Mad Men returns April 13 to commence the first half of its drawn-out final season, and here’s the first, appropriately drawn-out teaser to announce that. In it we see Don Draper verrrrry slowwwwwly exiting a TWA plane and putting on a hat.
While to a layperson this may seem to be the extent of what’s taking place here, to the Mad Men fan who has by now been trained to recognize that, for example, a T-shirt is never a T-shirt—it is a sign that you are married to a ghost—everything they need to know is contained within these 15 seconds.
- By 1969, TWA was the largest transatlantic airline.
- Don is wearing a dark, somber suit, of the sort typically worn to a funeral.
- Several clouds can be seen in the sky.
- Most depictions of Heaven include clouds.
- Beginning in 1969, TWA jets were frequent targets of Palestinian terrorists, including hijackings in 1969, 1970, and 1971.
- Don is exiting this plane alone.
- Don is walking in slow motion, as one would do after accomplishing something particularly dramatic—say, a heroic duty grudgingly undertaken, but undertaken with purpose, as a man who is pushed to the edge and given no choice but to react.
Season seven finds Don returning from a funeral for Pete, who was accidentally killed off screen in Cairo, where he’d been pitching a Sunkist campaign to Anwar Sadat. Suddenly, his plane is hijacked. After Don delivers a stirring, 20-minute monologue about how life is itself a hijacked plane—that no man can honestly say they’re headed toward a definite destination, when at every stop he picks up more passengers, all with plans and baggage of their own—the gunmen open fire. They kill everyone aboard and, overcome with existential despair, eventually themselves. Only Don, who slipped off to vomit gallons of Canadian Club into the lavatory, manages to survive.
After the shocked pilot lands the plane, Don exits slowly, once more all too encumbered with the awareness that times are changing.
In episode two, Roger goes to a rock concert.