Three consecutive days and a fourth in early October, 1960. Probably October 11-14. October 11 was the hottest weekday in the “warm spell” that hit New York that year. Adam’s scene may or may not be the same “day one” as the rest, but the timing is about right for the arrival of the package. The fourth day may or may not be consecutive; it probably is, again because of the package.
Tuesday, October 11, 1960
Brighton Hotel in Times Square
Adam, in a nice suit and with his hair combed, goes to the front desk of his SRO* and arranges to have a package sent to Don. He takes all the neatly bundled cash that Don gave him in 5G, leaves it with a note on a dresser, goes into the bathroom, and hangs himself.
At her desk, Peggy is on the phone with her mother, trying to refuse a setup for a date. Joan makes a remark about a personal call. Don arrives. Joan asks after Roger, and Don says he’s improving. Don ask Peggy for ice water, complaining about the heat.
Harry, Pete, Freddy, Sal, Ken and Don meet in Don’s office to discuss the “PER: Passive Exericse Regime” weight-loss belt. Pete remarks that “Joan’s been a bitch lately” and the others agree. (Salvatore says “I like it!”)
They are at a loss about the product. They discuss the fact that there is no evidence of weight loss, but there are lots of testimonials. Peggy comes in with water for Don. When she leaves, Freddy says “What about her?” They all (not Don) make cracks about her weight, except Freddy, who brings it back to the fact that Peggy is a good writer. “Maybe lightning will strike twice.” Don calls her in. At first she’s suspicious that it’s because she’s heavy, but they say it’s because she’s a woman and they want her point of view; she visibly relaxes and is pleased. “Am I allowed to change the name?” she asks. Don says yes. She takes the device and leaves.
Brooklyn: Peggy’s apartment
That night, she’s home with her roommate, reading the brochure. The roommate is annoyed by Peggy’s eating and wants to make a financial issue of it. Peggy shoos her out. Peggy puts the PER on and discovers its sensation, crying out once in pleasure, then she immediately takes it off, looking horrified.
Ossining: The Draper residence
Betty is alone in bed, reading Family Circle. She turns out the light and sleeps along, because her husband is at…
Don is in bed with Rachel, saying he’ll stay the night. They are intimate and warm, sweeter than hot. Rachel wonders about the nature of their affair; Don says it’s real and he belongs with her but he hasn’t figured out what to do yet.
Wednesday, October 12
The next morning, as Don changes into a clean shirt (because he hasn’t been home), Peggy comes into his office present the information on the PER. She doesn’t want to tell him verbally, but her written information is equally vague. Pressed, Peggy finally says the product’s success is “unrelated to weight loss,” and describes how it is worn.
Don gets it; “There’s a benefit,” they just have to figure out how to describe it. Don tells her to work on it, and then gives her some clear, helpful advise on writing.
The Draper residence
Betty, in a peignoir set, answers the door to an air conditioning salesman who is taking advantage of the heat wave. At first she turns him away, but invites him in when he asks for a glass of water. They’re both sweating. He pushes the sale and shows her where a unit would go and how it would be installed. She allows him to take measurements for an estimate, but as she begins to lead him upstairs, she hesitates and then insists he leave.
Don is dictating when Cooper walks in. Lucky Strike (in the person of Lee, Sr.) is freaked out. They’re coming in for lunch tomorrow and want to see Roger”Cooper bluffed that they could see Roger, and they called him on it.
A Chinese restaurant
Rachel has a Chinese lunch with her sister Barbara, who is suggesting a set-up. When Rachel isn’t interested, Barbara ask if she’s “seeing that goy.” Rachel says “Little bit” and confesses that he’s married. When Barbara is upset, Rachel back peddles and says nothing’s happened, but that she’s been thinking about it. Barbara is disapproving and stiff so Rachel again denies an affair.
The Draper residence
Don and Betty are in bed; she checks for interest in sex, sees he’s tired, and says it’s too hot anyway. She starts talking about the salesman. Don is upset that she let a stranger into the house. He’s angry and yells. She justifies it and he refuses to have the conversation.
Thursday, October 13
It is the next day. Roger arrives on Mona’s arm; he gets a standing ovation from the men. Mona says one hour only and leaves. When he’s out of earshot, the guys whisper about how bad he looks.
Joan is brought in to put makeup on Roger; the two are left alone. She kisses him. Roger says he missed her, “I missed you too,” she responds. He tells her she’s dear to him and he has no regrets. She tears up.
Ossining: Francine’s house
Betty and Francine are in the new baby’s room. They discuss the salesman. Francine says “Carlton would break my arm” for letting a salesman in, and asks why Betty told Don. Betty has no answer, and says she likes that he is protective.
In the meeting they have deli, which Lee Sr. calls “Yankee barbecue.” Roger comes in, acting hale and hearty. They discuss the tobacco lawsuit, everyone assuring the Lucky Strike people that regulation is way off. Roger lights a cigarette and then starts having chest pains. Pete looks terrified, Lee looks disgusted.
As the stretcher takes Roger away, Joan brings Mona to him. Mona berates Cooper for this scheme, and tells him to go to hell. Lee Sr. apologizes to her. Bert and Lee talk; Lee can’t feel secure about his account unless Don is in an important and official position. In other words, promote Don or lose the account.
