Time Zones: Immune To Your Charms

 Posted by on April 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm  Mad Men, Season 7
Apr 132014

Mad Men "Time Zones" Peggy at the office

In Mad Men episode 7.01: Time Zones, no one can connect, and everyone is fundamentally alone. Connection is both futile, and empty. For the most part, I found myself feeling so sorry for these characters. Oh, poor Peggy. Poor Don. Poor Kenny! They’re all so sadly trapped in a disconnected and lonely life. They each feel that pain, that “nowhere and no one” feeling.

I don’t feel sorry for Roger. He’s disconnected too, but he’s Roger.

Let’s start with Kenny. My first thought was, oh no, poor guy, that eyepatch is permanent! But this is the shortest interval we’ve ever had between seasons—a mere 7 weeks from Thanksgiving 1968 to January 1969*—and so this injury could easily still be healing.

*For those keeping score, the episode takes place from Friday, January 17, 1969 through Monday, January 20—the day of Richard Nixon’s first Inaugural Address.

The eyepatch may well be temporary, but Kenny’s real suffering is his aloneness. He has no underlings. He has no one to support his work, not in some emotional, touchy-feely way, but he’s Head of Accounts with no “account men.” He can’t do his job. He can only be angry. And the saddest thing is to see eternally contented Kenny that angry.

Contrasted to isolation is the notion of escape, and the place you escape to is another time zone. Kenny is plagued by escapees: Bob and Pete, calling from different time zones, underlining Ken’s isolation and frustration. Every encounter throughout the episode will have one of these hallmarks: Disconnection or escape.

Let’s talk about Don. He is pretty much 100% flying without a net at this point, no connection to anything. His job isn’t really his job. The work he does is delivered as Freddy’s, not his own. He’s pitching work he pretends isn’t his, back to the job he pretends he still has. His plane arrives in LA late (it would have been unrealistic to show an airline missed connection, as flights tended to be direct in those days, but late works as a substitute). Megan, an escapee, has a beautiful car and a beautiful view and damn, look at that outfit! But she and Don don’t connect sexually at first, and it’s pretty clear they’ve become profoundly different people. Don connects awkwardly with Pete (another classic Mad Men Hug of Cringe). Pete has escaped, which for him means finding a New York deli and a California blonde.

Even on the flight home, Don’s lovely connection with the stranger is abortive. He knows he’s a bad husband, the offer is just for sex, and he says no with no pretense it’s because he’s faithful. And note that the captain announces they’re unable to land on time—another failed connection. Finally, he is literally out in the cold, staring bleakly into the disconnected nothingness that is his life.

Peggy? Peggy is suddenly unappreciated, a situation that is entirely new to her. Sterling Cooper was either her first job out of secretarial school, or her first job in Manhattan. Either way, her entire career has been under the loving and careful protection of Don, Ted, or both. Don both nurtured and mistreated her, but always appreciated her talent. When Lou said “I guess I’m immune to your charms,” it was devastating, but also like a foreign language to her. Her life may feel empty, but she’s always had the creative connection. Not now. There’s a connection to Stan, sure, if she calls and calls and calls, and a connection to Ted she doesn’t dare experience. Finally, her brother-in-law goes home to his wife because Anita shouldn’t be alone in an apartment, leaving Peggy in exactly that position, and it’s too much, and she falls to the floor. Go ahead, admit you teared up.

Roger is living in a naked pile of connection and all he wants to do is sleep. His daughter tries to connect with him and it’s awkward, and not even a little bit loving: Forgiveness as a sophisticated form of revenge.

Ted escaped, but he can’t escape. His heart is in New York with his disconnected connection. Joan, so good at reading men, doesn’t understand, at first, what the Business School professor wants of her. Disconnected. Even losing Butler Shoes is a lost connection, and Ken doesn’t understand why it’s so bad.

And in the midst of it all, the longing. Peggy, lonely, but also longing for a caliber of creativity that rises above the day-to-day. Don, lost in the opening of Lost Horizon and its talk of Utopia. Pete, who just wants a bagel. Pete, at least, will have his wish fulfilled by Ted. The rest of them, I think, are shit out of luck.


  441 Responses to “Time Zones: Immune To Your Charms”

  1. I haven’t seen it yet I just wanted to first to comment. I can’t wait! West coast here……..

  2. Peggy finally took her Ma’s advise; she got herself a cat. It’s on her desk!

  3. Last season, Peggy had a live cat in her apartment.

    • RetroGirl,
      Sorry that didn’t stick in my head, I just remember the rat. 🙁 Thanks for the correction though.
      Looks like a good season.

      • The only reason I remember the cat was because as soon as I saw Peggy and the cat on the couch, I knew I had a topic for a post “Name Peggy’s Cat,” and lucky for me, no one beat me to it.

        • I wondered about a cat as soon as she walked into that lonely apartment, gues she couldn’t sell it. I did tear up when she crumpled onto the floor, Elisabeth Moss is wondeful.

        • Did anyone ever name Peggy’s cat?

        • That’s a great idea, because from the look on Peggy’s face in that scene, it didn’t look like she was going to bother to name it.

  4. All true, but the irony is that Don and Peggy are still connecting, though they don’t know it. It’s through the work. (” I mean, I know what I’m supposed to want, but it just never feels right, or as important as anything in that office.” – Peggy, The Suitcase). Everything else in their lives is crap, but they still care about the work. Peggy’s right: they’re all hacks. And Lou ( pure mediocrity if there ever was one!) is the chief hack.

    • Calling Stan a hack may have been a bit much. But it’s clear that -having been denied California – he’s just going with the flow.

      • Good old Stan! He knows Peggy too well to fight with her. And he probably agrees with Peggy, and hates being a hack, but he’s not going to make himself nuts fighting a battle he can’t win.

        • Still havent lost hope that she and Stan get together eventually. He looked as good as ever in those tight pants and bushy beard, and his heartfelt “Buck up, chief” was the only moment of support Peggy had in the whole episode.

          • It’s embarassing how much I want Stan and Peggy to get together (not a one night stand, a real lasting relationship). I’ve never shipped a couple this hard. They work so well together. I’m glad they’re drawing it out. Many in the audience know they’re perfect for each other, but the characters don’t realize it yet.

            • I feel the same way Retro Girl! Though Peggy was so dismissive of Stan when Ted was there it made me wonder. I never bought Ted and Peggy, I never saw any chemistry there, just seemed like she was flattered and lonely.

            • I think Peggy should be with Ted.

            • Ditto – always thought he was the smart guy for her.

            • I sometimes lie in bed awake thinking how good Stan is for Peggy.

          • The “buck up chief” moment was really moving. He seemed really upset by her her pain at it was obvious how much he cares for her.

            • The look on his face was the perfect illustration of “forlorn.”

            • It was an interesting call back, because I think “buck up chief” is something Roger has often said to Don…

    • Yes! I loved that Peggy was admiring Don’s work without knowing it was his.

      • I bet Peggy figures it out before too long. She knows what Freddie is capable of, and she knows Don’s turns of phrase very well. She’ll realize Don is ghost writing for Freddie.

  5. Great analysis. Sunday night is the best: Cosmos, and Mad Men

    Freddy rules. He was the only one connected to anything. I love Freddy.

    Ken was annoying : (

    • Ken was frustrated. Hopefully things will get better for him. I’ve always figured that if Peggy jumped ship, she’d take Ken with her.

      • Poor Ken! Seeing the pernennially cheerful Cosgrove in a bad space made me fearful for the season. I was also alarmed to see him still wearing the patch, glad Deb pointed out how close these episoseds were.

        • Ken seemed like a completely different person to me…the change seemed liked one that might have occurred over a year or two, not a few weeks. It didn’t read well for me.

          • As horrible as those Chevy guys were, I can see that change accelerating (pun intended?).

          • I don’t think it’s been just a few weeks. I think it began with his working with Chevy.

    • I was so happy to see Freddy again! I was thinking that he was channeling Don in his pitch at the start of the episode… I should have figured it out.

      • Don’t feel bad. I felt there was something off about the pitch too, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until Don and Freddy had lunch together.

      • Classic fake-out. Freddy chastises Peggy for expecting less of him, and indirectly chastises us as well. So we all just accept it and don’t anticipate any Cyrano action.

        Unrelated note: anyone else notice the doe-eyed newcomer in the Creative meeting in Lou’s office? Not the one with the glasses, the other one. That’s young Frederick Crane from FRASIER, mostly grown up.

        • He was in a number of episodes last season, including the opener where Peggy chewed him out (along with other underlings at CGC) for being “useless.” But he survived the merger with SCDP.

      • That first scene was so smart on every level – I first thought it sounded like Freddy was giving an AA testimonial, and that maybe after Don’s disasterous Fall he was joining, and this was Freddy’s intro for him…..then, I realized it was a pitch, and Freddy was knocking it out of the park, with a style and tone completely different than his normal style. Then, at the end, the reveal that it WAS connected to Don, and, in some ways linked to their common demon, and the change and absolution drunks are continuously seeking…..well, it just blew my mind again.

    • I think since Pete is finally content (though this is Mad Men and that contentment won’t last), Ken has to fill in as the show’s butt monkey.

    • I was so happy to see Freddy!

  6. Did anyone catch that Dawn called her boss by his first name? Is that because there was less formality in 1969 or because her boss was just informal. She never called Don by his first name.

    Great recap!

    • I didn’t catch that, and you’re right, it’s notable.

      • A very subtle tell on Lou: He’s one of those bosses who doesn’t really care about quality or anything else (can you tell that I hate Lou? 🙂 ) except leaving at 5, so what’s the difference how we address each other. Don may be a hardass boss (Peggy was a hardass boss, too, when she was at Cutler, Gleason & Chaough), but he got the best results.

        • Agreed about Lou but he might be fun to have around for a few episodes as comic relief. Everyone can relate to working for a worthless boss. Say what you will about Don, or for that matter Teddy but they commanded respect. Lou encourages apathy and poor performance.

          • From a business skills perspective, I liked that Lou was direct and firm. It’s kind of hard to find a fresh kind of character on MM but he definitely is something new – a guy who doesn’t swear, isn’t a drinker, sees this as a job and not a lifestyle. As you say, he may not be great in the long run, but for now he’s good. And as we’ve seen before on the show, I could see MW bringing him into focus and showing us he’s not what he seems. But given this is the last season, it may be unlikely he spends a lot of time introducing characters.

            • He has no time for drinking or swearing. All that firewood isn’t gonna chop itself.

            • He knows it must be temporary – no way to keep a well-known talent like Don Draper under wraps for any long period.

              If he thought he had a chance to stay on, he wouldn’t constantly burn Peggy like that.

              He’s just marking time, taking the monry while it lasts.

        • I forgot for a second that Peggy was the boss at CGC. Who the F hired this joker then?

          • The partners brought him in on Thanksgiving morning: through the same door they were showing Don. And Joan has dropped the D from SCD&P, which lets us know that the partners have moved on.

            I can not believe they dropped the D! NOBODY DROPS THE D.

            • I thought the new name was always Sterling Cooper and Partners, even before Don left.

            • Correct.

            • They showed the logo on the promotional pics for this season’s lead up. Then on rewatch I “saw” it, reversed and in white outline, though the glass door in Ep 613 – a very artistic way to “skew” the first showing of their logo.

            • Oh yes. This is a good point.

              “They’re still paying me,” Don says to Freddie: this now makes more sense. The partners wouldn’t buy out the best creative director in the business — not this soon, anyway.

          • Peggy was Copy Chief at CGC. Ted was Creative Director.

            When they merged, both Don and Ted were Creative Directors.

            Lou is the east coast Creative Director, being overseen by Ted. They never mention it, so we don’t know if they offered him a partnership to come over from Dancer Fitzgerald…

        • I am the President of the We Hate Lou Circus Army.

          Please direct all of your Lou hate mail to Anne B., thanks.


    • I don’t think Don is less formal in 1969 than he was a few months before. My guess is that Lou asked her to call him by his first name. This was probably hard for her at first, but after awhile she got used to it.

      • I remember thinking that Don and Dawn were always sort of shy around each other. It broke my heart a little bit when he told her “Happy Thanksgiving, Sweetheart” after his breakdown in In Care Of.

        • Well after Allison through a trophy at him, Joan punished him by giving him Ms. Blankenship, and Dawn is black (although very beautiful) – Maybe he finally had enough secretaries. >.<

    • I did notice her calling him “Lou.” And then at one point, he called her “nurse.”

    • I noticed that. At first I thought he was more open and whatever, but then he made some little crack when she walked in that I thought was vaguely racist and super patronizing and though she called Don Mr. Draper he would never talk to her like that, or at least I don’t think so.

      • Lou said something like, what is this? Gladys Knight and the Pips?

        (At the time I thought this was off-I thought they first made it big in the 70s with Midnight Train to Georgia)

        So the sad part is that their two hits closest to that time: ‘The End of Our Road” 1967, is by a songwriter who was writing from his real life (like Don does) and he writes this song and two others (done by the Temptations) as a trilogy and then kills himself. 🙁



        The other hit from 1964 is also informative “Giving Up”


  7. That was a strange time too. We had Nixon, we had Crosby, Stills, and Nash, we had the Brady Bunch, we had Vietnam kill rates on the 6pm news. There was a disconnect with what was news and what was entertainment. There was a sense of change, but it wasn’t necessarily good change.

    • There was also “The Smothers Brothers,” but that didn’t last long.

      • It;s been suggested that part of the reason it didn’t was that network executives could understand a hard-hitting documentary on the war, but entertainment was an entirely differant mental category to them.

        • They didn’t want to upset their corporate sponsors (the network, not the Smothers Brothers) whose advertising dollars kept this and other shows on the air, and the boys’ frequent eye pokes with political satire, particularly directed at the war, Nixon and racism riled the powers that were. Bill Paley yanked the show, purportedly for failure to deliver material on time (basically for the censors to review) in violation of their contract. The brothers sued and won ($766,000) but the show was not returned to air.

    • I was a little kid, but that time was a blur of muddy noise and color. It felt like shoes went from absent to chunky in days, and the dads went from suit & tie to really wide tie to no-tie-spread-collar in about five minutes.

      These are very confusing things to see when you’re just a few feet tall.

  8. Existential dread — of meaninglessness and annihilation.

  9. I felt the writing and acting (particularly Christina Hendricks) were brilliant in this episode. Even though I love these characters, I don’t mind seeing them suffer, because their suffering is so fascinating, and because it makes them like us… we can relate to the way that each of them suffers, each of them seems to portray an aspect of ourselves. This show is…. not like any other TV show I’ve ever seen. It’s so much more complex and rich. It’s more like the very best literature. I’m almost sad it’s started again, because it means that we are now in the *last* season, and I don’t know how I will bear it when there’s no more new “Mad Men.”

    • Elizabeth:

      You’ve written such a marvelously succinct description of why this show (like the experience of viewing its first-run episodes) is such a treasure.

      Thank you!

    • I agree. I had to wait until Monday to watch because I was excited but full of dread to at what these characters have to go through. It feels more like along form novel in some ways than a tv show.

    • I loved this episode, it was credited solely to Matt Weiner , hope he keeps it up.

  10. I can understand the make-up industry’s being threatened by the feminist movement in the 70s (until rouge was rebranded as “blush”), but I think the idea that shoe sales were seriously threatened by hippie sandals seems ridiculously overblown.

