Before we begin our regularly scheduled recap, I feel that it would be appropriate for all of us to pay our last respects to a very special woman. She was a secretary (ahem, Executive Secretary – Thank you, Joan!), who in a very short amount of time, became an integral part of our Mad Men family. With her cutting-one liners, and a sharp fashion sense that would inspire women (and men) for generations to come . . .
. . . Miss Blankenship was always the Life of the Party. ( I mean this was a woman who could HOLD her liquor . . . literally.)
However, because my own words will surely be inadquate to express the true wonder that was Miss Blankenship, I have decided to let the SCDP staff eulogize her instead. What follows is a portrait of the woman, in their words . . .
“She was born in a barn. And died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper. She was an astronaut.” – Bert Cooper
“She went away . . . for awhile.” – Megan, Don’s new secretary
“I’d ask my secretary to do it, but she’s dead.” – Don Draper
“She died the way she lived. Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” – Roger Sterling
“Hey, my mother made that! – Roger Sterling, again (regarding the blanket currently covering Miss Blankenship’s corpse).
Ahhhh, Miss Blankenship! Always bringing the funny . . . even in death. We’ll miss you, Girlfriend!
We now return to our regularly scheduled recap . . .
Sex Sells, and Don Draper Smells (like sex)
So, remember last week, when Don and Faye were in the cab following their first date, and Don turned Faye down for sex because he “wasn’t ready yet?” Yeah . . . that didn’t last long.
The episode opens to lovely rhythmic sounds of SCDP’s favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “only”) Marketing Research Lady, Faye Miller, getting her hump on with the Dapper Don Draper. Because this is AMC and NOT HBO, we didn’t actually get to see them do it. (Although, honestly, I kind of WISH they DID show it. Because it would have been a fabulous way to get the image of Steve Buscemi boning that slutty girl from Boardwalk Empire, during the previous hour, out of my head . . . You guys saw that too, right?)
NOT Don Draper
Anyway, unfortunate PG-13 rating aside, we did get to watch a sweaty Don and Faye share a little post-coital pillow talk the morning afternoon after. (Yes, these two took a LONG LUNCH together.) The pair discuss their remaining appointments for the day. For a change, it is Don who is more open about his upcoming afternoon, while Faye is more coy. (Market Researchers have Confidentiality Agreements, perhaps?) Faye gently asks Don whether she can shower first. Don agrees to it, but only because HE’S NOT SHOWERING AT ALL!
Note: I had some really solid sex smell jokes (most involving fish and cheese) to insert here. But I think including them would be a serious betrayal to my fellow ladies. Plus, I imagine you could figure them out . . .
Not only is Dirty Don totally cool with going to the office smelling like a Marketing Research Lady, he’s also surprisingly copacetic with Faye staying in his apartment, after he’s left for work. He even LEAVES HER HIS KEY!
Wow, now that’s trust! Guess this means he left his Big Ole’ Box of Secrets over at Betty’s house . . .
When Faye expresses the same surprise as the audience about Don’s unusually permissive behavior, Don replies lasciviously, “I’m taking all the interesting stuff with me.” (He then seductively zips his fly over his sex-drenched undies . . .)
“All the Interesting Stuff”
Rubbing Joan the RIGHT way . . .
Admittedly, the usually poised, polite, and utterly controlled Joan has been a bit prickly and excitable of late. So, when she snapped at Roger’s typically adorable attempts at not-so-harmless flirtation, I didn’t really think much of it at first. But Roger, who apparently didn’t watch last week’s episode of Mad Men (because he wasn’t in it AT ALL), was taken aback and a little hurt by Joan’s rebuff of his advances.
Roger quickly consulted his secretary for guidance. She informed him of something that all Mad Men fans knew was coming, we just weren’t sure when, or how it would be brought about. Of course, Joan’s husband Greg will be shipped off to Vietnam immediately after basic training.
He will not return home in between. He will not pass Go. And he will not collect $200. Joan, who was just getting used to the idea of having him away for a few weeks, understandably takes the news badly.
Feeling guilty for his insensitivity, Roger hires a troop of pretty ladies with heavy Eastern European accents (all of whom he has probably banged at one time or another) to come to Joan’s house and give her a massage, manicure, and pedicure. When she approaches his office the next day to thank him, Roger cleverly replies, “I knew I was rubbing you the wrong way. So, I thought I would have someone rub you the right way.”
(OK. That line was a little creepy. But the gesture was definitely sweet. And the whole thing was so VERY Roger Sterling.)
“Oh, yeah! I’m the MAN! You TOTALLY want to rub me now, don’t you?”
And yet, Roger screws things up AGAIN when he immediately asks Joan out, making the latter feel like the whole “massage thing” was just a ploy to get her back into bed with him (which, let’s face it — it probably was).
