Mad Men Recap: Time & Life–What’s in a name?

 Posted by on April 27, 2015 at 12:41 am  Mad Men, Season 7
Apr 272015
Photo Credit:Justina Mintz/AMC

Photo Credit:Justina Mintz/AMC

Mad Men episode 7.11, Time & Life, is Jared Harris’s directorial debut, and I can only say, Welcome! This is the best episode of Mad Men since Waterloo. Harris deftly juggled a huge range of moods, subtly and not-so-subtly calling back to earlier episodes, and toying with our expectations throughout.

I’m not going to end with a bunch of bullets this week, so I’ll give you quote of the week up front. Naturally, it belongs to Roger: He loves feeling the tip of your nose in the seat of his pants. Ha!

In our first scene at Sterling Cooper, we see Roger’s desk piled high with folders. Since the beginning of the second half of Season 7, we’ve seen Roger working hard; something he’s never done before. Caroline pulling Shirley in to help her was treated as a joke, both in the script and by the audience, but there’s a serious component here; Roger has a lot to do, probably for the first time in his life. He’s taking the work very seriously as well, living up to the responsibility he took on as president of SC&P, to make the company work, and to honor Bert Cooper’s memory. The fact that it was Roger who figured out that the lease had expired, and then followed up on what that meant, is proof enough. In the past, wouldn’t he have pawned that off on Joan, or at least Dawn?

Isn’t hard work supposed to amount to something?

In Time & Life, a lot of people are trying to preserve a lot of things, things they’ve worked very hard to keep. Most of the partners want to keep SC&P as a separate entity, Pete wants to keep the tradition of a Campbell in Greenwich Country Day School, and Joan wants to preserve the professional respect she has at SC&P—something she (and we) knows she can’t get at McCann.

The episode also walks us through moment after moment of the past coming back to haunt people. What did I do? Roger asks, of selling the company to McCann Erickson. He’s remorseful, he apologizes. But the past, the things we’ve done, are everywhere in this episode. Ted, the one partner who is comfortable with what’s happened, is dating his old college girlfriend. Don reminds the partners, We’ve done it before. Pete gets in a fight over a three-hundred year-old conflict between the Campbells and the MacDonalds. Pete also calls Trudy “timeless ageless.” Ted looks back on his time in California with deep regret, apologizing to Don for taking his slot out there. In the episode’s most devastating scene, Peggy’s past returns to haunt her.

The direction deftly echoes this theme of recurrence in shots and motifs that remind us of past episodes. We are explicitly reminded of Shut the Door. Have a Seat. We’ve done it before. So much so that I was absolutely convinced they could pull it off. I started thinking about how Mad Men has always had a trajectory towards California, and how many people have predicted the series would end with Don Draper out west.

But if this show has ever had a villain, that villain has been Jim Hobart since we met him in Season 1, and Don is defeated, leaving the partners at the conference table, lined up and devastated, in a reversal of the hopeful shot of the partners from behind that was one of the final shots of Season 5.

At the end of that very dark night of drinking, the partners one by one leave, until it’s just Roger and Don at the bar. Roger confesses his relationship with Marie Calvet—another relationship from the past that came back, if you’re keeping score—and then says to Don, You are okay.

Is that, like, the most famous quote from Mad Men or what?

Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.

When Pete and Peggy sat on the couch at the end of Meditations in an Emergency, the scene, shot by shot, echoed a Season 1 scene of the two of them on the couch. The most significant moments these two have shared have been on the couch in his office or hers. So here they are on the couch again, and clearly the visual reference is there. Even if you don’t remember it as explicitly as I do, for a fan of the show, I think the image must at least evoke a subconscious feeling; the physical placement is so intimate for these two. Because of their past. In Meditations in an Emergency, Pete and Peggy sat on a couch together as she told him that she gave up his baby for adoption. In Time & Life, Pete comes upon Peggy being hugged by a child, and then they shut the door and have a seat on a couch together. He says he’s coming to her to be helpful, but in the end, she comforts him, and it’s clear that’s what he really went there for.

Time happens. Life happens. You struggle, you give things up, you make decisions. You do the work, as Freddy Rumsen once said. You do it because it produces results.

Except this time. This time, you just have to surrender. You just have to stand there with the realization that you lost.

It’s at this moment of loss, the end of the road for SC&P, that we return to Peggy, and that, dear reader, is when I cried. I don’t hate kids. Peggy is sitting on another couch. In this moment with Stan, I didn’t know how far it would go, how much she’d confess (if anything), and how much he’d understand. But the moment was so incredibly full, that it seemed inevitable, and so very earned, that the scene went all the way. Full confession. I don’t know, but it’s not because I don’t care. So the next day, when she says she wants him to go to McCann, and you know she’ll be able to make a place for him, you know that they trust each other fully, and this will be okay. I have never been a hardcore Stan/Peggy ‘shipper, but this one did it for me. Go for it, you crazy kids!

What’s in a name? Don asks. Roger thinks he’s quoting Shakespeare, but Don is thinking as much about Dick Whitman as about Sterling Cooper. Everyone wants to preserve a name, a presence, a sense of making a mark on earth. Peggy’s mark, her child, is invisible and forever lost to her. The Sterling name is gone, and Cooper lost his balls in the war. Now Sterling Cooper as a name is gone too. Joan wants to preserve her name as an “account man.” And Don? Don’s the guy with the gung-ho speeches, the ability to see the future, to paint a vision of tomorrow that inspires. He’s done it time and again. And this time? Hold on, this is the beginning of something, not the end.

They all walk away.



  152 Responses to “Mad Men Recap: Time & Life–What’s in a name?”

  1. Roger went and made a deal with the devil. What the hell did he think was going to happen?

    • I think Roger made the best deal he could given that he was trying to rescue Don and save his job. When ever you make a deal, personal or business, there is always the possibility that it will bite you, so you make the best of the situation and hopefully think of all the details. Roger did not conceive that They would be willing to jettison that much in billing. But they were.

      • And why were they willing? Why are McCann Erickson so determined to rid themselves of SC&P as a separate entity that they’d give up $18 million in billings (less whatever the rent is)? What do they get out of it?

        • They get Don and Ted on their biggest, most important accounts. “You passed the test”

        • And in the meantime they get SC&P’s non-conflicting accounts. Agencies like Sterling Cooper (and its antecedents) made their names on brilliant creative and top-flight service; old-line behemoths like McCann-Erickson, BBDO, etc. built their empires the way great empires are built: mergers and acquisitions.

        • And McCann is vindictive-the headhunter tells Peggy.

          We should have known when the got rid of Ken for less money, and calling them black Irish thugs.

          Don burned Hobart way back in s1. I think Hobart’s interested less in Dons work and more on having the power to ruin Don. They have so much, they don’t care.

  2. Ironic that Pete punches someone in the episode in which Jared Harris makes his directorial debut.

  3. As noted, Joan will get less respect at McCann than Rodney Dangerfield on his worst day. Even though we saw that so obviously just a few episodes back, it had slipped my mind, but in being reminded of it, I flashed back to an earlier season, when we witnessed an awful display of disrespect toward women. It was a scene with Don in an elevator at work, along with some young men from some other firm in the building. They were rudely and rather graphically rehashing a recent sexual conquest of a female coworker. This happened as a woman in the elevator, was forced to listen to them. Don gave them a look, that should’ve conveyed to them to SHUT – UP – NOW, though it didn’t. So, he grabbed the hat off of one’s head, thrust it into his chest and told the twerp, “There’s a lady present.”

