Mad Men: Severance
April 5, 2015 9:18 PM - Season 7, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Don tries to track down a friend. Joan struggles to solve a problem with an account. Peggy is set up by an unlikely person.
posted by Alison (296 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is Ted looking like Ned Flanders or. what.
posted by torticat at 9:20 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


ROGER YOUR MUSTACHE
posted by dry white toast at 9:20 PM on April 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Peggy's smile after Stevie leaves her apartment might just be the best thing ever.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:22 PM on April 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The speech Nixon is giving in the background Whil Don lies in bed was delivered on April 30, 1970. So long, 60s.
posted by dry white toast at 9:22 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wanted to jump into the screen with a razor.

Lots of lives not lived on display tonight. Why do I feel like Ken's move is one of those things he'll be regretting if we were to see him ten years from now? How perfect a statement is it that Peggy's unused passport is in her office?
posted by nubs at 9:24 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nice recap in the NYTimes, btw. I had completely forgotten about Don trying to upsell fur coats to Roger waaaaaay back at the beginning.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:25 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Per the NYT piece, Ted is dressed "in 50 shades of yellow, like he’s Colonel Mustard from the board game Clue."

Also, Sepinwall's post is up.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:29 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


They bring back Rachel Mencken for that?!?!?! Why why why why why *sobs*
posted by sallybrown at 9:29 PM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Lots of lives not lived on display tonight. Why do I feel like Ken's move is one of those things he'll be regretting if we were to see him ten years from now? How perfect a statement is it that Peggy's unused passport is in her office?

The agency has become a hellish place from which no one can escape. Ken had the chance, but motivated by revenge he didn't take the chance on a new life. He let the agency dictate what the next phase of his life would be by becoming head of advertising at Dow.
posted by cwest at 9:30 PM on April 5, 2015


Yes but on the bright side we got some tasty schadenfreude with him screwing Pete. Pete schadenfreude is the best schadenfreude.
posted by dry white toast at 9:34 PM on April 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


Ken had the chance, but motivated by revenge he didn't take the chance on a new life. He let the agency dictate what the next phase of his life would be by becoming head of advertising at Dow.

Yeah, I was trying to be rhetorical when I shouldn't be. It's obvious Ken will regret the move; it's obvious because the regrets of everyone seemed on big display tonight, along with how trapped they all are by themselves.
posted by nubs at 9:38 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




There's a fairly big spoiler in that Weiner interview re: Ted. Something perhaps you could have intuited, but he confirms.
posted by sallybrown at 9:51 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


PEGGY YES!
posted by crossoverman at 10:01 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well. At least on the day we found out we're not getting more Twin Peaks done right, we still got to experience Ray Wise deliver his line about Pop-Tarts.
posted by rewil at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Harry is Cooper's office. At first the idea repelled me. Now I'm wondering if Cooper was more like Harry than we like to think. (I say this remembering that Cooper said, "I was different then you, Mr. crane. In every way.")
posted by dry white toast at 10:13 PM on April 5, 2015


Stan might literally groove himself into another dimension. He will vanish into a puff of musk oil.

Oh man, can you feel it? The ribbons closing in to tie it up? They are coming.
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 PM on April 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


Oh my GOD. I totally didn't catch who Stevie was until I saw this article.
posted by St. Hubbins at 10:18 PM on April 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, I knew this would eventually happen, because the 70s are here and no one can stop it, but ....oh lord ...the fabrics

The patterns.

It is happening.
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 PM on April 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


'I was worried that the audience would miss the fact that he had completely given up on his dream. And it wasn’t as though he was forced into it, either: His wife supported his dream, and he chose revenge. But maybe he wasn’t meant to be a writer. If you can be talked out of it so easily, why are you doing it?'


I mean this helps answer the question of how dumb Weiner think his audience is... "Is this going over their heads? HAMMER THE THEMES HOME HARDER. I won't be turned into David Chase with this show. He's dead damn it, DEAD."

The episode had the weird waking up from a dream sensation that Inherent Vice was aiming for. You think you're getting some free love sex with a rabbit hole waitress and she's just putting out for the $600 bucks your friend gave her the night before...

He's dead on in making fun of the crazy hipster la beards though...
posted by stratastar at 10:41 PM on April 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


There's a fairly big spoiler in that Weiner interview re: Ted. Something perhaps you could have intuited, but he confirms.

Not sure it was supposed to be intuited? He wasn't wearing a wedding ring.

Also, it was pretty clear I think from last year that his escape-to-CA hadn't worked out. It seemed for most of the season that he was mooning over Peggy, maybe (he himself attributed his malaise to work burnout). I think his capitulation on the merger meant he was giving up on the things he'd committed to when he moved to CA, including his marriage.
posted by torticat at 10:47 PM on April 5, 2015


I feel like 1970 is the year everyone has their last chance to get off the ride before they become a ghoulish audioanimatronic puppet doing an impression of their original spark. Ted, Ken, and Roger are still firmly on board, gripping the safety bar with glazed faces and starry eyes. Joan is too soon to call. Peggy has a foot in the car and a foot on the pavement; she might make it yet.

(Where "the ride" is a general idea of a choice between self-awareness and absence from life, not any specific life decision, though with Ken it was as literal as they come.)
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:09 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was the actress that played the waitress the same as the actress that played Midge? If not ... dude ... doppelgänger.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:12 PM on April 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's not. Wow, nice casting.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:16 PM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, they found someone with an intensely familiar quality about her. I did see Elizabeth Reaser in the first Twilight movie, so in theory there's a reason for this, but honestly I think it's just the strength of her performance and resemblance to Don Draper's Platonic Type.
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:24 PM on April 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Joan looks like she's struggling to hold herself together.
posted by brujita at 11:29 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow. I can totally see the resemblance to Midge and to Rachel as well. Nice catch, CPB.
posted by Beti at 11:31 PM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I honestly thought it was Midge, and the fact that she's reading Mildred Pierce, one of the great pulpy melodramas from the late 40s*, about the 30s (Don's whole childhood, there) all about the illusion of money and hard work and The American Dream AND the fact that the Diner itself was a kind of throwback mirage, might as well have been 1949 even, just makes it both on the nose and also deliciously layered.

Interesting how much of this is now about people with too much money and no idea what to do with it or themselves and they just end up using it to feed thier interional disruptions. Oh hey, like America then.

I mean, most of the main characters where well off before, but now like, entire building and Chanel suit owning Peggy is the poorest one.

*one of the best things about reading Mildred Pirece is that you will come out the other side of it with a complete and total understanding of how to run a pie and fried chicken resteeraunt in California, in the 1930s.
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 PM on April 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The other great thing about Peirce, and this ties into what The Whelk was saying, is that it is a genuinely working class text--as much as Madmen is about money, it has become condescending to working class folks, and I think frankly, a little self satisifed
posted by PinkMoose at 12:37 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dream Rachel: "You missed your flight"
To where? Out the window?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:52 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Boy I missed you people. Let's all get together once a year after this all blows over k?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:53 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't look at the waitress and not see Ava, Dr. Karev's BPD-girlfriend.
posted by ipsative at 2:17 AM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


PEGGY YES!

I actually said this! Also ROGER NO and TED NO because WHAT those MOUSTACHES.

The bit with Ken was weird, though. From 'independent subsidiary' to 'we're going to make you fire people who hurt our fee fees' didn't take long.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:09 AM on April 6, 2015


The immense pleasure Ray Wise derives from toasting his own pop-tart in this episode will keep me going for some time. The self-possession and surprise at discovering something essential like that about yourself, it's so late in life but yet so sweet. My faith in humanity is restored.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 3:50 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Dream Rachel: "You missed your flight"

To California - where Don tried to get Rachel to run away to in season one. She knew he didn't want to run away with her - only to run away. Another reminder that California has always been like a utopia to Don, at least until Megan moved there and tainted it.

If he had run away to California back then, that would have been one of his lives-not-lived - a strong theme from this episode.
posted by crossoverman at 4:33 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I honestly thought it was Midge, and the fact that she's reading Mildred Pierce, one of the great pulpy melodramas from the late 40s*, about the 30s (Don's whole childhood, there) all about the illusion of money and hard work and The American Dream AND the fact that the Diner itself was a kind of throwback mirage, might as well have been 1949 even, just makes it both on the nose and also deliciously layered.

Ah, but she wasn't reading Mildred Pierce. She was reading "The 42nd Parallel" by John Dos Passos. (Roger mentions the author, and I paused and checked.) interestingly, it's about working class life in the 1930s, so it's not dissimilar to Mildred Pierce, but not the same thing.

Given that she is meant to remind us of someone while not exactly being them, the confusion is probably intentional.
posted by dry white toast at 4:46 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I thought the "you missed your flight" was also another sly reference to the conspiracy theory that Don is D.B. Cooper.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:53 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


PEGGY LEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by tilde at 5:02 AM on April 6, 2015


Roger calls the waitress "Mildred Pierce", though.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


And then when she asks them if they want anything else he says "how about something by John Dos Passos." Then the camera cuts to a shot of the book in her pouch. His Mlidred Pierce reference was about the milieu, not what she was reading.
posted by dry white toast at 5:10 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


If there is only one thing I know about Mad Men, it's that every fan theory about where the show is going is wrong, as they always are. Don is not DB Cooper. He's not even going to jump out the window. His actual fate will be far more quotidian and yet someone intensely depressing than we can imagine.
posted by maxsparber at 5:11 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


PEGGY LEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somehow I always knew that song was going to show up in an episode someday. I even wondered if it might turn out to be the end credits song to the final episode.
posted by dnash at 5:11 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


maxsparber, yeah, I totally agree.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:18 AM on April 6, 2015


It was sad to see Peggy's reaction to the way the Topaz assholes treated Joan, but when I remember that she is really only a few years younger than my grandmother, I know it is an all-too-accurate attitude for a professional woman of that generation to have.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:24 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, I agree that the ending is not going to be as dramatic and mind-blowing as a lot of the fan theories have it, but I did think that the line from Diana, the diner waitress, that "when people die, everything gets mixed up" may hint at more dreams and dream-like action to come.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:27 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. Kenny, no. The first half of the season was "the beginning", according to MW, and now the end of the series is "the end".

