Joan's been rather underutilised this season, apart from the episode where she finally got rid of her husband, so it was nice to see her given a sizeable subplot. I'm a fan of the relationship she has with Don (Jon Hamm), which isn't sexual (beyond flirting) and instead a genuine bond of friendship. They do make an appealing couple, however, so this story had great fun having them pretend to be a married couple—with Don whisking Joan out of the office to test drive a sports car, as a means to take her mind off the fact her husband's started divorce proceedings against her. A part of me would actually love to see Don and Joan get together, because they work so well together, but the reason for that is probably because both characters don't see it as a sexual thing—which is, evidently, when things get complicated for them and they only suffer. Even here, Don's afternoon taking care of a good friend was soured by the reality of his marriage when he got home late, with Megan (Jennifer Pare) very angry about being kept waiting and worried. An understandable complaint, let's face it, but now that Megan's turning into the demanding housewife type who'll throw plates of food at walls to make a point (how dramatic—or a wannabe actress, ironically), maybe Don's going to slowly lose interest in her. Once the honeymoon period is over, and marriage becomes more like this, is this when Don's eye starts to wander and he starts having affairs? Is that what happened to Betty all those years ago, once the glamourous girl settled into being a housewife and demanded more of his time and consideration?
One other scene I wanted to talk about was Don's pep talk to the staff, as they face working weekends till Christmas to secure Jaguar as a client from their competitors. "Every agency on Madison Avenue is defined by the moment they got their car. When we land Jaguar, the world will know we've arrived." It wasn't the best speech Don's ever given, but it felt important because it inspired the troops where the words of Lane, Roger and Pete (Vincent Karthesier) were largely failing. I have to wonder if SCDP will get the Jaguar account, setting the firm up for bigger and better things in season 6, or if this will be a marked failure and the beginning of a slide into financial ruin. Knowing there are two seasons left, my guess is the former.
A good episode with some excellent tête-à-tête's between the characters, topped off with intriguing directions for the show to take regarding Lane's debts, Don's home life, and Joan's divorce. Nevertheless, it was still something of a piece-moving episode in many ways, albeit a very enjoyable one, so I can't say I was as delighted as I was with the mid-season batch of classics.
- There was a quick reminder here that Roger's aware baby Kevin is his son, although Joan doesn't seem to want his financial help. I predict Roger will insist once he realises she's getting divorced, and this could also be the greenlight he needs to definitively leave Jane and be with Joan as a ready-made family. Or is that just too much of a happy, neat ending?
- Star Trek began in September 1966, and this episode was only taking place in, I assume, December. Was the show really such a hit with geeks that quickly? Anyone live through that time? So much so that you'd want to write a spec script for it? Also, it's funny just how many geeky references there have been in this fifth season (via direct references, subtle allusions, or choice of guest-stars). Is Matthew Weiner's nerdy side coming out?