The Phantom Mad Menace
That Makes No Sense, but the Nerd in Me Isn’t Passing Up a Shitty Star Wars Reference
This Post is Chalk-Full of Spoilers – You’ve Been Warned!
Marital happiness (or the lack thereof) was the dominating theme of last night’s finale and we began at Don and Megan’s apartment. Megan’s screen test was rejected and she hides that from Don, which her mom, Marie (in town to celebrate Easter with her daughter, as Megan’s dad, Emile is an Atheist) thinks that’s a bad idea, though she’s hiding things of her own from her husband…
On the train to work that morning Beth joined her hubs for the commute, telling Peter she’s there to stay with her sister for a few days. Later he gets a call from his “sister-in-law” – it’s Beth wanting to be all buddy-buddy now, except she’s not talking to Moonstruck Peter she’s talking to Bitter Peter and he’s not having that shit. She wants to meet him at the hotel he tried to get her to go to last time. He acts like he’s going to stand her up but she pleads that it may be the last time they can ever see each other, so you know he’s going to go.
He hustle’s out of the morning partner’s meeting and goes to meet Beth. He’s reluctant to get passionate with her, but felt he had to come. She tells him that she’s been depressed lately and will be getting shock therapy. She wanted to see him one more time before she does it because it makes her distant and unfeeling. She’s scared she won’t remember him or how they felt together and she wants to be with him one more time. How do you turn that down? Your crazy side piece is going to get her memory erased – can we fuck one last time before I forget you ever existed? Um… yes, please!
Afterward he asks her to come to LA with him and soak in some sunshine instead of getting shock treatments. He says her husband’s a controlling monster, and it’s obvious that he’s romanticized their connection – blowing their tryst out of proportion until they’ve become some sort of star-crossed lovers, which Beth doesn’t seem to reciprocate but doesn’t necessarily tell him to stop thinking that way. She tries to explain what it’s like having depression – she has a darkness inside she can’t escape (it’s called your vagina, sweetie). He says that’s for the weak. Nice way to endear yourself to your crazy girlfriend!
That evening back at Don’s instead of lobbying for her friend as she promised she’d do earlier, Megan gives Don her screen test and asks if he would throw her hat into the ring for a commercial. He’s surprised, because he thought she was an artist and above commercials. She wants the exposure and the bragging rights – he reminds her that her friends do it because they need the money – she doesn’t have to do that. Plus it’s just too much favoritism, it wouldn’t be right. She concedes he’s got a point when the phone rings. Megan thinks it’s the heavy breather that’s been calling all day but it’s actually Sterling pretending to be her dad and asking for Marie to come to the phone. Marie’s smart! She starts out in French, speaking to a confused Roger as if it’s still Emile, and says its okay for them to talk in private because Megan’s left the room. She looks pointedly at Megan, who takes the hint and exits, thinking her parents are going to talk about something she shouldn’t hear.
Megan goes back to their bedroom and gives Don a drink and he expresses remorse at not being able to pass her screen test along for the commercial. She says it’s no big deal, but goes into the bathroom to take a bath and begins to cry (how many times have we done that ladies, amiright?). Roger wants Marie to come see him at his apartment for dinner. It was him calling all day and he just wants her company and conversation… uh huh… she says she’ll meet him on the condition he lowers his expectations – “Below conversation?” … uh huh…
There’s an interesting side to Don’s story this week: as he stepped off the elevator at the beginning, he saw his little brother Adam who committed suicide after Don rejected reestablishing their connection. “Adam” takes a solid look at him, but then turns away as if he doesn’t know him. Of course Don’s upset and confused, but he tries to shake it off and get focused on work. The next morning he sees him again – this time sitting at a desk working.
He makes his way to his office and finds Joan waiting for him. Initially at the partners meeting earlier she nixed the motion to purchase the office above them to expand their space, thinking that Lane would’ve suggested caution. But the death benefit came in the mail and its $175k! Don wants to give his widow the $50k back that Lane put into the company after they lost Lucky Strike. He goes to the Pryce’s and apologizes to her, explaining that each of the partners initially put in $50k of their own money to help launch the company and now that Lane’s gone he wants her to have his share back. He gives her the check, but she’s still pissed. She found the picture of Delores that Lane kept and thinks he was having an affair. She throws Don out – pissed that he came just to ease his own guilt.
Megan’s still pouting in bed about the stupid commercial. She’s sad about the state of her acting career and Marie – correctly – is like, snap the fuck out of it bitch you’ve got a bomb ass apartment, a hot, rich husband – what the fuck? Of course Megan doesn’t see it that way, and Marie – love her – calls her an ungrateful little bitch and thanks god her life doesn’t center on her children before storming out. Ha!
As expected, Marie’s panties drop quickly for some Sterling action – but he stops and asks if she’d like to do LSD with him. Can this man get any more perfect? She declines, saying she doesn’t want to take care of him (I can relate – babysitting people while you’re fucked up is a drag) – she wants to get back to the sexy-times. Totally get that she wants to get to business – I mean, it’s Sterling – but come on – everything’s better when you’re tripping balls, even when you’re actually tripping on balls (because you know Sterling’s are huge… and made of brass).
