Mad Men Episodes

2007, TV Show

Mad Men Episode: "The Beautiful Girls"

Season 4, Episode 9
Episode Synopsis: A romantic gesture in the form of a thoughtful gift could lead to professional problems for Peggy.
Original Air Date: Sep 19, 2010

Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 4, Episode 9
Paid | iTunes
Length: 47:18
Aired: 9/19/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
play more info

Mad Men Episode Recap: "The Beautiful Girls" Season 4, Episode 9

"She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut." — Bert Cooper

Cooper may remember Ida Blankenship fondly after her sudden (and darkly hilarious) death in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices, but the rest of the living women on Mad Men have as much trouble as ever getting through to the men in their lives. Joan's husband is heading to Vietnam, and Roger gives Joan a "hard time" at the worst possible moment. Peggy spends some more time with activist reporter Abe, only to find out that his forward thinking about civil rights doesn't also extend to women. And, most tragically, little Sally Draper runs away from home in yet another cry for her father's attention. All she gets in return is an afternoon with daddy's girlfriend, Faye, who is equally miffed at Don's handling of the situation.

But before we get to those other ladies, let's consider Miss Blankenship's view of the younger generation. She recognizes that Faye is pushier than the women of days past, but she's also aware that perhaps "that's what it takes" these days. When she sees Peggy in a huff, she warns her thusly: "It's a business of sadists and masochists, and you know which one you are." And even in death, she perhaps solidifies sad Sally's viewpoint that everything isn't going to be fine. As Roger puts it, Ida dies the same way she lived, "surrounded by the people she answers phones for." Can Sally — and Joan and Faye and Peggy — break through that barrier in this man's world?

"I'm not sorry, but I'm married. And so are you." — Joan Harris

Let's start with Joan, who seemingly had the easiest go of it in the episode, all things considered. Yes, Greg is going to Vietnam straight out of basic training, but as we learn during her conversation with Roger, Joan is more angry at never being consulted about Greg's decision to enlist. Not knowing all this, Roger, angry that he can't find a publisher for his memoirs, sticks his foot in it with Joan, and while he normally would go on not caring, we all know Joan gets to Roger. So he apologizes by sending a couple of masseurs to Joan's house.

Joan's gratitude toward Roger — as well as Miss Blankenship's death, which I believe put some fear in Joan — allows her to finally take Roger up on his standing dinner invitation. (Roger also shared some of the fear I allude to, as he says dying in the office would be the worst thing imaginable.) Roger and Joan go to a deli, an old haunt where they feel safe from being discovered, and they reminisce over cherry cheesecake. Roger bemoans that he can't put a chapter in his book about Joan: "Every time I think back, all the good stuff was with you," he says, before apologizing again for his bad behavior.

En route home, after noticing that the neighborhood isn't as safe as it once was, Joan and Roger get held up. They hand over cash and rings, and escape unharmed, but Joan's emotions (and I would imagine a little bit of adrenaline) get the best of her. She kisses Roger, which leads to a quick romp in a dark alley. (I would get out of the neighborhood first, but what do I know?)

The next morning, however, Joan makes it clear that she isn't interested in resuming her fling with Roger full time. Even though she's married to an insensitive dolt, she wants to honor her marriage. Roger doesn't feel quite the same way, but if we've learned anything from Joan, it's that she will play her role in society, even when she perhaps wants more. (This could all change if Greg steps on a land mine. Fingers crossed!)

"Most of the things Negroes can't do, I can't do either. And nobody seems to care." — Peggy Olson

Peggy is worried about the agency hiring new male copywriters who might steal some of her spotlight, but all Abe, the guy she made out with a few weeks back, wants to talk about is civil rights. He first gives Peggy pause as she considers that Fillmore Auto Parts won't hire black workers. But when Peggy dares to speak up about having her own rights overlooked, Abe turns into a smarter version of Stan Rizzo, king of  the sexist pigs. (I did giggle at Stan's song stylings when Peggy's would-be lesbian lover visited the office.)

