With Sunday night being the midseason finale for “Mad Men,” you knew that there were going to be surprises aplenty throughout the hour. The moon landing served as the jumping-off point for “Waterloo,” but there was so much more that transpired from there. (Warning: There are major spoilers ahead.)
Tragedy – For some reason, we felt like there was going to be someone who died during this episode, but who thought that it would be Cooper? The patriarch of the SC&P family is gone, and that leaves everything in a serious state of fracture.
This death meant very bad news when it comes to Don, given that Cooper was the vote that he needed in order to stop Cutler’s attempt to dismiss him from the firm once and for all.
Burger Chef – Due to the circumstances surrounding his potential exit, Don allowed Peggy to get the Burger Chef key to the kingdom … and gave one heck of a presentation to the executives. This was all sorts of amazing to see, and it allowed Don to be the mentor that he was always capable of but only occasionally was. Peggy, of course, got the client!
Roger’s move – Just when you think that Peggy made the biggest move of the entire episode with Burger Chef, Roger Sterling found a way to ensure that he and Don still had a job with McCann … with provisions. Don would have to deal with Sterling-Cooper being owned by a company he long wanted to get away from, and he would also have to work again with Ted. Given that Ted almost went into full Lane Price mode earlier in the episode, that is less than desirable.
This was all brilliant stuff, especially when it comes to Roger one-upping Cutler completely at this meeting. Also, Don made an incredible pitch to Ted in order to convince him to get on board with this new business, since the two of them in Roger were the principal cogs in the plan.
Odds and ends – Strangely, Megan and Don splitting up seemingly was an afterthought in all of this, as was Sally Draper’s semi-romantic moment while on a smoke break. As for Peggy’s duties as a landlady, this all brilliantly tied into the story over at Burger Chef.
While we’re still trying to figure out the effectiveness of that random Cooper musical number at the end of the hour, there’s no question to us that “Waterloo” is a brilliant episode. It found a way to re-establish Don for good at the company, and cut out most of what was happening in Los Angeles. Great stuff, and also totally unexpected. Grade: A.
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