Late last week, Matthew Weiner said that no one is going to die on this season of Mad Men. This statement (a) seemed pretty out of character for someone who is so concerned about spoilers that he refuses to send out screeners and routinely cuts the “Next week on…” segments so they’re as vague as possible; and (b) ruined everyone’s fun. It meant that most of our favorite conspiracy theories — Megan as Sharon Tate, Megan secretly dead, oranges foreshadowing a death — were a bunch of hooey, and we wouldn’t even get to find out on our own. It was the showrunner equivalent of a grumpy neighbor who doesn’t even like throwing the Frisbee deciding to keep yours just because it landed in his yard one too many times. Not cool, Weiner. But despite his best efforts, he didn’t kill all the predictions we cooked up. In fact, after last night’s episode, one actually seems more plausible.
Pete Campbell could still get attacked by a bear.
First, let’s look at the exact words Weiner said. “No one’s going to die.” Notice what he didn’t say? Anything about a bear attack. Not a single word. I mean, sure, my original idea — which was based on nothing but my desire to see bad things happen to Pete Campbell — was that it would be great to see Pete Campbell get “eaten” by a bear in the middle of Sterling Cooper & Partners’ Manhattan office building, but maybe I just got a bit carried away. He could still get mauled a little, or get both of his arms chomped off, or, hell, maybe he could end up in a bear-attack-related coma for the rest of the series. That’s not dying, technically, and I really don’t see any way we can rule it out. Especially after last night’s episode.
See, here’s what I’m thinking. So now Pete’s on the Chevy account, right? So he’ll be flying out to Michigan a bunch to entertain the Detroit big wigs. And we already know how much they love hunting and tomfoolery, because that’s how he ended up with the new gig in the first place. (R.I.P. parts of Ken Cosgrove’s face.) What if they take him out to a secluded area in the Upper Peninsula (NOTE: Crawling with black bears), screw around with their shotguns after 6-25 beers and jam them all up, and find themselves in the path of a charging mama who just wants to protect her cubs. Then what? You think those “yahoos in suits” wouldn’t knock him down and serve him up to guarantee their own escape? Don’t be stupid. To quote a wise man who now has an eyepatch, that’s his job.
And who knows, maybe it was Bob Benson who set him up, in an attempt to protect his secret and rising status within the firm. Yeah, Pete said he’d keep quiet about it, but if there’s one indisputable fact about Mad Men, it’s that you can never trust Pete Campbell. I’ve got to believe Bob, a seasoned liar and weasel, was able to sense that from their interactions. So maybe he called up the Chevy guys — remember, they like Bob — and was all “Hey there. It’s me. Benson. Bob Benson. Sterling Cooper & Partners. Accounts. You guys like hunting, right? What say you let us take you bear hunting. Our treat. We’re sending up our best man tomorrow. You’ll love him. Real outdoorsman. Great! We’ll put him on a plane now,” and then he turned around and told Pete they wanted to go hunting and specifically asked for him (Pete would eat that up), but while Pete was rushing to get ready Bob secretly replaced his bullets with blanks? He’d be a sitting duck. It would almost be too easy.
And then there he’d be. Face-to-face with the bear. No bullets. About to be attacked. I bet he’d be real indignant about it, like “Look at you. A bear. Humans should have killed you all off years ago. We have the technology, you know? You saw what we did in Hiroshima. You think there won’t be consequences for this? Oh, there will be consequences. Believe me. Just wait until I get back to the city.” But then the bear would narrow its eyes and start mauling. Mauling mauling mauling, right up to the point of death, if Matthew Weiner is to be believed. Then it would walk away and leave him there to wait for a ranger or someone to find him and take him to the hospital.
See? Totally plausible. Maybe not quite as fun as the concept of a bear in a trench coat and fedora walking into Pete’s New York office and devouring him, but still, plausible.
Please don’t take this away from me. I need this.