Tag Archives: Pete Campbell

Mad Men S07E14 – Person To Person

Mad Men concluded its outstanding seven-season run with “Person To Person” with a typically understated finale filled with little details and moments that hold special weight if you’ve been watching this story build over time. Let’s go…….

-We open with Don in the desert in a car, and when he goes back to the mechanics, he tells them what is wrong with the car, driving home the point once again that Don is good with fixing stuff and on the low, he always has been. Apparently, he’s backing these guys to break the speed record, so it’s good that his money is being put to use.

-Roger is with Meredith and Caroline, and the order comes down that he doesn’t need two secretaries anymore and since Don isn’t coming back, Meredith is expendable, but first, she translated a speech for Roger into Pig Latin. God love Meredith. She was just tryna help.

-Peggy and Stan are in a meeting with a lady from McCann Erickson who is doling out accounts, and Peggy is cheesed because she was taken off Chevalier, which she had at SC&OPP. Stan thinks she shouldn’t press it, but Peggy is feelin’ herself walking into ME and Stan is like, well, here we go. However, the meeting goes smoother than expected and Peggy gets the account she wants. If I want to see just one person happy when this is all said and done, it’s Peggy.

-Don finds a blonde to sleep with because why not, and it turns out she is a prostitute that tried to steal money out of his wallet, which Don knew had happened. Just like with the kid Andy in “The Milk And Honey Route“, Don reminds you that he is a con man at his core and he knows a con when he sees it. It’s also a bit weird to see Don paying for sex, but not really.

-Joan and Richard are in a hotel room, doing cocaine just to try it, and Joan has set them thangs out in the most revealing dress we’ve seen her wear in quite a while, which means the episode could have ended here and I’d be okay with it. Richard wants to travel around and not be tied down to New York and again, he continues to move mighty fast for someone who JUST got there.

-Pete goes to say goodbye to Peggy and gives her a cactus that someone gave him because well, he has a five-year-old that will surely fuck herself up on that. He also tells Peggy that she’ll be a creative director by 1980 and she’s like, bitch that’s too long, but Pete alludes to the fact that people will be warming up to the idea of a woman being in that role by then, giving the human race plenty of time to adapt because we ain’t shit. It was a nice little moment between Peggy and Pete, who have a wild history that you could have probably done a show about on its own, and speaks to the depth of the characters we’ve invested so much in over seven season. Also, shoutout to Pete giving Harry Crane a cookie and telling him to go sit down somewhere.

-Sally is on the phone with Don, being distant, when she finally breaks down to tell Don about Betty, and Don is like, your mother is a hypochondriac, which goes back to Henry saying that Betty liked the tragedy of her story….nah bitch, she has lung cancer. So obviously, Don lights a cigarette and says he is coming home, but Sally tells him of the plan for the kids to go with their uncle William and he tries to fight it, saying some dumb shit like “grownups make these decisions”, Sally stands firm because this is best for the boys….and she’s right.

-Then he calls Betty, in one of the rare times we don’t see her in makeup (however, her nail game was on fire) with a bedside table full of pills, and he wants to be a part of the kids’ lives, but Betty says this is her wish and she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her time arguing about this. And seriously, she adds, the kids having a normal life doesn’t involve Don because he hasn’t been there anyway, which is a low blow, but right on the money and Don is like, damn, I ain’t shit. Then he says, “Oh, Birdy”, and the camera cuts back and forth between the two of them trying not to cry, and I start looking down at the ground because shit was gettin’ a little dusty, and I look to see we’re only 17 minutes in. This will be a long-ass hour.

-Joan meets with Ken Cosgrove, who has to make an industrial film for Dow, but he needs a producer and someone to write the script. Shit will pay $50,000 for eight minutes. The wheels start turning for Joan.

-Don is damn near passed out and drunk in his room and the mechanics need money, but Don also wants them to drop him off in Los Angeles. After a commercial, Joan calls Peggy to set up a meeting about the script for Ken’s film and why not? Peggy is good at what she does and it’s a lot of money.

-Don ends up on the doorstep of Stephanie, the daughter of the late Anna Draper, and we haven’t seen her since she was pregnant, getting a thousand dollars from Megan to go see her boyfriend in jail. She looks in better shape with Don, and she had her kid taken away from her, but she has a nice little house here, while Don rolls up smellin’ like booze with a shopping bag full of whatever he has left. He came to bring her Anna’s ring since she probably deserves it more than he does. I’m not sure either of them deserve it.

-Roger is in bed with Marie and he says what we Canadians have known for years: Du Maurier is a shitty cigarette. Marie says she saw her ex-husband (or soon-to-be) and starts yelling at Roger in French to get out of his bed and to go sleep in the living room. And he does it. If I have one gripe about this final season of Mad Men, it’s that Roger has been little more than a jokester, although the jokes have been great.

-Stephanie wakes Don and says he is coming with her, then we cut to Bobby tryna make dinner for he and Gene when Sally walks in, and they kick Gene out of the kitchen as he’s just tryna eat this burnt-ass food. Bobby doesn’t know exactly what is going on, all he knows is that his mother is sick, she doesn’t have much time left and she has been fighting with Henry a lot, and I wonder if it is right then and there that Sally decides she isn’t going to Madrid anymore. Instead, she aims to teach Bobby how to cook, so Sally is basically the mother now, putting her dreams on the backburner to deal with this. Hug the women in your family, and not just on Mother’s Day.

-Turns out that Don and Stephanie are going to some yoga-esque retreat with meditation and such. This should be rich.

-Roger visits Joan and Kevin, and asks her if he can put Kevin in his will as legacy has been important to Roger all season; it’s really the only thing that he has been given a chance to sink his teeth into. He also tells Joan that he is marrying Marie and she seems happy for Roger, saying that someone finally got the timing right as she couldn’t hold him down. So the Joan/Roger scene, check (also a check to Peggy/Pete and probably Don/Betty).

