Apr 5, 2015

Mad Cap: "Waterloo"

Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 7, Episode 7

"The best things in life are free."
- Bert Cooper (Robert Morse)


Things are getting bad for Don Draper (Jon Hamm). He receives a letter that tells him that he is fired. At this juncture, he decides to confront his partners and ask that they reconsider. He goes to a meeting with Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) and the team and decides that Peggy is the best person to present it. Meanwhile, everyone is getting together to watch the moon landing. During this time, Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) passes away. Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) still wants Don fired upon this revelation. They hold a meeting and things work out, but not without Don having a dream in which he sees Cooper dancing while singing "The best things in life are free." He begins to wonder if he made a mistake by moving forward without the figurehead of the company for the show's entire run. Peggy gets the Burger Chef client and everybody celebrates.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Jon Hamm
Don Draper (Jon Hamm)

It was a tricky episode for Don. He is at a crossroads as he loses his job and must figure out the best way to get it back. It is made clear that not everybody there likes him. He even does some selfless actions that include having his coworkers do their own promotion at a pitch meeting. Everything is going well. However, the consideration to move to California with Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) remains a lingering problem that still haunts him. What is the point of working in the company with all of this knowledge known? It is Don's journey and this episode embodies how hard work and success don't always end up leaving you feeling the most satisfied by the end of the fight.

Best Scene

Goodbye, Mr. Cooper. We shall miss you. In a fond sendoff, Don watches as his mentor of the series says his goodbye in a dreamlike scenario while singing "The best things in life are free." It is a touching moment that suggest that there's more to life than money and travelling to the moon. it is a giddy moment and one uncommon for Mad Men. However, it is a rather powerful symbol of everything that the season (so far) has stood for. Don clearly isn't cut out for the nose to the grindstone ethics anymore. No matter how hard he repents, he just doesn't have the spark. The song symbolizes how he cannot keep living the facade for much longer. 

Season 7 (Part 1) Overall Thoughts

I continually believe that the series has been on a hot streak since season 4. They have felt more reassured of their story telling capabilities and know how to incorporate reality into the events. In the case of this season, it has become more personal and a deeper reflection on Don as a person. What does he really want in life? The mythology has already set in place and the tales of loneliness are clear in our mind. What does he want in his life? While I cannot claim to think that the show has a satisfying progression to that of Breaking Bad in that I am eagerly awaiting how the series ends, I have come to admire a lot of the characters and their embodiment of family within the series. It is a fascinating look into 60's culture as it shifts from conservative to a more free love market. Still, there's nothing more amazing than Don's relationship with Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka - one of the best child actors in TV). This season saw her mature in unexpected ways and even finished one of the episodes with a very powerful example of this set to The Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year." I cannot wait to get cracking on the second half.

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