When this season of "Mad Men" started, I was doing weekly recap posts for each episode. Then I started a summer semester at college, and my Internet crapped out on me (I don't own a TV), and then a bunch of other garbage happened and so I wasn't able to keep up and do my discussions each week with you guys. And that sucked, because it was a lot of fun.
But the season finale is (already, ugh!) on Sunday, and I wanted to do some catching up before then. I plan to do a recap post for that, so we can have a whole big shebang, end-of-the-season, blow-out post (and we'll cry and console each other), but for now let's just have a general talk about what's been going down.
Let's start with ... Megan Draper, Budding Starlet
Since we last talked, Megan quit Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to return to her dreams of becoming an actress. I'm interested to hear what you guys think about that, and whether or not you think she'll make it. My predictions at the beginning of the series were thinking things might turn sour for Megan, and it seems like things aren't exactly working out. I've grown to really like Megan this season, and she's been an interesting contrast to Don and his increasingly out-of-touch attitude.
Speaking of ... Don Draper, Cranky Old Man
Different sides of Don have been coming out all season, flickers of likeable old Don (the rousing speech that may or may not have played a part in getting the Jaguar account), and shades of the cantankerous, selfish man from seasons past (purposely leaving Ginsberg's ad in the cab at the Snowball meeting). I also loved that one fantastic scene with him shutting off the Beatles' Revolver to go to bed. It was a wonderfully poignant image: Don loves Megan, but he doesn't really get her.
Though it was his increasingly dick-ish attitude to Peggy that stood out to me most. Yes, Don's been angry in the past, remember when he had a dream about murdering a woman? But his outbursts with Peggy, who only continued to do hard work for SCDP, good work too, really ticked me off.
Which brings me to ... Peggy Olsen, Independent Woman
Don's regrets with Peggy in her goodbye scene truly played out as a slap to the face for poor Don, and also had me wondering: would Peggy be where she was without him? She does have a lot to thank Don for, which is probably why he felt so betrayed, but would she have succeeded in the same way at any other agency? Would her creativity and pluckiness have flown at any other office, or is Don's hand in the matter responsible for her rising from meagre secretary to copy editor? I'm proud of Peggy for flying the coop, but sad about it too, and wonder if we'll be seeing more of her in coming seasons.
And that makes me wonder about ... Joan Harris, Woman On The Verge
As Peggy left the office, Joan caught a glimpse of her and the look on her face had me pondering what was going on behind those lovely green eyes. Joan's request for partnership (and the disgusting price she had to pay) showed that she knows how the business works, and that she'll do literally anything to take care of what matters to her most: her family. While what she went through was demeaning, she came out getting what she wanted. Both her and Peggy have fight in them, but it comes out in different ways. Peggy wouldn't stand for being looked down upon by the men in the office, while Joan took their mysoginistic offer and made it work for her. The episode showed both of them making negotiations for their futures, in their own unique ways.
I wonder: without the whole Jaguar debacle, do you think Joan would have been content to stay in her position? I've always wondered if she envied Peggy a little bit, or if she even cared. Every time the writers reveal something about Joan, it's not enough for me. To me, she remains one of the most mysterious characters in the series.
And of course we have to talk about ... Lane Pryce, (S)ad Man
At the beginning of the season, I had a feeling things weren't going to go well for Lane. The incident with the photo from the wallet set him up for some serious bad vibes, but the end result wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The "elegant exit", however, was played out beautifully, with painfully believable desperation by the ever-talented Jared Harris. Boy, the writers sure were keen on breaking the collective heart of the audience, eh? The sheer determination and desperation of poor Lane, whose crappy Jaguar couldn't even do the job, the stupid Jaguar SCDP fought so hard for, that Joan, Lane's sometimes bittersweet buddy, prostituted herself for - when it failed him, he still wouldn't give up. The ultimate "screw you" of doing the job at the office left Don gutted and possibly blaming himself (again, brilliantly played by Jon Hamm. I smell Emmys), and me (and I'm sure all of you) sobbing. Joan's horrified reaction was wrenching too (also possibly blaming herself after the incident in her office that Friday afternoon, agh, THESE POOR PEOPLE! THESE AMAZING ACTORS!) The writers of "Mad Men" aren't playing nice this season, and yet I'm still along for the heartbreaking ride.
And lastly ... Sally Draper, All Grown Up
Seeing that little Miss Thally has dropped her lisp and grown into a budding young lady this season has had me tearing up, especially during the most recent episode (but maybe that's because I was PMS-ing, too). From her adorable go-go booted outfit at the "dirty" party in the city, to getting her period for the first, I'm feelin' for her. Except when she's a complete and utter brat. When she asked Megan if she was going to "go make herself cry?" I wanted to give her a good smack, but then I remembered what it was like to be that age, and the crankiness and hormones that come with it, and I let it slide. Besides, I'm really rooting for this one to end up at Woodstock in one of Betty's old nighties.
Tell me what you've thought of this season thus far, and what you're hoping for from the finale. I'm excited but sad, sigh.
I'll (hopefully) be live-tweeting the finale Sunday night: @hannahejo