The loosening mores of the 1960s were in full flower Sunday night on “Mad Men,” as one couple moved in together without the benefit of marriage, and a young girl saw two grownups having an intimate encounter in a semi-public place.
The girl was Don Draper’s daughter, Sally (Kiernan Shipka), on the younger side of her teen-aged years, who walked in on Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Marie Calvet (Julia Ormond) while they were — ahem — getting to know each other better.
Her accidental glimpse of their very-adult activity came as she was looking for the rest room in a corridor off a hotel ballroom where the American Cancer Society was holding a banquet honoring her father (Jon Hamm) for a stance he took against smoking.
It was a point of view he didn’t really hold, and neither did many of the attendees at the event, many of whom were smoking.
Sally’s eyeful, as she walked into a side room, was the capper on an evening in which she got to experience an adult night out for the first time, ostensibly going as Roger’s “date,” who nobly escorted her and served as her tour guide into the world of grownups on the town. And she was enjoying herself until she saw Roger with Marie, who just happens to be the mother of Don’s wife, Megan (Jessica Pare).
Earlier in the episode, Don observed how quickly his little girl was growing up, but he didn’t exactly have an incident like that one in mind. When the episode ended, neither Don nor Megan knew what Mrs. Calvet and Roger had been up to — but Sally did.
In other highlights from Sunday’s “Mad Men,” the seventh episode (and sixth week) of the current fifth season:
Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) went to dinner at Minetta Tavern (an old place down in Greenwich Village) with boyfriend Abe (Charlie Hofheimer), expecting him to propose to her. That idea had been planted in her head by the woman on the show who’s the most experienced with men, Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).
But Abe only proposed the two move in together, and Peggy said yes, though she seemed disappointed. When she told Joan the next morning, even Joan was surprised — a sign that social mores had shifted so dramatically that even an old-hand in male-female relations like Joan was thrown off-balance. Peggy’s Catholic mother (Myra Turley) disapproved of the “living-together” arrangement. Her scene with Peggy was one of the episode’s high points.
At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Megan stepped up and not only came up with a new idea for a Heinz baked-beans commercial, but she also saved the account, as the Heinz man was on the verge of firing the agency. Her coup was cause for celebration, but at the same time, she and Don were distracted by her French-speaking French-Canadian parents, who had come to visit. Her parents were at war over her father’s philandering and, it seemed, his penny-pinching — which was one reason Mrs. Calvet went astray with Roger.
The episode also saw a return of Glen Bishop (played by Marten Holden Weiner, son of series creator Matthew Weiner), the creepy neighbor boy who befriended Sally and also carried on an uncomfortable relationship with Sally’s mother in past seasons. Apparently, he and Sally are still in touch with each other, though he’s at boarding school.
“Mad Men” has such a huge cast of characters that it’s worth noting which ones aren’t seen each week. This week’s notable absences were: Betty Francis (January Jones) and ad agency partner Lane Pryce (Jared Harris).