40 minutes into last night's episode of Mad Men
and all I could do was throw my hands in the air in complete bafflement. I had to keep pausing the episode to gather my thoughts. Miss Blankenship is dead? Roger and Joan were robbed? Roger and Joan had alleyway sex? Sally ran away and made rum french toast? Luckily, the last 30 seconds of the episode and the title, "The Beautiful Girls" solidified the theme. It's all about the women. It was done with subtlety. We weren't given voice-overs and we still got plenty of the male perspective, but when those elevator doors closed on Joan, Faye, and Peggy, we knew we had just gotten a rather bizarre day in the life. With each woman, including Sally, something dramatic happened to change the course of their actions.
Remember the episode when Sally got slapped? "Poor Sally" actually became a trending topic on twitter
that evening. While that moment made me sympathize with Sally and wish her a better life, it was only in tonight's episode that we realize just how unhappy Sally is. And why wouldn't she be? How upsetting is it that neither of her parents can have an honest conversation with her? Anytime Sally expresses an emotion that is outside of "happy," they grab on to the nearest psychologist, or in Faye's case, consumer-researcher. Sally had to break at some point. My heart broke for her when she was running down the hall and fell face first. I'm with her; it won't be okay and I'm hoping that Don will make a concerted effort to try to correct that fact. Sally clinging on to the secretary demonstrated nearly anyone is better than her parents at this point. By the way, why did all the women of the office follow Sally and Don into reception?
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When Peggy's lesbian friend whose name I can't recall set Peggy up with Abe, it seemed like a good match. Until, that is, he questioned corporations and social consciousness and civil rights. Surprising to hear Peggy say she isn't political. She seems to have an opinion on nearly everything else. When it comes to meeting time though, she does bring up the civil rights issues regarding Fillmore Auto Parts, only to find Don giving her a party line akin to the brush off she gave Abe. That political stuff, while important, doesn't matter as much as the task at hand: pleasing the client. In addition to poor Sally, how about poor Peggy? She was the one who found Miss Blankenship. No wonder the woman got so much screen time; it led us to believe she was sticking around for awhile. Was anyone else laughing in spite of themselves during some of the death scenes? I couldn't help it!Faye
Faye's entrance in this episode was a climactic one. I haven't heard a woman that pleased by Don in a long while. Perhaps a sober Don is a better lover? Her mysteriousness and smarts are appealing, but boy, she can't handle Sally. It's doubtful she wanted to have the "kids" conversation with Don, but her turning point came when Don deemed her an expert on kids based on A) process of elimination (he's out), B) she's a woman and C) she's a doctor, er, consumer-researcher. When her sorry attempt to calm Sally failed, she became unnerved and the discussion on kids was unavoidable, but perhaps it was for the best. Don and Faye's honesty with one another might be what makes the relationship work. Joan
If anyone had a rough go of things, so to speak, it's Joan. Minus the surrogate Roger rubdown. First her husband is sent to Vietnam. Then she's stuck wheeling the deceased Blankenship around like it's Weekend at Bernie's
. What exactly is Joan's job description? Truly, she's gone above and beyond this time. But things get even worse for Joan when she takes a little dinner trip down memory lane with Roger and then is immediately robbed in some kind of bizarre karmic retribution. Hand over the rings, indeed. Joan's skirt was hiked up so fast, Roger didn't even have time to make his signature joke. Joan's not sorry, but she is married and they both have feelings for the other. Is their bond strong enough to break up his second marriage and her first?
In the end, the elevator closes on Faye, Peggy, and Joan, all looking pensive. Three episodes left.(Photo courtesy of amctv.com)