There’s race riots everywhere, MLK and RFK have been shot and killed, Ken has been involved in a hijack joy ride, Abe has been stabbed by some black youths, Abe has ben stabbed by Peggy and Ken has been shot in the face by some clients. Not great times for Abe and Ken, while Megan’s Sharon Tate top has led to rumours of her imminent demise.
Mad Men – How Much Darker Will It Get?
With just one episode left of the penultimate season of Mad Men, it’s still almost impossible to predict where the show is heading for this finale or the final season.
The reception for Season Six has been a little bit less positive than usual, with some fans griping about some of the familiar situations that have been reoccuring, as well as some of the more surreal moments that have cropped up.
Plus, the fact that it has again been on our screens while Game Of Thrones is wowing and shocking everyone can’t help but make Mad Men seem a bit tame and non-essential. I’ll admit that I ended up storing up episodes while GoT ramped up the bloodshed and drama, only catching up on this after I’d finished that.
But that shouldn’t be a criticism of Mad Men, which is never likely to have anything as shocking as The Red Wedding (the lawn-mower incident and last season’s suicide are as close as it’s ever gone), especially with so many undercurrents of death and violence swirling around this current season.
Matt Weiner has insisted that no-one’s going to die in the last episode, but the darker tones that have settled over the show recently are seemingly likely to get more intense as the 60s rolls on towards its deathknell (Altamont, etc) and the buttoned-down 50s-style formality and order of the first season is a world away. But some things never change.
Don Draper, for example, was married, having affairs and drinking too much when we first met him. And he still is now. But things have got darker for him too recently, with his whoring coming home to roost when Sally caught him, while his jealously at Peggy and Ted led him to pull off a cruel public humiliation last week.
Joan’s become a partner, but has had to use sex to achieve it, while her duties don’t seem massively different from those when she was the Queen Bee of the secretarial pool. How long before she finds herself in bed with Roger yet again?
Peggy’s rise from mousy secretary to successful creative seemed to hit a Don-shaped ceiling at SCDP, but her big escape has only led her back to the new SC&P and her affection for Ted has caused all kinds of problems, leaving her feeling as isolated and lost as she did on her first day.
Of course, you could look at all this and wonder what the point is, and that seems to be the case for some fans, but there’s more at work here than a show running out of ideas and repeating itself, Weiner and his team are too talented for that and there’s so many layers to everything that happens.
Mad Men has been an incredible journey through the heart of the 1960s so far and we’re just 14 or so episodes away from that decade and this show being over. And personally, I’m as addicted as I ever was. After all, how could anyone check out without knowing what terrible event will befall Ken next? Or find out what the deal is with Bob Benson?