Well, after two weeks of implied violence towards women, emasculation of men, the terrorization of teenage girls by predators outside the home (and knife-wielding step-grandmothers inside the home), illicit kisses, unexpected house guests, fisticuffs, and divorce, it’s finally nice to come back to the world of Sterling Cooper Draper & Price back at a normal, even keel.
So let us return to our sense of normalcy… with a drug-fuelled homage to the films of the Nouvelle Vague.
Seriously, what the hell did we witness tonight? I get that the idea of the structure of the episode is meant to be a riff on the French films at the time, but it really did make for a few head-scratching moments, and a few “Oh-My-God!-What-The-Fuck-Is-Going-On?” moments of trippiness (which I’m sure is what the show’s creators wanted for this episode).
So, to help wade through all of what we have seen tonight, I’m going to do something unusual: I’m going to break down the chronology of the episode in actually run time order to help line up the big themes and help tease out the parallels between Don’s, Roger’s, and Peggy’s stories. And then I’ll interject if there’s any salient points I need to make.
So bust out the LSD mints, grab the orange sherbet and backscratchers, and let’s meet at Howard Johnson to work through all of this…
…and for god’s sake, Hide The Mirrors!
- Peggy wakes up in her (still messy) flat with the (still disheveled) Abe, who resents being put second to her career and storms out, as she braces herself for the Heinz Beans pitch.
- Roger suggests that he and Don go to Plattsburg, New York to visit the flagship Howard Johnson hotel for a client meeting (and good old debauchery) so that he can get out of a dinner party with Jane
- Don walks into Peggy’s morning meeting with Stan, Ginsberg, and Megan, and pulls Megan out for the business trip (against her wishes). Peggy will have to deliver the Heinz pitch by herself.
- Megan and Don drive to Plattsburg and she is worried about letting the team down by missing the Heinz pitch. Don tells her to stop worrying as there are some perks to being his wife.
- Peggy’s pitch to Heinz does not go well. First the client thinks it’s too sentimental, and then she tries to pull a Don move by bullying the client into liking it. This causes Pete to pull her off of the account, and sends her scrambling into smoking and drinking.
- Peggy takes her leave of the office to go watch a movie, where a gentleman offers her a joint, then a hand job, which she stops, and decides to give him one instead.
- Megan and Don arrive at HoJo and fight; first over the fact that Don didn’t buy a gift for Gene (as a youngest child herself, Megan can relate), then by making a scene over orange sherbet (he likes it, she hates it) and then they fight over the state of their relationship (Megan hates being controlled by Don), which forces Don to drive away and leave Megan at the Howard Johnson.
- Peggy returns to the office and takes a nap on Don’s couch.
- Don returns to HoJo but Megan is missing. No one has seen her. Desperate, he makes a call to her mother, then to the office, where Peggy answers and reveals that the Heinz pitch didn’t go well.
- Meanwhile, Roger and Jane go to a dinner party with her psychiatrist, and everyone takes LSD, which causes Roger to have the most amazing hallucinations (seeing half his hair turn black, a surprise visit by Don, the room changing, etc.)
- After her phone call, Peggy returns to her office, where Ginsberg is having a fight with his father. His father leaves and Ginsberg fills us in on the past of his life saying he was born on Mars (though his father claims he was born in a concentration came while his mom died in childbirth).
- On the other side of town Roger and Jane, still tripping, admit that their marriage is over.
- Don returns home to find Megan, who bussed all the way home. They have a vicious fight but make up.
- Roger and Jane wake up and he reveals that they are going to get a divorce.
- Everyone returns to work, where Bert Cooper lays down the law onto Don. He’s been on “love leave” and needs to snap to it, lest there is another Heinz situation
There. Not so confusing now, is it? Now, onto the bullet points:
- Structurally it was interesting to see everyone tripping out on some drug, be it booze & weed, LSD, or love.
- It was also interesting to see everyone having bad days with their paramours for basically the same reason; they ignore their lover and their needs.
- Interesting to note that Peggy was watching Born Free, a story about a cub raised in captivity released into the wild. Since these things aren’t accidental, who wants to bet that this season Peggy will leave SCDP (whether it’s by her choice or not remains to be seen)?
- Speaking of the inevitable, who sees Joan and Roger getting together? Especially since now they will both be separated from their troubling spouses.
- And who sees Don & Megan separating? If they do, I think she’s staying at SCDP, like it or not Don.
- And I’m with Ginsberg on this; the fried clams were the bomb (yes there will still HoJo’s in the 80s of my childhood thank you).