Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Beginning of the End

It has been noted across the web that legendary Mad Men writer Matthew Weiner is struggling to find the perfect ending for his name-making TV drama. With all do respect, Mad Men is perhaps the only reason his name is a part of my daily life (Soprano's fans...sorry) and it may remain that way. Unless (of course) he thinks up some genius way to make Mad Women work, which I promise to watch religiously even if it so pungently stinks (said that about Glee too, by the way). But is totally not the point. The point is, how do you end something that your name, yourself, and your undoubtedly religious fans (exhibit a, b, c) are so invested in? We've all grazed lightly on surface of Mad Men's ridiculous cult following, and from here on out, I dive in. This blog will be my iteration of the ultimate Mad Men obsession. That means predictions, themes, and general plot happenings that I'm really hoping to see. But first, here's where we left off:

Sally Draper
So she caught her dad red-handed sleeping with his neighbor, Sylvia Rosen (played by Linda Cardellini--who I realized is much prettier in other shows, i.e. The New Girl, than she is here, granted she is playing an, hm, 'older woman--and we are supposed to be confused as to why Don is cheating on his perfect young wife for her). But Don takes his kids to the house he grew up in, obviously a decrepit whore-house. While it opens Sally up to her father's childhood, and perhaps "why he is the way he is," will she forgive him for being a near-absent father? Either way, I hope Sally gets into a lot of trouble this season (hint: please attend Woodstock). Maybe if she acts mischievous like she did in boarding school, Betty will offer her another substance inappropriate for child consumption in the car on the way home..."Hey Sally, want a swig of absinthe?" Goody two shoes or not (even though I'm rooting for not), Sally is one of my favorite characters in Mad Men. Although not all children had a father like Don and a mother with the brain of a pea child, she seems to exemplify what it meant to grow up in the Sixties. She also has a pretty amusing real-life Instagram account. Oh and her best line in the season 6 finale? On the phone with her pops, "I wouldn't want to do anything immoral. You know what, why don't you just tell them what I saw [hangs up]." Don was talking about the burglar, she was not.

Don Draper
A devout Christian preaching to him at a bar transports him to a devout Christian preaching in his past life at the whorehouse. As a young Don see's the man out, the minister says "the only unpardonable sin is to think that god cannot forgive you." From Weiner's words, this is going to be a theme we see in season 7. Can Don be forgiven by his daughter, wife, co-workers, everyone? After admitting to Megan that he spent the night in jail he realizes "I've gotten out of control," and that he doesn't want "to be here anymore." He wants to move to Cali, literally using Stan Rizzo's words in verbatum. Megan, being the young wife she is, immediately adapts to what he wants and looks at the bright opportunities in Hollywood, which makes it all the more hurtful when he retracts that decision.
 There was definitely a lot of build-up to Megan's end-of-episode storm out. When Betty calls about Sally's suspension, Don senses obvious worry in her voice and calls her "Birdie." The next shot goes straight to Megan, slightly displeased. Maybe we will see more sleep-away camp reunion sex in season 7? Just kidding.
Then, of course, there's the Hershey's pitch. One of the best lines before he flips out, "The wrapper, it looked like what was inside." This is literally the UN-metaphor for Don's life. No matter how honest he gets with anyone, it never looks like what is on the inside. Don usually forms a pretty consistent relationship with his pitches. They are typically his dream-life, his wannabe Kodak moment. For the first time, he breaks. And literally convinces Hershey's executives not to advertise, which might have actually been a good idea, exhibit a. And then...You're fired.

Yep. Don gets fired by his boys and girl, being Joan. It's actually a very heartbreaking, and totally awkward moment.

Megan Draper
I feel like I covered some of Megan in her relationship with Don, but I wanted to note her best line. "You want to be alone, with your liquor, your ex-wife, and you're screwed up kids. I love them to death. I used to feel pity for them, but now I realize...we're all in the same boat."
Zou (no longer) Bisou. 

Roger Sterling
After, what looks like, a potential investment chat with his son-in-law, Roger and said son-in-law reconvene with his daughter. She immediately senses the rejection, and uninvites him to Thanksgiving, accusing him of "taking food out of our mouths," which seems unlikely, but later on Roger's secretary notes that his daughter and her husband are "bleeding him dry." Could we see Roger's economic hardships become a topic in season 7?
Either way, Roger's daughter's best line, "What do I have to do to get on the list of girls you give money to?" Burrrrn. 

Sterling's relationship with Bob Benson and Joan is also worth noting. I'm feeling kind of in the dark here. Does Bob Benson know who Kevin's real daddy is? Roger let's his guard down when blasting Benson for bringing a toy car souvenir for Kevin and then again at the Thanksgiving table. Roger does not give anything to his "old" family, but brings some cranberry sauce to his "new." I imagine Roger's "new" sense of family (and possible rejection of his old) will be a topic of season 7.
Oh, and Bob Benson is creepy. It's like, "who invited him?" one, ever.

Peggy Olsen
It's all about Peggy's outfits here. 
The first time we see Peggy, she is looking on at Ted Chaough stroll through the office with his wife and kids. Second time we see her she is walking into a meeting, Ted Chaough present, in a babydoll cleavage-boosting dress and fishnets. She should have just said, "Imagine me in this Ted." Well later, he didn't have to imagine, as he paid her a visit. He promises to leave his wife. And Peggy isn't outwardly gullible to it, but she definitely internalizes the idea enough to be hurt when he dumps her.
Her best line? When Ted announces he is moving to Cali with his family, "Well aren't you lucky... to have decisions." Her tone here is just perfect. Peggy, you should get mad more often.
And then she totally rocks a matching pantsuit as she snoops around Don's--former--office. Hints here? Welcome, second wave feminism.

Pete Campbell
"In Care Of" has Pete competing with Don for the Mad Men character experiencing the most unrest. His mother falls overboard, and it seems pretty clear that Manolo, her male nurse-turned-husband has something to do with it. Personally, I'm not super invested in this specific plotline, except in the way that it involves Bob Benson, since he introduced the two. Speaking of Bob, he insists that Pete tries out the sportscar in the Chevy building. This ends up being a badddd idea. Someone clearly does not know how to drive stick, and I bet Bob knew that. #fail.

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