At the outset of Season 5’s fifth episode, “Far Away Places,” Megan is excited about SCDP’s upcoming campaign pitch.
But Don doesn’t care that she cares about work, pokes her in the stomach, and orders her to abandon her team to take an impromptu road trip.
The destination turns out to be a rest stop, where Don proceeds to brainstorm an ad campaign.
When Megan points out that the whole situation is kind of fucked up, Don walks out of the restaurant and drives away. He leaves her there. Miles and miles and miles away from home, he completely abandons her.
Later in the episode, we learn that Megan does the sensible thing: she takes a long bus home. We don’t see that. We viewers spend the couple’s time apart with Don.
After all, he is Mad Men’s protagonist.
Having abandoned his wife, Don lights a cigarette and soon experiences a change of heart. But when he returns to Howard Johnson’s, Megan is nowhere to be found.
And so we watch Don wait for Megan. We worry with him.
We watch him drink coffee and make payphone calls
and drink more coffee and make more payphone calls.
In the morning, Don decides to head home. When he discovers Megan isn’t dead, he violently kicks in the door, grabs at her, chases her around the apartment, and throws her on the floor.
They’re on the carpet again, but it’s not sexy this time.
Eventually Megan stands up and Don — on his knees — hugs her, and says “I thought I lost you.” Megan nods, and he rubs his face all over her torso.
Matt Weiner says of this moment: “When they come back to the apartment, it’s so violent and so passionate, what you really get is that Don loves this woman.”
Don forces his wife to leave her work, abandons her far from home, and physically attacks her.
What the fuck kind of love is that?