KENNY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But if it effs up Pete ....

Ken is the lawnmower and he knows where Pete keeps his gun.

And who turns down severance? SAVE EVERYTHING.
posted by tilde at 5:54 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


No no. People in this show use money to buy their way out of guilt and responsibility. Especially Roger. Roger never gives people money. He's always buying something.

Ken was telling SCDP they can't buy their way out of treating him like shit.
posted by dry white toast at 6:05 AM on April 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


There were scenes where I felt Weiner wasn't trusting us as his audience: Ken's getting fired/fighting with his wife/exacting revenge, the over-the-top hazing by the McCann guys, Pete being a total weasel to Ken even more than usual, etc. Maybe he laid it on a little thick to bring us back from the hiatus?

That said, I was delighted by a few winks he made: Ken wanting to write his book about advertising and Pete saying adventure stories were a better idea; Peggy saying she started out as a secretary but claiming it wasn't interesting.

Peggy and Don are so much alike (proposing trips to Paris ten years apart!) that I hope this wraps up in a way that shows how they're different.

Maggie Siff was interviewed for a roundup article of what the actors in smaller roles thought might happen to their characters in the future and she was a little cagey in her response. I knew that meant she'd be in the last innings of this season, but I had no idea this would be how. I really loved how that was handled, and the scene between Don and the sister had me in tears.

On preview: dry white toast: Exactly! Ken is blocking any potential for Roger to use the severance to his advantage.
posted by mochapickle at 6:10 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I felt like there was a parallel between the beginning of season 7, when Don met with Dawn at the end of the day (in his suit) to get caught up on what was happening at work, and him calling his answering service at the end of the day (in his tux) to get caught up on all the women he's juggling. Like both are a mask for what's really happening.
posted by dry white toast at 6:13 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess you're right, dry white toast ... I guess it would be money with 'strings'.
posted by tilde at 6:14 AM on April 6, 2015


Even Roger's $100 tip. It looks like he's tossing it away because he can afford to. But he's buying himself out of guilt for being a dick to the waitress, securing his hook up for the night by flashing his money, and, it turns out, some sex for Don.
posted by dry white toast at 6:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


The episode is still sinking in.

I like how Don has this vision of Rachel in his office, and Don, so famously formerly silver-tongued, is so drenched in the self-inflicted numbness and banality of his current life that the only thing he can think to say is a slogan from a product.
posted by mochapickle at 6:20 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the waitress, man. I suppose she thinks it's better to take it on her terms "cooperate with the inevitable" than get him mad and her raped. Ugh.
posted by tilde at 6:24 AM on April 6, 2015


Don's seeing dead people again.
posted by tracicle at 6:33 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


the wine on the carpet like blood, he wraps it in his marriage bed's blanket, finds megan's earring
Matt Weiner reads fan theories and likes to fuck with us
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:39 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Dead important people. Technically he night dreamed her, not day dreamed her. Like the old fling he thought he murdered in Lady Lazarus. Though I guess that was technically a fever dream.

When Rachel walked in to the casting call in his dreams, Ted let him in, but Pete saw her out. Pete who had Beth show up in his fantasies wearing nothing but a fur coat. :P

And with Nixon's speech being 1970, either a major screw up or it is leaking past 1969, much as it is a show of "the sixties". The decades leak over.

Joan's story line was interesting - harassed out her ass by those MCANN and then recognized, what, five or six years later, by the sales girl at the dress store. Both Peggy and that sales girl reminding her of where she's been and where she is now.
posted by tilde at 6:50 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The scene with the wine also reminded me of the start of season 1 after the party and Don and Megan's fight when she says they're going to have to replace the carpet, and he says she shouldn't have bought white.

Eventually everything gets ruined.
posted by dry white toast at 7:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Me, too. I actually thought it was the living room (was half watching on a tiny screen between meetings).
posted by tilde at 7:20 AM on April 6, 2015




There were scenes where I felt Weiner wasn't trusting us as his audience: Ken's getting fired/fighting with his wife/exacting revenge, the over-the-top hazing by the McCann guys, Pete being a total weasel to Ken even more than usual, etc. Maybe he laid it on a little thick to bring us back from the hiatus?

Agreed. I usually don't mind Weiner spelling it out -- people in real life have a tendency to spell out their themes too, and people on Mad Men are more eloquent about it -- but most of this was just too much for me.

Other morning thoughts: the spilled wine made me think of a commercial for detergent or carpet cleaner. Combined with Don's Rachel dream, it gave the impression of a shadowy, half-realized world invaded by ad tropes (really boring, generic ad tropes).

Every season when the men get new absurd facial hair, the first shot of them feels literally surreal to me. Peggy and Joan's hair looks great though.

Mad Style served a good purpose and now has nothing more to offer us, entry #4782: I feel like they've already written the post about Joan wearing an up-to-the-neck blouse with a bow the day after arguing with Peggy about professional style.
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:46 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Matt Weiner reads fan theories and likes to fuck with us

WHEN WILL TRUDY'S NETWORK OF SPIES AND INFORMANTS BE REVEALED!?!?
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


I liked the scene with Don at the shiva. It's anathema to him because a shiva is designed entirely to prevent you from avoiding what's happening. You can't worry about how you look (covered mirrors), you can't busy yourself with tasks, you can't hide in the crowd. You have to confront the truth of what's happening. That would kill Don.

On the flip side, I kinda wish Don could have been part of the minion because even though he's not Jewish, standing there in a crowd pretending like he belongs would have suited him perfectly.
posted by dry white toast at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


And with Nixon's speech being 1970, either a major screw up or it is leaking past 1969, much as it is a show of "the sixties". The decades leak over.

I think the latter. The very first season, although set in the sixties, was very fifties-ish in vibe, and I think we are just seeing that repeated.
posted by gaspode at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think that's a huge reason that scene is so good! He's in a room, completely out of place, and the men gathered there are literally speaking/singing a language he doesn't know and can't possibly improvise. Don can't fit in and there's nothing he can do to change it.
posted by mochapickle at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I appreciated the scene also for its evocation of the new sexism. The old patriarchy operated with an assumption of entitlement, which also had a dose of chivalry. Women had to break through structural barriers at work— assumptions that they could be only secretaries, or couldn’t work once they got married. When they did, they found a brand of sexism in some ways more pernicious: pervasive, infantile misogyny, of the kind that still shows up on YouTube when someone secretly tapes a frat party. The upside, as Peggy points out, is that while it stings more, it doesn’t always leave a permanent mark. “Would you rather have had a friendly no?” Peggy asks.

That's a great Slate article roomthreeseventeen, not bogus at all!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:20 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


As capitalism moves into its final stage the brands are coming unmoored, roaming the landscape, hunting for mortals to feast on or ravish. Don can see them now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's interesting to see who's latched onto the new facial hair trend ( Roger, Ted, Stan) and who's still preppy and clean shaven (Don, Pete, Harry, Ken). Also the entire episode I found myself thinking "Pete is going to love his cabinet position in the Regan administration."
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 AM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Still musing on this episode this morning. I'm guessing that the final few episodes will show us who escapes this trap of cynicism and bitterness and regret and who doesn't; who can finally embrace change and life fully and who can't. Because, while this essay from the AV Club is great I don't think it's just Don caught on the precipice of decisions about which life to lead; almost everyone on the show is.
posted by nubs at 9:05 AM on April 6, 2015


Next episode, everyone has a mustache, Don, Ken, Pete, Joan, Peggy, Meredith, all of them
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on April 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think Meredith's hair bows count as a mustache.
posted by tilde at 9:23 AM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


IIRC Mildred Pierce successfully takes over the restaurant where she's been a waitress after customers love the pie she brings.
posted by brujita at 9:40 AM on April 6, 2015


I just tried to get here by typing fanfare.madmen.com into the omnibox. Saw this and thought it was interesting and accurate at least for me.
one of the challenges of watching Mad Men is to stay in the part of your brain that's appreciating the show rather than solving it. There are times when all of its layering is rich in the sense of being satisfying, but there are times when it's rich in the way a dessert is so rich that you wish someone had used a lighter hand. It remains most effective when it's using fewer obvious footnotes, when it's reliant on stories it's been painstakingly and beautifully building for years
posted by tilde at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was wondering about Ken's motivation for taking another corporate job. Certainly part of it is revenge, but I was wondering about whether his dream of being a full-time writer is one that didn't hold its appeal for him any more.

