Tag Archives: Sally Draper

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 S07E10 – The Forecast

There seemed to be a consensus that “New Business”, the previous episode of Mad Men, was at best, confusing and at worst, a waste of time. But in “The Forecast”, the women step into the spotlight and bring the show back in what was quite an improvement in my opinion. Let’s go….

-We open with a blond lady walking into Don’s quasi-empty apartment, so it’s right to assume that she is another in Don’s harem, right? Well, it’s actually a real-estate agent who is being tasked with selling Don’s place, which is now anchored by a lawn chair and a bottle of alcohol on the table. She chastises Don (who was in bed) for not having the place more presentable for her and Don is like, this is your job and while he doesn’t sell real estate, if there is one thing that Don Draper is good at, it’s selling stuff.

-Joan is awakened by a phone call from her mother, and her son is on the phone as well. It We can surmise that Joan is away on a business trip, and to tell you the truth, I even forgot she had a son. Parenting has never been a major priority on Mad Men, from the Draper kids to Roger’s hippy daughter and more.

-Don visits Roger, who has to go to Bermuda to make a speech for the people at McCann, so Don has to write something to rally the troops, which is another thing that Don, well, he isn’t terrible at it.

-Joan heads to her meeting and we see Lou, remember him from last season? A little sensitive over Don, wasn’t the biggest fan of women? Well, he seems to be a little more relaxed now, but he still manages to blow Joan off. Joan plays it cool, but she doesn’t have time for this.

-Don is going over his speech with Meredith, who mixes up “space station” for “gas station” and it is now officially a gag as she hit that “Manson brothers” last week instead of “family”. then Peggy storms in to ask Don to sign off on the Peter Pan cookie tagline and when Meredith tries to say that Don is busy, Peggy is like, I wasn’t even talkin’ to you. I’m all for Peggy getting some guts about her, but Meredith hasn’t done anything to anyone and she’s so dense that it’s almost like picking on her.

-Don goes into a boardroom to hear these taglines, which are all pretty bad, but Don picks one and keeps it movin’. They really are all terrible. But Peggy feels like they accomplished something, so I’m okay with it.

-Lou is late getting back to the office, and she learns from Dee (his secretary) that he has a meeting with Hanna-Barbara for those cartoons he was working on back in New York, but people made fun of him for it. I’m pretty sure Joan had no idea about it, so she’s surprised and a little pissed because she hasn’t done anything yet, but she does greet whom she thinks is the first person she is interviewing….but Lou shows up with the person in tow, and this man she was talking to was just a guy who went to the wrong office. But he gives her his card and tells her to holla at him because why not? It’s Joan. Shoot your shot, homie.

-We get our first glimpse of Sally, who is getting ready to go on some sort of summer trip and Betty is tryna warn her to not wild out as she was known to do, and Sally makes a joke about being pregnant. Betty tries to be mad, but on the inside, I know she was like, you asshole, you’re so much like me and your father. Keep that in the back of your head.

-Don returns home and his agent is still on him as she can’t sell the place looking like it does, and she tells Don that, to other people, it looks like a sad person lives here. You know, she isn’t wrong, but Don has to be like, so I’m not paying for your psychoanalysis, I’m paying you to sell my place. I’m all for people telling Don about himself, but not this lady for some reason.

-We skip ahead to Joan in bed with that man, whose name is Richard, and hey, good on her; the guys in Mad Men do it all time, do your thing, Joan. They shoot the shit, they’re both divorced and he seems to want Joan to stay, and she doesn’t tell him that she has a son in New York.

-Don goes to speak to Ted, and he finds out that Ted’s biggest dream is to land a bigger account, not something outside of the office and this has been a theme over the last three episodes: what is life all about? While Don has always been looking for meaning of some sort, they’re really kicking it into high gear now, using this speech that he has to write that he can really do in his sleep to show that. As for Ted, I think the whole thing with Peggy last season really scared him into being as ” normal” as possible.

