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Mad Men S04E10: S#!T My Don Pukes

Joan walks into Roger’s office. ARE THEY GOING TO DO IT? She locks the door and says they need to talk. DO THEY NEED TO TALK ABOUT DOING IT? Oh wait. No. They already did it. And now they have to talk about, you know, doing it. (Abortion.) I know that Joan and Roger’s story has become incredibly sad and that their relationship has no future and that there is something despairing and discouraging on an existential level about people’s self-perpetuating misery and the accumulation of more misery based on the miserable decisions they make in reaction to that initial misery, but I guess my point is that I would watch Joan and Roger be miserable about the PHONE BOOK as long as they were miserable about the phone book together. When Joan tells Roger what’s what he gets a lot less JOKES and a lot more WHISPERS. Joan explains that it can’t belong to her husband because he’s been gone for seven weeks. Roger doesn’t want to start their relationship with a scandal. He promises though that he will help her take care of it. He has the thoughtful, quiet sadness of a person whose life is not being affected by the thing that makes him sad at all. You know what I’m talking about? He’s intellectually sad about the whole idea of it, while Joan is intellectually freaking the fuck out about the whole fuck there is a baby inside her. (Of course, neither of them is doing either of these things because they don’t exist and this whole thing is make believe, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, LET’S JUST KEEP GOING.)

Don calls Sally and blows her mind.

He has two tickets to see The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Well, he’s going to get two tickets to see The Beatles at Shea Stadium. To be honest, whether Matthew Weiner intended this or not, the whole “Beatles tickets” thing gave me hives. Where were the tickets?! I really thought that Don was not going to get the tickets and that Sally was going to masturbate herself off a bridge. I just had that uneasy feeling that without the tickets in his hot little hands, Don was going to turn out to be a Disappointing Father, as if there is any other kind, and it would lead Sally to swallow an entire bottle of masturbation pills. But SPOILER ALERT he does get the tickets in the end (although whether or not he takes Sally and/or disappoints her so intensely that it forever corrupts her ability to find trust and safety in this world remains to be secretaried I MEAN SEEN) so we can all rip our shirts off buttons-first and relax.

Lane has a visitor. It is his son, come to visit. And by son, I mean super old dad. And by visit, I mean come to bully him and take him back to England. Don joins them for dinner at the Hooters of the 1960s. Seriously. In retrospect, the Playboy Club, or whatever that place was called, looks elegant enough with its red leather banquettes and tasteful lighting, and the waitresses’ bunny suits are certainly more tasteful than the wing-sauce spattered torn half-tops of today’s Hooters waitress, but not THAT much more tasteful. Lane’s dad probably loves it. “I love it here,” he is probably thinking. Lane puts his arm around a black waitresses waist and tells her how hard they tried but failed to be seated in her area. Even Don is like “uh, dude?” Careful Lane. You’re kind of asking for a shaleighleigh to the dome.

Ding dong. Who is it? Telegram. The FBI shows up at the Francis residence and asks Betty questions about Don for a security background check because of his upcoming work with North American Aviation. Uh ohhhhhhhhh. They mostly ask questions about Don’s allegiance to the Communist Party, as if Don would ever. Come on, G-Men. Get real, G-Men. But then they are like, “do you have any reason to believe that Don Draper is actually Dick Whitman, son of a prostitute, raised on a farm by an abusive father, who then switched identities in Korea and whose best friend just died?” And Betty is like, “gulp.” It turns out that Don signed a form without looking at it requesting a security clearance. Yoops. AND THUS BEGINS THE GREAT DRAPER MELT DOWN OF 1965.

Holy smokes, pull it together pal! That night, when Don is done shitting his face and puking his butts out, he finally tells the doctor all about his secret past because he doesn’t want to live with the lies anymore. Is this a new Don Draper? An open and honest Don Draper with the ability to emotionally connect with other human beings and finally live his life free from the crippling fear of having his inner-self “discovered”? Perhaps. And perhaps this:

Meanwhile:

HELLO, TRUDY!

This episode is seriously a Pete Campbell’s Bitchface Factory. He doesn’t understand why he is always called upon to make sacrifices on behalf of Don Draper just because Don Draper is a Man of 1,000,000 Secrets. Well, Pete, guess what: themz iz the rulez! Don asks him to contact his friend at the Department of Defense and call off the investigation, and to drop the aviation client. Pete is like “bitchface!” And Don is like “rulez!” Pete comes over to his house after the GREAT DRAPER MELT DOWN OF 1965 and is like “more bitchface!” and Don is like “more rulez!” And also:

Pete does take the bullet for Don, because he’s a street soldier. He’s the Bodie of Draper, Price, Sterling, Campbell. He’s got them WMDs.

Meanwhile, Lane’s traditional, double-breasted House of Lords father is not particularly impressed with Lane’s black Hooters waitress girlfriend. Weird. It’s funny how Lane can be the founding partner of a successful (kind of) and influential advertising firm in a foreign country, but can’t foresee his dad not liking his new black waitress girlfriend. So, you know, BOOM.

No wire hangers, etc.

At the partners’ meeting, Roger screams at Campbell because a) he doesn’t realize that Campbell is taking a bullet for Don, and b) he is venting his own frustrations because the night before he had dinner with the homo from Lucky Strike, and Lucky Strike is dropping Price Cooper Sterling Draper Campbell. But Lucky Strike was the only thing keeping the company afloat. Uh oh. Roger is so mad. He slams the table and makes a passing reference to how the homo from Lucky Strike is a homo. Eek! You almost spilled the cognac, Roger! The truth is, everyone at this table is just a mess.

Roger apologizes to Pete for using the “bleep” word. Pete accepts his bitchface. Lane is going to England for two weeks “or a month” to get his house in order. Roger pretends like there’s nothing wrong with Lucky Strike when there is definitely something wrong with Lucky Strike. Joan is beautiful, hi, Joan. Burt Cooper won’t put the newspaper down, presumably because the newspaper holds the ghost of Ms. Winterbottom (or whatever her name was, but it was probably Winterbottom). And Don finally gets those Beatles tickets. The doctor comes to his office and picks up some files, because no one in the office even knows that Don has sex, so that’s a good cover, because he definitely doesn’t sleep with everyone, sometimes in his office in the middle of the day practically, so she picks up those files and everyone is like “files, professional,” I’m sure. Don says he needs to be alone tonight, but they will see each other the next night. Oh, OK. It’s cool how Don is just a good father who loves his children, and a thoughtful, caring boyfriend with his eye on the future.

Right.