Mad Men’s final season begins with ‘staches, waitresses & Peggy Lee


The last half of Mad Men’s final season premiered last night on AMC. And if you were hoping for some huge change, we didn’t get it. But we did get several surreal moments that made everything seem off-kilter, tenuous, Twilight Zone-esque. Matthew Weiner spoke to Vanity Fair about the premiere here, and he uses “Twilight Zone” as a reference too. Anyway, I just had some random thoughts…

The Waitress. She was played by Elizabeth Reaser, although the way she was shot at first gave the impression that she was some kind of hybrid of actresses Maggie Siff (who played Rachel Menken) and Rosemarie DeWitt (who played Don’s mistress Midge in the first season). That’s Don’s old type – sort of mysterious, brunette, intelligent eyes. But… I loathe Elizabeth Reaser. I think she’s a terrible actress every time I see her. Once I realized it was her, I was all, “Seriously? Her?”

The Fur. That was one of the best and weirdest episode openings ever, Don telling that pretty girl what to do with the fur coat. Even Ted Olsen seems to have perked up because of the casting sessions for the fur campaign.

Don’s Single Life. I’m fine with him having a little black book full of the phone numbers of stewardesses, models, actresses, waitresses and whoever else. I just hope he doesn’t marry any of those silly women.

Rachel Menken/Rachel Katz. Don’t first great love affair from Season 1 passed away. He dreamt of her just a few days after she died of lukemia. His reaction – and Hamm’s acting as he entered the apartment where Rachel’s family was sitting shiva – was particularly emotional and moving. It’s the same kind of deep grief he had when Anna Draper passed away.

The ‘Staches. The episode apparently took place in April 1970, less than a year since the last episode of Part 1. Why are there suddenly so many ‘staches?

Pete Campbell. I know he’s no one’s favorite character, but I adore the evolution of Pete. He was so happy and sunny in California and but now that he’s back in New York, parts of the old Pete have returned. But he’s still figuring out a way to be nicer to his coworkers.

Peggy Goes On A Date. Is that supposed to be some kind of signal that the people around Peggy are worried that she’s in her early 30s and still not married? Is she the poor single girl who gets set up on blind dates by her subordinates? Is she prickly about it? She loved being described as “fearless” – because who doesn’t want to see themselves that way? – but in reality and in the cold, hungover morning, we see who she really is: a cynic.

Joan Is Rich. Joan is also the victim of some really awful sexual harassment. I was waiting for her to strike back in classic Joan Holloway style. I wanted her to slap those McCann douchebros in their bro-faces. Instead, Joan took it out on Peggy (to be fair, Peggy absolutely said the wrong thing) and then drowned her sorrows in shopping. Because Joan is too rich to care about douchebros, right?

Ken Cosgrove Gets Fired. I actually really like the Ken Cosgrove character and I like that there’s someone in that office who really doesn’t have major issues with women in general or the women in his life. Ken gets along with people, he’s a glad-hander, he’s pretty good at his job, although not very imaginative. But Ken still got fired. And then Ken got his in a big way. I enjoyed that storyline a lot. I felt like that was a great way to deal with Ken’s storyline.

Stan Rizzo Is Still Peggy’s Work-Husband. I love Stan. I love that Stan came into Peggy’s office and got all up in her business about her date. Those two characters – Peggy and Stan, played by Moss and Jay R. Ferguson – have so much chemistry together.

No Megan Draper. Thank God. All we got was a reference to her when Don told Rachel’s sister that he was getting divorced again.

Dawn the Secretary. Where is she? I forget what happened exactly and how Don ended up with that somewhat flaky blonde secretary, but I miss Dawn.

Peggy Lee. That was the song used at the beginning and end of the episode, Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?”



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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35 Responses to “Mad Men’s final season begins with ‘staches, waitresses & Peggy Lee”

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  1. AntiSocialButterfly says:

    I just popped over to check the pants situation. And I’m not disappointed.

  2. launicaangelina says:

    I’m a hardcore Mad Men fan and am excited to see how these last episodes play out. Once it’s over, I plan on revisiting the entire series on Netflix so I can soak it all in instead of in pieces. As a fan, it’s frustrating to deal with the gap-iness of the seasons.

    • yomamamama says:

      Yes! I can barely remember who anyone is, let alone what they were doing the last season. arg

      • launicaangelina says:

        I know! I remember a few years ago there was about a year and a half gap between seasons because Matthew Weiner was feuding with AMC.

  3. Jess says:

    I’m so excited for this! I’m just catching up on the first half on Netflix but I couldn’t resist reading this:)

  4. Alexi says:

    Dawn the secretary is in Joan’s old office and managing the secretaries

  5. Deb says:

    Don’s face when he walks into the shiva at Rachel’s apartment was so sad. He suddenly looked so old and tired. 😢

    I was sooo wanting Joan to go ballistic on those pigs!!! Damn Joanie don’t take that crap.

    The porn stache is in at Sterling Cooper I guess 👎

  6. Hautie says:

    ” I loathe Elizabeth Reaser. I think she’s a terrible actress every time I see her….”

    Thank you. I am not alone in thinking she is an awful actress. Please let that be all I have to see of her. We just got rid of Megan.

    I am still annoyed that this last season got broke up. I have very little recall what happen in those first episodes. And I just don’t care enough to go back and watch them.

    Then having this first episode back, being so bizarre in the story telling. I have decided I need to just TIVO the rest of them and watch them a month from now.

    Ohhhh…. but I am thrilled with Ken and his new position! And how he is now going to be the client. Instead of the employee!

