Tag: Sally Draper

Mad Men Season 6

Mad Men Season 6

Timeline: December 1967 – November 1968

season 6 poster

Plot: The story picks up some months after the ambiguous conclusion of Season 5. As we all remember the fifth season ends with a stylish and cool tribute to James Bond with Don Draper walking into a bar and ordering an old fashioned to the tune of “You only live twice” by Nancy Sinatra where a woman asks him if he is single to which he respondswith a noncommittal gesture.

Several months later it’s December 1967 and Don and Megan are sat at a paradisiacal beach in Hawaii. They seem to be having a great time although Don is surprisingly silent for a long time. We then learn that they are staying at the Sheraton Hotel invited by the management since SCDP is pitching them a campaign within a few weeks. Much to the shock of the partner once the meeting is held, the pitch Don delivers is a complete failure and the clients leave disappointed.


mad men season 6 scene.jpgWe are later introduced to two new characters Dr. Arnold Rosenthal and his wife Sylvia who live in the same building and have become good friends with Don and Megan whom they adore. We are soon to find out that Don is back to his infidelities and is having an extra marital affair with Sylvia. This affair will be one of the key engines to the season dragging Don to his lowest levels ever.

Just like the tumultuous 1968, SCDP suffers from the erratic behaviour of some of its leading forces. The agency is divided into two or even three sides depending on the occasion, with the irresponsible and juvenile Don and Roger on one side playing at being the “cool kids” and the more level headed Bert and Joan along with Pete playing a more pragmatic role. At a less senior role, the underappreciated Harry Crane continues to bring in success to the company yet feels irritated at not being recognised for his value. Ken struggles to find the right balance between being a good husband and father and a successful professional without giving up on his dream of one day becoming a writer. He also has a new and interesting character in his team, a young and earnest account executive, Bob Benson with a over the top friendly attitude and a devious past.


mad men scene 4Don whilst at a meeting, impetuously fires Jaguar as a client since he can not be in the same room as Herb, the head of the dealers association who in Season 5 coerced the agency in organising a night to have sex with Joan in exchange for his vote. Roger on the other hand now more conscious than ever that he has to deliver some new business goes behind everyone’s backs and gets a meeting with Chevrolet. Unbeknownst to both of them the other three partners organised a confidential meeting to make SCDP a publicly traded company which is then obviously called off since the contract with Jaguar was quintessential for the deal to go through.

If that did not suffice, Don in a highly irresponsible and selfish way convinces Ted Chaough from the rival ad agency CGC and Peggy’s new boss, to merge both agencies without consulting the other partners for one second.

The merger is completed with Peggy, now a highly successful and reputed advertising executive back at her previous office and struggling to hide her disappointment. The mad men scene 5merger proves to be a success for its initial purpose which was to win the Chevrolet account but a complete disaster on all other fronts. Considerable frictions arise from both agencies struggling to cope with each other and form a successful new company. They go ahead for months without even a new name and constantly clash over what communication channels to use, accounts duplicity and priorities. Above all, Don’s highly erratic, selfish and unprofessional behaviour is a major source of tension between both sides until the more level headed Bert and Joan acquiesce with their new partners at the firm and agree to fire him after a major faux pas with another client. In order for Don to keep his dignity they communicate to him that it’s a leave of absence where he can take time to recoup but without a guaranteed return date.


Critique: Season 6 like 1968 is clearly a dark, disturbing time in the lives of our protagonists.

The whole ambience of Season 6 is a violent and unstable period in American history in the 20th Century. Gone are the days of the optimistic beat generation making their way at the beginning of Mad Men or the liberal hippies who followed later. 1968 was the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination which was followed by some of the most violent street riots ever seen in America. mad men season 6 scene 3The viewer is constantly treated to background noises of sirens (police, firefighters or ambulances) in the background of many scenes. This is followed by the numerous and violent protests by young people openly against the War on Vietnam which they saw as an extension of America’s abusive Imperialism. Robert Kennedy’s assassination brings another blow to American society which seems lost amidst all of this turmoil.


