The article below contains spoilers for "Collaborators," the April 14th, 2013 episode of "Mad Men."
"You let Don talk, you should know better -- the guy's not a salesman," Herb Rennet (Gary Basaraba) barked at Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) toward the end of last night's episode, after Jaguar shot down his plan to shift their campaign focus from a national to a local level. Herb's wrong -- Don (Jon Hamm), we know, is an incredible salesman, he just wasn't interested in selling Herb's idea to the auto executives, both because he disagreed with it and because he loathes the guy. Herb, the smarmy dealer manager for Jaguar, was last seen in season five's "The Other Woman," in which he initiated the brutal negotiations in which Joan (Christina Hendricks) slept with him in exchange for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce getting the coveted account. It wasn't a plan Don supported, and he struck back here with what Roger (John Slattery) described as "the deftest self-immolation I've ever seen," a futile gesture against their agency giving their clients everything they want.
The cheating, in particular, felt familiar, and not in the way suggested in the season premiere, as signaling Don's inability to change and his perpetual discontent and search for something more. The affair with neighbor Sylvia Rosen (Linda Cardellini) is close to home for Don, which makes her uncomfortable as much as it doesn't seem to be a concern for him. He's had a lot of practice with extramarital flings, and so far there's been little to distinguish her from the long string of women Don's had on the side, first when married to Betty (January Jones) and now to a thus far oblivious Megan (Jessica Paré), aside from proximity. She and her husband Arnold (Brian Markinson) are friends with the Drapers, but Don has no problem compartmentalizing and with urging her to enjoy their affair as it is, without wondering where it's going. "You want to feel shitty right up until the point where I take your dress off," he told her, a flash of the old Don giving Bobbie Barrett (Melinda McGraw) what she didn't know she was asking for. And it works -- Sylvia tumbles into bed with Don again and stops asking questions, suggesting only that they be sure not to fall in love. How's that for a sales pitch, Herb?
While Don got a fright when walking in on Megan and Sylvia having a teary discussion, it was Pete who was actually told on. Always drifting in Don's footsteps, even when its unknowing, he had his own neighborhood fling, only to miscalculate with his naive and clingy choice Brenda (Collette Wolfe) and have it end with her showing up at the Campbells' house at night with a bloody nose, telling him "I want to be with you." Unlike Megan, Trudy (Alison Brie) has obviously been harboring no illusions about her spouse for a while now -- the sense of betrayal she displayed had everything to do with the disrespect he'd shown her by not being discreet and letting her pretend to be unaware. The Manhattan apartment had been a part of her calculations in their union, the price she was willing to pay in order to keep the "dignity in granting permission" and to live the life she wanted. And the new bargain she demanded was one in which she'd keep that life while not needing him to pretend -- banishing him to keep his entanglements from within a "50 mile radius" of the house.