The last two episodes have been phenominal! I cannot wait to see what happens next week with Don back at work, but with stipulations...
I soooooo wanted him to tell them to shove it their asses! Did I miss why everyone hates him? I know why he was asked to step away but damn!
Don was on a downward spiral for a few seasons now, so it wasn't a surprise when they more or less fired him. Peggy and Ted's relationship, along with Don's competitiveness, broke down Ted into the laissez faire guy that you see now. With both ends of creative faltering, Roger going through his own series of later life crises, and desiring a stronger hold on the company, Jim Cutler did a series of power moves to slowly take control of the company.
Jim Cutler is a man who wants to push the agency into a more business-focused company, as opposed to an agency focusing on creative superstars (Don and Ted) and gimmicks. This is evident in his consistent promoting and lifting up of employees in which he can use as puppets (Ted, Bob Benson, Harry Crane, Joan, Lou, and to a certain extent Peggy). He knows that Pete is "Roger's man" and he also knows that Roger is his only real competition for control of the agency. Cutler has close ties to Ted, and wanted Ted to rise above Don, but once that failed, he knew that he would have to get rid of Don to steer SC&P away from being creative-focused.
Once Don was gone, and with Pete conveniently going to California after failing with his marriage and with Chevy, Roger was without any real support system to maintain control. Bert Cooper is a non-factor, and does not have any real loyalty. Joan no longer respects him. Roger lives on convincing himself that he is still the President of the agency and his name is on the wall and it doesn't matter that he no longer has the power that he used to have.
This all brings us to the real reasons why each person, other than Roger, seems to hate Don now:
Jim Cutler - Sees Don as a threat for power, threat to the image of the agency, and hates what Don did to Ted Bert Cooper - Has been in the business far longer without Don than with him. Don's usefulness to Bert has diminished as his unpredictability has increased. Joan Harris - She is one of Cutler's puppets now. Cutler showed her the respect she deserved and she now has a position of real power. She does not want to lose that once Don returns. She also hated that Don threw away the account that she landed through prostitution without considering any one else. A lot of people bring up the fact that he stuck up for her by telling her not to sleep with the head of the Chevy dealer association. However, it could be argued that he was the only one trying to deny her the opportunity to become a partner. Again, Don thinks he is doing the best for someone else, but Joan was willing to do what it took to get the partnership. Peggy Olson - She blames Don, at least partially, for Ted going to California rather than accepting that it was a failed relationship from the start. While Don mentored Peggy, he also treated her like garbage over half the time and never fully gave her the respect she deserved. Most importantly, with Lou contracted for two years, where does that put Peggy within the hierarchy at SC&P? With Lou as Creative Director in New York, and Ted as creative Director in California, Peggy was still Copy Chief. With Don back in the office, where does that leave Peggy? As we saw last night, she is struggling to maintain what tiny bit of power that still remains. Stan Rizzo - Don stole Stan's idea for the California office, and then gave it to Ted. Stan has every reason not to trust Don anymore. Lou Avery - Obvious reasons. He knows Don is better and he took Don's job. As soon as Don even stepped into the office, Lou immediately assumes that he is out the door.
Even though True Detective was incredible this year, this half-season of Mad Men has been one of my favorite seasons of television ever. Really hate that an entire year has to go by before we get the conclusion, but I'm still riding high after Sunday.
So, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm giddy and depressed about the final seven episodes starting Sunday. Before every season, I re-watch the entire series from beginning to end to remember every detail of the characters' progressions. I only have the final episode of Season 7 part 1 to go, and I'm sure I'll finish that tonight.
My various, differing predictions for how it all ends: 1. Don finally reverts back to Dick Whitman, moves to California but not to be with Megan, and lives a life of exploration and openness to the changes of the world. 2. Don finally succumbs to his sadness, alcoholism, and pressures of his life and leaps from his apartment balcony to his death. 3. Peggy and Stan fall in love and get engaged. Peggy becomes the Creative Director and partner after Don leaves the agency to become Dick Whitman. 4. Roger and Joan finally get married, but he dies in the next to last episode. 5. Peggy, Pete, Stan, and Don start an agency in California together.
Obviously, I have no idea how this is all going to end, and that makes me very excited.
What is number one and what is the other show you are deciding between?
Number 1 is the Wire. Mad Men is currently number 2 but Breaking Bad is 2A in my book. The Americans might have too much recency bias but it is in the conversation for me as well.
The Wire is my next binge I'll be starting this week since I'm caught up on Mad Men until Sunday. For me, my 1a and 1b is Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Mad Men is a show I can easily rewatch again and again, whereas Breaking Bad is something that is almost too tough to revisit. It lives on in my memory.
If Mad Men's final seven are anything like Breaking Bad's final eight, Mad Men wins. If they are just really good or decent, Breaking Bad wins