    • I thought that too. I do think people in General were becoming more casual in dress/shoes, so maybe sales were down in general but not necessarily due to the hippie movement.

      • Earth Shoes!!!!

        • Even the hippies ended up working. (“No shoes, no shirt, no service.” – a common store sign, back in the day.)

          The hippies had children. Newsom’s Bootery, a shoe store just for children in my Southern California hometown, was the first place I saw children’s Vans.

          The people who delivered the hippies’ children would have been required to wear shoes, if they delivered them in hospitals.

          Shoes are as “dead” in 1969 as paper is in 2014. They’re both strong buys.

    • Sort of like the alleged temporary demise of undershirts when Clark Gable took off his shirt in “It Happened One Night” and was barechested.

    • I agree with you, there were always Megan’s to wear glamour shoes. Maybe Butler Shoes was falling behind the times like Jantzen was.

    • Well on one hand they didn’t know that. Look what happened to men and women wearing hats? In the Begining of the sixties all men wore them. By the end almost none.

      Same with white gloves for women.

      On the other hand it goes to show how they don’t understand the changes that are happening. Or why. Hats and gloves are not essentials like shoes (also why couldn’t they diversify into sandals?) but the way the establishment felt, hats and gloves were essential, weren’t they? These are proper attire!

      The rise of casual wear was deeply threatening, yet a lot of as we see in MM is not counterculture. It’s as much mainstream style changes…

      Don voices this when he calls Pete a hippie, just because casual wear + hug = hippie to them!

      • I read somewhere that men began to leave their hats at home as soon as JFK delivered his inaugural address with a hatless head. He inspired a fashion trend among men as strongly as his wife did with women.

  11. It may be too obvious to mention, but when brainstorming for Mohawk Airlines, Don said that the attraction of flight was escape from the city below. The closing scenes in this episode (and the previews even more) seem like the realization of that add and yet Don finds there is no meaningful escape. No exit.

    • Great point …. Esp. with Don not knowing if his view from the house is the City or the Hills.

  12. Ironically, Don being on the outs at SC&P has him turning out work that clients like (albeit thru Freddy), which is not how it went in Season 6.

    • Except at SC&P, since Lou is c**kblocking Peggy. But it sounds like the other firms are using the stuff just fine! So ironic!

  13. Incidentally, what is it with Don Draper and Richard Nixon?

    • Back in S1 the Nixon folks were talking to Sterling Cooper, and Don felt a kinship with Nixon. He saw himself more in Nixon’s origins than Kennedy’s.

    • “When I see Richard Nixon, I see myself” -Don Draped, Season 1

    • My guess would be Don voted for Nixon in ’60 for the reasons just noted, but did not vote for him in ’68, due to the war (which we know Don has definite feelings about from Korea). At the end of S6, he dismisses the preacher he ultimately punches with a very sarcastic remark about Nixon being elected and everything being right with the world.

      • Don doesn’t vote.

        • Yes, Draper is nominally (and vocally) apolitical.

          But wasn’t he willing to work for the Vice President’s campaign?

          (or pre-partnership, was he only going along with Cooper who clearly favored Nixon?)

          • Draper isn’t apolitical. He can’t vote. He isn’t really Don Draper. He couldn’t sign Draper’s page.

            • Good point.

              It makes sense, given that a single person’s vote is essentially only psychological, that Draper would not bother to register or vote (stay off as many lists as possible).

              Working the 1960 Nixon Campaign would have made little difference to shine a light in the wrong places.

              I wonder, did folks have to submit SSN’s back then – on W-4’s, 1040’s, etc?

            • Yes they did, or at least I had to fill out a W-2 in 1967 that wanted my SSN, had no idea what it was! had to call my mom and she had to find the card in the “important papers box” in the closet! But I had a real job at a real company, my first.

            • The late 60’s and early 70’s was still a time where you could totally fly under the radar. Mobsters did it, and one of the reasons the Mafia crumbled was the very early beginnings of the information age. Just a credit card, a kind of unusual thing back then, is used to extract and hold all sorts of information.

            • Also, Don tells Cooper in “Nixon vs Kennedy” that he doesn’t vote, much to Cooper’s approval.

  14. I really enjoyed Joan’s scenes. The one with the professor was littered with lane references and call backs to their working relationship, and even to the tragic “commissions and fees” episode.
    Peggy and Don are still platonic soul mates. Their living parallel lives or whatever you want to call it. Both are depressed, but still unknowingly connecting through work. Olson Draper and Partners anyone?

    • They’re not their. Sorry.

    • So agree- love Joanne. loved it when she said- “youre going to need another pad”

    • Draper Olson. I think Don’s too traditional to have a woman’s name first in the agency name.

    • It just shows how smart she is to just run with that and to think of going to talk to a professor to get input and ideas. I know she’s a partner but I want someone to appreciate her like they (used to at least) appreciate Peggy for her intelligence and ability or at least more than they do. She is such a smart woman and laps so many of those men there.

  15. Any other Southern Californians catch the Canter’s action? If it’s still the same as when I was in college, they didn’t have to redecorate for that scene. 😀

    • Yes! I noticed it the second time through, they are so well known for their mean waitresses.

    • I KNEW it was Canter’s from the first wood-paneled shot. We’ve eaten many a pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup there. Not a sauerkraut person, so I’ve probably never had the real-life version of Brooklyn Ave.
      I posted on the open thread that the booth they sat in was the one WE sat in the last time we were in L.A.

      • Coleslaw on Pastrami – I might have to make one of those – no place to get it up here.

  16. I came into this episode pretty sure that Mad Men had done the proverbial shark jump, but was pleasantly surprised.

    Having Bat-Peggy surrounded by a bunch of hacks who don’t get her is a bit of a relief. It is great fun to see Peggy win and not suffer fools gladly, but the show has gone to that well a bit too often She needs to be challenged a little and giving a nitwit for a boss is a perfect solution.

    Don is obviously at a very low point to start the season, but it is nice to see that they didn’t make the mistake of striping his mojo (again). He had some side-boob baring sex with his estranged goddess of a wife. He got his flirt on with Neve Campbell. He even did some good work. If Don is going to have his existential mope working all season, then he needs land the Coca-Cola account and plow through the entire cast of Party of Five. Seriously. Mojo-less Don Draper is like having Walter White take stupid pills.

    My Joan requirements were met. She was attractive, but somehow unavailable. She was savvy, but fatalistic. The whole accounts angle works way better than the soap-y promotion to partner.

    Roger Sterling is a huge mess, but he sort of deserves it for kicking his partner-in-crime loose.

    California Pete is awesome.

    I got exactly the right amount of Cutler and Chaough. They are nice as seasoning, but I don’t need more than a scene or two. Better to give more time to Ken, Stan and Freddie.

    Nice contrast between the west coast and east coast. Nice nod to the rise of the MBA.

    • Excellent comment Dean Hacker, you are very funny. Terrific post Deb! I have to say I LOVED this episode! I don’t know if it is because I was desperate for some new Mad Men or because it was simply fantastic…I suspect the latter!

      I think the Don story line was so positive that I wanted to cry out for joy! Don has always bullied (or married or affaired) his way out of a bad situation. He did not do that here. He felt the pain. He uses creativity via Freddy to get back into the firm. He uses his talent! Plus, he uses Freddie as his “vessel”…another theme in the show…see, even I am catching on. Super positive on the part of Don. Don does not leave Megan, have the affair with the gal on the plane, drink himself to death when he comes home…he sits on the porch an “feels” the cold. Love it! Don will be back. Side note: Don was clearly interested in what Nixon had to say…another good sign…he cares about a politician he once admired for his self-madeness, a trait he once applied to himself.

      Other thoughts:

      Pete hugging Don was adorable. Clearly Pete is loving CA and that is nice to see. Also nice to see Pete supporting Don. “If it were up to me you would already be back.” Pete mentioned that he told the blonde real estate agent about Don…I wonder why?

      The “bad bagel in CA” references were hilarious. I lived in CA for a couple of years and I would add cheesesteaks to that list!

      Pete reveals that Ted is not happy in CA…not tan, not enjoying the orange groves. He misses Peggy I assume?

      I loved that Peggy loved the Freddie pitch, she was fighting for Don and didn’t even know it. Perhaps they will realize that we were truly meant to work together….see why I am so happy about this episode!

      Peggy’s moment in the floor, although heartbreaking, was very positively honest…I loved that!

      Joan’s moment with the professor was terrific. She is still out there to succeed. When the professor asks for an exchange and Joan assumes it is sexual, how can she not go there? She has been trained to think that is the first thing men want from her. How wonderful that he wanted her knowledge? And her line…”you are going to need another pad?” Brilliant!

      The Ken story line is tough, too, poor guy…sure shows the scope of the actor who plays Ken!

      And…speaking of acting how about the acting chops on Neve Campbell. She has this heavy scene with no backstory and nailed it! I was riveted!

      Two questions…

      Is Roger’s daughter seeing a therapist or caught up in the hippie culture?
      Why was Megan so angered by a TV…was it showing how disconnected they are as a couple or was there a deeper reason?

      Can’t wait to see next week. The show always flies by.

      • I was a little confused about that too. My take is she has her own house now, does not want to share it with Don, and has a lifestyle that doesn’t include large expensive TV’s,,,, “half my friends are starving”. This from the woman who lived in a penthouse with a large built in TV, white carpet, and a sunken living room. She is making a new life on her own, kinda, and I’m not sure it will include Don.

      • Absolutely with you on this! When Don turned down Airplane Invitation I thought :”Finally, he’s breaking the pattern!” Nor is he falling into the bottle (I agree with all those who identify Freddy as Don’s “AA Sponsor,” officially or unofficially).He’s using his talent, which, from the Accutron pitch, is as sharp as ever (LOVE that Peggy recognized it, even if she doesn’t know it’s Don. Their unshakeable connection is as strong as ever.)

      • Thanks.

        I thought the TV thing played on two levels, which it should for show with Mad Men’s pedigree in its Final Season. First, it was a territorial dispute between Don and Meagan. Don was ‘claiming’ the house as ‘ours’ and Meagan isn’t willing to commit to that. Second, it it was a call-back to Don finding a TV in Midge’s apartment in Season 1.

        • An interesting contrast between Don in ’60 and in ’69: then a TV was a newfangled, vulgar, mass cult thing that a hip sophisticate like Midge shouldn’t own; now it’s taken for granted and “that’s the way they make them now”.

      • Hippie culture? With that hat and those white gloves? No, probably early EST or something.

    • I LOVE California Pete.

      The sweater around the shoulders! A thing like that!

  17. I was disappointed to see such a well-known actress (Neve Campbell). I would much prefer a new face and talent take our attention and get a shot on the show. The actress who played the real estate agent reminded me so much of Bethany Van Nuys that it bugged me throughout the episode. I had to check Anna Camp’s IMDb page to be sure it wasn’t her.

    I enjoyed the episode a lot. All new situations. Everyone is still finding their bearings. Short on patience and emotionally on edge. Negative energy with forward movement. Another opening episode that creates a slow burn rather than a raging fire. Not what I expected, but what I wanted.

    I wish Margaret was in more scenes. Their scenes are always so dynamic and telling. She’s one of the show’s secret weapons.

    • Strange disappointment. I couldn’t care less if they use a known actress or an unknown one, just that she be good in her part, which she was.

      • Exactly. I’d like to see her again — could she be the Rachel/Faye type who Don ultimately ends up with instead of his usual young trophy wives? Alas, I’m thinking NC’s appearance was a one-off.

        • She rerminds me of Rachel, of Susan (Sally’s teacher), and Pete’s mistress who was given electric shock.

    • I loved Neve Campbell, and I love that she has such a period look. Some of the guest stars haven’t had the right look (like whatshername from Twin Peaks whom Don thought he murdered).

      I agree that Pete’s new girlfriend looks a lot like Anna Camp.

    • I thought the same thing, is that Bethany Van Nuys? And I also thought why Neve Campbell? She did a great job, but sometimes knowing the actor interferes with the story a bit. Just like that goofus from Cougar Town meeting with Joan, what? I could not stop thinking about his other character and I don’t think he is that good of an actor anyway. oh well

      • “Just like that goofus from Cougar Town meeting with Joan, what? I could not stop thinking about his other character and I don’t think he is that good of an actor anyway.”

        Definitely an odd casting for me as well.

        • I don’t watch Cougar Town, so I didn’t have a problem with the casting choice. His smarmy, oh-so-punchable face made him perfect for the role of mansplainy d-bag.

          • That guy reminded me of Danny (remember Danny, the cousin of Roger’s wife Jane). Almost the same type of performance.

            Weiner has a well he goes to for physical types and for acting choices.

      • It was okay for me. I think it’s hard for Weiner & Co. to always cast actors who are totally unknown. I mean sure, sometimes they do—certainly with some of the office secretaries and other smaller roles, the actors were unknown to me before these roles. But I’m sure they want to cast the best person for the part and sometimes that turns out to be an actor who is already somewhat known. I don’t watch Cougartown so I didn’t recognize him. I do know Neve Campbell, but I don’t consider her a star on the level of Tom Cruise or Kate Hudson. (They would be harder for me to “buy” in a Mad Men role.)

    • I LOVED Neve Campell in her scene!!!! She did a wonderful job and I found myself wishing she or another actress with her chops could’ve taken the Megan role. I really like Jessica Pare but her scenes with Jon Ham are pure torture. I can’t believe that in this “world” Don would end up with someone like her…can’t even put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the fact Megan comes across as spoiled, scheming, flaky and a HUGE hypocrite. Maybe it is the interpretation of the character I find so annoying. Or perhaps the character is supposed to invoke that reaction on purpose….but I really hope this show doesn’t end with him walking into the sunset with her.

      • “Maybe it’s the fact Megan comes across as spoiled, scheming, flaky and a HUGE hypocrite.”

        I’ve never thought of her in any of these ways. I’ve never had a problem with Megan, though. She probably isn’t as accepted by her old friends because of her new position and success, and she probably doesn’t fit in all that well with the upper class, either. And then she buys a smaller home up in the hills. She is a chameleon because her situations demand it of her. I don’t know if I’d label that hypocrisy, necessity, or what. An easy-going secretary of a professor who was enough of the opposite of Betty to satisfy Don. She’s never struck me as calculated or as flaky. Maybe too hip for my liking, but I acknowledge that as my problem and not one of the show.

        • She married a man who was almost twice her age who just happened to her boss as well as a partner at the agency she was working at. Remember when she told Don she wanted to do what he and Peggy did? It was nano seconds before they first did the deed. I’m pretty sure she knew what she was doing. East coast or West coast she got her sugar daddy so she could do whatever she wants. I love it!!

      • I am pretty sure your description of the Megan character is not what Weiner had in mind when he created her. So I think it is definitely your interpretation of her character and not everyone else’s. I can appreciate the Megan character and look forward to her each episode.

        • I didn’t appreciate her monopolizing Season 5, but she grew on me eventually. I hope this season has just a dash of Megan here and there like Season 6 did. Since this is the last season, we need more focus on the core characters rather than the peripherals.

          • Yes, I think this is what Megan suffers from most, (besides being Don’s wife, which seems to bring out the worst in fans).

            If you go back to season one, you realize Rachel was on screen only about 45 minutes for the entire season, yet it feels like she was on so much longer, and we have such a full portrait of her.

