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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.11 - Lost Horizon




WAAHHHH I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS YOU GUYS IT'S COMING TO AN END. Seriously just when it's starting to get good we're winding down. Still, the title sounds tantalizing - let's see what's next for our beloved, beloved characters.

Previously on: SC&P goes down, Peggy looks for a job, everything is awesome, Joan gets harassed and is increasingly annoyed, everyone walks out on the partners' entitled asses.

Opening credits - why is Henry Francis credited in every episode when he's been in about 0.5 seconds of this season? Weiner co-writes, Abraham directs.

Don turns up at McCann Ericson, where everyone has just moved. Meredith is still his loyal dimbulb secretary. He's also moving into a new apartment, so life is just full of changes. Meredith hands him an envelope with some money, and Anna Draper's ring. Don also has an upcoming visit with Sally, an occasion always ripe for dramatic gold.

Meanwhile, Harry and Roger supervise the clearing-out of the old office. They discuss their new asssignments - Harry has done quite well, but Roger makes it clear he wants nothing to do with him anyway. Roger hears that Shirley is leaving for another job, and is quite upset to see a talented secretary go. "Advertising is not a comfortable place for everyone," says Shirley delicately, before wishing him a very sincere good luck.

Joan meets with two copywriters, who have been placed on all the "female" products and want to join her accounts. Joan is both impressed and flattered by their get-go, and recommends that they talk to Peggy. They invite her to their women's club at the Oyster Bar, assuring her "It's not Women's Lib".

Peggy goes to her office only to find a guy there, who did not move over to McCann and is poaching some long-distance phone calls while he waits out his time. We also learn that Dow is kaput - thanks, Kenny. Don meets with his bosses, who fawn over him (though one apparently thinks he's just like Nixon). Oh, yeah, and Conrad Hilton's one of their clients, so yay for that. They dub him the "white whale" they've been longing for for years, so they tell him they expect great things - and will help them in any way to make it happen. Don looks like a king sitting upon his throne.

Joan is in a meeting with some execs, but her male colleague keeps stepping all over her, even though she's clearly doing the better job (at one point he asks a wheelchair-bound exec to play a round of golf). She chews out Dennis for being an idiot, but he calls her out for being a woman with a brain. "I thought you were gonna be fun," he whines, prompting Joan to make the expression in that picture.

Peggy is home alone watching TV when Marsha from work arrives at her door. However, this is tempered when Marsha explains that the flowers are for all the secretaries - they've mistaken her for one of them. Though Marsha assures her that proper arrangements are on that way, she does make the mistake of telling her that she can work in the pool until then. Wow. Just wow. Peggy rightly takes umbrage and tells them she won't arrive at McCann until she has an office.

Don runs into Joan in the elevator and invites her for a drink, because apparently they're back to being Work Besties again. It's pretty clear that Joan has been pushed out and is feeling a bit adrift. Meanwhile, Meredith finds Don a new apartment. And hey, baby-doll dresses are now in fashion.

Pete is unaware of how unimportant Joan has become, and self-importantly tells her he'll help out. Joan, meanwhile, brings some suggestions to Fergus, who is surprisingly receptive to her concerns about Dennis. This is all going to backfire, right?

Peggy arrives back at her office, where Weirdo Coworker is still lurking, apparently making phone calls to Japan. As they're debating whether they should make fun of Dow as a parting shot or not, the lights go off. Weirdo Coworker promptly walks out on the agency. Before he leaves, though, he takes the opportunity to make a pass at Peggy and put on a cool baseball cap. Rock on, Weirdo Coworker, rock on.

Don is jarred when he arrives at the Miller beer meeting to find an environment far more relaxed (and populated) than he's used to. The pitch, given by Bill Phillips (son of Duck?) is full of buzzwords and not quite what Don would gel with. Don stares pensively towards the Empire State Building, because symbolism, and then walks out.

Fergus tells Joan that she's getting too big for her britches, because Dennis (though technically her junior) won't "work for a girl", because it hurts his image and stuff. She is super pissed, though Fergus does respect her talents and gives lip service to honouring them. He suggests the two of them go to Atlanta to suck up to the insulted exec - which is of course a thinly veiled excuse to attempt to bone her. Fortunately, she manages to talk him down to lunch with the exec next week, in New York. For now. Just a review, Ferg-


I can't wait for the inevitable Revenge of Joan spinoff. Frankly, it seems like McCann absorbed the entire agency just to get Don.

You guys, BETTY'S BACK, studying a textbook on Freud. Don arrives to find that Sally has already gotten a ride to school with a friend, so his services are no longer needed. They have progressed to Friendly Exes by now. Don notices that her back is hurting and gives her a shoulder rub. He makes a joke about college freshmen which really makes me wonder what the hell is going on with Henry. She tells Don how happy she is with what she's doing. He says goodbye to "Birdie" fondly. Back at the office, Peggy is still staging her sit-in and spills a ton of coffee.