Don Draper season 6Don Draper (Jon Hamm) –  Don is clearly now on the downslide. Gone are the days where he was the source of admiration of clients and envy of competitors in Madison Avenue. Season 6 aims to display many parallels with the first one and now and how low has our protagonist fallen since then. Whereas before Don could improvise in the blink of a second an impressive advertising pitch to Lucky Strike, he now fails miserably with Sheraton Hotels. He callously makes important decisions on behalf of the other partners like firing Jaguar or forming the merger with CGC only to win the Chevrolet account. He is late for meetings or skips presentations to clients altogether whilst having and affair with Sylvia.

The discreet Don when cheating on Betty is replaced by a drunk and clumsy 40ish year old who has a tormented affair with his friend’s wife. The relationship he has with Sylvia is highly disturbing. Not only is it so because of the obvious “cheating on his wife Don” is back. He clearly respects and likes his friend Arnold and yet suffers no remorse whilst sleeping with his wife. On a couple of flashbacks further details of Don’s impoverished and miserable adolescence are revealed.  We learn more of the brothel where he grew up under his abusive aunt Abigail and stupid pimp, Uncle Mac. He loses his virginity to a prostitute and is beaten by his aunt when she finds out. This shapes his future misogynistic attitude towards women where he is unable to truly love and remain faithful. He plays numerous mind games with Sylvia sometimes giving her money after having sex or making her stay at a hotel room for hours waiting for him at his complete servility.

On an occasion whilst many of the creatives are forced to work during the whole weekend to come up with creative work for Chevrolet he along with many others takes Amphetamines, produces terrible work and whilst stalking Sylvia who wants to stop their affair, carelessly leaves his flat’s back door open. His children who are staying at his flat during the weekend and are left out alone at the time, are burgled in part obviously, due to his neglect of his parental duties but also because of his secretive nature with his children about his past. It is surprising how Sally, an intelligent and inquisitive young girl partially doubts her reasoning when the burglar (not very convincingly) tried to convince her that she she brought Don up in his childhood as his grandma.

The accumulation of one failure to another finally ends up with Don making a major blunder at an advertising presentation to Hersheys where he breaks down and reveals details of his miserable past. This final straw pushes the remaining partners from CGC to convince Bert and Joan along with a reluctant Roger to fire him.

Yet the lowest he reaches is with his daughter Sally when she accidentally witnesses him having sex with Sylvia. She is so disgusted with his cheating and subsequent lies to cover it up that their relationship will hereafter jarred forever.


Peggy olson season 6Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) – Peggy who has been Copy Chief at CGC for some months now is finally getting the professional recognition she always longed for at SCDP. At her new company she is able to flourish creatively, lead a team of her own, receives public recognition from her boss and packs an enviable salary. She is widely recognised in her industry as a successful and creative executive and wins a Clio award for her advertising projects.

She is thinking of buying her own flat in a posh area in Manhattan but her boyfriend Abe convinces her of investing in a more upcoming multicultural area in New York City with lower prices and more interesting people. Her relationship with Abe is seems to be going well, yet deep inside there will always be points of conflict. Abe, a liberal leftist journalist who abhors capitalism doesn’t always understand Peggy’s drive and energy to produce adverts whose aim is to promote mass consumerism. They choose to avoid touching these matters until tensions start running high between the couple when they realise that the neighbourhood he has convinced her to move in may be multicultural and diverse but in those days highly unsafe too. Peggy also starts to harbour romantic feelings for Ted, her boss and somewhat suspects he might feel something similar for her. Eventually after a freak accident at home. Abe breaks up with Peggy.

Professionally life also begins to turn sour following the merger with SCDP. Having to come back to her previous office and work with part of the same team as before seems to her like a step back. She has grown from being the eager junior copywriter who full of enthusiasm to impress Don with her ideas and zest and is now a self respecting professional with years of experience and success in the industry who will not hesitate to stand up to anyone.

She no longer feels a massive need to impress Don and boldly tells him off on a couple of occasions where his behaviour crossed several lines. She does maintain a solid friendship with Stan Rizzo and Michael Ginsberg. The constant frictions between both agencies bring Peggy and Ted closer together and the pair begin flirting and sleeping together, with him promising her that he would divorce his wife and start a new life with her. Later she is shocked when he regrets his actions and moves to California to the company’s new branch to give his family life a second chance.


