Back in April, when Mad Men was primed to begin it’s penultimate season, the only question that lingered in my mind was “what will the first shot be?” Not the first shot of liquor, not the first shot one character took at another, but the first exposure of light, the first image of the year.
Matthew Weiner is known to signal things to come in his first image of a season, and this year was no different. The opening shot of season six was first-person chaos, a man gasping for breath, collapsed on the floor, presumably dying.
A light bulb flickered in my head. Only one possible explanation. The death of Don Draper.
Many have theorized where Mad Men’s true purpose lies. What story Weiner is trying to tell. One of the best has always been that, as much as the show is about the power of man (and specifically, the power of one man), in truth it’s about the rise of women. It’s more about Peggy than Don.
Evidence can be found in the show’s first 30 seconds. The opening credits depict a shadow, presumably Don, falling from a Madison Avenue skyscraper, backed by ominous music. It has been greatly thought upon that the drama’s title sequence is metaphorical, for the fall of Don, and perhaps for the fall of man in general.
Season six makes me wonder if this theory is too grandiose. Weiner, certainly, is no simpleton and we cannot assume that his message within Mad Men is void of complexity. But let’s look at it this way: who’s the one character that has, despite having superior clout over the show, been overlooked in the last half dozen years? Dick Whitman. Continue reading