It's kind of amazing how little plot there was in this episode, considering how much of a turning point it felt like. Pete is back on the train with that douche Howard, who tells Pete he's got a great new thing going in the city. Later, Howard's wife RORY GILMORE corners Pete, and you wouldn't think Pete's awful driving would be an aphrodisiac, but soon, they're going at it. Pete uses Howard's desperation to buy life insurance in an effort to get an invitation to Howard's home, and although that doesn't go particularly well, Pete does get a declaration of love from Rory in the form of a heart drawn on a steamed-up car window. Transitory, yet romantic.
Megan gets out of working late by telling Peggy she has to meet Don, but when that gets exposed as a lie, we learn that Megan's auditioning again, and she confesses something to Peggy that's hardly news to us, which is that she hates being in the position of being Don's favored wife. Peggy has little sympathy at first, but when she witnesses Don and Megan doing a sickening role-playing bit for Cool Whip, you expect her to soften, and indeed, when Megan quits, Peggy has her back. Peggy then stands in for her on Cool Whip, and she and Don fail absolutely spectacularly, leading to an a serious knock-down drag-out between the two of them. In the denouement, Don and Roger express their jealousy at Megan's ability to follow her dream, but Don at least realizes that he has to let her pursue it. But when he ends up going to bed before she comes home, you wonder how long he's going to humor her dreams. It's kind of terrific how Megan has become the focal point of the season, and even more so that it's completely working.
Before I start, in case you didn't know, here's a link explaining the Sylvia Plath poem to which the episode's title refers. Also, of course, the Plath poem takes part of its title from the Biblical Lazarus, a man Jesus resurrected. You know... no reason.
Pete, in his usual seat on the morning commuter train, is reading a book when that douchey cheater Howard joins him with a comment about how he didn't want to play cards anyway. I'd like to ignore him, but he segues into bitching about how he's having such a lean month that he's been reduced to hustling people on the train and whatever. Pete's like, "Okay, get the pitch over with so we can get back to the marginal amusement you provide me." He goes on, however, that he already has life insurance -- it came with his junior partnership and it even covers suicide after two years. And, of course, suicide and death are what this episode is about, but also, I can't sit on this anymore; following the season premiere, my great friend Ali Arikan predicted that Pete would bite it by the end of the season. I didn't see it at the time, but "Signal 30" sure looked like a step in that direction and now that he's discussing the ins and outs of his life insurance policy, I have to wonder if we're going to be Kartheiser-less soon. No spoilers and I'd hate to lose Pete, but it was such a great early call, I have to give it a mention even if it doesn't come to pass. Anyway, Howard thinks that Pete's policy -- given that it originated from his partnership -- is designed to benefit SCDP and not him, but "I'll leave that to you and your sleepless nights." Pete: "I'm surprised you're not doing better." Heh. Of course, his problem might stem from the fact that he can't go five seconds without bringing up all the tail he's getting, bragging about some twenty-four-year-old (girl, WHAT are you thinking) he's hooking up with in the city and adding that he even got an apartment for the purpose, which if it were possible, would make me even less sympathetic about his financial woes. Pete, sadly somewhat intrigued, asks what Howard's wife says and Howard claims that she's fine because he provides for her. Pete wonders if Howard worried about getting caught, but given Howard's grin and the enthusiastic way he rushes off to corral a potential client, the answer seems to be "no."