So now it’s late 1964 and Don and Betty are settling into their post-divorce lifestyle. Mad Men Season 4 brings new blood into the office as new, sleeker, modern agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce rises from the ashes of Sterling Cooper. Meanwhile at home the stork comes to visit more than one of our lovely ladies. And why is Don going through so many secretaries? Full synopsis below.
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Enjoy this promo interview with Matthew Weiner, recorded just before Season 4 was aired.
Mad Men Season 4 sees the Drapers coping with life post-divorce. And Don is not coping so well. Epsiode 1 kicks off as an advertising magazine runs an article about Don, entitled ‘Who is Don Draper?’. Well as far as obvious thematic framing devices go, that one pretty clear sets up the main drive of the season. Don is spiralling without Betty (not that he misses her, but I think he felt more secure with a wife as a reference point). He is now spending much of his time sleeping around (with work colleages and ‘professionals’) and is drinking more and more. This continues until a personal tragedy causes him to rethink his lifestyle.
This season sees more than one couple welcome a new baby into the world (good luck to those kids) – however one of these couples are not actually a couple. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t tell you who the mother is, or whether she keeps the child, OR whether she tells her husband its not his. We also see Peggy continuing to mature in confidence and explore her identity outwith the office. She falls in with a group of beatniks and artists, and experiments with the alternative lifestyles.
Roger Sterling manages to lose a big tobacco account, putting the new company in financial jeopardy. This coincides with Don reevaluating a few things in his life, and it leads to him putting out a full page Op Ed in the New York Times about SCDP and their new approach to tobacco companies. Don takes a big chance with this and, as usual, acts pretty much completely alone, not discussing it with any of the other partners or really even thinking about what others might think. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy with this move.
This season also sees Don’s secret past return and jeopardise his current work, leading to some rather rash decisions. We also see Betty struggling with the kids in her new relationship with Henry. Don takes a trip to California with his kids and asks his latest secretary Megan (who has babysat for him a few times) if she would come and help look after the kids. She agrees and the weekend takes a very surprising twist for everyone. Not least Don’s girlfriend back in New York.
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