You can bet Sally and Bobby #4 were watching this and Gene was off in the distance playing alone with his toys.
"Someone’s not going to be happy and I would rather not stare at it for a month?"-Don Draper
-Is somebody getting fired? Was two weeks notice (and I am guessing Christmas vacation could play a role in this) a whole lot longer back then? Is is a really bad pitch idea before going to Christmas break? Or is somebody just choosing a terrible Christmas/Holiday decoration? This looks like Sardonic Don Draper talking to either the partners or even creative. His body language suggests let’s just put this situation under the rug. Since Don really seems out of his element in work, talking to either Roger or Bert or Lane or the creative team are equally plausible.
"Your promise was to EXTRICATE me from this situation altogether!"- Lane Pryce
-Why, hello again, Lane! What the hell have you done since we last saw you? Is this calling back to his stolen photo of Dolores in “A Little Kiss” that led to him meeting a shady as hell boyfriend? The phone conversation is at night in his darkened apartment so it is either a really big secret that Lane is keeping from Rebecca or it may involve him back in his home country since the other line on the phone may very well be calling him in the morning from London.
Either way it is good to see Lane back on camera again since his last appearance in “Signal 30” was one of the best episodes of the season and his story seems to hold a lot of the focus and most mystery. Like Don last week, we see him in the office in the very odd, possible late hours, as well as look bitter, and not just from the cold, as he leaves the offices of SCDP. I am not even going to bother to guess on this one, I want to be surprised.
"He’s sorta been threatening to stop by."- Unknown Secretary
Harry Crane still being at SCDP has been a real surprise. He seemed to be in a Hollywood haze for all of Season 4 and there are many indications to suggest he wants to get out. His only real job has been to get Don with The Rolling Stones and that failed. He has mostly sat in Pete’s old office after taking $1,100 bribe from Roger and hanging out around the office, like talk to Pete when they are not even on the same wave-length. Very little of Harry this season but that appears to change since he has been placed in the vague plot summary as, ‘Harry helps out of a friend’. So is this “friend” the one who is threatening to stop by? I say yes but since I not too involved in the Harry Crane universe, I have no idea who this person could be. Maybe from Hollywood? Last episode, very subtly, Harry openly expressed his discontent for his work as head of the Media Department being nothing but a “bunch of empty promises” which got a response out of Peggy in addition to Ken Cosgrove informing him that at least his office is in the same building. I think Harry could be a candidate to leave the agency and hey, if that in some bizarre way in the Mad Men universe saves Ken or Peggy or even Pete from leaving as in also possibly leaving the show, I am okay with that.
"You may have to stay until 5:30!"- Pete Campbell
-Is there a bigger concern troll in the offices of SCDP than Pete Campbell? He is, of course, telling this to Don who may still actually need this push. I am guessing Don followed Roger’s advise on him and Mona’s relationship that things need to be on a schedule now that Megan is out of his work-life. Is Don taking off early before Megan leaves for acting classes for some afternoon delight? I am going to imagine that this comes as surprise to Don given the holiday season happening but Pete’s tough love may be reflecting the different economic state of SCDP from Season 4 with that elaborate Christmas party to now post-Lucky Strike where it is all about business.
"I couldn’t care less!"- Joan Holloway Harris
I am not really paying attention to what Joan said but her outfit caught my eye. She has worn this before and the rose-patterns are very much apart of her character’s relationship with Greg. As Tom and Lorenzo have pointed out in their Mad Styles review of the “Lady Lazarus” episode, the dress may be seasonally appropriate but it looks like a bunch of dead roses on her dress that reflect her relationship with Greg. Remember, in that episode she confided to Peggy that the marriage with Greg was essentially over in that outfit. Joan’s body language in the scene comes off with a certain ease and casualness versus the front she usually puts on in the office. I feel like only two people in the office are allowed to see Joan act this way and those two are Peggy and Lane. I am guessing Peggy is at the other end of this conversation. But the conversation also shows a bit of deflection, that she should care about something. But what?
She also wore that outfit when Don told her that Megan was quitting and spitting out venom to Peggy that she believes Megan, like Jane, follows the ‘second-wife playbook’. Is there something with Roger or even Don that she could be talking about? I think it may have something to do with the fact that her husband is not home for Christmas or more specifically, for Kevin’s first Christmas. Joan not being too upset makes sense in her dress as she believes the relationship is dead and perhaps she has come to terms with the fact that she is not even going to bother to deny that Kevin’s father is not Greg. But perhaps to somebody like Peggy who like the rest of the office only sees the surface of her relationship, the idea that Joan’s husband is not home for Christmas or to see his son’s first Christmas is very unusual. I hope Joan can confide more about her personal life to somebody not named Roger in this episode. More Joan in general is always good and it looks like she is spending the holiday at a bar, notably with a flower pendant that further minimizes the Greg relationship.