            I think that some of Megan’s scenes, like with her acting friends went on a little long, and for some reason I don’t find it as compelling to watch Megan at home as I did Betty.

            • Perhaps because Megan is less neurotic?

            • @DH I never found Betty neurotic!

              I actually identified with Betty a lot, so Betty hate always hit me hard.

              I was a stay at home mom for just a few short years when my kids were little, and outside of how much I loved my kids, everything about it was still very much like Betty’s life. It’s horrible in so many ways! And in my generation’s case, unlike my mom who got to go to work by having her mother help take care of us, my generations mother’s were working. It was daycare or stay home. And so few other women were at home, you couldn’t just have coffee with a neighbor. Play dates were a big deal where you have to pack everything up and drive to meet people…

              But at least I knew I had the choice, and I knew it wasn’t forever.

              I think it’s hard for stay at home dads now too. People don’t want to talk to you anymore at social gatherings, you’re really seen as less of a person. It can drive you crazy.

              I also had a husband that I couldn’t see clearly, who wasn’t working so hard like I thought and who i was trying so hard to support emotionally, while he was out playing around.

              You’d be so lonely for a partner in all that, but you’re just all alone.

              Betty had dreams, just like Megan. She’d wanted to be like Suzy Parker and earn good money and support herself being a model. For that her mother called her a whore. (After a lifetime of training her that her looks were the only important thing about her) and what’s worse her mother’s attitudes were supported throughout the culture.

            • Despite the above comment, I always tended to defend Betty, who I thought was suffering from “the Problem” as defined by Betty Friedan in the Feminine Mystique — educated but expected to confine herself to the duties of housekeeper, mother and hostess and to find fullfilment therein. Her disattisfaction was defined as a psychiatric condition – perhaps “anxiety”. (Incidentally, the occasional functional paralysis of her hands could be seen as conversion hysteria or conversion disorder in modern parlance.) I’ve never been in sympathy with Betty hate or Megan hate.

        • Also, is it weird that I want to see a campy spinoff about Megan’s wacky acting adventures? Arlene and her swinger husband need to make a cameo.

          • Yes!!

            This is the spinoff MW should approve! It could be done by some of Hamm’s pals and run on Cartoon Network like Children’s Hospital! (Great show if you haven’t seen it, and Hamm’s appearances in it are Wonderful!)

            It would be so brilliant and fun!

            • Perhaps Jon Hamm could do a cameo twice a year as her East-Coast husband dropping in. We could watch as her agent tries to gets her guest roles on That Girl! and later on Mary Tyler Moore.

  18. There are a couple of things I don’t understand:

    1) Since SC&P was just going to send one person to LA – originally Stan, then Don, then Ted – how is it that Pete is there too? I can’t recall if he invited himself along in last season’s finale, or if it just happened without explanation.

    2) Since Don was told by his partners to take time off for an indefinite period, what was stopping him from Going to LA for weeks or months to be with Megan? Why does he have to be in NYC all the time aside from a two-day weekend?

    • Megan doesn’t seem to know that Don is on the outs at SC&P so I think he has to keep up the pretense of being needed at the office. Plus he must still have visits with the kids, right?

    • I think the implication is that Megan does not know that he was suspended. She thinks he’s still full time at SCDP.

    • Don is trying to work his way back into the office. Instead of looking for a new job, he seems to be trying to get his old job back. And yes, I agree that Megan has no clue about his suspension. Maybe Don thinks he will get his job back so there is no need to tell her.
      As for Pete, his going to California was really not mentioned in Season 6. Don pitched it for himself and then gave the position to Ted. It was stated that a small staff would be needed but Pet’s name was never mentioned. We found out that Pete was going when he want to say goodbye to Trudy and his daughter before leaving. That was the only reference to Pete going to Cali.

      • With the mess SC&P is in now, I bet Don will be back soon! (it would be awful if the whole season was jetting back and forth for Don). I’m sure we’ll see more of Pete and Megan in CA though.

        • SC&P is a mess to us, but I don’t think it’s a ness to SC&P . It’s big enough now that it’s a “sausage factory” like McCann was. There’s no room for good creative just get it done, safe creative and keeping the supply lines going. That’s Lou and in that way he’s doing a great job.

          Don is too unpredictable. And like Burt said way back when, Don doesn’t have the stomache for running a business. He’s creative through and through. (That’s why it was such bullshit when he notified St Joseph’s about the budget for Peggy’s ad. It was personal and petty. It just happened to be good business.)

          Don can’t come back. Freddy peed his pants, but in his office. Don shit the bed in front of clients.

          Don’s vine swinging has created the kind of agency he hates and would never be happy with-but he’s “scratching his way” back in.

          The genie is out of the bottle. At least in New York.

          Now, if Ted came back to New York and they sent Don out there, that might work for him. But Ted’s wife is very happy out there.

    • We saw Pete packing for California in the S6 finale, discussing it with Trudy, saying goodbye to Tammy, etc.

  19. Thanks for the recap and pointing out the theme of disconnection. Don cannot even make the sliding doors on his balcony connect. Loved the episode even though it was a bit of a downer. Guess this gives lots of room for the characters to hopefully turn things around.

  20. Don’s doing his job from a distance, doing his marriage from a distance being a parent from a distance. Doing life from a distance. He’s pretending to be working, married, living but he’s really not. He is in a different ‘time zone’ from everything that matters. He’s married but he really isn’t. He lost his job but is still doing it. The whole episode was disturbing and out of joint. The once beautiful apartment with the pristine white carpet and parties and life feels like a graveyard and a sad reminder of another life and time that is over. it should have been called “Twilight Zones”

  21. Mad Men has trained me to look for meaning or foreshadowing in every little detail. So I’m wondering if Don eating the pastrami sandwich at Cantors with gusto, and then mowing down on the giant sandwich from Freddy is setting us up for something or has any meaning. Is that crazy talk or a legitimate observation?

  22. Looking for the foreshadowing of things to come, I was struck by the airplane scene – there is so much allegory to unravel in that brief exchange! Utopia – Thirst – Broken Vessel: all clues to the ultimate resolution.
    “I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel” Psalms 31:12.

    The “broke the vessel” turn of phrase is an unusual way to go about summing up one’s feelings of failing as a husband – especially in the context of small talk with a stranger, because it is more than that. The “vessel” is the figure of the created DD facade, the husband, the real physical and spiritual man, the ad man, the orphaned boy. Then we hear the passenger describe her late husband’s death as a result of thirst (of the bottle) a year after his stint in company forced rehab. And concluding the plane interlude, Don rejects the advances of his seatmate, not on moral grounds, but instead because he has to get back to phantom work away from the office where he is all but forgotten. Further, the referenced concept of Utopia is not unlike the Hawaiian Beach, Disneyland, the Hershey Orphanage, or the use of DD’s identity and the creation of the façade that became DD by DW) in that they all serve as glossy veneers(or wounded escapee destinations) as only temporary conceptual illusion bandages, in no way capable of quenching unrighteous thirsts, or repairing shattered vessels.

    Season 6, Episode 13, the preacher said to DW, “The only unpardonable sin is to believe that God cannot forgive you.” Is the result of his forgiveness of himself and atonement to others the repair and the peace he seeks, or is the underlying vessel of a man just too morally and mortally wounded to get there?

    • Maybe Don has to “get back to work” on his most important project–himself! The final episode of Season 6 made it clear that if Don is ever going to come to terms with his past, there’s going to be pain, humiliation, and fear that have to be faced. If he had accepted his travel companion’s invitation to “feel better,’ he would have been putting off the daunting but necessary “work” that awaits him.

      The Big Question that must be answered this season is whether Don can find the strength to complete the toughest job he’s ever had to do–to remake himself once more, this time into someone with integrity rather than charisma and sex appeal.

      • The airplane scene was extremely powerful and I was so grateful that Don didn’t accept the proposal. I was thinking he was mulling over in his mind the parallels to his own life and death was a parallel he didn’t want to go to …yet. It hit too close to home.

    • Jennifer MMer:

      Great thoughts and questions — I think Season 7 is very much about that struggle inside Don.

    • Excellent points!

    • Jennifer MMer,

      Amazing post, really informative!

      Don’s statement, “Have I broken the vessel?” reminds me of the scene near the end of “The Jet Set” when Don is looking at at cracked glass while in the pool w/Joy, her father and father’s girlfriend. I remember reading that MW based the episode on that one scene.

      “The Jet Set” is similar to “Time Zones” obviously with the California location at the “jet” synonym for planes. The whole scene with Don and Megan in the convertible is similar to Don and Joy.

      By the point of the pool scene, Don is finally creeped out by how Joy witnesses her father’s sexuality and vice versa. And by “Time Zones” Don has become the father after Sally walks in on him with Sylvia. And like the “jet set,” Don has become a type of wealthy vagabond or hobo, commuting between different houses but without a home.

      In “The Jet Set” Don was able to escape to Anna’s porch and regroup. But that option is no longer there and he’s left to his Manhattan apartment balcony.

  23. I really enjoyed the scenes on the airplane. Don is still traveling first class; if he was hurting for money he would be back in coach heaven forbid.

    I was not surprised at all that Don’s plane was late. In 1969 a lot of planes were late. Mad Men’s writers tonight exposed me to a term I have not heard in a long time; stacked up. The late 1960’s saw a tremendous increase in the volume of air travel and often planes were delayed either taking off or landing. It was not unusual for planes to circle an airport for an hour or more before they could land in the late 1960’s. How many remember seeing 30 or more planes lined up waiting to take off from large airports. I remember being delayed a couple of times where the meal( back when they still served meals) was served while the plane waited to leave the gate before it could taxi on to the runway and wait a hour before it could take off. The romance of flying ended in the late 1960’s. I remember the TWA ad’s from 1969; Up Up and Away TWA. I don’t think many people stacked up over LAX were singing that commercial. Maybe Don might have been creating it while aloft?

    • He’s not hurting for money; he said SC&P is still paying him. I would think they’d have to – he’s still a partner. At the very least they’d have to buy him out.

      • At the very least he receives profit distributions but will likely take a pay cut because they won’t be paying him for his work.

    • Don hasn’t had to worry about money since the PP&L buyout. $1/2-million back then approaches $4-million today.

      Henry financially took care of the divorce. They bought the penthouse well before New York real estate started to inflate beyond ordinary inflation (this is true as well for the house-amongst-the-coyotes – plus, 20% down and finance the balance leaves a big bank account intact).

      Since SCDP didn’t go public in 1968, Pete probably still owes part of the $50k Don staked him in 1965 (which is why Lane’s ego-prevented appeal for some time and comparatively little money was so tragic).

      Don’s been driving the same car since he laid down six grand for it. The agency picks up most of his booze and cigarettes are cheap. Movies are nothing for a man of his means. None of his affairs involve gold-diggers.

      Even though, as Betty once said, Don doesn’t know what to do with money, he doesn’t seem to dissipate it, either.

    • When Don’s on a plane, something usually is revealed about him. This episode/instance was no exception.

      I was struck by how he is once again caught in a plane scene looking to his left (our right) while the light from the plane window floods his face. This was similar to the scene from season two when he first goes to California, only this time, Don pulls the window flap up to reveal the light, as opposed to the light naturally flooding in. It is as though in season two, he was being shown new things. Now, he’s trying to find/unearth the meaning in them, and he was clearly wrestling with how to handle his very attractive seatmate.

      This was, plainly, a solid Mad Men episode. The show continues to recover from its “chemically induced, artificial manipulation-heavy” period in the middle of season six. I’m hoping that season seven simply gives us real, undiluted moments and developments. I don’t think that’s asking for too much. Last night marked a very good start.

  24. The season premiere felt much like a table setter – Don, drifting aimlessly, Roger and Peggy both feeling the weight of their loneliness. Pete’s side burns were pretty epic though. My full recap is posted:


    and follow me on twitter – @scarylawyerguy

  25. I was thinking about the Freddy and Don relationship and how they ‘re-connected’

    Was it purely for ‘business’, Freddy pitching ideas that were actually Don’s?

    I’m speculating that Don made contact (connection) with Freddy because of his drinking. Towards the end of S6 we saw Don living on the edge, see-sawing between abstinence, a tipple and then downright drunkenness (leading to arrest). My first reaction when they had lunch was Freddy lives there; No — Freddy has ‘been’ with him and helped him. The throwaway line regarding the sausages and Freddy dreaming of ‘beer’, that clinched it. Its not exactly AA, but its a lovely connection these men now share.

    Amidst this loneliness, disconnection and utopos (land the cannot be) maybe, just maybe out of this bleakness (including the inauguration of the darkness himself – Nixon) this ‘connection’ may provide us with hope and utopos (the good place)

  26. I can’t add too much to the already thoughtful post and comments. But it was nice to see a tanned happy Pete. That joint in the office certainly helped to center him, as he has a truce with Trudy and is adjusting well. Don was awkward during the hug, but for Pete it seemed genuine. I can only assume that Don’s digging into meat sandwiches was because he was either not drinking, or not drinking that much and can taste things again. His fab apartment looked like a morgue. I’m annoyed that I didn’t pick up on Don’s voice through Freddy earlier. Roger is living at mom’s old place and from the look of it, it seems as thouhg the maid died, possibly somewhere in that house. oh, and Megan’s comment about how sounds bounce around in the canyon brought me right back to “Healter Skelter” and the other residents of the canyon heard the screams from Ciello Drive later that year. I remember Lou from a late night show on Comedy Central years ago, and I’m not surprised he plays a great smug assbag. Stan clearly knows about Peggy and Ted. I need to rewatch, but it appears as though Don, Ken, Freddy, Joan and Peggy, as well as Roger are at loose ends and it appears as though a new NEW agency is looming.

    • I really hope this is not where Matt is heading with Mad Men.The creation of SCDP was a disaster form the get go. I think Don now knows he made a mistake including Roger and Bert and Lane in the partnership. He should have started his own agency with Pete and Peggy with Joan running the office nothing more. Draper and Associates would have sounded much better after season three than season six. Right now Draper is only a shadow of what he was in season three.

      • In this episode, it was shown Pete was kind of struggling to land big accounts. I guess I see Pete as someone who can work well if he’s in a larger, structured environment surrounded by sharp people where angles can be played, varied problems can be organized, but not so much someone who can make things happen out of thin air (Don is similar). So, I’m not sure I view him as some great startup guy.

        I think there is something very real about Pete working to apply his East Coast version of laid back to California late 60s culture, because that’s the only frame of reference he has.

      • I don’t think SCDP was a disaster. I think SC and P was a disaster. With SCDP it was clear what everyone’s role was, and what the chain of command was. SC and P was a mess from day one. It took a few months to even get the name straightened out.

      • They needed Lane to fire them or SCDP couldn’t have happened, yes?

    • “One of the killers later said that one could hear the ice cubes rattling in the cocktail glasses in the canyon below” (not an exact quote). I’m also annoyed that I didn’t pick up on Don’s voice. I was staring at Freddie with as much amazement as Peggy. Dumbo was flying. The way he presented it seemed like he had memorized something written word for word, on second viewing.

    • I caught the Helter Skelter reference, hope it isn’t more than that.

      • It will be mentioned at least, it kind of has to. The murders themselves and the perps uh, personalities were so insane and the layers of bizarro were so thick they had to have added to the whole “eve of destruction” feel of the time. We as a country changed because of it. Again. I was a kid then, but I remember how scared the adults were as that decade reached a fevered pitch. Somebody somewhere here said that Don will use the murders to pry Megan out of there and move to the beach. I wouldn’t blame him, actually.