Sometimes a dream can be within someone's grasp and only then do they realize that it is something that they don't really want. His old self might have dreamed about living on a farm and writing novels, but the Ken who has had a taste of being boss might not be able to go back to being that person. Even his idea of what to write about was about working in advertising. (Also, LOL at Pete for calling that boring.)
posted by Alison at 10:12 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like Ken's choice of another corporate job is partly about the revenge, yeah, and partly about the fear of losing his up-until-now identity (he's a dilettante when it comes to writing, albeit a talented one) and having to come up with a new one.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Someone on twitter was lolpuking at the idea of the last scene in Madmen being the revelation that this has all been Ken's book called Mad Men, a la 30 Rock. Glad we will be spared that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:25 AM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


It ends with Ken in 1984 writing the final lines "and all of them where truly ...mad men!" Then he dies of a heart attack, an open breeze blows his manuscript to the far winds when then, in magical realism style, a relevant page finds its way to every one of the living characters.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on April 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


[watching last night with my wife]
[scene in alleyway with waitress]

ME: What the fuck kind of diner is this?!?
WIFE: A really good one.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


RE: the cast in the modern day... Roger's generation would be largely dead, Don's generation would be in their nineties. Pete's generation would be in their eighties (with Megan just bringing up the low end of that). Sally's generation would be in their sixties. With all of the hard living that most of the characters do, I'm assuming perhaps worse mortality rates than the general population. Although Don is a fighter, so unless he does jump out that window, I can see him being a bitter old man in a home somewhere.
posted by codacorolla at 10:43 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd previously joked that Betty's Roman hairdo deserves its own spinoff. Now, I want Stan's 1970 hair-n-beard to make guest appearances, and then I get to show up as their wacky neighbor and we all drop acid and have a 3-way aaaaaaaaaaaahhh...
posted by ChrisTN at 11:08 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Peggy was accidentally channeling Don again when she suggested they fly off to Paris.

Don is getting more comfortable with telling people about his Dick Whitman identity, although I think when he was telling the women at the table about the "boarders" he meant prostitutes.

It seems like Don and Ted are enjoying being at McCann while Joan and Ken are being harmed by it.

Mirrors were a motif in the episode with them featuring prominently twice while people were in casting, and again when Joan was dress shopping.
posted by drezdn at 11:14 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mirrors were a motif in the episode with them featuring prominently twice while people were in casting, and again when Joan was dress shopping.

And again at Rachel's shiva, all covered.
posted by ChrisTN at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


It seems like Don and Ted are enjoying being at McCann while Joan and Ken are being harmed by it.

I don't know, it felt to me like Don and Ted are just either not yet impacted or are at such a point of drifting through life that they don't care.
posted by nubs at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ken's being fired doesn't ring true to me. He's always been so good at his job and gets along well with everyone. And I was hoping he would decide to go buy a farm and write his book. He's always been such a happy, stable person who made good choices because he never lost sight of what really mattered. You'd think he could see that life on Madison Avenue was making him stressed and embittered and that it was time to bail. Cynthia certainly gets it. Not that I didn't enjoy seeing him screw over Roger and Pete.

Don's playing around again, but at least this time he's single and seems to be enjoying it, so why shouldn't he. Better this than get involved in another relationship he's just going to wreck. He really ought to drink less and work more during the day, though.

Peggy's blind date was awesome and I hope she does take up with Stevie. Remember that awful date she had with the guy her mother set her up with?

Those mustaches are heinous.

Alas for Rachel.
posted by orange swan at 11:38 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


When Joan's trying on that black number with the low-cut, jeweled neckline, though...
posted by ourt at 11:45 AM on April 6, 2015


Ken was totally believable. McCann was pissed about Bird's Eye. They kept him only for Dow, a big ass fish. Father in Law retires, they don't need him so badly any more. He didn't have Chevy any more and we've not seen Buick yet.

Remember, Bob Benson is at Chevy, now Ken is at Dow ... who else might show up as a ghost of accounts past?

And McCann has no trouble cutting what they don't feel they need. I didn't see Cutler or Lou anywhere. I didn't see the computer, either, but I don't think we walked down that hall.

Pete of the new combover mentioned they don't have Fillmore Auto Parts anymore -- I wonder what happened.

The place still has to turn a profit, somehow.
posted by tilde at 11:53 AM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ken got really bitter over losing one measly little eye for nothing!

Who is the most dangerous person? The super nice easy going guys who snaps. Ken's out for.blood.

Lots of former employees turned clients in this episode.
posted by The Whelk at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a shame because Ken has always been the guy who has been able to keep himself at a remove from the fakery, manoeuvring, and ambition of his colleagues. He flat out said he did not want to become a partner because he's seen what that costs. He's kinda been the anti-Harry Crane. Turns out all they needed to do to turn him into one of them was fire him.
posted by dry white toast at 12:25 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Turns out all they needed to do to turn him into one of them was fire him again.

FTFY - he wasn't brought along when they re-formed the firm, they left him behind to be moved in like the rest of the furniture to McCann.
posted by tilde at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2015


orange swan: "Ken's being fired doesn't ring true to me."

It totally ran true. It was *crappy* and petty and would only hurt the firm, but things happen in the corporate environment for personal reasons. Ken pissed McCann off, and it eventually caught up to him. Working at a large company, I found that 100% believable.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:32 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


1) I don't consider that being fired. 2) The behaviour of which I'm speaking is almost entirely from his time at SCDP. During the SC years he was basically the office doofus (John Deere, anyone?). He was much more of a grown up when he made the move.
posted by dry white toast at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2015


But he bitched about them when he was there and left, and like they said, took Bird's Eye, a $4 million dollar account and a few others with him when he moved to SCDP. Though they were only apparently pissed with Bird's Eye.
posted by tilde at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2015


With regard to Ken, it felt like there was a scene left on the cutting-room floor. We should've seen Ken wrestling with the decision to accept the Dow position. But it's just popped in at the end like a deus ex machina.

Coming from an industry that values person-to-person connections when hiring (game industry -- everyone eventually works with everyone else), it boggles my mind to see examples where people knowingly, overtly, watch-me-carefully-while-I-do-this screw each other.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:46 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


What I want to know is, how has Don NOT contracted a sexually transmitted disease by this point?
posted by flyingsquirrel at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]




What I want to know is, how has Don NOT contracted a sexually transmitted disease by this point?


Leading to the theory that the last line of the series will be "Computer, end simulation."
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


What I want to know is, how has Don NOT contracted a sexually transmitted disease by this point?

If he keeps it up long enough, the late 70s/early 80s might not be kind to him.
posted by drezdn at 1:01 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


We should've seen Ken wrestling with the decision to accept the Dow position.

We saw him on the floor talking to Don. By this point, he was upset enough to do anything to get back at Sterling Cooper (are they still "& Partners"?) and a quick talk with his father-in-law set things up nicely for him to get his revenge. I don't think he was conflicted at the time. He might have been the night before he was fired...but that surprise changed his trajectory instantly.
posted by inturnaround at 1:04 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The majority of this episode seems like a dream - I kept expecting Don to wake up in a Californian gutter or something.

For that reason, I found Pete specifically referring to California as being like a dream interesting..
posted by coriolisdave at 1:36 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


If he keeps it up long enough, the late 70s/early 80s might not be kind to him.

I see what you did there.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:54 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was really surprised by the Rachael plot line too. I keep expecting it to be revealed it was a mixup. And there was a certain unsteadiness to the episode, it definitely had something that made it surreal and dreamlike.

Interesting conversation with Rachael's sister. It suggests she told her sister at least some of the story about her and Don. Based on the sister's reaction, I think we're supposed to get the sense that it had a profound effect on Rachael.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:05 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, Stan!

I'm honestly not sure if I'd be happier if they ended with those two having their close but only sibling-esque friendship, or if it would be better if they got together. He seems to be the only one Peggy really lets her guard down with, and he shit just rolls off her back.

Sad she decided to go on a date because of Joan's cutting remarks. Peggy, be fucking supportive of Joan for once. Haven knows the number of times she's been there for you.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:11 PM on April 6, 2015


For that reason, I found Pete specifically referring to California as being like a dream interesting..

Well, it still is (to most people) at that point. Ted never learned the pointed lesson of "wherever you go, there you are" and Pete doesn't have that depth.

We should've seen Ken wrestling with the decision to accept the Dow position.

Absolutely not. In an episode where everything felt surreally pre-staged, it was nice to have one thing land as a Big Reveal.
posted by psoas at 2:12 PM on April 6, 2015


It suggests she told her sister at least some of the story about her and Don. Based on the sister's reaction, I think we're supposed to get the sense that it had a profound effect on Rachael.

I had forgotten, but Sepinwall (I think) recalled scenes from Season 1 in which Rachel talks to her sister about having an affair, so either her sister knows exactly who Don was/is, or puts two and two together when Don shows up at the Shiva.
posted by dry white toast at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Peggy, be fucking supportive of Joan for once. Haven knows the number of times she's been there for you.

I don't know about that, Joan's got sharp claws and an acid tongue, and she and Peggy have a long and not always friendly history. I'd be more inclined to put the blame for a strained relationship between the two on the shitty society they have to live in, and not so much on the actions of one woman or the other.
posted by palomar at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


Rock Steady: "It was sad to see Peggy's reaction to the way the Topaz assholes treated Joan"

Ugh, it only just now clicked for me that those shitheels were not from Topaz, but from McCann, so they were her bosses, not her clients. Ugh ugh ugh. How does she go into work every day?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:30 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's why I loved the elevator sharpness of Peggy and Joan, especially in contrast to their confident teamwork during the Topaz meeting. Once they're out of the sphere they've carved out for themselves at S&C&P, they have to take their frustration and anger out on one another because there's no one else who cares, and they'd endanger the account if they expressed anything other than icy disdain or blithely soldier on ignoring the dudebro misogyny.
posted by gladly at 2:35 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


it only just now clicked for me that those shitheels were not from Topaz, but from McCann, so they were her bosses, not her clients.

Yeah, the first meeting is with the clients, and it isn't great but it's mostly clients being clients. The McCann meeting they have to sit there and take it, because (a) McCann owns them and (b) they are there asking for a favour, so there's no choice.

I liked both Joan's icy repose and Peggy's valiant attempts to continue the conversation as if the horrid things being said could somehow be related back to what they were there to do. Neither response is adequate in the face of what is being said, but you can see a great deal about both characters in that moment.
posted by nubs at 2:52 PM on April 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


In an episode where everything felt surreally pre-staged, it was nice to have one thing land as a Big Reveal.

