Pleasant surprises….

 Posted by on December 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm  Characters, Season 4
Dec 032010

I admit to disliking Henry when I first met him in S3.  Now that S4 is over, my feeling for him has changed.  I like how he confronts Betty on things, showed concern over Sally, and I think he’s actually been good for Bets.

Another person is Dr. Faye Miller.  I thought her to be a cold, calculating person early in the season.  But by the finale, I felt for her, and was impressed by her own honesty with Don, and desire to help him.

There’s also Danny.  I didn’t think I’d be sad to see him go, but I was when SCDP had to let people go.

Finally, there’s Ms. Blankenship.  When I first saw her, I thought she’d be funny for a couple of episodes, and then I’d tire of her.  But her death made me wish I had seen a little bit of backstory into the “Queen of Perversion.”

Pleasant surprises, all of them.  I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting about.  I’m guessing we’ll see some more of Henry, but as for the others, I hope we at least get to see their characters in passing next season.  Well, except for Miss Blankenship.


  31 Responses to “Pleasant surprises….”

  1. Danny got some good lines in his scenes.

    Betty has been a brat for four seaons – prehaps Henry will grow her up a bit.

    Weiner and Co. could have fun casting for a young(er) Mrs. (Ms. is anachronistic) Blankenship in some flashback scenes – but it would be a stretch to make Sterling look young enough (and impossible for Cooper).

  2. Perhaps Miss Blankenship could make a crossover appearance on “The Walking Dead”…

  3. @ 1 Jahn Ghalt- It could work if the changed Slattery’s hair color. Also, they don’t have to use the same actor. They case someone to play Dick Whitman as a child, there’s no reason they couldn’t do the same thing for Roger Sterling.

  4. Hi Retro,

    The hair color (or a wig?) occurred to me, too. And I suppose makeup would do the rest.

    Some flashbacks would be a kick!

    Different actor? Now you got a young Blankenship “corrupting” a younger Sterling – or flirting with Sterling Sr.?


    (the possibilities are rich)

  5. I too like Henry. Liked Faye and felt badly for her that things ended the way it did. (Shades of Billy Bob Thornton/Angelina Jolie/Laura Dern?)

    Danny was okay, but I’m hoping that his leaving opens the door for Paul Kinsey or Smitty to return. (Probably not Paul, I don’t really see that happening somehow—but Smitty is a possibility.)

    Blankenship was good. For all her oddness and quirkiness, she was the voice of reason in many ways.

    (Just occurred to me too–in some ways, she was this year’s Lois.)

  6. you forgot pete. I think we all strongly disliked Pete from the start. The rest of the guys yea they are pretty immature and annoying. Pete seemed completely selfish and amoral at the beginning though.
    Now Pete and Trudy have one of the strongest marriages, he’s a junior partner – and the best account man at SCDP, and is civil and polite with everyone he works with: he’s even friendly with Ken Cosgrove his past arch rival 😀

  7. @6 Amelia-In season 1 I would never have guessed that Pete and Trudy would have such a strong marriage, but I do see trouble ahead of them. Trudy wants to live in the suburbs, and she’s married to the men who said during the Cuban Missile Crisis “If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhatten.”

    I liked Faye from the start, and hoped she would be the new Mrs. Draper.

  8. I initially really didn’t like Stan. I still don’t like him when I think he has the power to hurt Peggy. But I find myself feeling more forgiving of him than I used to.

    Joey seemed nicer at first, but he really didn’t grow to have any respect for Joan or even Peggy when she asked him to stop. In fact, he turned out to be really icky.

    Stan is still totally off when it comes to a lot of things. He’s a doofus and a Neanderthal when it comes to how to treat a lady (not to mention a female co-worker)–but I think he’s kind of sweet on Peggy. It’s kind of cute. He seems to have a tough boy front that is masking a not-so-tough guy underneath. She had to put him in his place, and he still needs to be put in his place.

    But I kind of think he likes it (a least a little) when she’s tough on him. And even though he doesn’t respect Peggy as much as I’d like in the way I’d like, I think he does have a begrudging respect for Peggy that has grown over time.

    Stan probably can’t change enough to be a realistic option for Peggy.

    But part of me wishes he would be a bit like Danny in Grease. All that “bad boy attitude” that is hiding a softer heart that truly has fallen heavily for Peggy.

