"It's the end of the world." The word gets out that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has lost Lucky Strike, and everyone at the agency is shaken in Season 4, Episode 11. Don vows that things will be OK, but nobody is sure that the agency will survive.
And anyone who has been through the economic downturn of the past couple of years knows what the SCDP people are feeling when they watch as their company's fortunes take a horrible turn for the worse and they are left to wonder whether they'll be out of a job soon. It's frightening, but oddly exhilarating, too. As Stan the pig says, "It's the last days of Rome. ... The energy is very good."
Roger (John Slattery) acts as if he has been blindsided by the Lucky Strike news, even pretending to call Lee Garner Jr. in front of the others and pretending to go to Raleigh to try to plead the case. (Don refers earlier to Roger catching a flight to "Raleigh-Durham.") He's actually in a hotel in New York. He spills the beans to Joan (Christina Hendricks), who gives him no sympathy. In one of the most poignant scenes of the season, Joan and Roger meet at her place. He's pleading for a shoulder to cry on, but she tells him once and for all, it seems, "I just can't do this any more." Their parting hug was sweet.
Desperate, Don (Jon Hamm) also turns to a woman. He tells Faye, "I'm used to having my ideas rejected, not me." He pushes her to violate her professional ethics and risk her own business by telling him which clients of her other clients might be unhappy and ready to look at a new ad agency. She angrily refuses, at first, but in the end, she acquiesces, telling him that she has gotten him a meeting with Heinz. This comes just after Don has had a tryst with Megan in the office. Megan says she wants to learn more about the business, that she aspires to be like Don or Peggy. In one of those this-only-happens-in-the-movies scenes, she kisses him almost out of the blue. He tells her he can't make any mistakes right now. Oh, sure, Don. No mistakes.
Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) makes an intimate connection, too, with the cute reporter, Abe. (Honestly, I love that guy.) She returns to the office after their night together to find the staff meeting about Lucky Strike. She tells Don later, "Every time something good happens, something bad happens. I knew I'd pay for it." But she is happy, and Abe is a true sweetie, it appears.
Stan notices Peggy's change and tries to use it to his advantage. "Oh, come on, baby. It's the end of the world," he tells her when he kisses her. She rejects him, but he gets a bit of revenge when he allows her to do an important presentation to Playtex with lipstick on her teeth. The presentation succeeds, though.
Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) finally becomes a father near the end of the episode. Nobody expects Pete to be at the hospital when Trudy is giving birth to their daughter. Trudy's mother takes over. After Pete gets the word about the birth, he proceeds to go with Don and Freddy to the funeral of a rival ad man, taking Bert's wise advice to troll for dissatisfied clients.
At the funeral, the eulogists tell the dead man's wife and daughter that he thought of them all the time, even though he was gone often for business. The camera settles on Don's and Pete's faces during the service, suggesting that they too should think about their little girls.
- In the long-time-no-see department, Freddy Rumsen and Jane Sterling finally surface again in this episode.
- We also get a glimpse of Ken's fiancee and her parents. The rich father is played by Ray Wise ("Twin Peaks," "Reaper" and a slew of other stuff). He has to have a more important part to play in the future. Maybe he can throw some business to SCDP.
- Danny, the very short copywriter, raises his hand in the stand-up staff meeting when the accounting manager asks if anyone has questions. The manager can't see Danny, so his question goes unasked.
- Both Don and Roger end the episode with women cuddled on their shoulders -- women they haven't been honest with: Don with Faye and Roger with Jane, who has presented him with printed copies of his memoir.
- Jim Reeves' lovely "Welcome to My World" plays over the closing credits. Reeves, a country crossover star, died in 1964 in a plane crash. Eddy Arnold had a hit with that song, too.