Mad Men Rewatch: The Return of Shangri-La

 Posted by on March 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm  Mad Men, Season 7, Themes
Mar 172015

Mad Men, The Monolith, "Marigold" on the commune

At the beginning of Season 7 of Mad Men, I noticed two quotes used in Time Zones that I thought would be important, thematic, for the season.

In The Monolith, Roger refers to “Marigold”‘s commune as Shangri-La. It’s time to leave Shangri-La, he says, and return to reality. If you’re not familiar with Lost Horizon, it’s important to note that Shangri-La is the Utopian paradise found by the characters in that film.

Utopia, of course, has been a concern of this show ever since Season 1.


  6 Responses to “Mad Men Rewatch: The Return of Shangri-La”

  1. Wasn’t “Lost Horizon” the movie Don was watching while Megan slept in California?

  2. Just a random thought connected to the idea of Shangri-La or Utopia–The promo pictures for the second half of season 7 are set in a garden..(paradise? the Garden of Eden??) Could that be connected to the theme of the season in the same way that they first half of season 7 the promo pictures were all in an airport because it was largely about flying back and forth from coast to coast. Also, in the first half pictures there is a picture of Don and Peggy sitting in the airport with their backs to each other looking in different directions and for the first 5 episode they were apart and at odds. In the promo of the second half of season 7 there is a picture of Don and Peggy sitting in the Garden looking at and smiling at each other. Could it be a clue to what’s to come??

  3. With “The Monolith,” a lot of views have noticed an extreme of technology on one end (tech replacing creativity) and an extreme “return to nature”(dirt and no structure) on the other.

    But in the two sets of S7 promo pictures, each set has a more balanced view. In the 7A promo pictures, the cast is in an airport, an epitome of how technology helps the human connection. And in the 7B promo pictures, nature is the focus, but it is a manicured and cleaner version of nature. So both sets of S7 promo pictures present a more balanced vision of technology and nature.

    The balanced visions in the promo pictures reminded me of the tarot card “Temperance,” which deals with balance (in most interpretations the figure is blending wine with water).

    The idea of blending wine with water may be related to Don’s excessive drinking in the episode, which he only “tempers” at the end.

  4. […] The Monolith (episode 7.04), Shangri-La returns, and I posted about it. At that point, I was confident I’d identified an important theme. It was nice of Matt Weiner […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.