Getting fired can take a tremendous toll on anyone's health and well-being, but for a man like Don Draper (who got drunk every night and took frequent midday naps even while he was gainfully employed), an extended period of rudderless inactivity could amount to a slow death sentence.
As we learned on last night's episode of Mad Men, Don seems well aware of how much trouble he's in without the stabilizing influences of wife and work.
So while he may have taken to pounding the snooze alarm until noon, he's also begun carefully monitoring his whiskey consumption and he continues smuggling pitches to his former colleagues at SC & P.
We also learned last night that Don's been lying about his unwelcome sabbatical to Megan and the rest of his family. As he usually does with personal matters, Don has once again chosen deceit over confrontation, and the result is predictably messy.
Which brings us to the Draper the audience actually still likes: Sally! Don's daughter is the first to discover that his lunch meetings have been replaced by daytime TV when she makes an unannounced visit to his office and finds eternally-cardiganed douchebag Lou in Don's place.
Sally knows instantly she's been lied to by her father and the effect on their relationship is immediate and profound. She already busted Don for cheating on yet another mother figure last season, but this latest deception seems to confirm what she'd dreaded: lying for Don Draper comes as naturally as breathing.
Reminded again of how dishonesty can irreparably damage even the strongest bonds, father and daughter both quietly resolve to be more truthful with the world. Note how uncomfortable Sally is with even the small deception of hiding a pair of ill-gotten sandals in her closet.
When Sally beseeches Don to "just tell the truth," she's talking about much more than her school absence note. Realizing that he's let his daughter down yet again, Don admits his guilt and shows his true self for possibly the first time since shedding his Dick Whitman skin.
The fact that Don is not only capable of honesty but wants so desperately to guide Sally in the right direction gives us reason to hold out hope for these two for the first time in a long time.
When Sally says, "I'm so many people" she's giving voice to Don's anxiety about his own double life and he seems to want nothing more than to save her from his fate.
Peggy snatches her receptionist's Valentine's gift in a strangely sitcom-y subplot that seems very un-Mad Men. Hopefully they won't make a habit of hackneyed jokes about Peggy's spinsterdom. (Though Ginsberg describing her holiday plans - "masturbate gloomily" - made for one of the episode's best lines.)
Pete may be Mr. LA these days, but he's still Captain Douche as far as his East Coast colleagues are concerned. Some things never change.
Speaking of douches, Dawn standing up to Lou was fantastic. Almost as rewarding as watching the death of King Joffrey.
Also: Joan gets promoted! Cooper's a racist! As always, much is taking place in the offices of SC & P. (Even the name keeps changing!)
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