-Don and Stephanie are at this retreat, and they do an exercise in which they wander around aimlessly, and then you stop and say, but without words, how the person nearest to you makes you feel. Some hug, some touch each other, but this old woman pushes Don and he’s like, the fuck is this shit about?

-Peggy meets with Joan, who puts forth a proposal for her and Peggy to start their own production company, where they wouldn’t have to listen to pigheaded-ass men who treat them (well, Joan) like sexual objects, but Peggy seems like she’s happy at ME. But the offer is definitely intriguing to Peggy, who is flattered and seems so much younger than Joan here. I don’t even know if “younger” is the right word, maybe “less mature”. Still, after their dust-up at the beginning of Season 7B, it’s good to see the respect is still there between Joan and Peggy.

-It’s “reveal stuff” time at the retreat, and Stephanie is telling everyone how she feels judged by, well, everyone for everything from getting pregnant to getting kicked out of school, basically, for being shitty at life. The woman leading the exercise tells her, yeah, you’re right and your son will always be looking for you, which causes her to run out crying and Don to look at her like, bitch, are you serious? He chases Stephanie and tells her that they can sort all this out by moving to Los Angeles, and there he goes again, tryna save someone. But Stephanie isn’t having it, saying they aren’t even really family anyway and she calls him Dick regularly, and think about it: sure, Anna forgave him before she died, but Stephanie might not as he stole her dead father’s identity, then just shows up like shit is all sweet. Nah, bruh, you can’t be just walkin’ in and out of lives like that.

-Stan walks into Peggy’s office and she tells him about Joan’s offer, and she is looking for reassurance, but Stan starts talking about how he is happy to be good at his job and Peggy says he lacks ambition and is a failure. That stings Stan, who says that he hopes she is drunk because she’ll need an excuse for that, and Peggy knows she fucked up. Stan can’t seem to do anything right around her.

-Joan is with Richard and she is getting excited about her prospects, but Richard starts going on about the job taking away from how much time they’ll get to spend with each other and it’s clear that he doesn’t want her to do anything else but be his woman, which is exactly what Joan is tryna get away from with this new company. I knew I ain’t fuck with this dude. He just wants her all to himself, shit, he had to make a big concession to let her child into the mix. He walks out of the apartment; let this fuckboy go, Joan. You’re better than that. She pulled herself together with the quickness before taking a phone call.

-Don wakes up to find that Stephanie is gone with his car, and it’ll be a couple days before he can get out. So, he calls Peggy, who at first is angry at him, but she realizes something is deeply wrong and Don starts confessing like Usher, stating that, “I broke all my vows, scandalized my child, took another man’s name and made nothing of it.”. Peggy is like, what about Coke and tells him to come home, and Peggy is confused about all this shit, glossing over the last part like it meant nothing. He only called because he never said goodbye to her and Peggy is like, this mufucka’s gon’ kill himself, but Don seriously just wanted to hear her voice because of everything they’ve gone through. Even though Don has given her shit over the years, no one has been a bigger champion for Peggy Olson than Don, who then sits on the ground and has an anxiety attack, which I’m sure we’ve seen him have before.

-Peggy calls Stan right away to say she heard from Don, and Stan is like, that is Don: he’s a survivor (word to Destiny’s Child) and he’ll be fine, but Peggy is distraught and ends up apologizing for saying shitty things to Stan earlier, and that is her second cuss word of the episode, drawing from the swear bank of Matthew Weiner. She also tells Stan she is staying at ME, which makes him happy because she drives him crazy, but he can’t stop thinking about her and that he is in love with her. I may or may not have watched this scene like, 12 times just to pause the look on Peggy’s face when she’s like, “wait a minute, what was that now?”. In a roundabout and awkward way, as Peggy is known to do, she reciprocates it, but Stan isn’t on the phone anymore, he runs to her office and they kiss. I may or may not have been standing on my couch at this point.

-Don is still sitting on the ground when a woman comes by to ask him to join her in a class she is late for. He is sitting there blankly, until a man gets up and starts talking about how invisible he is to his family, they don’t even know he is there and no one cares that he is gone, which goes back to the conversations he has had with Betty and Sally. This all hits Don really hard and he goes up to the man and starts hugging him, and this is the beauty of Mad Men: we wait seven seasons for some sort of lesson from the main characters, and then this random dude comes out of nowhere and encapsulates Don Draper’s entire existence. The man says something about spending your life trying to get love, and people are trying to give it to you, but you don’t even know what it is. Look at every single relationship Don has ever had and that has been the overarching theme. Matthew Weiner, you brilliant, brilliant bastard.

-So, here we are with a montage: Pete, Trudy and Tammy are on their way to Wichita in a private plane as he starts with Lear. Joan hands Kevin to her mother as she walks into her apartment, which is HQ for her production company, and we also learn that is November 1970, so we have an end date. Roger and Marie are having a drink and waiting to get married, and Roger has learned French, so you know she’s special to him. Sally is washing dishes at the house while Betty smokes and reads the paper because, dammit Betty, don’t you ever change. Peggy is typing away and then Stan comes in and gives her a kiss on the forehead.

-Finally, we see Don in a meditation group and the leader says something about, “new ideas, a new day, a new you” and we get a smile from Don, who might not even be Don anymore. We know he isn’t averse to new identities, so he might be plotting on his new plan. He might be simply coming to peace with being Dick Whitman.There are a bunch of ways you could read into this scene and I’m sure I’ll read 30,000 thinkpieces that do so.

-The series end with the famous Coke commercial, “If I Could Teach The World To Sing”. Was that what Peggy was working on in that montage? ME certainly managed to survive without Don (and the rest of the old firm outside of Peggy), who, like Stan said, realized there was more to life than work and Don had figured that out a couple of episodes ago.

-Also, if you watch that ad, there is a girl in a brown flowered shirt that looks a helluva lot like Stephanie, and also a girl with ribbons in her hair that looks like a girl from the retreat. Coincidence? It could be, but I’ve been watching Mad Men long enough to at least question it.

