Mad Men – Person to Person

Mad Men - Person to Person

Mad Men – Person to Person

Mad Men - Person to Person

Well, the end has come. What do you think of how the Mad Men era came to a close? The final episode that aired Sunday night was good, not great I think. It had some great moments though.

The title of the episode, “Person to Person”, refers to three person-to-person phone calls Don makes in this episode. He makes them to the three most important women in his life – Sally, Betty, and Peggy, in that order. In his dons last call to bettyphone conversation with Sally, he learns Betty is dying from lung cancer. He hangs up the phone and calls Betty in one of the most emotional scenes of the episode. She answers in her pink ruffle robe as she sits on the bed near her nightstand that is covered in tissues and medicine bottles. Don’s first instinct is to come to New York and get the children so he can raise them; he is, after all, their father. But Betty has it planned out already and nixes Don’s idea with some painful truth. She believes bettys last call with donthe children living with her brother and his wife is the best thing for them because they will be raised by a “regular family” that way. “Oh, wait, Don. When is the last time you saw them?” she asks. And then the killer, “I want to keep things as normal as possible,” she says. “And you not being here is part of that.” It’s the reality he has created for himself and hearing her say it, combined with the reality of her illness, brings them both to tears.

He continues his journey west and ends up at the door of Stephanie, Anna’s daughter. He tries to give her the ring that belonged to her mother. She refuses but invites him to join her on a retreat. Having no real plans, he agrees to go with her. It’s a retreat full of things like yoga and meditation. At a group session they both attend, Stephanie ends up in tears when she expresses her pain and the feeling she’s being judged by people because of all the mistakes she has made, including giving up her child and not wanting to be reunited with him (Mothers who don’t feel the mother-child bond – Don’s step-mom, Peggy and her child, and now Stephanie and her child). Another group member’s response to her confession sends her running from everyonestephanie person to person in tears. Don goes after her and tells her he can help her put it behind her and get on with her life. He tells her it will get easier in time, because it has for him. She strongly disagrees and leaves. The next morning she and his new car are gone. He learns from someone at the retreat that there is no way for him to leave early without a car. In his anger over this and the fact that no one knows where she went, he says to one of the women running the retreat, “People just come and go, and no one says goodbye?” Um . . . a bit of the pot calling the kettle black there Mr. Draper?

At this point, he makes his third person-to-person call to the third important woman in his life – Peggy Olson. She tells him everyone is angry about him just taking off and he sarcastically asks if the place fell apart without him. No, it didn’t. Life has gone on for everyone at McCann-Erickson without him. And his ex-wife is going to die without him. And his children will be raised in a “regular family” without him. And Stephanie doesn’t want his help. Don begins an emotional descent. Peggy wants to know what he’s been doing. “I don’t know,” he responds. “I have no idea.” Peggy tells him he “can come home.” So, he has firmly and clearly been told he can’t go home to his children, but he can go home to the place he worked, which in many ways has been more of a home for him than his family home for years. He sounds despondent as he tells Peggy, “I messed everything up. I’m not the man you think I am . . . I broke all my leonard person to personvows. I scandalized my child. I took another man’s name and made nothing of it.” She reassures him and he tells her he only called because he realized he never told her goodbye. He’s crying when they end their call. He sits on the ground,  crying, shaking, trying to take deep breaths to calm himself.

A group leader finds him and takes him to a group where a character we’ve never seen brings Don to tears. Leonard gets to Don. He talks about people not noticing him and then says, “It’s like no one cares that I’m gone.” This pulls Don’s attention away from the internal self-hate talk he was having as he stared at the floor. He listens to Leonard explains that he doesn’t feel loved, but that maybe people are trying to love him and he just doesn’t know love when he sees it. He sobs and Don rises from his chair. He walks to him and holds him as they both cry. He’s not alone in this feeling.

