The upcoming start of the seventh season of Mad Men is bittersweet to me. I’m excited for it because I think it is one of the best shows that has ever been on television and it’s return is always exciting to me, but I’m sad because it marks the beginning of the end for the show’s run.
From the first episode we watched quite a few years back, my husband and I have been hooked on Mad Men. When I was working a “normal” 8 to 5 job, the show gave me a reason to look forward to Sunday night and Monday morning because I’d watch Sunday then spend a chunk of my time reading “morning after” reviews and discussions on Monday. Mad Men is a show that sucks you in when you first watch it, then later once it has time to really sink in, becomes even more powerful and thought-provoking. I’ve seen every episode multiple times (thanks to streaming Netflix) and I feel like I hear or see something new each time that makes everything take on a different meaning. Even though I’d be exhausted by the time 11pm came around and the show ended, sometimes I’d be so enveloped in the story and the episode I just watched, I’d stay up until midnight and watch it again because I didn’t want to let it go. The episode I remember having this feeling the most after was season four’s The Suitcase. If I could watch the episode over and over I would. How Jon Hamm didn’t win an Emmy that year is beyond me.
Between the fifth and sixth seasons of Mad Men, I started a new job that took me from working the normal 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday days to one that has me working evenings and weekends. With the stress of the new job and different schedule to get used to, I honestly wasn’t able to stay awake for many of season six’s episodes. In order to get ready for the upcoming season, I downloaded all the episodes from iTunes and binge-watched them a couple of weeks back when they first became available.
Season five’s finale ended with a look at what Don would be like in season six. Alone at a bar, as he leaves his new wife Megan at her first big acting gig (which he helped secure for her), he’s approached by a woman asking if he’s alone. Since as far as we know he’d been faithful to Megan until this point, you hope (or at least I did) that he would refuse the woman’s advances, but true to form, Don turns and gives her his classic Don Draper womanizing stare and you know that that’s it. Now that his wife has found her own way, it’s time for him to return to his.
Here are my thoughts on season six –
Highlights and Favorite Moments
- To me, season six brought back “classic” Mad Men. Don is once again dominating at work and has resumed being the philandering married man, Peggy’s star continues to rise, Pete is as vile as ever and Joan is trying to show how she can be more than just a glorified secretary/partner as she tries to make a better life for herself and her son.
- Trudy finally kicking Pete out of their home – what the heck took her so stinking long???? Way to go, Trudy, you finally wised up!
- Stan and Peggy’s late night phone calls when she was working at CGC and he was still at SCDP. I loved the glimpses we got into their relationship this season.
- As always, I loved to see how everything happening outside of SCDP impacts the office and characters. Last season this brought about the hiring of SCDP’s first African American employee and this year we got to see how the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the resulting riots and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy impacted everyone.
- The merger of CGC and SCDP was surprising to me, but I loved how it brought Peggy back to the forefront. One of my favorite scenes this season was when Peggy walked in to Ted’s office asking how the Chevy pitch went only to be surprised when she sees Don sitting there with him.
- Don saving the day and getting The Rosen’s son out of the draft…then Sally walking in on Don and Sylvia “celebrating.” Talk about awkward!
- Don’s Hershey’s “pitch” where he reveals more about his childhood and how he was an orphan raised in a brothel. Honestly, I liked the story and the vulnerability he showed, but I can see how the partners maybe didn’t.
- Once again the ladies of Mad Men get screwed. Ted promises Peggy he’ll leave his wife in order to start a life with her and Don promises Megan a move to California so he can run the SC&P California office, she can continue her acting career and they can “be happy again”. In the end, it’s Ted who goes to California to distance himself from Peggy and Megan (who has already quit her job on To Have and To Hold) who stays in New York. Rightfully so, both women are left furious.
- The final scene where Don take his kids to see the now completely run down brothel he grew up in. I loved Sally’s face when she looked up at him after having seeing the house because she’s finally starting to understand who her father really is and where he came from.
- Bob Benson – I wasn’t a fan of how long it took us to get to know who he was/wasn’t. To me he still just feels like a creepy guy always walking around with two coffees to hand off to others. Every time he showed up, I kept asking what his deal was. Now we know he’s not who he says he is either (much like Don), but I’m still not sure what the point of him being around is.
- I wasn’t a fan of the season’s eighth episode, The Crash. This is the one where Cutler’s physician comes and injects some of the employees with energy shots. While I did get a chuckle out of Ken’s tap dance, I thought the episode dragged overall and the scenes between Sally and the burglar were just plain creepy.
- Peggy stabbing Abe…and then him breaking up with her in the ambulance. I am glad she’s rid of him, but the whole thing was a bit bizarre – just like when Lois ran over the British man’s foot with the John Deere in season three and Ken getting shot this season.
- Betty and Don getting back together for the night at Bobby’s summer camp. I kinda liked when they were mad at each other more.
- The return of Glenn! I know he’s Matthew Weiner’s son, but that kid creeps me out.
- The partners decision to to make Don take a leave of absence was surprising to me. I understand that his behavior is unpredictable, but I don’t see how it was all of a sudden more unpredictable than it had been in the past. That’s what was so alluring about him and how he worked. This leave would have been more understandable if it came at the mid-point of season four where Don was truly flailing and was in a fast downward spiral in his personal life and at work. It just seemed a bit abrupt to happen at this point in time. I do like, though, how the absence of Ted AND Don leaves the door wide open for Peggy to truly step up and show everyone what she’s made of.
Overall, I was a fan of season six. Season five was slow for me without a lot of action, so I enjoyed seeing all the change this season brought. I’m excited to see what the first part of the final season of Mad Men will bring for everyone and how it will all get wrapped up!
What were your thoughts on season six? What are you most looking forward to in season seven?
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