Now, with only three episodes left in the series, Don is free to explore in next week's antepenultimate episode, "Lost Horizon," his own private paradise free of the shallowness and hypocrisy from which he's been becoming alienated. (
It was 2007 when Don Draper, figuratively depicted in the show's elegant opening titles, began his long fall through the 1960s, passing through the best of the materialist America he helps spin into being on his way to ... what?
Fortunately, Woodstock is still a long ways off. And the Summer of Love is, too (along with San Francisco), though it's just over a year away in the Mad Men universe. But the rumblings of change -- in this case racial change and generational change -- are getting much louder.
There's a lot about the New York trod by the real Mad Men back in 1966 -- the year in which we assume season five will be set -- that would send even die-hard Mad Men retroheads scurrying back to 2012.
Mad Men is, sadly, off the air till the summer. But it is definitely on a roll. Earlier in January, it won as best dramatic series at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Producers Guild, among others.
There are a number of ways to view Mad Men. For my own part, I can take it as a period piece, a sort of time capsule of the early '60s, at once relatively close yet far enough away to be intriguing for its unfamiliarity.