Season 7. Episode 8.
Song of the episode: Peggy Lee – “Is That All There Is?”
Something sad and sweet for people who don’t have the guts to live their dream.
After such a long wait, this was over too quickly. From a girl in a fur coat to the final shot in a café, this was Mad Men balancing between surreal and compelling.
Surreal – because I’ve been here for so long, I also wanted to ask the Dos Passos-reading waitress why on Earth do I remember her.
Surreal – because Rachel gets back, and you had long thought she was but a ghost from the past. Which is what she ends up being. You are sentimental, but you understand.
Surreal – because Roger has a moustache now. And what a moustache that is.
Compelling – because… of everything else really. As ever, the amount of thought involved is incredible. Each scene a work of art that is not mere execution. It is also poetry. This is an episode that despite all the corporate cynicism (just business) has time to remember that Ken used to write, and what if he gets back to that one unrealized ambition. This is poetry, even if the poem turns out to be so bitter and so ugly.
And Don’s face, of course, getting from smug to hurt and devastated in a matter of one scene. From ‘show me how smooth your skin is’ to dour, desperate loneliness.
All set for a bittersweet final season that might, just might, avoid some horrible train crash.