The first of Mad Men’s final seven episodes is Sunday on AMC — here’s where we left Don, Peggy, and the rest of our friends.
Passing time is not only one of Mad Men's themes, it's one of its obsessions.
Sometimes the show is hazy about where we are in time, and sometimes it is exact. The first shot of "Waterloo," Episode 7 of Season 7, is exact: It's July 16, 1969.
And Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) is watching Apollo 11 take off.
"Waterloo" closed the first half of Mad Men's divided final season. While it is in theory infuriating and absurd to have had to wait a whole year for the next seven episodes, I will confess that delaying saying good-bye to this show and these characters — well, I've been happy to wait. As Matthew Weiner's Mad Men closes out telling us the story of one of the most important decades in American history, it has also drawn characters so rich, we feel like we know them. We have been voyeurs in their lives, and have watched them grow up (and it's not only the children of Mad Men who have done that).
Bert Cooper throughout the show has been a quirky patriarch. In the first season's original agency, Sterling Cooper, he was the mysterious other half of the firm's name, and a fatherly shadow behind Roger Sterling (John Slattery). Casting Morse at first seemed like a nod from Weiner to the actor's famous role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway in 1961 and in the 1967 movie — that famous representation of how to rise in business in New York City. But as the years went on, Morse's Bert stopped being a shoeless novelty.
He dies in this episode, but not before he once again affects the action. "Waterloo" was written by Carly Wray and Weiner, and directed by Weiner.