'Mad Men' recap: The Short Goodbye

mad-men-s4-christina-hendricks-320.jpgJoan has apparently had two abortions in the past, or "procedures" as she calls them, and she's afraid they might interfere with her ability to get pregnant, should she and Greg want to get her off the pill and start trying. Greg is about to go to basic training, and Joan is worried that once that's done he'll be shipped off to 'Nam, although baby timing may be the least of their problems, given how they're fighting. But when she cuts herself badly with a kitchen knife, Greg operates on her efficiently and charmingly, which just makes Joan realize how much she's going to miss him.

Don is on his way to Acapulco, as mentioned in the last episode, but he has a layover in L.A., so he takes the opportunity to see Anna. The two of them go out with her niece, and when he ends up driving her home, she tells him an awful truth -- Anna has severely terminal cancer, but thanks to a rather questionable decision by a doctor and some tacit approval from her sister, she doesn't even know about it. Faced with this unexpected and devastating news, Don defers Acapulco in favor of listening to Anna's ruminations about the impermanence of life, but when the sister begs him to go before he lets her in on the secret, he decides to leave, and not without a severe emotional toll. I'm not exaggerating -- I'm, like, worried for him, and he doesn't exist. Don bags Acapulco and returns to New York, where he and Pryce end up getting wasted and going to see a creature feature together. Afterward, at dinner, Pryce confesses his wife is not planning to return from England, and Don does him the solid of getting them both a hooker. Pryce is hilarious drunk but surprises me by going through with the deed; the next morning, he takes off, but not regretfully, and it seems like Don may have found an unexpected friend heading into 1965. I hope this is the last of the holiday episodes for a while, because they are hella depressing.