Lick me Peggy, one more time!
While Roger’s come-ons to Joan may have been a bit crude, they were NOTHING compared to the ones Joyce tried on Peggy. Face-licking? Seriously, Joyce? Who taught you that was an appropriate way to romance a straight lady? Fido?
When we first see Peggy, Joyce has stopped by her office unannounced, AGAIN (What’s the matter, Joyce? Isn’t there a phone on your desk, amidst all those Naked Lady Pics that you were carrying around, when we first met you?) “Peggy, your boyfriend is here,” snorts Art Director, Stan.
(You know, I hate to say it, because he’s SUCH a MAJOR TOOL. And he’s DEFINITELY no SAL ROMANO! But, this guy is starting to grow on me. I think its because of the adorable little crush he’s developed on Peggy, ever since he saw her nude, and got a b*ner from it. Sure, he has no shot in heck of ever getting anywhere with her. Yet, it’s still oddly endearing. Stan is like the little boy in first grade, who pulls the little girl’s pig tails, and throws paper airplanes at her, because he can’t think of any other way to let her know he likes her.)
When both Peggy and Joyce seem unamused or affected by Stan’s mildly humorous lesbian jokes, he changes tactics. “You [Joyce] can NEVER do for a girl [Peggy] what a guy [me – Stan] can do,” Stan insists. (Awww, way too obvious, kiddo!)
Joyce responds by licking Peggy’s face (which is TOTALLY something that any guy – and any K-9 — can DO, by the way, not that they would all want to). The whole exchange was admittedly pretty funny. But what really made the scene, for me, was Stan’s facial expression, as he watched Joyce orally remove the blush from Peggy’s cheek . . .
Ummm . . . yeah, Peggy. If you want your face licked, than Stan probaby isn’t your guy. Peggy and Joyce, ultimately, make plans to meet for drinks. They then leave Stan alone to LICK his wounds, and his . . .
Honest Abe strikes out . . .
It seems that Stan isn’t the only one having a difficult time getting inside the Peggy Olson Pantalones. Peggy’s new suitor, Abe, though he got off to a promising start, isn’t fairing much better. Apparently, Joyce, despite obviously being just as in love with Peggy as Stan, had a fairly altruistic reason for inviting Peggy out for drinks. The whole outing was just a ruse to reunite Peggy with her cute makeout buddy from a few episodes back, Abe.
The date starts pleasantly enough. However, when Abe starts moving the discussion over to the Civil Rights movement and the evil of corporations, the typically well-spoken Peggy, suddenly, finds herself at a loss for words. Apparently, Peggy only watches the news on television to see the commercials, and only reads newspapers for the advertisements. She simply had no idea that one of the companies SCDP worked for, Fillmore Motors, refuses to hire black people.
The discussion quickly morphs into a heated debate about corporate responsibility versus personal and ethical responsibility. Peggy wisely analogizes the Civil Rights movement with the then-fledgling Women’s Rights movement. She argues about how difficult it is for women like Peggy to break through the corporate glass ceiling. And yet, she did it. She, therefore, wonders, why other oppressed minorities can’t work to do the same thing. Abe discounts the analogy offhand, mocking the absurdity of a “Women’s Rights March.” This offends Peggy, and causes her to promptly excuse herself from the bar.
And yet, Abe is not one to go down without a fight. He arrives at Peggy’s office the next day, unannounced. (AGAIN? Seriously, what is with these new hippies?)
But Abe has not come empty handed. Apparently, he has written a poem to Peggy, and he would like her to read it immediately, while he waits in the office for her reply. Intrigued by the gesture, Peggy dashes off to read the poem, which she secretly hopes will go something like this:
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Civil Rights are sexy,
but not as HOT as YOU!
Unfortunately, Abe’s doesn’t say that at all.
And, while we don’t get to read it, we are led to believe that it makes some sort of comparison between SCDP and Nazis? “If anybody saw this [poem], I could get fired!” Peggy exclaims, ripping it to pieces right in front of the Poor Sap, before storming off AGAIN!
And yet, despite outward appearances to the contrary, there is evidence, during the second half of the episode, that would seem to suggest that Abe HAD changed Peggy’s mind about Civil Rights, Politics, and the ways in which the two sometimes conflict with the corporate world. Well . . . if not changed her mind per se, at least opened it to new possibilities.
This becomes evident when the SCDP crew is trying to come up with a song to play in the background of a Fillmore Motors TV and radio commercial, and Peggy dryly suggests a song by Harry Bellefonte. When she is promptly shut down by her colleagues, Peggy innocently inquires, “Why are we working for a client that refuses to hire [black people]?”