  9. @8 Lady K-I didn’t like Stan at much either at first. What changed my mind was when he started kissing her before the presentation. She told him to stop, and he did. A rivalry between Stan and Peggy could be good for the company, in terms of each pushing each other to be better. I do like the little prank war between them. I’m just waiting for it to escalate to the point of Don stepping in to tell them no.

  10. (Honorable mention) It was a great relief that Henry turned out a normal human male with expected adult reactions. He makes a nice comparative to the fun-house antics of SCDP.

    (Third place) As Roger had morphed into little more than a gutter bum in a fancy suit his unexpected downfall was a greatly appreciated surprise.

    (Second place) Joan taking the road most traveled. Not everyone was a ground-breaker and for her to be suddenly written to play against character would have oozed of attention grabbing desperation. She was kept real and I liked it better that way.

    (Winner) Kiernan Shipka holding her own as an actress. In general I plague-run to avoid shows/episodes with child actors but this kid has a real talent.

  11. Well, Megan turned out to be quite the surprise! She played her cards close to the vest and was an enigma all season, until she came on to Don that one night, and then it was obvious that she had been, all along, hoping for a chance to find a husband and provider at work — any work would do, it didn’t have to be SCDP. She was looking for her Mrs. degree. I don’t think she’s in love with Don so much as she is in love with the idealized idea of love and marriage.

    I loathed Stan when I first laid eyes on him. Now I like him a whole lot, for many of the reasons stated above, and also because he’s completely vulnerable behind that facade, is totally in love with Peggy, is a teachable Neanderthal, and doesn’t take life too seriously. Killer smile.

  12. # 8 Lady K:

    Stan sure did start out bad – only worse A$$hole was Joey – who was handed his head.

    But, he has also had a number of ways to show that he likes Peggy – for one teasing with the “Midtown/Downtown” song he sang – even while insulting Joyce as a lesbian.

    Seems like he/the writers are keeping whatever crush/flame he’s burning for Peggy fairly well submerged (or am I totally missing something there?)

  13. # 11 GoodSally said:

    “I don’t think (Megan’s) in love with Don so much as she is in love with the idealized idea of love and marriage.”


    In the finale, Don was a whole lot more loopy-in-love than Megan – which is pretty real, when you think about it.

  14. #12: Maybe I’m seeing what’s not there. I think Stan admires Peggy, and possibly is in love with her. Danny teased him about it in one episode, remember, and I don’t think those words were wasted by the writers.

    I love the horrible way Stan dresses, too. It’s so bad it’s good.

  15. I expected Alison to go quietly into the room marked “Don Draper’s Doormats” like every other woman he used as dick Kleenex; when she used him for pitching practice instead . . .

  16. It’s true, I had forgotten about Stan and Pete. I disliked both of them, but they’ve both grown on me. Although I personally miss the “old” Pete. He was fun.

    # 13 – I don’t know if Megan is truly in love with Don, but the fact that she has Don loopy in love is certainly a surprise unto itself.

    # 14 – Funny and true about the way Stan dresses!!

  17. @#11 re Megan looking for her MRS degree.

    I didn’t see it that way. Actually Stan, the day before, (and again the day of) predicted Megan’s behavior. He talked about his experience at a firm that was going down, as SCDP was when Bert announced they’d lost Lucky.

    Stan said the women get super horny, because it’s the Last Days of Rome. “The energy is…. very good”

    When he tricks Peggy into kissing him to “relax” the next day, he says come on, it’s the end of the world!

    Megan had a front row look at Bert and Don giving the news and pep talk about the loss. Also, she had recently been through a scare where she expected to be fired over the DOD security request. I think she was primed to seize the day, as Stan hoped someone would do with him. Too bad for Stan he’s not Don.

    I think Joey and Stan were both pretty disgusting in the early episodes, but Stan knows when to stop. Joey had serious mommy issues that blocked his capacity to see reality.

    One possibility for the future, to blend Megan’s artistic ambition into the firm, would be to have her work under Stan as art. He complains he’s stretched too thin when things get busy, and that way Peggy wouldn’t feel supplanted by the hot secretary who jumps in as Mrs Draper.

  18. Loved Henry and Miss B. But I only warmed up to Faye about thirty seconds before she left the show. Because that was the very first time she displayed any real, sincere human emotion.

