The New York Times advertising reporter calls Don with the news that CGC, a rival agency, has signed Clearasil, which is bad news, given that they're the ones that the crying Ho-Ho went to with his jai alai business after Don forgot to remember him to The Wall Street Journal. Things get worse when Don takes Bethany (yes, that Bethany from the season premiere) to Benihana for reasons that will become obvious, and while he's there he runs into his new arch-rival from CGC, who throws down the gauntlet in regard to Honda. Yes, Pete tells the partners that he's got a bead on Honda Motorcycles, which is especially exciting since they're dipping their toe into cars, but Roger, a good World War II vet, is unwilling to do business with the people who were responsible for killing his shipmates. Everyone else, however, wants to get Honda in, and Bertram even gives Pete some tips on how to deal with Japanese protocols beyond reading The Chrysanthemum And The Sword, which Pete has already been advised to pick up.
When the Honda people come in, they goggle at Joan's rack, but the meeting is going well enough until Roger crashes the party and starts throwing his weight around in an effort to sabotage the relationship. Pete and Don take him on, with Pete explicitly telling Roger that he's only trying to kill new business so Lucky Strike will stay as important as possible, and Don backing him up. After an off-screen talking-to from Bertram, Roger apologizes, but everyone except Don feels like it's too late to salvage the account. Don, however, after reading The Chrysanthemum And The Sword, comes up with some cloak-and-dagger bait-and-switch stuff that effectively takes CGC out of the running and gets SCDP a shot at Honda's cars. Not that they're worth buying at this point, but I have the feeling that might change.
While Don is on his date, Phoebe, the next-door-neighbor nurse, babysits the kids, and gets more than she bargained for when Sally tries to cut her own hair, with predictably awful results. As a result, in addition to reading Don the riot act, Betty slaps Sally, and it's left to Henry to give her some parenting advice that might result in mother and daughter actually having a speaking relationship in the future. This, however, does not prevent Sally from discovering the joys of pleasuring herself, and when a neighbor mother catches her in the act, Betty's beyond mortified, and Henry finally prevails on her to have Sally see a shrink. Don's not thrilled, and seeks out Faye over glasses of sake for insight on why people need to talk about their issues. The two of them share some stuff about their lives that's rather touching in its honesty, made more so by the fact that they don't jump into bed at the end of it. Meanwhile, when Betty meets the prospective counselor, she opens up about all sorts of things, and it's devastatingly clear just how much she needs to talk about her own childhood. In the end, Sally goes in for her first session, and I can only hope it brings her some peace. I mean, at least one person of her gender in that house should have it.
...while inside Don's office, Faye is bringing him up to speed on the different types of Vicks cough drops users while some dude I don't remember having seen before sits in. Two separate extensions then jingle in succession, and after no one proves to be on the other end of either, Miss Blankenship comes in and tells Don she knows she's not supposed to buzz him all the time, "but I don't know how else to do this. You have a phone call." Don informs her that buzzing him for phone calls is perfectly acceptable. "Things like coffee after I've said no, you don't have to ask again." Miss Blankenship hilariously counters that he's always asleep in there, and tells him that a reporter from the Times is on the line. When Don asks what it's regarding, she's like, "You want me to go ask?" How amusing is it that even she is aware that the less she interacts with people, the better? Don's expression agrees with her, so he breaks up the meeting and gets on the phone with "Walter Hoffman," the advertising reporter for the Times, who asks for a reaction to the news that "Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough" just signed Clearasil. Don winces, and I should have known better, but I neglected to mention last time that when Pete said he was going to throw Clearasil over to Geyer, Don was like, "Anyone but Chaough," so despite his feigned indifference here that guy has been on his radar for a while. Don loftily tells Hoffman that he doesn't keep track of accounts after they're resigned, but Hoffman's like, not so fast, cowboy -- CGC is also where jai alai landed after Ho-Ho ran crying out of your agency, isn't that interesting, and by the way, "Ted" Chaough told him that "every time Don Draper looks in his rear-view mirror, he sees me." Don declines the opportunity to make a comeback using the metaphor, which makes me think Miss Blankenship was on to something with the coffee, and instead tells Hoffman, "on the record," that he's never heard of Chaough." Hoffman chuckles to himself like, "So that's how we're playing things," and ends the call. Don, for his part, doesn't look happy, not that that's saying much these days.