To this, Don replies, “Our job is to sell our client’s products, not to make them like [black people.]”
When Peggy’s coworkers tease her about this, Peggy storms out of the office, for about the 80th time this season . . .
When Faye met Sally . . .
Don is at a client meeting with Fillmore Motors (they of the Racist Hiring Practices), when he gently interrupted by Receptionist -Soon-to-Be Don’s-New-Secretary Megan, who informs Don that his daughter is at the office . . . along with some random elderly looking woman, who wears a very large hat, which, to me, looks a bit like this:
Apparently Random Elderly Woman in Hat found Sally hiding from the conductor on her train. “I wanted to see you, but I didn’t have enough money,” Sally says sheepishly.
The admission causes Don’s face to look like this:
Things get even worse, when Random Elderly Woman gets a little bee in her bonnet (no pun intended), about what crappy parents Betty and Don are. She lets Don know her feeling in no uncertain terms, when Don tries to pay her for her time and trouble. After Random Elderly Woman in Hat leaves, Don calls Betty . . .
Oddly enough, this screencap DID NOT come from this episode. Apparently, Betty spends a lot of time on this show on the phone (usually with Don), looking severely pissed off.
When Don tells Betty that she should come pick up her daughter, who was wandering the NYC train system alone, Betty . . . couldn’t give two cr*ps.
In fact, she refuses to pick up Sally until the following day. “You think it’s so much fun to be her parent, you do it,” she yells
(Golly gee! What a nice thing to say about your kid! I’m so glad Sally has two parents that really value the time they spend with her.)
Don gives Miss Blankenship three instructions before heading back to his meeting: (1) watch Sally; (2) answer the phones; and (3) don’t say anything. She does only one of those things. And, considering that she died right around the time Betty called (Apparently, that shrew’s voice could kill ANYONE), you can probably guess which of the three tasks Miss Blankenship was able to follow. When Peggy tries to talk to Miss Blankenship, the poor old lady KEELS OVER, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER!
Peggy screams, and Don is interrupted from his meeting once again. He walks into this scene:
Sally is tucked safely in Don’s office at the time, and sees nothing. This is good, because if any child can’t handle witnessing more traumatic moments, it’s Sally! As is common during situations like this (and they happen quite often among the SCDP folks) . . .
Joan offers to take care of the situation — contacting the coroner, having a blanket in Roger’s office (“My mother MADE me THAT!”) draped over Miss Blankenship’s lifeless body, and sneaking the corpse out the back of the office, so that the sight of her won’t disturb the client meeting already in progress. (Unfortunately, Don and Faye get ringside seats to the whole thing from where they are seated in the conference room . . . and so do we.)
After the seemingly interminable meeting, a frantic Don asks Faye to take Sally back to Don’s apartment and watch her until he arrives home. “Me?” Faye asks incredulously.
“Well, I would ask my secretary to do it, but she’s DEAD!” Don replies, matter-of-factly.
(Good ole Don — always bringing the funny, even in times of crisis.)
“What do I tell her I am?” Faye inquires.
“You are Faye,” Don answers exasperatedy, wondering for a second, whether he should have picked a SMARTER girlfriend, like Bethany, or Doris the Waitress, or that prostitute that liked to slap his face during sex. (Hey, it worked in Pretty Woman!)
To further prove her intelligence, just moments after Don introduces Faye to Sally by name, Faye tells Sally, in a ridiculously childish voice, through which each word is painstakingly enunciated, “Hello . . . my . . . name . . . is . . . Faye.”
But, this is what Sally heard . . .
. . . and rightly so!
Yet, surprisingly, things go pretty A-OK for Sally and Faye back at Don’s apartment. In fact, when Don comes back, Sally is in a pretty jubilant mood, considering all that happened. After Faye leaves, the pair order pizza.
“Are you going to marry, Faye?” Sally asks inquisitively, between bites of pizza.
NO DON! If you know what’s good for you, you will stay single for a LONG, LONG, TIME . . . or at least until after that long stint in rehab.
Don says, “No.”
To Don’s surprise (and mine), when Don asks Sally in turn if she likes Faye, Sally says, “Yes!” (apparently, ANYONE would be a better mother than Betty . . . even this monkey)
That night before going to bed, Sally asks if she and her brothers can come live with Don. “I’ll be really good. I will take care of my brothers,” Sally pleads.
Don, who is watching his sex life go out the window, remains calm on the outside, but inside he is pooping a brick. “Good night, Sally,” he says ignoring her.
He can’t get out of that bedroom fast enough . . .
Midnight Mugging in NYC – The ULTIMATE Aphrodisiac
Back at the office, Roger and Joan are still very freaked out by the untimely death of Miss Blankenship. “She died like she lived, surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” mused Roger. “I DO NOT want to die in this office. I almost did. TWICE.”
