Last night’s “Mad Men” (episode 410: “Hands and Knees”) was… I mean, HOLY SHIT. Everybody is fucked!
Beware: This is a level 5 on the spoiler alert scale. (Or, like, a code red on the Homeland Security Spoiler-Alert scale.)
At the beginning of the episode, Don’s biggest concern was that Harry Crane wouldn’t come through with tickets to the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium. Did you notice that Betty was actually HAPPY when she found out that Don would be taking Sally to that concert? Does she love Don again, a little bit?
Also– I was kinda surprised that Betty was okay with Sally going to the concert, because my dad was older than Sally at the time, and he wasn’t allowed to go.
When Sally finds out about the tickets, she screams like a crazy person. Like… those girls in the Beatles concert footage. So yeah. She’ll have a great time. (Don says that he’s going to wear earplugs. Haha.) (Square!)
Speaking of Harry, what is UP with him? He needs to take a plane to California immediately? Shady business. Maybe an affair?
Anyway, thanks to Pete’s new government-y missile-making client (National Aviation? National Aeronautics?), Don’s new secretary (Megan from reception– Mrs. Blankenship died last week, in case you missed it) filled out a form to get him government clearance. And he signed it, not realizing what it was. And that THREE out of EIGHT answers were lies.
So the g-men show up at the original Draper residence and question Betty, and she keeps Don’s secrets. They have a great phone call where he thanks her. Later that night, Betty tells new-husband Henry that the g-men came to question her, because she doesn’t want to have secrets. And then Henry’s like, if things go well, they’ll be investigating me. Big aspirations. Blah blah. Bleh.
Don finds out (from Pete, who knows his Dick Whitman secret) that if they drop the $4 million Astro-whatever account, the investigation will stop. So he’s like, SHUT IT DOWN! (I kept thinking it would be kinda hilarious if “30 ROCK” and “Mad Men” merged, especially… I’ll get to that.) But Pete’s like, fuck you and your lies!
He gives this lovely little speech to Trudy about how the honest people always suffer. Oh, Pete. I mean… Peggy didn’t tell him about the baby? I guess that upset him. But he has cheated at least… two times? Three times? And has definitely done some other scummy stuff. So he’s not exactly a saint.
And also, Trudy looks like a crazy pink marshmallow in her maternity nightie.
But I love her. She’s awesome. And she wants Pete to talk things out with her. No secrets! (You know… other than the secrets.)
There’s also a funny Don/Pete moment where they get on an elevator, and Don tells some unseen person to take another elevator. Snap! Men gotta talk!
Don goes on a date with Faye, and when he gets home two guys are standing in his hallway. It turns out they’re just (conveniently) lost, and everybody wore g-men-looking coats and hats back then, but Don freaks out and has what appears to be a Level Five Panic Attack (I’m using the tornado scale).
Don thinks he’s having a heart attack, but Faye says he’s not because her father had heart problems, and his heart would hurt. Don’s like, “Fuck you, you’re not a real doctor.” Haha. Did they know what panic attacks were, back then? Apparently not.
Faye refuses to leave Don’s side because he’s obviously not well, and eventually he tells her that he switched places with the REAL Don Draper and that he’s a Korean War deserter. OH. Faye wonders if there’s a statute of limitations on things like that, but Don’s like, NO, I’m FUCKED. He’s sorry that he told her, but she’s glad he did. And then she lies down next to him, and she’s totally his next wife. NO SECRETS.
Seriously, Don is SURE sure that he’s super-fucked. Like, he sets up a trust for his kids, which Betty can access. (Bad idea?) He indicates to Pete that he might just have to disappear, and that SCDP can run without him.
We’ll discuss the thrilling conclusion of that story in a bit.
Meanwhile, Joan is pregnant. And the baby is Roger’s.
Joan has been TRYING to get pregnant, so I think the logical thing to do here is to lie that the baby is a little farther along than it is, and pretend it’s Dr. Greg’s. But Joan decides to get an abortion, and Roger chips in the $400. They get a referral from an extremely disapproving doctor, and Joan goes out to New Jersey to take care of it. (She won’t let Roger drive her.)
I guess she can’t go to her BFF gynecologist who performed the last one, because she’d have all sorts of explaining to do. Now that she’s married.
At the clinic, Joan watches as a seventeen-year-old girl gets called in. The girl’s companion starts to cry, and I totally want Joan to pull a Liz Lemon and say, “It okay! Don’t… be cry?” But Joan actually knows how to administer comforting words, so she talks to the woman and finds out that the girl is her DAUGHTER, and the woman had her when she was fifteen. So… the mother of the abortion girl is 32. And Joan is… older than that?
But, as the mother notes, her daughter seems younger at seventeen than she felt at fifteen. (These days, 30 is the new seventeen.) The mother mistakenly thinks that Joan is waiting for her daughter. Joan goes along with it, lying that her daughter is fifteen.
I wonder if that age correlates with her first abortion.
We don’t see Joan get called in by the doctor, and maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m not 100% sure that she had the abortion. She shows up at work the next day all chipper and tells Roger that she’s fine. I mean, I know this is Joan’s third abortion, but I’m guessing you’d be in quite a bit of pain the next morning. (I don’t know!) (Seriously, Mom, I don’t!)
Meanwhile, Roger almost has another REAL heart attack, because Douchey McAwful of Lucky Strike announces that he’s cutting off the company’s 30-year relationship with Sterling Cooper. Jerk-face reminds Sterling that he inherited the Lucky Strike account. (And Jerk-face inherited Lucky Strike. So what?)
There’s more father/son going on, elsewhere in this episode. We’ll get to that.
