Yucky flashbacks to Dick Whitman's childhood in a whorehouse -- culminating in watching his mother forced to take on her sister's husband while very pregnant with his little brother -- bookend some rather bizarre mental connections for Don that, in the end, make him a stranger in his own home. Seems Megan had a miscarriage when they returned from Hawaii, with which information she unknowingly creeps his girlfriend Linda right out. Don eventually gets the remorseful -- and surprise-I'm-religious Catholic -- Linda back onboard with his usual abusive panache, but the strangeness of the situation carries over into everything else when old clients stir everybody up in new ways.
The Jaguar guy that forced Joan to sleep with him for her partnership -- the full details of which Don still doesn't know, but make him coldly sympathetic when she tenses up about it -- comes back in, demanding the firm do an end-run around his British corporate bosses so he can drum up some radio business. What follows is a thing of hideous elegance, as Don manages to torpedo the guy and Pete and SCDP's standing with Jaguar, but so subtly that even Roger -- whose eyes sparkle as Don enthusiastically makes them all look like assholes -- can't even really resent him for it.
Little does Don know that -- just this one time -- his irritation with Pete is completely valid and he deserves this sock in the nose: After a swinger-foreshadowing dinner party with two other couples Pete jumps at the chance to put his bachelor pad (and manly sideburns) into play. He gets laid, in exactly the uncomfortable and dorky/rapey way you'd imagine, but when the woman's husband beats the shit out of her and she comes to the Campbells for immediate aid, Trudy has to lay down the law: If you can't cheat on your wife with at least a Don Draper amount of class, then you are out on your ass. He ends up in his bachelor pad full time, his only friend the oddly obsequious (yet mesmerizing) Bob From Upstairs.
Peggy's tumultuous relationship with her underlings gets more tense, not less, after she misfollows some excellent advice from her fabulous secretary. After finding a huge jar of "feminine powder" with accompanying horrible copy on her desk, she bounces back with the usual Peggy aplomb -- but it's another supportive late night convo with the lovely Stan Rizzo that lulls her into complacency and, eventually, turns it into a Ted Cheeoooggguuughgh loyalty test.
Ken gets embarrassed when Heinz Beans (the Don campaign about how beans are eternal and whatever) brings in Heinz Ketchup (the always punchable Kip Pardue) for an intro meeting that he quickly explains is a ruse because he is very jealous of Ketchup and feels underadmired for his Beans. This is delightful on every level, especially the Ken part, so Stan relays the information to Peggy in a way that makes her laugh beautifully... And tell Ted immediately, because her love life is too complicated and she doesn't want her work boyfriend knowing about her Skype boyfriend. The next day, just as she realizes telling Ted about it crossed some lines, he threatens her job if she doesn't get on Ketchup's jock immediately.
Lots of plot, which is nice, and a formal parallelism between the stories that the show doesn't always follow so doggedly, but is usually a literary comfort when they do it, which is pretty seldom. In the end, Don is once again paralyzed by a net of personal associations and connections between like every woman in his life, stupid fucking Pete is looking ripe for some Bob manipulations, Trudy is a superhero, poor Megan is getting understandably weirder by the second, Roger's still talking about his mommy, Joan's never seemed so lonely, and Peggy's right where she needs to be: Caught between her new life and the few connections she's maintained with the old.
Next Week: Just kidding! Nobody knows. It's a big secret like always. -- Jacob Clifton
Well, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to catch up on the happenings in Cos Cob, so let's open on the fact that there are currently two women getting ready to leave the Campbell home. And no, since we can see two men who are ostensibly the women's husbands in the background, this hasn't been That Kind Of Evening - at least not yet. However, some talk of Hair, vulgarity, and "simulated sexual acts" certainly is suggestive enough, particularly since Pete's clumsy enough to use simulated sexual acts regularly as part of his courtship rituals. While this genteel conversation is going on, an oblivious Trudy is trying to sell the two men on some block-association chairmanships or some such. They're both ready to step a few years ahead into The Ice Storm, but she keeps the conversation from getting out of hand, which is more than I can say for her husband, who essentially makes dates with each of the other women (the excuse of him having a connection for theater tickets is flimsier than, well, the tickets themselves). And they even know about the other! When everyone's gone, Trudy sighs big enough for two people at how exhausting that was, while Pete flips on the TV to catch up on the news. She asks him to turn it off, but his only response is to do the opposite via the remote control, and while that thing is bigger even than the cell phones I had in the '90s, it at least punctuates his actions with satisfyingly loud clicks.
Don's in the elevator when the door opens to reveal Rosen having a little financial discussion with his wife, and obviously, Don's face is like greeeeeat on several different levels. After he promises to stop by the bank at lunch, Rosen confides to Don that he thinks Sylvia's been sending the cash he gives her to their son. Don tells him he doesn't have to explain in a voice that practically begs him not to, but Rosen doesn't catch on as he goes on that Don's lucky Megan works. Don sighs that Megan doesn't earn much, but Rosen thinks that'll change. Don then claims to have forgotten his cigarettes, and Rosen gives him a lecture about that, but Don doesn't seem annoyed, probably because he knows he'd be in for much worse if Rosen knew that he's actually doubling back to see Sylvia. Good God, man, if that little exchange turned you on, maybe just moving into a whorehouse would make sense. It'd close a circle, at least.
Speaking of which, after Sylvia opens up and smiles that she knew it'd be him, Don fixes that middle-distance stare that lets us know he's going into a flashback; sure enough, as "I've Got Five Dollars" plays in the background, we see a blonde sitting in a room that's decorated in "Forties Bordello." When we flash back to Don's position, he's a boy of about thirteen or so (his voice has changed, at least), standing next to Abigail, who's pregnant and telling a woman who will prove to be her sister that she's pregnant, so this must be only a few months after Archie, his father, died at the hooves of that horse. The sister, "Ernestine," tells Abigail that Mack, who's just joined them (and is still played by the same actor, Morgan Rusier, that's depicted him all the way back to "Babylon," which due to late adoption by the site was the first episode of this show I ever covered), is with her and is "the one that brung ya," and as such can be thought of as Dick's uncle, and Abigail thanks him for opening his rooms to them.