Mad Men – Season 4 – Blowing Smoke

What’s going to happen to Sterling Cooper Draper Price?  Cooper is leaving.  He’s had enough.  Wait, let’s back up and see how we got to that point.

After, what I’m sure is, an expensive consultant sets up a meeting with Philip Morris, it falls through and so do much of the hopes of the partners.  With that screw up and the fact that all other potential clients are doing the “we’ll see in six months” (Heinz) it’s time to clean house at SCDP.  Before we do that, Don has some things he must go through as part of the process of creating the new and improved Don Draper.  This season we seen lots of changes in Don.  Cutting down on the drinking, starting to exercise, kind of being loyal to one woman (small steps), starting to deal with his crap, letting others in and so much more.

Part of this process, unknown to him, is looking back at his previous life.  Midge tracking him down helps with that process.  Maybe not for her, the heroin addicted artist that she is now.  But Don, needed it to see what was and what could have been. Feeling sorry for Midge, he gives her money for one of her paintings, “Number 4” and moves on.  The painting is supposedly what Midge sees when she closes her eyes.  Don takes a second look at it as he goes to throw it out and move on.  After taking some time to really look at the painting, he is inspired to write his letter which turns into a full page ad in the NY Times about what SCDP is no longer interested in.  Tobacco accounts.  Obviously, this doesn’t go over well with the partners, but as part of the changing Don Draper, it is a huge change and load off his shoulders.

As part of the changes that need to happen at the agency all the partners have to give of their savings to save the company for another “six months”.  And it’s time to start the process of cutting staff.  But not before we see another hope that Don Draper has changed, paying Pete’s part of the partner payment.  A call from the American Cancer Association gives Don hope that he did the right thing.  No one else does though, yet.

As always, the relationship of Don and Peggy had some short but important moments in the episode.  Peggy can talk straight up with Don and he will listen.  Peggy supports Don, in a sarcastic way, about the letter (“I thought you didn’t go in for those kinds of shenanigans,”she smiles.).  I’ll just say it again, I love the relationship that they have.  So interesting.  The interaction between Peggy and Dr. Faye, as she is on her way out, also provides insight into what Peggy is striving for.  She sees Dr. Faye as some what of a mentor in how to deal with men in this world.

Then it’s time to say goodbye to many of the minor, yet sometimes interesting, characters of Sterling Cooper Draper Price, including, not so minor, Bert Cooper (“girl, get my shoes”).

What about our little Sally Draper?  Wow, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there.  Like mother like daughter.  Both manipulators and both in great need to therapy.  Is Sally playing the therapist like she is playing her mother?  And what about Glen?  He does have a lock of Betty Drapers hair from season one.  He is one weird kid.  I guess that Sally is his way to feel close to Betty.  As part of playing her mother, Sally is trying to play all mature and calm to be someone she is not so that Betty will believe that she’s getting better.  Dinner with the adults and not having meltdowns every second, until of course talk of moving comes up.  What will Sally do now?  She is becoming all philosophical though.  Talking to Glen about her dream and forever.  Her reference to the Land o’ Lakes butter girl holding a picture of herself holding a picture of herself holding a picture of herself…Great advertising reference (Daddy Draper would be proud), but also an insight into the mind of Sally Draper.

At the end of all of this, Don and Dr. Faye can live their relationship out in the open.  Don can sleep at night.  It’s a new start for Sterling Draper Price (no Cooper).  What will our final episode of the season hold for us?  How will we move on to 1966?  No sneak peek this week, other than “Season 4 Finale. Opportunity arises for Don and Peggy.”  Hmmmmm!

© 2010, Anne-Marie. All rights reserved.