The last shot of The Forecast shows Don Draper who, having just been expelled from his freshly sold apartment, wears a confused expression as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” plays under the closing credits. The title refers to the statement about the company’s future Roger tells Don to write. Don struggles with this assignment as his prognostication abilities don’t seem up to the task. This inability to see forward is also shared by Joan and Richard Burghoff in their storyline.
Struggling to come up with 2500 words on the future, Don asks (pesters) the people around him to describe their visions are of what lies ahead. None of the responses Don receives helps improve his sight. Likewise, Joan is first shown in the episode wearing a sleeping mask designed to block out light. Later, Richard Burghoff, who interrupts his visit to the optometrist to pretend to be a job applicant named “Jim McCloud,” admits to Joan that he is near-sighted.
Don never gets a suitable answer to his question about the future which nags him throughout the episode. In Season 1’s The Wheel, Don crafts an incredible campaign for Kodak’s Carousel slide projector by describing it as a “time machine.” However, Don’s time machine seemed designed to just look backwards. Peggy, whose character parallels Don, is only adept at looking backwards as well. In The Forecast, she’s clearly more focused on her performance review and gets frustrated when Don tries to get her to look in a different direction.
It would seem deliberate that the brand name of the central client in The Forecast is
Peter Pan. Don’s inability to see forward is linked to his lack of growth personally and emotionally. The carousel that ten years previously was a portal to the past, has become a ferris wheel. It lifted Don through dizzying heights in the ensuing decade, but ultimately is leaving him exactly where he started.