abby536

        I thought Ginsberg was going to kill Lou too. I suppose he still can but mental hospitals were much tougher to get out of in the 60’s. He could wind up warehoused somewhere for life.

      • not_Bridget

        I doubt Henry ever “coached” Betty, because she’s not the sort to display any interest in current events. She was more concerned about the appetizers.

        Remember that disastrous party, long ago, where she was dismayed to find Don was “testing” her as the Housewife Who Would Buy Heineken? She served rumaki then. New recipes are needed!

        Her opinion surprised him because she’d rarely expressed herself on the subject before….

        • Fjasmine

          I never understood that because Betty had purchased the beer on her own volition.

          • jNet

            She doesn’t, however, like to feel like she’s been manipulated and responds with petulance.

      • E2_Remote

        I dunno, I have a secret theory on Henry. I think he’s actually a bigger a-hole than people think. I’ve known a few lower-level politicians over the years, and there’s one thing that’s true about politics, especially back then – you went NOWHERE if you were a single guy after a certain age. It’s still true today for high-ranking military officers. There’s a perception in those circles that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t have a spouse and kids. Henry probably realized this a little late in the game, which was why he was quite happy to marry Betty – boom, insta family – plus educated, poised, arm candy wife. Awhile back, I re-watched the scene where he first met Betty and he skeezed me out more than a little. Then there’s the fact that he clearly doesn’t have much warmth when it comes to the kids, they’re just an obligation for him, I think. His behavior toward Betty in this episode was perfectly logical if you accept that he just wants her to shut up, make small talk, and look pretty. Why else would he not discuss any of his most important policy positions with her? I think that’s also why he usually just ignores most of Betty’s other tantrums, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his career, he just shines her on.

        • L’Anne

          Henry had been married before and has a grown daughter from that marriage. Indeed, Eleanor and her boyfriend (?) at the Thanksgiving dinner seemed horrified that Betty forced food in Sally’s mouth and Henry has rebuked Betty several times about issues with the children (slapping Sally, and even when she said she’d break Sally’s arm).

          I’m not saying Henry’s a saint or even a good guy. But he has been shown as kind to the children and much of teh comments in the show about his daughter suggest that she’s a fine young woman who seems close to her father (he was her date at Margaret’s wedding.)

          • Lisa_Co

            Even a few episodes ago, Henry was comforting Bobby after his disastrous lunch with Betty. All of Henry’s yelling and hostility came out of left field, IMO.

      • Fjasmine

        I felt that scene was off, Betty really seemed unbalanced. She know what her role is a political wife and she hasn’t seemed to mind before. Betty even had that supportive little scene with Henry after her Weight Watchers and after the MLK assasination. This episode had a lot of throwbacks.

      • Loren S

        I definitely read Ginsberg’s delusions as related to internalized homophobia. He’s brought up homosexuality a few times before (as I recall, he asked Bob Benson point blank if he was gay), and he seemed pretty defensive when he insisted to his father that he liked girls back when he was first introduced. When he does have his big mental break, it involves being forced to “turn homo” and he assaulted Peggy in an attempt to cure it. It’s all very sexual. I’m not saying that internalized homophobia would have caused his mental illness — that’s all a brain chemistry thing — but I think it influenced how his delusions manifested.

    • Gatto Nero

      Great review.
      Regarding the three-way, I thought initially that it was out of left field, too. But then it occurred to me that this was Megan’s way of taking control of a situation that she felt had been out of her control for a long time. She knows about Don’s past and has suspected him of cheating. This was a preemptive strike, and one made on her own terms. It gave her the illusion, at least, that she was directing the action.

      • ACKtually

        Yep! and she even said to him, “don’t lie.I know you want to.” Or something to that effect. It was her way of saying – look, I can be wild and exciting and you can even be with other women, as long as it’s in front of me.

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

          And her poor friend. Fuck the games married people play, using other people as pawns to avoid their own issues. I’ve seen it too much, dammit! Lol.

      • NMMagpie

        I agree. I was thinking that was more of a set-up for her own wandering/exploration that is either happening or will happen. She’s just trying to do a Don without his panache.

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

        Yes! Stephanie was beyond her control. The 3-way was her way of feeling like she had some say in what Don finds important.

        • Dorace Afton Trottier

          Stephanie was not beyond Megan’s control. Megan was as green as Eire with jealousy of Stephanie, and did everything in her power to drive her away so that Don would not be able to see her. It was low and under-handed, and Megan was completely aware of what she was doing.

          • Gatto Nero

            Stephanie’s earlier association with Don and knowledge of his secrets were things that Megan couldn’t control or erase. So she got rid of her — the one thing she could do to take control of the situation — in direct defiance of Don’s wishes.

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              ex-act-ly.

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              good call.

          • Chris

            Yes she didn’t want any of Don’s “family” in the way, be it his east coast family or in this case, his west coast one.

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

            Oh, I don’t mean that control. I mean beyond her control in introducing her to Don. Stephanie was a rogue element.

            What I get confused about is WHY partners get so jealously irrational like this, and aware of it, like you said, like they think that will save things. But I’m not the type to need someone to the point of jealousy. People probably get confused why I can’t stand anyone after 3 days with them, lol.

          • Bella_sarah3

            Love your wording – “Green as Eire”…she was red with ire as well.

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              they work even better together, Sarah! Green as Eire, red with ire. ;)

      • NeenaJ

        The problem is, even though he went along with it, Don is just too conservative for that. He falls for the traditional caretaker schtick. He shoe-horned Betty into that role and ended up proposing to Megan after seeing her with his children. For me, this marks the point where he stops thinking of her as his “wife.” Megan was too blinded by jealousy to see it but, canceling the party and “mothering” Stephanie would have been the way back in to Don’s heart (for a little while, anyway).

        • 3boysful

          Excellent point.

        • Chris

          Yes she did the exact opposite of what would have endeared her to Don. She acted like the “whore” not the “Madonna”.

      • 3boysful

        I was surprised at how comfortable she was with it. The pot? Previous experience?

        • JMWilder

          Acting classes?

        • not_Bridget

          We saw her smoking in previous seasons. Heck, we saw Don smoking with the Beats in season 1. He wasn’t frightened, he just had his intoxicant of choice…..

        • MartyBellerMask

          She and Amy might be more than friends.

        • TeraBat

          Even before this scene, I was theorizing that Megan and Amy were already dating.

        • VirginiaK

          I’d say, the times, her age, California — it was in the air, these were the Summer of Love days and the idea of all that cast a wide influence.

      • JMWilder

        This is exactly how I saw it, too. A preemptive strike. Given everyone’s awkward/embarrassed/standoffish behavior the morning after, I can’t imagine it’ll happen again. I wonder if Megan will try to up the ante. What’s next? Don’s not into drugs, so what’s left to do after a three-way?

      • FranklyMyDear

        I like that. A pre-emptive strike, just like how Don crashing the Philip Morris meeting could be described in almost exactly the same words you used for this threesome.

    • Marceline

      We’re never going to see Ginsberg again are we? It’ll be just like Sal. Once you’ve left the circle you cease to exist. All these years I’ve been afraid Ginsberg would go on a murder spree. I figured he’d be the one to “Sharon Tate” Megan.

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

        Well, Freddy Rumsen returned. But I think there’s a good chance we might not see Ginsberg again, to make a point how people with mental illness (like outed homosexuality) could just disappear back then. Though I hope we do see him again, maybe as a sign of the changing times? If we do, we’ll have Stan to thank.

        • Gatto Nero

          It served the story line to have Rumsen return as a support (and cautionary tale) for Don. But I agree that this is probably the last we’ll see of poor Ginsberg.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Rumsen returned a couple of seasons ago, I think the first season of SCDP. There was a very subtle scene where he interrupts a conversation (I think with Peggy) to take a phone call, and if you listen carefully to the call, it’s clear that he’s the AA sponsor of the guy who’s calling. He says something about how there’s “a meeting” somewhere nearby and that he’ll be right over. So Freddy is definitely supporting Don and being a cautionary tale for him, but that doesn’t come out of nowhere. Freddy has his own arc with the alcoholism story.

      • MartyBellerMask

        I never thought he’d ever harm anyone other than himself. Unless he got help. Which you know, came too late. He’ll probably end up lobotomized.

      • MK03

        I would be just fine with never seeing Ginsberg again. His lunacy was not contributing anything to the story except a growing dread that he would end up doing something horrible. Now that he’s done it, his part in the story is done. I hope he’s committed to Bellevue.

      • Lisa_Co

        Ben Feldman (Ginsberg) is starring in a new NBC comedy called “A to Z”, so I think they had to write him off Mad Men. Given his small role this season, kudos to MWeiner for giving him such a memorable (LOL) send off. And because of that NBC show, no I don’t think we’ll see Ginsberg again.

        • 3hares

          Is there any big conflict there? MM’s got like 3 more episodes to film anyway.

    • Cate

      I have to commend the actor who plays Ginsberg. He has done such a good job at playing this slow, naturalistic, years-long descent into mental illness that I feel I need to see him interviewed now to remind myself that he’s actually fine in real life. That was some sad, spooky stuff. Also, I still don’t know what’s in store for Don, but he certainly seemed happier in last night’s episode than we’ve seen him in a while. Lighter, more hopeful. He was practically giddy at the prospect of having Stephanie as a niece. He was playful with Meredith, and laughing along with the other boys during the creative meeting with Lou…It was nice to see.

      • JulieTy

        I agree. Have you seen him on “Silicon Valley?” He’s SO different in that role. An excellent actor. :-)

        • Cate

          I haven’t! I’ll have to check it out. :)

          • JulieTy

            He first showed up in last week’s episode. I couldn’t believe it was the same actor.

      • Vanessa

        I think this is an example of how Mad Men creates characters who could have entire series developed around their part of the story. Ginsberg got a solid backstory and enough development to make his descent into madness heartwrenching.

        • Chickadeep

          Agreed. I work in the field of child abuse and neglect, and I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen to Ginsberg ever since he shared his origin story about being born in a Concentration Camp and adopted as an older child. He spent his formative years in a virtual Hell on Earth and we’ve seen evidence of the fallout ever since: behavior that suggests PTSD, reactive attachment disorder (his strangely oblique interactions with his “Pops,” his inappropriate interactions with dates and colleagues) and for a few seasons now, clear indications of schizophrenia and psychosis (which has recently been linked to trauma exposure as a child).

          I saw it coming, but it was heartbreaking to watch it spool out toward its inevitable conclusion in this episode.

          • Alice Teeple

            The thing is, that concentration camp story always rang weird with me. It’s never been proven. How are we to know he was even telling the truth in that story? Remember how Peggy even thought it was weird and called Abe to confirm it? When he said it happened occasionally, it seemed to be enough to convince her, but it was still really strange. For a long time, my aunt had been saying “slightly off” things so convincingly that for years her neighbors and family had no idea she was suffering from dementia, until one day she was sure that my sister was Puerto Rican and there were drug cartels dropping heroin syringes in hay bales from helicopters. I thought Mad Men handled Ginsberg very well, to be honest.

            • annejumps

              Yeah, I remember reading several commentaries at the time doubting he was talking about something that had really happened.

            • leahpapa

              I always thought Peggy’s incredulity spoke to how hideous the idea of a baby being born in a concentration camp is. But it seems that there are three possibilities: a) the story is true, Ginsberg had significant childhood trauma, and his deterioration has been ongoing for years; b) his childhood trauma was fabricated and his mental illness is idiopathic – we don’t know where it came from or what caused it; or c) he had some childhood trauma that he re-imagined as being born in a concentration camp but was, in reality, something else, and that has caused his mental decline (and who knows what role his brain chemistry played in any of these scenarios). Myself, I prefer the narrative robustness of option “a,” because it seems most consonant with a theme of “Mad Men,” which is the inevitability of consequences, both personal and historical. You could read into Ginsberg’s story an exploration of what happened after and as a result of the Holocaust. History is recorded in summaries, but when events transpire they happen to individuals, not just populations, and those individuals have to live out the consequences in local and personal ways.

            • Alice Teeple

              I’m sure her incredulity was initially about the idea being hideous, but the fact that she called up Abe to ask about whether or not that happened told me she was also weirded out by the conversation and it sounded made up. When Abe told her it happened, it probably justified and excused some of Ginsberg’s weirdness for her. I think making the concentration camp story true would be really trite, as if it justifies his mental illness. Those incidents can pop up out of nowhere, and I think that would make Ginsberg’s madness more realistic and tragic: that he tells these stories to gain sympathy, or they’re simply part of his dementia. I like that we don’t know if it’s true, because then we question everything about him, which is what dealing with someone with schizophrenia really is like. You start wondering if every interaction with that person was real or not. It was a very sad but truthful way to handle the character.

            • The Versatile Chef

              Well done.

            • Chickadeep

              It *was* a weird story…and of course if true (and some children *were* born in camps and kept hidden, later moved to orphanages after the war), it’s a story told through the unreliable filter of someone who had experienced horror as a child, not in context. It rang true for me in the sense that children who are exposed to similar things (kids who grow up in relocation camps after witnessing and narrowly escaping genocide in Africa, for example) often distort their own histories, coming up with fantastical explanations for things that defy explanation.

              So Ginsberg, the improbable survivor with psychological scars interprets his own origins as literally alien (calling himself “a Martian”), which “explains” [to himself] the auditory hallucinations (“transmissions”) he experiences. He has a sense of profound otherness (the “transmissions” tell him to stay put, even though he hasn’t found anyone like himself) common to trauma-exposed children. He was also still living with his adoptive parent, who probably ran interference for him and provided stability in some ways once his serious mental illness manifested, likely in late adolescence. Ginsberg was also an intelligent person in a creative profession, which probably helped him compensate for longer than most people would, and let people excuse his “eccentricity” or not see it for what it really was.

            • L’Anne

              And what he knows of that trauma– what he’s learned about the Nazis and Holocaust– shapes some of the imagery he has in his breaks and what triggers his anger. It seems he doesn’t have many of his own memories of life in the camp– he says he “was told” he was born in a concentration camp. And the idea that he’s never met someone like himself makes total sense. There weren’t that many children who were born in the camps. I think only 5 confirmed actually born in them. Its harder to imagine they’d meet than to imagine they’d have a sense of being the only person like them that exists.

            • Leah Elzinga

              I think the idea of him filling in the blanks with details he HAS been given makes a lot of sense, along the same lines as recreating his own history. There’s a good chance that he was not in fact in the camps, but there were hundreds if not thousands of other terrible places a child could have found themselves born during that period. For all we know, he could simply have been told that he was born to a Jew in Nazi Germany and he created the rest around that kernel. That said, that would still be unbelievably tragic…

            • Chickadeep

              You’re right about his triggers! I guess only a couple of children survived Auchwitz (though some children were kept alive temporarily and experimented on there), but at least seven babies born in Dachau managed to make it…I think there, as with any camp, the surviving children were the ones born at the tag end of the war, those who had hidden away in ghettoes or with sympathetic citizens, or who had managed to avoid transport to camps until late 1944. It’s almost unimaginable.

            • betty draper

              There were, indeed, babies born in the concentration camps. There were also certain camps which were not as harsh as others, where prisoners even received medical treatment. I read the memoirs of a young woman detained in such a camp, who was in the camp’s infirmary for several weeks. I don’t think I had ever heard of such a thing before I read her memoirs.

            • Alice Teeple

              I didn’t say that concentration camp births didn’t happen at all, I meant that it seemed weird for Ginsberg.

            • L’Anne

              Also, most camps were turned into DP after the war and prisoners often remained in them after liberation sometimes for months (often alongside Nazis who were held as prisoners) for medical treatment or to figure out where to go, how to get home, etc.

          • L’Anne

            And that IBM played a crucial role in allowing the Nazis to identify and isolate Jews just adds to why this computer was the last straw. Each of the times he’s had his most dramatic breaks has been related to his origins in a concentration camp and the Holocaust. It was working on oven cleaner when he noted “messages to do harm.” Oven cleaner. Ovens. A chemical to cleanse. Made by a company that made other chemicals that were being dropped on an ethnic “other” population.

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

              Oh, shit. Those are some astute observations.

            • L’Anne

              We could also add when Ginzburg blows up at Cutler over losing the peace plank in ’68. He calls Jim a fascist and truncheon. An interesting twist is that part of the plank was about stopping rampant bombings in North Korea (often against civilian targets) when in 44-45 the War Dept. and Army refused to bomb the crematoria at Auschwitz or the rail lines leading to it. Additionally they are prepping for Manischewitz (an assignment he got specifically because of his Jewishness) and Cutler and Bob both reference how he and Manischewitz are the same people. Bob calls them good people, but its pretty clear for Cutler they are a problem. He talks about the transmissions to do harm and being death after Cutler tells him he is part of the world he rails against because he cashes checks from Dow.

            • dev

              I’m so late on this I doubt you or TLo, or frankly anyone else not specifically going back to dated comment threads to look for it as I did, will even see it. Nonetheless, I am so glad *someone* had the decency to point these things out. I’m typing this out on my Lenovo Thinkpad, and the first thing I thought when Ginsburg was railing against the giant IBM was, of course. Of course he’d be triggered – though the peace plank connection with Auschwitz did not occur to me. It’s been bugging me for the past week that the only review that even mentioned the IBM connection was on the WSJ, of all places.

            • L’Anne

              I’m an historian and have done some work in Holocaust/ genocide studies. Although many people knew that many US companies did business with the Nazis (even some during the itself!), I’m not sure how well established it was in the ’60s how crucial IBM’s stat and tracking applications were to the Nazis in locating and tracing Jewish populations. But the layers of connections and connotations was so powerful to me, dating to his admission of being born in a camp in “Far Away Places.” I think one of the most powerful moments was when he’s trying to write lines for oven cleaner. Because there are just so many layers to that.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Ben Feldman is great. He’ll probably wind up with an Emmy nod. Which means Vincent Kartheiser will be shut out again.

        • DeniseSchipani

          I started watching Silicon Valley and Ben Feldman shows up as a slick Palo Alto attorney and I nearly fell off my couch. He cleans up nice.

          • Alanna

            Indeed, as evidenced by how NBC just picked up his new sitcom, in which he plays a romantic lead. ;)

            • Lisa_Co

              Alanna I looked it up on iMDB and A to Z is the title.

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

          I first saw him in Drop Dead Diva where he played an angel. He was so beautiful in that, I was happy to see him on Mad Men and he has been absolutely incredible. :)

      • MK03

        And have you seen him out of character?? Hot damn…

      • ShaoLinKitten

        You should have seen Ben Feldman on Silicon Valley a few weeks ago as a douchey lawyer. I had to check IMDB to be sure it was him, he was so different. And cute.

      • AZU403

        It’s always good when an actor goes on to something bigger and better, but as metro-New Yorker, I’ll miss having a Jewish character on the show.

    • MelVT

      I found the scene with Sally and Bobby heartrending. The episode was called “The Runaways,” but the most notable run away was the one that didn’t happen: Sally didn’t run away and leave poor Bobby, with his constant stomachaches, behind. The kids are sticking together while the “adults” implode.

      • SunDevilWitch

        Agreed. It gutted me.

      • Gatto Nero

        Heartbreaking scene. Sally and Bobby don’t generally interact that much, unless they’re antagonizing each other. But here was the older sister listening and being protective. They’ve formed an alliance to save themselves.

      • FayeMac

        Sally is more adult that any of the adults in this show.

      • siriuslover

        I made a similar comment down thread before I saw this. I agree completely.

      • ConnieBV

        Good catch. Yes, the fact that it is not the first time Bobby has gone to sleep with his sister for comfort (“You’re not going to piss, are you?” “I don’t DO THAT ANYMORE!”) instead of his parents, like most kids, speaks volumes. Who a child feels safe with is so telling.

        • 3hares

          Bobby hadn’t necessarily slept with Sally before. She just knew he wet the bed–didn’t she make a comment about him doing it at camp back in Season 5?

          • ConnieBV

            I took it to mean it was not the first time he had come into her room to sleep with her at night for comfort, but you may be right.

          • decormaven

            Yes, back when she was having a phone convo with Don while Henry’s mom was babysitting. She made a comment about Bobby wetting the bed at sleepaway camp.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        Sally gets to go back to school. In a sense she has already “run away” from both Betty and Don. But she says Bobby is “too little.” I wonder what she meant. Maybe that he’s too young to go to boarding school yet.

    • StillGary

      Confused by Megan — thought she was done with Don — but I guess when you’re losing yourself, you grab on to something “stable” — oy vey! Maybe MW is trying to soften blow (her demise) by having making us dislike her a little.

      • FayeMac

        Well it is also like her mother said to Don, she is really not an artist, she just goes through the motions of being one. So I guess being a daring swinger makes her seem more interesting?? Would love to see her mother on the show again. I am having a hard time believing she would give Stephanie a $1,000. How much woud that be in today’s terms?

        • decormaven

          Hey, Megan is wearing a Pucci dress to her party. She ain’t no starving artist.

          • Gatto Nero

            No kidding! Great dress, by the way.

            • decormaven

              Wasn’t it divine! Check out Janie B’s take on it at AMC.

          • Vanessa

            I’m sure we will get more on Wednesday, but Megan stuck out as different from everyone in that party as much as Don did–and the bountiful falls in her hair made the same point as the expensive dress.

          • Cheryl

            She never has been, but has wanted her friends to think she’s in the same boat as them, when she clearly has not been.

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

          $6,000 in today’s money, according to Alan Sepinwall.

        • Dorace Afton Trottier

          does anyone else remember when Megan first had sex with Don? Don asked if she was an artist, and Megan had a laundry list of “artsy” things that she had done and liked. Megan strikes me as a “jill of all trades, mistress of none”. Regarding the thousand dollars? Megan loves having that money, and revels in the chance to show it off. also, she wanted to be sure to get rid of Stephanie before Don got there, in order to “punish” Don, so she upped the stakes enough that she knew a pregnant, unattached young woman without a job would be financially unable to say no. don’t be fooled. Megan adores being able to wear Pucci dresses and show off her wealth.

          • Chris

            While I don’t hate Megan like a lot of people seem to, I have definitely found her to be hypocritical at times from the beginning. She was absolutely playing a part for Don since they first got together. When they slept together in his office the first time, after she happened to mention she was interested in being a copywriter, she made a point of saying it was no big deal, she wasn’t going to go “running out crying” like Allison did etc. She also slept with him when she knew he was in a relationship with Faye and agreed to marry him. Later, when she ran into a woman he slept with when he was divorced from Betty, she accused him of having a “careless appetite” when he was really not doing anything wrong as he was not in a committed relationship then. Her sleeping with him behind Faye’s back was far worse. Megan telling Don a couple of episodes ago she didn’t care about money was a joke, when she always makes great use of his, buying expensive trendy clothes, paying for acting classes and two households etc etc. When she was taking Don to plays about how advertising was bad and acting like she was a “real” artist interested in the non-commercial aspects of acting, she then pulled any strings she could to get a shoe commercial. She seems like she wants to be famous and hip not really hone her craft and she does it all on Don’s dime.

        • StillGary

          good memory! yes, I would love to see Marie’s take on this!

        • T C

          Median annual income nationally back then was around $6,000; minimum wage in California was less than $2.00/hour.

          • FayeMac

            Thanks for that info. I saw posted somewhere, that $1000 then would be like $6000 today.

            • AZU403

              And you could live, modestly, on $3000.

        • AZU403

          Stephanie’s jaw should have dropped – she could live on $1000 for 6 months at least. That was very much “Here’s a lot of money go away and don’t bother us again.”

      • megohd

        It was weird how they were back together (still together?). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that this show doesn’t need to show us every single interaction to let us know what happened (no surprise that they’d reconcile from their big fight, considering the volatile relationship they have), but I’d really been hoping we were done with Megan.

        • MarinaCat

          I wasn’t surprised at all, only because in their last conversation that we saw, Don asked if he could come out to see her and her response was, “Not yet.” It was clear that anything could happen after that.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        Yeah that made no sense to me either. Two episodes ago she was telling him not to bother coming to LA any more, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Yet another character flip flopping to suit the particular episode.

        • not_Bridget

          She’s not ready to divorce him. I think she really did love him–and may still, in a way. Besides, she’s not ready to support herself.

          Let’s hope she meets a nice, rich director who wants to make her a star!

      • Jaialaibean

        So now we know what part of him she thinks is the most stable …

    • Laylalola

      I thought it seemed sort of like Don’s hit that point of accepting his fate with SC&P — everything points to it being lost to him, which in turn made him fearless now instead of fearful. To the extent he possibly could regain any control of matters, Don’s now opened up the possible range of futures before him: If Phillip Morris now wants Don’s apology as part of a SC&P plan, Don’s got leverage to rewrite his terms with SC&P and regain his firm and maybe even reshuffle some of the players before giving that apology. If SC&P ousts him but gets the Phillip Morris contract, he’s golden, he can publicly say he walked because SC&P went back to big tobacco. The worst would be if SC&P didn’t get the account and the partners reabsorbed Don’s shares. But something tells me none of these scenarios will be what plays out — that it’ll be some mix (they’ll get the account and want to keep him, but he’ll use it to launch a new firm saying he couldn’t accept working for big tobacco and for the people who would go back to it).

    • NMMagpie

      Jim Cutler got cut off at the knees in that meeting and it was delicious. Props to Harry Hamlin who does a great job with expressing his frustration in a quietly furious way.

      Basically, we are looking at a bunch of fatalistically inclined people. Creative brilliance is going to mean better business so you push it away. Rather than push your own boundaries in a relationship, you have the kid in the building over for TV and pretzels. Someone else’s ideas are better than your own so you try and defend your lame take on it (Lou’s sad attempt at becoming Mort Walker).

      I have to say that last night’s episode was as close to real life as I have ever seen it, even with Ginsberg being taken from the building. I have been waiting for the moment when his illness would take center stage and it was terrible to see and all the more terrible to see people have less tools and education in what to do with it. Although I doubt we’ll see him again, I hope any future reference to him is treated well.

      • Vanessa

        It was sad to me to have confirmed how far from idealistic Don’s rejection of Big Tobacco companies was, and how expediently he rejects his own position.

        • Gatto Nero

          Don’s a smoker and an opportunist. The letter was strategic, not idealistic.

          • Vanessa

            Yes, and I can’t shake the idea that he is being set up to presage the rise of corporate greed in the 1980s (showing that amorality will always win). I keep seeing in this final season the creators leaping over the 70s to set up the 80s, and I can’t see them ending the series with Don as a broken man.

