Starting this off with something that’s not a spoiler because it was never a serious plot point (despite some labouring of the point). Sally Draper is not dead. Even though some speculated as much, following the episode heavy on murderous imagery. She was very obviously not dead for two episodes, without Don Draper reacting nor planning her funeral. Not a spoiler. Common sense.
WARNING: This post will probably contain actual spoilers. Random thoughts on the episode…
* Sally, Sally, Sally. This was a Sally-heavy episode, following her brief absence. The 13-year-old was last seen sleeping at her stepgrandmother’s feet, being guarded with a knife soon confiscated by her stepfather. The imagery was dark, but very little in episode four was supposed to be literal. And the gore was probably foreshadowing a forthcoming death; some speculate Don Draper’s death.
* Sally begins the episode on the phone to Glen, from her old neighbourhood. He catches the interest of other friends during every phone call, because it’s assumed the two are boyfriend and girlfriend. They’re not.
* Megan Draper’s parents come to visit; her father Emile Calvet, played by Ronald Guttman, and her mother Marie Calvet, played by Julia Ormond. Don’s in-laws visit the newlyweds’ home, attend a business meeting, cuss out their stepgrandkids (“Good night, animals”), and watch Don receive an award for (effectively) smearing Lucky Strike in a move the Mad Man later learns doomed his career because no one in a room full of potential clients would work with him because “They don’t like you; this crowd, they’ll bury your desk in awards but they’ll never work with you. Not after that letter… How could they trust you, after the way you bit the hand.”
* At the same event, Roger’s subplot asking for business contacts from his ex-wife comes to fruition. After which Roger scores with Megan’s mother, who’s long emotionally-estranged from Megan’s father who’s a professor sleeping with his students. Sally walks in on the encounter (mirroring how Sally saw Megan, her stepmother, unclothed and post-coital weeks ago). Horrified, she runs out white-faced. Asked by Glen at the very close of the episode how it is in the city, Sally replies simply “Dirty.”
It’s an episode about what goes unsaid, for YEARS. Roger used to ignore a wife who threw client names at him, Megan sidetracked acting for advertising to her “communist” father’s chagrin (her father found Don gauche for leaving “money in piles,” figuratively, in their “lavish” home), Sally sees a lot but stays quite, Megan pitches a Heinz idea that saves the account but she gives Don credit, Peggy wanted to get married more than she knew, Marie is flirting with Don and with Roger because she’s “competitive” with Megan for Emile’s affections. There’s so much bubbling under the surface the whole episode.