    • You’re not the only one who didn’t hear Don’s voice through Freddy. I’m kicking myself too. BoK and Tom and Lorenzo are my go-to spots to catch the nuances I’d missed.

      • I think a lot of people were thrown off by that so don’t beat yourself up. In retrospect it did feel like he was trying to get it out in one breath and though I was kind of with him when he seemed faux offended by Peggy’s surprise and thought that being sober was really working for him. It did make sense when it turned out to be Don’s and I almost felt like someone else should have been saying it. I also thought, if the actor who plays Freddy doesn’t already do voicework he should and people should be beating down his door for it because he has a really, really nice voice,something I’d never noticed before.

  27. Anyone else think that Don may be in AA and that Freddy is his sponsor?

    • Oh yeah. Official or unofficial.

    • He was definitely drinking less. When he was outside on the closing shot it was without alcohol. But he did have alcohol on the plane and at the lunch with Megan’s agent. Megan actually did more drinking than Don did in this episode

      • Exactly. And he was holding a Canadian Club bottle before going on the patio at the end. I don’t think he’s completely cold turkey, but it seems like he’s trying to drink less. And when Freddy came to see him he brough orange sodas. I think we’ll find out more and more about this as the season progresses.

      • I don’t think Don is in AA, but he could be trying to drink less. I don’t see Don as a cold turkey kind of guy.

        • Don’t you think he was on the balcony with the DTs? That is what happens when a hard drinker goes cold turkey.

          • I don’t think it was DTs on the balcony, it’s that he was outside in his underwear in January in New York.

  28. Can anyone explain to me how Neve Campbell’s husband died? I didn’t understand what she meant.

  29. All the Megan/Manson family/Sharon Tate talk last year was a little silly. But- those howling coyotes, ‘that’s just how things sound in the canyon’, and she now LIVES IN THE HILLS… is Matt just messing with everyone now?
    Although I imagine it is certainly going to be addressed, since it happens less than six months from when this episode takes place.

    • That’s how Don is going to get Megan to move out of her house! “It’s not safe for you here. I love you, I worry about you. Let’s find something better. Pete knows a real estate agent. Let’s talk to her.”

      • I pray that Megan’s house was not a set. I’m almost sure of it – it was rented and dressed as a place-setter. Most of the episode is setting the table – and little of it will include Megan who’s off making her own way. It was fairly clear that way will not include Don.

        • No, they have a “making the set for Megan’s house” on the AMC site….

          Not sure if that means anything… It could be to throw our expectations off. They don’t usually do that.

    • It seems like the Manson Family murders are going to be “The Historical Subtext of the Season” in roughly the same way Nixon v. Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War have been the subtext of other seasons. I would be shocked if it was as simple as “Meagan equals Sharon Tate”, but clearly there is some foreshadowing happening.

      • I agree…and there was the episode (I’m sure someone here can recall season and episode) where Megan wears the same t-shirt (white t-shirt with red star) as Sharon Tate…

      • The odd thing is that it’s happening in the first episode of the season. But they did say they are moving things along faster than past seasons…

    • I wondered if anyone was going to mention the Tate/Sebring/Folger murders. The line about how sounds carry in the canyons was one that actually was spoken by some of the people who heard the screams as the murders were taking place. I was living in the Valley when the Tate/LaBianca murders occurred (August of 1969), and the seeming randomness was terrifying. It seemed that fear was everywhere, and those of us who lived alone were thinking about arming ourselves (I keep remembering Peggy stabbing Abe, which, frankly, I hadn’t connected to what might be coming up until the beginning of this episode).

      For me, there was a quality not just of aloneness about this episode, but of despair. And I was upset about how Kenny could fail to recognize that Joan is an account person now, that she saved Butler – it told me how far gone he really was, because Kenny has been smarter than that.

      I also see SC&P in a death spiral. Cutler seems to be in charge of New York without giving a damn about the real work; Roger has never been an effective manager; Bert was absent; Lou doesn’t care one way or the other except for his own power; Don is away; Ted is on the other coast. Joan may be the last person in NYC who really cares about the agency, and that’s a formula for real business trouble.

      I keep wondering if one of the episodes later in the season is going to be called “Helter Skelter.”

      • Every scene set at the CA home (I’m calling it Draper West) gave me the creepy feeling the Manson Family was lurking outside with the coyotes, watching the place.

        It’s a very Cielo Drive kind of house.

      • What sort of persons did people there think had committed the murders, if you don’t mind talking about it?

        • Psychopaths. It was a conviction that someone would have to be insane, and that they could target anyone. My friends and I jumped at shadows; places we had thought were safe now seemed ominous. But nobody could conceive of what the truth was, and after the perpetrators were apprehended, it kept getting more bizarre, rather than less. It truly was a loss of innocence.

          And when I wrote the line just now about “places we thought were safe” I thought even more about this episode. Home should always be a safe place – neither Don nor Peggy has that any longer.

          • I wonder if the Speck murders brought any of that back for you? Joyce with that contact sheet from Life upstairs. Ginzo: “you people are sick!”.

            • I never even thought of the Manson clan (and I’d driven by Spahn ranch a number of times before all the news came out) when MM did the Speck murders story. It’s kind of like, as bad as the JFK assassination was, it was the RFK at the Ambassador Hotel that really affected us. It was in *our* neighborhood, not in Chicago, not in Dallas. The Hillside Strangler was more unnerving than the Zodiac. Maybe we were just insular. But maybe the horror is worse when it’s close, maybe then the adrenaline rises faster and harder, maybe then we feel a need to defend ourselves because it could be coming up our street and banging on our door or slipping in an unlocked window – so we just react as if we are more personally threatened. Because maybe we are.

          • I remember the grown-ups insisting that “anti-government types” had committed the murders as a political act. It was Nixon’s America by then: law and order was important again.

            You don’t get this impression from the show, but homeowners in the parts of Southern California with money (like Benedict Canyon) were deeply conservative in those days. In many places, this is still true.

            My mom’s cousin lived a few blocks from the house on Cielo Drive. After that night, she said, “people really started locking their doors.” Incredibly, I know people who live not far from that neighborhood now, and don’t lock their doors unless they’re going on vacation.

            Long summers, short memories? You got me.

      • I was thinking about how Kenny put his arms around Joan with true kindness after they found Lane’s body. I wanted more Kenny last season and it seems like that may be happening…talk about careful what you wish for!

    • Did anyone else get scared just by the knock at the door and Megan not recognizing who was there? Turned out it was just the TV being delivered, but I was already braced for something bad to happen. Paul is dead man miss him miss him…

  30. Surprised you don’t feel sorry for Roger – I thought it poignant that he wants to participate in a culture that on the surface seems right for him (hedonistic, not caught up with putting people into boxes) but he’s too old and too much a product of his upbringing/time to fit in. I think once you reach a certain age there is a pang you feel when you realize there are new things going on in the world and that it’s difficult or impossible for you to participate in them just by way of your age or background.

    • Roger has relentlessly made the bed he lies in. He has left two wives for younger models. He is too over-privileged even to feel regret. Don chews over his every sin like he’s poisoning himself with them, but Roger skips lightly over the very idea that he may need forgiveness.

      Roger is the wittiest character on Mad Men, but I’ve never had much love for him.

      • I didn’t see Roger skipping over it as much as realizing comments that (at least to me IMHO) were not at all forgiving but more aggressive and meant to convey anger. I’ve always found the greatness of the Roger character to be that, even though he is overprivileged and gets away with everything, you still feel compassion for him. He is, like many of the characters, constrained by his past.

        • I didn’t mean literally skipping over Margaret, whom I pointed out was just using forgiveness as a new way to get Daddy close enough to spew anger. No, I mean, Roger actually has done many things that require forgiveness, and he genuinely seems not to notice. I don’t feel any compassion for him.

          • Margaret is about as angry as anyone we’ve seen on Mad Men. She’s right up there with Betty after the Heineken dinner party.

      • Roger is the quickest and wittiest character on MM. I need a list of his one liners

        • Check out Sterling’s Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man – only the first 3 or 4 seasons, however. Time for a 2nd Edition.

  31. What was most striking to me, and surprising that no one pointed out here, is that Don is finally without a “safe” place. He can no longer turn to a woman, as evidenced by his strained physical and emotional relationship with Megan in California, and also with his rejection of the Neve Campbell character on the plane. He no longer turns to bottles, at least in the same way.

    California was his ultimate safe place when Anna was alive. He could go, unexplained, for weeks at time with her, swimming in the ocean, looking at cars, always the promise of something fresh, and familiar, because he wasn’t Don Draper, ad man, when he was on the beach or in a rented convertible. He was Dick, a flawed, vulnerable, and almost childlike man who had a host of possibilities that he’d cut himself off from in his life in New York. Now, LA has been invaded by his old life on the East coast. Pete, Megan, and Ted are there. Always expecting him to be the Don they knew in New York. Although, save for Ted, who was in NY while Don was there, interestingly enough, everyone who has invaded his former safe space KNOWS about Dick, but there’s no comfort in that vulnerability like there was with Anna. To them, Dick Whitman and Don Draper are the same person, the only thing lacking is the name.

    • It’s beyond ironic that Draper, by poisioning his marriage and impulsively shoving Megan out there, does not have any kind of a haven in California.

    • Really good points! But I would add Ted knows one of the most intimate and awful truths about Don: he was in the meeting with the Hershy pitch…

      In fact, if Don realized that none of these three have rejected him for knowing, he might find his safe place. It has to found in himself and not location, or another person’s identity whether Don Draper’s or Freddy’s.

      Each of them find good in Don, despite all his shit. It’s up to Don to face his shit and find the good in himself.

    • Thank you for pointing this out. Really great points. I missed this 🙂

    • Great observations!

  32. Does anyone think it is significant that Megan is not living by the ocean? She knows Don likes to swim and Don loves the ocean. He paid for the home yet it is not where he would most like to be. I do recall a passing reference to not being near the ocean. Is there anything to it or was Megan so mad that Don told her whereever she wanted to live would be okay by him?

    • Megan at one point said, “my next house is going to have a swimming pool” before correcting herself: “our fist house.”

      I found that quite telling.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but Draper West feels very much like a rental to me.

      • What I noticed most was it feels very contemporary. It could be an office from today. And definitely a rental. And nothing about it seems like an ad agency. It could be an office for anything.

        • I don’t think we ever saw the SC&P west coast office. We saw Megan’s house and Pete’s apartment (or house?) with his home office I thought.
          “Draper West” is Megan’s place.

          • Oops, I read Draper West as SC&P West.

            I meant their office. That’s where Pete took Don, and then the realtor showed up.

            • Yes, I am very confused about that office. It looked quite odd to me. Where does Ted work? Maybe they just didnt show his desk.

            • In the background there was an office that was opposite Pete’s. I’m assuming that’s Ted’s office. Perhaps the office looked odd because it’s a lot more modern than anything we’ve seen on the show so far.

            • For future reference can we agree that we’ll call Draper West Megan’s apartment, and call the West Coast office SC&P West? If these are recurring sets, which they probably will be, agreed upon nicknames might be a good idea.

  33. This isn’t the first time that Don had a “west coast wife” (Anna) but in that “marriage” there was no sex but a ton of love and intimacy. With Megan, his current “west coast wife” all there is is sex with no real intimacy.

  34. Great essay Deb! I thought this was a great start to S7 and pleased that MW&Co are not just mailing it in (unlike some characters on the show are doing). Compared to other MM season premieres I found a lot of content here both thematically and plot-wise. I think I prefer the more concentrated one hour premiere format.

    Gotta say I loved the opening and the way it was shot. There is probably a technical name for this kind of lengthy “speak directly to the camera” thing that Freddy did but I love it because it does so many things at one time. We get this great pitch (which has lots of thematic components) AND we get to see Freddy (who is a stabilizing influence in very uncertain times) AND we are thinking, “shit, is this really Freddy and did he always have this in him? – cause he has mad talent!” AND we are in suspense over who exactly is the target of this pitch. I need watch more carefully but when the show opens with a keen discussion about time and conversations we know we are deep in classic MM theme territory.
    Need to re-view and process but lots of stuff came to the surface right away:

    • Along with the missed connections, there is a lot of an old MM theme about masks – First Cyrano de Bergerac but also Kenny and his patch. Kenny sees things as they are and sees more than others (Like Lou and Cutler) despite having one eye. Peggy is wearing her mask – holding it together – “hanging on” (great closing) but just barely. The line “fake it till you make it” comes to mind – a term associated often with AA.

    • Echoing the theme of masks and pretending is the “fakers” at work – lazy lotus eaters. Cutler and Lou (and Roger) represent the gang that doesn’t really care about quality or a job well done. Ken cares, Joan cares and Peggy cares and they hurt more because of it. Will California become the place of finding your true self or just not working as hard and caring less? Megan certainly seems to care less about the Draper marriage than she did in NYC.

    • Don is fascinating as usual. A few months ago he too was just mailing it in at the office and now we see the hand of the old Don at work through Freddy – not that lazy Lou cares. Over the years we have seen Don be honest about work while being dishonest in his home life. Now he appears to be more honest about his marriage but through circumstance is forced to be deceptive in his work – not sure if there is anything there but I’m gonna watch that space carefully this season.

    • Is it just me or does it feel like SC&P itself is about 10 seconds from just plain collapsing? Like Peggy and Ken – the place is stretched too thin and has too much going on. Maybe this is an intentional echo of MM itself. You can only keep the plates spinning for so long and I appreciate that MW&Co are choosing to make the exit on their own terms and there is still plenty left to say.

    • It’s not just you. There is a pall of doom, and I feel we are setting up for another reorganization. The current firm is bloated, too many people skating by, to few that have a shit to give, and those that do are worn thin and ready to tear. It feels like there is a new, lean machine in the offing, if those likely candidates can keep from falling apart. But that’s too predictable for MM, too easy, isn’t it?

      • In the preview of the next episode there’s about 5 seconds of Pete saying “why don’t WE start our own agency?” -though given how misleading previews are, that could mean something or nothing.

        • I’ve been really wondering about that. My first instinct was that since they never show us anything important in those, that it’s probably Pete telling somebody the ‘war story’ of how they started SCDP…

          Then later I started to think what if MW is going to use our ‘training’ to ignore previews against us, and actually tell us something.

          On another forum, someone mentioned that in Califrnia at that time, Dons non compete cause would be invalid and he’d be free to set up shop out there. But he couldn’t in New York. That came up before the season started, but I’ve been wondering about that.

          With Freddy between Peggy and Don, and Freddy knowing how miserable both are, he could be the connection to bring them together. But Peggy may still be wary of Don… And going with him to ScDP was no picnic the first time…

          • Reviewing season five, I don’t think Don ever said “PEGGY!” without a BARK!

            Peggy must have hated that – and now it’s worse.

          • Ooh. That’s a great point there. Freddy has been around since he got canned for a reason. He’s the lynch pin between the past ( it was Freddy after all who saw something else in Peggy, the newbie secretary) and the future.

