Approximately September 8 and 9, 1966*
*It starts on a Thursday. The radio when Don is driving home mentions September weather; it is fully light out when Megan and Don fight around 7 pm (she’s been gone 7 hours at 2 am), but fully light when Don calls Peggy at 8:30. No on mentions the holiday weekend, which makes the Thursday before Labor Day unlikely.
Peggy’s Version: Thursday
Peggy is frantically preparing for her Heinz presentation. She can’t find the lucky violet candy Don gave her. Abe wants her attention and complains she works too much and thinks of him only secondarily.
Ginsberg is having an argument on the phone when Peggy arrives. Soon, Stan and then Megan arrive, all talking about Heinz, but then Megan and Don announce they’re going upstate to visit a Howard Johnson’s and will miss the presentation.
In the Heinz presentation, Peggy talks about feeling safe and included, but Raymond doesn’t like it. Peggy loses her temper and tells him it’s a great campaign and he’s just being difficult. Ken tries to smooth things over. Raymond calls her a little girl and walks out. Peggy is left alone in the conference room. Pete comes in and tells her she’s off the business.
Upset, Peggy downs a drink and heads out to the movies.
A Movie Theater
Peggy is watching Born Free when she notices a guy in the row behind her smoking a joint. He offers her some and then comes and sits next to her. Later, they’re stoned and giggling. He puts his hand on her thigh. She removes it but allows him to put her hand on his crotch instead. She doesn’t allow him to kiss her. She gives him a hand job.
Peggy washes her hands and goes into the office, where she sees Ginsberg arguing with his father, Morris. Introductions are made: Peggy seems to like Morris.
Peggy lies down on Don’s couch and falls asleep. Dawn, calling her “Miss Olson,” wakes her up because Don’s on the phone. It’s 8:30 pm, Don is frantic, asking if he got any calls. She tries to apologize about Heinz but he doesn’t listen.
Back in the creative room, she and Ginsberg are both working. He tells her that Morris isn’t his real father, that he’s a Martian, but that Morris told him he was born in a concentration camp. Morris found him in a Swedish orphanage when he was five.
It’s late. Peggy calls Abe. She’s disturbed by what Ginsberg told her. She tells Abe she needs him and asks him to come up. He agrees.
Roger’s Version: Thursday
Roger waits in Don’s office for him, and when he arrives, tells him excitedly that they can visit the Howard Johnson’s in Plattsburgh, New York. Upstate, in a rural area, they’ll be considered sophisticated and can debauch for the weekend. Roger wants to get out of dinner with Jane’s snooty friends. Don, though, turns the trip into a romantic getaway with Megan, to Roger’s disappointment.
A Manhattan apartment
In the elevator, Roger and Jane argue. He doesn’t want to attend this dinner.
The dinner is at the home of Sandy and Catherine Orcutt. Catherine is Jane’s psychiatrist; there are two other couples present besides the Sterlings and the Orcutts. Sandy philosophizes over dinner about truth and reality. Roger is bored. After dinner, Roger wants to leave, but Jane tells him they’re there to take LSD. She’s sad to realize he really hadn’t listened when she’d told him earlier.
One couple bows out, but Roger agrees to stay. Sandy acts as a “guide” and the remaining five take LSD sugar cubes.
Roger experiences time distortions, synesthesia, and hallucinations. He sees Don in the mirror, who tells him to “be in the truth” with his wife. Roger and Jane go home.
The Sterling home
They take a bath together. After, laying on the floor, they have an honest conversation about their marriage. They both know it’s over.
Roger’s Version: Friday
The Sterling home
Roger gets dressed, staring at Jane. He is at peace with the decision they made the night before. At first she doesn’t remember it, then she wants to dial it back, “I was on drugs,” but he insists he will go to a hotel so they can separate as peacefully and beautifully as their intimate conversation the night before.
Don’s Version: Thursday
Don decides he and Megan are going to Plattsburgh. She wants to stay for the Heinz pitch, but he insists. This trip reminds him of their trip to California.
The ride to Plattsburgh
In the car, Don insists that being able to blow off the pitch is a perq of being the boss’s wife. Don suggests they have orange sherbet, which she has never tried. Megan takes a nap.
The manager of Howard Johnson’s, Dale Vanderwort, greets them and treats them like VIPs. Megan is hungry, so they are brought one of everything on the menu so they can sample it. They argue about work: Megan feels she let the team down and was embarrassed to be pulled away.
For dessert, Megan asks for pie, but Don changes the order to three scoops of orange sherbet and two spoons. Megan takes one taste and doesn’t like it, she asks for chocolate, but Don suggests she is just trying to embarrass him. She shovels it into her mouth, feigning pleasure. The argument escalates. He thinks she speaks French to her mother in order to complain about him. When she mentions his mother, he freezes and walks out. She follows to the parking lot. He tells her to get in the car. She refuses. He drives away.
Don has gone some way down the road; far enough to be lighting a cigarette, when he realizes he needs to go back. When he arrives, Megan is nowhere to be seen. Vanderwort had not given her a key. The waitress saw her leave with some men, presumably to look for Don. He finds Megan’s sunglasses in the parking lot and begins to panic.
He calls Marie (his mother-in-law), and then calls the office (the other end of the call with Peggy).
He sits and remembers driving with Megan and the kids, back from Disneyland, newly engaged, whistling.
Don’s Version: Friday
A cop wakes Don, it’s 1:45 am and he’s asleep in the restaurant. The cop has not seen Megan.
The Draper apartment
Don arrives home to find the door latch on. He calls to Megan but she won’t let him in. He kicks in the door.
She is dressed and preparing for work. They fight. He says he said he was sorry (but we never heard that). She hits him. He grabs her. She hits him again and runs. He chases her around the apartment, and when he catches her he trips and they fall to the floor. She is crying. Finally she gets up to go to work; he pulls her to him and she holds him as he kneels before her.
Don and Megan arrive together, at first cool, but she smiles at him. When he gets to his desk he finds that Cooper has dropped off work. He goes to Cooper in the conference room. Cooper tells Don to come off his “love leave” and get back to work. Don watches people walk buy from the conference room.