'Mad Men' Season 7 Could Kill Megan Draper Even If That Sharon Tate Theory Seemed Dead At Midseason
It's been seven years since Mad Men first premiered, and waiting for the last eight episodes feels bittersweet, especially with all the possibilities swirling as the final season inches closer. But one rumor has stuck out, at least in my mind, and it's the comparisons the show has drawn between Megan Draper and actress Sharon Tate's death.
I get it, not every allusion to a famous event in Mad Men is completely literal. Betty, despite being compared to Grace Kelly almost constantly in the first few seasons, did not die in a car crash and instead lived to become Fat Betty and then Once Again Skinny Betty (a much better decision for the show). So when Mad Men's Sharon Tate references started popping up in Megan's Los Angeles pied-à-terre, fans worried that she might end up as the victim of a cult-related murder, while more "sophisticated" viewers scoffed at the idea that the writing staff would be so literal. Matthew Weiner has outright denied the Sharon Tate theory, and he has a policy of never talking about ongoing plot developments.
The Sharon Tate parallels were almost so obvious that they make us (well, me at least) a little suspicious. Weiner is known for screwing with the audience. He loves a good fakeout. And his vehement denials that the Sharon Tate connection is anything more than just referencing the period could be in hope that audiences won't get ahead of his plans. I mean, we all thought we were done with Betty after Season 3.
So just because the second Draper marriage dissolved doesn't mean that Megan will be out of the series in the last eight episodes. Actually, while many fans don't like Megan, it would feel wrong to conclude the season without her. The series — and Don Draper — have been slowly drawn towards California, and the Sharon Tate allusions are a big part of that. Before her life was sadly defined by the Manson murders, she was a sexy, sunny, California brunette like Megan who had a rapidly rising acting career.
It doesn't have to be a murder, either. All that matters is that she's "dead" to Don and us as a character. And maybe because of that, the news of Tate's murder in August of 1969, which should be covered in the last season of the show, could coincide with the emotional closure that their phone conversation didn't. That famous murder, and the presence of the Manson cult in Megan's neighborhood up in the hills could also be the "death" of what Megan always represented to Don — the freedom and escape of California.
As New York becomes overwhelmed with the bugs, garbage, and crime of the 1970s, California feels like a tropical paradise. Don loves to idealize California — in no small part due to Anna Draper — but accepting that it can be a complicated, dark place could be the key to him truly understanding it. Whether it's because Megan actually dies or he sees shades of Megan in Sharon Tate's death remains to be seen.
You can never know for sure when it comes to Mad Men. For all I know, the last eight episodes could take place in real time on Christmas Eve in 1977 and it'll be hailed as brilliant. But one thing's for sure — whether the Megan/Sharon Tate theory has any weight or not, there's absolutely no way Don is DB Cooper.
Images: AMC (2)