And thus ends Mad Men, a show that will go down in history as one of the best to ever do it. The finale was as close to perfect, for me, as it could have been and much like the finale of Breaking Bad, I stood and applauded as the credits rolled. Sure, there wasn’t a lot of “action”, or explosions, or zombies, or dragons, or exploding zombie dragons, but good luck tryna come up with a show that developed characters better than Mad Men. Everything that ever happened stayed in line with the characters and what they would, for the most part, and there aren’t many shows that could get away with a finale like this. It kinda reminded me of Dexter as the main character abandons everyone he loves, but done right because Dexter was a goddamn shitshow (don’t even get me started).

Thank you, Matthew Weiner and the cast and crew of Mad Men for telling this story, and never doing too much, and always staying true to the essence of the show. I hope more people get up on it now that it’s done.

 

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Mad Men S07E13 – The Milk And Honey Route

The penultimate episode of Mad Men’s final season blindsides you with something you never see coming, and “The Milk And Honey Route” could have easily gone very badly. Instead, we got an episode that captures everything good about this entire show. Let’s go……

-We open with Don getting pulled over by a cop who says, “You knew we’d catch up with you”….before Don awakes from a dream. Just to remind you that he has been living a borrowed life for the last seven seasons and really doesn’t have much to show for it.

-Pete is playing the good dad, although Tammy got stung by a bee and he asks Trudy to have lunch, but she declines. Matthew Weiner has worked hard to bring Pete back around at the end after years of being incredibly smug, but he has always been a fun character to watch and I’m kinda rooting for him to be happy by the end of all this. He just wants his family back, and I’m happy with any amount of Alison Brie we can get over the last two hours.

-Speaking of, Trudy is with her friend who was there while Pete was, and her friend was amazed that Trudy wasn’t poisoning Pete’s name to Tammy. I think overall for everything that Pete has done, he has always done right by Tammy and you gotta respect that. Shoutout to Trudy for not being petty.

-Sally and Don are talking on the phone about a trip Sally is taking to Madrid, while Don just took a Midwesteren road trip, so I assume he’s done at McCann-Erickson. But like Roger told Jim Hobart, hey, he does that sometimes. Meanwhile, Betty is at school, struggling to walk the stairs, when she falls and you can tell she is in serious distress. That’s not good.

-Duck Phillips makes an appearance with Pete in an elevator as Duck is apparently there to help ME replace Don, so yeah, that answers that question (or that could be a lie, whatever the reason he is here, it can’t be good). But he gets off at the same floor as Pete and pitches him on an idea, but first, he fixes himself a drink because, Duck Phillips. He wants Pete to meet with an exec from Lear, pushing them on the idea that they need a new marketing director and Duck is the man to help them, but he wants Pete to meet with this exec. He doesn’t want to at all, but for some reason, Pete does him a solid.

-Don is driving along and starts hearing noises in his car, and he stops somewhere. Cut to Betty in the hospital, where the doctor tells her that she should call her husband and Betty is like, nah I’m good, my rib is just broken. The doctor was like, seriously…..call your husband. So Henry comes down and starts talkin’ about suing people for scaring Betty, who just want to go home. But then she goes to light up a smoke and Henry angrily grabs the pack from her and there it is: she has cancer. Shit. SHIT. FUCK.

-A tow truck driver takes Don to a motel owned by some nice older couple, and the husband tries to get Don to take a weekly rate, but Don decides on the daily. I don’t even know where Don is at this point. I think Sally is the only person who does.

-Pete is at dinner with the Lear guy and after Pete goes through his spiel about Duck being the right person to help them fill that role, the Lear guy instead wants Pete for the job and they both realize they’ve been duped. But they share a laugh and order brandy because fuck it, Duck is paying. Still, even though Pete is happy at ME, they do get on rather well.

-Cut to an X-ray of Betty’s lung while the doctor explains to Henry what is going on, while Betty is just staring ahead, processing the news that she has 9-12 months to live. I had to pause it and take a minute. This wasn’t in the top ten scenarios I had for the Mad Men finale. I’ve had my beef with Betty Francis and she isn’t the best mother (or person) in the world, but you had hope that she would get better, especially with Sally as she got older.

-Don is reading and meets the maid/messenger, Andy, who knows a lot about this little town, including where to get a bottle of booze. Then he goes to the pool and sees a beautiful brunette, and they hit that 70s shot, the long one where the camera starts at her head to goes all the way to her toes. That’s some Red Shoe Diaries shit right there. Don stares, but then her husband and kids run up and Don jumps in the pool. Don don’t care about your family, bruh, and if he wants her, he’ll get it, so don’t fight it.

-Drunk Duck calls Pete to tell him that the Lear guy is impressed and he wants to have a “last-round” dinner with the wives, between Pete and the other candidate. However, Pete has a job and he doesn’t have a wife, so he isn’t much of a candidate either. But somehow, he ends up agreeing to this dinner and takes down the name of the restaurant. Ducks seems psyched on it, so Pete is obviously hesitant, but curious.

-Betty is brushing her hair when Henry runs into the bathroom to give her all this information about doctors and he yells at her to stop wasting time moping, but when she starts yelling, he asks her if she wants the kids (Bobby and Gene) to hear and she’s like, they’ll hear what I want them to hear when I decide what to tell them. Henry doesn’t know how to handle these situations and walks away. So now the question is, when does she tell Sally?

-Don gets his bottle from Andy, who gets another $10 out of Don and we see that this kid is a hustler, but he has no idea who he is fuckin’ with. But both parties get what they want, and Andy asks Don how he got rich; he is very impressed that Don made commercials for television, and you can also tell this is a very small town.

