Christina Hendricks, a badass Joan Harris this episode. (Frank Ockenfels/AMC )
Good to see Stephen King in a consultant role on "Mad Men." Thought he would have given Pete Campbell something more diabolical to do.
Kidding, of course. Mr. King is busy. But this episode was downright creepy and weird and King-like. Don had a murderous dream -- or is it nightmare? The Speck student nurse murders freak out Sally. And drunk Peggy is sort of annoying and depressing.
On the "Hell, yes!" side, Joan finally stands up to Greg. Because that dude had it coming. Has he ever done anything right? Ever?
Let's start with Don because a) I've teased it already and b) it was freaking weird.
Actually, things start out pretty boring in DonandMeganland. They start immediately with their fight-and-make-up routine, since they run into an old paramour of Don's in the SCDP elevator. Andrea was a former freelancer at SCDP who found time to mess around with Don at the loading dock at Lincoln Center. Was that place more sanitary in the 1960s?
"How many times is this going to happen?" Megan whines.
"We're in Midtown. I'm going to run into some people," Don offers. Midtown Manhattan is swarming with former Don conquests.
Don's not in the mood to fight. He's sick. Very sick. Megan points out that he "even looks bad," which rarely happens to Don. So after fighting with him some more about his frisky past ("That kind of careless appetite you can't blame on Betty," she says. Ouch, but true.), she sends him home to rest.
After a meeting with Butler Hosiery, in which Michael Ginsberg sells his ad campaign but still gets yelled at my Don because he offered another idea after selling the first, he goes home.
Knock-knock. Who's there? Andrea. Being sexy and overly forward. She just wants to "talk."
"We've done all the talking we're ever going to do," he says.
Apparently not, because later Andrea sneaks back in the house, reminds him of the loading dock incident and Don pushes himself on her wildly. Is it bad I kind of liked seeing Don get back into manwhore mode?
When they wake up, Don tells her there won't be a next time. "It was a mistake," he says.
Andrea's not having it. So Don, all sweaty and sickly, strangles her on the ground of his bedroom, pushes her under the bed (all that's visible is a high heel) and goes back to sleep.
I literally had my mouth open for a second, but the next second realized this, you know, couldn't be a thing. Truth. Later, it's revealed he imagined it all. Megan's been there the whole time, taking care of him.
I don't want to get deep into the psychology of this. I'm assuming Matthew Weiner wants you to know that Don's subconscious is either telling him to get rid of his past or telling him he can't get rid of his past.
I want to point out that this was totally random and odd, yet weirdly effective storytelling. Even though Andrea was cast directly from Cliche Crazy Ex Casting, I like when Don gets out of control. He doesn't know how to handle himself and that's always interesting to see (even in a dream).
What's next: Faye Miller coming back in a sex dream? Miss Blakenship? More Don nightmare/dreams, please.
You go, Joan: I always say this, but I love when Christina Hendricks gets a showcase. And her Joan got a whopper this episode after we missed her during last week's Ode to Fat Betty.
Hubby Greg is coming back from Vietnam after a year. I've always enjoyed our Joanie when she's Greg-less and also becomes less of the perfect wife robot she assumes she has to be.
Everything starts out good. Greg loves little Kevin Holloway-Sterling-Harris. Joan's ever-annoying Mom, Gail, goes out to let the "two visit a spell." Aw?
Later though, a bologna sandwich gives Greg the strength to tell Joan that he -- surprise -- is going back to Vietnam. In 10 days. And stay for another year, even though the two had agreed that he would be home to stay after a year. It's his orders, he insists.
Oh, Greg. Turns out over a dinner with his parents and Joan and her mom, that Greg VOLUNTEERED to go back for a year without asking Joan. I know, I know. It's Vietnam and they need good surgeons, but no one plays Joan like that.
They fight, of course. And thankfully Joan is sticking up for herself and showing how bad of a decision-maker and unprepared for Joan-as-wife he is.
After a nap, she's made her decision. "I was thinking about it and I want you to go."
Greg thinks she means she's OK with him going back.
"No, I want you to go and never go back."
Hell yes, Joan. Finally. Greg goes on and on about how the Army needs him and makes himself out to be the good one in this situation.
Then comes one of the best Joan lines ever: "I'm glad the Army makes you feel like a man, because I'm sick of trying to do it." I don't know when I'll ever be able to use that line myself, but I'd like to at some point.
And later, another sure-to-be classic Joan line: "You're not a good man. You never were. Even before we were married, and you know what I'm talking about."