Ever since last week's revelation from Mad Men's costumer Janie Bryant that it was a deliberate choice to dress Megan Draper in a shirt made famous by Sharon Tate, the Internet has gone into a frenzy with crazy analyses of its meaning, mostly that she's going to die a violent death like Tate had. But after Don's hallucination sequence in the most recent episode, a new theory is that Megan has been dead this whole time—except she hasn't. And I can tell you why.
Don't get me wrong—I love going overboard while reading into the subtleties of shows and used to go nuts doing so with my Lost recaps. I've also enjoyed how reminiscent this season of Mad Men has been of Lost, replete with Hawaiian beaches references to The Divine Comedy. But unlike Lost, Mad Men is steeped in realism and it would be super weird for its writers to wait until the sixth season to transition into a scifi/fantasy genre or an M. Night Shyamalan production.
Dustin Rowles at Uproxx admits that he's fallen "down the Mad Men rabbit hole" and may have lost perspective. His latest theory is as follows: Megan Draper is already dead, and that's why Don saw her during his hallucination/brief time in the hereafter when he almost drowned at that pool party. After all, it's not the first time he's hallucinated seeing dead people, like Anna Draper and his brother Adam.
The wording during [the pool party] sequence is very careful. During the hallucination, in addition to finding out that Megan is pregnant, Don asks, “How did you find me?” Megan responds, “But I live here.” The “here” is not California; it can’t be the party. She’s clearly not actually there, but she could be in the afterlife. A few seconds later, Draper sees a dead Private Dinkins, who says, “I heard you were here.” Again, “here” is in the afterlife
Except a careful re-watching of the episode shows exactly why Don hallucinated/dreamed what he did about Megan. The last time he spoke to her before the party was during a phone call the previous night. Don gets annoyed when Megan gets all serious about the police riots in Chicago, telling her, "You can't even vote."
"But I live here," she answers.
When he tells her that he hadn't planned on going out in LA that evening, she says, "Really? You can if you want to…" which suggests the kind of permissiveness (deep in his psyche at least) of allowing him to get with other women, hence the Megan being OK with "sharing" him with that other party goer in his hallucination.
Lastly, she tells him, "Go for a swim, it always makes you feel better." And that was probably the free association impetus that placed her in his hallucination/dream after jumping in the pool.
So, yeah, I don't think she's dead. Also, she's in the previews of next week's episode. And unless she's there as a flashback or flash-sideways (again, this isn't Lost), she's actually still alive.
For me, the Sharon Tate tee was a suggestion that Megan would get pregnant to save her marriage. I felt like that theory was only bolstered by the hallucination/dream. It's an old wives tale that dreaming of death means that somebody is going to get, or already is, pregnant. And when you dream that a deceased person is talking to you, you're supposed to consider what they're saying as very important advice, which it seems like Dinkins (the soldier Don met in Hawaii) was offering.