Mad Men
Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 1 USERS: C
A Turkey Lurkey Christmas To You, Jerky

Well, not really on the spoiler front, as a short time later, Allison shows up. Don apologizes, but he's got a bottle of booze in his hand, so his judgment really seems impaired, both generally and in this moment. Allison gets him some aspirin as he flops down on the couch, and she's about to safely take her leave, but he pulls her down with him and starts kissing her with an amorous smile. She resists momentarily, but it's pretty clear at least part of her has thought about this before, so she goes with it. The camera tastefully pans left so all we see is Allison sliding off her shoes...

...and then we somewhat disturbingly cross-fade into Sally looking out the window, wondering what her Dad is up to. She then gets into bed and lovingly fondles the lanyard...

...and then, after the passage of probably not too much time, Don and Allison are done. They enjoy each other without awkwardness, which seems nice but probably is going to make tomorrow morning even harder to take for her. After a few moments, she grimaces as she remembers she's supposed to meet "somebody," as over at Joan's, Adorable Joey suddenly feels like crying and has no idea why. Allison's prior commitment neatly obviates any awkward conversation about spending the night, and after she quickly freshens up in the bathroom, he assures her everything's okay, and she gives him a kiss and takes off. When she's gone, however, Don doesn't even bother with going to bed or even turning off the lights as he collapses back down on the couch, and I guess the best we can really hope for is that he won't remember this at all.

We start on a closeup of female feet, and considering the way they're primly stepping over the dregs of the party, it's not a big shock that they belong to Peggy. As if to validate that idea, when Peggy goes into her office she finds Freddy sitting at her desk, and he explains that it's "the cleanest spot in the office." She asks why he didn't come to the party, and instead of telling her to put two and two together again, he explains that in his experience, when they give you the Santa suit, "there's usually a bottle already in the pocket." I don't think an exception was made in this case. Peggy's glad, as she doesn't want to worry every time she hurts his feelings he's going to start drinking again, and I understand her point, but I can't say I blame him for suggesting that she not continue to do that. I mean, I don't blame her for what she said; I just think it's something they could both strive for in the future. She does apologize for calling him old-fashioned, and he returns the favor by apologizing for saying she wanted a husband, but she admits she does want to get married, and she has a boyfriend, but he won't leave her alone, which is an old-fashioned euphemism for "has grabby hands." Freddy starts to tell her about his randy old days when he was courting Violet, which sends Peggy running for coffee, but she turns around and admits the other part of her dilemma -- she doesn't want to be alone on New Year's Eve. Freddy gives it to her straight -- if she wants to marry this guy, she can't do anything, or he won't respect her. She asks what happens if she doesn't know, and he warns her not to lead him on. "That is physically very uncomfortable, you know." Heh. And speaking of uncomfortable...

...Don walks in and sees Allison already typing away at her desk. He defers having to see her for ten seconds by ducking down the other way, where he runs into Roger and puts on a German accent: "Did you enjoy ze Fuhrer's birthday?" Roger's equal to it: "May he live for a thousand years." They giggle, and Roger, Alka-Seltzer in hand, tells Don his father used to say this was the greatest job in the world except for one thing -- the clients. Not terribly original, but probably hard to argue. Comic relief over, Don goes to his door, at which Allison greets him with a friendly smile. He neutrally asks if she made it home last night, and she admits she didn't before they head into the office, in which he sees a pile of presents -- Allison had gotten them a few days before, but didn't have them wrapped until now. Don prefaces further conversation by saying he really "overdid it" at the party; not yet getting it, Allison regards him with an expectant smile, but when he thanks her for bringing the keys and tells her he's probably taken advantage of her "kindness" on too many occasions, her smile fades, as this isn't remotely how she was hoping this would go -- being treated like an employee when you expected to be treated like a lover has to be just revolting. Ignoring her crestfallen expression, he gives her an envelope he says contains her bonus and bids her Merry Christmas, and she thanks him without a hint of pleasure. Pulling it together as best she can, she asks if there's anything else at the moment, and the answer's negative, so she leaves. Don at least looks like he hates himself a little...

...but that's probably not enough, as Allison brings herself to open the envelope. Inside is a card with two fifty-dollar bills and this note: "Thanks for all your hard work." Now, of course he probably wrote this before the incident the night before, and of course the cash is best, as she won't have to pay taxes on it. Still, if she's not in the shower tonight desperately trying to scrub the feeling like a hooker off her, I'm missing a big bet. She starts typing on a fresh sheet of paper, and I hope it's not a resignation letter but if it is you could hardly blame her. And speaking of sexual regrets...

...Peggy has Done It with the fetus. He asks if she feels different, but I'm more wondering whether she felt anything, especially during. She doesn't answer him, but her haunted expression after she rests her head on his chest probably tells us everything we need to know. So...

...let's go back to Don, and by the way, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," the creepiest, most inappropriate Christmas song in existence, is playing here just to emphasize how screwed-up the decisions everyone's making are. Don finishes a drink at his desk, and we cut to him leaving the office, the stack of presents for his kids balanced precariously in one hand. He walks down the hallway, and I hope we all recover from this episode by the time Christmas actually rolls around. See you next week!

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