'Mad Men' recap: Season 5, Episode 6, 'Far Away Places'

Roger taking LSD = funny. Megan and Don fighting at Howard Johnson's = not funny.

  • Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in a non-trippy moment.
Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in a non-trippy moment. (Frank Ockenfels/AMC )
April 22, 2012|By Jordan Bartel

Well, now we know what happens to Roger Sterling when he takes LSD: He sees visions of the 1919 Black Sox and faces the truth about his marriage to Jane. In that order.

Yes, this was a very odd yet very effective "Mad Men." And not just because of the LSD party, but because of the non-linear storytelling, the exquisitely detailed depictions of two very sad relationships (Roger and Jane, Don and Megan) and the painful-to-watch life of Peggy.

First of all, how perfect was it to make Roger the first "Mad Men" character to trip on LSD? Even better than Pete. Because the following happened when a seemingly boring dinner party that angry-couple Roger and Jane attended turned into a trip:

1. Roger gets a piece of paper giving his name, address and a direction to help him because he has tried LSD. Did this really happen back then? I mean, resourceful, yes. Incriminating, definitely.

2. Roger hears a rousing opera when he opens a vodka bottle (happens to me all the time) and an instrument blaring when he takes a drag on a cigarette (ditto).

3. Roger touches a magazine ad and the man's hair in the ad turns half-gray, half-black. Same goes for Roger when he looks at himself in the mirror. Only bad thing about this trip, because Roger should never be anything but gray.

4. Jane: "Oh my God, look at my arm."

5. Later, at home in the bathtub with Jane, Roger sees the 1919 Black Sox playing in the World Series ("Look at the cars!")

6. Together lying on the floor, looking at the ceiling, Jane says, "How can a few numbers contain all of time?"

7. Oh, and Jane and Roger break up.

You kind of saw No. 7 coming, right? Kind of ever since they got together. You see, Jane admitted quite a few things to Roger while still tripping, namely that she kissed another guy and that she talked to her psychologist about their relationship being dead. In the end it came down to this: "You don't like me," Jane tells Roger (true). "I did. I really did," Roger says (maybe true).

The next morning, Jane has no recollection of the LSD break-up, until Roger reminds her what she revealed. "It's going to be very expensive," Jane tells him. Better sell more copies of "Sterling's Gold."

Don vs. Megan: The rematch: A trip to an upstate New York Howard Johnson's to try some orange sherbet is not the smartest move.

Don, wild and carefree, decides to ditch work and take Megan upstate on a scouting mission to a random Howard Johnson's, potentially a client, to soak in the orangeness.

Megan is already in a bad mood. Don took her away from her Heinz team before their big pitch. To be fair, Megan could have demanded to stay. Although, she clearly knows that what Don says goes and Don wants the orange-carpet treatment.

After a quick meal of a sampling of everything on the HJ menu, Megan wants pie, but Don DEMANDS they try orange sherbet. Megan, seething, says the sherbet tastes like perfume. "There's no chance you're just trying to embarrass me?" Don asks. And at Howard Johnson's at that!

Megan, ever the petulant child, proceeds to gulp down the sherbet then yells at Don that she never knows whether he's her wife or her co-worker (or orange sherbet sampler).

The fight moves to the parking lot (be careful kids! Don Draper is mad!) where Don orders Megan into the car. "Leave work! Take off your dress! Yes, master!" Megan screams (by the way, Megan is wearing an orange dress, so I wondered if the people staying at the HJ thought this was some sort of high-drama commercial).

Don has had it. He drives away angrily and smokes angrily before coming back to reclaim Megan. According to the waitress, she left with some young kids, but Don stays for hours looking for her. He calls Peggy to see if Megan has called. Nope.

Finally, he gives up and while driving home, looks over at the empty passenger seat and remembers when he and Megan were driving the kids home from a very different vacation: Disneyland, where the two officially fell in love.

Turns out Megan is back at the non-love shack and has put the chain on the lock. Don kicks it in (because he's Don) proceeds to chase Megan around the apartment and later tackles her to the living room floor. No make-up sex on the floor this time, which is sort of what I expected. This whole tackling scene had shades of Tony and Carmela's near domestic-violence squabbles on "The Sopranos."

"I thought I lost you," Don says, near tears. And, you guessed it, when they return to work the next day, they're all back to normal, exchanging loving glances. 

I wonder how long this love-hate-love-orange sherbet Megan-Don fights will last this season before they go the way of Roger-Jane. I feel as though something drastic may have to happen to break these toxic two apart. In the meantime, it's awfully devastating to watch.

At the movies with Peggy: How does Peggy cope with her own tension-filled relationship? Go to the movies in the middle of the day, eat popcorn, get high in the theater and, um, pleasure a stranger.

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