All the Single Ladies: MAD MEN Episode 404 Recap

I prefer Pete's blue suits. He rocks the blue suits.

Episode 404, “The Rejected.” Air date: 8/15/10

This is gonna be a REAL recap, so let’s dive right in. No time for dilly-dallying.

Before the episode begins, a title card appears warning us that there will be brief nudity! I was hoping it would be that scene from the season 4 trailer where the woman is naked from the back, but it turns out the nudity is in photographs. (Seriously? I got excited over nothing.) (Although, I’m sure it’s a landmark for AMC.)

Also: This episode was directed by John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling. Here’s an interview about that.

In the first scene, Don and Roger are on a conference call with Lee Something, Jr., the awful Lucky Strikes guy. They are taking turns not paying attention, and Secretary Allison alerts Don every time he actually needs to speak up. Ha. Even before the internet/cell phones etc etc etc, people didn’t listen to each other on the phone.

There’s not even speakerphone technology. Everybody is holding a corded line. Don’s on one phone, and Roger and Allison are on another. Apparently Lee can’t hear Allison’s line? (“He can’t hear you,” Don scorns when she whispers.) But there’s no mute feature, is there? I’m confused. Technology confuses me in every era.

“I would never buy a sailboat,” Roger tells Lee. “I don’t like to do things myself. For that price a boat should have a motor.” TOTALLY. Or a crew! Or… fuck you, Lee. You’re the worst. Why am I even engaging?

Don opens a letter from Anna Draper. Inside, there’s a picture of Anna and Don from his recent trip. “Stephanie doesn’t think we look old,” the letter says, in scrawly don’t-know-I’m-dying-from-cancer cursive.

Don and Roger end the call abruptly by pretending that they’ve looked out the window and discovered that Radio City Music Hall is on fire… and they have to go help put it out? And if you believe that, I’ve got a sailboat from 1965 with your name on it. It’s a steal!

Bad news for Pete Campbell– where the heck have you been, Pete Campbell? SDCP has to drop Clearasil for Pond’s, because Pond’s says so, and Pond’s is the bigger account. Pete’s father-in-law gave him the Clearasil account– or owns Clearasil, or something like that. It’s not… CLEAR to me. (Sorry.)

Pete goes into… Pete’s office? But Harry Crane is sitting at his desk, reading a newspaper. Guess who’s getting married, Harry says. KEN COSGROVE. We haven’t seen that guy since Season 3. But Harry went to the opera with him last month. Ken’s father-in-law “shits gold ingots.”

“My father-in-law’s a bus driver,” Harry laments. “The only place he can take me is to the moon.” (Oddly, that “Honeymooners” reference coincides with a “Honeymooners” clue in yesterday’s LA Times Sunday crossword.)

“Why did you go to the opera with him?” Pete gripes. “He’s our competition… are you always looking for a job?” It’s called networking, Pete. Look it up.

“Look, Pete,” Harry says. “There’s a group of us. We’re all coming up together. You don’t think Kenny’s a comer?”

HAHAHAHAHA. What is UP with that word on TV this year? It was on “Glee,” because Rachel sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” And guess what year that musical came out. Yep, 1964. So… what is up with people saying “comer” in the 1960s? WEIRDOS.

Harry tells Pete that they’re having lunch with Kenny tomorrow, and Pete ever-so-gently bangs his head against the wall.

Next we’re in the elevator with Peggy and Marshall’s girlfriend from “United States of Tara,” for the few episodes where Marshall was bi. In “Tara” she was a high schooler in 2010, but now she’s a twenty-something in 1965. And in real life only a few months have gone by. They grow up (and back in time!) so fast.

"Your boyfriend is gay."

So girl-from-“Tara” is Joyce, an assistant photo editor at Life magazine. (Remember when Life existed?)

Joyce is holding a file of rejected photos– naked ladies. (Or, as the refined would say: Nudes.) “My boss hates nudes,” Joyce tells Peggy. “Who hates nudes?” Peggy asks. (Not AMC, apparently.) (But they DO disclaimer them.)