    • Gotta say I loved the opening and the way it was shot. There is probably a technical name for this kind of lengthy “speak directly to the camera” thing that Freddy did

      I loved it, too. I was reminded of the opening of The Godfather, where Bonasera the undertaker stares right at us and immediately announces the film’s darkly ironic theme: “I believe in America. America has made my fortune.” It may have been a direct homage (or, as Woody Allen says when playing a film director in Stardust Memories when asked if something was an homage, “No, we just stole it.” 🙂 )

    • The S5 premiere, with Don on love leave and the partners late to and ignoring meetings, raised all kinds of tension for me. Except for Preppie Pete, the S7 premiere was alternately gloomy, tense, and hostile. Tough to take – as Deborah commented to her spoiler-free notice – not “entertaining”.

      But, I’m hopeful that the writers will leaven the next 13 episodes with some hope and cheer.

    • SCDP was top-heavy from the start, but SC&P made it even worse. Don was effectively the managing partner and he is gone. Pete and Ted were shifted to the West Coast. Cutler seems to have joined Sterling and Cooper in semi-retirement. Joan has moved herself over to accounts to cover Ken, but that leaves the financial side of the business rudderless. The people who care (Peggy, Ken) are over-whelmed, powerless or both.

      So, SC&P could fall apart at any time.

    • Freddy looking striaght into the camera adressing the audience, thats called breaking the fourth wall


      (sorry,its Wiki)

      • Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t call Freddy’s opening scene “breaking the fourth wall.” When that happens, the speaker bluntly acknowledges that the audience is there, intentionall breaking the illusion,, as in, for example, The Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers, where, while Chico is giving Thelma Todd a piano lesson, Groucho strides up to the camera, looks straight into the lens and says “I’m stuck here, but there’s no reason you folks can’t go out to the lobby for a smoke until this is over.” Freddy doesn’t acknowledge us in that way, even though when he says “Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something,” it is directed at us as much as it is Peggy. I’m not sure what the correct theatrical term for that is. Meta-something?

    • Also Megan.

      She’s given up her artistic dreams in order to just be a working actress and without a fight.

      She also wants to look less wealthy without actually being less wealthy. It’s kind of sad.

      And Don, even though living such big lies still, seems to have the least amount of mask than ever.

  35. This characters were so hard to connect to for me watching this episode. Its only been a few months but they all seemed so different.

    A few thoughts
    Why is Joan being so subservient? She never acts like that.
    Why is Ken throwing stuff at Joan and why is she letting him? This is the woman that walked away from Lane and opened the door. This seems so out of characeter for her.
    Don has always been remote but he seems to not be connected to anything at this point. He lost his job why not move to LA at least save his marriage?
    If Ted is acting like that at home, his marriage with Nan must be rocky.
    Why hasn’t Peggy moved? Is that the place Abe got stabbed?
    Why does Megan want her LA friends to think she’s starving? Will that give her more acting creds?
    Margaret was so creepy…First she was the jerk to her father not the other way around and she sounded like she was in a cult. Where is Brooks?
    Is Roger hooking up with men now too?
    Pete’s sandwich really looked good.

    This episode was just so dark.

    • I think Ken was trying to do a friendly throw, but he missed because of the eye-patch. I don’t think he was too upset about her using his office, because it was for a good work-related reason. It was more of a next time, use your own office.

    • dmc, it has only been 2 months since the end of Season 6. Note that Peggy’s floor has been finished and the apartment is significantly fixed up. She bought an investment property in a (then) undesirable neighborhood. It will be hard to sell it. She’s either sucking it up for the investment, or trying to get the place in shape to sell, or it’s on the market and hasn’t moved.

      The writers obviously can’t resist the depth-perception joke, and had Ken throw the earring so that he would miss.

      • Ken also bumped into the door as he left(another depth perception joke)

      • This was less of comment about how it looked and more about her being scared to stay there yet she was still there minus Abe. But you are right two months is not that long

      • There was a similar joke earlier in the episode when Ken had trouble folding a file folder.

    • The other men are just there for the permanent orgy. Megan probably thinks that having expensive things would just be uncomfortably awkward.

    • I still don’t get why Pete is in LA. I understand now why Don isn’t, but it’s a mistake not to tell his wife he’s on leave, which he will come to regret.

      • Once they decided to have a partner out there rather than a junior to service Sunkist only, they needed an accounts guy to bring in additional business. Pete had lost his most important work, so they moved Pete out there…

      • They needed someone in accounts there since Don (before he gave the position to Ted) was there in the creative capacity. I’m assuming Ken didn’t go because he and Cynthia! had a baby on the way.

        But man, does LA agree with Pete!

      • The whole Pete thing was explained through a conversation that he had with Trudy and it was a little shaky. First they only needed one person and now they need two.

    • @Dmc I’m surprised you couldn’t relate. I felt each ones pain like it was my own! Ha.

      Joan has still not fully been able to fill her own shoes at work, partly probably because of the shame she feels in people knowing how she got her partnership. Partly because she’s trying to find her place. She isn’t using her position power yet.

      It was awesome to behold her Joan-ness with the shoe twit. That made it doubly painful to see her unable to muster it for herself, in the office, with Ken. And awful to see Ken’s myopia in regard to her and what needs to be happening. And how much she can help him. When even Ken can’t see her worth, that’s got to be tough for Joan.

      Don is still lying. So he’s not yet on his way to getting better. He’s such a shame filled guy that to admit this to Megan is likely just too much. Like he felt like his marriage to her would save him, he seems to feel that winning back his job/denying he’s “really, really gone” will save him.

      But really, he probably can only be saved if he lets go of Megan and SC&P. he definitely has to stop lying.

      I’m not sure if Roger is making it with the guys too, but last season I almost predicted that for Roger. It seemed like one experience he hadn’t tried. And there were some weird vibes when Cutler was suggesting he and Roger go to Germany or somewhere… Tho I knew that Hamlin specified he not play a gay character again. I think they had to go where Roger is now, and have men involved otherwise the fans would still cheer on his every sexual action, rather than see the darkness in it. Not that homosexuality is dark, I just mean for his character, his sexual activities are pretty fucking selfish most of the time. And partners are objects of his amusement and manipulation. He doesn’t give back. Or when he tries to, it falls short. After so many women, and no new experiences, it didn’t seem a stretch that he might go there. But not for good reasons.

      • It’s not that I couldn’t relate but more like running into a friend after a couple of months and not being able to recognize them. All of the characters seem to have shifted which made more sense when there were more significant time jumps but in two months it was surreal. The ad agency doesn’t even seem like the same place.

        Stray thought: Also how long can Lou possible make it there when he is signing off on crappy work?

        Also, I think Roger is defintely hooking up with men. That was the vibe that I got. Roger is tried a lot but that scene is darker for some reason. Its like its getting harder and harder to pull himself out. I also thought of Aids in this scene. The first documented cases were around this time. Roger is used to the 50s and 60s where not having safe sex could maybe yield herpes. I don’t mean that homosexuality is dark either. What makes it dark for Roger he seems just seedier…a body is a body…no need for any interaction…just move him over so I can sleep.

        • Oh I see! Yes! It was shocking! And the way we know these characters is so intimate, it seems that much harsher to watch. Ken was breaking my heart at the get-go.

          re:Lou how long can be stay there? Forever! I wrote in another response that Don has inadvertently turned SCDP into a McCann sausage factory. And a sausage factory needs creative directors like Lou. Keep it mediocre, keep it moving…

          Clients love shitty work. Clients love safe. And remember agencies don’t have to promise results.

          On the other hand with the rise if marketing and MBAs coming in to the era, plus fees and commision pay structure maybe that kind of sausage factory is becoming obsolete just when SC&P P finally hit the big time.

          But the accounts area. That is a problem. It’s very fractured. I think like Peggy, Ken wants quality and the Cutler guys below him just want to get by.

          This will be interesting. It’s probably going to be an analogy of how the country was divided between “the Establishment” and the counterculture and who would win. Actually, we know that the counterculture didn’t win, and the MBAs came in and scooped up everything. Vertical integration and all that…

          Ads become less important than product placements and full media strategies (Joan’s best talent) win the day.

          Agreed on Roger! 🙂

          • I can’t agree on Roger. I think just the fact that he’s sharing his space,and GF, with another guy says a lot. He couldnt even share acctounts with Pete a few years ago. Like Don he has no control no comfortable space no center of his universe to go to anymore

    • I watched again last night. Ken’s toss was an underhanded, not an overhanded pitch. It was meant for Joan to catch but the eye injury ruins his depth perception. But not his tap dancing abilities! I also got the idea that Joan totally gets his frustration and venting and does not take his yelling personally. She knows how used and abused he feels like nobody else can.

  36. I don’t think I really noticed until recently just how many mean mommys there are here. Betty, Mrs. Francis Sr., Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Campbell, Peggy’s mom, and while Megan’s mom isn’t a total bitch, she isn’t very cuddly either. (In fact she’s kind of awful and I just love her)
    . Joan’s sharp tongued Ma is the pick of the litter. Someone more observant than me should write a post about that.

    • That is so interesting. The show is a mommy nightmare! Peggy gave her baby away, Joan’s mother is horrible, Fay lost Don because she wasn’t good “mommy material” for the kids and Megan pretty much won Don over in Tommorowland because she was so good with the kids..but we later find out that she doesn’t want any of her own and was relieved when she had a miscarriage! Roger’s daughter is a crazy mother too! The only seemingly caring mother was Sylvia (though she wasn’t without her faults, she really loved and cared about her son–which was a big part of Don’s attraction to her.) Wow, this runs through the whole show from the beginning until now!

      • It was pretty clear back in season 1 when media and press people would ask Matt Weiner about the cruelty of Betty locking Sally in the cupboard and he’d reply (faux-) innocently “Oh, that’s not especially bad. Didn’t everyone’s mother do that?” I thought to myself back then – aha.

      • Joan seems to be a pretty good mother so far.

        • Peggy’s mom seems pretty loving. Overbearing and strict, but loving.

          • Yes, I think so too. Being Irish catholic myself, with older female relatives that she reminds me of from that era, it was not unusual to have that kind of sharp, awful “warning” like Peggy’s mom gave her when she wanted to move to Manhattan and then again when she wanted to move in with Abe.

            It only happened a couple times in a lifetime, but it was harsh and cutting! It did come out of fear and love, but man they could hurt.

    • True. I wonder if Matt has mother issues. It reminds me of when I was following Lost and wondered about all the appalling father figures. Someone there had daddy issues.

    • Man, this sucks! It’s supposed to be such a pro-woman show! I used to think it was guys piling on hate to the non-active women (only cheering on the career girls and women Don sleeps with). As well as ignoring the bad parenting by the fathers. But your list is pretty compelling.

      Part of the problem is that parenting was very different then. It was much harsher and more blunt and physical. As well as emotionally abusive. So what we think of as good parenting today is very different than what was the norm then.

      As well, we see them be both good and bad parenting, because it’s like we’re peeking in their windows. The characters aren’t presented to us as much as it’s like we’re snooping on them.

      Trudy appears to be a good mom, as well as her mother. Joan too, but she can’t be with her son much.

      Both Megan and Peggy, just don’t want kids yet. There’s nothing wrong with that. Faye just wasn’t prepared. I mean, she got thrown into a very tough situation with an angry preteen daughter of a man she just started dating. To expect women to just all be natural mothers is crazy. We don’t expect that of men at all.

      The men are pretty bad too.

      Only Henry seems to have Don well by his daughter. Trudy’s dad is loving, but it might be conditional. Had she been like Peggy and wanted a career who knows.

      Don has his good moments but he’s really done a lot of damage.

      Roger is really a bad dad.

      Ted wants to be a good dad, but never being home takes a huge toll.

      Harry begrudges his kids food!

      I think maybe there’s very little good parenting going on at all.

      • Mona too appears to be a good or at least okay mom, despite the bratty creepy passive agressive adult her kid became. Its not 100% across the board mean mommy territory, just a strong trend. And you’re right, it reflects the parenting style at the time. I just found it striking and sad. I forgot one! Betty’s mom, who we never met other than a trippy dream sequence. Calling Betty fat and making her walk home from town to work off the chunk… Didn’t Betty say her mother called her a whore for modeling? Nice lady.

        • Yes! Betty’s mom!

          It goes to show that Betty both tries to be better with Sally than her mother was, but also fails and does the same things. It also tells a lot about Betty.

          It really struck me in the episode when Sally took the train to Dons work. Betty said the psychiatrist said Sally should walk. It felt like such a lie! Betty was making Sally walk to lose weight, just like her mom had done to her.

          But then we have to remember how frightened mothers were of their daughters being fat or not pretty and what a horrible, lonely life they’d lead! It was so deeply ingrained, that they felt this possible future fate was more damaging for their child than what they were doing now to try and prevent it.

          With Mona, she grew on me. I used to hate how they referred to their daughter as a brat and a burden all the time. I think Margaret has valid reasons for anger. And like many kids with distant parents she’s overly protective of her son now. And I think the money definitely represents affection for her, and Roger taught her that.

    • Quite a few dead mothers too, come to think of it. Dick Whitman’s. Betty’s. Roger’s. Pete’s. Sally’s friend, whom Betty goes to search for in that bleak NY crash pad – hadn’t she lost her mom as well? Wasn’t Anna a mother figure to a niece or some such? And didn’t Bob Benson discuss losing his mother at some point?

      • You’re right! Except for Bob, who knows what the truth is there. When being chided for the deli plate incident, he said he appreciated getting one when his dad died. When recommending Milano(?) he implied his dad was healthy as a horse.

      • Bob Benson lied about his dad. First he told Ken his father had died, then he told Pete Manulo had brought his dad back to full health…

        Roger has his place because his Dad died…

        Ken talks about his mom, but never his dad…

        Pete’s dad died in that crash…

        Actually, it’s pretty natural. Many characters are of an age to have dead parents. Back then not as many people lived past 65-70.

        But the fact that parents, living and dead do play an important role on the show is meaningful. It reflects on the characters, but possibly has a deeper meaning. I’m a little lazy to think about right now! 🙂

      • Anna was something of a mother figure to her niece, but her niece’s mother was still alive.

  37. Can anyone explain why Peggy isn’t acting co-director? It appeared she was going to be taking Don’s spot, but she hasn’t. It made the least sense to me from this opener.

    • Not only is she young, she’s a woman, and not a partner. Peggy is not *yet* at the Wells Rich Greene stage of her career. Wonder if Weiner has that up his sleeve?

    • Although Peggy was sitting at Don’s desk in the season 6 finale, she was never going to be taking Don’s spot. Duck brought in Don’s replacement as Don was walking out of the office for the last time (I think the guy jokingly said to Don “Going down?”). I guess quite a few people missed that he was intended to be Don’s replacement.

      • Nope. I think that was understood by most people.

      • Ooh, and the slightly cocked eyebrow just before “Going down?” Whadda prick.

        • I have been wondering if the new guy was the guy on the elevator, but I am too lazy to look it up. Anyone?

          • It was him.

          • Alan Havey. It was him. He used to have a late night show on Comedy Central, ages ago. Funny, dry. It was just him, another guy, a guest, the crew and an “audience of one”. He was in the running to get the Daily Show after Kilborn but lost out to Jon Stewart, at least that’s what I heard.

        • I was expecting the guy to add, “…to HELL? Haw Haw Haw!” like something out of a Jack Chick tract.

      • I thought it was pretty clear. They brought in an old white dude when they let Don go. Old white dude trumps woman every time.

