Anyone who’s been to this blog before knows that I wanted to see the fallout when someone, specifically Don, discovered Peggy’s fling with Duck. Well last night, it happened (and now that Ken’s at the new firm, we only need Sal back on board, and all my hopes for Season Four are fulfilled). Yes it happened, but not quite in the way that I anticipated. Don exploded, but not at Peggy. He went at Duck to defend her honor. But it was far from heroic. We saw two fumbling drunks with Duck slightly getting the upper hand before retreating into the night. Peggy, naturally, did not follow. If Mark and her horrible family couldn’t drag her from Don’s side, Duck didn’t stand a chance. At one point I thought the episode was setting the stage for a Don/Peggy hookup, but by the end it was clear that their relationship is not built that way. Peggy is the only person, now that Anna is gone, who knows Don, and she is the only person who Don trusts. Sex would only complicate, and possibly ruin, that bond.
Back to Anna, her death loomed over the episode. When Don envisioned her, suitcase in hand, she was finally ready to go, leaving Don in Peggy’s capable care. The “Anna episode” was my least favorite of this current season, but damn if I didn’t tear up when she appeared for, arguably, the last time. And then Don, post phone call in his office. That might be some of the best work Jon Hamm’s done to date (and Elisabeth Moss more than matched him throughout the entire episode). If memory serves, Don never broke down like that before, and it was not a moment of weakness. It suggested growth, and Don took it a step further by having Peggy keep the door open at the end of the show. Is he really going to stop hiding behind all of his facades and take a chance of letting people beyond Anna and Peggy in? Maybe, maybe not. But even if Don puts her down, Peggy knows how much Don cares about her, how much he needs her. Though she never made it out of the office, save for the diner scene, I’ll wager it was the best birthday she’s had in awhile.