More than anything, the barometer of Mad Men is gauged by where Don Draper is on the spectrum between riding high and scraping the bottom of the barrel. In the wake of SC&P's acquisition by McCann, Don and Roger are flush with cash (and in Roger's case, some newly acquired, and unfortunate facial hair) and behaving badly. The Don we meet in Severance is safely ensconced back in his familiar corner office and cycling through women in a manner unseen since Betty kicked him to the curb at the end of Season 3. 
Money and the past are recurring themes throughout Severance. For those who got rich in the acquisition and those counting the money of those who got rich, money does not appear to be making anyone particularly happy. Roger is dismissive of a waitress at a coffee shop but attempts to make amends by leaving her a $100 bill on an $11 check. When Don returns to the same diner, she assumes it is to get his "money's worth" and they have an a quickie in the alley. She thinks it is one thing, he is so accustomed to women throwing themselves at him, he misses the connection and by the end of the episode, just wants to sit at the counter and mope.
Pete has what we now term "first world problems" as he scurries to hide his fortune from the government, a problem for which Ken feels little sympathy. Joan is still dismissed as a sexpot by the middle managers at McCann, who demean and belittle her as she and Peggy try to bridge a gap for the little account that could - Topaz - which is having its lunch eaten by L'eggs.  But Peggy's tolerance for Joan's disgust is limited. Not only did Peggy try to deftly parry the slimy commentary of their McCann peers, but she did not become a millionaire when SC&P was acquired, so she dismisses Joan's carping by observing that Joan does not even need to do the work because of the great fortune she received when SC&P was acquired. 
Meanwhile, the past continues to haunt Don. More than using the company message service as his own private after-hours hook-up line, there is a subtle wink to Don's past in Severance, the main client is a fur company, a sales job from which Roger "discovered" Don nearly two decades before.  We also hear a name (and see a face) long forgotten - Rachel (Menken) Katz . Way back in 1960, Don and Rachel carried on a furtive (and ultimately futile) affair that started with his swaggering proclamation that love was created by ad men like him and her distaste for his arrogance and ignorance that somehow melted into passion that curdled when Don's past was discovered by Pete and he wanted to run away with her to Los Angeles. 
Don has a dream that he sees her, only to discover that she has recently passed away. When he appears at the shiva he is snubbed by her surviving sister Barbara, whose long memory is triggered as soon as she greets him and hears his name.  There is much to be said for Don's tortured experiences with death  but the not-so-subtle twist of the knife given by Rachel's sister, asking after Don's family, telling him that Rachel had everything she wanted in the world, and questioning his presence there, chip away at Don, who visibly sags as he acknowledges his two divorces, hands over the cake he has brought to the mourning, and looks balefully on as the men begin prayer services.
This second-half opener gives Peggy an opportunity to dip a toe in the dating waters, getting overly tipsy with Mathis's brother-in-law and, in the cold light of the morning following drunken plans for a trip to Paris, feels slightly regretful of her conduct. As for Ken, he both gets and gives the shaft - first, as he's let go for some long ago offense his first time around at McCann and then turning the tables by securing employment in house at Dow Chemical, and instead of firing the firm, he decides instead to be a thorn in their side as an overly demanding client.
As is typical of Matthew Weiner, who wrote the seventh season's eighth episode, a lot of chum was sprinkled in the water without providing a clear direction for these final shows. Having skipped past the joy of Woodstock and the horror of Altamont and moved the narrative into the early months of 1970,  Weiner took a pass at certain social commentary. Ken's firing aside, there were few fireworks, but more a sense of reorienting the audience to the new normal - no Jim Cutler (no loss there), Ted and Roger's porn star quality mustaches, Joan drowning her frustrations at being an account woman in high end spending, and Don on a mostly upswing - if you ignore the quickie in the alley with the waitress, his return to the bottle, haunted expression over a love lost, and apparent interest in marking more notches on his bedpost.
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1. See, e.g., Christmas Comes But Once A Year, Season 4, Episode 2, Waldorf Stories, Season 4 Episode 6.
2. As Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce teetered on the brink, Peggy and Ken brought in Topaz Pantyhose. Tomorrowland, Season 4, Episode 13.
3. In inflation adjusted dollars, Joan's $1.5 million stake is worth somewhere between $10-15 million in today's dollars.
4. Waldorf Stories, supra. See also, Field Trip, Season 7, Episode 3.
5. We last saw Rachel with new husband Tilden Katz in The New Girl, Season 2, Episode 5.
6. See, e.g., Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Season 1, Episode 1, Babylon, Season 1, Episode 6, Nixon v. Kennedy, Season 1, Episode 12.
7. Babylon, supra.
8. Don has a vision of his half-brother Adam while under anesthesia, The Shadow, Season 5, Episode 13, of Anna Draper in his office, The Suitcase, Season 4, Episode 7, and Bert Cooper doing a soft shoe, Waterloo, Season 7, Episode 7.
9. The speech given by President Nixon shown during the episode occurred on April 30, 1970. http://time.com/3760142/mad-men-nixon-speech/