Mad Men Recap
Season 7, Episode 5
This week’s episode, “The Runaways,” brings us to the point where Don is now working back in the office and dealing with all the issues that are going on and trying to fit back into the SC&P world. One that is changing and moving forward, yet at the same time very stuck in its old ways and patterns. A lot of small, nuanced points were made during this episode, for one the computer is an evident way forward with the company yet many people are afraid of this change see Ginsberg, women are still seen as trophys not as having a brain see Betty, free love in the sixties is alive see Megan, and some are just plain old school and they ride the wave of change on their terms see Don. Together this was a wonderfully odd, yet intriguing episode that painted the picture of the time period so well and gave us a deeper look yet again into the world that Don Draper inhabits.
What shall we drink during this recap? I suggest a cup of coffee because it was a heck of a long night for Don and pals.
At the office, Lou pitches a fit over the boys in creative who he believes lack respect and are just a bunch of hippy-stoner kids. Stan finds a folder with cartoons that Lou drew that mention scouts honor. They think this is hilarious and cannot stop laughing during their meeting, along with the very adult Don, Lou yells at them. He tells them they will have to work all night on the campaign until they get it right as punishment for making fun of his cartoons. At one point, Lou mentions that he is a fan of Bob Dylan, did anyone else go huh, wtf to that statement? Don is made to stay late just like the other kids and when he comes in to try to leave for the night, Lou makes him stay even longer.
Down at Betty’s place, she hosts a party for Henry’s political campaign and in between eating pigs in a blanket, mentions her personal beliefs about the Vietnam war. This causes some awkwardness and later at night he tells her to keep her mouth closed and focus on the things that matter in her world like getting bread crumbs out of the butter. It is evident that women of this generation are still being held to beliefs of the past, as in they were there to look pretty, but not to voice their opinions.
To make matters worse, Sally is sent home from school with a broken nose because apparently she was playing with golf clubs with her friends. She gets into a big rant against Betty and basically tells her what we know is true, that she is just worried about her beauty because she believes that is all women are worth to men. The previous scene with Betty proved that to us in more ways than one.
Stephanie, Anna Draper’s niece gets a hold of Don and tells him she’s pregnant and doesn’t know what to do. He suggests she go to LA and stay with Megan. When she arrives, Megan offers her a bath and a warm steak and unfortunately because Don is at the office still it is just them two awkwardly alone. Megan acts weird around her the minute that Stephanie mentions that she knows all of Don’s secrets. This is a sore spot for Megan as Don really has not divulged all his deep, dark secrets to her, she is still on the outskirts of his life and she may never get in. She quickly breeches the topic of her pregnancy, offers her a thousand dollars and eschews her away.
When Don arrives she tells him that she suddenly left and she just wanted the money. Don is perturbed, rarely do we see him get this emotional about something and Stephanie is a part of his life, a real remnant of Dick Whitman, not Don Draper. She is literally one of the few parts of his life that truly is his and his alone. Call it woman’s instinct, but Megan sees this and she doesn’t like it and that is why she uncomfortably, in one way or another got her to leave.
Back at the office, Ginsberg grows loonier by the minute the more he sees the computer system. Alone in the creative room, he sees Lou and Jim talking in the computer room and only sees their lips moving. Was this just a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey? Is creator Matthew Weiner using the movie as a metaphor for perhaps the evolution of Don Draper. The one we have seen unfold over 7 seasons thus far, is he going to lead us down some allegorical path like the film itself or am I just reading way too much into this?
Regardless, Ginsberg decides to plea his love for Peggy after coming to the surmise that the world is ending and he needs to reproduce with her. The next day in the office he sends her a gift, a box with his cut nipple inside. What the hell is going on? Peggy calls an ambulance for him and he is taken off on a stretcher. What a weird day in the office!
Back in LA, Megan reminds Don that she is having a party that night and invites all her cool, hip, trendy, totally sixties, Woodstock fleeing friends over. Everyone is dressed in bell bottoms and Pucci dresses and we see Don wearing his sport coat and looking very respectable. He literally looked like the old guy at the party. Megan dances with another guy and Don doesn’t even bat an eye. It is obvious in the arena of women, he is never threatened.
Out of the blue, Harry Crane walks into the party, not knowing Don would be there. Don grabs him as they are probably the only older people at the party and they head to a bar where Harry divulges a big secret. He tells him Lou and Jim are pursuing Commander cigarettes, and they are looking to push Don out of the company.
Back at Megan’s home, he finds her and Amy enjoying a joint or some “grass” together. This is where the sexual tension went up a notch and you could feel something was going to happen. Then one thing lead to another, Megan tells Amy to kiss Don and they have a threesome, finally, how did it take this long to happen? I felt like I was watching Game of Thrones for a second and then I realized oh, it’s Don Draper he knows how to drive the ladies wild. Free love anyone?
With a renewed sense of vigor, he goes back to NYC and walks straight into the Commander cigarettes secret meeting. They know who he is and they know that he has slandered the big-tobacco industry in the past. He tells them that if they hire SC&P, he will publicly apologize and believes this will work for them. Lou and Jim are not happy at all and Lou tells him he is incredible, to which Don thanks him. Will this strategy work in his favor?
There are only 2 episodes left, so it will be interesting to see if he comes back with a bang or if he gets in trouble for putting his money where his mouth is. He disrupted the chain of approval he was supposed to follow, his grand gesture I am sure will not be taken lightly, but it is the infamous DD so it may work for him. We will see!