In the Previously On they showed the scene where Peggy tells Freddy that she wants to get married, and now I’m wondering if that foreshadowed Peggy being a very conflicted lesbian. There is a total lesbian vibe happening on this elevator ride. (Remember how the Sterling Cooper elevators had operators?)

I’m sure we’ve seen Pete’s father-in-law (Tom) before, but I never realized that he’s the dad from “Clarissa Explains it All.” (!!!) Today’s guest stars are coming from all sorts of awesome female-name shows.

Those watermelon tumblers are so 1990s amazing.
Pete hems and haws about having to give up the Clearasil account, but Tom cuts him off– he already heard.

“You crazy kids!” Tom crows. Pete is confused. “What are you talking about?” Classic comic misunderstanding in 3… 2…

Trudy’s pregnant! (Whaaa…??) She found out on Monday, but hasn’t told Pete yet.

You guys… wasn’t Trudy infertile? What’s going on?

“I feel like my heart’s going to burst,” Pete says. In a good way or a bad way?

“If it’s a boy, it’s 1000 dollars,” Tom says. “If it’s a girl, 500.” What is he talking about? A gift? How much the baby is worth? Also: Hello, sexism.

Tom realizes: If Pete wasn’t calling Tom here to talk about the baby, what WAS the news? “We’re putting new creative on Clearasil,” Pete lies.

“May you know this feeling many times,” Tom says, re: fatherhood/baby-having. He only has one child, because… Trudy’s mother had her uterus removed? The way Tom says it is very blase. As if she had her uterus removed because it was making her look fat.

I’m guessing something traumatic happened, but Tom doesn’t seem to know. (Well, we saw how involved the men were allowed to be, in the episode where Betty had Baby Gene.) (Zero involved.)

Pete gets home, and Trudy already knows what happened. Her father called in tears. AWWWW. His guilt is adorable to me. Trudy wanted to wait for their anniversary to tell Pete. (I’m guessing their anniversary is soon. It would be funny if it was ten months away.)

Pete, in his typical hilariously clueless Pete way, says, “I want to spin you around but I don’t want to damage anything.”

Pete: This feels different than I expected.
Trudy: How would you know what this feels like?

“Because I had a baby with Peggy, but she didn’t tell me until she’d already given it away?” Pete doesn’t say.

Trudy wants to tell her father about Clearasil, because he can’t be mad in the middle of all this happiness. “Tomorrow night. Yankee pot roast,” Trudy declares. She is totally the woman behind the man. Too bad the man is not worthy. (Also: Yankee pot roast? Tee hee.)

It’s weird to think that Trudy is probably younger than me. And it’s maybe weirder that the thing that most makes me think “I don’t know how women do it back then” isn’t the fact that she’s married, or pregnant– it’s her ability to make a Yankee pot roast. I don’t even know what that is!

And yes, I fully acknowledge that plenty of people– including small children– know how to cook in these modern times. And plenty of girls my age are married and having babies and/or running households. But for now I’m going to stick with what I’m good at– namely, eating food I didn’t cook, watching TV, and blogging. (And whether or not I’m good at blogging is up for debate.)

But I’m open to learning how to cook! (Hey boys.) Or dating a guy who cooks. (Double hey, boys.) (This is going to tie in well with Dr. Faye Miller’s storyline, which is rapidly approaching.) (Actually, it’s right now? PERFECT TIMING.)

Hey girl hey!

Dr. Faye Miller, advertising psychology expert (or something like that), is interviewing the young single secretaries at SDCP in order to figure out how best to advertise Pond’s.

For the panel, Faye’s pretending to be young(er) and single. (But… don’t the secretaries know who she is? Whatever, apparently they don’t… she’s very clandestine when she comes to visit, I guess.) Faye changes from her business clothes into a Joan-esque blue one-piece. (Did she borrow it from Joan’s Single Ladies collection?) She takes off her wedding ring (so… I guess she won’t be the one marrying Don?) and gives it to Peggy for safekeeping.

Faye is upset that they didn’t make her a name card, because she wanted her name to be spelled wrong, so she could seem unimportant. Instead, she goes into the panel and says, They didn’t even make me a nametag! Little old me, I’m definitely not important enough to run this panel!