    If everyone in that meeting with Jim Hobart, actually does go to the McCann offices and Joan runs into the same kind of abuse as before, will Don come to her aid? There has been a real sense of respect and affection for her, despite a few bumps between Joan and Don, yet Joan didn’t care for it, when Peggy came to her aid, in the episode that involved Joey’s rude drawing. I would like to think that Joan would appreciate Don being in her corner, if she runs into trouble, but I have to wonder if she will.

    What’s really strange at this point, is how much stronger Peggy seems to be, compared to Joan. even at that earlier session at McCann, she didn’t seem affected by the rude remarks, while Joan was stung by them. In a way, their roles have reversed, when you compare where Peggy was at the start of the series and how Joan came across then. Now, even though Joan is a partner and she got a tidy bundle from McCann’s acquisition of SC&P, with this latest development, Peggy appears to be in the catbird seat, while Joan seems like she’s left out in the cold, having noting to bring to the party, or even an invitation to attend.

    • Well, that’s understandable. Peggy’s career will keep on thriving, in three years she will make four times what she’s earning currently. But Joan’s career isn’t even acknowledged. McCann dangled the big carrots in front of all the boys in the boardroom and didn’t even see Joan seated at the table. No matter how well she does, no matter how far away she goes from being the big breasted secretary, that is all she will be seen to be. She’s no less attached to her career goals than Peggy is, remember that. That she managed to maintain her composure after such a flagrant slap in the face (notice how none of the men even realized she was left out?) is testament to her strength. Of all the players in this game, she really is the only one who could go out there on her own and make her own advertising agency (after all, she can do all the things those men can do, but none of them can do what she can) but I’m getting the feeling she’s just so tired of it all.

      • Except for that fact that she lacks creativity. Her bookwork is meticulous. Maybe she could have started her own accounting firm, but I doubt she’d do well at the helm of an ad agency.

        • Yes, I agree. I think that her deficit in advertising industry “creativity” can be seen as an engine for her animosity toward Don Draper and, of course, Peggy. She does understand the inner game of accounts acquisition and accounts management. She just does not fully grasp what those temperamental artsy types do when they somehow translate their afternoon naps and martini lunches into winning ad campaigns.

          • Disagree.
            In a number of instances, Joan has been creative and has acted with initiative. Avon. Butler.
            True, a different kind of creative, but creative nevertheless.

            • I’m not feeling the ‘Joan is creative’ angle either. I’m not trying to gang up on you…I wish I saw her in this light but she is accounts…through and through.

            • Semantics. “Creative” is a (horrible) catch-all used to describe the creative service job titles – the art directors, copy writers, people whose “creative work” is delivered to the clients.

              Joan is definitely clever and creative, but not as a designer or copywriter.

        • There’s two main categories of people at an ad agency, accounts and creative. Joan is accounts if she sound someone in creative willing to join her, she could start her own agency. When SCDP started, they took people from both departments.

          • Joan referred to their “four year contract(s)” and non-compete clauses.

            Roger mentioned five-year contracts in Waterloo (Ep-707), so I took Joan’s comment to mean four years remaining. Supposing that McCann paid 20% up front and will pay a level amount of the remaining 80% over five years, then they would pay 16%/year – about 36% of 1.5-million to date for Joan (one-half-million plus change).

            If she were to negotiate a separation she might have to leave the remaining million bucks on the table – a powerful inducement to grin and Barrett (uh, bear it).

      • Notice the contrast between Hobart and the still-fully-intact McKendrick. Hobart wooed the partners (most anyway), McKendrick pulled out an org-chart. Carrot and stick.

    • This is a good observation SmilerG. I think about how Joan is a notch older generationally than Peggy and how different that makes their roles at the firm. One of the many things I love about MM is that it goes deeper than less original shows in this case by showing two very different but very convincing experiences of women in a workplace from 1960 to 1970. MM does not paint with one broad brush. Career-wise the McCann absorption is a step forward for Peggy and a big step backward for Joan.

      Joan always had a great deal more positional power than Peggy. Joan knew her power and as you say she parlayed this into both a solid role at SC&P and a nice nest egg. Don’t get me wrong, Joan has amazing skills as a fixer – seeing and solving tactical and strategic problems before they blow up but that type of power held by a woman will find no home at McCann. Despite some exposure to account work Joan does not have the marketable skill set of a Peggy. Peggy has parlayed her time as a very talented and hardworking creative gaining experience pelt by pelt (and creative beats accounts). She is a pioneer on a career path not imaginable to Joan at the old Sterling Cooper. Peggy’s headhunter has it right – she is outrageously marketable with an advantage as a creative woman in a man’s world. Peggy will be running on rocket fuel at McCann and beyond.

  4. I just realized that Pete Campbell’s daughter not getting into the right preschool is a reflection of what Hobart did to SC. The Campbell’s allowed the MacDonalds to a safe haven, the castle that is now know as the setting for Downton Abbeys “Shrimpy” , Lady Roses home, and after several weeks of offering safe haven suddenly turned on the MacDonalds and killed them at night, and proceeded to hunt down and kill the families of the Clan MacDonald. This was of course not really all that simple, but it was against all the rules of the culture of the Scottish Clans. Similarly, MacCann took inSC and gave them safe refuge and then turned on them and destroyed them. This caused many in the Clan MacDonald to go to either Ireland or Americia, usually to the southern Appalachians. It was a rather wild and open space in the 1700’s, maybe like CA in the 1970’s?

    • So this was the “Red Wedding” of “Mad Men”?*

      *Though GRRM actually based the Red Wedding on the “Black Dinner”, another one of the (many) violent events in Scottish history.#

      #Scotland’s unofficial motto seems to be “The Family That Slays Together Stays Together.”*

      *Which I know, being part Scots myself. 😉

    • Wow, that’s amazing!!

  5. In the establishing shot for the scene of the meeting with Jim Hobart, we get a brief glimpse a map of the world on the conference room wall. Seeing it made me think of the little film at the start of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, “The Crimson Permanent Assurance.” Terry Gilliam’s short film culminates with the elderly clerks-turned- pirates crashing into the boardroom of Very Big Corporation of America, which owns just about every business it can merge with or otherwise gobble up. This map seems an apt symbol for McCann’s current position as a mammoth global advertising firm, with a presence in 120 countries.

  6. Don said “what’s in a name?” and I wondered if he may out himself
    as Dick and escape this contract. Although the implications of doing that are far greater (I think) than breaking his contract.

    • They say that lightbulbs are most brilliant just before they burn out. Don Draper is close to burn out. There is no way that Don Draper will work at the “Sausage Factory”. Don is becoming Dick Whitman again. Don Draper’s brilliant presentation to keep Sterling Cooper’s nominal independence has failed. Dick Whitman is exploring options. Don Draper’s friendship with Roger will end with his involvement with Marie Calvert.
      I think it is sad that Peggy heard about McCann from Pete and not from Don.

