For Vulture, Jen Chaney writes: This year’s last Mad Men episode — the finale of season seven, part one — airs Sunday night on AMC. In the days leading up to that momentous Memorial Day weekend event, Mad Men fans will do what they always do on such occasions: spend ludicrous amounts of time speculating about what will happen in that pseudo-finale, even though they know all their theories will be rendered moot come Sunday at 11:10 p.m. Because … eh, what else are you gonna do?
We at Vulture, will help fuel this absurd plot-prediction process by offering a list of 10 theories about what might happen on Sunday’s Mad Men. In order to compile this list, we’ve used all the tools at our disposal. Those tools include:
- The official AMC promo for the episode, which is chock full of information. (Just kidding: It’s just a bunch of scenes from previous episodes that tell us nothing!)
- The summary of the episode, called “Waterloo” (uh-oh). It states: “Don is troubled by a letter; Peggy may seek a new future on a risky venture; Roger receives a phone call; Pete and Cutler butt heads.” So it tells us something, and yet, at the same time, also nothing.
- Random crackpot ideas from the internet.
- Random crackpot ideas that percolated in our brain after one too many shots of rum from Lou Avery’s office tiki bar.
Now, in no particular order, here’s the list of theories, some of which are credible and some of which are flat-out cuckoo. But let’s be honest: If anyone had told you before the season-six finale that Pete Campbell’s mother would go on a cruise with Manolo and fall off the ship to her death, would you have believed it?
Theory 1: Don gets a letter that says the Department of Defense is investigating him for posing as Don Draper and deserting his military post.
As the helpful DVR description of “Waterloo” notes, Don will be “troubled by a letter,” a statement that sparked a flashback to the season-four episode “Hands and Knees,” when DOD officials questioned Betty as part of a background check on Don. (“Do you have any reason to believe Mr. Draper isn’t who he says he is?” one of the G-Men asked.)
That background check happened because Pete had finally landed North American Aviation as a client, and also because Megan, then Don’s secretary, unwittingly filled out a government form on Don’s behalf without sufficiently flailing her arms and screaming so Don would know he shouldn’t sign it. Pete took a bullet for Don, squashing the $4 million account in order to eliminate the possibility that Don would be investigated. But somewhere, in some government office, that form peppered with Don Draper red flags is still sitting there. Perhaps its information has even been sucked into a database housed in one of those dreadful computers Harry Crane loves so much. And perhaps it could resurface, especially if Betty gets background-checked as part of Henry’s attempt to become New York’s Attorney General. (Betty mentioned Henry might pursue that job in episode three of this season, “Field Trip.”)
Theory 2: The finale will focus in part on the Stonewall Riots, in which Bob Benson will be involved.
Mad Men Redditors have been speculating in various threads about which 1969 events will be featured in upcoming Mad Men episodes. One possibility for this week: the Stonewall Riots, which kick-started the American gay-rights movement.
It involves a critical moment in sports history in New York in 1969. Only fairly dedicated baseball fans, or those familiar with the history of New York, would ever make the connection. it’s unimportant to the story, except as a background detail. But it’s the kind of clue that’s meant to reward an observant viewer, like Walter Dellinger, who sees a link between the New York Mets and Don Draper‘s future.
Season 7, Episode 4, ‘The Monolith’
“..the metaphor for his (coming) revival is not the new computer, but the 1969 New York Mets. At his lowest point, Don finds a discarded Mets banner under his file cabinet. He drops in the waste basket. But the next time we see Don, he has retrieved the classic orange banner and hung it on the wall.
When he awakes from a drunken stupor, he sees it from upside down and stares at it. And he calls Freddy to take the day off (from doing no work, anyway) to see a Mets game.
And so all you Don Draper fans who don’t follow baseball need to know that there is indeed hope for Don this season, at least if this deliberate invocation of the Mets has any meaning (and what on this show doesn’t?). The New York Mets were relatively new to baseball and in their eighth season in 1969. They had never had a winning season, and were at that point a metaphor for futility. But in that year they became the “Miracle Mets” winning 100 games and upsetting the great Baltimore Orioles team to win the World Series…”
If Dellinger is right, and Don Draper’s fortunes are finally about to turn, it couldn’t come a moment too soon. After a nearly unbearable string of misfortunes, a downward spiral lasting throughout season 6, unwinding into season 7, Don self-destructive personality has worn out its welcome, for his partners and coworkers, but also for the viewers. I wonder how many of Mad Men’s original fans are still along for the ride. Read the rest of this entry »
What worked for Breaking Bad might not work for Mad Men
AMC unveiled the first half of Mad Men‘s split final seventh season to the lowest debut audience since the show’s second year. But unlike the cable network’sBreaking Bad — which climbed in the ratings with every season, including its similarly split two-year final run — only 2.3 million viewers watched Don Draper’s return Sunday night at 9 p.m. The acclaimed period drama then had two repeats for a grand total of 4.4 million. This marked the first of seven episodes that will air this year, with the final seven planned for 2015.