"Maybe you and I should go as a couple."- Don Draper
This again could be Sardonic Don and this clips wreaks of audience misdirection. If this is Joan or even Peggy at the other end of this and that it will go anywhere, I will eat my hat! He could very well be telling this to Roger Sterling or Pete Campbell. He sounds a bit exhausted but not desperate, very casual, so I am thinking this is being dryly sarcastic and that Don is not being serious. He could be answering advice to somebody like Lane or Roger about going to dinner without their spouse since one’s marriage is destroyed and the other’s marriage does not appear to be in good shape either. Don and Lane last season bonded over their singles status so I could believe Lane would ask such a thing to Don. But if this is Joan, oh boy, may it just be for posing…. which hopefully leads to absolutely no misunderstandings.
"That’s a twist."-Peggy Olson
Again pushing the misdirection by having Peggy follow the Don clip. Who is she talking to. Judging by the blazer that seems to try to be festive but looks out of date seasonally, I will eliminate Pete, Roger, and Bert from the blazer candidates. The blazer in fact looks like the blazers Ken, Pete, and Don wore for “Signal 30” but looking again and the print patterns do not match. But looking back at “Dark Shadows” it appears to be Harry Crane’s winter coat and that Peggy sounds happy for him. Please, oh please, may this be him leaving SCDP!
Other scenes and stuff only shown after the airing of “Dark Shadows”: There is a dialogue-free scene of Megan in a formal gown soaking in what I am going to guess is Don acting like a child about going out. I am assuming she dragged him to see it because he seems very dressed down compared to Megan, just from work and does not look like he wants to be there as Megan’s looks for his reaction and it does not match hers. I am assuming they are at a play for either one of her friends or a work by somebody that she is hoping will get her a gig with in future instances.
Then there’s Harry saying, “They’re derived from reality but there are hopes and dreams.” With him sitting down at an office of a higher-up. Not sure if that is him a new agency or talking to the friend.
Joan is going to open up to more people about the downfall of her relationship with Greg and perhaps the details as far as the paternity of her child, though stopping at Kevin not being Greg’s. This seems like it could be Joan’s “The Suitcase” with opening up to somebody on a professional level about her personal life right down to the bar.
Lane is in trouble and this will last more than a single episode whether he likes it or not. Why? I want more Lane Pryce.
Don is up to his neck at work to the point he and Megan can not have a holiday exhale which leads to a misunderstanding where Megan’s ‘orange sherbet’ is not well-received by Don and we have a reversal of ‘Far Away Places’, except no chasing around each other in the apartment but just a bitter Christmas.
Harry has a lifeline to leave SCDP but that leads to the question of who now will be the head of Media. The politicking begins.
How did I do last week, you ask?
I nailed Betty getting jealous but I had no idea she would be the ‘Anna card’ on Sally. I did get the chain of events wrong. Her revelation to Don that Sally knows about Anna came after Sally and her were alone after Don took Gene and Bobby out to someplace we will never know about.
I knew Megan was reading from a script but it was not for her but her theater-kid earnest friend Julia as Megan dismisses the script.
The smog did play into things on a literal, on-the-nose,
Peggy was responding to Harry’s very woe is me ‘empty promises’ quip but that weirdly went nowhere that episode but could go further this coming episode.
Peggy was really ignored this episode to the point her pitch got phased out like her dress on the couch when it became Ginzo vs. Don.
Don does consider Ginsberg a creative lifeline but not somebody to put under his wing as Ginsberg does not operate in such a way and neither did Don by looking through his stream of consciousness ideas and pulling together an ad and dropping Ginzo’s ad.
Pete was fantasizing about Beth but his sensitive, ‘you can’t be here’ was also in his fantasy. That creep…..
Howard nor Beth died but Pete really wanted gave a truth-telling tongue-lashing to Howard that was so ridiculous out of context that there was no way Howard could believe Pete would dare sleep with his wife.
Don was indeed working up a storm and he is very much off his game.
Roger did invite Jane out for dinner and this deal required Roger to pull out Jane’s J-card that in Season 1 seemed like a suicidal task.
The smog happened but the kids were not at Don’s for Thanksgiving so they were not in harm’s way from the smog although I will still refer to Betty as the Smog Monster.