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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Last call for Don Draper, ‘Mad Men’


    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat

    Loosen your tie, make an Old-Fashioned, close the door and have a seat. The final seven episodes of “Mad Men” begin Sunday.

    Since it’s been more than 10 months since the air date of “The Beginning,” the first half of the seventh season, a refresher is necessary. Netflix recently released these seven episodes, but if you don’t have access to Netflix or time to binge this weekend, here’s where the men and women of Madison Avenue were last left.

    The ominously titled finale of the first half of season seven, “Waterloo,” saw two major shakeups in the “Mad Men” universe. First, Bert Cooper, one of the founders of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, lived to see the Apollo 11 mission place the first man on the moon, and not much else. The series mainstay, who would deliver much-needed wisdom in a crunch and required all who entered his office to remove their shoes, died.

    On top of that, the allure and threat of McCann Erickson was finally fulfilled. Back in the first season, Jim Hobart, head of rival ad agency McCann Erickson, courted Don Draper to come work for him. Despite the small army of workers promised to him, Don rejected the offer, not wanting to sell out to the much larger firm.

    Flash forward and “Waterloo” concludes with the partners of SC&P deciding to sell the majority of their company to McCann for a fat payday, with Don signing a five-year contract.

    Just as Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and was forced into exile on St. Helena, “The End of an Era,” the title given to the upcoming last seven episodes, will answer the question of whether Don and company suffered their greatest defeat and relegated themselves to the fate of cogs in a much bigger machine.

    True to form for the series, the description of “Severance,” the first of the final seven, is humorously ambiguous on details: “Don attempts to track down a friend; Joan tries to solve a problem with an account; an unlikely person sets up Peggy.”

    Trying to gather any earth-shattering details would be as much a fool’s errand as trying to find a good bagel in California, according to Pete Campbell.

    However, some hints can be gleaned of the overall direction of the final episodes and its protagonist. “Mad Men” creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner analyzed the season’s poster, which shows Don Draper, tie slightly loose, at the wheel, driving forward.

    “It’s designed to tell you that Don is going somewhere,” Weiner said in Vulture. “But there is a feeling of, I hope, a little bit of a desperate drive.”

    No matter how everything ends for Don, Peggy, Betty, Roger, Joan and Pete, it is, indeed, the end. Probably to the chagrin of the show’s network, AMC, and the show’s production company, Lionsgate Television, there will be no “Better Call Saul”-esque spinoff. Weiner has rejected all offers.

    “I’m not interested,” Weiner said in an interview with TV Guide. “And I won’t budge on that. I love that this is it. If people are left wanting more, then you did your job right.”

    Hopefully, Don and company can continue moving towards the thing that has fleetingly, and tantalizingly, danced before their eyes. With any luck, Weiner imagines Don happy.

    “Severance” airs 8 p.m. on Sunday on AMC.


    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter.

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