Betty's walking some laundry down the stairs when the doorbell rings, and when she looks outside, her hand actually flutters to her heart, which makes me fear she's going to be back on the monstrosity before very long. Indeed, it's Francis at the door, and after a moment, she nervously and hurriedly lets him in. She tells him her girl will be back soon, but just as agitatedly, he takes her hands and babbles that he knows it's crazy but he had to see her. Unfortunately, Betty was not kidding around with her last statement, for we hear the back door close, and the two of them drop their hands like they suddenly turned into range burners. Betty urgently asks what she should say, but Carla is on them in a flash, and Francis starts to turn to go, which is the false move that blows the whole operation, I think, because even as Betty introduces him, there's a knowing look in Carla's eye. Francis then comes up with a cock-and-bull story on the fly about how this is an excellent venue for a fundraiser, so I guess in times of crisis, you come up with the idea that will make you the most money. Betty does not do the most convincing acting job in going along with this lie, but does say she'll have to check with Don, and then asks Carla to show Francis out, as she left the bath running. Carla shows him out, but then looks up the stairs with many expressions on her face, none of them being "clueless" or "approving, " before picking up the hastily-discarded laundry basket and heading back for the kitchen. As I said in the recaplet, her mother did not raise a fool.
In the conference room, Sal is nervously fiddling with the projector before giving up and asking the girl on hand, "Lucy," to take care of it. When she obliges, she leans over in such a manner that her breasts are thrust right in his face, but it's luckily past the point where any overcompensating action by him on that front would do him any good. Harry is equally nervous, which is an interesting dynamic, because he and Sal each know something the other doesn't and are both hoping for the best, but if they each knew what the other does in addition to what they do, they'd both know that they're both fucked. Meanwhile, Roger is typically clueless about the whole thing. Well, that is until Pete leads Lee Jr. into the room, and Lee Jr. takes one look at Sal, then at Harry, and exits the room without a word. Honestly, this surprises me, because his reaction is a little bit more emotional than seems consistent with a business disagreement. I mean sure, Southern tempers and pistols at dawn and all, but you'd think Lee Jr. would still pull Roger aside for a chat rather than literally spinning on his heel and exiting in a snit. Roger asks what's going on, and Sal, mistakenly (and stupidly, if he gave some real thought to the logic behind Lee Jr.'s reaction) thinks he's safe and says he doesn't know, but Harry pipes up about the phone call, saying Lee Jr. told him to "get rid of Sal," which is an unfortunate choice of words, given that it seemed to me from the phone call that Lee Jr. only wanted him off the commercial. Roger asks why he called Harry, which is still a good question. Maybe it's because Harry backed Lee Jr. in the little creative difference they had and seemed like he'd fill in the reason why Lee Jr. would want Sal gone, or maybe he thought the whole thing would actually be handled more quietly this way, but the whole idea seems poorly thought out to me. Maybe no one's ever said no to him before and it's affecting his judgment, but I think the fact that no one questions this in more than an offhand manner is a minor failing of the episode. Of course, it may be revisited in the future. Harry tells Roger about how Lee Jr. was drunk and didn't want him to tell Roger, but Roger doesn't want to hear it, saying when there's a problem with a client, you go to Accounts to handle it. Pete comes back in and asks what the hell's going on, saying Lee Jr. left without a word, and Roger cans Sal on the spot. Sal can't believe it, but Roger lays it out: "Lee Garner Junior wants you fired!" And my mind goes back to Pete's offhand comment a few episodes ago about how even Hilton didn't compare to Lucky Strike as an account. Love this show. Roger adds that he'll also have to find out if Harry's going to accompany Sal to the unemployment line, and then adds that Harry needs to use his "dying breath" to tell Don to fix the situation. "Lee Garner has a problem with Creative, let Don solve it. He does it all now anyway." This episode is doing a phenomenal job of showing how differently people act when there's huge money on the line, but I still think as much trouble as he's in, Harry should, or should have, relayed exactly what Lee Jr. said, which is that he couldn't work with Sal, not necessarily that he wanted him fired from the firm. I mean, maybe he did want that, but by my lights he didn't make that explicitly clear. Still, no one's really thinking clearly, which is the point, really.
Outside, Sal tries to get more information out of Harry, and then ends up following him into Don's office. Don is no less nonplussed than Roger over why Lee Jr. went to Harry, and no less angry about the end result: "That's a twenty-five million dollar account you stuck your nose in, Crane." Wow. Now I kind of want to fire Harry. Funny how money works. Don dismisses Harry, but Sal stays behind, and when Don asks for more information, and Sal babbles about what just happened and suggests if he stays away from Lucky Strike and Roger, everything will be fine, Don says he understands what happened that day, but what was Lee Jr.'s problem in the first place that resulted in this situation? Sal takes ages to get to it, which is not helping his case with Don, but he finally tells him that Lee Jr. was drunk and "cornered" him, and he "backed him off" and told him he was married, and "he was embarrassed" and left. Don takes a moment, and then opines, "You must have been really shocked." This is Sal's last chance, here, but not picking up on the dangerous tone in Don's voice, Sal too-eagerly agrees that he was. Don continues, the menace in his voice rising: "But nothing happened. Because nothing could have happened, because you're married." As often happens on this show, I think there are several things going on here, and they're really an echo of what was going on between Lee Jr. and Sal, because Sal is fucking up in the exact same way. One, Don doesn't appreciate Sal hiding behind his marriage on general principles, given that he and so many people of his generation are regular philanderers. Two, given what Don knows about Sal, both that he likes men and that he in fact has cheated on his wife, he doesn't appreciate Sal's disingenuous denials, taking them as one step away from being called an idiot. And three, tying the two points together, it's a twenty-five million-dollar account, and since we know Sal likes dick, Don thinks he should have, if you will, taken one for the team. Once again, Sal's self-loathing has bitten him in the ass, as he catches on way too late, asking if he should have just done what Lee Jr. wanted. "What if it was some girl?" Don icily says that that would depend on what kind of girl it was and what he knew about her, and wow, that is tough to watch, there. He adds, "You people," shaking his head, and my visceral reaction was that he was talking about gays, but I decided upon reflection that that makes no sense; I think, in light of his Peggy-bashing an