The Women of 'Mad Men'

For these gals, 1968's been a year packed with tumultuous surprises

Joan

Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris on Mad Men
Frank Ockenfels/AMC

We all thought we realized what a great actress Christina Hendricks was, right? We didn't. This has been Joan's season, even if she has spent it suffering, seething, clamping down on her stoic rage, and apparently (a Joan first?) not getting any action. Like every other woman on Mad Men these days, only more so, Joan has excellent reasons to loathe Don. When Don blew off the Jaguar account, just because he felt it was beneath his dignity to chitchat with an unreasonable client, he rendered Joan's sacrifice on behalf of that account (great, great sacrifice) meaningless and destroyed any trace of her leverage as a partner.

So what does she do with her anger? She's Joan, so she swallows it down and schemes her next move. And since she's Joan, her next move will break her heart. She has a miserable reunion with her old girlfriend, with a Serge Gainsbourg soundtrack. She tries to bring in her own account (a very Lane thing to do). And she begs a career-rescuing favor from Peggy – now that has to hurt.

Joan also got to bond with beach boy Bob Benson, after the hilariously heroic scene where he lies to the emergency-room nurse about furniture polish. (If there's one thing Joan likes in a man, it's a willingness to lie about her to another woman. Joan loves lies more than compliments.) Whatever their relationship might be, she's clearly this season's MVP. Congratulations, Joan. Your mother did a good job. Love, Ali Khan.

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