            • texashistorian

              I completely agree with this. We all want everyone to change, to be better, to see the situations as they are and run away (<- like the episode's title) but the characters are just going to be in the same rabbit hole they have continued to be. Don has not changed, Peggy has not changed, Betty has not changed, Megan has not changed. No one WILL change, either – that's too radical. By the 1980s, the Dons and the Berts will have won, the ones who see clearly (Ginsburg) are locked up, the women who want to be part of this man's world (like Peggy and Megan and maybe Betty) will play a role in the illusion, and the Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" will be will be apocryphal : "Same as it ever was."

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              It’s a nice touch that Harry Hamlin is in “Mad Men” after starring in the quintessential 80s yuppie show, “L.A. Law.” It’s like an extra-textual way of completing the circle.

          • Dorace Afton Trottier

            i could not agree more. Don – at least ad man Don – is all about strategy. regarding Don the smoker: does anyone else think that he is going to get cancer? he has been having heavy coughing fits since season 1. surely i can’t be the only one who has noticed those?

            • ConnieBV

              Oh, you just made me shiver. I hope not. That would be so anticlimactic for me.

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              i agree! i just couldn’t help but notice all of those coughing fits, though!

            • Jaialaibean

              That’s the one ending anyone has proposed that seems at all likely to me. He might end on top of the world in advertising, but his health will be ruined and his life curtailed by the product itself.

      • Laylalola

        It’s always interested me how people often really do have this very strange compulsion to obliterate what’s creative in another person.

        • NMMagpie

          Wow… you are speaking volumes there, in both the world of Mad Men and in real life.

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

          Being creative is hard and by tearing down others’ attempts we rationalize our own reluctance in attempting. It’s easier to tell ourselves we don’t put in the work because we value being good rather than the facts: that we’re lazy.

          • Dorace Afton Trottier

            i’m not sure that i agree. being creative is a gift. some people have it and some people don’t. that said, i totally agree that it is “easier to tell ourselves that we don’t put in the work”; that leaves us feeling as though we have a modicum of control over it.

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

              I think everyone is creative to a point and has something to offer, and I think they feel that too. BUT this is a completely subjective observation.

            • Alloy Jane

              Artistic ability is a gift, but creativity is human nature. Jim Cutler may not be artistic, but he is very creative in fabricating situations that serve his purpose.

          • Dorace Afton Trottier

            i think we will have to simply disagree on this one. Definition of creative:

            cre·a·tive

            adjective krē-ˈā-tiv, ˈkrē-ˌ

            : having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas

            : using the ability to make or think of new things : involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created

            : done in an unusual and often dishonest way

            i don’t believe that human nature can account for coming up with “new things” or “new ideas”. unless you man that literally, as in creative = the ability to procreate.

        • TigerLaverada

          Sad but true. In my experience, many people don’t possess as much creative mojo as they hope others think they have. In the agency world, it’s not terribly uncommon for a Lou Avery type to somehow wind up honchoing a creative group. Marginally creative people in positions that require greater creativity than they can deliver are often *incredibly* (and rightfully) insecure. Wish I had $5 for every time I saw a good idea from an underling shot down by a higher up “creative” due to such insecurity. These types are also often terrible people managers, too, because they feel threatened by the creativity of their staff. They don’t want anybody to outshine them.

      • decormaven

        I loved how Don slammed the door on the taxi after ushering Lou and Jim in it. Begone!

        • SunDevilWitch

          “The cold never bothered me anyway…” SLAM!

          • ACKtually

            +1 That comment wins for the day.

          • Gatto Nero

            Reminds me of him sitting on the balcony in his underwear in January a few episodes back.

        • Gatto Nero

          I loved the authoritative way Don whistled and called for another taxi, and the final shot of him (shot from slightly below) as a self-assured and commanding figure.

          • Teresa

            And Don was wearing the brown suit during that Phillip Morris scene.

            • Chris

              Tobacco brown.

            • Qitkat

              And I hated that brown suit in the earlier episode, but realized it all had to do with Jon Hamm’s acting. When Don Draper is on his game, he could be wearing a swim suit and outdo everyone else in the scene.

            • AZU403

              Well, yeah…

          • crackineggs

            Plus we see the meeting was at the Algonquin Hotel – where the ultra creative Round Table members met.

          • ConnieBV

            “ETA: Either he’s really in ascendance or Weiner is playing with us.” Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              My money’s on Weiner playing with us.

          • Qitkat

            That final scene with Don being so transformative gave me the biggest thrill in quite some time. He was so brilliant, I think the audience needed to see him show that side of himself as much as he needed to dig it out and dust it off again.

    • JulieTy

      Dearest T and Lo,
      No mention of the Harry/Don interaction? Please tell me it’s coming on Wednesday in Mad Style. :-)
      And thanks for getting this recap up so early in the day!
      xoxo

    • Vanessa

      Matt Weiner:

      PLEASE. FIX. GINSBERG.

      • decormaven

        I don’t think that will happen, given the limited number of episodes ahead. And as TLo says, the thought process about mental health issues were different then. Case in point: the song of the day “They’re Coming to Take Me Away.”

        • Qitkat

          Exactly. It’s that attitude that will lead to the event in 1972 in which George McGovern’s vice-presidential running mate was derailed when it came out that Thomas Eagleton, a senator from Missouri, had been hospitalized on three occasions for depression and had undergone electroshock therapy. Thus McGovern was undermined when this came out after the convention. It was a nasty time in politics not helped by underhanded, untruthful and prejudicial journalism of columnist Jack Anderson. Eagleton withdrew from the ticket but the damage was done.

          • decormaven

            Yes- remember that well. Not a shining moment.

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          It depends on where Ginzo ends up, what he’s diagnosed with, and what treatments are available. Being hospitalized for a mental illness wasn’t necessarily a life sentence, even in 1969. One of my relatives was hospitalized for a mental illness just 2 years later, in 1971, and was released after 3 weeks. This person was placed in a private hospital, and a fairly effective treatment was available for the illness they were diagnosed with, but they did have relapses over the next few decades. In Ginzo’s case, we don’t know where they’re taking him (we may assume it’s Bellevue, but we don’t really know), and we don’t know for sure that he’s schizophrenic, although that seems likely. Schizophrenia is still difficult to treat, I think it was more so back then. I doubt he’s going to come back after 3 weeks, but I hope we hear reports from Stan (and maybe Peggy) about how he’s doing.

          But yeah, big stigma, much more so than today.

    • Edo Tokyo

      I found this episode confusing and disjointed. My sister and I kept looking at each other quizzically, especially during the Megan scenes. The actions/reactions of the characters seemed a little too “out of left field.” I only hope that Don is growing. People can’t necessarily change, but if you recognize your flaws and understand them, you can exert some control over what might be your usual reflexive response, a form of “behavior modification” possibly. Despite all Don’s womanizing, etc., I still like him, perhaps because we know his back story and understand what motivates some of his less admirable behavior.

      I hope there is a “happy ending” for Don. I wouldn’t mind if he takes Harry’s advice and ends up starting a new agency in CA, luring away some of the SC staff, like Peggy and (the new) Pete. Joan-the-turncoat can stay in NY (her current attitude about Don really aggravates me).

      • Gatto Nero

        The scene between Megan and Stephanie seemed particularly disjointed; I had to watch it twice to figure out what happened. It’s clear why Megan did what she did — writing the check and sending Stephanie on her way, despite Don’s wishes, out of jealousy — but the dialogue in that scene felt stilted and confusing.

        • decormaven

          The pacing between the two actresses wasn’t smooth. Not sure if that was directorial or mismatch of energy in acting.

        • annejumps

          Yes, the dialog was very odd and I couldn’t tell if it was on purpose, and if so to what purpose, or just bad.

          • Laylalola

            This whole season has been weird in terms of dialogue. The Stephanie-lookalike who came up to Don at the Algonquin a few episodes ago said something bizarre like “I’m sure you caught my eye during dinner.”

        • Edo Tokyo

          I assume the awkwardness between Megan and Stephanie was deliberate. But Don has generally been fairly discrete in his affairs, so it does not seem possible that he would send his impregnated, college-aged lover to his wife for care. Megan should have seen this as a sign as to how much Don trusts her discretion and kindness since this further opened the door for Megan to the history of the Dick Whitman/Don Draper transition.

          I guess Megan really resented that Stephanie presumed to know “all Don’s secrets,” since it underscored her failing relationship with Don and her sense of not really knowing him

          • Lower L

            I totally agree with your last point. I disagree with T-Lo’s assessment that Megan wanted Don to get angry about Stephanie’s departure. My take is that she really got thrown by Stephanie’s comment about knowing Don’s secrets, acted out of insecurity, and then desperately tried to cover it up and distract Don. I mean, short of dropping a skillet from a great height, could Megan have clanked around in the kitchen more loudly when Don was on the phone with Stephanie?

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

              “I disagree with T-Lo’s assessment that Megan wanted Don to get angry about Stephanie’s departure.”

              We didn’t make that assessment.

            • Lower L

              Whoops, you’re right. I took “attention-seeking dance” as a metaphor for the whole thing with Stephanie, forgetting about the actual dance at the party.

          • Angela_the_Librarian

            I am bit confused about your comment. Stephanie wasn’t Don’s college-aged lover. He never had an affair with her because she’s Anna Draper’s niece and he always saw her as family. He wanted her to stay with Megan because of the obligation and gratitude he still feels towards Anna. Megan got angry when Stephanie said that she knew Don’s secrets. Megan has lately been feeling more insecure about not really knowing who her husband really is, so that comment was particularly scathing for Megan (though Stephanie didn’t mean it to be interpreted that way)

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              if i may be so bold as to interpret Edo Tokyo’s comments, Edo was not saying that Stephanie was Don’s lover. in fact, that was Edo’s point – if Stephanie had been, Don would not have sent her to Megan (his wife). i believe that Edo was simply being ironic.

              Megan is jealous of any intimacy that others have with Don. Megan is a whiny adolescent who acts out, as this episode brilliantly depicts.

            • 3hares

              Actually, Don never had an affair with her because she turned him down when he made a blatant pass at her.

            • Edo Tokyo

              Sorry if I was not clear. I know Stephanie did not have an affair with Don (although I think he did make a pass at her on one of his visits to Anna). I just meant that if Megan gave the matter some thought, she might not have jumped to the wrong conclusion. Don tends to compartmentalize and it is not his style to flaunt his affairs: he’s not above cheating, but he was never one “to put salt in the wound” of the woman on whom he cheated. Megan should have realized this and that if Don had bedded Stephanie, he would not have put Megan in the position of having to help her.

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

            I guess Megan really resented that Stephanie presumed to know “all Don’s secrets,”

            I had the same feeling; I think she was trying to go along with Don’s request up until that point (not that it didn’t bother her), but when Stephanie said those words you can clearly see a change of attitude in Megan.

            • Cheryl

              Yep, that was the turnaround. I even said to the Viking that Megan was being awfully decent to Stephanie…and then Stephanie made the comment about ‘all Don’s secrets’ and the attitude changed completely. As much as people seem to pick on Pare, I thought she nailed that split second change perfectly.

            • Dorace Afton Trottier

              perfect. it isn’t Paré i object to – it’s MEGAN.

      • Chris

        I wonder as this season goes on if the theme is becoming who can truly survive change and heartbreak. It reminds me of what Margaret Mitchell had said about “Gone With The Wind” that it was about who would sink and who would swim when their world got turned upside down. You see people like Don and Peggy, Pete and Joan who take their hits, are down for a while but don’t give up. Then you have people like Ted, who has, at least for now, given up. (I hope this changes) or Megan, who seems so fragile she may likely break. Betty for all her unhappiness, has a spine of steel while someone like Ginsberg seems completely broken and Lane was totally destroyed. Lou thinks he is in great shape when things just keep going his way, but if they toss him out of SC&P I doubt he will be able to pull off a Don Draper type comeback as he cannot even control the creative department.

      • siriuslover

        Am I the only one who thought Stephanie’s lovechild may have been a Manson baby? Wasn’t Manson a failed musician of some sort? Can’t recall an Oakland connection, though.

        • Julie Parr

          There is an Oakland connection. From the Wikipedia entry: “On his release day, Manson received permission to move to San Francisco, where, with the help of a prison acquaintance, he moved into an apartment inBerkeley. In prison, bank robber Alvin Karpis had taught him to play the steel guitar.[5]:137–146[12][16] Now, living mostly by panhandling, he soon got to knowMary Brunner, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Brunner was working as a library assistant at University of California, Berkeley, and Manson moved in with her. According to a secondhand account, he overcame her resistance to his bringing other women in to live with them. Before long, they were sharing Brunner’s residence with 18 other women.[5]:163–174″

          • siriuslover

            even creepier. Thanks for looking it up Julie Parr.

          • ConnieBV

            /shiver

        • Gatto Nero

          I had what seemed like an irrational feeling that there might be a connection. It would be a little on the nose for Weiner, but nothing would surprise me at this point.

          • NeenaJ

            Agree, but he’s probably delighted we’re talking about it!

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Exactly! I think he throws in the Manson references just so people will think and talk about them, but they’re not pointing toward an actual murder on the show. But you never know.

            • 3hares

              But I don’t think he throws in half as many Manson references as people see. Mentions of how the sound in the canyons is something people who know details about the murders are going to associate with them maybe, which adds some dread to the scene, but doesn’t have to be much of a reference to them. It’s maybe a little more subtle than Joan’s blood-spattered dress foreshadowing Jackie Kennedy back in 1963. But a lot of the stuff people claim are Manson references don’t seem directly related to Manson at all.

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

              Joan’s blood splattered dress is the perfect reference here. Even if the writers are referencing Manson as much as people seem to think (and I don’t agree that they are), there’s no reason to see such references as anything but the typical allusions to historical events that the show has always traded in.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              …right, or they’re really general like the “unsuccessful musician” thing. As another commenter said, Southern California is full of unsuccessful musicians.

        • 3hares

          Charles Manson wasn’t the only failed musician in California.

          • siriuslover

            No kidding, 3hares. But they’ve been messing with us for awhile about this subject, so I thought it might be one more component.

        • MarinaCat

          Didn’t Stephanie say they met in college, though? I’d assume the father was someone around her age, if so.

          • AZU403

            Another anachronism when Megan asks “Are you with anybody?” In 1969 that meant they were physically present!

    • kduffin7

      I feel that Megan is deliberately pushing Don away, rather than trying to keep him. She seems to be flaunting her hipness – as if to say ‘this is the real me and you are not a part of it’. He looks woefully out of place in her apartment and among her new friends. I have resorted to this tactic myself – ‘if you don’t like me, go away. Please.’

      • Dorace Afton Trottier

        i think that you are onto something there. that would explain why Megan let Don dress the way that he did for that party. i don’t think that it stops there, though. i think that Megan is desperately trying to convince HERSELF of her hipness; she is clearly as out of place as Don is, although it is not as visually obvious. that said, Megan appears conflicted. that “look at me” dance seemed to be directed point blank at Don. “Dog in the Manger” behavior, perhaps? there are lovely onion-layers of emotions in these characters, it’s one of the reasons we love this show so much.

        • kduffin7

          I completely agree, Dorace. Megan is a mass of insecurity. And we do love this show.

    • siriuslover

      My favorite part of the episode was Sally and Bobby’s tender moment talking about their horrible childhoods. “My stomach hurts all the time.” “They’ll never let you out, you know. You’re too little.” So sad and heartfelt.

      • grahamcracker3

        Heartbreaking. That and also the look on Peggy’s face when they took Michael away. Even though she had no romantic feelings for him, there went another man fond of her insane. Her lonliness is so palpable, it’s no accident the editors put hers and Sally’s scenes together.

        • Alice Teeple

          I didn’t think Ginsberg was ever fond of her, but was certainly a disruption of her own order of things; one less creative, someone under her wing. I am sure she could be worried that it would be a bad reflection on her for not “keeping him under control,” etc.

          • P M

            She never could deal with, well, incidents, very well. Remember the lawnmower? She fainted.

            • Chris

              Into Pete’s arms. I thought she handled herself as well as possible under the circumstances.

            • Alice Teeple

              The other thing I liked about Peggy in this episode, which was pretty subtle, was her babysitting Julio. I liked seeing her putting pretzels in a bowl for a snack and the kid waltzing into the apartment to hang out with her. He seems to have replaced her cat as tolerated company. Julio is probably a little older than her own son would be. We can see Peggy is about as maternal as a houseplant, but she still is cool with Julio coming by. The scene with her waking up to Ginsberg looming over her, however, really gave me the fear, from personal memories. And the line, “the kid’s been gone an hour” was freaky.

            • Chris

              Yes! That really freaked me out too. If you have seen the mini series she did “Top Of The Lake” it was a milder version of a very creepy scene from that as well. That was probably the most sinister Ginsberg has ever seemed to me. Even when he gave her the box of horror later he was full of good cheer. Him sitting that close for a hour just watching her like that was….unsettling.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              What happened to the cat, anyway?

            • Alice Teeple

              Seeing a foot get chopped up and sprayed all over everyone, I probably would have too, to be honest. :)

            • P M

              True, true.

      • leighanne

        Sally referring to her mother as “Betty”- whatever mother/daughter closeness they had prior to Sally going away to school is gone.

      • Zaftiguana

        I miss a time when more of the show’s overt statements of theme through dialogue were as well-done as “They’ll never let you out, you know. You’re too little.”

    • Aurora Leigh

      I have to cry foul on the way Ginsberg has been written. I agree with TLo that the writers have been writing Ginsberg towards a psychotic break for some time now, but I found myself wondering what the F they were doing because in the last few episodes Ginsberg seemed completely fine. It seems highly implausible that he would be so functional and then suddenly go full Van Gogh. I don’t know if it was meant to be a commentary on the rise of technology, but did not strike me as a realistic depiction of mental illness.

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

        Trust me, it’s realistic. The whole point of mental illness is that the cause doesn’t have to seem rational to us. Ginsberg was upset from the start about the introduction of the computer, and the constant hum amped up his previous anxiety about receiving transmissions into his brain.

        • Donna Luder

          I thought Ginsburg’s reaction to the loss of the creative lounge and his weird scene about the sofas demonstrated dysfunction.

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

            Yeah, that’s another good point — a big disruption in a previously ordered space like that was sure to throw him for a loop.

          • decormaven

            And remember he got “The Invisible Man” pitch through, according to Dawn. I think Ginsberg has been tuned to an alternate frequency for quite a while.

        • Vanessa

          The hum of the computer was a great great concept to introduce. One thing we don’t notice nowadays is how much ambient noise machines make in our environment. I can’t remember the composer but a few years ago someone went around their home figuring out what notes their appliances were humming, and composed a piece with them. A big honking IBM mainframe in the middle of an office would have made a very distinctive noise, and the sound people did a nice job with it in the scenes in the office.

          • annejumps

            Gosh, I can’t recall the term for it, but there are people who are very bothered by low, quiet, almost imperceptible ambient sounds made by electronics. Where most of us tune the noises out, they are bothered. I think Ginsberg’s illness is different from this, but if he had that, it surely didn’t help.

            • Violaine

              Good catch! One neurological deficit associated with schizophrenia is difficulty filtering out extraneous sound – separating signal from noise.

          • decormaven

            Yes. People were used to staccato from typewriters and ringing of phones. That noise from the computer mainframe was a different pitch. I’m noise-sensitive- it definitely would have been noticed.

            • Vanessa

              A few years ago, we lost power for a week and the quiet of our home with no electrical equipment was amazing!

          • clairebbbear

            Yes. Also people with certain mental illnesses can be extra sensitive to such ambient noises. And sadly, technology features quite highly in delusions experienced by people with such illnesses. It probably did feel like his brain being invaded to him – and it wouldn’t have been a sound or feeling that he would have experienced before.

          • http://twitter.com/lauriekalmanson laurie kalmanson

            the sound in general is gorgeous; the tinkling ice and sliver on china in restaurants; the typing and phones ringing at the office.

          • Mismarker

            This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with the low hum of an IBM 360.

          • AZU403

            Yes, computer rooms were really noisy. In the Seventies I got hit on in the computer room at the end of the day by someone who worked there, and I made a quick exit.

      • Gatto Nero

        I can’t speak with authority about this, but the development and manifestation of mental illness (or dementia, or any disease) don’t always describe a smooth curve. Ginsberg has always been socially inappropriate, and a lot of his behavior had been glossed over by his coworkers (and the writers). I got the impression when he was hired at SC&P that his father was inordinately grateful. It struck me then that Ginsberg’s father might know something about him that the viewers didn’t know yet. There have probably been signs of an impending breakdown for a long time.

        • ktr33

          good point!

        • P M

          I think his father would have been a very protective influence for a long time. However, the computer, to my mind (heh), was a huge disruptor, even for the more neurotypical people. I can’t imagine how badly it impacted Ginsberg.

      • embers618

        Actually, the fine, not fine, better, worse, functional, disfunctional cycle is a pretty realistic depiction of mental illness. It’s why so many people are able to put off getting the help they need – because they’re not dysfunctional all the time, they are able to convince themselves they’re okay, and other people write off their low points as just a bad day.

        • annejumps

          Yes. His speech and behavior has run the gamut from normal to eccentric to disturbing and back again. If he were just insane all the time, he probably wouldn’t have worked there this long.

      • Alice Teeple

        I thought it was pretty accurate. That’s what makes mental illness so cruel: those moments of lucidity, followed by a complete break from reality.

        • P M

          When he finally gave Peggy that box, and showed her his wound, I just wanted to hug him and cry. As a character, he’s a brilliant young man surrounded by people who didn’t know how to help him.

          • decormaven

            Yes, the actor did such a great job in portraying almost a child-like sunniness. “Look, I fixed it!” I shudder to think what his medical treatment in that day and time would be.

            • P M

              Now I’m really going to cry.

            • Danielle

              And when she walked out of the office and turned back to look at him, he was sitting so peaceful and happy in the chair. Damn.

      • 3hares

        There’s a time gap between episodes and Ginsberg’s been dealing with the computer noise for a while, so I think he had plenty of time to deteriorate.

        • Aurora Leigh

          Yeah, that could definitely be the case. I always have a hard time figuring out how much time has gone by between episodes.

      • stonecoldcuddlewhore

        I definitely thought he wasn’t “totally fine” these last few episodes. I actually told my husband last week that I wouldn’t be surprised if the series ended with the horrible twist of Ginsberg doing something violent and killing them all.

      • MK03

        Ginsberg hasn’t been functional all season.

        • Aurora Leigh

          I mean functional in the sense of holding a job, interacting with others, showering, feeding himself. I guess that might sound like a low bar, but I worked in community mental health for a number of years and used to evaluate people for psych admission, so I’ve met a lot of people with severe mental illness and when someone’s at the point they depicted Ginsberg last night, they’re really not able to do those basic things. I think the thing that has bothered me about the way that Ginsberg was written was that it seemed that the writers would turn the crazy dial up and down when it suited them, which just isn’t the way that it works (in my experience) for people who have an untreated thought disorder.

          • MK03

            But he was never very successful at those things either. He’s always been inappropriate in the office, from showing up in jeans and stained shirts to screaming at clients to making completely unacceptable jokes to his immediate supervisor. He wasn’t doing much better in the few times we saw him outside the office either.

      • MilaXX

        Ginsberg has seemed just as on the edge of breakdown to me as he always is. Even his digs at Peggy always felt socially awkward. This season he’s been shown getting continually agitated at the installation of the computer so it was no surprised to me in an episode where it appears the computer has been up and running for a while now would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s been a slow build up, but I’ve seen it coming and wasn’t even slightly surprised.

      • Azucena

        I agree that the nipple episode was a bit sensationalist and they could have done that differently, but as someone who has mental illness, the fluctuation in functionality rings very true to me. It is very much linked to stress and perhaps hormones, and many people experience mental illness in waves like that. One day you feel calm and collected enough to do everything you need to do, after a few days, not so much.

        That the computer and all the noise and chaos it brought with it might have triggered stress great enough to send him into a downward spiral.

    • Vanessa

      I think it is interesting how the show is so solidly staying with the perspective of the characters from the 1950s: showing the upheavals of the world from their point of view. One example is Betty’s inability to realize that politically Henry has moved on with the sentiments of the country (even as her ability to speak her mind at all is a product of the burgeoning women’s movement). Another is the consistent portrayal of the counterculture as dirty, homeless and unattractive.

      • Kathy G

        I feel the depiction of the counterculture is realistic and more of a viewpoint from the 1970s when the romanticism went away. Weiner is my age and no doubt had his share of hippies from the 60s telling him stories etc. — over and over how great it was.

        • ThaliaMenninger

          I think he’s showing one side of the counterculture. But it isn’t the side I saw from the comfort of a middle-class home in the suburbs in 1969. My parents definitely thought that kids in San Francisco and at Woodstock were “dirty hippies,” and people like the Chicago 7 or the SDS were very scary to them. But for me… I started to identify with at least some of what the hippies stood for when I saw what looked like perfectly normal kids on TV getting beaten during the Democratic convention. The kids we saw at school protesting the war looked like normal kids, too. Plus there were icons like the Beatles who were part of it, and students everywhere, even in “flyover country.” The reason the movement was important was because it spilled over into
          middle class life, and kids in the suburbs and in small towns were also
          affected by the anti-war movement and the music and the culture in general.

          I just looked up Weiner’s age. He was four in 1969. I was 13. I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I’ve never met anyone who went to Woodstock. He said the same thing. I knew people whacked out on drugs in junior high. He didn’t. His junior high was a little tamer than mine. I know one woman who claims to have “turned on, tuned in and dropped out.” But if she has stories about how great it all was, she’s keeping them to herself.

          • AZU403

            I got invited to go to Woodstock and didn’t go, but of course I didn’t know it was going to be WOODSTOCK. A few years later in 1973 I did go to the music fest at Watkins Glen, NY – 600,000 people, and very exhausting.

            • ThaliaMenninger

              Is this two degrees of separation? You’re the closest I’ve come to meeting someone who went to Woodstock, so I will take it!

            • VirginiaK

              My brother went – if it becomes urgent I could probably introduce you on FB!

            • ThaliaMenninger

              Thanks! :-)

    • Rottenwood

      “I’m not stupid, I speak Italian!” Betty is fucking amazing; I don’t care what anyone says.

