'Mad Men' recap: There's no place like home

My darling K,

I know you're going to kill me when I say this but here goes: I think last night's "Mad Men" indicates some hope for our pal Don. Cast from the garden of SC&P, it's possible he's at bottom (not 100 percent sure, since this is Don we're talking about, but…), and while his choice to come a bit clean in the Hershey meeting was a bit ill-timed, what he revealed to us about his dreadful childhood is so very telling, and very heartbreaking. God bless Hershey. (And I almost fell off my chair when he spun that initial "I got a Hershey bar from my hair-tousling dad for mowing the lawn" story.)

And while truth-telling is hardly Don's best skill, the fact that he took the kids to the old homestead (how the hell far did he drive, BTW?) suggests to me that he's trying. Indeed, Sally could use some perspective on just how horrible she thinks her life is. Her parents are screwed up, but she could've grown up in THAT dump.

And how about Betty FINALLY confessing that she's not entirely equipped to be an effective parent? "She obviously needs more than I can give her," she tells Don. She's being HONEST! And he called her "Birdie"! Progress!

Don't hate me,

M.

***

Dear M,

I'm not a hater.

Maybe Don has hit an all-time low — he's a drunk, his hands are shaking, he punched a minister and ended up in jail, his kids hate him, Megan left him, the partners are abandoning him. We'll see. What's he going to do?

I want to talk about the best five seconds or so of television drama ever, and that was when Don and Sally made eye contact when he showed the kids the house he grew up in, with Judy Collins singing Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Don is finally admitting he "really doesn't know life at all." That, was heartbreaking.

Not buying the Betty tears, though. And why did he call her Bertie? Had he called her that before? I found that annoying.

Love always,

k

***

Good Lady K,

Yes, "Birdie" ("Bertie"?) was Don's little nickname for Betty. I thought it was cute. Am a sucker, I know.

We are agreed about that final scene (I thought it was Joan Baez singing, so thank you for correcting me!); Kiernan Shipka is a fine young actress — a point our former colleague Mr. Stephen Chupaska wisely made to me years ago. As always, he's a trendsetter.

Now, can we discuss Ted and Peggy? Does he REALLY think he'll be able to out-of-sight-out-of-mind her? No way. I know he's trying to do the right thing and all, but jeez guy, don't pledge your love and devotion to a gal one night, then hi-ho out to Cali with the wife and kids the next. I still approve of them getting together. Print it.

And how mad were you that Roger got the green light from Joan to get to know young Kevin? Hahahahhahaa.

Love,

M.

***

Dear M,

Yea, Joan fell for the puppy-dog-eyed Roger. Pa-leese. I guess she's thinking ahead. Roger will pay for college or something.

And here again, the men are still making all the decisions:

Don steals Stan's idea to "homestead" in California, (and wearing my favorite fringed suede jacket, I might add), has Megan quit her job and then decides not to go ...

Roger berates Bob Benson for moving in on Joan but then decides to tolerate Bob Benson because he wants to be in his son's life ...

Ted loves Peggy but doesn't want to break up his family, so he's running away ... so she can start her own life. And of course he did that after he slept with her ... another creep.

As Peggy said, "Aren't you lucky to have decisions ..."

k

***

K,

Yeah, but how gorgeous was it to watch Peggy settle in at Don's desk after he was forced into exile? Here's hoping she gets comfortable there.

Now, can you please explain to me what the hell happened to Pete's mother? Once again I was wandering about the house and missed some parts of that storyline. I burst out laughing when Pete and Bud agreed to let nature continue to take its course and NOT make the expense of bringing her killer (?) to justice.

"She's in the water with father now," said Bud. Ha!

Irreverently,

M.

***

Dear M,

Pretty great to see Peggy at Don's desk — "where everything is." And loved the plaid pants suit. She's getting to the 1970s.

So I think Mama Campbell just fell off the ship but Pete doesn't want to believe it. He's fixated on the idea that Manolo wanted her. The guy on the phone was a detective, so I guess he was going by what Pete told him — about it being a possible murder. Kinda thought it was lazy of the writers to end her story line like that. Really, what are the chances? Father dies in plane crash over the ocean and mother falls off a cruise ship? A little too tidy for me.

One of my favorite scenes was Pete crashing the Chevy in the showroom. I tell all my nieces and nephews that they have to learn how to drive a stick shift because someday, they will be somewhere, and someone is going to have to drive a five-speed and they are the ones who will be able to step forward. Apparently Pete did not have a doting aunt to give such words of advice.

On the other hand, as Trudy said, Pete is now free. Maybe he and Peggy will get together.

k

***

K,

Thank you very, very much for explaining the Mama Campbell sitch. Lazy-writing, indeed. Unless of course she shows up in an alternate universe as a member of the X-Men or something…Great point about Pete's fixation with Manolo's "true" intentions for mama. Poor Pete. I would also approve of a Peggy-Pete hookup. I'm such a romantic, I know.

I confess I can't drive a stick shift either, and it's a point of great shame. I just never had the opportunity/right teacher around. Maybe you can show me:) And remember, Pete only JUST learned to drive in recent years; yet another weird thing Bob seems to have sussed out. I still say the jury's still out on a Pete-Bob pairing, Peggy or no Peggy.

Speaking of whom, how about Peg's super-cleavo dress for her date? Ted's head almost exploded. Mission accomplished, I suppose. Still, I don't think we've ever seen that much skin from her. Trend?

Anyway, I'm exhausted from all the drama. Such an emotional rollercoaster. Let's play this game before we sign off: where will we see Don in the first episode of next season? My guesses: Betty's bed; that hideous whorehouse that he will subsequently knock down; or AA, Discuss.

Luv,

M.

***

Ok Luvie,

Don buys the whorehouse, becomes a homesteader and renovates it. He goes into therapy. The kids come on weekends. He meets a local gal. The neighborhood is gentrified and in the 1970s he become mayor of whatever town that is.

I like your idea that he goes to AA. Who would be his sponsor?

OK, I won't quit my day job just yet.

'Til next season,

love,

k.

We're on Twitter: @edgecombday and @TheMDesk.

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