After seven years, Matthew Weiner’s award-winning advertising drama is coming to an end. But there’s still a lot to happen before the final credits roll.
With only 14 Mad Men episodes left, there is still much to be resolved in the drama’s final series. Set in 1969, season seven sees the advertising firm Sterling Cooper & Partners open a new office in Los Angeles, while the show’s central characters have their professional and personal scores to settle on both coasts. As we gear up for the first instalment, these are the big questions we’re asking:
1. Will Don Draper ever be happy?
Last time we saw the creatively brilliant, but self-destructive Don (Jon Hamm), he’d been forced to take time out from Sterling Cooper & Partners after choosing to reveal some serious skeletons – notably that he’d been raised in a brothel – during a pitch meeting for family-friendly brand, Hershey’s chocolate.
Career on the skids, he’d come clean to his kids about his upbringing (good) and went back on a promise to his actress wife Megan (Jessica Paré) that they would move to California (bad). She packed up and headed to Hollywood and he was left contemplating his future.
His secrets might be out, but finding inner peace in 14 episodes is looking optimistic.
2. … and learn the art of monogamy?
Cold, hard evidence suggests this might be a struggle. Over the last six series, we’ve seen Don bed multiple women who weren’t his two wives. Most recently, it was his neighbour (and wife of a so-called friend), Sylvia Rosen, a devout Catholic for whom Don developed a needy and controlling obsession. We predict Sylvia won’t be the last of Don’s flames.
3. Peggy’s progress – what next?
Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) has worked her way up from secretary to copy writer to copy chief. She’s one of the few people Don respects, and she wears a pussy bow blouse and a Peter Pan collar like they were made for her.
In short: she’s the girl other girls want to be. Most recently, she’s captured the heart of Don’s long-time rival and Sterling Cooper & Partners’ latest recruit, Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm). But it’s not all plain sailing, obviously, this is Mad Men. Ted’s chosen his wife and family over Peggy and headed off to the LA office, leaving her heartbroken. And there’s the small matter of her child by resident douchebag Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), of which I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of.
4. Will we ever like Betty?
Oh, Betty. Beautiful, icy, sad, selfish Betty (January Jones) is difficult to warm to. She’s frustrated by her lack of career, petrified of losing her looks and is scarred by her complicated marriage to Don. And hasn’t quite found the contentment she craves with politician Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley).
This season, she’s back to her devastating blonde bombshell best, and with daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) firmly in the rebellious teenage years, we predict there will be some serious fireworks before the series is out.
5. What will Roger do next?
Roger (Jon Slattery) might be straight out of the advertising old school, but unlike prickly, conservative Don, he’s not averse to getting down with the kids. He’s already experimented with LSD and if there’s anyone we’re excited about seeing buying into the hippy thing, it’s Roger.
There’s also Kevin in the mix, his son with Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks). It might be too much to ask for happily ever after, but we’re going to enjoy watching it play out.
6. Can Pete Campbell stop being a douchebag?
Pete’s proved to be a serial cheat, will trample anyone on his way to get what he wants – including pimping out his female colleagues to win deals. He took advantage of his mother’s Alzheimer’s and is generally a slippery, slimy bloke we love to hate. Now he’s divorced and LA is his playground. We’re scared.
7. Goodbye Manhattan, hello LA?
Megan’s got designs on Hollywood; Pete’s footloose and fancy-free after his divorce and eyeing up a move to the new office out west; Ted’s there after fleeing New York to save his marriage and take up the Sunkist account instead of Don. And Don, well, he and the West Coast have emotional history. While New York will always be the primary home of Sterling Cooper & Partners, we like the idea of the Golden State playing a leading role this season. – The Independent (Sally Newall)
*This article was first published on the SMtv issue of 11 May 2014*