        Remember they had to hire Duck when Roger had his heart attacks to restore “trust” in the clients of stability in the agency. Losing Don, means they had to restore the image of “stability.” How many times has Peggy been denied accounts because they felt the client wouldn’t accept a woman?

        Look at who they hired to replace Peggy when she left? Someone who liked kind of like her but older and fatter. Not even very good at the work.

        They don’t see Peggy.

        As bad as Don and Ted could be to Peggy, they did see her and did value her work.

        There was no way Peggy was going to take Dons place. It was a bit of a fake out though.

    • I think we all hope for the best for these characters. Unfortunately, it’s not always the realistic way to go.

  38. In the promo before MM Don saw Lou in the elevator and said “We’ve met.” I can’t remember back to last season but where did they meet? What was their interaction like?

    • Don saw Lou last season when Lou was part of the large contingent from the firm Dancer Fitzgerald headed out to pitch for Chevy. He may have known him before then as another creative type on Madison Avenue.

      • It seems like the ad world was so small, they probably ran into each other at industry events.

    • In the episode For Immediate Release, while Don and Roger are waiting at the airport, Lou is also there. He ribs Don and Roger for losing the Vick’s account.

  39. I love when Matt gets a chance to tell the audience something by sort of brushing up against the 4th Wall. When Megan’s agent said that it seems like people either love her or hate her, I laughed out loud! Matt is telling all the haters in the real audience that he knows that people hate her, but he doesn’t care and will tell the story as it needs to be told. I think that’s why he’s also going heavy-handed with the Sharon Tate stuff, too…he’s just teasing the nuttiest of us.

    • I thought the same thing.

    • Jessica Pare probably has the most difficult part on the show.

      Newcomers entering a long-running ensemble are always awkward for the first few episodes. Everyone else knows each other and have a chemistry that the new person doesn’t. They always stand out like a sore thumb when viewers are forming their opinions.

      In her case, that is compounded by the fact that Meagan was romantically competing with Dr. Faye in the early going. The younger, prettier woman is always going to be in for some harsh scrutiny. Dr. Faye was super-cerebral and, therefore, a good identification character for the Mad Men audience.

      That was compounded by a stylistic choice that Mad Men had made to remain as period appropriate with the sex scenes as basic cable would allow. Being Don’s wife for the last half of the Sixties meant that she would be the most naked character on the show, since bare female breasts ruled the cinema of the period.

      That was compounded by the move up the corporate hierarchy of the focus of attention by male fans: Joan. The less Joan depended on her “vavavoom factor”, the worse newly minted “it girl” looked by comparison.

      • A contingent of viewers might have resented the message of trade-in the old model for the new one that she represents, or in MM-speak, pursue happiness by marrying your 25 year old secretary. Let’s face it, Don basically followed the Roger Sterling playbook there.

        For me it is more about the actress and the part. Given the WTF-ness of “Tomorrowland”, MW could have done so much more with her than the virtuous, near-perfect wife/stepmother/copywriter sketch he settled on in S5 and beyond. I was never a huge fan of Betty (though I often defended her) but January Jones nails the role and the role is interesting. Not sure one can say that about JP and the role of Megan.

        Plus, the chemistry between Don and Megan has never quiet come off, though in fairness neither did Don’s with Betty. He is much more natural when engaged with a mistress or girlfriend, or in the case last night, with a stranger on a plane. And of course much more honest with them too.

        • Chemistry is a funny thing.

          I’ve generally thought Jon Hamm was better with the women playing his wives than his mistresses. Maybe it is the type of guy he is in real life and needs to some time to warm on-screen romantic partners. It helps the show in a way, because you never get the sense that Don’s escapades are about sex. Both Betty and Meagan have seemed to suit him better in that way than anyone else. That is why I thought it was a shame MW truncated the tryst with Betty. That would have been a triangle with equal weight on all sides.

          • He may have had chemistry with Betty during their tryst — but remember he can no longer lie to her at that point. But in his marriages he is generally lying and only partly there. He confides more to his mistresses as well as the one girlfriend during the show’s run; hence, he is more himself. Or to put it another way: the mistresses know his duplicity, his wives don’t.

            But I agree that chemistry is subjective thing. Guess I never bought it with he and Megan even if I have long accepted her as a fixture in the show, though I found it interesting that she first seduced him rather than vice-versa and would not be surprised if the marriage survives S7.

          • Megan is slipping away from Don, and I already miss her.

            I like them together. I always have. I’m sorry she doesn’t love him anymore, though I truly understand why. And losing her might be the last sight of land for Don Draper.

            Even if he needs to tread water for a while, I’ll be sorry to see that.

            • Can’t say I ever did (liked them together) nor do I see her as any last chance at salvation (in fact, I see Don’s ultimate salvation starting with his recognition that their relationship was a mirage from the get-go). But I wouldn’t be so sure that they are done as a couple. MW favors Megan and he tends to be less ruthless a writer than we sometimes think. Case in point the three women (Peggy/Betty/Joan) who could have had abortions but ultimately did not. Give me the right odds, I’d bet on Don’s/Megan’s marriage lasting thru S7.

    • that was great

  40. Isn’t it certain that, 20 years from now, Pete is the bagel king of SoCal, with a string of Manhattan Bagel stores?

  41. Does anyone know if the car Megan was driving (Aston Heally?) was expensive back in 1969? I am assuming a British import would have been and if that is true, it is strange that Megan is worried about appearances of an expensive television when everyone she knows is “starving”. (At least it is not a Jaguar!)

    Also do all of the seasons have a title? Deb’s picture of the season shows it is called The Beginning. I am asking because i was not aware of the season titles before and this season/first episode started with Freddy saying “Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something.” Is this a coincidence?

    • No, none of the seasons have had titles. This is because it’s a divided season and this half-season is called “The Beginning”.

    • I’m almost certain it was a Triumph TR5 or TR6. Whatever it was it was super cool and even cooler in slow Mo!

    • I take it back – I just froze the frame and you are absolutely right it is an Austin-Healey!

      • Was it an expensive car back then?

        • MG<Triumph<Austin Healy<Porsche<Jaguar

          In 1965 I saw a Porsche in a showroom for $6000 MG was $3000

          Megan's could be used?

          • What were those prices in 2014 money approximately?

          • Had to be used, the Austin-Healey 3000 wasn’t made after 1967, they sold so few of them it didn’t make sense to bring them into compliance with the new 1968 US regulations.

    • That’s an interesting point. I always like how MW has his characters contradict themselves. She doesn’t want the TV because she thinks it conspicuous and expensive. But not worried about it when it comes to her car or actual lifestyle.

      She wants to appear less wealthy but doesn’t really want to be less wealthy….

      • “She wants to appear less wealthy but doesn’t really want to be less wealthy….”

        It’s not her money, and though she can spend it well, she isn’t completely comfortable with it. They’ve never made her out to be like Jane. Similar? Yes. The same? No. And with Megan’s father nibbling in her ear like a devil on a shoulder, she always has that parental judgment to handle. I think you might be projecting here as well. I don’t think she does anything because she wants to appear less wealthy. She’s aware of how wealthy, or privileged, she can appear. I believe there is a significant difference, though the results can seem similar. She wants to work, though she doesn’t have to work. Some of that is going to play out in the socio-political realm. Like the waiter wearing a Rolex is going to get less of a tip from some people. She’s being judged all the time, particularly in Hollywood. It’s smart business to not show all your cards. That’s not a game she created. That’s life, and she is smart enough to navigate the nonsense. She’s not an idealist like her father. She’s a realist.

        • I could have elaborated my point better, but I don’t see where Jane comes into this at all.

          Just that people are complicated, and MW shows them contradicting their own statements. In fact, I kind of think her objection to the TV was more an objection to Don invading “her space” as much as anything. But whether she fully realized her feelings about it are another thing. And if she did, I don’t think she would have been able to be honest with Don about them.

          I don’t believe Megan ever went after Don for marriage or money. I do feel like she was sexually liberated, and wanted to be with him. She did want to be a copywriter but I never felt she was trading sex for that. Just in getting closer to him, let him know her wishes to be more creative in her work, like him and Peggy.

          I know she is self conscious about the money, but she is fairly independent of spirit so she *could* set herself to have less access to money and things, out there. To try and make it more on her own.

          But she doesn’t. She actually does like great clothes and her car and house, and wants a pool etc…

          No, she’s not like Jane at all. Jane came in to the office wanting a man at the highest level. She’d let the underling men ogle her all they wanted to, but she wouldn’t give them the time of day.

          Jane wanted to be rich, and enjoys being seen as rich. Megan never has enjoyed being seen as rich or priveleged. But having it, it’s hard for her to turn down. A TV was kind of a trivial thing to make a stand on, in light of everything. To me, it just makes her human. Not awful.

        • Maybe you were thinking I was hating on Megan?

          I have never understood or liked the Betty and Megan hate! No one ever hates on Don’s mistresses like they do his wives. Where was the Bobbie Barrett hate? She had only about three minutes of likable screen time! And they spent way more time with her than other more likable women, like Rachel, or Faye.

          Not that I advocate hate. I think the show is better when you don’t hate the characters, but feel their humanity.

  42. Lou telling Peggy, “I’m immune to your charms” killed me. Killed!
    But strangely enough, I felt the worst for Ken. Maybe because I’m somewhat used to seeing Peggy disappointed (not that that makes it easier to see), but Ken! Ken has always let everything just roll right off his back. Ken isn’t supposed to be angry and stressed like this, because he doesn’t really care.

    • That did hurt. You dont suppose that if Peg challenges Lou, he might give her the axe, do you?

      • Others have pointed out that in that scene where she yells at Stan when he warns her she’s basically publicly telling her boss he’s stupid, that she has a black dress hanging on the door and comparing it to Lane hanging himself in front if the door.

        They also say she’s now in Lanes old office. That I couldn’t tell. 🙁

        (Not that I think she’s suicidal, but she’s risking career suicide maybe? And also, like Lane she’s not strategic, she loves her work the way Lane loved America, and doesn’t ask for real help when she needs it.)

        First she changes Freddy’s idea to put her own tag line, but the tag line isn’t right for the idea, then like Lane, she’s doubling down on the idea when She should be looking for another job. (And Lane should have been remorseful rather than indignant)


        • That dress hanging on the door caught my attention too, and made me worry. Totally agree with you about Peggy, she’s really lacking judgment in this episode. She pushes at the wrong times, and takes too long to realize that her idea isn’t as good a fit as Freddy’s (which is really Don’s, which might be why it gradually clicks with her).

      • kturk,

        Great point. Without the “protection” of a senior partner (Don) and with Ted perhaps wishing for her exit, things could become difficult for Peggy.

    • I thought Peggy was being a jerk in this episode, maybe all that fighting to be respected has made her harden up entirely. She had always had a warm relationship with Freddy Rumsen, that seemed to be gone completely. She was so rude to Stan that I began to have doubts about them getting together. In addition Peggy has not learned that buttonholing a boss as soon as they walk through the door isn’t a good idea. Peggy has had to fight for her position but Don always had warm feelings toward her and so did Ted. She may be jeapordizing her career without being aware of it. As chief copywriter at a major agency she is in a good position but other companies would like to have a excuse not to hire her–besides being a woman–and her lack of diplomacy could determine that. Matt Weiner has described Peggy as awkward and out of touch, that can make her lovable but also annoying.

      • Good point about buttonholing before (can I get) a cup of coffee.

        Did she EVER do that to Don?

  43. Has Ken taken over Pete’s former role? Wonder if MW is setting up a return of Pete to the NYC office because Ken can’t handle managing. The latter doesn’t seem like he can handle the responsibility.

    • I don’t think the problem is Ken being unable to manage people. Ken’s problem is that he has no one to manage. As we saw in the meeting, there are plenty of people in the creative department. There are not enough people in accounts. If Ken had more people working for him, then things would be fine.

      • Ken has people but he doesn’t trust in them. He was yelling at them. I think he said something about them not caring when he was yelling at them and kicking them out of the office.

        I think he said to Joan they were Cutler’s guys. But I’m not sure.

  44. Great review. And you chose the perfect image for this review–Peggy looking so tentative, lacking confidence. Aaagh. We don’t like to see her like this. 🙁

  45. And what about Joan? She may have gotten her partnership on her back but she is going to use her head to carve out a meaningful role at the company. She is already smarter than most of the men she works with.

    Peggy is empty. Her love of Ted is dashed, the home she bought with her almost husband is a pain in the ass, her excitement over the work is dismissed, she is chided by Stan for caring, and her brother -in-law can’t get out of her dangerous neighborhood fast enough because he doesn’t want her sister alone in the house in safe suburbia. Of COURSE, she breaks down. Every aspect of her life is the shits. She used to have the excitement/challenge of creativity but the new boss is a hack.

    I find it fascinating that Don has not told Megan about being shoved out of SCP for two months now. He lies to her about going to “work” at the LA office and having to return to “work” in NY.

    And did you notice in the closing scene, Don is grasping a sealed bottle? He goes out to the balcony as a teasing reference to the now iconic opening piece of a man falling from heights and proceeds to sit there, in the cold, in a robe and bare feet having DTs. Once more into the breach!

    • It would be fascinating to see MW hand the agency (and in some sense the show) over to Peggy and Joan for the final 13 episodes. Can’t see it happening but it would be ballsy. Btw, has MW ever entertained a sequel in interviews? (I’m guessing hell no.) Much as DD stands with the all-time iconic male TV figures — Tony Soprano, Ralph Kramden, Walter White, Archie Bunker, etc. — I wouldn’t care to see another series about him navigating the ’70s (that is, if he even survives the 60s). But following Peggy or Joan into the next decade might be fun, Pete for that matter too.

    • I was just talking about that last scene elsewhere. We have heard Don mention “feeling something” several times, and at other times actually saying that he feels nothing. He has used women, some drugs and a whole lotta booze to make sure he feels nothing, and as an unopened bottle sits on the coffee table he goes outside in his robe and skivvies to feel the cold. To feel it. All of it. Penance, maybe. Or maybe an attempt to wake the fuck up.

      • This is an interesting idea. At first I thought that the cold air was offering the same (literally) numbing effect as the alcohol, but I like the idea of him feeling the cold air on his face as sort of an invitation, a portal into physically *feeling.*

        I was also struck by how much he looked like young Dick Whitman sitting there on the balcony. There was just something about the way his face was lit, his expression, and the bit of hair hanging down. Haunting and heartbreaking.

        • I’m hoping that the series ends up with Don coming clean and going back to being his authentic self –Dick Whitman again. I also thought he had the “look” of the young sad DW when he was sitting on the balcony at the end. Maybe the vessel that is DD is cracking and this could be the beginning of the “death” of DD and the rebirth of DW. Don even alluded to this (paraphrase) “in order to get to heaven you have to go through something really bad–hell–which is where DD is now.

          • We only saw Dick as an adult in Korea. In flashback we saw Don in two sales positions – cars and furs, and “selling himself” when he slid into that job at Sterling Cooper. All those roles are Don’s own reinvention – it’s not so clear what authentic would mean for him.

            • Back to the Dick Whitman in Korea before he ever became Don Draper and to whoever he was “supposed” to be or would have been before he put on the Don Draper costume?? I don’t know, not really sure–but he “became” DD to escape a horrible life and start a brand new one and now he seems to be right back to where he started. Maybe it’s time to find someone else to switch identities with! 🙂

    • Is it possible that Don does consider that he is working (via Freddy) and that Megan does know his situation? I don’t see him feeling the need to lie to her about it. And wouldn’t she be calling him at the office, possibly running into Pete or Ted etc?

