Mad Men: The Milk and Honey Route
May 10, 2015 9:04 PM - Season 7, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Don has trouble sleeping. Pete is blindsided by a difficult friend. Facing a new challenge, Henry arranges a family reunion.
posted by Sweetie Darling (460 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Man... what an episode. I'm eager to discuss it, but the "next time on Mad Men" part cut off on my recording, and I want that one last dose of vagueness. Is that put online anywhere?
posted by codacorolla at 9:08 PM on May 10, 2015


Don wears a windbreaker. Tammy gets stung by a bee. Betty climbs up stairs.

Continuing the TV-nostalgia casting: Max Gail ("Wojo") from Barney Miller was one of the vets at the VFW, along with Roy from The Office.

codacorolla, the "next time" was focused on it being the series finale - it's a commercial I'm sure you've seen already - not a single second of plot.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:10 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


At this point, I'm almost at the place where I could believe Don's gonna go all DB Cooper on us. OK, not really, but how's he gonna ghost out on the world?
posted by Windigo at 9:11 PM on May 10, 2015


WHAT an episode. For the moment I'm speechless.
posted by torticat at 9:13 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ghosting out into the wind, with everything in a Sears shopping bag. They sell luggage at Sears, Don, geez.

I thought the Betty storyline was 100% on point for her character. Betty's always been a realist and a fatalist, and of course would be concerned with her appearance for her final appearance. "My mother raised me to be admired." And her mother's death was such a pivotal experience for her in Season 1. It's nice that Sally at last gets to read what her mother can't bring herself to say.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:15 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not one single hug for Sally. Damn.

She needs her father. And I think he's going to go back for her and the boys. (Where he'll go with them, I have no idea, but right now I'm ok with not knowing.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:17 PM on May 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think that, all things considered, that's a happy ending for Betty. She died on her own terms, and was able to be a real human to her daughter. I'm assuming that Betty's death would be the major catalyst for Don coming back to the East... although maybe that's the question that Weiner is raising. Don looked so relieved when he was finally rid of that car, with nothing but the clothes on his back and the open air around him.
posted by codacorolla at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


She died on her own terms,

That's my feeling about it. She did something the way she wanted for once in her life. As she is my very beloved, my heart breaks for her. But my second beloved, my dearest Pete, what a revelation. What a beautiful decision.
posted by sweetkid at 9:23 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


also yea they don't even do the cryptic thing for the season finales, it's just random clips of the season with END IS COMING all over it.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2015


Man, on Mother's Day. You are cold as ice Matt Weiner.
posted by dry white toast at 9:25 PM on May 10, 2015 [41 favorites]


sweetkid, yes! I am so happy for Pete and Trudy. I think they'll make it this time.

I'm glad we got at least one happy "ending," and it didn't feel like a cookie being thrown to the audience.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:25 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I say that, but actually, I lost my mom five years ago and Mother's Day is definitely not easy on me (I've learned to stay the hell off Facebook today). So this was bizarrely comforting for me.
posted by dry white toast at 9:27 PM on May 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Aw, Birdie.
posted by palomar at 9:32 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes: Betty's brave. Shit that was heart-rending though, her walk up the stairs in the school while Sally read the letter.

I guess that Chekhov's gun was tobacco, as it turned out. The dangers of smoking were introduced in the first season. And ohhhhh, Don's letter to the NYT about "why I quit tobacco"...

In the interviews with the actors preceding these last few episodes, they've talked about how it's a goal for the characters to end up in a way that viewers think "OF COURSE" for each one, like the outcome was inevitable. I am stunned at how well they've been pulling that off these last couple episodes. Each of these outcomes has been unexpected but utterly believable.
posted by torticat at 9:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


I loved the moment where Don sees the woman by the pool. Perhaps the biggest indication yet that he's not Don Draper anymore.
posted by dry white toast at 9:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course the last communication she has is with her daughter. That's correct. Poor Sally.
posted by sweetkid at 9:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don finally got to work on Coca-Cola!
posted by Small Dollar at 9:35 PM on May 10, 2015 [43 favorites]


Pete's finest hour
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:35 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Another callback for Betty: She wouldn't listen when Grandpa Gene wanted to tell her his "arrangements" in S3, and didn't want to put Sally through the stress of that conversation - hence the letter. And Sally taking Betty's place at the dinner table, with Gene in her lap - which calls back to Betty's dream in "Tea Leaves" -

I may not sleep tonight. Brain too wound up.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:37 PM on May 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was hoping the death of the agency would be the only death this half season.
posted by sweetkid at 9:38 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


What a weight to put on Sally, forced to comfort her stepfather when she's still reeling from the news.

That, to me, is her first moment as an adult.
posted by Windigo at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


I was most bored as I've ever been with Don at the VFW though.
posted by sweetkid at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


the sound keeps cutting out when Henry tells Sally about Betty and she covers her ears. I thought it was intentional but on Twitter people said it was fine for them. What was said?
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 PM on May 10, 2015


I swear to fuck if Pete dies in a plane crash I'm gonna be pissed. I've come to love that dweeb.
posted by littlesq at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


The moment when Trudy turned Pete down over pie and the moment when she accepted him back *both* rang so true. That was quite an acomplishment. It's a better option than the future she imagined for herself last episode, anyway.

The stuff with Don and Korea was great - a tiny bit of drunken redemption almost immediately yanked away. After the hint of the opening dream I first thought the guys barging into his room were military cops finally calling him to account. Scary.
posted by mediareport at 9:43 PM on May 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


We (my daughter and I) were climbing out of our skins during the scene at the VFW. I think my daughter actually left the room for a while. Kept waiting for someone to recognize Don/Dick. But I guess the point was the catharsis of confessing that he killed Don Draper (while leaving out the "oh and then I stole his identity" part) to his fellow veterans, the people he thought might forgive him.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:44 PM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


What a weight to put on Sally, forced to comfort her stepfather when she's still reeling from the news.

I had the same thought - so inappropriate to do that to his stepdaughter. But definitely another great example of the pinched emotional states the men in the series are able to experience.
posted by mediareport at 9:48 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Character actor bonanza! Roy from The Office AND Wojo from Barney Miller.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:49 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did the WWII vet eat those German soldiers or just murder them?
posted by Small Dollar at 9:50 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Which I see was mentioned, oops.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:50 PM on May 10, 2015


The motel owner/vet reminded me so much of Grandpa Gene.
posted by sallybrown at 9:51 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ugh. I have a terrible feeling about Pete.

It was a big tease to have a scene with Pete and his brother and not say "oh by the way I've been offered a job with a company that builds planes. Whaddya think???"
posted by dry white toast at 9:51 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Was anyone else confused and/or uninterested by the Pete's new job storyline? I checked on the cat during the middle of one of its scenes so might have missed a key point, but that development felt rushed and not really appropriate for his character at this point.
posted by mediareport at 9:53 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The motel owner/vet reminded me so much of Grandpa Gene.

Hard not to recall when he tried to give Bobby the German Army helmet from WWI.
posted by dry white toast at 9:54 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think if this was the West Wing, Pete would die in a jet crash, like when CJ fell in love with Mark Harmon and they could finally be together, but then he got shot in a deli robbery. But it's not, it's Mad Men. I think Pete learned himself something. Because he always loved Trudy.
posted by sweetkid at 9:54 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps this ending suits Betty, in the sense that she will never grow old and deal with losing the beauty she values, but...how heartbreaking. I couldn't help thinking of Sally joking last season about how little she would care if her mother died. I didn't really start crying until hearing Betty say "I love you. Mom." Something we've never heard Betty say, at least in words like that.
posted by sallybrown at 9:58 PM on May 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think Pete realized things were as good as they were going to get at McCann. He finally has everything: partnership, the big office, recognition of his talents, wealth. And what did it mean? What was he going to do at McCann for the next twenty years?
posted by dry white toast at 9:59 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I loved Pete's whole storyline tonight -- Duck's point about lucky streaks, Pete's conversation with his brother, and of course that entire last scene with Pete and Trudy.

So that's Pete, Joan, and (probably) Don gone from McCann so far. Is there a way out for Peggy? Roger?
posted by sallybrown at 10:03 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


But it's not, it's Mad Men. I think Pete learned himself something. Because he always loved Trudy.

He did. And also, he was seriously questioning (in the scene with his brother) WHY the two of them had always had this problem with chasing after the new thing. I thought it was hugely believable. Pete's always been a bit of an ass (God love him), but he's also at least sought self-awareness at times.

Question: in what context was Detroit/Buick mentioned in the last couple eps? I know it was there but don't remember who/when. I'm still holding out for a brief reappearance of Bob. Come on Bob!

Whose stories do we return to next week? I expect Joan, Peggy, and Roger aren't done--even though their recent scenes were gorgeous enough to have been a sendoff in each case. Are we done with Ken? Stan? Are we done with McCann?
posted by torticat at 10:03 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Peggy isn't like the other characters. They've all come to the end of something. Peggy is still very much in the middle of her arc. I think she stays.

We all know Roger isn't going to make it to the end of the last episode.
posted by dry white toast at 10:05 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, I think that's true of Peggy also because she's really the female lead of the show. No way she's sent off two eps before the end.

Roger's not going to die and neither is anyone else, I don't think, not after this bombshell with Betty.
posted by torticat at 10:08 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


It is absolutely criminal that not a single one of these actors has won an Emmy for this show. Not that awards are always on point (The Wire...), but come on.
posted by sallybrown at 10:10 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]




The last scene will be Peggy writing alone. I'm sure of it.
posted by sweetkid at 10:14 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I was wrong about this one. So, so wrong. I'm glad he's still in touch with Sally. Because Henry might be able to pull himself together and father the boys but he sure as hell blew it this time. What a selfish jerk. True to his character, but terrible.

You know Sally's going to reread that letter about five million times, saying to herself "Is this all I get?!" Though I agree that Betty's death is fitting for her. Almost a triumph.

I hope we get lots of Peggy in the finale. I care about her way more than Don at this point.

I feel like Roger's going to have to leave McCann too, somehow. Maybe not dying. But it fits well if Peggy's the only primary character left.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:16 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


According to imdb, Redd Foxx was on Flip Wilson's show on October 1, 1970 (I think it's what Don was watching when his TV died).
posted by gubo at 10:20 PM on May 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


I didn't really start crying until hearing Betty say "I love you. Mom." Something we've never heard Betty say, at least in words like that.

Yeah that whole thing had me in tears. The part where Betty said that Sally (I'm paraphrasing here) "marched to the beat of her own drummer" and that "she [Sally] would have many adventures" hit me the hardest - my Mom had cancer (thankfully she's been cancer-free for a decade now) and used to tell me that I "marched to the beat of my own drummer" all the time. Betty was never my favorite, but damn I was so sad for her.

I really hope Don doesn't come back to NY months later only to discover that Betty is dead.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY,
LOVE MAD MEN
posted by littlesq at 10:20 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised that they went for the Merle Haggard in the opening and passed up the chance to use "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am." But I laughed at Don dreaming of "Okie from Muskogee."
posted by sallybrown at 10:21 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


OH GOD I REALLY HOPE THE LAST SONG TO PLAY ON MAD MEN WON'T BE "BYE BYE BIRDIE" BECAUSE I WILL SOB.
posted by littlesq at 10:22 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


No it's too far along in the sixties
posted by sweetkid at 10:27 PM on May 10, 2015


It was really significant that even though Don had buggered off, he told his kids what was happening and that he was checking in with them. He can leave behind Don Draper, but he won't leave them behind.

I can only assume that the situation with Betty brings him back to New York. But what will he be when he comes back?
posted by dry white toast at 10:27 PM on May 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


he sure as hell blew it this time. What a selfish jerk. True to his character, but terrible.

