Things appeared to be on the upswing for Mr. Draper at the end of the season 7.1.
He got to keep his stake in SC&P all because poor old Bert Cooper kicked the bucket.* The company just sold as a separate entity to McCann Erickson, which means all of the partners (except Harry!) are all super rich. Everyone is happy again! But are they?
(*I predicted that someone would die this season because it was as if DEATH was the subliminal message in every single episode, but I honestly didn’t even think it would be Bert. The Grim Reaper was yet again looming large in the background — just like the moon landing was a motif for the entire hour — at the beginning of the episode when Pete compared Ted to Lane Pryce, but it was ultimately the old-timer who bit the dust.)
Don may have job security, but nobody needs him anymore. Megan tells Don that she doesn’t need anything from him. “Don & Megan” are no longer a thing, which will be interesting to see if Don goes back to his womanizing ways in the second half of the season that will air in a year.
Betty says that Don is “like an old, bad boyfriend” that she rarely thinks about and Joan tells Roger that she doesn’t want to keep losing money because of him. Jim has been loud and proud of his hatred towards Don and now Peggy doesn’t even need Don because she can do it all on her own.
During the Burger Chef pitch, Don seemed to pass on the torch to his protege. Her pitch was classic Don Draper — dramatic metaphors and all — and even made some of the men cry.
Peggy’s Burger Chef pitch that touted a new family was mirrored during the scenes from the moon landing the night before. Everyone in America — even Roger and Mona — were glued to their TV sets together, signifying the almost-modern, 1969 family. It’s the end of the decade and the beginning of a new era.
I’d like to note that the pitch itself once again served to remind us that Peggy is a mom. She brought up the 10-year-old in her living room (the same age as her own child would be, but she is of course referring to her neighbor) whose admission that he is now moving away brought Peggy to tears. It was poignant that Peggy made that pitch with both Don and Pete in the room, the only two people in her life (besides her mother) who know that she had a baby.
The fact that Ted Chaough — boring, whiny Ted Chaough — will be back in New York City does not bode well for Peggy. I am sensing that this will become an issue in the forthcoming seven episodes.
As for Don’s offspring — the only people that actually need him — Little Sally Draper isn’t so little anymore. She wears lipstick, has boobs and goes around kissing random boys. She IS both Betty and Don. What a fascinating and well-written character.
While “Waterloo” (named for the standoff between Jim and Bert and the latter’s aside about Napoleon) may have seemed upbeat — at least for the employees of SC&P — there was something extremely foreboding about Bert’s post-mortem song and dance.
When Don went down the stairs and hallucinated to Bert saying, “Don, my boy,” I literally muttered oh shit out loud. Don’s hallucinations are never a good thing, even if it’s a jovial Bert singing “The Best Things In Life Are Free” because the moon belongs to everyone now.
I’ve read many people complain that Bert’s song was too surreal and too random, but we’ve seen him have hallucinations before so it’s not exactly like it came out of nowhere. And for me, seeing Broadway legend Robert Morse go out with a bang was a real treat.
If I didn’t know any better (and I think I do), I would imagine that things will ultimately end well for Don, but the final shot of Don looking down at his shoes makes me think he will end up anything but okay. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a whole other year.