‘Mad Men’s’ unwelcome guests
September 27th, 2010
10:26 AM ET

‘Mad Men’s’ unwelcome guests

Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, September 26 episode of AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Last night we watched as the dog days of summer brought a parade of surprise visitors through the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and their very presence threatened to throw the agency into disarray.

We discovered that Joan and Roger’s alleyway tryst from last week’s episode was no mere make-out sesh, but rather a down and dirty hook-up that resulted in a pregnancy. Joan told Roger about the baby, and they agreed to an abortion after Roger failed to convince her to keep it under the assumption that Dr. Rapist wouldn’t find out because he’d probably be killed in Vietnam.

Joan admonished Roger, telling him, “Greg dying is not a solution to this.” I interpreted that statement as a not-so-subtle message from show creator Matthew Weiner to viewers, many of whom (like me) are counting down the minutes and holding vigil for Dr. Rapist to be killed off. Bottom line, it looks like it’s not happening and we’re stuck with him. Sigh. We’ll get through the rain together, Team Joan.

I’m going back and forth over whether or not Joan went through with the abortion. After she consoled a young woman’s tearful mother in the doctor’s waiting room, it seemed to me that Joan longed for the anxiety and feeling of responsibility that comes with being a parent. Surely I can’t be the only one who was humming “Papa Don’t Preach” as she gazed wistfully out of the window on the train ride back to the city.

Roger’s problems continued to mount when Lee Garner, Jr. dropped the bomb that Lucky Strike was dropping SCDP as their ad agency, preferring to consolidate their accounts with a competing firm. Later Roger worked the phones in what I took to be an attempt to seek sage guidance on how to retain Lucky Strike as a client. He hit a dead end after learning one of his contacts had passed away. Perhaps Roger should have taken that as a sign that it was high time for the 30-year partnership with Lucky Strike to come to an end.

Elsewhere, Lane was caught off guard by his domineering father, who arrived from England in place of Lane’s son Nigel, who’d been expected to come to the States for a visit. Robert Pryce’s mission was to return to the UK with Lane, since Lane’s ex-wife wouldn’t let him see their children otherwise.

Don was recruited to accompany Lane and Robert to the Playboy Club, where we were introduced to Toni Charles, a bunny with whom Lane was smitten. At first I thought Don’s presence was to help Lane give the old man a taste of his swinging bachelor lifestyle but as we later discovered, Don acted as an unwitting buffer in a tense relationship between father and son.

Taking a lesson from the Paul Kinsey School of Taboo Romances, we found out that Lane and Toni, who is black, were in love. Lane told Robert about the relationship and that he had no intention of returning to Britain. Robert wasn’t having it and took to beating Lane with his cane and stepping on him (literally!) until he agreed to return to England.

Finally, after a brief period where it looked like Don might be well on his way to getting his life together, it once again began to spiral out of control after well-meaning secretary Megan submitted Don for a government background check in order to attain security clearance for client North American Aviation. Betty tipped Don off to the investigation after a visit from two Department of Defense officials, and in very un-Betty like fashion, she didn’t throw Don under the bus. It’s too late to make me like you, Betty, but I appreciate the effort.

Fearful of being found out as Desertin’ Dick Whitman, Don had an epic meltdown when he mistook two strangers in his apartment building for DOD investigators. Who knew the typically cool and collected Don Draper would devolve into a hyperventilating puddle of flop sweat and vomit? Later, Don confessed the truth about his past to Dr. Faye Miller. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Dr. Faye is only the second person Don has volunteered this information to after Rachel Menken, thus proving the connection Don feels with her. I knew I liked this gal.

In an attempt to nip the problem in the bud, Don told Pete to determine the status of the background check and also instructed him to kill the deal with North American Aviation. If you’ll recall, Pete had grown the contract into a multi-million dollar account after courting the company for a considerable period of time. Pete wrestled with what to do and ultimately fell on the grenade, terminating the contract and angering Roger, who neglected to mention during the partner’s meeting that SCDP was in danger of losing Lucky Strike, their most lucrative client.

After learning he was in the clear and free from DOD scrutiny, Don promptly went back to being a lecherous cad as he gazed longingly at Megan mere moments after sharing an intimate moment with Dr. Faye. What the hell, Draper?