      • otterbird

        “Hate Betty” has become such a thing, but I still remember Season 1, when she was suffering anxiety and Don got her a shrink who reported their conversations to him, who sabotaged her attempts to go back to work. She’s a character who played by all the rules and discovered the game was rigged. I’ve always felt pretty sympathetic towards her, too.

        • Mismarker

          Complete agreement. I started a series re-watch a couple weeks back and am just now starting season 4. Betty’s arc has been pretty amazing. Season 1 started months after her mother died and it was clear she was not dealing well with that loss. Then her world was rocked by Don’s infidelity with Bobbie Barrett, her father’s death, and finally, the Dick Whitman box in the desk. I don’t condone the way she treats her children, but I get her. It’s all rung very true for me.

          • Alanna

            The funny thing is that I also rewatched recently and noticed that Betty’s storylines take up a lot of screentime in the first three seasons, especially S1. Megan-hating fans complain about how she “monopolizes” the screen, but even at the height of her prominence, she was still nowhere near as dominant as the Drapers’ home life in those early seasons.

        • Froggae

          I don’t like Betty the person, but I love how complex the character is. I also appreciate the show isn’t going the expected route of Betty embracing feminism in response to discovering the game is rigged. Betty instead is digging her heels in, even more fiercely embracing the values she was taught, and if she has to break those rules to enforce them, so be it, dammit. Also, while I can see how everyone sees her as a Phyllis Schlafly Barbie doll (hence my dislike of her the person), her and Sally relationship is mirroring Nancy Reagan and Patty Davis. I wonder if her and Henry’s relationship and their political life will wind up mirroring the Reagans’.

        • juliamargaret

          Yes, I feel sorry for the way that Betty has been emotionally wounded in her life. She’s in a lot of pain. Unfortunately, she’s very good at making sure everyone else around her is in pain, too.

          • otterbird

            That’s probably why I don’t hate her. It’s such a realistic response to emotional pain- lashing out at those closest to a person that I appreciate the emotional honesty.

      • Gatto Nero

        I loved that line.

      • ashley

        AGREEEEE. love her to the moon and back, miss that episode in italy with her flirting

      • Vanessa

        I don’t hate Betty, and I don’t want to bring down ire on myself, but all I could think when I heard this line was — well, now we know that speaking Italian is not evidence of intelligence.

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

          Yeah, same here. I just winced for her when she said it. She has to reach so far back into her past, for an accomplishment she can’t even put to use these days.

        • Zaftiguana

          Right, both hilarious and sad. I snort-laughed but also covered my face in vicarious embarrassment.

        • T C

          She, like many upper middle class and upper class women of her era, went to college for a Mrs. degree. It was a less expensive alternative to finishing school in Switzerland.

      • http://twitter.com/lauriekalmanson laurie kalmanson

        educated upper middle class woman with no path to a career/professional success; hence, feminism.

        women of her generation were mothers of sally’s generation — sally’s cohort who went to law school, business school and medical school often chose career over family, because there was so much difficulty in having both; two generations after that, young right wing women who are in careers call themselves not feminists.

        • VirginiaK

          Betty went to Bryn Mawr – she can’t actually be on the dumb side, and she can’t even be someone who was a poor student, as those women’s schools are highly selective and also demanding academically — in my experience they graded harder andmeaner than the comparable men’s schools. AND it’s not unrealistic that she still turned out to be someone who’s spent the next 20 years or so after college just being pretty and keeping house. With god knows what going on in the smart/suppressed part of her mind.

      • Danielle

        I had to rewind that a few times so I could hear it over and over.

    • Ellen O’Neill

      The Three Hats. That last shot of Cutler, Lou, and Don, and they were all wearing hats. It was visually shocking, given all the upheaval in the episode.

      • Alice Teeple

        Hahaha, I know. They looked like such fuddy-duddies in those hats.

        • rottenkitty

          And the hats didn’t match their suits making them seem even more out of place.

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          I recently rewatched the first episode of the current season. In the scene where Megan picks up Don at the airport, I was struck by how all the men, including Don, are wearing hats but no suit jackets. My dad wore hats like that well into the 70s. It was definitely a sign of belonging to a certain generation.

          The weird thing is, my dad was born 8 months before Charles Manson and 10 months before Elvis. Those guys embraced a younger generation, as did the Smothers Brothers and George Carlin. (At least sartorially.)

      • decormaven

        In a time of change, people cling to “normalcy”. These men perceived power in suit/tie/accessories.

        • Gatto Nero

          It’s also a callback to pre-JFK style. These guys may be pro-computer, but they’re still old guard.

      • Janice Bartels

        Stan (I think) even said something about Dan still being establishment when they showed him Lou’s comic.

      • ThaliaMenninger

        Another threesome? The one in the bedroom was unwilling Don with two younger woman. The one in the meeting was Don with two unwilling older men. I don’t know what any of that means, but I was struck by Don and his threesomes.

      • DeniseSchipani

        Yes! and it has to be noted that Don wears it best. By that time, men’s hats were on their way out, if not completely out, and on Jim and Lou you “see” the out-ness of their hats. But on Don, it looks right, because Don is Don. He went into that meeting and WAS DON. He’s back to himself, that was my closing thought on the episode.

    • otterbird

      The only thing I can figure about Henry’s outburst is that he’s scared to lose his job. Nixon really shifted the direction of the Republican party, even if Reagan ended up being the main beneficiary. I think Henry, the Rockefeller Republican, is trying to find his place in a shifting party and it’s freaking him out. When Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he said it would cost Democrats the South for a generation, but it took the Republicans also shifting their positions for that to come true. Note when Henry talked about supporting ending the war, he discussed it’s financial cost; not its morality. Totally trying to straddle the line.

      • siriuslover

        I keep writing comments mirroring others at nearly the same time. I agree. See my comment below!

      • Dora Kishinevsky

        That’s very interesting. Thanks!

    • siriuslover

      I, too, am one of the people who felt the Henry exchange(s) just so implausible, especially when he’s back to protective, kind Henry when he picks up Sally. But this morning, I’m thinking of a parallel of sorts to Robert Redford’s “The Candidate.” It seems to me that Henry probably agrees with Betty more than he’s letting on, but is working the scene that will get him re-elected. Betty was pretty spot on when he said “I’m their elected representative” and she said, “You ran unopposed.” Politics may be corrupting, but perhaps it’s bringing out his inner liberal (though that’s not saying much when he’s talking about agreeing with Nixon, even if it was about ending the war).

      • otterbird

        The GOP was, I believe, the more socially liberal party until the late 1970s, so I wonder if it’s Henry trying to temper his own beliefs with what he is starting to sense the party faithful want to hear. If you haven’t read it, I highly, highly recommend Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland, which is such a good look at the rise of what became the modern GOP. Great read.

        • siriuslover

          Not an American historian, but I’ll definitely put this on my list. I haven’t read it.

          • otterbird

            I’m not either, but I found it a fascinating look at how a savvy politician co-opted American fears and reshaped a party around it.

            • decormaven

              Will have to get over my deep aversion to Nixon to read it, but it sounds like an interesting book.

            • otterbird

              If you have an aversion to Nixon, you’ll probably like it, actually! ;)

            • decormaven

              I’m sold, then! Thanks for the tip.

        • Froggae

          I don’t think the GOP was the more socially liberal party as much as there was a lot more room for socially liberal ideas in the party pre (and during) Nixon. If you compare the 2 parties platforms of ’60, ’64 and ’68 you can see both parties developing with uneasy schisms over both Vietnam and Civil Rights, but the Dems still by and large the stronger supporters of labor, social welfare and civil rights. Nixon while campaigning talked about ending the Vietnam War, but deliberately was vague about how and under what conditions, so he could exploit the huge Dem schism the war was causing. So Nixon supporters could project their own thinking onto him as needed (he’ll win by bombing the fuck out of ‘Nam; no, he’ll win by strong-arming peace talks). And yes, Nixonland is a great read for understanding what the GOP has become.

          • Qitkat

            “there was a lot more room for socially liberal ideas in the party”

            This is one of the things that saddens me the most about the current iteration of the Republican Party. During the sixties my parents were GOP supporters and instilled that in me, (before I began to think for myself), so much so that I actually worked for them during the Rockefeller campaign for President. Eventually they too moved to being supporters of the Democratic Party, but during the sixties, the animosity was lower than today, and you are spot on about “both parties developing with uneasy schisms over both Vietnam and Civil Rights.” Good call.

        • Glammie

          No, it wasn’t the more socially liberal party. However, *both* parties had liberal and conservative wings. Watergate did a major number on the GOP and the party reinvented itself with a strong conservative bent afterwards. It’s been going rightward ever since.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            As late as the late 70s, there was such a thing as a “liberal Republican.” Senator Charles Percy of Illinois was one example. So was Jacob Javitz of New York. Now “liberal Republican” and “conservative Democrat” sound like oxymorons.

      • P M

        I’m brown, so I’d probably read that alongside a biography of Akbar – greatest Mughal emperor, contemporary of Elizabeth I. As kids, there were storybooks about ‘Akbar and Birbal’ (one of Akbar’s ministers) that had pretty good parables thrown in. One pretty much sounds like your statement. Politics really is corrupting (in the story I mentioned, the conclusion that money corrupts even the most virtuous of men). Akbar was a fascinating man, who came up with some really interesting (and in some ways, progressive) policy, so reading him alongside Nixon and seeing different leadership and ethics at play should be….. interesting.

        • Azucena

          Akbar and Birbal!!! I think Akbar would probably be considered the equivalent of a social liberal in a US context– with his attitude towards religion and allowance of upward mobility (to a degree) in government positions. Then again, if Nixon surrounded himself with the Navratna instead of GOP goons, things might have been different.

          • P M

            girl, you brown?

            • Azucena

              lol yeah but a different flavor of brown (latina). but i lived in south asia for years and my husband is desi.

    • Alice Teeple

      You guys were spot on! Poor Ginsberg.

      The interesting turn-around in this episode, I thought, was Harry. So often lately we’ve been seeing him as a fall guy or total dick, but he actually had a grudging smidgen of conscience in this, wrapped in self-preservation. I think we had been seeing him through the eyes of everyone else, but when he was isolated from the office, he was quite different. I thought the exchange seemed out of character for the Harry we’ve been seeing lately, but closer to the Harry of earlier seasons. It also was an good callback to the scene with Ted Chaough in Detroit, where Don suggests the merger.

      • 3hares

        Harry, like Pete, has always had good instincts about the business. So I thought it made sense that Harry was annoyed at the idea of trying to get rid of Don when Don should be an asset.

        • Chris

          Harry and Pete have always been undervalued at the agency because people find them annoying and uncool but they are both very forward thinking and good businessmen.

      • Chris

        I’ve often thought Harry’s “sin” with Don and others isn’t that he is such a bad person, because in Mad Men world he’s average, it’s that he isn’t “cool”. He’s a jerk sometimes and sometimes he’s OK but mostly he just seems to annoy people, Don particularly. I did like that they showed Harry recognized what a creative genius Don has always been (at least he doesn’t have amnesia like some other characters) and how frustrated he is with Ted. That’s a great point about the scene mirroring Don colluding with Ted at that other bar!

    • Scimommy

      Loved your recap, TLo. It actually helped me make sense of an episode after which I felt like *I* just smoked some weed.

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

      There’s just way too much going on and nowhere near enough time to see the scenes that ought to be there, or spend a moment enjoying what *is* there.

      That moment with Sally and her little brother whose name escapes me right now.. I wanted to stick there for a few minutes more and I would have enjoyed it if that storyline, as well as the Ginsberg storyline got more time this week than Megan and her threesome. I would have liked Peggy to call Joan to try and work out what to do with the nipple-less Ginsberg in her office. Instead we did not see Joan at all. Plus why drag out an insignificant character like Stephenie from the past and have it take up so much story time?

      It is just really frustrating this 7 episode season because every minute seems too important to waste.

      • Gatto Nero

        The Stephanie story line was meant to show Megan’s deviousness, a characteristic we haven’t seen in her before.
        I’m also wondering what, if any, impact the birth of the child will have on Don, and whether he will have a relationship with both Stephanie and the baby at some point. She’s all that’s left of Anna Draper.

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

          I’m not sure if we have seen her be devious in the past – I usually do a re-watch of past seasons but I didn’t have time this year, plus sitting through Megan seasons is like having your fingernails pulled out one by one, for me anyway..

          .. but I already knew Megan was manipulative, spoilt, and goes out of her way to get her own way – I thought we learned all of that including that she was devious when we spent all that time with her mother.. There’s nothing else I want to learn about Megan. I would have been *so* grateful if we never saw her again.. but maybe it is just me.. :)

          • Dorace Afton Trottier

            believe me, it is *not* just you. i have never been a Megan fan. your description was dead on: manipulative and spoilt. she can’t help it, her mother is the High Priestess of Manipulation. Megan is one more thing, however, and that is unsure of herself. i think that is a lot of what this episode was showing about her character.

            • Azucena

              It always seemed like she never appreciated her mother being manipulative, but she ultimately is her mother’s daughter. The more unsure she gets, the more she falls back on her mother’s tricks even though they have never worked out for her the way she wants.

          • Gatto Nero

            She is manipulative and spoilt. She’s also the product of an unhappy, manipulative mother and a disapproving father, neither of whom had any confidence in her ability to succeed as an actress. Without Don’s financial support she wouldn’t be able to play at pursuing her “dream.”

            • Qitkat

              Megan is a very incomplete person. One of the many themes of this series is showing the various stages of life development of all the characters, but perhaps, because I’m a woman, the evolving stages of the female characters resonate most strongly with me. Women with a firm job in the workplace (everyone at the agency, with a full component of all stereotypes and women creating new personas for themselves), women struggling in stifling marriages (Megan, Betty), girls becoming women on the cusp of so many societal and sociological changes of the era (Sally and all her cohorts), women living on the fringes of society (Margaret, Stephanie). I just hope Megan doesn’t fall into Valley of the Dolls, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

        • Chris

          Well we have seem Megan be manipulative at times, if not devious. Her co-opting her friend’s idea of having Don put a word in for her for the shoe commercial wasn’t her nicest move. Even when she first slept with Don, she took a dig at Allison and had mentioned how she was interested in becoming a copywriter. She passed herself off as very free spirited and that her sleeping with Don was no big deal, no strings attached, but after they were married and she met a woman Don had slept with (after he divorced Betty) in the elevator she accused him of having a “careless appetite”. Megan has crafted scenarios to get her way before but this is the first time we have seen her do it that it had detrimental consequences for Don and possible serious harm to someone else.

      • siriuslover

        I guess because when you saw Don talking to Stephanie on the phone, his facial expressions were all Dick Whitman. His smile is never that genuine except when he’s Dick.

        • DeniseSchipani

          Yes! he talks to her and it’s just like in The Suitcase (though then it was b/c he was drunk), but he looks vulnerable and his hair is messed up. He’s not Don then; he’s Dick.

      • Dorace Afton Trottier

        the Stephanie story line was essential. one of the main foci of it was to present the 3 Draper wives, and Stephanie is the direct link to Anna Draper.

      • leighanne

        I was surprised that Peggy didn’t head straight into Joan’s office. I immediately thought of the lawnmower incident in which Joan took control of the situation and knew just what to do.
        The Stephanie appearance reminded me of Megan’s childishness and insecurity and highlighted another disconnect between Megan and Don. As someone mentioned below, Don turned into Dick Whitman while on the phone with Stephanie. He never seems to be truly at ease with Megan – most of what they do around each other is for show.

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

          “Nipple in a box” is above even Joan’s expertise, though. Peggy was right to go straight for 911.

          • leighanne

            This is true.

          • Mismarker

            Yep. When she picked up the phone, I was like “Good girl”, knowing she was calling 911. She handled that so, so well. Am glad we weren’t subjected to whatever drama unfolded after the white coats showed up. I’m sure Ginsberg didn’t get strapped down without a fight and some Haldol.

            • T C

              That would have been 0 for Operator; 911 did not exist yet.

          • AZU403

            The first person she saw when she left the office was flaky Meredith, and she walked right past her.

        • Cheryl

          Peggy handled it just fine and the fact she didn’t go running to Joan, showed development of her character. She probably would have a couple of seasons ago/

          • SparkleNeely

            The Miss Blankenship incident. Joan handled that as well. Don was just irritated that his secretary had died because it inconvenienced him, both personally (Sally in the office) and professionally (client in the conference room). In fact, that whole scene was deliciously ironic, full of pathos and subtle. Hilarious to see people try to cover up in the conference room and their reactions to the drama going on at her desk yet sad when Bert (who still had a soul then) was trying to write her obit. I miss the level of writing that those days brought to the show.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I thought she was headed for Stan! But good on her, taking control.

    • ccinnc

      138 comments already so I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, but we all burst out laughing at the nod to “2001” in the computer room.

      • decormaven

        2001 should get a residual from Mad Men; it’s practically in a starring role this season.

        • FranklyMyDear

          I’ve read somewhere that a possible trajectory for the storyline is for Don/ the agency to somehow get involved in the space race… Maybe this is all foreshadowing for that?

          • Azucena

            And the fall at the end from the opening credits turns out ok because zero gravity. Also, Pegs iiiiin spaaaace *echos*. Sorry I’m in a weird mood.

    • Danielle

      In that scene when Sally and Betty started arguing about her nose, after Henry yelled out, “Girls!”, I paused the show, turned to my husband and said, “If we someday have a daughter, and she and I are fighting, and you holler out , ‘GIRLS!’ to calm us down like children, I will stop the fight so I can turn and slap you.”

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        i caught that too and thought “What a pompous ass!”. But, sadly, Henry was just being a child of his Age.

        • Dora Kishinevsky

          Betty *is* a child, though — we got a reminder of that in her behavior with Bobby.
          She’s on the same emotional level as her kids but with extra power over
          them. Henry usually likes to pretend like she’s a proper grown-up so his behavior here was a surprise, but he’s been angry throughout the episode. Perhaps he’s finally snapped in some ways, after being the preternaturally patient, supportive husband for so long.

      • SylviaFowler

        Perhaps if she acted like an adult, she would be treated like one more often…

    • bluefish

      Wonderful recap. Many thanks. You all read my mind for afar.

    • Danielle

      So where does “Nipple in a box” fall on the lawnmower scale?

      • siriuslover

        I know, right?!

      • decormaven

        It tops it, for me. It definitely was a “wow” moment.

        • Mismarker

          For me as well. The lawnmower was an accident fueled by drunken revelry. This? This was just straight up crazy.

          • P M

            Please don’t use that term lightly. Labelling mental illness with terms like crazy just makes the problems worse.

            • Mismarker

              I get that. Perhaps dictionary definitions need to change. How about “non compos mentis”?

            • P M

              That works.

      • JenniferA

        That was at least 4 lawnmowers in my mind!! I actually squeaked out loud with that revelation.

      • Gatto Nero

        Didn’t you just know there was going to be something horrifying in there?

        • Mismarker

          Yes. I turned to my husband and said, “It’s gonna be something creepy”. I thought it would be his foreskin until I remembered he’s Jewish!

          • Gatto Nero

            Yes. I figured it had to be a body part. I was steeling myself.

        • Danielle

          I even said out loud, ‘No, Peggy, you don’t want to open that.’

          • MartyBellerMask

            So did I! From the moment I saw the box, I was gritting my teeth. Poor Peggy didn’t see it coming. She must have thought it was a bracelet or??

          • MK03

            I actually said “PEGGY NO IT’S A TRAP” when he handed her the box. But I still did not expect that to be in there.

        • Dora Kishinevsky

          I must be incredibly naive because I thought it was going to be a wedding ring.

          • Maria Photinakis

            Me too! Oh my god, we were so wrong though. Horribly horribly wrong.

      • Dorace Afton Trottier

        was i the only one who wasn’t surprised? i admit that i thought it was going to be a Van Gogh-esque ear, but i totally knew it was going to be flesh.

        • Chris

          I thought it was going to be even worse. I was afraid to look at first.

      • Zaftiguana

        Lol, I immediately thought, “Wow, that’s a five lawnmower moment.” In retrospect, though, I think it may only be 4.5. It’s a five for sheer weirdness, but it didn’t come out of absolutely fucking nowhere the way the lawnmower incident did. We’ve known for a while that Ginsberg wasn’t right, and as soon as he handed her the box there was a metric shit ton of foreboding. At my house, it was like those tacky people in the movie theatre at a horror movie. “Oh, Jesus…oh god, no Peggy, don’t open it! Don’t open the box!”

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          We may have to change the standard from lawnmowers to nipples! Or does 1 nipple=4 lawnmowers.

      • Nicholas

        It would probably have been much worse, if it were clearer what was in the box, before Ginsberg explained it.

        • Kathryn Sanderson

          It was bad enough with the blood smeared on the cotton. I wanted to scream, too, when I saw it.

    • Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume

      I;m starting a band just to name it Ginsburg’s Nipple

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Like x1000

      • Qitkat

        Bwah-ha-ha!

      • Cheryl

        You’re late, my friend already formed a death metal band with that name.

    • Mismarker

      Hands up if you were not surprised in the least to see Stephanie show up. We were all thinking about her after the doppelganger appeared two episodes back.
      Folks, I am officially over all the thinly veiled Manson references. Stephanie’s boyfriend was a musician panhandler? Currently in prison but willing to commit murder to go back to prison? What the hell, Weiner?

      ETA: Two references to “tucking Don in”. Lou said it at the office and then Amy before the threesome.

      • siriuslover

        Glad I wasn’t the only one who saw that.

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

        I guess I don’t know enough about Manson to get all these references.. perhaps I should read up on this. Are there any decent books written about it which would be good to read? :)

        • Mismarker

          I had a minor obsession with true crime years ago. Most of the information I’ve gleaned on the Manson murders has come from internet articles. The stuff mentioned last night could be found on his wikipedia page.

        • decormaven

          “Helter Skelter” is a good place to start.

          • Mismarker

            Yes. And, weirdly, this whole episode felt very helter skelter.

        • LiliLynch

          Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. Intense and scary!

      • decormaven

        I definitely thought Stephanie would show up after we saw the doppelganger. I am not yet convinced there’s a Manson tie-in. That just seems so obvious- “Look! We worked in a cultural event!”

        • Mismarker

          I agree there won’t be a tie-in. Just don’t understand why Weiner would f*ck with his audience like this.

          • P M

            Which makes me wonder, at least, if we’ll see Bonnie Whitehead’s doppelganger, Bethany van Nuys.

          • Dorace Afton Trottier

            because Weiner loveloveloves to f*ck with his audience like this!

            • Mismarker

              It seems short-sighted to be spending valuable episode time on this crap. If it’s intentional smoke and mirrors, I’ve got a real problem with Weiner being labeled a creative genius. May as well end the whole series St. Elsewhere style. Of course, if all this Manson crumb-leaving ends up meaning something in the end (or someone, please, tell me it means something now), I reserve the right to take back everything I’ve said!

      • Chris

        As soon as I saw a beautiful eight months pregnant blonde with long hair, I was all “Oh here we go again”. At least they were in Laurel Canyon not Benedict.

        • T C

          Don’t forget that Sally brought up abortion during her huff with Betty. Roe v. Wade is 4 years in the future.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Abortion was legalized in New York State before Roe v. Wade, but I’m not sure when.

      • MartyBellerMask

        Yep. That answered the question of the blonde at the Algonquin. She was there (in part at least) to jog our memory.

        • Victoria Ramirez

          Also happening at the Algonquin: Don’s badass power move with Philip Morris last night.

          • Mismarker

            There is clearly only one hotel in New York right now. Or The Algonquin means something. All I know about it is The Algonquin Round Table aka Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle met there in the 20s.

            • Victoria Ramirez

              Ken Cosgrove’s 2nd nom de plume (after Ben Hargrove) was Dave Algonquin…

            • T C

              Roger Sterling lives there.

    • atmospheredesigns

      Can we talk about Megan’s Fabulouse Pucci and fall (hair)

      • Qitkat

        Patience ;-) Wednesday comes soon.

    • texashistorian

      I saw the motherhood theme in this episode quite clearly this time; and how it’s defined by those who are in the role. Megan using money, Betty using looks, Peggy being annoyed but forgiving, Sally being angry but nurturing, and Stephanie being the Madonna. The symbolism of cutting off a nipple (a female trait on the male body) was brilliant, as was the juxtaposition of Megan’s sexual power (which really wasn’t) and Betty’s perceived lack of power (which really wasn’t, either). Just like in the previous episodes, when fatherhood -and the failing of it – was explored. Very fitting for Mother’s Day.

      • decormaven

        Good call!

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

        I fondly recall last year’s tribute to Mother’s Day: Pete Campbell shouting, “My mother can go to hell!”

        • Lady Bug

          And Ted Chough can fly her there!

      • P M

        That’s really astute of you. Well done!

      • L’Anne

        And Stephanie was hairdo-ed almost idetically to Megan in Don’s fantasy in “A Tale of 2 Cities” for the referencing of pregnancy.

    • NeenaJ

      I have several thoughts on Henry’s behavior. He has always been a good
      husband to Betty and an even better father/caregiver to her children .
      However, we haven’t seen Betty try to reach out further than her
      supportive wife role would have taken her. She’s looked the part and
      likely let Henry do the talking except where Rumaki appetizers are
      concerned. But, I think the recent lunch with Francine and the
      political/feminist climate pushed her to stretch her boundaries in a way
      Henry hasn’t seen and definitely doesn’t appreciate. Bobby paints a
      picture of a situation that’s been brewing – it’s been several months since that transformative lunch with Francine. Why else would he think
      they were divorcing? Wouldn’t make sense if they had just one
      argument. Also, I think Henry personally feels like Betty does with regard
      to the war and doesn’t like having to step down from that position.
      But, being a politician who has to be loyal to his party, he is forced
      to align himself with Nixon and parrot the President’s stance. Henry may have also expected that Betty was astute
      enough to know that as a Republican, he had to mirror Nixon in his views
      – whether he believed them himself or not and that, in itself was
      probably emasculating enough to Henry – who I’ve always seen as an “I’m
      my own man” kind of guy. So, he’s
      pissed that Betty suddenly is giving voice to her own political
      opinions that could harm his career/image and that she feels she has the
      freedom to do so (which he does not).

      • ConnieBV

        I think Henry and Betty both knew the deal when they married- Betty needed to be a trophy wife and to be babied, and he needed a trophy wife. I think he has, in his way, supported her in that delusion (telling her she is a good mom, pretending he didn’t know he was being seduced) and now that she is trying to assert herself as a player, he is all WTF I married you because you looked good and I need you to shut it. That is the sort of chauvinism that sadly, is ingrained in MANY men, still. You marry a woman for what she was in her twenties and then when she has a change of heart or mind, all of a sudden it is about you, and what you were promised. Bleah. Much as I hate Betty, I do like that she is asserting herself.

