Joan has apparently had two abortions in the past, or "procedures" as she calls them, and she's afraid they might interfere with her ability to get pregnant, should she and Greg want to get her off the pill and start trying. Greg is about to go to basic training, and Joan is worried that once that's done he'll be shipped off to 'Nam, although baby timing may be the least of their problems, given how they're fighting. But when she cuts herself badly with a kitchen knife, Greg operates on her efficiently and charmingly, which just makes Joan realize how much she's going to miss him.
Don is on his way to Acapulco, as mentioned in the last episode, but he has a layover in L.A., so he takes the opportunity to see Anna. The two of them go out with her niece, and when he ends up driving her home, she tells him an awful truth -- Anna has severely terminal cancer, but thanks to a rather questionable decision by a doctor and some tacit approval from her sister, she doesn't even know about it. Faced with this unexpected and devastating news, Don defers Acapulco in favor of listening to Anna's ruminations about the impermanence of life, but when the sister begs him to go before he lets her in on the secret, he decides to leave, and not without a severe emotional toll. I'm not exaggerating -- I'm, like, worried for him, and he doesn't exist. Don bags Acapulco and returns to New York, where he and Pryce end up getting wasted and going to see a creature feature together. Afterward, at dinner, Pryce confesses his wife is not planning to return from England, and Don does him the solid of getting them both a hooker. Pryce is hilarious drunk but surprises me by going through with the deed; the next morning, he takes off, but not regretfully, and it seems like Don may have found an unexpected friend heading into 1965. I hope this is the last of the holiday episodes for a while, because they are hella depressing.
We open, as usual, with an extreme close-up; less typical is the fact that the shot shows us just-used stirrups being pushed back into place. Luckily, we're at least in a doctor's office, and the male gynecologist therein, the very same one that Joan recommended to Peggy back in the pilot episode, asks Joan how long it's been since she's been off the pill, and I can't believe it never occurred to me before, but if she's been taking it for the run of the series we've got a story-based reason for the large amounts of padding Christina Hendricks always wears. Anyway, when the doctor (by the way, he's played by Remy Auberjonois, and the resemblance to his father Rene is quite striking) hears her answer, he tells her it usually takes a month to be fully fertile again, and Joan's mildly put out at the realization that the deathly warnings she's received about the perils of missing even one dose may have been a bit exaggerated. Of course, she can talk to Peggy if she wants another "better safe than sorry" opinion. The doc suggests she accompany Greg to basic training for morale purposes, not seeming to realize that would drag down the collective will to live of the entire viewing audience; opting for modesty, Joan replies that they don't even yet know when he's going. The doctor appraisingly notes that most "gals" who have been married as long as Joan has don't wait to have kids, and Joan, just for a moment, lets us see the hurt that statement brings before asserting that she and Greg have a plan. The doc then tells "Jojo" (aw) that he only went to Korea because he was made to, and he didn't have a wife at the time. His comments may seem invasive, but probably not relative to the examination; in any case, Joan doesn't seem bothered, instead saying she only wants to know if they'll be able to start a family when they're ready, and he affectionately takes her hand before starting to exit. Before he leaves, though, Joan lets us know she wants to be sure everything's still functional, as she's had a couple "procedures." Some concern enters his voice as he tells her he thought there was only one, and she confesses there was another prior to that. After a long moment, he asks if the first one was performed by a physician, but Joan can only reply, "She said she was a midwife." If that's true, did she...get confused? Regardless, "Walter" tells her, to her relief, that obviously, she was able to get pregnant after that and everything seemed fine then and seems fine now. "Like the song says, whatever will be will be." Or, as my beloved Coach once said on Cheers, "Que so what so what." He wishes her a Happy New Year, and leaves.