Pete Campbell season 6Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Peter like Don is sliding downwards. Slowly the young account executive with the aristocratic family, lovely wife, hunger for success and vision for business starts to fade away. His deplorable actions from the past slowly begin to catch up with him. At the beginning of the season he cheats on his wife once again with a mutual friend from Cos Cob and when she finds out, kicks him out of their home.  

He runs into his father in law of all in places, in a brothel and subsequently the agency lose Vicks Chemicals as an important client. He moves into the city living in a miserable apartment. His own parental family life does not get any better, his mother, an elderly widow suffering from dementia shows up at his office and he is forced to take care of her distracting him from attending several key meetings.

This does not go unnoticed to other partners who begin to question if after the merge exactly how essential is Pete. The only person who looks up to him is Bob Benson, the new account executive with an easygoing and (slightly over the top) friendly attitude with everyone. He convinces Pete to hire Manolo, a male nurse who can take care of his mother. He is later surprised to realise that Bob harbours romantic feelings for him and Manolo is fooling his demented mother. After investigating Bob he finds out that (like Don), Bob is a fraud, no one checked his background before hiring him. He is also shocked when Manolo has manipulated his mother into marrying him and then allegedly pushing her off a cruise inheriting her money.

He replaces Ken the manager in charge of Chevrolet although following a blunder with them is relegated behind Bob in the pecking order and consequently sent off to the new  satellite office in Los Angeles as a demotion.


megan draper season 6Megan Draper (Jessica Calvé) – Megan is finally having a successful career as an actress on a TV show but is unhappy in her personal life. She has a regular role in a hit TV show and gets recognised in public. We still find the optimistic and upbeat young woman with dreams and aspirations who is able to convince Don to step out of his comfort zone on more than an occasion. Yet whilst at home, her insecurities start to pop up, she believes that she is unable to make her marriage work and feels guilty about it. She understands something is obviously going wrong yet, cannot put her finger on the “why”. She suffers a miscarriage and is reluctant to tell Don about it. She is very fond of Sylvia and Arnold and get along fabulously with them. Like most youngsters she is in shock with the atrocities and constant violence America had to endure in 1968, she suffers with the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and is aghast at the police violence against a public protest.

She longs for the romantic flame in their relationship to come back and just when she feels she has had enough of Don being a terrible husband, she is taken back by Don’s proposal of starting all over for both of them in Los Angeles where they can both be happy. She is so hopeful that this could recover their breaking marriage that she accepts. The next day when Don tells her that unfortunately their plans have changed she is disgusted once more at his selfish and unreliable behaviour and storms off, maybe forever from his life.


Roger Sterling Season 6Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – The beloved Roger is going through an existential crisis at the beginning of Season 6. We see Roger undergo psychotherapy. After having failed at two marriages he begins to question what will his legacy be. He suffers two immediate blows with the deaths of his beloved mother and curiously his shoe shiner for whom he felt very affectionate. His spoilt daughter gives him more than a headache when she demands that he give financial support to her husband on his (not very convincing) business projects.

Single once more, he embarks on affairs with attractive younger women. One of them happens to be an air stewardess who also supplies him with vital information about executives from potential clients so that he can “spontaneously” be on the same flight as them and thus begin to court them to sign an advertising agreement with SCDP. This is how he befriends an executive from Chevrolet whom he wins over.

His frivolous and nonchalance nature remain intact as do his personal charm and legendary quotes. Loyal to Don till the end, he is the most difficult partner to convince that Draper be fired from the agency and only acquiesces when the option of a leave of absence is approved.


Ted Chaough season 6Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) – Ted Chaough, until now, a minor character in the show and mainly known for being Don’s nemesis on Madison Avenue acquires a more central role on Mad Men in this season. Creative Director at CGC, a medium size like SDCP they tend to compete for most of the same accounts. Ted who initially seemed like an arrogant and self centered ad man surprisingly turns out to be a well mannered and respectful manager. He is supportive of Peggy and recognises her value and drive. He likes to get along with his team and unlike Don enjoys taking an active role in their creative process when coming up with campaign ideas and tags.

