TV Review: “Mad Men” – It’s Only the Beginning

Written by Meredith Pow May 22, 2014

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Overview

While you may have heard that season 7 will be the last season of “Mad Men”, it’s a little more complicated than that. The first 7 episodes released this year are only “The Beginning” (which is the appropriately titled first half of the season), followed by “The End of an Era”, which will be the final 7 episodes of the series set to premiere in spring 2015. And whether or not you agree with “Mad Men’s” long pause, it’s happening and there’s really not much you can do about it. So the question is, will fans of “Mad Men” wait patiently for the last 7 episodes to be released in 2015, or will they become disinterested after a year of anticipation?

Though the season began with low ratings, I would encourage fans to stick around. The first 6 episodes have been filled with drama, surprises, and classic Don Draper mischief, and while it’s clear that things are coming to an end, there’s no telling what sort of conclusion “Mad Men” is heading towards.

The Downfall of Don Draper

After 6 seasons of secrecy on “Mad Men”, the truth about Don Draper (or at least, some of it) was revealed to the partners in last season’s finale, subsequently leading to Don’s temporary departure from the agency. Season 7 picks up a few months later, showcasing the division of Sterling Cooper & Partners between the New York and Los Angeles offices, the changing dynamics around the workplace, and the challenges Don now faces on the outside looking into a world where he arguably felt the most sense of belonging. The opening credits of “Mad Men” are actually symbolic in a way, as Don falls helplessly through the sky, surrounded by advertisements and New York skyscrapers. This season features Don evidently fallen from his throne, while remaining bounded by his life as an ad man. Despite being on temporary leave, Don continues to immerse himself in work related affairs, using Dawn Chambers, his secretary and Freddy Rumsen to report back to him and send ideas back and forth.

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Of course, we’ve always known that Don Draper was flawed (to put it lightly). His downfall was to be expected, but his desperation is something to be acknowledged. Episode 3 has an awkward boardroom scene between the partners, as they lay out strict conditions for Don’s return to the agency, of which he complies, showing just how desperate he is to come back and work. I like how vulnerable his character has become, especially when comparing him to Peggy, who has without a doubt grown the most successfully out of all the “Mad Men’ characters and rightfully earning her place at the agency (and yes, I’m throwing some shade at Joan).

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A Mix of Interesting and Dull Storylines

“Mad Men” continues to be heavily character driven, with a large cast of main and supporting characters. As the show wraps up, it’s nice to reflect on how the characters have developed from 1960 to 1969. However, not all of the characters have flourished and maintained an intriguing plotline like Peggy. For example, I couldn’t care less about Pete Campbell’s storyline this season, and Harry Crane is about as entertaining as a bucket. Even Megan, who unexpectedly became one of my favourite characters, has now begun to bore me with her simple Los Angeles life. Thankfully, “Mad Men” does a fairly good job of proportionately featuring its characters, so one doesn’t have to endure too much of their least favourite storyline.

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In Conclusion…

There are still many reasons why you should tune into the last season (or the first half of the last season) of “Mad Men”. If you haven’t started watching, here’s a few things to look forward to: Sally and Betty arguing, Don Draper drinking, Roger Sterling briefly joining a cult, Michael Ginsberg being even more eccentric than usual, Dawn Chambers getting some recognition, and my personal favourite, the return of the mysterious Bob Benson. The mid-season finale airs this Sunday, and while I’m excited, I know there’s still a long wait a head for the final finale of “Mad Men”.

Rating: 7/10

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About Meredith Pow

Meredith Pow

Meredith is a student at Western University, currently working towards a BA Honours Specialization in Media, Information & Technoculture. She has a passion for photography and videography, a love for television, and an obsession with reading about popular culture.

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