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Meditations in an Emergency
Season 2 Episode 13
Air date 26 October 2008
Written by Matthew Weiner
Kater Gordon
Directed by Matthew Weiner

The Mountain King
Out of Town


As the Cuban Missile Crisis looms (October 1962), things at Sterling Cooper don't run as smoothly while Don is away; Betty receives some upsetting news.


Betty Hofstadt, informed that she's pregnant, insists she can't have a baby now. Her perspective will change, suggests her doctor, after her husband and friends learn she's expecting.

Sterling Cooper junior executives speculate about management's plans for the company, and Pete wonders how to break the news that he's lost the Clearasil account. "Just tell the truth," Peggy Olson advises. "People respect that."

"Must be nice. Needing time and just taking it," comments Betty when Don reappears at the stables, wishing he could "undo what happened." His admission that something did happen helps her realize she's "not crazy" but, she states, life without Don wasn't all that different from life with him.

Pete admits to Herman Phillips that he lost Clearasil, but Herman Phillips says not to worry: Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency is merging with Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe. Herman Phillips will be the new entity's president, and he wants Pete to replace him as head of accounts. "I don't need his permission," responds Herman Phillips when asked if Don approves of the promotion. He believes Don's contract bars him from working for competitors; his only choice will be to accept Herman Phillips's authority.

Don watches John F. Kennedy alert the nation via television that the Soviet Union is erecting strategic missile sites in Cuba. Don arrives at the office the next day to a stack of correspondence and Pete's questions about his disappearance in Los Angeles. "Did you ever think I left you there because I thought you could handle it?" Don asks Pete. From Roger, Don learns that the company has been sold.

Focusing on the Cuban missile crisis, John Gill delivers a sermon exhorting parishioners to prepare themselves for the most important summit meeting of all, the one with God.

At the beauty parlor, Betty tells Francine she's pregnant but doesn't want the baby. Francine murmurs about a "doctor in Albany" and says that in Puerto Rico they do "it" in a hospital, but also remarks that "sometimes the best thing is just to do nothing and wait."

Lois from the switchboard indiscreetly tells Ken, Sal, Paul, and Harry about the merger news: "It's done. They take the keys Friday." She states that the new management wants to keep some of the existing staff for the office, but there will be "redundant" employees. She makes the men promise one of them will take her off switchboard if they keep their jobs. One of the men replies with the key word "if", concerning their future employment and possible redundancy.

Betty drops off the kids at Don's hotel that evening. After shopping, she heads to a bar, where a gentleman buys her a drink. She brushes him off at first, but later they have sex in an office at the bar.

"Don't you understand that this could be the end of the world, and you could go to hell?" Father Gill asks Peggy the same evening. Peggy can't believe God operates that way.

Trudy Vogel, fearing a nuclear attack, prepares to leave New York (taking the silver with her), but Pete declines to join her. Back at the office, Pete gives Don a head's up about Herman Phillips's new role at Sterling Cooper.

At home, Betty reads a letter from Don. He knows he's behaved badly and admits that she would quickly find someone new if they broke up, but that without her he'd be alone forever. "I love you," the letter concludes.

Saint John Powell anoints Herman Phillips as Sterling Cooper's president at a meeting with Roger, Don, and Bertram Cooper. "Good creative is important, but it can't be running the show," Herman Phillips asserts when asked to outline his vision for the new company. It should move into the business of buying advertising time and space, particularly television slots.

Don tells the assembled that if this is the agency they want, Herman Phillips is the right man, but that he won't be a part of it. Herman Phillips warns him to honor his contract or "walk out that door and start selling insurance." He doesn't have a contract, Don replies. (Roger concurs.) Before exiting, Don adds, "I sell products, not advertising."

Duck , having been checkmated by Don's departure, goes on a rant about Don's artistic temperament. Duck is asked to leave the room following this unprofessional diatribe. "This doesn't affect the merger, does it?" quips Roger once Duck is gone. "No. He never could hold his liquor", observes St. John Powell.

Joan Holloway tells Don that Betty called and wants him to come home. Other staffers also leave the office, but Pete invites Peggy to stay and have a drink. "Can I tell you the truth?" he asks. Peggy knows him, and he knows her, "and I think you're perfect," he declares. Peggy is dismissive of Pete's declaration. She reveals that she could have shamed him into her life forever if she'd wanted to, and explains that "I had your baby, and I gave it away."

"Meditations in an Emergency"

"Meditations in an Emergency"

"Daddy! You're home!" scream Sally and Robert Draper when Don returns that evening. Pete sits in his office, his rifle pointed at the ceiling. Peggy, in bed, makes the sign of the cross and goes to sleep.

Later, Betty tells Don she's pregnant. He reaches for her hand across the kitchen table.


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Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
Season 7 • "Time Zones" • "A Day's Work" • "Field Trip" • "The Monolith" • "The Runaways" • "The Strategy" • "Waterloo" • "Severance" • "New Business" • "The Forecast" • "Time & Life" • "Lost Horizon" • "The Milk and Honey Route" • "Person to Person" •