Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC
You simply can't miss the death imagery in Mad Men this season. Public figures like Martin Luther King are losing their lives. TV sets are filled with images of cops beating down rioters. Sirens scream in the background scenes of New York City, where a tide of violent crime is rising fast. Twice already, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has hit the floor after a booze-fueled fainting spell ...
And once, after a drug hallucination (in which he talked to a dead acquaintance), he ended up face down in a pool ...
What does it all mean? Bring on the conspiracy theories, uber-fans with too much time on your hands! There are, after all, only two episodes left in the season. Surely the June 23rd season finale will culminate in the death of a major character? Entertainment Weekly thinks so -- they even compiled a list of the 'Mad Men' we most likely won't see in Season 7.
The fan theory with the most traction -- Megan's (Jessica Pare) dead, or about to be -- is actually fairly convincing. A few episodes back, she appeared in a T-shirt similar to one Sharon Tate wore in a 1967 Esquire photo. Of course, Tate soon went down in '60s-era infamy when followers of Charles Manson murdered her in 1969.
Why would creator Matthew Weiner dress her in that T-shirt? "No coincidence!" tweeted Mad Men's costume designer Janie Bryant, after the episode aired.
The notoriously tight-lipped Weiner isn't helping with his comments to TV Guide: "It's just a coincidence," he says. "I've wanted Megan in a real T-shirt [from the era] for a couple of seasons."
In a season that's been exploring the deteriorating civility of the late '60s, the Sharon Tate shirt could just be yet another variation on that theme. Remember that in another recent episode, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) accidentally stabbed her boyfriend. Fans haven't loaded that moment with any extra significance.
Fact is, Mad Men is so full of red herrings and possibly momentous symbolism, it's hard to know which leads to follow. Last season, all signs seemed to point to a Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) suicide. But in the end, it was Lane (Jared Harris) who took his own life. This season, Megan's death may seem imminent, but Weiner might simply be throwing us off the trail. "There's a lot of death on this show, and sometimes the audience mistakes symbolism," Weiner told TV Guide. "I hope the audience finds our finale intriguing and emotional."
After Sunday night's episode, maybe poor Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) should be the one we're all worried about. Hasn't this child had to witness enough grown-up bad behavior to last a lifetime?
Us, too, Sally. Us, too.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.