The beginning of the end: Best ‘Mad Men’ reads from around the web

Each year, AMC’s “Mad Men” provokes some of the best television criticism there is as the internet tries to break down the show’s many subtle style notes and troubled characters. As the show sets out on the last leg of its final season, even more have chimed in, offering their take on the television show’s significance and lasting legacy. To help you catch up, we’ve gathered some of the most thoughtful and most entertaining reads from around the web.

Beware, for spoilers are ahead.

(Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)
(Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

• “Mad Men” is often praised for its clever use of music (see “10 ‘Mad Men’ Musical Moments That Will Take You On An Emotional Roller Coaster”). The centerpiece for many of today’s episode recaps of last night’s premiere is the use of Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” By underscoring Don’s increasingly empty life at the episode’s beginning and end, the melancholy song may have laid more groundwork for the rest of the season than the largely action-lacking episode.

• Today, Matthew Weiner explained more of the premiere — including the decision to bring back Rachel Menken — in an interview with Vulture. He did not, however, give any clues as to what any of the other characters (Megan? Michael Ginsberg? Peggy’s baby?! ) may be up to this season. Betty and Sally were also lacking from the episode, probably because their mother-daughter arguments would have fallen flat in the face of the epic feud between Joan and Peggy.

• “Mad Men” is also an ode to ’60s pop culture, which the New York Times took the time to illustrate last week in an artifact-by-artifact interactive. Last night’s jump to the 1970s jolted many and prompted a declaration by GQ of the “Mad Men Mustache Wars.” Others continue to track the show its fashion moments and the receding hairlines of some of the characters (cough, Pete Campbell, cough).

• Executive producer and nine-time director Scott Hornbacher has already alluded to a controversial ending. But let’s be honest — with so many critics, a hotly debated finale is inevitable.

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