Tag Archives: Mad Men S07E08

Mad Men S07E08 – Severance

Mad Men steps back on the scene with “Severance” as the countdown for the final seven episodes begins, and amongst all of the zombies, dragons and clones I’ve been watching over the last year or so, it’s good to get back to some good ol’ fashioned whoring around and smoking. Let’s go…..

-We open with a woman in a chinchilla, which Don Draper points out costs $15,000 and within seconds of the scene unfolding, I want a cigarette; I forgot how much Mad Men makes me want to smoke. But I figured this wasn’t Don seducing a young lady; it had to be something for work and it was as Don and the team are auditioning models. Combined with the song choice, which is Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is”, this is the perfect first scene for the most stylish show on television.

-Don is sitting in a diner with three models, pouring flask booze into their coffee and then, DAMN, ROGER’S MOUSTACHE! That shit was just, man, I had to pause it because I was laughing so hard. It’s not quite a handbar moustache, but it’s all white and looks incredibly out of place, yet it’s Roger so it’s kinda hilarious. Anyway, Don is telling some story about a toaster and Roger ends up leaving a $100 for the bill, but he seems like he recognizes the waitress and she does look very familiar, like we’re supposed to know her. Maybe someone from the Dick Whitman storyline?

-He returns to his empty apartment while calling to get his messages and he hits on the secretary, named Joanne, and Slutty Don is officially back. A blonde enters the apartment, and she is an flight attendant, so I’m guessing she was from the first half of the season when Don was making the cross-country trip to try and make it work with Megan. She spills red wine on the white carpet, but Don is focused, even when she finds Megan’s earring on the floor.

-Peggy, Joan and Harry Crane are working on a pantyhose account for Topaz, haggling over materials and cost with the executives and I gotta admit, the actual advertising part of the show, I’m not really here for. It has its moments, tho, and I think this is to show how much more Joan is involved in the day-to-day activities of what I believe is now Sterling Cooper & Partners. This has been evolving for a couple of seasons now, and I’m thinking that the Peggy/Joan team should be formidable, right? RIGHT?

-Don gets to work to have an hour-long nap before casting, while Peggy gets approached for a double date from someone that I don’t think I know, someone who works under her who has a single brother-in-law. Peggy’s personal life has always been up in the air and remember, the whole situation with Ted blew up in her face. Pete, the boyfriend she stabbed in the last half-season or season or so….Peggy just can’t get that aspect down pat, but really, no one on this show can.

-Joan goes into Don’s office and she makes a smart comment about all of his auditions for models. Don and Joan’s relationship has always been fascinating to me as Joan is one of the few women in Don’s life to never really fall for his bullshit, yet they’re kinda similar in the way they carry themselves; full of confidence on the outside, but a mess on the inside. Joan probably would have been at Don’s level already if she weren’t a woman, but more on that in a bit.

-I wrote down his name as Ol’ Patchy before I remembered his name was Ken, whose father-in-law was an executive of some sort (we’ve seen him before, I know that much), but he is retired now, so Ken and his wife got him a set of clubs. His father-in-law says something about being still young enough to enjoy life, and he tells his daughter that he hasn’t enjoyed anything since her mother died…..with his new wife sitting RIGHT THERE. And she just sat there and took it. I almost fell out my chair. But his theme seems to be all about living life to the fullest, or at least the life you want to live, which is something to keep in mind.

-More auditions, more models for Don and Ted, when in walks Rachel, aka Maggie Siff, who was Tara on Sons of Anarchy, but Rachel is from the first two seasons as she owned a department store that went to Don and company for advertising help, but of course, she fell under Don’s spell and the relationship ended messily, because Don Draper. Don is stunned to see her again, but manages to spit out a tagline as she leaves and shuts the door to reveal that this was just a dream. A couple of things here: one, she walks in and Ted opens the door, but she leaves and Pete closes it….seems like it could be an editing mistake, but Mad Men is far too smart for that and from all accounts, Matthew Weiner is a control freak, so that has to mean something, what, I don’t know. Second, what does seeing Rachel again even mean for Don, who is in bed with yet another blond?

-Ken is sitting with his wife, and the two get into a conversation because he hates his job, and she tries to persuade him to quit, buy a farm and write a book, which is something he has wanted to do for years. The “living life” theme continues for Ken, and I need his pyjamas.

-Don tells his secretary, who looks she is 12, to set up a meeting with Rachel’s store after his dream, while Peggy and Joan are in their own meeting with the guys from McCann, and I kinda forgot how sexist Mad Men can really be. You can see Joan fuming as the guys make panty jokes, tell Joan she should be more involved with bras instead of pantyhose, leg-spreading jokes and Peggy is just rolling with it all, tryna get through the meeting and seems more insulted that they haven’t read the information given to them beforehand. If looks could kill, Joan would have struck all those dudes right there where they sat. It got pretty damn awkward, but that was life in the 60s and 70s…..and 80s……and 90s…….and 2015.

-Ken walks in where he was greeted by Shirley, who tells him that Roger and some Mr. Donnelly character are waiting for him, and I wrote down Shirley as Dawn, the two black female characters in the history of Mad Men (oh wait, there was the Draper nanny, but that is a whole ‘nother conversation). Donnelly is a McCann exec and he cans Cosgrove due to some past beef they had six years ago on some petty shit, and not only that, he has to give his accounts to Pete. Life comes at you fast, bruh.

