Mad Men S07E05 – The Runaways

The complaint about Mad Men that I hear from most people is that it is too slow, things don’t move along quickly enough and I get what they’re saying; I touched on this a few weeks ago. But they have been pushing the pace of the show as of late, and “The Runaways” takes that to a whole new level. I’m pretty much working this out in my head as I go, because I’m not quite sure what I just watched. Let’s go…..

-We start in the office, where Stan is smoking weed and reading some comic he found in the Xerox machine, and it is Lou’s. Oh, the 60s. The offices were like a nightclub, apparently. Anyway, Stan gets a chuckle out of it and you know this isn’t gon’ end well.

-Peggy tries to get on a civil level with Don in the elevator, asking about his weekend plans and such. Where did this Peggy come from, after spending the first four episodes being cold and telling Don he wasn’t missed? At least she is putting forth the effort.

-Shirley chastises the guys for making fun of Lou’s comic. This really isn’t gon’ end well. They’re not smart enough to keep it under wraps.

-Don receives a call from Stephanie Horton, who is Anna Draper’s daughter, but when we first see her, I’m thinking she’s some girl Don knocked up, because why not? It took a minute to figure out who she was, it has been a while since we saw her. She calls him Dick at the end of the conversation, which is a bit telling.

-Don then calls Megan to tell her that he is coming out this weekend, and Stephanie will be going to her house as well. Again, everything seems to be cool between Don and Megan. Did I miss an episode? It seems like Don is now cool with everyone outside of Lou. I don’t get it.

-The guys show Don Lou’s comic, and he warns them to keep it under wraps, but again, these guys aren’t that smart.

-Henry is on the campaign trail, and Betty is trying to be a good little housewife by making food for visitors, although the help still has to do the homework. Not everything at once, I guess. I suppose she is making an effort, like Peggy.

-Stephanie arrives at Megan’s, and this whole situation is just weird. It seems like Stephanie is fishing for something. Megan acts like she is cool with it, but she also seems kind of uncomfortable, which is fair, considering some pregnant woman you’ve never heard from your husband before today just shows up at your house.

-Finally, the bubble bursts as Lou is in the bathroom when the guys start making jokes at his comic’s expense. All you had to do was just do it smartly, you can still have fun. Now, they have to go to a meeting in Lou’s office, and he isn’t happy at all. We learn that Lou used to work with some guy named Chet, who created a character named Underdog to sell cereal. Lou wants to be the next Chet, but now the guys are dumping on his dream and Lou comes back firing. Lou is a dick on his best day; now, he’s pissed. He makes the crew stay late, which throws a wrench into Don’s plans to go to L.A. tonight.

-Henry and Betty are having visitors, but their beef comes to the surface when Betty answers a question about the Vietnam war in the wrong way, while she learns he is on Nixon’s side when it comes to ending the war, which is news to her. The rift is getting wider.

-Lou forces Don to stay late and miss his flight, and Lou is just being petty for no reason other than he doesn’t like Don, who gives him advice on how to handle people, but Lou doesn’t care.

-He breaks the news to Megan that he can’t make it out, then Stephanie enters the room and the two have this strange conversation. We learn that Stephanie got pregnant by some musician who is now in jail for selling weed, and Megan sort of chastises Stephanie for getting in this situation, but it is all very awkward. Megan writes a cheque for $1,000 to basically get her out of there. Stephanie says something about knowing all of Don’s secrets, which has to plant a seed in Megan’s head.

-Henry and Betty start fighting about what happened early, and he basically tells her to shut up and look pretty while they’re out on the trail. Then we see Bobby outside the door listening to them argue. Poor Bobby, just getting shafted this season so far.

-Lou, on his way out, tells Don he doesn’t even need the work right now, which means, “you could have left on your flight tonight, but fuck you, I’m petty”. At this point, I just want him to catch a piledriver through a table. What an ass.

-Betty gets a call from Sally’s school, and all she says is, “is she okay?”, but it doesn’t sound very motherly. It’s almost like she can’t be bothered, because she probably can’t.

-Don arrives in L.A. to find Megan’s friend Amy at the house, as the two were going to the market. So basically, Don came out to L.A. for nothing, Stephanie is gone, Megan is going out with other people and having a party, he must be like, “why am I even here?”. It’s a question Don has been asking himself all season.

-Ginsberg is at the office, trying to do work, when he spies on Lou and Cutler having a conversation about something. He looks strung out on something. Son is starting to lose it a little.