I guess she doesn’t want to seem like an authority figure because she wants the secretaries on the panel to open up to her, but now that I think about it… is she also trying to play down her authority because she’s a woman? Even though she’s presenting herself to other women? Definitely some interesting gender politics at play here. (Note: Don, Freddy, and Peggy are watching Faye through a two-way mirror.) (The male gaze!)

In the semi-dark observation room, Peggy tries on Faye’s wedding ring. As we say in the TV world, Don clocks this. (AKA he sees it happen.)

“Your financial future’s in the hands of a roomful of 22-year-old girls,” one of the men says ruefully (I think it’s Freddy). Get used to it, Freddy.

Faye makes a big deal out of eating a danish and talking about her beauty regimen. (First thing’s first, probably stop with the danishes.) (She actually mentions watching her weight at some point and kind of laughs about it, like oh haha). (Faye is like me and this blog. I blog, Haha, eating all this ice cream is going to make me fat! Hilarious! But then I sign off from my computer and put on my fat skinny jeans and cry.)

Eventually the other girls start eating the danishes. Power of suggestion! As soon as you get girls eating danishes, they are moments away from CONFESSION.

The front-desk receptionist (Megan) talks about how her French mother washes her face with just perfect-temperature water and fingertip pats. And amazing genetics, obviously. I kind of want to punch my TV.

“She’s amazing,” Peggy says, and I can’t tell if she’s talking about Megan or Faye. Peggy’s been drinking the Lezbionic Tonic (which, I learned this week, only works if you’re already a lesbian).

The Rejected? (That's the episode title, folks!)

I almost had caption-block again, and then I remembered the title of this episode: The Rejected. And these women were specially picked for this panel because they are unmarried/single. Awww.

One secretary is named Dotty (she points out that “dotty” also means… idiot, basically) (poor Dotty), and starts talking about her ex-boyfriend and how he didn’t really notice her. (Story of my life, Dotty.) (Story of a lot of lives, apparently.)

Secretary Allison says, in a small voice, “It’s worse when they notice, sometimes.” Obviously referring to the whole thing with DON HAVING SEX WITH HER. She’s PTSD’ing over it. (Totally justified.)

Next thing you know, Dotty is crying and telling stories of her ex. “How the hell did this get so sad so fast?” Freddy asks. HA! Women + danishes + ex-boyfriend stories… what do you expect? Off at the end of the table, poor Allison is crying quietly to herself. Obviously she can’t discuss her issues. I don’t even know if she knows that Don is watching.

(The presence of hot-Megan is not helping things. Hot girls just make non-hot girls feel terrible about themselves. Especially girls with naturally hot French mother genetics.)

“You can only do your best with what God gave you,” Dotty says. “I gave him everything, and I got nothing… it’s not what I see, it’s what he sees.” The male gaze! And also: UGH.

Allison exits the room, overcome. For some reason Peggy feels responsible, and goes to talk to her.

“They just want to get married,” Freddy says in his simple Freddy way. “They’ll buy anything that’ll help.”

Peggy catches up with Allison, in Don’s office (I think). “You must have gone through everything I’ve gone through,” Allison says. Peggy was Don’s secretary season 1, right? “He’s a drunk, and they get away with murder.”

I don’t know exactly what the deal is, but Peggy gets mad. “Your problem is not my problem,” she huffs at Allison. “You should get over it.”

Nice, Peggy. Great job at comforting.

I have to wonder what made Peggy decide to go after Allison. They’re not friends. And even more than that– what set Peggy off? Was it Allison’s harsh (and more or less accurate) appraisal of Don? Has Peggy put him on a pedestal? I mean, she knows his foibles, but he IS her mentor.

But my gut feeling is that Peggy is… I don’t know, I think deep down she might be hurt that Don never “noticed her,” as Dotty would say. She may be the one secretary he didn’t sleep with. Peggy’s reaction might be kind of like, “Fuck you! I wasn’t pretty enough?”

Is PEGGY going to marry Don? She is apparently hell-bent on getting married. Or is she a lesbian? (Is she a lesbian who would marry Don anyway?)

At any rate, Peggy is a real bitch to poor sad-face Allison.

Pass the Lezbionic Tonic.

