February 24–26, 1965 (This reads like a Wednesday through Friday. Tom Vogel mentions the doctor’s appointment was Monday, like that was plenty of time to have told Pete. It is three consecutive business days the week following Malcolm X’s assassination on February 21, so it’s either February 24–26 or February 25, 26, and March 1.)
February 24, 1965
Don, Roger, and Allison are all on the phone with Lee Garner, Jr. Don is chain smoking. They discuss legal restrictions on tobacco advertising; Garner is clearly upset. Dr. Faye Miller and Peggy come in, talking about the Ponds campaign and focus group. Don opens a letter from Anna that includes a picture of the two of them. Still on the call, he places the photo in the center of his desk.
Roger and Lane walk Pete, who has dropped in, out into the hall to tell him he has to cut Clearasil loose because Ponds considers it a conflict. Allison calls Roger back into the meeting. Ultimately they cut the conference call short by pretending there’s a fire visible through the window.
Allison tries to start a conversation with Don about the picture and his letter from California. He cuts it off and she looks chastised.
Pete goes into his office and finds Harry there. Harry tells him that Ken Cosgrove is marrying the daughter of the CFO of Corning; they discuss that Ken is now at Geyer; Pete sees him as competition, Harry as a friend; Pete accuses Harry of looking for a job. Harry invites Pete to join him and Ken for lunch the following day. After Harry leaves, Pete bangs his head against a support column that’s in his office.
In the elevator, Peggy strikes up a conversation with Joyce, an assistant photo editor at Life.
A bar in Manhattan
Pete meets his father-in-law, intending to tell him that Clearasil is being cut loose, but Tom inadvertently tells Pete that Trudy is pregnant (thinking that Pete already knows). Pete is shocked and then thrilled.
Trudy is upset that she didn’t tell him herself; she was saving the news for their anniversary, but Pete doesn’t care, he’s thrilled and solicitous. He then explains about the conflict with Ponds. Trudy volunteers to deliver the news herself.
Allison gets pulled into the focus group, clearly reluctant. Five young secretaries are already in the conference room. Dr. Miller is preparing in Joan’s office, which is also their observation room. She’s changed out of her suit into something more casual, and is removing her jewelry, including her wedding ring, which she hands to Peggy. She wants to appear unimportant and therefore trustworthy. The change complete, she goes to the conference room.
Don, Freddie, and Peggy observe. Peggy plays with, and tries on, Faye’s wedding ring. Don sees her and smirks.
Faye encourages the women to eat and chat. She shares her beauty routine and gets everyone talking. Peggy is impressed. Dottie is down on her beauty routine, since her boyfriend didn’t notice her anyway. Allison, sad, says sometimes it’s worse being noticed.
Lane comes into Pete’s office to ask if he’s spoken to Tom Vogel about Clearasil yet. Pete shares his good news and Lane, after first being a prick, congratulates him warmly.
In the focus group, Dottie is now crying about her boyfriend. Don sees that Allison also looks upset. He looks fearful and guilty. Allison, though, is aware that she is being observed behind the mirror; when she begins crying, she quickly leaves the room. Faye discourages anyone from following her. Peggy goes to check on her. Don nervously lights a cigarette.
Peggy finds Allison in the hall and brings her into her own office. Allison reveals that not only is she crying about Don, but she believes that Peggy has been through the same thing with him. Peggy turns from sympathetic to angry.
Dr. Miller comes into the observation room; Meagan asks about Allison and Faye doesn’t know who she’s talking about.
Jim Downey’s Steak House
Pete and Harry are discussing the coming baby when Ken arrives. Harry gets a phone call, leaving Ken and Pete alone. Ken immediately accuses Pete of bad-mouthing him. Pete denies saying anything, but apologizes anyway. Ken is unhappy, he hated McCann, but at Geyer he feels he’s floating along laterally. He’s bitter about work; you end up with little pieces of a company, not the whole thing. They’re happy only about their families; Ken’s marriage and Trudy’s baby.
Don checks in on Allison, who is in his office. She closes the door. She gets him to admit their fling actually happened, and she resigns, asking only for a letter of recommendation. When he tells her to write it herself, she loses it and throws a heavy cigarette lighter, crashing loudly enough that Peggy, Joan, and another secretary come out into the hall to see what happened. Allison storms out. Don calls after her but she runs; everyone sees. Don goes back into his office. Joan wants to know what’s going on. Don tells her he needs a new secretary and pours himself a drink, while Peggy peeks at him over the transom, ducking when he turns around.
Joyce comes to see Peggy. When Peggy comes out to meet her, Bert Cooper is sitting barefoot in reception, reading. Joyce invites Peggy to a “something” at Washington Market that night.
Trudy’s parents are already there when Pete gets home. In coded language, Trudy indicates that she hasn’t yet broken the news about Clearasil to her father, and Pete indicates he’ll handle it. While Trudy gets her mother out of the room, Pete tells Tom that Clearasil is conflicted out, and he wants the full line of Vicks products.
Don sits on his office couch drinking until he hears the floor polish machine and realizes he should leave.
Peggy arrives at a crowded hipster party. A person with a grizzly bear head walks by. Joyce offers Peggy a joint, Peggy is delighted. Joyce makes a pass at Peggy; she deflects it easily.
Immediately upon arriving home, Don puts paper in the typewriter and types: “Dear Allison, I want you to know I’m very sorry. Right now my life is very” He realizes he doesn’t know what else to say and crumples up the page. He takes off his hat and goes to sleep on the couch in his coat.
Peggy meets David Kellogg, the photographer, and Abe, a writer. Kellogg puts down advertising. Suddenly, there’s a police raid. Abe and Peggy hide in a closet. They kiss. Joyce comes and leads them to a fire escape where they can get out. Joyce assures Abe she can get in touch with Peggy for him, and then the two women run down the street and away, laughing.
Don arrives and is greeted by Mrs. Blankenship. Roger is clear that Blankenship is a punishment. She calls Lane and Pete, and Pete tells the other three that he’s about to sign the entire Vicks line of cough products. He’ll kick Clearasil over to Geyer to avoid the conflict. Don asks Mrs. Blankenship to reschedule Dr. Miller.
Peggy excitedly talks with Joey about the party and about the world she’s been exposed to. One of the secretaries comes in to collect for a gift for Pete and Trudy. Joey signs the card but doesn’t give money. Peggy freezes when she realizes what it is, and doesn’t sign. She goes to Pete’s office and congratulates him. His thanks are subdued. Peggy goes back to her office and bangs her head on her desk.
Don is typing when Dr. Miller is buzzed in. Mrs. Blankenship, instead of rescheduling, told her to come in at once. Miller says the focus group shows that Freddie was right; women want to get married more than they want a beauty ritual. Don calls the idea 1925 and rejects it. They argue about the nature of focus groups and her methodology. She leaves.
Peggy is laying on her couch when her phone rings. Joyce calls to offer lunch in five minutes. While Pete gets ready to meet with Vicks, Peggy leaves with Joyce and a bunch of friends. Pete and Peggy catch each other’s eyes for a moment before going their separate ways.
As he lets himself in, he watches an elderly couple argue about pears.