TIME Television

Netflix Finds Its Daredevil: Charlie Cox from Boardwalk Empire

"Hello Carter" - Red Carpet Arrivals: 57th BFI London Film Festival
Charlie Cox attends a screening of "Hello Carter" during the 57th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon West End on Oct. 12, 2013 in London. Eamonn M. McCormack—Getty Images

The British actor, who starred opposite Claire Danes in the 2007 film Stardust, will play the masked superhero last embodied on screen by Ben Affleck

Former Boardwalk Empire actor Charlie Cox will play Matt Murdock — better known as the blind superhero Daredevil from Marvel — in the upcoming 13-episode Netflix drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Cox’s good news comes after a shake-up on the production: Over the weekend, showrunner Drew Goddard (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost) left his post and was replaced by Steven S. DeKnight, though he will remain an executive producer as he reportedly focuses on the Sinister Six spin-off from The Amazing Spider-Man.

Daredevil is one of four solo Marvel superhero properties the streaming service will serialize. Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage will then team up and join him for the Netflix miniseries The Defenders, Variety reports.

Netflix and Marvel declined to comment to THR about the rumor, which was first reported by Latino Review.

[THR]

TIME Television

HBO’s The Normal Heart Pulls in 1.4 Million Viewers

The project from Glee's Ryan Murphy is now the fifth-biggest debut of all HBO movies since 2010

HBO’s The Normal Heart brought in 1.4 million viewers on Sunday night, making it the fifth-biggest debut of the 17 films HBO has created since 2010, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Glee creator Ryan Murphy directed the adaptation of Larry Kramer’s award-winning 1985 play, which followed the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City and starred Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and Julia Roberts.

Just under 1 million people watched the first screening at 9 p.m., while more than 400,000 viewers tuned in for a second broadcast later that night. The total audience for the film is expected to spike once time-shifted viewings and HBO Go users are factored in.

While the numbers aren’t bad for the film, the showing pales in comparison to Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic sequel, which premiered with 3.4 million viewers the following night.

Watch TIME’s interview with Kitsch above.

[THR]

TIME Television

TV Critics Nominate Their Best Shows of the Season

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans, True Detective and The Good Wife have strong showings as the TCA sets its shortlist.

The Television Critics Association–of which your humble critic is a member–has released its list of nominees for the 2013–14 TCA Awards, the winners of which will be named at a ceremony in July.

A few words about the process: Each critic nominates up to two entries in each category. The top vote getters make up the nominees, among whom we each vote again to pick a winner. The eligibility period is May 15 to May 15. Personally, I voted for some of these nominees and not others (and to be totally honest, I do not recall my precise votes in a few categories). On the one hand, I was glad to see The Americans and Orange Is the New Black recognized (as well as The Returned, probably the one show I most regret not putting on my best-of list last year). On the other, I would have liked to see more variety in the reality/nonfiction categories (I was pushing for Time of Death and Friday Night Tykes). And I have to wonder whether the half-season of Mad Men might have had a better showing, had the excellent final two episodes aired before the voting cutoff.

Anyway, this is your chance to lobby the critics of the world before the last round of voting. Here are the nominees, and have at it!

Individual Achievement in Comedy

Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX) [2013 winner in category]

Mindy Kaling, “The Mindy Project” (Fox)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

 

Individual Achievement in Drama

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” (BBC America) [2013 winner in category]

Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” (HBO)

Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” (FX)

 

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information

“CBS Sunday Morning” (CBS)

“Cosmos” (Fox)

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)

“Frontline” (PBS)

“60 Minutes” (CBS)

 

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming

“The Amazing Race” (CBS)

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Logo)
“Shark Tank” (ABC) [2013 winner in category]

“Survivor” (CBS)

“The Voice” (NBC)

 

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming

“Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network)

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” (PBS)

“The Fosters” (ABC Family)

“Sesame Street” (PBS)

“Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)

 

Outstanding New Program

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)

“Fargo” (FX)

“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

“Sleepy Hollow” (Fox)

“True Detective” (HBO)

 

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials

“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

“Broadchurch” (BBC America)

“Fargo” (FX)

“The Returned” (SundanceTV)

“True Detective” (HBO)

 