Indeed, good point.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:52 PM on April 6, 2015


Ken's being fired doesn't ring true to me. He's always been so good at his job and gets along well with everyone.

You've got to watch those Black Irish, they're all like that.
posted by Mick at 3:18 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is this an okay place for a prediction?

I partly expect and partly want to see Don end up with lung cancer. There is SO. MUCH. unrepentant smoking in this show. I think there would be a certain justice to seeing Don succumbing to the ravages of disease, treatment, etc - on account of his own indulgence. To seeing him lose the looks he has always been able to depend on.

That assumes that we'll see some kind of epilogue that shows how he ends up - and it also assumes that it'll be somehow negative, as opposed to him just riding off in to the sunset.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:53 PM on April 6, 2015


I'm so glad this thread exists. I found this episode tiring, slow, repetitive, and lunging between inscrutable and painfully obvious. This thread gave me a bunch of new & interesting perspectives.
posted by bleep at 4:14 PM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I love Peggy so much for "what's his name?" "Stevie!" "how ...old is he?" "30!" "ugh" cause you can see the gears in her head going and her totally in-character reasonable snobbery, what grown man calls himself Stevie? Pandora how that exists totally within and not in competition with the Peggy that gets drunk and wants to go to Paris with him and the one who asks why he doesn't send his wrong meal back. It was like a mini-parade of peggy character traits.

I mean, as love a peggy Allison as a character cause she's one of the few fully realized, multi-faceted adult female characters in a TV drama. She's funny and smart and snobbish and mean and petty and a prig and a trailblazer and headstrong and both completely underestimates herself and completely runs face first into a problem. I heart Peggy, because of her faults not in spite of them.
posted by The Whelk at 4:41 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


A Peggy Allison go home autocorrect you are drunk.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on April 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Frankly I never really bought sensitive writer Ken. He's just the same Grabass frat boy as Pete but with no guts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:53 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I did buy into sensitive writer Ken, just like Alex Mack did, but Ken did not.
posted by bleep at 5:15 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I always thought ...well not exactly sensitive but definatley Dipfferent Ken was a thing, like are a while this whole thing was that he wasn't like the rest of the money men, he saw it as just a job and liked living in a working class neighborhood and writing occasionally, but now he's like out for blood and getting all mean and pointlessly, foot-shooting vengeful (like ...America?)

Like He hates them all, but just going away would be a defeat. They need to PAY. Its an ugly state of mind, and even uglier coming out of poor Ken.
posted by The Whelk at 5:26 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's the eyepatch.
posted by bleep at 5:28 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, so that wasn't Rachel that Don slept with the night before he came in asking Meredith to set up the meeting? Then who the hell was it?
posted by ob1quixote at 5:34 PM on April 6, 2015


Dipfferent Ken. I love it. New name.

Speaking of names, looks like Malibu Betty is gone. And they name dropped Clara just waltzing off.

Now to rewatch on a big screen. 7:35 - it's bedtime somewhere!
posted by tilde at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Looking back to Season 1, what I find strange about where Joan / Peggy have ended up is, it feels almost opposite of where I would have thought -- and opposite of what I feel pretty certain was the plan.

From very early in S1, it felt like the arc being set up for Joan and Peggy was for Peggy to be the benefactor of changing times in ways that Joan could only have ever dreamed of. That's not to say that Peggy hasn't had it tough (because she has). However, right from the start you knew that Joan had it even harder in the even more sexist and limited before-times. Joan's ambitions basically ended at being the head of the secretarial pool; Peggy's ambitions were to step right outside of it, and into creative (a possibility that was unthinkable to Joan).

In the early seasons, I think this did play out, but then things went ... I don't know. Strange? I'm not going to say where Joan has ended up is wrong, but I feel like she got there almost by accident. The show kept going, season to season, and eventually they had to do something to keep such a good actress around. So, she started to kinda follow along in Peggy's shoes, being pulled into more responsibility in the business in ways that always felt slightly forced.

So now where we are is, Peggy feels like she's the one playing the older woman with more limited conceptions of what a woman can do, opposite a Joan that's yearning to break free.

I'm not really sure what my point is, other than to observe that it's unexpected and feels unplanned.
posted by tocts at 5:54 PM on April 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ah, I figured it out. That was all a dream.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:00 PM on April 6, 2015


Joan ended up, by accident and fate and design, at the end game she wanted in the first season but because it is Joan, she gets everything she wants in the worst possible form. She got married (to a thuggish rapist bastard failure) she had a kid (with her long time affair and possible actual one true love but she can never tell him its his) and a secure finanical position for her family (via prosituting herself and eating crow). Joan is the female Don*, raised hot-house like to play an outdated game and trying to make that work. Peggy is something different, and they both both really misunderstand what makes her tick but in completely different ways.

*Betty is not a female Don, she's the Spouse of the Don character. Joan was all set out to marry a male Betty in season one, someone nice and rich and respectable who didn't ask to many questions.

Also not touching on the class themes, which are out like sharp little pinpricks in this episode.
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


You're probably right that it is unplanned. I think we give these guys more credit than they deserve for plotting out these grand novels of intrigue and meaning. But on the other hand, Joan and Peggy's complicated relationship feels very true to life to me. They work together, they've tried to be friendly, but they don't really understand each other and never will. Joan is a businesswoman and Peggy is a creative, neither wants the other's life. And yet just by being "the women" they're lumped in together and forced to try to get along.
posted by bleep at 6:10 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


My favorite thing about Joan is that she's an actual romantic, like Don, in that she made herself belive it was real every time - it's why she was so good at vetting the soap opera scripts and why it was so devastating when that was casually taken away from her -- like Don, she can convince herself of the seductive lie too well.*

Which is what makes them both great salesmen.

*unlike Don she doesn't run the instant the lie has problems or gets hard, but that's you know, female socialization on steroids. It's nice the curtains are on fire!
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Funny, tocts, because my thoughts were on how much I'm starting to see Joan's story as a parallel with Don's. Don grew up with prostitutes, and a lot of that has colored his world; Joan prostituted herself one time, but it has colored her world ever since (I think a lot of her reaction to Peggy in the elevator was because both the McCann meeting and some of Peggy's comments touched on that moment of history, without anyone else knowing it). Both are victims of abuse. Both were raped.

Joan took longer to get there, but she (like Don) is trying to run from and bury a past life with money and an outward appearance of success over a hollowed out core.

On preview - I see I'm not alone in perceiving Joan as a female parallel to Don.
posted by nubs at 6:13 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Don was raped? When was that? I may have blocked it out :(
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2015


Don was raped? When was that? I may have blocked it out :(
His first sexual experience, with the prostitute who had mothered him through his illness then taken it on herself to be "his first."
posted by ChrisTN at 6:31 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:43 PM on April 6, 2015


Am I the only person who was reminded of the waitress Don slept with in Season 4? (It was Season 4, right?)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:53 PM on April 6, 2015


No that waitress was completely different from Diana who looked a lot like The Artist/Junkie & Rachael. Diana sounded a lot like Rachael. A lot.
posted by tilde at 7:02 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not much difference in the big screen viewing. Crane is in Berts old office & he's running to fat again.

Peggy's date dress is all rings. Linked rings like a fence you can see throught but not get through like a modern woman's armor. But she had a glittery circle ring on her right breast (the not boob part).
posted by tilde at 7:07 PM on April 6, 2015


Thanks, tilde. I had just watched that episode, so it was very fresh in mind.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:08 PM on April 6, 2015


Sally smokes the same way as Betty.
posted by brujita at 7:19 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


You're probably right that it is unplanned. I think we give these guys more credit than they deserve for plotting out these grand novels of intrigue and meaning.

Listening to extended interviews with Matt Weiner, it's clear that aside from one or two big arcs, he goes into seasons and episodes somewhat blind. He creates situations and then thinks about how the character would respond. Which, to me, part of why the evolution of the characters feels so authentic. We're all pretty much responding to situations as they occur.
posted by dry white toast at 7:38 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Which, to me, part of why the evolution of the characters feels so authentic.

Which is why some people trying to predict where the series is headed is just a waste of time. I mean, thematically we might be able to figure something out - but as for the plot? There's just no way.

On the one hand, lung cancer would be a sort of poetic justice. But on the other hand, that seems like a really obvious place for Weiner to go - and what would it be saying overall?
posted by crossoverman at 7:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don was raped? When was that? I may have blocked it out :(

It was pretty much unremarked upon - but I think this article captures it well. I know the scene made me really uncomfortable.
posted by nubs at 7:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


The waitress will always be that crazy, fake amnesia, smashed face chick from Grey's Anatomy to me. I hated that storyline so much.
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:55 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not wearing a hat in this episode is Don's mustache.
posted by drezdn at 8:23 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


You guys! I reactivated this account just to talk about these last episodes here with y'all. Just saw it, have thoughts, gathering now, back shortly.

Many good comments here but really, elevator conversations are always the most complex and no one's ever on the "right" side, especially with Joan v Peggy. They're archetypes of two very different kinds of women, achieving things in different ways. I'm always surprised that Joan gets her appearance digs at Peggy in with impunity though and the comments always side with her. They seem so petty, especially since Joan is again in a power position over Peggy. It seems so clearly that she's jealous of Peggy, I wish Peggy would just call her out on it directly.

ok, by back shortly I guess I meant right away.
posted by sweetkid at 8:39 PM on April 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


Man, I can't believe that we may have written more Ken-fiction than Ken did.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:41 PM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also man Brian Krakow has not aged at all.
posted by sweetkid at 8:43 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Welcome back, sweetkid!
posted by Chrysostom at 8:50 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just read Sepinwall's review - I totally thought Peggy said "I love you" not "I love veal" when she handed her plate to Brain Krakow. Glad I wasn't the only one.
posted by sweetkid at 9:03 PM on April 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thinking that sending back the wrong entree makes you a jerk is not a good sign. Especially for a lawyer, I mean geez, no wonder he's out of a job.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:10 PM on April 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


Man, I can't believe that we may have written more Ken-fiction than Ken did.

