The second half of Mad Men’s final season returned to AMC last night—and the emotional episode reminded us of how much we're going to miss the series once it comes to a close.
The episode, titled "Severance," opens up with a seductive scene where Don Draper dreams about ex-lover Rachel Menken from Season 1. One of the most powerful moments comes as Draper instructs Menken to look at herself, asking, "Do you like what you see?" (One wonders if Draper was really asking himself that question.) Soon after, Draper learns that Menken recently died of leukemia. At Menken's shiva, Don feels a sense of loneliness as he looks upon his ex's children and back at his whirlwind of a love life. In true Don Draper form, the single stud impulsively has sex with a diner waitress, with whom he shares his dream about Menken---a plot line that book ends the episode along with the song "Is That All There Is?" by Peggy Lee.
As for the ladies of Mad Men, Joan and Peggy cross paths. The two have similarities (both are strong women who successfully climbed the ladder at a male-dominated firm) but their differences come to light in "Severance," in the form of their ways of dressing and outfits. In a talk about a pantyhose account, Joan and Peggy are both targets of sexually charged jokes spewing from the men in the room. Afterwards, in an elevator ride together, the two take stabs at how the other dresses at the office in arguably one of the most memorable scenes of the episode. Joan even claims she wants to "burn this place down."
Speaking of Peggy ... we're introduced to her latest love interest: Stevie Wolcott, Mathis's brother-in-law. At first Peggy is far from impressed on their date after perceiving Stevie as passive when he doesn't let the waitress know that she brought him the wrong dinner order. Stevie then earns major points after describing Peggy as "funny and fearless." In face, Peggy becomes so impressed that she suggests the two take a trip to Paris—only to realize shortly after that she can't find her passport (it was in her office, of course). In an interesting turn of events, Peggy reveals that she may have substantial feelings for Stevie as she refuses to sleep with him, noting that he's become more than a fling. We'll just have to wait and see what happens!
In another struggle with the work-life balance, Ken's wife urges him to move on from the advertising industry and do what he loves: live on a farm and write a novel. But after being fired from the agency and hired at Dow Chemical, it looks like Ken won't be granting his wife's wishes.