      I feel that Dick Whitman and Diana go way back. She is someone that knew Dick before Korea and before Anna Draper. It wouldn’t surprise me that Diana was once a teen-aged prostitute in Uncle Mac’s whorehouse that befriended Dick. They seem about the same age.

      • Beautiful write up Deborah. I just loved this episode. I think Jared Harris did a magnificent job as did all of the actors, really strong performances . The reality of the wrapping the series was seared into it. I cried when Roger kissed Don, for God’s sake!
        I don’t think MW will tie it all up with a bow, some of it will be left for us to draw our own conclusions. For the first time, I do see the potential of Stan and Peggy. He just melted and saw side of her. I thought Trudy was going to grab Pete for a quick shag, noting the coast was clear…I would not be surprised if the reconciled. Roger and Marie? Makes sense to me…I think Joan is going to throw in the towel and let her knight in shining armor take care of her. She’s tired of all of it. Ted has come full circle and is content.
        I have been saying for along time, Don as Dick, out West with an autobody shop. Loved Bob K’s thought about Diana…just maybe.

        • That’s what I’ve been thinking since season 2–Don in California as an Auto mechanic, living as his authentic self. I’d love that!

          • I don’t think Dick Whitman exists anymore in his former state. Obviously, at this point he is a metamorphosis of Don and Dick and Don has seen the world, experienced money and comfort and intellectual pursuit. Don would be miserable as Dick in about a week.

      • In the scene at the bar with Don and Roger, Don’s hair is messed up, just like Dick’s hair was when he visited Anna in California. This seemed to me to be a confirmation of the Don-becoming-Dick theory.

      • Interesting theory about Dick Whitman and Diane but that would require so much it’s-a-small-world credulity one wonders if MW would go there. Or to think of it another way, it would be more plausible for Don to bump into, say, the Neve Campbell character somewhere in NYC and it seems unlikely MW would go there either.

      • Bob K, I also sensed, by the end of the episode, that Dick Whitman was going to
        Don Draper out of the office and back to California.

        But not to become an auto mechanic. Don Draper wants to be his own man, not a cog in McCann’s wheel, if Jim Hobart even keeps him. Don Draper, the real one, is dead – the noncompete clause in the contract with McCann wouldn’t exist if Don wanted to legally resume his real identity and name. Dick Whitman could walk away a free man (without the rest of the Draper $ due from McCann, of course) AND maybe start his own agency out West, taking all those discarded accounts with him. How he would pull that off, I have no idea but he’s a survivor, loves a challenge, and is looking for a future.

        The strangest thing to consider is that Dick might now be forced to deny that he was ever Don, in order to keep the vindictive McCann litigators away.

        As for Diana, and the follow up to Don saying “you know she’s crazy,” About Marie Calvet” I keep thinking about Roger telling Don that he married his own secretary after warning Roger not to -could crazy Diana come back? Or maybe Megan, her mother’s spoiled slightly crazy daughter?

        • I’m pretty sure that saying he was Don all along would cause more legal and financial issues for him, rather than act as a free escape card.

  7. Hmmmmm. I think you’ve got it.

  8. Sorry, I thought it was a bad episode. Between hijacking the same “corporate takeover” concept yet again, and, like the Peggy/Stan scene, bringing up story lines from the past, seemed just like filler. It also is obvious they are trying to close out the series on a happy note. Matt probably felt that he didn’t want the complaints he got, and the fallout, that happened from the sopranos ending. So he’s doing this ‘tie off every story line with a nice happy bow’.
    It bothers me when a show takes a lot of ‘reading into’ to get the message. Because that leaves everything open for interpretation. And then we all have our own version of what happened. And that obscures the truth. This show didn’t start off like that. Yes, there is deeper meaning to everything. But when u have scenes of Peggy & Stan sitting on a couch talking about her pregnancy from season 1, it’s like the writers are saying “oh hey new viewer, we need to catch u up on the previous 6.5 seasons so you can watch the last episode and set some viewership record for final episodes”.

    • I said in the open thread that I felt like we were getting a lot of softballs thrown at us as viewers – those little moments the writers know the fans are looking for, but at the same time I think they came about very organically. For instance, Joan and Roger have a past, so it’s not surprising they comforted one another when the non-human baby they helped birth was unceremoniously killed (and Roger’s mention of Keven reminded us it’s really not the end of the Sterling line, only the Sterling name). And if there is anything this season is proving, it’s that Don was wrong when he told Peggy “this never happened.” It did happen, she’s dealt with it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still resonate with her. I heard a 9/11 widow talk about her grief as being a stone in her pocket – it was sometimes heavy and sometimes light, but it was always there. I think that’s what Peggy feels about her lost little boy – the Campbell who won’t be going to Greenwich Country Day either.

      As for the move to McCann, I’m actually glad the machinations to create SC & Partners West failed, because that would have really been a retread of an old plot line. Instead our favorite characters have to deal with the loss of their firm, and the uncertain futures they all have. The shot at the end with Don talking but no one listening is also the tale of the generation to which he, Joan, Roger, Ted and even Pete belong. The younger generation is doing its own thing, and just not listening to the voices of history.

      One thought about Don’s future – what are the chances McCann has military or government contracts that would require a security clearance? Might Don’s secret actually end up being the thing that frees him from working at McCann? How perfect would that irony be?

      • I don’t think Don was wrong when he told her “this never happened”, it was just a temporary solution. It was enough to get her out of the hospital and back to living again. But once she got a little distance from it, Peggy was able to work through her grief, until she was able to confess it to Pete. That’s what Don has never been able to do (or at least, not until recently).

  9. At the end of that very dark night of drinking, the partners one by one leave, until it’s just Roger and Don at the bar. Roger confesses his relationship with Marie Calvet—another relationship from the past that came back, if you’re keeping score—and then says to Don, You are okay.

    IIRC, that was right after Don warned Roger about Marie, “She’s crazy, you know.” Taken that way, I almost felt like Roger was revoking Don’s invitation to the party, so to speak. The show is all about crazy people, and how the advertising business makes people crazy or do crazy things, and Roger channels the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland: “Well of course she’s crazy, you idiot! We’re ALL crazy here. I’m crazy. You’re crazy. You must be, or you would never have come he– oh. Hm. Perhaps you’re not so crazy after all. Better get out while the getting’s good.”

    He just might.

    • Ironic, too, in that after Roger reminds Don of his hypocritical “Don’t Marry Your Secretary” warning, Don warns Roger about Marie being “crazy” and then goes off in search of … Diane, who most observers would consider crazier than Marie.

      • Am I the only person in the entire galaxy who actually WANTS Don to end up with Diana?

        I think that there is something deeply compatible between the two of them. I think they have the capacity to heal each other. I think that she is the only woman in the universe who has something to teach Sally in such a way that that Sally might be willing to listen.

        It’s not that I think Don (or Dick Whitman) would be “happy” with Diana, or she with him. It’s just that I think they might be … able to find some peace. I am rooting for this. And, yeah, I do not think it is going to happen.

