Don: We’ll go back to Disneyland. From what I remember, something amazing happened there.Megan: I made the biggest mistake of my life.
In last week’s review, I suggested that Megan Draper appeared to be doomed as her words were often drowned out by sirens, which I believed to be a foreshadowing of her murder by the end of this season, set in the particularly volatile year of 1968. A few days later, Grantland published an article about another conspiracy theory that was projecting Megan’s death, as she had been dressed to resemble Sharon Tate, a woman who was murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969, but after tonight’s episode, I am sure that many more people will be convinced about the dubious future of the current Mrs. Draper.
On a trip to California in late August 1968 – the episode is set at the time of the Democratic National Convention, when anti-war protestors in Chicago were met with what was described in the Walker Report as a “police riot” – Don falls into a swimming pool and has a dream/near-death experience in which he meets both Megan, who tells him she is pregnant, and PFC Dinkins, the officer whose lighter he had ended up with after drinking with him at a bar in the season premiere. Dinkins describes himself as being dead and tells Dick – who has shed his skin and tells a woman in this vision that Don is not his name – that he should see how he looks and Draper then stands over a swimming pool, witnessing his own body faced down in the water. Roger Sterling dives in and resuscitates Don, but the warning signs for Megan’s own well-being remain: that dream sequence; the quote referenced above, where she (jokingly) describes agreeing to marry Draper as the biggest mistake of her life; and her telling her husband to go for a swim since it always makes him feel better, when in fact it nearly results in his death.
In the final season of The Sopranos – on which Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner, worked – Tony is shot by his uncle and while in a coma, he sees himself in California, being called by another name (Kevin Finnerty) and there is foreshadowing of his eventual death at Holsten’s diner (spoiler alert, but some people still do not actually believe he was killed – which I guess means they never watched The Godfather) including him saying that dark spots on his brain are a “death sentence”. When he awakens, Tony believes he has been given a second chance and initially changes his ways, but this does not last and his those dark parts of his mind are not overcome, resulting in him being shot. In the same way, in Don’s dream sequence, Megan tells him that the pregnancy is a “second chance” and perhaps the message is that if he can change his philandering ways, there is a chance is wife will be saved, but all of the past behavior of Draper suggests this is very unlikely to happen. At the end of the episode, having not been back to his apartment upon his return from California, Don asks Dawn to get his wife on the phone – a strange line for the show to have put in there given that we never hear that conversation and perhaps one that predicts that some time soon, Draper will reach out to Megan, but it will be too late and she will be far beyond his reach.