The last great moment is the closing minutes of the show. In last week’s episode, Don was asked to fix a Coke machine. Coke has always been a sally washing dishes person to personchallenge for him. It’s the account he has always wanted. In this week’s episode, Joan does cocaine with Richard (who leaves her in this episode by the way), and when Don calls Peggy she asks him if he doesn’t want to come back and work on the Coke account that McCann-Erickson promised him. And this week’s episode, the end of Mad Men, closes with Coke in a beautiful way. We watch Pete and Trudy board a Lear jet with their daughter, Joan take calls for her production company, Roger and Marie in a French cafe, Sally wash dishes as Betty smokes a cigarette, and Peggy type a letter while Stan rubs her shoulders and kisses her forehead.

Then we see ad exec, wealthy, man-of-the-world Don Draper in a yoga session at the end of the retreat. He’s sitting cross-legged with his back to the ocean as the yoga instructor speaks about the new day bringing new hope, new opportunities, new ideas, “a new you”. All is peaceful and calm, even Don. They all close their eyes and begin chanting, “Om.” A chime rings, Don smiles, and a classic commercial begins to play. We know what it is as soon as the woman sings, “I want to buy the world a home . . .” We go from a closeup of Don’s face to the closeup of a woman singing in the commercial, “and furnish it with love.” The rest of the commercial plays us to the end of the episode. It’s the perfect union of Don coming to peace with who he is, the good and the bad, and the birth of an idea that will bring him great success in the career he seems to have been born for. Of course, it’s a big hit and is a personal victory as he wows the account he has always dreamed of having.

P.S. The thing with Stan rubbing Peggy’s shoulders and kissing her forehead, they end up together. Viewers have had mixed emotions about this one. I love it. It felt forced and rushed in this episode. It would have been nice to see it play out over a few episodes. But it’s right. I have long thought they should end up together. How long have they been having phone calls that go on and on at all hours of the day or night? How many times have they been having these conversations and she puts down the phone to do something while he waits for her to come back? And she always does. How many times has she called him when she was confused or frustrated? Who did she confess her pregnancy to? It’s right.

#MadMen #MadMenEra @JonHammOnline #persontoperson #MadMenFinale

Share

Mad Men – Lost Horizon

Mad Men – Lost Horizon

mad-men-lost-horizon-peggy

Yes, that is Peggy Olson in the picture at the top of this article. Not Don Draper. Because this week was all about Peggy. Yes, Don’s story ran throughout this episode, but while he continued to struggle with the same things he has been struggling with in this last half of the last season, Peggy continues growing and has the best scene in the show this week. The very last scene was excellent as well, but we’ll get there in a minute.

We start this episode with a Don Draper who is literally and figuratively lost. Meredith meets him in the hallway and escorts him to his office to keep him from getting lost “again”. She talks to him about his apartment, the movers, advises him that Mr. Hobart is in so “no napping”, and returns an envelope of his personal belongings that she removed from his apartment for him because she didn’t feel they should be left there with the movers around. Among those belongings is a ring that belonged to Anna.

Throughout this episode, we see more signs of Don losing the feeling of being special, important, and talented. Jim Hobart tells him in a private conversation that they want him to bring the place up a notch. A couple of scenes later we learn that he has told Ted Chaough the same thing. Don sits in a meeting in that same room and observes all of the creative directors behaving in the same way and listening to the new client with pens poised to write down anything he says that gives them inspiration for a campaign. But not one man (all white men) writes down one thing, because there is no inspiration. Don is one of many now, and advertising isn’t dd watching plane during meetingemotional and insightful in this new world he has been forced into. He finds it empty and uninspiring. So much so that he watches out the window in this scene and sees a plane flying near the top of the Empire State Building. He grabs his box lunch and leaves the meeting and the building. He doesn’t return.

