I don’t know even know where to start with last night’s Mad Men, “The Runaways,” an episode that included a threesome, and it wasn’t even the most memorable scene of the episode. In fact, as threesomes go, the one between Don, Megan, and Amy was kind of sad, both in the way that it subtly recalled the way Dick Whitman had been sexually abused by a prostitute when he was a kid, and in the way that it demonstrated just how desperate Megan is to make an emotional connection with Don.
It began with the re-appearance of Stephanie, Anna Draper’s niece and the woman who informed Don of Anna’s death (Emily Arnett, the prostitute from earlier this season, definitely triggered thoughts of her in our minds). Seven months pregnant and full-on dirty hippy, Stephanie reached out to Don for help, and while Don initially had a flirty relationship with Stephanie back in the day, the two of them ended up bonding over Ann’s death and making a strong connection. Don was quick to offer Stephanie — living out in Los Angeles — some assistance, and invited her to stay over at Megan’s place until he arrived.
Since last we saw Megan, when she had basically told Don that their marriage was over, her and Don have clearly made up. The angry, nasty tension between them was gone, but there also felt like some distance, and when Stephanie arrived and reminded Megan of a connection with Don she’s never had, Megan clearly felt jealous and threatened. That’s why she wrote her a $1,000 check (or around $6500 adjusted for inflation) and basically sent her on her way. Stephanie was bright enough to get the hint (plus, honestly, all she really wanted was the money to begin with, and she could sense that her presence was interfering with Don’s life, something she promised Anna she’d never do).
How does Megan try to bridge that emotional gap she has with Don? With a threesome, of course, which is the second worst way to try and fix a marriage after “let’s have a baby!” Don didn’t seem to be to into it, but then again, he is a man, he has a pulse, and his penis seems to be in fine working order, so he did what 98 percent of men would do after seeing their wife make out with a woman who looked like Amy from Delaware. “Kiss her. I know you want to,” Megan said to Don, and his face basically said, “Well, I hadn’t really given it much thought, and I’m pretty tired, but a threesome? Oh, well, OK. F*ck it. You twisted my arm.”
It did not, however, give Megan what she had hoped to get out of the threesome: A stronger emotional connection to Don, which was clear the next morning when Don beamed during his phone conversation with Stephanie and didn’t seem to give a second thought to events that transpired the night before with Megan (or express any jealousy at the idea that Amy seemed to be practically living with and getting high with Megan, and probably had spent some time making out with her before that night). It was just sex to Don, and he was far more anxious to get back to New York and save his job than stick around for another encounter.
Speaking of New York, some of the funniest scenes of the series’ run occurred back in the offices of Sterling Cooper after it was discovered that Lou was drawing silly cartoons on the side (I’m sure many of us thought of Jonathan Banks in Community).
Stan is amazing.
That whole sequence was rife with brilliant one-liners, like “From your first fart to your last dying breath,” and Lou’s ridiculously out-of-touch allusions to Bob Dylan. That whole subplot was absolutely hilarious and illustrated what a petty little f*ckwad Lou Avery is. Don, meanwhile, had clearly bought into Freddy Rumsen’s advice, and was respectfully eating sh*t while biding his time, even as Lou continued to turn up the asshole volume (“I’m not taking management advice from Don Draper.”).
Don finally got his opening when Harry — who unexpectedly showed up at Megan’s party — revealed that Lou and Cutler were in cahoots to sign on Commander cigarettes and push Don out. Don, of course, wrote the letter a couple of seasons back to Lucky Strike trashing the tobacco industry, and there’s no way Commander would sign on unless Don was fired first. Don — who’s got his magic back — turned that entire scenario on its head, interrupted Lou and Cutler’s meeting with Commander, and reeled in the client like a f**king BOSS. That was early season Don Draper conjuring a spell over the client, and it was terrific. Even Lou agreed, both earnestly and sarcastically: “You’re incredible,” he said to Don.
“You think this is going to save you, don’t you?” Cutler asks Don after the meeting. Don responded by shutting the cab door in Cutler’s face and basically saying, “You’re damn f**king straight it is.” (Unfortunately, no one told any of them that the very next year, Nixon would pass a law ending tobacco advertising on TV and radio.) There’s some suggestion that maybe the threesome the night before had given Don his mojo back, but he had it back even before the that. Don’s confidence returned the morning Freddy lectured him, which was obvious when Don brazenly told Lou what he’d do if he was in charge. “I’d let you go.” Don’s just been waiting for his opportunity, and the Commander pitch was exactly the opening he needed.