Look if he's not up to it we have to fill that 60s soft social SF void
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 PM on April 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ugh, that moustache makes Roger look like a Mark Twain impersonator.
posted by fozzie_bear at 9:14 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ken's marriage is doomed. His wife fell in love with a literary man who had a story published in the Atlantic Monthly. (She was so enthusiastic about his destiny as a writer that she blew his science-fiction cover.) He's not the man she married any more.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:17 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Don is getting more comfortable with telling people about his Dick Whitman identity

That's such a nice example of the difference between the Fifties and the Seventies. Smooth is out, authenticity is in. In the Age Of Aquarius, growing up dirt poor makes Don cooler.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:20 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


His wife fell in love with a literary man who had a story published in the Atlantic Monthly. (She was so enthusiastic about his destiny as a writer that she blew his science-fiction cover.)

Speaking of which it's not really the first time Roger has taken gratuitous and unnecessary pleasure in blowing up Ken's life. Always nice to see his bullying nature come back on him; and in that sense Ken's new job at Dow is like the Danny cockpunch from an earlier season.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:25 PM on April 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


DANNY COCKPUNCH
posted by bleep at 9:27 PM on April 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


My brain has been paralell parking in the night.

Stirling's Gold, Marigold

##########

When Ken broke out of his frat boy mode he wrote a touching piece about a Vermont farm on a cold day. And although they were listening in Pete's office, I think the Bob Newheart record was his. He did comment that Bob used to be an accounts man (I thought it was accountant all these years).

That was about the time the head of accounts competition broke out (which he won but was then left to rot at McCann).

He met Cynthia when she was working at a publisher, rejecting his short stories. He got better and they flourished. At this point he was at McCann and miserable.

He kept it up when he moved to the new SC(DP). We learned there about the egg-laying girl from Peggy, who would shortly be stuck holding Joan's baby, and Kennys large body of work (the compendium) and Ken and Peggy's escape pact. Notice she did not take him to CGC. In this time he also turns down the idea of partnership (though it wasn't seriously proposed).

Next we hear about the robot killing millions just because he is only allowed to make a decision of putting in or taking out a bolt. Then Roger slaps him down and (I may have timelines reversed) he writes the story of Pete and the weeping over the beauty of the music played by the miniature orchestra.

At the time of his first story, he's done two novels; presumably Cynthia doesn't know about them.

############

Ken brought wSCDdelBirdseyeBirdseyeBirdseye. They tiptoed around his del
posted by tilde at 3:54 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry

Ken brought in Birds eye to scdp. Both to pay for himself and shore up Pete with a body. They tiptoed around his delicate sensibilities wrt to his father in law for a while but when it became a choice between fil or job, he picked the job after token resistance.

And then he used it to keep Pete away from everything Dow. Power play.

When he lost that power ( and pissed off roger by writing, and pissed off roger by putting off dealing with Dow until he couldn't, and pissed off roger by turning down Any discussion of partnership) roger was not afraid to jettison him.

Making Harry Crane a partner was a PR move. Despite his whinging, he never left.

Making Ken a partner was a way to prop him up as more than a hired hand who was head of accounts, but a partner who was head of accounts, thereby binding him and making the Dow account more bound. See those who corrected me on not taking severance.

No partnership, no fil, no strings, demonstrated disloyalty (by Roger's lights). McCann says see ya, its see ya.

And Joan will see a man promoted above her, a female accounts man and partner, with four and a half years left on her contract and still waiting on full payout of her vested interests.
posted by tilde at 4:26 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I assume the Danny Cockpunch pen name will be added to the wiki shortly.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:42 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


And Joan will see a man promoted above her, a female accounts man and partner, with four and a half years left on her contract and still waiting on full payout of her vested interests.

And Don, out of residual guilt, will take that man down, possibly earning him a spot on the
H O L L O W A Y + O L S E N door.

(Honestly the only only only thing I want to see at the end is Peggy & Joan realizing they may dislike each other but they're still on the same side and open their own shop. And I want to see Roger living on a beach.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:44 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


That mustache is not meant for the beach.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:57 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


O L S E N + H A R R I S
posted by tilde at 5:11 AM on April 7, 2015


Eh I like to think Joan's going to get her consciousness raised and will go back to her own name.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:47 AM on April 7, 2015


O L S E N + S O N
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:57 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not if she can only get credit cards that say Mrs Greg Harris.
posted by tilde at 6:10 AM on April 7, 2015


And yeah, I know Harry isn't a partner. I was typing on my phone while shepherding the tweens through the morning routine. I was putting him up as an example of partnership offers, though Ken's was not more than hinted at before he shut the conversation in that direction down firmly.
posted by tilde at 6:18 AM on April 7, 2015


I want to burn this place down.

This episode was just full of disgusting sexism. Peggy and Joan's humiliation was well played, and true to the show's showing the historical era for all its good and bad. But what I found even more interesting was the way Don's caddish behavior is finally shown to be disgusting. The porno narrative for the fur models, I almost had to turn the TV off. And then the way the waitress says "you got your $100 worth". Here Don thought he was getting a little back-alley tail because he was so dapper and she makes it clear she's just fulfilling a contract. Ick, ick, ick.

I liked the off-kilter non-reality of this show. It reminded me a bit of the Black Lodge bits in Twin Peaks, the way the viewer isn't really sure what the hell is going on but it conveys some emotional truths.
posted by Nelson at 7:02 AM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


That gif!

I am really invested now in Joan and Peggy opening up shop together. In this world, Joan's speech about Peggy's darling little ankles might be the professional equivalent of a meet-cute.
posted by mochapickle at 7:31 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, aside from just being happy to see favorite characters again, are people really excited as we go into these last episodes?

For me personally, I'm having trouble being super enthusiastic. Don't get me wrong, this first episode was fine -- but for me, it just wasn't strong enough to offset the effect of the unnaturally split season. I think that if AMC hadn't engaged in their obvious Emmy-baiting, and had just showed the final episodes last year, I'd be a lot more positive. Instead, while I'm sure I will watch the rest, I'm feeling like the whole enterprise has been tarnished to a degree by having been dragged out too long.

Maybe the final few episodes will turn that around. I hope so, at least.
posted by tocts at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was nearly vibrating in the last few minutes before 10pm on Sunday, and reprising Is That All There Is? over the credits was entirely apt: I wanted MOAR.

In an alternate universe I have a holodeck and a supercomputer and there is endless Mad Men I tell you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:41 AM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm hoping next week focuses on Bob Benson, Sally Draper, and The Computer.
posted by codacorolla at 9:10 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Next week is solely about Henry Francis's mother.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pete comes out and marries Bob.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


If Bob comes back, it will be a very bad no good day with presentations for Dow (Ken) , Buick (Bob, yes I know he went to Chevy), and whatever client Burt Peterson is in-house for now.
posted by tilde at 9:25 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm still excited, but I'm also really glad they are finishing the show. I think the show makers have said what they have to say about the era, the characters. It's time to bring it to an end. (See also: Downton Abbey). I think they made a mistake dragging this season out over two years though, I wish they could have just finished it off on a normal schedule.
posted by Nelson at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah I hopethink that the next 6 episodes are going to be all about everyone freaking out about the 70s after taking so long to acclimatize to the 60s.

Also, spinoff series set in the 80s: Bob Benson, Leather Daddy Cop.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:32 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Final episode is Lou Avery firebombing the office.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:34 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


and cackling maniacally behind his tiki bar, eating rumaki and drinking a pina colada
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on April 7, 2015


"I'm drinking rum!" - Pete.
posted by sweetkid at 9:45 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Final episode is Lou Avery firebombing the office.

"In the next very special installment of 'Scout's Honor'...Scout learns to make molotov cocktails."

Pete comes out and marries Bob.

And Sal is the officiant.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:12 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'm drinking rum!" is up there with, "Not great, Bob!" and "That's what the money is for!" in the all time great Mad Men quotes pantheon.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also man Brian Krakow has not aged at all.

This is true, but I didn't recognize him AT ALL without the curly hair! Felt much better about that potential relationship once I realized Peggy was going out with Krakow.

And fffm:
Pete comes out and marries Bob.

Yeah! More UST between those two than between anyone ever on MM. Well, maybe except Peggy and Stan.
posted by torticat at 10:48 AM on April 7, 2015


Out of curiosity, aside from just being happy to see favorite characters again, are people really excited as we go into these last episodes?

Dunno about everyone else but I am super excited to see where all these people end up!

I thought the premiere was 100% typical of MM. You go "huh," and not much more. Weiner likes to start out really r-e-a-l-l-y slow and then kick up the pace about 2/3rds in.
posted by torticat at 10:58 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


And Sal is the officiant.

I'm sure from a writer's perspective it really doesn't make any sense to bring him back, however briefly. His story arc seemed pretty realistic to me considering the time. It would be a pretty cheap bit of writing, sentimental and schmaltzy but I don't care! I want to see that Sal is somewhere being stylish and awesome and successful.

*sniffle* Dammit, time to do some dusting.
posted by Beti at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I want Sal to come back as a client from hell.
posted by nubs at 11:04 AM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm sure from a writer's perspective it really doesn't make any sense to bring him back, however briefly. His story arc seemed pretty realistic to me considering the time.

