‘Mad Men’ Recap: ‘At The Codfish Ball’ [PHOTOS]

April 30th, 2012 // Leave a Comment

Talk about daddy issues! The women in this week’s episode of AMC’s Mad Men are all dealing with their parents in some way, even little Sally Draper. And by the looks of things, Sally may not be so little anymore. She has been forced to grow up fast in a very adult world. 

Remember creepy neighborhood kid Glen? He hit on Sally’s mother Betty and then started scamming on her. Now he is away at school and Sally is living with her stepfather’s mother. Yikes. Even worse, Glen the creep seems to be Sally’s only place to vent and rather than talk to the dysfunctional adults around her, she turns to a guy that seems insane. As she talks to Glen, the telephone chord stretches across the hallway, tripping fat old grandma and allowing Sally to go stay with her Dad.

Cut to the Draper apartment, Megan’s two French Canadian parents, and a puzzling look on Don’s face. There are a few things we note immediately. Megan’s mom is unhappy with her marriage, her father is unhappy with his career, and he isn’t exactly ecstatic about his daughter’s marriage to Don (Jon Hamm). They’re in town for the American Cancer Association Gala and Don is to receive an award for his letter against Lucky Strike.

Roger (John Slatterly) is already preparing to shmooze some new clients and he goes to his ex-wife to get connected to Firestone. She seems pretty forgiving now that Roger has realized his marriage with Jane was a sham. Roger is back on top of his game. He is happy again and when he is happy, he is charming. His jokes get more clever and more funny. He is a delight to be around and he knows it. 

However, before the big event, Megan and Don have to attend to Heinz. Megan had a revelation the night before while serving Sally some spaghetti and realized that her mother did the same for her. She replaces the idea of spaghetti with Heinz and wah-lah! She comes up with a clever campaign to keep Heinz around. But first, she tag teams the situation with Don over a fancy dinner and convinces Heinz not to fire them. It’s all pretty sexy and brilliant and exciting for her. Don is over the moon!

After Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) congratulates Megan on her awesome achievement with Heinz, she gets a call from Abe asking her to come to dinner. Some of the best moments of this series happen when she steps into Joan Holloway Harris’ office and they talk over cigarettes, handing each other advice. Joan (Christina Hendricks) says that he will propose. Instead, Abe asks Peggy if they can move in together. For Peggy, this situation is even better than marriage and jilted Joan agrees with her now that she has kicked out Greg. 

Megan and her mother take Sally shopping and suggest she attends the Gala to see Don receive his award. Kiernan Shipka is the one who should be getting awards because her portrayal of Sally Draper has always been impeccable. She has dealt with a mother like Betty, distant and negligent, to being exposed to perception drugs by her step-grandmother. Now she is off to the ball in a shining outfit that makes us all realize she is growing up too soon. Don also realizes this. He makes her change her shoes and take off her makeup. 

Roger is a bachelor again and he says he is Sally’s date. His interactions with the girl are sweet and charming, which gets the attention of Megan’s mother immediately. Even though Roger came for the clients, he gets more fire in his love life than with Firestone the company. While Megan and French dad discuss the merits of Don’s money and capitalism, her mother is giving Roger a very nice gift in a back room. Unfortunately, Sally walks in on yet another life altering, grown up event of which no amount of therapy will be able to erase. If this series were to go on long enough, Sally’s teenage years and mid-twenties would be an interesting thing to see. 

Peggy makes dinner for her mother and Abe sets the table. They are going to announce their new living arrangement and are extremely excited. But Peggy’s Catholic mother, who already witnessed her daughter give an illegitimate child up, is not pleased. Even though it is the 60′s and it does make more sense for Peggy and Abe is a great guy who respects women, it is easy to see why her mother would chastise the situation. It is hard for Peggy, but honestly she doesn’t need her mother or anyone else for that matter. Peggy is finding that she tends to kick ass without the help of anyone in her life. She is by far the most dynamic character next to Don Draper. 

By episode’s end, all three daughters Megan, Sally, and Peggy have realized a few unpleasant things. Whatever expectations their parents had for them mean nothing. It’s more about what they decide to do with the experiences they’ve been given, even the terrible ones. In their own ways, these three women are stronger than their parents and are capable of so much more than people give them credit for. The group that walked into the Gala smiling are now down in the dumps, but the people in this show don’t give up that easily. 

By Chelsi Archibald

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