Mad Men Season 4 Episode 12 carried on a tradition. Since Mad Men Season 4 Episode 12 was the next-to-last of the year, big, depressing developments had to unfold. The penultimate show in every year for this show has been massive, with ordeals like Don and Pete’s “Nixon vs Kennedy” showdown, the reveal of Anna Draper, and the death of JFK and the Draper marriage. For the penultimate show this year, there was no shortage of leaps forward – and backward – for the gang. This leaves Mad Men in a cramped corner after Episode 12, with no way of knowing how it will get out next week.
Warning: Spoilers follow
SCDP is in such dire straits after Lucky Strike’s departure even Faye’s breaching of the “Chinese Wall” for Don didn’t help out much. Each effort to get new business met with resistance, as everyone blew smoke by saying they would wait six months to jump on board. Of course, SCDP may not have six months, and can only buy time with drastic layoffs.
While Episode 12 painted a bleak picture of the future, Don found that the past wasn’t much more reassuring either. The promos hinted that an “old friend” would run into Don, and as it turned out, it was the first “Draper mistress” in Midge. Rosemarie DeWitt stepped away from the United States of Tara to make a return visit, although it wasn’t a bright comeback.
Other more recent plotlines made a comeback, as Sally’s therapy returned to the spotlight. But meeting a child psychologist isn’t Sally’s only therapy, as she also has daily meetings with creepy Glen. However, her peace couldn’t possibly last for long, especially this close to the finale.
Still, Don was spared from the latest Francis family drama, as the collapse of SCPD took his full attention. But the pressure to save the day usually brings out the best in Don, which he hasn’t often gotten to be this year. Yet this episode had him make his biggest gamble to date – although even having Don Draper roll the dice may not be enough.
It was enough last year, as he formed SCDP right around this time in 2009. However, for the third straight season, the fans and characters head toward the end wondering what will become of the work place. What magic plot twist will keep Don and company in the game this time – and can it live up to last year’s finale twist?
After Episode 12, no one can see a happy ending or light at the end of the tunnel. But that was how things looked near the end of Season 3, and then the jaunty escape of “Shut The Door, Have A Seat” happened. Next week, viewers will see if Season 4 can pull a similar rabbit out of its hat.
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