And, finally, some light.
After four episodes of darkness, death, and loneliness comes an episode where we see what I've been missing this season: Roger's charm, Don working, Don NOT cheating, and some good news.
We also saw the end of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
It all started with a dinner. Don's meal with Jaguar's Herb Rennet resulted in the end of Jaguar and SCDP, and it probably would have been different if Roger was able to make it. I thought the dinner was absurd and hilarious, especially when Don deadpans, "I love puppies." When he gets rid of Herb, it gets even better.
Of course, the news didn't go over so well with everyone: Pete falls down the stairs (which makes the cut as the episode's best highlight), and Joan (quite rightly) says, if she could handle him, how couldn't Don? Yes, Joan's night with Herb wasn't a complete sacrifice: she slept with him and it got them Jaguar, but it also got Joan a partnership. She did bring up a fair point: Don does what he wants, when he wants.
I thought Herb's ouster was a long time coming, and of course leaving Don alone with the man could only have this result. But Don always acts on his own and does what he likes. The disapproval hurt him the most coming from Joan -- he thought she of all people would appreciate it. But she was right, it's always "I" with him, never "we." Lucky for Don, he got a break because of Roger and his brilliant move to get in with Chevy.
Time will tell if the other action he took on his own will be a smart move or a senseless one. Don then did the same exact thing Joan had accused him earlier of doing and spearheaded a merger with his rival, Ted Chaough, the man who stole his protege, Peggy, to win over Chevy and to compete with the country's largest ones. It could be a brilliant move, but it doesn't seem as triumphant as the formation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce seemed in the season 3 finale. There are many changes to come, and as we learned earlier in the episode, Peggy doesn't love change.
She does love Bobby Kennedy though. Uh oh.
Some thoughts on the episode:
Bye, Bye. Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Cutler Gleason and Chaough. Hello again, Peggy + Don.
Hello, Joan. I hate Herb Rennet, but I loved her speech. And THIS is the Joan we love.
Must mention Pete falling down the stairs again.
Megan and her marriage. Her mother told her in French, “You talk like a woman who has been married much longer than you have," and gave Megan advice that only Megan's sultry mother would give. Even though I"m not a huge Megan fan, it was nice to not see Don cheating on his wife; to see Don focused on work, and his wife, and not on another woman.
Bert's drink of choice. While everyone else opts for stiff drinks, I love that he requested either brandy or "spirits of elderflower."
Mother's Day, 1968. This episode aired a week before Mother's Day 2013. That rarely happens. Kind of cool.
Roger Sterling, back in action. Did he really use his mother's recent death to get a girl back in bed? Yes, yes he did. But he also got a meeting with Chevy.
“I don’t believe in fate. we make our own opportunities." And that is precisely what Don did. He could have consulted his partners before losing an important account or merging companies, but he knew he would meet with opposition and did what he thought was right. As a parter at Cutler Gleason and Chaough said before the meeting with Chevy, "I am against this idea, unless it works." I am definitely for firing the disgusting Jaguar owner and merging companies. Because for now, Don's "I" approach is working.
What did you think of the episode? What did you think of Pete's fiasco with his father-in-law, and of Peggy's burgeoning feelings for her boss? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.