A weekday in November 1968
As soon as Don arrives, Stan approaches. There’s going to be a California office to service Sunkist. While Don warns Stan it would be a demotion, Stan sees it as a frontier and an opportunity.
Roger comes out of his office with Brooks, his son-in-law. He’s letting Brooks down. Margaret is so angry that she tells her father not to come to Thanksgiving.
Don is drinking booze out of a coffee mug when Ken and Cutler enter. Cutler wants Don to take the lead on Hershey’s since Ted is booked solid. Don agrees, and says “I love Hershey’s.”
Pete arrives from Detroit. He doesn’t like the city but he loves the account. Bob Benson is also back from Detroit. He has brought a toy car for Joan to give to Kevin. Roger spots them and is jealous. Joan says Chevy has given Bob a car.
Don pours a drink. Megan is concerned about a letter Sally has received, saying the next step is a subpoena. They won’t see Sally for Thanksgiving because Miss Porter’s doesn’t have it as a scheduled vacation.
Megan restricts Don to one drink before dinner.
Roger asks Caroline to get Bob Benson, but Bob is already there to see him. Roger tells Bob to stop giving gifts to Joan or playing with her feelings. He sees Bob’s relationship with Joan as a career move; Bob says they’re “buddies.”
Don calls Sally. She’s cool with him; he explains she has to give a statement about the burglar on December 1. She refuses and hangs up on him.
Monday, November 25
Cutler comes to Ted. Sheraton (Royal Hawaiian) is in the office and they can’t find Don. Ted just says “Again?”
As Don drinks, he hears a man preaching to someone else in the bar. Don tells him to keep it down and the guy sees an opening. He starts preaching about Jesus to Don. Don asks, if Jesus is so great, what about Kennedy, MLK, and Vietnam. The preacher says none of them were true believers.
Uncle Mack kicks a preacher out of the whorehouse. Dick follows him out to the street, where the preacher says “The only unpardonable sin is to believe God cannot forgive you,” before leaving. Dick watches him go.
Don wakes up in jail; they tell him he punched a minister.
Peggy comes out of her office and sees Ted’s boys, then Ted and his wife. She stiffens up. The Chaoughs leave.
Pete gets a telegram saying his mother has been lost at sea, presumed overboard on her cruise.
Tuesday, November 26
Megan finds Don pouring bottles down the sink. He tells her he spent the night in jail and laughs. He realizes he’s out of control. He wants to move to California; he wants out of New York. He quotes Stan’s idea of a frontier, and building an agency. He wants to be happy with Megan; she weeps, hugs him.
In a partner’s meeting, Don has announced his decision. They’re all shocked. He leaves the meeting and lets them talk. Ted’s annoyed.
Stan comes to Don, furious that Don stole his idea and opportunity.
On the phone with the authorities, Pete discovers that Manolo had married his mother before she died. He’s enraged. He rushes out to catch a flight to Detroit, and meets Bob in the elevator, on his way to the same flight. He confronts Bob and screams that his friendship with Manny makes him an accessory to murder. Bob swears he knew nothing about it, but Pete isn’t appeased.
Peggy gets dolled up in her office, touching up her makeup and pulling down the neckline on a low cut cocktail dress. She goes into a meeting with Jim, Ted, and Harry, makes sure they see her, and leaves. Ted is shaken.
Detroit: General Motors Offices
Pete and Bob chat with Chevy executives. Pete cuts Bob out of their dinner plans. Bob responds by manipulating Pete into driving a Camaro that’s on display in the Chevy lobby, knowing Pete can’t drive a stick. Pete inadvertently reverses, knocking over a very tall sign. The Chevy guys are disgusted. Bob smiles.
Peggy’s Upper West Side brownstone
When Peggy arrives home from her date, Ted is waiting in the hall outside her door. She lets him in, they fight over their hidden feelings, he tells her he’s going to leave his wife and that he loves her. They kiss and Ted unzips her dress.