Really? Henry has been an amazing dad to those kids. And his sobbing in that scene with Sally was utterly heartbreaking. I think it's a signal about how much Sally has grown up, that he is approaching her as an adult, basically, because he has nowhere else to go. And he's clearly just flailing for ways to try to fix this situation--what phone calls to make, whatever--and there really is just nothing he can do.

I liked Henry better in this episode than I ever have before. His love and acceptance of Betty has always been unwavering, but here we saw how deep it really runs, how frantic he is at the thought of losing her.

I don't know, I think that going to Sally was an understandable choice on his part. Sally actually did deserve to know. And it forced Betty's hand. Maybe unfairly...but Sally wouldn't have that letter if Henry hadn't done what he did.
posted by torticat at 10:28 PM on May 10, 2015 [38 favorites]


The last scene will be Peggy writing alone. I'm sure of it.

i don't know how you can be sure of anything on this show. season seven as a whole has defied expectations every step of the way, hell, you can argue the show has been doing that consistently since at least the end of season three. there was a moment where i had this episode paused, gripped with fear and anxiety because don has just admitted his past with the military, that he would finally say the wrong thing to the wrong person and his past would catch up with him... and then everyone completely understood. i have no idea what to expect from the next episode, except that it will contain don and probably peggy, and i could not be more excited to see what happens.
posted by JimBennett at 10:32 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's probably my own dead-dad, forced-parentification thing. But it was deeply inappropriate of him to go tell Sally and then try and burden her with convincing her mother to undergo cancer treatment. Wrong as a husband, wrong as a dad. Convincing Betty to tell Sally would be one thing, but that's not why he was telling her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


"I was in advertising."

Such a small throwaway line, speaking volumes. God I'm going to miss this show.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:40 PM on May 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


I'm assuming that Betty's death would be the major catalyst for Don coming back to the East

This is so interesting. I hadn't thought there was any way Don would return to NY this time. He has nothing there.

But--he has his kids. And maybe there was a little misdirection last episode with his leaving them happily with Betty and Henry. (I thought that scene in the kitchen with him & Betty had closed out his story with his family; they would be okay without him). But... if Betty's not there, then what?

Did Henry adopt the kids?

Maybe the show starts with Don's running from his birth family, and ends with his returning to his own children?

Everything Don's accomplished (and then lost over this past season) has been about running from his family/identity/past. Even his womanizing was about that.

Then there was that scene at the end of last season when he showed his kids his family home.

On the thematic question of "can people change," probably the only way in which we've seen Don definitively change and grow has been in his relationship with his kids (with Sally as a stand-in for all of them).

Also I think "family" is a hugely important theme for Matt Weiner. If there's any hope for a redemptive note for Don in the end, that's going to be where it is.
posted by torticat at 10:42 PM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


The last scene will be Peggy writing alone. I'm sure of it.

To clarify of course you can never be sure, it just always seemed fitting since the first shot was don writing. It's a pet theory of mine. At the very least I think well end on pegs
posted by sweetkid at 10:47 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's all kinds things left to do in the battle for equality but at least the goddamned doctor doesn't make women call their husbands and then tell *him* that you're dying like you're not even in the same goddamned room anymore. I think Mom might actually have hurt a doctor who tried to pull that shit on her in 1973 when she had a cancer scare. Dad doesn't like to talk about it and she's gone now so I can't ask her. I know Mom almost caused an international incident one time when somebody spit over the side at the USS Arizona memorial. Dad had to physically hold her back. True story.

sallybrown: “The motel owner/vet reminded me so much of Grandpa Gene.”
I couldn't look at him without wondering if he was going ask if Don wanted some stew.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:01 PM on May 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am enjoying the feverish seedy noir dream world Don is traveling in. He can just set up a fund for handsome con men Twinks care of Bob Benson in Detroit. I mean, c'mon Don, read your Gone Girl, don't throw around money or advertise your outsider status, that makes you EASILY VICTIMIZED. Blend in and don't try to make waves, don't stay too long, and don't be noticeable - seriously people in dusty roadside towns have nothing better to do then figure out how to fleece you, sheesh, you have been an ad man for too long.

Doing that to Betty, on Mother's Day, was so mean. and her letter oh god. "Interred fully intact" oh god.

Henry looks so old now!

Oh Sally, way to get launched into young adulthood! Enjoy having no parents basically! But look, Gene exists, that's something.

I did like the comic contrast of "Witchita is wholesome!" And then Don getting beaten with a phone book by some drunkards.

My favorite bartender once said she used to love VA halls in small towns cause everyone was there to get blackout drunk.

I mean I knew Andy and Don where not about to have dirty weird sex after that first interaction but by gods it was heavily shaded that way, as if Andy was feeling out this Mysterious Stranger. (and if it was an Andi he totally would've )
posted by The Whelk at 12:09 AM on May 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Pete said Joan cashed out so I assume she's gone, so the final episode will be Peggycentric as this was Doncentric.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


(And yeah Henry has been a good Dad, like possibly the only non terrible male influence Sally has so far?)

Did the WWII vet eat those German soldiers or just murder them

You know I took that story as a bunch of fabricated tall tales, something told often and a lot to make it seem like and allude to and scandalize but not actually settle on "oh and by the way we ate some people." like a pulp comic, something to tell in a bar, but then Don RUINS THE MOMENT with STUPID HONESTY cause he doesn't know the highly ritualized ways a bunch of small town war buddies tell stories - no actual emotions! No real confessions! You are not among friends! if they didn't think he was a criminal beforehand they sure did after!
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 AM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Betty noooooooo *quiet sobbing*
posted by jokeefe at 12:26 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean I knew Andy and Don where not about to have dirty weird sex after that first interaction but by gods it was heavily shaded that way, as if Andy was feeling out this Mysterious Stranger.

Oh god I was thinking that too, and then I thought Don was going to have sex with the hotel owners wife after fixing her typewriter because, hey, it's the 70's/end of Mad Men. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
posted by littlesq at 12:39 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just finished watching and I have a meeting to go to and man, I can't stop crying about Betty and Sally.
posted by tracicle at 12:46 AM on May 11, 2015


You guys think it's interesting how much of Betty's personal life and growing up was about death and how it might almost be comforting to her to know she has an end point?
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


But it was deeply inappropriate of him to go tell Sally and then try and burden her with convincing her mother to undergo cancer treatment. Wrong as a husband, wrong as a dad. Convincing Betty to tell Sally would be one thing, but that's not why he was telling her.

Oh I thought it was incredibly misguided, weird, innappropate, and completely nonsensical (seriously, Your mother doesn't doesn't want you to know...but go convince her to get treatment? THEM SHE KNOWS YOU KNOW) but it was very illustrative of how Henry, who has always been the voice of reason and rational common sense is now like, desperately grabbing at straws and frantic and breaking down in front of his step-daughter cause he's just been pole-axed.

(the "Rocky Would know what to do!" Just sounded so pathetic and trying hard but also ...Ironic considering how he died.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:02 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought Henry going to Sally was exactly on point. He's got no sense about that being inappropriate. Now, sure, maybe, but then? No.

Still processing the rest.
posted by tilde at 1:44 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


TV-nostalgia casting, ahoy in Sharon .... I remember her from Malcom in the Middle, hah.
posted by tilde at 1:44 AM on May 11, 2015


The motel owner does look like Gene. Damn.

Was tinking about the endings. "The pink slip is in the glove box."

The pink slip has the name Donald F Draper on it. New name for Andy?

Betty's favorite dress is a blue chiffon - Megan had that teeny one she wore in the season(s) opener and with Harry.
posted by tilde at 2:55 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actual loud ugly sobbing at the end. That fucking tore my heart out. Poor Betty, poor Sally. Fuck.

Also, Pete is getting a happy ending.

And Don is shedding the last of Don.

I would guess next week is all about Peggy. Don will get to California and will call Peggy from the great beyond and he will give her some final advice. Ah, I don't know.

It wouldn't surprise me if next week's episode was set another five year's hence, since everyone is so scattered now.
posted by crossoverman at 4:00 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought that too, that the finale might be a few years into the future. I mean there's no way they can wrap everything up in a single hour. And I'm not sure we'll see Peggy; the last episode felt like a triumphant send-off for her. But if that's true, I'll be as pissed as everyone else. She's the counterweight to Don through the arc of the series, the rise to his fall.

Kudos to Wiener for doing this in such a way that none of us have any idea how this will end.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:29 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


So... did no one else scream "LIAR!" at the TV when Pete gushed to Trudy that he's never loved anyone but her? I believe he really loves her, and has throughout their marriage, but I don't think we've ever been given any reason to believe he didn't really love Peggy. When he said that it really twisted the knife for me because it wasn't a turning point of honesty, it was just the master account man saying what the client wanted to hear to close the deal.
posted by telegraph at 4:32 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sorry, what makes you think he loved Peggy?
posted by crossoverman at 4:42 AM on May 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Is there a way out for Peggy?

Wasn't there a throwaway line towards the beginning, with Pete saying something about how she went to...some other place (I forget the name, but it sounded like another agency)?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 AM on May 11, 2015


You guys think it's interesting how much of Betty's personal life and growing up was about death and how it might almost be comforting to her to know she has an end point?

It definitely feels appropriate. Like, horrific, but appropriate.

Also as to her personally, she stayed a child into middle age, and then began dying just as she matured. She looked like a gorgeous youngish adult for almost the entire run of the show. But her inner life pretty much went from child --> dying (just as she'd started studying Freud!).

Her life was stunted by her mother and father and Don.

Don told Sally a couple episodes ago that, much as she might want to distance herself from them, she IS partly her mother and father, and it's up to her to make more of that than having a pretty face. I wonder what you take away as Betty's adolescent daughter. Sally's actually learned from Don; what does she take from Betty?
posted by torticat at 4:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure where to begin with this episode. I liked it, but we're so close to the end, I'm having a hard time trying to wrap my head around it. We've definitely seen the last of some characters now and I'm scared by the idea we might not see some of our favourites again.

Let's start with Don, who is continuing to shed everything that made him Don Draper - "I used to work in advertising" all the way back to the fact he killed his CO in Korea. He's on the road and I guess he'll make it to the promised land next week, California. Or next week will be set a few years hence and he'll be living there, back to being Dick Whitman perhaps? I liked his story this week, though it seemed very much like a finale kind of story. As much as this half season has been about letting the show end at its own pace, this week seemed more like a typical end. That's why I think next week might be an epilogue. And epilogue to round out the characters whose main stories are all done. (I mean, Peggy's final scene last week was astonishing - a fitting end to her story, but might not be the most satisfying last glimpse we have of her. Same with Joan, liked her walking out with her rolodex, but hard to say that it was enough to leave her like that.)

I like that he took the hustler under his wing, corrected his grammar and set him on the path to reinvention. Again, a typical finale kind of story, but satisfying nonethless?

Pete got to reinvent himself, too. I'm not surprised that Weiner gave Pete a happy ending, at least this week. His return to Trudy has been set up quite well over the last few episodes. And I completely buy her taking him back in this situation. And I believe this change of circumstance would lead Pete to want to reconcile. Great to see Duck again. And I guess if Don is the one who drives through Kansas first, makes sense that Pete would settle there. He gets to reinvent himself without changing his name - he gets to bring his family back together, too.

Don is keeping in contact with Sally, that's good. I wonder if anyone else even knows where he's going? She has the wanderlust, too - but that's not just a Don thing, that's a Betty thing, too.

Oh, Betty. This just hurt. I mean, it felt like a finale kind of story, but it also fit? Betty has never wanted to age. She has never wanted to get old. She has never wanted to lose her looks. And she gets to go out on her own terms, no one telling her how to live the final months of her life. It's amazing that of all the smokers on the show to get cancer it would end up being Betty. But cancer sucks. Cancer is random.

