YOU GUYS. This is the second to last episode of Mad Men. There’s only one more left! And this week there was nary a peep from our faves at the erstwhile SC&P. Whither Peggy and Joan? Is Dawn even still working there? (When Pete Campbell’s your big connection to the office, you know it’s a slow week.) Instead, we checked in on our favorite ladies of the suburbs and started saying our goodbyes (SOB!!!), and Don continued his slow metamorphosis into his childhood hero, the hobo.
Remember our whole brown = the past, blue = the future code? Don’s sticking to it. He’s poised halfway between Dick Whitman, the son of a whore who deserted in Korea, and Don Draper, the rich and powerful ad man. Which is why he opens this episode in half blue, half brown.
He’s rocking the suburban dad wear, that’s for sure.
It’s so weird to see him not in immaculate suits at all times. Who knew he was physically capable of wearing plaid?
He’s leaning into the Don-the-rich-and-powerful thing as he checks into this crappy little motel to get his car repaired, hence the blue on blue.
But then he gets suckered into attending a veterans’ fundraiser, i.e. a room full of people who could figure out that he’s a fraud.
And the Dick Whitman in him comes out in full force in this brown jacket. No tie, either. Don Draper, ad man, would never.
And the other vets do figure out that he’s a fraud. They don’t get that he stole his CO’s identity, but they know he’s hiding something, so they figure he stole their cash. Don pulls out his Draper-ness to be deeply insulted by this accusation (“You really think I need your pocket change?”), but mostly he’s just concerned for the bellhop who actually took the money.
Don sees himself in the kid, so he passes along some advice. And his car. The kid’s psyched—fair enough, that Cadillac is pretty sweet—but, hon? If Don Draper sees himself in you? You need to start re-examining your life choices.
And now Don has shed the last piece of his Don Draper persona. (Except, you know, his children. He might vaguely recall that they still exist.)
All that’s left is the blue shell of his jacket. Underneath, in his brown plaid shirt, he’s gone full hobo.
Pete Campbell, of all people, is also inheriting the Don Draper crown this episode. Per Duck Phillips (boo Duck! We all still remember Chauncey the dog!), he’s on a Don-like streak.
And he’s in a blue suit to match.
Purely by accident, Pete lands a dream job with dream benefits (if you don’t mind Wichita, Kansas) (#NoDisrespectWichitaKansas) (#AllDisrespectPeteCampbell), and he decides he wants to win back his old family to enjoy it with.
Trudy spends the episode in pink and yellow leisurewear, which on this show traditionally stands for the house and the housewife. Remember how many times we’ve seen Betty in yellow florals? Here, they’re reminding Pete of everything he’s lost by being terrible.
Trudy puts up a pretty good fight at first, but Pete wins her over with the magic words: “We deserve something new.”
Don Draper’s school of advertising is all about playing off people’s belief that they are entitled to something new, and that when they get it, they will be happy. “Happiness,” says Don, “is the moment before you need more happiness.” And now Pete Campbell has mastered that school.
And when you stop fighting for more, it’s all over for you.
Betty starts the episode looking immaculate and Grace Kelly-ish in her blue suit and pearls. She’s working towards the future! She’s excitedly telling everyone she can that she’s a student now.
But I mean, statistically speaking, someone on Mad Men had to get lung cancer, right? And Betty’s been glamorously chain smoking through the whole run of the show. So when she gets her diagnosis, she accepts it.
The pink of her dress evokes the home just like Trudy’s pink housedresses, but check those blue accents. Blue = future, remember? Betty is looking her future right in the eye, and she is accepting that it is going to be short. She isn’t going to fight for anything more.
So she floats into Sally’s room and tells her that she wants Sally to look after the funeral arrangements. (Even Betty knows Henry is pretty useless.)
This costuming is pretty on the nose. Angelic white, with those same blue accents popping up again.
Her letter to Sally is classic Betty: she loves Sally and all, but mostly she wants Sally to make sure the funeral people don’t mess up her hair.
Her final wish for the future is to be buried in blue. Because blue = future.
And as she sets out to finish up her life on her own terms?
Angelic white and blue.
So long, Betty Francis, you fabulous little psycho, you. We’ll miss you, your Grace Kelly style, and the way you completely scarred your children’s psyches for life. What’s your favorite Betty moment, YKYLFers? Mine’s when she shot the pigeons. (That’s actually on the shortlist for my favorite episode of TV ever.) Come back next week and see off the rest of the Mad Men with us. Don’s def gonna either fully embrace the hobo lifestyle or die, but I’m pulling hard for most of the episode to be just Peggy kicking ass and taking names. Girl’s got swag.