-Joan gets a call from Richard, who is now in New York and wants to go to dinner. He wants to know if he should meet her at work or home and Joan is like, yeah, I’ll just see you there. He is now gone past shooting his shoot and is going for the triple-double. That’s a bit creepy, no? Fly across the country after a night and then start tryna track her at work and home? Maybe it’s me being paranoid.

-Pete and Peggy tell Don that the clients they were with earlier didn’t like the layout that was presented to them, and then the copywriters started fighting in the meeting, which is never good. Pete wants them gone and Peggy says he can’t fire them, and Pete counters that he can fire her. At this point, I honestly have no idea what the hierarchy is at the firm, I don’t know who the partners are outside of Roger, Joan and I think Pete, I thought Don was a partner, but I think they took that away from him, yet everyone still runs to him. Anyway, Peggy should have just kicked him in the balls and kept it movin’. Smarmy-ass Pete.

-Sally gets a visitor, our old friend Glen, who is older now, but looks just as creepy. He also has a girlfriend who just wants to use the bathroom, but then Betty comes out and starts a conversation with Glen and Sally is like, uhhhhhh…..what is this? Glen has ALWAYS been drawn to Betty since he was a kid, but now he isn’t a kid; he is apparently going off to war because he feels bad that the Negro kids are dying for them, and this might be the least racist thing Mad Men has ever done. Only took ’em seven-plus seasons, but hey, gotta start somewhere. Sally storms off because she’s against the war and asks Glen if he’s fucking stupid (WHICH IS AWESOME because they bleeped out Megan’s “fucking” last week, but not little Sally), but Betty tries to smooth things over and I also think that Sally is jealous of the little thing going between Betty and Glen, all while being disgusted with her mother; we’ve all seen her give Betty and Don that look before. And shoutout to his girlfriend who is in the back like, I was just tryna use the bathroom.

-Richard and Joan are at dinner, and he seriously thinks she is hiding something, like a marriage, but it is really her son. Now, here is the thing: if you really thought she was married, you still flew across the country to see her, bruh. So even if she is or she isn’t, you might be a slight dirtbag.

-Sally tries to call Glen, but leaves a message with his mother and yeah, she is definitely jealous, with a tinge of “my friend is going to war and I might never see him again”. Maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, I felt bad for Sally. She should have been Dana from Homeland.

-Richard and Joan gets back to her hotel and she stays for a bit after persuading her babysitter to stay at her place. But then Richard says he doesn’t want to deal with a kid because he already raised his and gets a little….I don’t know, he’s assuming an awful lot from one night in Los Angeles and a dinner. Taking it slow is not in his arsenal. He actually gets mad and Joan is like, well, I guess I’m out. Yeah, he’s all up in Dirtbagville for no damn reason, either.

-Peggy asks Don to give her a performance review, which Don is like, you know you did well, but Peggy wants to hear it from him because she has always wanted Don’s approval, whether she likes it or not, and it might lead to more money. Then Don starts asking her what she thinks for the future, which I thought was a fair question, and Peggy kinda snaps on him, telling him that he is in a mood and he should write down his dreams so she can shit on them (TWO CURSES!). I honestly don’t think Don meant anything by it, unless I missed something.

-Joan’s babysitter shows up late because she was in class, and Joan is in a mood anyway because of last night. The babysitter then says to Joan that she (Joan) needs a vacation and he snaps, yelling, “YOU RUINED MY LIFE”, which was definitely directed at Kevin, her son, who says bye-bye to her as she left and made her feel like an asshole. GOOD. I think this might be my first anti-Joan moment in the entire show.

-Pete, Peggy and the copywriters get another chance at a meeting, and one of them, Mathis, I believe, does something that Don told him to do earlier, telling the Peter Pan execs that they had big balls for returning after embarrassing themselves. Don had done this in the past somewhere along the line and it probably sounded better coming from him, but Pete and Peggy are mortified and the other copywriter might have been quietly partyin’ on the inside. I don’t even know what Mathis is thinking, but it was the wrong way to go.

