This week marks the return of Betty Francis, the wounded whale. Betty, struggling to lose weight, bookended last night’s episode with her strategic consumption. Weiner continued to poke at the plight of the Jews in 1966, and Don’s secret, shameful past is bubbling to the surface without any disturbing effects. There are only four episodes left to go in season five. Pete Campbell’s dissatisfaction is snowballing while Don burns Ginsberg with the flames of hell. Manipulation is the name of the game.
Pete Campbell boards the elevator with the partners and smugly claims to have been the subject of an hour-long interview with his “new best friend Victor, of the New York Times.” Oh, don’t bother calling, they only seem interested in me, he says, with smarminess radiating from his pores. In retaliation, Cooper, always playing the peacemaker, sends Roger on a discreet mission: pitch Manischewitz to “normal people,” as opposed to the Jews. Naturally, Roger turns to the only two Jews he knows to arrange such a thing: he bribes Ginsberg and Jane.
During a portfolio update, Don notes shrewdly to Joan that most of the good work at SCDP recently has been Ginsberg’s. When Don Draper identifies a threat, you’re gonna want to back out of his way. Peggy and Stan know this, but Ginsberg hasn’t a clue – yet. Don snoops through Ginsberg’s folder (amusingly labeled “Shit I Gotta Do”), chuckling at the work he’s done thus far for Snowball soda. Then Don gets to work; these scenes are brilliant – Hamm consistently makes it look like the ideas are just floating up from the abyss. He pitches his idea – the devil, forked tail and horns, backed by the very flames of hell, sips a Snowball soda – to Creative. But the company wants to appeal to children, so a snowball striking an authority figure in the face is going to get the laughs, says Ginsberg. Peggy and Stan like Ginsberg’s take and Don tells them to go ahead with it. Ginsberg makes a few cocky comments: “It’s impressive you could not write for so long and then come back with that!” he says. “I’m glad I could impress you,” Don says, unamused. Peggy and Stan monitor the proceedings warily, waiting for Don to lay the smackdown.