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Mad Men "The Suitcase" Episode Recap 2010-09-06 10:30:00

Mad Men's 5 Maddest Moments: Episode "The Suitcase"

For such an innocuously-titled episode, this week's Mad Men is anything but. There's both potty humor and the raw honesty, and by the time the vomit and ghosts appeared, I was convinced I was watching the wrong show.

The series really roughed up its Emmy-fresh sheen to peel back the curtain and show us a more, uh, interesting side. Aside from the boxing and strength metaphors, this episode is really about Don and Peggy and exposing a new facet of their relationship.

Let's get to it, shall we? To discuss the maddest moments of this week's episode, just


  • The Match: The excitement in the office is around the Cassius Clay/Sonny Liston fight, but the real heavyweight match is between Peggy and Don. It's her 26th birthday, and she's detained by Don until she can come up with a usable idea for Samsonite. The resentment Peggy feels for being ignored when Don won the CLIO last week bubbles up and comes right out of her eyes. After Don yells her into the ground, Peggy breaks Kelly Cutrone's cardinal rule by crying in the office.
  • How not to break up: Ugh, good riddance, Mark. Peggy's boyfriend arranges a surprise dinner for her that includes her family, and he's more than irked that she can't make it. After ripping her a new one for ditching him for work, he then breaks up with her over the phone from the restaurant, in front of her family. No one should be dumped on their birthday, and not while their family awkwardly listens over oysters.
  • Unwelcome goodbye: Don gets an urgent call from California regarding Anna, and he knows it's bad news. He waits until the morning after Peggy's birthday to call, and it confirms that Anna has passed away. Don knew it was coming, especially after glimpsing her ghost as he slept off his drunkenness. We see more vulnerability from Don as he gives into his grief in front of Peggy and sobs, letting her comfort him.
  • If it walks like a Duck, it's probably drunk: The only person more of a hot mess than Don Draper this week is Duck Phillips. Fired from his job, he sends Peggy a birthday bouquet and a stack of presumptuous business cards. The desperation (and alcohol) on his voice is thick, and he describes the agency he wants to form with Peggy from the ground up. She extracts herself from the painful phone call and when she next sees him, his pants are down and he's trying to defecate on Roger's couch. And though I'd like to forget it even happened, I have to say it: Someone farted on Mad Men.
  • Time to get personal: Don and Peggy's relationship stops being polite and starts getting real after their epic fight. Making up over the hilarious tapes of Roger's recordings for his book (I'll never look at Cooper the same way again), they go out for dinner and drinks. I was shocked by how much comes out; Don freely makes references to his old life as Dick Whitman, and then they talk honestly about why they've never slept together (the rules). Is it cute or weird that Don tells Peggy she's "cute as hell"? The season one revelation of Peggy's illegitimate child also comes up, and Peggy admits that her mother thinks it was Don's baby. They're being so open that I'm surprised they stop before Peggy admits that it was Pete who impregnated her. The bonding continues after that — she helps him as he gets sick, falls asleep with him on his couch, and by morning, he tenderly strokes her hand. I've always been weirded out by a possible Peggy-Don love connection, but the sequence of events that leads to them having a new understanding of each other is so touching that I'm almost rooting for them to get together.

What did you think of "The Suitcase"? Were you as shocked as I was that they went so far with some things (yes, I'm thinking of all the bodily function situations). Chat me up with your reactions below, and don't forget to join the group It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Men World in the BuzzSugar Community to chat some more!

Photos courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
Sweet-Kirstin Sweet-Kirstin 6 years
One of my favorite episodes of this season. The chemistry and writing continues to always get better from watching Don & Peggy. When my hubby & I, both watched The Sopranos every Sunday evening for six seasons and 86 episodes on HBO, we were comfortable with what David Chase had created. Matthew Weiner had worked on Season 6, Part 2 on The Sopranos and now he has created chemistry with Mad Men on AMC :heart: :hug: sweetkirstin
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 6 years
It was a great episode! I really loved every minute of it.
snarkypants snarkypants 6 years
best. episode. ever. i don't think don and peggy will get together, but i think his relationship with her will grow. platonically.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I've always been on team "keep peggy and don platonic," but I think there is something to be said for Don actually being in a romantic relationship with someone who knows him. Anna was always platonic because he couldn't bear to be intimate with someone who knew him so intimately. That said, I don't want to see that for at least another season or two. Don needs to be in a place where he can treat peggy with respect--he's not there now and it will take a while.
care0531 care0531 6 years
I just finished watching the past 3 seasons and am all caught up on season 4 so everything is really fresh in my head....with that said.......I DO NOT see Peggy and Don hooking up at all. I think they are 2 people who have a lot they need to talk about and very few people they feel they can trust. Peggy knows about Don's late night romps, knows more about his family then Betty ever knew (well until he had to tell her)and I really feel like she is someone he feels he can trust and vis versa. He never asked her who the father of her baby was but he was there for her in support. They have a great friendship and I see it growing. It's as if Peggy will fill the void of Mrs. Draeper now that she has past, and Don will be the good friend that Peggy never seems to have.
redchick152 redchick152 6 years
i felt that the hand holding gesture was more of an acknowledgment of what all happened the night before. not romantic at all. we shall see!
redchick152 redchick152 6 years
i don't regularly comment on Mad Men, but i happened to catch the episode on time this week. usually i'm way behind! i don't like the idea of Peggy and Don being in a romantic relationship. she is the only woman he actually treats with any sort of respect. i'm not sure that "fatherly" is the word i'm looking for for Don, but maybe "mentor" is better? he's challenging Peggy to become sucessful and independent in a man's world. he isn't easy on her by any means, but he seems to genuwinely want the best for her.
Dionne-Marie Dionne-Marie 6 years
I've never liked the idea of Peggy and Don UNTIL now. This was a superb episode and it really showed the audience what it would be like if Draper and Olsen finally did the nasty and started a relationship. She sees him for what he really is and he's not afraid to be himself with her. I can't wait for Don to find out it was that loser Pete who knocked her up!
a-million-suns a-million-suns 6 years
Great episode. I've never particularly liked the idea of Don + Peggy, but after this episode, I totally changed my mind.
mscc mscc 6 years
This was definitely one of the best episodes of Mad Men ever! It was so gratifying to see the vulnerable side of Don, plus the deep connection between him and Peggy explored. And can I say that I am so grateful that there isn't a romantic connection between the two? I'm with BuzzSugar - I've always been a little skeeved out by that possibility. I was worried that Don and Peggy were going to jump each others' bones in the heat of arguing!
Studio16 Studio16 6 years
Good. Don needs a glass of warm milk and a hug from someone he can talk to. And I'm being dead serious.
Chelsea25 Chelsea25 6 years
This episode was wonderful, I loved every second of it.. The image of Don punching the air simulating boxers moves was really funny to me, far from typical Don. But what actually got to me the most was the hand stroke at the end because for the first time Don wasnt trying to act as though the 'intimacy' of the night never happened, he actually reaffirmed it. I don't know about a relationship between the two but that would def be far more compelling to me than all the other female alternatives this season.
tpage tpage 6 years
Bodily functions aside, I thought this was one of the best episodes of Mad Men ever. When Don said that he wanted his door left open at the end of the episode I felt hopeful for his future for the first time all season. Did anyone else notice Pete's face when Peggy and Trudy walked out of the bathroom at the same time?
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