        • flamingoNW

          Yeah, I kind of think that Henry’s been portrayed as this good guy that she’s lucky to have, but ultimately, he is also a man of the times and kind of a dick.

          • Eric Stott

            A Dick, perhaps – but a more stable one than Don.

        • Glammie

          It’s not an accident that Henry is a Rockefeller republican–moderate politically, but part of a party that will become more conservative and patriarchal over the next several years. Betty’s actually more of a bellwether for it than is Henry, but they’re both more conservative than the mostly apolitical Don. Betty is the angry right-wing woman to-be though, while Henry’s more of a traditionalist. So, in a sense, we’re looking at the old and new faces of the Republican party. I thought it was well done, myself.

    • ktr33

      The nipple event immediately reminded me of the Brando/Taylor movie, Reflections in a Golden Eye, where Julie Harris’s deeply depressed character cuts off both her nipples with hedge clippers after the death of her infant. Movie came out in ’67. Do you think Weiner had it mind? Is there a reference, a connection to be made, I wonder?

      • MartyBellerMask

        OMG, I had never heard of that movie. Horrifying. Mental note: Never watch that movie! :)

      • NeenaJ

        THIS is why I love reading all the comments in addition to TLo’s review. Here I am going, where in the hell does it even enter Ginsberg’s mind to cut off a nipple?!?” I mean, why not a finger or toe – granted, in addition to mental illness, he’s repressing possible homosexual feelings about Stan’s shoulders – so it made better sense to have it be a part that is thought of as sexual. But, the point is – why a nipple? Your comment answers that for me. I have no doubt that Michael would have seen that movie.

        • MK03

          Maybe because it looks like a valve?

          • Gatto Nero

            Yes. Didn’t he even call it a release valve?

      • smayer

        As a breastfeeding mother, that action is terrifying. *shudder*

    • &theJets

      Thank you, as always, for the thoughtful recap. I felt like a lot of what happened in last night’s episode came from way out of left field and was just for shock value. Perhaps that is somewhat true, but your analysis helped me see the feasibility or possibility of everything that happened.

      • flamingoNW

        I’m waiting to see how it comes around, thinking (hoping) they are building to something.

      • betty draper

        Yes. I found myself saying “oh brother!” quite a bit in this episode. Some of it was just so dumb. I think the writers have resorted to using too many soap-operish devices. It reduces the authenticity and interest of the show for me.

    • Frankie Carter

      Did anyone get the vibe that Don– well, that he might be in deeper s*it now? I mean, he did break all the rules pretty epically. It was satisfying to see in the moment, but– I don’t know. It’ll have to have consequences. Cutler and Lou could just as easily take his erratic behavior and Hershey meltdown and write him off to the client as a has-been and loon. Or would this be shooting themselves in the foot? I’m torn.

      • Gatto Nero

        Don was clearly testing them by flagrantly breaking one of their ultimatums — going off script. Nothing exploded; they didn’t sack him on the spot. Instead Don seemed to come out of it with a little more power. Or at least he appreared to feel that way.
        It ended ambiguously. We’ll have to see.

        • Chris

          Well technically there wasn’t a script- they were just negotiating an agreement to DO a pitch. He didn’t do an off the cuff pitch, or change the pitch. They hadn’t gotten to that point yet. It was just an accounts meeting it seems no specific creative work had been discussed. And he wasn’t alone with a client. I don’t think he did break any of the rules.

          • Gatto Nero

            That’s true — there was no script per se. And if there’s a battle at the office, that will be Don’s ammo.

            • Chris

              I agree he definitely broke the “spirit” of the law but not the letter of it. Technically, I think he is safe. Even more so if they go for his pitch!

            • Eric Stott

              I think Don has an exit strategy planned – his little chat with Harry Crane might be part of it.

            • Glammie

              There doesn’t need to be. Don just showed he’s back in the game–he goes elsewhere, he’ll gun for their clients and take a fair number. He took over the meeting with Phillip Morris and Jim and Lou knew it.

              Don wants, though, the agency he built. And, when he’s not decompensating, he enjoys a good macho battle.

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

            The script was that they’d gladly fire Don if Phillip Morris asked them to. Jim Cutler actually thanked Don for saving them the trouble of saying it. Instead, the meeting ended with everyone wondering if it wouldn’t be a smart business decision to specifically have Don working FOR them. If that’s not going off-script, I don’t know what is.

            • Glammie

              On script, but with a radical, new interpretation? I mean, he *did* say he’d resign . . .

            • Chris

              I was speaking of their agreement as if it was a legal document, which if we are being honest it probably isn’t. What was Don’s consideration for potentially losing all his shares in the company? A job he technically still had and was still getting paid for? Was there any document detailing his “leave” or was it just an informal verbal decision by the partners? Since Mad Men was treating it like it was a binding legal document for the sake of argument, I was too. As I recall, the terms were no pitching to new clients, no meeting clients on his own, and no going “off script” from the agreed upon pitch. Since this was a preliminary meeting (they hadn’t even agreed to allow a pitch yet according to the guy from Commander) not an official pitch, and he certainly wasn’t alone he technically could argue he hadn’t broken the agreement. I agree it’s all moot anyway because Lou and Cutler were arranging a situation where he would be forced to leave and his fast thinking and talking may have secured his position instead.

        • oat327

          I don’t know if he broke the rules, per se. He skated close to them, but there wasn’t a script that he deviated from. What that meant was that, when he’s in a meeting with a client–and he’s a creative director; he will be–he’ll stick to the campaign and the script. No bringing up prostitutes. And he’s not allowed to meet with clients alone, but that’s not what he did here. I think if they were planning on firing him over this, Cutler would’ve said, “You’re done,” rather than, “You think this will save you.” And he and Lou wouldn’t have looked so miserable.

      • MilaXX

        He should be, but the way he handled that pitch the implication was that he would be part of the team working on the account should they sign so the firm would be foolish to fire Don after he pretty much told them it would be his knowledge and experience working on the account.

      • Jackie4g

        Don is going to come out on top, or if not on top, landing on his feet and surviving. This series is a morality play just the way Breaking Bad was a morality play. This is how it has always struck me. Don and Peggy evolving, and coming out of these experiences OK.

        • Qitkat

          I don’t know whether I yet believe they will both land on their respective feet in the end, although I want them to. But I so agree that both shows are morality plays, and perhaps this is what some writers refer to when calling this era the New Golden Age of Television. The first Golden Age of Television came in the fifties when many of our country’s finest playwrights were sending their best work to the new medium. Morality plays, just like Shakespeare, can use any setting to tell the tales that have held people spellbound around the campfires for centuries, no matter the characters, or the occupations, or the period of history, the timeless tales of rise and fall, of redemption and success, of struggle and heartbreak, the best of these will always resonate with audiences, no matter the medium in which presented.

      • Are you nuts

        It would be interesting to see how the partner vote would go.
        We know Cutler would vote for his dismissal.
        Joan and Bert would probably vote for his dismissal.
        I would like to think Roger, Ted and Pete would all vote for him to stay.

      • MarinaCat

        It’s a very valid point about Don deliberately breaking the rules, and, right in front of the people who want him out. From a plot point, we have to believe that he won’t be tossed out on his ass; it would make no sense. But I’m curious what the discussion between the partners will look like next week.

      • HiddenMickey

        Don impressed the Philip Morris people. If Jim and Lou cut him after, the client would lose interest. They know better than to do that.

      • makeityourself

        Yes, I need some help here. Don agreed to a set of rules for his re-employment. He has already broken two of them, one in the presence of Jim Cutler, who wants him gone. Cannot Jim now report to the partners, explain what happened and then the partners will fire Don, with no reimbursement of his partnership investment? If Jim and Lou picked up Philip Morris, the tobacco company would want Don gone from the agency anyway, so is Don trying to get himself fired? I’m really confused with the motivation.

      • TeraBat

        My theory is that Cutler and Lou will most definitely try and use this against Don; but Don successfully sold the cigarette guys on his ‘humiliation’ as being an attractive element for doing business with SC&P. And with Ginsberg being out of commission and Peggy already wrapped up in Burger Chef, the only other available copywriter with the talent to take on the campaign is Don himself. I think this is precisely the sort of situation which Cooper foresaw last episode when he shut down Don’s overtures to LeaseTech.

      • Nancy Aronson

        High. Stakes. Poker.

    • bingo

      Had I known there was a threeway in the episode and a closeup on a nipple, I would have imagined those two events to be related.

      • Mismarker

        That would be an episode of Game of Thrones.

    • P M

      I see comments being made about Henry ‘always being a dick’ and it’s only now that his true colours are showing. I really disagree. Isn’t it pretty much simply another facet of paternalism? You take care of people under your roof, but they have to follow your rules. Fairness and egalitarianism have little to do with it.

      Also, dealing with an adult child is different from dealing with an actual child. Bobby is a compliant child at heart (so I believe) but Betty is wilful and thus apparently unpredictable. Henry would find her a problem because she doesn’t have the skills or the inclination to be able to discuss things in private. Although at this stage in the game for him, I’m surprised that they wouldn’t at least have a game plan about what to say in case of controversial topics. It’s no joke to be a politician’s wife. After all, as another blog I read pointed out, it’s as much a job / official role with functions as it is a mere position to be a wife in that situation.

      • P M

        OMG, I just explained my own family of origin by typing that. Well, that is a whole lot of childhood issues solved in three lines….

      • oat327

        I disagree too. Henry got mad at Betty once before, when she was being a pill during a business dinner while Don and Bethany van Nuys ate across the restaurant. Same message: don’t embarrass him while he’s working.

        I don’t think he’s a dick or has some nefarious “true colors”–I think he’s a generally loving, supportive husband but works in an industry where her job is to toe the line and nod along. That’s the job as a political spouse. It’d be like Michelle Obama saying she supported the war in Iraq–would be a PR disaster. Henry was a little over the top with some of his comments, but as a politician who was embarrassed by his wife in front of his constituents, I don’t think he was completely wrong in telling her what her role was even by modern standards.

        I loved that she made rumaki, though. Last time she did that was at the Heineken around-the-world dinner party from hell that ended her last marriage. The last time she was told to let her husband think for her.

        • Eric Stott

          Henry is a good guy – and he’s probably a better father to Sally than she thinks.

          I LOVED Betty’s very 1960’s juxtaposition of Crab Louis on toast points with Little Franks In Barbeque Sauce.

      • oldscrumby

        I feel like the Henry and Betty perfect political couple act ran a lot on instinct. Betty knows a lot about how to be the shining companion, hostess, and wife of a powerful man, and Henry has been coasting on that for the campaign. But individual policies and opinions aren’t something you can just know by instinct; that takes actually sitting down and formulating or conferring the strategy. Betty is willing, if not desperate, to do that and Henry seems confused that is even necessary. I don’t know if it’s the era and that level of grooming wasn’t applied to political spouses the way it would be now, or if it’s an omission on the writer’s part. Maybe it’s another illustration of the generation gap. The absolute best power couple in the show was the Campbells and you know Pete let Trudy in on job and ambitions and she was able to effectively support him more than the other wives on the show. Henry’s a nice guy but he’s working from an old playbook where wives just know what to say and how to act without being instructed.

        • P M

          *instinct*? groan…..

      • FranklyMyDear

        Agreed that Henry is probably a better guy than he was made out to be in this episode– I imagine that dealing with constant petulance from Betty would be extremely wearing. The way I see it, they met when Betty was trying out a ‘political’ hat herself and pursuing a cause. So he knew very well that she is smart, and willing to speak up when she has an opinion… or at least the need to show that she has an opinion. Yet she slotted quite comfortably into the ‘political wife’ role, which indicates she knew how to play that game. As a politician you can imagine him being bewildered and possibly upset that she is no longer playing that role

    • G. M. Palmer

      I’m going to argue Don didn’t break the rules. The only rule possible to break here is going off script: but there was no script. It wasn’t a pitch meeting, it was a meet & greet handshake sort of deal: mostly they were there to talk about getting rid of Don. The only rule he’s actually broken was drinking at the office and that was just once (and, good for Don, Freddy saved him).

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

        I noticed in the “previously” clips they reiterated that he couldn’t meet with clients alone. He didn’t. And you’re right, there was no script. I think the frustration on Cutler’s face was that Don wasn’t breaking the letter of any rules so he couldn’t do anything about it. And I think Don waited until the clients were with SCDP people before moving in.

      • SunDevilWitch

        Yes, and I maintain none of the other partners knew about the meeting anyway. Harry specifically said Cutler & Lou were the two working it and no one else knew.

    • DC chick2

      So nice to see T&L revisit their (dead on) earlier recognition of Ginsberg’s mental issues. So many other (ahem) reviews insist this came out of nowhere.

      • MartyBellerMask

        That’s why I don’t read the other reviews. ;)

        • Lady Bug

          TLO Mad Men Reviews are becoming my favorite MM analyses online-Scout’s Honor ;)

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

            I used to think Sepinwall couldn’t be beat, but he pales in comparison. That’s saying something.

            • Qitkat

              I searched the net last night looking for reviews, and all I really came across were some recaps, some so lame they got facts wrong, like Betty being the governor’s wife. Over and over again, I realize the analysis that Tom and Lorenzo provide is the benchmark by which I have begun to judge everyone else’s. Mad Men isn’t complete until I have read and commented here. And another thing, the commenters who choose to be on this site are, generally speaking, more intuitive, more nuanced, more knowledgeable, and pay closer attention to the details which matter, than most commenters elsewhere.

            • Mismarker

              Try finding a Mad Men podcast that makes any damned sense. Seriously, can anyone recommend a good one?

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

              I don’t know of any Mad Men ones, but there was a Breaking Bad podcast which was infreakingcredible – if anyone here did not manage to stumble upon it you want to find it on apple iTunes and do yourself a little re-watch and listen to the podcasts as you go – it was created by the editor Kelly Dixon and I think Vince Gilligan was in almost every one, often there were guests like the cast, the writers, all kinds of interesting people. The stories told.. some of them were enormously unforgettable.. Season 2 episode 13, I will never ever forget that podcast.. :)

            • Mismarker

              That BB podcast was very good! Spoiled me for all others.

            • 28judy

              Afterbuzz available on itunes is very good.

            • Gatto Nero

              And more civilized!

            • MartyBellerMask

              He is good, and Mo Ryan. But T Lo is thorough. And what they don’t catch, the Kittens will. :)

      • Mismarker

        Those other reviewers are dumb. They probably don’t even speak Italian.

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

          You win the internet for today.. :)

        • Lilithcat

          Hai ragione!

          • Mismarker

            Sei intelligente.

      • MilaXX

        I read Alan Sepinwall. He is usually pretty spot on and also a fan of T & Lo.

        • Mismarker

          Sepinwall is the shiz.

      • Lady Bug

        Yeah, I was surprised how many reviewers are saying that his mental health issues came out of nowhere. Especially when you look back in retrospect, it seems apparent that Michael has had major problems since the beginning.

    • Judy_J

      I’ve never been a Megan fan, and this episode cemented that fact. She’s conniving and manipulative and always has been. I think her every move has been calculated so that she can get what she wants.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      You guys are right (as usual) that Megan’s little dance failed to make Don angry. It was a callback to her Zou Bisou Bisou. Back then, Don got angry with her and afterwards they had sex. This time, he just couldn’t be bothered to be angry. Come to think of it, in the past few interactions, it’s usually Megan who has been the angry one of the two. Their marriage is so over. BTW, didn’t the guy Megan was dancing with look a bit like Charles Manson?

      • Alice Teeple

        I said the same thing on Twitter! He looked like a Dancin’ Manson. Now Weiner is just trolling us. I’m afraid it’s not going to be Megan who gets Sharon Tate-d, it’ll be something weird with Stephanie, harking back to Adam Whitman being paid off to leave.

        • Qitkat

          I agree about Stephanie. She just served to point us to the person Megan has become, we didn’t learn a whole lot about her (Stephanie) in this episode. She is very peripheral, and probably whatever does happen to her will be off camera.

        • Gatto Nero

          I thought about Adam, too. Don has used money in place of fulfilling his duty in the past, and Megan just did the same thing. It’s one way to ease your conscience, if you don’t think too much about it afterward.

    • John G. Hill

      Another rockin’ ending! Lou Avery and Jim Cutler looked so small and insignificant behind that closed taxi door, like little hamsters stuck in their cage. If we haven’t realized that Megan isn’t all that before, we know it now. The best thing? There is no one who knows where this is going except Matthew Weiner.

    • Judy_J

      How about Lou and “Scout’s Honor”? He’s a frustrated cartoonist, which might explain why he’s so humorless in the workplace.

      • ConnieBV

        And why he might do well to heed Don’t advice about not giving people ammo.

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

          But he was very clear, he is not taking management advice from Don Draper.. so therefore, there is no chance of him heeding this advice.

          I actually had more like for Lou after finding out about the comic. Bizarre but true. Even when he bit Don’s head off with the above comment. Previous to now we really did not know much about Lou at all, he was just annoying. I find him a bit more human now.

          • ConnieBV

            That was before he saw the way Don “manages” people at the Algonquin. Cutler and Lou are babies when it comes to emotional manipulation. I work in creative, and let me tell you, the prickly artist is a known quantity. I can tell that Lou just wants to be left alone, and the fact that he has to oversee people is just a big bother.

            • Eric Stott

              I think Lou started out as someone who was an adequate employee as long as you gave him a task and left him to it- but then he got promoted to Management and he’s not suited to it at all.

      • Zoey

        I had a thought that his little army cartoon and speech about patriotism might foreshadow where he turns in Don Draper/Dick Whitman for army desertion. I haven’t been a big believer that the army issue will return until I saw those comics. And Lou is just the person to do it.

    • cookable

      Isn’t it interesting that as Betty is “discovering” herself, asserting her independence and frustration at “being told what to do and think,” and appears to be on the verge of breaking out in a way that feminists would applaud, she is finding herself at odds with everyone in her household on the fundamental issues! Her husband has a profoundly different (liberal) political position on THE central issue of the day, Vietnam, and is furious with her for disagreeing with him in public. Her daughter reminds Betty that her physical looks are the thing that carried Betty forward in life, on the coattails of the “right man, and Sally feels completely different about that. Sally wields the difference between them (and perhaps their generations) like a sword to strike at Betty’s core. And lastly, and most sad perhaps, Betty, who thinks she is a “good mother,” — the end-all, be-all to her existence, if she fails at that, what is she? — is seen as anything but by Bobby. She literally gives the child constant stomachaches. Makes me feel a little sorry for Betty.

      • Eric Stott

        What got me about Betty is that by this time you would think she’d have learned how to be a Political Wife, even if she hates it.

        • P M

          I do’nt think they actually communicate much; I get the feeling she just stuck with what she thought a Republican position should be…… wait. That sounds really un-astute of her: wouldn’t she at least know what the party’s position was?

          • Eric Stott

            Betty is shallow- I doubt she has more than a general concept of what the latest news is & cares more about what goes on in NYC than the nation at large. I’m not condemning her – most people are like that.

            • P M

              I’m really interested in who she actually hangs out with during the day. Francine didn’t really strike me as the sort of person she usually hangs out with.

              I actually would have loved to know what Francine’s story was like in the intervening years since we saw her last, no?

        • Qitkat

          Even though her timing was poor, and her opinions were shallow and ill-conceived, I actually applauded Betty for speaking her mind. She was then reprimanded as if she were a child, and even though in so many ways she is a petulant child, she is chafing under the constraints of her upbringing and the expectations of being a political wife. The times they are a changing, even for Betty, and on some level, she recognizes this. While I don’t think she will run for office, this signals to me that she is reaching her breaking point of being “barefoot, pregnant, and silent in the kitchen” to paraphrase a concept. She sees women busting out of their roles around her (Francine, even Sally), and she is dying to do the same. I’m rooting for her.

          • FranklyMyDear

            It doesn’t seem to me at all that she is dying to ‘bust out’ of any traditional role. More that she feels she is losing her self-awarded spot as the one living the life that all her friends look upon with envy. And she will do anything to regain that position. She’s no feminist, she’s a classic frenemy

        • SunDevilWitch

          I think Betty was trying to support her husband and doing it very well, holding a good Political Wife conservative line. His problem was he’d switched sides of the issue and neglected to inform her. Points lost by Henry on that score.

          • Chris

            Yes, and of the two of them I think Betty actually is the more conservative one.

    • leighanne

      I thought it was interesting that as unlikeable and fuddy duddy Lou comes across, he recognizes that Bob Dylan is a “genius”.

      • Eric Stott

        I get a feeling that Lou might be a bit different away from work. He certainly hates his job- probably the “Promoted beyond his level of incompetence” type who might have had a scrap of creativity once.

        • ThaliaMenninger

          The Peter Principle!

    • ConnieBV

      Maybe my favorite line of the night, among some gems, was Don’s careful conversation with Meredith over the phone as he read something he had no doubt dictated: “S-T-R-A-T-E-G-Y. I didn’t want it spelled out so much as I wanted it spelled correctly.” The thought that she actually typed the spelled out word in a document slayed me.

      • decormaven

        I loved that in the shot when Ginsberg was being wheeled out, we caught a glimpse of Meredith with a big honkin’ barrette in her hair. Her hair is getting bigger by the moment!

      • Chris

        Don’s treatment of Meredith shows he has definitely mellowed. He is kind and affectionate towards her and actually cared about her weekend plans, which is a nice change for him.

        • ConnieBV

          I thought he spoke to her with the kindness I have only ever heard used on Gene.

          • P M

            Well, he was always nice to children – I guess that includes Meredith.

          • siriuslover

            has he ever spoken to Gene?

        • T C

          No, Don was “doing the work” as recommended by Freddie. He’s very aware that Meredith is not a top-notch secretary but has chosen not to make a reassignment request part of his strategy. There are much bigger fish to fry.

      • T C

        Don was dictating into a Dictaphone for later typing by Meredith (with 3-6 carbon copies). He put the handset (corded to the tape recorder portion of the Dictaphone) down to answer Meredith’s announcement of Stephanie’s collect call on the intercom. Meredith typifies what male execs called “fluff” or “fluffy” well into the 1980s. They were often stationed at reception desks based on appearance or served as underlings to the execs Admin Assistants who would be used to deliver refreshments to conference rooms. There were many code words used when placing requisitions at employment and temp agencies to suggest what level of “fluff” was needed for a placement.

    • busterholl

      Of all the recaps of last night’s episode, this one is the best IMHO. I was a college student in 1963; and working in Washington in 1969. This is my era. The actor who plays Lou deserves every possible award. He nails the jerks that invariably rise to the top of organizations. I can’t tell you how many “Lou’s” male and female that I encountered during my working life.

      • Eric Stott

        He even got a crumb of pity from me – Lou is a colossal ass but he did not deserve the ridicule over that comic…..that said, he immediately reverted to type. I was a bit surprised that he knows something about popular culture – he’s not completely stupid.

        • Gatto Nero

          He’s not stupid, and he has strong self-preservation instincts. I’m glad he’s not being written or played as completely one-dimensional.

          • Eric Stott

            Even though there was an agenda behind his raise for Peggy & his praise for her, I think there was something genuine in it.

      • Are you nuts

        I may hate Lou more than any TV villain I’ve ever seen. I hope he gets his comeuppance.

      • MaggieMae

        Lou is just awful.

    • Sambook

      Did anyone else wonder where was Dawn or Joan – or anyone in authority – when Ginsberg was being taken away?

      • decormaven

        By not showing them, it may have been a way to show that no one is truly in charge at that place.

      • Eric Stott

        Joan might have been on damage control.

      • oat327

        I think it’s more why pay Christina Hendricks tens of thousands of dollars to stand in the background for one scene. I think they’re guaranteed upper five figures if they even fleetingly appear in an episode, if I recall correctly.

        • Eric Stott

          She was in a movie directed by Slattery – maybe they wrote some episodes around her absence.

          • SunDevilWitch

            Agree, I noted Roger wasn’t even in this episode. I thought he might have directed it but you’re probably right.

            • Qitkat

              No, someone else was credited with directing this episode, I looked for Slattery’s name. I’m guessing they were both elsewhere with the new film.

      • MilaXX

        Dawn would have made sense, but since Joan is an accounts person it wouldn’t make sense for her to be there.

        • Sambook

          You’re right. I just expect to see Joan when there is a crisis in the office!

          • Shawn EH

            Well at least Peggy actually handled it, even in her horrified state. Something very era-specific about she and all the other mini-skirted office workers just watching helplessly as he was wheeled away. The Me Decade of madness and paranoia and gender and social fluidity is looming.

            • Lady Bug

              I thought Peggy handled it pretty well actually, especially given that someone just handed her his nipple 10 seconds earlier… She was very calm with Ginsberg as she was leaving the room, and she had enough presence of mind to make the emergency phone call at the other secretary’s desk & not Meredith’s desk. Joan was magnificent in lawnmower incident, but I think she would have handled nipple n’ a box pretty much the same way Peggy did. That being said, if Peggy is ever open to getting therapy, now might be a good time!

            • Glammie

              Peggy handled it better than I would have. I’m majorly squeamish about amputations/body parts–I’d have been a hysterical wreck, so kudos to Peggy on that one.

            • Lady Bug

              Agreed!

            • Gatto Nero

              Joan even applied a tourniquet to lawnmower guy!

      • Are you nuts

        I literally said out loud, “They need Joan.” Of course it’s not her job anymore, but this is the type of situation she handles with aplomb.

    • MartyBellerMask

      I think the Philip Morris revelation partially explains Bert’s recent behavior as well. Of course they wouldn’t want Don to bring in new business. That would make Don valuable to the company and they were clearly intending to push him out.

      • Eric Stott

        They’re looking to dump him, then claim any usable material he leaves as theirs.

      • P M

        You know, that would make a lot of sense, for Burt to think that any business Don brings in only increasing his worth along with the bottom line of the agency. Huh. He’s a few chess moves ahead of us, that eccentric rascal.

      • SunDevilWitch

        I don’t think Bert knew about the Philip Morris meeting. I understood Harry to say only Cutler and Lou were in on it and using it as a way to leverage Don out. As for his behavior, I think Bert sees Don as too much of a financial risk in that he could implode the company with further shenanigans, regardless of how much new business he brings in.

