Emmy episode analysis: Will a defiant Christina Hendricks (‘Mad Men’) finally win?

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This year marks Christina Hendricks‘ sixth and final Best Drama Supporting Actress nomination for her role as Joan Harris on “Mad Men.” So far, like all of her “Mad Men” co-stars, Hendricks has come up short each year she has been nominated. Can she upset frontrunner Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) and finally take home an Emmy thanks to her episode submission “Lost Horizon”?

Click here to see the updated list of all 2015 Emmy episode submissions

Joan finds it hard to adjust to the New World Order in her new role at McCann Erickson, as the chauvinist executives don’t give her the respect she thinks she deserves, especially as she was so accustomed to being treated as an equal at Sterling Cooper. After taking a stand against her incompetent male colleague, an incensed Joan takes her complaint to Jim Hobart (H. Richard Greene), who offers to buy out her $500,000 stake in the company for 50 cents on the dollar. A defiant Joan threatens legal action and bad publicity.

Later, in Joan’s office, Roger (John Slattery) urges Joan to take Jim’s deal. Disappointed, Joan collects her belongings, reluctantly agrees to the deal and walks out when the writing on the wall suggests she is in a losing battle. Will Hendricks’ sixth and final attempt be the one that nets her an Emmy? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

In her highlight scenes, Hendricks is likable and relatable as she rebuffs with her idiot colleague and then takes matters into her own hands by challenging her boss. Empathy is a key factor in any Emmy submission, and this episode is by far Hendricks’ best of the season for that reason.

Even more so, Hendricks has impact and range. She rages against the chauvinist status quo and stands up for herself as we, the audience, root for her to get what she deserves. But after some hard truths by confidant Roger, her disappointment, frustration and despondence are palpable as she walks away from McCann with tears in her eyes.

We’ve said it before, so it almost goes without saying: Hendricks is overdue. This is her sixth Emmy nomination for this role. With no Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) in the mix, who triumphed the last two years, maybe it is time that voters will finally give Hendricks the trophy.

As good as the episode is for Hendricks, it may still lack the kind of over-the-top emotional fireworks that Emmy voters usually look for.

Screen time is a factor here, as Hendricks is only featured in a few key scenes. She has had more screen time in her previous “Mad Men” submissions (even though “Lost Horizon” was certainly her best from this truncated half-season of the series). If she couldn’t win with those, this might be an uphill battle.

As a performer on “Mad Men,” the odds are not in her favor. As has often been mentioned here at Gold Derby, no performer from that show has ever won an Emmy. With 34 losses so far in the acting races, it’s unclear what an actor will have to submit to win.

Experts Emmy predictions: All 32 categories

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Photo Credit: AMC

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