Last night's Mad Men was all about shame: Roger's racism embarrasses his coworkers, Betty's exposed a horrid mother, and Sally's budding sexuality humiliates the Draper family.
The episode "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword," is named for a 1946 book that aimed to explain Japanese culture to Americans. It's passed out at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to prepare everyone for a meeting with executives from Honda. In case you aren't familiar with it, Don highlights the passage that's relevant to this episode: "A man is shamed by being openly ridiculed and rejected. It requires an audience."
Don's research about his new business associates includes a field trip to Benihana with his occasional ladyfriend Bethany. (Unlike that hooker who looked Peggy, it seems her resemblance to Betty is intentional.)
While Bethany's teaching Don how to use chopsticks on their date, Sally is back at his apartment with Phoebe the babysitter, chopping off her hair. So subtle, Matt Weiner! Sally asks Phoebe if she's one of the many women her father is sleeping with, saying, "I know what it is. I know that the man pees inside the woman!" She tells Sally to ask her mommy to fill her in on some of the finer points about sex, though we know that won't go over well. Phoebe, allow us to introduce you to Betty Draper:
Of course, Betty responds to Sally's misbehavior by smacking her, blaming Don, and failing to understand why Sally doesn't behave the same way she did as a child.
Back at the office, Roger refuses to court Honda because as a World War II vet he feels working with the Japanese is just as bad as bringing "Dr. Lyle Evan's in here." Joan and Pete say they have no idea who this is, and neither does anyone else. The only famous person by that name is a woman named Lillian Lyle Evelyn (Evans) King, who is,
responsible for the growth of school library services in Saskatchewan through her initiative, enthusiasm, and efforts to interest school boards, superintendents, principals, teachers, and teacher librarians in the need for better school library service in the province.
Unless someone can explain Roger's beef with pioneering Canadian librarians, we're going to have to assume Matt Weiner threw in a fake cultural reference just to screw with us.
When the Honda executives arrive for their meeting, they're introduced to Joan, and we learn that sexism transcends cultural differences:
Things are going well until Roger (who's drunk, as it's 1 p.m.) busts into the meeting and greets their guests with a series of Hiroshima jokes. Afterward, Pete makes a great point about Roger's real reason for "wrapping himself in the flag," and we finally see someone try to beat Pete senseless:
Oh, Roger. "Christ on a cracker," indeed! Luckily for SCDP, Don's a genius. He devises a scheme to make his rival Ted Chaough at CGC think they're spending thousands on a commercial for Honda by having Peggy drive around in circles on an empty sound stage.
At this point in the season, we needed a reminder that Don's pretty clever when he's not descending into an increasingly-pathetic world of drunkenness. Honda decides to go with SCDP even though they've withdrawn from the competition because even Japanese businessmen can't resist Don's charms.
Meanwhile, Sally is at a sleepover developing feelings for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.:
Her friend's mom takes her home, and Betty tells her, "You don't do those things, you don't do them in private and you especially don't do them in public!" Then she threatens to cut Sally's fingers off, thus ruining any chance Sally has of enjoying a normal sex life in the future.
Henry, who convinced Betty earlier that she shouldn't be so hard on Sally for cutting her hair, recommends that they take her to see a child psychologist. Throughout the episode Henry was sensitive to Sally's feelings, comforted Betty, and offered great parenting advice. Either the man's a saint, or this is all set-up for the day he snaps and pushes Don out of a window.
Betty meets with Dr. Edna, the school psychologist, and says of Sally's perfectly-natural self-exploration, "I feel like Sally did this to punish me for some reason." Sensing that Betty is totally nuts, Dr. Edna recommends that she see a psychologist herself, and settles on meeting with Betty once a month to discuss Sally's progress. A therapist trained in talking to children may be just what Betty needs.
As for Sally, she'll be in therapy four days a week. That seems a little intense, but it'll probably be good for Sally to have someone take an interest in her who isn't a sociopath in training. The meeting with the psychologist closes with Betty staring wistfully at the dollhouse in the doctor's office:
Presumably the playset doesn't included an irresponsible boozehound ex-husband or masturbating daughter.