    • juliamargaret

      Two Meredith moments I loved:
      #1: M: “I’ll cancel my plans.” D: “Mine, not yours.”
      #2: When Peggy walks out of her office leaving nippleless Ginsberg in there, and she takes one look at Meredith and moves over to the next secretary’s desk to make her call to the authorities.

      • Are you nuts

        “Meredith, honey, I don’t want that spelled out. I want it spelled correctly.”

        • P M

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Don gets his comuppance – in the form of a hapless secretary.

          • Alice Teeple

            I totally ship them now. Hahaha!

          • Teresa

            She’s ditzy but I like her and Don must too if he’s being patient enough to spell the words out.

            • elevan

              It seems like Don has always accepted his punishment secretaries with grace.

            • Glammie

              Yep. “Joan knows what I need.” Though I assume Dawn did the assigning here? Or maybe it was one last send-off from Joan in her final round as office manager.

            • P M

              Oh I like her too. I was just really tickled at the thought that Meredith may do something that would cause Don to wipe egg off his face.

        • juliamargaret

          I forgot that was also a Meredith moment!!

      • Lady Bug

        I noticed that passing by Meredith’s desk as well. Side note: Meredith is becoming one of my favorite “extra” characters on the show.

      • AutumnInNY

        I love Meredith. She and Don have great chemistry and the actress playing her does more with her one or two lines per show than others who have pages of dialogue. I hope they keep her till the end of the run.

    • MilaXX

      I had to watch last night twice to get the sense of what was going on. There have been trippy episodes before. Betty’s birthing of baby Gene, Roger’s LSD trip and Cutler’s doctor friend giving everybody “vitamin b12″ shots were all pretty trippy episodes. This one was weird. It felt somehow off liter and I’m not sure if it was intentional or not.
      Ginsberg’s mental breakdown has been expected for some time now. I wasn’t surprised to see it happening or at the installation of the computer being the trigger. Betty’s behavior wasn’t surprising either. She’s always been awful.
      Megan was a surprise. For one I was surprise to see her and Don still trying to continue this farce of a marriage. Yet apparently after last week’s blowup they seem to have barely skipped a beat in terms of Don’t weekly or biweekly visits. It was weird seeing this passive aggressive push pull between Megan and Stephanie. It wasn’t as shady as Betty & Francine’s luncheon, but there was an undercurrent of tension that felt like both women were somehow vying for Don’s approval or affection.
      As for Don’s showboating I doubt Cutler will use it to fire Don. The way he set it up I think the tobacco execs will be expecting Don to be part of the team working on the account. Lou as always, just gets to sit there seething in his jealousy over Don.

      • siriuslover

        “Lou as always, just gets to sit there seething in his jealousy over Don.” Scout’s honor? ;)

      • P M

        Without Don’s financial support, I’m not sure how much of a leg Megan has to stand on. Come on, a cheque for $1000?? That’s a pretty good reason for her to try and stay in the marriage, especially if she really is struggling to find work.

        • MilaXX

          She has none. She’s in California pretending to be a struggling actress, but she peaked with the soap role. it’s not surprising to see them pretending the marriage isn’t over, I just misread last week’s argument.

          • P M

            I didn’t see it as over as them in this really wierd back-and-forth and push and pull. The whole relationship has such tired energy about it.

        • Gatto Nero

          I wonder what kind of alimony settlement she’d get. I don’t think the no-fault divorce laws were in effect yet. She has little to no income, and Don is well off.

          • Eric Stott

            Don is currently well off, but that could change in a flash.

        • Eric Stott

          I get a feeling that Megan’s parents have some money, though she’d probably consider killing herself before admitting she’d need their aid.

          • Jaialaibean

            She was expensively dressed as a secretary. Maybe she started out with some seed money from them when she went to New York.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          And I think that Don isn’t ready to give up yet because he doesn’t want his second marriage to be a failure like his first one and end in divorce (even if it has been failing for a long time). There is still some cache with having a young attractive wife on his arm. I wonder if Megan will ever make a trip to NY instead of Don going to Cali?

      • Qitkat

        After some reflection, I wasn’t that surprised that Megan and Don are continuing this long-distance relationship. I’ve known couples like that, fighting so viciously you would think each fight would be the final straw, but it isn’t, and they don’t resolve their issues, but simmer down, and go back to the habits of the past, over and over again. Megan to me is like a baby duck. She imprints on whomever is making the biggest impact on her at any given moment. Her insecurities are massive, she is constantly trying to reinvent herself, and probably never has had a true sense of who she really wants to be. I have never disliked her, I feel a bit sorry for her. Although sometimes she comes across as the anti-Betty, both of Don’s wives have been women molded by exterior components, floundering when it comes to being truly authentic.

        • Gatto Nero

          It’s also much easier to drag out a failing relationship over a long distance and with occasional visits. Much harder to do it in close quarters, 24/7.

    • Jamie L Dollinger

      Fans.,. I appreciate help with a detail. I have been going back and reading through all episodes from the beginning. Amazing to see so many parallels in this season to interactions in S1-2. But here is my question…baby Gene was born in 1963? wouldn’t he be 6 years old now? In an episode this season, he looked like a 2 yr old. Where am I mistaken? Ty

      • ThaliaMenninger

        I think they’ve always fudged the children’s ages because they wanted to keep using Kiernan Shipka as Sally. I’m not saying this very well, but more time has passed on their Mad Men calendar since the beginning of the show than has passed in real life since they started filming. The first episode in 2007 was 1960 and Sally was about 7 or 8. In 2014, we’re up to 1969, and Sally is about 14. So they keep having to adjust the kids down so the actors match their real ages. The baby was born in 1963 on the show, but he’s still little to be the right amount younger than Sally and Bobby.

        • siriuslover

          In 1965, Sally was said to be 10, Bobby 8, and Gene 1 1/2 or so. So now, Sally is 15, Bobby is 12-13, and Gene 6. He seemed tall enough to be six in an earlier episode this season even if he was in a high chair. And I fully believe that Bobby can be 12 here–he just hasn’t started puberty yet. Bobby needs to take a lesson from Sally’s book and request to attend a boy’s private school.

          • Gatto Nero

            Betty may also be infantilizing Gene unconsciously. She’s fine with babies, and not so good with adolescents. When Henry pointed out that Gene loved her, she said, “It’s just a matter of time.”

            • L’Anne

              That explains why he still seems so young. Betty seems to parent the same way her mother parented her– girls are valued for beauty, physical threats to change behavior, etc.

            • Alice Teeple

              That’s a good point. Maybe we’re simply seeing Gene through Betty’s eyes.

      • Logo Girl

        This has been bothering me because I was born the same year and was already a kid with a full personality, outspokenness and agility in 1969, a year I remember vividly. But I agree they are infantalizing him because Betty is. I don’t think he has had a line aside from “bye bye”.

    • Tom Phillips

      Good catch for T & L about Ginsberg’s mental problems but they don’t mention something I wondered about earlier: namely whether he was gay. There have been hints. And it’s now coming out in strangeness. He’s an intensely repressed homosexual having a major breakdown. I agree with them too about Megan. I think the character and Jessica Pare are terrific and have been a wonderful addition to the series.

      I also have to say I enjoyed this episode far more than they (and a lot of other people apparently) did.

      • Are you nuts

        I loved the episode too! I am excited to see the next one for the first time in a long time.

      • SunDevilWitch

        I talked about this in an earlier post. I wondered if he is a repressed homosexual or whether the comments about Stan, Lou & Jim were just borne from dementia. It felt late in the game to me to be offering the idea he was gay, but then again hiding his sexuality could account for a lot of his awkwardness…?

        • Alice Teeple

          I felt the same way. Seeing Lou and Cutler in the computer room, assuming they were “homos,” coupled with his already established fear of the computer – I didn’t think Michael was literally homosexual, because he was freaking out about having a physical attraction to Stan, then mentioned that he had romantic feelings for Peggy (which came out of left field). I thought maybe he had some weird paranoia delusion involving Allen Ginsberg, since he mentioned him earlier in the series and put his name down on his resumé. The whole thing was crazy.

          • Glammie

            I wouldn’t rule out Ginsberg being gay on some level, though I don’t know that it’s all that relevant. He wants to breed with Peggy, but wishes he could do it without sex. His obsession with “homos” has been going on for a while, but no one notices–another comment on the time period and the acceptance of homophobia. Ginsberg’s homophobia is one more sign that he’s ill, but people don’t pick up on it.

            And his poor little man chest–owww–some sort of castration thing there. He’s literally trying to repress parts of himself. Poor Ginsberg.

        • Jaialaibean

          With Ginsberg, it’s hard to tell which is which.

          • Gatto Nero

            If anything Ginsberg seems asexual, or sexually dysfunctional. He seems to have had no experience at all, and not to have “cracked the code,” in the same way that he is socially clueless.

        • Chris

          I thought that Ginsberg was experiencing feelings for Stan when he looked at his shoulders, and in his delusion thought the computer was “turning him homo”. I thought that his whole speech to Peggy and attempt to kiss her was because he was trying to thwart the computer by them reproducing. He said something like ‘we have to reproduce” to fight the computers. I guess his delusion was that if the computers turn everyone “homo” no one will be reproducing and the humans will die out? I could see Ginsberg developing feelings for Stan and being scared of it. He’s been presented as almost asexual until now. His father arranged the date with the “sexy girl” who “smelled great” but nothing seemed to come of it. He did tell Don a few episodes that he smelled great too.

          • Glammie

            Yeah, that was my take as well. I also don’t think there was zero build-up–his date with the young woman last year showed a guy who was avoiding physical contact with women. Also telling Peggy that they needed to reproduce, but he’d avoid sex if it were possible. So it did read like Ginsberg was trying to thwart or push away homosexual desires–among many other things. That those feelings were another layer of stress for the mentally fragile Ginsberg.

          • VirginiaK

            Has anybody speculated about Ginsberg’s disturbance over the computers and what they will do, and his history (true or partially imagined by him) as a Jewish child in a concentration camp environment? The kind of fear he has seems plausibly a version of Jewish memory of the impersonal machinery of the Holocaust. And then there is the “we must reproduce” theme that became part of Jewish post-holocaust life for many people, with a feeling of urgency about replacing the people who were lost.

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

        To be honest, we tend to think “homos” was something he wound up fixated on due to his mental illness, but not a hint that he might be gay himself. He could’ve just as easily or likely been fixated on the (insert racial epithet here)s.

    • Hallie

      Are we gonna hear more about your thoughts on Stephanie in Mad Style?

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

        We’ll have to wait to see! They won’t spoil the surprise.

      • Gatto Nero

        When Stephanie first appeared, I thought, Really? Another hippie with a grimy face? It’s getting to be a cliche on the show. They could have signaled her circumstances more subtly. Her beat-up clothes and dirty hair were enough.

      • linddsaaay

        they sure made it sound like her boyfriend was Charles Manson. I think Stephanie might be involved with that later on, and megan will just hear it from across the canyon or something like that.

        • Jaialaibean

          Someone mentioned murder, too … it was eerie.

      • Jaialaibean

        I’ll bet they’ll have quite a lot on her. She’s like a funhouse mirror image of what Megan is pretending to be. I hope they’ll have a still of the two sizing each other up in the entrance of Megan’s boho pseudo-hippie funhouse.

    • Tricia

      “Get out while you can!”
      God. What a moral for this story. Is anyone else slightly baffled and miffed that Pete effing Campbell is the only one who seems (so far) to have kind of done just that? He’s still pompous and whiny, but in a happier way. I dunno, that’s a random thought.

      This episode was a lot to handle. Ginsberg was no surprise but I was still really sad for him nonetheless. But I loved yet another Kubrick homage in all that, re Lou and Cutler’s secret (“homo”) conversation.
      I was strangely turned off by the threesome. Probably because I was so disgusted by Megan’s deviousness and straight up cruelty in how she handled Stephanie. Don’s ambush at the end was hot- even if it all comes to naught. I’ll admit I’m 100% team Don again, over everyone else’s stories right now.

      • FibonacciSequins

        The threesome was supposed to be uncomfortable for the viewer. I think TLo were right in saying it happened because Megan’s feeling desperate.

        • Tricia

          I get that, but you know there were pleeenty of people out there who were cheering, or uh, at least paying real close attention to the tv when that happened.

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

            It *was* quite raunchy for Mad Men’s standards. Of course it was the exact moment when my brother, who doesn’t watch the series, walked in on me.

      • Jaialaibean

        The way it started was reminiscent of the way Don was child-raped by that prostitute. Megan is taking control in the bedroom, but the way she’s doing it is a really bad sign.

    • Lady Bug

      I’m just loving Stan. His very sincere delivery of “you?” when Lou asked “you know who else was mocked for his ideas?” was priceless. Very sweet of Stan to escort Ginz out of the office too.
      Poor Peggy! Having your underling present you with his own severed nipple in a ring box, if this isn’t enough to turn her into a cat lady for life-I don’t know what will. ;)
      In all seriousness, I’d love to see Stan & Peggy get together, they already have one of the great friendships on the show.

      • Eric Stott

        I’m a bit distressed by Stan- when he was first introduced he was a major Douche & that was coming out again.

        • Alice Teeple

          Stan has always had disdain for authority, but knows how office politics work and how to work them to survive. At this point in his career, I think he has every right to be disdainful of Lou Avery. The lack of support, the disdain for Stan’s work in the last episode, the demolishing of the creative lounge, where everyone always worked – Stan is definitely justified in his resentment of Lou. Like Peggy last episode relishing some little bit of power over Don’s dignity, Stan relished having a little bit of power over Lou’s dignity. It backfired on both of them.

    • Cyprienne Zed

      Megan’s look-at-me party dance turned out to be the anti-Zou Bisou.

      • Gatto Nero

        It was an unsettling callback, wasn’t it? Zou Bisou was a sweet and open seduction. This dance was a play for jealousy.

    • Shawn EH

      I think my favorite moment was Harry running in to Don at Megan’s party. That was such a WTF moment for him. And then Don clinging to him like a life raft because, career-wise, that’s exactly what he was offering to Don ultimately. Serves him right for inflicting the Monolith on everyone.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      TWO MORE EPISODES THIS YEAR, scream the ads. That’s a selling point? Didn’t this “season” just begin? Hate how disjointed TV viewing has become. I guess AMC needs to milk it since their new shows aren’t taking root, and once Mad Men and Breaking Bad are gone, they are in danger of just becoming The Walking Dead Channel.

      • siriuslover

        I’ve tried to watch Turn, I really have. It has such potential. I just can’t get into it.

        • Inspector_Gidget

          Same here. I’ve tried to watch several of their new shows. They just seem to be trying everything they can think of. But nothing yet has captivated me like the shows I’ve already mentioned.

          • Eric Stott

            Halt and Catch Fire is going to be another period drama – the 1980’s.

        • Alice Teeple

          It’s terrible. Not even attempting to be historically accurate; the dialogue is stilted. It feels like I’m watching an RPG.

          • not_Bridget

            The brilliant, batshit “Sleepy Hollow” put me on a Revolutionary War kick. I’ve read about a dozen books on the general era. So the historical errors on TURN make me want to throw things at the TV. In most cases, the real history was more interesting.

            Who wants to watch an emo cabbage farmer? Or, perhaps, a purveyor of artisanal marmalade–as Ichabod Crane said. (“Sleepy Hollow” will get 15 to 18 episodes next season.)

        • 3boysful

          I m trying, because I can watch with my hs son who has some interest. It is so literally dark, however, we have trouble figuring out what’s happening.

      • Jaialaibean

        It’s no longer safe to start watching a series until you know it’s over … but then you’re at greater risk of getting spoiled on the ending!

    • Tom Phillips

      Another thought? Betty is turning into Martha Mitchell.

      • annejumps

        I had to look her up at Wikipedia, and this reminded me of Ginsberg shouting about being Cassandra: “Mrs. Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House
        officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were
        attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her and garnered the label, “The Cassandra of Watergate.”

      • Logo Girl

        Oh fantastic reference! I had forgotten about her. The talk shows and magazines would joke about what a big mouth she had… But she was also being honest to what she observed.

    • http://toongrrl.deviantart.com/ Toongrrl

      Is it just me or did Megan’s white dressing gown resemble the dress Preggers Betty wore to the Derby party?

      • Eric Stott

        It was the Whore putting her Wife uniform on.

        • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

          Whoa! :D

    • Peeve

      The whole Ginsburg storyline made me so sad. I knew something bad was going to happen and was inevitable, but it was strangely sweet and terrible at the same time.

      • Lady Bug

        I know. Ginsberg has never been one of my favorite characters (the actor is wonderful though!) but even though a mental breakdown was probably seemingly inevitable the graphic nature of the breakdown shocked me. What really did me in though was Peggy’s face as they were wheeling Ginz away, absolutely heartbreaking. EM did a wonderful job with that reaction shot.

        • Peeve

          She did, indeed. That was the scene that did me in, as well. I was glad to see Peggy being so openly emotional. The whole situation warranted that.

    • Mary

      Why is no one talking about the Charles Manson-esque guy that Megan was dancing with??

      • 3hares

        Because practically everybody not wearing a tie in CA on this show gets labeled as Charles Manson-esque?

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

          DINGDINGDINGDINGDING

          • Eric Stott

            It amused me that the music ended up as nice middle of the road Jazz rather than something trippy and psychedelic. Not a Sitar in sight.

        • not_Bridget

          There were even a bunch of shaggy guys in Texas back then. Damn few of them were psychopaths!

      • Daphnemcl

        I think that was Weiner recognizing the fans speculations. It was cute.

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

          I think fan speculation on this matter has gotten so widely out of hand that people now think that the show runner is trolling them with references instead of the more likely explanation: people are still reading way too much into it.

    • Marian Humin

      I’ve not been enjoying this season at all and this last episode just did me in. It was so totally over the top and unbelievable that it has ruined the whole show for me. Just ridiculous….and not in a good way

      • Daphnemcl

        This has been the best season yet. We’re getting very tight scripts that are packed with meaning. And we know and care about the characters more than ever before. The story is ending now and everyone’s story has to wrap up. Don’s ending will be to find his happiness. We’re seeing his kids suffering without him every week, so part of his turnaround will be to be a present father for his kids who we are seeing need him so much. We’re seeing a villian (Cutler) now running the agency, and Don being squashed and pressured to leave … but low and behold – he’s coming back stronger and better than ever! We’re going to see Don defeat these demons one by one and save the agency. Now what part of this don’t you like???

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

          I have to say I strongly disagree with the tight scripts comment. This week could not have been any more hectic if they tried. It was almost like they were trying to pack a minivan into a suitcase, there was so much going on. Way too many story lines and nowhere near enough time to linger on the good stuff. This thing feels so rushed.. I do not think we would have skipped over so much time had this season had 13 episodes – we would have seen Don and Megan decide to get back together, we would be in on what Peggy was saying to Don in the elevator about a client we’ve never heard of before..

          There was a good reason why Vince Gilligan decided to break the final season of Breaking Bad into two eight episode halves – so he could have more time to write them and so he could be more involved in the editing of them, and also so the story could be told the way he wanted not the way the bean counters wanted to pay for it. AMC wanted to do less episodes and to make it cheaper – to the point that Sony shopped the final season around to other networks in case AMC would not agree to the 16 episodes, in order to get it made the way Vince wanted.

          I’m just guessing here and I suspect the story will eventually come out but I suspect this is likely the same thing that has happened here with Mad Men breaking the final season into two 7 episode halves. With them it is not about the art it is about the money. :( I feel, and I do not think I am the only one, that doing this has damaged the show enormously this season.

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

            I mainlined Breaking Bad so I didn’t experience its midseason break firsthand, but I guess it worked for them because it had a generally faster pace and it was easier to end the mini-season with the appropriate momentum. Mad Men, on the other hand, has modeled its storytelling style on the slow build that takes full advantage of all the 13-14 hours at the writers’ disposal – this change in format doesn’t really suit the series and I agree it’s suffering from it, even though I’m not as bothered by these more disjointed episodes as others seem to be. There’s definitely worse around, it’s just that MM has kind of set a high standard for itself in terms of cohesive storytelling.

          • Daphnemcl

            I’m not having any trouble whatsoever following the story lines. To me they are portraying just what they need to. I was at the edge of my seat worried about Don’s complacency this past episode, but then wham! it turned around in a spectacular manner, when Don “worked smarter not harder”. I feel like there is plenty of lingering, really. I’m suffering for Don and it;s been going on for several episodes.

            I wish they didn’t split the episodes up too. I’m wondering if Weiner had to write a special “cliff hanger” just for the break or if it just worked out that way.

            • Lady Bug

              In various interviews, Weiner has spoken about having to write two season openings & two season finales, and giving the audience something to want to tune in again next year.

            • Glammie

              Yeah, that’s what shows to me. Weiner likes to work in season-long arcs and this split disrupts his natural story rhythms. I liked this episode, but I’m not sure how we got from the last episode to this one in terms of how many of the characters behaved.

        • SparkleNeely

          You mean aside from everything?

      • Jaialaibean

        My impression is that the whole point is that things are going over the top. It’s the late ’60s. Things are coming apart. Everyone’s life is a mess, in ways they can’t even begin to understand. Families are fractured. Moral strictures are yielding. It’s upsetting to watch, but to me, it seems true to the arc of the show as a whole. This is where these people were logically going to end up, given the times and each one’s character (or lack thereof).

      • SparkleNeely

        Amen!!!

    • FibonacciSequins

      “he swaggered into that Phillip Morris meeting and (you’ll pardon us) slapped his dick whitman all over Jim and Lou’s astonished faces”

      There were two awkward three-ways in last night’s episode.

    • Adelaidey

      Megan’s treatment of Stephanie reminded me of the way Don treated his Season Three Mistress’s brother- he promised his mistress that he would take care of her brother for her, and then once they were a safe distance away, handed him cash and washed his hands of it. The primary differences, of course, were that A: Don never told his mistress what really happened, and B: Megan acted out of misplaced jealousy and Don acted out of his general aversion to emotional complication.

      • 3hares

        No, Don didn’t really do that. It was the brother who wanted to go off on his own, because he knew that his sister’s plans for him wouldn’t work. Don tried to convince him to stick with his sister’s idea. Then Don gave the guy his card in case he needed his help, so he was really the opposite of Megan here.

        • L’Anne

          Yeah, the brother basically told Don he was going to split on the plan. Don just let Suzanne maintain her iillusion her brother was settled in Bedford, Mass.

        • Jaialaibean

          Don did that for the teacher’s brother because he remembered the time he actually DID do what Megan did this time (how’s that for a lot of dids?), when he paid off his own younger brother, Andy, to leave him alone and then the poor guy committed suicide. When the teacher’s brother decided to get out of the car, Don didn’t want to send him off with just a lot of cash and no one to call for help.

    • Daphnemcl

      So much to comment on. The whole episode – until the end – had me worried. The first message we saw was “work smarter not harder” but we didn’t see anyone working smarter. Don was being falsely content with each and every humiliation that came his way. Until the end … when he saw his chance and stepped up to the plate. Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! How slick, how smooth, how suave, how Don! Even Lou was in awe, maybe he’s even come around. And Harry Hamlin (Cutler) couldn’t be a better villian. But that confident smirk on Don’s face as he shut the car door on him said that Don’s not worried. Yeah!!!

    • CMH

      I’ve never gotten the impression Don wants Megan to be pregnant. I feel pretty confident that Megan felt threatened by Stephanie because she feels Stephanie is somehow is closer to Don and knows him better in a way that Don never allows her to. Megan isn’t allowed in, while Don dropped everything to come out to L.A. at a moment’s notice to see Stephanie.

      • Chris

        Remember Don’s fantasy in LA last season when Megan was pregnant and she didn’t mind “sharing” Don? Well he got half his fantasy.

        • Daphnemcl

          I don’t remember that. Can you elaborate?

          • Chris

            When he went to the party with Roger (the trip where Roger said on the plane he was Vasco de Gama and they were conquistadors who were going to dazzle the “natives” and buy everything with the beans in their pockets) in LA and Don smoked something there in a hookah. He ended up face down in the pool (Roger had to save him). While this was happening he had a fantasy or hallucination that Megan was there at the party in a Hippie outfit complete with headband and fringe. She was pregnant and encouraged Don to make out with the blonde saying something like “share and share alike”.

            • Glammie

              Was never sure if that was a fantasy or drug-fueled nightmare . . . but Megan was a real hippy, so to speak, in the dream and a pretender in real life.

            • Kathryn Sanderson

              Also…the blonde in the hookah room said there was “a free nipple,” i.e. one of the “hoses” to the hookah (I don’t know what they’re actually called). Then the nipple in this episode. And all the breasts in the field trip episode.

      • 3hares

        There have been some times Don wanted her to be pregnant–in Signal 30 he brings it up, and he has that California fantasy where she’s pregnant. But I agree that wasn’t what Megan felt threatened by at all with Stephanie.

      • SylviaFowler

        I haven’t either. Here’s what I wrote a year ago on another MM recap:

        “when Megan shows up, we get to find out what’s on his mind. He has a fantasy, a wish for Megan: that she will quit her job, and let him cheat on her, and have a baby.”

        I think there is something else going on here, whether it’s in Don’s subconscious or Matt Weiner’s too: Don does not want another baby, not really. Neither does Megan. When they talk about her miscarriage and agree to table the discussion for an undetermined date in the future, they are both relieved that the other one hasn’t pressured him/her into having that talk, and both are relieved that she isn’t pregnant now.

        What I do see is
        1. the cultural expectation by society that when you get married, you have a baby. Men are recipients of, and internalize that pressure too; it’s not just women.
        2. The act of having a child is, in many ways, an organically narcissistic thing to do because it is replicating DNA to make another one of “you” so that “you” can live on. A lot of parents (in this case, Betty is one) unfortunately aren’t self-aware of this and continue to expect the resulting child to be an extension of him/herself; Don doesn’t do that to his kids because he wants them to have a better life than he did, but that itself is part of what must drive this procreation fantasy for him: every new child is a new life is a new chance at rebirth for Don, which is what he desperately wants – and always has – more than anything else. But I don’t think he (or Weiner?) is conscious of this aspect at all.
        3. And finally, this builds off the last one, but Don’s fantasy of a pregnancy that he doesn’t -actually- want and/or wouldn’t be good for him in real life reminds me a lot of teenage girls who think they want to have babies. What they really want is someone to love them unconditionally, which a baby does (until it grows up), which is -also- what Don has always wanted most because he has never had it.

