“Glad he missed it.”
Mad Men: Season 7: Episode 11: Time & Life: GRADE: A
The end for SC&P is here. The show starts right off the bat by revealing McCann has been slowly swallowing up SC&P so of course they try to stage a coup to get business out the California for themselves, so it seems right for Jared Harris to be here for that given his role when this idea last came about at the end of season 3. LANE PRYCE IS BACK, but only as a director. Yes the latest episode in the show is Harris’ directorial debut and I must say he did a very good job at this and kinda wanna see him do a little more work behind the camera.
This was one hell of a way to get the show going and it never really let up. This is of course news to everyone and the partners don’t seem happy, except Pete, who thinks this might be a good thing, but that’s Pete. When California is of course brought up Ted rejects that and they see him as being a useful asset by staying New York. I think what I liked about this was that its in a way the show itself seeing the inevitable ending coming for itself soon and how can they prepare for that. Its driving them all nuts and weighs on that as they try to get three huge clients to try and stay on with them for the California plan, especially Ken over at Dow Chemical, who by the way is having too much fun trolling the fuck out of Pete and I find that utterly hilarious. Ken ultimately says no, but they manage to get a new one but its all for naught. SC&P is dead. The two best shots in the episode came from this main storyline and after one another. The header image of course as they all sit there in the boardroom of McCann defeated and more so at the bar. Roger wanted to make another toast, but to Cooper and as Joan puts it, “Glad he missed it.”
I am too Joan since Cooper might have been the deciding difference in someway to help keep SC&P afloat, but alas here we are and Harris perfectly captures from the actors the desperateness and defeat in all of them, and I can firmly say I believe its his familiarity with the cast that he’s able to get that given his tenure in front of the camera on the show.
While all this goes on, Don tries and tries to find Diana and more about her, but she’s gone, fled, and most likely under an assumed name. I was kinda taken back a bit by the sudden abruptness of that seeming to end, but some things in life do just end like that. Don is hurt since Diana might have been his anchor to keep him afloat, but much like the employees when the announcement is made at the end of the episode, he’s scattered all about and trying to find a place to go and make sense about the situation.
Peggy is told about the merger in secret by Pete and gets a start by getting options from a head hunter who says that, you guessed it, McCann is her best option and she weighs this as she and Stan are casting kids for a Playdough ad. One kid gets left behind and a confrontation with the mother brings up old feelings Peggy has about the child she had with Pete and gave up. CALLBACK! That’s right, Peggy just can’t get it out her mind and this becomes yet another acting showcase for who I think might be the season MVP, Elisabeth Moss. She opens up to Stan about it and plays it so well. She goes deep into her regret about it and wonders if she can honestly do this again. All the while trying to get Stan to come on over to McCann, which has no resolve here, but I imagine will at least by next week. This was a great thing to callback to reflect on our time then before we reach the ending. I did like this a lot.
Pete meanwhile deals with the fact his family name fucks him over. Trudy, yay for Alison Brie, calls and tells him that their daughter can’t get into a elite pre-school and they have a meeting about. I rag on Pete, but he is a good character and this was the best I’ve seen of him in a while. The head of the school and Pete’s family have like centuries old feuds and when his role as a father is criticized, Pete decks him. I’d maybe do the same in that intense a situation and the other man is being a jackass. It was good to see Pete and Trudy honestly getting along better than their last encounter together and hey if this is the last we see of Trudy, its a good way to see her go.
Mad Men’s time is now coming up soon now and its more prevalent than ever in this episode which features regret, uncertainty, and some glimmer of hope, for whatever that might mean.