With a Fantasia cigarette (yellow) in our right hand, Bourbon in our left, we were promptly seated at 10pm EST for the final season of Mad Men. Hearing that music come on and seeing the outline of Don Draper seated, right arm over the back of the couch, cigarette in hand, it felt like coming home. What a wait! How do they get away with it, having us eager and still hungry after a year long absence?
The first episodes often leave us wanting; there are always a lot of questions which sometimes take the entire season to have answered. But then there is always enough to keep you attuned for more. We don’t overanalyze plots and twists, we settle in for a smooth ride through the 60s, doing our best to tune out the unsettling things. We suppose it’s best to get those out of the way first, especially because it has nagged at us for sometime.
As we mentioned in a prior blog, ‘An early 20th century lover’s lament,’ it is always difficult to stay completely focused on the charms of the 20th century without flinching at its ugliness. Naturally, in a show that strives to be fanatically accurate to the times, Mad Men’s story lines for its black characters are less than desirable. On the one hand, it was an unpleasant time and thus the realities of that must be reflected. On the other hand, the writing on this show is extremely clever and if Matthew Weiner was truly interested he could do exactly what he does for the other women on the show, celebrate their victories, even in a climate of oppression.
Instead, one is always left with the feeling that the writer is bitter for having to succumb to pressure to diversify the show and has decided to make us pay for that in every way. A clear example of his bitterness would have to be the older black woman stealing from Don’s children in Episode 8, last season. We had to choose not to give this the power to ruin the show’s deliciousness for us.
Thus more important is Roger waking up in the middle of an orgy that one can certainly imagine him falling into, but can’t believe he would return to. We hope he moves on quickly, it’s a scene we only want him to dip a toe into – not even a foot. For Peggy we continue to ache as she finally allows herself to feel her own devastation over Ted leaving, by sinking to the floor in tears.
It was a full 9 minutes before we even saw Don. That permanent scowl of disapproval and detachment making us only want to draw nearer. Matthew Weiner talked about the authenticity of Jon Hamm’s portrayal, due to his own experiences with darkness. Perhaps this is what was missing from Ike Evans in Magic City. You never truly felt you were looking at a man weighed down by his descend into darkness. Don leaves no doubt…
We fawned, we gushed, we adored the visual of Megan jumping out of her sports car to pick Don up. We love that we just saw her mod style dress turn up at bridal designer Madeleine Fig. But then we just returned to our usual scorn for her as the replacement for the icy cool perfection that is Betty Draper. (Were we the only ones who fully approved of Don’s affair with the neighbor?) What did please us was finally an addressing of the elephant in the room, by Megan’s agent, her teeth! How long were we going to act as if it made sense for Don to have married someone with such teeth?? Yes! They need to be fixed for us to buy her career as an actress, and Don should already have done so!
Joan had a moment of betrayal last season, but she mostly makes us swell with pride. Her cool deflection during a reluctant meeting with Butler Footwear, then strengthening her position by educating herself. She amazes us every time, she reminds us of what matters. Always your own belief in your self…Her briefcase in white leather a style statement!
Nev Campbell looks great in the 60s! What a surprise to see her board Don’s plane and take the seat next to him. It would have been too predictable for them to run off together, we suppose, but part of us was kinda for it. We need to consider a replica of her chunky gorgeous necklace for Summer.
Things are a mess, Don and Roger are clearly lost and out of place where they are trying to land. We need them both back at the office, Roger staying in an elegant hotel, no more trips for Don to Megan’s hippie nest in the hills. We prefer their debauchery to unfold from the solid base of the office…