Like the title of this week's episode claimed, "The Beautiful Girls" was very much focused on the ladies of Mad Men.
As far as installments in which Don takes a back seat go, this was good enough in my book. Would I rather see Don at the forefront week after week? Sure, but we can't always get what we want. Isn't that right, Sally?
If you've been reading my reviews all season, you know that I love Kiernan Shipka as Sally Draper. Both because I think she's a great child actress and because Sally is such a likable kid in that bratty sort of way. Sally was just one of the "beautiful girls" to get under the spotlight this week, but she was the most interesting.
How old is this kid now? She's going off on her own and taking a train to see her dad with no money? For one, that's super dangerous. Secondly, how dumb are you to think you could go on the train with no cash? Once at SCDP, the Sally sass is in full effect, and I was loving every second of it. When Faye introduced herself to Sally, the little one just replied with, "I know. My dad just said that." Classic pre-teen back talk.
It's interesting that Betty thinks Sally is just the worst little girl in the world. Granted, she's acting up, but it doesn't seem that much worse than any of the kids I knew growing up. Betty, what do you do all day other than sit around the house and eat bonbons? Take the time to come to the city to pick up your daughter, who for all you know is scared out of her mind!
I hate to say it, but I think I have officially switched to Team Don.Once Sally gets back to Don's apartment, and gets him to agree to ordering a pizza, she lays down with the biggest smile on her face. Don is like a God to Sally right now. Betty and the rest of the new Francis household is too much to handle and I don't blame her for wanting to live with her dad all the time. He gets her pizza, takes her to the zoo, and lets her cook french toast with rum!
Now, to the other three "beautiful girls" of the week. None of these stories excited me as much, with the slight exception of Faye's, because it was intertwined with the Don/Sally plot. Mr. Draper did kind of throw her into the fire with all of the Sally drama, but I think the fact that she worked through it all and still wants to continue with Don is a great sign. This could be the makings of a healthy relationship.
Peggy was ahead of the curve once again this week. She didn't want to deal with a company that didn't hire African-Americans and she recognizes that women are hurt in similar ways to African-Americans. This was nice, but a bit boring. We get it. Peggy looks ahead better than anyone on the show, but it just didn't do it for me....
... although it was 10 times better than another horrid Joan story line. Again, I know it is blasphemy to hate on Joan, but I can't help it. She has become the absolute worst. I couldn't care less about her dealing with her husband going to Vietnam, and the only reason I care about her relationship with Roger is because of Roger. Frankly, during his interactions with Joan, I downgrade Roger from fantastic to good.
As the three ladies, Peggy, Joan and Faye, made their way out of SCDP via the elevator, I was relieved that this was the last time this season I'd have to endure an entire episode devoted to them.
I would be remiss if I didn't give Mrs. Blankenship her own paragraph here. How was that not the funniest moment of the season? If the tractor scene was the comedic highlight of season three, the death of Blankenship earned that honor on season four. The combination of Peggy pushing flat on her face and Joan and Pete wheeling her into an office in the background was just pure hilarity. It will be interesting to see who is next to be Don's full-time secretary, and if she can handle the job.
- In trying to sell his book, Roger forgot to mention one key ingredient of Sterling's Gold: comedy. There was supreme comedy in almost every snippet we heard.
- So Cooper doesn't have an office? Am I the only one who didn't know this? When we first saw him this episode, he was sitting outside Don's office with a newspaper. I noted it, saying it was the second time we've seen him just sitting somewhere. I guess we now know why.
- I can't tell if Sally wants Don to get re-married or not. My gut tells me that she does, so that his new wife can be her new mom. Her hatred for Betty has gone so deep that she'd probably take on anyone as a new mother.
- Only four episodes left in the season. How will Sally's actions affect Don's future? Where do Don and Faye go from here? Is Don really on the right track for good? Or will he fall back into some of his bad habits at some point? Will Sterling's Gold ever get published? We shall see.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.