Did it surprise you just how fast Don Draper agreed to his new contract at SCP? The conditions sounded worse than the Treaty of Versailles’s demands on Germany (okay, not that bad, considering the original plan had Germany paying reparations to the West in yearly installments until 1988). But the indignities! No private meetings with clients, no drinking except for client receptions, answering to Lou Avery. Not to mention that his new office belonged to Lane Pryce. Or the cool reception by Joan and, worse, Peggy.
Was the offer from McCann that bad? Or is Don betting he only needs to get his foot in the door, like a wedge, and wait it all out? His colleagues will get sick and tired of Lou as CD—it’s hard to imagine Peggy prefers him over Don, who was tough but at least had aspirations for the firm. Operations might be running smoothly, the situation stable, but there’s no drive, no ambition. Don gave new meaning to creative destruction—he was equal parts creative and destructive.
My guess is the latter—Don’s mere presence adds a subversive element at SCP. The creatives will ultimately side with him over Lou. Either that or he gets fed up with the partners and leaves to start a new agency with Harry Crane.
Odds and ends: The episode takes place in the first week of April, 1969—Eisenhower is on the cover of Time; he died March 28 of that year. Hard to believe that Ike outlived JFK by almost six years. Ike brings to mind the 1940s (as a commander) and the 1950s (as a two-term president). But picturing Eisenhower in the world of 1969 is like, well, picturing Don Draper in 1969. They are fish out of water.
And no, I have no idea what movie Don is watching at the outset, the one with Scheherazade playing as a man drives his car. Do you?
Update 4/30/14: The film turns out to be Model Shop (1969) by Jacques Demy. “AlfieHitchie” over at IMDB.com offers this synopsis:
George Matthews is a young man who is having a bittersweet affair with a French divorcée in Los Angeles. Waiting to be drafted, he is unable to commit himself to anything or anybody, including his girlfriend Gloria. While trying to raise money to prevent his car from being repossessed, George is attracted to Lola, a Frenchwoman who works in a “model shop” (an establishment which rents out beautiful pin-up models to photographers). George spends his last twelve dollars to photograph her, and discovers that she is as unhappy as he. Although Lola is unwilling to respond to George, their brief night of lovemaking gives both the will to deal with their respective problems.
Photo courtesy of AMC