Mad Men: Is Don Draper Losing His Cool?

mad men recap

Don is at the movies, smoking. Remember smoking in movie theaters? Trust me, it was a thing. Don calls Dawn. He needs a typewriter ribbon, a ream of onion skin paper and an airmail envelope. He wants Dawn to drop it off but she can’t because she is swamped with her new responsibilities. He really wants her to come over, and he wants her to put his call through to so-and-so, but Dawn is too busy for a former partner who no longer works at the agency.

Megan’s agent needs Don’s help. Megan had a substandard reading for a part. Instead of taking the rejection like a man, she got the director’s number from someone in her acting class and just happened to run into him at lunch where she begged and pleaded for another reading, tears and all. The agent wants Don to get “his girl” under control. With nothing better to do that day, or that week, Don hops on a plane to surprise Megan. And she certainly is surprised. After they have sex, he starts working on her about not being crazy when she gets rejected and confesses that her agent called. This turns Megan even crazier because Don’s never in the office when she calls and it’s always quiet and she never hears typing and then he tells her about being put on leave. A year ago. “So… you got up every day and decided you don’t want to be with me.” She kicks Don out.

Betty’s back. She’s lunching with Francine who is now a travel agent in a pink pants suit. Francine tells Betty all about the working world and how satisfying it is to not be at home with the kids all day. Betty seems skeptical. When she gets home, she volunteers to go on Bobby’s field trip as a chaperone. It’s to a farm, so this should be fun.

Harry Crane! His big client thinks that Harry should use a computer to formulate their media reports, just like Grey Advertising. Harry says that “computers don’t think, people do.” Well, we all know who wins that battle. I’m just surprised to see Harry behind on technology. Ah, he’s not. After the meeting, it’s clear that the bosses are not interested in dumping any money into Harry’s folly of a “media department.” Later that day, Harry gets a call from The Wall Street Journal to talk about their computer. The problem is, it isn’t their computer and it doesn’t do what Harry told the client it does, and it all would have been fine if Harry’s bosses hadn’t let the press know in an effort to get a leg up on Grey Advertising.

Back in New York, Don gets an offer over lunch. So Don visits Roger to find out if he can come back to work or if he should move to a new agency. “Come in Monday.” They shake, and it’s official. Don Draper is back, baby. Or is he? Don calls Megan to not really tell her the good news. “I shouldn’t have lied to you, I’m sorry, and I want everything to be okay…. I can see now that I wasn’t thinking clearly and I had this logic to what I did, blah blah blah.” Megan says he can fix it by getting a job in Los Angeles, which is not going to happen. Or is it? Foreshadowing?

So how does Don Draper walk back into work? A bundle of nerves. “It’s Lou, right? Good to see you. I’m ready to get back to work.” There’s just this minor business about Don’s office. Surely Roger can work it out… only Roger isn’t in yet. Only the grunts in the creative department are happy to see Don. “Why don’t you fellas catch me up?” Even Joan didn’t know that Don was coming back, and Cosgrove is equally confused. Don starts to realize that Roger’s offer was perhaps premature, or not one that he had the power to give. Joan goes to Bert Cooper, who says “he shouldn’t be here.” Then, it gets even weirder. Lou walks into a Donfest in the creative department and calls everyone except Don into his office.

Remember when Betty went on a field trip to a farm? She drank fresh, warm cow milk straight fro the bucket, which… is that legal? Probably not. She plans a nice picnic with her son and it’s almost like she’s a good mother… until Bobby trades Betty’s sandwich for gumdrops. Then it’s good old Bad Mother Betty again.

Roger eventually rolls into the office, drunk. He says that he’s the president of the agency and doesn’t have to ask anyone anything. Don demands that Roger call a partner’s meeting immediately. The partners (sans Don) convene in Bert’s office (sans shoes) and it is explained to Roger that nobody ever wanted Don back. Then Jim starts blathering about Harry Crane and the media department and how Don’s salary could cover the new computer they so desperately need. But contracts are conctracts, and if they want Don gone the partners will have to buy him out. Plus, they will lose their non-compete. Tough spot.

Peggy finally faces Don. “Well, I can’t say that we miss you.” “Thank you, Peggy.” Ouch.

After a long day of nothing, Don gets called into the conference room with the partners as Lou fumes outside. The partners have concluded that they would like Don to come back to work, with stipulations, the violation of which will result in termination and a loss of all partnership shares. Don is not allowed to be alone with clients, he has to stick to the script in meetings which will be approved by the partners, there’s no drinking in the office, he gets Lane’s old office, and the kicker—Don will report to Lou.

Do it, Don. Tell them to shove their stipulations and take the other job. “Okay.” Sigh.

Next week, Don adjusts to his new role and something shocking enough to leave a phone dangling happens.

Reprinted from

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