As everyone's favorite AMC drama about advertising returns, it's important to remember that Mad Men's Joan Harris has had a hell of a go of it. From being queen bee of the secretary pool as officer manager in Season 1, to her current standing as bona fide partner at Sterling Cooper & Partners, she's had quite a journey in between. Something we do know for sure as we head into Mad Men's Season 7 is we'll see her continue to develop professionally, especially since her ambitions became bolder throughout Season 6.
Joan remains one of the series' most engaging characters. It's been a delight to see her transform from the perfect swinging '60s dame with it all figured out — work a little bit, have some fun, settle down and be a trophy wife — to something else altogether. While Peggy's journey is more directly feminist in her career trailblazing, Joan's journey is all about the disillusionment of the Ideal Woman. Dr.McRapey (her estranged husband Greg), for example, was the man she was planning to let take care of her for the rest of her life. But in that Season 2 moment when he attacks Joan in Don's office, you can see that dream leaving her eyes.
All of these past twists have us wondering: What else lies ahead for everyone's favorite spitfire? Here we highlight our hopeful predictions for Joan's character this season.
1. She Finally Locks A Deal
Joan's dinner date-turned-agency relationship with an Avon rep didn't go perfectly last season — partially because of Joan's own hubris. She's focused (rightly so) on leaving her office sexpot image behind and getting more respect for real work from the SC&P gang. That desire, however, made her ignore Peggy's advice on how to handle the client. The flub seems like a one-time fluke that Joan will learn from. Her gifts make her a natural to move into client relations: she's charming, knowledgeable, and great company (considering 80 percent of the firm's relationship building seems to be spent on nights out, that's a pretty big one). Plus, hubris aside, she definitely did lock Avon all by herself, (Pete Campbell be damned).
2. She'll Reconcile With Roger Sterling
Yes, Joan is an independent, intelligent, accomplished woman. But, for someone with so much to give, it breaks my heart to see her alone. I can't help but feel that she and Roger Sterling are soul mates. In the Season 2 episode "Six Month Leave," Joan was upset over Marilyn Monroe's death because she saw parallels in their lives, particularly the dying alone part. It is less about needing a man than needing a companion. Even total fiercies like Joan need a partner in crime. Her steamy hookup with Roger in Season 4 (the one that resulted in Joan's pregnancy) is proof these lovebirds are destined for each other.
3. She Busts Out Her Sweet Accordion Again (This Time, On Her Own Terms)
I can't be the only one with a bittersweet love of Joan's French accordion moment. While a charming performance, it was clearly under duress as her husband was trying to vainly impress his guests to lobby for a better job. Before the series ends, I want to see Joan whip it out one more time, hopefully for herself or to serenade baby Kevin.
4. She Has More Interaction With Dawn
Joan consoling Dawn during the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination ranks amongst my favorite totally #awkward moments of the series. Still, I would love to see Joan and Dawn's relationship develop further. As we saw when she caught Dawn helping Harry's secretary cheat the time cards (only to subsequently give Dawn the responsibility of all time card management), Joan sees Dawn's value in the workplace, and as always, has a pretty clear sense of who is the scammer in that situation. There is great potential for these two to have more intertwining storylines- both struggle with powerlessness in different ways. Joan as a woman with senior experience but none of the respect, and Dawn as the token black hire.
5. She Leaves The Toxicity of SC&P Behind
Listen, none of us want to think about it, but this show is coming to an end. That means it is inevitable that some characters will move on entirely. I would be delighted to see a world where Joan becomes such a competitive candidate bolstered with professional confidence that she's swept up by another company, right in the middle of the '70s feminist movement. Can't you just picture her working with Ms. Magazine, perhaps even more than Peggy?