-Don is working on his speech with Meredith when Mathis storms in and berates Don for giving him the wrong advice, that Don never has to apologize for anything and that his main skill is being handsome and charming and the like. I mean, the kid might even have a bit of a point, but guess what: you are not Don Draper and that was NEVER going to work. So of course, Don fires him and the kid is lucky he didn’t get his ass kicked. He was tryna spit some ether at Don and came off looking like a complete asshole. Don might have to cuss someone out, mufuckas are startin’ to test him a little bit too much.

-Richard shows up at the office to apologize with flowers and now he wants to be a part of Joan’s life, and he wants to buy property in New York. I can’t be the only one who finds this kinda insane, am I? I’m all for love at first sight and all that, but good grief, let’s take it down a gear.

-Glen shows up at the house, but not to see Sally, who has left for her trip. He gets a beer from Betty and starts putting the moves on her, and she ALMOST reciprocates it, but she shows remarkable restraint and backs away. It turns out that he was joining the Army because he flunked out of school and it made his dad happy, but he also thought that would bring Betty into the Glen party, which is an odd way of thinking, especially when they haven’t seen each other in years, he’s a kid and she’s a grown-ass woman. She actually tears up and I’ve never been a huge Betty fan, but I think if this was her big episode to go out on, it was a good one.

-Don is out with Sally and her friends, one girl who is obviously flirting with Don and he’s tryna keep it as PG as possible, but Sally is steaming because she knows how her father is and as they’re walking to her bus, they get into it. Sally says that her dream (which Don has been asking everyone about) is to get away as far from Betty and Don as possible, but Don is like, I won’t be talked to like this by my damn kid, and tells her the truth: she is more like the two of them than she wants to admit. We all go through that stage growing up, hell, I’m still realizing how much I’m like my parents, even though my biological parents got divorced when I was mad young. No kid wants to come face-to-face with that, but we’ve seen it with Sally as we’ve watched her grow up; go back to “A Day’s Work“, the second episode of this season, and you see it. She knows it, too; she’s just a stubborn teenager.

-Betty takes Bobby’s toy gun away and yeah, she’s having second thoughts about the war, which might play into her husband’s political career, so keep an eye on that.

-Don returns home to see that the place has been sold, which he said he had a feeling would happen. But he’s kinda looking at the place and everything that has gone on there; if I’m not mistaken, this has been his home since Betty divorced him and all sorts of feelings are hittin’ the Draper streets.

This is a fantastic episode of Mad Men and when it is at its best, it deserves all the credit they receives and more. Don is still tryna figure life out, Joan is tryna figure out how to be a mother and get what she wants, Peggy just wants someone (preferably Don) to tell her she’s doing a good job, even though she knows she is, and Sally, honestly, I’d watch a spinoff of her. Sally goes to college? Come on, bruh. That shit would be so good and it’s not like AMC is averse to spinoffs. Four episodes left, and if they’re all as good as this one, we’re in for quite the finale.

Mad Men S07E07 – Waterloo

Mad Men capped the first half of their final season with “Waterloo”, an episode that captures everything that is good and bad about the show. It was poignant and allowed the relationships to breathe, then threw something in that just didn’t seem to fit, no many how times you watch the episode (and I’m on viewing #3). Let’s go……

-The episode opens up with the launching of Apollo 11, which is the spacecraft that sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (and the oft-forgotten Michael Collins) to the moon, so that places the episode on July 16th, 1969. Think we’ll get to 1970 before it is all said and done? I doubt it.

-Teddy is in a plane with some Sunkist people when he cuts the engine and starts talking about how all their problems would be over if he crashed the plane. The agency seems to taking its toll on people, first Ginsberg, now Teddy, who wants the partners to buy him out so he can just leave. Things haven’t gone as planned since they joined forces to become Sterling Anderson Cooper and Friends or whatever.

-Lou shows up to try and yell at Cutler and blame Don for losing the Commander cigarettes account, but Cutler one-ups him by telling him he is a hired gun and to get to steppin’. It seems like Lou was really only brought in to help push Don out. I still wanna know what Ginsberg saw Lou and Cutler talking about in the office, though.

