Every Sunday night, I turn on Mad Men expecting a unique and engaging hour of drama with a hint of comedy. Lately, especially with the farcical death of Don’s elderly assistant, Mrs. Blankenship, we have had a bit more comedy than usual. Such wasn’t the case in last night’s episode, “Hands and Knees”.
The word is getting out that Don Draper isn’t who he says he is, and it is finally catching up with him. Advertising cadet, Pete Campbell, who found out about the Don/Dick charade, has come frighteningly close to landing a multi-million dollar deal with North American Aviation, which requires government background checks on everybody involved. Let’s break it down…
Don Draper: After an excited phone call to his daughter, Sally, announcing her new weekend plans to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium, his ex-wife, Betty, receives a surprise visit from the FBI to answer a number of questions about Don. Knowing that the real Don Draper was killed in Korea, Betty lies and answers the questions as they would apply to her ex-husband’s desired identity. Learning that the government is close to uncovering his secret, Don panics and plans for a future in which Don Draper no longer exists, likely leaving a broken/battered Dick Whitman in a federal prison. The next day, Don and work/play buddy, Faye rushed back to his apartment due to a sudden stress-induced illness. After Faye took care of him overnight, Don/Dick admitted the reason for his recent meltdown. Upon Faye’s request, Don is seriously considering coming out in the open with his secret. This also shows how close he has gotten with Faye, possibly resulting in an actual relationship…that is, until the last frame, in which Don ogles his replacement-secretary, Megan. Ruh roh!
Joan/Roger: After a heat-of-the-moment back-alley rogering, Joan and Roger have had to have a few “we’re both married, we can’t do this, but we want to” sessions. But now, Joan and Roger must decide what to do with their unborn child (WHAT?!). With Greg at war in Vietnam, there is no way for Joan to proclaim that it belongs to him. Joan decides to have it taken care of, but may have had second thoughts while in the waiting room. Though she told Roger that she had the procedure, I think it’s safe to say that she hasn’t fooled anybody else. There just may be a new curve on Joan’s body. In other Roger news, the one account that is keeping him at the company, Lucky Strike, may be pulling out. They want to sever ties, but Roger begged for 30 more days in which to kick some Lucky Strike ass. Nobody else at the company knows, which should prove for some interesting tension later on.
Pete Campbell: As mentioned earlier, Pete is a few phone calls away from landing the North American Aviation account, which would put him in a place to really become a name in advertising. The mess with Don and the government has seriously put Pete’s future in Jeopardy. After a few chats between the two (one was in the elevator where Don told someone to “take the next one” [total Dick move] and the other was at Don’s apartment, where Pete learned of Don’s partnership with Faye), Pete admitted to the SCDP partners that he fucked up and they lost the account. Maybe he’s not such a weasel, after all.
Lane Pryce: Ever since Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce opened its doors, Pryce has been battling between his career and family. When he boned the hooker on New Years Eve, it seemed pretty obvious that he has sided with the business side of his lifestyle. With his family back in London, Lane has taken a new relationship with an African-American waitress at the Playboy Club (controversy!). When his father comes to NY to retrieve him, Lane introduces him to his girlfriend (his reason for staying), which results in a cane to the jaw, and thereby Lane announcing an extended leave of absence to be with his family.
Can you believe they crammed that much into 44 minutes? Pretty impressive stuff…