Monday, May 4, 2015

Mad Men 7.12: Racine to St. Paul

Mad Men checked in with its next-to-penultimate episode tonight - 7.12 - with a story that amplified what it always did best - people in free floating existential Kierkegaardian ennui - struggling not to find but maintain their identities, and largely flailing and failing.

In fact, of all the major characters we saw tonight, only Peggy ends up with something of a positive ending, carrying the 19th-century painting of an octopus pleasuring a lady (Roger's description) to her office in McCann Erickson.  But it took days longer than she expected for that office to be available to her - days after everyone else's offices from our original gang were open for business in the new digs.

As for Roger, his biggest moment, when he wasn't bemoaning the lost past, was counseling Joan to take the 50-cents-on-the-dollar offer that Jim Hobart made to her.   The offer was what he was willing to pay Joan to never have to see her face again - which he was now irritated at the prospect of seeing, because she didn't want to play ball with what we would today call the abusive behavior of the account exec who wanted to take her under more than his wing.

But Don is in some ways, and as expected, in the worst shape of all.  He quickly sees that he's unnecessary in McCann.  He goes to see Betty, who, cold fish that she is, doesn't want him making nice to her shoulder for more than a second.  He goes to find his waitress in Racine, only to find her irate former husband, who's less than no help at all.   In his last scene in the episode, we see him pick up a hitchhiker with a guitar.  He's taking him to St. Paul, further west, further away from New York City and McCann.  Had this been a decade earlier, the guitarist might well have been Bob Dylan. The way the series is going, skating the surreal with every tick of the clock, it very well could have been Dylan, anyway.  (Wait - maybe it was Bob Seger, doing some preliminary work on those "Night Moves" - no, he's from Detroit.)

The journey continues for just two more episodes, in a story that's approaching zero and an infinity of meaning.  (And now we see why Don's in a car in this season's promo poster, above left.)

-> 20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) in 2007 at Light On Light Through

See also Mad Men 7.1: Vignettes and Playboy ... Mad Men 7.2:  Flowers and the Hung-Up Phone ... Mad Men 7.3: "Lunch with Rod Serling" ... Mad Men 7.4: Computer! ... Mad Men 7.5: Retrofit Paranoia ... Mad Men 7.6: The Dance ...  Mad Men Mid-Season 7 Finale: Telescope vs. Television ... Mad Men 7.8: Don, Rachel, and the Waitress ... Mad Men 7.9: Fast Ride ... Mad Men 7.10: "Fast Girl" ... Mad Men 7.11: The End of Sterling, Cooper, Draper.

And see also Mad Men 6.1-2: The Lighter and the Twist ... Mad Men 6.3: Good Company ... Mad Men 6.4: McLuhan, Heinz, and Don's Imagination ... Mad Men 6.5: MLK ... Mad Men 6.6: Good News Comes in a Chevy ...  Mad Men 6.7: Merger and Margarine ... Mad Men 6.8: Dr. Feelgood and Grandma Ida ... Mad Men 6.9: Don and Betty ... Mad Men 6.10: Medium Cool ... Mad Men 6.11: Hand in the Cookie Jar and Guy de Maupassant ... Mad Men 6.12: Rosemary's Baby, Dick Cheney, and Sunkist ... Mad Men Season 6 Finale: Beyond California

And see also Why "You Only Live Twice" for Mad Men Season 5 Finale ... Mad Men Season Five Finale

And see also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ...Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity  ... Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex" ... Mad Men 5.11: Prostitution and Power ... Mad Men 5.12: Exit Lane

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..." 4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ...4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season TwoMad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season OneMad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ...Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ...Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

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