Outstanding Achievement in Drama

“The Americans” (FX)

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO) [2013 winner in category]

“House of Cards” (Netflix)

“The Good Wife” (CBS)

 

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) [2013 winner in category – tied with “Parks and Recreation”]

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)

“Louie” (FX)

“The Mindy Project” (Fox)

“Veep” (HBO)

 

Career Achievement Award

Mark Burnett

James Burrows

Valerie Harper

Jay Leno

William Shatner

 

Heritage Award

“Lost” (ABC)

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“South Park” (Comedy Central)

“Star Trek” (NBC)

“Twin Peaks” (ABC)

 

Program of the Year

“Breaking Bad” (AMC) [2013 winner in category]

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“The Good Wife” (CBS)

“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

“True Detective” (HBO)

TIME Television

True Detective Season 2 Will Have Three Leads

Lacey Terrell—HBO

Twitter erupted with new #TrueDetectiveSeason2 casting suggestions after writer-producer Nic Pizzolatto revealed that the HBO show's sophomore season would feature three main characters

In case you’ve been away from your Twitter, you’ll be surprised to learn that there is a whole new round of speculation regarding casting choices for season two of HBO’s True Detective.

Fans earlier created a #TrueDetectiveSeason2 hashtag for casting suggestions, assuming that the crime drama would again revolve around two leads, as it did last season with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

But writer-producer Nic Pizzolatto told public radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge on Tuesday that: “Right now, we’re working with three leads. It takes place in California — not Los Angeles, but some of the much lesser known venues of California — and we’re going to try to capture a certain psychosphere ambiance of the place, much like we did in season one,” he said.

Three leads. Three! That leaves so much more room for postulating.

A #TrueDetectiveSeason2 hashtag is currently trending on Twitter that is full of incredible casting suggestions. Here are our favorites:

And in case you didn’t have enough of ‘em this weekend:

Please, God, no.

TIME Television

Could Mad Men Actually Have a Happy–or At Least Hopeful–Ending?

Justina Mintz/AMC

The exquisite end of this half-season finds the show doing something different for a serious antihero drama: having the protagonist realize it's not all about him.

Spoilers for season 7 of Mad Men to date follow:

With “Waterloo,” Mad Men has soft-shoed off with Bert Cooper to hiatus–albeit a less permanent one for the show than for him–so that we’ll have to wait another year to find out where, and when, the story goes. But it seems time we begin bracing ourselves for a shocking possibility:

Mad Men may have a happy ending.

Well, if not a happy one, then a hopeful one. A lot of Mad Men viewers–and I’ve been among them–have seen the show as being much like The Sopranos (which Matthew Weiner wrote for) in its view of human nature: People don’t change. And certainly not for the better. Characters would repeat their patterns: Don running away from his problems, Betty lashing out in pettiness, Pete being a heel. They might make a show of changing, but–as with Don’s “quitting tobacco”–it would be a marketing gesture out of self-interest. They might make genuine efforts, but they return to some psychological set points. They might deceive themselves that they had had epiphanies, not unlike Tony Soprano doing peyote in the desert (in “Kennedy and Heidi,” an episode Weiner wrote). But people, as Dr. Faye once told us, were types, even if they didn’t like to hear it, and they would revert to type–Don Draper above all.

And yet–could it be?–the first seven episodes of the final season seemed, in what amounts to a stunning twist for a Serious Cable Drama, to show characters actually changing. For the better, even. Maturing. Learning.

It wasn’t only Don, though we might as well start with him. The half-season ended with a “win” for him on the job front, in that he saved his place with the firm he started. But the closing fantasy number, “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” suggests that that success in itself wasn’t a triumph. It was nice; it felt good. But keeping his office, and getting millions for his partnership, is not going to be the thing that saves Don.

What’s more significant in these seven episodes is how Don goes about turning around his life, which is, largely, by not “being Don Draper” as we’ve come to know that. On the one hand, the Don Draper we know is a man who’s dealt with problems by escaping, geographically (California’s right there! He could go any time!), or emotionally, or into a bottle. Mad Men could have shown us that and played him true to character. On the other hand, he’s had a history–especially when it comes to business–of pulling out genius moves at the last minute, be it an ad pitch or the coup that led to the founding of his own agency. Mad Men could have given us that and satisfied the itch of the antihero audience to see another brilliant Difficult Man prove his exceptionalism by taking his destiny (and everyone else’s) into his hands and emerging victorious.

