Mad Men – Season 7, Episode 11 – An Ending ← FREE KRAUT!

Mad Men – Season 7, Episode 11 – An Ending 3

The episode was a reminder that the show can be quite good.Â

That doesn’t excuse the issues I have had with this half-season thus far, but is was a clever and appropriate wrapup of what was often the show’s best character: the advertising agency. Creator and episode co-writer Matthew Weiner did an excellent job using that old standby, the callback, to fine effect. Don, Roger and the gang were going to figure out a way to save the agency again. We have seen them do it before. Weiner knows we have. The maneuvering is familiar and, as always, fun. These “save the agency” episodes always move. But there is a bit more ambivalence now, and the plans aren’t snapping into place. Ken won’t play along. Ted isn’t interested in relocating to California at all. Joan’s client is going to have to stay with McCann. Peggy’s headhunter advises her to stay with McCann so people forget her secretarial past. But they forge ahead with a plan to preserve their independence. Instead, the McCann guy cuts Don off as he starts off on his pitch, saying the acquisition is a sign they’ve arrived, that McCann thinks they’re good enough to keep.

This bit of news leaves the old guard unsettled. They’re finally losing the agency, having it be swallowed whole. The scene at the end is brilliant, as Roger’s announcement is greeted with concerned chatter as employees worry – with reason – about their own futures. Roger, Don and the other partners are irrelevant now. Rich, sure, but not relevant to the lives of the people who hope to stick with McCann or need to find a new job.

Meanwhile, the show itself feels like it’s moving to the end with purpose. Ken is unlikely to be seen again. Pete and Trudy are possible candidates for reconciliation, even if they are fundamentally unsympathetic and silly people. Peggy finally reveals the existence of her child, given up for adoption nearly a decade ago, to Stan. They might or might not end up as a couple, but more importantly, they are work spouses – sharing intimacies and a silent phone connection. Roger is dating Marie, the mother of Don’s second ex-wife. Joan has a boyfriend devoted enough to fly across the country to comfort her, although his status beyond that is a bit uncertain.

Don is the one main character who doesn’t have a partner, or a clear-cut future beyond the possibilities of writing ad copy for Coca-Cola. That leaves plenty of time left, in three remaining episodes, to wrap up his story. This is where the show teeters on the edge. Diana called his soon-to-be-vacated apartment a couple of times before vacating her place, and we are supposed to be fascinated by this. Mostly, the puzzle is the reason for his fixation on the woman in the first place. Diana has been created as a sad, deliberately dreary character, but we don’t know enough about her to really care. But she’s there for a reason. I just don’t know what it is.

But since I have been grousing, I will take the opportunity to applaud a well-crafted episode.

3 thoughts on “Mad Men – Season 7, Episode 11 – An Ending

  1. nevermoor nevermoor Apr 29,2015 9:45 am

    Agreed all around. It definitely made me feel like some of the old magic was back.

    "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
  2. FreeSeatUpgrade FreeSeatUpgrade Apr 29,2015 1:22 pm

    Definitely the best episode of the final half-season thus far. Because we saw the key characters trying things that had worked before, only to see them doomed by those characters’ previous failings. The scene with the group drinking beers (not hard liquor as usual) together after getting shot down at McCann was the kind of scene this show does so well.

    Good insight about how Dons closing arc may be different than everyone else’s. While Ted and Roger and Peggy and Joan will end up essentially doing the same jobs they always have, to progressively lead happy results, Don I could see veering sharply and perhaps leaving the ad game altogether.

    "Kraut will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no kraut."
    • 5Aces 5Aces Apr 29,2015 7:31 pm || Up

      Camelot sure fell apart, didn't it? -Steve McCatty

Leave a Reply