Don comes home to a very drunk Meggers. She accuses him of wanting her to fail, that’s why he won’t give her a chance at that commercial. Marie comes back and he asks how she could leave her like that – she laughs it off and says that’s his job, he’s the husband. Megan left her house a happy girl, but the problem is that she’s an artist with no talent, basically, and Marie thinks she just needs to accept defeat and she’ll be a happier person. Man, I love Marie’s cunt-ways! I wish Mumsy were that supportive.
He’s had a toothache all episode and it’s finally getting out of control (might explain the Adam hallucinations). He gets to the dentist who tells him he’s got an abscess and should’ve had it removed days ago. He puts Don under and of course Phantom Adam’s there. He tells Don that he can take out his tooth but it’s not his tooth that’s rotten, paving the way for Don to do something fucked up, since, well, it’s Don. He asks Andy not to leave, and he replies “Don’t worry, I’ll hang around.” Nyuk nyuk.
Peter goes to see Beth at the hospital. She’s happy to see him and talkative but she doesn’t remember him at all. Its okay, we’re all trying to forget him too. (It should’ve been you, Campbell!! It should’ve been yooooooou!!!!) He tries to leave, saying he has a friend to see but she begs for his company. She asks about his friend and he says he got involved with another man’s wife. She asks why and Peter gives his own reasons for cheating. After his new love was gone and he was heartbroken, he realized everything he had before he met her wasn’t right either and that’s why the affair happened in the first place. His life with his family was just some temporary advantage on a permanent board and that’s telling as he knows what we all know – he married Trudy because at the time it was advantageous to his career to have a wife. Then it was to his benefit to be a father – I think of it as someone who buys a pet on impulse, thinking it will make their lives better, but when they realize how much responsibility it takes to keep one they lose interest and want to give it back.
I think its lunchtime, and since Don’s supposed to take it easy he goes to the movies. Who’s there but Peggy! She’s been given the huge task of coming up with an entire branding campaign for a cigarette marketed specifically to women and needs to recharge her creative batteries. He makes a cut about her succeeding and moving on, and she counters that as her mentor he should want her to do that – he does, but he just didn’t want her to do it without him.
After all that, the scene I’ve been waiting for finally arrived: So Campbell’s on the train when Dawes plops into his usual seat across from him – he wants them to get on the other train and go back to the city to get some poontang since he’s alone for the night. Not realizing that Peter knows it’s because Beth’s in the hospital, Peter says he’s the most disgusting person he’s ever seen –“How could you do that to that woman? You just couldn’t wait to get her in the hospital and erase her brain?” “It’s you?? She always spreads her legs for the first chump she can find.”
They get into the aisle, going nuts – once again Peter’s on the ground like the bitch-boy he is. One of the train operators comes in and breaks it up. He sends Dawes back to the bar to get his things and tells Peter to cool off and go apologize in a bit. Peter refuses and gets pissed he’d tell him to do so, calling the guy a fat piece of crap. He reminds Peter he’s an officer and Peter says “Well, I’m President of the Howdy Doody Circus Army”… and the guy promptly decks him!! I LOVE seeing Campbell get knocked out! Had to rewind that and watch it a couple times. He comes home and tells Trudy he fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a ditch. It finally convinces her to allow him to get an apartment in the city. Maybe she just wants to raise their troll-baby in peace.
That night Don watches Megan’s reel in a slightly creepy way and the actor in me had to break in and scream at her to take her fucking earrings out. Come on. As particular as MM can get sometimes – and given the fact that all the leads are serious actors – that little detail just bothered me for some reason. You don’t wear jewelry to an audition, and certainly not at a screen test – you’re supposed to be a blank canvas, you idiot. Anyway, she looked very pretty, he decides to throw her name in for the commercial and she gets the part!
There’s a fantastic shot of the five leads the next morning: Campbell, Don, Joan, Cooper, and Roger look out the windows in the floor above SCDP, planning bigger offices – they all stand and look out the window, and the five silhouettes create a striking image. On the commercial set Megan’s amped and happy – she kisses Don and as she’s getting her makeup and hair touched up he walks away from the set, a noir-like, sweeping theme playing as he leaves.
I thought this would’ve made a fantastic parting shot for season five, but they’re not done with us – there’s always another curveball to throw. He goes to the bar and asks for an “Old Fashioned” which is totally fitting. As he smokes and broods we see Peggy looking out her hotel window and seeing two dogs humping on each other; Peter’s being emo and listening to his headphones; and Roger stands at his apartment window naked, probably tripping and super hotified.
Back at the bar two girls try to pick up Don. The braver one asks if he’s alone and he looks at her – but the scene cuts and fades to black before he answers! Will he cheat on Megan? No? Yes? Gah! Mad Men is killing meeeeee!