Don Draper and Mad Men did neither of those things this season-to-date. Instead, the show did something unusual for its genre in having its antagonist succeed by acting internally rather than externally–by stepping back, listening to others, giving agency and control to the people around him.

It’s by no means been an easy or 100% successful process for him: see the season premiere, in which he imposed his perspective on Megan’s new life in L.A. in the form of a massive, unasked-for TV set. Nor has he been able to resist trying to pull the dramatic Don move, as when he barged into the Commander Cigarettes meeting in an attempt to outmaneuver Jim Cutler and Lou Avery. But in the end, what worked for him was something we truly have not seen from him before on a sustained basis–indeed, something we rarely see in antihero-driven drama: humility, reflectiveness, even, in a good way, passiveness.

The season begins with Don having to adjust to not being at center stage: it literally opens with a tight focus on Freddy Rumsen, in the Don position, delivering what we later learn is Don’s sales pitch. In a way, it’s another strategy–he’s basically warging Freddy Rumsen to stay in the picture. But it’s a first step. He’s adjusting to the idea that he may not always be in the spotlight, or need to be. Slowly, and again, not without a hitch: after he gets back to the office, he throws a silverback tantrum at the idea of being assigned to deliver tag lines to Peggy. But it’s through acclimating, knuckling down, doing the work, silencing his ego, that he begins to find his way back.

Maybe not all the way, but enough that, by the remarkable sixth episode “The Strategy,” we can see that his willingness to give authority to Peggy is not merely, well, a strategy. (She first suspects it might be, and who can blame her?) It’s a recognition that things have changed, that she has changed too, that she’s earned the responsibility, risk, and credit. In the gorgeous, holy Burger Chef tableau that closes “The Strategy,” he’s just one more mouth on the table, one more member of the team. And at the same time we see how Peggy’s grown: fitfully, she’s developed a kind of authority and confidence that comes not from being “the next Don” but from learning to work–and manage, and dream–like herself.

Likewise, the last bit of derring-do that upends Cutler’s plan to eject Don (and maybe much of the rest of the company) is not a Don Draper Hail Mary but Roger’s plan, and one that demonstrates his own personal progress. Roger’s arrested development has been a theme played subtly for a long time in Mad Men–it’s not just that he’s an older man hanging on to youth (through youthful women, for instance) but that, as his mother’s funeral last season suggested, he still sees himself as a little boy. His last conversation with Bert gets at this, as his partner tells Roger that after all this time, he doesn’t see him as a leader. Even Roger’s business coups in the past have often had the feel of college-boy hijinks, cajoling business secrets out of liquored-up execs on airplanes, for instance. His sale of the agency to McCann, on the other hand, is big-picture thinking, and a plan that doesn’t just protect his buddy but enriches each of his partners. And Don’s role in this is–to let him do it. He provides an assist, talking Ted off the career ledge (and maybe an existential one), but he doesn’t impose himself on the story.

Nor does he at the end of his marriage, which takes place quietly, sadly, calmly, in what may be the most mature joint action he and Megan have taken as a couple. There’s no talk of fault; it’s two people realizing that they are in different places between which there is no air route. He doesn’t make a grand gesture in an attempt to fix anything. “You don’t owe me anything,” she says when he offers her his help, and what he does give her in the moment isn’t material–it’s the recognition that what’s happening is not only about him.

Mad Men has a large ensemble, and you can make valid arguments that other characters are more important or interesting, but at least in terms of narrative structure, Don Draper is still the show’s protagonist. But this half-season has been a recognition of what many of us take a lifetime to learn: that everyone is the protagonist of his or her own story. And while Mad Men hasn’t always done well with huge historical moments (e.g., the JFK assassination), the moon landing ends up perfectly suited to this theme. It’s a collective achievement, collectively shared. Neil Armstrong may have been the “protagonist” of that event, but he didn’t put himself on the moon. The moon, as the song says, belongs to everyone. “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”: with everyone, working together, letting each other be their best, he’s just one guy stepping off a ladder.

