It was a wild night of Mad Men on multiple levels. Our recap breaks down the events of season 7, episode 5, titled “The Runaways.”
Don gets around
Stephanie Horton, Don’s “niece,” gives him a call from Los Angeles. She’s pregnant and in need of financial help, so he tells her to go over to Megan’s. He wants to fly out to Southern California immediately – a week earlier than scheduled so that he can see her, but after Stan pisses off Lou, the boss orders everyone including Don to stay late in the office.
With that, Don has to get a flight that won’t get him into L.A. until the next day. Megan doesn’t mind this, but she begins talking to Stephanie and decides to give her $1,000 before Don arrives so she can get on her way to family up in Oakland, California.
The next morning Don arrives in Los Angeles and is disappointed by the fact that Stephanie has already left because he wanted to see her badly.
At Megan’s acting party that night, Don feels out of place. Luckily, an unlikely hero saves him: Harry Crane! Don and Harry leave Megan’s place to hit up a bar, which was a clear sign that things were really bad at the party. What other time has Don voluntarily socialized with Harry? Never.
It turns out that Harry’s surprise appearance may actually be one of the most important moments for Don’s future. Harry reveals that Lou and Culter are working on nabbing Philip Morris cigarettes, and if they’re signed onto SC&P, Don will be out of the company (because of his New York Times op ed in season 4, episode 12 “Blowing Smoke” in which he vowed that SC&P would no longer represent cigarette companies).
After Don gets back from his night out on the town, he wants to go straight to bed. But Megan has a surprise for him: She sets up a threesome with Amy. Don resists at first but succumbs to the pressure of being kissed by two beautiful women.
The next morning things seen pretty normal between Don and Megan, and Stephanie calls Don from Oakland. He asks that she let him know when the baby comes so he can continue to help her out. Once off the phone he tells Megan he’s heading back to New York because of what Harry told him about Philip Morris last night. He promises her that he’ll be back next week as already planned, but we wouldn’t be surprised if things change. Megan is visibly frustrated by his departure, it seems.
Determined to keep his job, Don makes a surprise appearance at the Philip Morris meeting. As Lou and Culter sit there in awe, Don says to reps from the cigarette company that he’ll leave SC&P if they want him to, but he needs them to know that he’s very experienced with selling cigarettes despite the piece he wrote in the New York Times.
“You’re incredible,” Lou tells him afterward.
“You think this is going to save you, don’t you,” Culter adds.
The former wife of Don was in one bad mood this episode. Pleasantries between friends hit a rough patch at a neighborhood party she’s hosting when she questions Henry’s position on the war. To make matters worse, he has to go stag at four more parties that night because she’s apparently come down with a headache (caused by her frustration over Henry?).
Henry isn’t the only one livid at Betty. The next day Sally scores a damaged nose thanks to the dangerous mixture of children and golf clubs, and Betty tears into her for being so immature. Sally is equally rude to her mother and decides to head back to school in the dark of the night. We later learn that Sally didn’t sustain a broken nose, so Betty’s freak out wasn’t ultimately warranted.
Michael and the computer
Over the weekend, Michael is in the office and spots Lou and Cutler in the computer room privately meeting. He has a panic attack over it and goes to Peggy’s apartment to tell her what he saw. Michael thinks that they’re gay – that the computer could possibly affect people that way – but she laughs it off.
As if that weren’t weird enough, by the end of the episode Michael decides to cut off his nipple to relieve the pressure flowing through him. He presents it as a gift to Peggy, who freaks out. He doesn’t see the harm in it and acts like everything is normal.
She calls for medical help and he’s escorted out on a stretcher. She watches him get whisked away and sheds a couple tears in fear over what could be wrong with him.
Your ‘Mad Men’ recap: What did you think of tonight’s episode?
“The Runaways” held quite a few surprises, namely the threesome, Michael losing his mind, and Don’s ballsy decision to go into the Philip Morris meeting to plead his worthiness. On the other hand, we’re struggling to predict where this season is heading. Is Don going to finally get everything under control? Or will he constantly be struggling to keep his head above water?
The next Mad Men – season 7, episode 6 – is the penultimate episode of the year (already?!) and airs Sunday, May 18 at 10 p.m. eastern/pacific on AMC.