It’s the beginning of the end for “Mad Men.” The AMC drama is set to kick off its 7th and final season on Sunday, but the reviews are already in for the premiere outing of the 14-episode swan song. According to a review posted on Friday by Time magazine, the premiere episode, “Time Zones,” will pick up in January, 1969 with Don Draper (Jon Hamm) flying out to California to reunite with his bicoastal wife, Megan (Jessica Pare). The opening soundtrack: The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man.”
The New York Post reveals that while Draper is in limbo career wise (remember he was asked to take some time off from Sterling Cooper and Partners after his Hersey pitch breakdown?), he still pretends to have a job. But he is honest about his failure to be faithful to his wife: “I’m a terrible husband,” he says at one point in the premiere.
The once buttoned up Pete Campbell (played by Vincent Kartheiser) returns with a major makeover – and not in a good way. His character, who moved to California to run a West Coach branch of the ad agency, wears tacky plaid pants, a casual polo shirt and a sweater wrapped around his neck, prompting Draper to tell him, “You not only look like a hippie, you talk like one.” Campbell downs a pastrami sandwich in an L.A. deli in the episode, while new SC&P boss Lou Avery (Allan Havey) is also featured in the premiere.
Interestingly, while several of the characters are seen in California in 1969, showrunner Matthew Weiner previously downplayed a series of airport-themed promos for show. Last month he told Vulture, “Those are all gallery shots, or, in the language of the show, advertising. We picked the airport partially because of the irony of the fact that there is zero glamour at an airport now, and in travel in general. It doesn’t defy analysis, because all those people will be in the show, but I would not read meaning into it.”
"Mad Men's" final season will play out in two parts, with seven episodes airing this year and the final seven in 2015. One thing Weiner does admit is that the final episodes will be “dense.” In an interview with Variety, he said, “After realizing that I needed two premieres and two finales, it changed the pacing of every other episode. These episodes are more focused on the main characters than ever before — and I’ve got a lot of main characters. There’s no room for digression this time. The first seven feel like (the story arc of) a whole season.”
The“Mad Men” season 7 premiere airs on Sunday, April 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET on AMC.