Mad Men Recap: Don Gets Back To Fighting Weight
Last week on Mad Men, Roger hung out at a hippie commune and Don, after initially behaving like a big drunken baby, is set to actually do some advertising agency work again. Let’s see how that works out for him this week.
We open with Stan checking out some old comics that were drawn by Lou Avery and accidentally left on the Xerox. Lou? Comics? Really? Stan steals them so he can show them to the other guys on the creative team and then be a real dick to Shirley and refuse to give them back. Also, Stan is high as fuck.
Let’s watch Peggy and Don have some super-awkward elevator conversation about how Peggy is basically the boss of Don and is putting him on a team. Why on earth have this sort of conversation on an elevator? Elevators are for no conversation at all.
Michael is terrified by the new computer, but attracted to the girl that comes with the new computer.
Don gets a call from Stephanie, Anna Draper’s niece. We haven’t seen Stephanie since 2010. In fact, we’re not sure he’s talked to her since Anna Draper passed away. They have a nice stilted conversation in which she explains is not an emergency, but she is super-pregnant and is broke and that’s why she called. She’s living in LA. Don lets her know that she can go to Megan and Megan will take care of her. He then calls Megan to give her a heads up. Wait a second. Didn’t Megan just basically end it all with Don just two episodes ago? She wasn’t even returning his “I love you” on the telephone. But now we’re back to he’s flying out to LA and she’s throwing a party and she’ll take care of Stephanie and she’s glad for the chance to see Don. Don Draper’s charisma is powerful, people.
The creative team is all high, because they just smoke weed in their office all day long and that’s totally cool because it is 1969, we guess, and all they want to do is talk about Lou’s cartoon, “Scout’s Honor” and draw cartoons mocking Lou. Don would like Stan to do some actual work, so he takes the comics away. Wait, are these comic strips really going to be a thing this whole episode?
Betty is getting ready to have a party with the most late-1960s/early 1970s era menu ever: rumaki, crab louie on toast points, and little franks in barbecue sauce.
Super hippie super pregnant Stephanie gets to Megan’s house and they both have groovy outfits.
Also we totally just realized Stephanie is Sarah from “Arrow.” Stephanie throws out pretty much every piece of 60s slang in the book and it is the first time that Megan has ever looked stiff and aging next to another character in this show. The youth, always there to make you feel less cool.
Oh yeah, this comic strip thing is going to go on FOREVER. Stan and Mathis are cracking wise about the comics in the bathroom and who should come out of the stall but Lou Avery. And of course they have a meeting with Lou immediately following. Show, we expect better of you. This is some Ally McBeal-type bullshit. And now Lou has to go on a rant about how great his comic strip is and how people were naysayers to Bob Dylan but he is a genius and Stan is not a genius and also how everyone but Lou is a flag-burning snot. Yes, in Lou’s world if you hate his crummy military-themed comic, you are straight up planning to smash the state. Lou throws everyone out and tells them they have to come back later with finished work. Stan is behaving like a child and Lou is both treating him like a child and simultaneously behaving like a child, which is quite a feat.
Peggy and Henry’s party in Westchester is everything we’d hoped for. Look at this couple!
The couple is nattering on about how kids are smashing streetlights in Westchester and Betty leaps to explaining that the real problem is Vietnam and how kids don’t support their country and anything is up for grabs, but then super awkward party time ensues when Henry, the show’s most Republican Republican officeholder, explains that he agrees with Nixon that its time to get the hell out of Vietnam. Betty looks at him like he’s lost his mind, and the magnificently dressed couple oozes brittleness.
Don comes to Lou with finished work and his hat and coat on, but Lou tells him it is a rookie move to do the “hand in your work and look like you’re walking out” maneuver when Don knows full well Lou won’t let him leave. This must be one of the greatest moments of Lou’s life. The little power move also means that Don can’t fly to LA tonight, so Megan and Stephanie can have an awkward getting-to-know-you dinner chat which turns into Megan telling Stephanie that she’s disorganized and there’s no way Don would trust her to make her own plans and then Megan gets out the checkbook to pay Stephanie to get the hell out of there before Don comes out the next day. Probably not the best move, Megan.
Looks like Betty bailed out on the entire rest of the evening, which was some sort of roving appetizers at the neighbors kind of deal, and Henry’s pissed since she left him to bachelor it after complaining about a fake headache. He yells at her to let him do the thinking where the big man issues like war are concerned and she should be concerned about toast crumbs. Jerk.
Lou pulls the ultimate dick move and, after making Don stay late enough that he can’t catch his flight, tells him that he’ll just look at the work Don’s been slaving over into the wee hours on Monday instead. Is the surprise twist of this season that Don murders Lou, because we’d probably be cool with that.
Don arrives in LA the following morning and there’s no Stephanie, but there is Megan’s random acting class friend Amy, and then Megan lies her face off about how she begged Stephanie to stay but she didn’t, and then Megan tralalas off to the market with friend Amy.