        • Falling ill
          Love with a needy stranger is something I could imagine Don doing. It is his pattern, after all.

  10. The most interesting part of last night’s episode was how all the partners, save Don, had a loved one to lean on even as the company was being dissolved. Also, the scene when Peggy told Stan about the child she gave up, was one of the best in recent memory.

    My full recap –

    • Agreed Tilden. Looking forward to your recap.

    • Tilden — I agree with your observation. All of the episodes thus far end with Don alone, and it makes me think of his conversation with Anna when she read his Tarrot cards in The Mountain King, episode 2.12:

      Don Draper/Dick Whitman: What does it mean?

      Anna Draper: It means the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.

      Don Draper/Dick Whitman: What if it’s true?

      Anna Draper: Then you can change.

      Don Draper/Dick Whitman: People don’t change.

      Anna Draper: I think she stands for wisdom. Once you live, you learn things.

      I think that Don is painfully aware of how alone he is right now. He is trying to change and he is trying to live a life. He told Diana “I am ready,” but she wasn’t ready and we don’t know if Diana will be the one that could help Don to learn and change.

      I think that ultimately Sally will play an important role in whether Don will be able to learn the critical things he needs to learn to change that will help him to no longer be alone. If Don and Sally repair their relationship, Don may not get a partner to lean on, but he would no longer be alone because he could become the father that Sally needs and the father that Don needs to become.

      The theme of children and parents hit in this episode for Joan, Roger, Pete & Trudy, yet not for Don.

  11. What would have happened if they didn’t “pass the test?”

    • McCann would probably have sold off SC&P.

    • I think the “passing the test” bit was a crock. The absorption of SC&P was written in the books the moment they decided to sell. Jim Hobart knew what he was getting and now he’s executing. I say this because he had his pitch perfectly prepared – he just cut to the chase when he saw Don gearing up for Draper Special.

      He was decent enough to let them operate separately for a time, but now it’s time to “come home”.

      This doesn’t make him a villain, just evidence that the dye had been cast in the first half of this season.

      There was never a chance this wouldn’t happen.

      • Probably waiting for the lease expiration to come up.

      • In Episode 7.7, when I heard Roger say that he gave McCann 51%, I knew the game was up. Hobart had complete control from the get-go. I’m only amazed that he waited a year.

        Did anyone discover a date in this episode? I’m assuming we’ve been jumping ahead a month at a time and 7.11 was late July of 1970.

        Hobart in the M-E conference room reminded me of the Devil in Don’s Snoball layout from Season 5. There was a piece of modern art behind Hobart”s head with a red arrow pointing to the right. Don’s been dancing above hell’s fire for 10 years. Now he’ll feel the real flames at the Sausage Factory.

        Wonder if M-E still has Hilton’s account? Connie said he and Don would work together again one day.

        Can’t wait to see more of the M-E offices than we saw in the always-hideous AMC previews. Wonder how much they can afford, set-wise, for a few episodes. Looks like 7.12 concerns the move–I thought I saw the old SC&P offices littered with packing mess in one of the shots.

        I’d love to see MW use Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party (1972) as a closing song. It references the new Madison Square Garden, which replaced the one Don and Paul wrestled over losing in the early 60s. “When I got to the Garden party, they all knew my name, but nobody recognized me, I didn’t look the same. . . . But it’s alright now, I’ve learned my lesson well. You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

        • The conference room at McCann was very reminiscent to me of the old S-C conference room. Right where we started.

          L’il Sally – Garden Party would be a PERFECT song to use!

          I saw somewhere that there was a Time Magazine on Peggy’s desk showing the date this episode was sometime in June 1970.

        • There were multiple references to “30 days” in this episode. Initially, Joan said they had until “the end of the month.” Later, she said “30 days.” Meredith tells Don that in “30 days” he won’t have an office or an apartment. His Realtor started the 30 day clock at the end of the previous episode, so my thought was that this episode picked up right after that one. Maybe that was late June and it’s now early July? It seems to me the notice Roger received would have been a 30-day notice to vacate, dated the first of the month.

          We’re also at the one year point of the consummation of the deal with McCann, so giving them a year as a test period would seem to make sense, although Don felt that enough time had passed that he thought they were “safe.”

          • Nothing obvious jumped out at me but we know that Don still has the apartment. It’ll take another viewing for me to tease the date out.

            • I forgot to look for the calendar blocks on Peggy’s desk. Those are always helpful.

              July 1 was a Wednesday and this episode was multiple weekdays in a row. Absolutely no reference to the coming holiday weekend. Possibly Monday, the 6th, but there was certainly no “how was your holiday weekend” banter.

              It seems to me it has to be early in the month or Joan would not have said “by the end of the month.” It if were mid-month already, they’d have until the middle of the next month to vacate.

            • Calendar block has a giant “6” — is that the date (not month)? Then I will have to revise my dates.

        • Oooo, having Connie return would be a really interesting twist. Nice remembery.

          And I laughed out loud at “always-hideous AMC previews.” So true.

  12. The shot of Don in the elevator at the beginning was incredible, and so 1970’s feeling: gone are the black male elevator operators, replaced by white and black women and children riding together. (I realize this was specifically due to the casting call for children of various racial backgrounds.) A perfect visual for the change that’s occurred in the 60’s.

    Powerlessness, loss of identity, and surrender. Don has been told not to speak before, but even when he was demoted from Creative Director people still wanted to hear what he had to say. Now, no one listens. In fact, he is actually interrupted while he’s speaking. Even Ken interrupting Roger and walking out was a devastating conclusion to that power struggle: “I’ve toyed with you long enough.” I don’t believe Roger and Pete even realized or thought of themselves as being toyed with! Similarly, Jim Hobart says: “You can stop struggling. You passed the test.” I don’t think Sterling Cooper realized they were being tested at all…I believe they truly thought they were safe being themselves, focusing on the next win.

    And didn’t Jim Hobart have a touch of Satan in that scene? He knew exactly what each of their biggest dreams and desires were and looked at them individually as he offered them up (except Joan of course). The direction here by Jared Harris was unusual and maybe unprecedented, the way he cut back and forth to closeups of Jim and then the Sterling Cooper players, but it was spot on and so effective. Hobart literally whispers the drawn-out “CO-CA-CO-LA” to Don. In exchange for your soul, this is what I can give you.

    Minor ambiance and atmosphere notes: the furniture seems to be changing. Everywhere except Sterling Cooper, gone are the sleek and clean mid-century modern pop furnishings, replaced by ornate, traditional wooden furniture of an older time. (McCann Erickson was still modern, but clearly moving toward a dark and corporate future.) It’s as if to say, “You had your fun, but the old guard wins.” This is reflected in Pete’s struggle at the private school. He’s old guard too, but he gave it up (never attended like his forefathers) and chose to band with the new upstarts. And now he’s booted out, identity rejected, paying the price.

    And! Beer?! I’m sure I’m wrong, but when have we ever seen the SC&P folks all drinking beer and not any liquor? Truly defeated, not themselves, and drinking mugs of beer in what maybe was a TGI Friday’s.

    Favorite line…Joan to Roger: “Don’t be a baby.”

    • Nicely said, Evan. I loved that line too:0

    • Again, more great insights.