        I also don’t see that he wants Megan to quit working, necessarily. He has always fallen in real love with intelligent, independent brunettes who have jobs/hobbies. He loves it that Megan is ambitious and motivated enough to work; her natural creativity and skill at advertising was literally a turn-on for him, and he wants her to be happy; it’s just that he wants her job to sync with his so they can work together, be partners side by side all the time because he desperately doesn’t want her to abandon him, like his mother and first caregivers did. Megan leaving would, to him, feel like losing his mother.

        The most telling and important thing he ever said on this show was, “I would have given anything to have a mother like you: beautiful and kind, filled with love like an angel.” He said it to Betty, who is the furthest thing from “kind” or “filled with love” or “angel[ic]“, which tells you just how desperate he is to find and be with this mother that he’s been searching for and wanting his entire life: that he projects her, sees her in his mind’s eye, even when she isn’t there – like Littlefoot the dinosaur seeing his mom’s shadow on a rock or in a cloud (The Land Before Time). Megan and Anna are as close to her as he’s ever gotten.

    • Glammie

      Bloody hell, 500+ comments already. So, I’ll just say a couple of things:

      Lou’s “You’re incredible.” was an interesting double-edged admission–like, serious chutzpah, but also he’s acknowledging that Don is exactly whom Lou with his Scout comics will never be–truly creative.

      Don’s salvation is selling out the one moral stance he’s ever publicly taken? Yes, we’re cheering for him, but, hell, it’s cigarettes.

      What’s with Betty’s evil eyebrows? They were great and horrible. Nice to see Henry Francis’ MCP-ness come out (male chauvinist pig for you young ‘uns). Phyllis Shafly went to law school. I say Baby Gene is gay, cuz Shafly has a gay out son.

      Megan’s always been a bit of a spoiled/pleaser daughter. She married a version of her dad. I actually like not seeing her portrayed as perfect because it felt like Weiner was a bit soft on her. This was more interesting and Megan’s hypocrisy about materialism is a nice touch and apt.

      Poor Peggy, but in some ways she’s doing better than she was–was polite to Don (sort of), has struck up some sort of companionship with Julio, which is better than just hanging with the cat. Showed some heart relating to Ginsberg. What she said to him about office romances–how she’s talked to herself?

      Poor Ginsberg–his fracturing mind has been broadcast in his insane plaid shirts all season.

      Oh, and Sally rocks–nothing like an in-your-face teenager. And, again, it’s great to have a Bobby who can act finally and build those family scenes.

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

        But Don’s was never a real moral stance to begin with as much as a publicity stunt – actually, in a way it’s more honest of him to get back to marketing cigarettes.

        • Glammie

          True. Has he ever even tried to quit smoking? Still, cigarettes, Dow Chemical . . . Don Draper is not good for one’s health.

    • Daphnemcl

      “Work smarter not harder” was the first thing we first saw. I love all the hints in this show! Finally Don worked smarter!

    • Bob Ross

      I think this site has the bast Mad Men recaps and discussion. Megan is the petulant teenager to Betty’s petulant child. She wants to be seen as bohemian and artsy, but she also wants the stability that those who are actually hippies do not have. She married a guy twenty years older than her and has a lot of money. (I do not get the posters on here and elsewhere who predict Don will lose everything, he is actually pretty rich, not Roger wealthy, but he is the equivalent of a multi millionaire) Like many other characters on the show, she was messed up by her artsy progressive parents as much as Betty was by her conservative parents. Megan actually had a job she liked and was good at, plus landed Don to advance that career, and was guilt tripped by her socialist dad into living her “dream” (like anything teenagers say they want to do when they grow up always aligns with who they become). This decision has made her unhappy and put her marriage on the rocks, since she dumped all over her husband’s profession to become an actress)

      Megan is really the anti-Betty and the show is really putting this into stark relief. Betty is “rebelling” against a lifetime of being a trophy. Megan is the opposite, she wants to be free spirited but actually craves the stability of money and her older husband, but won’t admit it to herself to make a choice, either hippie or go back to advertising and her husband. I think that is why she did not end the marriage despite the big fight in episode one this year. She complains about being seen as rich to her friends, but actually wants that and does not want to actually be a hippie, she just wants her friends to see her as one. Since they established she doesn’t usually “swing” that way, I took what many took from the threesome, she is desparate to keep Don with her so she can have the stability and safely rebel, like a teenager. She was trying to entice Don with what she sees as the fruits of her hippieness to validate her decision to be an actress. She was unlucky though because Don actually “had” to go back to NY, as Cutler and Lou were about to stab him in the back.

      • Daphnemcl

        Betty took a cue from Francine last week. She’s seeing her friends evolve into people who flag down waiters and hold jobs that they’re proud of doing. Betty will end up with a job too in the end. Her ending will be to find herself doing something good for people. She wasn’t able to do much for her own kids so maybe she’ll end up teaching Reading to kids and making a difference. This was something fairly typical for a women to do back then. We’ll see her with a smile on her face in the end.

      • Miss Disco

        Megan clearly liked her father more than her mother, but her mother’s advice that ‘not every girl gets to be a ballerina’ was probably better for her. Megan was happy in advertising till her father guilt tripped her about wanting to be an actress. I mean, not everyone is a white male academic, sometimes life doesn’t just fall easily into your lap, and you could do something else!

        • Bob Ross

          Thats the old saying, guy’s are momma’s boys and girls are daddy’s little ones. Your right, I forgot that line about her mother. It was actually good parenting, but her dad clearly wanted her to follow what he saw for her, not what was best for her. (I thought it was a mixture of disapproval of both Don and her employment as too conformist for him politically) I remember when I saw that episode (I believe it was the one where she one her award) I wrote on here, that is what is going to be the end of her and Don. I am not even sure that acting is really her dream, its like a kid wanting to be a baseball player as a teenager and spending their 20’s chasing it making nothing in the minors before realizing that dream was your teenage dream and you really do not even like playing baseball anymore.

        • Dora Kishinevsky

          One of the reasons I have a lot of sympathy for Megan is what a cruel pair of insecure bullies her parents are. Both of them have put her down when she was feeling successful. Her father told her having just a good job and earning money is self-betrayal. Her mother said that she has no acting talent and that she should think of herself as a sex doll. Megan seemed to realize how messed-up they were yet still take their words to heart.

          With parents like these, I was surprised she’s usually been a kind person. To me, the root of all her problems is that she married someone who lies, cheats, manipulates, controls, and doesn’t communicate. Perhaps growing up with these parents made her subconsciously seek out someone equally self-centered and emotionally unavailable to try to get love and support from.

          • Victoria Ramirez

            Betty also had some spectacularly shitty parents.

    • Dave

      It’s way too much to ask, and so few of these people are going to get ‘happy’ endings, but it’d be kind of amazing to have Betty end up in Italy.

      • Daphnemcl

        No, I disagree. We’re going to start seeing the happy endings emerge. Right now we’re getting a refresher on what’s wrong with them. Peggy wants to be able to have decisions to make. So she’s going to end up in full control of the company (at least). Don wants to be happy, which we’re seeing evolve right now. I’m betting he’ll end up with Lee (Neve) with that permanent blissful grin on his face that he had on the plane. Don’s kids are going to end up happy because Don is going to end up being a real father to them, probably moving back to be near them. Pete will end up in full control of the company too. Roger will likely have another heart attack but not before confessing to Joan how much she meant to him through the years. Joan will end up be less hardened and maybe able to love again. I see happy ending for everyone except Cutler and Bob Benson! Even Lou might survive since he might have come around to respecting Don at this point.

        • siriuslover

          wow, if only you could write the endings to all of those TV shows and films that end ambiguous and / or miserable!

          • Daphnemcl

            tee hee!

        • Qitkat

          I sincerely hope this is all tongue-in-cheek, because I would hate to see this brilliant show end up like a fucking fairytale.

    • French_Swede

      I cannot read thru 567 comments to see if someone already posted this, but when Betty told Sally (something to the effect of) “Next time I’ll break your arm” I was aghast. Is Henry coming around to seeing Betty for what she really is?

      • altalinda

        As someone who’s about Sally’s age, that sounds like typical mom-speak of the time.

      • siriuslover

        I loved Sally’s comeback that she doesn’t need a man in her life because she’ll always have Betty to keep her in line. Damn, girl!

        • Gatto Nero

          I love the way Shipka delivers her lines — with a blend of boredom and contempt. She nails it.

      • Bob Ross

        believe me that was nothing at the time.

      • Chris

        I didn’t take that seriously. Betty slapped Sally when she was younger but I never really feared that Betty would beat her or seriously hurt her. I took it as a figure of speech. Even Bill Cosby joked about the stuff his parents would say to him as a kid.

        • siriuslover

          Yeah, she threatened to cut her fingers off when Sally was caught masturbating at that sleepover. She also has pulled her hair, pinched her, and locked her in a closet.

          • Mismarker

            And shoved sweet potatoes into her mouth at the Thanksgiving table! The list of parenting atrocities grows.

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

            I think associating “cutting off your fingers” to “masturbation” (after one of Sally’s first experiments, it seemed) was the most trauma-inducing of Betty’s parenting offenses. I hope like hell that that’s not what Sally thinks of every time she gets the urge.

      • Alice Teeple

        Oh, people around here say stuff like that all the time. “I’m gonna slap you upside the head” is a common phrase. It’s just a meaningless threat.

      • T C

        That was standard parenting back then. There were also stricter behavioral standards in public schools and higher expectations at private schools for toeing the line. I fainted in a very high end department store in 1969 because I had been sent to my room without dinner the night before for non-compliance with an expected opinion and was made to dress up to go downtown with my mother for shopping which did not allow time for breakfast. I watched my mother have a major meltdown for embarrassing her in public and then she railed on the saleslady who brought me a chair and a cup of soup.

    • MarieLD

      Last night you (TLo) tweeted that you hated some character… who???

      Edited: you called someone a “shady bitch”…

    • Chris

      Did anyone see in the preview the man’s jacket sleeve who had given Joan’s mother flowers? I was wondering if it was Bob Benson making an appearance next week.

      • Daphnemcl

        It was a loud, brightly colored, checked jacket. I thought I saw Roger wearing one like that once.

        • decormaven

          Yes, I think it’s Roger. After being shook up by Marigold’s scene, Roger probably wants to see his child. Maybe he can get that relationship right.

      • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

        I never thought I’d say this, but I seriously miss Bob Benson.

        • AnneElliot

          And his shorts!!

      • Lady Bug

        I’ll have to watch the “next Mad Men” previews again to see if I see anything. I *should know better by now, but I still find myself rewatching the previews teaser over and over again, despite the fact that it’s put together somewhat akin to a rorschach test in film form, and it is always deliberately misleading.

        It does however look like California Pete! is making an appearance at the NY office & talks to Peggy in the next episode.

        • Chris

          I do the same thing. I can’t help myself. I think Ted may show up with Pete because in the preview when Peggy is greeting Pete she seems a little stilted and overly correct in her greeting and she is looking at the next person, not Pete. It made me think it may be Ted and she is still very uncomfortable around him.

    • Daphnemcl

      Wait a minute … Don didn’t “act in typical Don fashion, taking someone else’s idea and putting a spin on it”. Don wasn’t in the board room when Roger used a similar argument on the partners, so he didn’t steal anyone else’s argument. No, this may not be Don’s final obstacle, but it was a big one, and he overcame it big time! I think he’s genuinely earned Lou’s respect at this point too. But Cutler is the real villian here. Culter is going to do some pretty dastardly things now … what they are I don’t know … but he’s going engage full throttle to try and demolish Don. Is is going to end that way? No, of course not!!! That’s not an ending!

    • ideated_eyot

      I have to say that I don’t think Ginsberg’s hard psychotic turn was inevitable. Ginsberg’s rants have always been rooted in reality, whether it be war-mongering or general hypocrisy or, in this case, computers eliminating jobs and creativity. It doesn’t fit what I’ve seen of real schizophrenics, who react according to perceived threats that don’t intersect with shared experience.

      • HiddenMickey

        THIS. I find Ginsberg’s fate hard to accept and a bit heavy-handed. I REALLY thought he was just an eccentric. Heck, I interact with people who talked like him all the time, and I’d assume he’s just into sci-fi or other

        • T C

          Most patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were institutionalized until Ronald Reagan took California’s Landis-Petrie-Short Act (mid-1970s) nationwide while he was President in the 1980s. A close relative was very high up in the State Mental Health System management by 1969 and it was not until LPS became a distinct possibility that the business of releasing patients into the community became a topic of discussion and an industry of halfway houses run by non-profits created.

        • ideated_eyot

          That was my reaction, but I can see here and elsewhere that many other people disagree. I’m a little bit disappointed in the handling of Ginsberg, because he’s arguably the most interesting character to be added since the creation of SCDP. He’s been acknowledged as a creative equal to Don, so we have to believe he’s got the common touch, which is basically the opposite of schizophrenia . I took his initial ‘Martian’ thing as a clever allusion to being an outsider in Manhattan (due to his being a holocaust survivor). His throwaway lines have almost always been grounded and sly, too. I guess I wanted to see him stick around.

          • HiddenMickey

            This! I actually think Mad Men writers read TLo and got the idea of making Ginsberg schizophrenic from here. Him rocking back and forth, supposedly before the presentation with Maneischewitz I thought that was just stage fright, and the whole point of that scene was to show that Bob Benson can handle situations as an account man, therefore earning Cutler’s trust.

            All other instances in that season, he was normal and showed no signs of problems at all. He was touted as the anti-Don, a brilliant creative who instead of running away from his past, simply creates a new life for himself, albeit showing his eccentricities. His clothing was never a sign, he was poor so he never really learned to dress. He came up with so many brilliant work for SCDP/SC&P. It’s just so cliche that Mad Men went for “Crazy Genius, literally Mad Man” trope.

            It’s only until now that they decided to play it out to the point of exaggerated and uncomfortable. Don needs to be able to come back, and it serves the storyline to get rid of Michael, this is probably the best way to do it. MW owes you, T. Lo. For your prediction of psychosis, which they then made real. Now they don’t have to kill him or get him fired.

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

              No. They foreshadowed this many times over, as we pointed out at the time. They planned this meticulously. People just didn’t – and clearly still don’t – want it to be true.

            • kerryev

              There can’t be another explanation. What about Ginsberg has given viewers the impression that he speaks about his personal life in slow-burn allegories? When he ordered the soup?

            • Glammie

              No, as TLo notes, it was set up from the get-go. Ginsberg was the right age–teens through 20s–and showed signs of possible schizophrenia from the beginning–his off-beat date with the teacher, his odd stories about himself, the alienation. As I write elsewhere, I knew a lawyer who was functional for years and had a psychotic break and thought he was Jesus.

              And his clothing has continued to be a sign–I noted in the comments just last week that Ginsberg was wearing these crazy little prints that don’t go with his ties–except I miswrote it and said “plaid”. I mention this because it’s not something TLo actually pointed out.

              So, yes, the Mad Man who’s mad, but also–and I think this is probably more the idea–the depiction of a time so crazy that you don’t see the actual mad man in your midst until it’s too late. Which also ties in to the destructiveness of 1969. Mad Men has long had indirect reference to the mayhem and violence of the times–Ken’s eye, the lawnmower man–weird references to Vietnam. Ginsberg’s implosion is more a reference, I think, to the paranoia and inner disintegration of the American psyche.

              Thematically, it makes sense and always did. Far more than killing him or firing him.

            • HiddenMickey

              In that case it was very heavy handed and as I previously mentioned, cliche. They did not need to go down that road. Whatever higher purpose they intended for it, whatever they wanted to convey thematically, just didn’t resonate with me (and a lot of other viewers, apparently)

      • Gatto Nero

        He complained last season about transmissions being beamed directly into his head. This was brushed off at the time as eccentric, but it’s a classic sign of psychosis.

        • Victoria Ramirez

          Didja smoke too many funny cigarettes?

      • Malia C.

        I believe he was a functional schizophrenic and in a creative environment, his “offbeat” or inappropriate comments didn’t stand out. If he’d been completely disconnected from reality all the time, of course his colleagues would have noticed that long before. However, when something – in Michael’s case, the computer – triggers a break from functionality, the fine line they’ve been walking, between reality and – I don’t want to call it fantasy, it’s not a sufferer’s choice – delusion – unblurs and it is very obvious that the things they’ve been saying – however rooted in “real” things, like people and events – are completely removed from the reality of those people and events.

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

        His rants have not always been rooted in reality, unless you think he was being accurate when he said he was from Mars and that he can’t stop the messages beaming into his head. His breakdown was inevitable in the sense that the writing foreshadowed it and set it up way ahead of time.

        • ideated_eyot

          The Mars thing came across as a joke, if you ask me. The show underlined his origin in a concentration camp as real, not imagined, and ‘Mars’ is widely used as a euphemism for any kind of outsider. The bit about the transmissions was certainly disturbing, but again rooted in anti-war sentiment colliding with the amorality of ad-copy. Many people felt abused by the transmissions of ‘pig nation’ in 68. His reaction was hypersensitive and extreme, but rooted in a common paranoid reaction to the establishment at the height of conflict around the time of the Democratic Convention.

          Ginsberg’s role at the regency is that of a preternaturally gifted copywriter, something that requires what is known as ‘the common touch'; an innate ability to connect with the broadest public taste, which is an absolute inversion of real schizophrenia. I don’t buy him suddenly embracing the logic behind his nipple excision for that reason. Further, Ginsberg’s break came with a completely tacked-on crush he developed out of nowhere on Peggy. This is someone who’s received indifference and ridicule from Ginsberg, or a very de-sexualized cameraderie with zero sexual tension.

          The writing implied more than one possible outcome. The writers decided to take it in the direction of an abrupt exit following a fairly cliched psychotic break. Claiming it an inevitability seems apologist to me.

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

            Uh… no. I have nothing to apologize for. I called this out years ago when I saw it unfolding. You are straining mightily to pretend that the foreshadowing they’ve done to lead up to this event wasn’t actually foreshadowing. Well, have fun with that one, but I’d rather talk about the show in front of me rather than the show I wish I was watching.

            • EveEve

              The foreshadowing of paranoid schizophrenia seemed so obvious to me all along, that this “break” didn’t come as a surprise in the least. I do wonder why they brought this character in, only to write him out again without using him in a more meaningful way. There was still so much potential for some great ad agency storylines.

            • ideated_eyot

              Am I supposed to feel abased by your clever comment? It’s just a difference of opinion. I really do not think it was an inevitability. Very little strain involved, unlike the lengths you’re going to in order to defend the slightly hackneyed writing.

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

              No, you’re supposed to stop making these ridiculous arguments if you want to continue posting here.

    • Molly

      So sad about Ginsberg. I actually teared up at the shot of him being wheeled out thru the office in front of everyone. We know he’s gone for good though – he’ll probably be lobotomized or go through electric shock therapy.

      • Gatto Nero

        I thought so, too. Treatment was limited then, and sometimes brutal. He has no one in the world to advocate or care for him but his elderly father.

        • Jaialaibean

          I’m hoping Stan will continue to look out for him.

          • Lady Bug

            At this point though, I’m not sure what much Stan can do? I do think Stan would certainly *want* to do something to help his friend. Stan after all, noticed that there was something going on with Ginsberg way before anyone else & Stan did seem genuinely concerned about Ginz when they were wheeling him out. I think Stan cares about Ginsberg, but especially given the time-period, Stan might think that the best way to help Ginsberg is to make sure that he goes to a reputable mental hospital-which (and please correct me if I’m wrong) I didn’t think there were that many during this period. Ginsberg isn’t completely insolvent, so hopefully he can afford a relatively “progressive”-for lack of a better word, treatment facility.

            • Cheryl

              Possibly electro-shock, but I doubt they were still doing lobotomies in 1969. It wasn’t really all that primitive; he lived in New York which has a plethora of hospital and many options. He has his father, who loves him, and will be there for him; and hopefully Stan, too. This was not the dark ages of mental health.

            • T C

              There was not a bounty of pharmaceuticals available for mental illnesses in the 1960s as there are today. Not all mental hospitals resembled the State Hospital you saw in a movie.

            • Lady Bug

              Thanks for the information

    • Cheryl

      I can’t believe it, I actually felt a little bad for Lou, when he was being mocked for his comic and then he had to ruin it by also being a petulant child (the third petulant child!), and making everyone stay late.

      • Daphnemcl

        Well I know they showed the tape drives on the computer a few times during the episode. One time there were two big blue tapes spinning. Then after he cut off his nipple they showed one red tape and one blue. That symbolism may be too literal, but I can’t think of anything else.

      • dynamoxie

        Peggy’s hanging dress was mustard/tan and navy blue, then the dress she actually had on during Ginsberg’s crisis was full solid navy blue. So, maybe the tan is for earlier in the season, if she was wearing more weak colors like that, and now she’s developed some kind of resolve. Like, getting over Ted, at least. I don’t know what she could do at the company that would like take down the computer/the system in Ginsberg’s honor, though.

        • T C

          The mustard/tan/navy dress was one she wore last week later in the episode.

      • MilaXX

        I think Peggy keeps a spare outfit much like the men keep a spare shirt.

        • Eric Stott

          She might have picked it up at the dry cleaners

        • Chris

          Joan taught her that in season one!

    • Claire

      Couldn’t help but pick up on the phrase twice made about Megan’s apartment (by Stephanie and again by Harry’s girlfriend), “this place is far out of town” I think it was. Isolation in the midst of chaos. More of the murder vibe – surely too obvious..?

      • ktr33

        I thought they said it was “far out!” As in “groovy” or “cool,” etc.

      • Mismarker

        Harry’s girlfriend said, “This place is out of sight.”

        • Alice Teeple

          It’s “outta sight,” which was a common slang phrase. (Isaac on Love Boat said it.)

          • Mismarker

            Not sure if she said “outta” or “out of” but I believe the two to be interchangeable and have the same slang meaning!

            Things I learned from Google today because I was only two years old when The Love Boat began airing in 1977: Isaac apparently never said “outta sight” on The Love Boat? It was a made up catchphrase used in an SNL parody skit which melded elements of Star Trek: TNG and The Love Boat. Isaac’s “thing” on the show was finger guns (which I do remember). Classy!

            • Alice Teeple

              LOL! Okay, maybe that’s where I got the “outta sight” reference. I watched Love Boat growing up and definitely remember the finger guns, because he did it in the opening sequence.

            • Cheryl

              OMG, you’re killing me here. (BTW, I turn 65 today.) “Outta sight” was a very common phrase in the 1960s – check out Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight, Outta Sight” from 1966. It had been in use long before that.

            • decormaven

              Happy birthday!

    • mwynn13

      I’m pretty sure Stephanie is still in L.A. There was a palm tree showing through the glass phone booth when she finally talked to Don. Someone pointed out that palm trees are also in the Bay Area, but they are so much more prevalent in, and so much more associated with Los Angeles, and since the phone booth was a prop that would have had to be placed, and not one that already existed, that was a conscious decision.

      • siriuslover

        I was thinking that too, but it looked like the phone booth was on a steep hill to give the sense of the Bay Area without actually having to get up there and film it.

        • Inspector_Gidget

          The hills definitely suggest San Francisco. Oakland has quite a few palm trees scattered about, and is also stereotyped as a crime center, so the siren going off in the background would suggest that. But it’s pretty ambiguous. Either they meant it to be ambiguous or they didn’t do a great job of setting the place.

        • Inspector_Gidget

          Plus it would make sense for the hippie chick to head to SF. You just know *someone* on the show will be in on the Summer of Love! Or is it loo late for that?

          • Judy_J

            The “Summer of Love” was 1967, I believe.

            • Gatto Nero

              That’s true, according to Wiki. By 1969 hard drugs were taking hold and the whole movement began to sour.

          • T C

            Much too late. Speed took the fun out of the Summer of Love before the 1967 summer ended. Late 60s and early 70s in Oakland (which is in the East Bay by Berkeley, not SF) except up in the hills was very tense due to the militancy of Angela Davis & friends. I do not think that Stephanie is in Oakland as it would have required a 9 hour drive up 101 from Megan’s apartment. Interstate 5 wasn’t completed yet and going inland to Highway 99 doesn’t make sense.

        • Glammie

          But they wouldn’t need an outdoor shot for that. She could be in someone’s pad with an exterior screen of the Bay in the window–a la Don and Betty’s trip to Italy.

          Stephanie hasn’t gone anywhere because she doesn’t actually have anywhere to go. Pretty cold-blooded to toss out a heavily pregnant homeless young woman. Does she even have a bank account so that she can cash the check?

          • T C

            Back then, one did not need to have an account with a specific financial institution to cash checks drawn on that institution and there were no fees for not having an account in order to receive cash. Checking accounts were expensive and many employers gave paid time off on payday for their employees to cash checks well into the 1970s; some smaller employers made payroll in cash, especially to the lower paid (unskilled) labor.

            • Glammie

              Ah, yes, thanks. I still think she’s on her own with no place to really go. She wouldn’t have called Don otherwise. She was desperate. And alone.

        • mwynn13

          It was on a hill, but L.A. has plenty of those. I thought it looked more like Silverlake or Echo Park. Someplace close to Downtown. The bright sunlight also looked like L.A. If they wanted it to look like the Bay Area, it would have been easy enough to place the phone booth somewhere that didn’t have a view of palm trees or that light quality.

      • decormaven

        I thought I saw the Capitol Record building, so she was in LA.

        • DeniseSchipani

          The Capitol Records building was in the shot when she first calls Don, from LA.When she calls again she says she’s in Oakland again, and the street she’s on seems very shabby, but it’s not clear where she is.

          • Glammie

            She’s not in Oakland–doesn’t look a bit like Oakland, totally reads L.A.

          • Inspector_Gidget

            I think they meant for the location to be ambiguous during the last phone call. If they wanted to make the point that she lied and stayed in L.A., why wouldn’t they just show her in front of the Capitol Records building again?

        • mwynn13

          That was the first time she called; it was two dingbat apartment buildings with the Capitol Building in the background.
          The later phone call, she was in an alley, with bright L.A. sunlight and the palm tree beyond that.

      • T C

        She claimed to be in Oakland while in the phone booth but there weren’t many palms in Oakland in the 1960s; they were primarily at a resort in the Oakland hills or on Dolores Street in San Francisco.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      What I love is that the end scene this echoes the one in Bert’s office. In that scene, Don played by all the rules, down to the shoes, and got dick slapped by a neutered man. He would have never have walked into that meeting with Lou and Cutler if not for that. That’s satisfying storytelling.