The guys all go into Pete’s office to talk about Roger’s heart attack. They all think the company’s in trouble because a partner’s illness is a risk to the company’s accounts. Harry says Don will be promoted to partner to solve the problem, Pete is disgusted. The guys discuss how qualified Don is, but Pete grumbles that they’re all carrying Don on their shoulders. Paul says Pete’s being foolish, a promotion opens up a spot. Pete pouts but thinks.
Peggy is on the date her mother arranged, in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. Peggy is awkward, stiff, and artificial. She orders a Brandy Alexander, while her date drinks a Rheingold. She affects smoking, and talks about her “friend Joan” who is “a scream.” Peggy alludes to the glamour of the city** and brags about her writing. She and her date argue; he is snide about advertising, she is insulted, he counters that she insulted him for being a truck driver; it is Manhattan vs. Brooklyn. Peggy gets up to leave, her date apologizes and tries to get her to stay, but she is unmoved and leaves with a final retort.
The Draper residence
Don and Betty are watching TV, a Post Cereal ad during the Danny Thomas Show. She heads to bed and wants him to come; he says he’s going to check on Roger, but actually calls Dr. Wayne. He’s unhappy with how her therapy is going, concerned that she’s worse; “weaker, not stronger. I’m afraid to leave her alone.” Dr. Wayne says it’ll take time, suggests more intensive therapy. Don is not amused.
Friday, October 14
Peggy’s weight-loss belt presentation. Peggy is nervous and unfamiliar with how a presentation works. Calling her product “The Rejuvenator,” she says it makes you feel healthy and girlish. Her slogan is “You’ll love the way it makes you feel.” They all like the presentation (Fred being the first to speak up). Ken asks what it really does. Don rescues Peggy and explains “From what I understand it provides the pleasure of a man without the man.” This starts the men chuckling and joking, pointing out whose wife likes it. They discuss Mitch’s wife, who is beautiful and who likes the product, the notion makes all the men laugh more and then they become aware that Peggy’s in the room and quiet down uncomfortably.
Don makes suggestions for improving the copy. Then Ken points out that Fred’s wife also likes the belt, Fred gets up as if to punch Ken and Don stops it. He assigns Sal and Fred to work on the project, and asks Peggy to punch up the copy. Everyone, even Pete, congratulates Peggy. Harry awkwardly tries to explain the crack about Freddy’s wife.
The Draper residence
Pushing the dryer to get it to stop shaking, Betty discovers the vibration pressed against her groin. As she enjoys it, she re-imagines the salesman, this time making out passionately with himshe closes her eyes, lost in fantasythen the dryer stops. She cools off in front of the fan.
Don in his office, pours himself a drink. Peggy comes in and asks for a raise; Don coaches her on how to do so more aggressively. He’s amused by how little she makes but their negotiation is interrupted by Cooper pulling Don out.
Bert and Don walk into Roger’s office. Pete sees and tells Hildy to tell him when the two are done there. Hildy is sweetly sarcastic and Pete yells at her.
In Roger’s office, Don asks “Is he dead?” Cooper reassures him and then offers him a partnership. Don is freaked out by having the conversation in Roger’s office, but Cooper says “That’s the way it works, Roger knows that. I’m not adding your name to the masthead, I’m restoring faith to our clients.” Don accepts, he remains Creative Director and is fully in charge of the search to replace Roger as Head of Account Services. He insists there be no contract, which amuses Cooper.
The moment that Cooper leaves Don alone in Roger’s office, Pete walks in. He, too, asks “Is he dead?” Pete congratulates Don and blows a lot of smoke up his ass, and suggests himself for the newly-open job.
Some time passes; it’s 4:30 pm. Don tells Peggy she can have her raise and that someone else will cover her secretarial tasks while she works on her assignment. He insists she leave early to celebrate, and gives her permission to tell Joan the news herself.
At 5 pm (we see several secretaries covering their typewriters for the night), Pete, somewhere between tipsy and very drunk, leaves an empty glass on Hildy’s chair. He goes into Don’s empty office and sits in the chair, putting his feet up. A mail boy comes in and gives Adam’s package to Pete, thinking he’s Mr. Draper. Pete takes it with him.
The Draper residence
That night, Don tells Betty he’s been promoted. She goes to kiss him, then stops, pulling back. She apologizes for letting the salesman in, then she kisses him. She takes his hand and looks desirous, then awkwardly stops and goes to the fridge.
At home that night, Peggy looks at her full-length reflection with an unhappy expression. Maybe recalling her own ad copy about how a woman wants to feel good about herself, she decides to enjoy her time with the Rejuvenator, while “Fly Me to the Moon” plays over the closing credits.
*SRO is a New Yorkism for a “Single Room Occupancy” hotel, a residential hotel room rented by the week or month, generally very cheap and located in poorer neighborhoods. It’s a bedroom and a bathroom (sometimes a shared bathroom) with no kitchen facilities–hence Adam’s booze on his dresser in 5G.
**Another New Yorkism. In Brooklyn, only Manhattan is “the city,” although outside of New York, most people think of all five boroughs, including Brooklyn, as “the city.”