Recap: Mad Men 5×07 – At the Codfish Ball

Apparently since we last saw Glen Bishop in the season 4 finale, he has gotten taller, thinner, a lower voice, and much less creepy. The moment Creepy Glen (my obvious nickname for him that will probably never change) opened his mouth I had to do a literal double take. Glen?? Is that you??

Glen and Sally are apparently phone pals (the Skype of the 60s), and just as Sally is complaining about Pauline staying with her again while Betty and Henry are gone, Pauline trips over the phone cord that Sally’s strewn across the hallway and starts yelping in pain.

Megan’s parents, Emile and Marie, come to visit New York from French Canadia (just go with it, it sounds more exotic that way) bringing subtitled French dialogue with them. Megan’s socialist father obviously doesn’t approve of their wealthy, high-rise lifestyle. However, Sally and Bobby save Don from too much overt condescension by coming to stay with them because Pauline broke her ankle. Don still moans that Megan’s father doesn’t like her (duh, you’re the son-in-law), and Megan moans that her mother is competitive with her, even over Don (duh, your husband’s Don Draper).

In another exciting appearance of a secondary recurring character, Roger meets up with Mona for drinks as they talk about his impending divorce from Jane after his LSD-induced epiphany last week. Mona is probably easily my favorite secondary character. Mona is just witty and fabulous and Roger why did you let her slip away?? Anyway…Roger convinces her to set up some introductions so he can meet some more potential clients at the awards ceremony for Don with the American Cancer Society (for his letter against Lucky Strike).

Megan strides into Don’s office the next day with an ad pitch, and Don and all of us watching basically roll our eyes thinking, well this should be good. As it turns out…it actually is. Megan says they should pitch Heinz the idea that everyone’s been eating beans since the dawn of time, and everyone always will be; set to the nuance of mother and child eating together. Unfortunately they don’t got with the slogan “Beans are Forever” with a lyric-changed version of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” playing in the background. Instead: “Heinz Beans. Some things never change.” Well done.

Abe calls Peggy and insists they meet for supper, despite Peggy’s busy schedule. Peggy confides in Joan, worrying Abe is gonna dump her—and it’s odd that she’s worried, since Peggy has apparently threatened a break-up just about every time they’ve had a fight. Joan, with endless advice, tells her, “When a man insists on a meal he has something important to say. It’s usually a proposal.” With new hope, Peggy picks out an adorable new outfit and meets Abe at Minetta Tavern. Peggy braces for the big speech and suddenly turns Southern belle bashful as Abe starts his proposal…that they move in together. At first Peggy’s still confident this is a marriage proposal, until she realizes, well, it isn’t. Her face turns cold, but she agrees to move in together. Abe excitedly asks, “Still wanna eat?” and Peggy stonily replies, “I do.”

Don and Megan and Ken and Cynthia Cosgrove meet with Heinz man, Raymond and his wife, Alice. In the ladies’ room, Alice drops the bomb to Megan that they’re firing SCDP from the beans campaign. Megan slips the word to Don, who is prepared to go ape on them, but instead Megan sets Don up to pitch the new commercial idea she came up with—and Heinz loves it. The next day, the whole office is celebrating Megan sealing the deal with Heinz, and Joan notices a ringless Peggy. Peggy tells Joan about moving in together, and Joan congratulates her (despite her initial “…shacking up?” reaction). Peggy then goes to congratulate Megan, who is weirdly uncomfortable with her success. Peggy tries to convince her how big a deal this is, and but Megan still doesn’t seem very chipper about it.

The next morning Megan, Marie, and Sally buy a new dress for Sally so she can come to the awards ceremony too. The focus swiftly changes when Megan’s parents erupt in a fight, apparently ignited by Marie catching Emile sneaking away to talk to “his newest grad student” (aka, affair) Claudette. Seriously, is there a single faithful marriage on this show? (No.)

Peggy and Abe plan a dinner to tell Peggy’s uber-Catholic mother, Katherine, they’re moving in together. As to be expected, Katherine is less than thrilled. She basically takes off the second they break the news, yelling, “He will use you for practice until he decides to get married and have a family!” Peggy is taken aback, and asks if she would prefer Peggy spend her life alone. Katherine suggests getting a cat (duly noted).

Roger arrives at the Draper residence as they all get ready to leave for the awards ceremony (Bobby asks, “Are you babysitting?” and…if only). Marie jumps to help Roger tie his bow tie—just as every glance in Downton Abbey means something, every touch in Mad Men means something. Something’s going on here. Sally comes out all dressed up (a little too dressed up for Don’s taste). Emile tries to comfort him with the best line of the night, “Don, there’s nothing you can do. No matter what, one day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away.” Don makes her take off the makeup and the go-go boots (but Daaaaad!).

They arrive at the soire and Roger immediately promotes Sally to being his date—Roger and Sally: the dream team. Roger adorably instructs Sally on how to be a business date, and Marie shoots some very jealous looks their way. Marie and Roger eventually meet up at the bar and Marie confesses she’s been watching Roger all night. They discuss living and loving life, and Roger relays his most recent philosophical realization, “At what point should you ever stop trying?” Marie coyly agrees, and replies, “I agree, we should have everything we want.”

Emile and Megan are left at the table alone, and Emile asks Megan if advertising is really her passion, or if she’s just pushing her dreams to the side in favor of Don’s (ah, so that’s why she was being so weird about the Heinz deal). Meanwhile, Don is told the everybody-knows-it-I’m-just-saying-it news that even though all the execs in the room admire him, no one will ever trust him enough to work with him after the stunt he pulled with Lucky Strike. To capstone the downhill turn of the evening, and in yet another segment of Things That Will Scar Sally for Life and Make Her Need Therapy Later, Sally goes looking for the bathroom, only to find Marie and Roger in an empty side room…”living life,” let’s call it. Late that night she calls up Glen, who asks her how the city is. Sally replies, “Dirty.”

A quick Wikipedia search tells me “At the Codfish Ball” spawned some controversy for its songstress, Shirley Temple, because a critic claimed the song and dance number was far too maturely executed, making then 8-year-old Shirley look coquettish and basically like pedophile bait. Sally almost made the same mistake—looking too old for her age—but in a rare move of good parenting, Don stepped in to fix it. Unfortunately on this show, it’ll take much more than a no go-go boots policy to preserve Sally’s childhood innocence.

Watch new episodes of Mad Men on Sundays on AMC at 10/9c. Next week’s episode on May 6 is a new episode entitled “Lady Lazarus.”

All images property of AMC.

About Kailee

Offering TV opinions and trivia to anyone that will listen since 2003.

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