    • fnarf

      Now is not a particularly good time for Harry to be working up a media plan for some cigarettes, or for Don to be pitching for them, seeing as how those ads are going to be banned from TV next year.

    • Lady Bug

      Just noticed something, for all of the major “incidents” at Sterling Cooper-The lawnmower, Layne’s suicide, Ginsberg being carted off the mental hospital-Don has been absent from the office during all of those incidents. IIRC, he’s not at the Christmas party, and Joan calls him to tell him about Lois(?)’s accident. When Layne’s corpse is being discovered by Joan et al, Don & Roger are at a meeting, and same for Ginsberg’s nipple. Don’t think that means anything, except that Don is in many ways one lucky SOB.

      On the other hand, this is a week from hell for Mr. Roger’s evil twin, Lou Avery. First his underlings make fun of “Scout’s Honor”, then he get’s dick slapped by Don “Dick Whitman” Draper in what is suppose to be Lou & Cutler’s big coup, finally he & Cutler take the cab back to the office, only to inevitably find out that one of the employees cut off his nipple and was taken to a mental hospital. I bet he wishes he were back at Dancer-Fitzgerald right now!

      • dynamoxie

        I thought Don, Roger, and Pete were the ones who had to take down Lane’s body, though. So, he may not have discovered him, but he was pretty directly involved with the incident.

        • Lady Bug

          You’re right, I do remember the cut-down scene, so yes, Don was intimately involved in the aftermath of the suicide, but for the initial discovery he was absent

    • Mismarker

      Somewhat off topic but I was listening to Sirius 80s on 8 the other day and Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright” came on. My second thought, right after ‘I love this song’, was ‘Wow, Mad Men is only a decade away from Caddyshack.”

    • buddy100

      Well, I officially withdraw my “Ginsberg doesn’t have schizophrenia” argument and will now lodge my foot squarely in my mouth. In fact, it’s made pretty clear that schizophrenia is indeed the best fit diagnosis. TLo caught on early that was there was a gradual build-up in the bizarreness of Ginsberg’s belief. Where he schizotypal, as I had theorized, then his frequency and consistency of delusional thinking would have remained consistent.

      But the writers pretty cleary established a slow prodromal period (the build-up stage, essentially). He has persecutory ideas of reference, sensitivity to certain sights and sounds, and auditory hallucinations. The auditory component is an important detail – people with full-blown schizophrenia are actually very unlikely to have visual hallucinations. Finally, his full-blown psychosis was triggered by acute stress. Schizophrenia has a strong genetic component, but is exacerbated by environmental factors.

      This is actually one of the better depictions of schizophrenia that I’ve seen. Why? Ginsberg isn’t depicted as some kind of serial killer or monster. He’s a talented, witty, and decent man who has a horribly debilitating sickness. Even today, we don’t understand that schizophrenia is a disease, and doesn’t reflect the choices or moral character of the person affected. But at least we have some halfway humane treatments. Back in 1969…poor, poor Ginsberg.

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

        “Well, I officially withdraw my “Ginsberg doesn’t have schizophrenia” argument and will now lodge my foot squarely in my mouth.”

        I would just like to personally thank you and commend you for this. Many of the people who argued against this last season are off on other boards and threads calling us assholes and smug idiots instead of just admitting that we got this one right.

        • buddy100

          You’re welcome. I always respect that you both put an enormous amount of time, effort, thought, and insight into your theories and analyses. In a complex layered show like Mad Men, half the value lies in debate, discussion, and (endless obsessive) interpretation. Reducing disagreement to personal attack completely defeats the purpose.

          • Glammie

            So true. I actually wouldn’t have watched the show if it weren’t for TLo’s commentaries–being an ad agency brat who remembered the 60s, I figured I’d just be irritated. Then I saw an episode where Peggy ends it by sinking into a bath and realized that watching Mad Men was a lot like reading short stories. The shows aren’t documentaries, but literary reflections on the time and our own–so discussing them is part of the viewing experience. And TLo’s commentary and moderation of the boards makes an intelligent discussion possible.

            I’m sorry they’re getting trashed over this.

    • Maudeline Street

      Love the atmosphere and the styling, will continue to watch but honestly feel the show is growing in to self importance and every scene is supposed to make us nod knowingly and say “HHmmmm…..”
      TLO, I recently read you guys watch British drama, have you watched “Line of Duty”? I thought it was beyond brilliant. Curious to read your take on it.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Congrats you guys on calling Ginsberg’s schizophrenia before anyone else. He was, up until last night’s episode, such a fun character with a very vivid background, I wish that his character could have had a different ending, but I would not be surprised if this was Matthew Weiner’s plan from the beginning. Some people were wondering if Ginsberg will be back, but I think that since this was still the era of warehousing people in insane asylums, he may not be out again for a few years yet when a lot of the asylums started closing down in New York City. (And that was handled really poorly.) A really sad ending for one of my favorite characters.

      • Joanna

        And even if he had been at an asylum in NYC, the conditions would have been so poor that he may have been broken for life and ended up at any one of the state run facilities outside the city (Kings Park on Long Island only shut down in 1996!) I agree – so sad, and historically, we will likely not see him again.

      • Cheryl

        I don’t see him warehoused in an insane asylum. He has a father who cares for him, he most likely has Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Insurance which would pay for in-patient care, and he’d be an interesting teaching case for a medical school examining the mental health issues of Holocaust survivors, which he was. His future is a lot more hopeful than someone without family or resources.

      • VirginiaK

        People didn’t have to be warehoused in asylums. I worked in non-state-run psychiatric hospitals in the 70s, which were very decent places. Patients could stay for 90 days — longer possibly — and have outpatient treatment or day treatment (like going to school daily, if necessary). Anti-psychotic medicines were available starting in the 50s.

    • Apple Tree

      Hilarious episode, in such a heartbreaking way.

    • UsedtobeEP

      I am so late getting to this, but OMG that nipple in a box. I am so sad for Ginsberg. He’s always been my favorite.

      • BluesD

        Poor Ginsberg. :( I knew there would be a body part in that box, I was watching the screen like a hawk trying to figure out which one.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, I was thinking, he’s got his ears, self-castration wouldn’t have him up and able–a little toe? I was just squirming, thinking of Van Gogh and that weird Japanese chef who’s been cutting off various body parts and serving them to people.

    • Beth Cooper-Zobott

      Seems like the show has been portraying Ginsberg as crazy through, obviously, his actions and his statements about voices talking to him, but also through his clothing. For several episodes, his shirts have reminded me of billowy, loose cotton pajama tops, such as those worn by patients in psychiatric institutions.

      • Gatto Nero

        It’s true. TLo have commented on that in Mad Style — the too-big shirts and mismatched prints.

    • Marian Humin

      I grew up in the 60s. I was Sally’s age. I so enjoyed Mad Men because it was authentic. It’s esthetic was authentic, it’s atmosphere and it’s characters. Megan’s threesome was NOT authentic. I don’t believe her character would have done that. She would never have shared Don. Betty would never in a million years stand up to her husband. She wasn’t raised that way. Her husband’s character was nothing like it’s ever been in the show.
      Ginsberg has been acting nutty since day 1 and people wouldn’t have put up with that. The nipple removal was to me a cheap ploy for shock value. Everything about the episode was disingenuous….a huge disappointment.

      • MilaXX

        Oh I think Megan would have a 3 way. She’s in California living that lifestyle and if she think she has to compete against a true free living person like Stephanie I definitely see it. Her mother wasn’t exactly a paradigm of good manner either. Remember Sally caught her giving Roger a blow job. Also free love has indeed hit the mainstream. The movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice came out in 1969.

        • not_Bridget

          No period is experienced identically by everybody alive at the time. I was a young dropout at the time–but always had a job in the city. Raised in the country, I had no desire to Get Back To The Land. I did a bit of experimentation (in several areas) but people I knew went very far, indeed. So I learned I didn’t have to go that far….

          A rich young pseudo actress in LA would have had a very different life from mine. A suburban preteen, different in other ways…..

        • Marian Humin

          I can’t see why Megan would be jealous of a pregnant, dirty hippie girl but yet willing to share Don with her cute redheaded friend….just doesn’t ring true to me.

          • MilaXX

            Because underneath the dirt was a beautiful woman that Don quite obviously had a real connection with. Stephanie is one of the few people who knows about Dick Whitman. Notice how many times Megan remarks how pretty or beautiful Stephanie is. The 3 way was just Megan’s way of tying to prove she is just as bohemian as hippy Stephanie is. She knew Don didn’t really like the redhead so she wasn’t a real threat. Stephanie is. She knows not just Don, but Dick Whitman.

          • Pennymac

            I thought the jealousy came from Stephanies statement “I know all of his secrets”

            • Gatto Nero

              ^ This. It was exactly at that point that Megan’s expression changed and the jealousy welled up. In a flash she went from sympathetic to ruthless.

            • Glammie

              Yeah, and Stephanie picks it right up.

          • Glammie

            She’s in control of one situation, not the other. It rings true for me. The only part that doesn’t is that Megan should be able to read Don a little better, but she’s young, so she doesn’t get parts of him–not that he’s been sharing.

    • Daphnemcl

      I noticed a lot of yellow on everyone in this episode – Cutler, Meredith, and a few other people wore it too. Bright yellow. Not sure what that symbolized though. Yellow is a happy color. I associated it with being a mental color too.

      I also noticed that Meredith was being really professional too! Don’s been patient and kind and I credit Don for her growth.

    • Retrogirl

      RUMAKI. How has no one on any of the analysis blogs mentioned that Betty was making rumaki? Hasn’t she learned that this is something she should not make?

      • Mismarker

        Girlfriend LOVES her rumaki. Maybe she was serving Heineken as well.

        • not_Bridget

          The whole menu at that earlier dinner came from the New York Times Cookbook; I’ve got a vintage copy. Craig Claiborne hinted that rumaki was slightly old hat, even back then. But still good.

          Betty definitely isn’t a proto-foodie. Probably not a Julia Child fan…..

          • Glammie

            But, you know, she has kind of a flair for both food and clothes. If she were a little less Victorian fainting couch, she could be a proto-Martha Stewart. Even the old Victorian she lives in with Henry is looking more stylish.

            I just know all this talk of rumaki means I’ll be pinning rumaki pix from Pinterest.

        • Retrogirl

          and gazpacho

      • Gatto Nero

        Because she ends up fighting with her husband afterwards?

        • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

          Because it involves chicken liver. :D

        • Retrogirl

          yes. generally rumaki is a turning point for Betty.

      • greenwich_matron

        I feel I must stand up for rumaki. There should be more of it.

    • Qitkat

      What blows my mind is how the songs that are chosen for this entire show become so much more meaningful given the contexts of the episodes. Someone earlier used the phrase ‘The Games People Play” which was an actual song released in late 1968 by Joe South, likely referencing the book of the same name, from 1964 by Eric Berne, about transactional analysis. The lyrics are brilliant, and take on a lot of meaning in applying them to Mad Men. I don’t recall if this song has ever been used in an episode.

      • decormaven

        No, that song has not been used. I loved the use of Waylon’s song for this episode; always good to hear his voice.

      • Glammie

        That song could be Mad Men’s theme song. “Never meaning what they say; never saying what they mean.”

    • dalgirl

      I’m curious, what do the BK’s think might be the consequences of Don’s actions? I’d love to read some thoughts. And I apologize if this question has been asked and answered hundreds of comments ago….

      • Gatto Nero

        The closing shot seems to convey that Don won this round — or at least that he feels he did. Some feel that there will be consequences to pay, but others said that Don didn’t expressly break any of the rules, since this wasn’t a pitch and there was no “script.” What do you think?

        • KTBSN

          Don’s still on the sauce so he’s got more crashing and burning ahead. His ranting at the IBM guy was narrowly missed thanks to Freddy scooting him out of there.He’s still out of control but having a few lucid moments here and there. I’m not hopeful for Don in the short term. It’ll take him a decade or so to get back to where he wants to be if he does what he needs to do.

          • MilaXX

            Yes but Freddy also gave him that come to Jesus speech and based on Peggy’s conversation with him in the elevator it seems to be working. It appears, at least for now that Don is showing up and putting in the work. If Cutler was going to use this to fire don, he would have told him, he’s done. I think at least for the short term , Don will be okay. I think he’s going to have to peek i terms of a come back before he crashes.

        • makeityourself

          If your attendance at a potential client meeting is not planned, and you show up, introduce yourself and proceed to discuss a future agency/client relationship, then you definitely went off the script. And I don’t get this, because now Jim has grounds for Don to be immediately terminated, with no partnership investment reimbursement required. Don knows this. And he told Philip Morris right to their face that it would give them the upper hand to have Don fired from the agency. Does he want to be fired? He acts like he just got his mojo back in that closing scene, but isn’t Jim Cutler just going to march into a partners’ meeting and have him canned?

          Can anybody clarify?

          • Gatto Nero

            All I can glean from all this is that once Don learned from Harry that Philip Morris was back in the picture. he knew he’d be canned because of his earlier anti-tobacco letter in the NY Times. So he figured he had nothing to lose by crashing the meeting and offering to resign and then slyly trying to sell himself as the best man for the job.
            As for the “script,” other commenters have argued that there wasn’t one, since they weren’t pitching and nothing was mapped out. And he was meeting with the potential client with Cutler and Avery in the room (and not going rogue). So Don may have gotten by on a technicality.
            Weiner seems to enjoy leaving us with ambiguity.

            • makeityourself

              Your explanation makes sense to me. Thank you. Others who says he didn’t go off script have never worked at an ad agency.

            • FibonacciSequins

              Don knows it breaking the partners’ rules won’t make any difference if Philip Morris wants him to work on their account. With that meeting, he’s forcing action – he’s in or out depending on what Philip Morris decides. Even if they refuse to let SC&P pitch to them, Don has made himself vulnerable, imo. It can be argued that he went off-script just by showing up at that meeting.

            • makeityourself

              I agree. Love your Edith Head head btw.

            • FibonacciSequins

              Thanks. :)

            • Cheryl

              He knows that he’s fish food anyway, they were going to find some reason to can him – on any pretext – so he had nothing to lose. This was a callback to his brash move on Roger Sterling in the fur salon all those years ago, when he pretty much bowled Roger over and got himself hired at SC. His best moves are the ones where he takes a risk. That’s the Don Draper I want to see.

            • FibonacciSequins

              Me too!

              S-T-R-A-T-E-G-Y

            • JimiG

              I think the big clue was in the closing music: Waylon Jenning’s The Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line. Pretty much says “I’m the best you’ve got and you better wake up.”

            • makeityourself

              Excellent observation. I always look forward with curiosity to the closing song, and this time I thought it was Johnny Cash singing “I walk the line,” but then I quickly realized it wasn’t he. Couldn’t place the voice and stopped thinking about the lyrics. Of course you’re right.

            • Glammie

              Oh, it’s a lot more than a technicality–the contract is the technicality. Don showed Cutler and Lou that they can’t afford to axe him. Yes, they can absorb his shares if he’s off book, but the contract didn’t say anything about a non-compete if Don was fired.

              Don showed them who really had the power in the relationship. Power dynamics is something Don gets.

            • MarinaCat

              Roger actually stated outright, that if they fire Don, they lose the non-compete.

            • Glammie

              Ah. Thanks. In which case, Don really has them over a barrel. He’s made it clear that he’s willing to work on tobacco and for the competition if fired. If he’s going to resign, they can expect to pay a pretty penny for it.

              Now we get why Don said “Okay” to that awful contract–he saw where the hole was. He almost blew it anyway last week when got frustrated and then drunk, but the cagey side of Don was already at work.

            • MarinaCat

              Now that I think of it, though, Roger said that during the impromptu meeting when they were trying to figure it what do do with Don. I’m not sure where Don stands in regard to the non-compete, after the ground rules were stated.

            • MarinaCat

              Now that I think about it, Roger made the comment about the non-compete when Don first showed up at the firm, and the partners didn’t know what to do with him. I don’t think it’s clear what happens with Don if he is fired after these rules were put in place.

            • decormaven

              Yes, Don thinks best when he’s in a corner. He sussed out that he needed to go with the proffered contract because he could work it to his advantage. “It’s Toasted,” v. 2.

            • Glammie

              Oh nice. Yeah, remember how his creativity slipped when he was in the happy stages of his marriage to Megan? He needs the edge, the high stakes. Which also makes him hell in his personal relationships.

              I figured Weiner had set Don up to undo the confines of the contract, but I wasn’t expecting anything quite as elegant as *how* he did it.

            • greenwich_matron

              I want you to know that I watched this episode based on your comment.

            • Glammie

              I hope it was worth it for you. Did the whole poor-Don-over-the-top-evil-contract story line turn you off the show?

              I’ve found that most of Weiner’s story arcs work over the long term, but he doesn’t always get there gracefully. I think splitting the season and having to create two arcs has hurt the writing this season. We’re getting some good shows (the Valentine’s episode, most of Sundays) and some really weak ones–last week’s–where he’s shoving people into places.

              But even this season has had some nice turns–the Freddy Rumsen opening and learning that Don, even in the dumps, is still writing good stuff–and that does turn out to be his redemption–that and his friendship with Freddy. Ginsberg *has* been cracking all along. For me, that was’t out of left field because Weiner had been setting it up, but letting it drop into the background–so I felt the denouement was earned.

              More problematic–Marigold’s emergence–not impossible, but I just didn’t see how shallow, mercenary Margaret got there. She could have, but the connctions weren’t made. With more episodes, we might have. Same with Bert and Joan’s attitudes toward Don.

              And I want to try making rumaki . . .

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

            Actually, Don made the point that Phillip Morris would look much better if they hired the agency and forced him to work on the account, as if they brought him to heel. Then he went on to demonstrate that he had a better track record at selling cigarettes than anyone in the room – and he’d be free to use those talents to help their competitors, if SC&P fired him. Basically, he laid the groundwork for Phillip Morris agreeing to go with SC&P, but only if they could have Don doing the creative on the account. He forced Jim’s hand, using his own talent and reputation as weapons. It’s WILDLY off script, but even Jim could see it was a better script than the one he was reading from.

            • malarson2

              I appreciate that clarification so much. I knew he was The Man in that scene – especially because of the street scene afterwards – but for the life of me I couldn’t piece out exactly why, which was very disconcerting to me considering how much I love (over)analyzing this show. Thanks again guys.

      • suzq

        I’m going to take it from a different angle. Lou and Jim have an opportunity to screw this deal up with or without Don. They are not creative. They do not think out of the box. In the late 60’s, with the FDA bearing down on them, the cigarette companies turned to lifestyle advertising. Then, they were cut off from television. Print was bigger than ever. I don’t know if Jim and Lou are capable of rolling with those punches. The execs may grill them in the next meeting to see how strong their strategy is. I think they’re weak.

    • Retrogirl

      also, did anyone else notice that the spinning wheels on the computer that Peggy was staring at looked like breasts? After Ginz cut off his nipple and handed it to Peggy in a box?

      • T C

        I noticed that earlier in the episode one tape reel was red and the other blue; when Ginz was in Peggy’s office they were both blue.

    • HiddenMickey

      Honestly, I can get behind Megan having histrionic disorder more than Ginsberg being Schizo. I don’t like how they portrayed it. That’s all.

    • buddy100

      So, to follow up with my spiel re: Ginsberg’s very likely diagnosis of schizophrenia, here’s an explanation of what will probably happen to him. Very luckily for him, the first antipsychotic medication (chlorpromazine) had been introduced to the U.S. in 1952, and was widely used by 1969. The mass distribution of chlorpromazine is often considered single greatest advance in psychiatric care, as it dramatically increased the prognosis of individuals recovering from psychosis. Chlorpromazine is very effective at controlling the positive symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, etc.) of psychosis. So, that’s the good news.

      The bad news is that the overall prognosis for schizophrenia in the 60’s/70’s was not encouraging. This was largely due to social and societal stigma against mental illness. Even if Ginsberg will be able to control his symptoms through medication, he’ll still have to deal with being labeled dangerously insane and a pariah. Which will probably severely limit his housing, employment, social support, etc. for the rest of his life.

      Which is bloody stupid. It’s like telling someone with cancer in remission that they’re unfit to work or be independent for the rest of their lives. But since we have this idea that mental illness isn’t as real as medical illness, BAM. Whole life and a whole lot of talent tossed away.

      • Alice Teeple

        Absolutely. This happened to my grandfather around the same time, who had episodes brought on by his experience in WW2 and the shellshock afterward. It took years and years for doctors to get his medications right. He couldn’t hold a job, he was bounced around to different hospitals and had to be cared for by family members, but his behavior was so erratic that was impossible, too. I can definitely see Ginsberg have a stint in Bellevue for a spell and possibly end up in a nuthouse. I agree that the 70s perception of mental illness as a personal weakness has definitely been a problem for those people suffering from it. But the realities of taking care of that person, worrying that they’ll come after you during their psychosis periods, is also a problem. My prediction: Ginzo will probably end up either in a nuthouse and eventually on the streets, or forever living with his father.

        • buddy100

          “But the realities of taking care of that person, worrying that they’ll
          come after you during their psychosis periods, is also a problem.” Definitely. Serious mental illness not only affects the individual, but family, friends, and entire communities. There are many cases in which inpatient psychiatric hospitalization is the safest most feasible option. Thankfully, these days we are moving towards preventative models, which allow mental health clinicians to screen for and treat psychosis before it ruins lives and families.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        Even if Ginsberg can be (somewhat) effectively treated, I doubt that they’ll hire him back at SC&P again. Freddy Rumsen got fired when he peed his pants, but they let him down as gently as they could. (Maybe because guys like Don and Roger understand drinking problems, even though they might look down on Freddy for not being able to “hold his liquor.”) But having a straight-up mental illness like Ginsberg isn’t something that anyone in management can relate to or condone.

      • kerryev

        Thanks for dropping the knowledge on our domes.
        (And I know we’ve seen a lot of changes since that poor guy’s foot got John Deered, but I’ve been mourning on the assumption that Ginsberg’s not coming back to the industry.)

    • Rae

      I was shouting at the tv ‘Peggy don’t open the box! No good will come of it!’

      • Eric Stott

        Given his talk of “Procreation” and “Release” I was expecting something more on the fluid side.

        • CommentsByKatie

          I said the same thing!! I figured I was just getting hysterical, but then it was EVEN WORSE than I had imagined. Shudder.

    • MollyRingwald

      Betty made Rumaki! It’s clearly her go-to hors d’ouevre since she also cooked it for her Around the World menu for the Heineken account guys!

      • MilaXX

        I just googled the recipe. “This traditional hot appetizer is always a crowd pleaser. Chicken livers and water chestnuts are marinated in a simple, savory sauce, then wrapped with bacon and fried.” People eat that? That sound that sin & death fried and served on a stick. bleech!

        • Eric Stott

          Probably quite tasty, but it reminds me of a line from the Drew Carey Show: “Sausages wrapped in Bacon…you can just feel your heart slow down”. Still, back then liver was still considered something healthy & Cholesterol hadn’t entered the nation’s vocabulary.

          • MilaXX

            maybe it’s just the vegetarian in me because that sounds all kinds of nasty to me.

            • Eric Stott

              Organ meats are something you have to eat without thinking about them. T. S. Eliot wrote of Prufrock relishing the tang of urine in his breakfast kidney.

            • MilaXX

              STOP! That makes it worse. No food with face please.

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

              No no no no no to infinity and beyond!

              6 million zillion trillion tonnes of NO!

              (runs screaming from the comments area) :)

            • Gatto Nero

              I remember the smell of steak and kidney pie baking. That faint reek of ammonia.

            • T C

              I was extremely grateful for the dog whose chin rested on the napkin on my lap to receive all the kidney the nights we were served the torture of s&k pie. Ditto for the overcooked liver suitable for resoling army boots.

          • Cheryl

            But this was a delicacy – it’s not as if it was a main course. People still eat pate and foie gras and chopped chicken liver. Just small sensible portions.

            • Eric Stott

              Oh yes- I agree- but I recall ordering chicken livers at restaurants & getting a sauteed plate full of them. I also recall liking them.

        • Synnamin

          actually, they’re lovely. And I have an aversion for kidneys and livers and other organ meats. But my grandfather makes them once a year for the holidays; he doesn’t fry them again afterward – he bakes them instead.

          • MilaXX

            organ meat wrapped in bacon. Not a fan of either of them. I’mma pass.

    • http://trufcreative.com/ monomatica

      You forget that Megan’s mom once told her to dress like sex–that time she went to dinner in the micro-mini gold lamé dress–in order to get Don’s attention. I think she was doing more of the same dancing at the party and then when that didn’t work with the “free love”. She’s always been doing this sort of thing with him. It didn’t feel like out of left field at all to me. She’s always seemed very insecure to me. AND she felt very threatened and jealous by Stephanie knowing Don’s “secrets” and Don rushing to LA to help her. I do think she wants Don to want to be with her in CA, but it seems pretty broken at this point.

    • Synnamin

      I think the nipple incident is what? 3 Lawnmowers?

      • Lady Bug

        Well, personally for me, based on my screaming “EWWW!!! OH MY GOD!” WHAT THE F****!” I would say at least 5 lawnmowers

        • L’Anne

          This one tops the lawnmower itself for me.

          • Lady Bug

            Me too, not that I would ever want to witness or be party to a lawnmower almost severing someone’s foot, but the self-mutilation was much more disturbing & graphic to me.

    • Fjasmine

      I saw Peggy as playing an aunt or big sister role with Julio. Even in the scene when his mother sent him down about the toilet Peggy lost her temper with Julio but they seemed really comfortable with eachother. And there’s the possiblity that the mother sent Julio because he *had* a good relationship with Peggy.

      • not_Bridget

        Julio probably speaks the best English in his apartment. His parents work all day & don’t have time for serious classes; his abuela speaks only Spanish. But he’s in school & he’s bright.

        So he’s the one picked to communicate with the landlady. Saturday nights, his family probably wants to kick back & watch Spanish language TV. So he comes to Peggy’s to watch the US shows. Hey, Peggy was the “different” one at home……

        • Cheryl

          I think Peggy’s relationship with Julio is an indication of her becoming comfortable in her surroundings. When she first moved in we were led to believe she and Abe were living in a war zone, and she was in danger living there. Now she’s not only the landlord, but a part of the “family” of the building. I faced something similar when I moved to a neighborhood that was considered one of the most dangerous in my town. (It was all I could afford.) Now I’m deeply embedded in my community and I love that when I’m lonely or need to talk to someone (for example, on 9/11, when I couldn’t stand to be alone) there’s always someone around to commiserate with.

