Another very busy episode for Mad Men tonight, as the gang at SC&P try one more time (is this like the fifth or sixth time they've done this?) to reshuffle the company into something else in order to keep it going, but finally things have come to an end, as SC&P is swallowed up by McCann, and this time there's nothing anyone, not even Don Draper, can do to save it.
Roger gets early word that their lease has been canceled, and at first wants to fire all of his secretaries and Dawn for the mistake (hi Dawn, long time no see), but Joan convinces him this was an error, and when the two contact McCann they find out the awful truth. They're being "absorbed," which the higher ups of course want to make sound like a good thing, but Roger and Joan know means that the agency will no longer exist. Roger flees to tell Don, but Joan insists he also tell the other partners, and everyone mourns with alcohol (as per usual with this crowd), but then Don gets a call from Lou Avery, who smugly wants to rub it in his face that his comic strip has been picked up by a studio to turn into a cartoon show, and he's moving to Tokyo. Avery wants the last laugh, but this makes a lightbulb go off in Don's head that they can maybe still save the agency by moving everything out west to California and taking their clients (the ones that will have to go anyway if they move over to McCann) with them.
The partners decide to go for it and go about hanging on to their clients like Sunkist and Burger Chef, while Pete and Roger beg Ken to stick with them as well. But Ken just wants to be smug to them himself, as he firmly says no to the two of them and walks out. They do manage to get the rest however, and Don starts making his big pitch to McCann at their meeting, but the old Draper charm doesn't even have a chance to work this time, as Jim Hobart shuts him down and says there's no way. He makes them realize that this is good for them, as they'll all be getting raises and bigger clients than they've ever dreamed of, but there's a final sadness among Don, Roger, Ted, Joan and Pete as they drink to their losses and the coming future. Joan especially is upset as she realizes Hobart pitched a major client to every partner except her, and that she's likely seen as expendable to them. It end in one final Don and Roger drinking at a bar together scene, before Roger fesses up to him about seeing Marie and lets him know that it may be getting serious between them (Marie had left her husband in the last Megan episode to come live in New York City). Don's surprised, but not upset, and he goes to track down Diana the waitress (ugh), who had left him two messages he missed earlier, but all he sees is that she's up and split from her apartment, which now has a gay couple living in it. Good. I really hope Diana does not come back into this season, she's a drag and she cannot be Don's soulmate or something- I might gag.
In other news tonight, Peggy is having a hard time running an audition with kids for a toy commercial, and Stan scoffs that she doesn't know how to act around kids because she hates them. Then Pete decides to tell her early on about the McCann news, which causes her to hire someone to field offers for her somewhere else, but his advice is for her to stay at McCann, because it's a huge company that will up her value in a few years time, and then she can go on to a new agency. Peggy's depressed, as she realizes her dream of being the first woman creative director in advertizing is likely going down the drain. Later, a little girl is left behind from the audition when her mother's late to pick her up, and staples her finger by accident just as the mother shows up. The mom's freaked out and yells at Stan and Peggy, but Peggy yells right back, suddenly feeling personal about the situation, and can't let go of it to Stan even afterwards, when she throws it in his face that she doesn't hate kids, and finally admits to him that she had to give up her baby and will never know him, in order to go on with her life. She's bitter that she can never just move on or not know about mistakes she made, just like a man would be able to, and Stan is comforting and sympathetic about it. I'm still wondering if Peggy/Stan is a thing that's going to happen before season's end, since they've spent so much time together this year (and Stan mentions having broken up with Elaine in this episode too).
Finally, Pete once again functions as the comic relief when Trudy calls him to come with her for a meeting at a wealthy private school that rejected Tammy, assuming it's because the two of them are divorced. Pete goes with her, but the scene devolves when the headmaster says it's only because of a longstanding family feud between his family and the Campbells going back 300 years, and when he gets rude and insulting towards Trudy (blaming her for not applying for a backup school) Pete punches him out before storming out of the office. Okay, so this was funny and it's hilarious to see Pete jumping at the chance to act as Trudy's white knight and all, but it's also completely silly, as apparently everything about Pete has been ever since Bob Benson's boyfriend tossed his mother off a cruise ship back in season six. Serious or even asshole Pete is long gone, isn't he?
-It's sad to see that SC&P is history, but I guess it had to happen as the series is wrapping up, right? Now the question becomes is Don really going to stay on as creative director? He was thrilled again at the idea of finally moving out to California, I can't help but think that's probably where he feels he belongs and wouldn't be surprised to see him make his way out there somehow.
-So, did Peggy never follow up on that brother in law of Mathis's? Joan has her new guy (Bruce Greenwood makes an appearance on the phone this week), and Ted tells Don that he's reunited with his now divorced college sweetheart, but is Peggy destined to end up alone in the end? I suppose it'd be very Mary Tyler Moore of her (which started in the fall of 1970 and I wouldn't be surprised to see an episode of Peggy watching it before the show ends- Mad Men has never been too subtle for little tidbits like that).