      • If he told her the truth he would have to move to Cali full time and save their marriage and live with her which was the original plan. For some reason he doesn’t want that. Either he doesn’t want to be with her or he doesn’t want her to know and is hoping to fix it all before she has to know. It’s either to save their relationship or end it. I’m not sure why he’s not telling her the truth. Or maybe lying and pretending is just second nature to him and he doesn’t even know why himself. He’s ashamed.

      • I don’t think so because that first morning with Megan she asked if she could drop him at the office and he very quickly said no, I’ll take a cab. Next, we saw him meeting Pete.

      • He is working for sure – for the first time since Royal Hawaiian. After Sylvia dumped him he told Ted “I’m prepared to evaluate other people’s work and that’s all.” Even then, Ted called in a favor for him.

        Freddy is his beard for at least one place not SC&P.

        And damned right he’s ashamed – despite his game face at the 9AM “meeting” that was a body blow – knocked the wind out of him – Too much information for Megan.

        • The only evaluating other people’s work was in reference to Chevy. We did see him work on other things after that (i.e. Hershey).

  46. Im sure that I saw “Grandpa Gene’s” Lincoln Continental in the background (further down the road past the Buick Riviera) when Megan gets out of the Austin Healey

    I love this Buick Riviera ad -“Adventure is a car called Riviera”

    • Did you notice the Lane like figure in the promo pics in front of Megan’s cab?

      I bet they did put grandpa Genes car there!

      Did you notice that how Lou moved Dons office around it looked so much like dons old office, and their meetings from the early seasons.

      Doubles and reminders everywhere!

      • That whole sequence with the slow motion was kinda dreamlike, so yep maybe it was Don in some temporary ‘trance’ like state, very late 60’s!

        I mean come on Megan as she gets out of that car, what man isnt going to have to pick his jaw up off the ground and be a little discombobulated.

  47. I think Megan didn’t like the TV because it didn’t go with her decor. The first thing she said was that it was huge, it was Don barging his way into her new life and her new image. Saying her friends didn’t have money was just trying to make a concrete excuse, there is no way that could be her concern driving a car like that. Megan never tried to hide her (Don’s ) money from her New York actor friends.

    • I agree on the TV, I think I was writing my more elaborate explanation when you were writing yours!

      But I do think Megan is stuck between the two worlds and the desire to be struggling like her peers, but doesn’t really want to go back to barely making it versus enjoying the good things. She doesn’t see a middle ground. (She could limit herself more, or have a smaller amount of money from Don so she can be more independent for example)

      As well, she’s stuck between enjoying being on her own vs staying married.

      I think like everyone else in episode, she’s stuck between places.

    • I think her main, but unstated, objection to the TV is that it is something Don has brought into a space that she sees as HER space (a point rather pointedly made when she talks about “MY next house” having a pool). Don is “marking his territory” and she doesn’t like it.

  48. I have not seen this discussed anywhere in the media after the premiere, but this was the second time – at least – that Tom Sawyer and/or an allusion to Twain has played a prominent role. This cannot be a coincidence, although it could reflect little more than a writerly affection in the writers’ room for Twain. I think it is more than that, though. This is from an 1876 review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:

    “He is mischievous, but not vicious; he is ready for almost any depredation that involves the danger and honor of adventure, but profanity he knows may provoke a thunderbolt upon the heart of the blasphemer, and he almost never swears; he resorts to any strategem to keep out of school, but he is not a downright liar, except upon terms of after shame and remorse that make his falsehood bitter to him. He is cruel, as all children are, but chiefly because he is ignorant; he is not mean, but there are very definite bounds to his generosity; and his courage is the Indian sort, full of prudence and mindful of retreat as one of the conditions of prolonged hostilities. In a word, he is a boy, and merely and exactly an ordinary boy on the moral side. What makes him delightful to the reader is that on the imaginative side he is very much more, and though every boy has wild and fantastic dreams, this boy cannot rest till he has somehow realized them. Till he has actually run off with two other boys in the character of a buccaneer and lived for a week on an island in the Mississippi, he has lived in vain; and this passage is but the prelude to more thrilling adventures, in which he finds hidden treasures, traces the bandits to their cave, and is himself lost in its recesses.”

    Couldn’t this describe Don, to a large extent, just as easily?

    • This is terrific, but what was the Tom Sawyer reference in this week’s episode? I remember well Lane telling Don he was reading it in “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency,” talking about feeling he had, like Tom, attended his own funeral (ouch, foreshadowing!), but I can’t remember anything from this week’s ep. What was it?

      • The airplane woman had scattered her late husband’s ashes on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland.

      • Oh crap! Both Peggy and Don got call backs to Lane in this episode!

        (Peggy’s callback is in the black dress hanging on her door when she insists on doing Freddy’s pitch for the client against Lou’s wishes! Peggy aso may be in Lanes office. Oh shit. Was Peggy gone by the time Lane hung himself? Did she not realize she was getting Lane’s office? Where he hung himself? Poor Peggy!)

      • Oh man, is “I’m immune to your charms” what Lane said to Joan when she asked for time off after New Years? (After she offered to get him fried chicken and before the flower mixup) in season 4?

        • No, it’s just similar.

          “I know all men are dizzy and powerless to refuse you, but consider me the incorruptible exception.”

  49. “Bob and Pete, calling from different time zones”

    A nit: Detroit is actually in the same time zone as NYC, and I’d expect people in the automotive world to start their day fairly early.

    • Well, Bob and Pete were not in the same time zone as one another, and it could be referring to that, rather than that both of them were in a different time zone from New York.

      I’ve been thinking that the time zones in the episode are more than just chronological. Don and Megan are living in different time zones even when they’re together (as are Don and Pete). Peggy and Lou are living in different time zones. In each case, time changed around Don, but he didn’t change with it, despite choosing Megan to marry. Peggy is living in the creative sixties, but Lou is stuck back in an earlier decade.

      • Peggy has never had anyone to mentor her in terms of management, at least in the sense that someone would have in this day and age. She worked her way up and even when she acquired her own secretary and was put in charge of the copy writers, she had no clue how to run the staff. Her example was Don, who wasted no opportunity to belittle people. Even Joan has called him on it.

        Ted tried last season to clue her in. “It’s New Year’s Eve, Peggy, and you’ve got people working out there.” “Oh, they know they can go home.” “No, they don’t.” Ted is trying to get her to be more considerate, but because she was trained by Don, she isn’t learning any lessons.

        She also doesn’t know how to be a landlord, obviously.

        • Re: the landlord thing. I may be wrong, but this is the first mention of that. That was one of those moments where I liked Peggy less. She was the asshole there, she agrued with that tenant’s kid as though she were a kid herself. An angry, selfish 14 year old twit who doesn’t CARE that your toilet is broken because she’s tired and had a really sucky day OKAY?? She’s lucky the kid didn’t dump on her doorstep.

          • Yeah, people are yelling at the wrong people all over this episode!

            It’s pretty interesting all the doubles/call backs going on in the episode. Much more than in the past.

            Julio is such a double for Glen, it has to do with the bathroom and his mom out of sight.

            He has a reasonable request, where Glen didn’t, Betty was kind to him, and actually so lonely for attention was flattered, complied with an unreasonable request right after a really unreasonable act on Glen’s part.

            Peggy, completely unreasonably, and cruelly, responds by yelling and putting responsibility on him, he didn’t deserve.

          • Wasn’t it plugged? A landlord should repair a commode – not unplug it. I first rented (with three other students) at age 19 – across the street from the landlord. I never imagined that we should expect the landlord to unplug a toilet – after all – who plugged it to start with?

            The plunger was exactly the right thing to give the kid – make it a keeper.

  50. It usually takes a few episodes for me to really get into the “Mad Men mood”. Every time a new season starts and I watch the premiere, I get a weird feeling because I’m not “used” anymore to this TV show and its pace.
    This year, with the season split in two, I just hope I won’t finally get in the mood right when Season 7 part 1 ends! (I really dislike this decision)

  51. Deb,

    Fantastic review!

    Also, I noticed that the dress Megan wore at the airport.


    is the same one worn by the woman holding Don’s hand in the S6 poster


    But in the S7 premiere Don and Megan are not in “hand holding mode.” Rather, they seem to be moving away from each other.

    • Good catch! Also, in the poster, notice that he’s looking away from her. The novelty of Megan had worn off by the time S6 came around, and now he only seems interested in connecting with her because he lost her to the west coast. Typical Don.

  52. My reaction to realizing that Megan doesn’t know the truth about Don’s work status was very similar to my reaction when it was revealed that she knew the truth that he was really Dick Whitman. “She knows!” And this episode “she doesn’t know!” It reveals how far their relationship has fallen…from telling all to hiding all. We know what Don is hiding. We really don’t know what Megan is hiding.

    • Well, we suspect. That she doesn’t love Don anymore, that she feels bad about it, that she relies on his support and is ashamed of it, that she is deeply conflicted with how she appears to her fellow “struggling” artists and is afraid to be outed. She has a cute place in a not so great neighborhood, an awesome car and hip clothes but a shitty little black and white T.V., her miserable unsuccessful commie dad on one shoulder shaming her, her miserable wealthy successful husband on the other, telling her to be proud. She wants to do it on her own, but hasn’t the strength. I doubt she has the mental room or energy to put into an extra marital relationship, but you never know.

  53. Its just sad when you think back to the Heinz pitch and the cool whip commercial and how Happy and Hopeful they were not so long ago. The beginning of the end was when she left advertising. She may not be cheating yet but she doesn’t feel the same and who could blame her? I dont think shell be singing zubi zubi Zu again anytime soon!

    • I’m not hating on Megan, but I don’t find it sad. I’ve had a feeling of Don taking a detour from his actual self improvement to an illusory one this entire time. Believing Megan could make him the man he always wanted to be. And stopping short on the real work he’d started in season 4.

      I’ve always found their time together as painful, as it was hurting them both. While they were in a state of elation,(can we ever say they were happy?) there were deep wells of pain for Megan that we could see by s5e1, and they were only married a few months at that point.

      I feel like letting each other go as marriage partners would be best for both of them. But they did that with Roger, and MW says he doesn’t like to repeat himself.

      • True. Their “happy period” was really an enmeshed “love leave” and really not healthy..I was just glad to see Don appear happy after such a long sad period but there was something that wasn’t quite right about it which is why it fell apart as soon as she sought to be a separate person rather than an extension of Don. I guess I’ve seen too many Disney movies with “happily ever after” and I should have known better than to think that would happen on this show!

      • I agree that the best thing for both of them would be to let each other go. The fact that Roger did that makes me think that MW will go that way, though, because often Roger is a sign of Don’s future, while Pete is a sign of Don’s past. I think what would be MW repeating himself is if Don gets lost in hedonism, as is currently happening to Roger.

        • I guess that’s true. Don did follow Roger’s steps in getting divorced and having a second, younger wife.

  54. Now that we’re in re-watch commentary: Did you pick up that Barbara Parkins was the guest on the short-lived Joey Bishop Show in the TV clip that Don was watching? She starred in Peyton Place, and also in Valley of the Dolls with Bishop –and of course, along with Sharon Tate. I’ll note that Megan was also excited to be cast in a short-lived NBC show Bracken’s World. Definitely something about “short lives” in the movie & TV business — which fits with the broader themes about time.

    • Ooh, great catch! And of course Bracken’s World was written by the screenwriter for Valley if the Dolls…

  55. I have to wonder if MW and other writers on show read these blogs (and others) and say, “Yep, they got it!’ or “Wow. That was way off base” or even, “They’re right but I did not realize that until now!”

    Would love to see a looking back interview with him to see if the themes we all go nuts over were intentional or just organic occurrences through the thread of the story and character lines.

    I hope “we” are right and it was intentional. It would blow my mind of it was all just coincidental.

    • If they read any blog its BoK. Weiner knows that the Lipps get it – they blew his mind in their first, fabulous interview.

      • Perhaps we can look forward to a full post mortem from MW and the Lippstresses after the series is put to rest. That’s the one thing about Mad Men ending that I could look forward to. This site has been immensely helpful to me in my enjoyment of my favorite tv series probably ever. At least my favorite since StarTrek, but I was 7 when that ended and I was somewhat easier to entertain. 🙂

        • I also hoped they might put together more footage from making the series (more than the little bits of stuff you get in DVD extras) and sell that. I’d totally buy that!

          I could watch hours of it!

    • I’ve heard MW say that he used to read some things online, until one reviewer he really liked wrote a really nasty review of The Summer Man, an episode he really loved. Then he realized it just takes too much out of him, so he stays away.

      I don’t blame him! I loved The Summer Man too, at that point in time I wasn’t reading reviews or discussing the show online, just with friends and family. I really hate going up on a site like AVclub and seeing a smashing episode of Mad Men get a B and then flip over and see a Downton Abby hack episode get an A. It’s nuts. I know they are different reviewers, but still! It’s like watching Peggy and Joan get knocked down all the time When they are fifty times better than their competition.

      I just now was reading comments on an article on the low viewer numbers for the premiere and it just made me sick. The complaints people have really show just how much they are trained into what to expect, and what to want out of a show. And what is failure in a tv show. It’s disgusting. (Reminded me of Don talking to Faye after the Pond’s focus group! ‘Let me put out my ads for a year and then ask them’)

      There are Breaking Bad fans calling Mad Men too bleak for them! Wat? BB is not bleak as hell?

      Also those who say there’s no action. I can tell you I’m so often on the edge of my seat each episode the last couple of seasons, it’s crazy! Signal 30, Mystery Date, The Crash…I just don’t see how others don’t feel suspense.

      There are people saying it strayed from its roots as an enjoyable sixties romp. Wat? It is dark from episode 1. That MW has a wonderful sense of humor and the show makes great use of it, and that it is very pretty, and it did start at a time that we look on as foreign and elegant, it has never put itself out as good fun in cool clothes.

      For the most part I think the show is likely shedding some of the viewers who never understood it in the first place and feel like Don is someone to emulate, and that early era wonderful. Too many never valued the show for what it is.

      I also wonder if it’s the fact that the show is doing something no tv show has ever done to my knowledge and that is actually making us feel the PAIN of nostalgia, after we first got to enjoy the earlier, happier aspect of nostalgia in the early seasons. Anyone can do a period piece. But who the hell can make you really feel like you are living through it, the passage of time on the show is passing as it is in your life?

      As well, it might have been the competition last Sunday. Many might’ve DVR’d it. In addition to Game of Thrones, there was The Good Wife, Mr Selfridge and for my 90skids the first MTV movie awards show they’ve wanted to watch in years. (It used to be their favorite) I think the crossover in demographic ages and many people being in the position to not be able to watch TV all night and have to DVR stuff, Mad Men might’ve gotten into the I’ll watch that later when I can enjoy it category.

      I wish they wouldn’t make such a big deal about the numbers when they can’t count the people DvR-ing it, or those without tvs who get it on iTunes or whatever.

      • I agree with everything you said here. I started reading the online blogs and reviews during season 4, and I finally had to stop because the constant nitpicking and boo-hooing because the show wasn’t fulfilling their expectations (even though it was as good as it always was) was driving me crazy.