-Pete puts Tammy to bed and stares at his ex-wife and daughter before going downstairs, while Don sits in a hotel room, watching the great Redd Foxx on a TV that then cuts out. He goes to tell the wife, Sharon, who is fussing with a broken typewriter, but Don fixes it right away and proves that he is handy. She asks him to go to the legion with other Army vets on Saturday night, which seems to be a while away and Don doesn’t know if he’l be there. Something doesn’t seem right with this place.

-Pete is eating pie in the dark when Trudy comes in and is like, why are you still here, b? He asks her to come to the Lear dinner this weekend and she’s like, nah, I don’t have to do that shit anymore. He pushes and she thinks about it, but she eventually goes into ice mode and kicks him out. Something is still there for her, but she can’t let go of the past.

-Sally gets back to her room and it’s Henry, who sits Betty down to tell her that her mother is sick and she instantly puts her hands over her ears. But Henry wants her to persuade Betty to get treatment, and that she’ll listen to Sally, which shows he really hasn’t been paying attention to how they treat other. He then tells her that it’s okay to cry, but it’s Henry who breaks down and leaves Sally with a look of “is this really happening?”. When I first watched this, I felt some kinda way about Henry telling Sally; I thought it should be Betty, or even Don. The only reason I feel like this is because Henry isn’t doing it for Sally, he’s doing it for himself because of his love for Betty, and we’ve had no indication that he has had a relationship with Sally, even though he has been married to her mother for a while now. I don’t know, it was just weird. But Sally at least tries to put her arm around him while she figures out what to do next. My guess would be to call Don.

-Don’s car seems to be running, so it seems like his time there has come to an end….but the husband is dead set on Don staying one more night to party at the legion. He also points out that they get a lot of tourists coming through, and Don has only made two phone calls in six days, which is even creepier because why are you watching me this close? He even throws in the room for another night on the house and another night for to fix a Coke machine, so hey, Don gets to finally work with Coke; that was a selling point for ME when they absorbed SCPLMNOP. Much like Pete, Don, somehow, gets roped into a situation.

-Henry arrives home with a surprise for Betty: it’s Sally, and the two have the most awkward staredown we’ve seen in a while on Mad Men. Betty walks past Sally (who thinks she is getting a hug, but NOAP) and she’s fuming, I think because Henry went behind her back to tell Sally and again, I think it was Betty’s place to do it. I don’t know, I have a poor memory with everything, but I just haven’t seen enough of a relationship between Henry and Sally to give him the right to do that. Henry goes to Betty, while Sally sits down with her brothers, and I notice that Gene is being played by the kid who played Abel on Sons of Anarchy. Get that work, little man, get that work.

-Don gets to the legion and apparently, the hook is that it’s a fundraiser for a man whose house burned down, so Don gives $40 and gets applause, while someone gets a $5 fine for swearing. That’s at least two episodes, maybe three, where there has been swearing, it’s like Weiner was saving them all up for these episodes.

-Pete is out to dinner with his brother instead of at the Lear dinner, and the two start talking about life and infidelity, both of which they’ve been guilty of, and Pete obviously starts thinking about Trudy. I’m picturing Pete drunk in the dark, listening to Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” with the first six digits of Trudy’s number dialed.

-Don is listening to old war stories when he meets a man who was from the same area in which he served, and he asks Don to see his face and Don is like, oh God please don’t recognize me. He doesn’t, but the man is good and drunk by now. Anyway, some woman jumps out of a cake and starts dancing, and they haven’t seen a woman in years, it seems.

-I was close. Pete is indeed drunk at home, and I bet he is thinking of calling Trudy when he gets a visit from Duck, who is pissed about Pete skipping out on the meeting, but it worked out because Lear is now offering Pete the job, $100,000 a year and use of the corporate jet, plus stocks to make up for the money he leaves at ME. Pete kicks out Drunk Duck, who doesn’t know which way to turn when he leaves, but Pete is now thinking about the Lear job….he has to be.

-More war stories at the legion, and by this point, they’re HAMMERED. Somewhere, Don decides to tell the story of how he, as Dick Whitman, accidentally killed his CO, and he has to feel good to Don to get this out because I’m not sure he has ever actually told someone; Betty and Pete both found out, but I’m not sure they know the story and here, he leaves out the stolen-identity part because they don’t need to know that.

-Betty goes into Sally’s room and says she wanted to tell Sally, who says Henry said she didn’t want treatment because she loves the tragedy of the situation, so yeah, fuck Henry Francis, b. Betty also says that she watched her mother die and doesn’t want Sally to do the same thing, and that she doesn’t want Betty thinking she is a quitter because she has fought for plenty in her life. Betty is another woman who has been looking for acceptance in the world of Mad Men, but for this last year, it seems like she just wants to enjoy it for what it’s worth. She also leaves Sally with instructions concerning when she dies, and she says that things happen very fast when people die. As someone that has gone through that, no truer words were ever spoken and shoutout to my sister, who took care of everything when our mother died. You gotta be on top of everything, hurting like hell inside, yet having to keep a brave face for everyone else. Shit is rough. Anyway, Betty tells Sally to go back to sleep, leaving her to sit in the dark with instructions on her mother’s death. Sleep. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

-Don gets woken up by the guys from the legion, who accuse him of stealing the money they raised and he is like, the fuck are you talking about? They hit him with a phone book and take his car until he gets the money. Honestly, I don’t think he did it, but Don has done some stupid-blackout shit before….there’s like, a 7.4% chance he did it.

-Pete drives to Trudy’s in the middle of the night, blasting Drake, and wakes her up to sweep her away, so I guess he’s planning on taking the Lear offer and moving to Wichita, which is a long way from New York. He pours it on thick, but eventually she gives in because we know she doesn’t want to be alone either; she just has to let go of the past so they can have this family. Again, the continuing humanization of Peter Jermaine LaTroy Campbell.

