Don and Peggy spend the night together in Season 4, Episode 7, but they keep their clothes on and their feet on the floor -- for the most part -- as they work, argue and confide during a long night in 1965. They find out more about each other, learn a couple of juicy secrets about other people and have some close encounters with animals -- not including that odious art director. Don gets a phone message from California and spends most of a day and night avoiding the call that he knows will be bad news.
Jon Hamm (Don) and Elisabeth Moss (Peggy) were on screen for almost every scene, and we learned more about their odd but very compelling characters. This was the midpoint of the season, and I still don't know what Matthew Weiner has in mind for Don. That makes tuning in every week most exciting.
It's the day of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight, and all the guys at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce have tickets to see the fight on a big screen. Peggy, however, is going to celebrate her 26th birthday with a romantic dinner with her boyfriend, Mark. She gets flowers, a gift and a call from her old lover, Duck, who is drunk and spinning a line about starting a new agency with her as creative director. Duck is spectacularly off the wagon and deep in his cups and tells Peggy he needs her.
Don decides to forgo the fight and dinner with Roger to work on the Samsonite account, and he soon draws Peggy into it. She ends up canceling her dinner date with Mark, who has invited her mother, sister, brother-in-law and roommate to join them as a surprise for Peggy. They break up on the phone.
Peggy and Don fight, and Peggy claims that she had the initial idea for the Glo Coat ad that won Don a Clio. It turns out that Peggy suggested a boy locked in a closet while his mother's floor dries. Don turned that into the brilliant Billy the Kid commercial. Peggy sobs a while in the bathroom.
Don finds a tape of Roger's dictation for his memoir and has Peggy listen, too. Roger reveals that he had a wild fling with Bert Cooper's secretary -- none other than Don's Miss Blankenship. Roger also reports that Bert had an unnecessary orchiectomy (removal of the testicles) performed by Dr. Lyle Evans. (See the Episode 5 recap.) Peggy sees a mouse (Don had seen it earlier), and Don tells her he grew up on a farm. He also says, "You know what? There is a way out of this room that we don't know about." He could be talking about their Samsonite campaign or his life.
Don and Peggy go out to a diner. They talk a bit about travel, and Peggy says she has never been on a plane. Don tells her about flying to Korea. When she asks whether he shot anyone, he says he saw people die. "That's memorable," he says. Peggy says she saw her father die, and Don says he saw his father die. They are seated near a painting of the Acropolis, and when Peggy wonders what a dog is doing at the Parthenon, Don says, "That's a roach. Let's go some place darker." In a bar, they hear the radio as Clay knocks out Liston. Don tells Peggy she's cute, and she says everyone thinks they slept together and that her mother thinks Don is responsible (she means, for the baby Peggy bore early in the series. They never explicitly mention the birth and the baby.)
Back at the office, Don gets sick and drunken Duck shows up. When Duck calls Peggy an ugly name, Don takes a swing. They tussle and Duck gets the better of Don, telling him that he killed 17 men on Okinawa. Don merely says, "Uncle." Peggy ushers Duck out.
Back in Don's office, Don asks Peggy to make him a drink, telling her that he has to make a phone call that is going to be bad. He falls asleep with his head in Peggy's lap. During the night, he sees a vision of Anna wearing a pretty sunshine yellow dress and carrying a small white Samsonite suitcase. He finally calls Stephanie, Anna's niece, and she tells him that Anna has died. When he hangs up, he sobs and realizes that Peggy has seen him. He tells her that "the only person in the world who really knew me" has died. Peggy says, "That's not true."
In the light of day, Don comes up with a image for the Samsonite ad based on the famous photo of
Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in the ring. As he shows it to Peggy, Don tenderly touches her hand. She leaves the office and he asks her to leave the door open.
Other things from the episode:
- The original pitch for Samsonite is an endorsement from Joe Namath, who was a hotshot college quarterback on his way to the pros.
- The final credits rolled to Simon and Garfunkel's "Bleecker Street."
- Peggy meets Trudy, Pete's pregnant wife, in the ladies' room at the office. As they come out of the restroom together, Pete gets a look of utter fear.
- Roger ends up at dinner with Freddy Rumsen and the Pond's executive, both of whom are in AA and don't drink.
- Joan and Joey have a little power struggle over the mess he and his co-workers made.