Finally! Don Draper is confronted with the reality that he cannot get away with anything his smooth-talking heart desires.
Of course there have been times in past seasons of Mad Men where we've seen Don fail. In a sweaty state of anxiety, he's been confronted with many demons whether it be PTSD from the war or memories of his disturbing childhood growing up in a whore house. But he's always prevailed because he's Don Draper and no one can touch him.
Evidently a huge part of his unparalleled supremacy was because he was a Madison Avenue ad man. Take that away and there is clearly some diminished self-worth.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not rooting for Don to fail. I love that he's always been so untouchable. His confidence and sharp intellect exudes sexiness and power like no other current television character. I just think he needed a reality check.
Back in season three when Betty finally caught on to his constant infidelity and mustered the courage to divorce his cheating ass, I thought, "Yes! Don will finally have some regret about his transgressions and be forced to pay for his bad behavior." Not to say he didn't feel any remorse, but once the divorce dust had settled he was shacked up with a new, young, hot wife within a matter of months while Betty (albeit remarried herself) slowly slipped into a stage of overbearing, overweight, insanity. She ends up looking like the fool once again even though she had been taken advantage of for years.
Don has suffered in his life and I realize his lying and cheating are a manifestation of his troubled past, but his arrogance had started to become repugnant. Even after seeing Megan (his wife) in LA, he's right back to his old antics on the plane ride home, flirting with the attractive woman in the seat next to him.
He doesn't go through with it though, and his fabricated excuse for avoiding the rendezvous is that he "needs to get back to work." It is clear he feels less confident, perhaps even less of a man, without his high-power job at SC&P.
I don't want to see a final season of Mad Men that follows a withering Don Draper slipping into madness and becoming a hollow shell of what he used to be. But he did need to be taken down a peg and I'm glad it's finally happening.