Don's new lover offers a life of luxury to him, no strings attached. He can stay in Palm Springs indefinitely, he can start a new life as Dick Whitman, or he can go back to his real life, but giving up his room to the man who is going through a divorce and shows up late at night with his children in tow says a lot. He chooses to go visit his only true friend, Anna Draper, the wife of the man whose identity he has assumed. I love the porch scene, their easy friendship, his youthful eagerness in the flashback when he's about to propose to Betty, and the way Anna truly listens to him but doesn't give unsolicited advice. This is Don's chance to abandon his life once again and start over, but I think at this point he realizes that when you run away from your life, you just end up with a new set of problems, not a perfect life. I loved the line, "I've been watching my life and it's right there I've been scratching at it trying to get into it and I can't." Now we understand how lost this man really is. And afraid. The spooky piano music is followed by Don actually telling the boy, "It's scary".
In complete contrast to Don's disorientation, Peggy is a rising star. She asks Roger for her own office after being chided by a Xerox repairman for abusing the copy machine that everyone uses in her shared office space, and gets it due to her confidence and courage to ask for it. Although Roger calls her "aggressive", she's not; she's assertive, which is not the same thing. There's a brief scene afterwards that shows her casually smoking in the empty office at dusk, reflecting on her success, and I immediately flashed back to the desperate scene from season one where she is pretending to be sophisticated and chokes on a cigarette on her disastrous blind date during her pregnancy. She is positively radiant in these scenes, in contrast to Joan's devastation and humiliation from being raped in Don's office by her jealous and insecure fiance. Joan's talk of her upcoming marriage is now a dismal and futile appeal for admiration.
One of my favorite lines comes early from Peggy: "Christian, as in behavior, not religion." And at the end of this episode Don baptizes himself (as in behavior, not religion) in the Pacific Ocean; reborn in whatever way he chooses to be.
Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Trudy and Pete finally have it out; she finally stands up to him for his misogynistic rudeness, and he throws their dinner out the window. Go Trudy!