Sally’s home from school because she and another student were swordfighting, except with golf clubs, and Sally took a club to the face.
Henry and Betty are worried about Sally’s nose, because it is Betty’s perfect nose, and Sally should thank her lucky stars that Henry is important enough to have found a top doctor to get her emergency nose job and Sally will never get a man if she doesn’t have a perfect nose. Sally, dry as ever, tells Betty that she doesn’t need a man, because she has Betty to keep her in line. Unsurprisingly, she is sent to her room.
Michael has come to Peggy’s house on a Saturday to talk about how the computer has made Lou and Jim have a secret meeting and now they are homosexual. Nope, that’s really what he says. The computer makes men do unnatural things and also too he can’t work at home and won’t go back to the computer-ridden office, so can he please work at Peggy’s? She lets him. We wouldn’t.
Time for a party at Megan’s with all her cool acting class friends! Don is out on the porch in a sportscoat looking exactly like you think Don would look at this party.
Annoying friend Amy tries to give him weed, and he declines, and now there seems to be some sort of jamboree, complete with banjo, breaking out at the party, and it involves Megan — who has the fucking best hair right now — dancing with an all-denim clad dude.
This awkward moment is made even more so by the arrival of Harry Crane, who didn’t know that the party he was attending was at Megan’s house. Don tells Harry they should go get a drink anywhere else. Harry doesn’t want to, but he’s not man enough to turn down Don either, so he leaves his date, who is not his wife, at the party in the capable
hair hands of Megan.
Peggy wakes up to a sweaty disheveled Michael looming over her.
He’s been staring at her awhile, and he explains that there’s a hydrogen bomb in his head and it is because of the computer and he found himself staring at Stan’s shoulders in a sexytime way so now the only solution is that Peggy should have sex with him. She doesn’t think this is a great plan, and tells him to leave. We just thought Michael was quirky, but he’s heading into full-blown meltdown.
Harry and Don are at a nice smoky low-lit bar and Harry decides this is an excellent time to explain to Don that agencies change, but he, Harry Crane, will make sure that there is always a place for Don and why doesn’t Don just move to LA.
At first it sounds like Harry is just big-upping himself, but it turns out he’s actually trying to find a solution for Don because Jim and Lou are pursuing Philip Morris cigarettes and if they succeed, Don has to go.
Don gets home to Megan’s place, where the party has finally cleared out but random friend Amy is still there because she never leaves, and she again decides that what Don really needs is weed so that he can be as stoned as Megan and Amy. Don declines, but he doesn’t decline the three-way with Megan and Amy, though he does look simultaneously irritated and perplexed by the whole thing.
The next morning, though, Don looks as if he’s feeling no pain, which is usually how one looks when one spends the night with two hot chicks if chicks are how you roll. His morning bliss is interrupted by Stephanie calling to say she made it to Oakland. Megan proceeds to bang everything on earth around in the kitchen to hopefully drown out Stephanie saying anything like “your bitch wife threw me money to get me out of there” but Stephanie says no such thing. Friend Amy wakes up and does a quick dart of shame out of the house and then Megan pouts.
Henry comes home to Betty reading the paper and they have yet another yelling match about how Henry is the only smart one.
Michael has found an outlet for the pressure that the computer put in his head, but now he tells Peggy that he has feelings for her and he has found a release so the waves of data can flow right through him and he wants to give her a present in thanks. He hands her a jewelry-sized box and jesus christ it’s his nipple, which he’s cut off because that’s the valve that releases the pressure. Oh dear god. We’re witnessing Michael’s schizophrenic breakdown or something equally awful, aren’t we? He’s hauled out, restrained, on a stretcher. The show’s been so heavy-handed about hinting that something bad might happen out there in Laurel Canyon where Megan is that it never occurred to us they’d sucker punch us with something this awful happening in New York.
Because this show is relentless, it doesn’t end there. Don crashes a meeting that Lou and Jim are having with the cigarette people and tells them that he’s prepared to leave the agency if that’s what it takes for SCP to get the business. The Philip Morris folks agree that yes, they are none too keen on the idea of working with the guy that trashed their whole industry in the New York Times. Don reminds them, though, because Don is always selling, that he’s the one that has all the cigarette experience and oh, by the way, he’s totally willing to put the full forces of Don Draper at their service, including making it look like they humiliated Don and made him apologize, just to fuck the competition.
Don puts Lou and Jim in a taxi, and when Jim sneeringly says “you think this is going to save you, don’t you?” he shuts the taxi door in his face and whistles for another cab, looking like a goddamn master of the universe, as Waylon Jennings plays him off.
Everybody knows you’ve been steppin’ on my toes
And I’m gettin’ pretty tired of it
You keep a steppin’ out of line
You’re messin’ with my mind
If you had any sense you’d quit.
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