Peggy’s 26th birthday was the one from hell. She should be on top of the world what with a career and her boyfriend. But it doesn’t work out that way. Don makes her stay to work on a Samsonite ad, keeping her from her romantic dinner with that little twerp Mark who takes her apology phone call at a table at the Forum of the Twelve Caesars. Later phone calls reveal that this little tryst also includes her mother, sister, brother-in-law and roommate. Roommate? Don’t we know her only from a disparaging remark by Peggy? This little surprise would have been a nasty one. Especially when she was anticipating candlelight.
Peggy winds up spending the entire night with Don—at a Greek diner, at a bar and back in the office where a very drunk Duck surfaces. Wow! I asked what happened to him and their relationship way back at the beginning of this season and now we know. We briefly saw Duck, again drunk, at the Clios. And then in this ep when Peggy opens his gift: a box of business cards for the “Phillips-Olson Ad Agency.” Wha? Not the “Olson Phillips”?? He pleads with her but she rebuffs him with a reference to his drinking.
And now in the middle of the night he appears and is intent on befouling shall we say Don’s office. Peggy stops him. This is Roger’s! Suddenly the two are in a drunken brawl echoing the Liston-Clay prizefight which marks this ep in time. Both short. Don says “uncle.” Literally. Men can be such asshats. Drunks almost always are.
Don is trying to stave off the inevitable moment which he knows is coming. Earlier there was an urgent message from Stephanie in California and he dreads the news he knows he will hear. He’s had a vision of Anna, suitcase in hand, walking into his office. I think he’s imagining her saying goodbye. And when it’s official and he is told she is gone, he finally lets go and sobs. Peggy is there and they bond in a way that they hadn’t ever despite or maybe because of their history.
Don tells her that “the only person who knew me” has died. Peggy tells him that that can’t be true. Peggy imagines she knows him, I guess. But she doesn't. She also tells him that everyone thinks she slept with him to get her job.
And Don asks her about the baby she gave up to adoption, does she think about it? It comes back unexpectedly, she says. He asks if she knows who the father was. “Of course.” I can’t believe Don imagines the truth, that she and Pete had a fling.
And speaking of Pete, we briefly see Trudy in maternity clothes sharing a moment in the bathroom with Peggy. Trudy is one of the most likable characters of Mad Men. Ah, but what she doesn’t know!
This was a terrific episode full of surprise and very satisfying. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.