Betty has grown so much, especially in this last half season. I'm glad she got to do that before the end. And her letter to Sally made me sob. Sob for Betty but also for Sally, who is about to lose her mother - with her father on the road.

I could almost see Don coming back for his kids, but that's more reason for me to think next week will be set in a few years. Those with McCann contracts will be free of them if they want to be. Betty will be gone. Sally will be all grown up. Don will be deep into his new life. And Peggy will be ruling the world.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't see the move to Wichita as a fresh start for eggface Pete; I think that it will turn out to be the ninth circle of hell for him.
posted by brujita at 5:09 AM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Betty has never wanted to age. She has never wanted to get old. She has never wanted to lose her looks. And she gets to go out on her own terms, no one telling her how to live the final months of her life.

Last week, to Don: "I'm younger than you. I'll always be younger than you." I should have posted that fleeting feeling of death. I had a video game character that I stopped playing and I "wrote off" as "Forever Seventeen". And the line reminds me of all the maudlin "dying young" YA novels that were popular when I was a tween and teen.
posted by tilde at 5:10 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Assorted thoughts...
  • All of the autumnal colors... the dark interiors, Betty's lipstick... so perfect for 1970 and the penultimate episode of the show. I was about Tammy's age in 1970 and I still am allergic to poorly lit rooms with low ceilings.
  • The lady behind Duck and Pete on the elevator at the beginning of the episode looked like a middle-aged Peggy.
  • Pete "sending Peggy" to a headhunter other than Duck!
  • I don't see Pete's journey to Wichita as a choice. Duck did an end run around him. The only part that WAS a choice was his invitation to Trudy.
  • How weird that the innkeeper's wife attended Don's beating. I had a feeling it wasn't the first one she'd witnessed. How long did that con over the stolen money go and how many of them were involved?
  • Betty finally gets some say over something... the circumstances of her death. I was so horrified when the doctor gave Henry the lowdown with her off to the side, listening, like it only indirectly concerned her. "Mrs. Robinson..." pah, it's like listening to the grandfathers of today's trolls. Sadly accurate, though... those boys wouldn't have been able to understand a woman of her age in college for any reason other than to find a young stud.
  • I'm hoping Pete does NOT go down in a plane like his dad did... that would be a really heavy body count for the series finale.

posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:12 AM on May 11, 2015


Sally, this episode: "I feel like I'm right next to you."

Next episode is called Person to Person. Lots of catch up phone calls?


Also, I think the last song competition is wide open. I don't know off hand which version of "Everyday" they played this time ... but I think they lyrics were for "us", the audience.
posted by tilde at 5:13 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


DVR reminder that the finale will run until approximately 11:20pm.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:16 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's probably my own dead-dad, forced-parentification thing. But it was deeply inappropriate of him to go tell Sally and then try and burden her with convincing her mother to undergo cancer treatment. Wrong as a husband, wrong as a dad. Convincing Betty to tell Sally would be one thing, but that's not why he was telling her.

Hm. I think it's deeply inappropriate for Betty to try to hide something like this from Sally.

I think Henry (and Megan for that matter, and Don in later times) nearly always had better parental instincts than Betty did.

Betty probably wasn't cut out to be a mom. She probably would have done better in a culture that didn't expect her automatically to take that route. She might have actually grown up. She might even in that case not be dying! (smoking being, ultimately, a way to try to escape from boredom and stress.)

Remember a couple seasons ago when Don was upset because Sally had gone to a funeral? (He said something like "I don't want you there.") I felt like that was the route Betty was headed down. Ignore it, prettify it, don't burden the kids with it. But good lord--your children are going to be burdened by your death. You aren't making it go away, or making it easier for them, by refusing to talk about it.

Didn't Henry do the better thing, giving Sally permission to cry?

Having said all that about these fictional characters, though, I'm so sorry, PhoBWanKenobi, about your real-life history. And I can see that Henry's choices in this episode were ethically debatable.
posted by torticat at 5:22 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Last week, to Don: "I'm younger than you. I'll always be younger than you."

Ugh. Nice catch, tilde, but wow that is painful.
posted by torticat at 5:25 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean there's no way they can wrap everything up in a single hour.

Protip: you'll probably enjoy next week's finale a lot more if you don't expect the show to "wrap everything up." Weiner has strongly hinted that's not a given.
posted by dry white toast at 5:45 AM on May 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Henry was acting out of desperation, when he went to Sally. "Inappropriate" doesn't enter into it. He truly loves Betty and he's utterly flummoxed by Betty's refusal to do anything about the cancer. He's not exactly used to people (especially women, I assume) not doing as he says. That he believes Sally has any pull with Betty is interesting, given the cold nature of the relationship between Betty and Sally.

That scene where Henry and the doctor discuss treatment options for Betty, ignoring her as if she wasn't right there with them with so maddening. If anything, that is what sealed Betty to her fate. She was going to have her way on this matter, at least.

It's so sad that, at the moment when Betty decides to do something positive in her life, something for herself (going back to school) she gets cut-down like this.

I, too, thought for sure there would be someone at the VFW who actually knew the real Lt. Don Draper in Korea and would expose Don. Weiner even shot that scene where the other Korean vet comes over to meet Don in a way that made us think the jig was up. The way Don took forever to turn and face the other vet.

The way Don looked at the old Coke machine when the motel owner asked him to fix it made me think Don had suddenly been struck with some sort of "ah-ha!" moment re:Coke advertising ala his Carousel inspiration. The pay-off, of course, would be that he returns to NY with this brilliant, all-conquering campaign. But, thankfully, this isn't going to happen. I really like that Don is getting himself as far from that life as possible. Though, the beating he took possibly reminds him that things aren't necessarily any better elsewhere.

Hard to tell where next week will end up. I'm torn on whether Don will go back to NY because of Betty. Will next week be set far enough down the line to where Betty has died? Or about to? Or, is the diagnosis the end of Betty's story arc? Is being told "I love you" by Betty the end of Sally's story arc?

Somehow, wherever Don lands, I have this odd feeling that Roger will track him down. He really hasn't been wrapped-up in any satisfying way, unless "included with the furniture" is the end of Roger's story.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:45 AM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


"It's mainly bees."
posted by drezdn at 5:45 AM on May 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


I agree that we should not expect that characters and storylines will be wrapped up. Life just goes on. I think we've seen the last of Trudy, Pete and Betty Draper. Maybe Joan too. I did not have faith That Matt Weiner would deliver such powerful episodes during this last half season*. Wow. I'm still tearing up over Betty's letter to Sally. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye next Sunday.

*And I take all of this back if the people who are saying the Buddy Holly song hints at another plane crash are correct.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:49 AM on May 11, 2015


There's no way that can be the end of Sally's arc. Don has shed everything about his Don a Draper life, but he hasn't shed his kids. It wouldn't ring true if he wasn't there for them. I also think Betty's death will be really hard on Don.
posted by dry white toast at 5:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pete to Trudy: "It's beautiful in Wichita."

Oh, Pete. No it's not. It's so, so not.
posted by dnash at 5:57 AM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm still holding out for a brief reappearance of Bob. Come on Bob!

Next week I want a post-credits scene with Sal, Bob, Peggy's friend Joyce, Joan's roommate Carol, and German Kurt all eating shawarma in a busted up restaurant. I just want to know they're all okay.
posted by almostmanda at 6:01 AM on May 11, 2015 [26 favorites]


When Henry asks Sally to talk to Betty, she says, "I wouldn't know what to say."

How many times have Betty and Don said, "I don't know what to say," in the course of the show? She is their daughter.
posted by tracicle at 6:04 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh, Pete. No it's not. It's so, so not.

So funny.

I do think this is where we leave Pete & Trudy, so hopeful about new beginnings. And we'll never know if they make it or not.

But, yeah. Pete can hardly drive. Dude, Wichita is not your place.
posted by torticat at 6:05 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Final scene next week: Don wakes up in bed with Bob Newhart.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:08 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if we get a Beatles song for the last episode.

"Across the Universe" came out in 1970, yes?
posted by Windigo at 6:16 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


And so did "Let it Be," which would also be fitting.
posted by Windigo at 6:21 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The final episode starts with Roger talking to Joan saying "We sure had some fun times back at SC&P. Remember that time..." Then it's just a clip show.
posted by drezdn at 6:23 AM on May 11, 2015 [42 favorites]


I thought Henry going to Sally was exactly on point. He's got no sense about that being inappropriate. Now, sure, maybe, but then? No.

Oh, it was completely realistic that a man like him, with a lot of power and money, would do something like that. I also maintain that it was wrong, though.

Hm. I think it's deeply inappropriate for Betty to try to hide something like this from Sally.

I think Henry (and Megan for that matter, and Don in later times) nearly always had better parental instincts than Betty did.


Henry wasn't telling her because he believed she deserved to be told. He was telling her because he thought she could influence her mother to change it. Given a terminal cancer diagnosis, and given that Betty watched her mother fade away, I can absolutely see why Betty wanted to spare her children that. She'll die either way, but she was trying to give Sally (and Bobby, and Gene) a few months normalcy over a quarter year of panic and grieving.

Also, Betty said she was trying to figure out the best way to tell them. All of this happened within days--I do think Betty was probably going to say something, but carefully. Not that sloppy plea to make Betty fight that Henry gave Sally. He wasn't giving her permission to cry; he was giving himself permission to cry, and expecting a 16-year-old to comfort him.

I also disagree that he was that great of a dad, honestly. His parenting method seemed to largely be to leave the kids with his oft-awful mother. But then, I also don't think Betty was that bad of a mom.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:35 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


On a long enough timeline, I think Henry and Betty would have ended up divorced, eventually.
posted by drezdn at 6:38 AM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Random assorted thoughts about how wrong I was all evening:

- Prior to the episode I had been certain that the hitchhiker was going to roll Don for all he has, and take all Don's ID and money, leaving him with no identity at all.
- My husband and I literally shouted "Don't go to the VFW, Don!" about a half dozen times each. I particularly loved how Don seemed to know that he shouldn't be going, but couldn't help himself.
- Like others, I was sure that Don was going to be recognized.
- Then I was certain that the VFW guys were there to dispense some kind of rough justice to Don for killing his CO.
- In a way it was a weird relief that someone actually stole the money. Because I was, again, *certain* this was some kind of shake down to get $500 out of Don. (ie: they pretended the money was stolen and held him hostage for it)
- Also. $500 seems like a LOT of money for them to have raised, given valuations at the time. You could buy Don's Cadillac in 1970 for about six grand.
- I totally agree that Betty wasn't actively trying to hide her illness from the children - she just needed time to process and form a strategy as to what to tell them and how. I don't think its unreasonable that she would want to take some time to process before she shared the news with them.

I personally think we've seen the last of Pete ("Good morning!"), Trudy, Betty, Joan, Peggy (and therefore also Stan), and probably Roger. Pete, Peggy, and Joan all walked through doors (Pete and Joan out, Peggy (figuratively) in). They have each had scenes that lend finality to their stories and that would be, honestly, hard to top (particularly Peggy). But seeing how good my track record of "I'm certain" was last night, I would not be at all surprised if every single one of them shows up in the finale.
posted by anastasiav at 6:48 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can't decide if it would be a little too on-the-nose if broken man Dick Whitman were to open a repair shop somewhere.
posted by drezdn at 6:55 AM on May 11, 2015


And could Don actually be in a bad financial position. Money seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.
posted by drezdn at 6:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Final scene: Don wakes up, hears the shower running. He finds Patrick Duffy there.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:57 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


There should be a scene with Sal in the last episode with a young attractive man introducing himself to Sal as "Donald F. Draper."
posted by drezdn at 6:58 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


In the final episode, Don fixes his broken relationship with Sally. In the final shot, there's a freeze frame with a burst of energy coming from Don's body. A voice-over by Scott Bakula begins "And with my hardest mission ever finished, I finally got to leap home."
posted by drezdn at 7:01 AM on May 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


I hope we get an adult Sally Draper voiceover like The Wonder Years.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


And could Don actually be in a bad financial position. Money seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.

