Season 4 'Mad Men' Episode "Tomorrowland" Basically Predicted The State Of Affairs In Season 7
It’s really hard to pick just five outstanding episodes of Mad Men — hell, it’s difficult to pull out ten. One of my favorites, though, is Season 4’s “Tomorrowland”: It’s the one where Don asks Megan to marry him. Thinking about the episode, I became curious: What did I miss the first time around while watching this episode and how does "Tomorrowland" relate to Mad Men Season 7? Mad Men creator and writer Matthew Weiner was in this for the long game, so you know he was laying down tracks and plotlines like breadcrumbs in the woods from Hansel and Gretel.
Upon repeated viewings of the episode, I was really pulled into the relationships of the women on the show, namely Peggy, Joan, and Megan. One of my favorite moments is after Peggy and Joan find out about Megan and Don’s engagement, and they share a giggle in Joan’s office. These men are so predictable, they say, and they contemplate their places in the agency in relation to the men over a cigarette.
Of course, Faye was really the one who got the short end of the stick in this episode — she and Don are all lovey dovey (the first mature relationship he has, by the way) and then he takes Megan on vacation and decides to marry her. Bye, Faye! Dumping you for the 25-year-old secretary. This is the episode where Don doubles down on the cliché he’s become since his divorce. For the women who are still on the show, some things are very different, and some things have never changed. Here’s what I noticed about “Tomorrowland” and our current state of affairs in Season 7.
Joan Finally Got The Money & The Promotion But No Respect
In “Tomorrowland,” Lane presents Joan with a promotion to Director of Agency Operations, which is a promotion in title only. No cash follows in this. She is, of course, unhappy with this. Currently on Mad Men, Joan has the cash and the title since becoming a millionaire via her partnership with the agency, but she still lacks the respect she craves, just as she did back in Season 4. The way those men talked to her at the beginning of this half-season? Despicable. Joan is in a much better place now in nearly all ways, but she is still miles away from being treated like an equal.
Megan Went From Idealistic Fiancée To Bitter Divorcée
Megan can really do no wrong in “Tomorrowland”: she leaps to the rescue when Don needs an emergency babysitter, she cleans up the kids’ spilled milkshake (too easy to make a Daniel Day-Lewis joke here, but you know I want to), and she teaches everyone French. How much more charming can you be? Don idealizes the women he’s with, but as soon as he figures out that they are, you know, a real person, the magic is all over. Now, Megan and Don have split up, and she’s just another extra wife, hitting him up for money and then leaving. Bummer.
Peggy Keeps Climbing That Ladder, With A Few Roadblocks
“Tomorrowland” finds Peggy signing Topaz pantyhose, a company the agency still has in Season 7. It’s the first new business in nearly three months, and she is looking for a pat on the back. Unfortunately, news of Don and Megan’s engagement circulated before she could tell anyone about Topaz, and it overshadows Peggy’s hard work. Flash to today’s episodes and Peggy’s still climbing the ladder. Of course, Don likes to cut her legs out from under her and belittle her dreams from time to time, but today’s Peggy cuts right back at him. At least Peg has gained that much.
With so few episodes left, it’s interesting to see where these characters land. To understand the end fully, we have to go back to the beginning, which is why these crucial episodes are worth another look.
Images: Michael Yarish/AMC; Giphy (3)