Mad Men: “The Forecast” Season 7 Episode 10 Review

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I wonder if “The Forecast” would have worked better had it aired two weeks ago as the mid-season premiere. As an individual episode, it encapsulates the themes of the season in a way that helps the rest of the season make a little more sense. That’s why I think this would have been a better return episode than “Severance” was.

Thus far, Mad Men‘s final season has been an exploration of people getting older while their lives remain a mess. It’s about the unknown future, with characters reaching to any place they can to disperse the fog.

“The Forecast” put Don, Joan, Betty, and Sally all at the forefront, juggling their different stories just about perfectly. Roger tasks Don with writing projections for where they want the company to be in the years to come. Unsure of what to write, he tries to kill two birds with one stone when Peggy asks for performance review. Peg sees right through him though and proves she is the only person that can get away with telling Don he’s “in a mood.”

This being right smack dab in the middle of these final episodes, there’s no resolution to the question of what Don wants for the future. But at least it’s setting up the question to begin with.

He’s not the only one unsure of where his life is headed, though. Surprise, surprise at the Francis residence when Glen Bishop came knocking on the door. Sally’s “pen pal” is inviting her out for one last hangout before he heads to Vietnam. Sally is furious that her friend is risking his life, while Betty tells him how brave she thinks he is. Yes, one of Mad Men‘s final episodes was partially devoted to revisiting the creepy Betty/Glen storyline from the show’s beginning.

When Glen comes back looking to sleep with his friend’s mother Mrs. Robinson style, she, almost surprisingly, turns him down. But Betty isn’t with Don anymore. She’s much more secure with herself these days and doesn’t need the extra attention. As difficult as she can be, Betty has grown a lot over the years, in her own demented way. The opening scene of last week’s episode proposed that, but this week’s solidified it.

Then there’s Sally, who, at her age, still has a lot of growing to do. After watching her mother flirt with Glen, she has to listen to one of her friends throw herself at Don at lunch. Disgusted by both of them, she says what every kid says, “I’m going to be nothing like you.” In a beautiful moment, Don corrects her, telling his daughter that she will surprise herself with how much of he and Betty she has in her, but that she will also be so much more. Speechless, she gets on the bus.

Sally is a character I fear won’t have a satisfying end in a few weeks. She’s simply too young and outside the main themes of the season. But perhaps Matt Weiner and co. have found a way to give her a graceful end that reminds us that our futures can still be wide open, even if we can’t change the people who have defined us. That resolution isn’t here yet, but it could come.

Meanwhile, Joan has a similar romantic experience to what Peggy had in “Severance.” A new man enters her life simply by walking into the wrong office, but after a few conversations, and some trips to the bedroom, there is potential for a future. What Joan and Peggy have gotten this season aren’t Diana-like flings, but real romantic pursuits that could turn into something rewarding for them.

And with that, we seem to be all set up for whatever future may come. With just four episodes left, Mad Men will likely start to give us answers (even though that may be through not answering). But “The Forecast” did a great job of getting us ready for the end. This episode was the first that truly made me feel like the end is coming. Grade: A-


Some Other Notes:

– Unless Sally or Betty don’t show up in a prominent role for the rest of the series, I suppose my theory of each episode being devoted to finishing a characters’ story has been debunked. I wouldn’t mind if it were Betty’s though, she feels complete now.

– Peggy wants to be the first female Creative Director at SC&P. Get it girl.

– I know Mad Men isn’t the show that’s going to support the romances I ship, but I was (and still am) holding out hope for Roger and Joan to find their way to each other by the series’ end. Maybe if he shaved that hideous mustache.

– I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it again, if anyone wants to come back for a Better Call Saul style spinoff for Sally Draper, I’ll be here to review and love it.


By Matt Dougherty


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