Mad Men Recap, Ep. 4: History Lessons

mm s6 episode5 main 590 Mad Men Recap, Ep. 4: History Lessons

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1,290 square feet, 1 ½ baths, 2 bedrooms, 1 parking spot, 84th and York: $28,000. But, “when they finish the Second Avenue Subway, this apartment will quadruple in value.” Ha, that’s funny. But really, Peggy deserves a nice apartment. Plus, she’s wearing a slick yellow ochre dress. Well, it’s slick for Peggy.

Megan and Don run into his mistress and his friend who are off to D.C. to speak at a thing that is very important. Megan is up for an advertising award from back when she did that sort of thing and is wearing a gold and pink paisley floor-length dress with, again, super high hair. But, no one will get to see her dress because the SCDP table is in the back of the room by the kitchen. For some reason, Paul Newman is presenting one of the awards. During his speech in support of McCarthy for President, the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination breaks.

Michael Ginsberg’s father sets him up with his chess buddy’s pretty daughter, Beverly. They go to a diner and have a fairly decent first date, but she lets him know that she’s only on the date as a favor. The assassination hits the radio in the diner, and then we see the impact on Betty’s home. She won’t let the kids watch the television because they may see something unpleasant. Peggy’s boyfriend, Abe, leaves the awards ceremony to head up to Harlem to get a story. The awards ceremony continues, because, as Don says, “what else are we supposed to do?”

Bobby Draper has an issue with the wallpaper in his bedroom. He likes to peel it off of the wall and fold it up in a scrapbook. Betty finds Bobby’s wallpaper peelings and wants to know why he’s destroying the house because pretty facades are very important to Betty. Or at least they were. We see Betty in front of a mirror, holding up an old blue strapless cocktail dress to her new larger body, and she seems oddly okay about all of the changes she’s gone through this past year. It’s as if her new hair color washed away the shallow, blond Bettyness.

Peggy’s secretary shows up to work but Peggy sends her home because “none of us should be working.” Over at SCDP, the secretaries have all left their posts to gather around a television. Harry is pissed because the assassination is costing everyone money by preempting his sweet, sweet advertisements. Surprisingly, Pete Campbell is sent into a fiery rage by Harry’s self-centered view of the tragedy. Bert Cooper comes out (sans shoes, of course), to mediate:

Bert Cooper: I urge you to shake hands in the spirit of erasing these remarks

Harry Crane: I’m sorry. I suppose that my comments were inappropriate. I mistook this for a workday.

Pete Campbell: Don’t worry, I’m sure you can make your money back on some movie of the week next fall about the death of a great man.

Dawn arrives at SCDP just as Joan announces that out of respect, the office is officially closed. Except for a 3 p.m. meeting with a potential insurance client that Roger dredged up. Dawn would like to stay because she’d rather be in the office. Joan gives Dawn an awkward sideways hug and a “we’re all so sorry,” as if Joan is apologizing for all white people everywhere.

Peggy gets a call from her real estate broker, who recommends coming in under asking price because of the riots happening just a few blocks uptown from the apartment. Peggy reluctantly agrees, only to lose the apartment to a higher offer. Abe doesn’t care because he’s in the middle of an “emotional story,” but eventually confesses that he doesn’t want to live on the Upper East Side. He would prefer the West 80s, which he describes as “dangerous.” That makes Peggy smile, because Peggy likes being unconventional with a splash of danger.

Betty wants Don to come and pick up the kids for the weekend, even though there is rioting and looting in-between their two homes. But he does it, because he doesn’t want Betty to be able to say that he’s a bad father. He wakes up with a bottle of booze and cigarettes on the nightstand and finds Sally, Bobby, and Gene watching television in the living room. Megan is getting them ready to go to a vigil in the park, but Bobby doesn’t want to go so Don stays home with him.

Bobby tells Don that he’s not allowed to watch television for a week because of the wallpaper incident, and, always the creative one, Don works around the problem by taking Bobby to the movies instead. It’s Planet of the Apes, and they’re both so blown away by the ending that they stay to watch it a second time. That evening, Don tells Megan that he always wanted to love his kids but never could, so he’s been faking it the whole time. And then, it suddenly happened. Watching Bobby enjoy Planet of the Apes was that moment for Don, and he’s overwhelmed with happiness. So he does what he always does when he’s overwhelmed—he drinks. After comforting Bobby who can’t sleep because he’s afraid of being shot, Don goes out on his terrace and listens to the sirens.

Next week, Don, Pete, Roger, Peggy, Burt, Megan, Joan, and more Don.

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