“Mad Men’ Season 4 Episode 8 “The Summer Man” starts with Don Draper doing two things that are unusual for him. First, he is swimming incessantly as a form of both spiritual and physical exercise. Don is also keeping a diary.
Spoilers surely follow.
The swimming is an obvious foreshadowing of impending rebirth, though we don’t see him actually climbing out of the water this episode. The diary-keeping shows that Mr. Draper has started to gain a little introspection, unusual for a man of his position and era.
Don Draper is certainly not a happy man. It is his youngest’s second birthday and he is not welcome, mainly by Henry, his ex-wife’s current husband, who is unhappy that Don is still in his wife’s thoughts.
Even so, we see Don have a date with an educated, beautiful, articulate lady who greatly resembles Betty, the ex-wife, albeit far less of a bitch. He actually does not try to sleep with her on the first date. Is he trying to change his evil ways? Or is he playing the gentleman card to make her want it even more.
In the meantime, Betty is unhappy with the realization that she is once again a trophy wife. Henry is being give the opportunity to run the political career of one Congressman John Lindsey, an up-and-comer with a lot of ambition. If he were wise, he would run away. Next to being a Nixon aid, being associated with the future worst mayor of New York ever is not going to cause long-term happiness.
In the meantime, Peggy and Joan are having to put up with male employees who do not like female authority figures. This is certainly true of one fellow, named Joey, who resents Joan telling him to behave. He clearly had mother issues, plus he obviously hates Joan and wants to sleep with her at the same time.
Things escalate until Joey hangs up a pornographic cartoon for Joan to see. Joan admonishes the guys about it. Peggy stomps into Don’s office to complain. Don, while artfully wondering if Joey actually had the artistic talent to draw the cartoon, advises Peggy that if she wants respect, go out and get it.
Peggy gives Joey a chance to apologize, which he stubbornly refuses to do. Then she fires him. It is better to be feared than to be loved.
Joan, oddly, is resentful. This act makes Joan look weak and Peggy look strong. But whose fault is that?
Don is invited to the birthday party after all, much to Henry’s surprise, by Betty. Thus she gets back at Husband Number Two while showing magnanimity to Husband Number One. But it is OK, because “they have everything.”
Source: Mad Men, The Summer Man, TV.Rage