This past Sunday we got the premier of the final season of Mad Men, and to be honest, as someone who was captivated by the show from the moment Don Draper convinced Lucky Strike to go with the phrase “It’s Toasted”, I was underwhelmed. The original title of this post was going to be “Going Mad”, but alas I didn’t go mad I went “meh”. I have a couple theories why.First and foremost is, this is a series that I binged on to be caught up in time to watch the final season with the rest of the world. So as I watched our characters evolve while some episodes packed a bigger punch than others I was never left sitting and wondering where things were going, or if they’d begin to get interesting, and very little of this episode seemed very interesting. Most of what’s interesting about this show is the drama, and there actually wasn’t much. In fact a lot of it was people coming to terms with who they are and what they want (so I guess I’m going to have to come to terms with that). Here’s a breakdown of where the characters are as I saw it, going by (you guessed it) Time Zones.
In California, things are sunny and happy, and altogether pretty chill. Megan is doing well and so is Pete. For that matter enjoying his work, as well as his real estate agent, apparently. The only tension happened when we saw the strain the distance is having on the Drapers. It wasn’t the TV Don bought, it wasn’t even the mini-spat, it was the fact that mini-spat couldn’t become anything because Don’s only visiting and who wants to waste time when people are together for a short while. The biggest problem that Don always had with Betty was that they never talked about anything. I always felt like there were so many ways that their relationship could have worked if they’d been open with each other, and now, unless Don decides not to remain bi-coastal, I don’t see things lasting much longer for him and Megan.
At least in the in between, Don seems to be able to find a little bit of peace on plane ride back to New York, and while I may be getting quite ahead of myself, if I could choose how the season and series end, it’s with Don and Megan no longer together, and instead after their last interaction, and he’s all cleaned up, we see him get on a plane back to New York, with Lee Cabot by his side again, with the possibility for them living happily ever after…
Speaking of New York, and what actually happened, in stead of what I want to happen…
I was really happy to see things start to go well with Joan, as she handled that little weasel who wanted to drop their business with SC&P. She’s always been one of my favorite characters, and I’ve always admired how gracefully she does her job when she’s so under appreciated for her capabilities and contributions (don’t even get me started on what happened with Jaguar… If I’d been blogging that far back in the series that recap would have included LOTS OF ALL CAPS AND !!!!!!!!!!!)
See and none of that happened this episode… hence my underwhelmed state..
Meanwhile, Peggy on the other hand, who has always seemed like the female yang to Joan’s yin, is finally starting to see at least one negative thing about herself, when she should be seeing two.By the way, she’s also one of my favorites, so I’m not trying to be critical, but if her interaction with her new boss Lou Avery, over the acutron copy (which was via Freddy, via Don… anyone else not know it was Don from the get go, and feel like they should have once it was revealed…) says anything it shows that her superiors butting heads with her may have much more to do with her, than them. This doesn’t mean that Peggy’s wrong, but she fought so hard over the series to be tough, that now it works against her, and I don’t think she understands that yet. What she’s beginning to understand at the end of the episode though, is how all of her choices have brought her loneliness, and success and independence cannot replace feeling loved, or having a companion. She hurting, but at least she’s figuring that side of things out, which is more than I can say for Roger Sterling… poor guy, he’s going to go his whole life shutting his emotions down, and never feeling what he wants.
So there we have it. The episode didn’t wow me, and I hoped it did. I hope I don’t sound as picky as the Hienz bean guy… but I wanted to be wowed.
Finally I think in part I was underwhelmed by the ended that felt like it might have been a good season ender rather than an opener, with Don sitting there shivering, as he begins to get a grip on his alcoholism. It’s a big step, but somehow didn’t do much for me. In fact by the end of this episode I half wondered as I heard the lyrics “you just keep me hanging on” if it was for Don or the viewers. Of Course I’ll keep watching, and as a side note, I’m considering buying an acutron.
What were your thoughts on the episode, leave a comment!