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Mad Men “Lost Horizon” Review (7×12)

3 May

Screen shot 2015-05-03 at 10.59.20 PM

“This business doesn’t have feelings.”

On paper, it seems like a perfect fit: Don Draper has the Miller account, Peggy and Joan are thriving, and everyone’s going on to do bigger and better things at McCann Erickson. However, “Lost Horizon” is an examination of what happens when reality doesn’t mesh with ideality, when the land and job and life of your dreams end up being a harsh slap across the face. It’s an episode that isn’t quite the all-time classic “Time & Life” was, but it’s still a great hour that has both an air of uncertainty and an air of inevitability to it; it’s clear that the end of the series is coming up quickly, and we know that we’re only going to be spending two more weeks with these wonderful characters.

It’s also an unsettling hour, one that actually features quite a few horror movie tropes: Roger playing the organ, haunting the halls of SC&P. Don picking up a hitchhiker at the end. Ghost Bert showing up in Don’s car. There’s a foreboding mood permeating the show right now, and it’s pretty difficult to predict where we’re going next. All we know is that reality is not meshing with the dreams, the dreams of rising the ranks or finding true love or simply being happy. McCann Erickson is representative of that brick wall hiding mirage you run into at some point in your life. Here, it’s the classic large corporation, the one that finds smaller companies and eats them up, completely destroying everything that made the smaller companies better in the first place. The people become robots and pawns in a much larger game, and the humanity is lost. “If you want us, just ask Frank in the studio…he’ll ask Bobby in Traffic, and he’ll tell Carl, the Associative Creative Director.” It sounds so empty and assembly line-esque, doesn’t it?

To make matters worse, because Peggy and Joan are women, they have to deal with rampant sexism in the workplace. Joan goes to Ferg for help, but it turns out that Ferg is only being nice here because he wants to get with her. She winds up threatening Jim Hobart later on, but the reality is that the higher-ups–and therefore, the men–are the ones with the money and influence. It sucks, but it can’t be avoided. “It’s only about the money!” Roger tells her. Speaking of, Roger also has some wonderful scenes in this episode with Peggy, and him playing the organ while she roller skates around the dead office is a sight that is now ingrained in my memory. Of course, I thought that was the highlight of the episode until Peggy strutted into McCann Erickson, a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and an octopus-woman oral sex picture under her left arm. This is Peggy embracing who she is, and it’s glorious.

Over on Don’s end, we see an instance of McCann Erickson’s large corporation mindset meeting a roadblock. Hiring Don means accepting all of him, but that may be tough for Hobart and co. to do; after all, they can’t afford having him skip out on meetings and go on impromptu trips. At the same time, he’s kind of like a ghost to them, someone who can slip out of the meeting with no acknowledgment (aside from Ted). He’s fading from the ad world, and when he pretends to be Bill Phillips later on, the husband sees right through him. Diana Bauer is nowhere to be found, we don’t know where exactly Don is driving to, and the world is leaving him behind. Soon, we’ll be leaving him behind as well.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” closes out the episode. Sadly, though, AMC cuts to a preview about 30 seconds into the song. This is why I like pay cable; they allow for a full minute of song.

-Don seeing the plane might allude to earlier in the season, when Ted mentioned Don missing his flight.

– “Maybe you’re getting old.” That Don-Betty scene reminds me of the good old days… I’m really sad about this show ending, even though it’s the right time.

-Only two episodes left of Mad Men, everyone. 😦

Photo credit: AMC, Mad Men

 

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7 Responses to “Mad Men “Lost Horizon” Review (7×12)”

  1. Blue290 May 4, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    I like the look on Ted’s face when Don walked out of the meeting. Very surreal moments in this one. I am living in my own personal Hell with the “perfect job”….maybe I will take a road trip to nowhere myself. (And I have Space Oddity on my phone….) Great review!

  2. JustMeMike May 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    Two major clues – one was big and bold and one couldn’t miss it –
    The other was so small that you might have missed it if your tv was kind of small and/or you blinked.

    Major was Don examining the window in his office. The small clue was when Don noticed the teeny tiny jet crossing the sky far above him and the rest of the earthlings.

    Lost Horizon was an inspiring title for the ep. Like crossing into another dimension. Space Oddity which I quoted in my own review seemed a bit heavy handed, but surely will become integrated into the finale.

    Next week should serve us more of Pete Campbell.

