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Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, “New Business”

Before one can start new business, one must settle old business.

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Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, “New Business”
Photo: AMC

Before one can start new business, one must settle old business, and this is of primary import in last night’s episode of Mad Men. As Megan (Jessica Paré) returns to collect her belongings from Don (Jon Hamm), a number of ghosts get stirred up for more than one member of SC&P, and the episode hinges on what is the appropriate price for forgiveness and making amends with the past, or if there even is a price. In one of the more ghastly scenes, Harry Crane (Rich Sommer), in essence, attempts to rectify Megan’s marriage to Don and bungled career by offering her a good agent, but only if she’ll sleep with him. Just as Megan is trying to start anew, Harry is trying to reclaim an old crush, in the most crude way possible, and the episode makes a point of showing an array of ways the past infiltrates people and seduces them away from the present or, often enough, reason.

Even the first scene, in which Don makes shakes for his kids in Betty (January Jones) and Henry’s (Christopher Stanley) home, underlines a contemplation of the past. For Stan (Jay R. Ferguson), the past is art, as SC&P’s hiring of a famed photographer, Pima Ryan (Mimi Rogers), makes him start considering the measure of his talents. At one point, he pointedly says that he has nothing new to show her, and when he does eventually show her a new series of ostensible boudoir photos, Pima suggests that his subject doesn’t want to tell him the truth. Ultimately, Stan doesn’t really want the truth either, and the comfort of self-delusion is an element of modern life that Mad Men has always been acutely aware of from the beginning.

The only one who picks up on the fact that Pima is indulging a similar kind of self-inflicted illusion is Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), whom Rogers’s Annie Hall-type tries to pick up after a quickie with Stan in the dark room. Sterling (John Slattery) is offered a quick lay as well when Megan’s mother, Marie (Julia Ormond), joins her daughter and decides to take Don for everything he owns, quite literally. Marie’s reckoning comes from a place of unbearable regret, and her unhinged behavior in New York evokes the dark, crippling bitterness that can manifest from enduring a loveless relationship in the name of family. In the last scene, Matthew Weiner and co-writer Tom Smuts underline the dividing lines in a shattered family between Megan and her sister, Marie-France (Kim Bubbs), with Megan taking her mother’s side and Marie-France bemoaning poor Emile back home.

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Sterling is perhaps the least fascinated in change, as an early scene shows him getting befuddled over getting more secretarial help. At one point, Sterling even presses Don to stand firm on any of Megan’s divorce demands, advice that Don neither asks for or takes. When Hamm’s advertising ace slides the million-dollar check over to Megan, it’s not just to hopefully settle their rift, but to ensure that he doesn’t get hung up in the past like his colleagues. That being said, the fact that Don continues his relationship with Diana (Elizabeth Reaser), a waitress who reminds him of Rachel, his lost love, doesn’t bode well for him moving on, though he certainly seems to think that he’s starting fresh. Don is willing to move forward, but that new life smell can be deceiving and the writing undercuts his would-be progressive acts with Diana’s constant talk of what she’s left behind—which, to be fair, isn’t an easy thing to get over. Don’s troubles, as stressful as they may be, are peanuts compared to a real life of regret, one that can’t be fixed with a cool million, a few hundred apologies, and a hug. Diana might never be able to move on, and it’s only in that beautiful last shot of Don in his hulled-out apartment does the title of the episode seem a vague possibility for Mr. Draper.

For more recaps of Mad Men, click here.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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