Synopsis: Don Draper makes a stop to Los Angeles on his way to Acapulco to visit his good friend Anna Draper. He learns from the woman’s niece that she has cancer. The news greatly troubles Don especially the fact that her family has kept her illness from her. Meanwhile, Lane and Joan have an argument that is rooted with Lane disallowing Joan to take time off after the holiday. Their shaky relationship is aggravated even more when Lane’s secretary mistakenly switches the messages on the box of roses he sent out to Joan and his wife.
Episode Summary: Joan Holloway pays a visit to her OB/GYN anxious to know when she and Greg can start a family particularly worried about the effects the two abortions she had in the past on her ability to bear children. Taking the opportunity to be with her busy husband during the holidays, Joan asks Lane permission to take a vacation right after the New Year’s holiday, and was not allowed to do so.
Meanwhile, Don Draper flies to Acapulco but not without stopping at Los Angeles. He pays a visit to his good friend Anna Draper whom he finds donning a cast on her leg. Soon after, Anna’s doting sister, Patty, arrives with her now grown daughter Stephanie whom Don remembers as a kid without front teeth. Since Anna’s accident, the two have been overly concerned about her and have been helping with her chores. Anna invites Stephanie to stay the night, and Patty though slightly reluctant agrees.
Joan arrives home to find her husband on his way to work. He informs her that a friend of his has loaned them his house at the Poconos, but could not be disappointed at hearing that Joan could not take off work to be with him who had taken time off after working over the holiday. Greg asks his wife to simply not show up for work, but Joan is worried that she would lose her job if she did so, an option they could not risk taking given Greg’s status. The possibility of Greg being shipped off to Vietnam causes additional stress on the couple. Greg leaves for work without patching things with his wife.
Don, Anna and Stephanie go out for dinner where Stephanie recounts stories about her college life. The young woman is studying Political Science at Berkley, and tells them about her religiously fanatic roommate who one morning broke down and spent her time reading the Bible instead of her psych book, and the next morning waking her up with a crazy smile asking her if she has heard the good news. She turns to Don and asks about where he went to school. The man truthfully informs her that he spent a few non-consecutive years at a city college night school before climbing up the ladder at an advertising agency. Stephanie has an aversion to advertising, but charms Don nonetheless.
Left alone with Anna, Don informs her of his plan to bring his kids to meet her, one that he has yet to get Betty’s approval. Anna finds it hard to believe that Betty would not agree to this knowing that Don had already told his ex-wife the truth about his past. He tells her that Betty might never fully understand, and how he saw a change in the way she looked at him upon learning of where he really came from. In a way, Don already knew that Betty would not understand, which is why he never intended on telling her about his past.
Stephanie returns informing the two of selecting an old, slow song on the jukebox especially to have the two of them dance. Anna with a broken leg could not see herself going on the dance floor, and so Don drags Stephanie instead. After a night of drinking and dancing, the three returns home, but Stephanie insists on hitching her way back home. Worried of the young woman’s safety, Don drives her home. Reaching the young woman’s driveway, Don begins to make a pass at her confusing the girl who could see how he loved her aunt. Don informs the girl that the he and Anna were never romantically involved although he loves her in many ways and for many reasons. Stephanie could see this very well, which is why he breaks the promise she made to her mom and informs Don that Anna has cancer. Cancer was, in fact, the reason why the woman broke her leg. Don is in disbelief both with the news and with the fact that Anna had not told her of her illness. He becomes even more surprised to learn that Anna herself does not know; a decision Patty and her doctor made. Unbeknownst to her, Anna does not have a lot of time left for she is dying.
Don spends the whole night sitting on the couch thinking, and decides to forego his trip to Acapulco to spend more time with his dying friend. In his underwear, he opens up a paint can and starts painting the wall in the living room damaged by the once leaking roof. Having overslept, Anna was sure that Don has left, and was relieved to see him there. Moreover, that the man has decided to stay a bit longer than he planned. She informs him that she was awakened by a flying jet, and begins to tell him of having seen UFOs and how she began to question the things she knows to be true. However, she tells Don that she knows everything about him, and in spite of this, she still loves him.
