If you watched New Business and thought it was a depressing episode, you weren’t alone.
The entire episode went to great lengths to show the audience how Don Draper’s two ex-wives are moving on without him.
Don’s first ex-wife, Betty, is doing well in her situation and even pursuing advanced education. This new, happy Betty, even though she wasn’t on screen for more than a few minutes, is stark contrast from what we’ve seen from her in the past.
The newly minted ex-wife, Megan, is bitter about the entire marriage and lashes out at Don.
Even his new interest, the waitress, introduced in Severance, was as emotionally damaged as Don.
New Business offered two other plot points. A freelance photographer plays both sides of the field and isn’t above sleeping with whomever to get her way. Roger Sterling and Marie Calvet, Megan’s mother, rekindle their relationship in Don’s empty apartment.
These two subplots didn’t get much air time. It felt like they were shoehorned in to give the audience a breather from all of Don’s emotional drama.
As depressing as this episode was, it needed to happen.
Up until this season, Don won at everything. Remarried after a divorce. Always had the perfect sales pitches. Fired, rehired, and eventual millionaire. Now, things aren’t going so well. His tactics aren’t working like they had. It’s clear he can’t understanding why he’s failing.
I’ve thought the opening credits, the black silhouette falling from a window, was how Mad Men is going to end. Based on New Business and Don’s failure to understand/grasp failure, I still believe that.