      I notice the beer as well and thought, “Roger? With a beer?”

      And that Coca Cola line? Pure gold. Hobart almost seemed to think that they all were whores (as he seemed to think Joan was.)

  13. Meredith kills me. Is it sadistic to want to see Don and her together? He can’t lose her too.
    I feel zero sexual chemistry between Peggy and Stan. Just saying.
    Mr.Harris did a nice job. It flowed much better than the past couple of episodes. Bravo.

    • Another two cents worth of reflection…. Yeah, I have a small yearning for Don to end up with Meredith. She would adore him and take care of him and, yes, he does seem to need all of that. But then I realize that Don probably sees her as a daughter–a professional version of Sally, only slightly more grown up, but without the potential for insight and wisdom that his daughter already possesses.

      And I think I am the only fan of the show who has been stunned by the power of EACH of these episodes in season seven–not just the first half, but the second half as well. I think of this show as a rich work of art. It has never disappointed me.

      • Can’t say I’m shipping for Don/Diane but having been in the ABM (Anyone But Megan) camp the last few years I wouldn’t complain too much if Diane is where things ended.

        But here are two problems with it. 1) Diane has felt a little out of place in this drama, like she is a Dreiser character who has stepped into a Cheever story. 2) Her and Don ending up as a couple would seem a little unrealistic — would a “don” of Mad Ave really fall in love with a waitress at a diner? Could I happen, I suppose, but would push the bounds of plausibility in regard to this show.

      • Sorry. My comment was for your Don/Diane post higher up in the thread.

      • I definitely don’t see Don ending up with Meredith. She has neither the intelligence nor the sexiness to grab his interest.

        • My guess is that Meredith reminds Don more of Stephanie, his erstwhile niece, than Sally. And he’s trying to give her a little bit of the care he was not able or allowed to when Megan was around.

  14. This is a great recap and there are some great follow-up comments. I didn’t see the Campbell-MacDonald connection to SC&P at all but what a terrific echo!

    I’m struck thinking about how on one hand SC&P is just a label or at best a symbol and in the scheme of things the SC&P rebels shouldn’t be too nostalgic about finally being absorbed into the McCann Deathstar – it was inevitable. But on the other hand when we think about it, SC&P (and all the predecessor versions) is the place where each of our rebel friends found a home and a place to thrive – a family (thanks, Burger Chef). Pete, it is not enough just to be a Campbell – you have to be there as father or Tammy will make you a stick figure with a mustache! (Trudy’s expression at that moment is awesome).

    Anyway, SC&P is where Joan can find real, professional respect and (as opposed to the rotten frat boy antics of McCann). It is the only place where Pete has worked and been effective and to some extent respected – no wonder he is afraid (I love that he manages to “move” Secor one more time). It is where Rodger’s true father Bert made his home and where Roger the late bloomer finally started growing up.

    As for Don, we have seen his role diminish, evaporate more and more as the McCann absorption takes place because he (Don) is only good when there is something to push up against. Don is the consummate rebel fighter – a loner who longs to save the day with a desperate last minute pitch. Don has to continue inventing and reinventing or he starts to disappear like Marty McFly in a Polaroid. More than a label or just a job, to some extent we really are what we do and our identities grow and thrive only where the environment allows. In the end Don’s SC&P West pitch is ok but it is the silver-tongued devil Hobart who wins this fiddle contest.

    Don is an anachronism now and it totally makes sense that California really resonates with Don because we are actually looking at Dick Whitman. What is in a name? Maybe a whole lot.

  15. The best episode of Season 7.2.

    The scene at the Greenwich Day school recalled “A Lilith Thanksgiving” and I knew from the beginning of that we were in for a classic Pete scene.

    Well, the end game for Mad Men has been set in motion. Roger, Don, Pete, Joan and Ted have sold their birthrights. However, Peggy, Stan, Dawn and Harry are free agents. If an agency is formed in California it will be theirs, most likely with financial backing from the SCDP partners who still have a little over three years left on their contracts with McCann. Three more episodes to see how this plays out.

    Don, of course, can still play the Dick Whitman card. Plus, it has been pointed out on various sites that the California courts did not, at that time, recognize the “no compete” clauses in contracts. There are enough conflicts that Peggy and company can make a go of it in California, especially if Ken (who we learned back in Season 5 made a pact with Peggy) moves the Dow business to the California firm.

    My prediction is that the series will end similarly to The Wire. The older generation will be out of the game but they will be replaced by the next generation. California never completely replaced Madison Ave but agencies on the left coast became a force in the 1970’s as the industry adjusted to television replacing newspapers and magazines as the focus of advertising.

    • I can’t see Brooklyn girl Peggy ever leaving NYC.

      • She’s been on a plane TWICE. (2 trips.)
        She could use the frequent flyer miles.

        • We saw her on the plane to Burger Chef (Indianapolis?) – which implies the return flight.

          In her pitch she mentioned field work in three states. One would think they’d fly at least the bookends on a highway circuit between the burger joints. I wonder if Della Femina addressed reseach (in his book) before a commitment to an ad campaign? Would BC pay time and expenses up ’til then?

          • Surely she didn’t drive on the Virginia Slims, dogs humping, trip? That would bump it to four times on a plane.

            • I doubt Peggy knows how to drive. Isn’t she NYC born and bred? Would her family even have owned a car?

            • @Donna,

              According to his passengers, Pete (who played as a child in Central Park) STILL can’t drive.

              I don’t know NY at all. Is it a pain to operate a car in Peggy’s old Brooklyn neighborhood?

            • People do drive around in Brooklyn, but you don’t really need to. Bay Ridge has a subway–what was then called the BMT and is now the R.

            • Peggy drove in “The New Girl”. She borrowed her brother-in-law’s car to pick up Don & Bobbie from the police station. Don’t know if she’d still have her driver’s license after all these years, though.

            • New Yorkers do tend to maintain the license if they have it (although I dated someone who didn’t), but it’s also quite common to be like Pete, and just never have it.

            • Woody Allen is perhaps the most famous New Yorker with no DL. He’s been continuously employed since hired as a joke writer at age 18 and can afford to hire a driver.

              What do New Yorkers do when they travel – say to LA, where public transport is poor (or other places where non-existent) – cabs and hitchhiking?

            • The take cabs. If you recall The Jet Set, Pete was appalled that it was so hard to get a cab in LA.

  16. I do not think we have heard the last of Diana Baur. If that were so, why was she referenced again? The reviewer in Esquire today says that we are going to hear that Diana committed suicide. Oh, I hope not. First, I might be the only person in the country who actually liked the character. Secondly, Do we need for Don to have to go there again? It is clear that Matthew Weiner never is concerned with sparing us tragedy, but I am hoping a third suicide is not in the plan.

    I also think that this episode is a watershed moment for Don. I think this is the moment he really gets it. He is either going to change the way he does things or else he is going to crash and burn and he knows it, Coca-Cola or not.

    It is true that change is hard and epiphany is a rare thing, but after all these years of watching the life of Don/Dick unfold before us, do you think that Matthew Weiner is going to end it on a bum note? I don’t. I think at the very least we are going to see a reconcilation betweein Don and Sally and that Don will have some hope for a future different than the “miserable life” that Lou wished him.

