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'Mad Men' recap: 'Mystery Date'

Good for you, Joan! Really, it was about time.

April 09, 2012|By Jordan Bartel

I think it's safe to say that all "Mad Men" fans (and, therefore, Joan fans), had been waiting for this moment since, you know, Greg raped her in Don's office in Season 2.

Anyone sad to see Greg and his many tight white shirts go? No. Cool. Me either.

Peggy adopts Dawn for the night: I'm a little confused as to where the writers are going this season with Peg. So far, she has been a bit of a nuisance (insulting Megan, acting generally uppity). This time around, she takes advantage of Roger forgetting to do the whole Mohawk Airlines campaign presentation and gets $400 from him to stay in the office all night and do it.

Later, she hears a noise, inspects and finds Dawn, Don's secretary, sleeping in her boss' office. With rumblings of race riots starting in NYC, she's afraid to go home, but Peggy offers to put her up in her apartment for the night.

I do not like drunk Peggy. She annoyingly name-drops her journalist boyfriend as covering the race riots to Chicago, as though that will make Dawn feel somuchbetter! She then whines on about being unhappy at work. "Do you think I act like a man? I try, but I don't know if I have it in me. I don't know if I want to."

Dawn starts to look for the exit, but decides to go to bed, even after Peggy says she understands Dawn's loneliness at the office because she was once the only woman working there. Note to Peggy: being a white woman in the 1960s workplace and being a black woman in the 1960s workplace are SORT of similar, but not really though.

After all of this Peggy pauses, looks at her purse lying on the coffee table and hesitants to leave it in front of Dawn. This was one of the finest moments of the episode, a showcase of inherent prejudice, even ever so slight. It was all made worse when Dawn leaves a note in the morning thanking Peggy for "the hospitality."

Nice bonding session, Peggy.

Valley of the Sallys: Finally, what's little Sally Draper up to? Having a hard time at home with Henry's mom, Pauline (Sally never calls her Grandma). As an odd plot point, the Richard Speck murders of eight student nurses hangs over this episode like a dark cloud (the timing means this is middle of July).

Pauline reads about the murders in front of Sally, who is naturally curious but told to shut up and eat her tuna sandwich (Henry and Betty are off somewhere ignoring their kids). Later, Sally finds a newspaper, reads the news and is scared.

She goes downstairs in the scary Francis castle and finds Pauline, who does perhaps the worst job of explaining what happened to those nurses.

"Why did he do that?" Sally asks.

"Probably because he hates his mother," Pauline says.

Later, she gives her take on what probably happened: "The girls got ready for bed and there was handsome man there. And someone probably knew him, or not. ... the young innocent nurses in short uniforms, stirring his desire."

"For what?" Sally asks

"What do you think?" Pauline snaps.

Seriously. Later, after making Sally "feel better" by showing her her burglar alarm, a giant butcher knife, she gives Sally a Seconal -- a barbiturate! -- to help her fall asleep.

Sally is now most likely to have a "Valley of the Dolls" subplot or join a cult. Or both.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM 'MYSTERY DATE'

Most succinct observation about SCDP: "Y'all drink a lot." -- Dawn

Worst time to bring up Joan's accordion playing: When another player serenades them at the dinner when Joan discovers Greg volunteered to go back.

Most inappropriate work behavior: Peggy, Stan and Megan ogling the exclusive crime-scene photos of the student nurse photos Peggy's photog pal, Joyce, brings in the office.

Best comeback: When Don says Michael Ginsberg's voice is hard to listen to, Michael sticks up for himself by saying it's a "regional accent."

Sure, Don: "I married you and I'm going to be with you until you die." -- to Megan

Best Roger outburst: To Peggy: "Are you drunk?! Get your feet off the desk!"

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