Season 2, Episode 9

Six Month Leave

Freddy Rumsen disappoints his team during a pitch. Pete finds an opportunity at the office to exploit while Don proves his loyalty to an old friend. Betty finds a welcome distraction in Sara Beth.

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Don, still on the outs with Betty and staying at the Roosevelt Hotel, picks up the morning paper to find that Marilyn Monroe has died; the news has left many of Sterling Cooper's secretaries weeping. "We're lucky Playtex didn't go for that Jackie/Marilyn campaign," comments Peggy. The first meeting of Don's day involves the company's blood drive. Ken asks what the prize is for a high rate of participation. "Helping another human being," replies Don. As the meeting ends, Don begs off when Harry invites him and Betty to an NBC event. Back in Don's office, Jane, who deduces something is amiss after receiving a phone call from Don's daughter, says she hopes he's noticed that she's discreet. "I don't know you at all, and this is personal and it's not up for discussion," he responds. At a dress rehearsal before a presentation to executives of Samsonite luggage, Freddy pees in his pants then passes out. A shocked Pete deputizes Peggy to act as Freddy's stand-in. Asleep on her sofa near an empty glass of wine, Betty is awakened by Sarah Beth, who has come to borrow a dress. Sarah Beth tells Betty she's been having wild dreams about Arthur Case since she saw him fighting with his fiancé. "Not you too," Roger says after spotting Joan lying on his couch, mourning Marilyn, saying, "This world destroyed her." To Roger, Marilyn was a movie star who had everything and threw it away. Joan warns him that one day he'll lose someone who is important to him, and it will be "very painful." Don returns home with the kids after an outing and tells Betty that if her mind is made up about their breaking up, he's not going to try to change it. "I thought you can talk anyone into anything," she replies. At work the next morning, Don comes across a bag of shirts (from Menken's) that Jane has bought for him. "I thought you could use a few more for your rotation," she says. Freddy drops by Peggy's office and learns that the Samsonite executives loved the presentation. In Roger's office, Don learns from Pete and Duck about Freddy's mishap of the day before. Don disagrees when Roger says Freddy must be fired, but Roger insists. "We'll say it's a six-month leave of absence" from which Freddy won't return. The plan is to tell Freddy over dinner that evening. Betty's housekeeper, Carla, offers some marital advice. Betty won't discuss her personal life but does take Carla's recommendation to get outdoors. She heads to the stables, where she runs into Arthur Case and invites him to have lunch on Thursday with her and Sarah Beth. Meanwhile, at the Sterling Cooper blood drive Paul, Harry, Sal, and Ken make fun of Freddy's mishap. Don tells them to stop gossiping like teenage girls. Over pre-dinner cocktails, Roger informs Freddy he's through at Sterling Cooper. Freddy contends that clients love him and that his indiscretion was no big deal, but despite Roger's fond reminiscences about Freddy's war service and copywriting skills, the verdict remains the same. "Let's make a night of it," Roger says after Freddy accepts his fate, and the men eventually find themselves at an illegal gambling club. Roger says at the club that he can tell Don's marriage is on the rocks. Don maintains that there's nothing to talk about, but Roger persists, asking, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?" While Roger is tweaking him for being so secretive, Don suddenly walks over to Freddy's gaming table. "Well, if it isn't the man in the gray flannel suit," says a smiling Jimmy Barrett. Don decks him with one punch. Roger and Freddy whisk Don out of the club. After a fond goodbye Freddy heads home in a cab; Don and Roger end up at another bar. Don still doesn't want to discuss his home life but admits that rather than feeling bad about being separated from Betty, he mostly feels relieved. The next day Don promotes Peggy to Freddy's position but chastises her for not telling him about Freddy's incident sooner. Peggy leaves Don's office and heads straight for Pete to chew him out for tattling on Freddy. Pete refuses to feel bad about the situation. Arthur surprises Sarah Beth when he arrives for lunch. Betty, who is at home making cookies with the kids, never shows up and Arthur and Sarah Beth dine together without her. Mona Sterling barges into Don's office later that afternoon angry because Roger, inspired by Don's pronouncement at the bar about moving forward with his life, is leaving her for a secretary. When Mona storms out, Jane breaks into tears and Roger quickly comes to comfort her. Pointing to Jane, Don says to Roger, "I want her off my desk."