In Care of
Original Air Date: Jun 23, 2013
Ryan O – Associate Editor
In 1968, the world fell apart — great men were gunned down, wars raged, and youth rioted from Prague to Paris to Chicago.
Don Draper’s life fell apart, too — his marriage, his professional life including his relationship with Peggy, and his relationship with Sally. In the finale, he starts to take steps to right his own ship and repair one of those three, and himself, possibly at the expense of the other two.
I’m going to tell you right now that no, we don’t hear a darn thing about Joan and Avon and I’m more than a little disappointed by that. Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and move on to what actually happened because quite a lot happened.
The episode opens with Stan telling Don he’s excited about going to California to work on Sunkist. Stan thinks he can be a pioneer, a homesteader, and build something from just a single desk. Don is surprised since it will be a demotion but Stan is convinced.
First, Pete and Bob’s story, then Ted and Peggy’s, and I’ll finish with Don’s story.
Pete and Bob
Pete gets a telegram, which reads:
Nov 22 1968
Need to inform you. Mother lost at sea. Vessel searched. Passenger presumed overboard. Deepest condolences. SS Sunset Princess, Universal Cruise Lines.
If you’ll remember, Pete lost his father in a plane crash years ago, so this means both parents have been lost to transportation-related accidents. Also, she fell off the ship, fulfilling the death that seemed to be foreshadowed all season. Oh, and Pete’s mom also married Manolo before she died.
Pete confronts Bob in the elevator down as they head to Detroit. Pete blames Bob for his mother’s death. Bob says he didn’t know anything about Manolo marrying Pete’s mom. Pete doesn’t believe him. They fly to Detroit to visit GM. In the GM building’s grand lobby is the new Camaro, which Bob admires with the GM executives. Bob says Pete should check it out and the executives pretty much insist that Pete should drive it in their lobby. Pete, you might remember, only recently learned how to drive and has no idea how to drive a standard. He backs the car into a display and embarasses himself. Bob, that magnificent lying bastard, smiles while the GM executives fume. Pete’s not going back to Detroit.
Pete and his brother talk to someone from the cruise about hiring a detective to track down Manolo. It’s going to be expensive, so they decide that it’s not worth it since it won’t bring her back.
Later, we find out Pete is going to California. Pete stops by his former residence in Connecticut to see Trudy and his girl. While Pete is just the worst, it is affecting to see him watch his little girl sleep. (Also, I hope this isn’t the end of Alison Brie on the show.)
Ted (and Peggy)
Ted’s wife and kids are at the SC&P offices, picking up Ted and the family walks by Peggy’s office. Ted’s wife seems to give Peggy a look, maybe?
Later, we watch Peggy check herself in a mirror in her office and, whoa. I mean, seriously, whoa. We’re looking straight down Peggy’s cleavage. Who knew, to this point, that Peggy Olson even HAD cleavage? She’s wearing a killer black dress with a plunging neckline and classy fishnet stockings. It’s far and away the best Peggy has ever looked. She casually stops in the conference room and tells Ted, Jim, and Harry that she’s leaving early since she has plans. Jim, the silver fox, coolly flirts and Peggy flirts back. Harry is suitably impressed while Ted is gaga.
Ted is waiting for Peggy when she gets back from her date — by herself. Ted says he’s going to leave his wife. Peggy doesn’t want to be that girl. Ted says he loves Peggy. It turns out Peggy is that girl and she and Ted immediately begin making out. That black dress seems to come off pretty easily.
A bit later, as they cuddle, Ted looks a bit distraught while Peggy looks satisfied and content. She says she’ll wait for Ted to leave his wife, she doesn’t want a scandal. Ted heads home and gets into bed with his wife and looks terribly sad. Oh Peggy, just start dating Stan already.
Ted has a conversation with Don about going to California. Don says it’s not possible, things are already in motion. Ted says he has to go — he needs to put 3,000 miles between himself and Peggy. Don apologizes but it’s not going to happen — until it does (I’ll get to that).
Ted goes into Peggy’s office. She smiles at him but he’s not smiling. He’s going to California. He needs to go with his family to keep his life together, to keep from falling apart, because he loves Peggy that much. That’s little comfort to Peggy who yells at him to get out of her office.