He goes to find Diana in Racine. He finds the home she used to share with her husband, but that he now shares with his new wife. Don tries to determine her whereabouts using a couple of false identities (he’s become good at assuming false identities) but Diana’s ex sees through his ruse and tells him he isn’t the first to come looking for her and that although “she looks so lost,” in Don’s words, Don and nobody but Jesus can save her. Or him.

He goes to pick up Sally and give her a ride to college but learns that she got a ride with a friend, the boys are out doing something, and Betty is settling into her life as a college student. Their lives are going on quite well without him.

And poor Joan. She feels good about the move when a couple of women at McCann-Erickson come to her office to welcome her and invite her to a girl’s night, but that is the only good experience she has. She has a call with Avon with Dennis, the man who openly made one sexual comment after another during a meeting with her in a prior episode. He is every bit as charming in this scene. When she reprimands him for making an offensive comment to Avon, one he would not have made if he had bothered to read the briefs she stayed up late preparing, he snaps back at her telling her she has no right to get mad. Then Ferguson comes to her office with the appearance of smoothing things over after the problem with Dennis. But he makes it clear women have a place at McCann, and it’s inferior to men. Of course, he’ll help her keep her position and gain the respect of others at McCann-Erickson if she will sleep with him.

And the bad situation gets worse when she goes to Jim Hobart and tells him her clients “aren’t getting the attention they deserve” and that she can’t work with Ferguson. She tells him she had some status and independence at SC&P and wants it there. She is told she’ll have to get used to how they do things at McCann, that he doesn’t care about her SC&P partnership, and that her little ´µ:ný”’á6MyCþùŠ&<C„½=Sÿstake doesn’t matter to Jim. She pushes with threats of leaving with her $5 million or suing for violation of the Equal Opportunity Act. But Jim doesn’t budge and tells her he’ll give her half of her $5 million if he never has to see her again. She considers fighting him but in a scene that left both me and Joan teary-eyed, Roger advises her to take the money and run, and she does, after taking the two things from her desk that are really hers, a picture of her son and her Rolodex.

Peggy starts out in the shadows this week. McCann-Erickson doesn’t have an office for her (of course, she’s a woman) so she spends her time at the empty Sterling Cooper offices, insisting she won’t move until they get her an office.  Her new secretary comes to see her at home and brings a basket of flowers with her. “All the SC&P girls got flowers . . . Well, all the new secretaries.”

She finally gets an office but will have to work at a drafting desk for a bit. As she heads back to her SC&P office to gather her things she runs into Roger Sterling and they end up sharing a bottle of vermouth, the only alcohol left in the place. We rarely see these two together, but it’s a great scene. Roger offers her a painting. She is shocked at what she sees and asks what it is. “It’s an octopus pleasuring a lady. It was Cooper’s. It was in his office forever. You can have it.” He suggests that she put it in her office, but she refuses, saying no one will take her seriously with it hanging on the wall. Then two of the best lines in the show:

Peggy – “You know I need to make men feel at ease.”

Roger – “Who told you that?”

The two of them end up finishing off that bottle of vermouth together. The last shot of them together is classic Mad Men – Roger is playing the organ while Peggy roller skates around the empty SC&P offices. They glance at each other once and smile, andpeggy skating she leans forward and raises a leg behind her. Roger asked her earlier in the episode, looking over his glasses at her, “You think you’re gonna have fun like this over there?” No, she won’t. In fact, she’ll probably have a very difficult time “over there”. But this was fun to watch.

My absolute favorite scene is when Peggy goes to McCann-Erickson for the first time. She’s hung over so she’s wearing dark sunglasses. She has a cigarette in her mouth, her box of things for her office in her hands, and Cooper’s picture of the octopus pleasuring a lady under her arm, with the picture facing out so the whole world can see. She’s strutting down the hallway like she owns that world. (See picture at the top of this article.) She looks at one guy who looks back and then down at the picture. He watches her walk down the hall. She looks directly at two other men who move out of her way without ever looking at her.

