Mad-Cap: Don Meets the Ghost of the Road

As the gang moves into McCann, Joan is in jeopardy, Peggy gets left behind, and Don brushes up on his Kerouac

Last week’s fairytale ending looks more like a horror story, complete with ghosts, in “Lost Horizon,” as our old pals begin the rough transition into ad giant McCann Erickson.

Joan’s struggles make for a central plotline, when Ferg, McCann’s number two, tells her the only way she can keep her accounts is by sleeping with him. Joan threatens McCann president Jim Hobart with a sex discrimination lawsuit, smartly striding into his office in a green I-mean-business outfit. She throws around names like Betty Friedan and the ACLU, coolly averring, “I’m not here to negotiate.” He threatens right back: “We’ve bought enough ad space in the New York Times to print Mein Kampf on the cover.” In the end, Joan settles for a cut-rate payout. So much for equality.

Don, having found his office, soon finds his way right out of it again, and onto the road, with the ghost of Bert Stirling riding shotgun beside him, musing about Jack Kerouac. His quest takes him all the way to Racine, Wisconsin, where he finagles his way into Diana’s old house, but when Jesus-freak Mr. Bower shows up (played scarily well by Mackenzie Astin), Diana’s ex quickly ushers Don right out the door, telling him that “Diana is a tornado, leaving a trail of broken bodies behind her.” Yikes.

Meanwhile, back at the old ranch, Peggy hangs around the empty offices of SC&P, which look more like a bomb site than recently emptied office space. They forgot to give her an office at McCann, and worse yet, they thought she was a secretary. She and Roger loll around his empty office, drinking Vermouth, while he tries to buck her up by giving her one of Stirling’s Japanese prints, which depicts “a lady being pleasured by an octopus.” When Peggy tries to refuse the gift, arguing “I need men to take me seriously,” Roger snaps, “Whoever told you that?” Seems it’s the moral of this week’s kinda depressing story.

Final scene: Don picks up a hippie drifter on his way to St. Paul. The hitchhiker says, “I don’t want to take you out of your way.” Don replies, “Not a problem.” Oh Don. Say it ain’t still so.


  • Don may finally have the secretary he deserves! She tells him the boss is back from the Bahamas so “no napping.” Maybe she’s not so dopey after all
  • And does that mean Don is going to marry his secretary? Again?
  • Harry (who we have to admit we kind of forgot about) is excited to go to McCann because he thinks it’s “Mission Control.” Get a grip, Harry
  • Joan should have known she was in trouble when those female copy writers tried to swoop in on her accounts—and not because they said they were “strictly consciousness-lowering.” What was that one woman wearing? Was that a vest? A grey vest? No. No no.
  • Ferg does an impression of Don. A bad impression
  • Apparently you can get your parking tickets fixed if you work at McCann. Who knew? Let’s all get jobs there
  • When Mackenzie Astin tells Don that Jesus can save him, he is really truly very believable. Down to the frightening glint in the eye. Mack, was it that hard being raised by Patty Duke?
  • Peggy shows up for work at McCann in a super-cool stripey thing, with a ciggie stuck in the corner of her mouth, Octopussy under her arm, and black shades firmly in place. Peg, you have finally arrived
  • Joan had the awesomest outfits this week. Just saying.
  • And so long to Roger’s secretary Shirley, who tells him at the top of the episode that she’s not moving on to McCann. “Advertising is not a very comfortable place for everyone,” she tells him. “With that in mind, I have to say thank you. You are very amusing.” Agree, with all of the above.