WOW. There's not much else to say about the third season finale of Mad Men. We hope we don't leave anything out in this recap of it...
The episode stars with a major shock for Don at work: Hilton informs him that McCan-Erickson is buying PPL and Sterling Cooper. This means Hilton won't be working with Don anymore because he's not a fan of McCan. Don is taken aback and feels abandoned by the man that previously referred to him as a son. These two don't have a friendly parting.
Back at the office, Don recruits Cooper and Sterling to try and buy the company back themselves. But Pryce shoots this idea down and says the three men aren't close to the sales price. However, when he phones London about their offer, London admits to Pryce that the entire company has, indeed, been sold; which leaves Lane feeling left out.
As a result, he joins in on the master plan: he'll fire Don, Roger and Cooper and leave with them to form a new ad agency. But they need to secure a few accounts and personnel first. They only have the weekend to do it.
Don starts with Peggy. But he doesn't even ask her, he just assumes she'll follow him blindly. Peggy points this out and storms out of Don's office. The meeting with Pete goes better, as he's flattered when Don actually praises him and says he'll get his accounts together for the new company.
At home, things aren't going as well for Don. Betty says she's met with a divorce lawyer, as Don must come to grips with this actually happening. The viewers saw that divorce lawyer meeting, during which Henry Francis said he'd take care of Betty and the kids; while the lawyer recommended Betty reside in Reno for six weeks because that residency will make it easier to get a divorce. (Ah, the 60s.)
After getting the initial divorce news, Don is out to drinks with Roger. The latter lets it slip about Henry, a fact Don was completely ignorant about, as Betty made the divorce decision sound like it was entirely based around Don's lies. Drunk, hurt and angry, Don goes home and confronts Betty in a scene as dramatic as any that has ever aired on TV.
He says she won't get a dime. He says he'll take the kid. He calls her a whore.
Don then leaves and we're back to Sterling Cooper - which is now Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce - the next day. Those recruited arrive at the empty offices to steal documents and equipment. Don meets with Peggy again and has a much different sales pitch this time. He blatantly says he needs her for this next step of his life. She's in! So is Harry, who was simply told to show up at the office and then forced to make a quick decision about his future.
No one there can track anything down, however, so Roger makes a call to Joan. She knows everything! At the conclusion of the episode, the new company is up and almost running in a hotel room. It consists of: Don, Roger, Cooper, Pryce, Pete, Harry, Peggy and Joan. Sounds like a winning team to us. We get a quick shot of those remaining at Sterling Cooper arriving at their barren office and realizing what has gone down.
We then end season three with Don calling Betty: he says he won't fight her and he hopes she finds happiness. She says he'll always be the kids' father. We soon see Betty on the train, with Henry and baby Jean, presumably on the way to Reno.
The final scene depicts Don taking his stuff into a new apartment in the city.