'Mad Men' Recap: Don Draper Pulls a Christian Grey & Gets Exactly What He Wants

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mad men don draperIn tonight's episode of Mad Men, "Man With a Plan," the "mad merger" has actually taken effect and Cutler Gleason and Chaough is movin' on in to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's two-floor office. Yup, Peggy's back, along with Ted, who continues to be Don's foil in every way. He's selfless (he gives up his seat for a secretary in a meeting), he takes meetings with the creatives seriously (and takes Peggy seriously), and he can even fly a plane (so he and Don can take an impressive meeting with client Mohawk Airlines). Also, he can't hold his liquor during a one-on-one brainstorm with Don for Fleischmann's margarine. What a goody two shoes stand-up guy!

Nonetheless, Don's the real man with a plan. In addition to beguiling Ted and the newbies (except for Peggy, of course) with his charm and eloquence, he pulls a Fifty Shades of Grey-like strategy on Sylvia to see just how far his mistress will go for him ...

Calling him up after a fight with her husband, Arnold -- which Don happened to overhear when his elevator conveniently stopped at their floor on his way to the office -- Sylvia tells him she "needs him and nothing else will do." He gives in and meets her in a hotel in the middle of the work day. But then -- likely because he's freaked out that she's falling for him and is going to out them -- he flips a switch and begins acting in a wildly over-the-top way, ordering her to crawl on the floor for his shoes, telling her to get naked and stay in bed and be at his beck and call for 48 hours, delivering her a fitted designer red dress to wear and then strip out of, etc. Well, hello, Christian Grey! 

But his motivation isn't to take their relationship to some new, BDSM-inspired level. Instead, it seems like he may have been scheming all along to push Sylvia to her breaking point -- literally, to make it seem like it was her idea to end the affair, which she does.

More from The Stir: 'Mad Men' Creator Explores What the 'End' May Look Like for Don Draper

So now is it back to try his hand at marital bliss with Megan? Not so fast. Don can't even seem to focus on what she's saying -- something about going on another trip to Hawaii. Then, Bobby Kennedy is shot (and ugh, side note: when Pete's aging mother, who is now living in his apartment, wakes him to tell him "that Kennedy boy" has been shot, and he thinks she's having a senior moment, it just sent chills up my spine ...). And as Megan sits crying, watching disturbing footage of the assassination on TV, a cold, distant Don offers no comfort.

Several episodes back, we thought Old Don would be back this season, but we were wrong. This isn't the drunk and/or depressed womanizer we've seen before. This is a whole new Don -- one who's self-centered, downright devious, quite possibly, at this point, without a soul.

What do you think about the scheme Don pulled on Sylvia?


Image via Michael Yarish/AMC

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nonmember avatar Sharon

Sometimes your think you're right side up when you're flying upside down. You have to keep watching your gauges.

Don wants desperately to be the Man with a Plan. But he fails at every turn. He blows off a meeting with the creatives (Because he so desperate to be needed runs to Sylvia.) and is reprimanded by Ted. Don, never likes to be put in his place so he goes for the cheap trick of getting Ted drunk in a pissing contest. But Ted regroups. Ultimately as Don said Don can say whatever he want a Mohawk. Ted was the one that flew them there in his own Plane. We see Don shaken and scared on the plan and a bit emasculated on the plane. Ted becomes the hero of the day. The meeting goes well.

Upon arrival Don quickly returns to Sylvia. The one aspect of his life he currently has control over. Only she's grown a set and takes him to the curb. He pleads with her to stay.

If anything we see despite all Don's planning, It's all blowing up in the face. He's threatened by Megan's career because she's out of his control. Ted poses a serious threat to him a work. Sylvia has left him and to the cherry on the cake Peggy his former protege chews him out.

The recurring theme of this episode is Don's powerlessness.

nonmember avatar kaerae

@Sharon -I like your take on it. I think we're seeing a return to Dick Whitman, the powerless, isolated little boy. I miss Don.

Lauren Cahn

I love Ted way way way too much. I am sure Matthew Weiner will soon give me a reason to hate him...

nonmember avatar JinnyG

Ewwwwwww. I think you may need to go back and re-watch(listen) or read the post from Sharon. You missed this one big time.

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