Of course, and this comes up every time we invoke Sal's name. Realistically, I feel sure that we've seen the last of Sal. But I'm also with you that, sentimentally, I would love to get one more glimpse of him, as we've gotten with Kinsey and Danny and Midge and (dead) Rachel and and and...
posted by ChrisTN at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2015


They brought back Paul. (Hari Krishna knockoff/terrible Star Trek fanfic-writer.) They brought back Midge. (Heroin addiction.) They brought back Freddie. (...Freddie.) Not to mention whatsisname, the guy Roger keeps firing. The worst thing that can happen to a person in the Mad Men world is to leave the SC orbit and return.

jinx
posted by psoas at 11:49 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The second time, though, Freddie just faded away. He rescued Don, and like Clarence, was gone.
posted by tilde at 11:54 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Longest odds against a reappearance in the last 6 episodes: Chauncey.
posted by ChrisTN at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


the dog from season one episode two

IT VANISHED.

ALSO DON TOTALLY STOLE THAT DOG
posted by The Whelk at 12:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I'm drinking rum!" is up there with, "Not great, Bob!" and "That's what the money is for!" in the all time great Mad Men quotes pantheon.

"I get ten percent!"
posted by tracicle at 1:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


The last scene will be a chorus line of all the dead cast members, singing "Age of Aquarius" to Don. Laine will have the best high-kicks.
posted by tracicle at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wanted Sal back but I also wanted Rachel Menken back - and look what happened to her! I'd prefer Sal to be left alive.
posted by crossoverman at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


DON DRAPER! YOU WILL BE VISITED BY THE GHOSTS OF CAST MEMBERS PAST
posted by The Whelk at 1:23 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


The dog from season one episode two

IT VANISHED.


I swear it showed up one more time. I just rewatched all of them over the last month and I swear I saw the dog again. In Sally's room - maybe when she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming about the Barbie that's scaring her after Grampa Gene is dead and she's scared of her baby brother?
posted by dnash at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2015


Prove to me, right now, that Gene Draper actually exists.
posted by The Whelk at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


i think the dog is also in Season Five, when Betty is on the lawn with the children after her cancer scare?
posted by sweetkid at 1:51 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gene Draper never existed. Nor did the dog from S1. None of this did. Dick Whitman is in a ditch in Korea, losing blood, dreaming until it all goes white.
posted by mochapickle at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bobby Draper is pushing SOMETHING in the swing when the moon landing happens, but given how screwed up that kid is, it could very well be a clump of Betty's hair in a onesie.
posted by codacorolla at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


"I'm drinking rum!" is up there with, "Not great, Bob!" and "That's what the money is for!" in the all time great Mad Men quotes pantheon.

"I get ten percent!"


"A thing like that!"
"My people are Nordic"
"I love puppies"
"Howdy Doody Circus Army"
"Mr. Campbell. Who cares?"
posted by sweetkid at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


[GIF of Betty filling her mouth with Reddi-Wip]
posted by Chrysostom at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Pizza HOWSE!"
"I'm Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana"
posted by sweetkid at 2:46 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Peggy strips down to bra and slip.] "I can work like this. Let's get liberated!"
posted by ChrisTN at 3:03 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]




Nelson, I don't use the word "hero" very often, but you are the greatest hero in American history.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Why would he say something?"
"Because he came home with chewing gum in his PUBIS!"

And it's not a quote, but the following scene of Pete getting trounced will live on forever in my heart.
posted by codacorolla at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Pete gets punched GIF.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


"A thing like that!"
posted by lunasol at 9:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thermos sighting!

Also, something about Don telling his depressing Depresion stories to a group of people who would NEVER appreciate or get them was just as sad as his series of sad fucks during this episode.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:23 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don is getting more comfortable with telling people about his Dick Whitman identity, although I think when he was telling the women at the table about the "boarders" he meant prostitutes.

Upon thinking about this, I am appreciating it more and more. I had a fucked up home life, and I have at times, changed important details to keep the conversation from going to dark. There is a fine line between whimsical tale and uncomfortable story that reveals too much or stops everyone dead in their tracks with uneasy sympathy. Seeing it here was a nice touch.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


OMG RACHEL

I was so excited when she showed up, even though that pretty much instantly pegged that scene as a dream sequence, but then when they talked about setting up a meeting I was all YES YES YES Matthew Weiner please fulfill my fantasy of Rachel and Don riding off into the sunset. (Or at least bring her back for a scene filled witty dialogue and/or passionate sex.)

And then when Meredith waltzed in and was like, "She's dead," I figured, no this is totally a joke, or a nightmare, she can't be dead, you wouldn't do that to us, would you????

But he did. So that sucks.

RIP Rachel Mencken.

*
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, guys, remember when we did witty one liner episode summaries during some of the re-watch threads? Let's do those again! Here's my attempt for this episode:

Everyone has a mustache. One eyed man gets his revenge. Maybe it was all a dream.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:04 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Joan goes shopping. Peggy goes on a date. Don experiences difficulties.
posted by bleep at 10:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Harry gets a new office. Megan loses an earring. Pete gets some new accounts.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:36 PM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


Thinking about this episode a bit more, it's interesting to juxtapose some of these scenes with the season 7 part 1 finale.

For example, towards the end of the last episode, when they're discussing going to McCann, Ted says he just wants to leave advertising, and Don convinces him not to by basically saying, as I remember it, "You only think you don't want to do this, but you're like me, and we'd be lost without this job."

I feel like this episode kept circling around to that point. On the surface, Ted, Don, and Roger seem to be living it up. Ken at one point acts like he's going to run away to a farm to do his writing, but then he just comes back for more. Peggy wonders why Joan is doing this job when Joan basically has it made after that check from the merger, but clearly Peggy would have no idea what to do with herself without this job. I bet if Peggy won the lottery, she would still show up to work the next day, and probably all she would do is move to a better apartment.

I get the sense that maybe all these characters have at least subconsciously resigned themselves to Bert Cooper's fate: They'll just be working at SCDP until the day they die. And maybe that's really the best any of them can do.

Some other stray thoughts:

- It's interesting to look at the juxtaposition between the last episode of season 7 part 1, where we had Bert Cooper singing "the best things in life are free," and this episode where we start and end with, "Is that all there is?"

- If I were a better Jew, when I saw the mirrors covered with a sheet, I probably would have said to myself, "Oh yeah, they're sitting Shiva for Rachel." Instead I was like, "What kind of weird party did Don just show up to?"

- The actress playing Di will always be stupid Ava from that horrific story line on Grey's Anatomy. She definitely has a resemblance to Midge and Rachel, but all it made me think was, "Ugh, how did I stick around for 9 seasons of Grey's Anatomy?"

- Is Ken the only major character who got married but hasn't been divorced during the course of this show? We have Don, Roger, Ted, Joan, Pete, Lane (RIP), and probably Harry since in the last episode of part 1 he said he was getting divorced. Obviously Betty, too. Was Henry Francis still a bachelor when he hooked up with Betty? If so, that's actually pretty surprising. Maybe Henry Francis is actually gay, and Betty has unknowingly been his cover this whole time. After all, it seems like a man with his political ambitions in that time period would be much better off if he had a beautiful wife (plus a ready made family). What about Bert? Was he a widower?

- The wine on the carpet reminded me of early season 5 (I think) where Megan is cleaning up after Don's birthday party or something in her underwear and they're having a big fight, but then they end up having sex.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I see how the air stewardess and the wine stain reminds people of Megan on the floor cleaning in her underwear, but my first thought was of the dream sequence when Don choked Madchen Amick to death on that very floor.
posted by crossoverman at 2:09 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Henry Francis had been divorced a while.
posted by tilde at 3:28 AM on April 8, 2015


What about Bert? Was he a widower?

I've always kind of assumed Bert was gay, although I don't recall that being hinted at super strongly. Never thought that about Henry Francis, though.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:48 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bert had an unnecessary removal of his testicles by Dr Lyle Evans, and presumably never married. His sister helped him with a healthy sum, possibly from her father or if she were a widow, her husband, start Sterling Cooper with Sterling, Sr. She had a someone who was referred to as a "companion", indicating possibly a "Boston Marriage".
posted by tilde at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Ken's father-in-law takes up cooking. Don finds a new neighborhood diner. President Nixon makes a speech.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Don dances on the carousel of bachelorhood. Peggy dances towards Paris. People wonder if this is all that there is.
posted by tilde at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2015


Don has some phone messages. Peggy swaps meals. Ken learns about karma.
posted by dry white toast at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ken runs into his old boss. Roger pays for dinner. Pete struggles with tax planning.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:44 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don buys coffee. Peggy forgoes cannelloni. Joan contemplates pyromania.
posted by ChrisTN at 7:31 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Men are sexist. Clothes are ugly. Vietnam drags on.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:33 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Peggy has a long dinner. Ken thinks about his future. Don sees an old flame.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mad Style is up. I've had my issues with them over the years, but this is spot on to me:

There are three women in Don’s life: Peggy, Sex and Death.

posted by thesmallmachine at 8:42 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


(Or, to put it another way, there's only really been one woman that Don has seen as a fellow human being; all the others he sees through a thick, Vaselined lens of symbolism.)
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:45 AM on April 8, 2015


Mad Style is up.

I must admit, I didn't attach much significance to Don wearing a non-white shirt in that first scene, but yeah, that's a big deal.

Don has a surprising meeting. Peggy and Joan have a difference of opinion. Brian Krakow gets the veal.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get the sense that maybe all these characters have at least subconsciously resigned themselves to Bert Cooper's fate: They'll just be working at SCDP until the day they die. And maybe that's really the best any of them can do.