He respects Don from a distance whilst being rivals and is then taken aback with his unpredictable and confusing behaviour once they join forces. Slowly his romantic feelings for Peggy start to flourish and the two begin to openly flirt with each other much to the embarrassment of the rest of the staff something This does not go unnoticed for Don who exploits this weakness in Ted to subtly expose him in the middle of a meeting with a client. This does not stop Peggy and Ted who end up sleeping together. The day after, a broken Ted who strongly resents his actions and having cheated on his wife convinces Don to cede him his spot in the LA office where he goes to start over with his family leaving a broken hearted and hurt Peggy behind.


betty season 6Betty Francis (January Jones) – Betty a more secondary role is struggling to fit into her family life with Henry Francis. She clearly harbours feelings for Don yet. She is openly resentful of Megan In an effort to regain her beauty she dyes her hair black, openly signalling her jealousy of Megan and then manages to lose some weight recovering her previous looks.

During a weekend where she takes Bobby to Summer Camp and is joined there by Don, the two end up sleeping together where she proves she really does know Don when she tells him that the “worst way to get to him is by loving him”.


Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) – Sally’s character takes another huge leap in developing her personality in Season 6. She is turning out to be one the most interesting personalities in the show. Poor Sally has to endure constant shocks and

sally draper season 6disappointments. Her close friend runs away from home. Whenever she visits her dad he is pretty much absent emotionally and has to do with Megan who tries to make up for him.

She suffers the shock of a burglary with her father drugged on amphetamines and Megan out on auditioning for a role. Yet no one could have prepared our beloved Sally for the trauma of catching Don having sex with their neighbour. She is devastated to see her beloved former role model so openly cheating on his wife who has never harmed anyone. She is disgusted by his lies and how he tries to manipulate her after some hours so that she won’t tell on him. The relationship after that will never be the same between both.

She is accepted at a boarding school where we see she has rekindled her friendship with Glenn, their neighbour in previous seasons, and tries smoking and drinking.


Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan, who has being a junior partner at the firm having improved her monetary status is evolving into a more determined and driven professional. In a way similar to Peggy she starts to see a career change more ambitious than being a secretary or executive assistant as she one day labels herself. A dinner with an executive from Ponds Cream which she initially took for a blind date ends up being a professional meeting where she is pleasantly surprised to notice how well she can present SCDP to a potential client.

Joan Harris Season 6Ignoring the company’s rules and policy she decides to leave Pete out of the nexMad Men Season 6t meeting with Peggy representing the creative department and the client. This infuriates Pete and Ted who shout at her, yet it paves the way for her future as an account executive at the company which is finally called SC & Partners. Her relationship with Don takes an unexpected and sour turn. Up until now she always admired and respected him. She valued that he was the only partner who really tried for her not to sleep with Herb from Jaguar. However his impetuous and selfish attitude starts to gnaw at Joan who openly resents him for having clumsily sabotaged the company going public and is easily convinced when the question to fire him comes up.

Mad Men Season 4

Time Line: November 1964-October 1965

mad men season 4 posterPlot:   Almost a year has gone since the dismantlement of Sterling Cooper and formation of the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency.   Times are rapidly changing in the US and this is clearly reflected in the story line and behaviour by the main protagonists as well as their surroundings with the new more modern office in the Time Life Building.


Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP) now a start-up has to compete with major and mid size agencies whilst beginning almost from scratch. This leads to constant frictions between the over prudent and frequently misunderstood Lane Pryce and some of the old timer executives more accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, namely Roger Sterling. SCDP still relies heavily on Lucky Strike as their main source of income to survive and to attract new business. This creates even further friction since Rogmad men christman partyer who without paying too much attention to his duties remains indispensable due to his tight personal relation with the tobacco giant’s president. The agency aims at internationalising its business and pitches to Honda to advertise their motorbikes much to Roger’s disapproval who doesn’t want to do business with Japanese companies after Pearl Harbour.   Don continues to be the main power horse at the firm and its main attraction for potential customers. On a personal side he is paying his previous excesses dearly and despite still excelling creatively, his personal life is a mess and is incredibly unhappy outside of work.

