Don -- who's severely under the weather -- and Megan run into Andrea, a freelance writer from the old firm, and it takes approximately .17 seconds for Megan to ascertain a onetime sexual relationship there. Megan is not happy to be the Diane Chambers to Don's Sam Malone, and tells him so in no uncertain terms. Later, with Don home sick, Andrea turns up at his apartment, and the panic with which he kicks her out shows he either really loves or is really scared of Megan, possibly both. However, when Andrea later sneaks back in and begs Don to have his way with her, he relents. I thought this might be a dream sequence, and when he ends up later strangling her, it becomes clear that it is a fever-induced hallucination, but that doesn't actually make it any less disturbing, especially given that...
...Joyce turns up with crime-scene photos from Chicago's student-nurse sex massacre, and everyone's apparent stomach for them causes "Ginso" to label them "sickos." One non-sicko who's still all over this news story is Sally; Betty and Henry are on the road for his work, so Sally is stuck at home with Pauline. Sally gets into reading about the murders and seems very frightened, although after Pauline I'm surprised she has the capacity to fear anything else. As if to back me up, Pauline ends up telling Sally about the crimes in a chillingly casual way before giving Sally half a sleeping pill so she won't be up all night. Betty, you've met your parenting match.
Greg is coming home, and Gail tries to prepare Joan for the fact that he may be different. When Greg arrives, he's thrilled to meet "his" son, and then Gail keeps considerately clearing out of the house so her daughter can get some, as mothers are wont to do. Any libido Joan may have, however, is killed by Greg's news -- he has to go back in ten days for another year, which was not part of the plan. Joan adapts to the change in plan admirably until she hears from Greg's mother over dinner that Greg actually volunteered to return, and as if that didn't make the dinner painfully uncomfortable enough, the news is followed by a member of the staff playing accordion music, which as we all remember brings back wonderful memories for this couple. In semi-private, Joan lays into Greg, who doesn't want to hear it. Gail, once again, has been through all of this and tries to get Joan to be strong. And she succeeds, but in a better way than she ever intended: Joan tells Greg to return to Vietnam and never come back to her, making it clear that she still remembers the rape in the process. If you wondered whether it was unseemly to cheer the end of this marriage, I can only tell you that you weren't alone.
Hey, guess what? Roger screws up! I know, you're shocked, but he forgets to get Ginso on a campaign for Mohawk to take advantage of some favorable developments with the mechanics' strike, so he does the only thing he knows how to do, which is to apply some cash to the problem. In this case, he pays Peggy to work up a campaign, although she takes his insult offer of ten bucks and ends up gouging him for the four hundred he has in his pocket, which is amazing and may teach him, as I've been suggesting, NOT TO CARRY SO MUCH CASH. Working late, Peggy discovers Dawn still around, and when she learns she's afraid to travel back to Harlem with everyone in such a rioting mood, she insists that Dawn stay over with her. As they bond, Peggy drunkenly confesses that she's not sure she really has what it takes really to succeed as a copywriter. A moment of hesitation in leaving her purse alone with Dawn, however, completely ruins the ebony and ivory-ness of the evening, and in the morning Peggy only finds a nice note instead of a new friend and looks as regretful as she does hung over.
Oh, in the end, Gail and Joan lie on the bed together, Kevin between them. It's not the family Joan imagined, but it's the one that's not leaving.
Before I start, I want to say that I think you could teach a course on this episode, and if I had the time I could probably write about it until my fingers fell off. But I'd like to keep them available for other things, so hopefully the following will suffice.
As we open, Don is hacking away, and at first I thought it was that smoker's cough of his that stops by every once in a while to remind us that even Don Draper, matinee idol even for those people who never go to the movies, is going to die someday. However, as he and Megan get on the SCDP elevator, Megan tells him he sounds terrible, adding, "You even look terrible." All props to the makeup department, because he does look sweaty and ashen, but still: Overruled. Megan playfully tells him she's going to stand at the other side of the car, and Don tells her fine, "If you think you'll be safe over there by yourself." I see he's not above using the news story we'll be hearing so much about as joke fodder. Seems a bit callous, but he does feel like death at the moment.
The elevator stops, and an attractive woman whose headlights happen to be on (nice to know the building's air-conditioning is in working order) boards and practically meows upon seeing Don, sidling up to him in a manner far more suited to the end of the day than the beginning and calling him "my bad penny." Oh, and said attractive woman also happens to be Mädchen Amick, who has popped up on many shows here and there over the years but will always be Shelley Johnson from Twin Peaks to me. She's still so pretty, too. Don tells "Andrea" that he'd like her to meet his WIFE Megan, and as subtle as that was I'm surprised he refrained from sticking his wedding ring in her face to punctuate the declaration.
Don then explains to Megan that Andrea is a freelance writer from "the old firm," which I guess means SC, although I admit I don't get the reluctance to say it. Megan unsmilingly tells Andrea that it's nice to meet her, the stiffness of her words possibly being the reason her posture goes even straighter than usual, and then it's Andrea's floor, and she can't wait to disembark, telling Megan it was nice to meet her without a word to Don, who, poor thing, seems to be coughing even harder with the embarrassment factor thrown in. When the door has fully closed, Megan whirls and asks how many times this is going to happen. He tries to tell her that it was six years ago, and being that it's Madison Avenue, they're going to "run into people," and Megan doesn't reply that him running into people is the root of the problem here, instead saying that there are places in town they could go where they'd run into people she worked with. Well, given how these two got together, that would be... also Madison Avenue. Really, it is hard to feel too bad for her, but I suppose she's entitled to sulk for a while, and she most definitely seems to agree.