Episode 2 of Season 7 of Mad Men was all about knowledge and the gap between how much people know about a certain situation and about how much other people know (or don’t know), about the same situation. Don doesn’t know that Sally knows that he wasn’t at the office (and Sally doesn’t know that he’s in job purgatory). The New York team doesn’t know that the Los Angeles team can still hear them when the conference call equipment shits the bed. Peggy doesn’t know that Shirley knows who the flowers are from. Joan doesn’t know that her promotion by Jim was a move against Roger. Nobody in the advertising world knows why Don is or isn’t out of a job and Don doesn’t know how he’s going to fix this, although his daughter, (who, philosophically is a carbon copy of him) doesn’t hesitate to point out that she knows exactly what the one thing is that he doesn’t want to do: “Why don’t you just tell her you don’t want to move to California?”
Mad Men is a great show because we care about what happens next not because we want that itch scratched, but because we dread the impact it will have on a universe of characters that we care about. I told my wife that I wished the show had ended with Don and Sally’s trip back to school simply because I felt like my brain had been reset when she got out of his car and I wasn’t able to finish processing the monumental crack in their relationship stalemate.
As always, there is much reading to do: Molly Lambert’s ‘Mad Men’ Week 2: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers; Matt Zoller Seitz’s Mad Men Recap: I’m So Many People; Alan Sepinwall’s Review: ‘Mad Men’ - ‘A Day’s Work’: Horrible Bosses; Tom & Lorenzo’s Mad Men: A Day’s Work. (And of course, do not forget to check for T&L’s Mad Style piece, which comes out on Wednesdays.)