“She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She was an astronaut.”
Thus was Bert Cooper’s loving eulogy to Miss Blankenship, who died with her mouth open, cataract glasses trained on the ceiling. It was a lovely image, this notion of a woman shooting to the moon, even if the rest of episode dealt with the way Mad Women can chase their tails tending to the men in their lives.
Maybe it’s because of the little we heard on Roger’s tape of Miss B.’s wilder days, or maybe it’s because of the cozy scene of her and Mr. Cooper doing their crossword puzzles together. They looked like an old married couple at the kitchen table, half-cross and wonderfully intimate as he leaned on her for the answers. When Blankenship’s head thwomped down on her desk blotter, Peggy let out a great there’s-a-mouse-in-the-house scream. Don, that willful atheist, could only gasp for “Jesus” while his runaway daughter sat innocently behind closed door at his desk. Joan, in no state to confront death now that Greg had been called up to duty, looked ready to dissolve into a puddle. “Megan, get a man. And we’ll need a blanket,” she said, her voice quavery. Poor Megan, who I found moving and delightful from start to finish last night, managed to come up with a huffing and puffing Pete. He struggled mightily to move Miss Blankenship while Harry kvetched on the perimeter that his mother had made special the blanket covering the lifeless woman’s body.
Bert looked stunned by the loss. Am I the only one who wondered if Miss Blankenship was perhaps Mr. Cooper’s Joan in younger days? What’s a four letter word for a flightless bird? Oh, Joan. Joan, this is not going to end well. Roger felt lousy about pushing his “hard time” on his former flame, not realizing that she was reeling from news that her new husband would soon find himself in the jungle. So Roger sent over his best masseuse and pedicure team to Joanie’s house to give her a little pampering, a scene mostly notable for the fact that we got to see the woman rock a pair of sexy specs. As rattled as Joan was by Miss Blankenship’s death, she immediately went into caretaker mode. “Roger!” she murmured as if he’d lost his first puppy, chasing after him into his office. Roger’s scared of dying. Roger’s scared of dying at work. Roger’s scared of nobody publishing his memoirs and so being forgotten in death. “If it looks like I’m going, open a window,” he pleaded. “I’d rather flatten the top of a cab.” Of course he was being melodramatic to get Joan to split a piece of cherry cheesecake with him. And yet it’s always Roger I imagine pinwheeling his arms during the opening credits. “I’m going to kill myself,” he insisted dramatically. “No you’re not,” Joan sighed with affection.
Next: Misty, midtown hotel memories…