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'Mad Men': Season 7 Premiere Guide

"What has really been the pressure this year, no matter what happens, is that these people are going to end this season frozen in time," Weiner tells THR.

Harry Crane, Stan Rizzo, Ken Cosgrove and Michael Ginsberg

The beginning of the end of Mad Men starts Sunday evening. The show left off as Don Draper is in turmoil at work and California-bound, Pete Campbell is facing existential angst and Peggy Olson is at a career crossroads. 

The Hollywood Reporter offers a primer on what the show's creator, cast and promo images are revealing -- or even just teasing -- about the final season. 

What Matthew Weiner Is Saying: Although characteristically silent about the details from the upcoming season, the show's creator set the stage during a recent interview. "Last season was the first year where I thought, 'History is happening every day, and the general public is completely involved,' " Weiner told THR. "Whatever people associate with the turmoil of the time, it is 1968. It is a chaotic year filled with worldwide revolution and it created anxiety in everyday people. I felt like the U.S. was in that situation last year, and decided to run headlong into it on the show."

Read more from THR's interview here

What Matthew Weiner Is Saying About the Finale: The show's creator also poignantly shared his thoughts on the end of the series, noting that the last scene will ensure the characters are "frozen in time" for audiences. "What has really been the pressure this year, no matter what happens, is that these people are going to end this season frozen in time. That's the last time we see them," he told THR. "There's a pressure to make sure that everyone we deem important in the show, which is a huge ensemble, that they're treated with responsibility. I look back at the finale every season, and we do wrap up more than people think. They always feel like series finales to me. They always do. I write them that way, and I direct them that way. A couple of times, as far as I knew, they were the series finale."

Read more from THR's Q&A here

What the Cast Is Saying: During an appearance at PaleyFest on March 21, several Mad Men stars described the state of their characters at the end of season six. Jon Hamm (Don Draper): "At the end of season six, not only is his marriage in trouble, his relationship with his kids is tricky at best, and now work isn't there. … Don is a survivor. He rises to the challenge." Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell): "Season one, everyone wanted to be Don Draper, and slowly fewer and fewer people do," he said. "Heavy is the head that wears the crown." Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson): "Her battle all along has been, 'Should she be Don? Should she be Joan? Should she be someone's wife or mother?' She's finally figuring out that her role is as a woman, as who [she is], as Peggy."

Read more from the cast here

What THR's Chief TV Critic Is Saying: In short, the AMC series is "as vibrant as ever," THR critic Tim Goodman writes."Obviously, one episode -- and that's all AMC sent to critics -- can't tell the story of the entire season, but evaluated merely as one episode competing against all the previous episodes in the series, this one is pretty spectacular," Goodman writes, later adding: "The season-seven premiere focuses mainly on Don and Megan, with Peggy, Pete, Roger and Joan having their moments. If this final season focuses on the repercussions of the past and the choices that were made in it, a good bet could be made that Peggy's storyline might rival Don's for most cathartic fallout and/or redemption."

Read more from THR's premiere review here

What, If Anything, Do the Teaser Trailers/Photos Say?

Other than ushering in psychedelic 1970's styles and a traveling theme, your guess is as good as any. Take a glance at the cryptic photos/video below. See the complete gallery of Mad Men season seven images here

AMC