-Peggy and Joan are in the elevator after the meeting, and Joan unloads, saying she wants to burn the place down. Peggy kinda tells her to suck it up and that she invites the comments because of how she dresses, and lemme tell ya, that was the wrong thing to say. Joan fires back that she wouldn’t expect Peggy to understand because well, she’s kinda plain, but Peggy notes that it is also because Joan is rich and doesn’t even need to be here. The last thing these women need is to be beefin’ over the ways in which they’re victims of sexism. They both have been throughout the storyline of the show, and the Peggy/Joan dynamic has always been interesting because they’re on different sides of the coin, fighting the same fight. I think this was my favorite scene of the episode.

-Don’s secretary tells him that Rachel actually passed away a week prior, and again, Don is stunned, so the dream must have been tryna tell him something.

-Peggy had turned down the double-date offer from her employee earlier, but decides she will at least give the digits out to his brother-in-law, so that is a start.

-Don goes back to the diner from earlier and sees the waitress again, and she goes outside. He follows her and they have sex in the alley, and then walk back like, I don’t know what you’re talking about, hair mussed up and shit. She says that he got his $100 worth as she thinks it was him who left it for the bill at the beginning of the episode. Don is genuinely just tryna talk to her, but that shit just falls into his lap on the regular. Poor guy.

-Don walks into the office to find Ken in a phone booth and he learned that Ken was fired, but Ken tells him about his wife saying he should quit and then this happens. He talks about the life not lived and that he is okay with how stuff worked out, while Don thinks about the Rachel dream and how perhaps, how that could have worked out had he stayed with her (albeit as a married man or maybe he leaves Betty for her, who knows?).

-Joan takes a call from one of the McCann guys, but gets her secretary to say she is in a meeting and then leaves because fuck those guys.

-Ken and Pete are going over all these accounts and Ken is steady throwing shots at Pete, who swears he didn’t know about this, but I can’t trust him because of his hairline (the first of many Pete/hairline jokes over the next six episodes). Pete is so smug it hurts, but he does buy into Ken’s writing plan.

-JOAN BE SHOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPIN’….buyin’ up all the dresses and things, and good on her. I think that it’s more because she was like, fuck it, I’m doing what I want to offset what Peggy said to her and good on her. The saleswoman asks Joan if she used to work there and she could probably get a discount and Joan is like, bitch, I’m rich, you got me confused. Now, there is an issue with how she got the money (sleeping with the Jaguar guy) and I’d like that to be fleshed out a little more, but hey girl, do your thing. Joan owns her sexuality and it’s awesome.

-Ted tells Don that he thought of a new tagline for Wilkinson’s, “There are three women in every man’s life”, which is fitting for Don as that amounts to Betty, Sally and Megan….none of whom we see in this episode. But I guess we’re not counting mistresses and former wives from the identity you stole.

-Peggy is out to dinner with this Stevie guy, who decides to eat the meal that was brought to him, but it wasn’t what he ordered and Peggy gets agitated. He then says that he was told that she was funny and fearless. Well, half of that is right. Funny isn’t the first thing I think when I think of Peggy. And when they switch plates because Peggy says, “I love veal”, I really thought that she said, “I love you”. I was so confused.

-Don tries to pay his respects to Rachel and is greeted by her sister, who is like, bitch, I know who you are as Rachel talked to her about him back in the day. She is snippy as hell with her, which is fair enough, and Don finds out she died of leukemia and had two kids. She hits him with the, “how’s your family, you cheating sonofabitch” and he’s like, ehhhhhhhhh, I’m twice divorced and she looks like she MIGHT feel a little sympathy for him, but not much. But she does say that Rachel lived the life she wanted to live, so there that is again.

-Peggy is hammered at dinner and decides that she wants to go to Paris with Stevie, but she can’t find her passport when she gets home, which is probably for the best since, well, she just met this guy. They decide to go next week instead in one of the strangest things Peggy has ever done.

-Don lies in bed watching a Nixon speech about withdrawing soldiers from Vietnam, so that places this somewhere between 1969 and 1972 if this timeline is accurate. Meanwhile, Peggy’s alarm goes off and she’s like, well, I’m not in Paris and OH MY FUCKING HEAD HURTS.

-Ken walks in on Roger and Pete to tell them that he has a new job, at Dow, where he is the head of advertising now and basically, he is now their client and he is very hard to please. Roger does the only thing you can, which is put your head down and mutter, “shit”.

-Peggy is furiously looking for aspirin and we see Stan for the first time, wearing this neckerchief thing. He’s my darkhorse for Peggy’s chance of happiness, even though she tells him about the date and almost going to Paris.

-Don has homework over the weekend; look over the stuff from Menken’s, Rachel’s store. Then he goes to the diner again and the waitress is like, we’re even now, bruh. Don starts telling her about the Rachel dream, because Don stays telling important shit to strangers, but never to people he knows. She drops some knowledge on him about making sense of people dying, and to bring a date next time he comes in here and he’s like, yo, I’m just tryna chill, b. But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t look familiar. And the episode ends with “Is That All There Is”.

It seems like a long time between half-seasons, but you forget how good a GOOD episode of Mad Men really is. I assume next week will bring in Betty, Sally and the Francis house, while Don continues to figure out what kind of life he wants to live. Will that life involve Megan? And will Don ever tell Sally about the house he took her and her brothers to at the end of Season 6, where he grew up? Stay tuned.