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The Dose: Mad Men ‘The Forecast’ Recap

The Dose: Mad Men ‘The Forecast’ Recap

The Dose: Mad Men ‘The Forecast’ Recap
April 20
22:58 2015

Harrison Long / Staff Writer

As we open on Don’s newly stripped apartment, which now sports little more than a collapsible foldout chair and a few bottles of liquor, we see the shambles in which our anti-hero’s life has become. He is asleep in his bed, only to be woken by his attractive real estate agent, Melanie, who promptly wakes him and tells him to pull himself together.

As the scene progresses, we find Don and Melanie in the barren living room, where he continues to get dressed for work while she nags him about the condition of his apartment.

“This place looks like someone sad lives here,” she tells him, hitting the nail on the head in more ways than she may realize. While Don is certainly not at rock bottom, his life is hardly the pinnacle of success in which it has seemed to be in prior episodes.

We find Joan in California, where she is working to sign a television deal for the agency, all the while enjoying the reprieve from her busy life in New York. She has a chance encounter with a new love interest, and the experience, from her narrative, continues on for the remainder of the episode.

Both are attracted to each other, and share common backgrounds: both are divorced, both are extremely wealthy and both are looking for another shot at love while they still have enough youth to enjoy it.

While there is some complication regarding the fact that Joan has Kevin, her 4-year-old son, and the troubling reality that she would drop her life with him at the drop of a hat for a new romantic interest, in the end everything seems to work out for the pair, and it is encouraging for future episodes.

The most surprising revelation in “The Forecast” is the reappearance of Glenn, who shares a common connection with both Betty and Sally; the formerly chubby boy from down the street at their time in Ossining has now grown into a handsome, lean and respectable young boy.

It is surprising to see him show up at the Francis’ front door when just a half-season ago he was still the spitting image of his former goofy and slightly overweight self. He has transformed. And just as we find a sense of catharsis in the reunion between the once-troublesome relationship between him and the former Mrs. Draper and Sally, we find that he is shipping out to Vietnam.

This is a shocking and disconcerting reality, as we realize at Sally’s mentioning of the Kent State incident that the year has now 1970, and that Matthew Weiner has underplayed the transformation from the 1960s that the show has always resided in and slipped into a new decade.

We can now truly feel the show coming to an end with such a stark and drastic change, even if the reality of such is understated so drastically. What is also troubling is that by 1970, the Vietnam War had entered its fifth year, and with the Nixon administration now attempting to pull out troops at a steady, but rapid, pace, a different era of the war was now in full swing.

The public disapproval was at an all-time high, and the conduct of troops overseas was to later become that of near-folklore reality, all the while the civil unrest at home was reaching peak levels with groups such as the Weather Underground bombing department stores and protests picking up almost daily. This is a troubling time for our characters to be living, despite the business-as-usual attitude we find them in for the episode’s entirety.

Another glaring change for the show is that of Peggy demanding a performance review from Don, and telling him she wanted to be the first female Creative Director in the company’s history. For longtime fans, this declaration of intention is not necessarily surprising; however it is exciting to hear the words finally fall from her mouth. And although Don is initially what seems to be his usual dismissive self, we get a sense from their conversation that he has secretly been waiting for this moment for a long time. His protégé has now realized her full potential, and the decade she has now been working in advertising has led to this moment.

Although the Glenn incident with Sally and Betty, along with his informing of January Jones’ character that part of the reason he enlisted was to impress her, further confirming the strange and unorthodox relationship between the two that has been measurably uncomfortable for viewers since season two, nothing of true significance occurred during the 10th episode of the final season. What can be said, however, is that it is perfectly clear that Weiner has come to an end of the laying the foundation for the finale, and we will, beginning April 26th, witness the true beginning of the end for the Mad Men era. It is a feeling of true anticipation, mixed with dread and excitement, as we stand present for Don Draper’s last goodbye.

Featured image courtesy of AMC Television

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