On a lesser TV show than Mad Men, when the central character gets told to listen to Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles to get his head in tune with what’s going on in the world, his head would start to bop, his foot would tap and he’d ‘get it’, then the credits would roll. On Mad Men, Don Draper tried to absorb it for a while, then got up, turned it off and walked away, before the credits rolled and the music resumed without him. For that reason alone, it was worth the $250,000 AMC played to have the song rights.
Of course, you couldn’t very well have a show about the 60s without using a Beatles song, but as the SCDP team admit earlier in the episode, getting the rights to use them is either impossible or expensive. Apparently the makers of Mad Men have been trying for a while, but it was worth waiting until this particular episode and that particular song; did anyone think it was going to be any other track from Revolver that Megan would tell Don to listen to? The gulf between her generation and his is starting to show and he doesn’t like it…
It’s certainly a remarkable turnaround from last week, when she was the golden girl of the office, but at least we know what her father was saying to her about not abandoning her dreams, and when she sneaks out of work for a mysterious assignation, you get the feeling that it’s not for an extra-marital affair. And so it turns out, with an unsuccessful off-Broadway audition fuelling her fire enough to get Don’s very reluctant permission to quit the advertising world, even as she starts to get really good at it. Will it be a mistake?
Certainly it’s left Don floundering, starting down empty lift shafts and wondering what is going on in the heads of the younger generation. We’ll see what impact Tomorrow Never Knows had on him next week perhaps, if any at all. Not that the younger kids are doing much better, with Pete Campbell‘s mission to become Don 2.0 making him even more miserable this week. A fling with his train buddy’s wife brings a few moments of bliss followed by bitter feelings of rejection as she refuses to see him again, and his envious feelings towards Don come out in an office rant to Harry.
Peggy, meanwhile, gets miffed about Megan’s sudden decision to quit, having bonded with her last week in the post-Heinz glory hours, and when she has to substitute for her at a cutesy pitch for whipped cream, she refuses to stand for Don taking out his frustration on her poor acting performance. It’s still great to see her standing her ground against her boss, treating him like an equal despite having started out as his secretary. Unfortunately for Don, that’s happening a lot lately, and unless he can ‘get hip’ to that Beatles jive, the world might just leave him behind.