So too with Don; at every major juncture of this half-season, he contributes best by letting someone else be the star. This is an unusual step in the recent history of highly individualistic TV dramas. Walter White went out guns blazing, executing his singular plan; Tony Soprano fought his last battle as many of his soldiers were cut down around him; even the highly community-focused Lost ended on Jack’s self-sacrifice. But in this stretch of Mad Men, especially the remarkable last two episodes, Don Draper grew by allowing himself to recede, and he gave others the space to grow around him.

Of course, this isn’t the end. Seven more episodes is more than enough time for terrible things to happen. Matt Weiner has said that he constructs the second halves of his seasons as answers to the first, so we may see next year that none of this sticks, or that what seemed like triumph could end up being a terrible mistake. But so far it’s striking to see a drama like Mad Men, so conscious of how history repeats, to suggest something more hopeful about human nature, the capacity to grow, to mature, to see beyond ourselves. If we can put a man on the moon, maybe we can do anything.

TIME Television

Mad Men Creator Explains Sunday’s Mid-Season Finale

The creator of the acclaimed AMC drama opened up about the show's future and Sunday's mid-season finale in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter

If you’re still trying to make sense of all that happened this season on Mad Men, creator Matthew Weiner finally has a few answers for you. After Sunday’s mid-season finale — Mad Men returns for its final seven episodes in 2015 — Weiner spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about writing the last episodes, the evolution of his characters and what really went on with Ginsberg.

The full interview is worth a read, but here are the most enlightening excerpts:

On hallucinations: “I don’t want to do it all the time, but it is the language of the show. It’s as old as the flashback … For me, I’m a person who frequently sees things that aren’t there. I don’t know if they’re as elaborate as that, but I don’t question the reality of the emotion.”

On Bert Cooper’s musical send-off: “I never thought it would happen, actually. I know who [Robert Morse] is. I knew who he was when I hired him. It’s part of why I hired him. We were really dodging it the first two seasons, in our fictional 1961 and 1962, because Robert was a gigantic star on Broadway at the time.”

On how Don Draper has changed: “You’re surprised and worried about whether he can stick it out and not self-destruct, not drink his way out of it, embarrass everyone or be selfish … Peggy earned her real confidence, because it wasn’t given to her, and Don behaved with — I wouldn’t call it maturity — integrity on a pretty large scale.”

On Ginsberg: “He’s a delusional schizophrenic. That’s not a disease that’s a cause and effect disease. I don’t know how much we know about it, but there are triggers and anyone who has been paying attention to the story can see that he’s been wrestling with that.”

On the series finale: “I’m in the office today finishing the series finale. I start directing episode thirteen, the second to last, next week. It’s pretty heavy stuff.”

[THR]

TIME celebrities

David Schwimmer Helps New York Police Solve a Crime

Michigan Avenue Magazine Celebrates Cover Star David Schwimmer With Russian Standard Vodka At The Dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar
David Schwimmer attends Michigan Avenue Magazine Celebrates Cover Star David Schwimmer With Russian Standard Vodka At The Dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar on May 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Jeff Schear--2013 Getty Images

The "Friends" actor saved the day when he brought forward video surveillance footage that captured an assault that took place across the street from his East Village home

Let’s hear it for Ross Geller! Actor David Schwimmer, who played Ross in Friends, provided New York police with key evidence in an assault that took place early Monday morning.

Three men got into an altercation that turned violent in a first-floor apartment in New York’s East Village neighborhood, the New York Post reports. The fight eventually spilled into the apartment’s hallway before the men smashed through a glass door in the building’s lobby. Police arrived on the scene and though one man ran away, another was taken to the hospital with stab wounds to the face and a third man was arrested.

The police “had only the two men’s accounts of who did what to whom,” the Post reports, until they noticed a nearby surveillance camera on Schwimmer’s property, located next to the crime scene. Schwimmer reportedly invited the police right into his home to view the assault captured on his security camera. The police then “left with a tape that might be used in court.”

[New York Post]

TIME relationships

Dating Lessons Learned from Watching This Week’s Bachelorette with my Dad

ABC's "The Bachelorette" - Season 10
Fourteen men join Andi at a hip Hollywood nightclub, but they are in for a big surprise when they are met by members of a popular male exotic revue. Rick Rowell—ABC/Getty Images

"At this point, the only dating advice I have is don't"

Bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s dad has played a prominent role (if not roadblock) in her journey to love. So if he could crash a Bachelorette event — Andi’s People blog said he made a “surprise” flight to LA to suss out the guys at the first rose ceremony, which producers criminally edited out — then I figured that it was appropriate for my dad to crash my weekly, cheap white wine fueled Bachelorette watch and impart his words of wisdom:

Please date someone with a real job
My dad didn’t enter this week’s episode with high expectations. “This is a high powered DA and she got rid of the ER doctor and the lawyer in the first round?” he asked. “Is it just me or are some of these guys doofuses?” In Andi’s defense, the doctor used a pickup line that was almost as awkward as his haircut. In my dad’s defense, she kept a guy who says he’s a “Pantsapreneur” for a living and a professional hairstylist (pictured) who appears to be on the verge of a mullet.

ABC

When on dates, it’s good to have actual conversations
Eric Hill tragically died last month in a paragliding accident — and watching his one-on-one date with Andi was heartbreaking. The explorer, whose goal was to visit every country in the world, was curious, kind, and eloquent. While most suitors only initially have amorphous conversations about love-everlasting and how great it is that their grandparents still hold hands, Hill engaged in a deep and socially relevant conversation about the Syrian uprising. Conversations about current affairs are almost unheard of on the show. Dad’s conclusion: “You won’t get any snarky quotes about this guy from me.”

If I ever make guys put on a strip show for me on a first date — even if it’s for charity — I’m grounded
“This is a way to make a perfectly nice man look like an asshole.” And a perfectly gross man look like even more of an asshole.


Later in the group date, when a drunk suitor jumped into a pool with with his clothes on — and when given the opportunity to ask Andi anything went with “What’s the worst thing about your parents?” (huh?) — my dad shifted his counsel to a more sweeping: “At this point, the only dating advice I have is don’t.” Noted.

“Don’t kiss anyone until you’ve had a coherent conversation with him first”
Former professional baseball player Josh assured Andi that he wasn’t your stereotypical former pro-athlete. Unfortunately, he never clarified what he actually was — apart from reassuringly telling her he hasn’t had a girlfriend in five years (umm, was it because you were only hooking up with and then ghosting ladies?) We have no idea what Josh’s second conversation with Andi was about, as it mostly involved rapid fire, unblinking, breathless ramblings that made us wonder if he was a) really nervous or b) if producers were giving out more than just booze behind the scenes.

Never discount a man with a bow tie.
Bow ties were worn both by the clearly planted old man who spontaneously told Andi that he and his wife still love each other after 100 years of marriage, and Chris, the Iowa farmer who’s so sweet he says “darnit” to swear:

ABC's "The Bachelorette" - Season 10
Chris the farmer in a bowtie

While dad warns Chris might be “a little too smooth, I want to check his farmer bona fides,” he approves of his accessorizing. “That’s how we did it in the 70’s”:

Rick Stampler
TIME Television

RECAP: The Bachelorette Watch: Dating, Magic Mike–Style

HOLLYWOOD MEN
A male exotic revue greets the Bachelorette group with a racy performance that leaves everyone stunned. Andi reveals that this date is a special event for the charity Bachelor Gives Back Rick Rowell—ABC

Sadly, neither Channing Tatum nor Matthew McConaughey were in attendance during an episode featuring a date inspired by Magic Mike

Welcome back to The Bachelorette, where Andi’s personal journey to find love plays out publicly each Monday night for our entertainment. Last week, Andi winnowed her crop from 25 studs down to 19 or so stallions all looking for love.

Here’s what happened on The Bachelorette:

Bachelorette milestone: To kick off tonight’s episode, Andi said the H word. No, not “horse-faced” even though that would be apt for at least a few of the contestants. Instead, Andi said “husband,” because she believes her future spouse could be gelling his ‘do, trimming his ear hair and flexing his pecs in a mirror in the rented mansion right now.

