Advertisements

Mad Men “The Forecast” Review (7×10)

20 Apr

mad-men-ep-710-don-hamm-590

“It has to get better.”

The ad is all about capturing the future, about predicting future trends and desires and mindsets. It draws you in, displaying image after image of a new life you can make for yourself…if only you had that one product. Because Mad Men is built around the ad, the show’s oftentimes dealt with the future, asking its characters whether they’ll be able to move on and change, whether they’ll be able to answer their own glaring questions: What’s next? What does the forecast of your future say? Is the forecast accurate?

As anyone who’s ever read a forecast knows, a prediction of 70 degrees and sunny can turn into a reality of -50 degrees and snowing. Okay, it’s not that extreme of a difference, but the key point to note here is that a forecast is merely a prediction. It’s based upon what’s already happened and what’s currently happening, but it’s unable to nail the specifics of a perpetually changing future. And that’s exactly what this episode of Mad Men deals with. For example, Joan and her new friend Richard both know what they want to do in the future–the former wants to build that career, the latter wants to happily retire–but in the end, a new path is forged in their lives. Maybe they can find happiness with each other rather than with, for example, work.

Peggy and Don are two characters who have always merged their work and their personal lives, and it’s pretty much the main place they’ve turned to in order to find fulfillment. The performance review scene in this episode is a wonderful moment for Peggy and Don, and the episode’s main theme is summed up nicely when Don asks Peggy what she wants to do in the future. She tells him she wants to be the first female Creative Director–this is similar to earlier in the episode, when Ted says that he wants to “land some bigger accounts”–and he responds by saying: “I’m impressed you know exactly.” We may have certain goals for our futures, but no matter how hard we try, we can never truly predict what will happen.

We see a similar idea with Glen as well, who reveals that he’s joining the army to an aghast Sally. He believes that shipping off to Vietnam is a cure-all of sorts, but there’s always going to be the question of whether or not something will happen to him over there. It’s not quite so simple because you never know what’s coming, and it’s clear that Betty will also feel some of that uncertainty moving forward.

In addition, we don’t know where exactly Sally Draper is going to end up, but it’s easy to see why she acts the way she does throughout this episode. She sees Glen cozying up to Betty and her friend Sarah flirting with Don, and there’s a bubbling pit of resentment that’s fueling her on her quest for independence. “I’m so tired of people asking me what I want to do,” she snaps at the restaurant table, and we can feel the desire to break free, to make a new life for herself sans parental influence.

And well, Don sees that front and center. Mathis’s earlier accusation that Don has “no character” and is “just handsome” plays a role in the scene by the bus, as Don tells her daughter that she’s a beautiful girl, but that that’s not all that she is. He sees that she doesn’t want to be like her parents, and he understands. He doesn’t want that for his daughter either, and Jon Hamm does a wonderful job of conveying that in just one look. As Sally heads off with her friends, he returns to his apartment, an empty look on his face as he shuffles toward an uncertain future. Roger thinks that a “future of the company” speech is going to be a breeze for the man, but those of us who have been watching Don these last seven years know that it’s going to be tough.

RMBa8ic

And yet, as we move into the final four episodes of the series, I sense that something may be different. Don realizes that he’s empty–that he has nothing left–but he no longer has that empty apartment to wallow in. He gets defensive about it early on with the realtor, and he later tells her that a lot of good things happened there. Were the “things” that happened really as good as he makes it seem, though? Glamming up the apartment for potential buyers is essentially a representation of what Don’s been doing with appearances his whole life, and now, someone’s finally coming to take that veneer away from him. Don Draper must now look to the future–toward possible change–or risk being stuck forever in an empty hallway, looking at the closed door of a life that has passed him by. It may be too late to change, though.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-A review of this show up before 1 AM? I am shocked at myself.

– “Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so that I can shit on them?”

-The lovely song at the end is Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”.

-Kudos to Christina Hendricks for her work in this episode. My favorite moment of Joan’s: when she’s leaving the apartment and hears Kevin saying bye to her. It’s heartbreaking to watch, and Hendricks nails it.

-Four more.

Photo credit: Mad Men, AMC

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Mad Men “The Forecast” Review (7×10)”

  1. bobC927 April 20, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Sally Draper: “I just wanna eat dinner”

  2. Justin April 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    This episode wasn’t bad. I have noticed this unfolding arc of Don searching for something more outside of professional success. He tried to find it in a relationship with Diana. But that door got closed in the previous episode. He tried to figure it out through his attempts at a “future of the company” speech. It continues to elude him. Having his apartment finally sold just widens the uncertain future Don feels is before him. I’m happy Joan got a love interest. He isn’t perfect but he’s ten times the man Richard could ever hope to be. I hope the relationship last through the remaining episodes. But I feel there’s something missing in Mad Men’s home stretch. The best I can sum up is the lack of something solid. The first half of Season 7 had that something. But not the second half so far, at least not most of it.

    BTW where’s the review for the latest American episode? Is it your plan to do a combo review of that episode and the finale coming up this Wednesday?

    • polarbears16 April 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      Yeah I agree, we saw a lot of Don trying to find that spark through other people in this episode. It’s almost as if he’s attempting to live though them, but in the end he’s still the one left with the empty apartment.

      As for The Americans, I haven’t been reviewing it regularly this season, mostly because I’ve been burned out from POI/Justified on Tuesdays. And last week, I was up late watching a double OT hockey game, so I didn’t get around to an Americans review. I don’t plan on reviewing episode 12, but I will say that it was a great episode, especially that final scene. I will 100% be reviewing the finale, though! Looking forward to it.

      • Justin April 20, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

        It’s my prediction that while Philip will be doing everything in his power to keep Martha from being found out, Gabriel will consider Martha a loose end and will have her killed creating a rift between him and Philip which will have consequences down the line.

      • polarbears16 April 20, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

        Yeah I’m pretty sure Gabriel is going to make a move here (Claudia will hopefully play a role as well). And a rift between Gabriel and Philip would be very compelling, it’s sort of been building up this whole season.

  3. Dennis Elinski April 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I liked this episode alright.. but I could have lived without the Glen/Betty thing…don’t want to be mean, but that kid (Matt Weiners’ son) is such a terrible actor, the scenes were just kind of hard to watch. Too bad, because I think January Jones was terrific, and I think she goes woefully underappreciated on this show… As for “something missing” I agree. I think it has been “missing” since the after the 5th season. The show still has its’ wonderfull moments, and I still enjoy it, but it sometimes just seems like a bunch of random things thrown together, and there is sometimes just too much focus on characters that I just don’t really care about much…don’t want to be negative, because this is still one of the 3 or 4 best shows of this “golden era” of adult tv (it started with the Sopranos), and I realize it would be a mistake to put a tidy bow on everything in the show…but I feel like there is just a bunch of stuff happening that, ultimately, won’t mean much to how the story ends…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: