Here are the facts: Sharon Tate was an up-and-coming actress in the 1960s. She started out with small television roles, and worked her way up to a Golden Globe for Valley of the Dolls in 1967. She was also a model married to film director Roman Polanski. On August 9, 1969, an eight-and-a-half month pregnant Sharon Tate was murdered in her home by followers of Charles Manson.
Now, while that doesn’t exactly jibe with Mad Men’s Megan Draper, there are certainly some similarities (Megan is an up-and-coming actress, who recently suffered a miscarriage and may or may not be trying for another child). And just in case you were wondering if Mathew Weiner wants us to draw those comparisons, check out the image above of Sharon Tate alongside Megan Draper. Now let’s dig deeper.
The theory was developed over on Reddit, I believe in response to a tweet from the daughter of the photographer of the above Sharon Tate photograph and Janie Bryant, the designer on Mad Men.
It’s “no coincidence.” Now, as I was following along with this theory, I dismissed any notion that Matthew Weiner had planned on inserting a character into history and/or rewriting Sharon Tate’s murder. Megan Draper is not Sharon Tate, and Weiner is not going to f**k with history. However, the point at which I became convinced that it was a narrative choice instead of a fashion choice was someone pointing out the this season’s promo poster.
Not only does that poster allude to the “better halves” and the Dick Whitman/Don Draper stuff that’s been going on all season, but the police presence does suggest something more sinister on the horizon. Before the season started, many of us jokingly suggested that this season would contain a murder based on the poster, but now it’s not so much a joke. Combine that with the break-in in Don’s apartment in last week’s episode, plus Abe’s stabbing, and it all seems to SCREAM an oncoming homicide. This is the period in NYC where crime began to rise precipitously. The sirens during Megan’s scene on the balcony in this week’s episode were loud enough to mean something (they weren’t just faint background noises), and it’s worth noting this: Sharon Tate’s murder was one of mistaken identity.
You could spin a lot of theories about what seems like the impending murder of Megan Draper, from it being another break-in (foreshadowed by Grandma Ida), to a case of mistaken identity (foreshadowed by Peggy’s stabbing of Abe), to Don being the murderer (there is a Draper walking to and from the crime scene in the poster), to BOB BENSON because OF COURSE BOB BENSON. Or maybe it’s Dr. Rosen, who finds out about Draper’s affair with Sylvia, who kills Megan after mistaking her for Draper.
That’s gotta be it, right? Dr. Rosen?
Interestingly, it’s not the first Draper/Tate comparison, as Tom and Lorenzo spotted such a comparison with the promo photos ahead of the season, writing of the picture below: “Megan’s going a more California-inspired, Sharon Tate kind of route, which fits her character.”