Here be spoilers for last night's episode.
HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS. HOLY SHIT.
Everything that happened tonight was a long-time coming, really, but when it actually happened, I freaked the fuck out. And also maybe giggled a lot at Pete falling down the stairs while wincing and hoping his tailbone was okay and then remembering I don't care because he's sometimes the worst.
1. Joan verbally destroying Don. The motherfucker deserves it. It makes me really angry that I don't think he will learn from this at all, or suffer for it, as evidenced by his success with Chevy. But God, Joan was right, every bit. What she went through wasn't Don's choice or his fault, obviously. Herb was a terrible client and a worse person. But Don makes decisions impulsively and with no thought for others. The success he has with these bad decisions does not retroactively make them good.
2. Ted Chocogughoug kissing Peggy. Holy shit. That was obviously going to happen sooner or later, but holy shit. (Her little Abe turning into Ted fantasy was dumb but fucking hilarious. ALSO: The book Abe is reading is totes not the book fantasy Ted is prominently holding in his hand, which literally says on the cover "Something by Ralph Waldo Emerson". Which makes this scene 100 million times funnier, because I do believe Ted mentions Emerson in their very first meeting, when he offers Peggy a job.)
3. I do not know where Trudy will go from here. I am intrigued. I do really feel for Pete as a forward-thinking businessmen (his anger was justified when he thought Don screwed up the company valuation), but not so much as a person. Also why does Bob Benson exist.
4. THE MERGER. This was pretty much slated to happen ever since Ken's little speech about tiny agencies scrambling for pieces (which originally led Pete to take all of Vick's) and CGC's growing relevance to the story, but I'm super excited about actually seeing it happen now. Is Peggy happy about this? I can't tell. I feel like she wanted to bang her head against the door when she went back to her office. I don't know that she wants Don back in her life so soon. But man, what a BAMF. I'm rewatching the show from the beginning, and seeing Peggy then versus Peggy now is an amazing and inspiring contrast.
I'm still not a fan of Abe, though. I didn't like him when he was dismissive of feminism, I didn't like him when he stalked Peggy at her office and blasted her job, I didn't like his stupid new hair and moustache, and I don't like him now as a useless (un)handyman and occasional journalist.
5. Biggest disappointment: no follow-up on Dawn. I don't know if Weiner has bigger plans for her later in the season. I'm beginning to feel like he doesn't. I don't think every episode has to be about bigger political or racial issues, because I think the show ultimately works best when it's tight and character-driven, but for the past several seasons, it's become clear that Dawn is only trotted out for Special Moments — race riots, Peggy being afraid to leave a purse full of money with Dawn, black secretary as scapegoat for white secretary, the assassination of MLK. She literally has no other function. And yet we have time to spare on Megan's insipid mother (love you, Julia Ormond, but those scenes were a waste of time). I hope Joan's promotion/punishment of Dawn translates into something later on.
Also, I miss Betty. I always miss Betty when she's not around. (And Sally.) But they need to do a better job of integrating her into the main storyline, somehow, someway. Because right now, she's almost totally divorced from it, aside from yelling at Don over the phone not to suck so much, and this makes her storyline feel tacked on rather than organic. Plus nobody cares about Henry.
In any case, the merger opens up a lot of interesting avenues for both plot and character development and intrigue, and I'm excited.
ETA: I forgot the best line in this episode that did not belong to Joan:
Oh, and I also forgot to add: it was really nice to see Roger competent and relevant again. I don't remember the last time he's been so useful, professionally.