“Mad Men,” Season 4, Episode 7: “The Suitcase”

Oh Don Draper, how is it you can make me angry one week and bring a tear to my eye the next?

This week’s “Mad Men” was a special one. Because we saw a part of Don (Jon Hamm) we’ve almost never seen. He actually broke down, shed some tears and reached out to another human being. It was intense. Seeing Don Draper cry is like seeing your dad cry. You have to cry along with him.

Leading up to Don’s breakdown, we find the gang working on a Samsonite account. And it’s set to the backdrop of the historic May 1965 fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston (Oh, and more underplayed Peggy’s 26th birthday).

Everyone in the office is taking off to watch the fight when Don gets an urgent message from California. He already knows what it is but cannot bring himself to return the call. He decides to skip the fight and work. He decides to torture Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) as well. Not knowing it’s her birthday, he forces her to stay behind and work on the Samsonite account.

Meanwhile, Peggy’s boyfriend Mark has arranged a surprise birthday dinner with her family. So, little does she know Don is actually keeping her from an uncomfortable mess.

Don and Peggy end up in a bickering and yelling bout that was far more exciting than Ali vs. Liston. They finally make up after Peggy tells Don it’s her birthday. He takes her out for dinner. Then he gets drunk. Then they fall alseep in his office. I guess I should mention two things that happened along the way: (1) A drunk Duck (Mark Moses) shows up and tries to whisk Peggy away and fight Don. (2) Mark dumps Peggy.

The sun rises and Don finally returns the call to California. It’s confirmed that the original Mrs. Don Draper has passed away. Don breaks down in tears and Peggy sees this. He tells Peggy that he lost a dear friend and the only person who ever knew him. She tells him that’s not true. Even though it kind of is.

The both sleep in their offices and when she wakes, Peggy goes in to check on Don. He’s a fresh as ever and has even come up with a campaign for Samsonite. Peggy doesn’t like it, but tells Don what he wants to hear. He puts his hand on hers.

It turns out Don Draper is human after all.

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