Then again, I'm also somewhat resistant to efforts to tie things up with a big bow, like the appearance of a potential new partner for Joan, a debonair silver fox played by Bruce Greenwood. Here’s another man-child in an episode filled with talk of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, of trips to Playland and the World’s Fair. He’s drawn to Joan, of course, and why wouldn’t he be—she’s a beautiful millionaire ad exec making a cross-coast visit to Los Angeles. But when he learned she’s divorced with a kid, that didn’t conform to his vision for himself frolicking around well into his old age. Again, he seemed to make the mature decision—similar to Betty rebuffing Glen—but there was a hint of melancholy there on both their parts.
Back to Glen, then, whose goodbye hustled in a reminder that the Vietnam War is ongoing, and is robbing his generation of the innocence they were promised in the 50s and early 60s. It’s an important reminder, for sure, and we had that episode with Betty’s war objections in a previous season, but why then tie it into some sad final plea of sexual fascination from Glen? Most of his appearances in recent years have tied him to Sally, not her mother, and it uncomfortably brought his character full circle to his first creepy appearance rather than his later, more human arc. It’s hardly surprising that the show is calling back to its earliest days in an effort to tie everything up, but I wish it would happen more gracefully.
Cruz: As you both noted, how apt that a final-season episode titled "The Forecast" riffed on the murkiness of tomorrow! "What do you want to be when you grow up?" seemed like the dominant line of inquiry for Don, who appeared to be out of ideas for his own future. His house no longer belongs to him, Diana has vanished, his clout at work has diminished, and no one feels bad about telling him how much of a loser he is. Meanwhile, Peggy wants to be the first female creative director of the agency, Sally's friends want to be translators and senators, Ted wants to land a pharmaceutical account, and Joan finally has the job she always dreamed of.
It's unclear what kind of an answer Don hoped he'd get from Peggy. Tired of being quietly scoffed at (or maybe she was reading her own insecurities into his responses), she snapped, "This is supposed to be about my job, not about the meaning of life." Everyone else is happy to find fulfillment in their careers, much like Don did for years, but now that it no longer holds the same promise for him, he's back to soul-searching.
While I didn't love the way Glen's side-burned reentry played out (it's easier to tolerate a creepy kid when that kid is 8, not 18), I appreciated the callback to Don's own reasons for joining the Army. In short: as a means of escape and the chance to make something of himself, whatever that might be. And there was a pathetic kind of purity to his entire exchange with Betty. Here's a kid pretending to be bigger and stronger and braver than the confused college dropout afraid to go to war he actually is. In this entire episode we saw adults playing at being children, children playing at being adults. (If viewers didn't catch the whole perversion of childhood theme, the scene of Betty throwing the toy gun into the trash should've clarified things.) In addition, there was Lou slacking off in Los Angeles with his Hanna-Barbera comic, teenagers drinking beers and smoking, and Joan's new beau wanting to run off to Europe just like his kid.