‘Mad Men’ nears finale with characters up in the air

Story highlights

"Mad Men" half-season finale set for Sunday night

Characters seem a little lost, dealing with computer world

"Mad Men" will conclude next spring

CNN  — 

Cue “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”

The first half of the seventh, and final, season of “Mad Men” ends Sunday night with the characters continuing to grope with a new world – one with a computer in its center. The computer may not be HAL, and the world is a far cry from the fictional future of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but as the show’s many references to that film have made clear, the characters are in transit, trying to get their bearings.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, ‘Mad Men’ world

What direction will they go?

You’ve got Don Draper (Jon Hamm), who has spent these early months of 1969 demoted from creative director to copywriter (copywriter!) in hopes of forcing him out of Sterling Cooper & Partners altogether. He’s been spending his weeks jetting back and forth between the agency in New York and Los Angeles, where his wife, Megan, has been pursuing her acting career.

As a couple, they’re adrift. Indeed, about the only time this season Don’s felt the grounding of family is during an outing with daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka), which ended with an actual profession of love, and a trip to Burger Chef with Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Pete (Vincent Kartheiser).

And Peggy? She’s a manager, essentially No. 2