He walked away from two million dollars and gave up his Cadillac. I'm not sure he's really concerned with money at this point.

I'm kind of hoping they do a Six Feet Under thing for the finale, jumping forward in time a bit to show how each character ends up.
posted by bondcliff at 7:02 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish they'd do that, but I don't think they will. At this point, I'd be shocked if they made it out of 1970.
posted by drezdn at 7:04 AM on May 11, 2015


Pete gets Don a job with Leerjet, giving him the vital knowledge he needs to...
posted by drezdn at 7:04 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


They don't show it, but Don totally went around that town marking "A dishonest man lives here" on everything.
posted by drezdn at 7:05 AM on May 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Don is hiking along a road in the mountains in Northern California, as it begins to snow. Pull back to reveal it's a snow globe held by autistic Bobby Draper.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I didn't expect to end my Sunday night in a puddle of tears, but that's what happened. Sally reading the letter, Betty struggling up the stairs - it was all a real punch in the gut.

I think Henry was just kind of flailing - it may have been inappropriate for him to talk to Sally or not, but the way he just broke down next to her and sobbed...it was like he had just been hit with a tidal wave. I suppose I could consider him a bad parental figure for not absorbing the blow himself, but I also think sometimes you can't guard yourself against grief and maintain iron control. If Sally just took her first step into adulthood, it's partly by realizing that sometimes grownups can be overwhelmed by the world and not know what to do.

I also wonder if Don will get the call and return home to be with his kids, and that will be a step into adulthood for him, also. If he can interrupt one of his introspective and rather selfish American Road Vision Quests that he loves so much to return home and be a support to his kids, that would be a big statement at the end of the show.
posted by PussKillian at 7:10 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Last song is "The Weight" or GTFO.
posted by dry white toast at 7:10 AM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


He walked away from two million dollars and gave up his Cadillac.

"You were rich when I met you."

- He gave Megan $1m.
- He walked away from $2m when he left McCann, but that was probably 25%, so figure he made $6m on the original deal.
- He gave away the car.
- He recently sold his apartment for, what? $200K maybe? (She said but I don't remember.)
- He has a good financial guy he trusts.
- He set up a largish trust for the kids several seasons ago in case he "disappears" but while Betty could access that at any time, Henry likely could not.
- I'm certain he pays all of Sally's school bills.

I think he probably has resources available if he can access them. But accessing the money would be the trick. Western union?
posted by anastasiav at 7:10 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]



So... did no one else scream "LIAR!" at the TV when Pete gushed to Trudy that he's never loved anyone but her?


I sure did!
posted by jgirl at 7:12 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Last song is "The Weight" or GTFO.

For some reason, I thought it was released in the 70s, but yes, this, so much this.
posted by drezdn at 7:13 AM on May 11, 2015


I had just seen Kiernan Shipka's episode on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so I kept expecting her to shout, "I hate you, Kimmy!!!"
posted by Chrysostom at 7:15 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


1968. I've been thinking it should be the last song for a while, but the way Don's arc has gone this season, it's becime even more perfect.
posted by dry white toast at 7:16 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Much I as I can see anything from Abbey Road wrapping this up, I think we would have heard by now if he'd bought another Beatles song.
posted by tilde at 7:17 AM on May 11, 2015


Loved the shot of Henry taking away Betty's cigarette before we learn about the lung cancer.
posted by drezdn at 7:22 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Henry's doing the best he can, and Sally got to see that he really loves her mother, which I think is important.

I kept expecting Sally to blurt out "I want to talk to my DAD." I'm surprised she didn't call him right away. I like that she didn't, for Don's sake, but I'm surprised that she didn't for her sake.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:22 AM on May 11, 2015


Henry telling Sally it's okay to cry was him telling himself it was okay to cry - and then he did. Sally comforting him actually made me furious. Having grown up with narcissistic parents for whom I was usually the parent, I almost screamed at the television. But I may be biased on that point.

When Sally showed up and we saw Betty's face, I thought for sure she was going to bend down and hug her, but she walked right past her. I understand that's who she is, and she's terrified and still processing it all, but she had the calm and resolve to write that letter, too.

The whole thing actually made me want Don to go home to her.

Pro-tip

I know it won't all be wrapped up. But we have seen pretty concrete farewells to some major characters. I know Wiener has said not to expect a pat ending, which is why the last few episodes have really surprised me.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:30 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Henry wasn't telling her because he believed she deserved to be told.

That's fair enough.

But Betty herself put an even greater burden on Sally, explaining in detail how she wanted to be laid out in death, and telling her Henry wouldn't be able to handle those arrangements.

(I mean seriously--most of the letter should have been written to Henry.)

I'm not sure it's true Betty was trying to figure out the best way to tell the children (until Henry forced her). I think she and Henry were both in deep denial but in different ways.

Brushing past your child in anger because she's learned without your permission that you are dying does not suggest that your child's well-being is a top item on your mind. Betty was a lot of things in this episode, but self-sacrificial was not one of them.

I think Sally would probably treasure that note all her life, because it contained the love and acceptance from her mother that she'd never received in life. The letter was also quintessential Betty, though, concerned with superficialities, with her legacy of beauty, and apparently fine with asking her adolescent daughter to take care of details no kid should have to be responsible for. (Is this what she needed time to figure out, with regard to talking to Sally?)

Compared with that I don't really see Henry's compassionate truth-telling/breakdown with Sally as inappropriate at all, and I still see Henry as the better parent.

And I LOVE Betty--as a character--just think she's very complicated. And I think Henry tempered some of her terrible parenting instincts (in a way Don was never able to do, at least not until after he and Betty had separated). Maybe that's why I see Henry's turning to Sally in a more sympathetic light.
posted by torticat at 7:31 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised she didn't call him right away. I like that she didn't, for Don's sake, but I'm surprised that she didn't for her sake.

Where was she going to call him?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:32 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised she didn't call him right away. I like that she didn't, for Don's sake, but I'm surprised that she didn't for her sake.

I don't think she can. Where would she call him? I think it's all about Don checking in on them, at this point. And he didn't, for the last half of the episode, and therefore he didn't know about Betty.
posted by torticat at 7:33 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


We probably won't get a pat answer to what happens to the main characters, but the show is doing a good job of showing the velocities of the characters beyond the story.
posted by drezdn at 7:34 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don might have to return to New York to deal with Betty's potential death (though I think she might not actually die in series time), but he might be completely unable to find any sort of decent job there. Hobart makes a point of saying how much power the company wields in the city, they might be able to prevent him from getting work beyond advertising.
posted by drezdn at 7:52 AM on May 11, 2015


I don't think she can. Where would she call him? I think it's all about Don checking in on them, at this point. And he didn't, for the last half of the episode, and therefore he didn't know about Betty.

It doesn't matter to me that she can't practically reach him - I'd have expected her to want to anyway...to blurt out the desire to, regardless of the practicalities. To demand it.

For Don's story, I think it's eloquent that he's unreachable in that regard and I don't think there's a place for him to intervene - it really is Henry's wife and Henry's family right now. And Betty's decisions. I think that'll be underscored when Don finally does know.

But I think for Sally, that would've been her go to reaction.

She can't practically shut out the news by covering her ears, either, but she tries to anyway. Just like I think she would've wanted her dad and demanded that somebody reach him somehow. Now.

It's a minor point - I was sitting yelling to the tv "I want my DAD!" but that's not where it went.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:56 AM on May 11, 2015


vitabellosi, that's completely out of Sally Draper's character.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:58 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The fact that she didn't ask for/demand her dad could be showing that she is growing up and gaining inner strength.
posted by drezdn at 7:59 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Next week I want a post-credits scene with Sal, Bob, Peggy's friend Joyce, Joan's roommate Carol, and German Kurt all eating shawarma in a busted up restaurant.

And Hildy!
posted by ChrisTN at 8:13 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


But Betty herself put an even greater burden on Sally, explaining in detail how she wanted to be laid out in death, and telling her Henry wouldn't be able to handle those arrangements.

I don't think she trusted Henry to respect her wishes after what happened with Sally. He would be too emotional, and incapable of handling them the way she wanted.

I recently saw something similar play out in my husband's family--one family member was terminal with lung cancer and refusing treatment. The things people will say about refusing to fight boggle me. Henry's insistence to Sally that Betty was probably being vain was pretty awful. Why would a vain woman keep going to school, for instance?

So much of Betty's plotline was about death. We blame so much of her state at the beginning of the series on Don, but I really wonder how much it was truly about losing her mother, an event we never saw. I suspect Betty would have always been relatively cold, but that triumphant self-possession at the end was really wonderful.

I also wonder if there were any hints at her cancer earlier and we just didn't see them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:16 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Last song is "The Weight" or GTFO.

My vote is for one of these two John Lennon ditties. Also released in 1970.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:19 AM on May 11, 2015


I don't think Sally would have called for her dad. I think, like Don, she's able to carry some pretty heavy weight. Don carried that Korea story for 15+ years without ever breathing a word of it. Sally kept her friendship with Glen a secret for, what, eight years?

What I love about all these characters is they're all developing in their own time, and there's no linear path between childhood and adulthood. Henry, a grown man with many accomplishments, breaks down in helpless tears. Childlike Betty gains the wisdom of accepting her illness with no tantrums, no arguing. Andy from the motel is older than Sally but he's a child through and through and just starting out in life. The servicemen barging into Don's hotel room had seen the darkest times but in that moment they were nothing more than schoolyard bullies.

Last week, I was hoping Don would give his car to the hippie. I'm glad he gave it to Andy. And I hope Andy drives East.

I'm still crying over Betty. She will always be beautiful.

I could picture Henry remarrying and raising the two boys.
posted by mochapickle at 8:21 AM on May 11, 2015


Henry's insistence to Sally that Betty was probably being vain was pretty awful. Why would a vain woman keep going to school, for instance?

I think Henry was still processing. It's a lot for him to take in. And yeah, I think maybe he never saw Betty for all that she was. But neither did Betty.

I loved Betty's response to why she was still going to school. Good for Betty. And because it never gets old: Betty shooting pigeons
posted by mochapickle at 8:25 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The fact that she didn't ask for/demand her dad could be showing that she is growing up and gaining inner strength.

Yeah. And actually I think my debating with PhoBWanKenobi about who-was-the-worst-parent was probably beside the point. The point was, BOTH parents turned to Sally to handle things no adolescent is prepared to handle, and that is how a kid grows up.

[on preview--PBWK, Betty was DEFINITELY vain in that episode. She was also determined to carry on with her ambitions, but she was still vain! How else do you read the hair-brushing, and more important all the careful instructions to Sally implying how important it is to Betty how she looks even in death?]
posted by torticat at 8:25 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, but I don't think she was vain for refusing to undergo radiation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Duck and Pete's relationship revolve so much around airplanes. IIRC, Duck brought him on board for the attempt to poach American because of his dad's death. I'm really tempted to go re-watch those episodes.
posted by drezdn at 8:33 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Was anyone else impressed by Duck's headhunting skills in this ep? Because he's so slimy and so good at it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:37 AM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Sure, but I don't think she was vain for refusing to undergo radiation.

