Mad Men: Waterloo   Rewatch 
March 15, 2015 4:24 AM - Season 7, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Don receives a troubling letter; Pete butts heads with Cutler; Roger gets an unexpected phone call; and a risky venture entails a new future for Peggy.
posted by drezdn (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It would have left some story-lines in the air but this is another episode that would have been satisfying as the season finale.
posted by drezdn at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

We made it! Thanks to everyone who pitched in to keep the rewatch going.

So excited for April 5 and our 500+ comment posts.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:44 AM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

We made it! Thanks to everyone who pitched in to keep the rewatch going

It was a much longer haul than I anticipated. Who knew? My thanks as well to everyone who participated. Much appreciated!

So excited for April 5 and our 500+ comment posts.

posted by cwest at 8:52 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jesus, the original FF thread did have that many comments. And Peggy was putting in that horrible drop ceiling. Peggy, no!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:34 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Even after watching all these episodes a second time (and for some stretches a third) I'm still not sure how the series ends. I have guesses about how I think it'll go, but none that I can point to as the definite direction.

With that said, I'm willing to bet that the ending is going to make sense, and will probably finally tie together bits and pieces that seemed off in the first half of season 7.
posted by drezdn at 6:47 PM on March 15, 2015

Drop-ceiling theory: It represents Peggy slowly turn her home into an extension of her office.
posted by drezdn at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2015

Oh, Meredith. And Bert's last living screen words, "Bravo!"

I've been thinking about Bert's speech about Napoleon, and his death in exile. Maybe this was Bert's Waterloo, not Don's.

Listening to Don and Megan ending it on the phone, talking about his possible end at the company that's really about their end as well. Nice double tracking there.

No partnership for Harry. Win!

I'm rewatching the Bert sing-off and you can hear, very gently, the dancing girls' dance steps.
posted by tilde at 7:11 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Notice that Julio asks for a Popsicle. I can't stop seeing connections in this show it's making me paranoid.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:58 PM on May 25, 2014
"I only had one today."

I wonder if he took, breaked, shared, and loved it with her.
posted by tilde at 9:46 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree that Don's agreeing to a five year contract seems like a good route to unhappiness for him -adrianhon

Don's running away from his problems has NEVER worked out well. His agreeing to a contract may well be the very best route to happiness for him. - torticat

I think that may well be his (Don's) take on it as well. He kept his head down and followed the rules all this time since his come back - except for when he broke into the Commander meeting. And that ended with him nearly out on his ass and missing it by one (snerk) small step of luck. So he's going to hang on to that damn yoke and ride out five years and figure it out from there. The rider will be gone, too, and if McCann drives him out it will be with money and to be "free" to run his own agency or whatever again.

Getting fired from your own company would put him probably back down where Duck Phillips ended up, job/career hunting-wise. Getting kicked out of McCann is probably an asset. And Baldy knows that Roger can keep Don in line enoughish, I believe.

April 6th, where are you?

Some of those looks seem very 70s (I almost expect Herb Tarkleton or Johhny Fever to pop into a scene) so maybe the first episode is soon after Bert's death and then the rest just skip along. It's a series of "the sixties", though ...

Rewatching "The Strategy" over lunch, it occurred to me- Don and Peggy dancing to "My Way", Sinatra's "last hurrah", as he passes the torch to her. He did things his way, and he's going to go ahead and do it (see the Commander pitch that he does "his way" one episode back that bites him next episode (AKA this episode)).

Then this episode he's smacked with the letter. "His way" is not going to cut it.

The best things in life are free. In some ways he is free (Megan, the responsibility of running SCDP, he's passed on the creative mantle to Peggy), and in others he's not - he's got the "freedom" to be creative like he's offering Ted, while being secured by the backstop of McCann.
posted by tilde at 10:53 AM on March 16, 2015

Rewatching the first half of the seventh season again. Compared to the others, this is a super loaded half; almost as if it is the seventh season and we are now going to see the eighth.

Peggy is doing the Burger Chef pitch in Waterloo and she mentions "Dad likes Sinatra" - which mirrored her brainstorming in "The Strategy" in descriptors of everyone (Judy's knocked up, mom ran over the dog) but it a more gentle way - "Dad likes Sinatra" and "My Way" is what she and Don were dancing to.

