Apr 27, 2015

Mad Cap: "Time & Life"

Welcome to Mad Cap: a series dedicated to chronicling every episode of Mad Men leading up to the series finale. Tune in every Monday to recap each new episode along with memorable moments, quotes, and predictions on where things might be going. Is Don Draper out of the hole on this one? Will the series do well now that it is in the 70's? There's a lot to unpack and no time to waste. So without further ado, please enjoy reading and sharing your own thoughts in the comments on each episode as it airs.

Season 7, Episode 11
"Time & Life"

“Hold on. This is the beginning 
of something, not the end.”
- Don Draper (Jon Hamm)

Plot:

Fate falls on Sterling Cooper Pryce as McCann finally buys them up. Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) gets his revenge by rubbing it in their faces. As Don Draper (Jon Hamm) tries to work his magic to save the company, it inevitably fails and sends panic throughout the office. Meanwhile, Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) and Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) have a little issue when an auditioning child accidentally staples her finger and is sent to the hospital. There is complaints between the two on whether the mother is negligent. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) meets up with Trudy Campbell (Allison Brie) to discuss their child not getting into a program, which is solely because of the leader's hatred for Campbell family members. With everyone panicking and not accepting their end, they try to have one last party together, but fail to raise enthusiasm. Roger Sterling (John Slattery) reveals his affairs with Meghan's mother to Don. Lou Avery (Allan Harvey) gets a job in Japan for his cartoons. Don announces the news and he word that there's going to be layoffs pretty soon. With everyone aflutter, he tries to calm them down.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Elisabeth Moss
MVP:
Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss)

With everything falling apart around her, Peggy has no choice but to keep working. She may not be getting all of the clients at McCann that she would have liked, but she still has to maintain her ethics. She has been strong this season and when faced with a potential blunder, puts her male coworkers in their place. She demands that Stan understands that he doesn't know what's best for women like she does. It could also be that the conversation about hers and Pete's baby is still present in her memory, but there's a lot of tension and desire to succeed. She may be a small proponent of the episode, which features everyone else wallowing, but she manages to make the most of her subplot by helping to send Peggy out on a strong note. Everybody seems weak by comparison and her dedication to doing the best job and satisfying the customer proves that she has moxie. It will be exchanges like the one she has with Stan that will be missed the most when Mad Men ends in a few weeks.

Left to right: Jay R. Ferguson and Moss
Best Scene

This is where the claws come out. As Stan tries to talk his way through a blunder with Peggy, it quickly devolves into an examination of how they perceive disaster differently. It is a feminist conversation that puts into perspective what exactly is so interesting about Peggy. She doesn't just shrug things off if they seem to be okay. She cares about making everything is done to their fullest measure. In this particular moment, she manages to explore professionalism in ways that are almost antithetical to the rest of the episode. If anyone is likely to succeed at the end of the series, it is her. It is amazing that she has evolved from a secretary to the hardest worker so subtly that it was hard to initially notice. Bravo.

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