Mar 12, 2015

Mad Cap: "At the Codfish Ball"

Kiernan Shipka
Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 5, Episode 7
"At the Codfish Ball"

"Men don't take the time to end 
things. They ignore you until you 
insist on a declaration of hate."
- Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks)


The Francis couple is away and Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) is in control of Pauline Francis (Pamela Dunlap). After an accident, she ends up having to stay with Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessia Pare), who are still trying to land the Heinz Beans client. Meanwhile, Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) is trying to finish the final steps to moving in with her Jewish boyfriend, whom her mother wouldn't approve of. Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) is very skeptical of the idea working, though mostly because of her recent divorce.  Things go well with Sally and she quickly becomes a darling among Megan and her French family, who seem to be having some problems. She ends up going to Don's awards ceremony where she hangs out with Roger Sterling (John Slattery), who is disappointed about losing the Lucky Strike client and getting a divorce, for most of the evening and has a fun time. Sterling ends up ditching her for Mona Sterling (Talia Balsam), whom he has sex with in the bathroom. Sally catches them and becomes traumatized. Megan gets berated by her father for not following her dreams, and thus annoys her. Don is also left with a strong impression that nobody wants to work with him after the letter he wrote awhile back. Peggy's mother gets mad and disowns her daughter for living in sin. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka)

This is an episode where everyone ends up disappointed for one reason or another. However, there's something fascinating about viewing it from Sally's perspective. With her parental figures falling apart around her, she is trying to come to terms with her maturity and the realization that the adults are flawed. Her innocence is fading and all she has left is a confusing sense of acceptance in her father. She is quickly becoming a woman as she enters Don's dangerous life. Even if Don doesn't want her to grow up, she does an awful lot of that in this episode as all of the adults around her become increasingly disappointed by their place in life, sitting in silence and making her feel awkward.

Best Scene

It is actually a moment following a series of scenes that makes the cut this week. With Don getting told he won't be able to get work, Megan disappointed by her father and Sally disappointed in Sterling, it is a unanimous silence that looms over the table and leaves everyone disappointed by the night that they had. Even in a moment where they are getting awards and having a great time, there's the reality that things aren't always working out for them. They may have success, but without the honor of their significant other, there is no point. As the shot lingers on the table, there's the awkward silence and the realization that there's something bothering everyone at this happy occasion.

UP NEXT: "Lady Lazarus"

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