When Roger put on that fedora in Joan’s entryway, the hat cockeyed and forlorn, I had a feeling that we too were saying goodbye. “So that night we got mugged,” he asked her. “That was the last time? I wish I’d known that.” I can’t help but wonder if we’ve seen the last of the Roger we’ve come to love, the one who made us snicker and groan. Perhaps we too should’ve better savored the man’s wit. It was long gone this hard episode, as he dodged and crumbled and whined over the loss of Lucky Strike.
Ken was the first get the scoop, while out to dinner with his cutie fiancee and her rich parents. She was just in the middle of a story about Trudy going into labor in the middle of a rhododendron lecture (hooray!), when a SCDP rival oozed up to the table with news of Lucky Strike’s defection. Ken collected Pete from the hospital waiting room and they pulled Mr. Cooper out of bed and Don out of Faye’s ravenous embrace. Oof, that was a tough scene, watching Roger give a bad impression of himself while pretending to chew out Lee Garner Jr. on the phone. Perhaps it was a little ridiculous getting a close-up of his hand pressing down the receiver, but the point was that this man himself is ridiculous. Later, he holed up in a downtown hotel rather than going through the ruse of flying to Raleigh to plead the agency’s case. He’s a mess. He’s a coward. He needed his Joanie.
How my heart goes flippity-flop when I see Joan do the smallest of everyday gestures, like when she briskly unclipped her earring before answering the phone. “Dammit Roger!” she cried. “Get on a plane. You’re very persuasive in person.” Ha! He fessed up to the mess he created, and any love she’s long felt for this man seemed to drain out of her already pale face. He showed up later at her apartment which I hoped meant we would get another scene of her in glasses, but we were forced to make do with her I’m-so-over-it pajamas. “Is that what you sleep in now?” said a peevish Roger. He tried his best to explain that he really needed her right now, and that they belonged together in his times of crisis, but she gave him the sad, strong arm. He exhausts her. He exhausts himself.
With the loss of Lucky Strike, Roger had been rendered meaningless at the office. The only man who’s been bringing in any real business is Pete. And now Don doesn’t think his head in the game because of Trudy’s too-small pelvis. “They should cut it out!” barked Mr. Cooper, as Joan’s face stared blankly in the background. (Yes, yes, I think she’s exhausted because of the baby too.) If Don hadn’t been such a Dick last week, the agency would have North American Aviation to help mend their cigarette-mashed hearts.
NEXT: The most odd and genuinely romantic line of this whole series?