The ladies of Mad Men have problems of their own. In episode 409: The Beautiful Girls, we see the women who inhabit Don’s world and keep Sterling Cooper Draper Price running , Joan, Peggy, Faye and even Sally Draper, all are entering new phases in their lives that are new and unknown. As is often the case, new and unknown can be a bit scary.
Don and Faye started a romantic relationship. This time, it seems different for Don. With Faye, Don exhibits an ease and comfort level that he didn’t even have with his wife. Maybe Dr. Faye is The One.
She comes to Don’s aid, when Sally makes a surprise visit to the office, but feels as though Don is putting her to the test by seeing if Faye can handle the petulent Sally.
Roger realizes the mistake he made marrying Jane and longs for the relationship he had with Joan. In flirting Joan, perhaps he hope they can resume their affair. Joan is a married woman now. Even though Dr. Greg is a rapist and a jerk, he is still her husband. So Joan rebuffs Roger’s flirtations. When his secretary, Caroline reminds him that Greg is being sent to Vietnam, Roger feels bad and surprise Joan by sending, two women to her apartment to give her a massage, manicure and pedicure — courtesy of an anonymous friend. But the next day, when Joan thanks Roger, he asks her out on a date.
“You’re incapable of doing something nice without expecting something nicer in return,” — Joan Harris to Roger Sterling.
After the death of Miss Blankenship, Joan eventually agrees to go to dinner with Roger. On the walk home, they are mugged at gunpoint. In the heat of the moment, out of fear or maybe just because they are glad to be alive, Joan kisses Roger and they get busy…right there against the wall. Dang!
Next morning in the office, Roger hopes the night before was a chance to resume their affair, but Joan informs him it was a one time thing.
Sally has always been hard to handle, but add pre-teen hormones to the mix, along with a divorce and a psycho mother and you’ve got problems. Under the advice of the psychiatrist, Sally is encouraged to take the train to camp. Instead she takes the train to Manhattan and shows up in the lobby of Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Megan pulls Don out of the meeting with Fillmore Auto Parts because a completer stranger was nice enough to bring Sally to her father’s office. Even in 1964. New York City is no place for an 11-year old girl to be without adult supervision.
Don doesn’t know how to handle her and has his hands full with a crisis of his own at the moment (Miss Blankenship) and asks Faye to take Sally to his apartment until he can get away from the office. Sally acts like a smart-mouth little brat with Faye. When Don finally comes home, Sally begs to stay with her father, telling him how much she hates living at home (ie. Betty). Since Betty can’t be bothered to come to the city and pick up her daughter, Sally gets what she really wants–to stay with day. (At least for the night.)
Don takes the next morning off in order to spend time with his daughter and Sally acts like quite the “big girl” and makes her dad’s breakfast. Sally pitches a fit, runs down the hall and has a total meltdown when Betty comes to pick her up.
She is a growing girl who hates her mom and needs her father. What will become of Sally in the turbulent 60’s? Woodstock, hippies and trouble are just around the corner.
Peggy’s friendship with Joyce and her young, hip crowd is growing. While having drinks with Joyce, Abe shows up trying to further the romantic encounter they had at the party. Their conversation becomes political, with Abe telling Peggy that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s client, Fillmore Auto Parts doesn’t hire black workers in the South. Abe gets snippy with Peggy when she compares the position of women in the workplace to the growing civil rights movement. Peggy is offended by his lack of sympathy for what it takes for a woman to get ahead in the corporate world. (Remember Peggy’s first office was in a closet with the Xerox machine.) Peggy is upset and leaves him at the bar.
The next day Abe drops by the office with a political article he wrote about corruption and the evils of Madison Avenue, including a rant about SCDP’s client Fillmore Auto Parts. He even says that Peggy is part of the corruption. This is guy is just full of charm.
Saying Good-Bye to Miss Blankenship
Peggy comes back to the office to find a very still Miss Blankenship. Yes, Miss Blankenship is DEAD. Megan pulls Don out of the meeting (again) to inform him of Miss Blankenship’s death. From the glass-enclosed conference room, Don can see Joan and Pete wheel Miss Blankenship away.
Oh The Times They Are A’ Changin’
Civil Rights is a new subject for Peggy and so far, African Americans have only had brief encounters with our beloved Mad Men…
… Pete’s attempt to focus an advertising campaign for Admiral television to the “Colored” market
… Paul Kinsey a dating an African American woman
… Carla, the Maid
With Abe pricking or awakening her consciecne, Peggy proposes that Harry Belafonte (He was extremely popular at the time) perform the Fillmore Auto Parts jingle. Even though Don is always ahead of a trend, he knows the time is not right to intergrate advertising.
“Maybe it will help them with their image in the South” — Peggy Olson
“Our job is to make men like Fillmore Auto, not Fillmore Auto like negroes.” — Don Draper
The show is called Mad Men, but let us never forget that it is the women that help make this show so wonderful!