  19. #1 Jahn Ghalt

    I remember back when St. Elsewhere did a series of episodes about the founding and early years of the hospital. I’d love to see a similar thing with a young Bert and Sterling, Sr., aided by Ida, sweet as apple cider.

  20. I guess I’m in the minority… I liked Henry from the get-go. Yes, he came off a little creepy when we first met him, but he intrigued me instantly.

    I’m still not sure if I like Stan. Rewatching the last episodes of S4 made me see the little boy in him and also appreciate that quality that he is just trying to bury under the macho surface. It’s a budding love-to-hate-him relationship.

  21. @12 Jahn Ghalt-To quote Al from “Quantum Leap”- “You only pull the pigtails of the one you love.” Teasing her is how he shows he likes her.

    @17 Tom B-I like that idea. Someone in art would not be in competition with Peggy, but they would have to work together, which could be interesting. I would love to see the two of them working together late at night, and eventually talking about Don.

  22. Yeah, RetroGirl, it would almost make too much sense. Peggy likes Megan already, since she did the ritual bit in the focus group. They could all be one happy family.

    Stan would be tortured, of course. His instinct to be crude to diffuse the sexual tension wouldn’t cut it with Mrs Draper.

  23. If Don and Megan do get married, I don’t expect we’ll see her continue to work at SCDP. Don is not a monogamous guy and uses the office as a trolling ground for liasons. After a couple of months of marriage, he’ll be back to his old ways and wouldn’t want his wife around everyday to cramp his action.

    Plus, it will create a lot of difficulty for Megan if she tries to work in the Creative or Accounts group – who wants the boss’s wife as your peer or subordinate – it’s a lose-lose situation for all involved.

    I suspect that if they do marry, Megan may get involved with some high-level charity work as would befit a woman of her new social status.

  24. @ 22 Tom B-Maybe that’s why she eventually quits-she can’t handle Stan the way Peggy can.

    @23 CParis-Good point about Don using the office as a place to find mistresses. Maybe Megan will work part time, or do free-lance work. If Megan wants to work, maybe he will find her a job someplace else where she will not be in competition with SCDP.

  25. CParis and RetroGirl,

    Megan, unless she was full of it, wants to be taught the ad business. I don’t see her doing charity work; she wants an outlet for her creativity.

    As the boss’s wife, she will create some friction whatever she does at SCDP, even should she stay on as secretary. But no other ad firm would want her; she’s a spy for Don.

    She could do something else in the arts or writing, or go back to school, but I bet she tries to stay on at Don’s firm. As for him wanting to cat around on her, she is well aware of that aspect of his personality, and she has spies there, too, whether she’s there herself or not!

  26. This post made me think of why we don’t like certain characters initially, and then change our minds.

    Seems to me Henry & Faye are a few of the most emotionally-healthy characters of the show. Does this make them boring and drama-free?

    • P4P, Faye was introduced to us pretty negatively. The fake wedding ring, the utter unconcern over Allison; these are unsympathetic characteristics. And, while I liked Henry from the beginning, I also think that walking up to a stranger and asking to touch her belly can definitely rub people the wrong way.

  27. #20 Blueamericaine, I also was one of the people who liked Henry from the start. Think back to the way he and Betty met, and his request to touch her (lace-covered) belly. Some people thought it was creepy. Now, I think it reflected an irresistible impulse of longing — for a new family, for a mother as beautiful as Betty to be by his side.

    And think about his other impulsive actions: arriving like a white knight at the city council meeting. Deciding NOT to attend the fund raiser and making Betty come to him. Kissing Betty in the car and telling her he wanted to marry her. Flying to Reno. Marrying Betty. Giving Don a virtual middle finger over the boxes.

    Fires are smoldering in that man. Me likey.

  28. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by blogs of the world, Cantara Christopher. Cantara Christopher said: [Mad Men] Pleasant surprises….: I admit to disliking Henry when I first met him in S3.  Now that S4 is over, my … […]

  29. Definitely agree about Henry and Miss Blankenship. It was such a pleasant surprise to realize that Henry was a decent man.

  30. Not surprised by Henry. He seemed like an intelligent, mature, good mental make-up sort from the beginning to me. The surprise is that a good guy like him is still smitten with Betty. It will be a shock in S5 if he still under her spell. The most pleasant surprise last year was Don loosening the plastic mask of DD and living to tell the tale and finding a modicum of comfort with his true self.

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