Roger begs Joan to go out for coffee with him, for the third time in this episode. Except, this time, Joan finally agrees.
The married couple (as in both are married, just not to eachother) have a great time on their date, reminiscing about the past. “Everytime, I think back, all the good stuff was with you,” Roger insists.
On the walk home, Joan notes how much the neighborhood has changed. And, as if to prove that point, Joan and Roger are held at gunpoint and mugged. Fortunately for Joan, Roger doesn’t try to play vigilante or hero. He calmly hands over his own wallet and watch, as well as, upon request, Joan’s purse. The mugger’s request for Joan’s wedding ring elicits tears from her, but she ultimately complies. Then, thankfully, the mugger leaves.
Relieved, terrified, and wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster of the past few days, Roger and Joan embrace. And then they do more than embrace . . .
When Roger begins to pull away, Joan whispers, “Don’t stop,” and so he doesn’t . . .
(Now, while it was nice to see these two crazy kids doing it again, I couldn’t help but notice they were SCREWING IN A DIRTY DARK ALLEY KNOWN TO BE FREQUENTED BY MUGGERS WITH GUNS . . . just saying.)
The following morning, Bert struggles to write Miss Blankenship’s obituary. He doesn’t want Don to do it, because Don is kind of an asshole didn’t know Miss Blankenship very well. “She was born in a barn, and died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper. She was an astronaut,” offers Bert morosely.
Joan is called in to finish the job, and does so with an appropriate, if rather impersonal, obituary statement. But before she can leave, Roger corners her. “I feel something for you,” Roger proclaims. “Tell me that you don’t feel it too.”
“I’m not sorry for what we did,” replies Joan. “But I’m married, and so are you.”
Not that insignificant details such as these have stopped Roger before . . .
Nothing says loving like rum in your French Toast . . .
The next morning, Don awakens to the less than familiar sound of puttering in the kitchen. Apparently, Sally has decided to cook Daddy breakfast. Doing a disturbingly accurate impersonation of Betty at her most seductively kittenish, Sally struts into the living room of Don’s apartment carrying two trays. “I hope you like French Toast,” she offers.
Don DOES like French toast. Except this French Toast tastes funny. “What’s in this?” Don asks.
“Poison Miss Butterworth’s” Sally replies.
“Show it to me.”
Sally gets the bottle from the cabinet. It looks like this . . .
“That’s rum. Learn to read labels,” Don says gruffly, as he continues to eat.
“Does it taste bad?” Sally inquires nervously.
“Not really,” answers the ALCOHOLIC.
Using her best Betty-pout, Sally commandeers Don into a morning at the zoo. “You finish eating. I’ll get ready,” she instructs.
The father / daughter pair have a great morning — such a great morning, in fact, that when it comes time for Betty to pick Sally up at the office, she doesn’t want to go home. “I want to stay with you. I hate it there [at Evil Betty’s House].”
When Don tries to reason with Sally, she throws a tantrum. So, Don requests Faye’s help once again. This time it doesn’t go so well. Sally lashes out at Faye, and dashes off screaming down the hall. Sally then trips and falls on her face, in front of the entire secretarial pool. Fortunately, the surprisingly maternal Megan is there to save the day.
Megan gives Sally a sweet hug. “I fall down all the time,” Megan offers gently, comforting the young girl, like a natural mother would.
When Betty arrives at the office, Sally obediently takes her hand, “Goodbye, Daddy,” she says solemnly, as if it will be the last time she will ever see him.
Back in Don’s office, Faye is PISSED at Don for putting her in the situation he did with Sally. “I’m not good with kids. I’ve made that sacrifice in my life. I don’t consider it a failure,” insists Faye.
Fortunately, for Faye, neither does Don consider it a failure. (After all, clearly he’s not good with kids, either.) The two end the episode in a sweet embrace.
Chicken Soup for Peggy’s soul
“I don’t know what the heck that girl is talking about!”
Back in Peggy’s office, Joyce has returned to get the details on Peggy’s argument with Abe. “Men think that they are like soup . . .” Joyce offers randomly, upong getting the 411.
“Women are expected to be the pots.”
“Abe is a good soup. But I think women can be soup too,” concludes Joyce.
Ummm yeah. All I got out of that, Joyce, was “Peggy, I want to sleep with you.”
Joyce asks Peggy out for more face licking drinks again, but Peggy declines.
“Are you angry or lovesick,” Joyce wonders.
“I don’t know,” says Peggy, before seeing Joyce out.
Peggy then heads to the elevator herself, where she converges upon two other women, Faye and Joan. These three very different women, are obviously headed in three very different directions. The question is: Where are they going?