-Betty welcomes an old friend and her family to their house for the weekend, if only just to show that Betty has more than one friend, ol’ girl from the first episode we saw Betty in this season.

-Then we kinda go quickly through a couple scenes where Don, Peggy, Pete and Harry run through the Burger Chef pitch, then we see Peggy back at her apartment. There is a handyman working on some stuff there and he seems a little shocked that Peggy owns the building, which bugs Peggy as she has been dealing with some sexism throughout the entire season. But then the handyman gives her his number for professional reasons, and you can see Peggy on some “Stella Got Her Groove Back” shit.

-Back at the Francis house, Betty places a plate of eggs RIGHT BESIDE her ashtray. Mother Of The Year, folks! Then the older son of her friend appears with no shirt on, and Betty looks at him with some pedo eyes, while Sally enters the room before she goes out to her job as a lifeguard, but Betty notices she is wearing lipstick. The son needs to just chill and let things happen, because something good will go down if he does.

-Meredith asks Don to step into his office, where she gives him a letter from the partners on some breach-of-contract shit. As he is reading the letter, Meredith tries to comfort Don, telling him that she is his strength, and then kisses him. The look on Don’s face throughout the scene is priceless, right up there with his face during the meeting in Peggy’s office when she tells him about her ideas for the Burger Chef team. Meredith, on the low, has been the best secondary character Mad Men has added in years. That being said, Don passes it up because he has been trying so damn hard to be a good person this season.

-Don rushes into Cutler’s office, and Cutler is trying to get Don to hit him, but Don steps back and calls out the partners, who had no idea about the letter, which has to be illegal in some form or fashion. Don calls for an impromptu vote over him leaving, which he wins, but it might not matter anyway. Meanwhile, we find out that Joan is mad at Don for costing the company a million dollars when they were going to go public. However, even though Joan backed Cutler, she tells him he should have gone about it in a different way, which is fair.

-In the middle of that, Harry just runs in the middle of it because he heard that there is a partners’ meeting, but we find out he isn’t a partner just yet, so Roger tells him to get out.

-Peggy is at her apartment again, and the kid from upstairs tells her that they are moving because his mother got a job. The kid is just behind Meredith in the secondary-characters power rankings. He started off annoying, but he allowed Peggy to fulfill some maternal stuff that she claimed to be missing out on in her conversations with Don last week.

-Don calls Megan to tell her about all the stuff with the company, and then he hits her with the, “hey, maybe I’ll move out there”, which Megan throws in the bushes with an awkward silence. From there, the marriage is pretty much ended in like, 1-2 minutes. I know we have been watching this marriage dissolve for a while now, and I’m glad it is over, but it seems like they short-changed this. #DemTeef looked ill in a bikini, though, so I’ll take it, I guess.

-Roger and Bert get together to talk about the Don situation, and Bert tells Roger that he isn’t a leader. I’m not sure if Bert has always been as pragmatic as he has been this season. He probably has, maybe it was just highlighted this season. He throws out a Napoleon quote which comes in handy later on.

-EVERYONE is getting together to watch the moon landing: Don, Peggy, Pete and Harry in Indianapolis before the Burger Chef meeting, Betty and her houseguests and the kids, Bert is watching it with his black maid, Roger is with Mona and his grandson (so I assume his daughter is still off fuckin’ around in Hippyland). When it is all done, Don calls the Francis house to talk to the kids (not Betty, who said earlier she only talks to him when necessary), and Sally echoes the older boy saying that the moon landing is all a waste of money; we could be using it on Earth. Mad Men isn’t really political on the surface, but they throw you some bones every once in a while, hell, we are still having the same left-right wing/liberal-conservative arguments in this day and age. But like Betty last week with Henry, Sally’s beliefs are shouted down by Don.

-Roger gets a phone call. Nothing is ever said, but we can tell what it is: Bert is dead.

