“This is a hierarchy, don’t you understand that?” Ken Cosgrove’s declaration early in the premiere of Mad Men’s seventh, and final, season Sunday night broke down the episode’s roiling power struggles rather nicely. (Spoilers ahead.) Opening with a watch-campaign pitch from embattled freelancer Freddy Rumsen, the well-paced episode zoomed in quickly on the main players, setting up future successes, failures, and offering one very crucial question: Where is Bob Benson? Find the winners and losers of this week’s episode below.
Joan Harris (winner)
Using her years of experience at the company, Joan has quietly emerged as a serious power player where it seems to matter most: behind the scenes. This time, she saves a major account (and Ken’s butt) by doing what she does best: speaking her mind. It’s clear there’s more on the horizon for the agency’s resident bombshell.
Pete Campbell (winner)
Megan Draper (winner)
Like Pete, Don’s wife (at press time, anyway) has settled into L.A. life nicely. She picks up a visiting Don in a sexy little sports car, and an even smaller dress, a sky-blue version of the frock she wore for her performance of Zou Bisou Bisou in season 5. They have dinner with her agent, who announces that she’s in the running for a big part in a network show. It quickly becomes evident that, currently at least, Megan is what Don is not: comfortable.
Roger Sterling (loser)
Peggy Olson (loser)
Don Draper (loser)
The odds are stacked against Don (largely his own doing), but our antihero is at least attempting to do right. After snuggling up to a sultry brunette (Canada’s Neve Campbell) on his flight home from visiting Megan, he rejects the stranger’s offer of “getting a ride.” When he heads to his apartment, we learn that Freddy Rumsen has been acting as a proxy for Don’s ideas, pitching the benched ad-man’s ideas as his own, with Don’s approval. Why? Who ever knows with Don. Draper ends the episode sitting, blank-faced, on his balcony. Alone.
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