        Mad Men has always been a fringe show, and good for it! As long as it performs just well enough to stay on the air (being in it’s final season, I suppose that’s hardly an issue anymore), I’m happy. If a show performs as well as say a Game of Thrones or a Walking Dead, there’s probably something wrong with it that only a discerning viewer would be sensible to. The reason these shows perform so well is that they’re appealing to the lowest common denominator, and given the tastes and sensibilities of most of our society, that’s mighty low!

        • What irks me, is that the complainers are always mad about it! Like they were owed something else!

          It’s perfectly fine to prefer other things. But I don’t get that entitled anger. Especially when they are really offered the kind of expected TV and movie fare everywhere they look. It floods everywhere, so it’s not like they’re starving for the kind of things Mad Men *isn’t*

          We’ve been trained to have tv shows, even high quality, to reward our viewing by eliciting the same emotions from us week to week. Each episode will hit the same emotional buttons, no matter what happens, every week. Mad Men does not do that.

          I also have to say, there is not one other show where I’ve had to pause my TV and cry for ten minutes (like I did when Ken got shot) or mourn a character’s suicide as if it were someone I knew, like I did with the Lane. All the others feel like TV. No matter how much money is put into them.

          I also forgot that HBO just launched Silicon Valley on Sundays too, plus VEEP. Sunday is the most competitive TV night, because it has the most people watching TV, so it gets the most competitive TV shows…

          I don’t like them using it as an excuse to be like punishing to MW. It feels like they’re implying or want people to infer that MM is losing viewers because MW is not satisfying them properly. 🙁

          • Well, MW is doing right by me, and that’s all I care about. I love that each season is different and that the show doesn’t keep going back to the same well. If you look at the writing staff throught the various seasons, you see that the names keep changing. Every year he brings in new people to bring something different to the table.

  56. I should probably say that all the fascinating Sharon Tate/Manson references, in my view, are just meant to make the show hyper-authentic and ground the characters in the era (and we all know that the era is the real star of MM). The Manson murders are so well-documented–it doesn’t make sense to place a fictional character like Megan directly at the scene. However, the Manson Family murders were incredibly jarring to the overall culture at the time, and I can definitely see it as an emotional catalyst in pushing or pulling the Megan-Don relationship forward or apart, and affecting other characters as well.

    • There was an alleged incident involving Manson and Chuck (Tex) Watson’s taking a disgruntled “girl” out into the desert and returning without her. Something like that could happen to Megan without obviously contradicting history. I doubt very much, however, that MW has ever intended a direct connection, though Iv’e thought it amusing to imagine Don’s having a brush with Charlie’s girls. It would probably be used as backround like the Whitman and Speck murders, but I don’t know how the speculation may have affected plans.

      • There’s also just plain old nature. In real time, just after Don would have left, some of the worst floods and mudslides happen in the canyons (but where does Megan live exactly?) 60 people in LA county due and the damage is awful. The rains start about Jan 20 and the floods go until end of January, possibly some of February.

        There were some harrowing stories.

        I don’t necessarily think that Megan will die in the show, and ave always felt like the Sharon Tate/Roman Polanski references were for mood and tension. But how crazy would it be if Megan’s whole house and neighborhood was just gone almost immediately after Don was there. If Megan had a close call of any kind.

        I don’t think they’d do that, but still I like to look at what was going on, in the forgotten history. MW likes to use that. Like Paul Newman at the Addy’s when people learn about MLK…

  57. The episode seemed like a backwards inverted version of “For Those Who Think Young.” Megan’s slow motion walk to Don at the beginning of “Time Zones” was akin to Betty’s slow motion walk down the stairs near the end of FTWTY.

    At the beginning of FTWTY, Don’s focus on the Mowhawk ad is the stewardess’ short skirt, like Megan’s short dress. But in FTWTY, Don evolves beyond that. He gets a Valentine’s card from Sally. He mentors Peggy. He remembers Anna and sends her a book of poetry. And at the end of the episode Don focuses the ad on a non sexual relationship with a woman (the daughter), which could symbolize the strong non sexual relations with women in that episode (Sally/daughter, Peggy/sister, Anna/mother). Meanwhile his sexual relationship with Betty is problematic in the episode, literally.

    In “Time Zones,” Don again has a weak relationship romantically. But at this point Anna is dead, Peggy hates him for letting Ted go to California, and his relationship w/Sally is severely damaged after she saw him w/Sylvia.

    Two other nods to FTWTY. Lou acting like a doctor mirrors Don’s doctor’s appointment. And in FTWTY there was a big Presidential event (Jackie’s televised White House tour) while in “Time Zones” it was the Inauguration.

    • Another sort of call back to FTWTY’s Mowhawk ad: when Don tells Neve Campbell that he usually thinks he’ll be seated next to someone like her but usually gets some guy with a hair piece eating a banana, she tells him “Blame Madison Avenue”.

    • As well, in FTWTY Don tells Peggy ‘It’s about you *feeling something*.

      Which seems to be his lesson at the end, where he gets outside and fees the cold and feels his feelings.

    • It feels like, where in the past, the shows referenced past material/knowledge etc and now it’s like that but on steroids!

      The episode was just jam packed with circling the past and inversions and doubles and triples.

      (The sweater Lou wears vs the professors sweater vs Ginsberg’s sweater)

      In the Mohawk ad meeting someone says women don’t fly/it’s too expensive for the husbands

      In FTWTY doesn’t it open with shots of everyone else (not Don i dont think) getting ready for the day, putting on perfume or cuff links, combing their hair etc in front of mirrors… But here we just have Don getting ready in the airplane bathroom…

      Is it also ably the third time in the series where we have watched him shave?

      There are just so many references!

    • Oh another interesting inversion I just thought of while reading another comment:

      Roger and Don

      Don is out because he “shit the bed” and talked about growing up in a whorehouse and in this episode Roger is in a house full of sex and nit shit, but garbage everywhere near his bed…

      And interesting reference and doubling “I thought we were really getting somewhere last night”

      And for both a roger and Don, when we left them last season it really felt like they were getting somewhere. Roger with Kevin and Don with his kids…

  58. I was struck by the scene of Don in the airport with his dopey going out of fashion hat, conservative gray suit and tie and acid rock back ground music. West coast Meagan with the brit sports car and dressed like Goldie Hawn on Laugh In was a big contrast.
    He looked more like her Dad then her husband. Even the people passing Don on the people mover made Don look outta step.
    And I have a question …Is Don ripping the adds out of Meagans Playboy mag pertinent?

    • Also The black dress on the door was genius… Reminded me of Betty and the prison bar shadows when she picks up little baby Gene just after he was born …many seasons back

  59. I saw a comment on another sight that I don’t think was mentioned here that was interesting as far as symbolism in the last scene. Don can’t “close the door” on his past and is literally and figuratively on the outside (of life and his apartment) looking in. I also noticed on re watch that Megan said to Don “How long do we have?” which on the surface was “how long until your flight” but could also be “how long does our relationship have.”

  60. The image which struck me the most from the promo photos was this one of Don and Peggy.


    My first reaction was “Janus”! Janus is the Roman god of beginnings and endings, gate, doors, and time. He has one face looking forward (in this case Peggy) and the other looking at the past (Don). Also both Peggy and Don have their watches highly visible.

    This would fit both with the season premieres of S6 and S7. And after I watched the S7 premiere (with the title “Time Zones”) it seemed more appropriate with the multiple references to time and doorways (Don and the sliding glass doors).

    But while Janus is usually two male faces, the fused being of Don/Peggy is obviously male/female. One male/female mythic image is the Hindu god/goddess Ardhanarishvara



    I thought this was just a coincidence, until Freddy’s pitch. He describes the hum on the watch as “Aummm.” I found it odd that Freddy would describe the watch as humming since watches are usually meant to be silent. But then I realized “Aumm” is a homophone for “Om/Aum” the Hindu sacred/primal sound of the universe.

    And the first we see Don he’s silent, all we hear is the hum of his electric razor, “aummm.” I did some research and Ardhanarishvara in Yoga corresponds with the third eye “charkra.” Each chakra in the body has a sound and the sound for the third eye one is “Om.”

    So is Don integrated male/female when we first see him? The dual image is there with the mirror, but both images are masculine and Don is doing a highly masculine act, shaving. Add to that the background music, “I’m a Man.” Yep, that’s our Don, third eye blind. I wonder if Ken’s eye patch and his partnership w/Joan in the episode are related.

    Don seems to achieve the Ardhanarishvara pose with the widow on the plane after he has an honest, meaningful conversation with her.


    Yet he doesn’t take up her offer for a tryst. May be she reminded him on Anna, the widow with the immolated/cremated husband, the woman he would meet in California, the woman with whom he could join at a higher level.

    The reason MW may have used the Ardhanarishvara image is the rise in popularity of Eastern religions in the ‘60s.

    Also, there is Tiresias, the blind prophet of Greek myth who was a woman for seven years. I’ve posted earlier how Don’s “recollection” of his birth in “Out of Town” (another episode based on flight) is a version of Tiresias’ vision from T.S Elliot’s “The Wasteland.” Also, MW draws heavily from Elliot’s poem (the perpetual cultural references, urban decay, Tarot, and so on) in the series.

    Tiresias was the one who warned of Narcissus’ impending problems, and in the first shot of Don we see him looking at himself in the mirror. Tiresias also warned Oedipus not to find out who killed the king (that person being Oedipus himself, his son). And after Don’s affair with Abigail look alike Sylvia, he put the “Rex” in “Oedipus Rex.”

    So who is Tiresias for Don and what is his prophecy? I suspect it’s Lee Cabot, the widow on the plane. The way she speaks is in the cryptic form of prophecy. Also, she mentions putting on her eye mask, an allusion to blindness. And it’s fine that she’s a woman since Tiresias was once a woman.

    And what is the prophecy for Don? Don’s fear seems to always have been that he will turn into his father, a drunk, since people are often “destined” to turn into their parents. Lee’s oblique reference to her husband’s alcoholism hints to that on the surface. But I wonder if Lee was there to “warn” him that he should be more worried about turning into Abigail, the women who was mourned neither by her adopted son nor by her biological son. When Don heard of Abigail’s death, he said “good.” And since Adam didn’t take offence, one can assume Adam didn’t care that much for her either.

    Lee’s husband was older and I’m assuming it was a second marriage. If so, were there no children of her husband? And if they were there, why didn’t they come for the immersion? Lee said twice “he died of thirst” and there were two choices for the immersion. I’m guessing the twos refer to Don’s “foster” daughter Peggy and his biological on Sally. Don has incurred Peggy’s hatred by sending Ted to LA, and Sally revulsion from walking in on him w/Sylvia.

    So why dying of thirst? Abigail died of stomach cancer, thus hunger. For Don, he asked Peggy for a drink in “The Suitcase” and for water in “Indian Summer.” For Sally, she makes Bloody Marys for Don and puts rum on his French Toast, it’s how they bond. So “dying of thirst” could mean dying without Peggy or Sally’s affection. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Roger’s main story was having brunch with his estranged daughter over Bloody Marys.

    The only person who mourned Abigail was Uncle Mack, her second “spouse.” And as Adam put it, “Uncle Mack was broken up” about it, as in “broken vessel.” And Mr.Cabot’s ashes didn’t end up at his first choice Pebble Beach and assumedly in the ocean/water. They end up on an island, away from water.

    Also, another of Tiresias’ famous encounters was with Odysseus in the underworld, where Odysseus meets the spirit of his mother who died while he was at war. And Tiresias died by drinking water from a poisoned spring.

    So may be the encounter with the widow on the plane was a metaphoric warning that Don shouldn’t worry about turning into a drunk like his father. His lack of drinking and renewed appetite show that. Like all prophecy the meaning is hidden and may be Don should really worry about turning into Abigail, the woman who alienated her foster child and biological child so badly that she died uncared for and unmoured by both of them.

  61. Was anyone else reminded of Joyce’s “the soup and the pot” monologue when Don was talking about “breaking the vessel”? I just re-read Deborah’s amazing post “The Beautiful Girls: The Soup” and can’t help but think that Don’s remark is connected to Joyce’s discussion of the pot and the soup. Quoting Deborah: “…Don is … the soup and he’s utterly helpless without some woman to contain and shape him.”

    • Yes! I didn’t even think of this, but that soup quote has always been one of my favorites, (and one of the most haunting lines) in the entire Mad Men run for me. Don is out in the cold because no females have any need for him at the moment – Megan, Sally, Betty. I would say Peggy BUT it is clear now that these two are floundering without having each other in their work orbit. Rewatching “Time Zones” I forgot how many times Don just keeps saying, “I can’t..I have to get to work.” It’s such an odd reversal to the man in S5 who said to Megan, “I don’t care about work, I only want to be with you.” It was easy for him to eschew work when he had the woman “soup pot” to contain him, but as we sese again, without it, he’s like some aimless automaton just saying, “Must get back to work…must get back to work.” I wonder if he doesn’t just pick up and go to another agency because he subconsciously knows he needs Peggy around at work to be the soup pot to contain him. He can’t just walk into another agency full of men who don’t know him and start anew. He needs some tie to the past, it needs to be a woman, and I think it’s gonna have to be Pegs. But what is interesting is how this season is positioning it to tell the story that Peggy STILL needs Don’s guidance as much as he needs her. So maybe it’s not that all men need soup pots to contain him, but we all need someone in some way to play that role for us.

      • “So maybe it’s not that all men need soup pots to contain him, but we all need someone in some way to play that role for us.”
        Yes! Your comment makes me think of the psychologist D.W. Winnicott’s concept of the “holding environment,” which begins with the physical holding an infant receives from its mother.
        From his Wikipedia entry: [Winnicott considered that the “child’s ability to feel the body as the place where the psyche lives could not have been developed without a consistent technique of handling”, and he extrapolated ‘the idea of “holding” and of meeting dependence'[14] from the mother to the family as a whole, and to the wider world surrounding it. He saw as a prerequisite for healthy development “the continuation of reliable holding in terms of the ever-widening circle of family and school and social life”.[15]]

        And this, about what Winnicott called “the sense of being,” makes me think of the “soup pot less” Dick Whitman/Don Draper (also from Wikipedia entry) :
        [One of the elements Winnicott considered could be lost in childhood was what he called the sense of being. “For Winnicott, the sense of being is primary, the sense of doing an outgrowth of it…Premature development of the ego-function means doing too much, being too little”:[21] a false sense of self. The “capacity to ‘be’, to feel alive…the baby’s lifeline, what Winnicott calls its ‘going on being'” was essential if a person was not to be “caught up in a false self and a compulsive cycle of ‘doing’ to conceal the absence of ‘being'”.[22]]

        I like your idea that Peggy and Don need each other to be the “pot,” to be that holding environment. I hope they can figure this out before the end of season 7!

        • This is very interesting!

          Another reference is to The Crash when Don spends all that time looking for “the soup ad” after Sylvia breaks up with him…

          I also always liked when Joyce said,’ who’s to say we aren’t soup too?’

          I’m really glad you brought this up because the word vessel didn’t take me to pot…

          I really do think this year, as I said in another comment, is going to be like past seasons’ episodes but on steroids in terns of the references and call backs. There are just so, so many in this episode. It’s really wonderful, because they don’t hit you on the head, we still get surprised. And more comes to you even days after watching. 🙂

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