As Sinatra’s version of My Way comes on the radio, Don chuckles for all of us at the obviousness of the song, and yet ultimately embraces it. He reached out to his one-time protegee, now superior, and asked her to dance. It was like a father taking his daughter out on the dance floor after she’s said her wedding vows. She’s a grown woman now, not his little girl anymore. And he held her as she rested her head on his shoulder, seeking comfort not romance, and he gave her a paternal kiss on the head. That was the emotional payoff for them and for the viewers. He recognizes the sacrifices she’s made for her career and the toll it’s taken on her. He knows that he was part of the problem and that it hasn’t improved for her even with him out of the way.
In the end, Peggy comes up with a new, better strategy which she shares with Pete. One that’s hers, that recognizes where she is in her life — not living as part of the traditional married-with-children family but instead surrounded by people with whom she has a shared history, a common understanding, and, sometimes, love. This is the new version of a family that reflects the time — that family is who you choose to be with. When the final shot pans out to show us the three of them we think back to Lou Avery’s line which now fits so perfectly: It’s nice to see family happiness again.
Read the whole recap here: http://burnthismedia.blogspot.com/2014/05/mad-men-season-7-episode-6-strategy.html
Many people thought Mad Men’s Michael Ginsberg was comedic fodder, an odd Woody Allen-ish character, but the signs of mental illness were there from his first scene. He tells Peggy that he didn’t pick advertising, it picked him. That’s okay, many people might say that about their career. But then he adds, “I didn’t have any control over it.” He goes on to tell her that he’s a great employee because he has “no hobbies, no interests, no friends. I’m one of those people who talks back to the radio.” Peggy even says on that first day, “I thought you were crazy when I met you and you have confirmed it.”
So why were the signs missed? Well, back in the mid-60’s we weren’t as aware of mental health issues as we are today, especially something as complex as schizophrenia. It wouldn’t be until 2001’s A Beautiful Mind that a movie really shined a light on the disorder and how it manifests itself and then the cinematic floodgates were open (Donnie Darko and K-Pax came out that year as well). We viewers suspected that there was something seriously wrong with Ginsberg (claiming to be from Mars, complaining about the transmissions, etc.) but it’s not surprising that his co-workers thought he was a little “off” but not seriously mentally ill.
You can no more make someone tell the truth than you can force someone to love you. - Philip Roth “Portnoy’s Complain”
Well, Don’s back. Or some facsimile of Don - de-clawed, de-fanged, and cowed. Possibly more shocking than the lawnmower scene from Season 3 was seeing Don say yes to the partners’ offer at the end of episode 7.03: Field Trip. No one-on-one with clients, no drinking, no ad-libbing. Pre-approved scripts and - it’s hard to type this - reporting to Lou. As we all yelled “No!” somehow Don ignored us and said “Okay.”
There is a war brewing at SC&P and has been since Jim Cutler decided he wanted to be the top dog. It’s a house divided and we’re set up for some fireworks as Don tries to reintegrate himself into the firm. Don is so desperate to right all wrongs that he’s not thinking clearly. This new “stay and fix this” obsession of his will likely be as successful as his old “cut and run” attitude.
Don has no wiggle room at SC&P, one mistake and he’s over - and likely wearing that “The End Is Near” sandwich board Roger joked about. He could have gone to California and lived off his money if he really loves Megan or even moved to a new agency if he wants to get back into the game. But he chose neither. For some reason, he needs to make it right there, at the place where he started.
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