-Joan comes to the office and so does Cutler, who starts talking about getting Don out of the office. Man, this dude is just AWFUL with people. He could have easily gotten everyone on board with getting Don out if he would have handled it properly, or even let Joan handle it. Roger even says, “is this what will happen when I am gone?”.

-The younger son of the visiting guest is out looking through a telescope, and Sally comes outside to smoke. The kid tells her that smoking causes cancer, so she doesn’t light up just yet. After some talk about about the stars or something, Sally kisses the kid, who looks like he might pass out and says, “what do I do now?”. He gets called inside by his mother (whom I suspect watched all this go down), but the important thing about this scene is that we’re watching Sally Draper grow up. It has been happening all season, but here, it’s almost eerie. And was it just me, or did she kinda looked like Betty as she was smoking? Sally (and actress Kiernan Shipka, who I have been hard on in the past) is the MVP of the half-season, no doubt about it.

-Roger calls Don to tell him about Bert, and says, ““Every time an old man starts talking about Napoleon, you know he is gonna die”. He is starting to lose it a little; first Bert goes, and now Don might be out the door?

-Don calls out an audible as he visits Peggy in the middle of the night to tell her about Bert, as he says she is going to give the pitch to Burger Chef. He says to her that he wouldn’t do this if he wasn’t sure she could do it, and if you couldn’t tell from the last couple of episodes, he does really care about Peggy, if no one else in the show. But there has to be some selfish reasons involved, because it’s Don Draper.

-Roger meets with the McCann guy from the sauna last week, and gives him an idea about buying the agency to push Cutler out, or at least wrest back some of the control Cutler has. He also knows how much McCann loves Don and wants him involved, which would keep Don in the company and give Roger a friend.

-Peggy looks like she is going to throw up before giving the pitch, and Don sees how nervous she is, so he takes the reins and introduces her using Peggy’s own words on how she is going to introduce Don. Peggy then proceeds to use the moon landing and the collective experience of everyone watching it to push their “everyone is welcome” tag on the Burger Chef guys, who eat it up. Happy and confident Peggy is so much better than angry Peggy.

-Roger is waiting for Don when he gets back from Indy to tell him about the McCann stuff, but Don doesn’t seem to be on board at all. He doesn’t like the McCann people at all, so I’m sure there is something I am forgetting that happened in the past.

-At the office, the partners are gathering to tell the employees about Bert, but Roger gathers everyone to tell them about McCann buying 51% of the company, with Roger in charge. However, McCann wants Teddy to be involved as he was a major part of the Buick account, and as we saw earlier, he wants out of advertising, even though he could make as much as $6 million from this. Don proceeds to pitch Teddy on the dangers of wanting out, which he has seen firsthand, and this is why he is Don motherfucking Draper. Son could sell ice to an eskimo. He also probably saved Teddy’s life, because he wouldn’t have made it out of the office alive if he refused, starting with Joan. Meanwhile, Cutler eventually gives in and agrees because, well, it’s a lot of money he stands to make.

-During this scene, Harry pops in on some “So, I hear there is a partners’ meeting” and gets shut down again. Two solid comedic moments from Harry.

-Peggy tells Don that they got Burger Chef, and she is so proud. It’ll be interesting to see where it picks up next year.

-Then, we come to the end as Don hallucinates and sees Bert, who puts on a song-and-dance routine to “The Best Things In Life Are Free”. I’m sure this has some sort of connection to Don, maybe it was some sort of goodbye from Bert to Don, but I just think it was out of place and didn’t serve a purpose. Hell, there is a good chance we really won’t know what it means until it returns, which I could see this show doing.

So, now we wait until next spring when Mad Men drops the curtain on their run. The first half of season 7 has been good to very good to straight up confusing at points, but they have done enough to keep me interested until it comes back. Does it end well for Don Draper and the crew? Will Roger end up being the leader Bert didn’t think he was? Will Betty EVER be a good mother? Who else will die? A lot of Mad Men questions still left to be answered.