First-date card: For the first one-on-one date of the season — the stepping stone to finding lasting love or at least 22 more one-on-one dates, a few nights in a fantasy suite and a Neil Lane diamond ring — Andi chose to go with Eric Hill, naturally. Attracted to his joie de vivre and adventurous spirit, she selected the man who passed away from injuries incurred during a paragliding accident in the weeks after he left the show. He spends the date laughing, building sandcastles and talking about their potential and his future. It’s depressing.

New drinking game: The rules of this season’s Bachelorette drinking game are simple: whenever Eric appears on screen, smiling, laughing, opining about life and love, drink. Drink not only because drinking games are fun, but because Eric’s ghostly presence on this show is depressing and dark and makes you question life while watching escapist television.

Bachelorette milestone: Helicopter date! After romping at the beach, Andi and Eric hop in a helicopter and are flown to the top of Bear Mountain, where they continue their romping, but now in snow in their bathing suits.

Best post-Olympic career move: Snowboarder Louie Vito apparently knows the path to fame and fortune: teach Bachelorette contests how to snowboard. Next stop: Dancing With the Stars!

First rose: If you’re wondering what kind of adventurer Eric is, he sneaked across the border into Syria. He tells Andi the tale of being almost taken prisoner and mistaken for a spy. He texted his parents and said goodbye. (Drink.) Tells her how he would give it all up for a family, because he really wants kids. (Drink.) Andi hands him a rose ensuring our drinking game will continue for another week. He mentions that Andi could be his future wife. (Drink.)

Group date: As an escapist chaser to that heartbreaking opener came a group date built out of the best of reality-TV fluff. A gaggle of men who still blend together into a blur of hoodies, aftershave, pomade and flexed biceps are told that for their first date with Andi, they will be required to strip down and do their best Magic Mike impersonation. It’s for Andi’s entertainment and also the The Bachelor’s own branded charity, Bachelor Gives Back. It’s as if the ABC producers brainstormed, “Can we think of a way to objectify men in the same way we objectify women?” Well done, show, you did it.

The all-male revue: In order to win a shot with Andi, the men are required to strip in front of a live studio audience and shake what their poor, poor mothers gave them while hoping that their mothers are not watching. Don’t worry, ma, it’s for charity! Under a wave of hooting, hollering and flexing, they do. Carl, who is an actual firefighter, was assigned to don and then strip firefighter attire. He was not thrilled. The teacher who was made to strip on national television was not thrilled. The only person who was thrilled was Cody the personal trainer, who was more than happy to dedicate his biceps to charity and his abs to Andi.

Worst moment on reality television: Men stuffing towels into their pants … for charity. Followed closely by a robot stripping into his robot skivvies and flashing his … er, gears in a move sure to send his sister to years of therapy.

Best moment on reality television: Chris Harrison resignedly smacking a contestant’s gyrating behind.

The drama: At the afterparty, Andi hoped to spend the evening getting to know the now clothed men. Unfortunately, Craig, a tax accountant with an inability to hold his liquor, got completely tanked and kept interrupting tête-à-têtes to drunkenly ask Andi revelatory accounting questions like, What’s the worst thing on your credit history? Andi acknowledged that everyone’s been drunk, but not everyone has been that drunk on national TV and then thrown himself fully dressed into the pool. Andi asks the world at large, “What on earth happened tonight?” The answer is clearly bourbon shots. Many, many bourbon shots. Also, the opera singer sang opera directly into her face.

Group-date rose: Does not go to Craig, but instead to Marcus, a clean-cut guy who was both an officer (at the strip club) and a gentleman (at the afterparty).

Second date: Chris the farmer, who earlier declared Andi to be “the most amazing woman in the entire world,” but only because he’s never been on FarmersOnly.com before. Because Chris knows a thing or two about horses, Andi takes him to the horse races. They sip mint juleps, bet on some horses and re-enact scenes from War Horse. He gives Andi exactly what she wants: someone here for the “right reasons” and not just to get wasted and soak in the hot tub with friends. She pins a rose on him.

Most egregious use of extras: During their date, Andi and Chris “happen” to sit next to a kindly, gently inquisitive older couple who have been married for 55 years and happily dole out marriage tips. Wonder how long casting took for that couple?

