'Mad Men' recap, 'New Business'

With so few precious "Mad Men" episodes left, you would hope that series creator Matthew Weiner and team would make every episode, every scene count, teasing out past themes and setting up the future for Don.

"New Business" instead crams random and boring affairs into a jumbled storyline. It felt like a filler episode.


If there was cohesion to the affairs, it's that the women are calling the shots, leaving the men unnerved.

Marie, for starters, calls Roger and demands that he comes to her rescue. "I am in desperate need of you!" she yells in her French Canadian accent.


Once he arrives to Don's apartment to pay for movers to take every last cushion seat, she makes the move on him, somewhat to his resistance. He's Roger, so you know he caves.

As for Stan, he's grouchy and emasculated that Peggy brings in an acclaimed photographer, Pima, to shoot a campaign. A female photographer, at that.

"It's hard to keep my balls in this job," he gripes. Pima pulls a power move by flat out telling him he's intimated.

Then, she tries flattering him and asks to see his best work. Later she makes a move on him in the dark room. Smooth.


Even with Don, Diana makes all the shots in the affair. She's the one who calls it off. And for once, it's because of her own baggage and not Don's.

Diana's story is a sad one. She left her husband and her daughter in Wisconsin after one of her daughters died.

So, she flipped a coin deciding between New York and San Francisco, and she went to New York where she unwittingly became a part of Don's life. With much resistance, I might add.

For reasons unrelated to Don (shocker — the world doesn't revolve around him), Diana quit working at the Greek diner and began working at another restaurant.

Like that stops Don from finding her. He goes to the new restaurant where she works and sees her there.

"This isn't a coincidence," he tells her as he's sitting at a table. "I was looking for you."

"You're making me uncomfortable," she says grimacing. Um, awkward.

Remember when Don would swoon women by giving them one smoldering look? Now he resorts to stalking them.

We haven't seen Don be this creepy since he kept his former mistress Sylvia Rosen as a sex slave in her hotel room in season six.

And then, lo and behold, Sylvia appears in the elevator when he's leaving with Diana.

So, that's where Don recognizes Diana. She's a spitting image of Sylvia, and the shot of the two standing side by side in the elevator makes the resemblance even more obvious.

He certainly has a type. She could also pass for last week's mistress cameo, Rachel Menken — if you squint your eyes.

There's a reason for that. Diana represents all of his failed relationships and the nostalgia for what could have been.

She practically lifts a quote straight from Don's Carousel pitch. "There's a twinge in my chest," she says tenderly as he's embracing her. "A pain," he replies.

She's walking, breathing nostalgia. No wonder Don's attracted to her.

In last week's recap, I guessed that Don would be visited by three ghosts of nostalgia, representing the Greek fates. At this rate, I'm suspecting we'll see more former lovers, especially ones that crashed and burned spectacularly.

But Don while is pining for the past, he's reliving every mistake he's made in his love life. Well, almost every mistake.

One regret is how he treated Megan, and he pays for it, big time. As he's confiding in Roger about settling with Megan, Roger rants about his divorce from his second wife, Jane.

"So, [Megan] never said you squandered her youth and beauty?" Roger asks Don pointedly. "Used up her childbearing years? Thwarted her career?"

Don thinks he's spared, until he meets with Megan in person. She then launches into a speech that sounds an awful lot like Jane's.

"Why am I being punished for young? I gave up everything for you. Because I believed you, and you're nothing but a liar. An aging, sloppy, selfish liar." Ouch.

The tirade works, and Don writes her a check for $1 million to make amends. That's $6 million and some change in 2015 money.

It might seem like a lot for a second wife he was married to for a split second, but man oh man did Don screw over Megan. Aside from the cheating, she quit her job on her soap opera to be with him, and for what?

The risk of syphilis (according to her mother) and pleading with Harry Crane (of all people) for career help. No wonder her mother wanted to ransack the apartment.

Will Don get new furniture or will he move into a new place and start over? I'm hoping for the latter, especially one with lower rent now that he's got a million bucks less in the bank.

It's bad enough that he's now furniture-less thanks to his spiteful ex mother-in-law, but he still runs the risk of seeing a former mistress and her passive-aggressive husband on the elevator. Just move, Don.

If he does move, will he stay in New York City or move out of state? For now, he'll probably stay in the Big Apple. But toward the final episodes, we might see him flip a coin and head to California, permanently this time.


Best Roger one-liner: "This is certainly a two-man job." Roger to his secretary as she dictates the numbers to Shirley, who dials the phone number.

Best Meredith moment: The itty-bitty Meredith awkwardly lugging around that monstrous bag of golf clubs.

Best Don one-liner: "Do you sleep like that?" – Diana to Don when she sees he's wearing a perfectly pressed suit past midnight. "I'm vain," Don unabashedly admits.

It's all Greek to me: "You have a call from Nicholas Con... Stan... Tin... Oplois," Meredith relays to Don on the phone. "It's probably Greek," Harry replies. More Greek references! It's not as profound as the ones from "Severance," but it's definitely keeping me on my toes.

Good guy Don: If Don's trying to redeem himself for being such a jerk all these years, he gets serious bonus points for offering water instead of booze to Diana when she tells him she's already drunk. Take note, men. That's how you respect a woman.

Pete's hair situation: I was so overwhelmed by everyone's mustaches last week that I forgot to comment on Pete's hair. That shaggy 'do! And those muttonchops! They accentuate his receding hairline, and I'm sure it makes him miserable. Ha!

Most revolting moment: Megan's lunch with Harry. He's such a smarmy jerk. My skin crawled when he was laying it on thick: "You should be the most famous person in the world right now." Gag. I cheered for Megan when she chugged the rest of the fancy wine then stormed off after he suggested taking the meeting upstairs. Denied.

Tough sheets: Dear lord, what the thread-count on Don's sheets? They're so loud when tosses and turns in bed. You'd think someone who can throw a million-dollar check at his ex-wife can afford a softer bedspread.

Past lives: Did anyone else think Betty's scene was a flashback? I like how the episode started with the life that would have been for Don if he were a decent man: a beautiful wife, doting children and a lovely home. "That could have been me," his face says as he turns around to see Henry in his place. Now, he comes home to an apartment with no family and no furniture.

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