If you have been tuning in to AMC’s Mad Men, you are surely and most anxiously awaiting the return of the epic décolletage, cocktail slinging and Pinterest-worthy wardrobes that we watchers enjoy season after season, and now, for the last season. Perhaps most appealing is the return of the seductive advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Don’s challenges with his not-so-perfect family life, passionate trysts with numerous mistresses, milestone achievements and devastating disappointments at work, and the haunting memories of his true identity have been captivating us for six drama-filled seasons. Seductive advertising executive? It’s such a façade.
Much of the drama we have witnessed in Don’s life is exacerbated by his character flaw of making the same mistakes again and again, which most often hurt those he cherishes most. He views the characters around him like the consumer goods in his advertising campaigns. To Don, they are mere objects in need of his creative direction, whether it be a woman or a corporate client. Inevitably he becomes bored with his latest conquest and ruins everything by acting out. Cheating on a spouse? Plenty of times. Drinking to excess? Daily. Lying to clients? He’s done that.
His character shortcomings are easily forgiven by us viewers, though, as Don has an entire childhood of reasons to act a fool. Death, lies, loss and abuse run rampant in the flashbacks that teased his earliest memories last season. The effects of his painful early life are now so clear: His inability to be honest within a relationship; his need to fix all things; the ideas that one can easily leave life behind and that people are interchangeable. Inadvertently causing the death of your mother, seeing your father killed by a horse, being raised in a whorehouse and switching dog tags with a deceased comrade will do that to a man. When we last left him, Don had ruined a business meeting with Hershey, punched a priest, woken up in a drunk tank, dumped his booze down the sink, decided for and then against moving to California and came clean to his children about his own childhood. With the façade dropped, maybe there is room for redemption. No matter what, get ready to meet the real ‘Don Draper.’
Mad Men Season 7
Premieres 9pm Sun, April 13