91%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)
93%

The show that put AMC on the map is hardly limping away in its final season.

The executives at AMC must be sweating at the moment. With their two flagship programs departing within a few years of each other one must wonder what they have up their sleeve to replace Breaking Bad and Mad Men. The latter is one episode away from wrapping up the first installment of its final season and the road Don Draper has traveled in the first six episodes has been intoxicating.

Being thrown out of Sterling Cooper at the end of last season (we’re just going to refer to the agency as Sterling Cooper although the actual name or acronym is quite long) was the lowest we have seen the protagonist go. Being divorced and losing his family showed the tailspin of binge drinking and lack of purpose for Don Draper in season four, but at the beginning of season seven we can tell he is a broken soul. Mad Men has never been about death and violence like the other hits of the network (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), but it most certainly is about the decay of life for the characters involved. Advertising has been about presenting the public with a lie, and unfortunately for Don he had even sold himself on his own pitches about life.

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We open with Don without a job – although still being paid and called the agency’s “estranged wife” – and without a family. Meagan has moved out to California to pursue her acting career and is physically nowhere near Don. As one can imagine, this takes quite a toll as the two seem like they are looking for a ghost of their partner’s former self. It is sad, and although it is easy to hate Don for what he has done to his family and business partners, there are plenty of reconciliation moments from him – something of a rarity in the series as a whole. The outcome of this borders on the line of interest and pity as we still know Don has the potential to pull a rabbit out of his hat in tough times – however, he may have burnt all his bridges.

Then agency is more of a mess than ever. With two figureheads across the country in L.A. and a shuffle of leadership in Manhattan, the company seems to be having as much trouble surviving as Draper. We have moved into the last act of the 1960’s where cigarettes and booze are not as prevalent as the plaid shirts and marijuana. Everyone seems to be hanging onto the past, but being force-fed the future, which provides quite a richness to the storylines of Joan, Peggy and the higher up partners of the firm.

This season is rich in humor as it is in depression. The creative team provides the light and whimsical side of the comedy, and then there is Roger and Joan punching back with cynicism. For a main character who coped with his emptiness in life by selling things to others, we finally see hope for Don Draper – he is trying to fill the void with something else.

Details

Sundays, 10pm AMC, 60 min.

Starring Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and Vincent Kartheiser

About The Author

Nate Davis

Nate Davis is the managing editor for Filmtakeout. Along with overseeing the content that gets posted on the site, Nate contributes a weekly column and review. Nate graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Journalism and Cinema. He worked for the University of Iowa's Center for Media Production as an intern, production assistant and writer. Nate also writes for a website devoted to covering soccer, and has a blog that includes all his work.