TV Review: Mad Men Series 7 Episode 11: ‘Time & Life’

Sterling Cooper & Partners is in chaos on Mad Men. reviews

ustv mad men s07 e11 4


This review contains spoilers


In the latest outing of the show, Sterling Cooper & Partners is suddenly plunged into chaos. As the company loses its lease and all its accounts to McCann-Erikson, the gang must decide whether to fight or lay down and expire in the dust. The tense situation will, not surprisingly, bring out the best and worst in this motley bunch.

The atmosphere of disorder and fear of losing echoes throughout the episode, where the focus lies on things lost. Pete mourns his family name of Campbell losing importance, as he cannot manage to get his daughter into a prestigious school, despite all past generations of Campbells attending it. Don searches for Diana, his love interest from previous episodes, only to discover her disappearance from her apartment, which is inhabited by a homosexual couple instead. And mainly, Peggy is reminded of her past, and the child she relinquished and subsequently never saw again.

These memories are triggered by a casting session for children held in the office, where Peggy’s ineptitude in handling the youngsters is looked down upon by her male co-workers, especially Stan. While Stan seems to be a natural in communicating with the children, Peggy looks on hopelessly. This could be a general reflection of Peggy’s incompetence in the field of child care, though it is more likely a commentary on her past anxieties connected to her illegitimate child with Pete, showing this is an incident she most definitely has not forgotten. Stan senses her unease around the children, and Peggy divulges her secret to him, despite promising Don not to disclose her pregnancy to anyone, ever. By addressing this skeleton in Peggy’s closet, we get a continuation, and perhaps closure, on one of the defining moments of Peggy’s character arc. Though Peggy’s lost child can be seen as a tragedy, she doesn’t want it to be interpreted that way – as she poignantly observes, a man can easily abandon his children without any guilt or remorse, while if a woman does the same, she is disparaged and seen as a depraved monster. Her pragmatism doesn’t allow room for children, and why should it? Everyone can also release an immense sigh of relief for actually having access to proper birth control today.

Line of the week: This is the beginning of something, not the end. – Don

While Peggy faces her past, Don and the others scramble for the future, and somehow they manage to fix their predicted collapse, by deciding to join McCann-Erikson in their building. When stepping out to announce the news of the merging, Roger must shout over the trickling murmur of the company’s employees, who understandably are worried about losing their jobs. Don steps in and shouts, “This is the beginning of something, not the end”, while the employees systematically siphon out of the office. When Don and the rest of the board become utterly irrelevant to their colleagues, we cannot help but ascertain that it, most definitely, is an end.

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