If you like weed and black chicks and stolen typewriters, you'd love Paul Kinsey's party, which has all three. Everyone at Sterling Cooper is invited, except for Sterling. And Cooper. And Don, who probably went to bed at 8:30 anyway.
It's at this little underlings-only mixer that we meet Harry's wife for the first time, and she's pretty much a horrible shrew, giving him hell for drinking. At a party. He's beholden to her, though, which is probably a lasting effect of confessing his infidelity from Season 1. (However, since the girl Harry cheated with, Hildy, is easily the most attractive woman at Sterling Cooper not named "Joan," everyone including his wife should give him a sustained, enthusiastic round of applause.)
We also learn that former drama student Paul used to "dress up like a girl" in college (presumably for the stage, but possibly just for fun), which is still far less gay than the beard/neckerchief combo he's sporting this evening.
Speaking of beards and gayness, Sal and his wife appear again briefly before walking off to go not have sex somewhere. Paul has a phony relationship too, but, conversely, his is meant to make him stand out. His girlfriend is black, and Joan (who used to date Paul) sees this as a transparent bid for attention, and says something vaguely racist to the girl. (Then again, in 1962, vaguely racist was pretty polite.)
Out in the hallway, Paul's old college roommate is necking the fuck out of Peggy, but she's pretty scared of penises ever since one of them put a baby inside her, so she says nay to intercourse. "I'm in the persuasion business," she tells the guy, "and frankly, I'm disappointed in your presentation." It's actually a pretty impressive shootdown, which makes me hate Peggy slightly less. But still a lot.
The next day at work, Roger and Don walk in to find everyone crowded around a radio. Assuming they're listening to coverage of a nearby parade honoring astronaut John Glenn, Roger orders them back to work. (A man who has seen Joan naked is no longer impressed by things like space travel.) Instead, though, it's news of a plane crash: American Airlines Flight 1 decided to make an unscheduled stop at the bottom of a lagoon, killing everyone onboard. Looking to avoid negative association by consumers, Don instructs the staff to pull every Mohawk Airlines ad immediately. Meanwhile, like the internet commenters of their day, some are already cracking jokes about the tragedy.
One of them, Pete, soon gets a very relevant phone call. Turns out his dad (who hates him) had been on that flight, and will now be doing all his Pete hating from beyond the grave. Pete responds to this news by walking into Don's office and confiding in him. Despite their differences, it seems, Pete still craves his boss's cameraderie. He asks Don how he should react, and Don says he should go home, because "that's what people do." "Is that what you would do?" Pete asks. "Yes," Don lies. He lies because these nemeses have something in common that didn't even occur to me until tonight: They both hated their fathers. Here, Pete seems to be looking for an understanding answer from a kindred spirit (who's secret past he discovered last season), but Don can only respond by telling him how to feign grief, much as he would do in the same situation. All told, it's still probably the nicest Don's been to Pete since, ever.
Later, Don meets with Roger, Bertram and Duck, all of whom want to make an immediate bid for American Airlines (presumably at Duck's urging). In the wake of this grisly accident, they reason, the company will be looking for a new direction. Don opposes the idea on the grounds that they've already brought on an airline account (Mohawk), and trading up so soon not to mention capitalizing on death and destruction to do it just wouldn't be right. For once, though, he's the odd man out. And not only that, it's Don's job to give Mohawk the bad news.
Pete goes home to help his family make arrangements, and learns through his brother that their dad died broke. Not really a big deal, because Pete wouldn't have seen a penny of it anyway, but still. What a dick.
At the Draper residence, Betty and Don are holding poker night with friends Francine and Carlton, and Carlton has really chubbed up. Then again, with the jowls and belly, he looks a lot like Peggy did last season, so maybe he's just pregnant? Really he's just miserable because Francine won't let him cheat on her anymore, that selfish bitch. Also, in the "Mad Men" tradition of "Look how comically negligent parents were in the 60s!" type scenes, Don enlists his young daughter to make everyone drinks.
- Much like the episode last season in which Don was turned off by a rival firm's methods of recruiting him (which included falsely entertaining his wife's fanciful notions of resuming her abandoned modeling career), we see once again that Don seems to have a strict code of ethics that not many in the industry adhere to. Having to break things off with Mohawk seems to fuel Don's growing distaste toward the business side of things.
As Don discusses the ethics of ditching Mowhawk for American Airlines:
Don: "What kind of company would we be?"
Roger: "The kind where everyone has a summer house."