And I remember from previous threads we were very "No Peggy!" about the dropped ceiling. But hot installer guy calls it "acoustical tile" -- and when Ginsberg lost it Julio complained about the noise of her typewriter all the way upstairs. She's trying to mute her upstairs noise (what goes up and comes down) and $100 a week raise when she was making moves her from $384 (pretax and assuming a raise since she went to CGC where she started at $19K) to $484 a week (pretax). Payroll and FICA and all taxes were like 40%? Almost a $300 a week take home (which is what Kenny was making when he started at Sterling Cooper (can't remember pre or post tax). But a significant bump so she can afford both a real handyman and something beyond getting the building vaguely liveable.
posted by tilde at 7:41 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

In some ways he is free (Megan, the responsibility of running SCDP, he's passed on the creative mantle to Peggy), and in others he's not - he's got the "freedom" to be creative like he's offering Ted, while being secured by the backstop of McCann.

I thought about those aspects from another point of view--this episode brought into focus all the things that Don is not anymore. He's not a husband in any real sense. He's not the creative director at an agency where he calls the shots, since he's been bought and paid for by McCann. He's not free to go elsewhere professionally if it gets bad enough, at least not for the next five years. His relationships with his kids are the only things that seem to be on the rise, and that's tentative. So at the risk of overstating the case far too strongly, it seems as if this really did come close to being about the "death" of the Don Draper persona he's been working to craft since he came back from Korea. So the question still remains--can there be a resurrection of some sort into whatever comes next for him?

I will miss Julio.

As right as Bert was about Roger not being a leader in any real sense, boy howdy, do we get to see Roger doing what Roger does best in this ep. He's all about making the deal, working the angles, convincing people that his vision is in their best interest, even if they hate every fiber of his being. As much as we see Don "saved" here, it was really Roger who proved his ongoing worth for SC&P.
posted by ChrisTN at 8:21 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

But Roger has lost so much, too. Bert, Marigold, his company again / nearly to Cutler, Jane, Mona (mostly). He can see Ellery again (his grandson) but it reminds him that he's lost Marigold/Margaret. And he's lost Joan and can maybe be "uncle" Roger to his son Kevin.

How is he going to redefine himself?

SC&P is going to be "an independent subsidiary" but what will that mean for business challenges? This was "the beginning", in the showrunners words, and this next half fat season will be the end. A lot of things wrapped up as "the beginning" that feel more like the end.
posted by tilde at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Good points. Roger and Don both exemplify the idea that the strengths they bring to the office don't work when they try to control their family/home life. (See also: Pete.)
posted by ChrisTN at 12:06 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Terry Gross and the Show Runner last year.
posted by tilde at 2:00 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Great episode. This is the end of Cooperwatch, and he went out with a bang.

Cutler overplayed his hand and tried to present them with a fait accompli. Cooper showed some real leadership and loyalty in his last day.

"The best things in life are free" indeed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:57 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, this episode confirms for me that McCann was trying to poach Don from Roger in the sauna.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:27 AM on March 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

I always enjoy Bert's economy of words and scenes. So when he speaks, you know it's meaningful. Same with when he acts. He spends his capital very preciously.

So when he says, "Jim has a vision, but he's not on my team", it really packs a wallop. Don is only saved by Bert's loyalty. The harshest criticism Cooper ever had for Don was when he stabbed Tobacco when it was the thing that made him rich. Don has also valued loyalty highly throughout the series, in his dysfunctional way.
posted by dry white toast at 8:29 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I’m Up Here
Peggy and Joan, the two main female characters in AMC’s Mad Men, have used different strategies to advance in the male-dominated world of 1960s advertising. You don’t need to have followed the arc of the show—whose final half-season starts April 5—to guess what those strategies are.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:29 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Return of the King: “Mad Men” and the Greatest Story Ever Sold by Kathy Knapp
Mad Men still has a half-season to go, but Don Draper’s obituary has already been written. We don’t know exactly how it will end for Don, but the critical consensus is that his fate is sealed: for the past seven years, we’ve watched him follow the same downward trajectory his silhouetted likeness traces in the opening credits, so that all that’s left is for him to land. In a piece lamenting the “death of adulthood in American culture,” A. O. Scott says that Mad Men is one of several recent pop cultural narratives — among them The Sopranos and Breaking Bad — that chart the “final, exhausted collapse” of white men and their regimes, but I’m not convinced. Don has a way of bouncing back. Where one episode opens with him on an examination table, lying to his doctor about how much he drinks and smokes as if his bloodshot eyes and smoker’s cough didn’t give him away (even bets on cirrhosis and emphysema), another finds him swimming laps, cutting down on his drinking, and keeping a journal in an effort to “gain a modicum of control.” Over the course of the past six and a half seasons, Don has been on the brink of personal and professional destruction too many times to count, and yet when we last saw him at the conclusion of “Waterloo,” the final episode of the last half-season, which aired last May, he was fresh-faced and back on top. The truth is that Mad Men has something far more unsettling (and historically accurate) to tell us about the way that white male power works to protect its own interests, precisely by staging and restaging its own death.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:30 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

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