It’s time for lunch with Kenny Cosgrove, the accounts man who also writes short fiction! Welcome to Season 4, Ken!

But wait, those ganefs at CBS are screwing Harry again. By calling him on the phone at lunch? Whatever, Harry is trying to be so Hollywood now.

Harry: Those ganefs at CBS are screwing me again.
Pete: Those what?

The question I wrote was, “Is Harry just using Yiddish because he’s been in CA? Or is he supposed to be Jewish?” Rich Sommer (who plays Harry Crane) tweeted last night that HE (Rich) isn’t Jewish, and I have a feeling that Harry isn’t either. I mean, his wife’s name is JENNIFER. (There are Jews named Jennifer NOW, but I don’t think there would have been, back THEN.)

At any rate, it’s funny. And of course Pete wouldn’t know a lick of Yiddish. Total goy.

So Harry goes to the phone, and Ken takes the moment to confront Pete: Don’t say shitty things about me behind my back.

Wait, did Ken say shitty on TV? That’s what I wrote down, but I can’t tell if it was a quote or just my paraphrase. But they’ve said “shit” on “Mad Men” before… I think. And… there were nudes, you guys. [Movieline heard it, too. So there you go: Ken said “shitty.”]

Pete’s like, Whaaaa? Because as we saw at the beginning, he hasn’t really been keeping track of Ken or thinking much about him.

“You didn’t call me an all-American idiot who fell into everything?” Ken asks in disbelief. “I heard that you told your wife that I was driving the [famous bloody foot] tractor.” (Poor Guy!) He also heard that Pete said he’s marrying for the money. And it turns out that Trudy is friends with the fiancee. Double awk.

Of course of course of course, Harry is just telling Ken all these lies, which are really how HARRY feels. I’ve totally had shit like this happen to me, where a friend attributes his or her opinion to me, and suddenly I’ve got some angry third-party friend calling me and asking why I gotta diss them so hardcore. (Because my friends are Eminem?)

Pete just shrugs and takes the high road. “I apologize. Mea culpa.” Then he shakes his head and adds: “Textbook Harry.”

Now I HOPE Harry’s not Jewish, because he’s making us look bad. Especially in 1965! (But he is helping spread the use of Yiddish? Even though… ganef is fairly obscure these days? Am I right?) (I thought it was spelled “goneth.”)

Ken is… at some agency that he likes okay. McCann bought out Sterling Cooper, and it sounds as though he left McCann (he says, in the non-PC lingo of the times, that McCann was full of “retards”). Maybe he’s at Duck’s agency? Who knows. Maybe they said where he is, but I didn’t catch it.

Ken also says some stuff about turning Mountain Dew into Pepsi. I’m not really following that, either, but it reminds me of turning water into wine. Oh, the Biblical weight of advertising!

Pete tells Ken about the baby. “Another Campbell,” Ken quips. “That’s just what the world needs.” Ken also says that he can’t wait to have a family. He’s so adorable. Hopefully he and Pete become besties, and Pete brings him to SCDP. (I mean, Pete’s a partner. Time for him to do something partner-y.) (Full disclosure: I don’t really know what it means to be a partner, but it sounds important.)

Don walks into his office, and finds Allison… still crying. Awww, I want to hug her. (But not in a Joyce way.)

“This actually happened…” Allison says. “We made a mistake, and I feel like it’s awkward, and it’s better for both of us if I move on.”

She wants to work for a WOMAN (yes!) at a magazine (she heard about it through a friend, I think), and asks Don for a letter of recommendation.

“Type up whatever you want and I’ll sign it,” Don says. OH NO HE DIDN’T.

This is the thing: All Allison wants is some ACKNOWLEDGMENT. She was an awesome secretary and he never seemed to notice, and then he had sex with her and blew her off and acted as if everything was the same. Allison did EVERYTHING for him. She bought his kids their CHRISTMAS presents. All she wants is to have a letter, in HIS words, saying that she was a great employee. And he’s like, Nahhh, you can write it.

As the modern-day equivalent of an Allison, I can tell you– the ONE thing that can really make your work day amazing is getting praise from your boss, when your boss doesn’t HAVE to notice or approve of you. And the ONE thing that can make it suck the most is feeling as though your boss is disappointed in you, or doesn’t care about you.