After almost two years of having agreed to join them in the newly found SCDP Roger has to bear the unbearable news that Lucky Strike are definitely breaking their business relationship with them, which puts the entire company on the brink of foreclosure. The founding partners have to undergo considerable financialmad men the beautiful girls sacrifices where they have to put thousands of dollars each to save the company whilst massive layoffs occur. This leads to Don taking one his defining moments with a bold move publishing an ad in the New York Times called “The Letter” where he openly criticises the tobacco industry thus closing the doors to any possibility of any other tobacco company doing business with them in the future. Despite risking the company’s future this bold move puts their name further on the map and may be the one thing that saves them on the long run.

Don Draper Season 4Don Draper (John Hamm) – Don, now one of the founding partners at SCDP continues to be one the most respected figures in the advertising industry. He continues to be a leading figure at his firm, revered by his clients for his creative genius and envied by his competitors. Yet his divorce gets the better off him personally. He doesn’t know how to cope with his new life outside of work, living in a small, dull apartment in the Village and decides to either stay late at work or go through alcohol binges. He also begins to sleep with prostitutes and dating shallow younger women. During his Christmas vacation he decides to visit his dear friend Anna in Los Don and Anna DraperAngeles on his way to Acapulco but when he learns she has cancer (unbeknownst to her) decides to stay with her and help her out at home.  After some months, when she passes away, he is visibly affected breaking down in tears in front of Peggy.

His relationship with Peggy continues to be a contradictory balance between a mentor and an abusive superior. It is only after she openly confronts him about his overbearing nature that he decides to back off a bit with her.

Neither he nor Betty know how to properly cope with their divorce and are openly hostile with each other, which obviously has a negative effect on their children. Sally, who suffers more than the rest escapes her home and ends up in Manhattan at Don’s office and pleads to stay with him, something which he has to turn down. After realising his binge drinking has gone omad men season 4 sceneut of control, he decides to take a grip on his life and takes up swimming, drinking less and begins to date Dr. Faye Miller, a psychologist who works for a market research consultancy which collaborates with the firm. Faye, despite being physically very similar to Betty (blonde, attractive) represents the embodiment of the emancipated professional woman. She is intelligent, independent and emotionally mature. For a while it seems she and Don make the perfect couple. Yet, on a late night at work, he sleeps with his newly appointed secretary Megan Calvé and a on personal trip to Los Angeles with his children he realises he has fallen in love with her and proposes her to marry him.


Peggy Season 4Peggy Olsen (Elizabeth Moss) – Despite her initial aversion to join Don at the newly found SCDP, Peggy finally acquiesces, aware of the pulling power his creative genius has. She is now one of the senior members of the creative department and is given more freedom and independence to do her work. Yet she still does not get the recognition she craves for, even when her ideas lead to award winning adverts. This lack of open appraisal from Don continues to gnaw at her. She has to endure working with the newly appointed Art Director, an unbearable and arrogant “jug head”, Stan Rizzo.

Like Don, she struggles to find happiness outside of work despite dating a new man, Mark, a well-meaning yet old fashioned and overbearing boyfriend. Being at the centre of a cultural change with more women gaining personal independence and professional influence she is seen admiring Faye Miller. She befriends Joyce, a photo editor and Abe, a liberal journalist working at the same building. She attends a clandestine beatnik party where she kisses Abe and slowly after begins to date him. Abe openly questions her profession in perpetuating mass consumerism which leads to an uncomfortable argument and the two stop dating for a while. Yet Peggy respects that he challenges her and admires his independent thinking.  One Summer day at a group outing at the beach, both of them rekindle their relationship.

Don and Peggy Season 4Her relationship with Don continues to have the antagonistic nature it had previously. Despite Don’s promise to treat her more fairly when trying to convince her to join them at their new project, he still mixes displays of approval with hostile rudeness. One evening, (unbeknownst to Don) on her birthday she is forced to work late with him and after a tense series of arguments between both of them, she ends up breaking up with Mark and lashing out at Don for treating her poorly. This changes Don who begins to treat her more as an equal.


