Mad Men 4.09 “The Beautiful Girls” Review

Mad Men 4.09 “The Beautiful Girls” Review

Mad Men 4.09 “The Beautiful Girls” ReviewI’m filling in for Sam this week and with this being my first review for Mad Men I hope that I can cover as much ground in such a concise manner as Sam does and I’m thrilled that I get to review this female centric episode.

As the title suggests “The Beautiful Girls” revolves around the women of Mad Men; Peggy, Joan, Dr. Faye, Sally Draper and the demise of Mrs Blankenship. Ida Blankenship in life and death provided the humour for the episode, some of it on the dark side last seen in the season three lawnmower incident in “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”.

Peggy continues to represent the feminist agenda of the era despite her claim that she is not a political person, her comparison of her plight as a woman being similar to Civil Rights issues clearly shows that she is, or rather that she needs to be. Her interaction’s with Abe show that she is indeed politically naive, unaware that one of SCDP’s clients will not employ black workers in the south. It is unclear whether Abe will feature further in Peggy’s story though it is a worry that he is a journalist who is clearly very politically minded, will he write an article that could cause Peggy and SCDP problems?

The amount of screen time between Roger and Joan this episode was a highlight as these two have outstanding chemistry and it has always been a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’ as to whether they would be romantic again. Roger can be pretty self involved but with Joan he attempts to help soothe her pain and even if his motives don’t seem completely innocent he knows Joan better than any one else. When they are mugged at gun point this is the push that is needed for them to give in to temptation and though Joan later reiterates that they are both married I don’t think this will stop them from succumbing again to each other in the future. This seems especially true now that Greg is being shipped out to Vietnam soon, however it seems like a too simple solution for the issue of Dr Harris to have him killed in action.

The start of the episode shows a content Don Draper, one that has been missing for most of this season, this is soon disrupted by Sally running away from house and life she hates to be with her father. Kiernan Shipka who plays Sally has been exceptional in this series and is growing incredibly as an actress. The reaction to being told that she will be going home was a heartbreaking moment of a girl who clearly is having an awful time living with her mother (who wouldn’t with Betty?) and Shipka was wonderful at delivering this. I’m not sure what to make of her clinging on to Megan the receptionist, whether it was because she was the first person who got to her after her fall or whether something more will come of this, especially as there is now a vacant reception desk out side Don’s office…

So to the ‘Queen of Perversions’ herself Mrs Blankenship who died at her desk and caused one of the best visual gags that this show has produced. When a man was asked for to get the body out of sight I was hoping that Pete would be the one summoned which to my joy he was; seeing Joan and Pete struggling with the body whilst a pitch was going on in the opposite room was pretty inspired, the look on Don’s face was priceless. Though it wasn’t all humour surrounding her death and Bert Cooper remarks regarding her obituary were rather touching: “She was born in 1898 in a barn, she died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper- she was an astronaut”.

Dr Faye’s reaction to her interactions with Sally show that even though she is happy with her choice of career over family she still feels the need to justify this choice to Don and to explain that this is why she is not so adept with children. Could these feelings of being inferior to Don and the need to justify herself with these scenarios cause a friction between the pair in this early stage of the relationship?

The episode ends with Peggy, Joan and Dr. Faye entering the elevator to go home, not a word is uttered as the doors close showing that each is preoccupied by their own problems, none of which appear to be going away any time soon.

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