[Review & Recap] Mad Men: Season 5 Episode 4 "Mystery Date"
The Harris family is out to dinner and Greg’s mother is visibly upset. Joan tries to be the strong wife and defend her husband’s bravery when the elder Mrs. Harris drops a bombshell – Greg is returning to the war on his own volition. Joan is angry; still she’s holding the biggest secret. Peggy works all night and hears noises in the office close to her departure. We’re already freaked out by the murders and really concerned about her safety. Turns out it’s only Dawn Chambers, Don’s new black secretary. But why is she sleeping in the office? She confides in Peggy that she stays there when she’s not able to get home safely, as cabs won’t travel to her neighborhood and the subway is too dangerous at night. With all the fuss about Speck her allusion to Chicago’s race riots almost flies over Peggy’s head. Peggy suggests she stay at her place. We get to hear more about Dawn in her impromptu sleepover with Peggy. Peggy offers some camaraderie, telling her they “have to stick together.” She knows they aren’t really in the same boat but recognizes the similarities. “I was the only one like me there for a long time. I know it’s hard.” She also struggles with her identity as a working woman. “Do you think I act like a man?” she asks. “I guess you have to a little” Dawn replies. “I try but I don’t know if I have it in me. I don’t know if I want to.”
Back at the mansion in Rye, Sally finds the paper and reads about the nurse murders on her own. She’s afraid, and ventures downstairs to Grandma Pauline for some comfort. She questions her about how something like that could happen and Pauline describes a scenario which sounds strangely similar to Ginsberg’s Cinderella ad and the Mystery Date game premise at the same time. She shows Sally a knife she keeps for burglars and gives her a sleeping pill as she takes one for herself. Don enters phase two of his fever dream, waking up to Andrea in his room. He begs her to leave him alone, but one thing leads to another. Joan and Greg are home from their dinner having an explosive fight and he leaves to get drinks with the boys. Her mother tells her she can make it the year and she’ll help, suggesting she should sleep on it.
After a few beers Peggy decides to retire to her room. As she makes her exit she has an awkward exchange with Dawn, noticing her purse on the table and deciding whether it’s safe there with her Negro guest or not. Don tells Andrea their tryst was a mistake and she retorts it was a mistake he loves making. “You’re not going to ruin this,” he says. “You loved it and you’ll love it again because you’re a sick…” She never finishes her sentence. Don becomes enraged and strangles her to death, kicking her body under his bed, wearing one shoe like Cinderella. Joan tells Greg to go and never come back. She’s happy the Army makes him “feel like a man.” He says the Army makes him feel like a good man. She tells him he isn’t. “You’re not a good man. You never were. Even before we were married and you know what I’m talking about.” We have flashbacks to Season 2 and Greg raping her on the floor of Don’s office. Peg awakens to a note from Dawn thanking her for her hospitality atop the green leather purse she was so worried about. Henry and Betty return to Pauline and Sally in a Seconal induced stupor, baby Gene wandering the house in a diaper unattended. - Next Page- The Good and The Bad