The story: Pete threatens to reveal Don's secret; Don admits he's been trying to get Pete fired; then they have sex.
Key quote: "'You never planned to go home tonight, did you?' Pete said knowingly. 'You let your wife think that your business trip was still on, didn't you?' Don said nothing, tying his tie now."
Could it play on TV? Maybe in season 10, after the discerning have moved on.
The story: Don is revealed as an impostor during the Department of Defense background check that he passed during the "real" season four. He meets with an old friend--who may have turned him in! Sparks fly, and then Don goes to jail forever.
Key quote: "Stephanie by this time was crying profusely. Don really had to hold himself back from reaching out to her. He ran his hands through his Army crew cut again and adjusted his new ill-fitting prisoner's uniform."
Would it play on TV? Only as a series finale.
The story: Don and Peggy embark on a seemingly abusive Sid-and-Nancy-esque relationship.
Key quote: "And as time passed and the agency began to thrive no one made a comment when Don entered the offices with a smiling and ragged Peggy. Not one person made a comment when one day Peggy entered Don's office and he began yelling and spun her around in a circle and did not care as everyone watched through an open door."
Would it work on TV? It's actually enough subtle shades of depressing to work, though surely Peggy is less willing to put up with Don's aggression than she's portrayed here.
The story: Peggy is dispirited over Don's romance with Megan, whom she has agreed to mentor.
Key quote: "Peggy jerks her head up to look at Joan, who is smiling wryly. 'You know what I mean. Even if Megan Calvet is the second coming of Peggy Olsen, there's nothing like the original.'"
Would it play on TV? It's a bit on the nose.
The story: Don comes out of a coma in 1974, the world having changed—everyone has become successful, except Pete, who died.
Key quote: "Then he thought about what the lost time had given him. Everyone else had moved on with his or her lives—well, everyone except for poor Pete."
Would it work on TV? Again, only as a series finale. Or perhaps a reunion special?
The story: Joan babysits Sally at the office—that's it. (Similar to something that actually happened on Mad Men, but minus the context and the exciting dénouement.)
Key quote: "Joan was pretty. Not prettier than Mommy, but pretty just the same. She was nice though."
Could it play on TV? Only if audiences are ready for non-stop excitement!
The story: An internal monologue, told from the point of view of Don's daughter Sally at Christmas.
Key quote: "(In ten years, Sally will let her fiancé think she stood up for Carla's rights to be more than a servant.)"
Would it work on TV? Kiernan Shipka's a good enough actress to make you see what Sally thinks at all times, but the glimpses of the future are a little heavy-handed even for Matt Weiner.
The story: Don reunites with Mauve Kincaid, a curiously named woman from his past who may inspire him to quit drinking.
Key quote: "Mauve appreciated his honesty but couldn't look at him. Don rose from his seat and crossing to her chair, he put a hand under her chin, and raised her face toward his. Tears shimmered in her eyes and she whispered. 'I don't want to be one of your mistakes.'"
Could it play on TV? If Mauve were played by an actress with talent, and were renamed, it could be a nice four-episode arc.
The story: Betty sits in her kitchen, drinking and smoking and making up a lyric poem (which strangely resembles a 2009 Paramore song) to herself.
Key quote: "The only distraction in the kitchen is the ticking of the Felix the Cat clock bought for Bobby years ago. The linoleum floor is frigid against her bare feet, but the sensation is welcome. Any sensation is welcome."
Would it work on TV? Aside from the music, it already has, many, many times!