So despite all those death omens and portentous elevators, everyone’s still with us. (Well, except maybe poor Mrs. Campbell and Don’s career.) This isn’t Game of Thrones after all, and those tuning in hoping to catch the Red Partners Meeting were likely to be disappointed, while others might have been pleased with the final hour of Mad Men’s sixth season, in which Don reaches rock bottom and finally has nowhere else to go but up.
Meanwhile, Peggy’s spirit dies a slow death even as her career flourishes, “his mother” and “the Chevy account” join “his hair” and “his family” on the list of things Pete has lost this season, and Ted begs Don to let him move to California so he can save his marriage. But the real centerpiece of the episode was Don’s psychological breakdown—or breakthrough?—in the Hershey’s meeting, a slip in the facade that eventually led the other senior partners to sign his death warrant.
So that’s it. Don’s out of the company. This could be the best thing that ever happened to him. The final shot of Sally’s curious, somewhat impressed glance implies that maybe their relationship is still salvageable, which means maybe Don is still salvageable. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here, with only one season left before the show pours its final afternoon drink and stubs out its last cigarette. If you watched tonight’s episode, what did you think? Were you expecting the death of a major player? Do you think Don still has a shot at redemption, or is his soul down for the count? My final recap won’t be up until the morning, but in the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts and first impressions below!