'Mad Men': 15 Satisfying Moments From the (Nearly) Final Season (Photos)
9:00 AM PDT 5/23/2014 by Michael O'Connell
With just seven episodes in 2014, the AMC drama heads into its final hiatus leaving a lot of viewers anxious for more. But there's so much to be grateful for. From Don's partial resurgence and Pete's tan to Betty's bad parenting and that psychotic break, here are 15 times season 7A really delivered.
Before Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) fell back into his familiar malaise, the seventh season of Mad Men picked up with him in a nearly blissful state in his new Los Angeles locale. Sporting a tan, weekend apparel and some downright swagger, he seemed thrilled with everything in life but West Coast bagels. And it's always comforting to see how far he and Don (Jon Hamm) have come.
"I'm sorry, but I have to get back to work."
A twist within a twist, Neve Campbell's eleventh hour cameo as Don's fellow passenger in the season premiere proved that -- surprise, surprise -- the leading man was actually evolving. Don turning down the alluring Lee Cabot showed that his priorities really hadn't changed since viewers last saw him -- though it's still odd to think Campbell won't make another appearance down the line.
"Happy Valentine's Day. I love you."
It seemed like there was no way for Don and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) to ever come back from her walking in on his afternoon encounter with neighbor Sylvia (Linda Cardellini), but their candid drive back from the city proved how salvageable their relationship is. The fact that her parting words, albeit sullenly delivered, mirrored those on a valentine Sally wrote to her father in the first season only adds to the power of the already touching scene.
"Hello, Dawn/Hello, Shirley."
If there is any silver lining to Dawn (Teyonah Parris) and Shirley's (Sola Bamis) general mistreatment at SC&P -- aside from Dawn's promotion -- it is the moment they share in "A Day's Work," where they refer to each other by their own names in an ode to their clueless coworkers. It's sad-funny, but it's still funny.
"We all know that you're engaged."
If Don hit rock bottom at the end of season six, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) came just as close at the top of the seventh season. After her solo cry in the season premiere, Valentine's Day brings one of the show's most awkward moments (and petty reactions) when she mistakes secretary Shirley's flowers for her own. It's awful in the most fantastic way.
"You can have my office."
Poor Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm). Fundamentally neutered by his cross-country move, his one great service in the seventh season has been as a sounding board for increasingly apoplectic Pete. His deadpan offer to trade offices with Pete is one of the sweetest and funniest moments of the season.
"Eat your candy."
Oh, Betty (January Jones). Just when it seems you might have figured it all out, you break your son's heart and play the victim. The ill-fated field trip in "Field Trip" seems to solidify Betty's status as the worst possible mother -- short of Joan Crawford -- and ensure years of therapy for Bobby (Mason Vale Cotton).
Yes, this season was always going to be about Don's road to redemption, but who guessed his return to SC&P would come in episode three? Maybe a lot of people, but it's still a pretty big deal.
"I guess I’m immune to your charms."
There are plenty of times that Lou Avery (Allan Havey) has made it clear that he's not just the foil, but the total jerk, of season seven. Yet nothing so far has been as simply callous and misogynist as his lines to get Peggy out of his office.
"Meet the Mets!"
Just because we're rooting for Don to stay on the straight and narrow doesn't mean we can't feel a little nostalgic for the hot mess of yore. Don's brief relapse into drunken absurdity was scary -- he's not allowed to be drinking in the office, after all -- but ultimately charming because there were zero consequences.
"I don't care what you want."
Roger's (John Slattery) visit to the upstate commune where his daughter is shunning society didn't just fuel the conspiracy theorists convinced Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) is headed for a bloody demise at the hands of a cult, it might have knocked some sense into him. All of the free love and LSD has made for a colorful subplot, but this is a man with heart problems, remember? Rog needs to take it easy.
"Peggy, we gotta reproduce."
Joining the Freddy Rumsen (Joel Murray) pants-peeing and the great lawnmower incident of 1963 in the storied ranks of Mad Men's most left-field moments is Ginsberg's (Ben Feldman) mental breakdown and ensuing self-mutilation. There's no going back to that time before Peggy opened the gift box from her now former colleague, but who would ever have thought it contained his severed nipple?
"You shouldn't be with a woman."
Joan (Christina Hendricks) has shown herself to be one of the most perceptive and observant characters on Mad Men time and time again, and that includes the mysterious Bob Benson (James Wolk). Pete's frequently off-screen nemesis stages a return, proposes to his red-headed pal and is promptly told that he is gay. Not the answer he was looking for.
"You think that's a coincidence?"
Peggy and Don have had many great moments, several of them working late in the office, but their slow dance to Frank Sinatra was particularly satisfying given how sour their relationship had seemed in the episodes leading up to it. It's exactly the kind of thing you'd hope to get from a final season.
"The family table."
The gang's all here. Fractured by distance and circumstance for some time, the core trio of Don, Peggy and Pete -- three people who have done a lot of awful things to one another -- sit down for a greasy meal to plot a Burger Chef commercial and show that they're the closest thing to a functional family Mad Men has.