It’s not a sign of deep, piercing insight to say the ep had a haunted feel, when it took place in an abandoned office with spooky organ music and contained an actual ghost. What are we to make of Bert showing up for some road-trip wisdom? Nothing. Who knew they had an organ at SCP? Why did they have an organ? Doesn’t matter. Why did Peggy have roller-skates in her office? Who believes she could glide on one foot while hammered from vermouth, of all things?
Don’s heading for St. Paul after a fruitless search for Misery Lady, and the show ends with a shaggy fully-laden hitchhiker getting in the car. Cue internet speculation: he’ll end up living in St. Paul with a new identity! He’l end up stripped in the ditch, his car gone along with his memory! Or he’ll just show up in the office next episode; like everything else, the consequences he suffers are rarely immediate.
You wonder why Don Draper doesn’t care about a job that requires so little of him. All he has to do is show up and look sharp, shake hands, and perform a brief presentation once or twice a year. But when he filed into the Miller Beer conference, you’d think he’d spotted gas nozzles on the ceiling. Perhaps it's the money; when you have enough, the number of things you have to endure or want to endure diminishes. Your attention wanders and you see the plane contrails outside the window, and wish you were elsewhere. Why wait? Go.
On the other hand, Miller was launching a new brand. Would it have killed Don to sit there for an hour? Will he get in trouble for leaving early? Why do we care?
Because it’s TV and we want happy endings, I suppose. We want the characters to pay us what they owe, and having watched them for seven seasons we’re owed a bow around the package. We won’t get it.
(BTW, McCann did have the Miller Lite campaign, and produced what advertising historians call the 8th greatest slogan in human history: “Tastes Great. Less Filling.” It gets the point across, I suppose, but it sounds like the sort of thing that would come from a committee, which is what we saw last night. There’s no aspiration, no mystique. The 80s slogan was more Draperesque: “Everything you've always wanted in a beer. And less.”)
Anyway. I’m waiting for the McCann press release to insist that, well, er, no, we didn’t act like that in 1970, and besides that guy was fired. It does seem to stretch the freedoms of fiction when you have real companies. But I’m sure legal signed off on it.
Also, nice domestic moment with Don and Betty; in retrospect it felt like a goodbye, even if he didn’t know that’s what he really meant.
Off to St. Paul to the sound of “A Space Oddity,” where Don gets out of the capsule and is never heard from again. Or just shows up in the office again and spreads out on the sofa and stares at the ceiling. Either works and neither would be unexpected.
One last thing. The title of the show was “Lost Horizon.” Which would make St. Paul Shangri-la?