Pete Campbell Season 4Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Pete with an admirable work ethic continues to be the sole source of new business. He is also one of the founding partners (albeit a junior one) of the new firm. With Roger Sterling’s careless management of their only account Lucky Strike, Pete fights on to bring new accounts like Honda or Sugarberry Ham. Yet despite all of his efforts, he is still not regarded on equal terms by the other partners. He is the only partner without his name on the wall. Some major decisions like bringing Ken Cosgrove (Pete’s nemesis) to work for the agency were made behind his back. His lack of personal charm obviously accounts for this, since despite all of his achievements like Don had predicted years back, no one really likes him.

Outside of the office, his wife, Trudy is finally pregnant and besides his initial disenchantment he seems content with the idea of having a child. His relationship with his in-laws is still awkward at times. He openly uses them to gain more business at the company and Tom who has sussed him out openly resents him when the two are alone.


Betty Draper Season 4Betty Draper (January Jones) – Betty, like Don is not aware of how to properly manage their divorce. This generation of parents seem to be the first one were divorces started to happen regularly and do not have an older reference to look upto. Much to Don and their children’s discomfort she continues to live in the same house she had with Don, this time with Henry. She is openly hostile with Don and pays her frustrations mostly with Sally whom she clearly sees as resembling Don in character. She is excessively domineering and asphyxiating towards her daughter, which leads her to escape her home and try and live in Manhattan with Don.

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) –
Roger who grudgingly joins Don and Bert to form their new start-up a year back hasn’t given up on his careless lifestyle at the new firm. He shows a somewhat petty side to his personality with his jealousy of other prestigious names in the industry like Roger sterling Season 4Ogilvy and attempts to write his memoirs much to Don’s humour when he finds out.

In one of the season’s most revealing episodes “The Waldorf Stories”, the viewer learns of how Don starts working at Sterling Cooper. In a series of flashbacks, we see a younger Don attending Roger whilst working as a sales attendant at a fur shop. Don is impressed with Roger’s status as “an important man in an important company” and relentlessly tries to get an interview with him. One morning he tracks him down whilst going into work and convinces him to go for a drink, Roger ends up drunk and Don arrives the next morning to work for Sterling Cooper claiming that whilst inebriated Roger offers him a job as a copywriter. It is unclear whether this is true or whether Don made the offer up.

Being an old timer in the industry, Roger openly feels threatened by the young and relentless Pete and sabotages his meeting with Honda, which could have brought international business and prestige to the firm. His professional duties are sometimes left as simply getting drunk with clients during working hours. This careless attitude eventually lead to Lucky Strike to breaking off their professional relationship with SCDP leaving Roger in a very vulnerable position.


Joan Holloway/Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan is trying to form a family with her Joan Holloway season 4husband Greg. Being an instrumental part of the firm she acts as one Lane’s main supports managing the company’s finances. Like Pryce ,she is also pragmatic and helps to keep a tight control of the company’s numbers even in dire situations with the departure of Lucky Strike.

Unfortunately she has to endure the impertinence of one of the junior copywriters and the sexist workplace that looks the other way with his crude and vulgar jokes about her making it openly clear how some things have not changed.

She still harbours feelings for Roger and on a drunken night out, they have sex, which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Despite him offering to pay for an abortion she ends up having the baby and vows not to reveal this secret to her husband who has left for Vietnam.

Lane Pryce Season 4Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) – Now one of the founding partners at the firm, Lane continues to manage the finances with rigour and attention. He frowns upon any frivolous expenditure and is openly uncomfortable when they are forced to raise the budget for the office Christmas party. Outside of work he is having serious problems. His wife, who never found it easy to settle in New York has temporarily left him and gone back to London. He begins to date a black waitress much to his father shock, who savagely attacks him and coerces him to break it off and get back with his wife.

Sally Draper (Kieran Shipka) – Sally who is growing up as an independent young girl is going through a rough time dealing with her parents divorce. She misses her dear father and hates the idea of living in the same home with a different paternal figure. About to enter teenage she begins to feel curious about the female body and physical pleasure. Her mother instead of treating this as a natural change in her daughter chastises her and Sally Season 4absurdly takes her to therapy.

When it comes to her visits to her father, she continues to champion for him, her admiration for her “daddy” has not waned one bit and is overly critical of the women he dates, like Faye Miller. For some reason she instantly trusts Megan more which moves Don to visualise Megan more than Faye as a possible life partner.