Our action opens with Peggy (in curlers!) fighting with her muckraker boyfriend. Too bad, Abe. Peggy’s not going to pick you over work.
Which is convenient, because Don drops the Heinz pitch meeting in her lap so he can road trip with Megan to the signature Howard Johnson’s in scenic upstate New York. The pitch, “Home Is Where The Heinz Is,” sounds dumb to me, but, what do I know, I was fine with the “let’s just show a photo of someone eating beans happily” idea from four meetings ago. The Heinz guy, a perennial downer, is all “did Don sign off on this?” which sends Peggy into this craaazy combative, super-sexy fit of aggravation. It goes over like a lead balloon, Pete yanks her off the account.
What follows is a glorious montage of high-quality acting-out: Peggy tosses back a shot of the preferred SCDP brown liquor, ditches work, shares a joint with a stranger at the movies, and then gives him a handjob. The shot of her triumphantly washing her hands in the bathroom after is classic cool. She returns to the office and conks out on her couch, waking to a weird call from Don. Has she heard from anyone? Has Dawn heard from anyone? Click.
Peggy and Ginsberg are having a sort of flirty, companionable late-night moment in the office, which he punctuates by casually revealing that he was born in a concentration camp, and adopted by his adorable father out of a Swiss orphanage after the war. It totally throws Peggy.
Now, the timeline starts to get a little wonky. Pay attention!
We see Roger, trying to talk Don into making a “decadent” trip to the aforementioned HoJo’s, just the two of them. Don, being a new man, decides to go with Megan instead. Roger is not thrilled, since he’s stuck going to dinner with Jane’s “snooty friends” instead.
The dinner reveals Jane’s snooty friends are, indeed, unbearable. We’re treated to a few moments of shrink-talk about the nature of truth, blah blah, and then they proceed to drop acid. Things are looking up!
Roger totally trips balls, and it’s pretty great. No stupid pink-elephants-and-swirly-colors. (A survey of my acid-aficionado friends (all two of them) reveals an even split between “yeah, that was pretty good,” and “meh, could have been handled better.”) More importantly, he and Jane lie on the floor together and admit their marriage is over. It’s beautiful! Truth bombs! Soul-baring! Of course, the next morning, Roger is excited to move forward with their divorce, and Jane is all “what are you talking about?” She can’t deny it, though, and it looks like they’re splitsville.
Our timeline flips back again, with Don asking Megan to go to HoJo’s with him. She’s underwhelmed about leaving the Heinz pitch behind, but agrees. There’s some definite tension on her end during the drive. Me, I’m excited about HoJo’s. There was still one in my hometown in Canada in the 1980s.
Over lunch, Don and Megan go POSTAL on each other. I did not see it coming. She’s actually pissed about the Heinz thing, which surprises me. He orders her an orange sherbet, she doesn’t like it, he accuses her of not-liking it to spite him, she starts eating it performatively, it’s a real shitshow. THEN she says something bitchy about his mom, and Don takes off in the car without her.
He peels back, obviously, like five minutes later, and she is…gone. Gone, baby gone. Their waitress says she took off with some guys in the parking lot. Good one, Don. He fumbles around trying to pretend nothing is amiss, calls her mom, calls the office (ohhhhhh, that’s what that was about), etc. He looks like he’s going to throw up. Good! Don’t leave your wife at Howard Johnson’s! COME ON, DON.
FLASHBACK: Don is in the car with Megan and his kids, happy – it looks like a flashback to that Disney World vacation when he originally proposed. Oh, memories. Memories.
Now we have Don unlocking their apartment door, unbelievably relieved (and pissed!) to find the chain on and Megan inside. She’s mad, he’s mad, he busts the door down. This fight is less sexy than their last one, but still ends with them on the floor, making up (but not out, this time.) They slump into the office together the next day, having patched things up.
In an unexpected turn of events, Bert Cooper proceeds to read Don the riot act for generally peace-ing out and letting Peggy run things because he’s in looooooove.
Bert leaves, Don sits in the conference room alone, looking grim. Roger pops in, jubilant about his various revelations.
Oh, kids. Why can’t the same people be happy two weeks in a row?