“Whatever happens is supposed to happen.”
For Mad Men fans who have been frustrated this season with the concentration of focus on Don Draper and Matthew Weiner’s insistence upon belaboring some of his thematic points, last night’s episode, “Time & Life,” must have felt like a fresh breath of air. It was easily the most entertaining episode of the season and, for once, gave Pete and Peggy some much-needed screentime.
The episode also took us through a familiar routine on Mad Men: The Sterling Cooper scramble. Having started as a fairly small advertising firm seven seasons ago, Sterling Cooper has managed — for the most part — to navigate in such a way as to maintain its independence. Each time it’s threatened, Sterling Cooper zig-zags its way through the corporate minefield and maintains its identity. It looked for much of last night’s episode that Don Draper would be able to zag them out of another pickle, but the 1970s and corporate conglomeration finally caught up to the firm. It was absorbed into McCann Erickson, and despite the fact that Don, Pete, Joan, Ted, and Roger managed to land five of the best jobs in the industry with the biggest clients in advertising and all the resources they could ever want, it felt like an empty Pyrrhic victory, like the beginning of the end.