Last night’s episode of Mad Men, “The Chinese Wall,” totally set us up. But I don’t mean in a “bad blind date” kind of way: Historically speaking, Mad Men setup episodes lead to exciting season-ending climaxes.
Remember last season’s eleventh episode, “The Gypsy and the Hobo”? It's the one where Betty (January Jones) confronted Don (Jon Hamm) about his real identity and Joan (Christina Hendricks) learned that her husband was joining the army. The two episodes that followed involved big personal decisions for everyone: Betty divorced Don and married Henry, Joan opted to stay (unhappy) with her husband, and Don started a new chapter in his professional life. Meanwhile, the season-finale formation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce set up this season's office-centric focus.
As the new "eleventh episode," Sunday's “The Chinese Wall” also set up several big questions. Many of them fall within the “professional” realm:
... Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), like most of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's employees, has to consider where his company loyalties lie—but with a new baby, he’s also got to figure out how to support his growing family. Will he stay with the company or move to CGC?
... Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) has to decide if she’s had enough of Don's tutelage and the advertising industry altogether. Her new boyfriend is involved in politics—will 1960s activism whisk her away?
... Roger (John Slattery) must figure out how to keep the company afloat after losing its biggest client, Lucky Strike. Will Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce stay in business?
Of course, there are also plenty of "personal" questions to be addressed:
... Don seems to be hanging on to Faye (Cara Buono) for dear life, even though he slept with his new secretary, Megan. Will Dr. Miller become the next Mrs. Draper?
... Lane (Jared Harris) is currently back in London “getting his affairs in order,” but he’s also got a lovely new lady in New York. Will she become the next Mrs. Pryce?
... Joan shot down Roger’s relationship proposal yet again, but it just can’t be over between those two. I’m hoping she secretly kept the baby.
What did you think of the episode? And what do you think is in store for the final two episodes of the season?