* What an episode. Hilarious and heartbreaking. Best of the season.
* I wonder what it says about this episode that it began with Peggy getting scared by a rat. Like, of all the storylines in this episode, hers was the least immediately consequential, right? So…something about the best-laid plans of mice and men? Preparing for another visit from the rat only made things worse?
* “Not all surprises are bad,” says Roger Sterling as he spontaneously learns to juggle.
* Peggy looked legitimately pleased to meet Pete’s mom. Aw.
* And now it starts getting funny. “Trudy dear, don’t deny him. Don’t reject his caresses. I hope one day you can one day find what Manolo and I have found. I’ve waited long enough to experience the physical satisfaction of love.”
* I wrote down “Bob is a wonderful salesman” and I’m not even sure what I was referencing, but obviously we later reach the limits of this gift.
* “Like everything else in this country, model diplomacy is just an excuse to make out.” Like visiting your son at summer camp, Betty?
* “He can’t spend the rest of his life on the run.” With that take on the plight of Mitchell Rosen, Don admits his own life is untenable.
* How delightful it was to watch Ted, Peggy, and Pete have such a jolly time! Yeah, there’s some jealous moments here and there, but she’s so good in each of their company, and so open even with Pete. “You really know me.” “I do.” A pleasure to watch, particularly compared to the debacle of a California trip that nevertheless netted Roger, Don, and Harry a shot at Sunkist comparable to the one Ted’s group just earned with Ocean Spray.
* And my god, how funny! “Did your father ever give her spa treatments that released a fire in her loins?” “Ohh, ohh, ohhh!” “I don’t even want to think about her brushing her teeth!” “I have never been less afraid of flying in my life.” I was laughing as hard as they were.
* The saddest thing about Don and Arnold’s relationship is what legitimately good friends they could be if things were different. Listen to the ease and articulacy with which Arnold describes to Don the problems in his marriage, the plight of young soldiers, and his love for his own son despite seeing the kid’s imitations. Later in the episode, Ted tells Don that he probably doesn’t have a lot of friends — man, what a waste.
* In a way, Ted’s relationship with his wife parallels Don’s relationship with Arnold. Mrs. Chaough responds to Ted with evident thoughtfulness and concern, accurately seeing how much his work means to him, and which aspects of that work he finds particularly engaging. She just wishes he found her just as engaging.
* Roger on the cost of his trip: “I have a lot of receipts, I haven’t figured it out yet!” Story of his life.
* “Imagine if every time Ginger Rogers jumped in the air, Fred Astaire punched her in the face.” A funny line from Ted, but also a revealing one. That’s how he sees the potential of his and Don’s relationship — Rogers and Astaire, dancing on air. And that’s how he sees Don’s neglect of that relationship — as a deliberate assault.
* “I don’t WANT his juice! I want MY juice!” “It’s all your juice.” hahahahahahahaha
* I feel like I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of the season just writing down great dialogue, but Mad Men is a very funny show!
* To wit: the exchange between Pete and his mother. All these wonderful flavors of humor. Shade-throwing: “I suppose there’s a way I could mistake your tone for concern.” Cringe comedy: “Manny has awakened a part of me that was long dormant. Don’t you think I’m entitled to the pleasures of love?” “Don’t be any more specific.” Mad Men style personality demolitions where you laugh out of shock: “You were a sour little boy, and you’re a sour little man. You’ve always been unlovable.” Chuckling because it’s kind of sad: “I have carfare, and a piece of paper with my address, written in his elegant handwriting.” And Pete hands her her purse. Christ.
* Don, do not fuck up the client dinner with ‘Nam talk, you doofus.
* Somehow I knew the first thing they liked about Mitchell was his ass.
* Of all the things I expected to find in Satan Rizzo’s apartment, a giant poster of Moshe Dayan wasn’t one of them.
* “Maybe I’ll make it worth your while if you come over.” “No you won’t.” Do you think she would have? I kind of wonder!
* Don and Ted’s grand compromise was a marvel to watch. Ted’s obviously making things about him that aren’t about him, which explains Don’s disbelief that scratching his back in this way is all it’ll take to get the favor out of him. Yet Ted also legitimately has Don’s number regarding his self-aggrandizement. “I can’t stop the war, Ted.” “Don’t be an asshole, Don.”
* And how satisfying for Don to affect a rapprochement with Ted, solve the Sunkist/Ocean Spray conflict, rescue Mitchell from his own land-war-in-Asia fate, and do a good deed for his ex-mistress Sylvia without actually even expecting to talk to her about it, all in one fell swoop. But that’s the problem: It was too satisfying. The moment he lit up a cigarette in the middle of his tearful conversation with Sylvia, you knew he was in trouble. He’s back in business.
* Mad Men Presents: Bob Benson Doing Things! “Calm down, sit down.” Bob Benson taking charge! “I did some digging, and — ” Bob Benson doing some digging! “Is it really so impossible to imagine? Couldn’t it be that if someone took care of you, very good care of you, if this person would do anything for you, if your well-being was his only thought, is it impossible that you might begin to feel something for him. When there’s true love, does it matter who it is?” Bob Benson…proclaiming his love for Pete Campbell? Okay, that mystery’s solved. “Tell him I’ll give him a month’s pay. And tell him it’s disgusting.” And he never broke his smile.
* Oh no. Sally. Oh no.
* Sylvia pounding on the mattress.
* Sally witnessing Don doing the thing Don witnessed his stepmother doing.
* Don turning around in the lobby, unsure of what to do. Don wandering out into the street.
* Peggy got a cat! Mrs. Olson, thou art avenged.
* Ted came home. Aw.
* Pete threw a box of Raisin Bran. Man, there’s a lot you can read into that gesture.
* The entire scene at dinner with Arnold and Mitchell was excruciating. Sally gets to see, first hand, that sometimes every other world in an adult conversation is bullshit, and it’s nightmarish. Contrast her reaction here to her world-weary sigh of “dirty” when she caught Roger and Megan’s maman in flagrante. This time it hurt, because the nightmare came from the man who supposedly supported all her dreams. “It’s complicated.” It sure is now. But she kept the secret. She’s her father’s daughter.