Your 'Mad Men' Season 7 Recap So You can Head Back to SC&P Without Missing A Step
The '60s were never going to last forever. AMC is doing a very good job reminding us that the end of Mad Men means that it's the "end of an era" and the approaching loss of Matthew Weiner's groundbreaking drama already stings. What is life going to be like post-Mad Men? Do we even want to live in this world? Big questions, I know. But it's been a whole year since "Waterloo," so before we move forward into the last handful of episodes, let's do a quick Mad Men Season 7 recap in case you've forgotten what went down at Sterling Cooper & Partners.
The last moments of Season 6 found SC&P forcing Don Draper into a mandatory leave of absence over a frankly insane pitch to Hershey (where Don went all the way back to his childhood in a brothel — not exactly how you want to sell chocolate). So when Season 7 picks up (at the beginning of 1969, so yes, the '60s are really almost over), Don is still on an extended company vacation. SC&P is still paying him, and Don is still actually doing work for them — they just don't all realize it because who would expect Don-caliber ideas to come out of Freddy Rumsen? There's also lots of back and forth between California, a heart-valve/nipple, and a moon landing, too.
So grab a glass of scotch (or, you know, whatever you prefer) and let's break last season down piece by piece.
Don gets put on mandatory leave, but continues to work by secretly feeding copy to freelancer Freddy Rumsen. Don also gets his secretary Dawn to routinely come by his apartment to deliver him work and hot gossip. Don flies out to LA, trying to smooth things over with Megan, but only manages to mess things up, naturally.
He wants to go back to work, but the other partners want none of it, and when they do finally let him in, it's under strict conditions (one of them being absolutely no drinking at work). Don immediately violates this, and a few other conditions — including traipsing into a client meeting with a tobacco company knowing full well that he's the last person they'd want to see. The partners (minus Roger and Pete) want to fire him, and they almost do. But instead, some fancy footwork gets Don back to work, finally.
Love Megan or hate Megan, she's played a big role in Season 7 so far. Now living in California to follow her dreams of becoming a real actress, she and Don are even more strained than ever. Megan was also completely unaware that Don wasn't working, which breaks her heart because that means he'd rather sit at home and do nothing than be in LA with her. She ends things with him over the phone when she's finally had enough.
At the end of Season 6, with Don now out at SC&P, Peggy is put in charge, but it's short lived. There's a new guy in charge, Lou Avery, and he and Peggy don't mesh well together. (Maybe because Lou is the worst, but moving on.)
When Don finally returns to work, Peggy's in charge of a new Burger Chef campaign, and Don's been put on her team. They immediately clash, but not for long. Don's also the one who encourages Peggy to do the Burger Chef presentation, since then the account will be hers if anything happens to Don (like, oh, I don't know, being fired but the rather determined corps of partners). Peggy wins the account, and our hearts, too.
Oh, Pete. He's living out in LA, wearing plaid pants and he has a new girlfriend and a receding hairline. Things might be looking up for him, but don't hold your breath. On a trip from LA to NYC, he goes to visit Trudy and their daughter, but Trudy is out on a date and Pete is furious — like "shove a beer bottle into a perfectly good cake" furious.
Ted basically spends the entire season wallowing away in LA. He moved out there to get away from Peggy and save his marriage, but instead he's just a sad and depressed mixture of somber Don and cranky Pete. It's not a good look on him. He wants out of advertizing completely, even though in the end he's swayed to stay by what else, a pitch from Don.
Joan, our once fearless office manager, hands over her position to Dawn and becomes a full-fledged account executive, where she handles Avon and Butler Footwear. Joan also receives a marriage proposal from Bob Benson, and she turns it down because he's basically asked her so that he can hide being gay and she can stop worrying about her supposed lack of romantic prospects (age is mentioned; it's not appreciated). Bob is only proposing so both of their lives can be easier — so Bob will be seen as a family man and receive more promotions, and Joan won't have to worry about money — but she's holding out for real love and won't settle for his arrangement proposal.
Roger's got family drama happening in Season 7. His daughter, Margaret, has run away and joined a hippie commune (and possible cult), leaving her husband and her child at home. It's up to Roger to get her back, and he does so, even though she goes unwillingly.
Bert dies immediately following the moon landing. Then he comes back to live in a dream/hallucination for Don, and sings and dances. (There is sadly no good video copy of it online, because AMC is a stickler for their copyrighted material on YouTube. But, Vulture does have the clip, if you're so inclined to re-watch the trippiest moment of the season).
Betty & Sally Draper
Betty and Sally are two mother-daughter peas in a pod, and they hate it. Sally runs away from her boarding school, breaks her nose in a golf club fight, and kisses a boy (rather than waiting for one to kiss her, as Betty instructed). She's like mini-Betty with a significant twist.
Pour a drink out for poor Michael Ginsberg. Basically, the long and the short of it is that he went absolutely nuts. After SC&P brought in a HUGE, GIGANTIC computer for the office, Michael went a little bit haywire with conspiracy theories about how the machine was affecting the office. This led Ginsberg to cut his nipple off of his chest, in the shape of a heart, and then give it to Peggy, who was all OH HELL NO. Last we saw him, he was being carted out to head off to the loony bin. Michael Ginsberg may be gone, but there's no way in hell he'll be forgotten.
Images: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC; Giphy (10)