Don’s on the mend. Sort of.
It was an admittedly slow yet steady start to the new season. That’s how it should be with recovery.
There was no jumping into massive transformations or profound moments of clarity. It was more of a catch-up to see how the dust has settled – or kicked up – in the past two months (in "Mad Men" time, of course).
Are Don and Megan still together? Have SC&P rehired Don? Are Peggy and Joan this close to starting their firm to prove those chauvinists wrong? Did Roger join a hippie commune? We got those questions answered, tied in with few jaw-droppers.
Times have gotten dire for Don. He hasn’t just changed the conversation; he’s changed the speaker. But it’s not like he assumed a new identity, like Dick Whitman to Don Draper. This go-around, he’s enlisted an unlikely ally to do the talking for him.
Freddy Rumsfeld’s pitch sounded familiar. The rhythm and imagery were reminiscent of Don’s pitches during his heyday, when we were mesmerized and eager to empty our wallets at the drop of his feather-trimmed fedora. This time, we were pulled in and listening to Freddy.
“It’s a homerun,” Peggy tells him.
Freddy’s always been a scout for great talent. First Peggy, now Don. I was hoping he would be more of an AA sponsor to Don than a mouthpiece for his timepiece pitch. But if it gets Don on the path to a spiritual awakening, or at least a full-time job, then he’s on the right path.
A severance package isn’t something you can put a resume, assuming that’s why SC&P are still paying Don. Otherwise, why else would he have to pitch ideas – solid ideas – through this backdoor channel? And who would have guessed a few seasons ago that Freddy had more clout than Don?
Weird guy, that Don. He has no reason to stay in New York when he has no job there and a wife in California. If Pete put him in touch with a relator, then he could easily put in a good word for Don at a California ad agency.
Maybe Don hasn’t uprooted himself just yet, because he wants to win back SC&P more than he wants to fix things with Megan. But let’s not forget that proud attaboy moment when he turned down the chance to join the Mile High Club with his seat buddy (played by Neve Campbell).
Usually Don’s sexcapades are what make the show, but it was refreshing to see him focus on himself and not the smokey-eyed brunette (his weakness) sleeping on his shoulder. That’s some serious restraint right there.
Don might be a “broken vessel,” but he does seem fixable. We’re ready and we’re paying attention, Don. Show us what you’ve got.
Wham, bam, thank you gams! Megan greets Don at the airport in the infamously sultry “Zou Bisou Bisou” frock that’s gone from NYC chic black to California cool blue.
Don strolls up to his leggy lady driving a forest green convertible. Bold, dashing and equally as stylish as his starlet wife, this is the man we missed so much in the past couple seasons.
You can tell Megan’s missed him too, even if there is a little hesitation in her body language and in the bedroom. But the hesitation is rooted in the foundation of her house and new lifestyle.
“My next house is going to have a pool,” Megan gleams, before correcting herself, “Our next house.”
She’s not fooling anyone with that backpeddling. From the paisley curtains to the crochet throw blankets, nothing about this joint says Don Draper. A Don Draper hook-up place? That’s a big old yes. He does have a thing for boho, artsy girls. But a Don Draper residence? Not so much.