    • Sarah says:

      I too cannot stand Reaser. I remember when everyone was so excited when she had a story arc on ER a few years ago and I thought she was awful. She hasn’t improved her craft over the years. I sure hope we don’t get rid of Jessica Pare only to be stuck with Elizabeth Reaser for the last few episodes.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      She keeps popping up on “good” tv dramas as an also ran love interest. Dating the Josh Charles character on Good Wife, dating Mcconnagheys character Rust Cohle in True D. Now this.

    • Ally8 says:

      I don’t think she’s such a terrible actress (though much emoting by bugging out the eyes) but her giant head is very distracting. Glad they put 5-inch bangs on her here to moderate it.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I had no idea Maggie Siff played Rachel. I only knew her from SoA. The Rachel story was sad, including when Don was telling her sister about his divorces.
    I have never liked Elizabeth Reaser in any role. I didn’t realize that was her, but I also didn’t like the waitress, so that kind of explains it.
    The douchebro scene made me want to go on a rampage.

  8. JKL says:

    I just found out that Stan – Jay R. Ferguson – used to be a member of the Pussy Posse. Seems to have matured a bunch since then, though.

  9. BW says:

    The ad campaign wasn’t for furs. It was for razor blades. Wilkenson Sword razor blades. God, I’m old. I remember those ads.

  10. hadlyB says:

    But why don’t we want Peggy to get married and be happy? She obviously isn’t happy just working.

    She isn’t happy and hasn’t been for a long time. She deserves it ( or does she?) and I wish they would give her a break. I am tired of her unhappy, single female, working girl routine. She can still work and be married/ in a relationship. Ugh. Or why wasn’t she ever married then given affairs like the men? That would of been more interesting then this dumb single or career bs story line.

    Joan : If were her I would of said yes, I DID work here. Great, I will take that discount now I will take 10 of those dresses. Isn’t it better to show that you used to work somewhere crappy and now you are buying out the store?? Sometimes she needs to get off her high horse. I am annoyed she always gets her way somehow.

    I still hope Don and gets back together with Betty. They are both messed up they deserve each other. They also look great together.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      I wish Pete and Peggy would get together. I wish Roger and Joan would get married. But this isn’t romance. Sigh.

  11. Ellie66 says:

    Love this show! I couldn’t stand her either (Elizabeth Reaser) reminded me of Midge ugh! I think Don secretary is gonna be his fatal she is in love with him and he will lead her on and she will get mad and push him out the window!

  12. Sumodo1 says:

    Erm, Ted Chaough.

  13. Murphy says:

    I thought I saw Dawn carrying something into the office, she has a fro now.
    I was bored with the episode. At the time I didn’t really think Don had anything more with Rachel than he did with Midge or the teacher, or Mrs. Rosen, or or or

    • Murphy says:

      Oh and did Julio move? I didn’t want him to ;_;

    • pf says:

      No, that was Shirley, who used to be Peggy’s secretary. I didn’t really see Dawn in this episode, but from last season (or part 1) she basically become the new Joan. This is why people need to rematch episodes. And Don did have something more with Rachel than he did with any of his other dalliances. She understood who he really was, and don’t forget she was the one who dropped him, not the other way around.

  14. Ally8 says:

    I thought it was fitting that “Is that all there is?” played twice over the episode. Also, Pete saying “this is boring!” about the ad business during his meeting with Ken.

    If I could be bothered, I’d make a Mad Men Bingo card: Joan faces sexism, Peggy is made to feel like a workaholic and/or future cat lady, Roger is a rogue, Pete is a douche, the ‘young’ execs jockey for position, Don beds a random, Don uses a hookup as a shrink, Don has a feeling.

    That last one especially, omg. Seven years in we’re supposed to applaud because this aging man has an emotion above the belt for a woman he hasn’t thought of in years? If this was a female character, we’d all be excoriating her for being a selfish tool who tries to cleanse her conscience by crashing a shiva, but let’s pin a medal on Don for getting wobbly for a minute.

    I thought the show was saving up something new or deep or suggesting development in these last episodes, but so far it doesn’t look promising.

  15. Sarah says:

    Ugh, Elizabeth Reaser. I also can’t stand her. I couldn’t really understand her storyline, though. Did she assume Don left the big tip and not Roger? We the audience aren’t supposed to know her connection to Don, if there is any? (Or is he confusing his Rachel hallucination with her? Why did he hallucinate Rachel and not, say Faye or another past love?)

    I did enjoy seeing Paul Johanssen as the McCann guy (aka, John Sears from 90210 and Dan Scott from One Tree Hill). And Peggy’s date was the actor who played Krakow on My So Called Life. 90s reunion!

    I am in the minority but I don’t care for Peggy. She’s presented as such a catch and such a relatable working woman but I don’t see it. I am not a fan of the actress so I guess that colors my view.

    • Shiba says:

      Rachel has always stayed in Don’s psyche because she was the ‘one who got away.’
      She left him. He respected and admired her as a person, along with being in love (and lust) with her. Though she felt the same way about him, her family and values couldn’t just be abandoned for passion.

  16. Tig says:

    Have no prob with Elizabeth R- and no, not being paid for this endorsement. I am tired of the idea that Don breathes, and skirts drop. That “sex in the alley” bit has been way overused.

    Loved the bit that the reason Peggy couldn’t fly away on the spur of the moment was the fact her passport was at the office- as if she needed any more wake up calls.

    I also got Joan seething in silence- she needed these morons for the account. She’s relentless in that regard- but the retail therapy! Anyone know if the dress was vintage? It was gorgeous on her!

  17. Debutante says:

    I can’t stand Joan. I was so glad when Peggy told her off. Joan has become increasingly nasty and mean. I’m glad she was forced to keep her mouth shut in front of those douchebros.