I loved the end of Lost Horizon. Don is driving down a road in the middle of nowhere and picks up a hitchhiker who’s headed for St. Paul. Wait a minute. He was in Racine, WI and now he’s going to St. Paul? But isn’t New York in the other direction? Yep. I don’t think he has any intention of going back. I think he’s headed for California but has no idea what he’s going to do once he gets there. California is where Anna, the one person who knew his whole story and always loved him, lived. It calls to him. Then cue the music as he drives away from the camera down that long road, headed for St. Paul.

“This is Ground Control to Major Tom,

You’ve really made the grade.

And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear.

Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control,

I’m stepping through the door

And I’m floating in a most peculiar way

And the stars look very different today.”

Indeed they do for Don Draper.

#MadMen #TheForecast #MadMenEra

@SlatterySource @JonHammOnline @chendricksorg @GreenwoodBruce @KevinRahm

Share

Mad Men – Time and Life

Mad Men – Time and Life

Mad Men - Time and Life

This week in Mad Men we saw Don Draper’s losses continue and his power and position continue their downward spiral. Sterling, Cooper, & Partners either hit the jackpot or lost everything, depending on how you look at it. We were also given some nice scenes involving some special relationships on the show.

The biggest news in this episode is that McCann-Erickson is “absorbing” Sterling Cooper. They’re being bought out by the firm from whom they have struggled throughout the series to remain independent. They have always wanted to make it on their own, without having the clout that comes with a name like McCann-Erickson, but that isn’t going to happen. “You have died and gone to advertising heaven,” says Jim Hobart of McCann-Erickson and proceeds to parade in front of them some big names who are their clients. The are accounts Sterling Cooper & Partners dreamed of. It’s sure to mean more money for all of the partners but is it a victory? It doesn’t feel that way. It feels like defeat. “Is that all there is?” seems to be the question pervading this season. They have all just gotten what they wanted in some ways, but it’s empty.

Among the events contributing to Don’s downward spiral is his don mccann westsfailed attempt to prevent the loss of Sterling Cooper & Partners. Once before, they were literally hours from being bought, and Don Draper came up with a plan that saved the day. He tried again this time but failed. His charisma has faded and his charm, if not completely gone yet, is dying more every week.

If that isn’t enough, he goes out drinking with the other partners after his failed attempt to save the firm, and every one of them has to leave because they have someone to go home to or to meet up with. To make this even more depressing for lady’s man Don Draper, the woman Roger Sterling is meeting is Marie Calvet, his ex-wife Megan’s mother. It’s a drunk, disheveled Don Draper with we see in this scene. Marie literally took everything from Don when, in her daughter’s absence, she told the moving men to empty the apartment of all furnishings. She is the reason he came home to an empty apartment.

And then there’s the phone call with Lou, the man Don has always battled with. The man who stepped into his position at the firm while he was on leave. The man who never respected Don, who always thought he had no talent, just a way of swaying people with his good looks and charm. Lou doesn’t care about the buyout because someone has bought the comic he has been writing for years and he’s going to be rich without Sterling Cooper’s money. He laughs as he rubs it in Don’s face. That “someone,” by the way, is a Japanese company. It’s no coincidence that Roger Sterling has a hatred for the Japanese that has its roots in his WW2 days, a hatred that has caused the firm embarrassment in the past. In this episode, he comments on Lou’s future by saying, “The Japs are gonna eat him alive.”

Ted Chaough is a contrast to Don. Ted Chaough has met someone. He and Don talk about the fact that they both have ex-wives in California. Ted tells him he knows Don is attached to California, and he is, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Megan. I think it’s a sentimental tie and is all about Anna, the one person who knew his story and truly cared about him. Ted says he can’t leave New York because of his new love. Don has nothing to keep him there. Ted comments in the bar that he is glad to let someone else do the driving. Doing the driving is exactly what Don misses. He’s lost control. He doesn’t like it. But it hasn’t fully hit him yet. We haven’t seen a real, raw reaction from him yet. Will we? I hope so.

