'Mad Men' recap: Mystery Date

mad-men-S5-pics.jpgDon -- who's severely under the weather -- and Megan run into Andrea, a freelance writer from the old firm, and it takes approximately .17 seconds for Megan to ascertain a onetime sexual relationship there. Megan is not happy to be the Diane Chambers to Don's Sam Malone, and tells him so in no uncertain terms. Later, with Don home sick, Andrea turns up at his apartment, and the panic with which he kicks her out shows he either really loves or is really scared of Megan, possibly both. However, when Andrea later sneaks back in and begs Don to have his way with her, he relents. I thought this might be a dream sequence, and when he ends up later strangling her, it becomes clear that it is a fever-induced hallucination, but that doesn't actually make it any less disturbing, especially given that...

...Joyce turns up with crime-scene photos from Chicago's student-nurse sex massacre, and everyone's apparent stomach for them causes "Ginso" to label them "sickos." One non-sicko who's still all over this news story is Sally; Betty and Henry are on the road for his work, so Sally is stuck at home with Pauline. Sally gets into reading about the murders and seems very frightened, although after Pauline I'm surprised she has the capacity to fear anything else. As if to back me up, Pauline ends up telling Sally about the crimes in a chillingly casual way before giving Sally half a sleeping pill so she won't be up all night. Betty, you've met your parenting match.

Greg is coming home, and Gail tries to prepare Joan for the fact that he may be different. When Greg arrives, he's thrilled to meet "his" son, and then Gail keeps considerately clearing out of the house so her daughter can get some, as mothers are wont to do. Any libido Joan may have, however, is killed by Greg's news -- he has to go back in ten days for another year, which was not part of the plan. Joan adapts to the change in plan admirably until she hears from Greg's mother over dinner that Greg actually volunteered to return, and as if that didn't make the dinner painfully uncomfortable enough, the news is followed by a member of the staff playing accordion music, which as we all remember brings back wonderful memories for this couple. In semi-private, Joan lays into Greg, who doesn't want to hear it. Gail, once again, has been through all of this and tries to get Joan to be strong. And she succeeds, but in a better way than she ever intended: Joan tells Greg to return to Vietnam and never come back to her, making it clear that she still remembers the rape in the process. If you wondered whether it was unseemly to cheer the end of this marriage, I can only tell you that you weren't alone.

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