We’re fast-approaching the season finale and it remains to be seen whether 1965 will end on a high note for Don or the agency. What do you think will happen?

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Filed under: Fall TV • Mad Men • television • TV recaps

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Karla French

    Mad Men reminds me al everything when I was a kid. My parents, the furniture, the affairs my dad had and the drinking.
    It is a trip down memory lane for me. Best show ever.

    October 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Holly Golightly

    Heck yes, Ed! Jon Hamm deserves an Emmy!!!

    September 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ED

    Jon Hamm's acting the past 4 episodes has been very impressive.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Holly Golightly

    The post just said Don's "past". It wasn't specific. Don has shared details of his past with Peggy, Rachel, Betty, and now Faye.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Laura

    Correction. Don never told Rachel about Dick Whitman. Ever. He only shared some real truths about his past without revealing the entire story. Thanks.

    September 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted

    Following up on the Betty/Henry scene ... didn't occur to me at the time, but yea, could be something going on with Henry on the side. What a twist that would be! Did you catch Betty's comment of not wanting any secrets between them ... hmm. And Pete .. I feel sorry for the guy taking the heat for Don. Don is so messed up, this can't possibly end well. What a show!

    September 28, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. LJ

    Toni CHARLES.

    (Toni Childs was a character from "Girlfriends")

    September 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. coach4771

    I guess I was wrong (I hope), but I thought the last scene with Don staring at Megan was implying that he was going to ask her to go see The Beatles with him. As he looked up from his desk where the tickets were laying. I remember thinking, DO NOT do that to Sally!!! I hope it was just Don being Don again 🙂

    September 27, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ladyfish

    Am I the only one that found the tone of the entire episode to be pretty dark and depressing? Sally's excitement about the Beatles tickets was the only upbeat thing that happened. Who doesn't love a big dose of doom & gloom on a Monday night?!

    September 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Holly Golightly

    You said it Anne!

    September 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anne McNeff


    September 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt


    I copied the exact same sentence before seeing you beat me to it. Am I the only one who feels this reviewer totally misses the mark on obvious things like this week after week?

    They also completely missed the storyline about MY favorite character, Sally. Was I the only one worried the tickets wouldn't come through? Despite all the stress of the episode, I was thrilled when he finally got them.


    I didn't think about it, but yeah, they've done a good job with Henry's realization that he's married a grown child. Wouldn't be shocking if he's looking for a way out, but we'll see.

    September 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Holly Golightly

    Mel–I thought it was a strange scene too. You could be right! My first thought was to show that Betty was (for once) not looking for something to criticize because SHE thought she might be in trouble. But I like your idea better!

    September 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bwflorida

    Later Roger worked the phones in what I took to be an attempt to seek sage guidance on how to retain Lucky Strike as a client.
    Roger's been in the ad biz way too long to be seeking "sage advice" about keeping clients. He knows exactly what has to be done - call everyone he knows for leads on new clients to replace LS.

    September 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mel

    So much to comment on, but did anyone notice Henry and Betty's bedroom scene when Henry was apologizing to Betty about being late for dinner? Why did they throw that in there? Does Henry have a little "sumpin sumpin" on the side?

    September 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  16. newzjunkie

    i like this show, cant wait untill next week.

    September 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Holly Golighlty

    Great job, Jennifer. I'm hoping as well Joan did not have the termination, because I would LOVE to see a Red/Roger spawn! Plus, it's just jolly good soap opera. Wow, Lane's dad was quite the cad, eh? And was anyone else shocked at the odd coupling of Lane and the bunny? Not because of race, just because they're odd together! I was quite proud of Betty as well, although I am not a member of Team Betty. Was Sally not adorable with her Beatle-mania squeals of joy? I was so proud of Don until the last frame! However, Don has revealed his past to Peggy and Betty, remember? Although he was under duress with Betty. I really like the relationship with Faye, although I'm still rooting for Peggy and Don! Will Don ever mend his cheating ways? We shall see...

    September 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  18. kwyjibo

    SCDP will end up merging with CGC.

    September 27, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |

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