Last week's episode of Mad Men promised a darker world for the show's characters and tonight's episode certainly delivered. Nearly everyone found themselves on the receiving end of some kind of abuse, mostly emotional, mostly derived from past choices.
Much of tonight's episode dealt with Peggy and exploring the relationship that she's now in. Unfortunately for her new beau, who last week made the unfounded claim that they were engaged, he's woefully in the dark about the woman who is the object of his affections. It's not really all that surprising that Peggy wouldn't have told him about her tryst with Pete or her child, but to hear his claim that he "wants to be her first" makes one fearful for the future of their relationship.
After receiving a little love advice from the recently-returned Freddy Rumsen, Peggy sleeps with him. In a certain way, she's more like Don then ever having completely owned the lie at the center of her life. Or, in other words, "it will shock you how much it never happened."
On the SCDP business front, Roger finally had to take one for the team. With Lucky Strike being the bulk of the company's billings, Roger is forced to scale up the company Christmas party for the sake of impressing Lee Garner, Jr, another character making a return to the show. Last season, we saw Lee corner Sal in Sterling Cooper's editing bay and eventually get him fired. This year, he forces Roger to humiliate himself in a Santa Claus costume.
This episode also gave us the return of Glen, the disturbed boy who figured prominently in Season One. Here, he's back to punish Betty for moving on from Don but not choosing him and he transfers all of his anger over his mother's recent re-marriage onto the Francis residence.
And then there's Don. After refusing to fill out a personal survey early in the show and making moves on his cute neighbor, he finally ends up in bed (er, on couch?) with his secretary Allison. While Don's crossed a lot of lines in the series' previous seasons, we haven't seen him sleep with an office underling, until now. The ensuing office weirdness was it's own kind of punishment. Unlike last week when Don felt his masculinity through violence, this week, he feels it through doling out rejection, harsh and fast. But the hooker parallel remains, as he offers Allison her "bonus."
(Side notes: some great and subtle language interplay in this episode, especially Freddy's mention of Swedish hospitals, Don's neighbor who works in a hospital and Peggy's boyfriend who mentions Swedish mating rituals. Also, Peggy's passing along of the "old fashioned" dig when her boyfriend calls her that to Freddy as they fight over creative strategy was really nice.)