Sterling Cooper
Herman “Duck” Phillips passes muster with Bertram Cooper as candidate for head of Account Services. Don ultimately hires him for the position.

On the night of the election, once Don and Cooper have cleared out, (Pete is gone as well), the office converts itself into a huge party. TV pulled out into the main area, and the booze is pretty much free flowing.

Nixon and Kennedy
Early voting went for Nixon; but late in the day the results shifted and Kennedy started gaining. The vote was very close, and there were accusations Kennedy camp cheated by colluding with Chicago mayor Daley to have everyone, including the dead, vote Democrat. For reasons more complicated than Bert Cooper goes into, Nixon concedes and refuses to ask for a recount. Kennedy wins but not until the next day.

Joan
The ultimate gatekeeper, she gets crème de menthe out of the supply closet once the first batch of alcohol runs out.

Stars in the ‘staged reading’ Paul’s one-act play. Seems to have gained inside information about Sal after their stage-kiss.

Paul
His play, Death is My Client, is discovered in his office by Ken, and the drunken S-C partiers perform it.

Much, much later, he and Joan are the last awake, non-horizontal people left. They talk about why she ended their affair (Paul, as it turns out, has quite a big mouth), and the cha-cha together with no music, Joan with no shoes.

Ken
Chases down (quite literally) and ultimately hooks up with a girl named Allison who is wearing blue panties. He finds Paul’s play in his office (while looking for his Absinthe stash.)

Harry & Hildy
Uh-oh! They hook up, drunkenly and tenderly. They wake up together and it awkwardly crosses over to painful. He discovers his glasses are broken in half; trés metaphorical. She puts her bra on and assures him it meant nothing.

Peggy
Sits at her desk doing work while the party develops around her; clearly wanting no part of things. Eventually she stops working but keeps herself off to the side, chatting with Marge, and ultimately leaves early, not even finishing her drink (Marge uses it to top hers off).

Peggy arrives at work the next morning, appropriately horrified by the state of things. (Remember Jake Ryan’s house in Sixteen Candles?) There seems to be menthe-colored vomit in here wastebasket. In the breakroom (dumping the basket—not quite the same as kisses this time) she encounters Ken, Sal and Paul, hung over and still irreverent. She also discovers that her locker was broken into and her extra blouse (Don much?) and her ‘mad money’ ($3) are gone. She tells the boys she’s reporting it to building security.

Much later, she is in Don’s office when he comes back from seeing Rachel. She is hiding in there and crying because Sonny from the elevator and a janitor (maybe the one who saw her and Pete on the couch?) got fired. They got fired because Peggy had called security, and she knows they had nothing to do with her stolen goods. She says to Don, “Innocent people get hurt, and, and other people, people who are not good, get to do whatever they want. It’s not fair.”

Pete
After surmising that Duck Phillips is a strong contender for the position of Head of Account Services, Pete approaches Don again about being considered for the job, detailing how trusted and revered he is by his clients.

Later, at home, Trudy finds him looking through the box of Don/Dick’s old photos. Trudy finds it disturbing and encourages him to give it back to whomever it belongs to. (It sounded like she did look through it; she knows it’s not Pete’s, and there are pictures of Don/Dick.)

The next morning Pete takes the box to Don (after blowing past Peggy and speaking more rudely to her than I’d thought possible up until this point) and gives it to Don, explaining that it had come to him by mistake (which sorta is true), and at the same time, pushing Don about considering him for the Head of Accounts position. Pete then reveals that he knows that Don’s real name is Dick Whitman, that according to records, Dick Whitman died in Korea in 1950, and basically that Don is an imposter. He threatens (by strong implication) to bring this to Cooper if Don doesn’t give him the promotion. Don keeps his cool during the entire exchange, denying any of it and trying to make Pete feel foolish, but also shows Pete the other side of a move like this, saying that someone who has information that you could threaten them with might go to extremes to prevent you from exposing them.

Good point.

Don
After the confrontation with Pete, we see the panic that has set in. Don opens the box and sees the photos.

He takes off for Rachel’s office. He tries to persuade her to run away with him. At first she is charmed, but then she sees that he is in some kind of reaction/panic mode, (but won’t say why), that this offer has little to do with their relationship, and that he hasn’t thought it through. They argue, and she asks him to leave. Seems pretty much like a breakup.

Back at his office he ends up comforting Peggy a bit, and her words give him the courage to do the next right thing.

Don walks into Pete’s office and tells him there is no way he is giving him the job, and he can do what he wants. He then heads straight to Cooper’s office, with Pete scampering behind him, and tells him that he’s hiring Duck Phillips. Pete then tells Cooper that Don isn’t who he says he is; he is an imposter, possibly a deserter. And Bert Cooper stops the world by saying, “Mr. Campbell, who cares?”

Dick Whitman
Dick gets put on an assignment with just he and the officer at the post, Lieutenant Donald Draper. Draper gets killed in an explosion that left him so burned he was unrecognizable, and Dick impulsively switches their dog tags.

Because he was the last one to be with “Private Whitman”, “Don” is asked to bring the body home. He, as Don Draper, is on the train with the body that now theoretically belongs to Dick Whitman, and as they approach his hometown, he spots his own family, tells the chaplain that he cannot go through with it, and waits on the train. But his little brother Adam (age 8) spots him through the window. Adam tries to tell his mom and Uncle Mack, but of course, they know that Dick is dead and that Adam is just wishfully imagining things. Dick/Don retreats into the body of the train to the sounds of his little brother calling his name.

Back to Season 1 Episode List

2 Responses to “Episode 1.12: Nixon vs. Kennedy”


  1. […] Awhile ago we got into a feisty discussion about Rachel’s reaction to Don wanting to run away in NvK. […]


  2. […] my initial viewing of Nixon vs. Kennedy, way back when, I couldn’t help but think of the 2000 election […]

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