mad_men

And so it is. After a particularly great season, especially as compared to last season, last night’s finale was way less “fun” than many of the season’s episodes and a total emotional bummer, but also a very solid culmination. Not a single person’s crackbrained theory on who was already dead came true, which was nice. No offense, I know everyone worked really hard on their crackbrained theories of who was dead, but none of those theories ever seemed to take into account that this show runs on a pretty straight-forward, linear track, and also that we already had a really dramatic and shocking death last season, and just because Matthew Weiner worked on the Sopranos doesn’t make this show about mid-level advertising executives in New York City another Sopranos. (One of my favorite theories was that Ted was going to die because there was a shot of him lying on a couch the same way there was once a shot of Lane lying on a couch. Guys, let’s harness this energy because it is incredible energy! My least favorite theory was that Megan was Sharon Tate because of a t-shirt.) But, so, Bob Benson Drinks. Pete’s. Milkshake. Everyone wants to go to California all of a sudden? Everyone. Is Ginsberg even on this show anymore jk who cares about Ginsberg. It turns out Pete’s mom was Sharon Tate the whole time. Stan gets robbed. Megan calls Sally and Bobby messed up. Don blurts out a crazy whore house story in the Hershey meeting, which we are supposed to believe is a result of his alcoholism, but that doesn’t quite add up since he is a pretty high functioning alcoholic and has been for years, but in either case the story is a crazy whore house story. #JAIL. Speaking of crazy whore house stories: after Don gets an intervention at work before anyone knows what an intervention is, he takes the kids to see the old whore house where he grew up. He is finally owning up to who he really is! He is sharing his true self with his family! But will it be enough? And is it too late? Other questions?

Like: What do you think will happen next season? Will Don open a California office with Harry Crane? Will Duck marry Megan? Will Pete be 100% bald? Has everyone been dead the whole time and you guys were right? Will Sally fight in Vietnam? Will Betty open a California office with Harry Crane? Will Roger be Sharon Tate? Nnnnn…..it’s EXCITING!

Comments (50)
  1. In terms of harebrained theories, a few weeks ago I did mention a theory I liked: that the season was building up to them “killing” Don Draper persona. And, while we didn’t literally see him going by Dick again, it was exciting that that is kind of what happened.

    For part of last night it looked like Don was headed back to the heart of the Don legend—California. That was the solution to his problems, he figured: to double down on his Don-ness and reinvent himself again. Sometime during that conversation with Betty, though, seeing the path he has sent Sally down, he finally realized he has to reconcile with his Dick Whitman past, as he can no longer pretend that he’s succeeding at being Don. Between presenting the two Hershey’s stories back-to-back, he seemed to putting the Draper mystique to bed, maybe for good. The closing scene, him finally bringing his children into his past, left little doubt.

    (Also, and this is almost certainly a stretch, but they did draw attention to the fact that Richard Nixon, who’s nickname was Dick, won the election.)

    • Yeah I thought it was pretty clear that the death the season was so clearly foreshadowing was going to be the death of the Don Draper persona. As you said, not that he has to start going by the name Dick Whitman again, but he revealed his true identity and basically blew up the image of “Don Draper” he had so carefully constructed.

      His pitch about “losing yourself” that everyone thought was about suicide, hallucinating himself dead in the pool at that party, etc. – it was all pointing to the *death* of Don Draper. I thought it might be more dramatic in that he might actually fake his own death after committing a felony or something and return to being Dick Whitman, but what we got worked as a more psychological death rather than a physical one.

      • I’m wagering that Don’s career at SC&P really is over, and that he has to move on from the world of advertising in order to put his life in order. He can’t continue to be an ad man – with the illusions and falsity of that world – and a good person. Seemingly everyone involved in SC&P is corrupted by the business, Don perhaps most of all. They may try to pull him back when they really need his expertise, and maybe it is Don’s new wholeness that reacts negatively to the ad world, which will bring him to a fateful decision in the finale. I’m not saying we’re going to get another ambiguous ending like The Sopranos, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s less than the closure we want.

        I have a friend who’s been with the show since the beginning who won’t tell me any plot details so I have to keep guessing like the rest of youse… oh well.

