Don accompanies Roger and Crane to L.A. for several West Coast meetings, including a disastrously awkward breakfast with Carnation (the company and the drink), and then to a gross party with a hash hookah and Danny Strong's character from several seasons back. Don smokes hash, hallucinates a hippie version of Megan and that sweet young soldier from the season premiere, and then goes swimming in his clothes/tries to commit suicide. Roger's burgeoning wisdom lightens the load on the flight back, but there's no telling for how long.
If you like episodes of this show where Don does drugs and trips out on drugs and has trippy drug experiences, this is probably like your favorite season for sure. I totally understand because I feel the same way about Stan Rizzo's beard.
Back home, it's the Democratic National Convention and rioting, which has everybody on edge but also feeling a certain feeling of revolution, as in the movie Les Misérables. Harry Hamlin's amazing-looking Cutler is very interested in using Don's absence to evict what he still thinks of as the "SCDP" side of the firm -- especially once Ginsberg's incipient paranoid schizophrenia rears its head again, and he flips the fuck out on Harry Hamlin. Bob Benson involves himself in that way he tends to do.
Bob Benson: we still don't know what his deal is but I think he is the Devil and at the end of the season somebody's gonna be like, "But Ken Cosgrove, the second floor has been abandoned for over 40 years! Ben Bobsled was only an illusion."
We see an interesting dynamic in the way that Ginz, Stan and now Bob support and love one another, no homo (slight homo), and the end result is that Bob is now one of the account managers on Chevrolet -- despite not even working at their company, being Dick Whitman from an alternate future, being the Devil, and/or being in gay love with Ginz -- because he can calm down Harry Hamlin just by giving him a focus for his weird ire. I nominate him for Vice President of Keepin' It Tight in Them Little Booty Shorts.
Somebody calls Ronald Reagan "Dutch" and somebody calls Nixon a patriot. You know, they always say only Nixon could have gone to China but I don't really think that's true. I think Roger Sterling could have pulled it off.
The other major revolution is the best and most nerve-wracking part of the episode: Joan goes on a date that turns out to be a biz dev meeting with the head of marketing at Avon, and tries to get Peggy's help in making her the account man for it. A distracted Ted gives it to Pete Campbell instead, so Joan switches their luncheon around and ends up icing him out.
I think Don Draper talking about how powdered breakfast is for adults on the go is my favorite pitch meeting on this show since that time Peggy said "catsup" like a million billion times.
Peggy barely relishes the tables-have-turnedness of being the senior employee in this arena, but it does get pretty ugly between the ladies for a bit. Eventually some incredibly quick-thinking from Peggy gets Joan out of the predictable shit-fit blowback from Campbell -- but now it's like her whole job rests on the success of this account.
The whole storyline is very twisty and each person involved calls Joan a literal whore to her face at least 17 times, but at this point she barely gives a shit because everybody's doing it all the time now so she's just like "Bitch I might be" no matter what context it happens in. Empowerment.
Peggy says a neat thing about way back when Joan dicked her around about making the jump to copywriting: That it was worse back then, because Joan made Peggy feel like she wasn't going to be any good at it, but at least Peggy's concern trolling is coming from a place where she knows Joan would be a good accounts man. I think she should be whatever the job is where everybody does exactly what you say, all the time.
They rename the firm from SCDPCGC to Sterling, Cooper & Partners once the boys get back from L.A., which makes nobody happy, which is the point. Well, it might make Don Draper happy, because he is in a curious no-place where he just wants to X himself and at the same time is very close to a wonderful breakthrough, so probably not being in the firm's name would make him tragically happy.
Who will never, ever be happy is Pete Campbell because he is a miserable son of a bitch, so at the end of the episode he takes Stan Rizzo's pot away from him and feels like he is Janis Joplin and somebody keeps taking little pieces of his heart. Sometimes I like to imagine Betty Draper and Peter Campbell having a conversation, and then I like to imagine her cunt-punting him to outer space. But I admit my feelings about him vary from week to week in direct proportion to how good his manners are with Joan. This week, not so much.
Next Week: Betty's fat French twin shows up with brown hair and a knack for machinations. She uses her sexuality as a weapon! She won't be a chambermaid for long! Eventually she goes nuts and murders Sharon Tate, but not before starting the day off right with a healthy and delicious -- and above all instant -- Carnation powdered breakfast. (She is really just Betty in a wig.)
-- Jacob Clifton
Oh hi, "directed by John Slattery." We meet again.
In an easy chair, his eyes at three-quarter mast, Don is watching TV coverage of the Democratic National Convention when Megan calls to him about a packing issue. He doesn't catch what she says, so she enters and, hearing the speaker droning on about some procedural amendment for the '72 edition, comments that they're supposed to be debating the war. Don sighs that they can't come out against it, and after some talk illustrative of the sentiment that Humphrey has a snowball's chance in Hawaii, Don turns off the TV and laughs about how the debate and the almost-violent-turning protests currently going on won't be shown in prime-time. Megan smiles that Don's so cynical, but he, obviously still making an effort with her, has her come over and sit on his lap before urging her to come with him, apparently on a trip to California. He tells her they can go back to Disneyland. "From what I remember, something amazing happened there." I'd agree with that. She jokes that it was the biggest mistake of her life (hmm) before telling him she'd come if she could. Now that she's playing two characters, it does seem like it'd be harder for her to get significant time off. If the soap sees fit to introduce a red-haired "Celine," we'll never see Megan again. Megan warns him to stay away from actresses, and Don smiles that he hates them. Earlier in the season, I would have been guessing whether that was a comment on her choice of profession or on her acting ability, but he does seem to be joking here.
In the [NAME] conference room, Ted tells the group that on Ken's most recent Detroit visit, the Chevy people took him to a room on a level of the building he'd never seen before. Since they apparently let him out after, I'm guessing that's a good sign, especially since Ted goes on that Ken "met the man he believes to be the source of our current torture. Apparently his feelings were hurt because we haven't kissed his ring." Pete practically reaches for the Carmex as he says he'll be happy to do it, and when Roger says it should be he, Pete points out that he's going to L.A. "for... what, again?" Ted curtails this discussion by saying that he'll be the one to go, which seems odd because you'd think they'd be clear here on whether it should be an Accounts or a Creative person to take this on. Then again, it's not like certain lines of that sort aren't going to be blurred this episode.
Don enters and asks Roger if they're going, and when Roger tells him they will right after the partners' meeting, he's like, "Oh," takes a seat... and then immediately asks if they're done. Look, I know the show is to the point of fetishizing Don's devil-may-care attitude when it comes to [NAME] procedure, but are the other partners so laissez-faire about it that no one would have walked the five steps to Don's office to see if he'd be attending? This is a public company now, and they could literally wave to Dawn from here! And it's one thing for Don to blow it off, but another not even to know it's happening. Another instance of something ringing false enough to compromise its potential comedy, if that's even what they were going for... although being over Don's general attitude certainly doesn't help.