“Mad Men” returned tonight and jumped from the summer of 1969 to April 1970. How do we know? Don listens to Richard Nixon withdraw 150,000 troops from Southeast Asia on April 20th. During the episode titled “Severance” it seems like it might still be 1969, because Peggy Lee is singing “Is That All There Is?” and Joan is talking about L’Eggs stockings taking over the market. But the men’s hair styles have changed, and they all look like Sergeant Pepper. All except Don.
Oh, yes, Don: while all fashions change, Don remains the same. It’s on purpose. He doesn’t adapt at all to changing times. The world just whooshes around him. And while he’s certainly accepted the sexual revolution, that’s it. Life marches on around Don. And he dreams of his mortality. He has a dream about Rachel Katz (Maggie Siff) an old lover, only to discover subsequently that she’s died from leukemia. He sees a waitress in a diner who looks like her, and they have sex. Her name is “Di,” short for Diana. Oh my. Very David Lynch.
The other plots of “Severance” involve Ken Cosgrove, who is fired but gets revenge. He doesn’t need “Severance” and now he’s going to make the lives at Sterling Cooper very difficult. Peggy gets the other story; she tries to have a good time. She and Joan also disagree about the miserable way they’re treated by the men at McCann Erickson.
Mortality surrounds Don, and adds fuel to the fire that he’ll die in the end. Matthew Weiner likes playing with the audience, so who really knows? Meantime, the ads on AMC were pretty interesting: they took an ad for Showtime’s “Happyish” on a competing cable network. Weird.
Is that all there is, my friend?