“Stop me at three. This is one,” says Don to his secretary, holding up a glass of dark liquor in hand. He definitely needs a drink, in light of the tumultuous day he and the members of Sterling Copper Draper Pryce are having; just when the firm appeared to be on steady legs, the news of Lucky Strike’s departure after 30 years of business has an extremely negative effect on their business and its ability to inspire confidence.
The blow of losing the biggest account the firm has ever held is compounded by Roger Sterling neglecting to reveal the news he learned weeks ago. Now the members of the firm scramble to both deliver on the business they have and convince clients not to hop into lifeboats and paddle for the nearest port from the seemingly distressed ship.
An important argument happens between Don and his new beau industrial psychologist, Dr. Faye. Under immense pressure and subsisting on the contents of the liquor cabinet all day, Don asks her to break her code of ethics to plan his wooing of clients in the weeks to come. Faye refuses, stands by her ethical codes and points out to Don that she knows the difference between work and the real world. A point that hits home directly with the nature of Don’s character; he is portrayed as a man, who, while excellent at his job, flounders outside of it. He is somewhat of a stranger to his children, drinks to deal with stress and treats relationships as pleasure-filled conveniences. Dr. Faye switches immediately from sweet and concerned to defensive and adamant and makes it clear however she will not be used and compromise her professionalism.
The younger members of the cast have their own unique emotional experiences in this late-season episode. In the wake of Lucky Strike’s departure going public, a rival firm shows up with a present for Pete’s unborn child and courts him with a partner title. Peggy on the other hand feels that “every time something good happens, something bad happens,” as she stumbles out of the bliss of lovemaking at home to the unpleasant atmosphere of tension in the office.
Surprisingly enough, by the episode’s end, the women around him provide for all Don’s emotional, professional and physical needs, and somehow the less than selfless captain gets to sleep easy in the eye of the storm.