Is Don on the road seeking seeking his own personal Shangri-La?
Don personally made the reference to On the Road in Mad Men Season 7 Episode 12, but after discovering McCann Erickson is kind of like the Gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel, it seems like he might be out there looking for the next best thing.
Who can blame him? McCann Erickson is a mess. As I read on Twitter, Roger should have sold to McMann and Tate instead. Amen.
Jim Hobart rolled out the red carpet to get the SC&P partners to accept their new circumstances with smiles on their faces, even if they didn't feel it in their souls.
After all, it's just a couple more years until they can remove their golden handcuffs and walk away forever.
But it's hard to understand the buyout at this point. Hobart took the whole package for his willingness to get Don Draper. He even made Don say it aloud.
Jim: Have you said it yet?
Jim: Have you introduced yourself?
Don: I'm Don Draper from McCann Erickson.
Hobart was buying into the whole dog and pony act, until Don started acting like Don. Once Don started to zone out (which he did in that moment, frankly, wearing a giant phony smile saying exactly what Hobart wanted to hear) and ultimately left on his road trip under the guise of finding Diana, Hobart's tolerance for all of SC&P dwindled.
It wasn't much of a surprise at all.
Joan fought valiantly against the pigeon hole into which she was being placed. But she has a good life now. She has a solid relationship with a wealthy man and a decent amount of her own money. She has internal strength. When an ass named Dennis insulted her Avon contact, she wanted him gone.
What she got was worse. An attempt to make what was worse disappear turned into a pissing match between her and Jim Hobart about women's rights and equal opportunity. Roger, when he eventually showed up at McCann, talked her into taking fifty cents on the dollar and walking out the door. Hopefully she won't look back.
Roger was having a hard time letting go of SC&P. He was going to wait until the last piece of furniture was gone and the last bottle of booze had been downed. Peggy had no choice, since as a woman she was receiving the runaround by McCann.
That combination led to an amazing partnership between the two in the desolate SC&P offices drinking vermouth while Roger played an organ and Peggy roller skated throughout in a scene straight out of a surreal 70s B movie.
Peggy: It just looks good now, but it was miserable when you were in it. Trust me.
Roger: Is that really how you're gonna remember this place?
Peggy was unaware Jim Hobart had already told Joan Peggy's position was unlikely to remain as it was when she finally secured her office, so that didn't stop her from one of the best moments she ever had, walking into Mcann, octopus pleasuring a woman painting under her arm, with her bloodshot eyes covered in shades, copping a mean attitude.
There's a slim chance Peggy's intelligence might supersede the womanizing that goes on at McCann. She's never had the same problems as Joan. Maybe that will continue. Hopefully she's on the 14th floor with Stan.
Hobart turned on everyone. When Roger arrived he growled at him, wondering if any of them ever planned on working or if he was a victim of the biggest con of all time. Who, exactly, was conned? Don's reputation preceded him, I'm sure. His work was impeccable, but one day gone and Hobart was asking Meredith if Don was on a bender. Talk about inappropriate. Joan was a partner. Why would she expect a demotion upon arrival?
Don's brief exchange with Betty felt unfinished. She's going to school and she's finding herself. Don finds her interesting again, going so far as to rub her shoulders when she notes she hurt them lugging her textbooks around. His touch still means enough that she shrugs him off.
Although there were a lot of moments that seemed to forebode danger ahead for Don, I don't think it will come to that. The wind whistling through his window brought to mind the fall in the poster. Driving while exhausted, a car wreck. Picking up a hitchhiker, murder. What if he hits the road and discovers he's already had and lost what he wants and tries to find it again? A life with Peggy?
Hey, I always liked them together. He threw it away thinking life was greener. Now he knows it's not. They've both grown and learned. Happy endings are possible. I think. I hope. For someone.
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.