I've been thinking along the same lines, and it occurs to me that one way to end the series would be with SCDP (in any iteration) finally, catastrophically, and conclusively exploding. The most interesting thing would be to see what these people do when they suddenly don't have work as an identity.
posted by codacorolla at 9:05 AM on April 8, 2015


Wow that Mad Style article is great. I've never read one before, I'm terrified to think there's seven seasons of such meticulous articles deconstructing the TV show based entirely on what Wardrobe does. The big thing I'd not understood consciously is how out-of-date Don's style is now, particularly his hair. He's becoming the old man.
posted by Nelson at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


You need to take Mad Style with a shaker of salt. They mix interesting observations of things with way overdetermined reads of things. ("Peggy wore a wristwatch! This ties into the RED pencil she has in the cup, which is another manifestation of the madonna/whore dichotomy!")
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


They mix interesting observations of things with way overdetermined reads of things.

Eh, they are fairly self-aware about it though! I think they know when they are going way overboard.

Anyway
There are three women in Don’s life: Peggy, Sex and Death.

yeah, all the years of Mad Style are vindicated by this line alone.
posted by torticat at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pete gets punched GIF.

If I could pair that in one window with that gif of Tyrion slapping seven kinds of snot out of Joffrey you'd probably find my desiccated corpse a few weeks later, starinf rapturously at the screen.

(Also for people who watched on AMC on Sunday, they kept showing these clips of a round-table discussion between the actors. Goes to show the transformative nature of hair and wardrobe: Kartheiser is a stone cold bearded fox, holy hell.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:32 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Or, to put it another way, there's only really been one woman that Don has seen as a fellow human being; all the others he sees through a thick, Vaselined lens of symbolism.)

Not even Ana Draper?
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Anna Draper was definitely a friend.
posted by sweetkid at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The big thing I'd not understood consciously is how out-of-date Don's style is now, particularly his hair. He's becoming the old man.

Yeah, I hadn't thought about that either. And it's interesting because to our 2015 eyes, while everyone else looks dated, Don looks pretty much right and as expected. He's a man out of time.
posted by nubs at 11:09 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was struck by how much Don looked like/reminded me of Sterling Archer in the scene in the diner with the tuxedos.
posted by bleep at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I’ve been wondering ever since the shooting why Ken, who works in an industry where appearances are so vitally important, would be wearing a patch instead of being fitted for a prosthetic eye. The only way I could justify it in my mind was that the scarring was too severe to make that possible, perhaps with too much tissue lost around the socket. After seeing him patchless this week, we know that’s not the case. So I’m back to being puzzled by the odd choice.

I mean, I know that the RL reason is that they wanted us to remember his injury without having to do any special makeup, But it still rings false to me in a setting where the accounts people even more than anyone else are shown to be very conscious of keeping a polished image. I mean, they fired the guy who lost his foot.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2015


I don't know how realistic it is, but Ken does look dashing in an eyepatch, and the way he sustained the injury is hypermasculine and impressive, so maybe it's not such an albatross in an image based industry like advertising.
posted by codacorolla at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2015


Yeah, Pete specifically mentioned that Ken's look would make a killer author photo.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what they say about Detroit; it's all fun and games until they shoot you in the face.
posted by mochapickle at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2015


Did they actually fire the guy who lost his foot? I thought it was just implied that without his foot he'd be a failure as an ad man, since he wouldn't be able to golf anymore, but I don't remember them explicitly saying he was fired.
posted by palomar at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2015


I hadn't noticed that Joan and Don where basically wearing the same outfit in that scene! huh.
posted by The Whelk at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2015


He was from the UK and to take over Lanes job and start the "selling the company" portion of their trajectory.

If Lane had left and Guy had stayed, it would have gone more quickly and smoothly and Lane could not have fired them, allowing the sack and pillage of the company's IP.
posted by tilde at 12:14 PM on April 8, 2015


Joan prostituted herself one time

Joan has been trading either sex or the idea of it for material gain - and pressuring other women like Carol and Peggy to do the same - since day one. "We keep building these men up, and for what? Dinner. Jewelrt. Let's find a couple of real bachelors; empty their wallets." Whether it's lunch from the copywriters or fancy hotel rooms from Roger where "you leave with what you came in with, and the little soaps," it's always been her go-to M.O., and her change of outlook on at field is pretty recent. Her partnership was just the last and biggest fee she negotiated.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Pete specifically mentioned that Ken's look would make a killer author photo.

It WOULD make a great photo for an author. Less so for the public/client-facing representative of the company in a corporate setting. It's like Stan's beard.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2015


Stan's Beard is different, though; creative types have long gotten away with much more than the stodgy management folk. It's practically a selling point. The eyepatch could be too--look at this All-American Manly Man, you can trust him to sell your products!

crossover spinoff: Stan's Beard and Riker's Beard go on adventures.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Anna was definitely a friend, but I never got the feeling she was completely free of Don's tendency to assign archetypal value to women. His idealization of her didn't create the same problems it did for Betty and Megan - that a real woman couldn't be a real person and still fill that particular round hole Don was trying to slot her into - but I'm not sure that it wouldn't have eventually done that if they had been in each others' lives every day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: Guy McKendrick, he's fired. I wasn't sure, so I had to go back and watch.

It's this amazing scene: The Putnam execs walk in to the hospital waiting room, where Don and Joan are waiting. They are solemn and they thank Joan for her quick thinking.

Pryce: You may have saved his life.
Ford: Such as it is.
Powell: He was a great account man. A prodigy. He could talk a Scotsman out of a penny. Now that's all over.
Don, looking concerned: I don't know if that's true.
Ford: The man is missing a foot. How is he going to work? He can't walk.
Powell: The doctor said he'll never golf again.

It's beautiful. The whole episode is amazing.
posted by mochapickle at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Stan's Beard is different, though; creative types have long gotten away with much more than the stodgy management folk.

That's exactly my point. Stan's beard would be as incongruous on someone in Ken's (now former) position as Ken's eye patch was. Pete is correct that when Ken has a job more like Stan's, his eye patch will be the same asset Stan's beard is.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2015


(Oh, and hello tilde! I just saw your response!)
posted by mochapickle at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anna felt like the closest thing Don had to a honest to god maternal figure really.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Joan has been trading either sex or the idea of it for material gain - and pressuring other women like Carol and Peggy to do the same - since day one.

Yes, but it's a bit of a chicken-or-egg thing with her, isn't it? She used what she had. She sure as hell wasn't getting respect for what she was able to do.

A man in 1960 didn't have to put a bag over his head (?) stand in front of a mirror and figure out his assets!

It's true Joan's change in outlook has been pretty recent, but isn't it also true that she only has had the power/freedom recently to make that change? Or at least, that's how it is inside her head...
posted by torticat at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It looked to me like Don had tiny sideburns.
posted by brujita at 1:38 PM on April 8, 2015


Clara disappears into the night. Hemlines get shorter. The Thermos is back.
posted by tilde at 1:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Irish are targets of racism. Razors and pantyhose are promoted. Mustaches multiply.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2015


torticat, I'm not condemning her for doing it; I'm just disagreeing with the notion that she's only done it once and that it was some kind of radical departure from SOP for her.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:20 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


But everyone sells out in some way or another. When I was watching the Guy McKendrick episode over lunch just now, Roger is complaining that PPL is taking over (his name has been left off the org chart). And Cooper shrugs and says, they're paying us a lot of money. We have to do what they say.

I feel so slow on the uptake, guys. Until now, I really hadn't realized how all the relationships and interactions on Mad Men are so transactional, not just for Joan, but for everyone.
posted by mochapickle at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just disagreeing with the notion that she's only done it once and that it was some kind of radical departure from SOP for her.

I guess it all depends on how we want to define the terms we are using; because you are right - Joan has always traded on her looks and the use of sex to get what she wants and to move ahead. And as mochapickle notes, everyone on the show seems to be doing some kind of transaction in their relationships. But yes, Joan's decision to sleep with the Jaguar guy was an extension of the methods she has always used.

For me, what made it "prostitution" is that in all the other transactions of that type for Joan, it's been a lot less calculated, blatant, and explicitly only about the money. In her relationship with Roger, for example, there seemed to me to be a lot about some genuine affection and her having power in the office, as opposed to straight material gain. But it is a different of degree and not of kind, though I do think it was a very defining moment for Joan, the other characters involved in that decision, and the show.
posted by nubs at 4:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hemlines are short. Facial hair is long. Ken takes some time to reflect.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The difference is Joan deploying Joan for Joan's sake in whatever way Joan has determined is appropriate for Joan. Being deployed by committee is not the same at all.
posted by maggieb at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


For me, what made it "prostitution" is that in all the other transactions of that type for Joan, it's been a lot less calculated, blatant, and explicitly only about the money.

Even though she explicitly stated that it WAS about the money and other material rewards?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2015


Yeah. Joan's a kind of self-guided sex missile, using what she's been told by society is all she's got to use. Which is at the root of a lot of her antipathy towards Peggy, who looked at the world and said "fuck that noise." And now that Joan is gaining more power that doesn't rely on her body, I'm hoping she and Peggy build a bridge.

(Also it's really really really cringe-inducing every time someone says something about Peggy not being very good looking. I mean yeah, there's a TV Inflation Effect w/r/t physical attractiveness, but Elisabeth Moss is luminous.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Being deployed by committee is not the same at all.

Huh, yeah, that is a REALLY good point. And she was so manipulated in that episode--by Pete and Lane, even maybe by Roger, who objected to the arrangement but let it go.

I think Joan's choice turned out pretty great for Joan. Maybe it was the only choice she could have made at the time--having a baby as she did and a jackass of a husband. But yeah, it's definitely a different thing from her relationship with Roger.
posted by torticat at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2015


Even though she explicitly stated that it WAS about the money and other material rewards?