AMC pointed out to reporters that Mad Men is “the most upscale show on ad-supported television among adults 18-49, and sees significant time-shifting activity.” The network also noted these numbers are not far off from the sixth season’s average.
— Mad Men (@MadMen_AMC) April 14, 2014
The birth of American espionage gets AMC’s prestige spot
For NRO, Tim Cavanaugh writes: Like Archie Andrews and many other American men who will follow him, Abraham Woodhull has great regard for the blonde, but he lusts for the brunette. Married to porcelain Mary, Abraham nevertheless manages to spend ample time in the presence of smoldering Anna, a childhood friend for whom he still carries a torch. Heroic circumstance, on British-occupied Long Island in the fall of 1776, will put Abraham into close contact with Anna. Anna’s husband in turn languishes in Redcoat custody, leaving her with little choice but to welcome any male support against the masher who has occupied her house, a Malfoyesque English captain.
[The source book, Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring is available at Amazon]
We know about these folks, who will form part of the Revolution’s Culper spy ring in AMC’s new Sunday show Turn, in large part thanks to the 2007 book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by National Review alumnus Alexander Rose. In the show’s press materials, Rose praises Turn’s creators for exploring “these very human factors lying at the heart of that titanic clash of nations and ideologies” and for their “creation of an alien and often startling world.”
Good news, via popgoescultureblog:
For the record, I’m among those that question AMC’s decision to split the final season. To me, it smacks of either artistic vanity, or business concerns trumping loyal audience. I understand it’s a demanding show to produce, and maintain the extraordinary quality, so it benefits the creator and his crew. I’m inclined to think that AMC’s got a valuable property, they know it, and they’re milking more advertising dollars out of Mad Men. Enjoying a more relaxed writing and shooting schedule isn’t likely the primary driver of season-splitting decision.
[For collectors, Amazon has Mad Men: Seasons 1-4]
If the final episodes can be delivered with as much audience-pleasing closure as Breaking Bad, these complaints will dissolve. The show is already on track to become an enduring TV masterpiece.
The last half of season 5 of the Emmy-winning drama finished its run last fall on AMC. Series, which stars Bryan Cranston as a New Mexico teacher turned crystal-meth overlord, is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
Hillary Busis writes: Sure, DVDs and Netflix have sort of ruined the fun of a good, old-fashioned scheduled TV marathon. (They’re not exactly special when you have the power to make them happen any time.) But it’s still hard not to get excited about AMC showing all 62 episodes of Breaking Bad over the course of four days — even if the network totally missed the opportunity to call this marathon “Four Days In.”
Never seen an episode of Breaking Bad? You’re gonna want to watch this. Devoured every episode of Breaking Bad multiple times already? You’re still gonna want to watch it, or at least part of it. But when should you pay close attention, when should you keep one eye on the TV and another on your laundry — and when should you order the chicken? Worry not; EW’s got you covered. (All times are ET/PT)
AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” one week after picking up the top Emmy drama prize, capped its meteoric ratings rise Sunday by surging to series highs in its finale — despite facing formidable season premieres on ABC, CBS, Fox and Showtime.
There was no stopping fans from watching the show live Sunday (or at least same-night, thanks to DVRs), as the conclusion to Walter White’s odyssey was watched by an average audience of 10.3 million, according to Nielsen, up 3.7 million (or 56%) from its penultimate episode of the previous week (6.6 million). Read the rest of this entry »
In the final hours leading up to Sunday’s highly-anticipated Breaking Bad series finale, there are a few things you could do. You could attempt to binge-watch the entire series up to this point. You could take this extremely comprehensive quiz to see just how much of a super-fan you are. Or, you could get yourself to Albuquerque to try an awesome Breaking Bad-themed treat.
