There was so much to process about this episode. It makes me already anxious for next season to see what will become of so many of these characters that are facing some very big changes:
- Peggy is sitting in Don’s chair and looks like she’s ready to take NY by storm.
- Pete is unencumbered and looks cheerful (rare for him) and ready for a new challenge.
- Ted and family are relocating to L.A. to start fresh as far away from temptation as possible.
- Dick/Don, by all appearances, looks like he’s ready to stop living the lie and face the consequences. I hope that’s what actually happens because that’s what I’m ready to see.
- And Sally is in her teens which means she’s in for all kinds of changes. So much depends on her dad and what he chooses to do. But she’s going to be fascinating to watch next season in her own right. That much is certain.
It’s so odd that the purpose of the mandatory partners’ meeting at 9:00 a.m. was a shock to me. It was beyond time for them to sideline Don after all that he’s put his partners and team through over the years. And now that his mojo has abandoned him, it’s hard to justify putting up with all of that. And with Don/Dick essentially forcing their hand in the Hershey pitch, he asked for it.
Bob Benson is Don Draper as we learned in the last episode. A complete fake. And as Bob Benson’s star has been rising this season, it makes sense that Don’s must fall. What I’m happy to see is that Dick Whitman is starting to take the wheel — albeit awkwardly timing it during the Hershey pitch. The ending where Dick/Don takes the kids to the whorehouse is uplifting because he can finally remove the mask. It marks what I hope will be a new beginning next season for Dick Whitman as Don Draper is put to rest at last. Dick/Don can start fresh with his kids and in doing so hopefully repair his relationship with Sally. That was a nice look they exchanged at the end with that gorgeously subtle eyebrow raise by Kiernan. I think Sally understands that he is hoping to reverse course. I seriously hope that Dick/Don has the strength of character to follow through and that Sally will be able to handle the reveal without suffering further damage.
Speaking of Bob Benson, I predict that he will gain even more focus next season which makes me unhappy since I’m not a big fan. But he’s smooth. That’s for sure. He’s definitely following in Don’s footsteps, and his ascent is meteoric. His handling of Pete was masterful (and Pete’s no slouch), and he booted him and grabbed Chevy for himself in record time.
On a closing note, my least favorite moment of the episode was Duck bringing in Don’s replacement and giving him the opportunity to get his “Going down?” dig in. Hit a man when he’s down. Classy.