Mad Men kicked off its seventh and final season on Sunday, and it kinda flew under the radar because of Game Of Thrones, which is fitting as these two shows are about as opposite as it can get. You’re not going to get much physical action on Mad Men, but you will get some excellent acting and a show that looks the part of a “great” show. Whether or not the writing holds up, that’s another story. Anyway, let’s go…..
-“Time Zones” opens up with Freddie Rumsen pitching an ad campaign to Peggy, who is now the creative director of Sterling Cooper and Partners (remember, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce merged with Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough at the end of last season), but she never had the power that Don Draper had in this position. She’ll likely have to give it back whenever Don returns to the office, but for now, she has a hand in making the decisions, which is a start. She hits Freddie with a solid backhanded compliment basically saying she didn’t expect his idea to be that good.
-The office is much different now that Pete and Ted are in Los Angeles, Bob Benson’s crazy ass is in Detroit, and Don isn’t there, which leaves Peggy, Ken Cosgrove (in Pete’s old spot) and Joan, who is sent to a meeting with Butler Shoes as Ken is too busy. Joan is finally officially doing some marketing work, but mufuckas still don’t take her seriously after all she has done for the company. She goes to said meeting, and the Butler guy doesn’t want to give her the time of day, but she does learn that Butler is going to pull their account from SC&P, which she manages to delay…..for now.
-We get to Don, who is making his way to Los Angeles to see Megan (#DemTeef), and he still isn’t back to work. The partners did force him to leave, so Don has been chillin’, flying between the two time zones (and you have the name of the episode). Megan picks him up at the airport in a convertible. Don is so not a California guy. He never has been. Every time he is out there, it just seems awkward.
-The two go out for dinner with Megan’s agent, Alan, who wants to reassure Don that he isn’t trying to get with Megan. He then tells her that she got a callback for a pilot on NBC, and he also tells her she doesn’t have to get her teeth fixed yet, which made me laugh, because, #DemTeef. Megan seems different; she has been hanging out with hippies and living in some sort of cabin, yet she drives a convertible. She won’t have sex with Don, which is probably tied to her miscarriage and, I don’t know, I’m not sure this marriage can handle the commuting. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves. I’ve never been a big fan of this character anyway.
-Don hooks up with Pete, who is getting used to L.A. life nicely, gettin’ his tan on and looking less dorky. He has a nice girlfriend in real estate who seems to resist Don’s flirting and Pete doesn’t even seem to care. Pete with confidence….it’s a weird thing to see.
-Meanwhile, Ted is back in New York; he hates it in L.A., but he had to leave to save his family. Peggy doesn’t care one bit and all but kicks him in the nuts in the brief time they’re in the office together. Peggy is MISERABLE now. She seems to be a landlady of some sort, or maybe just a helpful neighbor to the lady upstairs whose toilet is messed up. She is moving up the corporate ladder, but personally, Peggy is a god-awful mess.
-Speaking of messes, Roger Sterling makes an appearance with a room full of women, like, four or five of them. He wakes up naked to a phone call from his daughter Margaret, who was beefin’ with Roger the last time he saw her and wouldn’t let him see his grandchild. He thinks she is trying to get money out of him because that was what happened last season, but he’ll find he is in for a surprise because at the lunch, she tells Roger she forgives him for all of his issues (the drinking, the womanizing, etc.). Roger still thinks the fix is in, but she just wants to forgive him…..for now.
-Don heads back to New York, and he sits down next to an attractive woman on the plane, because he’s Don motherfucking Draper. On first glance, I was like, I recognize this woman and she kinda looks like the doctor’s wife he was banging last season, but not her. Turns out it’s Neve Campbell, who I haven’t seen in ages. Good for her, doing stuff and things. She offers him a sleeping pill and he turns it down, surprisingly. The two flirt back and forth because, well, Don motherfucking Draper. He tells her he is a horrible husband to his wife, while she just spread her husband’s ashes at Disneyland. It’s a pretty weird exchange which I thought was going to end in the airplane bathroom, but not so much. Hell, they fall asleep and she even offers him a ride home, which would obviously end up in sex, but Don declines, and I’m so confused. How many times has Don turned down the chance to cheat on any of his wives? Two? Three? She turns away, but there is no way we don’t see Neve Campbell again. We don’t even know her name in the show, but she’ll be back.
-Don is chillin’ with Freddie, and we learn that Don has been feeding him with ideas and pitches to take back to the company, which makes total sense because, as Peggy alluded to, Freddie isn’t that good and that pitch from the beginning of the episode sounded like vintage Draper. Hell, he thinks to have a drink, but instead puts the bottle of booze down and goes outside to sit and think. Not drinking? Not cheating on his wife? WHO IS THIS DON DRAPER? The episode ends with the song, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, which is obviously towards his relationship with Megan. The final shot of Don just sitting is a trademark shot from Mad Men.
So, that was that. A solid first episode, even though it suffered in the ratings badly. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole split-season thing works out for Mad Men, which will run seven episodes now and the rest in the spring of next year. It worked for The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, but will people still care about a show with little to no action (guns, violence, etc.), even a show with a pedigree like Mad Men has? That could be a bigger storyline than anything we see on the show.