True. It's interesting though that they kind of conflated (by implication) radiation and chemo, isn't it? I think chemo was well in use by 1970; wonder why it wasn't mentioned.

Radiation doesn't cause hair loss (I'm in the fifth week of a six-week radiation course myself right now, as it happens). Or really any other effects that are visible to anyone but the patient.
posted by torticat at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


If Don stops in Milfay, Oklahoma, I can finally finish my "Mad Men is a soft reboot of Carnivale" fan-fic.
posted by drezdn at 8:48 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


On rewatch, Duck's reference to Peggy in Pete's office:
"You know I helped you for free after that stupid merger? And then you sent Peggy to Gerald what's-his-name when she was in need!"
That would be Peggy's meeting with the headhunter a couple of eps ago. I don't think he's referring to Peggy leaving McCann. But it's deliberately vague!
posted by aabbbiee at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think we've ever been given any reason to believe he didn't really love Peggy

Interesting. I don't think we've ever been given any reason to believe he loves Peggy at all, or ever did or ever would.

back to being Dick Whitman perhaps?

How would that be possible without revealing what he did in order to restore his identity? Don Draper. You were always a Dick to me will be true for many, but not legally.

I'm surprised she didn't call him right away.

I thought because he was on the move he was the one calling her and even attempting to or saying she wanted to in front of Henry would, she knows, not be the thing to do.
posted by juiceCake at 8:57 AM on May 11, 2015


The last episode will end with a voice over of "Next week on Mad Men" and then 30 seconds of black.
posted by drezdn at 8:59 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Peggy would not go to Duck to do anything. That was a sordid affair that ended badly. It's sad to see him drinking again. I like that characters from the past keep popping back in, much like real life.
posted by readery at 9:02 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think Pete loved Peggy. I think he was taken with her, and that grew to a feeling of respect and protection when it came down to the wire (like McCann), and a weird sibling rivalry in every other occasion.
posted by mochapickle at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm in the fifth week of a six-week radiation course myself right now, as it happens

Damn. Sending you all the love and healthful vibes I've got. Teevee is all fun and games, but it ain't got nothing on reality. XOXO
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:04 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I loved Betty made a little smirk of pride when she realized the boys had called her Mrs. Robinson.
posted by mochapickle at 9:06 AM on May 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hugs, torticat!
posted by mochapickle at 9:07 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Re Sally not asking for her father when Henry spoke to her - I think that was pretty realistic. Don's never been super available. She wouldn't have thought to go to him for help or comfort.

I also don't think it's too strange that Henry and Betty are suddenly treating Sally like an adult. That seems pretty on point. We are looking at it from a modern child-rearing perspective where kids are so often sheltered from responsibility for a very long time. But that's a pretty modern phenomenon. Kids went to work pretty early in their lives. On farms, kids were doing chores as soon as they were able. How many teenagers dropped out of school to work when something happened to a parent?

As as far as Pete being happy in Wichita? I think he and Trudy could be. They loved New York sure but Trudy's plan was pretty solid - move out to the 'burbs when they got married and had Tammy. And while Pete really loved New York, even more than Trudy, over the last couple of seasons seemed to be taking advantage of it and enjoying being a New Yorker less and less. I mean we saw him in that hotel or apartment or whatever it was, just sitting alone. He wasn't out enjoying the city. When did we even see him out last?
posted by Beti at 9:12 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Pete has explicitly said the city's in the toilet.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:18 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I could picture Henry remarrying and raising the two boys.

Henry would not have any legal right to retain guardianship of the boys. He has never adopted them. Don is their legal father and has taken some pains to retain ties with all of them ("I have to hang up to call your brothers") when it would have been SO easy not to.

Don is a lot of things, but a deadbeat dad is not one of those things.
posted by anastasiav at 9:19 AM on May 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


The way Don looked at the old Coke machine when the motel owner asked him to fix it made me think Don had suddenly been struck with some sort of "ah-ha!" moment re:Coke advertising ala his Carousel inspiration.

In a worse version of the show Don would have started whistling "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."
posted by Knappster at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have to hang up to call your brothers

That was one of my favorite lines in this episode. It too spoke volumes.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:36 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


("I have to hang up to call your brothers")

Oh, I missed that line! I'll have to rewatch.
posted by mochapickle at 9:40 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


He has never adopted them.

Is this true? I'm really interested because it could have so much to do with the next episode. I thought he did legally adopt them, but I can't place the when and where and could very well be wrong.

flyingsquirrel and mochapickle--thank you!! Doing alright for now. But watching that episode last night with my 16yo daughter did cut pretty close. :(

Stupid too-close-to-life Matt Weiner!
posted by torticat at 9:45 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pete and Trudy moving to the center of the country, becoming insanely wealthy, born again and ultra rightwing makes a whole lot of sense to me. Pete's going to Pete, in other words.
posted by codacorolla at 9:48 AM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Mmmm, I could see Pete as the country club Republican, but I can't see him as hard right.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I remember some few years ago there was a fair amount of confusion why Betty was still even on the show, what with the exploding cast of characters in the SCDP world and the more-or-less marginality of Don's ex-wife and kids. Glad she was able to make a strong final showing, horrible circumstances though they were, and leave with some meaty material.

As for next week: I suspect we'll see Don, Peggy & Stan's final overture, something about Harry (he may not be a lead but he's got to have somewhere to go), and pull back to find Dawn & Meredith pulling the puppet strings of everyone's lives.
posted by psoas at 10:08 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out of interest, did we ever see Betty in the blue chiffon? I thought Tom & Lorenzo would have been all over that so I'm guessing not. I wondered if it called back to something significant in her and Henry's relationship. She's had so many amazing dresses.
posted by tracicle at 10:10 AM on May 11, 2015


I doubt we'll see anything about Harry; we've seen that he's become somewhat important at McCann, and that's all we really need to know. (I've never understood, by the way, all the hate for Harry. He's not any more despicable than most of the other men, surely?)
posted by willF at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2015


Roger and Don hate Harry. And - despite their own terrible flaws - we, the audience empathize with Roger and Don. So we hate him, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Harry is despicable with no redeeming features, he never learns, never grows, and just digs further and further into his sleazy little pit of WOE IS ME and entitlement. He's a creep, a sadly typical and common creep, but still a creep.
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


He's Pete if Pete never advanced beyond season one, basically.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


He's worse than he was during Season 1. Remember how guilty he felt about Hildy? And now he's so bad he's propositioning Don's (not yet ex-) wife and casually lying about her being unstable. He's so gross.

He's regressive.
posted by mochapickle at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Roger and Don hate Harry. And - despite their own terrible flaws - we, the audience empathize with Roger and Don.

This kind of fascinates me; I somehow was never able to buy into the empathetic "loveable rogue" view of Roger. Something about his entitlement (call it Ferris Bueller syndrome, to namecheck another character I was never on board with) always came off as repulsive to me - it's only recently with his "crisis of meaning" that it's really felt like he has any weight.
posted by psoas at 10:27 AM on May 11, 2015


Don telling Sally she had no concept of money! Just like dear old Dad!

I kept thinking, "Don would know what to say to help Betty. Maybe he wouldn't convince her to take the more aggressive treatments, but he would know what to say to make her feel at peace. No matter what else he wasn't able to do for her, he was generally able to do that. And, as much as Henry hated Don, I *aaalmost* think he might have called him if he'd known where to reach him.


Sorry, what makes you think he loved Peggy?

Well, he did say that he did, in "Meditations on an Emergency," But, as always, MMV on how much an individual viewer believes in his sincerity both toward her and toward himself when saying so.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:27 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


posted by Knappster In a worse version of the show Don would have started whistling "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."

The Coke machine Don fixed was emblazoned with, "Have A Coke." I was wondering if he was going to write "And A Smile" on it.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:33 AM on May 11, 2015


Something about his entitlement (call it Ferris Bueller syndrome, to namecheck another character I was never on board with) always came off as repulsive to me

Well, I hear where you are coming from. But, as Shirley pointed out, he is "very amusing."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:49 AM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mmmm, I could see Pete as the country club Republican, but I can't see him as hard right.

I think that (failing a fast-forward 'and here's where they all are five years later!') we're not really going to get an answer. To my mind, Pete has always been a joiner. He tried to be the slick accounts man like Roger, but he lacked the knack for it. He tried to be the company cog at McCann and was dissatisfied. I feel like him moving out to Wichita is going to be where he finds a place he can finally slot in, and his apparent redemptive attitude towards his family makes it seem like he's already mentally bending in that direction. That's just one reading though, and I think I'd prefer leaving it up to the audience to guess at what he does after the camera moves off of him.
posted by codacorolla at 10:50 AM on May 11, 2015


All that's missing is a cropduster

So many similarities: The Madison Avenue pedigree, the suit, the identity mistaken by chance, the Hitchcock blonde.
posted by mochapickle at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think we've ever been given any reason to believe he didn't really love Peggy

Interesting. I don't think we've ever been given any reason to believe he loves Peggy at all, or ever did or ever would.


Yeah I don't mean to belabor a point where I am apparently in the minority, but if you can't think of any inkling the show has ever given you that Pete may have loved Peggy, then you seem to have forgotten about my personal favorite scene in the whole damn show.
posted by telegraph at 11:17 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


If Don stops in Milfay, Oklahoma, I can finally finish my "Mad Men is a soft reboot of Carnivale" fan-fic.

Sorry drezdn, Milfay's way on the other side of state, he'd have to backtrack.

Fun fact about Alva, OK: During WWII, there was a POW camp there called Camp Alva where the US stored some German prisoners, many of whom were pretty hard core Nazis captured from the Afrika Corps. Some of them used to while away the time painting creepy murals and carving swastikas out of crates (scroll down to second to last article from the bottom). According to the first article I linked:

At the termination of the war, the POW camp was vacated and the land turned over to the City of Alva for control purposes. The deed transfer specified that the land would be used primarily for an airport, however, none of the land could be sold in as much as it still belonged to the US Government. buildings were sold and all except one that houses the VFW Post were removed.

So, it's entirely possible that Don and the Alva VFW guys were getting drunk on a former German POW Camp, which seems an odd place for a lady to jump out of a cake.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:18 AM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, it's entirely possible that Don and the Alva VFW guys were getting drunk on a former German POW Camp, which seems an odd place for a lady to jump out of a cake.

That is beautiful. And just twisted enough to be on purpose.
posted by mochapickle at 11:25 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Meh. I'd be surprised if Weiner even knew about that. If he'd known enough about Alva to know that, I doubt he would've shot those scenes in a location with that many trees. It's the kind of place where you can look out of your back porch and see for miles over the wheat fields.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Something I was thinking about on my stroll--is it possible that Betty's hand tremors were some kind of cancer symptom all along?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Something I was thinking about on my stroll--is it possible that Betty's hand tremors were some kind of cancer symptom all along?

If that's the case, the doctor who let her off with the thyroid condition in season 5 really messed up (which might be a possibility).
posted by drezdn at 11:47 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


if you can't think of any inkling the show has ever given you that Pete may have loved Peggy, then you seem to have forgotten about my personal favorite scene in the whole damn show.

Or, you know, see things differently, which happens. You're welcome to see Pete as having been in love with Peggy. I have no issue with people seeing things differently. Like you (I presume), I've seen all the episodes. Any emotion Pete has had for has been fleeting, selfish, and immature. He and Don share an impulsiveness in asserting their love for others. It's usually horseshit.
posted by juiceCake at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2015


I thought if anything Pete loved Lorelai Gilmore.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:51 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


She will always be the efficiency expert from NewsRadio to me.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought if anything Pete loved Lorelai Gilmore.