        Other predictions about next season:

        - Sally goes to Woodstock
        - Sal turns up at the Stonewall Riots
        - the LA subplot is really shortlived, and Pete ends up back in NYC, but not Ted Chaough, who’s essentially been written off the show
        - Megan & Don are dunzo
        - Don actually takes time to not be in a relationship/screw around with anyone

        • I don’t know that he has to necessarily leave the business entirely (he is still preternaturally gifted at it, in the world of the show at least), but I think he did need to drop the “Don Draper” persona in order to save his own soul. He also needs to take a page from Ted’s pre-merger days and go home every day.

          • To elaborate, I think the Don Draper persona he had created is what enabled him to get away with murder — everyone believes he is someone he’s not, so why not continue piling on lie after lie?

            He needed to pull out that bottom wobbly Jenga piece. It knocked everything that was balancing on it over, but now he can start to rebuild from the more solid foundation of his real personal history. “Don Draper” is the empty elevator shaft, the rotten tooth that needed to be extracted.

            His advice to Peggy regarding her pregnancy (“Move forward. You’ll be shocked at how much it didn’t happen.”) has been revealed to be false. No matter how much he denied his past, it was still there, he’s constantly reminded of it by everyday things, and the need to keep up the lie was killing him.

            Earlier this season, Pete told Don he was “Tarzan, swinging from vine to vine,” which was true. His plan to steal Stan’s idea to run away to L.A. would have been just another escape hatch to carry him away from his problems. For the first time, he came clean on what was bothering him, accepted responsibility for his behavior (“It got out of control. I was out of control.”) and, rather than run away, accepted the consequences and opened up to his children.

  2. I’m really satisfied that the show chose to have real consequences for Don being the worst before the final episode ever, so we get a whole year to see that hopefully. Hopefully he’s not just back in his office again next year like, “Well, that was crazy! Hey Pegs, get me some bourbon.” Maybe he’ll buy a horse farm or a whorehouse in California or something, maybe get himself kicked in the head by a horse. FLASHBACK!

    And I knew Ted Chaoughouahahgoguhgha was a damn snake in the grass.

    • Though, to be fair, as an investing founder and partner he’s probably still going to make money and not have it hard at all, right? It’s not that awful. You can’t really fire an equal partner, which is why they were calling it “time off.” So he’ll still have plenty of money rolling in or maybe they’ll buy him out.

    • i thought Ted was 100% anti-Don and this episode sealed it. at least if Ted’s kids end up “screwed up” it wouldn’t be his fault the way it is with Don.

      also, Peggy really needed a heartbreak like this to facilitate doubling down on her career.

      • See I think he’s even worse than Don. I mean, Don is the worst. We all know that. But Ted is so wishy washy and weak he just get’s to falter through life being kind of scumbag because he means well. Oh, you have to go to California because Peggy’s too tempting? You can’t just, like, handle your workplace crush like a grown up you have to play with everyone’s mind because of your angst? He’s such baloney.

        Though I definitely agree that was a good kick in the ass for Peggy. Great pantsuit, would like to see again.

        • Ted does his work and manages to run the creative department competently. His interpersonal relations are fine except for with Peggy. I don’t think he’s “the worst” like Don, he’s just a far less interesting person who needed Don to give him the California job in order to save his marriage. He’s a milquetoast and with Peggy a total manipulator… but Don has done that 100+ times with many women and is a shitty person to everyone. Ted is just…. lame.

        • Agreed with the pantsuit. In the ten seconds it was on screen I went from thinking, “Oh, Peggy, WHY?” to frantically googling “Where to buy loud plaid bellbottoms”

        • i thought ted was pretty brutal with peggy. this was not the first time he treated her that way. twice now he’s led her on, told her what she wanted to hear, made wild promises, and then acted like nothing happened the very next day. heartless.

    • Yeah, my wife and I jokingly say “Can’t wait for Don to be a huge asshole to everyone with no consequences!” each time we sat down to watch an episode this season. It was very cathartic to see him finally get some comeuppance.

  3. “NOT GREAT, BOB!” was, in fact, so great.

    • “NOT GREAT, BOB!” was, in fact, the best! My husband and I laughed for a solid 3 or 4 minutes.

