How Ominous Was Last Night’s Mad Men? Time to Adjust the Don Draper Death Watch.

Slate's Culture Blog
April 21 2014 11:50 AM

How Ominous Was Last Night’s Mad Men? Time to Adjust the Don Draper Death Watch.

Mad_Men_Don_Sally
Did last night's Mad Men bode ill for Don? Here's your weekly update.

Michael Yarish/AMC

Brow Beat is following the final season of Mad Men with the perfect meter to keep track of all the latest odds-making on Don Draper’s death: The Don Draper Death Watch.

The season premiere of the first part of the final season of Mad Men was full of seemingly ominous signs for Don—coyotes howling in the distance, warnings of death from alcoholism, and little hope for Don’s rehabilitation—and last night’s episode had its share of potentially bad signs, too. The episode opened with one of those overhead shots of a character resting their head back on a pillow—the kind that recappers often see as looking like a character placed neatly in their coffin (just see about 2 minutes 20 seconds into this video)—and in this case, the corpselike figure was Don. From there, it took us to a funeral, and Sally’s classmates joked about how people will just assume the bereaved daughter is named “Sally.”

But in retrospect, perhaps this episode was really the funeral for the death of an old Don and the beginning of a new one. While the premiere ended with Don alone and seemingly on the verge of giving up, this one ended with him finding a reason to keep on living. In the episode’s last line, Sally surprises Don by saying, “I love you,” and, immediately after, the episode ends with The Zombies singing, “The way you said/ ‘Darling, I love you’/ You gave me faith to go on.” After the premiere’s brooding, we're moving the clock one minute back: Perhaps this will be Don’s year after all.

140421_BB_madmen14till

Illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo

Read all of Slate’s coverage of Mad Men​.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?