It took me a minute to figure that out - you mean Rory Gilmore.
posted by donajo at 11:54 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, technically they were both named Lorelai. But yes, that's who I meant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:59 AM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]




The scene with Henry and Sally reminded me very much of my own experience with my father after my mother died. The big difference is that I was an adult at the time, not sixteen, and it wasn't my first time being there for someone like that.

My feeling is that putting it on her to talk Betty into treatment is out of line, and telling her without permission is borderline, but that sharing your grief is a good thing. I have a difficult time not reading it through my own experiences, though, which brought my father and I closer than we were before.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:18 PM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


is it possible that Betty's hand tremors were some kind of cancer symptom all along?

I had the same thought. And in those first two seasons we frequently saw Don and Betty get out of bed coughing and hacking as if they had emphysema. For the longest time I thought Don would end up with lung cancer. The coughing fits coincide with Betty's tremors, too.
posted by tracicle at 12:23 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was thinking this morning - if there was no "next week" final episode, if this was the final episode...it seems like pretty much all the big characters have been brought to a reasonable final place. Last week's final shot of Peggy was such a perfect bookend to her first appearance that it could easily be the end of her story on the show. Joan's left and has a new wealthy man to run off with. Now Pete and Trudy are starting to reconcile. Betty's got cancer, but I can't imagine they want to spend the final episode with a lot of focus on that, and we don't really need to see her die to understand this is her story's end. Maybe Roger could use another moment than how we left him last week, although the organ playing was pretty perfect. And now Don's sitting on a bus stop bench in nowhereville without even his car anymore.

What I'm saying is - I feel like they've brought things to a place where next week could be almost anything. Like a massive flash forward in time to something like 1985. Or nothing but Don sitting on a California beach as an old man remembering flashes of his life. Or a total flashback to some incident that just pre-dates season 1 episode 1, re-emphasizing the changes time hath wrought.

We could be in for something really unexpected next week, I think. I hope.
posted by dnash at 12:36 PM on May 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I think we'll get another Don and Peggy moment. I think the last time they were onscreen together was that "performance review" she wanted that Don didn't take seriously. As much as I would love tentacle-porn-swagger to be our final Peggy shot, that would be a weird place to leave their relationship.
posted by almostmanda at 12:50 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was thinking this morning - if there was no "next week" final episode, if this was the final episode...it seems like pretty much all the big characters have been brought to a reasonable final place.

I've kinda thought that about nearly every episode this final half-season. There are still people I'd like to see one more time, still relationships I'd like to get one more peek into, but there have been so many places that, if that had been the end, I would have been satisfied, overall.
posted by ChrisTN at 12:52 PM on May 11, 2015


I lost a family member to lung cancer last September, so I thought Betty's letter to Sally was a kindness. Imagine Henry and Sally standing in Betty's closet wondering what she'd wanted to wear. People who make plans for their own funerals are the best kinds of people because it's so hard to make a decision on their behalf when you can't think about anything except that they're gone.

Don couldn't be more of a hobo if he tied his sad Sears sack to a stick. I really have absolutely no idea where Weiner will want him to end up. I would like to be sure in the finale that Don just doesn't forget about Gene and Bobby. He's not a deadbeat dad, but I could see him staying an absentee father to them and letting them stay with Henry after Betty dies.

I can't believe this show got me to root for a Pete happy ending. Kartheiser and the writing always win me back, no matter how often Pete's been unbearable. I loved his brother saying with a straight face, "She's always loved it that I'm attractive to other women."
posted by gladly at 12:56 PM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I guess I just don't see how you get Don back to New York quickly. He's certainly never setting foot in McCann ever again - he even says this week "I was in advertising." So I don't know how we get a Don/Peggy moment again other than some random crossing paths in the future scene.

Maybe it'll be a bottle episode at Betty's funeral, several months hence. Or even Roger's funeral. That would be a reason to get everyone into a room together one last time.
posted by dnash at 1:05 PM on May 11, 2015


The letter was kind.

Betty has always been so impossible to please. It was a gift to Sally to be able to say, This is exactly what I need you to do and here is how to do it. And I love you. As a daughter, you really just want your mother to be pleased. Betty gave Sally that in the end, and it bodes well for them both, and for Sally in terms of healing.
posted by mochapickle at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


But Betty herself put an even greater burden on Sally, explaining in detail how she wanted to be laid out in death, and telling her Henry wouldn't be able to handle those arrangements.

Count me as another person who thought Betty's letter was a kindness to Sally, not a burden. Henry's already proven that he can't handle this situations, so how can Betty expect him to handle her actual death any better? It would be so much more of a burden if Sally had do figure out all those details herself, especially knowing how much appearances matter to her mother.

I also really loved how Betty used the letter as the means to convey her directives to Sally. It gives Sally a lot of agency that she wouldn't have if she were forced into a conversation about it. Heck, if she wanted to, Sally never had to read the letter. And I also think Betty might have wanted to give Sally the option of reading it before she dies. Either way, the choice was Sally's.

Betty as a character has gotten a lot of flak (rightfully so in most instances), but I think she handled these final moments as best as you could expect anyone to.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:15 PM on May 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm posting random thoughts as they come to me, sorry, but it just occurred to me that Don might actually see Betty in a dream and know she's dead -- it happened with Anna and Rachel so he's potentially aware. Theoretically she still has a few months, and she's clearly not ailing badly yet, but maybe that is what gets Don back to NY, if anything.
posted by tracicle at 1:21 PM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


This ending for Betty made a lot of sense even though I never saw it coming. It feels like we've come full circle since one of her main story lines in the first season was coming to grips with the death of her mother.

As sad as the circumstances are, it was really good to see Betty taking control of her choices and destiny. I loved the final scene where Henry is shocked that she's going to continue attendings classes, and she matter-of-factly says, "Why was I ever doing it?"*

It's hard to really think about the other parts of this episode, because I was so emotionally leveled by the Betty storyline. As far as Don was concerned, I just kept wanting him to call Sally so that he could go back and be there for his kids, and for Betty. I know this might not happen, but I would like one more scene between Don and Betty where they sort of say their goodbyes. I've really enjoyed their amicable moments this season.

As far as Pete is concerned, I hope this is where they leave his story line. I'd like to have at least one character seem to have such a nice ending. Sure, maybe they go to Wichita and things turn out terribly, but please, just this once, Matthew Weiner, don't disabuse us of our happy ending.

*No way am I going back to re-watch that scene to get the wording right. Christ, this was a gut punch of an episode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:26 PM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ugh, also, thanks for all that ugly crying Mad Men. During the letter reading scene, my dog gave me such a WTF look when I suddenly burst into tears.

I actually very, very rarely cry in response to TV/movies/whatever, but my mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was only a couple years older than Sally, so this hit pretty close to home. My mother's prognosis was originally really dire (stage IV metastatic breast cancer), but thankfully there was a partial false positive reading on an initial scan (still cancer, not metastatic), so with radiation she's now been cancer free for a number of years.

Still, those scenes with Sally really took me back to that time in my life especially since my father was just about as lost and useless as Henry. Sally is also at that stage where you really start thinking about your future in a more tangible way (graduating from high school, going to college, getting your first job, getting married), and then suddenly you have to start adding a footnote of "My mother won't be there" to all those plans and it's just so, so hard. And while most people start moving towards adulthood around that time, you're suddenly pushed into being an adult basically over night, when one parent is sick, and suddenly you realize your other parent is completely incapable of handling the enormity of the situation.

Now I'm going to go eat a bunch of Reese's peanut butter cups and hug the dog.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm terrified for Trudy. I have this sick feeling that it's all gonna turn to shit for Pete -- he quits McCann in a huff but the LearJet offer is a Duck Phillips fiasco and Pete's the guy falling from the window -- and Trudy gets left with jack shit, not even child support.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Much I as I can see anything from Abbey Road wrapping this up, I think we would have heard by now if he'd bought another Beatles song

Why would we have heard that? We didn't know the other Beatles song would play until it played.

I've been thinking that we were due a final Beatles reference, since they broke up in 1970. Jim Hobart is totally Yoko.*

* I don't think Yoko broke up the Beatles.
posted by crossoverman at 1:56 PM on May 11, 2015


While I do acknowledge that Betty's letter was an act of kindness, I still have a LOT of trouble with both her and Henry's failure to see Sally as a human being who's just as walloped by the news as they are. I've always gotten the sense that, for all his faults, Don always saw Sally as a real person, capable of a real connection. Betty walking past her after they looked at each other in the kitchen... say what you will about people coping as best they can with bad news (and yes I too applaud Betty for her rational response), just once I'd have liked to see them treat Sally like the girl (not-yet-woman/adult) she is, and give her a goddamn hug. A touch on the arm. ANYTHING to say, "I see you. And your feelings are real and it's okay, even when it's not okay."

Don can do that, but only with Sally, and that's why I want him to screw the whole hobo thing and get back to his goddamn daughter.

Er, my feelings are rather strong on this. Excuse me while I go call my therapist.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 2:08 PM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


(And I realize this would have been out of character for Betty. I'd have hoped for more from Henry, though. I'm really not a fan of his.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 2:09 PM on May 11, 2015


You guys have said it all.

I just want to point out the very first scene, the dream sequence when he realizes the cops are behind him. The look on his face: surprise, rolls his eyes, annoyance. Great acting.

I don't think either Henry or Betty are necessarily making it worse for Sally, she is going to have to deal with her mother's death at 16, and there is very little either of them can do about it. I for one am glad she found out about it from Henry, that she will be able to support her brothers and Henry through this, and that Betty wrote her that letter. It's forcing her to grow up, for sure, but it's also empowering her in the process.
posted by ipsative at 2:22 PM on May 11, 2015


While I do acknowledge that Betty's letter was an act of kindness, I still have a LOT of trouble with both her and Henry's failure to see Sally as a human being who's just as walloped by the news as they are.

But that's exactly what happened when Grandpa Gene died. Betty even went into the house and left Sally outside on the porch in her ballet outfit! And when the adults were talking and laughing, Sally got so mad and yelled at everyone.

I think that was the arc where Kiernan Shipka really started to stand out. She's just amazing -- and to be able to blend the Betty and Don characterizations, and yet portray a very different and whole person, is just astonishing.
posted by mochapickle at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I still have a LOT of trouble with both her and Henry's failure to see Sally as a human being who's just as walloped by the news as they are.

Remember, these are late-20th-century adults. They were born in the 20's and 30's. The sort of caring, be-there-for-her, sort of parenting really hasn't yet trickled-up to parents like Betty and Henry in 1970. They really aren't acting out of character for the time.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:33 PM on May 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I got spoiled on this last night and couldn't bring myself to watch it till today. I'm actually a big fan of Betty's, and the idea that "they" were killing her off just as she'd finally found herself sounded like a painfully grimdark move: "You think that was arbitrary? Well, real life is arbitrary!"

Having seen the episode now, I remember that the MM writers can generally be trusted not to dole out cheap torments. As others have pointed out earlier in the thread, this was something Betty's story has foreshadowed from the beginning.

(And as mochapickle said about Glen's final appearance, he's not going to make it either -- he's always been a walking ghost, and now we know that that conversation was between two ghosts.)

I thought her last scene with Sally was perfect. Betty has found a maturity and inner calm that Sally mistakes for fatalism; she has found an emotional strength that Henry mistakes for shock. At the same time, her baseline aristocratic chill has never changed, and even though she seems to have thought carefully about what to say and do for Sally, ultimately she's going to leave her daughter with a lifetime of unanswered questions and unsolvable mysteries. It's going to be 1990 someday and Sally will still be trying to figure out her mother's barely controlled anger, her narcissism, her withdrawal, and her moments of uncomplicated warmth and love. And Betty's death will overshadow the whole story of her childhood.
posted by thesmallmachine at 2:42 PM on May 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I just rewatched that scene from S3, The Arrangements. Sally's in her ballet outfit and playing with a doll on the steps. A police officer comes to the house and tells Betty. The policeman only addresses Betty and they both completely ignore Sally, even shutting the front door behind them. It's heartbreaking. I don't think we see Sally in her ballet costume again. God, poor Sally.