-Andy swings by Don’s room, and Don instantly knows it was him who stole the money and says he has shitty instincts for a con man, so Weiner was DEFINTELY banking these curse words. Don explains to him that he has to get outta town and he has to give back the money because it’s no way to live as another person, which Don knows all too well. The kid also looked like he wanted an award when he told Don that “he didn’t steal nothing”. Bitch, you want a cookie? Anyway, Don gets the money and gives it to the old man and leaves without paying for the room because fuck yo’ hotel and your town and your stupid Coke machine. I’m not quite sure that we need to go this long away around the path to Don telling that kid that living a lie ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, but it entertained me.

-Then the kid has the nerve to ask Don for a ride to the bus stop, but Don does it, so he must respect Andy’s hustle a little bit. And whatever happened to the hitchhiker Don picked up at the end of “Lost Horizon“?

-Betty is going to class and Henry asks her why she is doing this, to which she replies, “why was I ever doing this?”. Because she wants to accomplish something, let her cook.

-Sally opens Betty’s letter, which has instructions on where she wants to be buried, what dress she wants to wear, included with a picture of the dress, where it is hung up and how he wants her hair and makeup to look. Oh Betty, don’t you ever change. That’s when it hits Sally, who breaks down and I wanna give her a hug. Betty tells her that her life will be an adventure and ends it with a “I love you, Mom”. Might have welled up for a minute there. And I’m still here for this “Sally Goes To College” spinoff.

-Don is driving along and sees a bench, and gets out, leaving the car to Andy, who is stunned with what is going on right now. Don tells him, “don’t waste this” before watching Andy drive off, and we close with Don, just sitting on a bench, somewhere in middle America with a dumb smile on his face.

So, we get the end of two characters as Pete is off to Wichita to start over with his family, and I wonder if we’ll see him again because next week is the finale, and we have a LOT to deal with. We gotta see Joan and Roger off, we definitely have to see Peggy (and maybe Stan) off and I’ve very interested to see how that works out. Peggy is one of my, if not my favorite, character on the show and it would really suck if Weiner didn’t do her justice.

Then there is the Betty thing, and I’m still shocked at how bad it felt to watch Betty get that news, and that’s why Mad Men is so great: we’re invested in this characters so much that even the ones that you haven’t necessarily liked over the run of the show, you still want them to be happy and even though this was a crazy sad episode, for the first time during the last six episodes, I get the feeling that there could be a ray of sunshine somewhere in this story, which is strange.

Anyway, series finale, folks. Try and keep it together.

Mad Men S07E11 – Time & Life

After the strangeness of “New Business“, it looks like Mad Men is back on track coming down the backstretch as “The Forecast” was solid and then goes to a new level with “Time & Life”, where the firm gets some bad news and as a group, they wonder something most of them have thought about on an individual level: can I survive this new era?

Also, before I go on, this episode was directed by Jared Harris, also known as Lane Pryce, a former partner in the firm before he brought on his own ending. Personally, I remember him more for this GIF and if you think there is no irony or coincidence that he, who played a former partner, is directing this episode, you haven’t been paying attention to Mad Men. Let’s go….

-Pete and Ken are at dinner, with Ken going on about an expensive wine while Pete is tryna talk about a campaign and Ken is not giving him any answers at all, basically just stringing him along because he can. Then Don shows up late and tells Ken not to worry about it, and Ken is like, okay. Pete is looking around like, the fuck just happened? This goes back to last episode where Mathis yelled at Don for being Don before he was fired. Pete has been around Don enough to know how this goes.

-Don calls his harem answering service to find out that Diana called, but asked not to leave messages and there is no number. I’m wondering if this is some kind of swerve, like she didn’t exist or she was a different person or something. They’re still tryna keep her in your (and Don’s) mind.

-Roger gets some mail and calls his first secretary, who kinda looks like Howard from The Big Bang Theory, then it becomes a secretary party in Roger’s office, although Joan is not here for being called (yelled) for like a secretary by Roger. The rent hasn’t been paid, but that is because there is a problem: McCann seems to have ended the lease and didn’t tell anyone. Roger wants to speak to someone at McCann while Don arrives at the office, along with an elevator full of women and their children.

-Pete gets a call from Trudy and that’s awesome because it’s always good to see Alison Brie. Their daughter didn’t get into Greenwich County Day, which sounds like some prestigious boarding school for kids. They have a meeting tomorrow to speak to the head of the school, but Trudy wasn’t even gon’ tell Pete about it, which seems kinda messed up. He’s an asshole, but he’s still Tammy’s father.

-Peggy, Stan and some other woman are in a room with some kids, and Peggy instructs them to play with some toys like no one is watching, but these kids know someone is watching, so they don’t do much. Peggy doesn’t seem to understand why and Stan gets through to them, then makes a comment about Peggy hating kids. He knows nothing about her past, but it’s a fair conclusion to come to after watching Peggy interact with this group.

-Roger is on the phone with Ferg Donnelly, who breaks the news that they’re moving the SCDWhateverOtherLettersYouCanThinkOf into the building where McCann is now and while he tries to smooth things over, Roger knows what is going on: they’re being absorbed. Joan sees it as well and puts her head on Roger’s shoulder. This is how it all starts as they’re losing their autonomy and next, the name goes.

-Roger, Joan, Ted and Pete all go into Don’s office and Roger breaks the news, while Don breaks his “no drinking at work” rule to pour out a round. Shoutout to him lasting as long as he did. Pete is putting up a fuss and says that they have clients that are conflicts of interest and that he isn’t going, but Joan brings up their contracts and really, in the world of business, that doesn’t matter, they can break whatever they need to break to make this happen. Roger tells them to keep it a secret until they have their meeting with Jim Hobarth tomorrow, but Pete storms out.

-Pete walks by Peggy and looks at her with the children, and he breaks the news to her about what is happening, because fuck secrets. However, he looks at her for a long minute with the children and I can’t remember if he knows about her past in regards to the son she gave up for adoption. Hell, if I’m not mistaken (and I very well could be), the baby was Pete’s, which is why he felt some kinda way about Peggy and the kids, and why he chose to break the secret to her. She deserved to know anyway, but still, he didn’t have to. She even ends up consoling him; it’s all coming back full circle.

