Mad Men S7E8: the start of the second half of the last season

Well, I’ll continue to leave the actual recaps to Victoria Marsden assuming she gets around to it (Ahem!). So this is really just my impression of what the hell I just watched.

Again, the theme of death permeates the episode weaving through the various stories. Or at least that’s how I saw it. Don is dreaming of a lover who passed away (is he exclusively hallucinating dead people now?). Ken’s wife is begging him not to give his life to the company while his career there is ending.

There was also something foreboding about the bacchanal Roger and Don seem to be living. Don’s secretary giving him the messages from several women who want to be his paramour for the night. And it can’t be just me who sees something so destructive and desperate in Don’s pursuit of the waitress in the diner. What was that about?

Drinks were ever-present but I no longer think it’s a single vice that will bring about Don’s end. His encounter with Rachel’s sister certainly underscored the point that Don’s extracurriculars have left him with a pretty hollow life. But there’s Don again: so sympathetic and real when faced with the end of things. He’s compassionate and human. And then he’s fucking a stranger in an alleyway.

It was interesting that this episode (and let’s face it, it’s the start of a short season) lacked any of Don’s family. He’s truly alone on this part of the adventure. At least, as it starts.

Oh and hey, how about McCann and Erickson being staffed by a bunch of bros? Who knew? Joan and Peggy’s encounter with them was terribly reflective of our current culture’s treatment of professional women and our lack of progress. But then a moment later and Peggy is counting Joan’s money which seems to be everyone’s favorite hobby. Roger, Ken, now Peggy. They all get in on the action.

At least there was some good news in Peggy’s date, if she’ll let it happen. He seemed chill. I think she should have gone to Paris. But then everyone at this firm is trapped in a sick system. Ken would rather enact his revenge fantasies than explore his artistic side. Peggy would pass up a promising love affair and adventure for her job. And Don…he’s just chasing the end one little death at a time.