I have literally been crying all day over Betty.
posted by mochapickle at 2:47 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Molly Lambert is always worth reading:

I don’t know if we’ll see Betty again, so let us remember her not as she wished — resplendent in her Grace Kelly ice-blue chiffon, with her bouffant and lipstick lacquered into place forever — but as she was: going up the stairs to class, resilient and stubborn as always.

That's about what I wanted to say. Honestly, this whole thing is hitting me right in the Still Alice spot: "all this could be over tomorrow."
posted by thesmallmachine at 3:09 PM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not knowing what shape next week will take - Don alone on the road, an epilogue set a few years later - I bet Don will see Betty one last time, as a ghost. That seems fitting. She'll be in her blue chiffon.
posted by crossoverman at 3:21 PM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm buying Todd VanDerWerff's theory that the last episode will be set around Thanksgiving 1970.
posted by drezdn at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping that they don't do a major time jump at the start of the final episode, because it feels like there are too many moments I want to see worked out in this current timeline. I want to see Don finding out about Betty, and how he chooses to step up for his family.* I also feel like I still want a little bit more closure on both Peggy and Joan's storylines.

However, I would be pretty happy with a final scene set a couple years in the future. Here's what I imagine:

Sally is away at college, freshman or sophomore year. She's in her dorm, goes to the phone and calls her father. They have a quick chat about school, classes, her friends, etc.

And then Don says, "Your mother would be so proud of you."

Sally looks over at a picture that she has in her room of the family when Don and Betty were still together.

[cue audience ugly crying]

Then Don says, "I have to go put your brothers to bed."

Before Sally hangs up the phone, she says, "I love you, Dad."

And he says, "I love you too, sweetheart."

And as they end the phone call, we pan out and see Don in a suburban home with Bobby and Gene watching TV in the living room.

Don says, "Time for bed you two."

And they say, "But Dad, we want to watch [whatever timeline appropriate show]"

Don smiles and says, "Okay, but lights out by 10."

And you think Don is about to leave, but instead, he sits on the couch with the two of them, and the final image is Don smiling, watching TV with his two sons.

And then the screen fades to black, and we all sob because IT'S OVER.

*I refuse to say if, because I will feel so betrayed by this show and Weiner if Don suddenly turns into a full on deadbeat Dad, but I don't think that will happen.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:59 PM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


You guys have said it all.

Yeah there's a LOT of insight in this thread. Good discussion.
posted by torticat at 4:12 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just went and re-watched the scene in "The Better Half" from season 6 when Don and Betty have sex while they're visiting Bobby at camp. I really love Betty in that scene, but this one line in particular, when she's talking about Megan, always gets me: "That poor girl. She doesn't know that loving you is the worst way to get to you." Betty was so powerless in her marriage to Don, and Don so much took her for granted, so it's nice to see her show that she really has his number, and that she can effortlessly cut through his facade.

It's also interesting to compare Don's interactions with Betty vs Megan post divorce. We see in season 6 and 7 that Don and Betty still very much have a connection, and you feel like, in a different lifetime and a different era, they really could have worked as a couple. It's still so natural when they're together, like in the milkshake scene a couple episodes ago.

With Megan, it seems like they're relationship just sort of fizzled out, and there's no connection there anymore. It feels like it wasn't so much circumstances that tore them apart, but rather the circumstances were just what put them together in the first place, and the minute things shifted, they fell apart.

I don't know, maybe it's having kids in common, and maybe in a couple years Megan and Don would interact differently, but I get the impression that Megan and Don may just never speak again after their divorce, whereas I feel like Don and Betty would have always kept up with each other in some way, and I think it goes beyond just kids keeping them together.

As sad as this Betty storyline makes me, I think it was a really good choice for the storyline. It's not one of those deaths that feels manipulative or gratuitous. It feels true to life and true to the characters, and hopefully it will serve as the catalyst that Don needs to ground him.

With that being said, please don't kill off any more characters, Matthew Weiner. Betty is bad enough.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:19 PM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I identify blue so strongly with Betty -- that beautiful blue coat she used to wear to the stables, especially.
posted by sallybrown at 4:20 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The dreamy blue velvet headboard! The symbol of their marriage.
posted by mochapickle at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I rewatched some of the earlier episodes in season 7 this afternoon.

At the time that "A Day's Work" aired (s7e2), I thought the plot was a bit of a throwaway (with Peggy mistaking Shirley's flowers, and Don driving Sally back to school), but it took on new meaning on rewatch, specifically the scene with Don and Sally in a restaurant. Don says "I don't like you going to funerals" and then Sally responds that [paraphrased] the deceased looked yellow and was wearing a wig.

Again, at the time, it didn't mean much except that Sally hadn't been to many funerals. But this episode references it almost exactly, since Sally will not only be attending another funeral, but has been asked to make sure her mother looks her best.

(I think someone else referenced Don's line above, but I can't find it now in the thread on search.)
posted by aabbbiee at 5:17 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


"America" by Paul Simon wouldn't be a terrible song to close with.
posted by drezdn at 5:43 PM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm buying Todd VanDerWerff's theory that the last episode will be set around Thanksgiving 1970.

I mean, it could, if the show was doing it's regular "one episode per month" structure. And I guess that could work, especially if it gets everyone back together - but I can't imagine Weiner doing anything so obvious. I'd like to jump forward another year and see where the characters have settled in the meantime.
posted by crossoverman at 6:00 PM on May 11, 2015


I just don't want to see the whole cast sitting around a table telling each other what they are most thankful for. Unless it's the McCann boardroom table and their feasting on the remains of Ferg and Jim Hobart.
posted by crossoverman at 6:28 PM on May 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Another thought occurred to me today. When Don arrives at the motel, he's offered room and board in exchange for doing small repairs. In season 1, when he's a boy, a hobo arrives and is offered room and board in exchange for doing small repairs. Neither situation pans out, and both Don and the hobo are cheated. Don's "I'm not paying for the room" is his way of chalking the fence with "a dishonest man lives here."

Neither hobo is on a route of milk and honey... until Don gives the younger version of himself a chance (fixing his grammar, giving him his car). By giving it all away, his road is finally empty and the milk and honey can flow. And so, finally, Don smiles.

The layers upon layers upon layers are just mesmerizing.

(I still think Wiener should go with my first idea - that Don makes a final trip to McCann and tags the shit out of the cornerstone with his chalk and his code. Heh heh heh.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:30 PM on May 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


The brands took Betty. She has given her body for Don's golden lies. She goes like a Valkyrie to the pyre. He will never be free of the guilt, and for that reason I think he will wander, forever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:45 PM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sepinwall said this is his review:

As happened last week with the gradual dismantling of the SC&P office, "The Milk and Honey Route" had the air of a show knowing that the end of getting damn near. Betty tells Sally about how she's learned to believe people when they say it's over. The lights turn off prematurely while Pete is enjoying some of the pie Tammy made for him, just as the TV in Don's room blacks out while he's in the middle of watching it.

...and it occurred to me, the TV going off in Don's room was totally a nod to the Sopranos, wasn't it?
posted by torticat at 6:50 PM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Don't worry guys, I'll be over here sobbing for days. Just finished my second watch, and here's my observations:

Betty:
-Wow, her whole life all these men are making decisions for her. The doctor won't even tell her what's going on with her own body until her husband comes! That line "There's a phone you can use at the nurses station." struck me as something a teacher would say to a kid that has to go home sick or something, especially since she's out at school.
-Same thing at the doctor's office with the x ray on the wall. They're talking about her prognosis without even including her.
-Yet again, Henry, who is overall a decent husband, wants to make decisions for her treatment. It goes a bit beyond wanting to help, he's almost ordering her.

Betty & Sally:
-OUCH! No hugs. Nada. Though I lost it during the reading of that letter.
- Clearly, Sally is going to be somewhat set to take over the motherly role and do it "better" or in her own way rather than Betty's. This is alluded to when Betty storms by her in the kitchen, then Sally takes the seat at the head of the table (Betty's seat) and brings Gene over to cuddle and kiss him.
- Sally has to somehow be the strong one, even though she's previously taken the role of the rebel. It would be interesting to see where she'd go now. She previously said she wanted to get on a bus and leave, but I wonder what it would look like now that her two little brothers will be left without a mother - even though they'll surely have a nanny.

Don:
- His behavior reminds me of George Clooney's "Backpack" speech from Up In The Air. He says to imagine everything in your life and try to stuff it into a backpack, and how heavy it becomes. Then to imaging taking off the backpack. Don is taking off his backpack. He doesn't have more than his money - which right now it's whatever's on him - and a sack.
- The mentoring of that young kid is wonderful. He's trying to set him straight because he knows - like his own past - he can't change who this kid will become or the type of person he is, but maybe he can set him on a path that isn't as tortured. A path where he can "become rich" and possibly even con people, but do so without burning so many bridges.
- I really can't wait to see where he ends up, or where he'll go next. I also wonder what McCann must be saying or doing. It's mentioned briefly when Pete asks Duck if he's there to replace Don, so clearly there's talk. I wonder if he still has an office and if Meredith is still designing his apartment, hoping he'll come back.

Pete & Trudy:
- I've always loved Trudy. She says what other people don't want to say and calls people out - like her friend.
- My husband's glad that they're back together, and I think I see a change in Pete. For example in that speech he gave to his brother about cheating.
- I think it's hard to see Pete settling down again and working in some career without some sort of situation. He just has such a tendency to blow things out of proportion! (We have a peanut butter cookie problem!)
- I agree with Trudy, that he's nostalgic but doesn't see things for what they were. Even with his speech to Trudy, he never really says he's sorry or shouldn't treat her that way, or realized his mistakes. He only says he never wants to lose her and always loved her. There's a big gap between doing just enough to not lose someone, and really treating them how you should.
- I do hope it works out for him, but mostly for Trudy and her child. I'm not sure Trudy can really put everything behind her, but I think she sees this as the best option, instead of being a divorced "aging" parent.

Other thoughts:
- Really needed some of Roger's mustache in this episode and I can't wait to see how Peggy and Stan are getting on in those claustrophobic McCann halls.
-Don is good at diving into shallow swimming pools.
- They focused about half a second too long on that woman's oiled up toes by the pool and it icked me out.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:26 PM on May 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm buying Todd VanDerWerff's theory that the last episode will be set around Thanksgiving 1970.

Oh gosh, that would be perfect. Didn't he miss Thanksgiving with his family at the end of S1 to do the Kodak Carousel pitch?
posted by almostmanda at 7:31 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Betty has always been monstrously self-involved so the letter to Sally comes as no surprise.
posted by mlis at 7:32 PM on May 11, 2015


how on earth is Betty's letter monstrously self involved?
posted by sweetkid at 7:34 PM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Betty has always been monstrously self-involved so the letter to Sally comes as no surprise.

How dare she make her death all about herself?
posted by crossoverman at 7:49 PM on May 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


Didn't he miss Thanksgiving with his family at the end of S1 to do the Kodak Carousel pitch?

He did. Another important thanksgiving event was Don getting sent on leave (and then taking the kids to see his brothel childhood home).
posted by drezdn at 8:00 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


And the Sugarberry Ham fight!
posted by almostmanda at 8:09 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm starting to believe in the Thanksgiving theory.