-Joan tells Richard that she had a bad day at work, to which he tells his secretary to get him on a redye to New York, so this is serious, apparently.

-Meredith tells Don that he has to go look at apartments and has some other work stuff to do, but Don tells her to cancel everything as he is taking a personal day, because he can. Then he gets a call from Lou, who is tryna gloat about his cartoon being picked up and he is moving to Tokyo. He is so pressed to make Don jealous, while Don looks like he couldn’t give any less of a fuck about Lou and his life. If anything, Don looks happy to have Lou out of his life for good. Lou couldn’t even gloat right. What a dickbag. But then we get the “Don lying on the couch in deep thought” shot and he has an idea, so he calls to Meredith.

-He gets the crew together in a boardroom to tell them his idea: Sterling Cooper West. They still have an office in California that won’t be in use after Lou leaves and they have some clients they can fight for, like Burger Chef, Sunkist and Dow (Ken’s company). Ted doesn’t want to go to California, while Joan is fighting for Avon (her account), but Don is like, meh, can’t do it. But this is Don at his best, being at work, running shit. It is really the only place and time where he is happy, or at least content. Meanwhile, Meredith knows something is going on and looks anxious. She be tryna help and shit.

-Peggy meets a headhunter to figure out her job prospects in case she gets let go (Pete said she’s probably going, they need her) and while she doesn’t wanna hear it, her best direction is with McCann, where she can get more money in a short amount of time and probably not take a step backward. Why doesn’t she just wait and talk to Don, or someone about what’s going on?

-Roger and Pete meet Ken with wine and caviar to discuss him staying with the firm, and Ken seems like he is down with it all, but you can just see it in his eyes as he has been dying to tell them “no”, which he does and leaves right away. Oh, this ain’t over. You don’t fuck over Roger Sterling and get away with it. Pete, maybe, but not Roger.

-Don and Ted are in the boardroom, and Ted apologizes for taking his spot in California, which was just a terrible place for Ted and his ex-wife is still there, so he isn’t too psyched to go, but he understands why Don wants to go (even though his ex-wife is there as well). Don says that’s okay if Ted doesn’t want to go and it might help them if he stays, while Joan tells them about Ken, so now they have to start looking at the smaller accounts to make up for Dow. Another example of Joan being treated like a secretary, which is the opposite of what she’s tryna do.

-Pete and Trudy go to the meeting about Tammy, where they learn that she didn’t pass the test and Trudy didn’t have a backup plan. But as it turns out, the headmaster of the school has beef with Pete’s family from like, way back in the day on some Hatfield and McCoy shit, and Pete ends up punching dude in the face after he insults Trudy one too many times. Look at Pete, having morals and values and shit. Dude deserved it, though.

-Peggy and Stan see a little girl waiting outside to audition, but there are no parents to speak of there and everyone is too busy to watch her, so she goes downstairs with Peggy and Stan. Shoutout once again to Stan’s neckwear game.

-Pete and Trudy return home and they’re actually being civil as it turns out, Pete can dial it back on being an asshole when his job is at stake. Meanwhile, Trudy is going on about how being a divorced woman sucks and she has no friends and she is always getting hit on by dirtbags, but in ten years no one will be doing it anymore and I’m like, she’s about to give Pete some. Instead, he uses the phone to call a client, some laxative people.

-Peggy and Stan are going over work when the little girl they’re watching staples her finger just in time for her mom to show up. Her mom is pissed, but Peggy is like, watch your damn kids because you’re running them into the ground. The mom tells her to do what she wants with her own kids, which is a low blow to Peggy, while Stan is in the background like, the fuck is happening right now? Both women had valid points, but Stan, just stay out of it.

-The crew goes to make a presentation about SC West to Ferg and Jim, who don’t even give Don the satisfaction of finishing it. He goes by all the men and names off accounts they’ll be working on (which leaves Joan ass out), and that they’re with a bigger name that has an international presence, and to stop fighting it: they won. The shot at the five of them at that table after the meeting is priceless, and it reminds me of when they were in the office they’re at now, at the end of Season 5. Damn, Mad Men is so good at this.

-So in true fashion, they go to get drunk as the McCann people told them to have the day off, with Roger giving a toast to Bert, but Joan is happy he wasn’t here to see this. Joan and Pete dip out, while Ted stays for one more round because he has a date. There was something in that hug between Joan and Roger. I’m sticking with my prediction, even with Richard in the picture now.

-In the cab, Joan notes to Pete that they skipped over her when it came to the accounts and while Pete says they don’t know who they’re dealing with, Joan knows that no matter what she does, they’ll never take her seriously.

-Then we get a quick cut to Peggy, which is great considering their confrontation from “Severance“. She is still pissed about the woman from earlier, then she gets on Stan for him saying she hates kids. She keeps dropping hints and Stan picks up on them, asking what happen, to which she tells him about the son she gave up and he shouldn’t be so judgmental because you don’t know what people have gone through. Being judgmental is human nature and there isn’t anything we can do about it, all you can do is the best you can. They gotta get together, bruh. I think Stan mentions in this episode that he and his random girlfriend had broken up recently anyway.

-Also, I think Peggy is going to find that child over the next three episodes, just to say what’s up.

-Roger and Don are now beyond drunk and Roger is going on about his legacy, then he has to go to meet a woman, which turns out to be Marie (Megan’s mom) and Don is like, say what? Roger knows that she is crazy, but he married his secretary and it went badly, yet Don still did it anyway and Don is like, you’re absolutely right. So Roger leaves Don by himself, which is sad because he doesn’t have anyone. Also, during this scene, one of the two says, “what’s in a name?” because I think sometimes, we forget about the whole Dick Whitman thing that Don has going on.

