The seventh season of Mad Men premiered last night. What did you guys think? I thought it was excellent. Let’s talk about it.
Only two months have passed since last season. This episode belonged to Peggy, Don, and Joan, with most of the other characters appearing in their orbits. Peggy’s wearing a kicky beanie, and that’s the most lighthearted thing happening in her life. Her new boss, Lou Avery, is a creative director of a different mindset than Don was. When Peggy presents a brilliant concept for Accutron watches that (now freelancer) Freddy Rumsen feeds her in a dramatic, camera-facing monologue, she is thrilled by the idea. Lou doesn’t give a shit and shuts her down when she fights for the idea. She doesn’t give up and tries again the next week, but ole’ Lou is immune to her charms and tells her as much.
Peggy realizes that she’s working with a bunch of hacks and no one cares about doing the best work. She’s the only one willing to maintain the level of creativity that Don established and she takes it very personally. I feel you, Peggy. When Ted drops by for a visit from California, she can barely stand the site of him. It is NOT civil. To add insult to injury, she still owns that horrible building and is constantly being bothered by her tenants to fix a toilet. At least her new secretary seems great. I hope we get to know you better, Shirley.
In the most beautiful scene of the episode, Megan picks up Don from the airport and everything is all sunny California glam. I want to move into this world. And apparently, Megan is already living in this world. Don is just visiting and taking time to “work” in the west coast office. Oh, so Megan doesn’t know that Don hasn’t been working for the last two months. Their marriage seems strained at best. Megan is thriving in LA with a promising career while Don is floundering. Their power structure is off.
In his most raw moment, Don bonds with a beautiful stranger (Nev Campbell!) on the flight back to NYC. They each bare some painful thoughts and she falls asleep on his shoulder. Later we see Don and Freddy having lunch and realize Don is the one coming up with the creative concepts for Freddy. Ahhh, now it all makes sense. Mr. Pee Pants never struck me as that brilliant a copywriter.
Ken has never been more stressed and desperately needs help. (He’s still wearing the eyepatch and Mr. Betty suspects it’s permanent.) When he sends Joan to a meeting in his place with the Butler Footwear head of marketing, she rises to the challenge. The meeting does not go well and Butler wants to start managing their advertising on their own, effectively firing the agency. But Joan saves the day and convinces them to stay, using some research from a professor she visits on the sly. She’s a smart cookie, that Joan. I believe she’d make the perfect account executive if they’d give her the chance.
Roger seems to have fallen off the deep end. I die when he wakes up in a trashed room with a dozen naked people all around him. What the hell? He meets his daughter for brunch and she tells him she forgives him for well, for being him. And for smelling like incense. He’s unphased by her kindness but he seems miserable and lonely, like both Peggy and Don. I’d say loneliness was the theme of the episode.
A real moment of levity was seeing Pete Campbell, who’s taken to California like a fish to water. I gasped at the first site of his tan and pastel clothing. He had such a sad, dark season last year, so it’s good to see him looking so happy. “The city is flat and ugly. And the air is brown. But I love the vibrations!”
And that’s about it. I’m hoping we get some time with Betty next week.
Did you watch? What did you think?