Finally, the wait is just about over. The final season of Mad Men is about to begin on AMC (if you believe in the notion that a final season can come in two halves, broadcast a year apart). But it's been three whole seasons since Don Draper and Co. left our televisions cold and it can be tough to remember where we left off in Season 6. Lucky for you, we have excellent memories. Here's what's going on with Peggy, Joan, and the men of SC&P.
He’s been non-fired. The basic reason is that he’s been drinking, but more than anything else, it’s that his whole attitude in Season 6 hasn’t exactly been great for business. For the first time ever, his life creeps into the office and tears everything asunder — remember that horrible meeting with Hershey's? Or his plan to steal Stan’s spot in California? Or basically everything he’s done all season? It causes the partners to ask him to take some time off to recoup — no end date in sight — and in response, Don takes Sally, Bobby, and Gene to the brothel where he was raised. “This is where I grew up,” he says as we all wonder if he might actually make a change for the better this time.
At the beginning of the finale, everything’s coming up Peggy. She dons a tiny dress to make Ted jealous; it works and he shows up at her door, vowing to ditch his wife. They have sex and Peggy gets that post-coital glow only to have everything ripped away from her the next day when Ted announces that he and his family are moving to California. Damn you, SC&P annex! Of course, Peggy’s always been an ambition-before-romance sort of gal, so when she ends the episode in Don’s office while donning his signature pose, we know our girl is going to be just fine.
On life, everyone. She's high on life.
Joanie is generally pretty happy. No real drama here. She’s even got a hold on the whole Roger-baby-daddy situation and invites him to Thanksgiving with Baby Kevin, her mom, and that super-swell-not-a-serial-murderer-guy Bob.
Speaking of Bob, he’s coming out on top too. He’s been beaten down all season, but Bob takes matters into his own hands and sets up Pete with a stick shift at Chevy headquarters. Pete, of course, can't drive stick and ruins the Chevy show room in front of SC&P's clients. Cue Pete’s second big snafu this season and some very unhappy Chevy folks and a rather happy Bob, who trots back to Joan's to help her host Thanksgiving.
Obviously, when Bob is up, Pete is down. If the car situation wasn’t bad enough, he’s lost both his parents (Bob's accidentally to blame for Pete's mother) and Trudy is definitively done with him. It seems he’s heading out to SC&P’s Southern California outpost and it would certainly be his best chance for a halfway decent third chapter.
Welcome to your daughter's nightmare bratty teen phase, Don and Betty. After the Grandma Ida incident — in which Sally let a conwoman (and thief) into Don’s penthouse — Don says she has to give a statement to the police, but Sally responds with a typically teenage refusal. Between that and getting caught drinking alcohol at boarding school, Sally is officially on the lost-girl-between-separated-parents track.
The former Mrs. Draper is having a rough go of it with Sally’s recent antics. While Don is far more responsible, Betty blames herself for Sally’s “bad beating out the good.” Plus, Henry's running for public office, which has made her more vulnerable than she's been for a while, sending her straight into Don's ever willing arms. But as salacious as a Don and Betty sexual reunion is, it's a signal that she's feeling just as lost as her teenage daughter. If that’s not enough to turn us back to Betty’s side, I don’t know what could. Poor thing.
After losing her dream of moving to California — which Don promised her based on the SC&P branch — she’s fed up. She yells at him to enjoy his liquor and his screwed-up kids. And since Megan’s been one to go her own way in the past — hello, Don hated the idea of her leaving SC&P for an acting career and she did it anyway — perhaps she’ll head off to California to follow her dreams and solidify the show’s potential bicoastal vibe.
Oh Roger. What a vulnerable, clueless, yet somehow lovable bachelor. He’s taken down a peg when Bob’s friendship with Joan makes him jealous and he comes to her Thanksgiving like a sad, stray puppy when his own daughter bans him from hers.