Recap of Mad Men Season 7 Episode 10, “The Forecast” (original air date April 19, 2015): When Roger assigns Don the task of writing a vision statement on the future of Sterling Cooper for Roger to deliver at an upcoming retreat with other division presidents of McCann, we learn the theme of “The Forecast”: What’s your vision of the future? Reasonable hopes and dreams, Roger advises: “It doesn’t have to be science fiction.”
Joan’s in Los Angeles. Why? No matter — it’s all just an excuse for Joan to meet Mr. Too Convenient to Be True, who walks into the wrong business suite and is taken by Joan’s charms. A night bedding Richard reveals a potential love connection – which is threatened when he shows up in New York. They meet for dinner and seem headed for his hotel until she checks her watch and Richard asks for an explanation. Joan fesses up about Kevin, then calls to negotiate a later end to the evening with the sitter. But Kevin is a deal breaker for Richard, an empty nester, so Joan leaves. Later he brings Joan flowers and asks for a second chance. Is a happily ever after in the offing, or is Joan a creep magnet? Stay tuned …
Pete is at odds with Peggy and her creative team over the campaign for Peter Pan peanut butter’s spin-off product, the Tinkerbell cookie. Despite Don weighing in on the better campaign, the disagreement culminates with a creative-team argument during the client presentation. Pete wants Mathis, the most unlikely of f-bombers, fired; Peggy disagrees and Don backs her.
Mathis seeks Don’s advice on seeing this client again. Don advises against a direct apology and shares an anecdote about his own gaffe with Lucky Strike in the early days, then suggests Mathis try something clever. Instead, Mathis uses Don’s Lucky Strike line and offends the client. Don tells Mathis he failed because he has a foul mouth and no character. Mathis bites back: “You don’t have any character, you’re just handsome. Stop kidding yourself!”
The realtor selling Don’s apartment arrives for an appointment with a prospective buyer to find stains on the carpet, Don still in bed and patio furniture in the living room. She shoos him out before the prospects arrive. When they don’t bite, the realtor isn’t swayed by Don’s sales advice. The emptiness is a problem, she says (I see what she did there!), the apartment reeks of failure. It “looks like a sad person lives here,” she says, but Don “has a good feeling about things.”
Sally Draper is headed off on a class trip through the original colonies. Betty’s expectations for Sally’s trip are surprisingly realistic and Sally is baiting her, so we’re in Betty’s corner – until Glen Bishop shows up. Twice. First he announces that he’s joined the army. Betty is caught off guard, not recognizing him at first, but Sally notes the oddly charged dynamic between Betty and Glen. Betty offers Glen drinks along with the expected assurances and patriotic appreciation. Sally is furious with Glen for enlisting when he’s against the war. Later, Glen returns to put the moves on Betty. She rebuffs him, sort of, and he admits that he flunked out of college and enlisted to avoid trouble with his step-father. Betty assures him that he’ll make it. Later, she takes away Bobby’s toy machine gun and throws it in the trash.
Don is grasping at straws, having Meredith pull the 1963 press release announcing SCDP and asking her favorite thing at the recent World’s Fair, even picking Ted’s brain for what’s next, what the future will bring. Don draws Ted out, discovering that his big dream is to land a pharmaceutical account. Don can’t quite believe that bigger accounts are anyone’s greatest desire. Now that their existence is assured (thanks to the McCann deal), the future could be anything, Ted suggests. A stymied Don tries dictating “four score and seven years ago,” but trails off. “It’s supposed to get better,” he muses. Then Peggy arrives in his office demanding a performance review. Instead of reviewing her, he presses her to reveal her dreams, then seems to discount them. When Don asks what she wants, Peggy replies, “Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so I can shit on them.” Boom!
Don takes Sally and her friends to dinner ahead of the bus trip. One of Sally’s friends flirts shamelessly with Don who, to Sally’s horror, flirts back. The “what you want to be when you grow up” question makes the rounds of the table. Senator, translator. The flirt just wants to live in NYC. Don advises an irritated Sally to write down what she wants to be “because when you get older, you’re going to forget.” At the Greyhound station, Sally busts him for flirting with her friend and says she wants to be nothing like either of her parents. Don insists she is like both of them, but it’s up to her to be more than that.
Don returns to the apartment as the realtor makes the sale. “Now we have to find a place for you,” she says. Don stands in the entry to the penthouse looking at it as if for the first time and Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” begins. Don seems oddly hopeful – or is he just bewildered? – but that song could drive anyone to the nearest ledge.