With the end of the season nigh, tons of storylines are getting attention, so forgive me if the recaplet sounds disjointed. Bertram's sister (Alice Cooper, hee) shows up for the board vote in regard to Duck's old company's bid to buy SC, and they talk about selling Roger out. Roger and Bertram butt heads about the potential sale, with Roger for the merger and Bertram against. But with Don absent, the board votes unanimously to sell, and Alice Cooper gets in the bitchiest oh-by-the-way line possible to Roger, which makes her totally rule in my eyes.
Betty catches Sally smoking, and Betty gets tagged with the bad-guy label, as you knew she eventually would. She also hears that Sarah Beth slept with Arthur, but despite her own hand in the matter, instead of sympathizing, Betty harshly tells her that no one made her step out. She then comes clean to Sally about the fact that she and Don are having problems, although she promises that everything will be okay.
Speaking of whom, Peggy becomes the new Don, using the Catholic Church for her inspiration, which is doing lots for her creativity but is also causing her to smoke. But whatever it takes, she fills his shoes beyond mere capability, pitching to a new client in an eerily reminiscent lyrical manner.
Trudy lets Hildy know about her and Pete's adoption prospects, which sets Pete off, and he tells Trudy in no uncertain terms that they're not adopting a child. This prompts Trudy's dad to threaten to take away the Clearasil account, but instead of toeing the line, Pete takes his head off.
Joan's fiancé is having trouble with her proficiency in bed, and when she brings him into SC, he rapes her on the floor of Don's office. Joan, however, manages to smile though her heart, along with everyone else's, is breaking. Peggy asks Roger for Freddy's old office, and Roger accedes, given that he's planning to be out of there before you can say the words "golden parachute." Pete then comes in to see Peggy and sincerely congratulates her while confessing that he might not be around much longer, and also tells Peggy about Don's disappearance and speculates that both he and Don may not be coming back.
But the real story is this: In a flashback, we see Don meet with the real Don Draper's wife, Anna, the one from the auto dealership. He tells her about the identity switch, but the fact that the real Don never even mentioned her to him is enough for her to treat him leniently. In the present, Don comes to see her, and we learn that they're quite good friends, and also that he's donated quite a bit of money to her well-being, having honestly taken the real Don Draper's place. He confesses that he's ruined everything, and admits that he's merely been a spectator to his own life. Back in the past, we see Don positively gush to DD's wife about having met Betty, and it's so endearing that it could almost make you forget about everything he's ever done. Except for talking with Leo from Charmed, which is a sin that's hard to forgive. In the present, Anna reads tarot cards in aid of telling Don that if he'd just stop thinking he's alone, he could be happy. In the end, Don cleanses himself in the ocean, and it is very unclear whether his second identity will continue to exist.
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First off, I just would like to address something from the recaplet. I originally wrote that Joan's fiancé "borderline raped" her. This was what I would refer to as "a slip of the brain," which happens way more often than I'd like. I tend to write the recaplets as quickly as I can (I'm an old man when it comes to my bedtime) and I don't pay nearly as much attention as I do when I'm doing the full recap. There's obviously no doubt that he full-on raped her, that there was no consent given, and usually if I miss something, it's a relatively minor deal to correct myself in the full recap, but not this time -- it's a highly sensitive subject, for obvious reasons, and I even have a good friend who endured a reasonably similar experience in college, so I'm very sorry that I used language that conveyed disrespect for the gravity of what happened, because that was not my intention at all. I thank the people who wrote me about it, and I really appreciate everyone who gave me the benefit of the doubt. I really mean that.
Okay. In the Draper house, we open on Betty calling crisp orders to her children before taking Don's paycheck (for just under $950, FYI) and forging the endorsement. You can't really get too upset with her, though, because as this episode so clearly reminds us, Don's basically been doing the same thing for years. Soon after, Betty's walking through the house when she catches a whiff of something in the air, and before you know it, she's opened the bathroom door and caught Sally with a lit cigarette. She yanks her daughter out of there by the hair and barks, "You could burn the house down." I suppose if she'd caught her drinking red wine, she would have lectured her on the potential of ruining the carpet. Betty tells her she won't be playing with her friends or watching TV anytime soon, and also that she's taking away her Barbie; then when Sally says she's mean, Betty responds, "You betcha!" Sarah Palin would be so proud. She tosses Sally into the closet and shuts the door, and Sally informs her she's telling Don when he gets back. "He left because you're stupid and mean!" This further provokes Betty's ire, but when Sally shows she's on the qui vive by asking why Betty won't let Don come home, the fight goes out of her, and she rests her head against the closet door in frustration before asking if that's what she thinks. Sally points out that his suitcase is there and he's not, and it's sad for Betty that she didn't even have to travel with TWA for them to screw her. Betty opens the door and tells Sally that Don's on a business trip, just like she said, but the cracks in the façade of this lie are clearly starting to show, at least to adult eyes. Sally asks if they can call him on the phone, but Betty deftly plays the hand she's been dealt as she points out that Don would be very upset to learn what Sally was just caught doing. Sally fearfully asks her not to tell, so Betty sends her on her way, saying she's going riding as soon as Carla gets there, "and I want a good report." When Sally's gone, though, Betty looks like she's getting to the end of her rope. There's a lot of that going around, which isn't surprising in the next-to-last episode of the season.