This post was written by Allison Pohle.
Despite what the title of the episode might suggest, the characters can’t physically outrun their problems, so, instead, they try to escape with their minds. However, Matthew Weiner outdid himself with the outrageous antics they resort to, as this week’s episode can be summed up in three words: What just happened? Here’s what you missed (in more than three words):
- Don’s “niece” is pregnant: Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie, calls Don from a payphone in California because she’s pregnant and out of dough — both bread and money. Don tells her to go stay with Megan, and plans to fly out to see them that night. He likes that she calls herself his niece, but really, he likes the idea of having someone who needs him.
- Lou is a comedian: But not intentionally. Stan finds a book of illustrations titled “Scout’s Honor” that Lou created about an unlucky soldier. He and the rest of the copywriters mock the comics, but unfortunately Lou overhears and goes on a tirade about how they don’t understand patriotism. He forces them to work late, which makes Don miss his flight. The whole scenario is reminiscent of when Don made Peggy stay late to work on her birthday, and further emphasizes the parallel between their careers.
- Megan writes Stephanie off: First sweet and kind to her unexpected guest, Megan goes out of her way to make Stephanie feel at home. However, once she learns that Stephanie knows more about Don’s past than she does, Megan feels threatened by the mysterious woman who calls herself “a Madonna” and writes her a $1,000 check with “no strings attached” so she’ll leave without talking to Don.
- Betty speaks up for herself: At a dinner party, Betty compares the lack of community support for broken streetlights to the nation’s lack of support for the Vietnam War, and ends up questioning Henry’s political beliefs in front of his peers. Henry is livid, and later tells her to “leave the thinking to (him),” before taking his thoughts to the couch, where he sleeps alone.
- The Drapers throw a party for the California girls: In an era pre-Daisy Dukes and bikini tops, Megan’s actress friends wear scandalously short mini dresses while dancing to groovy music. Don, who seems to old for this now, drinks alone outside and broods until Harry Crane shows up. Don convinces Harry to leave the party and join him for drinks at a bar, which is when Harry tells him the agency is pursuing a deal with Philip Morris and will fire Don if they get the business.
- There were three in the bed: Megan, yes the Megan who shuddered at the thought of a threesome with her first soap opera director, convinces Don to have a threesome with her friend Anna in a very sensual and explicit scene. Megan becomes the dominating force in the bedroom, which makes Don submissive not only in his job, but also in his personal life.
- Ginsberg loses his mind: The hum of the computer is driving him crazy, and he runs to Peggy’s house on a Saturday night to tell her that he saw Cutler and Lou talking in front of the computer and now believes they are homosexuals. He tries to force himself on Peggy so they can fight the machine’s mission to “make men do unnatural things” by procreating. Peggy throws him out, and Ginsberg sheepishly asks her not to report him.
- Sally and Bobby are the best kids on TV: Sally breaks her nose using golf clubs to fence, so Henry brings her home. Betty scolds her for “ruining her face,” and sassy Sally replies that she’ll never need a man because she has her mom to keep her in line. Later that night, Bobby climbs into Sally’s bed because he’s afraid Betty and Henry will get divorced. She lets him sleep with her, as long as he promises not to “piss the bed.”
- Don lights up tension at the Philip Morris meeting: He arrives unannounced and tells the executives he’ll leave SC&P if they want him to, but that he is an experienced cigarette salesman despite what he wrote in the NYT. A more confident Don appears here, but Cutler and Lou don’t like him.
- Vincent van Ginsberg comes alive: After professing his love to Peggy “in the clearness of day,” Ginsberg hands Peggy a box. Inside is his nipple, which he tore off to prevent the computer from sending waves through him. Horrified, Peggy calls the psychiatric ward, who takes him away as he screams “get out while you can.”
From Betty trying to escape boredom with her political views to Megan enacting her sexual fantasies to dodge feelings of loneliness, the characters on Mad Men used their brains to run away when their physical beings couldn’t transport them from their problems. However, there’s only so far even the most fanatical daydreams can take them before they wake up and see that they’re still standing in the same place they left off.
What shocked you more: Don’s threesome or Ginsberg’s nip slip? Let us know in the comments below.
(Photo on the homepage: amira_a/flickr)
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