When we last left “Mad Men,” Don was on a crusade to make lots of money. We found out that he was getting over his alcoholism and getting his mojo back, even as his secretary continued to make racist remarks and generally annoyed the hell out of him. Also, it covered Peggy and her relentless dating troubles. How did it go this episode? Check out the review and find out…

The Players

Episode Title: “The Beautiful Girls”

Sally pays an unexpected visit. Peggy receives a thoughtless gift from an equally thoughtless Abe. Don deals with a last-minute personnel change. Bert Cooper suffers from writer’s block.

The Good:

  • The Blankenship Has Sailed!: Man, I’ve been waiting for weeks to use that pun. And considering how Ms. Blankenship left us, it’s appropriate. As funny as that particular moment was, Bert Cooper’s statement that “she was an astronaut” was surprisingly touching, and a nice moment from Robert Morse, who is generally called on to be weird.
  • Sally Takes the Train: Sally’s unexpected visit was surprisingly independent, even for her. And her request to bring the whole family to Don, sans Betty, was heart-wrenching. No wonder they made Sally a regular this season.
  • Peggy Versus Patriarchy: Something people rarely acknowledge is that those who supported the civil rights usually found the idea of feminism hilarious. If you don’t believe me, search for “prone” on the Duke University website. The show is actually doing a really good job of illustrating just how rough it was for women in 1965, and Abe’s guffawing at the idea of women’s rights just makes that clearer.
  • Against the Wall: So, um, yeah, Roger and Joan. Doing it. Against a wall in a bad neighborhood. Yeah, it’s going to end badly, but it was nice to see Joan having sex she actually wanted. And Roger is actually turning into a much more chivalrous pervert; must be the change in wife.
  • Faint Praise: We’re enjoying the Don/Faye relationship, and it had some interesting moments this episode. Whether it’s their lunchtime meetings, or Faye’s breakdown over what she thought was a test (and Don’s willing embrace of her disinterest in children), their relationship is rapidly getting more complicated and interested. That said, nobody really wants to talk to Sally, do they?  Whenever she’s handed off to somebody, she always winds up sitting alone in front of the TV.

The Weird:

  • Lickety-Split: Abe’s poem was moronic (more on that under “The Bad”), but you kind of have to wonder why Peggy went ballistic over Abe’s poem, yet Joyce’s, er, licking her cheek just got an amused giggle. Maybe Peggy is unaware of the fate of Sal, but it’s hard to believe that idiot frat boy in her office wouldn’t make a big deal out of any hint of lesbianism, especially after the way she humiliated him in that hotel room and fired his best friend. We’re assuming this will come back to haunt Peggy as her pack of copywriting idiots probably already think she’s a lesbian because she’s smarter than they are, but still.

The Bad:

  • Disabled: Don’t get us wrong, we don’t like Abe, and we didn’t right from the start. But throw him onto a pretty large pile of hippies, yippees and beatniks that the show has profound contempt for. While Abe did have a good point, at the same time it was lost between a poem that flagrantly violated Godwin’s Law and his general narrow-mindedness. We’d really like to see somebody who brings up these points about society in general and advertising in particular who actually has some nuance, like the rest of the cast.


While not “The Suitcase,” a solid, interesting episode with an absolute corker of a central gag.

Rating: 9.5/10

“Mad Men” airs Sundays at 10 pm on AMC.

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Agree? Disagree? Think Ms. Blankenship deserved a better departure? Let us know in the comments!