Telling Allison to write her own letter of recommendation is the equivalent of saying, I can’t spend a second on you, you’re totally generic to me, whatever whatever. He’s totally denying her the validation and closure that she needs and deserves.

So I think Allison is totally justified when she throws some decorative thing at Don and shatters a picture hanging behind his desk. That’s the secretary-in-the-1960s equivalent of whooshing out through the airplane chute.

“I don’t say this easily,” Allison says, before storming out. “But you’re not a good person.”

Well, she’s probably not going to be the one who marries Don, either.

Joan totally knows what’s up, and pops her head in. “Would you be open to Allison returning in a couple of days?” Hahaha. Yeah… don’t see THAT happening. Allison MEANT it when she stomped outta there.

Don turns to get a drink, and Peggy spies on him through a glass window at the top of their adjacent offices. (At first, I thought she was Don’s daughter, Sally. Mega-creepy!)

Peggy’s secretary buzzes in. Joyce has come to visit! She’s in reception, checking out water-face Megan.

Peggy: Do you want to come back and see my office? (OOOH.)

Joyce can’t, but she invites Peggy to a party/installment that the nude-ladies photographer is throwing, at Washington Market. I googled it to see if it was some sort of gay Mecca, but all I could find out is that it was razed because of… something to do with the building of the Twin Towers. (Everything razed is razed again?) (Too soon?)

I wrote at this point in my notes that it’s funny to me that Joyce is “the lesbian,” because she was the token straight ally on “Tara.”

Okay, time for some Yankee pot roast! (We don’t see it.) (Awww.)

Pete actually mans up and decides to talk to Tom for himself. He sends Trudy to show her mother how they’re going to turn the maid’s room into the nursery. (Wait– they have a live-in maid? In their apartment? We’ve never seen her.) (And now I can feel a little less bad for not being a domestic goddess.)

I forget what Tom says, but I wrote down Pete’s response. “Every time you jump to conclusions, Tom, you make me respect you less.”

“I’m done auditioning…” Pete says. He wants the bigger accounts that Trudy’s father has (possesses? controls? I don’t know). He lists a bunch of famous ones. I wrote down Vicks, as in Vapor Rub.

“You son of a bitch,” Tom says. I’m not sure if he’s mad or proud or both. I think he’s proud, because Pete’s manning up. He’s going to be a father! He’s going to provide for Tom’s daughter (and grandkid).

Not this daughter. The other one.

Don’s the last one at the office, by far. A man is waxing the floors. It’s really late. The man waxing the floor is black. Which is only important in juxtaposition to the next scene…

Cut to: Peggy’s at a party. Black people are there. So you know it’s a hep, cool party, full of tolerant-ish people. (And this kinda makes me miss Paul. Remember Paul’s party? It had black people, too.)

“You look swellegant,” Joyce tells Peggy. I’m generally a major fan of combined words, but swellegant… I don’t really understand how swell and elegant intersect. To me they’re on two different poles, because swell feels male and elegant feels female. And I’m sure somebody in a gender studies or linguistics class could write a thesis on this topic.

I can see how it works in an androgynous context. Like, this photo of La Roux is kinda swellegant.

All false love and affection. You don't like me--You just want the attention.

I love La Roux. I put those lyrics in the caption as an excuse to use some La Roux lyrics, but they apply perfectly to a lot of relationships in general, and specifically to a lot of relationships on this show.

“All false love and affection. You don’t like me–You just want the attention.” (-I’m Not Your Toy)

I mean, look at Allison. That was basically her sentiment toward Don. And Don this season– he has been all about getting up every skirt possible, in a desperate way that doesn’t seem to match the Don we used to know. He’s needy this season. He doesn’t have anybody to go home to at the end of the day.

But back to the party. (That digression was brought to you by the word “swellegant,” which is growing on me… maybe.)

A person in a bear head walks by. “Jesus,” Joyce says. “I thought I needed a lot of attention.” (“You just want the attention.”)

Joyce is high. Peggy gets high. Let’s all watch La Roux’s “I’m Not Your Toy” video. It ALSO takes place at a party with some cool black people, and will make you wonder if YOU are high.

Dear Allison: After you’ve digest that, move on to “Bulletproof.”

This is the part where I wrote, “Where is Mark?!” in my notes. Mark is Peggy’s boyfriend, you’ll recall. They spent New Year’s together… supposedly.

During the whole getting-high thing, Joyce leans in for the kiss and Peggy resists. “I have a boyfriend,” Peggy says. Yeah, but WHERE IS HE?

Joyce: He doesn’t own your vagina.
Peggy: No, but he’s renting it.

HA. But also… curious. (Bi-curious?)

Back at his apartment, Don’s in a bit of a drunken stupor. He begins to type a letter. “Dear Allison…” The part we can see says, “I’m very sorry. Right now my life is very…” But it doesn’t matter what else it says, because he crumples it up and throws it out. Honestly, I thought (and was hoping) Don was sitting down to write the recommendation. Allison didn’t ask for an apology.

Can I just say, why do guys always make so many excuses for being shitty? It’s always, “Oh, I’m in a really bad place,” or, “Things are weird with my ex,” or, “I really need to put my career first,” or, “I’m still depressed about the Holocaust.” Man up, guys.

It’s just weird to me that Don started writing up an excuse, as if… as if he actually did need to explain it all to her? As if he she meant more to him than they both realized?

I mean, without a wife and with Anna’s impending death, all Don has to take care of him anymore are a secretary and a housekeeper. So you can see how he might project weird stuff onto Allison, because here she is, managing his life. It’s kind of wifely.

But back to the party. (By the way, there are experimental anti-Catholic films being projected onto the walls. Becomes important later.)

So high right now.

Is Peggy’s outfit cool for a party? I’m not sure. (Does she look like a hornet?) I think she has more style than before, so I’m going to give this one to her. (Lots of people want to kiss her, so she’s doing something right.) (Can I borrow your hornet shirt, Peggy?)

Peggy wants to meet the photographer. Joyce calls over a friend named Abe. He’s wearing a leather jacket, he’s not the photographer, and he reminds me of Jason Segel, though I’m not sure exactly why. Personality, I guess. He’s easy to talk to. (I say that as if I know him.)

Abe’s a writer, and he finds out that Peggy’s a writer, too. (By the way, everybody’s yelling to be heard. Love it.)

Abe: What do you write?
Peggy: I’m a copy writer.
Abe: But what do you write?
Peggy: That IS writing!
Joyce: You’re not working on something else?

HAHAHAHAHA. Best exchange EVER, not only because everybody always wants to know what you’re working on, but also because certain types of writing get so much more respect than others.

But also… Peggy’s not working on anything else? (Haha, I know… I’m doing it, too.)

Davey Kellogg comes over to talk. HE’S the photographer. First of all, Peggy feels obligated to tell him that she’s Catholic. Ha. But she’s okay with the films. Thanks for your permission, Peggy. That wasn’t at all awkward.

Peggy asks Davey if he’d be interested in doing some work for SCDP. Davey doesn’t understand WHY he’d want to get paid for art. Peggy’s like… to support yourself? Haha.

“Art and advertising?” Davey pish-poshes. “Why would anyone do that after Warhol?” Why WOULDN’T anyone do that after Warhol?

“Sorry,” Abe says. “For somebody to sell their soul they’ve gotta have one.” With friends like these, who needs enemies? (But truly, Davey seems like a soulless jerk-off.)

Something happens like a raid? The lights go off and there are all sorts of bells and whistles. I was still thinking it was some sort of Stonewall situation, but apparently it’s the anti-Catholic films.  Peggy and Abe end up hiding in a closet. (Peggy’s in the closet. GET IT? GET IT?)

Peggy asks Abe if he’s ever been arrested, and he says that he has. He was writing about a boycott and refused to leave, so he got arrested with the protesters. Anything for the story. But he didn’t actually stay the night in jail, because his sister came and got him.

There’s something so endearing about the way Abe tells it. You see that his leather jacket is the front for a sensitive boy-man. Oh God, I would totally date him and hate myself for it later.

“I feel like I should kiss you,” Abe says. (Because you’re in the closet! Haha.) (To be fair, Abe is probably straight.)

So Peggy and Abe kiss. (Nooooo! says Mark, who isn’t there.)

Trapped in the closet.

Can I just take this moment to say that Peggy and I seem to have the same type? I am always in love with her love interests. I would gladly date her rejects. Come to me, Peggy’s rejects. I will gather you all in my bosoms, and I will not dump you for Joyce.

Joyce opens the door, interrupting the kiss, and lets them out of the closet. Hahahahaha. SYMBOLISM.

“Are they beating people?” Abe wonders, sounding a little too hopeful about it. “They took the film,” Joyce says.

Hold up: WHO took the film? Does the Catholic church have a police squad? Were political films illegal? I’m confused. (NINJA PRIESTS!)

“I should see this,” Abe says, hilariously. He’s ridiculous, but at least he’s passionate. “It could be a story. How can I find you?”

“I know where she is,” Joyce says. She knows where Peggy is, all right– literally, and metaphorically.

And then they run down the street together, reach an intersection, and look confused.

Where are we going-- literally, and metaphorically?

The next morning, Don gets a new secretary– An old lady named Miss Blankenship. On the phone, she refers to Lane Pryce as Pryce, Lane. Oops.

“What’d you do to make them take her out of mothballs?” Sterling asks. “She was working in Cooper’s apartment.” I imagine that she was working in his apartment as his like 70-year-old sex slave. Especially when Sterling adds that Cooper works with no pants on.

Turns out that Pete is signing Vicks’ entire chemical cough line. SCORE! They’re all going out to lunch.

Don tells Miss B to reschedule Dr. Miller. At first I went, Doctor?! Don has a secret disease! But it turns out Dr. Miller is Faye.

The art guy is back. I think his name is Joey (his REAL name is Matt Long). He and Peggy are talking about nudes.

Joey: We had nude models in school. You knew right away whoever had the best drawing was going to get her.

HA. Also: Makes sense. (MALE GAZE.)

Out of nowhere, Peggy says, “Did you know Malcolm X was shot last Sunday?” (Way to change the subject, Peggy.) Joey’s like, Yeah.

And that’s about all we get of that historic event. Somewhere, somebody thought that the whole season would revolve around this, and is PISSED.

And Malcolm X is totally rocking the Don Draper pose in this picture. Maybe he INVENTED it.

I make this look good.

A secretary comes in with a card and says that they’re sending a bottle of champagne to the Campbells. Joey signs the card but won’t contribute to the gift. Don’t we all wish we could be so bold?

Peggy sees the card and realizes that Trudy’s pregnant. She doesn’t sign the card, and she walks out of the office. I thought she was going to the bathroom to cry into a bucket. But… she goes to Pete’s office to congratulate him.

Of course, Pete’s whole thing this episode is conversation confusion, so he think she’s talking about the $6 million Vicks account. No, she corrects him, the baby. She’s happy for them.

Peggy returns to her office, where she gently bangs head against her desk. Oh, Peggy and Pete, secretly knocking your heads against white surfaces. So perfect for each other. (And somewhere their kid is banging his head against a crib.)

Faye comes to Don’s office, because the secretary is old and crazy and told her that Don needed to see her urgently. She tells Don that she’s rejecting his hypothesis. (Basically– Don and Peggy wanted to emphasize the routine of Pond’s cold cream. Looking in the mirror, feeling indulgent.)

“I’d recommend a strategy that links Pond’s cold cream to matrimony,” Faye tells him. “A veiled promise.”

“Hello 1925,” Don says. “I’m not gonna do that.” Um, I’m pretty it’s more like, Hello 2010. Isn’t advertising STILL selling the promise of romance?

“I can’t change the truth,” Faye says.

“How do you know that’s the truth?” Don rails. “A new idea is something they don’t know yet, so of course it’s not going to come up as an option.” True, but… did you watch the panel, Don? Faye reminds Don that she said “routine” and “ritual,” but what the women actually care about is “husband.”

“You can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they HAVE behaved,” Don protests. Methinks you doth protest too much, Don. Is Don begging for his own salvation, here? Because I think we can tell EXACTLY how he will behave, based on how he HAS behaved. And he knows it too. See: Allison.

