Yes, Mad Men’s midseason finale was a week ago. But after an extremely busy week at work, I finally caught up to this A.V. Club review by Todd VanDerWerff and Sonia Saraiya and it’s incredible (spoilers for the episode below and of course in the post):
As aware as Mad Men is of the future—because it’s really about our present, told through the lens of 1960-1969—its characters are conscious of the past. Bert was a piece of that past—a piece laid to rest tonight, as astronauts did the unthinkable and miraculous. There is no moment that says the past is over more powerfully than the moon landing. And for this show, there is no more powerful moment that says the past is over than killing off Bert Cooper and selling his agency before his body is cold. Bert was the past, and now the show’s sense of past is gone. The future is now, as Cutler intimates to Roger—SC&P is becoming “the ad agency of the future.” And that means the next crop of people to die will be those characters currently left standing in the halls of the Time-Life building. Great moments have a way of boiling down to the exact same feeling—a dawning realization that outside of the hustle to stay alive, the only thing that is waiting for you, for sure, is death.