Roger and Don's families are off to the coast for Labor Day Weekend, along with all the wives and children in the state apparently. Betty's none too happy heading off with her replacement mommy, but she uses it as another way to angle in on her therapeutic goals. The agency continues to work on the Nixon campaign as things in the race finally begin to heat up. Rachel's father finally shows some face at Sterling Cooper, agreeing to a three-month shutdown in order to remake Mencken's as a lunch-and-shopping destination; he also approves of Don. Who doesn't? Dr. Scholl's, who drops Sterling Cooper due to their creative efforts, much to Pete's not-so-secret delight. A bit more ambiguous are his feelings toward Peggy, as he rewrites their history for like the eighteenth time, leaving her feeling abused and confused again, because she is very sweet and very smart, but also very self-destructive and dumb. At least this time she shows some backbone and manages to avoid making love to the lunch cart in response, so I guess she's learning.
To cheer Don up, Roger takes him down to the casting call for a twin-concept double-sided aluminum campaign, where they pick up a pair. One of the twins tries unsuccessfully to bed Don; the other gives Roger that heart attack the old pederast's been working on for awhile. Love Roger, but it's not that sad, mostly because first he rides her around like a horse in her panties, which is brutally and hard to watch levels of misogynistic, even for this show.
Joan's roommate Carol loses her job, but Joan's attempts to cheer her up result in a startling voyage into the Lesbian Zone. Joan, of course, totally deals with this like a champ and takes Carol out on the town. They bring some rando guys back to the apartment, but then Mr. Cooper calls her into the office to send out telegrams to every single client about Roger's heart attack. He also tells her to stop sleeping with Roger because he's too old and infirm. By the end of professionally typing out her lover's health scare news a billion times, she's closer to a wreck than we've ever seen her. Joan's life is really...complicated.
While in the hospital, Roger reconciles with his wife, his daughter, and his grownup responsibilities, which spurs Don to call up Betty on her vacation. It also spurs him to visit and finally bed the beautiful Rachel. Then he tells her that pesky life story nobody else ever gets to hear, right down to the prostitute mom. Is it weird that after all his bullshit, this is the first time it really feels like cheating?
Previously, Peggy was the victim of even more sexual harassment than she even knew, because the boys of Sterling Cooper are a bunch of squealing harpies. Pete punched the blonde guy for saying all her meat was in her lobster tail, but of course that was more about male ego than Peggy's honor, because she has none. Roger admitted he was having his affair with Joan basically to save his marriage, Betty wouldn't stop talking about her mother, and Don had himself a case of Shtetl Fever.
The Draper kids are running around with all their beach stuff, ready to go to the coast with Betty's dad and his new paramour/"friend" Gloria. Don jokes with his daughter that he's ready to slip out the back, rather than deal with Grandpa, because fathers and daughters and their creepy freaky secrets are what this episode's all about. Much as with every other person, Don is adorable with his daughter. In the kitchen, it's hot; the fan's going and Betty's steaming. Her dad asks multiple times if she's hiding her "sugar bowl" from him, and lest you think that's not the first or second instance of the sick weirdo writing of this show rearing its head, you don't know Mad Men. Gloria offers Grandpa some "packets from Howard Johnson," but Betty's not about to let her fake mom offer Grandpa any sugar. He'll take her saccharine and love it. I'm sure she's made the same threats with Don; girl's got saccharine to spare. Grandpa continues to demand his daughter's sugar bowl; it continues to be creepy. "You wanna wake up with a cold leg like Uncle Herman?" she spits, warning him that diabetics "don't live long," and sometimes lose their legs. Fingers crossed! Betty can be kind of a downer.
Grandpa introduces Don to Gloria, and there's the usual talk about how Betty can use another woman around to do all the woman stuff. "I live to serve," Gloria says. She's kind of a nonentity. Grandpa gets gross: "You heard that, right? I have a witness!" Like all dating in 1960, it's kind of like flirting, kind of like the slave trade.
Betty hurries Don upstairs for "help with a suitcase," which is of course code for "I am about to have another psychotic break." She leans against the bureau, smoking crazily, complaining about how Gloria showed up at her mom's funeral with her top button unbuttoned like she was at a Sadie Hawkins dance; "So unseemly!" She begs to be allowed to stay so that she doesn't have to vacation with the "vulture," and then lists Gloria's many faults: her husband was a tax-cheating failure, her daughter Louisa is two years from trolling for dick at funerals herself, and her son Huntley, the same age as Betty's brother, was "always funny." Don explains that men are hopeless: "Birdie, your father was married, what, forty years?" He can barely fix his own tea, much less do his laundry. She replies that what Grandpa needs is a housekeeper, then, but Don points out that you can't fuck a housekeeper -- they go home at night. Ergo, Gloria. Dude, even when they're being nice, in 1960 everything's the worst! Betty gives that fake, translucent smile she gives right before whipping out the firearms, and he begs her to just, once again, go swimming in the deeps of Lake Birdie. She responds with an equivocal thumbs up that at least she won't have to make conversation, because Gloria's such a talker. Not that we see it. Don promises to come the next afternoon and take Betty to "that place with the lobster rolls." Betty asks him to just come along now: "You hate the way I drive? My father taught me." Don begs off: half of everybody is out of the office for Labor Day as it is, and if Roger's much-foreshadowed death of old age comes around soon, he wants to look like he was trying. Also, he wants to get away from Betty, because he secretly thinks she's kind of annoying. I totally adore her, but then I love Izzie Stevens, so you can't trust me.