I finally got to watch the Mad Men Series Finale. If you haven’t watched it, be fair warned. This post and any comments will have spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now. Go watch Don’s pitch to Kodak instead.
Still with me? Great.
I haven’t heard a lot of reaction to the episode (since I’m late to the watching party), but I liked it. It didn’t end with you wondering what happens next (The Sopranos), or stupidly (Seinfeld). We know where each character is headed for the next chapter of their life. And for some of the characters, it seems that after 10 years things just never change.
I loved Joan’s ending, although I wish she could have been the woman to have it all – career and the man she loves. Joan just has never been lucky in love. But she’s got her career, and is finally in full control of her own destiny.
I wish Peggy would have taken Joan up on the offer for partnership. Those two make a fun team. But I understand why she didn’t. The Peggy/Stan revelation seemed a bit out of left field to me. Also, how is their relationship going to work if she is really only nice to him via the telephone? But at least we left Peggy on a happy note.
Of all the male characters, I feel like Pete is the one who may have really learned his lesson on the importance of family in his life. How much he loves Trudy. And hopefully he won’t screw it up this time (pun intended).
Roger’s marriage? Sorry, but that just is not going to last. You know once he makes it out of the honeymoon phase he’ll just be cheating again. His was the only ending I wish would have gone differently.
And Sally. She sure has grown up in a hurry. What will become of her once her mother is gone? Will she continue to have a relationship with her dad, or be totally on her own in life?
I almost forgot that final shot of Betty. Still smoking to the end. Her path forward is sad, yet I guess fitting to the character.
One character which I really wish would have been revisited at some point this season was Sal. I’ve always wondered what happened since he left the firm so abruptly, I think it was season 3? I would have loved to see what became of his character.
And last, but not least…
I didn’t like how for the last three episodes Don has been on one of his binders and away from everyone. I’ve missed his interactions with all the other characters. Especially Peggy and Roger. Yes, the office still exists and gets by with out him. But it’s Don Draper. He really is the heart of the show.
That being said, I loved the last phone call between Don and Betty. Wow. That was so powerful. And I thought it was the beginning of the end for him. Before he’d been driving, slowing being stripped of his material possessions – his Don Draper persona if you will. But at this point, he really starts losing it mentally. This is what starts his mental downward spiral for the remainder of the episode.
By the time he makes the call to Peggy, Don is rock bottom emotionally. I was sure at this point he probably wasn’t going to live through the episode. Talking about how he stole someones name and then wasted it. I figured he would either die or he would have some miraculous character change and start living a more meaningful life under a new identity.
And then the end. His character goes through all this mental anguish and cleansing, and for what? To become Don Draper? Again? I’m assuming that between that last smile and the Coca Cola ad, Don has hopped on a plane, charmed the ad agency to resume his old life and hit another advertising jackpot. Back to the booze and the women. How long will that last I wonder until he goes on another uncharted trip for redemption?
I have to say I had heard about the Don is the mysterious DB Cooper theory, and I loved that. That would have been awesome. But, the way things went down? It stayed true to the character, and really was classic Don Draper. He’s an advertising man that always comes out on top.
I will miss you, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. It’s been a fun ride.
Here’s a little goodbye from the cast over at amc.com.
What did you think of the episode? Love it? Hate it? Admit it, you thought the DB Cooper theory was pretty awesome, too.
2 thoughts on “Mad Men Series Finale. Thoughts? (Spoilers!)”
In general I liked the end. I loved the last shot, his smile and then the commercial. That will be my lasting memory. That and he will never really change, not completely anyways. That and the rom-com Peggy and Stan scene. I actually have always thought they belonged together but how it was done was a little wacky. I agree that I am mad in the last couple of eposes there was so little interactions between Don and others. The calls to Betty and Peggy were great but I wanted in person scenes. I was happy that Pete seemed to have genuinely changed. I wish there was more Roger in general. So sad to see it end. Even when it wasn’t great it was better than most.
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I can see two sides to the ending. One is that Don had the epiphany and went back to his life in advertising, thus creating the jingle and commercial we see at the end.
On the other hand, Don could have embraced his new life and his epiphany but not gone back to create the jingle. The inclusion of the commercial showed how someone else might have used that moment (maybe even Peggy for all we know) to create in an ad campaign what Don experienced out there with his breakthrough.
I’m not sure which side I necessarily fall on just yet. I’ve heard that Matthew Weiner is having a panel discussion this evening (Wednesday) and I am sure the question of how fans should interpret the ending will be brought up.
The thing with Mad Men is that it didn’t necessarily have an “end point” for it like Breaking Bad or Justified. (Well, unless Don becomes D.B. Cooper as some have speculated). I think the show did well with the ending, but I’m not sure it entirely stuck the landing the way Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Justified or The Shield have in recent memory.
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