Bachelorette milestone: Private concert! A two-person band called This Wild Life was forced to serenade the couple on a stage decorated with lawn jockeys.

First kiss: Chris plants one on her as they dance, which probably made it all that much weirder for the band. The kiss earned Andi an upgrade to “the most amazing woman on the planet.”

Cocktail party: Nick V. — who won the first-impression rose last week — woos Andi. Marquel, who didn’t get any time with Andi on the group date, makes her smile. Josh M., the nonstereotypical baseball player, goes in for a kiss. Crazy-eyed Craig does his best to help Andi move past his drunken humiliation by singing her a song.

Rose ceremony: A parade of men with names like Ron, Dylan, Andrew and JJ and Nick who have gotten no screentime at all get roses, followed by Marquel, Tasos, Josh, Cody the personal trainer and some other men.

The final rose: Despite crazy-eyed Craig’s heartfelt humble-pie eating, he was sent home to think about what he’s done, leaving Bradley the opera singer to collect the final rose. It’s safe to assume that Andi is giving the opera singer the benefit of the very grave doubts because of her friendship with opera singer and fellow former Bachelor star Sharleen.

Who went home: Carl the firefighter got sent home home after humiliating himself and debasing his noble profession by dressing up as a fake firefighter and stripping. He’s going to get razzed so hard at the firehouse. Also leaving is Nick S., a pro golfer who was sent home, probably because his moustache and beard don’t quite connect.

Best reason to come back next week: It’s a two-part “event” that kicks off on Sunday.

MORE: The Bachelorette and the Death of Eric Hill

MORE: RECAP: The Bachelorette Premiere: Andi Ees O.K.

TIME Television

RECAP: Mad Men Watch: “Waterloo”

Mad Men Season 7: Episode 7, "Waterloo"
Mad Men Season 7: Episode 7, "Waterloo" Michael Yarish—AMC

Don ponders the future, Peggy scores a much-needed win and SC&P gets hit with some surprising news during Mad Men's final episode of the year

Sunday’s mid-season finale of Mad Men was officially titled “Waterloo,” but it may as well have been called “Bad News” — that’s all the characters seemed to get in the last episode before the series’ 2015 conclusion.

On the business front, Jim Cutler tries to get rid of Don Draper with an unceremonious termination letter after the agency fails to score Commander cigarettes. Cutler claims Don violated the terms of his return when he unexpectedly appeared at the Commander pitch meeting a few weeks ago, and he makes his feelings known: “You’re just a bully and a drunk.” Joan sides with Cutler, but a quick vote among the partners — minus Harry Crane, who’s become to SC&P and what Jerry Gergich is to Parks and Recreation — keeps him safe. (Pete, concerned about how the news will affect Don’s Burger Chef presentation, delivers the line of the episode: “That is a very sensitive piece of horse flesh! He shouldn’t be rattled!”)

When Don calls Megan to say he might be out of a job and could start over with her in California, she goes silent. Last week’s episode felt like the show was gearing up for Megan’s farewell in many ways, and Sunday’s finale did indeed pull the plug on their struggling marriage without much fanfare. The two handle things amicably: “I’ll always take care of you…I owe you that,” Don tells her, but Megan kindly rejects the offer. Weird, it’s almost like they’re adults or something. Once again, the most powerful Mad Men scenes are the ones where characters barely speak.

Nowhere was that more true than during the moon landing. Props to Mad Men for making a bunch of television characters sitting around anxiously watching television seem thrilling. It’s July 1969 in the Mad Men universe, and Neil Armstrong is making one giant leap for mankind on TV sets across the country. (A text I received mid-episode from my mother, who was a college student around this time: “Everyone in the world was watching that! You can’t imagine how riveting it was.”)

What made the episode especially touching was how these characters experienced history. Nearly everyone was surrounded by their loved ones, both traditional families and not. In a way, it almost reminded me of Love Actually: Roger is on the couch with Mona, his son-in-law and his grandson; the dysfunctional work family of SC&P is gathered on hotel beds on the eve of the Burger Chef pitch; Betty’s with the children, but Don talks to them by phone; and then there’s Bert Cooper, who’s joined only by his maid. That’s at once both adorable and sad, considering it’s the last time we see Bert Cooper alive. Of all the people I thought might die on Mad Men this season — Bob Benson, Megan Draper (despite Matthew Weiner’s protests), even Ted at the beginning — Bert somehow wasn’t on my list. But as Roger notes, we should have seen it coming: “Anytime an old man starts talking about Napoleon, you know they’re going to die.”

