Despite Matthew Weiner and the cast's tight-lipness, it appears some members of the media have already seen S7E1, "Time Zones." Not only that, but they've written about it. Even so, Vulture and Entertainment Weekly have managed to not give anything major away. So bravo for that.
Here goes nothing:
Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture specifically noted that he doesn't want to be the bearer of spoilers, but proceeded to write about a thousand words. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. He takes a slightly philosophical angle, discussing the hopelessness of the characters and how watching the show kind of makes the viewers feel like we are watching characters just drown on repeat. For this reason, people he knows have "quit" Mad Men.
They want their shows to offer some hope of meaningful change...Some people don't want to keep investing in a show about characters who keep fouling their own nests, then building new ones, then fouling those as well.
I guess this is only proof that there is no happy ending for Don, Roger, Peggy, Pete, you get it. Is Seitz basically saying, "Brace yourself, this season may put you in a dark place?" Cough cough, Dante's rings of hell continued?
In season 6, episode 1, "The Doorway," Don reads Dante's Inferno in Hawaii. I actually cannot think of a worst beach-read. He says out loud, which obviously means something, "Midway in our life's journey, I went astray from the straight road, woke to find myself alone, in a dark wood."
Seitz notes that more than therapy, what these characters really need is Don's secret weapon, "the power of forgetting." I haven't seen the season 7 premiere, but based on the ending on season 6, it seems that Don no longer possesses that power. Or his life is actually so messed up that he just can't ignore it. Seitz focuses on Don's "doughier last year, sweatier, paler..." downfall of season 6. He's correct in that even his fling with Sylvia "lacked the power-fantasy glamour of his other affairs." If Don's going to be cheating all the time, she should at least be a hippie (Midge), own a department store (Rachel), live in an awesome mid-century modern in Palm Springs (Joy), or be a doctor (Faye)!
He ends the review with a really great summation of what it says about you if you enjoy watching unhappy endings and people suffer:
But still we watch. At least, we masochists who don’t care about likability or happy endings watch. It’s not a self-help guide. But there is some value in Mad Men’s spectacle of misbehavior. The show has nothing to teach us. It’s just being honest about the truths people discover and then disregard, and the lies they tell themselves, as history moves around them. They’re doing the best they can.
The paradise fantasy of California, all sunshine, tanned skin, and Disneyland bliss. The first line, spoken directly to camera by a character who has long embodied the idea of self-destruction and transformation, says it all: ''Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something. Do you have time to improve your life?''
Haha. Sounds like Don breaks the fourth wall. But I'm sure he doesn't. Imagine Don has trained as a life coach? Never. I mean, I'm not even entertaining the idea really.
Jensen does confirm that the premiere introduces new characters, while also giving some screen time to supporting characters...
One of the most artful aspects of the premiere is how it gives meaningful moments to so many supporting characters — Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), Joan (Christina Hendricks), and Ken (Aaron Staton) — while remaining largely about Don.