“…You think this is going to save you, don’t you?”
We open this week’s Mad Men episode, entitled “The Runaways,” with the ad boys discovering a lame little comic strip penned by resident office jerk, Lou Avery. The boys mock the comic strip, and do so with such carelessness that Lou eventually overhears them. In a sequence so utterly…“Don,” Lou forces his staff to stay on late into a Friday night. Does this remind anyone else of when Don made Peggy stay the weekend in “The Suitcase”?
Later, Don receives a phone call from Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie. We last heard from Stephanie when she informed Don—er, Dick—that Anna had died. This time, Stephanie called with more negative news: she’s a hippie living in California and she’s pregnant. Don instructs her to go to Megan’s, and promises her that he’ll fly out to California that night. I couldn’t help but note the pure joy that covers Don’s face when he speaks with Stephanie—both times. Perhaps it’s his escape…or what’s left of his little secret.
In a rather un-Betty Betty side-story, the Francis household is on the rocks. Henry is being uncharacteristically terrible to Betty following a party where she spoke her mind about the Vietnam War. Henry has never been one of Mad Men’s most well-drawn characters, but this seems a little bit out of left field, even for him. Nevertheless, Betty rages against the world for its desire to tell her to “shut up” and that she is smart because she speaks Italian!
*Not for nothing too, this episode featured another great performance from Kiernan Shipka, who verbally spats with the best of ‘em.
Stephanie arrives at Megan’s before Don has a chance to leave NYC. After a brief exchange, Megan decides that she dislikes Stephanie. Perhaps it that she doesn’t like another woman knowing more about her husband that she does, or perhaps it’s a dislike that someone might know her husband better. Regardless of the reason, Megan writes Stephanie a check and sends her on her way before Don gets to see her.
Once Don arrives in LA, he’s met not by Stephanie, but by Megan. Don is unhappy, naturally, but stays in LA to visit his wife. That night, Megan throws a party, which Don attends. Surprisingly, Harry Crane shows up with a girl, unaware that the party house belonged to Mrs. Don Draper. Harry and Don depart to go drink, leaving the actors to their party.
At the bar, Harry confesses that Lou and Cutler are planning a quasi-coup of Don. The Lou/Cutler contingent is attempting to wrangle one of the Big Cigarette companies. Just a few seasons ago, Don wrote a full-page New York Times ad damning the cigarette industry. The terms of the Lou/Cutler deal would be that SC&P gets Big Cigarette, but they have to fire Don. Naturally, this arrangements no skin off the backs of either Cutler or Lou, but means a great deal to Don.
Upset by this news, Don returns to Megan’s now-mostly empty home to find Megan and her friend cleaning up from the party. Don’s cranky. But the girls want to play. A threesome ensues, despite Don’s clear intention that he “doesn’t want anything right now.”
The next morning Don is still Don. Megan seems perplexed that a threesome hasn’t miraculously saved her marriage, once Don announces his plan to depart to NYC quickly. Megan continues to realize, but refuses to accept, that Don’s first and only significant other will be his job.
Back in NYC, Don crashes the Lou/Cutler pitch to Big Cigarette. In an abbreviated version of a typical Don speech, Don tries to save his own skin by saying that a Don Public Apology would be more of a power play than Firing Don. Outside of the hotel, Lou turns with disdain to Don, saying “you’re incredible.”
Don: “Thank you.” Once Don calls a cab, he let’s Lou and Cutler in. Cutler, turns to Don: “You think this is going to save you, don’t you?” Don answers with slamming the door. An emphatic yes.
Oh…and how about Ginsberg’s nipple?
What did everyone think of this episode of Mad Men?