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Things I Learned at the 'Mad Men' Season Seven Premiere, Review Roundup: "The beginning of the end" (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 3, 2014 at 3:19PM

My favorite moment at the "Mad Men" Season Seven premiere: when AMC president Charles Collier asked the sprawling ensemble to rise from their seats at Hollywood's Arclight Theatre, Jon Hamm (Don Draper) and Kevin Rahm (Ted Chaough) caught sight of each other standing in the same row and waved. The Emmy-winning series is being celebrated by Time and Variety cover stories, Diane Sawyer's World News Tonight and Good Morning America before the final season of "Mad Men" debuts on April 13. (Trailer, poster and review round-up are below.)
Mad Men

The Hollywood Reporter:

Weiner has come up with some impressive scenes beyond the fantastic, previously mentioned reintroduction. There are two that Weiner didn't flag to critics as spoilers, but I won't reveal them anyway because they certainly come across that way -- one as a distinct behavioral reveal and the other a haunting and intriguing hint about the struggle for change. (I won't even talk about the second kick-ass song Weiner uses in this episode, since that, playing over the lusciously shot and meticulously framed final scene, seems laden with meaning.)

Entertainment Weekly:

One of the most artful aspects of the premiere is how it gives meaningful moments to so many supporting characters...while remaining largely about Don. He continues to sweat his significance, but he's trying to figure out how to make real change out of last season's sobering, liberating meltdown. He sees with clear eyes and accepts that he's broken, yet he's still at a loss as to how to fix himself. Like his late friend Lane, he's stuck in the in-between of here and there, yesterday and tomorrow, lost and found. You wonder if the answer he seeks is to abandon such binary thinking and cultivate grace for his present-tense self. Wherever Don's headed on this final flight of "Mad Men," the ride promises to be exhilarating.


"Mad Men" remains a landmark series, and unlike something like "Breaking Bad" needn’t be heavily defined or judged by how well the program wraps up its run -- although Weiner’s comments about his vision for the ending have done little to temper expectations. Nevertheless, this is one of those shows really more about the journey than the destination, despite the emphasis we’ve come to place on such things.


The episode, appropriately titled "Time Zones," is a bi-coastal exploration of where our characters stand both literally (New York or Los Angeles) and figuratively, Weiner's preferred method of study. While the brunt of the aforementioned minute moments are carried by Don and Megan, our hero/anti-hero...doesn't show up until about eight minutes into the episode. When he does, it's in a fittingly grand way...Don Draper is still treated like a god among men. He floats down his path instead of walking. Loud music blares "I'm a Man" by the Spencer Davis Group, before the declarative statement is upended by the nonchalant, emasculating act of Megan choosing to drive rather than ride next to her husband. Was it on purpose? It's hard to tell.

This article is related to: Mad Men, Mad Men, Television, Reviews, Reviews, Television, Television, TV, TV Reviews, TV News, Matthew Weiner, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.