By Miz J
“THE FLOOD” divides our characters into two groups: those who keep their feelings on lockdown, and those that wear their hearts on their sleeves. The assassination of Dr. King rocks the city, taking its toll on everyone in very unique ways.
Megan is up for an award – The Ad Club of NY – as a copywriter. At the award show, she runs into Peggy and tries to get Don to talk to her. Of course, the function is all about business talk, and Roger does a little wheeling and dealing with a potential new client named Randall. Ted tells Peggy, “Well, you probably already heard that you didn’t win…” As the host speaks, the news breaks about Dr. King’s assassination. Dishes drop. People gasp. Riots ensue. And yet, the advertising award show goes on. It says a lot about the industry.
Earlier in the day, Peggy and Abe go house hunting, as they’ve decided to buy an apartment on the Upper East Side…well, Peggy has decided. Abe is along for the ride. And what a ride it turns out to be.
At first, the space is a hot commodity; turns into fire sale after the assassination; then — purchased right out from under her. Abe isn’t terribly upset. He says he’d rather live somewhere more diverse. Thoroughy rocked by the King’s murder, is more upset that Abe only shares that info with her after the purchase falls through. “You’re in my life,” she says, in that cool Peggy way that lets you know she’s reaching out for something -– security, most likely.
Elsewhere, Ginsberg’s father is also seeking security for his lonesome son, who comes home to a waiting blind date –- a gal named Beverly. Despite his neuroses –- including admitting that he’s “never, ever had sex before, not even once,” she assures him that he’s handsome, and that tonight won’t be The Night. You can see the sweat begin to dissipate immediately, as he collects his things and shows her home. It’s then that Ginsberg argues with his father, who wonders if he even LIKES girls. Even on the Ark, he needles, the animals went in two by two.
In idyllic Ossining, Betty gets upset with Bobby for peeling away some wallpaper. Yes, it just seems like that’s what really matters at a time like this -– when a nation loses one of its most iconic leaders, Betty is getting her sphincter in a knot over some wallpaper. The TV blares in the background, reiterating the news over and over. You will lose count over how many times the word “negro” is uttered. Meanwhile, Henry’s out there among the people, on the streets of Harlem, trying to cool down tempers and keep peace. For his efforts, he’s offered a senate seat, to which Betty responds by combing through her closet to find the right dress to go with her new brown bob. This is what Betty has always wanted: to be a version of Jackie O.
The surreal night gives way to the next morning, and Roger is as flippant as ever. This time, he’s got a lead from the awards show, and wants to set up a meeting that afternoon. But Don has better things to do, like call Arnie’s office to see if he – or better yet Sylvia – is okay. They are off to DC for a speaking engagement, and that city is just as chaotic as Manhattan. Leave it to Don to be worried about his mistress.
Harry and Pete argue. Harry complains about how all the clients want money back and all the news bulletins, these “special broadcasts,” are “ridiculous.” Pete – who, may I remind you, once clapped along as a bunch of his country club brethren slapped on black face and sang a minstrel number – gets really heated at Harry’s remarks. Bert comes out of his shoeless office to insist that the boys shake hands and make up. While doing so, Harry, who’s more convinced than ever that he’s the only one doing any work, snipes, “I’m sorry. My comments were inappropriate. I mistook this for a work day.” Pete takes that and runs with it. “Let me put this in terms you’ll understand. That man had a wife and four children.”
Even after this four-alarm kind of day, Betty insists that Don come out to Ossining to get the kids, then drive back through all the chaos in the dark. He does, and grows concerned with the zombie-like state Bobby exhibits when he watches TV. Bobby reveals that Betty grounded him from TV for a week, so the two go see Planet of the Apes while the girls and Gene go to a vigil in the park. Bobby makes conversation with the black usher, and tells him, “Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.”
Megan, who’s been on autopilot and dealing with the kids for a good chunk of the day, confronts Don about his drinking, and says he’s neglecting Sally, Bobby and Gene. Don reveals that he didn’t feel anything when they were born, perhaps, he guesses, because his own childhood was so rough. “I want to love them but you…don’t. And the fact that you’re faking that feeling makes you wonder if your own father had the same problem. Then one day they get older. And see them do something. And it feels like your heart is going to explode.”
Don checks on Bobby, who can’t sleep because he’s scared. Don reassures him that he won’t be shot -– no easy feat when just outside your window, sirens are going off and the city is in utter chaos. For the rest of us, this would be unmanageable, unthinkable, unbearable. But for Don, it’s business as usual.
Miz J has an attitude. Deal with it. Check out her NSFW comedy podcast, I SAID IT, on iTunes or follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @askmizj