A local shop called Rebel Donut has cooked up a few special items dedicated to the hit AMC drama. The most popular? A frosted doughnut topped with candy crystals that look exactly like the blue meth featured on the show. Even Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul himself has given these treats a try, and he definitely seems to approve: Read the rest of this entry »
Jonah Goldberg writes: Last night’s Emmys were terrible. The lavish dance numbers, the painfully lame jokes, the creepy gay double entendre from Michael Douglas, when he accepted an Emmy for his even creepier portrayal of Liberace, made for a ploddingly unentertaining evening. And Jeff Daniels’s win for best actor in a drama series for his work in HBO’s faux-highbrow Newsroom was so ridiculous only an MSNBC roundtable could applaud it.
But they got at least one thing right: AMC’s Breaking Bad won best dramatic series on television. If you haven’t seen the show, AMC will run the entire series this week in a marathon leading up to the series finale. You should watch or record it. It not only represents something new in the history of television, it represents a categorical improvement in the very nature of television. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday the New York Times broke the news that the final season of Mad Men will be broadcast in two parts (see more on this here). This isn’t the first time that a television series has been split into two – AMC recently adopted the same strategy for Breaking Bad which saw a gap of almost a year between the first half and the last half of the final fifth season. Nor is this necessarily even a recent trend – HBO notably broadcast the final season of The Sopranos (1999-2007) in a similar manner. In that instance, the decision to split the season into two was arguably more of an afterthought, as the series’ creator David Chase later decided that he wanted the opportunity to “round out the story”. But it’s not just TV (as the HBO slogan goes), this happens in cinema too. Franchises such as Harry Potter (2001-2011) and Twilight (2008-2012) have both recently featured two-part endings in concluding their narratives. The logic behind the two-part conclusion, whether it’s in film or television, is no doubt financially motivated. Indeed, why not draw out the story in two parts and reap the financial rewards? In the case of cinema, this form of serialisation is intended to increase box office takings (presumably people who saw part one will want to see part two), while in television the money comes from subscription fees and advertising. This economic gain may be the main impetus for this trend, but I’m more interested in the way that these patterns of distribution might impact upon the programme’s narrative. Read the rest of this entry »
A sign of confidence? Or uncertainty? Mad Men hits the final stretch.
Cynthia Littleton writes:
“Veteran screenwriter Robert Towne (pictured) is among Matthew Weiner’s new recruits to “Mad Men’s” writing staff for the upcoming seventh and final season, which AMC announced Monday will unfold in two seven-episode batches in spring 2014 and spring 2015.”
I question the decision to break up the final season into a two-year boutique-sized spread. Is this a creative decision? Or is AMC milking the popularity of the series for additional commercial or prestige reasons Or is the Mad Men staff pressed to conclude the series to Matthew Weiner’s satisfaction, and AMC is giving him more time? Let’s hear what you guys think. — The Butcher
“Towne is serving as a consulting producer…. He won an original screenplay Oscar for 1974′s “Chinatown” (a source of many oft-quoted lines including: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”). He earned three other Oscar screenwriting noms, for 1973′s “The Last Detail,” 1975′s “Shampoo” … Recent credits include “Mission: Impossible II…”
Recalling Don Draper’s creative peak, his most poignant pitch, to Kodak. Before his unresolved personality disorder, cracked identity and mid-life crisis led him to his epic season 5 meltdown.
From Illo Confidential -With the final season of Breaking Bad premiering last night, we thought it would be the perfect time to showcase some of Illo Confidential’s Breaking Bad inspired illustrations, featuring work by Brian Taylor, Kelsey Dake, Mike Freiheit, Alex Fine, Kyle T. Webster & PJ McQuade. Tread lightly, & enjoy! More @ Illo Confidential
Fourth of July might be all about fireworks and barbecues now, but what if the events of the Revolutionary War hadn’t ended in our favor? Read the rest of this entry »
While Walter White cooks meth on Breaking Bad, the Riverhill Coffee Bar in Glasgow, Scotland has been cooking up a heap of trouble.
Late last week, the shop’s chef made three batches of Breaking Bad-inspired cupcakes topped with cracked blue sugar, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the blue crystal meth that White (played by Bryan Cranston) cooks up on the wildly popular AMC series. Now a local anti-drug group and at least one Glasgow-based politician are arguing that selling the blue candy-topped treats is tantamount to glamorizing drugs and that the bakery is being insensitive to the plight of families affected by drug use. “The cafe might try to pass it off as a joke, but I don’t think it’s funny,” Green Party city center counselor Nina Baker told the Evening Times. Christine Duncan, chief executive of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, told the Times: “The glamorising of drugs is completely distasteful.”