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This season's notable lack of Joan was remedied in last night's episode, as well as this season's lack of Paul Kinsey, though nobody really missed him all that much. Lane and Harry both had big plots this episode, too, so it looks like Matthew Weiner is really pulling out all the stops now that Megan isn't prancing around the office anymore.
Also: Last night's episode was called the Christmas Waltz, so try to suspend your disbelief on that, since it's the middle of May and all. And now—onto the lying, the forging, and the throwing things!
Last night's episode opened with Lane getting a rather bleak call from his accountant. Turns out, Lane owes big bucks in back taxes. Like, £2,900 big. Lane's snoopy wife comes out while he's digging around for a pencil, and he hollers at her to "go back to bed this minute!"
And now: Let's see what Harry's been up to. His secretary comes in and tells him that Paul Kinsey wants to have lunch. She asks what's wrong with him, since he sounded very polite on the phone. Those who remember Paul (think back, try hard) will remember he's not very polite at all. In fact, he even out-does Pete in the douche department. Harry agrees to the lesser of two evils—meeting Paul, or having him come to the office—and agrees to get coffee.
After pestering Harry in his office, Lane heads to the bank and asks for a credit extension of $50,000. Turns out, their banker doesn't feel like talking "real business." He would rather pour another drink. But, they do anyway, and Lane scores the extension. Cheers!
Pete calls a meeting in Burt's office, but he ends up talking with Don and Roger outside the bathrooms instead. Pete tells them that Edwin Baker has been fired from Jaguar for vomiting in a lampshade, meaning Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has another shot at a car. It's a little hard to take Pete seriously with that "WOMEN" sign behind him, but the team seems pleased with the news. Don, though, is a little grumpy that he's going to have to do some actual work.
Harry goes to meet Paul at a Hare Krishna gathering. "What the hell happened to you?" are his first words when he sees Paul wearing a robe with his head shaved. "Don't pretend this isn't strange," is the second thing he says. Then, "It's giving me the willies." Mother Lakshmi approaches, and Harry's tune seems to change, mostly, because he thinks she's cute. They chant, and later in a cab, Paul tells him that he loves Lakshmi.
At a partner's meeting, Lane and the rest of them argue on whether or not they should distribute bonuses. Pete thinks they should hold off, since the Jaguar announcement should boost morale. Lane, who obviously wants his bonus so that he can pay off those back taxes, demands that they can afford to do both. Pete's asks, "What ghost visited you, Ebenezer?", which is a little confusing since offering bonuses isn't really Scrooge-like behavior. Get your Christmas stories straight, Pete. Not content with waiting, Lane sneaks into Don's office and forges his signature on a check for $7,500, made out to himself.
In other news, Roger, who was not at the partner's meeting, has been drinking since 7:55am and is also wearing a Hawaiian shirt because it's Pearl Harbor Day. Still drunk, Roger tells Joan that he'll support Kevin (their son!) through college. He also brings up his acid trip, again, and he'll probably continue to bring it up through Season 6.
After leaving work presumably at 5:30, Don and Megan go and see the play America Hurrah, which includes a monologue about the evils of advertising. Megan doesn't think the play took as strong of a stand against advertising as it did on the emptiness of consumerism. (Her words.) Don shoots back with, "No one's made a stronger stand against advertising than you," and she's silenced.
Harry and Paul eat at a diner, where Harry goes on about his baby and how he had a vision while chanting. Paul wants a family with Lakshmi and maybe a farm. Paul then asks Harry to read a script he wrote for Star Trek. It's a "speculative episode." Harry agrees to read it, after confirming that it's not about Hare Krishna. Harry asks Peggy for a second opinion on the script, and her original reaction is even less enthusiastic than Harry's.
Lakshmi shows up at Harry's office, and he pretends she's a prospective nanny. He tells her he doesn't want to be recruited to Hare Krisha. But apparently, she came there to have sex with him—not recruit him. They do it, and then after she slaps him for "shaking Paul's devotion." Apparently, she "did this for the movement," though it's unclear what sleeping with Harry did for anyone but Harry.
And now: The second office confrontation. Joan is told she has a guest in reception who needs a signature. And then, she's served with divorce papers. She screams at the secretary for letting that server in, calls her an idiot, and then throws a model Mohawk plane at her. Don comes to the receptionist's rescue and whisks Joan away to the elevator.
Since this is what all people do before lunch, they go to the Jaguar showroom and pretend to be a couple looking for a car. Joan likes the red one (surprise), and against the showroom attendant's wishes, they test drive it alone. Actually, Don cuts him a check for $6,000 and says that if they don't come back, consider it paid for. Then, they test drive it all the way to the bar.
Joan explains that whenever someone used to need her in reception, it was because she was getting flowers. Don then tells her that he used to think she was dating Ali Khan, that she scared the shit out of him, and that Burt and Freddy had a standing argument that she was a lesbian. After some music and more drunk chitchat, Don leaves Joan at the bar so that she can pick up the guy sitting across from her.
Don comes home to a very angry Megan. She throws a plate of food at the wall and demands to know where he was. Looky here, Megan: Quitting SCDP means you forgo your spying privileges, which is probably something you should have thought of before resigning. Don her all about Joan and the Jaguar. This has the potential to get sexy (particularly when Don says, "You like to get mad. That's what gets you going,") but it doesn't. Instead, they just eat an awkward dinner.
The next day, Don sends Joan flowers. Or, Ali Khan sends Joan flowers with a card that reads "Your mother did a good job," which is maybe the nicest thing Don has done in the entire five seasons of this show. Well that, and transforming Megan from a lowly, toofy receptionist into Mrs. Donald Draper.
Harry meets Paul at a diner to give him back his script. He makes up some story about showing it to a reader but because of legal reasons, "they're not interested." Harry quickly fills the holes in his story by offering Paul $500 to leave the Krishna community and take his story to LA. The hug it out, and hopefully this is the last we see of Paul for a while.
Back at the office, everyone assembles in the conference room. Lane announces that Mohawk is on strike and they're suspending their ad budget indefinitely. But—everyone is still getting Christmas bonuses! Except the partners. Apparently no one understood this, so Roger translates. Pete announces they're going to pitch Jaguar. Don then gives a motivational speech that everyone will be working for the next six weekends in a row to prepare. Everyone claps! Why is everyone clapping? You'll be working for six weekends, people.
Merry Christmas! And now, for next week's episode, which is called The Other Woman. Trudy tells Pete to stop playing games, Ken wants to know why an ad got pulled, Burt is mad about something, and Megan paints the bleak picture that "a wife is like a Buick in the garage." So, does Don land a Jaguar?
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