It's Memorial Day, and there's s big powwow going on at SC, as Playtex, an apparent longtime account, is suddenly jealous of Maidenform's ads. Paul, of all people, ends up spearheading the direction of the new campaign, and Peggy is bummed, since she wasn't at the boozing session at which the rather sexist Madonna/whore idea was hatched, nor is she included in the casting sessions for the pushing of said grotesque idea. In keeping with the episode theme, Pete's brother advises him to take a vacation, which he interprets as an invitation to cheat on his wife. Duck's ex-wife shows up with his kids and his dog, and Duck learns that a suitor is this close to wedding the mother of his kids.
Meanwhile, Roger orders Don to make peace with Duck, and Don comes in and tells Duck that he's been pushing clients' ideas on him rather than the other way around. Duck, however, thinks he's just been a good soldier, and seems to sell Don on this idea enough to achieve dÃ©tente. Arthur sees Betty at a party, and the awkwardness gives way to some flirting. When Don ducks away to call Bobbie, she invites him to come spend some time with her, and lets him know of the existence of her college-age son and daughter. But the fact that Don's continuing to cheat doesn't stop him from telling Betty that she's desperate for male attention. However, when Don finds out that he's the one who has a reputation, he ties Bobbie up and leaves her there. Peggy takes Joan's advice, which entails dressing like a woman and showing up and the boys' boozing and burlesque session, and it seems like she and Pete might be conceiving another child soon. But in the end, Sally unwittingly makes Don see how he's been treating women, which results in a broody, if cinematic, ending.
This is possibly the most textured episode the show has done. I'll try to do it some measure of justice.
The Decemberists' "The Infanta" plays over a sequence of women -- Betty, Joan, and Peggy -- getting themselves dressed. The music abruptly cuts off, however, as we get a closeup of an ad being tossed onto a desk, which depicts a woman standing in front of a locomotive with her blouse off, with the iconic copy reading "I dreamt I stopped them in their tracks with my Maidenform bra." Sue Ellen Mischke would be so proud. The ad, as it turns out, is the subject of a big powwow in the conference room, because even though, as Don points out, this ad's concept has been around for ten years, Playtex is an SC client, and they're suddenly unhappy with their brand's image. (Roger: "Someone has a wife with an opinion.") Ken asks Peggy if she wears Playtex and if so, why, and Peggy says she does, and she agrees with the women they surveyed that its fit is unsurpassed. After a little Duck-Don sniping of the kind that's become very frequent in this season, Roger tells Don to throw them a bone and show them that they're paying for Creative. Don is less than pleased, but the meeting breaks up without any casualties. However...
...in the main area, a nervous secretary babbles to Duck, eventually managing to convey that his ex-wife is there. Hopefully Joan didn't hear that performance, or Lois is going to have some company over at the switchboard. Duck's dog, "Chauncy," a beautiful Irish setter, comes bounding up, and Duck eagerly greets him as the ex watches disapprovingly. Duck comes over and greets his teenaged son and daughter, and then he and his wife allude to some apparently-quite-serious medical condition of her mother's before she tells him she'd prefer not to discuss it there. Duck tells her he can't leave at the moment, pointing out that she's early, but she counters, "Well, I know you're not good in the afternoons." I'm sure he at least admires her facility with words. Anyway, he firmly informs her that that's not true anymore, an assertion she ignores in favor of saying goodbye to the kids. He tells them that they're going to have a great time, adding that he got tickets for A Funny Thing Happened... The daughter uncertainly says they saw it already, but Duck replies, "Not from these seats." The ex makes her way out, and Duck leads the kids and Chauncy toward his office, telling them they'll have to wait a bit. Freddy intercepts them, and Duck introduces the kids as "Mark" and "Patricia." Freddy asks for a moment of his time, but Duck tells him to say what he needs to say, so Freddy spills it: "We're going to need another box of brassieres." He sounds slightly embarrassed, which is more than I would have expected from The Zipper Instrumentalist. Business finished, Freddy tells them to enjoy their Memorial Day, and Duck manages to resist bragging about the theater seats again.