Thursday, May 7, 2015

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 7, Episode 12 “Lost Horizon” (B+)

The absorption of the ad agency into the bigger umbrella of McCann Erickson was a shocking enough development when it was announced last week, and now the actuality of its occurrence represented at first something wonderful and then something truly disheartening. The biggest thing it represents is a step back for women, a recognition of the fact that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was way ahead of its time in the roles it permitted Joan and Peggy, even if they had their issues executing and maintain authority with their male colleagues and subordinates. Joan seemed doomed to a life of being told that she was unequal to her male counterparts, and then she threatened a lawsuit and looked ready to take the parent company on in a big way. And then it all dissipated, since taking a decent sum of money was more worthwhile than going to the effort of trying to change those who couldn’t possibly be swayed. Peggy getting confused for a secretary prompted her to stage her own act of protest, complete with musical accompaniment by an eternally carefree Roger, resulting in a defiant entrance that probably won’t led to a place nearly as satisfying. I want to point out a casting note I recognized in this episode, that Ferg is played by Paul Johansson, who was extremely awful as the evil Dan on “One Tree Hill” almost a decade ago and has now returned for a much stronger and more respectable role. Don driving to Wisconsin to track down Diana was a strange diversion but not an entirely unexpected one, and it’s clear that the hyped-up Don Draper won’t fit in well when he’s forced to be just one of the masses at a creative meeting. I didn’t need to see Bert Cooper again, but his showing up was a firm reminder of what this former firm has left behind.

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