Then I have forgotten that moment in the history of the show. Not sure why this suddenly feels like an argument, I yield to your superior knowledge.
posted by nubs at 5:06 PM on April 8, 2015


Kartheiser is a stone cold bearded fox, holy hell.

Elisabeth Moss is luminous.


Agreed on both points, fffm!

Still, I love it that EM is different-enough looking, or normal-enough, that she works so well as a foil for Joan. They are both so perfectly cast.

Matt Weiner talked about how Moss took that scene with the blind date arrangement and turned it into something very different from what he intended. (I think he meant it to be like she was angling for the date, and she read it as Peggy being very resistant.)

I think Weiner can come off as full of himself when he talks about the show--but I like how open he is to alternate readings, whether they come from the actors or the fans. He always talks about those readings like they are 100% as valid as his intent as an author--like the whole thing is in some ways out of his control, and it's up to us to determine what MM really says.
posted by torticat at 5:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Did you...enjoy ze Führer's birthday?"
posted by invitapriore at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Goes to show the transformative nature of hair and wardrobe: Kartheiser is a stone cold bearded fox, holy hell.

Aye. One of the most impressive parts of the show is how they've made John Hamm not handsome. Kartheiser not hot and Moss not stunning. I see Hamm et al outside the show and have this weird cognitive dissidence in realizing "oh yeah, these people are amazingly attractive."

It's witchcraft, I tell yah.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:55 PM on April 8, 2015


witchcraft, and they also shaved Kartheiser's hairline.
posted by sweetkid at 8:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now I want an episode where we see Don go to the barber. I bet that guy knows all of Richard Whitman's secrets.
posted by Nelson at 8:33 PM on April 8, 2015


yes his hair is full of secrets.
posted by sweetkid at 8:34 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I sat across from Michael Gladis on the subway once, and he was downright dreamy.
posted by mochapickle at 10:27 PM on April 8, 2015


In the old days barbers just shut up and cut hair. Dangnabbit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:00 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


"A jew dies. The irish are rude. The 60s are a dessicated diner run by prostitutes."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:01 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are three women in Don’s life: Peggy, Sex and Death.

Anna Draper was Dick Whitman's friend.

The line between Dick and Don has blurred in season 7, but not so much as to make the above quote untrue.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:35 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Arguably, Anna represents death.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:12 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anna is death, the endless parade of pretty brunettes = sex, Peggy = that whole big oft-overlooked part of being human that's not sex and not death = creative energy, human potential, etc.
posted by bleep at 11:00 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also it's really really really cringe-inducing every time someone says something about Peggy not being very good looking. I mean yeah, there's a TV Inflation Effect w/r/t physical attractiveness, but Elisabeth Moss is luminous.

I agree with you about Moss (am I the only one who had a crush on her character on The West Wing?) , but - and correct me if I'm wrong - people only seem to say things about Peggy not being very good looking in comparison to Joan. Which isn't really that unbelievable. I don't think we, as viewers, are supposed to think of Peggy as unattractive or plain; she just chooses to play up different aspects of herself.

That said, I think the cast of MM is very, very good looking, even by TV standards.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:35 AM on April 9, 2015


If they haven't already, someone should have made lists of movies Don should have seen each year of the series.

If the show stays in 1970, I hope Don goes to "Kelly's Heroes."
posted by drezdn at 4:27 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


And if it keeps jumping forward further and further into the 70s, Don should see...

1971 - A Clockwork Orange
1972 - Last Tango in Paris
1973 - The Exorcist
1974 - The Conversation
1975 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1976 - All the President's Men
posted by crossoverman at 6:04 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mad Style: "We’d like to say that the pale blue motif in this episode represents sex and death, but at this point, pretty much everything in Don’s life represents sex and death."

I'd say this is spot on. I found this episode fairly disorienting overall but that seemed to be the intent with the time jump, dream sequence, doppelgängers, Don's new (old) mannerisms, the McCann power structure and of course the mustaches.

I think Ken's still going to write his next book (or more short stories) even after going to Dow. I don't think the thought of writing all day at a farmhouse appeals to him. He needs all sort of random input during - interactions, dialog, juxtapositions, etc. - so it can percolate all day until the stories leap from his mind to the page. He just got too invested at the agency and forgot it was just a job. He obviously feels a great weight lifted and I think this shake up will rattle some stories right out of him.
posted by mikepop at 6:41 PM on April 10, 2015


1972 - Last Tango in Paris

I'd like to see Don's take on The Godfather as well.
posted by drezdn at 7:06 PM on April 10, 2015


I can visualize Pete as chief after everyone else has left the building. By this time he may have a whisper of a 'stache to go with his combover. Pete doesn't really do any work, am I right? Have I missed it?

Don has to have a legendary end.
posted by maggieb at 7:18 PM on April 10, 2015


I don't think they'll do it, but I wouldn't mind if each of the remaining episodes took place in a different year, with the gaps between episodes increasing to make it look like time is speeding up.
posted by drezdn at 7:24 PM on April 10, 2015


drezdn, I wouldn't want them to do something like that, but the one thing that makes me relieved and sure they most likely aren't doing that is Kiernan Shipka. She's just barely starting to look old enough to play early 20s or so but it would still look pretty contrived and hacky, and given that her performance has been one of the great largely unplanned revelations on this show, I don't think they would do this.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would love that!

There's this theory floating around that the series is Ken's book, when he finally writes it, based on the comment he made this episode. I dunno. Ken has never really fit in, and that's an argument that he's an outsider looking in, but there's also this take on it from Vox that Ken had all the resources to leave that world and still couldn't get out, and that's his purpose in the story.

The whole thing feels so literary, it does seem like a book based on people the writer knows. As we go on, we've seen more and more weird elements: ghosts, bizarre musical bits, swingers, stories too strange to be true (Pete's mother running off with Manolo!). In fact, Lots of Bad Things happen to Pete in the story of Mad Men, and who better to smite Pete with a poison pen than Ken, his former rival?

Again, I dunno. But the minute there's another musical number or another tap dance, I'm betting a fiver on Ken's book.
posted by mochapickle at 7:39 PM on April 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, how weird is it that Ken's tap dance happened in the exact same spot as Cooper's soft shoe sock?
posted by mochapickle at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2015


Wow, that was amazing to see again. Was that when everyone was getting injected with productivity-boosting substances?
posted by isthmus at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2015


I don't think they'll do it, but I wouldn't mind if each of the remaining episodes took place in a different year, with the gaps between episodes increasing to make it look like time is speeding up.

I was thinking that each remaining ep might jump a year, which gets us to 1976 - maybe the 4th of July for bicentennial celebrations.

But the idea of time speeding up is kinda great. 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979, 1984, 1990, 1997. But then everyone is in old age make-up. So probably not.
posted by crossoverman at 10:36 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


While they mentioned Don in the blue shirt, I was completely surprised I didn't notice it. I've seen him in "not white" when off of work, and his seduction line was supposed to make us think he was dicking around again, not being at work, and of course they reverse back and he is at work in a blue shirt. Me yapping about this parallel in my own life in an earlier thread or two.

And I thought, "girl in the fur, it's a work thing, that makes more than him futzing around again, this time with a very young gal (he's 43ish and she's 18 if she's a day ... I know megan was young but only 12 or so years younger than him)."

But yeah, he's at WORK like that. I had to have it pointed out to me, LOL.
posted by tilde at 8:24 AM on April 11, 2015


Was that when everyone was getting injected with productivity-boosting substances?

Yes! That was the same one where Ginsberg threw an exacto knife at a willing Stan and hit him square in the arm. (Stan was wearing a blindfold, under a picture of an apple, and dangling a cigarette.)
posted by mochapickle at 8:37 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


maggieb: "Pete doesn't really do any work, am I right? Have I missed it?"

Oh, I think Pete works as least as much as the other partners. Maybe not as much as Joan, definitely more than Roger.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:08 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


What? Pete works a ton. In some episodes he's the only person doing anything.
posted by sweetkid at 10:11 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pete works a ton. In some episodes he's the only person doing anything.

Hear, hear! Don't let Pete hate blind you to his never ending, unsatisfied, ambition. His ambition includes hard work, which, as was mentioned, the show has shown repeatedly.
posted by cwest at 11:19 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pete deserves a lot of what he wants, career wise. He has good ideas and brings in clients, and he's always working in meetings. He's always contributing and discussing how to bring in clients and make them happy, which is his whole job. He's definitely a bit petulant about it all, but he works harder and knows his job better than any other accounts guys/gals on this show.
posted by sweetkid at 10:51 PM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pete is cursed, like most of the characters are cursed. Don is cursed to repeat himself without resolution or enlightenment. Joan is cursed to always get what she wants in the worst way possible. Peggy is cursed to always undermine or sabotage herself or her happiness. Pete is cursed to always be right business-wise, but never to be listened to or respected.
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 PM on April 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Kens not writing a book sillies. He's done--just another corporate sell out, a cog in the permanent money/death machine of final stage capitalism. We'll never see him again.

The stakes this season aren't Don's job, or marriage or his life--it is his soul. And so far, he still seems damned.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:56 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is severed. What is lost. What remains. Next time on Mad Men.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:57 AM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The road not taken is a brick wall. Her Thermos is ever consonant. Guy walks out of an advertising agency.
posted by tilde at 12:28 PM on April 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Why does it have to be like this? Why can't I get anything good all at once?"
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM on April 12, 2015


It just occurred to me that the yellow wood in Frost's "Road Not Taken" could refer to Dante's dark forest, way leads on way = hell's many-leveled labyrinth, and the sigh...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:12 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]




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