'Mad Men' Recap: Abortion, Cancer, and Divorce -- Good Times!

April Peveteaux
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mad men recapThe episode begins with Joan at the OB/GYN. Her gyno is waaaay too familiar, calling her JoJo. Which only solidifies my anti-male OB/GYN feelings. Joan is there to sort out how she's going to get pregnant, what with her loser husband at boot camp then shipping out. The OB doc is encouraging and jovial, even as Joan drops the bombshell -- she's had two abortions and is concerned about her fertility. We wonder if Sterling is to blame in both/either.

Allison, the one-night-secretary, is still dedicated to Don, even after the f*** and run. Don's going to Acapulco for the holiday, with a stopover in Los Angeles. Everyone is off for the holidays until the New Year, but like most people, not everyone is totally comfortable with that arrangement. 

Joan asks for some time off and Pryce, being the only partner left in the office, is a hard-ass. He is immune to Joan's charms and lets her know as much. He ain't no Sterling.

Don is back in LA. He checks in on Don Draper's wife, Anna, who has a broken leg, and still, a heart of gold. But we later realize that we don't know nothin' yet. She refers to him as Dick, but I still can't.

No matter, Don/Dick seems to know Anna's family and transforms into Dick -- open, relaxed, and ready to hang out with her niece and sister. Wonder how Betty would have responded to that guy? Just sayin'. Expect fun times as the nubile niece decides to spend the night.

Don, Anna, and the UC Berkeley niece head out for a night on the beach town. Stephanie, said niece, is filled with the '60s spirit and challenges Don and Anna. They both like it. Don floats bringing the kids out to LA for a visit. We get a glimpse of Don's inner thoughts, and therefore, are charmed again. Making us forget the S&M prostitute-loving, mad cheating Don and instead the tortured, insightful, sexy mf. Dang it, how does he do that?

Anxiety builds as Don takes the niece back to South Pasadena. After he shows his soul, you really don't want to see him mess it all up by hitting on the 19-year-old. And he goes there. He pulls an old Don and uses some smooth lines. But Stephanie has a bomb shell. Anna has cancer, hence the broken leg. But Anna doesn' t know she has cancer, and her sister is keeping it from her since she doesn't have long to live. Don freaks. Goes back home to Anna and carries her to bed ... but goes back to the couch. And doesn't sleep at all. Love him again.

The next morning Dick/Don is painting over a water leak stain at Anna's house and Anna and Dick/Don smoke some medical marijuana together, showing California has always been on that tip. There is some serious connection with the two (is it just stoner talk?) and the sister comes over to tell Dick/Don off. Dick/Don says he's going to take care of this whole cancer thing, and the sis lets him know how little he really matters: "You're just a man in a room with a checkbook."

Don decides to leave.

Joan gets flowers at the office, delivered by Peggy, who is uncomfortably confessing she's spending New Year's Eve with her boyfriend. You know, the one she had sex with to keep. Happens that it's Lane Pryce sending an apology bouquet, rather than Joan's rapist husband. Joan throws those flowers at Pryce, given the note, "Darling, I've been an ass. Kisses, Lane."

Well. THAT bouquet was actually meant for Pryce's wife so Joan lets Pryce's secretary have it for the mix-up. It's discovered Lane's wife is getting the note saying, "Joan. Forgive Me. Lane." Joan fires the wayward sec and lets everyone, including Lane, know who is boss.

Joan and hubs at home. Joan slices her hand open and her surgeon husband decides he can handle it without a hospital visit. You know this will end badly. Joan clearly does not trust her husband to operate. He sews her up and says everything is going to be okay as she cries. Joan says, "When?" Uh-huh. As soon as you and Sterling realize you're meant to be together, that's when.

Don doesn't land in Acapulco, instead in the lobby of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Pryce, where he finds ... Pryce. Another abandoner of holiday plans. They have a drink then go to the movies at Don's suggestion. It's Godzilla and even though Pryce is enjoying it enough already, Don fills him in about the rampant hand jobs going on in the theater as they take in the moment. Lane screams  in Japanese. This is getting really good.

Later, the two take in dinner. We learn that Lane is another divorcee spending the holidays alone. Don tells Lane he's got a lady friend on the hook and would he want one too? Lane figures out something ... and agrees. They wind up in a comedy club, accused of being homosexuals in a bit by a guy who used to be on The Sopranos. Luckily the prostitutes show up soon enough so the gay rumors are put to rest. Which makes me think, "How easy would it would it have been to be a prostitute in the 1960s?" Other than all those random serial killings, of course.

Lane spends the night with the pro in Don's apartment. And oh my god, Don lives in the same West Village flat as Monica and Phoebe. Did you see that wall of windows? P.S., the prosties were only $25! You can't even park overnight in Manhattan for $25 anymore.

But it's cool and everyone is back to work in 1965. How is it Sterling wasn't in on all that degenerate sex?

 

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