Roger FREAKS, because Lucky Strike is the biggest account they have ($7 million), and he begs for 30 days to get Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s affairs in order.
My first thought was, Can they hire Salvatore Romano now?! Because if you remember, he was fired for rejecting THAT GUY’S advances.
But they can’t hire ANYONE, because the company is fucked. Double fucked, because Don is forced Pete to get rid of the Aviation account. Which Pete cultivated last season, while Don was off gallivanting with the Palm Springs jet-setters. Anyway.
And Roger has to shake hands with that guy, when he really wants to murder him.
So– Don is fucked. Pete is fucked. Roger is fucked. Joan is… un-fucked?
Let’s check in with my favorite enigma, Lane Pryce. England’s finest.
So, Lane’s son is supposed to come visit. Lane has an adorable Mickey Mouse doll and some red, white and blue balloons at the ready. (Which… are both American and British colors, but I’m assuming he’s going for America-ness.) But… little Nigel is nowhere to be found. Instead, Lane’s FATHER shows up, ready to drag Lane back to England.
So Lane, Don, and Lane’s father (Robert), go to the Playboy Bunny club. (Whatever it’s called.) Lane is a member, and it’s obvious that this Bunny named Toni is his girlfriend. Nice going, Lane!
Did you notice that she’s black? That shouldn’t be a problem in 1965.
But good for him! Lane is full of surprises, isn’t he? Under his straight-laced exterior, he’s all kinds of interesting.
Now that I think about it– did we see Toni before this? I think we might have, but my brain is mushy around this. Maybe I’m just having deja vu. (The last woman I definitely remember seeing him with is the New Year’s prostitute.) Either way, it turns out that she and Lane are already in the “I love you” phase of things, and he’s staying in America for her. (Is he divorced? Or just separated? I can’t remember.)
Toni’s not exactly pleased that she had to meet Lane’s father in a Bunny costume during work, so Lane decides to take Robert and Toni out to dinner, so they can get to know each other. Robert is polite to Toni, but backs out of dinner, using the excuse that he’ll be traveling in the morning. Lane sends Toni ahead so that they don’t lose their reservation.
And then… ROBERT SLAMS LANE IN THE FACE WITH HIS CANE! It’s nuts. I thought Lane was going to lose an eyeball, or that his dad was going to beat him to death. Old man justice, you guys.
America may have won the Revolution, but Britain carries a big stick. WHACK!
Out of a really crazy episode, that was probably the craziest scene. And saddest. Because Lane is… what, in his forties? And he can’t do what he wants. He’s still ruled by his father. He’s lying on the floor, totally helpless. Totally bleeding.
And he just wanted to see his son.
So… Lane is fucked. Everybody is fucked.
The partners gather for a meeting, and Pete announces that they lost the Astro-peeps (because Don forced him to, ehrm, abort the mission). Pete doesn’t blame Don. And he sits there and takes it as Roger FREAKS OUT at him. Because as only Roger knows, they also lost Lucky Strike. Triple fucked. (When Joan goes through their roster, he says NOTHING when she reads Lucky Strike. So… he’s sitting on ticking time-bomb.) (Or a missile, if we want to keep with the title/theme.)
I was proud of Pete for holding his ground, even though it’s unfair. He’s a man now. And he’s going to be a father in about 10 seconds. Don does very little to defend Pete, but Bert has the final word. He reminds Roger that accounts come and go. That’s the name of the game.
And Roger says NOTHING about Lucky Strike. ARGH!
Lane announces that since the accounts are all in order (or SO HE THINKS), he’s taking a leave of at least two weeks to put his affairs together in England. And then he just walks out. Gone. Which means he will probably be in London when the shit hits the fan. And he’s the money guy.
DON’T GO, LANE!
Um, are Pete and maybe-pregnant Joan (and absent-from-this-episode Peggy) going to be left alone with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Is there even going to BE a SCDP by the end of the season? They’ve lost their biggest account, Don’s ready to run at a moment’s notice, Lane may or may not return from England, and Roger and Bert are old and sickish.
Mrs. Blankenship was the canary in the coalmine, maybe. (She died. Sorry, I didn’t recap last week.) (Or maybe I did a small one? Why is my brain so crap?) (I’m drinking so much water! It can’t be dehydration.) (Maybe my brain is waterlogged?)
At the end of the episode Megan brings in the Beatles tickets. She’s like, yay, everything worked out. Can I go now? (It’s 8pm, but the sun is shining. Does that happen in NYC?) (It happens in Vancouver in the summer. I LOVE VANCOUVER!)
Don stands staring at Megan as she reapplies her lipstick. At first I was wondering, is he macking on her? What about Faye?
Then I realized: He’s probably thinking, how can you be so cavalier? You filled out the form that FUCKED ME. And your life just goes on like nothing happened. (But she was just doing her job.) (And he signed it without reading it.) (That’s what he does!)
But hey, the Beatles tickets came through! They were the red herring. (But still, something’s up with Harry.)
It was a great episode, filled with so many “Holy shits!” and moments where I just burst out laughing. I’m probably forgetting some of the funnier moments. Or maybe they weren’t funny, so much as shocking. But this was definitely… wow. We’re on a roll. Which means the finale must be looming.
Okay, time to eat some banh mi! And revel in the fact that I am not any of the “Mad Men” peeps. They are SO fucked.
They’ve all been whacked with a cane, literally or metaphorically. Cut down. Thus, episode 410 is called “Hands and Knees.” Will they crawl out of this mess intact?
Next week’s episode is called “Chinese Wall.” Not “Great Wall of China.” Just “Chinese Wall.”
Let the speculation begin!