Joan and Richard are still a thing. He keeps urging her to run away with him, but she reminds him that her life is tying her down. She admits to him that she's feeling trapped, but the half a million dollars is keeping her going. He not-so-subtly suggests bringing in the Mob. Joan doesn't really want to do it, but she still thinks it's kinda hot.

Don takes the longest drive home from upstate New York. While listening to the radio, he hears a radio DJ who sounds suspiciously like Bert Cooper, and THERE IS BERT HIMSELF as a hallucination in the front seat. See, Don took a bit of a detour, and he's now headed to Wisconsin in search of that blasted waitress. Yeah, that's happening. Bert philosophizes about America and shiny cars. We love you, Bert.

Peggy gets a call saying that she's got her office. Delighted, she's about to head over when she hears some scary noises in the abandoned SC&P and is impregnated by a pair of Satanic neighbours  runs into Roger, who is just playing some horror movie music on a synthesizer. They decide that, in light of the circumstances, they should have one last drink in the old office. Ooh, this is going to be interesting.

Joan gets some flowers from Ferg, which is not appreciated. Meanwhile, the office is starting to wake up to Don's absence, having missed several meetings. Um, anyone who's seen Season Two would not be alarmed like this, we all know Don needs to have his run-around-and-fuck time to be creative. Wait a couple more weeks and he'll come back talking about wheels and memories.

So Don arrives in East Bumfuck Nowhere. Back at the ranch, Peggy and Roger have fun drinking, though Peggy is getting bored and wants to leave. Roger gives her Bert's hentai painting for her office, which is actually kind of sweet. This is a suitable bribe to get her to stay a little longer. They've never really interacted before this, which Peggy lampshades. Roger whines about being on the old man's floor, and the heartless ways of advertising. The drinks continue to get poured. Roger gets into telling war stories, and compares it to their courage now. They toast in the ruins of Sterling Cooper and Partners. Oh god I love this scene.

Don knocks on some lady's door. He poses as Bill Phillips, and pretends she's won a contest involving Miller beer. Seriously, what the fuck are you doing, Don? We find out that she is the second wife of Diana's ex-husband. She invites him in, because no one can resist the Draper Powers. Diana's daughter is also there, and demands to have whatever it is her mother has won.

Joan goes to the fancy office to meet the Big Kahuna, Jim. They are still creepily informal while only superficially handling complaints, telling Joan to get used to her new, lower status. In their world, half a million dollars buys lunch, so they tell her to put up or shut up. She plays the women's lib card, threatening to complain about harassment and bring the ACLU on her side. GO JOAN YOU KICK ASS. Unfortunately, this goes nowhere, especially since McCann has so much media stake. He offers to buy her out. She takes her stand. BOOM, fired.

Okay, I saw this coming, but let's all have a fit over Joan leaving anyway.






Diana's ex comes home, immediately sees through his bullshit and calls him out on it. Don admits he lied, then runs into another lie, saying that he's from a collection agency and needs to know Diana's whereabouts. Unfortunately, he knows nothing more specific than "New York". Don's search is fruitless. However, the ex sees through this as well, saying that Don is not the first to come looking for her, as Diana is apparently something of a man-killer. The ex also uses this moment to try to convert Don to Jesus, which is not exactly the best moment, you dumb fundie.

Roger plays the synthesizer while Peggy drunkenly rollerskates around the office. This is officially the greatest scene in Mad Men history. Don drives back to New York, smoking madly. Between Don, Roger, Peggy and Joan, Jim wonders what the hell is going on with Sterling Cooper's people. While he's cussing out "that redhead", Peggy wanders down the hall with dark glasses, the hentai painting, and the greatest smug look you've ever seen.

Joan goes to see Roger, who can do nothing for her. He advises her to take the suggested severance and leave, rather than be left with nothing. He can vouch for the boss. Finally, she takes the deal, coldly walking out. God bless you, Joanie, patron saint of career women everywhere.

Don drives along some country backroad, where he picks up a hitchhiker. We learned he's in Minnesota, so apparently he has no intention of turning back. That's right, you guys, Don Draper has officially left the building.

The first lyric over the end credits is "this is ground control", and Don is heading west, so...ahem...


Anyway, next week - Betty and Henry have trouble, Sally gets an unexpected visitor, Pete goes somewhere he's not wanted.

The house of cards has already started to collapse. Amazing. Clearly, both Don and Joan are on their way out. Of course Don is going to have a grand adventure, that is so the way this should end. I adored the Peggy and Roger Cavalcade of Whimsy, and also thought the whole transition was handled in a fascinating way. Things are heating up, y'all. Two more episodes - oh god, how will we ever survive it?

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