          • Glammie

            Yep. She’s built sort of a relationship with Julio despite herself. My theory is that she has a color television, so of course he wants to watch it. And Julio’s family’s not that different from Peggy’s–particularly if the dad’s not around. Peggy’s connecting despite herself.

          • http://tvblogster.blogspot.com Boop

            I’m not sure what cross street she’s on, but she’s somewhere on Amsterdam Ave. And that upper west side building is gonna pay off like gold in about thirty years. Maybe Julio will be her real estate partner?

          • Azucena

            I like this development for her character. She is actually living the life Abe wanted to live but couldn’t because he saw his neighbors as a social issue instead of people.

            Not saying that the lack of infrastructure/ police brutality in neighborhoods like that aren’t an issue, but Peggy is finally getting to see that a lot of the “scariness” that is projected on areas inhabited primarily by people of color is due to white majority (in this case Nixonian) fear mongering.

        • T C

          No mention of Julio’s father in any prior episodes. It’s also possible there is no TV in his apartment.

    • Fjasmine

      I think Stan was aware of how fake Megan’s life was before anyone else. He was slightly mocking when she brought up the students around their building way back when she and Don were going to work together.

    • brooklynbull

      Agree, Meghans three-way did not feel out of left field at all. She and Don seem somewhat matched in that for them, sex is often a pleasurable means to get to some other (unconscious) goal – something like acceptance for that part of themselves that they feel lacking.

      On another front – Stephanie somewhat creeps me out. She did not appear to me beautiful, as Megan said; she looked dirty and worn-out, and Megan’s dreamy appraisal of her seemed ominous. The whole Laurel Canyon setup has always had for me had a certain Manson vibe, this episode especially. After Stephanie took the money, I fully expected her and some cohort to come back for more. Or maybe this is just some long-delayed ‘helter-skelter’ shudder –

      • SylviaFowler

        Even dirty and tired, you can tell that she has a beautiful face.

        • brooklynbull

          Beautiful, yes – but for me, somewhat calculating and removed. When she appeared in Megan’s dressing gown … so comfortable. And when she took the thousand dollars – a lot of money in those days – even more comfortable. I am guessing we have not seen the last of her.

          • SylviaFowler

            I don’t know how you get “calculating and removed” just from her appearance? Of course she would be comfortable after having a bath and being wrapped in something warm and nice? I thought the last thing she looked when she took the money was comfortable, she looked resigned and regretful. And I sure hope we haven’t seen the last of her! Don needs another family member in his life.

            • Glammie

              Yeah, I got the sense she was accepting Megan’s check as sort of guilt money because Megan was shoving her out. I actually think she wanted and needed a place to stay more than anything, but realized Megan was rejecting her. Given that she’s calling from a phone booth later, it doesn’t look like she’s found a place.

            • Beth

              When Megan gave a half-hearted apology for telling her she should leave, Stephanie told her it was okay, and said “I got what I came for” (the money).

    • Chuck Chuckerson

      I really appreciate how they handled Michael’s psychotic break even if it was heartbreaking to watch. People are generally fearfully of people with schizophrenia, when the reality is that they are more likely to hurt themselves than other people. Yes, Michael made a move on Peggy that was motivated by his psychosis, but he stopped when she told him to and he apologized. The worst part for me, though, is that he is a man with a very good job who could easily afford medication, but as Tom and Lorenzo pointed out, no one knew that he needed it.

    • Glammie

      Hmmm, repy option isn’t showing up on Disqus . . . which is a shame, I kind of love commenting on other people’s comments . . .

      So, Jim Cutler, I think, is sort of an advanced version of Pete–entitled, extremely ambitious and wily. However, Pete knows, as shown in the Bob Benson episode, when to concede. *That*, I think, was the take-away from the end of the episode, when Jim Cutler looked slightly cowed and disgruntled after Don slammed the door on him. Jim Cutler sees himself and has been seen by us as a master manipulator. But Don’s better–and Jim Cutler just got an inkling of that. Which is why Jim made the mistake of letting Don know directly that he was trying to get rid of him–which is actually a show of weakness. You don’t show your cards. After all, Don said exactly what Cutler thought he wanted to hear–that he’d step down, which gives Don insurance–he’s playing by the stated rules, but inverting him. Jim knows he’s getting played, but he’s also kind of stuck. Among other things, it reminds Jim and Lou that if Don exits, it needs to be with a non-compete clause (all the talk of friends/competitors)–and that wasn’t in the new contract stipulations.

      I also thought, like some other posters, the Megan 3-way was reminiscent of Dick’s prostitute experience–Don in the supine, passive position, going along with it, but not choosing it. Enforced adultery pretty much guarantees an emotional check-out by Don. It was a sort of what not to do with a guy who has a major madonna-whore complex. Though it’s ironic, given that Megan, the good wife was playing the whore, while Stephanie, the knocked-up unmarried hippie, is literally referred to as a madonna. Jackie and Marilyn, switching hair colors.

      Meanwhile Peggy Irene Dunne doesn’t fit either category and ends up fending off poor manic Ginsberg.

      • Anton

        Once again, that was not a prostitute experience, that was rape. But that scene was really reminiscent of the rape. I wonder if it ever comes up again…

        • Glammie

          I wouldn’t qualify it as rape–Don could have left the room. He wasn’t being forced to have sex. I’d say more a reluctant participant–more like he’s going along with it because it’s easier, but, at the same time, detaching from it.

          What is it he says about sex to Betty when they have their moment at camp–or is to someone else? Something about sex not meaning much to him. That’s not quite it though. Anyway, for a guy who only has glimpses of intimacy during sex, bringing in a third party is an invasive thing to do. It’s a big misread on Megan’s part–might have worked with Roger or Cutler, but Don and Dick both left the bed when Megan pulled it on Don.

          • SylviaFowler

            He’s saying that the “prostitute experience” (not the threesome) that you referred to was rape. And it was.

            • Glammie

              Ah, yes, I see I wasn’t clear there. I’m describing the threesome. I suppose part of the reason Don couldn’t say no to something he didn’t want is because of what happened to him as a kid.

              And I’m not going to go back and revisit the “rape” debate from last season. Don was a kid and did not consent, so a destructive experience for him.

            • SylviaFowler

              That is the definition of rape, though.

            • Glammie

              Actually, it’s not that simple. Rape, legally, is not simply sex without consent–it’s sex through use of physical force or under duress or threat. Also includes situations where the victim is unable to give consent–i.e. unconscious. At least for adults, Don might fall under the statutory rape definition–though not at that time.

              It’s a word whose definition is under ongoing debate and reinterpretation. What happened to Don falls into a nebulous area–she wasn’t threatening him or pinning him down. Conceivably, he could have gotten out of there. BUT, for a number of reasons, he could not, did not. But his trust was abused and he did not consent, so, as I say, the experience was damaging for him. Probably all the more so because he did not have the wherewithal to assert his will. I’d also expect, like a number of abuse victims, he’d feel deeply conflicted about it.

              I don’t think a sexual encounter needs to be called “rape” to be destructive.

            • not_Bridget

              That’s what the teacher told the police!

            • Glammie

              More like the lawyer. I don’t have an issue with Don’s prostitute encounter being called “rape”, I just don’t like being told that *I* have to do so. And, yes, “rape” is a legal term with a legal definition and I tend to be precise about those things.

            • Dora Kishinevsky

              It’s not very often I can be proud of my country, but I’m happy to point out that in Israel the legal definition of rape actually is “sex without consent.” I don’t know that it’s actually easier to get a rapist convincted here than it is in the US but at least the letter of the law gives judges the ability to convict without use of force/threats being proven.

              Obviously the legal definition isn’t the ultimate or even popularly accepted definition, here or anywhere.

          • dynamoxie

            I think he said something along the lines of “Why is this the only way to show how much you care about someone?” Like, he would rather be lying with Betty than actually having sex. Then later, I think, she actually said something subtly bitchy like “Or do you just want to cuddle now?”

            Also, overall, I don’t think Megan was trying to give him something he wanted, but it’s a whole bunch of things. If she’s not his priority, she’s going to make him demonstrate it; he knows she has solid proof he has slept with someone else (even if he didn’t really want to); it brings them to the same level.

      • smh4748

        What was Megan wearing in that scene? I honestly can’t remember, and don’t have DVR, but now I’m dying to know if it was pink/red.

        • T C

          Megan was wearing the blue/gray Pucci dress which was far too luxe for her party friends but would have been appropriate in Beverly Hills or NYC.

        • Glammie

          Who was wearing the bright orange/red underwear? Was it Megan?

          • DeniseSchipani

            Yes. I don’t think you see the friend out of her clothes.

    • http://tvblogster.blogspot.com Boop

      My mother struggled with Paranoid Schizophrenia all my life. I noticed the signs very early, and surprised they aren’t just coming out and saying it. Ginz is more than just odd. He’s quite ill, poor guy.

      • Cheryl

        Mental hospitals weren’t “snake pits” by 1969 – especially ones that someone like Ginsberg would be taken to. In fact, in 1969 I was seeing a therapist who had once worked at the hospital that the book, “The Snake Pit” had been based on – Rockland State Hospital. And at this point a lot of new medications were prescribed by psychiatrists, some that may enable Ginsberg to live with his dad and as someone else said, find a non-pressured job that won’t stress him so much.

        • http://tvblogster.blogspot.com Boop

          Interesting! I guess my pre-1980’s visions of mental hospitals seem to be those from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Interesting that Rockland State Hospital was considered the “Snake Pit”. My parents moved to Rockland County, and I used to pass the sign for the place on the Palisades Parkway all the time, never realizing their reputation.

      • girlsaturday

        By the late ’60s the general climate of inpatient wards was definitely getting a lot better and there were a lot of good improvements going on (the show’s only five years away from lithium becoming widely available) but then, as today, the experience a person has comes down to a variety of things, including what kind of facility (private or public) they’re going to, whether they’re on an adult or juvenile ward, what kind of treatment they’re receiving, what kind of mental state they’re in, and even what doctors they happen to be assigned to.

    • smh4748

      I was really looking forward to the T&Lo review, because I was getting so frustrated with the many tweets last night from various sources about how Ginsberg’s sad fate “came out of nowhere.” They did a wonderful job summing up all of the red flags that have been planted for him for the past few seasons. How the final breakdown happened was still shocking (to me), but the fact that a breakdown came was not shocking in and of itself. Moss did a great job with the scene where Ginsberg is being wheeled away–what a heartbreaking moment. The last few weeks have been showing Peggy as this hard, embittered woman, but she definitely still has a heart, and Ginsberg’s behavior was not only hugely unsettling and scary for her personally, but also just plain sad. She really captured both of those aspects beautifully.

      I was curious about Sally’s injuries. Everything I’ve read takes the “swordfighting with golf clubs” literally and at face value, and yes, teenagers do dumb stuff, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. However, “a couple of black eyes and a broken nose” are some pretty dang serious injuries. To me, it sounds more like a beating. Where could Sally have been that she got so badly hurt? I’m quite worried about where they take this. It would be easy for her to lie about it, because she would know (and was proven correct) that Betty would be more concerned with the surface physical effects than with anything else.

      On a lighter note, I enjoyed seeing Lou’s secret ambitions as a cartoonist. It’s a world away in every single sense, but I couldn’t help but see the similarity to Michael Scott’s secret screenplay world of “Threat Level: Midnight,” both in the sadly unrealistic aspirations of the creators and their insensibility to their lack of talent, and in the mocking reaction of the underlings who discover both works.

      • 3hares

        One smack in the face from a golf club would easily produce a swollen nose/black eyes. she could have been on the playing field at school.

        • smh4748

          I could see how a golf club could cause the described injuries, but it seems hard to believe that they all could have happened from one single strike. I guess it’s possible, but to have two black eyes and a broken nose sounds like repeated blows. Maybe not though.

          • 3hares

            Often when you get hit in the nose it causes black eyes as well–I assumed that was the idea with Sally. It was all one strike.

            • smh4748

              Ok. I guess I was never the type to swing golf clubs at my face, so I’ll take your word for it. :)

            • Gatto Nero

              Yes. And after the doctor visit Henry reported that it wasn’t broken.

            • smh4748

              Ah. All I remembered was the nose job comments, and Henry’s connections enabling them to “fix it” over the weekend, and it seemed unlikely one would have a nose job for a non-broken nose.

        • T C

          As a high school field hockey player, I can say we girls didn’t always play by the rules when we were not having a good day (family, relationships, teen angst, hormones, jealousy, etc.). Muddy fields made covering these “accidents” with sticks uncomplicated. I also remember receiving two black eyes as the result of opening my brother’s bedroom door while knocking on it and getting my head smashed in the door frame by his shove; should have knocked and waited instead of opening the door, he did have a phone call (from a girl). The black eyes are permanently enshrined in my high school yearbook.

      • MarinaCat

        “I was really looking forward to the T&Lo review, because I was getting so frustrated with the many tweets last night from various sources about how Ginsberg’s sad fate ‘came out of nowhere.'” It has been my experience that the Twitter and FB crowd are not nearly as schooled at Mad Men as the bitter kittens. Sure, there are valid complaints to be made over the course of 6.5 seasons but Ginsberg’s mental illness coming out of nowhere should definitely not be one of them.

        • Malia C.

          I don’t follow Twitter or Facebook, but I was shocked today to see not just how many commenters on other forums couldn’t believe the Ginsberg development, but how many recappers thought it came out of left field as well (Vulture, AVC, etc.).

          • MarinaCat

            I plan on reading them tonight. I’m not trying to jump on the bandwagon, but there were obvious indications that something was wrong in the “I’m from Mars” scene and then later when Ginsberg needed to be talked down while rocking on the floor. Even if you misinterpreted those scenes when the episodes aired, you can still revisit them through this new lens, smack your forehead and say, “Ooooooohhhhh.”

            • Lady Bug

              Exactly, in hindsight Ginsberg’s schizophrenia has been hinted & alluded to several times, and not just in this episode or even this season.

          • CommentsByKatie

            Yes….I actually stopped reading AV Club’s review halfway through because I was so disgusted that they were criticizing the writers for Ginsberg’s actions ‘coming out of nowhere’. Maybe I’m just biased because our Great Uncles raised the flag early and the signs, as a result, have been obvious to me.

        • dynamoxie

          I’m kind of frustrated right now that I don’t remember him rocking on the floor, or saying he heard voices, but I immediately remembered the Martian stuff after this episode. It was filmed so eerily, and I think we saw most of his speech through his reflection in a window. I thought it was one key characterizing scene that most people would remember. He was so disconnected, though he had some legitimate reason to feel so (his father saying he was born in a concentration camp), but it’s not shocking that it could develop into something more literal/observable, etc.

          • Glammie

            The floor-rocking and such is in the Gleason’s funeral episode. where everybody, but Cutler is kind of crackers.

        • Cheryl

          Yes, the ‘out of nowhere’ remarks are puzzling. Ginsberg has been ‘off’ for a very long time, and it was not a surprise that he finally had a break down. How it manifested itself, might be, but not that it happened. My husband, The Viking said at Ginsberg’s first appearance that evening ‘that guy is not right, he’s truly ill’. I agreed, and we both wondered how much longer he could hang on. How many other people had similar conversations that night; I’m betting a few.

      • Karen

        I feel as if Sally’s nose problem–whatever its true origin–probably had a level of drugs and alcohol involved.

      • Elizabetta1022

        I definitely thought Sally and her friends had been out joy riding. Driver hit something and Sally’s face hit the dashboard. The golf club story sounds like something kids would come up with to fool parents because they’d actually been doing something much more dangerous.

      • girlsaturday

        Honestly, I think Sally and her friend were swordfighting with golf clubs, I’m just also assuming they were stoned out of their minds while doing so. Sally just isn’t the type to take a beating – even if she didn’t win a fight, there’d still be some element of ‘you should see the other guy’ about it. She had the face injuries, but no broken nails or bloody knuckles. Swordfighting with golf clubs because it seemed like fun and not realizing she’s got two black eyes and a bloody nose because she’s too high to care about the pain – that fits pretty well with what Sally’s school life has been shown like.

      • BluesD

        If you hit your nose hard enough in a certain way you will get two black eyes because of the way blood pools. A broken nose will also give you black eyes.

    • Nicholas

      By putting Cutler and Lou in the cab and closing the door, you could also say that Draper ended up tucking in Lou. :)

    • Melissa

      I’m just so sad about Ginsberg. He’s become one of my favorites, vulnerable and creative and often kind. I agree with you guys that the wtf atmosphere was a bit much for this episode.

    • MK03

      I’m just shocked that it took this long for Don to have a three-way.

      • SylviaFowler

        There is no way this is his first threesome. The first one that we’ve seen, maybe. But no way his first time.

        • FibonacciSequins

          Maybe the first one with a wife, that much I could believe.

    • lillyvonschtupp

      Poor Peggy. Once minute she stabs her boyfriend and before you know it, you end up with a nipple on your desk.

    • Megan Kennedy

      Disagree about Henry’s chauvinism coming out of left field. He was the hottest for Betty when she was the pregnant princess that needed saving. The only reason it hasn’t come up until now is because Betty played that part so well.

      • malarson2

        You’re right. NOW there’s contrast so it’s more glaring.

      • Babyboomer59

        At the time he met Betty he was a divorced man wanting a political future. I imagin he thought a beautiful pregnant woman could help that goal.

        • Megan Kennedy

          Sure, but Betty was also a soon-to-be-divorced woman. And they started seeing each other when she was still married. Actually, marrying a pregnant woman at that time would have been somewhat scandalous. He would have had politically safer options.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        Also, he gets incredibly turned on when other men find Betty desirable.

    • Glammie

      Still can’t comment directly, but just want to point out that by 1969, mental hospitals were not hellholes. In some ways, they are better than now because the states were still providing semi-decent funding for them. There was also the introduction of psychotropic drugs. Lobotomies were out of fashion. This is actually a time of debate over mental illness and how to treat it. There’s a move toward not keeping locked up against their will and, also, toward group housing. These were both considered needed reforms, though, ironically, these reforms weren’t, for the most part, carried through and were used as excuses to cut adequate funding for treatment of the mentally ill.

      One of my parent’s coworkers had a schizophrenic break in the late 70s. People didn’t see it coming. He was able to recover enough to quit thinking he was Jesus, move away to a place where his break wasn’t known about and take on a less stressful job. Curiously, he divorced and came out of the closet as well–so, I do wonder if Ginsberg has issues with his sexuality (“If we could do this without sex, I would.”) just because I know of this situation. Also a very creative guy.

      Which is my roundabout way of saying that 1969 was not the dark ages for mental illness. It was a time people were trying to grapple with the issue with mixed results.

      • Shawn EH

        The fact that he saw as unsexual an interaction as his lip-reading of Lou and Cutler makes me suspect why his mind went to homosexuality immediately.

      • FibonacciSequins

        My aunt has struggled with schizophrenia since the 1950s. I remember her going off her meds on a fairly regular basis all throughout my childhood, but she’s been pretty stable for the last 20 or so years (in part, I believe, because drug treatments for mental illnesses have improved tremendously). Whether or not Ginsberg sticks with his meds, I think it’s safe to say he will not be returning to the high-pressure environment of SC&P. I envision him living with his dad and hopefully finding work he can handle.

        • Glammie

          Yep. He won’t be returning to SCP, but I hope he finds some sort of life. I have a schizophrenic cousin (Mental illness is all over my family tree on both sides.) He lives pretty quietly with his brother and his wife. Has for years. Works occasionally at low-stress, low-level jobs. But schizophrenia’s brutal.

      • snarkykitten

        He was strangely obsessed with Lou & Jim being “homos”

      • dynamoxie

        It’s not weird that the character who was clearly psychotic referenced seeing (nonexistent) homosexuality in others (paranoid about a conspiracy, where it turned out there was one, just a different one than he thought), feeling homosexual feelings himself (he said Stan’s shoulder made him aroused), and then trying to act out sexually inappropriately (with Peggy). I think the show put all these elements in context, the gay stuff wasn’t some hidden message, or the root of his problem. He also talked about waves of uncontrollable energy and hearing voices, those would be the root of his problem. Hypersexuality is also something that happens to bipolar people in manic states. We all agree this looks more like schizophrenia, but there’s plenty of overlap in the real world.

        • Glammie

          No, I don’t mean to imply that homosexuality was the root of his problem–being delusional was. Just piecing out to what extent Ginsberg’s possible struggles with his sexuality were a piece of the puzzle.

          I suppose all of Ginsberg’s acting out is kind of meant as a reflection of the time period, which is so crazed, paranoid and unstructured (and homophobic) that Ginsberg’s psychotic break is missed.

      • Kathryn Sanderson

        This is all true, and it’s important to remember. Still, the stigma attached to mental illness was greater than it is now.

        • Glammie

          Agreed. Though I think there’s still a stigma attached to schizophrenia.

          • Kathryn Sanderson

            Oh, definitely. But I think it was stronger then.

    • aquamarine17

      a few thoughts: I guess Ted is pretty minor this season unless he figures big in the next few episodes. why is he “a broken man”? is he sad about Peggy or did his world crumble from moving west? also I thought it was interesting that both Don and Stephanie were “beat” for good reasons (jet lag & living rough) and neither of them could get their needed sleep due to Megan…

      • elevan

        It could be that he is sad about Peggy, but I think that it’s more about how the band-aid of moving to California, as it turns out, has done nothing to actually improve his life.

        • Joanna

          The other thing that I keep forgetting about Ted is that his creative partner just died. I don`t know how long Gleeson and Ted worked together, but it did seem to hit him hard. Ted also sees himself as a `good guy` so cheating on his wife and falling in love with another woman on top losing Gleeson has created an identity crisis for poor Ted.

      • Vail Beach

        Jim Cutler has no idea why Ted moved to California, but he suspects it’s because of Draper, hence his hatred of Draper. So, he serves the plot even in his lovelorn absence, by acting as a trigger for Jim to want to torture and destroy Don.

      • Elizabetta1022

        Good point about Megan. She couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give either Stephanie or Don respite. Her house is not a place to rest or heal.

    • Joanna

      Few things- My “whoa” moment of the episode was Henry saying something along the lines of “Girls! Stop arguing!” to Sally and Betty- I knew it was a paternalistic relationship and that Betty has major Daddy issues, but wow.

      Meghan is a spoiled brat and I’m not sure how much her attitude is Don-induced- the coldness of her just cutting a cheque (even the sound of it ripping) and just sending Stephanie on her way really creepy. Her mom’s lectures to her seemed like they’d been going on one way or another for a while. Not that Don didn’t bring some of it to the forefront, but I never bought her as the “she’s not cynical”- we met her parents- there is no way they raised an up and up idealist. She looks great in the clothes, but that’s the extent of my use for her.

      I was glad to see Stephanie because she reminded me of Anna, who was probably the only genuinely good person on the show.

      I’ve decided that a show without Roger, Pete and Joan just isn’t an episode of Mad Men.

      • Lady Bug

        Based on the previews, both Joan & Pete make an appearance in the next episode :)

      • dynamoxie

        When Henry came in to ask Betty about what happened on the field trip with Bobby, there was the whole same vibe of a father working something out between his kids. The fact that she still never even told him was also really immature.

      • http://tootcomic.com/ Dick In A Bog

        Meg is feeling insecure about her relationship with don, and the tripping point is precisely when Steph says “I know all his secrets,” one of the very few things megan thinks is still special about their relationship. That’s when the insecurity flares up and she pushes her out the door.

        I get that lots of people don’t like Megan but it’s always troubling that people don’t even attempt to empathize with her. The only person that seems to be held to the same scutiny of actions is Betty; everyone else seems to get repeated passes on their shitty behavior, public opinion wise.

        I just find it hard to hate these very well drawn people who are struggling so desperately for some scrap of happiness, and utterly fucking it up most of the time. The king of this being don, of course.

        • MarinaCat

          I tend to agree. Megan has been a good wife to Don and she really loves him. I don’t remember too many repetitive instances from past episodes that would cause me to characterize her as a “spoiled brat” or “manipulative” with such broad strokes. She might have acted in a manipulative way in this past episode, but that doesn’t define her whole character at all. If anything, it shows that she’s desperate. I think people who never liked Megan have an “a HA!” moment here, when really, it’s just that: a moment. (I don’t know that I’d be as gracious if my husband called me out of the blue to tell me that some strange pregnant hippie will be knocking on my door and, “oh yeah, you’re going to have to entertain her until I get there.”)

          • http://tootcomic.com/ Dick In A Bog

            Threesome notwithstanding, I think a lot of what she does are somewhat natural, if petty and poorly thought out reactions to what she’s being presented with. And even the threeway makes a little sense in the context of her peer group.

            I can’t say I LIKE how she acts towards Don all the time, but I certainly understand and recognize where it may come from.

        • Joanna

          It’s more, for me, that I don’t like the actor in the part and don’t think the writers did her much of a favour making Megan sort of vague to begin with, and tried to fill in blanks as they went along without paying attention to what came before. It’s sort of like it wasn’t good planning. So any time spent with Megan reminds me of these two things. I envy those who don’t find her annoying.

          It’s not that I give other characters “a pass”, I just enjoy watching their shitty behaviour more. Jones isn’t the most dynamic actor ever, but she plays the hell out of that part and fits in. She also has much better chemistry with Hamm, IMO.

    • smh4748

      I’m sure T&Lo will have many things to say on this point, but in the image above, which I assume is from this episode, though I can’t say I remember what exact scene it’s from, Peggy is wearing the same outfit (or blouse, anyway) that she was in the Valentine’s episode a couple of weeks ago. Maybe this is her “ugly bow tie of extreme emotional upheaval.”

      • TeraBat

        Though, one thing I did notice – at the start of the episode, when Peggy and Don are in the elevator together, Don’s tie matches Peggy’s dress. I totally thought that meant they’d be clicking this episode and really getting along. In reality, they basically just did not interact.

        • Bella Bluth

          But they both were caretakers, or “mothers”. Don took care of Stephanie, and Peggy took care of Gins (and Julio). And let’s not forget, due to Peggy, Gins was “tucked in” (restrianed for his own safety) as he was exiting, along with