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'Mad Men' making the right decision

By Alex Sferrazza
On April 20, 2014

It' has been almost a year since Season Six of AMC's acclaimed drama "Mad Men" wrapped up. All eyes have been focused on the network's other acclaimed series "Breaking Bad," as that program raced toward its series finale last fall. Are Don Draper and comapny up to the task of creating a final season that will rival that of its equally brilliant sister program? If the season seven premiere is any indication, then the answer is a resounding yes.
"Mad Men's" season six finale ended on a somewhat important cliffhanger. Don Draper was left at a bar with a decision to make: accept a tempting offer from a woman to return to his former adulterous ways or continue to remain faithful to his wife.
When we first see Don and his wife in the season seven premier, it's clear that he chose the latter route. It's an incredibly surprising move from a character who has spent six full seasons failing to make the right decision, despite having multiple chances to set his life straight. That scene, as well as a subsequent one where Don rejects an offer from another woman on a flight, sets the tone for this final season of "Mad Men." Don is a changed man, and much like the rest of the Sterling Cooper agency, things will never be the same.
Pete Campbell is out in California to help the agencies' west cost office, far away from his estranged wife and child in New York. The aging psychological mess known as Roger Sterling is engaging in various counter-culture living arrangements. Joan who has done her best to increase her role at Sterling Cooper, still finds that despite her best efforts, she's still very much stuck in a man's business world. Peggy whose career seemed to be on the rise only a season ago, seems to have hit a roadblock, with her personal life beginning to affect her at the office. Don's actress wife Meghan is finally on the verge of landing a major television role.
The show's production values have never been higher. From the extravagant camerawork used in the entrance made by Meghan in California, to stellar performances particularly by Jon Hamm (Don) and Christina Hendricks (Joan), "Mad Men" proves itself to still be among the finest television dramas on the air.
On the downside, Roger's "reunion" with his daughter was a bit puzzling and did manage to in fact raise more questions than it answered.
The fantastic thing about the "Mad Men" season premiere is that it successfully sets the stage for the final 13 episodes without overloading the audience. We haven't even seen Betty or Don's kids yet, nor do I think we've seen the last of Pete's wife. I'm sure Matthew Weiner has a flurry of surprises in store for us. It's just a shame that we won't know how it'll wrap up until 2015.

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