With Bert gone, the balance of power among the partners shifts, and Don’s no longer safe. He hands the Burger Chef presentation over to Peggy to ensure she has a future if he gets sacked. Though she’s daunted by the last-minute change, Don gives her the abridged version of last week’s pep talk: “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t know you could.” And, oh, she can! Peggy’s Burger Chef presentation is a thing of beauty up there with the best of Don’s pitches. It’s a clever passing of the torch: “Every great ad tells a story. Here to tell that story is Peggy Olson,” Don says, repeating the line Peggy planned to use to introduce him. Peggy, dressed like the Scooby-Doo gang rolled into one, surprises everyone by pulling a classic Don Draper and veering off script. (Is there an Emmy Award for Most Expressive Furrowed Brow? Because Jon Hamm has that on lock.)

Two things stand out about Peggy’s presentation. First, though the moon landing showed just how unifying television can be, Peggy paints the good ol’ idiot box as something of a threat to family bonding at the dinner table. Second, she cites the neighbor boy Julio as an example of someone who’s always glued to the TV in her house, but she doesn’t clarify that he’s not actually her son. Maybe she’s bringing the housewife voice into her pitch, or maybe Mad Men is forcing Peggy to find alternative paths to “having it all.” Following last week’s early mid-life crisis about being 30 and single, the show almost suggests that Julio is the closest thing she’ll come to having a child. Not that Mad Men forgot about the baby she gave away seasons ago: When Julio says his family is moving, Peggy gets teary, not just because she’ll have to find someone else to ask for fashion advice, but because the news is an uncomfortable reminder of the sacrifices mothers make.

Back in the New York office, Bert’s death wakes Roger up from the dreamland he’s been sleepwalking through all season. Roger doesn’t want to lose Don, nor does he like the direction Cutler’s pushing the agency in, so he makes a pitch to rival agency McCann Erickson to buy the company. It’s an ideal situation: SC&P would operate independently under Roger’s leadership, but McCann would own their competition. The partners, even Cutler, are happy to learn they’ll become millionaires, but Ted Chaough nearly brings the deal to a halt as he tries to leave advertising and succumb to his “real feeling of wanting to die.” Fortunately, Don still has at least one more miraculous advertising pitch left in him, and he convinces Ted, usually the show’s voice of reason, to stay aboard and focus on creative work. “You don’t want to see what happens when it’s really gone,” he tells him — and if anybody would know, it’d be Don.

Over at Casa Betty, Sally is growing up quickly and getting a little boy-crazy, but her romantic choices this episode are ultimately overshadowed by Bert’s bizarre beyond-the-grave musical number. The moment, on pair with the infamous nipple incident, raises a few questions (why is Don having hallucinations?) and ominously foreshadows (singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free” before the partners make bank suggests money won’t buy happiness for long). But I think the meaning is ultimately quite simple: Robert Morse is an acclaimed musical theater actor, so what better way to send him off? The scene hints at a possible new agenda for Matthew Weiner in these final episodes: have some fun! (Why else would he have forever-clueless secretary Meredith suddenly come onto Don and promise to be his “strength” after finding his termination letter?)

But if there’s one scene that sums up where Mad Men is right now, it’s when Don entrusts Peggy with the Burger Chef presentation. While the beginning of the final season was all about Don accepting his new place in the world, these last few episodes seem to find Don grappling with how he’ll leave that world when he’s inevitably gone. Don wants to make sure Peggy doesn’t suffer any collateral damage from the consequences of his actions; he wants to make sure Megan is all squared away, despite the collapse of their marriage; even his renewed relationship with his children shows an awareness of his legacy. Don is far from taking part in a 12-step program here, but Sunday’s episode almost felt like a mission to make amends. It’s hard not to imagine Mad Men ending with Don trying to right his wrongs before the world simply moves on without him.

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