      • Everything about Pete made me laugh this week. Not knowing how to drive a stick, losing his mom overboard after she married Bob’s boyfriend… who was living under an assumed name (!!!), the detective’s comments about murder at sea / sharks and then NOT wanting to spend the family fortune on her sea rescue… Oh man. And then hearing his mom didn’t have as much as they thought and him and his asshole brother making justifications to not rescue her after all — “she always liked the water” — was just too much.

        Oh Pete. Always being Pete.

  4. The “who gets to go to California” plotline seemed kind of crammed all into one episode.

    ALSO NOT TO BE A HUGE NIT PICKER but Don drove from Manhattan to Sally’s school to Pennsylvania coal country in one day? His kids are not going to be pleased with taking a 7 hour road trip to look at the house from Psycho complete with small child eating a Popsicle at a very unseasonable time of the year. GOOD WORK PEGGY!

    • I totally missed it, but my boyfriend said he was taking them to Hershey Park. I thought they were just talking about eating chocolate, I was so confused.

  5. Are we supposed to believe that the Hershey meeting was because he was drinking? I might be off, but I interpreted the hand shaking as tremors from the detox. Does Don actually take a drink before the meeting, he pours the drink, puts it up to his mouth and brings it back down. My interpretation was that during the meeting, he might have been the most clear headed that he’s been in a long time, leading to his story.

  6. I’ll never eat a Hershey bar again without picturing young Don having one in a whorehouse (if he steals more than a dollar from the john).

    And he’s been “Don” for so long now that I didn’t even notice the parallel with Bob at first when Bob’s fake identity was uncovered.

    • Yeah, it was from NOT drinking, so the opposite of what Gabe said.

      • Whoops, that was supposed to be a reply to doolittle’s post above. I think it was also prompted by him feeling super guilty about failing Sally and a hundred other things that weren’t just whether he was or wasn’t drunk at the time.

  7. I don’t think Don told that story because he was drying out. I think that a Hershey Bar was one of the last remaining totems from Dick Whitman’s life and he wasn’t ready to sell it out to get the Hershey account.

    • Yeah, that Hershey guy saying “Weren’t you a lucky little boy” seemed to break him, finally a lie he couldn’t allow himself to pretend along with.

  8. DIDN’T even watch THIS SEASON yet, but YOU FUCKS BEST recognize SEASON 5 as being perhaps THE BEST the show has ever DONE. NONE OF this “as COMPARED TO last season” SHIT UNLESS you’re like ‘YUP, GONNA be tough to approach anything ON THE SAME level as “SIGNAL 30″ ever again!”

  9. This show is awesome. Just finished watching it and still have a big grin from that ending. I almost wish it was the final episode of the series, leaving everything on this sort of vaguely, sorta hopeful note. I mean, if it ended now, we’d have a pretty good idea how all these characters’ lives turned out and although it wouldn’t be ideal, it would be good enough. Instead, we get another season in which I’m sure they’ll cock it all up. Oh well. So it goes.

  10. Peggy’s “Well, aren’t you lucky to have decisions” was the absolute best moment ever. So much is said in that sentence!!!!!

    • That was great, and felt like a concise summation of what every woman at SCDP has wanted to say for the entire run of the show.

    • It was crazy how this season she rally didn’t get to make a decision. Where she works, her bf breaks up with her, who to love, etc. And in the end she’s looking out Don’s windows, perhaps the highest peak she’s reached so far, professionally, at least.

    • I liked her comment to Ted that her neighbors will probably murder him now that they think he’s a cop. Elisabeth Moss’ ability to show contempt is just spectacular.

      At least her apartment will appreciate by 300xs what she paid for it… if she makes it out of the 70s. (The 1970s, not the UWS 70s).

      And maybe she ends up with Stan, because COME ON PEGGY — walking sex in a beard is across the hall from you, why are you even bothering with boring old Ted? Grossssssss.

  11. I just wanted this at the end with the whorehouse

    But I wanted Megan to just go away. Ted trying to put a country’s distance between himself and Peggy made me want to punch his self-righteous face.

  12. “Sorry about that, old chum. Going down?”

    Duck Phillips always the best smug prick

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.