    I noticed Don driving through the rural area and I flashed on North by Northwest. When Roger Thornhill was standing in the road in the middle of nowhere.Then the hitchhiker reminded me of Dennis Hopper from Easy Rider.

    Maybe Don is heading off to become D.B. Cooper?

    As for the series ending I think a lot of bloggers will really miss it. Wink-wink.

  3. #peggyatthemovies May 4, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    I am Peggy and Peggy is me!! 😀 I changed my profile pic to her walking in the office with the hangover, shades, ciggy & pic. cuz she is so badass.. she really is. I’m gonna miss her!!

  4. Doodles May 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    First, the idea that Don Draper is out of date is ridiculous. There will always be room for men of that class. Think Sinatra, Johnny Carson, all were big at this time and had a similar swagger. He’s not out of date, he’s actually beyond the way that they are thinking.

    My biggest fear is that Don is going to die in the final episode. I have a few reasons for this. First, after the stupid ending to The Sopranos, nothing would surprise me on that front. Second, there are some weird clues. Don pushing in on the loose window in his new office, his staring at the Empire State Building, a place where many people have committed suicide. I hope that they have enough respect for the character and the audience not to allow the opening scene of Mad Men to also be the final one.

    I think it would be a HOOT if the last episode shows all of the people getting back with their original loves. 😀 Peggy and Pete with their son, Roger and Mona, Don and Betty. That would just be too ironic. I hope Joan ends up happy. Who was the man she was in bed with during this episode of 5/3/15? Anyway,
    I think the last episode is likely to be the wedding of Sally and Glen.

  5. Hepburn3 May 5, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    Roger is so funny. He should have been a talk show host like Johnny Carson. I loved him playing that creepy organ and Peggy rollerskating that was nifty! Is it me or do can you see Roger becoming Larry Tate from Bewitched? Larry was the ultimate sycophant and he and Roger both have snow white hair and ridiculous facial hair.
    Don walking out of that meeting made me think of his epic Carousel slide projector pitch. That was magical the original pitch, and Don leaving during it ( it had almost the same tone but it was a poor-man’s version of what Don did) just made me see that Don is past that and the advertising game no longer interests him anymore. He has nothing to give to it and it has nothing to give him so he left. Ted seeing Don leave almost looked relieved to be honest, Ted is happy at the horrid agency, he wants to fade into the background as one of many creative directors and now with Don gone he does not have to pretend anymore he can just go with the flow.
    Peggy is going to put the fear of God into those sexist douchebags and I loved her strutting in with her Japanese porn/erotica and a cigarette hanging out her mouth while wearing shades.
    I really felt for Joan and what she went through made me cringe but it was the reality at the time. Joan’s only way to partner sadly was sleeping with that horrid man, she basically had to prostitute herself to be taken seriously and now the horrid agency wants to prostitute her again but in house for the sexist frat boy like jags. I hope that Joan is onto better things for herself, her son, and her love life. She had to leave behind those who have let her down and that includes the jagweed ad agency and now even Roger. Her taking the photo of their son away in front of Roger like that made me think that they are both out of his life forever.
    Don missing Sally, and Betty talking about getting old and not being the sexy ingenue was interesting, she realizes she is losing her allure and what she so heavily relied on with men, so now she is working on her brains.
    Don missed Sally, and his boys and just up and left and started to drive to find Diana, it is almost like she too was a ghost and not really but Don is chasing her anyway. Her former husband realizes what Diana truly is and that she is a mess that cannot be saved and does not want to be saved but will take you down with her if you do not let go. Don seems to want to drown in that black hole and to think all he wanted to do when we first met him was to escape that black hole and obscurity.
    Do you think that Don will kill himself or will he just simply fade away kind of like Major Tom does in Bowie’s Space Oddity?
    A good show and I will miss it but it is ending at the right time.

    Great review PB! 🙂

  6. Anonymous May 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    Great article, I totally agree with your point about Peggy and Joan struggling with the horrible sexism at McCann. We discussed part of this on a podcast I recorded — I’d appreciate any feedback! http://jbuchel.podbean.com/e/tpm-mad-men-lost-horizon/

  7. Noel Edmunds May 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    Great article, I totally agree with your point about Peggy and Joan struggling with the horrible sexism at McCann. We discussed part of this on a podcast I recorded — I’d appreciate any feedback! http://jbuchel.podbean.com/e/tpm-mad-men-lost-horizon/

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