Mad Men is a period drama set in the 1960’s, with the main character Don Draper played by Jon Hamm. Another important character is of Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss). There are a large number of other characters vital to the story, as it is about the personal and professional lives of the men and women working on Madison Avenue.
Mad Men brilliantly depicts the culture and norms of American life in the 60’s; from the costumes to social issues like excessive drinking, smoking, sexism and adultery. It focuses on the personalities of the characters and how nobody is exactly who they appear to be. They are all highly ambitious and willing to use any means necessary to get higher up on the ladder to success, none more so than Don Draper.
Mad Men is more a reflection on human nature and how we tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly, the way Don cheats on his wife and has numerous affairs time and again, or falls back into alcoholism. How the smart and capable Joan (Christina Hendricks) ends up sleeping with a client just to get a partnership, or Peggy getting pregnant in a casual encounter with a colleague.
The final season of Mad Men shows Don deteriorating because of his addictions. He seems unable to control his urges and repeatedly falls back to alcoholism and having affairs, but he does seem to be making an effort to be decent in this season. He is given his old job back at the firm, although reluctantly.
Peggy is finally making a mark of her own in the advertising world, and, with some encouragement from Don, prepares to give a presentation for a campaign on her own. On the other hand, the partners vote to fire Don Draper from the firm, but later a decision is taken to accept a merger offer and Don is saved once again.
When the moon landing takes place in 1969, every family is shown glued to their screens watching. Spirits are buoyed and innocence seemed to be renewed by the communal joy of it. It injects hope and the possibility of achieving something amazing into the characters that are often consumed by selfishness. The first part of this season ends on heartfelt emotion, instead of the monotonous and passionless drudgery that infected some of the scenes.
Meanwhile, Don faces the threat of losing his partnership. Walking away is not an option, as advertising work means too much to him and he can’t give up on that. At the end of the first half, all the likable actors seem to be at the top of their game, while the bad ones are down. The episode ends with Don having a vision of a song-and-dance number by the dead Bert Cooper and his secretaries. What remains to be seen is whether the second half will reverse this scenario and end the drama in misery.