Joan is uniquely impacted by the buyout. In the meeting with Hobart in which he rattles off all the big names everyone will have access to as part of McCann-Erickson, he looks at each one of them and names an account he knows each of them has dreamed of having. Everyone except Joan, a detail that does not go Mad-Men-Season-7B-Episode-11-Television-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLOunnoticed by her. She fears they won’t appreciate her talents at McCann-Erickson, and she’s probably right. She fought hard and made personal sacrifices to earn her current status at Sterling Cooper, but she knows she still lives in a world in which women are not taken seriously. During a taxi ride with Pete, she comments that “we both know they aren’t going to take me seriously over there,” and she’s probably right.  Just a couple of episodes ago she met with a client who made one sexual comment after another and found it humorous despite Joan’s agitation. But she has met a man who does take her seriously – Richard. During a phone conversation, she tells him she has had bad news at work and begins crying. He tells her he’ll be on the next plane to New York so she can tell him all about it. Will she decide to leave McCann-Erickson and begin a new life with Richard? Leave a place she knows she won’t be respected for a place she believes she will be? Maybe. But, as she said in the episode in which she met Richard, she needs to work. Not for the money, she probably has more of that now than she needs. No, she just needs to work. It’s important to her. It makes her feel valuable.

We also saw some nice moments with Peggy this week. There was a nice moment with her and Pete on the couch in his office, a spot where many important things have happened between them. One of those things was a conversation in Season Two in which Peggy told Pete about their child she gave up for adoption. In reference to that fact, it is the sight of a child hugging her legs that prompts him to call her into his office and give her a heads up about the buyout. It’s a nice moment between them. His desire to give her advance unofficial notice about something that will have a significant impact on her followed by her giving him a literal pat on the back and gentle reassurance that he will succeed in the new organization.

Peggy also had a very important conversation with Stan this week. A girl who auditioned at Sterling Cooper for a commercial waits in Peggy’s office for her mother to return to pick her up. When she does, Peggy and the mother argue. In the course of that argument, peggy and stanthe girl’s mother tells Peggy, “You do what you want with your children. I’ll do what I want with mine.” Ouch. The pain shows on Peggy’s face.

“Look, you got to a certain point in your life and it didn’t happen. I understand you’re angry about it, but you’ve got a lot of other things,” he says to Peggy later when she tells him she can’t quit thinking about the argument. “I mean it. You couldn’t have done all you’ve done otherwise,” he says.

She responds with, “I guess that’s the secret to your spectacular career? The fact that you don’t have kids?”

“Well, not that I know of,” he says, and chuckles.

They argue over about a man’s ability to just walk away from a child and “get on with his life” while a woman can’t. They talk about his mother and that doesn’t know if she wanted him. Peggy tells him he doesn’t understand his mother. He says he doesn’t want to. Followed by this from Peggy:

“Maybe she was very young and followed her heart and got in trouble. And no one should have to make a mistake just like a man does and not be able to move on. She should be able to live the rest of her life just like a man does.” You see the truth click in Stan’s eyes, and he tells her she’s right. Peggy again, “I know. Maybe you’d do what you thought was the best thing.” He asks her what she did. “I’m here. And he’s with a family. Somewhere. I don’t know. But not because I don’t care. Because you’re not supposed to know or you can’t go on with your life.”

In the final scene, the partners make their announcement. As soon as Roger tells them about the buyout, everyone starts talking over him and walk away. Don tries to save it with, “This is the beginning of something. Not the end.” His statement isn’t even heard. The magic is gone. The glory days are over. What comes next?

mad-men-season-7-episode-11-john-slattery-jon-hamm-christina-hendricks

 

#MadMen #TheForecast #MadMenEra

@SlatterySource @JonHammOnline @chendricksorg @GreenwoodBruce @KevinRahm

Share