Mar 312015

MadMenFinalPosterIt’s possible that the most challenging thing I do as a writer is create spoiler-free Mad Men reviews. This is my last one. I’m tasked with saying as close to nothing as possible, while still engaging the reader, and communicating a sense of what lays ahead.

In Severance, what lays ahead is Mad Men. There is something so richly, truly our show about this hour that, while it shocks and surprises, and shows us things we haven’t seen or imagined, it is nonetheless familiar. This is definitely the show we love.

In saying that, I am saying we will see characters we love at their most complex, behaving in the contradictory ways that Matthew Weiner understands are so very human. And there will be interesting guest stars as well, although I don’t think we meet anyone new in Severance that matches the surprisingly welcome presence of Neve Campbell in Time Zones. And certain moments convey the best of our actors digging deep into their characters; Peggy’s throaty laugh when she allows herself to relax, Joan’s cold stare of unvoiced rage, Don lost in memory, Pete being a complete ass without ever realizing it.

To me, the beginning of this half-season ties closely to the end of the previous half-season. If you don’t have time to rewatch all seven previous episodes, I strongly recommend you at least revisit Waterloo, and not just because it’s an amazing episode. In watching (and rewatching) episode 7.08, I think it is a clear answer to 7.07. I am struck especially by the way Peggy’s Burger Chef pitch spoke to people’s longing for connection, while the very word “severance” speaks of disconnection. People want to connect, but instead they are severed.

It’ll also help to catch you up on where we left off with our gang. Severance does a fine job of letting you know where everyone is at. Matt said recently that he hates exposition, but he nonetheless manages to catch us up on where Don, SC&P, and so on are in their lives right now. Because Matt avoids the pointed expository dialogue of the “Well, as you know…” type, you may have to pay close attention. Nonetheless, you get informed at least about Don, Pete, Ted, Peggy, Joan, and SC&P, although there’s plenty more to learn. There’s also a television broadcast that I was able to pinpoint to an exact date. Of course, I won’t reveal that here, but I will include it in my recap after Severance airs on April 5.

So, Severance. You will gasp. You might tear up. You will laugh. And you will applaud the return of Mad Men for one last time.


  14 Responses to “Mad Men Season 7.2 Begins: Spoiler-Free Review of “Severance””

  1. I guess For Those Who Think Young, was the first and last time MW did the, ‘and let’s catch up to our old gang’ bit.
    Love the fact that Pete is still a clueless jerk, and Joanie ‘ s withering can now be delivered in silence.

    Obtw; this will be the last of Karl giving us T-minus on a ‘season’ premiere.
    Man, May 17 is gonna suck big time.

    • I think we catch up on most of the gang. It’s pretty typical for Mad Men to break out Betty into a separate space and to focus on work in season premieres.

  2. I hope in these final episodes Joan does something(s) to make me like her again.

    • Well, she was really happy about her $1.5 buyout from McCann, some percentage of which she is due to receive immediately, so that should make good and end her bitterness of Don messing up the previous buyout or whatever it was that lost her $1 mil. Maybe she can be nicer to him now.

      • It was the public offering that he ruined, by forming the partnership with CGC.

        • i’m sure there was part of her that could never be happy about her stability, financially and emotionally, always being down to the whim and temperament of an increasingly unstable guy like Don.

          She was married to Greg after all. Everyone has their limit on thoughtless bullshit.

        • I thought the public offering was ruined because Don fired jaguar or was it the merger?

          • i thought it was jaguar, because the merger came at the end.

            Roger had schmoozed the chevy guy, so jaguar would have had to go. I imagine if Roger had broken the jaguar dismissal to Joan, it might have played out differently.

      • With the buyout and presumably a hiatus on Culterian machinations she will not get to hold her 5% sword over Don. And of course that big payday will go a long way toward softening her animus. She will still remember Don’s impulsive self-centered disregard for convention (‘the rules’). Don has no monopoly on rule-breaking – Joan locked Pete out of the Avon breakfast!

  3. So great to hear that the show continues at its stellar level – not that I ever doubted it – and thanks for finding a good path to avoid spoilers. Could not be more excited to see what MW and the gang have made for us. What a treat.

  4. The on-screen guide blurb for the episode is enticing and, as usual, obscure.

    – Seeking a long out of-touch friend.
    – Difficulty zeroing in on the problem with an account.
    – Deception comes from a surprising source.

    All that and more!

    Mad Men – Sunday at 10 (9 central) on AMC.

  5. […] Deborah has a spoiler-free review of the Mad Men midseason premiere. The Lipps also posted Part 3 of their writeup for the  Lincoln […]

  6. Very anxious to see what up with Ted Chaough. He is essential to the McCann deal yet he was clearly at loose ends in “Waterloo”. I have a feeling that Don’s pep talk may not have been enough to lift Ted’s existential gloom.

  7. Has anyone seen the promo that begins with Don talking about nostalgia? In it, there is a clip showing Roger and Joan saying that they miss eachother. I don’t recall this ever happening in previous episodes. Did it or is this a new scene in an episode of 7.2?

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