It is Valentine’s Day 1969. There will be two declarations of love and a lot of flowers. The amorous blonde real-estate agent, a California girl in the Beach Boys sense, tells Pete she loves his flowers and him. He's luckier than he knows. But unhappy.
The unhappiest of the lot is Peggy, who doesn’t know it’s Valentine’s Day until teammates Stan and Ginsberg point this out in the morning elevator. She thinks the roses sent to her secretary (Shirley) by her fiancé (Charles) are meant for her and must have been sent by Ted. Wishful thinking takes the form of hysteria and she sends messages to LA-based Ted -- as morose and enigmatic as ever – that he must find incomprehensible and so he ignores them. It made me review the history of her love life: Pete, Duck, the leftwing journalist she calls “the Jew” when she and her mother have a fight. That’s it.
Now there are two black secretaries. No one can tell them apart so Shirley calls Dawn Shirley, and Dawn calls Shirley Dawn. The symmetry of their situations on this day (each is transferred, but not fired, by disgruntled bosses) makes its point about the evolution of racism: from segregation and exclusion to marginalization and suspicion. I hate myself for using the word “marginalization” but am too lazy to think of something better.
Joan gets an office of her own. On relations of bosses and secretaries: “Scarlett and Harry are practically married.” Getting it on with his secretary is a longtime Harry trait. For the first time it occurs to me that Harry Crane has the same name as Harold Hart Crane but has nothing else in common with the author of “The Bridge.”
Roger gives off an air of defeat. In the street someone has said to him, “Mind your own business, Kike.” Was it because he was wearing a homburg? Who still wears a hat in 1969? Only the Jews.
Lou or Lew (who occupies Don’s office) remains clueless, insensitive. What does he do all day?
Memorable lines: “Keep pretending. That’s your job.” (Dawn). “No one feels my existence” (Pete). “Just cash your checks. You’re going to die someday.” (Ted).
Sally Draper, beautiful in makeup, remains the truth-teller. “Do you still love Megan?” “Why don’t you tell her you don’t want to move to Los Angeles?” On the car radio as her dad drives her back to her prep school: “Eleanor” by the Turtles.
Don sleeps late, watches “The Little Rascals” and sit coms on TV, measures how much Canadian Club he’s drinking per day, pays Dawn for office info. Writes note to excuse Sally’s absence. What should he write? The truth, she says. And when she asks why he is not working, he says he told the truth about himself – but at the wrong time and place, to the wrong people. And what is the truth? “Nothing you don’t know.”
The old Don, poker-faced, tells Sally that they are going to leave the diner without paying. But it’s a joke, and they smile in recognition of the rogue impulses that link them. So when she tells her dad, before closing the car door, “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you,” it is not just a formula she utters but. . .the truth.Love,
Excellent summary of the show. You did look fetching in that Smirnoff commercial (though, SORRY!, the wisdom of choosing that cheap muscle rub over, say, grey goose, absolut, Stoli, or many others (almost any other self respecting vodka!) escapes me. You truly looked grand , pretty, and relaxed with your long hair, half dancing down the liquor store aisle, and you’ve slimmed down since the baby. All this proves that you’ve only prospered since giving that philandering Pete the boot (at least we can cling to this belief till a new episode contradicts us.) Hope Tammy is doing well. Off in the wilds of distant, uncharted california, Pete’s looking jowly, paunchy and dressing like an over the hill golf pro , in case that gives you a secret twinge of vengeful pleasure.
Sally Draper wins an emmy for darkest eyebrows on a female on tv, except on occasions when a Frida Kahlo biopic is being shown. The heavy black brows suit her, and seem to be a direct genetic reference to how intensely she is spawn of Don. Yes, Sally is shaping up to be quite a beauty, not surprising given her pedigree, and at bottom, daddy’s girl.
Bout time Joan got her own office!!
Will someone please find Peggy a handsome, kind, calm, understanding, patient boyfriend? Before she brings a pistol to work or starts having to mark her liquor bottles as Don is doing, just to keep track of personal consumption. Maybe she’ll get addicted to valium?
Funny tech difficulties with coast to coast intercoms of the era, waaaaay pre Skype.
Great double entendres about dating and sex flying across the table during Don’s well lubricated lunch with another ad man who might woo him away from his current position, eg “Don’t spoil the mood,” “I’m just looking for love” etc.
Sally’s private school pals cram into a little femmy dorm room, envying their classmate whose mother has just died...with Sally allowing as how she’d give anything to “get Betty underground.”
Lou is so repugnant (that actor is doing a great job making us hate him, with very little, few lines, no backstory at this point) that I am looking forward to some kind of horrendous disgrace befalling him soon, hopefully at the hands of a woman.
Did Roger send Joan flowers on valentine’s day, saying they were from her (their!!!) son? Were we ever given a plot twist that dispensed once and for all with Joan’s inept armed forces surgeon husband? How is her little boy? How’s her love life?
Oh Peggy! You haven’t found the way to be a generous, fair, good tempered boss. You’re channeling all the wrong parts of Don. Your innocence is turning to brittleness too soon.
Till next week,
Megan, Betty, and Henry