We've already seen Pete feel marginalized and powerless over in the West Coast office (and also, Pete-like, conceited enough to not recognize the similarities between Bonnie's story and his own), just as Roger keeps being outmaneuvered by Cutler in New York. And then Joan gets dragged into the Dawn mess, and the secretarial shuffle that follows, as Christina Hendricks does a wonderful slow burn, because why does Joan still have to suffer these fools after all this time?

The episode's final moves are happier ones, but also suggest more chaos to come. Shirley didn't seem to much like Peggy, so maybe she'll love Lou and all his horribleness, but Joan still has a lot to learn in accounts, there will be a learning curve for Dawn, on top of whatever racial tensions may now surface among both the secretarial pool and some of the partners.

And for all the relief and happiness and guilt that Don feels at realizing his little girl still loves him, he is still, like Pete, in limbo. People feel his existence in the way they don't seem to feel Pete's — his absence wreaks havoc on the agency, even as other shops are trying to figure out if he can work for them — but after another day where no work gets done, he may as well go back to chomping on Ritz crackers in his robe and enjoying the adventures of Darla, Spanky and Alfalfa.

Though if he gets to do that next time with Sally, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Some other thoughts:

* I'm sure Tom & Lorenzo will go into much deeper detail on this in their weekly Mad Style analysis of the episode, but note how the color red (or, on a few occasions, pink) is prominent in every scene. Spirit of the season. 

* Also, just as Peggy thinks she's being taunted all day by a reminder of a lover who ran away, we get glimpses of accounts the agency failed to land, whether Lou telling Roger that Ogilvy signed Hershey after Don blew the meeting or Sally pouring a healthy supply of Heinz ketchup onto her diner fries.

* When Don finally rousts himself from bed, he puts on a "Little Rascals" episode, repackaging an "Our Gang" short from Don's childhood in the Depression. Later, before Dawn arrives, he's watching Marlo Thomas in "That Girl" (a hugely progressive show for the period about a woman trying to make it on her own in the big city), and the snippet of conversation between Ann and her father definitely seems to fit the description for the episode that actually aired the night before Valentine's Day, 1969: "There Was a Time Ann Met a Pie Man," in which Ann becomes temporarily famous for appearing in a TV skit where she gets a pie in the face.

* When Don and Sally are driving back to school, the car radio is playing "Elenore" by The Turtles; after she tells her daddy she loves him, we hear "This Will Be Our Year" by The Zombies. (Not to be confused with the stars of another popular AMC drama.)

* Though Cutler does Joan a solid by getting her out of personnel hell, it could be read as just the latest move in his Machiavellian campaign to nudge Roger (and Bert) out of power, which first came up shortly after the merger last year. Allies are very useful, especially when you are bracing for others to become adversaries.

* Two episodes into the season and still no Betty or Harry, though the latter has been mentioned in both weeks so far. Ken and Megan are absent this week, while Bob Benson remains a bogeyman off in Detroit, causing agita for both Ken and Pete even while he can't appear because he's busy acting on a CBS sitcom.

* Meanwhile, Ginsberg appears only briefly, but he makes it count with his crack about Peggy's Valentine's Day plans.

* That was "JAG" star David James Elliott as Don's lunch date Ed. Which face of '90s TV will we be getting next week?

* At that lunch, Don references almost having worked for McCann Erickson twice. The first was in season 1's "Shoot," where Jim Hobart (the guy who tries to crash the lunch with Ed) offered Betty a modeling job to try to entice Don (it backfired); the second was at the end of season 3, when the Brits are on the verge of selling Sterling Cooper to McCann.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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