Despite being within a series about deception and lies, At The Codfish Ball showed us an awful lot of truth-telling. Honest, unabridged, cold, hard truth. In fact, Codfish could just have easily been titled Sodium Pentathol. And the truth, as we know, can be … er, hard to swallow.
For all the truth – for all the “give it to me straight” we say we want – what happens when it arrives? More disappointment.
The centerpiece of this was Peggy, who both dished and got served portions of truth this week. First, her sincere kudos to Megan got a mixed reaction (more on that later) – she was trying to share the truth of the job, but her warmth wasn’t exactly reciprocated. “This is as good as this job gets” – a dubious compliment, but still …
I defy anyone to present a more realistic MM character than Katherine Olson. She is brilliant and a bully and blunt and beautiful. She’s Livia Soprano with pastries.
Peggy was sincere and grown-up and considerate in telling her mom about Abe moving in – a move she knew would further tweak the old lady.
“If you’re lonely, get a cat. They live 13 years. Then you get another one, and another one. After that, then you’re done. Thank you for dinner.” That’s some cold shit.
But more telling was what preceded it:
Peggy: Would you rather I not tell you?
Katherine: Yeah. You wanna stick it in my face? Just lie. Y’think you’re the first ones ever to do this?
“Just lie to me.” It’s written all over this episode, but only Katherine says it.
Roger and Mona – “I’ve been wondering lately if [Jane] was just an excuse to blow up my life,” – Mona’s impressed with his honesty; the only time it will be rewarded in the episode.
Emile and Marie Calvet – Their honesty has no boundaries. He bluntly reveals her drinking problem, and she instinctively flirts with men in his presence. She later learns the truth about his most recent affair. Truth has turned their marriage into a soap opera.
Pete and Emile – Pete brilliantly reveals the truth about account work to Emile. Many shows would have made that an episode. MM did it in three lines.
Ed Baxter and Don – Roger convinced Don that the award dinner will be like shooting fish in a barrel. But Ed reveals the harsh truth. “They don’t like you.” Between Ed Baxter and Jimmy Barrett (“You’re garbage”), Don should leave the tux in mothballs for a while.
Alice Geiger and Megan – Alice spills the beans (sorry, too easy) to Megan in the ladies room – more unpleasant truth.
Emile and Megan – Emile, concerned for his daughter, challenges her choices of career and marriage, obviously not for the first time. Megan deflects, perhaps because she recognizes he is being honest. Her “home run” is clearly tarnished.
Sally and Life – “There’s no staircase.” No shit, Sweetheart.