    • Diana’s call was a quasi Schrödinger’s call. Diana called, and she didn’t call.

  17. I feel like we’re doomed to the inevitable Peggy/Stan. I’m already hating it.

    • I don’t hate it. I just don’t see it.
      Peggy is job consumed.
      Stan, while very competent, is not balls to the wall.
      I could see him easily writing a novel, if he could afford doing so.

      • I agree, Tilden. That would be a relationship from hell. Peggy is so driven and Stan so laid back that she would go crazy if she had to live with him.

      • I see those two more like Roger and Don. Sometimes they fight, but they have some kind of a strong bond. Two people who otherwise would never have been in each other’s lives if they hadn’t been brought together by SCDP…

      • Me three on Peggy/Stan as lovers. They already have a work marriage. Weiner’s not going to tease – if they were to couple they would have already.

    • At the end the of the film American Graffiti, photos of the major characters are seen, along with a short description of what happened to them after 1964. I doubt that MW will employ this device on the show, mostly leaving everyone’s fates and futures to our imagination and open to speculation.

      Perhaps it would serve as an interesting spring board for a post or two on BOK. We used to do something along these lines, prior to some of the new seasons.

      Some examples of mine that I’ve been playing with:

      In the near future, I think we’ll discover that Sal Romano has been at McCann for a while already, but this hasn’t yet been revealed on the show.

      In the somewhat distant future, Duck Phillips finally finds his niche. In the 1980s, when TV commercials are allowed to extend beyond the one-minute time boundaries, Duck becomes a major player in the production and placement of 30-minute TV Infomercials.

    • I like them together and I think he has always had a yen for her.

  18. I feel that Peggy is struggling with the demands of her job. Many working single women in the Mad Men era and today have a man in their life like Stan. He is more than a friend but never a lover. Peggy and Stan could spend the night in bed with each other and never touch each other. He is not a work spouse either. They can talk about anything, not just work. Stan will give Peggy honest feedback; something she needs now more than ever. Don Draper will not be there for Peggy anymore. Peggy will need a true friend going through what will be a difficult time in her life. I think love and romance will come for Peggy after the end of Mad Men. I think that Peggy and Stan could be business partners in a new agency they might start together.

    • i find it interesting that the song playing while Peggy was talking to Stan was “Stranger on the Shore”…. can’t be an accident, given the subject they were talking about…

    • Jane Maas (“Mad Woman”) had an architect husband, two daughters, and a vital housekeeper/nanny. She recounted how guilty and conflicted she was when the girls were young.

      Mary Wells had two natural and three adopted children by two husbands. Her memoir said little about juggling motherhood with CEO-duties.

      Peggy and Stan like their relationship fine as-is – and have little incentive to spoil it with lust/romance/coupling, especially going to enemy territory.

  19. I may have to just re watch this episode to get my answer but was Peggy’s head hunter being sarcastic when he told her that every agency was full of ivy league grads so she has a lot of opportunity’s or was he making the remark that she is wanted because she doesn’t have a degree? I feel almost like he made a joke there that I just didn’t get.

    • I had that same thought. I’m still not sure what point he was trying to make. Is she “special” because she is not Ivy League, not male, working class background? This makes her valuable? Remember when she was the resident female and got stuck with reviewing all the female related products?

      • My own impression was that Peggy’s work is now known and recognized as excellent. With McCann under her belt, she could write her own ticket. I missed all of that…

    • I thought it was a realistic assessment. Like so many in the professional world, the Ivy Leaguers can’t assess talent – relying instead on “credentials”.

      Look first at resume, see Secretarial School, don’t bother with her book (so many morons out there).

      Not everyone at McCann is an Irish knuckle-dragging moron. Hobart knows that Peggy is a star who will be hard to keep – that’s what the money is for.

    • A commenter on Vulture noticed Peggy’s headhunter played the character “Jimmy” on a Seinfeld episode. He would refer to himself by his own name. Click “Hollis” above for 4 min You Tube clip collection.

  20. Great recap. There are two more examples of the “past coming back to haunt people.” The past rivalry that Pete has had with Kenny vying for head of accounts definitely played a role in this episode. When Don joined Pete and Kenny at the restaurant, Kenny told backed down so it made me wonder if Don had met with him to secure the business instead of Roger and Pete, whether Kenny would have still rejected SCP. The other example is Lou’s past rivalry with Don where Lou couldn’t wait to gloat that he was going forward with better things. Don was definitely a threat to him but I don’t think Don ever made fun of the cartoon. Lou just acted if he did when he said to Don “who’s laughing now”.

    Last observation is that when Stan and Peggy are in their offices talking on the phone and they agreed to stay on the line while they worked, it totally was reminiscent of when Peggy worked with Chaogh and they would stay on the line with eachother after normal business hours.

  21. When McCann told them they passed the test, it made me wonder what the forecast was that Don wrote for Roger to present at the meeting for “select presidents”. At the end of the last episode, we saw Don having difficulty looking forward to write a 2500 word forecast yet he must have written something that was good enough to “pass the test”. I would be interested in knowing what that was.

    • When Roger passed the writing assignment to Don, mention was made of the Gettysburg Address. It had been some years since I had read it, so I had a look.

      In the wake of the meeting at McCann this week, the atmosphere in that conference room was not unlike a cemetery, complete with a long moment of silence, as they all reflected on the death of SC&P.

      Hobart tried to soften the blow and mute the death knell, by suggesting a wonderful existence ahead for them, in the great beyond (McCann). And poor Joan! She got a double whammy, with her past over and done with, and bleak prospects ahead for her, having passed through McCann’s heavenly portals.

      • I think her new boyfriend may be her ticket to another life – he is a solid businessman and she has some assets, so maybe he will help set her up in a new business by adding a little acumen.

        I could see real estate being a very good business for Joan – it’s more about dollars and cents and leverage and less about being liked or taken seriously. If you have the money, you can buy it. And even if she ran into sexism, she could employ a stable of guys to be the front of her business and deal with clients. I think Joan is smart enough to know that being taken ‘seriously’ is not an end in itself.

    • The 2500-word spec is crap – especially from a creative director. I’d be impressed if he cut it to a densely-worded 1000-1500 – more would be padding and excessively compliant.

