Mad Men: Don Draper Is Back, Baby!

mad men recap

Remember Don’s dead wife’s daughter, Stephanie? She’s gone full hippie and calls Don to tell him that she’s in Los Angeles, pregnant and running out of money. Don gives Stephanie Megan’s address and tells her that he will fly out to see her that night. Megan seems oddly okay with it and cancels a party she was planning so… they’re back together again in wedded bliss and harmony?

Lou screwed up. He left his personal work—storyboards for a comic book about a boy scouting monkey named Scout—on the Xerox machine for the entire creative department to find and now they’re trying to insert a character named Scout into every pitch. But is this the kind of thing that will put Lou in breach of his two-year contract? Or just make him the laughing stock of the office?

A pitch meeting turns awkward when Lou lets everyone know that he knows they know and “Scout’s Honor” is way better than Underdog or Bob Dylan, and everyone is just a bunch of dream-crushing commies. Lou then asserts his dominance over the pack of hyenas and demands everyone get back to work, and work and work and work. Don needs to get on that last flight out to California so he brings Lou his ideas and heads for the door. But Lou is a bastard and won’t let him leave. Don goes back to his desk and calls Megan to tell her that he will be there in the morning instead. How on earth is Don taking this from Lou?!

Stephanie arrives at Megan’s place and the two of them compliment each other on their mutual beauty. They chat, it gets uncomfortable when Megan realizes that Stephanie knows Don better than she does and Megan writes Stephanie a check for a thousand dollars because “it’s better this way.” Stephanie looks crestfallen. She wanted family, not money. She takes the check and leaves. Don arrives the next morning and is greeted by Megan and her friend Amy. “I’m sorry, but Stephanie left. I really tried to get her to stay….” Liar! Megan is pleased with herself, but Don is not pleased at all.

Ginsberg sees Lou and Jim talking in the computer room. He can’t hear anything, but he rushes over to Peggy’s apartment. “There’s something going on. The computer.” He decided that the computer turns men gay, so he and Peggy have to reproduce. She pushes him off and suggests that he see a doctor because he’s not right in the head. And he’s not. Ginsberg’s paranoia has been a mild undercurrent for a while now, and it has finally turned into a real thing.

Oh good, Megan’s party is back on. It’s exactly what you’d expect for a twenty-something actress in Los Angeles in the early seventies. Only I did not expect a clarinet player. Or Megan dancing provocatively with a denim-clad man half Don’s age. Oh they are so sleeping together. And then, Harry Crane arrives. His date invited him to a party and he had no idea it was Megan’s party. This is odd since Harry is married, but whatever. Don suggests that he and Harry grab a drink. Once at the bar, Harry explains that “guys like us” have to look out for each other. Harry says that Don should be in Los Angeles because his wife is out there and Ted is useless. He lets Don know that Jim and Lou are pursuing Philip Morris, at which point Don will have to go because he wrote that Lucky Strike letter. Don is grateful for the inside scoop.

When Don returns to the house, the party is over except for Megan, Amy and drugs. He declines and goes to bed instead, so Amy and Megan follow. Uh, what? Don looks confused. He prefers his women more traditionally sexy. Also, this pretty much confirms that Megan has been sleeping around while he has been on his best behavior back in New York. But he eventually gets the hang of it and wakes up in an overcrowded bed. Stephanie calls the next morning to let Don know that she’s okay, so Don gets himself back to New York to make something of his inside scoop.

Back in New York, Ginsberg is himself again. Only with feelings he needs to express to Peggy. Or, Ginsberg is still crazy and gives Peggy a box with his nipple in it!!! She leaves her office as calmly as possible to call for help. Ginsberg is wheeled out of the office strapped to a stretcher. And with that, the computer claims its first victim.

Don strolls into the Philip Morris meeting he was not invited to and tells the executives that if they are willing to give the agency a shot, he is willing to leave. He then masterfully tosses Lou under the bus while turning his negative (the Lucky Strike letter) into a positive (his decades of tobacco experience and the suggestion that Philip Morris would look powerful if they forced Don Draper to apologize). And with that deft maneuver, Don Draper is back.

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