Interesting episode -- it felt like nothing and everything happened at once. It's Election Day, and everyone's waiting to see the results. Don and Bertram are interviewing people for the Account Services position, including some guy named "Duck Phillips." Pete once again makes his case for the position to Don, but Don is predictably unimpressed. When Don leaves for the day, everyone else in the office has a party to celebrate the fact that Nixon appears to be a mortal lock. Ken finds a one-act play Paul wrote, and the partiers end up putting on an impromptu performance then and there, which is impressive, given that I'm not sure how they can even see the words on the page at this point. Harry and Hildy share a long kiss; they admit they're both drunk, but end up totally going for it in his office. Later, as the tide in the election has started to turn, Joan and Paul are the only ones not passed out, and they talk and dance together. The result of the election is unclear, and there are cries of fraud all over the place. Glad we live in such a different era. When Peggy gets in the next day, the office is trashed; some money and possessions of hers are missing, and she is pissed. Pete has opened Don's package, in which there are more photos of young Dick and Adam. Pete's wife confronts him and is aware that the stuff doesn't belong to him; she orders him to give it back, which he does, but not without blackmailing Don over his second identity, although he denies that that's exactly the case. Don tries to play it cool, but threatens Pete back in a not-so-veiled way, and when Pete's gone, Don really starts to panic. He goes to Rachel and begs her to go away with him, permanently; she's somewhat interested, but doesn't bite, and as his desperation grows, she gets more and more dismayed, and eventually calls him a coward and kicks him out. Don is beside himself, but when he returns to the office, Peggy ends up crying to him; apparently, she called Security about her missing things, and an elevator guy and a janitor, both innocents, got fired as a result. She tells Don that she follows the rules and tries to do her job, and people hate her as a result; meanwhile, horrible people get to walk around doing anything they want. This gives Don the steel he needs to deal with Pete; he calls him out for his utter lack of character and tells him he's hiring Duck Phillips, and adds that Pete should really reconsider telling Bertram about him, because he hasn't thought it through. When Pete doesn't back down, though, Don heads for Bertram's office to tell him himself; Pete wonders why he won't take the proffered way out, but soon the two of them are shoeless and in Bertram's office. Don tells Bertram about the hire; Pete in turn goes through with it and tells Bertram what he knows, which is that Don's real name is Dick Whitman, and that the real Donald Draper died ten years earlier. Bertram's response? "Mr. Campbell? Who cares." HA HA HA! That is the best thing that's ever happened in television history. Pete, utterly defeated, leaves, and Bertram tells Don to keep an eye on Pete. Finally, we get flashbacks from Don's Army days. As Dick Whitman, Don was timid and soft-spoken and had a farm accent; also, he joined the service to escape his origins. He worked on a hospital-building assignment with just one other person; they came under unexpected fire, but the real problem was that Dick accidentally dropped his lighter on some spilled gasoline that set off a huge explosion, killing his fellow soldier. The soldier's name? Lieutenant Donald Draper, with whom he switched dog tags. The new Don was supposed to take "Dick"'s body back to the Whitman family, but he dodged that responsibility, and his family took him for dead, although young Adam does catch a glimpse of him, as he once referenced. Not sure what the Draper parents thought when their son didn't come home, but we'll forget about that for now. Don arrives home to find Betty asleep in front of the TV, on which Nixon is apparently conceding, and ponders what Don Draper is going to do next.
We open on a close-up of a TV; the broadcast is telling us that it's late afternoon on Election Day. The institution of the Presidential election holds some bitter recent memories for me, but I'm sure the cheery general tone of this show will more than make up for that. A hand turns off the set, and we see that it belongs to Bertram; we're in his Japanese-themed office, and we get a quick glance at his shoeless feet before the door opens and Don enters with another man, whom he introduces as "Herman Phillips." The guy shakes Bertram's hand and genially says that actually, he goes by "Duck." Well, only if you insist. Don jokes (or not, hard to tell) that their research said they weren't to call him "Duck," and he should have told him, but Duck responds: "I like when you say 'Herman'." Hmm. We may want to have Sal sniff this guy out. Bertram sits, and Don informs him that Duck was in London with "Y and R." Bertram wonders, then, if this isn't a step down for him, and I in turn wonder if, given the show's concerted efforts to depict SC as bumbling and out of touch, if it isn't more like a tumble down the whole staircase. Duck says, though, that he'd welcome the opportunity to move back to "the power center of the world," and also to put on some weight, as English food leaves a lot to be desired. Well, sure, back in 1960, Duck. But having lived there forty-something years later, I can tell you that...you're still right. Duck and Bertram do a little verbal dance, and then Bertram asks whom he voted for. Duck: "If I say Nixon, you'll think I'm buttering you. And if I say Kennedy, you'll want to reform me, so I'll say Nixon." The man does his research. Bertram regards him long and inscrutably, and Duck gives Don a quizzical look before they head out. Currently in Duck's head: "Should have said Kennedy, should have said Kennedy. STUPID!"
The boys are in the main area, and Ken says he hears Bertram has a "smoker" at the Waldorf at 6. Harry: "Twenty-three skidoo!" Hee. That seems a little dated for the sixties, but I'm going to allow it. Everyone's in for a big watch-the-returns bash except for Pete, who claims to have a party at his in-laws to go to. Harry informs us that his wife has to work that night, as the phone company is a zoo on Election Night. Paul opines that, while a Nixon victory would be best for Sterling Cooper, that night will be a win-win for them: if Nixon wins, great, and if he loses -- he puts a hand on Ken's arm -- "let me console you!" The boys laugh, but with the amount of booze that surely will be consumed tonight, I could see some sexual fluidity occurring. And we haven't even gotten to Drama Hour yet. Everyone then observes Don leading Duck out; they note that this is the first interviewee that Don deemed worthy of bringing to Bertram. Ken whispers that he heard Duck disintegrated in London. "Got involved with some woman he met at the British Museum." Oh, dear. I hope they didn't do it on one of the Elgin Marbles. Those things have been through enough. They see Don sharing what seems like a warm handshake with Duck as Ken goes on that Duck is divorced and lives in a hotel. Well, that explains Don's affection -- Duck is living his ideal life. Harry speculates that Don is bargain hunting, since Duck is damaged goods, but Ken thinks he's the best candidate they've brought in. Through this last part, Pete swivels his head and watches Don like a psycho, just in case you weren't familiar with like, every moment of this season.