“I want you to crawl on your hands and knees until you find [my shoes]. Do it. I want you to get undressed and get back into bed. Don’t go anywhere. You’re going to wait there and you’re not going to know when I’m coming back. Don’t answer the phone again. We’re not going anywhere. Why would you think you’re going anywhere? You are for me. You exist in this room for my pleasure. Don’t ask any more questions. Take off your dress. Take off everything for me. It’s over when I say it’s over.”

I still love you Don but you really make it hard sometimes.

Well, Don Draper’s creep factor just hit an all-time high. “Man With a Plan” opens with Don overhearing a fight between the Rosens from the elevator. “Tell them what a big deal you are! Tell them how you don’t listen to anyone because you’ve got it all figured out…You’re not taking care of me, you’re taking care of you!” Sylvia screams. Wait, are we talking about Dr. Rosen or are we talking about Don Draper? Don capitalizes on this situation and ensnares Sylvia in his sex dungeon of a hotel room. This is not good. He won’t even allow her to read. At first, Sylvia is observably digging this treatment.

By the end of this episode she is bored of being Don’s plaything and terminates their affair. In a complete reversal, Don actually begs, “Please,” desperately, but Sylvia’s mind is made up. Don tells her, “It’s easy to give up something when you’re satisfied.” [1] “It’s easy to give up something when you’re ashamed,” she corrects him and that is no small difference. She walks out leaving the red dress on the bed. Don looks crestfallen. He is doomed to go back to his apartment and listen to Megan talk (cue the menacing music) about taking time off so they can spend some time together. The horror!

What’s going to happen with Don Draper? His mistress just walked out on him and we’ve still got six episodes to go. It’s pretty clear that Megan isn’t enough to satiate him; where does he go from here?


He may have been renounced by Sylvia but there is one thing he at which he will always be untouchable: drinking. [2] Do not under any circumstances get into a drinking competition with Don Draper. You always lose. Don intentionally gets Ted plastered to make Ted look like a dolt in front of the new staff. Round one is a Draper blowout. But don’t count out Ted Chaough. Look at this classic comeback as Ted coolly dons his aviator sunglasses—à la Horatio Caine— while flying the plane. Draper looks like he’s going to hurl. Round 2 is a resounding victory for Ted.

Don’s feud with Ted is multifaceted. Part of it obviously has to do with the output of their work. Ted has “Gilligan’s Island” formulas and other devices (e.g. “rap sessions”) to facilitate creativity when there is a shortage. Don thinks that is a load of drivel. Like Sylvia describes Dr. Rosen, but Don doesn‘t listen to anyone because he thinks he’s got it all figured out. He just sits there silently before bounding into a tantalizingly beautiful pitch.

The other side to this competition is Miss Peggy Olsen. Don still feels slighted that Peggy chose Ted over him. This partially explains his captivity of Sylvia. Don is profoundly touched that Sylvia needs him and that no one else could serve as a substitute. Peggy wishes they would stop competing on Don’s terms, and that Ted’s magnanimity would start to rub off on Don. Sorry Peggy, Don is beyond salvation at this point. She would still rather “move forward” like the French armies that fancied margarine.

Pete’s mother is incapable to move forward because she has some kind of dementia. She wakes Pete up to tell him about Bobby Kennedy and adds, “You‘ll be late for school.” She is bright enough to glean that Pete and Trudy are separated but Pete has never been very discreet about his extramarital affairs. Also, in a bizarre way, Pete and his mom trapped in Pete’s pied-à-terre echoes Don and Sylvia in the hotel room. At a certain point, Pete’s mom—just like Sylvia—wants to go back home. In fact, I think Pete also feels like a hostage living with his mother.


Luckily, Bob Benson has nowhere to go, or so he tells Joan at the hospital. Joan’s mom is right: Bob Benson really was “adorable” in this episode wasn’t he? We know that Joan is desperate for some recognition; so what if Bob is too young or that he is most likely just using her to secure his place in SCDP? I suppose Bob could just dispose of her after she’s played her part (and she did actually save him from being canned,) but we’ll deal with that if and when it transpires.

Man, I loved this episode! I would place it second only to the two hour premiere. Matthew Weiner really has a knack for bringing in additional characters, like Ted, [3] without detracting from anyone else’s development. Ted has been fantastic this season.

Additional Notes:

Burt Peterson: “You’re a real prick, you know that?” Roger Sterling one-liner of the night: “Damn it Bert, you stole my goodbye.”

Pete: “My mother can go to hell—Ted Chaough can fly here there!”

Pete sees that with the arrival of new personnel his job may be threatened. They don’t even have a chair for him in the conference room! He chastises Clara for letting Don and Ted go off on business without him; I guess he wishes that he and Clara had more of a relationship like Bob Benson and Joan.

“Don’t you have any hope?” asks Ted while discussing politics in an inebriated haze. Well Ted, if you watched Mad Men you might be a little low on hope too. It’s no coincidence that this episode ended with the Bobby Kennedy assassination.

“I have to eat something,” says Ted realizing that he is getting wasted. Don Draper: “Doesn’t ice count?”

Joan alludes to Rip Van Winkle while at the hospital with Bob Benson. Perhaps if Rip Van Winkle could handle his alcohol like Don Draper he wouldn’t have fallen asleep for 20 years. Unfortunately, it’s Don who probably wishes he could avoid his life.

[1] This quote is a perfect summation for Draper and Mad Men as a whole. It’s right up there with “What is happiness? It’s the moment before you need more happiness.”

[3] Technically he‘s been around since season four but you know what I‘m saying.