It isn’t likely to happen this season, but before Mad Men reaches the end of the decade, more than one member of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce family will turn on, tune in, and drop out. In our profile of John Slattery, we expressed the hope that Roger Sterling will take the maiden voyage down the rabbit hole. But Elisabeth Moss disagrees: She suspects Peggy will take the first trip. Not everyone on the show may experiment — most in Don Draper’s world skew Republican, except, perhaps Peggy — but seven have demonstrated a proclivity toward or a need for some purple haze. Here they are, ranked in ascending order of probability, and weighed on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the most likely.
WHY: Pete is as fifties-era as this office gets. But he’s deeply vulnerable to peer pressure and will do anything to win a client. He alone also thinks he’s very cool and hip.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Either Peggy will dare him — and he’ll have to do it or be emasculated. Or he’ll meet Ho-Ho at a wild party and feel as if he must keep up in order to land his college buddy’s next silly project.
WHY: The good old boy would appear to be set in his gin-swilling, skirt-chasing, wise-cracking ways. But consider this: Before Timothy Leary became this nation’s psychedelic guru, he described himself as “an anonymous institutional employee who drove to work each morning in a long line of commuter cars and drove home each night and drank martinis.”
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Roger will do just about anything if he’s drunk enough — or the girl is pretty enough. If a redhead with a handbag full of ‘shrooms swings by to audition for a TV spot, Roger would find it impolite to say no.
WHY: So he’s a bit long in the tooth, but that doesn’t mean Bert isn’t open to new experiences. After all, the frequently barefoot Ayn Rand devotee and versatile art collector has immersed himself in Eastern culture, his office elegantly decked out in Japanese décor. Okay, he might be more inclined to head to the ashram with George Harrison and take up Transcendental Meditation than seek out tangerine dreams and marmalade skies, but Cooper prides himself on his worldly eccentricity.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Bert travels in eclectic and powerful social circles: He and Timothy Leary are sure to meet through mutual friends. If the psychedelic guru can find the right pitch to this veteran adman — sell him on LSD’s mind-expanding powers, for starters — Bert’s going to be tripping the light fantastic. LIKELIHOOD: 6.
WHY: Lane appears to be the most uptight person in the office. But break the guy’s heart and then pour Scotch down his gullet, and he’s yelling “Yee-haw!” in a nice restaurant, while flapping a steak in front of his nether regions. Lane will do anything to be a friend and wingman to Don, the emblem of divorced-man cool in his eyes.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Don and Lane will go on another of their bromantic benders, only this time, they’re going to have a really, really lost weekend.
WHY: Her parents might have thought she was too young to process the image of the self-immolating monk she saw on the news, or even the death of her grandpa Gene, but this sensitive kid is wiser than her years. And just as the counterculture reaches critical mass, little Sally Draper will be well into her teens and fully ready to flout every example her totally square Republican parents ever set for her.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: After Sally hitchhikes her way out of Ossining to squat among the hippies in Washington Square Park, she attends her first anti-war rally and runs into a greasy, long-haired Glen, who tells her he’s been waiting for her. And then he gives her a very special present.
WHY: Prudish on the surface, Peggy is the provocateur of her peers, both in her work and in her life: She loves men and leaves ‘em fast, hangs with the gay boys, and has smoked dope at least once. Like Don, Peggy struggles between cleaving to her repression and wanting to let her freak flag fly, but from what we’ve seen, there are a couple of memories better left buried and not revisited psychedelically or in flashback (e.g., her affair with Duck; giving up Pete’s baby for adoption). But Peggy’s game to try anything once.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Peggy’s foray will be a one-off experiment because she’s too driven to aimlessly enjoy “turning off her mind, relaxing and floating downstream.” But she’s so curious it’s hard to imagine she won’t just spontaneously walk into a room one day and blurt: “My name is Peggy Olson, and I’d like to try some lysergic acid diethylamide.”
WHY: Don is no stranger to the subterranean world: He smoked pot with Midge and her bohemian friends, popped Phenobarbitals with a pair of grifters, and hooked up with a tribe of jet-setting nomads in Palm Springs. Now Don is desperately trying to suppress his Don Draper–Dick Whitman identity crisis. He’s struggling to protect the brand of “Don Draper” while single life has him careering very close to the paternal Whitman legacy — drunker, angrier, more promiscuous, and more unstable than we’ve ever seen him. An acid-trip-induced epiphany may be just what the doctor ordered to liberate him from himself, whomever that man might be.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN: Well, there’s Anna Draper’s niece in Berkeley who’s always carrying, and then there’s that young, naughty nurse who lives just down the hallway …