California Dreamin’

8c556d0f-18fb-5ca9-d781-9f0ba72ce00b_MM613_004Gold Rush fever has struck Sterling Cooper & Partners, beginning most earnestly with Stan Rizzo, then on to Don Draper, and finally Ted Chaough—all of them wanting to go to California either to “turn a desk into an agency,” cure alcoholism, or save a family. In the end, Ted is the winner, along with Pete Campbell (Bob Benson handily eliminated Pete from the Chevy account by way of a stick-shift disaster—one that I can easily relate to). And maybe Megan will still get to go to California, too, to pursue her movie career. Don will stay behind in their “bicoastal” relationship. The Mrs. pointed out to me that Megan’s moving to the Golden State continues to bolster the Sharon Tate conspiracy—not that either of us believe she will literally be Sharon Tate at the Belair massacre, which occurred in 1969. But something may still happen.

The episode was heavy on parenting or the lack thereof. When Betty tells Don she isn’t surprised Sally got suspended for alcohol, she reminds her ex-husband that their daughter “comes from a broken home.” Pete says his final farewell to his daughter while Roger gets to spend Thanksgiving with his son. And then Don takes all his children to the home where he grew up—the whorehouse.

Speaking of which, now a few individuals know that Don was an orphan living in a brothel and the only thing he looked forward to was Hershey’s. In Jerry Maguire, the eponymous sports agent has his come-to-Jesus moment during an illness. He issues a memo that everyone loves, but it gets him canned. Don Draper experiences his moment during a bout with the DTs. It was cathartic—but it was also a breakdown that leads to the partners forcing him into exile. “Going down?” asks a prospective Draper-replacement accompanied by none other than Duck Phillips!

It did seem for a moment that everyone was packing up to go to California—as if Mad Men had turned into Laverne & Shirley. Thankfully that was not the case. But where do we go from here? Stay tuned for a final thought on the season.

Photo courtesy of AMC

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