Mad Men Mondays: The Runaways | 705

full of spoilers, do not read unless you’ve seen the episode!

This season’s crazy episode is here, and you can blame it on the IBM. 

Betty get’s considerable screen time to assert herself in The Runways: During a perfectly planned party, she decides to start talking about the war to some of the guests, with Henry by her side. Problem being, Henry is not with her on the opinion she’s sharing, which leaves him furious. He later yells that she should leave the thinking to him, treating her like some silly housewife.

Betty was never known for being of the submissive kind, so she holds her own: I’m not stupid. I speak italian. So okay, that last bit was funny, but it was actually unsettling to watch the rest of it. Granted, it can’t be easy dealing with that woman on a daily basis, but this comes from having a certain mentality. And besides, despite all of Betty‘s flaws, I still root for her.

Ginsberg‘s borderline crazy ways have become full-on neurotic now: the IBM’s hum is driving him insane, so much that he can’t even work in the office anymore. He sees Jim and Lou talking in the computer room by themselves on a Saturday, and suddenly everything makes perfect sense: the machine is turning them all into homos. Perfect sense.

So he goes to Peggy‘s trying to find a quiet place to work. He ends up sharing his completely plausible IBM theory, but before Peggy can fully register the craziness of it, a kid named Julio walks in – he lives upstairs and seems to watch TV with her on a regular basis, what. She’ll have an opportunity to note Ginsberg’s psychosis some time later when Ginsberg is desperately suggesting they “reproduce”, because it’s the only way to fight the machine.  

But as we find out on Monday morning, reproducing is not the only way to resist the machine’s gay-hum: we just need to release the pressure, by removing a valve. Where is this valve? In our nipples. But one of them is enough. So Ginsberg cuts one off, and gives it to Peggy, on a tiny jewellery-like box. He ends up in a nuthouse. So I guess this is goodbye Gins, it’s been fun. 

Don gets a call from Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanieshe’s pregnant, homeless and needs money, and he immediately offers her help. We haven’t seen Don be this nice and caring in a long time — which greatly contrasts with his “Me too. Bye” to Megan just a few minutes later.

He can’t fly to L.A. that evening because Lou is tucking Don in tonightEw. The creative found a copy of a sketch done by Lou about a little scout who can’t deal with authority – and they made fun of it for the whole day. Lou finds out and bursts in a meeting: You know who had a ridiculous dream and people laughed at him? Bob Dylan. I’ll give you a minute to calm down, now.

With everyone working late in NYC, Megan is left alone with Stephanie in L.A.  Every thing is going swell — they shower each other with compliments (You’re beautiful. No, you’re beautiful), Megan even offers to make her spaghetti — until Stephanie shares a sad story, Megan swears she won’t tell Don, and then the niece says “I don’t care. I know all of his secrets”. This seems to deeply affect Megan, who quickly gets up and gives Stephanie $1,000, basically throwing her out. Did she think that they had something, or was she just upset because this “niece” of his knew Don so well? 

So Don arrives in the morning, but Stephanie is no longer there — he’s come to L.A. for nothing. On top of that, he’s forced to attend an artists’ party at their house. He’s so bored he can’t be even be bothered with the fact that Megan is dancing provocatively with some random guy, trying to make him jealous (she even seduces him with a threesome later, to which he obliges, though shockingly uninterested in it). 

Don is SO bored, that when Harry Crane walks in, it’s like a gift from God — Don walks straight towards him and invites Harry for a drink just to get out of that party. The two are silent for a while whilst drinking in a bar somewhere, until Harry makes a speech about how they go way back, and he’s going to make sure Don is still important. He shares Jim and Lou‘s secret plan of signing a tobacco company, which would require Don to leave the agency because of that piece he wrote for the Times after loosing Lucky Strike, remember?

They’re having a meeting in a hotel soon, and Don knows he needs to do something. So he crashes it, and turns the whole thing around right under their noses: Don begins by saying he’s prepared to leave the agency. Jim is beyond himself with joy at this point, saying “Thank you for saying that, so that we don’t have to” – but Don‘s look screams Not so fast, honey. Our mad man then does what he knows best: he pitches himself. Don knows a lot about tobacco, and he’s ready to issue a public apology regarding his letter for the Times.

Don walks out with a confident smile and we all start a triumphant slow-clap, rejoicing in seeing Don Draper again.

Everybody knows you’ve been steppin’ on my toes
And I’m gettin’ pretty tired of it
You keep a steppin’ out of line and messin’ with my mind
If you had any sense you’d quit
[…]
You keep a packin’ up my clothes, nearly everybody knows
That you’re still just a puttin’ me on
When I start a walkin’, gonna hear you start a squawkin’
And beggin’ me to come back home
[…]
Now, you better do some thinkin’, then you’ll find
You got the only daddy that’ll walk the line

Good parenting: Sally comes home with a broken nose, the perfect little nose that Betty gave her, all ruined. What kind of a man will want her now? Betty ought to break her arm.
Don crushed Lou before when he tried to leave earlier and suggested Lou let the others go, too. Lou asks: Is that what you would do? To which Don replies, No, I’d let you go, Lou. #BURN.
Best Line, Ginsberg [about the nipple]: It’s weird, they’ll sew it up, but they won’t take it off. I had to do that myself. Yes, weird.
— Another 2001: A Space Odyssey reference.

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