Realizing he offended Peggy, Abe doesn't turns up the next day with something for Peggy to read. It's no apology; it's an article called "Nuremburg on Madison Avenue," a screed against the advertising business in general that Peggy worries will get her fired if it were to be published. She rips it up and sends Abe on his way. Abe's mistake? Treating Peggy as a brainless child. She obviously does care about Abe's politics (she suggests Harry Belafonte sing the Fillmore jingle, even though she probably knows it will be shot down), but she won't tolerate being treated badly. In that way, she might be a step ahead of Joan, but she also isn't willing to give up her career for this man either. (But I also doubt that his article would have really gotten her fired. Who does this guy write for again?)

"Men never know what's going on." — Vivian Winters

Then there's Sally, who rightfully wants to get away from Betty's icy iron paw in Ossining. Walking home from her shrink visit, Sally decides to hop on a train and head into the city. Vivian finds her hiding from the conductor between cars and brings her into the city, where Don has to baby-sit her.

Except he can't, because he's busy closing the deal with Fillmore and Miss Blankenship has just bit the big one. So, Don asks his new partner between the sheets, Faye, to take Sally to his apartment and stay with her. "I would have my secretary do it, but she's dead," Don quips. Faye is awkward with Sally, repeatedly reintroducing herself, even though Don has already done the honors.

At home, Don is incapable of really punishing Sally. She bats her eyelashes, promises never to run away again, and just like that, they're sharing pizza. Sally begs Don to let her stay with him, even offering to bring her brothers and take care of all of them as the woman of the house. But Don refuses, as I am sure the state would, too. The next morning, Sally is a happy homemaker, accidentally making French toast with rum (not Mrs. Butterworth's) in a ploy to stay longer. Don agrees to take her to the zoo, but ultimately, her fairy tale is going to end when Betty comes to pick Sally up.

Sally throws a tantrum, and Don again turns to Faye to calm her down. (Faye later yells at Don for putting her in that position, believing Don was testing her skills as a mother. "I love children, but I chose to be where I am. I don't view it as a failure," she says.)

In any case, Faye fails to calm Sally, and she runs screaming through the office before ultimately falling on her face in front of everyone. When Don's new secretary, Megan, scoops her up, Sally holds her, clearly just aching for affection that she gets from neither Betty or Don. Megan tells Sally it's going to be OK, and Sally heartbreakingly says it isn't, striking a nerve with all the other women in the office, who walk Sally and Don out to meet Betty.

Obviously, life can get better, even if Sally doesn't see how. Just ask Peggy, who so far has been able to bend the gender rules of the ad game (though not breaking them completely). Joan perhaps feels she missed her chance to do what Peggy did and is thus doomed to become another dead secretary; however, I imagine her obit wouldn't be nearly as hard to write as Miss Blankenship's. History has taught us as viewers that change is coming for these women — so long as they, like Sally, can pick themselves up from the floor and keep moving.

What did you think of the episode?

show less

"She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut." — Bert Cooper

Cooper may remember Ida Blankenship fondly after her sudden (and darkly hilarious) death in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices, but the rest of the living women on Mad Men have as much trouble as ever getting through to the men in their lives. Joan's husband is heading to Vietnam, and Roger gives Joan a "hard time" at the worst possible moment. Peggy spends some more time with activist reporter Abe, only to find out that his forward thinking about civil rights doesn't also extend to women. And, most tragically, little Sally Draper runs away from home in yet another cry for her father's attention. All she gets in return is an afternoon with daddy's girlfriend, Faye, who is equally miffed at Don's handling of the situation.

But before we get to those other ladies, let's consider Miss Blankenship's view of the younger generation. She recognizes that Faye is pushier than the women of days past, but she's also aware that perhaps "that's what it takes" these days. When she sees Peggy in a huff, she warns her thusly: "It's a business of sadists and masochists, and you know which one you are." And even in death, she perhaps solidifies sad Sally's viewpoint that everything isn't going to be fine. As Roger puts it, Ida dies the same way she lived, "surrounded by the people she answers phones for." Can Sally — and Joan and Faye and Peggy — break through that barrier in this man's world? read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Mad Men
Tags:
AMC

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: July 19, 2007, on AMC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (1,157 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A look at the high-powered world of advertising in 1960s New York City, from the boardroom to the bedroom.

Cast

Shop

Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s
Buy Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s from Amazon.com
From Duke University Press Books (Paperback)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $25.16 (as of 12/21/14 4:20 PM EST - more info)
Mad Men: Season 6
Buy Mad Men: Season 6 from Amazon.com
From Lionsgate (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $12.99 (as of 12/21/14 4:20 PM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular