Mad Men had quite the surprising week in store for us as many things seemed to come out left field (some of them quite off-putting and seemingly contrived). Let's dive right in.
Betty embarrasses Henry in front of his political friends while hosting a dinner party and sharing her opinion on the Vietnam War. Henry later tells her, in the most sexist way possible, to stick to the homemaking and let him have the opinion. Way too far Henry! Jeez, like she's supposed to know everything you think about every issue and what not to talk about. Sally is forced to come home from boarding school when she gets a broken nose from "sword fighting with golf clubs" for some reason. Her snark towards Betty has reached a new height and she seems to be immune to her mother's "I know what's best for you" schtick that she used to fall for back in the days of Seasons 1-3 before she became the disillusioned young lady she is today. Of course another actor shows up as Bobby (I think, all white kids look alike to me). Luckily a doctor is able to come to fix Sally's nose during the weekend before she heads back. Betty has to pull her usual "mother of the year" stuff threatening Sally with all sorts of punishments that won't stick. I enjoy Sally being able to go toe to toe with Betty since Henry doesn't really seem sure what to do with her at all (boarding school being a shining example of this).
Stan finds a copy of a comic that Lou draws called "Scout's Honor" on the xerox machine and reads through and it becomes a big office joke among the creative team. Lou overhears this in the bathroom, outraged and threatens to make the creative team work through the weekend. Don gets a call from Stephanie Draper, Anna Draper's niece, whom we met back in Season 4 or 2 I can't remember. Anyway, she's pregnant is asks for help in not so many words. Don tells her to head for the hills and stay with Megan until he can fly out until he is forced to work on Burger Chef for Lou. And another dick move on Lou's part, making Don miss the last flight out of New York and then changing his mind that he can see it on Monday. Lou just seems like a very old fashioned guy and not like someone I would want to work with, just saying. Stephanie gets to Megan's house, Megan being aware of her arrival by a call from Don, and when Anna reveals that she knows all of Don's secrets she subtly makes it known that Stephanie shouldn't stay. She writes a check for a thousand dollars and she leaves without Don's knowledge. Don gets there the next day and is surprised Stephanie isn't there. I guess Megan isn't happy that someone who isn't Don's wife knows about the dirty little secret of Dick Whitman and his past posturing (of course Pete and Bert know too) but Megan shouldn't really be jealous (although she has a right to be Stephanie showing up out of the blue like that and pregnant from some unknown father, could be Don even in her mind) but it's too bad her and Don didn't get to see each other. Megan throws a party and she allows Don to have a threesome her her and her friend which ultimately ends up as a worthless gesture as the friend awkwardly splits the morning after. Don did however run into Harry Crane coincidentally (pursuing a relationship with a woman who isn't his wife who's an actress, what a class act Harry is) and they go to a bar for a drink during the party. Harry informs Don that he thinks Don should be in LA as Ted is useless at his job but that Don is going to be forced out with Cutler and Ted courting Commander Cigarettes and of course anyone in tobacco doesn't want the man who wrote the condemning letter of the tobacco industry in their ad agency as Don did back in Season 4 when they lost Lucky Strike. He is reinvigorated by Harry's unfortunate news and crashes a meeting with Commander and Cutler and Ted. He introduces himself and says that he only wrote the letter to save the business and that they should put him to work as he is the only experience ad man left at the agency who knows the strategy of the competition (Lucky Strike and other brands). Don leaves after making his stunning entrance and waits by the curb for a taxi. Cutler tells him that his little stunt "won't save him" and Don cuts him off by shutting the door to the taxi on him. He whistles for a taxi and the episode ends. Great to see Don back in the game, even though his marriage seems to be slipping out of his control once again seeing him trying to prove his worth and stay relevant has been a consistent plot (a great one) since Season 4.
Ginsberg begins to lose his marbles being overworked on Burger Chef and stressing about the computer in the office. He freaks out at the office and goes unexpectedly to Peggy's to ask to work away from the office. He also witnesses a meeting between Cutler and Lou in the computer room (no doubt covertly discussing icing Don out and the Commander Cigarettes meeting without Roger's know-how and the rest of the partners) and thinks that they're agents of the computer. This was the part of the episode that really took me out of it and didn't feel consistent. If they were going for a mental breakdown they could've at least stretched it out over a few episodes rather than having it happen all at once. The image of them carrying Ginsberg off on a stretcher was haunting and not in an effective way. It just felt like a desperate grab for content to accelerate someone from the ensemble out the door to give Don and the rest of the cast more time plot-wise.
Still no big story for Joan, which I want her to have dangit, beyond getting a promotion when everyone else gets their own. Besides my complaints about the episode regarding Ginsberg and his breakdown the episode itself did propel us further into the agency conflict and the perceived evil of giant computers can have on unstable co-workers. Just hope the next few offerings can be more grounded and work to earn their bits of character revelation rather than coming off as lazy.
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