Patty arrives at the house and is angered at seeing Anna smoke pot and is appalled at the sight of Don in his underwear. The woman has come to bring some groceries. Don follows her out to her car and confronts her about having kept Anna’s illness from her sister. Knowing her limited means, Don insists that he will ensure that Anna will get the best care, but Patty is resolute and resolved with her sister’s fate having shown the results to various specialists and getting the same answers. Patty puts her foot down and makes it clear to Don that he has no say in their family’s affairs for her he is just a man with a checkbook. Seeing that Anna has no clue of her condition, believing that she has gotten used to having health problems due to her polio, he begs Don to keep the secret with him. Moreover, he pleads him to do the right thing and leave. She believes that the longer he stays with Anna; the more likely he’ll say something to her. Don returns inside the house, and is about to tell Anna of her illness, but could not bring himself to do so. He, instead, teary-eyed informs her that he has to leave.
Joan is at the nearly deserted office taking out pencils stuck on the ceiling when Peggy brings over a box of flowers. Joan opens it to find it filled with red roses, but reads the note and learns that they are from Lane. The note that reads “Darling, I’ve been an ass. Kisses, Lane” infuriates Joan who marches in Lane’s office, and throws the box of roses at him. Apparently, there was a mix-up. Lane did send Joan flowers, but he also had some sent to his wife back in London with two very different notes. His secretary, Sandy, had the two messages mixed. Joan’s note was short and professional. It said “Joan, Forgive me. Lane”. Her mistake that shook the already rocky boat between Joan and Lane after his reluctance to let the woman take time off after the holiday, and his uncalled for comment cost Sandy her job.
Don having finished painting the water-damaged wall gets ready for his trip. He later finds Anna painting a flower on the same wall. Anna asks him to sign his work, and decides to write “Dick+Anna ‘64”. This touches Anna, and hugs her very good friend goodbye. Don is close to tears. On the plane, his thoughts are still on Anna.
Joan surprises his husband with a luau for the two of them, and prepares for him a glass of freshly squeezed orange. As she was slicing the oranges, Joan cuts herself with a knife, a deep one that is worth a trip to the emergency room. Greg, a surgeon, brings out his medical kit, and works on his wife’s cut impressing Joan who nonetheless cries at their bleak future. Greg asks her to calm down, and she does.
Don arrives at the office, and is surprised to see Lane there who is equally surprised that he is not in Acapulco. Lane brings out a glass of wine he received from his father, and toasts the New Year. He begins to inform Don of his discovery after scouring through their books, but Don is no mood to hear of any more bad news. Lane tells him instead that although last year’s finances were precarious; it was, nonetheless, a magnificent year. Later, Don calls out for Lane who informs him of his plan to go to the movies, and invites him to go with him. The two look over the movie schedule, and ends up watching Godzilla amidst moviegoers performing hand jobs. With a flask of alcohol Don had brought with him to the theater, the two managed to enjoy the rather silly movie. Later, the two men have dinner together where Lane informs Don that his wife has left him. Rebecca Pryce who despises New York flew back to London without him, and spends the holidays with her kids despite Lane’s insistence that they all celebrate it in New York. An inebriated Lane throws caution to the wind, and uncharacteristically makes a scene at a fine dining restaurant. Moreover, he agrees to Don setting up a lady friend for him. The two spend time at a club where the comedian makes fun of them seeing that the two men are without company. Teasing them to be homosexuals, the crowd gets a laugh at them only to be triumphantly corrected when their escorts arrive. They ditch the club, and make their way to Don’s apartment. A nervous Lane asks Don for advice, but gets nothing. The woman leads him to the bedroom where they have intercourse in Don’s bedroom, while Don does it on the couch with his lady friend. The next morning, Lane pays for the woman’s services, and thanks Don for the welcome distraction. The mad men return to the office, and begin yet another year. It’s already 1965.
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