Don and Megan are asleep when the phone rings. It’s Betty. Sally’s been suspended for buying beer with a false ID. Betty asks Don to pick Sally up at Miss Porter’s, because she can’t face this with her mother-in-law around for Thanksgiving. Betty is crying and blaming herself. Don, knowing what’s really bothering Sally, tries to reassure her. He says he’ll get Sally, and says he’s sorry. Don ad megan
Ted and Peggy are naked in bed together. He wants to take Peggy to Hawaii, promising they won’t have to sneak around. She tells him to go home, she doesn’t want a scandal. It’s very warm and sweet. He leaves. She looks happy.
Ted tiptoes in. Nan wakes up, says come to bed, and snuggles with him. He looks remorseful.
Wednesday, November 27
Pete arrives from Detroit. GM has kicked him to the curb, and his apartment has been sublet (anticipating living in Detroit). He needs a place to live in New York. His brother, Bud, has been trying to reach Pete. They haven’t found Dorothy.
Caroline tells Joan she’s worried about Roger, he has no place to go for Thanksgiving.
Don is reviewing the Hershey work with shaking hands. Ted enters and notices Don’s shake. He tells Don he needs to go to California instead of Don. needs to start over. Don thinks he means with Peggy, but Ted, ashamed, says California is his only chance to stay away from Peggy and save his family. Don says no. He needs it too and they’re writing Megan off her show. Ted tells don to have a drink, mentions his father, stops, and simply says you can’t stop cold. Don pours a drink, takes a small sip like it’s life’s blood.
In the conference room, Ted, Don, Harry, Jim Cutler, and Roger are all present with the Hershey representatives. Don pitches Hershey with a nostalgic story. He tells a fiction about his father letting him have Hershey bars after mowing the lawn. They’re going to use love and chocolate as an ad campaign.
Don looks at Ted, looks at his own shaking hands, then interrupts to tell the true story of his childhood, of the whorehouse. After shocking them with his misery, he adds that they should never advertise, because the sweetness of their chocolate is too intimate a memory to spoil.
The meeting is destroyed. Cutler and Roger look disgusted as Hershey’s leave. Don tells Ted that Ted will go to California. Don tells Dawn he’s going home, calling her “sweetheart.”
In Pete’s office, Pete and Bud listen to a lawyer on speaker phone. He implies the private detective and finding Manolo could be very expensive. Bud and Pete start to drop the idea of pursuing it.
Ted enters Peggy’s office. He tells her he’s going to California to save his marriage and family. She’s furious and kicks him out.
Don comes home. Dawn called to say there’s a partner’s meeting tomorrow, Thanksgiving morning, mandatory, at 9 am. Megan kisses him. He breaks it to her that they’re not going to California. She’s furious, and sounds like she has given up on the marriage. He tells her he loves her. She walks out.
Thursday, November 28: Thanksgiving Day
Cos Cobb, CT
Pete brings his mother’s furniture to Trudy. He, too, is moving to California. Trudy tells him he’s free. He says goodbye to Tammy as she sleeps.
The partners are all waiting for Don when he arrives. He’s shocked and confused. They tell him he is being suspended indefinitely. He asks if they all agree, looking at Joan. She is impassive. Don walks out. As he’s leaving, Duck arrives with Lou Avery from Dancer Fitzgerald, obviously a potential replacement. Duck and Lou are smug as they leave Don in the hall.
Joan answers her door, welcoming Roger. Bob Benson is already there. Roger is upset to see him, but accepts it and plays with Kevin.
Stan sees Peggy in Don’s office, surprised she’s still there. She’s wearing a pants suit and going through files. She sits at Don’s desk and we see the back of her head.
Don is driving the kids. They stop at his childhood home, the whorehouse, in a bad neighborhood, and Don tells them he grew up there. Sally and Don exchange looks.
The closing song plays: Both Sides Now, sung by Judy Collins.