Lane is in trouble. After racking up $8K in tax evasion dues and facing the possibility of jail, he looks into questionable ways of acquiring the money quickly. He asks the Sterling Cooper Draper Price creditor to advance the company $50K, and then brings up the possibility of Christmas bonuses during a meeting with Don, Roger, Pete and Bertram. Though Pete is confident that SCDP can win back Jaguar, the partners are reluctant to give the immediate OK on handsome holiday bonuses.
Harry Crane meets up with Paul Kinsey at a Hare Krishna worship group. Kinsey has seemingly converted, with a shaved head, monk's clothing and a pretty, blissed-out friend who goes by Mother Lakshmi. Harry looks even more out of place at a Krishna gathering than he did at the Rolling Stones concert but, thanks to flirtatious eyes and heavy chanting (and panting) from Mother Lakshmi, Harry is convinced to stay for the service.
Of course nothing is quite as it seems. Over dinner, Kinsey confesses to Harry that his main reason for joining Krishna is his infatuation with Lakshmi. Also: He wouldn't mind borrowing a bit of cash from Harry, or for Harry to read his "Star Trek" spec script and pass it on to his connections at NBC.
Meanwhile, in a beautiful, wordless sequence, Lane forges Don's signature on a check. This was a moment when this season's melodramatic score worked.
Joan has her own share of trouble. A smarmy Roger confronts her about the child support he repeatedly sends her and that she won't accept, and then soon-to-be-ex-husband Greg serves her with divorce papers. After Joan practically flies across the desk at the secretary who let the process server into the office, Don sees that Joan needs a break. He takes her along with him to the Jaguar dealership, where they play husband and wife and ultimately test drive a shiny XK-E. This sequence was a nice callback to "Lady Lazarus," when Don acted out a marriage skit with Peggy for Cool Whip clients. Where Peggy and Don made an awkward, spatting "couple," Don and Joan look cool and comfortable in their made-up roles. (Notice how pleased Joan looks wearing Don's jacket before they depart to the Jaguar dealership -- after being through hell and back with Greg, she's luxuriating in the dreamland of being Mrs. Draper.)
The idea of "Don and Joan" has mostly been sidestepped throughout the series, and their one-on-one sequences in this week's episode are perfect. When the two go out for drinks, Don admits that Joan initially "scared the shit out of him" when he first came to SCDP, and that there was once an ongoing office joke about whether or not she was a lesbian. Joan's knockout looks can often distract from the truth about her character: She's shrewd, intensely organized and handles tough office situations when the men of SCDP are scared to. Remember how she responded during the infamous lawnmower emergency in Season 3? That's Joan. She intimidates men. It makes perfect sense that Don has never approached her in a serious way.
Mother Lakshmi arrives unannounced to Harry Crane's office, and seduces him by bending invitingly over his desk. Harry is always on the heels of his next infidelity, and this situation is no different. Once the sex is over, Lakshmi reveals her true purpose in visiting him. She wants him to stay away from Kinsey. Her romantic feelings for Kinsey are nil, but: "He's our best recruiter. He really can close."
The episode ends with two lies and a rousing speech. First, Lane fabricates a reason to his wife for staying in New York for Christmas (Jaguar "came crawling back to me"), as opposed to returning to Britain, where the heat from his tax evasions would be too scalding for comfort. Second, Harry tells Kinsey that NBC loved his awful "Star Trek" script (which involves a woeful "Negron" complex), but that he would be better advised to accept $500 and start over in Los Angeles.
It's revealed that key client Mohawk Airlines has suspended production indefinitely -- this is foreshadowed when Joan angrily smashes the Mohawk model plane. Money will be tight at SCDP, and the partners must delay their Christmas bonuses. Don takes off his jacket (continuing the season-long Super Man trope) and gives a classic speech to the entire office detailing how the company must band together in the coming six weeks and land Jaguar. Lane the embezzler looks nauseous.
"Things for you and for me":
Don's line to Joan when describing her admirer at the bar perfectly encapsulates the message of this episode: "He doesn't know what he wants, just that he's wanting."
Also, it's not surprising that Joan's jukebox selection and the title of this week's episode is Doris Day's "The Christmas Waltz":
Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way,
He's filled his sleigh
With things, things for you and for me
Other interpretations or ideas? Thoughts about the episode?