  22. A note on the women in this episode. I was struck by how Trudy’s situation of being harassed by the husbands of her female friends paralleled Helen Bishop’s back in an earlier season. Things haven’t changed much for divorced women in the suburbs. And poor Joan. She looked so deflated. Things had the illusion of having changed for her. But they haven’t. There is still Roger yelling ‘Joan get in here’ and then the fact of her not getting an account at McCann. You can still swallowing down her true feelings about the situation with her calm demeanor and she is still mothering Roger. My hope is for Peggy. I was struck by the look of determination on her face when Pete told her about the merge with McCann. My feeling was she had thought about this moment and knew exactly what to do- to get advice, to know her worth. That was clearly seen when she demanded her appraisal from Don in last weeks episode. Its still an uphill battle though. And then there is Sally, the youngest generation, in the previous episode, who has the chance to be different. As Don said ‘its up to you to be different’

    • Peggy has never forgotten that she is a girl from Brooklyn, who except for the grace of God and a guy named Freddie Rumsen, who discovered her unique talent; may have found herself working in the secretarial pool for Joan to this day. She would be doing a job like Caroline does now, if she was lucky. She would be earning $500 bucks a month and living with a roommate. Mad Men’s female writers, I think, have been plagued by how to write Peggy. They have done a much better job with Peggy than they have with Joan. Neither of these women will get much respect at McCann. They would work for men like Lou Avery. Peggy has the tools and the skills to be a success, much more than Joan. Sadly, Peggy’s talents would not be appreciated at McCann. However, her talents ARE appreciated by her clients. They will flock to her and her new agency after they are dumped by McCann. Peggy will offer something McCann can’t, her undivided attention. They alone will give her the respect she deserves. Pete and Harry will find themselves under McCann’s thumb and hating every minute of it.

      • Peggy will not be appreciated at McCann–in the 1970s it was too much of an old boys’ club back then. Even the creative shops were light on women. Note that at Sterling Cooper you don’t see a lot of women working on copy or in accounts. That all changed in 10 years.

        My slice of experience dates from later in the 1970s. My first agency job (secretarial, but with a college degree, sub-Ivy) was at Y&R; there were NO women copy chiefs I recall and actually very few AEs and account supervisors. The women were in research, in traffic and HR. I didn’t have a chance there as I didn’t go to an Ivy, didn’t have a MBA and the HR director was a piece of work.

        I left Y&R to go to Scali McCabe Sloves (late 1970s) and had the opportunity to move up there (to AE). There weren’t many women in creative but there were many more in accounts. The next agency, LHSP&B was overall better (we had a woman management supervisor on the agency’s largest account, Subaru, plus a senior account supervisor, the media director was an older woman who was an inspiration to me–and a senior woman producer) but that was the 1980s by that time. Through the 1980s agencies suddenly opened up for women big time — women moved up fast at all levels both agency and client side (where I moved in 1983 and except for a year at Campbell-Ewald, stayed).

        Peggy–hang in there!!

        • Perhaps one of her clients, or a CPG (consumer package goods) company, or a cosmetic company, hires Peggy out of McCann to run their advertising department in a few years? And at that point they overlook her lack of college degree.

          The recruiter’s insistence on Peggy’s ‘college degree’ is just another artificial impediment, like Y&R’s on the Ivy degree and the MBA, thrown up as a block largely to women. You don’t need it to do an account or copy/art job.

          Example: Peggy’s (older) contemporary Ed McCabe (who was one of the Scali McCabe Sloves founders/partners) never went to college either, because he dropped out of high school! He was working at McCann Chicago at age 16 in 1954.

        • Very cool, Dee. That’s the kind of “field work” we like around here.

          Your story suggests that Mary Wells and Jane Maas were rare birds indeed.

  23. This episode underscores my sense that the ending of the series will be ambiguous, perhaps infuriatingly so. It would be completely keeping in line with the overall themes of the series. This episode hit home for me because its subtext is that the transformative option may not be the superior one, or even the possible one. I am going through this same thing in my own life, and it’s hard to deal with because you want to make that big leap.

    I may be misremembering things but in my recollection, Hobart has often been toyed with as the ‘other’ option they could go to, find out their worth, before ultimately deciding to stay put or whatever. And Hobart has, in general, seem to have taken it all as “it’s just business, I’m not going to hold it against you.” In fact, as Don said, he may have shown some restraint and given them the dignity of a little time to themselves after this. I just see him as more of a mixed, even slightly positive character. And remember that he’s been in the big leagues a long time, he may just be like Ted in that for him he can’t imagine working on Coca-Cola not being the culmination of someone’s private hopes.

    One thing I don’t understand is ultimately why they went through with this. Was it just to get their accounts? I couldn’t tell at the end if Hobart seemed to value their own talents as well, or if they were just part of the package he had to placate for awhile in order to keep the various transitions to their obsolescence less disruptive.

    And on a personal note, I was sorry Harry’s last word on the series wasn’t “A**hole”

    • “This episode underscores my sense that the ending of the series will be ambiguous, perhaps infuriatingly so.”


  24. Whose name is really on that five year contract anyway?

  25. Does anyone think that the way Meredith is treated is beginning to be a little cruel? At first it was a little humorous but in every episode she is told to “get out” “there should be a bell on you.” with a really mean tone. She is simple but she is also genuine and truly kind–one of the few that was kind to Don when nobody (including Peggy and Joan among many others) were. Much in the way that Megan was a minor, incidental character for much of season four, I wonder if Meredith is more significant that it appears–hiding in plain sight. I’m not saying she’s going to marry Don but she may prove to be more significant to the plot and what happens with Don than we think.

    • I understand what you are saying, I have worked with and know a person very much like this. The actress plays her perfectly.

      I think they are showing that everyone can get away with a little bullying, and maybe gives all an opportunity to feel a bit superior. It starts at the top and works it’s way down.

    • I really liked that Meredith showed some gumption and wouldn’t let Don blow her off regards the rumors. It’s interesting that she seems to be figuring out the job (unlike Lois).

  26. I also find it interesting that it was Pete and not Don who went to Peggy with the news about McCann. Don and Peggy were so close in the Strategy and Waterloo (like family) and in recent episodes there is hardly any interaction. Wouldn’t Don also think to give Peggy a heads up?

    • Don can be a little self-centered, maybe you’ve noticed.

      • Self-centered – no doubt – but also distracted – more so than Pete, with a fresher divorce, a recently-disrupted living situation, Diana. Plus, Pete was quick – ready to move on (or give in) and not altogether other-centered. Peggy ended up comforting him.

        Don has always been more of a maverick – nearly impossible to break. He had to take a shot to escape (though 18-million in accounts is laughably small and desparate).

      • I know he’s definitely self centered but I thought that was starting to change with him letting her do the burger chef pitch “her way” I thought he was beginning to change after being humbled by his forced leave after Hershey and be less self centered but it seems like things are back to the way they were before. I love the scenes with Don and Peggy and I can’t think of any in 7.2 except her performance review last week. Don and Peggy are the heart and soul of the show. I’m hoping the last few episodes will be more focused on the two of them.

    • May be Don went into Peggy the nervous poodle mode, she’s just going to go with him.

    • Pete is the better choice writing-wise.

      I saw this as a rather spontaneous move by Pete triggered by the child hugging Peggy. Pete is traumatized and “wants a hug” from an old friend. As has been noted on BoK and elsewhere Pete and Peggy are almost like siblings now and close in the unique way that siblings are close (supports MM family theme). This also thematically overlays nicely having the hugging child cause Pete to reach out because it tees up Peggy’s confrontation with the stage mom and the conversation with Stan.

      Btw would P & P’s child be about 9 now?

      • As Elisabeth Moss and Vince Kartheiser have acted together even before Mad Men, the actors’ personal relationship must enhance their relationship on this show.