“You think I’ve never had this argument before?” Faye says.

Don rants about how none of this proves anything, getting people to talk. It’s nobody’s business, blah blah, Don’s crazy secretive bullshit.

Remember, it was FAYE who predicted that he’d be married within the year. And the veiled promise of matrimony… is that what just happened with Allison? There’s some kind of theme going on here that has to do with Don and marriage and how this advertising is getting too close for comfort. As a result… Don’s mad at Faye!

Come to think of it… everybody else who got divorced on this show already had somebody lined up. Roger had Jane. Betty had Henry. But Don went back to shitty bachelorhood. He was good at single-guy stuff when he had a wife. But now that dating MATTERS again, he’s sucking at it. And he can’t bag the hot young chicks anymore. Or if he does, there are consequences. (See: Allison.)

Oh, Don. Your life is so ironical. It’s like… A TV SHOW.

Peggy lies on the couch in her office. Misery. But then… Joyce calls her. Lunch in 5? You betcha!

Joyce and her friends (male and female) have a crush on Megan at the front desk, so they hover outside the glass doors in their hipster-of-the-times clothes.

Meanwhile, the SCDP suits, Pete, Tom, and the Vicks guy stand in the lobby, waiting for Don. Everybody’s shaking hands, excited to do business together, blah blah etc.

Peggy invites Megan to lunch, but she can’t. (Do people really take lunch? I guess they do when they’re not Megan or me.) I wonder for a second if Peggy has a crush on Megan? Or if this is just about people being on different levels and not connecting?

For a second I wondered if the Joyce group would make some sort of scene in front of the Vicks group, but they two parties don’t seem to notice each other. Except– Peggy and Pete catch eyes as she waits for the elevator, on the other side of SCDP’s double glass door. They exchange sad smiles. Two different worlds.

Now that Peggy is a maybe-lesbian in a world before gay rights and expanded fertility options, I wonder if she’s kinda sad that she gave up the baby. Like, she can’t really have a traditional family (which… Pete is about to have) unless she marries a guy. (I imagine her finding the kid she gave up one day, in a reverse version of “The Kids Are All Right.”)

Don’s returning to his apartment at night. A very old woman is also returning to her apartment, and her husband stands expectantly in the hall. They are ANCIENT.

“Did you get pears?” the old man demands, three times. (This seems significant– Biblical, perhaps?)

“We’ll discuss it inside,” the woman answers, finally. Cryptic! She totally holds the power in this relationship, and they’ve obviously been together forever, and she takes care of her husband.

And Don… is all alone.

And Peggy… is all alone.

The cheese… is all alone.

My bum… is all alone.

This episode made me feel lonely, dudes and dudettes. After it was over and I emailed myself these notes, I went and watched the marriage parts of “The Young Victoria” and cried, wishing I could have an epistolary romance with a handsome, sensitive German prince. (Overshare?) (But NOT wishing that the prince would die young and leave me with NINE kids. Sheesh, Albert.)

For that matter, I wouldn’t mind kissing a sensitive writer guy named Abe Drexler (played by Charlie Hofheimer– thanks, credits) in a dark closet. (Speaking of credits, I thought the music over the credits was really pretty this week.)

Drexler… is that Jewish? German? (Whatever. Good enough.)

(Have you noticed that network TV shows have set credits music, and cable shows have different music every week? Luxuries of cable!)

Next week: Betty wants Don dead? But probably not in a hire-a-hit-man way. That’s not this show (… yet).

Well, that took up the better part of my day. I slaved away at it. Consider this my Yankee pot roast.

And now that I’ve explained it all…

I have that exact expression on my face right now.

… time to go tap some water on my face and hunt for a man!

Na na na na na naaa… all right all right!

Until next week. Can’t wait to see which strange allusions or guest stars I’ll be able to fixate on.

xoxo…

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One thought on “All the Single Ladies: MAD MEN Episode 404 Recap

  1. The scene in the preview where you see the naked woman’s backside is from last season…remember? It’s from the episode where Don and Betty go to Rome. It’s of Betty. I hate Mad Men previews because they don’t preview anything…all the clips for the new season were from the last season.

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