Here's What You Need To Know Before Mad Men's Final 7 Episodes

Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
The final seven episodes of Mad Men begin airing Sunday night on AMC, truly marking the end of an era. The series started as a look into the dazzling, devastating, cutthroat, and chauvinistic world of ad men that ruled Madison Avenue in the late '50s.

Over the past seven seasons, it became a larger journey through the '50s, '60s, and now the '70s. Those three pivotal decades marked times of immense change in America, and through the lens of Madison Avenue, Matthew Weiner made historical moments that many of us didn't live through feel personally evocative. 

The story of Don Draper is one of an antihero, yes, but it's also a purely American tale of an outsider pulling himself up by his bootstraps. He lied about his past and his identity to achieve the supposed dream of a house in the suburbs with a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. Watching Don unravel in a slow, tormented, alcohol-fueled downward spiral is like watching how the American dream pans out once it's achieved. We're only ever taught how to get there, not what we're supposed to do when we finally have all the purported keys to personal happiness at our fingertips.

Mad Men isn't just about Don, though, which is why this quick catch-up is worth your while. Here's what was going on in each of the major characters' lives when the first half of season 7 left off.

It goes without saying, but SPOILERS AHEAD.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Don Draper
After reaching rock bottom and being ousted (albeit temporarily) from SC&P at the end of season 6, Don spent season 7 crawling his way back into his coworkers' good graces. He does this rather unsuccessfully, with Jim and Lou constantly trying to vote him out, until an eleventh-hour merger with McCann-Erickson nets him a five-year contract. He and Megan split up, and she remains in Los Angeles pursuing an acting career.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Peggy Olson
She started as Don's secretary, but the pupil became the boss during the first part of season 7 when Peggy became responsible for keeping Don in line. Peggy had a crisis of confidence about turning 30 and her professional abilities, but in one of the series' most touching moments, she and Don share a dance to "My Way," and he reassures her that she has everything necessary to succeed. Peggy goes on to pitch and land Burger Chef, a major restaurant account.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Joan Harris
Joan finally relinquished her position as personnel head to Dawn and moved into an office in Accounts. She also rejected Bob Benson's marriage proposal, opening herself up to love over companionship and financial support.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Pete Campbell
At the beginning of season 7, Pete's living it up, SoCal-style. He's dating an ambitious realtor, and it seems like everything's coming up Pete for once. This is Pete Campbell, though. Despite his machinations, Peggy gets to lead the presentation to Burger Chef (which she nails), and Pete's girlfriend flies back to California without him. His life motto may as well be "NOT GREAT, BOB."
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Sally Draper
Sally and Don bonded when she learned his secret (that he's on leave from work) and he learned hers (she used a roommate's family member's funeral as an excuse to go shopping in the city). The end of the first part of the season found Sally kissing a family friend's son during the moon landing.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Roger Sterling
Dealing with a personal crisis (his daughter abandoning her son to live in a commune) somehow made Roger more capable of leading and more resilient at work. He navigated Don's return with the rest of the partners and orchestrated the merger that will save SC&P.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Megan Draper
After finding out that Don had been lying to her about going to work, Megan asked him not to relocate to California. The two parted ways over the phone.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Bert Cooper
RIP, sweet prince. The best things in life are free.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Betty Francis
After failing to connect with Bobby on a field trip, Betty also found herself at odds with her husband, Henry, when she voiced her opinion on the Vietnam War during a dinner party. She really is a portrait of muddled suburban housewife desperation.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Ted Chaough
After relocating himself to California to stay away from Peggy, Ted further realized he just wants to engage with the creative side of the business and not get caught up in all the organizational changes and power grabs. He nearly crashed a plane full of executives and told Don he wants to leave the agency, but Don convinced him to stay in the merger.
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Photo: Justina Mintz/AMC.
Michael Ginsberg
Was last seen being carted off to a mental health hospital, shortly after presenting Peggy with his nipple in a box and declaring his love for her.
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Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
Harry Crane
He's still desperately fond of the agency's new IBM supercomputer, which also allowed him to finally become partner.
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