Our final look at Peggy is in Don’s office, wearing a pantsuit with a red, white, and black houndstooth pattern (it’s pretty hideous) and a red turtleneck. Don’s gone. Peggy’s there. She has completed her voyage from the desk in front of Don’s office to the desk in Don’s office.
Don starts his day with alcohol in his SC&P mug. He reads a summons for Sally, which came in the mail and says she has to appear to give a statement about the whole Ida-burglar incident. Don calls Sally, who is not enthused about appearing. She says, “Why don’t you just tell them what I saw?” and hangs up. Ouch. Someone isn’t over seeing their father and neighbor together. Don can’t deal with this and ducks out to a bar in the middle of the day.
As Don sits at the bar (and Bewitched plays on TV), a minister is trying to talk someone into giving up drinking. Don tells him to pipe down and long story short, Don ends up in jail, having punched the minister.
The next morning, Don is home, looking the worse for wear, but he’s emptying bottle after bottle down the drain. He tells Megan he wants to save what he has. They’ll move to California. He’ll have the kids for the summer instead of on weekends. Megan can work on movies and he can work on Sunkist and whatever else comes in. She’s thrilled — she starts crying she’s so happy.
Not so happy? The other partners when Don tells them. He assures them things will work out well. There’s a variety of reactions but they all accept it.
Also not happy? Stan. Stan is angry that he won’t be going to California now. Stan also points out Dawn will have to look for a new job.
Later, Don gets a call from Betty. Sally was suspended from Miss Porter’s for buying beer and getting drunk. Betty doesn’t know what else to do with Sally, “the bad is beating the good.” Don tells her it will be okay.
Ted comes to Don about going to California. Don apologizes but Megan’s already being written off her show and Don’s going.
Don has a meeting with Hershey’s and Jim, Roger, and Ted are there, too. It’s a big deal since Hershey’s hasn’t advertised before (seriously, they’re Hershey’s, while the chocolate bar isn’t the best, it practically sold itself). Don spins a completely false tale about how his dad used to buy him a Hershey bar when he was a kid. The Hershey’s people love it and everyone is very excited. Don isn’t feeling quite right about it. He tells the Hershey’s people that he has to share something with them since he may never see them again. He tells them how a whore in the whorehouse where he grew up used to buy him a Hershey’s bar if he stole more than a buck from a john’s pockets. Everyone is stunned. The Hershey’s guy asks if that’s true and Don says it is.
Now, Don is trying to heal himself, which is great. But, like every other decision he’s ever made, he doesn’t consider how it will affect the people around him. From the anti-tobacco open letter in the New York Times to merging SCDP with CGC to his various affairs to taking Don Draper’s identity to his decision to go to California, Don thinks about himself. This is no different. He’s healing himself and that’s all that matters. Being honest with the Hershey’s executives in the meeting even if it means SC&P not pulling in a major client? Just the latest self-centered move from someone who can never think beyond himself.
As that meeting breaks up, Don tells Ted to go to California. Ted is relieved.
Don shows up early Thanksgiving morning at the request of the partners to discuss California. Instead of talking about California, they tell him he’ll be taking a few months off to regroup. They don’t tell him when he’ll be welcomed back.
Don has his three kids in his car when they pull over. Bobby remarks they’re in a bad neighborhood. Don gets them out of the car and walks them across the street. “This is where I grew up.” They’re standing in front of the now-dilapidated whorehouse where Don grew up. Sally looks at him with a look of sympathy and I don’t know what else but it’s just so full of emotion. Kiernan Shipka did that perfectly.
“I’m going to have that sandwich on my desk. I need to get to it before you do.” — Stan to Don
“Going down?” — Lou Avery from Dancer Fitzgerald to Don after he gets suspended
The shot of the back of Don’s head as he discusses his move to California with the partners. The latest in a long line of shots of the back of Don’s head.
The show of Peggy checking herself in the mirror. It’s just so … not Peggy. Because we see her in the mirror, it’s almost as if Mirror Peggy has crossed over to our world.
The shot of the elevator door closing on Don as he stands defeated, head down.
The shot of Don’s desk, open office door in the background with Don’s nameplate on it, except Peggy is inhabiting Don’s place.
Song over the end credits:
“Both Sides, Now” Judy Collins covering a Joni Mitchell composition. Don is finally, FINALLY bringing both sides of himself together.
What did you think of the finale? Let’s hear your Two Cents!