-So of course, he goes to visit where Diana was the last time he saw her, but she is gone and a gay couple now lives there. They invite Don in and he’s like, nah, I’m good.

-At the firm, Meredith storms into Don’s office and demands to know what is going on because all she has seen over the last couple of days is secret meetings and whispers among the partners. Basically, she says that the natives are starting to get restless and someone needs to say something, and she’s right, so everyone goes to the lobby.

-Meanwhile, Peggy and Stan are in their offices and she tells him that she is going to McCann and he can too, and he’ll go wherever she goes. They both stay on the phone, in their offices, working in silence. Yep, they gon’ be together.

-Don and Roger try to break the news as smoothly as possible, but the office is like, NOAP, and everyone starts walking out, leaving the five partners standing there, wondering what is going to happen next.

Another excellent episode of Mad Men as the series is starting to find its groove, so now it seems to be a matter of who goes to McCann or tries to go their own way. I’d like to see one more episode with Betty and Sally, while Peggy has a lot of personal stuff to sort out. I’m ready for it.

 

 

Mad Men S07E09 – New Business

Mad Men returned last week with the first of its seven final episodes, and it felt like it never left as “Severance” put forward some solid plot lines that I was looking forward to. “New Business” threw all of those out the window and while it was still entertaining, it didn’t FEEL like Mad Men. Let’s go….

-We open with Don making milkshakes for his two sons, Bobby and Gene, and Betty walks into the kitchen as we see her for the first time in this half-season. I’m not the biggest Betty fan in the world, but she has to play a role over these final seven episodes, right? She is the mother of his children and all. I thought this was a flashback as she looks about as happy as Betty can be, and she tells Don that she is going back to school for psychology, but then Henry walks into the kitchen, so Don is playing babysitter Dad. He leaves, but turns around to see what was his family, and he looks like he was kicked in the nuts.

-He returns home to a phone call from Megan, who is tryna set up a time for the movers to get her stuff, and she has also run out of money, which Don gives her every month. Whatever happened to her saying, “You don’t know me anything?”. I guess the actress life isn’t as lucrative as she thought.

-Roger is apparently busy enough to need two secretaries, although you know he’ll still carve out time to do some day drinking. Really, Roger is never busy enough himself, the secretaries are the ones doing the heavy lifting, but even he realizes the ridiculousness of having two secretaries and three phones.

-Harry is talking to Don’s secretary, Meredith, about Los Angeles and he suggests that she go sometime, but she is worried about the Manson brothers, which is wrong and he corrects her with “family”. Is there no crime in New York for her to be worried about? And this had to be a nod to everyone thinking there was a connection between Megan and the Manson family last season because of a sweater she wore. The internet comes up with some wild shit sometimes. Speaking of Megan, when Harry gets a chance to speak to Don, he tries to get the go-ahead to talk to her as she needs help finding a new agent. Don agrees because anything to get her outta his hair, he’s down for. Even though Don has always treated Harry, not poorly, but he has always been sort of standoffish towards him, Harry still wants his permission. Don gets a phone call and points Harry out the door.

-Don goes to dinner, where he sees the waitress from the alley because Don is a stalker, apparently. He really feels drawn to Diana, whose name I’m not even sure he knows. He wants to have dinner with her, even if it’s five minutes at a time and he’s like, you’re creepy…but she does take his card. I don’t care what anyone ever says and even if I rewatch the whole series again and don’t see her, she has been in this show before. She’s just so familiar.

-Peggy tells Stan that they’re going for a new photographer, a woman named Pima, and Stan isn’t a fan of it, but Peggy doesn’t care because she is the boss and this is happening. It emasculates Stan, but hey, Peggy has seen enough of it in her day that it’s good to see her flex her muscles. Isn’t she supposed to be in Paris, though?

-Diana calls Don when she is off work, and she has been drinking. He asks her to come over and after a little minor persuasion, she does and Don gets all dressed up in a suit because he admits that he is vain, but as he says, “it’s 3 AM, you know why you’re here”, and they get it poppin’. She can’t seem to sleep with her beside him and she’s kinda skeptical about the divorce story since all of Megan’s shit is still there, and you get the feeling that Don is attracted to her because she might be as messed up as he is, which is a tall order to fill. Then we learn in the morning that Diana’s daughter died of the flu, so she had to leave her home in Racine, Wisconsin. Maybe she is as messed up as Don, who is ruining women, not getting them already damaged.

-Peggy shows up at a vermouth commercial with Stan, who meets Pima and is very sacrastic towards her as he probably still feeling the sting of Peggy putting her foot down. The males in Mad Men have a problem with taking orders from women, so this is par for the course. Peggy does feel some pride in being the boss, though, and she deserves it because she’s worked damn hard to get where she is.

-Don gets to the office, where Roger is hiding in Don’s office, drinking, because it’s Roger. He tells Don that he has to go on a golfing excursion with Pete with some clients, then Don gets some divorce papers from Megan, and Roger goes into a spiel about not letting Megan walk over him, but this is more about Roger’s divorces as he says that his second ex-wife saying that Roger squandered her youth, and he blurts out, “I thwarted her career? She’s a consumer!”. So much hurt, and yet, I laughed out loud.

-Pima is visiting the office and she visits Stan, asking to see the darkroom, but also to see his work as she has learned he is a photographer as well. He says he will, but only if she is honest. This was a confusing scene as he is short with her at the beginning, but she notices that he wants her opinion, and there is definitely some sexual tension there.

-Megan arrives at a hotel, where her mother and sister are supposed to help her with the move, but the plan, her sister says, to try and get drunker than their moth because her sister rarely gets a chance to have fun since she has a family. I’m not sure this is a fun trip, but Megan agrees anyway.

