Every week, Todd VanDerWerff will be joined by two of Vox's other writers to discuss the previous episode over the course of that week. Check out the recap for this episode here, and follow the whole discussion here. This week, Todd is joined by editor-in-chief Ezra Klein and foreign policy writer Amanda Taub.
Todd VanDerWerff: Thanks for the excellent ideas, guys. I love your reads on the show as a meditation on the evolution of advertising and white male privilege. They'll inform me as I watch the next episode.
I once opined in a long-ago column that Mad Men is a show that wants to be about everything, where many shows want to be about only a handful of things. And while that's occasionally led the show down some strange paths or made it seem messy, it also means the series prompts the sorts of big-picture thinking we've engaged in here.
As we close out discussion of this episode, it's perhaps worth considering all of the characters Matt Weiner and company didn't get around to fitting into the premiere episode.
Megan: I realize many, many people greeted Megan's decision to end her marriage to Don last season with glee. She's never been a favorite of a certain corner of the show's audience. But Jessica Paré is in the promotional photos and the opening credits, so you know she'll be back somehow. And I'm incredibly interested to see how the show might bring her back. She lives on a different coast, after all!
Betty and Sally: Since "Severance" focused so heavily on the goings-on at the office, we didn't get to drop in on everybody's favorite Draper daughter, Sally (Kiernan Shipka), and her mother, Betty (January Jones). I'll be honest and say that while I still enjoy Betty's presence most of the time, I don't know how much she's added to the series since her divorce from Don. But Sally's different. Sally is key to whatever's coming down the pike. I'm sure of it.
Harry Crane: Yeah, there was a little of Harry (Rich Sommer) in the premiere, but we didn't get a good look at whatever he's been up to since the acquisition of Sterling Cooper & Partners. I don't really need a big Harry plot in every episode, but he's one of the few minor characters from the show's early days who's hung in there the whole way. (Remember Paul Kinsey, for instance?) And his journey has always been a weird mirror version of Don's, so I'm interested to see where he ends up. I almost want him to get a big moment near the end because he was originally supposed to die in the first-season finale, and he didn't. You made it, Harry! Almost all the way to the end!
Mostly, though, I'm interested to see what "New Business," the title of the next episode, could possibly mean. One of the fantastic things about the first half of the season is that it wrapped up most of the show's plots, outside of some big-picture questions like whether any of these characters will ever find happiness. New business, then, could mean just about anything, or it could just mean the attempt to use work as a palliative for life, something these characters have been guilty of many a time.
Whatever happens, I can't wait. I can't believe there are only six episodes left.