Smaller points first: Peggy and Ken are working together on the radio spots for the sex belt, and Peggy wins the argument about which girl to cast. However, the girl goes to pieces at the actual taping, prompting Ken to give Peggy some pointed lessons in the reality of certain women's psyches. Bertram calls Don in for a confab; Rachel is taking a three-month cruise, and Bertram isn't pleased by the implication that her leaving had something to do with Don. Also, Harry apparently told his wife about sleeping with Hildy, and she kicked him out, but they're still talking.
Big stuff: Don doesn't want to go away for Thanksgiving to see Betty's family, as he claims that 80% of his accounts are being rolled out the next week. Francine then comes to Betty in a state; she's deduced, by sort of accidentally examining her phone bill, that Carlton has been having an affair. Betty, in full-on projection mode, steadfastly refuses to believe it at first, and as such offers Francine little comfort. However, she gets the idea to examine her own phone bill. She tells Don about Francine, seemingly to gauge his reaction, and pointedly wonders how "Carlton" could treat marriage and fidelity so cavalierly. Don offers some platitudes, but Betty doesn't seem impressed. She eventually checks out the phone bill and learns of Don's numerous calls to Dr. Wayne. By chance, she runs into Glen, Helen's kid of LockOfHairGate, and confesses to him how horribly sad she is and how adults don't know anything, and he offers her his hand as she cries. In her next therapy session, she talks about how stressful Thanksgiving is, but also how grateful she is for things, including these sessions. However, she tells him that she knows about Don's many infidelities. Ooh, I was not expecting that. It's probably partially expecting that Wayne will relay this to Don, and partially the need to unburden herself of her recent epiphany, and she presumably mixes in some more truth as she goes on that sometimes the way he makes love is what she wants, but sometimes it's clearly what someone else wants. If Don does hear about this, we'll have to wait until next season to find out.
Pete is trying to land Trudy's dad as a client; Trudy's dad in turn wants Pete to plant his seed in Trudy's soil. Meanwhile, Duck has started working, and offers a hundred-dollar bonus to the first person who brings him a "decision-maker." Pete, twisted as usual, gets Trudy to have sex with him without birth control, seemingly in the hope that once she's pregnant, her dad will sign on with him as a means of supporting his future grandchild. This gambit succeeds, and as Pete later tells Don, Bertram gives Pete the Ayn Rand book, seemingly symbolically cementing Pete's and Don's roles as the future left and right hands of the company. However, Don attaches Peggy to Pete's new Clearasil account, promoting her to junior copywriter in the process, about which Pete is not pleased. Joan congratulates Peggy as she escorts her to her new office; however, the bad news is that, after all the speculation back and forth this season, Peggy is pregnant, goes to the hospital with severe pain, and drops the kid right there. Well, at least they didn't drag things out. Peggy declines even to hold her child, and given the father, if she's thinking adoption I can't say as I blame her.
Don, undoubtedly relieved from last week's "Who cares" revelation, takes another look at the pictures Pete intercepted; he calls for Adam and learns of his suicide, which seems to crush him, as you might suspect it would. He stays in the office that night, catching Harry there (totally in his underwear, heh), and the two of them have a brainstorming session about the Kodak carousel slide projector (referred to as "the wheel" for now), for which Duck had earlier learned Kodak was still looking for a satisfactory campaign. Harry tells Don a nostalgic story that gives him inspiration; he gives a poignant pitch for the "Carousel" name over slides of him and his family from seemingly happier times. This lands the account immediately, and everyone's in a celebratory mood. However, Don has a wishful dream sequence in which he goes with Betty and the kids to Thanksgiving, but in reality, when he gets home, they've already left. Oh, the humanity. The season ends with Don sitting on the stairs to his house, as alone as he's ever been in his life. Man. What an unbelievable television experience this season was. Back to talk about it in the full recap soon.
There's a certain irony in the season finale of a show about advertising containing not a single commercial. But I've got fifty-one uninterrupted minutes to get through here, so I might as well not sit around gabbing about it, don't you think?
We start on Trudy and who we'll soon learn is her mother. They're discussing design ideas, ostensibly for Trudy and Pete's apartment; we then pan over to Trudy's dad, who's telling Pete that Nixon never stood a chance, as the Browns trounced the Redskins, and the result of that game has correctly predicted the last six elections. Not clear why Cleveland stands for the Dems in this scenario, but I never placed much stock in Wednesday-morning quarterbacking anyway. ["Actually, the determinant is simply whether or not the Redskins win their last home game before the election, so the Browns in and of themselves aren't significant. This is a real thing, and it held true up until the '04 election, and now I will return to my fortress of nosy know-it-alls. Carry on." -- Joe R] Trudy's dad tells Pete that he wants to treat him like a son, which is a nice sentiment if you forget for a moment that Pete's screwing his daughter. Trudy's dad goes on that Trudy told him about Pete getting passed over for promotion, and suggests that maybe that's a sign that Pete should take some focus off his work. Pete jokes that that's a strange sentiment coming from one of the top salesmen at Vicks Chemical, and adds that Vicks just acquired Clearasil. (This is historically accurate, if you're wondering.) Pete wants to bring in Trudy's dad as a client, but Trudy's dad thinks that Pete should be more concerned with knocking his daughter up. Well, after this episode there will be no doubt that he possesses that ability. The women join them, and Trudy's dad says giving him and his wife a grandchild would be a great Christmas present. "And hell, Thanksgiving's Thursday!" Well, if you do try to conceive on Thanksgiving, I'd suggest doing so before eating yams and Brussels sprouts. Those things will stimulate you in exactly the wrong place for what you're trying to accomplish.
Don and Betty are sitting up in bed, and she babbles briefly about Thanksgiving before telling him she wishes he'd come with her. He lectures her that he's a partner, and eighty percent of his business rolls out next week, so it's silly for him to go only to have to turn right around and come back. Nice that the promotion came through in time to supply that excuse. It's like he got an early Christmas bonus! Betty points out that it would be great for the kids if he came, and he counters that they could have done the celebration at their house. Betty: "You know my brother's kids are animals. They can't make the trip up here." Betty, since this show is about advertising I hope you'll take this as constructive criticism, but I think your hard sell could use some work. She adds that she doesn't want her dad to be alone, and I wonder if that means he and Gloria broke up, or if Betty's simply refusing to acknowledge her existence at this point. This could be an attitude borne of us being at the end of the season, but if I don't have to see it, I don't really care which it is. She tries to get a reaction from him by saying she'll take a cab to the train in a "No no, it's FINE" voice, but when that doesn't work, she accuses him of not wanting to go. Don: "I'm sorry, was I unclear about that?" It strikes me that it would be really ironic and poignant if by the end of this episode, Don is longing for a closer connection with his family. But I've got a lot of work ahead of me here, so I'm going to stop wasting time talking crazy. Betty says she doesn't know why he can't make her family his, and Don responds by simply turning out the light.