11:01pm: FINAL SCORE: Lucky Strike Lee +69 percent of our billings; Don Draper +2 emasculations; Glen/Glenn +1 letter "n"; Don's assistant +1 letter read aloud to a man who's capable of reading on his own.
I want more from Mad Men. The characters lost from Season 1-3 (Ken Cosgrove, Sal Romano, Paul Kinsey) were more fully formed than Season 4's replacements (Henry Francis, Boy Peggy, SBD and Glen/Glenn). And the development for the supporting cast isn't remarkable, either. Roger Sterling would bend over backwards to keep Lucky Strike Lee happy, without hesitation or regret. He wouldn't flinch a bit when asked to play Santa. Peggy's boyfriend is a joke, and she can do better. And where's Alison Brie?
Maybe Don Draper's not enough to carry Mad Men on his own. He went from vaguely admirable in the season premiere to revolting in this episode. He broke a rule last season with the schoolteacher, but with his assistant? Don wouldn't have risen this far without some self-preservation instincts, and his revulsion with Sterling's marriage makes his tryst more unlikely. I want consistency.
10:58pm: Don to freshly betrayed assistant: Here's your bonus check, one night after we were together. Wait, it's not a check, it's cash! And here she goes, typing her resignation.
10:56pm: Peggy: "I don't want to be alone on New Year's Eve." Freddy: pithy comment about gender roles. Nah, just coarse per course.
10:50pm: At least she left afterward (emasculations: 2).
10:50pm: I'm disappointed by this episode thus far. Maybe Glen/Glenn will throw his knife through Sally's window or something.
10:47pm: Don, please do not do anything with your assistant.
10:45pm: Don: "I thought you came in to flirt, but you came in to fight." Zinger and emasculation are tied at 1.
10:39pm: And there's the look from Dr. Fay/Faye/etc. to Don. Maybe this will end with an emasculation rather than an affair, though I think Don might enjoy that more.
10:37pm: Lucky Strike Lee to Roger: "Jump." Roger: "Into which martini glass?"
10:33pm: The Mad Men writing team equates Cooper's rant against civil rights with rants against socialism and Medicare.
10:31pm: I'm grateful that the iPhone 4 commercial — the one with the old guy talking to the girl on FaceTime — finally established that he was her father.
10:28pm: Breaking: Freddy is old.
10:24pm: Don: "I don't hate Christmas. I hate this Christmas." This seems about on par with other Christmases, save the big Sterling Cooper bonus check.
10:19pm: Son about his father's heart attack in Lipitor ad: "That was a rough time." Really?
10:18pm: Roger to Joan: "This is the office, and that's life." Lee to Roger: "Where's Sal?" And January Jones got nominated for something? Why?
10:10pm: Dr. Fay Miller, meet your morning regret, Don Draper. I would like her job, though. Behavioral marketing is where it's at.
10:06pm: Wow, Freddy's back. Drunky's back? I knew a drunken Freddy who soiled himself and it's influenced my Freddy spelling.
10:02pm: Wow, Glenn's back. Glen's back? I knew a two-n Glenn and it's influenced my Glenn spelling. Good to see the psychologically disturbed kid has a knife, though.
8:40pm: Don Draper puts the "sad" in sadist, but his focus on work post-Betty is inspirational, slapping notwithstanding. No family, no real emotional attachments, just work. It's oddly inspirational.
So the James Bond joke aside, tonight's episode is looking like a massive quest to find a Christmas party venue. If they don't have a boardroom at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, where will they put the buffet? And when will Henry tire of Betty?
More to come.