Whether you’ve been a fan from the beginning, started halfway through or binge-watched over summer holidays, you can feel the anticipation leading up to the final season of Mad Men.
Season 6 was our first glimpse into the fall of Don Draper in every facet of his life. We discover he’s cheating on Megan for the first time in their marriage and things are going rockily at work. The season ends with Megan moving to LA, Don in New York and a suspension from Sterling Cooper & Partners. Season 7 begins with our main character is starting from the bottom.
Through the half season, we watch Don rise from the ashes, so to speak. But the two other characters worth noting are the rebellion of Sally Draper and the distancing of Megan Draper. Don’s daughter Sally ends up in boarding school where we see her take her first drink and smoke. Her damaged relationship with Don, after catching him cheating on Megan, allows for incredibly honest scenes of them repairing their relationship.
With Megan, it’s the opposite. Don and Megan’s marriage grows weaker and eventually ends the season with Megan asking Don not to move to LA with her. A comparatively strong relationship ends as an estranged one.
As expected, the most critical and influential episodes in this half season is the finale, aptly named ‘Waterloo’. It consisted most importantly of SC&P being absorbed by a competitor, reinstalling Don in a position of authority and returning power to Roger Stirling, after the death of his co-founder Bertram Cooper. This is a peaceful ending to a tumultuous half season, but it’s not wholly out of character for Matthew Weiner to fool us into feeling closure, then leave us hanging in the final episodes.
The season takes a slight falter with a bit of an unbelievable plot line. Don’s return to SC&P, although having believable conditions, involved him sitting in a room writing taglines and reporting to Peggy, something a lowest level writer would do. It seems the aim is to show Don hitting rock bottom and learning to do what he’s told in order to regain the trust of his fellow partners, but it just seems completely out of character for Don, and the show. Things eventually return to normal with SC&P merging with the rival ad agency McCann Erickson, bringing us back to a more believable plot.
Despite being left with closure at the end of Season 7, Part 1, with the death of Bert Cooper and the absorption of SC&P by McMann, it’s obvious that viewers are in for a jam packed half season, to end what is arguably one of the best dramas to grace television screens.