  27. i wonder if something’s going to happen when joan’s new bf comes to town. he’s never met don, has he? maybe he’ll turn out to be someone who remembers dick from korea?

    or not… but it’s something that occurred to me 😉

  28. Quick question- what happened to Jim Cutler?

  29. There have been very few thrilling scenes this season for me. I struggle to find life in this season. But the scene with Stan and Peggy gave me hope.

    I think when Joan reached Richard on the phone and told him she didn’t know he was coming to NYC and he calls out to his secretary to get him on a red-eye and then said to Joan, “Now you know,” it was a solid for her in an episode that had nothing but bad news for her.

    “This episode underscores my sense that the ending of the series will be ambiguous, perhaps infuriatingly so.”

    I want to echo this thought because I’m sure Mad Men will end this way.

    I also I believe Don will die.

  30. The partner shot which resembled “The Last Supper,”

    reminded me of something I posted in “The Phantom” recap thread.

    The shot of the partners surveying the new second floor

    Combined with Roger facing the window nude during his LSD trip

    Resembles an inverted version of Salvador Dali’s “Sacrament of the Last Supper.”

    This would fit in with the Easter and resurrection (Lane’s life insurance resurrected as the second floor) themes of “The Phantom.”

    The layout of SCDP may be relevant since the first floor is basically a circle. This fits in with how Don keeps going in circles, repeating the past with his affairs, broken marriages, and always trying for a fresh start.

    Don says his life goes in only one direction, forward. But if Don keeps going in circles, then going forward will inevitability lead him back to where he started. So while Don may be speaking of his life as linear, it’s actually circular. Or as he told the stewardess, “I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I’ve already been.” There’s also the idea of family cycles, in how one generation repeats the history of the previous, as Don did with his father’s drinking and and still does with womanizing.

    So how to get out of going in circles? Ascension. That’s what the second floor could be. Also with the image of Roger, he has also ascended in that he is standing on a chair.

    Perhaps it ties into what Don tells Sally in “Forecast.” Sally tells Don that she want to get away from him and Betty and hopefully be a different person who doesn’t “ooze”(move forward in a linear fashion). And then Don tells her that she is like him and Betty and she’ll find that out (family patterns are circular). But then Don adds, “It’s up to you to do more than that” (ascension). And then Sally climbs onto the bus and moves forward.

    Ascension for Don could be moving above repeating patterns and living a life more focused on others like his kids and his work kids, Peggy and Pete. The idea of serving and sacrificing for others would tie into the Christ imagery of the Dali painting. But Don does little of that from S5 till now, which could explain why he’s rarely seen on the second floor.

    But in the “Time and Life” version of “Last Supper,” there are the partners at the table, but no figure with outstretched arms (which symbolizes God). And without divinity there should be no resurrection.

    May be the take on “The Last Supper” is more literal to the New Testament in its link to a Judas figure. And the person who kisses Don is Roger. Roger himself admits that he unintentionally sold out SCDP to McCann. And what does Roger say when he kisses Don? “You are ok,” basically part of Don’s, “Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is?… It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.” So perhaps Roger is selling Don out to a prison of advertising when Don could have been something more.

    The idea of Don being something more goes to Anna’s Tarot reading for Don, in which many interpretations have Don as the Sun card. Also Don is at his best as a person in “Summer Man.” And Don was a better person when he was in California with Anna. Also, when Lou leaves advertising to chase his dream, he goes to Japan, the land of the rising sun. And one account Don has to give up with the McCann integration is Sunkist. So the whole McCann takeover removes Don from the sun, which symbolizes his better self at many levels.

    Also, when Roger kisses Don, Don’s hair is like it was as Dick Whitman. And Don says, “What’s in a name?” which alludes to his dual names. So may be the real person Roger is betraying is Dick Whitman. There have been a lot of posts recently about how Don is becoming Dick again. But what McCann paid for is Don Draper, not Dick Whitman. And with Don going to McCann, there may never be the resurrection of Dick Whitman, just his death

    Then Don gives the employees “This isn’t the end of something. This is the beginning,” referring to resurrection. Harry chimes in that it’s good news, which goes back to the episode “Good News” where Stephanie’s Christian roommate ask her if she’s heard the good news of Jesus. But the rest of the employees they ignore Don because they know this isn’t a resurrection, it’s just a straight up crucifixion.

    And while Hobart tells the partners, “You are dying and going to advertising heaven,” Joan astutely notes, “I wouldn’t count on anything he said.” And by this point Joan knows a thing or two about lying men. So the SCDP partners may be dying, but without the God image to complete the partner shot and turn it into Dali’s “Last Supper” there’s a real question as to where they’re going.

    • Look what happened to the guy sitting in the middle of da Vinci’s Last Supper! A clue to Don’s fate?

      • The ending of Mad Men could be much like the movie The Usual Suspects. Don/Dick might be like Kaiser Sosa played so wonderfully by Kevin Spacey. Don Draper will walk out of McCann; get into a car driven by an unknown woman, then disappear and you will never see him again. He is Dick Whitman again.

        • Do you think he would do that to his kids? Though back in Season 1 he was ready to run away with Rachael and she asked him how he could leave his kids and that he hadn’t really thought it out. Running away is always an option in his mind.

          • Dick Whitman is always been more self absorbed than has Don Draper. Don Draper drinks because he is running away from Dick Whitman. Don Draper lives in the real world where he has to get along and work with other people. Rachel Menken wanted nothing to do with Dick Whitman, she was in love with Don Draper. Dick Whitman is not a very nice guy. Dick Whitman could walk away from his kids in a heartbeat. Don Draper won’t. Dick Whitman abandoned his brother when he sought him out and gave him money to disappear. He may have killed Lt.Don Draper in Korea then assumed his name then had the gall to find comfort with Anna Draper. If Don Draper is ever cornered as he was in Season One where Pete Campbell discovered his true identity,unless there is someone to save him such as Bert Cooper, Don Draper will revert to Dick Whitman once again, and flee.

            • To run with your thesis, Don Draper saved himself when he didn’t back down to Pete’s threat. Bert picked up on this and told Pete to go hang.

            • I think you have those two backward, but that’s just my interpretation.

      • Barbara,

        It definitely could be a clue. While I’d hardly call Don a Christ figure, I’m guessing they have the hammer and nails waiting for him at McCann.

        And the two crucified on either side of him? I’m guessing Peggy and Joan since they will suffer the most at McCann. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a shot of Don with Peggy and Joan on either side of him in the next episode.

        • Celina,

          Dick Whitman has been in a grave since the Korean War. Maybe he’s about to be resurrected! (Mad Men—the other “Greatest Story Ever Told!”

    • I saw this and I had to laugh in context of the Jesus imagery and the general conclusion that McCann isn’t heaven.

  31. So wistful after this episode, even 3 days later. “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” was Dec ’63 – the Beatles were about to land and so much seemed about to bust wide open. Now it’s summer 1970, the Beatles’ ride is over and their last album’s main messages are “Let it be” and “Get back to where you once belonged.” As if the whole dream of freedom and new possibilities was just that – a dream. They held out for a few good years staving off the inevitable, but now it’s time to pay the piper. And on July 26, John Lennon will go into the studio without his band mates and sing: “The dream is over/What can I say?… And so, dear friends/You’ll just have to carry on/The dream is over.”

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