-Henry picks up Sally, who hurt her nose sword-fighting with golf clubs with friends, which sounds like a complete lie. Betty calls her an idiot for messing up her face, which is her most valuable asset, then Sally says, “where would she be without her perfect nose? She wouldn’t find a man like you. She’d be nothing.”. Betty just seems mad that she gave Sally said nose, then threatens to break Sally’s arm, because she is the mother of the GD year, but Sally continues to be smart with her, and I respect it. All this scene needed was a few Funkmaster Flex bombs dropped on it.

-Ginsberg goes to Peggy’s to get away from the humming of the computer, which is obviously making him crazy. He comes up with a theory that the computer is making Lou and Cutler gay, which doesn’t even make any sense. At this point, I think he’s on drugs, like, hard shit. Peggy is just trying to have a relaxing Saturday and she gets this, and the kid upstairs comes down to watch TV. She is doing so well, just leave her alone, shit.

-At Megan’s party, Amy and Don are outside and I got the feeling that they’re going to have the sex. Some band at the party start playing what I recognize as the loop from “Phone Tap” by The Firm; the original song it samples is “Petite Fleur” by Chris Barber’s Jazz Band. Megan starts dancing with some guy and Don doesn’t look very comfortable with it. Is Megan on some swinger shit now and didn’t tell Don? Then, in walks Harry Crane, who goes for a drink with Don.

-We then cut to the Francis house, where Bobby goes into Sally’s room and tells her Betty and Henry have been fighting a lot lately, and he has a constant stomachache. Bobby is stressed the fuck out, b. He wants to go back to school with Sally, and it’s a nice moment between the siblings.

-Ginsberg is creepily watching Peggy sleep, then tries to force himself on her to ward off the gayness that the computer is causing. He has officially lost his mind, folks. But you just wait, it gets even more crazy.

-After a few drinks, Harry tells Don that Lou and Cutler are trying to bring on Commander cigarettes, which would essentially end Don at the office since he has shit all over the tobacco industry in the newspapers. Harry is giving Don the heads up, so he does have a couple people on his side at Sterling Cooper Neil Patrick Harris and Co. But what is Don going to do about this?

-He’ll figure that out in New York; for now, he is in L.A., and back at Megan’s house. Megan and Amy are smoking weed, and Don just wants to go to bed, where he is joined by Megan….and Amy. Yeah, Megan may be on some swinger shit now. Don tries to fight it for whatever reason, but that is just stupid. Get ya threesome on, Don.

-In the morning, he speaks to Stephanie on the phone, and when he says he is worried about her, Megan slams a dish. She is obviously not comfortable with Stephanie. This whole episode has been pretty uncomfortable. But you just wait: there is so much more.

-Betty and Henry have yet another fight, and Betty is mad that people think she is stupid, but she isn’t because SHE KNOWS ITALIAN. Solid argument, Betty. She might know Italian, but she has no common sense. I get where she is coming from, though. She wants to be more than a pretty face, which is slightly ironic since she used to be a model.

-Back at the office, Ginsberg goes to Peggy and apologizes for his actions, but he has it figured out now. He really does have feelings for Peggy, but needed a way to release his feelings. How does he do that, you ask? By cutting off his nipple and giving it to her in a box. Peggy is like, “yeah, I’ma need you to just chill right here”, and gets out of the office, past her secretary and goes to call someone, I assume it was the cops.

-Don bursts in on Lou and Cutler having a meeting with the cigarette people, which has to be breaking the rules that the partners set up for him. But Don tells them that he will step away from the company if the account goes to them, not to mention, he knows how to beat the anti-tobacco people as he has worked with them before, and he will even apologize in public. Basically, Don is at their mercy. All I can think is, what is the end game? Don is smarter than Cutler or Lou, there has to be an end game.

-Back at the office, Ginsberg is being wheeled out on a stretcher, so Peggy called a hospital, either mental or a regular one. Either way, Ginsberg’s crazy ass is on the way out, but he yells, “get out while you can!” before he is gone. Then Peggy gives the computer some teary-eyed side-eye, and I have no idea what she is thinking.

-Don puts Lou and Cutler in a cab, and Cutler says, “You think this is going to save you, don’t you?”, to which Don slams the door in his face and calls his own cab.

This was one of the stranger episodes of Mad Men I can remember. I’ve watched it twice and I have no idea where they are going with this. How will the rest of the partners react to Don’s stunt? What is Stephanie’s angle, if we even ever see her again? Will Henry and Betty fight more? Will Betty threaten more of her children? Will the computer make it out of the office alive? I still don’t know how I feel about this episode of Mad Men, but I’ll give it one thing: it made me think.

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