-Meanwhile, Don and Diana are getting takeout and in the elevator, they bump into Arnold and Sylvia, who Don had an affair with in the past and Arnold makes a joke about Don bringing the whole restaurant home with him. Does he happen to know that his wife has been in the Draper bed? I’m 50/50 on it because he was either an asshole for calling out Diana right there, or because he is alluding to Don bangin’ his wife, and he wouldn’t be wrong for the latter. It is then that Diana realizes that she hasn’t been the only woman with Don in the elevator. Of course, he lies because it’s Don.

-Stan and his girlfriend, which we’ve never seen before, are at their place and he complains that he doesn’t have any photos good enough to show Pima, so she takes off her nurse uniform for some sexy pictures. Do we need to know he has a girlfriend with what, five episodes left in the series? I don’t think so.

-Instead of eating, Don and Diana start kissing and eventually have sex, but in the middle of it, Diana says she has a twinge in her chest. Is it guilt for something? She seems to be a hot mess.

-In the morning, the phone rings and it is the movers to get Megan’s stuff, so Don is like, we gotta be out and she suggests he come to her place that night. I would have bet that they would all meet up at some point, which would have been very awkward, but nothing.

-Pete is annoyed that Don isn’t dressed to go golfing, nor does he have clubs and Pete looks disgusted when Don says he’ll rent some. I’ma miss Pete’s smugness when this is all over.

-Back at the apartment, Megan, her sister and her mom are there, and her mom notices the red wine on the floor; a woman has been there. She does an awful lot of judging for someone that blew Roger at a party like, two seasons ago, while married, at that. Her sister tries to help and mentions that Megan’s divorce means she has failed, and Megan is like, bitch, please. Her sister is religious, which is why she is against divorce, but this is the United States and this shit happens. She storms out and Megan has to get ready for her meeting with Harry, telling Marie (her mother) she only wants a few things, but Marie wants her to take everything. Megan’s family is tryna treat this as a vacation, while Megan is tryna move on her with her life. This entire family needs a therapist.

-Pete and Don are driving, and Pete is still mad until Don tells him he wasn’t tryna go back to his crib because Megan was there, and Pete understands he is either going through a divorce, or it’s done with Trudy, I can’t remember. He then says, “Jiminy Christmas” and I remember what a dickbag he is. I’ll still miss him, but he is a dickbag.

-At the apartment, Marie has the movers take EVERYTHING, but she doesn’t have the money to do it and calls Don’s office. When she can’t find Don, she calls Roger and demands he come over with $200, which he does.

-Pima meets Stan in the darkroom and he shows her the pictures of his girlfriend, which she kinda tears apart and says that she can tell that his girlfriend doesn’t wanna tell him the truth. It’s right about here that I wrote, “Odds of Stan bangin’ ol’ girl in the darkroom? HIGH”, and I don’t even think I was finished the sentence before they started going at it.

-Roger shows up at the apartment with money and pays the movers, and Marie….well, again, I wrote down, “Odds of Roger banging her in the empty apartment? HIGH” and what happens? You know she takes pride in doing this in Don’s apartment, too.

-Harry meets Megan and he starts hitting on her within minutes, so I gave him medium odds, even after he says that he has a room upstairs and Megan is obviously disgusted when he puts his hand on top of hers. She storms off and I never knew Harry had that kinda scumbag in him.

-Megan returns to the empty apartment and realizes what Marie and Roger were doing. They even bleeped out a “FUCK”, which means they still have a couple left for the season, so I hope the last five episodes are loaded with F-bombs. Megan starts yelling and Marie is all, “DON’T JUDGE ME”, which is hilarious given their earlier conversation. Megan yells at Roger that Marie is married and he’s like, man, I gotta go to this meeting. Don’t get involved with this family, Roger, please.

-Harry tells Don that Megan is crazy and she might say something, and then he calls her stupid for quitting her soap job. You know, maybe Megan just isn’t a good actress, but calling her stupid and then lying because she wouldn’t give you some? Come on, Harry, I thought you were better than this.

-Pima is at the office with Peggy, looking over stuff, and then she starts touching Peggy’s hand, and I don’t know if this was makeup or Elisabeth Moss being great, but Peggy got flushed as hell when Pima says she wants to take her picture. I gotta find out if that was on purpose, because that was good shit.

-Don and Megan meet at a lawyer’s office and she starts calling him all sorts of names and he looks like, the fuck did I do? Don is like, you know what? Take this million and we’ll be done with this, I’m tired of fighting and she didn’t put up much of a fight when she took that cheque. Is this the end of Megan? Everything says that it is, but I feel we’ll see her again for some reason.

-Stan is all psyched when he walks into the office and drops a buncha hints as to what happened with Pima, but Peggy said she tried the same thing on her and Pima won’t be getting any work with them anymore, which bothers Stan. I thought he liked Peggy last season, then he has a girlfriend and then has sex with Pima. And again, why are we getting all this about him with five episodes left?

-Megan meets her teary sister at the hotel and Marie has told her to go home, that she is leaving her father for a man in New York who I assume to be Roger, but Megan is like, I got this million, I’m chillin’, you do what you need to do. The Roger/Marie thing is why I think we’ll see Megan one more time before this is done.

-Finally, Don gets to Diana’s place, which is in the ghetto, and they start making out and drinking, but she already has and the attitude changes when she admits that she has another child, but she just up and left Racine anyway. Don made her forget about her daughter, I’m not sure which one, and she wants Don to leave. Don is just stunned, but he doesn’t put up much of a fight and leaves to go home to his empty apartment, wondering what in the hell just happened.

I was relatively entertained by “New Business”, but just for the fuckery that was involved. When it comes to the show itself, there was a lot of stuff in this episode that we just didn’t need to see with so little time left. The stuff with Stan and Pima probably didn’t need to happen, and if they’re planning to do anything with Roger and Marie, that probably doesn’t need to happen, either. Even though I’m not a fan, we should be getting more Betty, Joan wasn’t in this episode and will we even see Sally ever again? And what about the Ken Cosgrove revenge tour?

It wasn’t the worst episode of Mad Men, but it certainly wasn’t the best.