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Musing Review: Mad Men – At the Codfish Ball (S5, Ep7)

Submitted by on May 9, 2012 – 11:13 pmNo Comment | 9,428 views

This is a review of Mad Men Season 5 Episode 7 entitled At the Codfish Ball.

I may be a week or so late reviewing this episode but at least I’m still watching them in order and I’m still untainted by episode eight.  I’ll watch that after the review and hopefully write its review before episode nine airs.  My apologies as I was out of town and unable to write.

So this was a decent episode.  I was neither super enthused nor disappointed.  I thought the plotline was a bit interesting.  The episode took a pretty narrow focus with only two storylines so this will be a pretty short review.  I’m going to look at it from two different perspectives and here’s how it went down.


Peggy has been doing a lot of maturing this season.  She’s really learning about herself and what it’s like to be an empowered, working, smart woman of the 1960s.  Too bad things weren’t going well with her boyfriend Abe.  Or were they actually going well?  We’ve seen how disappointed he was that she’s always working and committed to her job.  They wanted us to believe that they were going to break up.  Abe called her and demanded that they go to dinner, he made reservations.  Peggy was nervous and surprisingly she ran to Joan. At least it was surprising to me.  I thought they had their issues but I guess when it comes to girl stuff Joan is the best.  Joan convinces her that he’s going to propose, that men don’t make reservations for breakups.

So Joan was right, sort of. He proposed alright.  However, it wasn’t for marriage.  He proposed that they live together and she accepted and were happy.  They decide to tell her mom.  Now we haven’t seen a lot of Peggy’s mother in recent episodes so we may have forgotten how strict of an observant mom she is.  And we get the expected reaction – she was not happy at all.  She didn’t want her daughter living in sin, especially with her Jewish boyfriend.  So she blew up and left, taking the cake with her.  What I was most surprised about her how there was no mention of her son that’s parading around as her nephew.  We actually haven’t heard a lot about that in many seasons.  This seemed the opportune time to bring it up.  Will Peggy ever come clean to anyone about it? (Though she used it over Pete once.)  Maybe it’s not something the writers want to explore.  I think they should though.


Now Sally is an interesting perspective here.  She’s the little girl who’s becoming all grown up.  This week she was forced over to Don’s place because Grandma Pauline tripped over the phone cord and sprained her ankle or broke her foot.  The phone was in her room and the cord was extended because Sally was talking to the boy who moved out of her neighborhood who is now seemingly at college.  I’m surprised they brought him back.  I thought he was going to be a bad influence on her and they were going to turn it into some womanly coming of age sexual story.  Aside here.  Betty and Henry and the baby weren’t around again.  Maybe they’re waiting until Betty loses the weight to bring her back …

So Sally and her brother are not the only ones at the Draper residence.  Megan’s parents are there too, Dr. Emile and Marie Calvet, to see Don receive an award.  There were some good moments and bad but the Calvet relationship was clearly on the rocks.  They fought in front of everyone.  One day all the girls went shopping and bought Sally a new dress, so she asks to go to the award dinner and Don says yes.  Not quite the reaction I expected from Don but Sally was excited.  She got all prettied up and looked like a little woman.

She ended up being Roger’s “date” and was being a little worker bee.  Too bad Roger was being a “bad” boy.  He was flirting with Marie Calvet all night and they disappeared for a bit.  In an innocent trip to the bathroom she inadvertently walked in on Roger receiving oral sex from Marie.  It shocked her, rightfully so.  And then the scene ended with a view of a distraught family sitting at a table.  This caused Sally to answer “dirty” when she was asked by her college friend how new york city was.  She wanted to dress up and go to the ball and she got a dose of real life.

Random Thoughts

  • Roger was on his A-game.  I knew separating from Jane would bring him back to life.  It was great to see him working a room and flirting again. He was happy.
  • Megan was also on her A-game.  She came up with that whole Heinz pitch herself and knew how to make Don give it at the right time.  I think she’s going places far beyond anyone else we’ve seen.
  • Don is becoming a better father and was really good with his kids.  This has been a nice progression since the start of the season.  I’m liking what I see.

So a decent episode and I want some more.  Thankfully I have the next episode to watch right away.  So you can watch Mad Men Sundays at 10:00PM on AMC.

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