[Spoilers ahead for Mad Men. If you aren’t caught up, probably don’t read on at all]
Six and a half seasons are in the books, and after an uneven first half (or first quarter?), the first part of season 7 ended up being great for the most part. It certainly feels like it’s channeling the Vinnie Chase arcs of “new season, new movie”, but replacing the word “movie” with “company”. The early part of this season sure made it feel like Don was on his was to a sad ending. His life and career were crumbling. The plane was on it’s way down, and then somehow at the last minute he was able to pull it out of the nosedive. And now, more than ever, it’s hard to make out where this is all going to go.
With the ship going down, things made sense. Don was going to hit rock bottom, move on, and the show would end, but that would be an odd turn after the end of last season at this point. Leading to either a sudden death (heart attack? Angry Paul Kinsey returning and shooting him?), or a “life goes on” type ending. There are some who think the last season will be a major flash forward (10–20 years) showing where everyone ends up down the road. But seeing as Matthew Weiner studied at the altar of David Chase, things almost certainly won’t end so tidily.
The “reset” button on the season, as it were, makes it seem like this was almost a filler type season. And although Don learned a lot about himself, and Peggy took a big step up, overall the show kind of seems like it is right back where it ended last season. The moments were great, and any excuse to get more episodes of this show are good for everyone, but it is at least a little rough to see the forest for the trees right now.
Thankfully, Betty had a very limited role this year, and if not for Sally, it’s a wonder if that aspect of things would even still exist1 to be visited on a regular basis. Bobby and Henry might as well not exist, so having Betty there seems like just an excuse to keep Sally relevant.
Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on the show, probably gets the least respect for his performance. But he has been spectacular over the years, going from twerp, to valuable resource, to crazier version of Roger Sterling with more rage. It’s weird to see how much he has Don’s back after the way Don treated him for so long at the first agency. His personal relationships are as screwed up as anyone, and he is the odds on favorite to have a sad ending to this story.
With just 7 episodes to go though, it’s hard to see another drastic shift in the company. That means that either something catastrophic will happen to everyone, just Don or that things will just continue on with the show just ending. Fans demand more closure these days, but Weiner doesn’t cater the masses, and it’s likely this show will end in an unsatisfying way to most people. But so far, the ride has been fantastic.
- I am of the belief that Sally will play a bigger factor in the last leg of this show [↩]