For the past seven years, I have spent my Sunday evenings with a brilliant ad man, Don Draper. Now it is all coming to an end. The drinking, the smoking, the cheating, and the witty one-liners from Roger Sterling… soon they will be gone. This is the final season for AMC’s Mad Men.
It is no secret that I am a big fan of Mad Men. It is one of the best shows on television (if not THE best). But then I am a sucker for great writing, interesting characters, and gorgeous vintage fashion.
AMC ran episodes from last season all day Sunday to help refresh your memory. After all, it has been more than a year since we last saw a new episode in the life and adventures of Don Draper and the daily exploits of the Sterling Cooper ad agency.
The Beginning of the End: The Final Seven Episodes
This season of Mad Men opens with Don, back where he belongs… as the Creative Director of an advertising agency. Not at Sterling Cooper, but at McCann Erickson. (If you recall from last season, Roger made a deal with McCann Erickson to sell a part interest in SC.) Don is smooth talking a beautiful young girl in a full-length mink coat. It is part of auditions for a mink coat campaign.
Don is divorcing little Miss Megan, and now he is enjoying the single life as a very wealthy man. He got a couple million dollars in the McCann deal… that’s 1969 millions, when a million dollars was a lot of money.
So what does a man in his late 30’s, with a lot of money do with his time? Spend most of his time and a lot of his money on young women. Which is the same thing he did when he was married?
Is Don Draper moving closer to becoming Dick Whitman?
In a scene where Don and Roger (who is sporting a hideous mustache) are at a diner with a few beautiful young women, Don tells a story about his childhood growing up in a whorehouse. After so many years of hiding any hint of his life as Dick Whitman, Don seems completely comfortable talking about his past now
“He is always talking about his improvised childhood” — Roger Sterling
Don and Dawn
Don thinks he recognizes the dark-haired waitress at the diner. Perhaps she reminds him of someone. You know how he likes dark-haired women.
Don and Rachel
Don has a vivid dream of a former lover, Rachel Menken. She was probably the only woman that Don actually had real feelings for…maybe he even loved her. The last woman that Don dreamed about a woman he cared for, it was Anna Draper. So, you know what that means. Rachel is dead.
He visits Rachel’s family while they are sitting shiva (a Jewish wake). Met at the door by Rachel’s sister Barbara, Don is ill at ease with the realization that Rachel went on with her life and had a happy family. Something that Don could never have given her.
Peggy and Joan work together on the Topaz pantyhose account, trying to fight off a new player in the pantyhose market, L’eggs. They make a visit to the McCann Erickson offices in an effort to get Topaz into Macy’s department stores.
Peggy and Joan were subjected to sexist insults during the meeting with the guys at McCann. While they were ignoring Peggy’s questions, the jerks subjected Joan to the kind of comments about her body that would be grounds for a sexual harassment suit.
Peggy doesn’t understand why Joan is so upset about the lack of respect. Especially since Joan made over a million dollars on the Sterling Cooper deal. So Joan does what any gorgeous lady millionaire with an incredible figure would do. She goes shopping and spends a ton of money.
Peggy Goes on A Blind Date
Has Peggy finally found a nice guy? One of the copywriters sets Peggy up on a blind date with his brother-in-law. She reluctantly agrees and he is actually a nice guy.
She is over 30 and no wedding ring in sight. That is not a good place for a woman to be in 1969. After a succession of losers, from Pete Campbell, Duck Phillips to Abe Peggy deserves to find love. From the beginning, Peggy has struggled with the choice of marriage and family vs. success in her career. Let’s hope this works out for her.