And by the way, Betty has always had an inner strength and dignity. Her flaws sometimes obscured these qualities, but they were always there. I've had some fun, comment wise, with Betty, but I've always had a certain respect for her.
posted by cwest at 8:28 PM on May 11, 2015


"... I thought turkeys could fly!"
posted by tilde at 8:32 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


WKRP in Cincinnati?
posted by cwest at 8:33 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Betty has always been monstrously self-involved so the letter to Sally comes as no surprise.

I'll admit that at the start of the letter reading I had a moment where I was like, "Is this really the note you're leaving your daughter after you die?" BUT:

I really think the kindest thing you could do in that situation is giving such specific instructions, even down to "the lipstick in my handbag" and the description of where to find the dress and that picture. As cold as it might seem, not having to think about any of those things once your mother is dead is such a huge gift. Also, if you think about it, it couldn't have been easy for Betty to write all of that down. Sure, appearance is important to her, but the easier thing would be just to ignore the situation or to say, make sure they don't leave me in my night gown. Plenty of people avoid dealing with those details because it's so hard to face your own mortality like that, to think about your only daughter making preparations for your funeral.

It's really hard to imagine just how monstrous a thing Betty is facing. She just found out that she has less than a year to live when she had no idea that she was sick. She's leaving behind three school aged kids. She won't get to see any of her kids get married let alone graduate from high school. She's so young, and in a lot of ways she has sacrificed a lot for her family, and now her life is about to end. And on top of that, her husband is basically losing it when she needs him to be her rock.

And, that note wasn't just a directive. Betty said the things that she probably isn't really capable of saying in person to Sally. She not only acknowledges that Sally is her own person, but she praises her for it. That's one step better than Don telling Sally that she has to be more than her good looks (and by extension, more than her parents). Betty is telling her that you are already a different person than us and that your life is going to be a great adventure because of this.

Sure, Sally will have some baggage, but she gets to live her life knowing that her mother basically has given her blessing for Sally to become the strong, independent person that she wants to be.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:35 PM on May 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


There were a lot of invasions of space last night, weren't there? Pete shows up in Trudy's kitchen, Sally shows up in Betty's kitchen, Henry surprises the girls by appearing in their dorm room, the vets rush Don's motel room to attack him over the donation jar theft. Henry and the doctor talking about Betty's illness as if she wasn't there, as if she were a child or an object... Betty reclaiming her autonomy in death. She has never seemed so admirable to me, and yet still so much herself, so much Betty Draper Frances.

I thought for sure that the doctor was going to tell her she was pregnant. Dammit all.

I'm having a hard time letting go of this show, this long story I've been following for years; every single season with its joys and its longueurs, hanging on for the payoffs of the glorious image or moment or dialogue. Peggy on rollerskates is one of the most purely beautiful things I've seen on TV, because without knowing her history, without having been with her this whole way, that scene would have meant nothing: just a drunk woman in an empty office. But the weight of past narrative gave it such grace, made it profound.

I'm not really ready for it to be over. But the last few episodes have been so satisfying to me on a narrative, nearly literary level, that I'm grateful. For Bowie blasting off as Don drives away from New York. For Joan's bravery. For all of it.

I'm still pissed about the way they treated the artistic underground of the Sixties, but nothing's perfect.
posted by jokeefe at 8:51 PM on May 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I like to imagine that Sally will carry that letter around with her for the rest of her life. Sure, it will probably be too painful for her to re-read it most of the time, but she will have already memorized the important parts anyway. And when she's having a tough time in life, she'll look in her drawer and see that blue envelope, and she'll remember that her mother loved her and believed in her.

I'd also like to think that Betty is at peace with her death in large part because she knows her daughter is strong and independent enough to make it in the world without her mother.

In a lot of ways, Betty "succeeded" in a way that Betty's mother didn't. Betty's mother seems to have made Betty into a mirror image of herself. There were times that Betty tried to do this with Sally, but clearly that didn't happen, and I think Betty has now (rightfully) come to the conclusion that this is the best possible outcome. Sally won't need a mother or a man to define or guide her. She won't have to live with Betty's fear of being cast out in the cold if her looks fail her or if her husband divorces her. Sally will be fortunate to come of age in an era where women have greater freedom than they did in Betty's time, and she's really poised to take advantage of that.

Sally has the independent streak that Betty didn't, but she's also grounded in a way that Don never could be. She talks about running away, but as you see in this episode, when it comes down to it, she wants to be there for her brothers and for her mother. She has a solid foundation to work with. She may choose to go her own way in life, but she's not having to run away from anything.

In a lot of ways, this is a great way to round out the arc of both Betty and Sally. They're allowed to change and grow in a positive direction, but they stay true to the people they've been over the last 7 seasons.

It's also really fucking sad. And I'm going to step away from the thread before I start getting all emotional again.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:06 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: I mean, c'mon Don, read your Gone Girl, don't throw around money or advertise your outsider status, that makes you EASILY VICTIMIZED.

Ahhhh, I'm so glad someone else called this out! When Don was settling into the motel, and especially when he was talking to the kid, I was getting such Gone Girl flashes.

The way things ended in that town, with Don opening up and telling the truth, and feeling some relief, and then getting smacked down, complete with the motel-owner's wife, the person who got him to stay, saying "Your car was fixed, you should have been on your way!" was a bit heartbreaking, even if it did lead Don a bit closer to freedom.
posted by lunasol at 9:06 PM on May 11, 2015


Fuck, this episode.

That said...Pete's speech about Daddy getting cross at the polo field was THE MOST PETE SPEECH EVER.

I thought for sure that Trudy would relent, but Pete's sold her on the dream. Hopefully they both learned something from the first go round.

The thought of Birdie dying without Don's knowledge breaks my heart. Also, Kiernan Shipka is an incredible actress. The tears starting to spill down her cheeks just undid me.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:07 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hobo Callbacks from Vulture
posted by crossoverman at 9:17 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apparently Betty is a land of contrasts.

Ship was amazing. I was reminded of the scene when Don learns that Anna is gone. Hamm's performance in that scene was...I can't imagine a more authentic portrayal of loss. To be honest, Christopher Stanley's (Henry's) performance on the scene in the dorm was pretty subpar. I didn't buy it at all.
posted by dry white toast at 9:29 PM on May 11, 2015


That said...Pete's speech about Daddy getting cross at the polo field was THE MOST PETE SPEECH EVER.

Pete is so Pete. He Petes the hell out of every moment in his life, bless him.
posted by sweetkid at 9:37 PM on May 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've been thinking about this episode all day today. I keep imagining Betty struggling to climb those steps, her slow metaphorical rise into heaven.

I ended up calling my Mom to tell her that I love her.
posted by littlesq at 9:39 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


How long did that con over the stolen money go and how many of them were involved?

Wasn't a con, the (hot kid; glad I'm not the only one who saw homoerotic tones in that scene--he was totally poised to say "ten busk.. and for twenty more...") boy was the one who took it and skedaddled.

Pete in Wichita is simple.. he gets to be the Big New York Man On Campus for the rest of his life. That's attractive for Pete's type.

Kiernan Shipka is a fucking treasure and for me she's already in the realm of people like Maggie Smith and Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren--I will watch literally anything she is in. I don't care what it is.

Pete and Trudy--excellent. Called it (as did so many other people I'm not special) after last week's episode. That said, I'd called it as being a pretty transactional/resigned thing, "we ain't gonna do any better," and not twue wuv rearing its head.

We're going to see Peggy again, no question. Joan is gone, I think, and probably Roger too--not with a bang, but with a whimper.

All that said, if the series had ended like this I would be satisfied. Everyone is basically wrapped up at this point. Pegs got her strut, Betty (oh, Betty, the bars of your cage were so confining) is dying, Sally's going to kick every ass there is, Bobby and Gene are redshirts, Harry's a sleazeball who's going to die of a coke overdose at Studio 51 in a few years, Joan got her happily ever after, and so on. And Don, alone, with nothing, sitting at a bus stop. Where he goes next is left up to each viewer to decide for themselves.

Myself, I think he writes to his bank, buys a modest house in Cali somewhere, meets a stunning brunette, and spends his days tinkering with his muscle car.

Next week is going to be motherfucking fascinating.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 PM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Actually on thinking... Joan always gets what she wants in the worst way possible.

And now she seems to have actually found a guy who respects her choices. She really does get a happily ever after. Joan's gonna be okay. So's Peggy.

The men, however. The men get fucked. I'm not quite able to articulate it; I think there's a feminist statement there. The men have all followed The Rules Of Being Men and they all lose. (Pete might be the outlier here). The women break The Rules Of Being Women... and Peggy gets to be who she is, Betty comes to terms with who she is and what's happening, Joan gets stomped on and walks away with head held high, Sally is BOSS OF THE WORLD... they all go on to bigger and better and more self-actualizing things. Even Trudy, the Stepfordiest of Stepfords, gets to say yes to Pete on her own terms.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:06 PM on May 11, 2015


I have this sick feeling that it's all gonna turn to shit for Pete -- he quits McCann in a huff but the LearJet offer is a Duck Phillips fiasco

Yep. I'm surprised folks think Pete's getting a happy ending here. He was blatantly manipulated into a new position when he was obviously happy at McCann. The last thing we see him say to Duck is "you're going to ruin everything!"

That he uses the situation to reconcile with Trudy is the only satisfying bit here. I still think Duck's appearance is one last-minute plot twist too many, and the job element of Pete's story was already nicely wrapped up at McCann, which might be why I have a bad feeling about where the show is going to leave him.
posted by mediareport at 10:38 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bad feeling, maybe. And I think Weiner understands how TV works, and that you only get one death per episode. Which means Pete or Roger.

Frankly, I hope it's Roger who goes. I love the antediluvian scamp, and he'll just be sad through the 70s and 80s. Pete will live in a happy bubble.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:48 PM on May 11, 2015


Anyone else dying at this point (except for Don) would feel like a cliché. Betty was enough.
posted by mediareport at 11:58 PM on May 11, 2015 [7 favorites]




Hobo Callbacks from Vulture


Oh thank you thank you thank you for this! The layers and callbacks and connections throughout this series remind me so much of my English Lit days in college 25 years ago. The analysis is almost as much fun (and sometimes moreso) than watching the actual show. Not sure which I'll miss more - the show, or these threads.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:13 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's no way we've seen the last of Roger. So far every character except Roger, Don, and (maybe) Sally has a period at the end of their sentence. Roger is still twisting.

Don is going to finish raising his kids, probably not in New York. He can't she'd them, or doesn't want to, like he's shed everything else.

And yeah, as the Pete plot line marinated in my head yesterday it kinda fell a part. Duck played him. He was like a missionary who won a conversion, always smiling even when he was angry, preaching about the glorious hereafter in Wichita.
posted by dry white toast at 4:45 AM on May 12, 2015


Yep. I'm surprised folks think Pete's getting a happy ending here. He was blatantly manipulated into a new position when he was obviously happy at McCann.

"What is happiness? It's the moment before you want more happiness."
posted by dry white toast at 4:47 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure, Duck played him. But that's because Duck knew he could be played. I don't really see how Pete getting tricked into another job that sounds like he won't miss out on anything McCann owes him has any downside. And it got him back with Trudy. I mean it might not have been Pete's dream, but recently he embraced the move to McCann by saying he finally realised that whatever happens is what is supposed to happen. It's all upside for Pete Campbell.
posted by crossoverman at 5:01 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


This episode, after Don's "Give 'em hell, Birdie" last week was so hard. I watched this ep last night and I can't stop the leaking in my eyes.

I know it needs to end, but damn. I'm going to miss this show something fierce. I'll have to see how I feel about it in a few years, but I think this might make it up there with all the TV greats.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:23 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly kind of worried about watching this next week. Every Sunday I go to a GoT watching thing, and next week I'm going to have to insist on watching Mad Men right after.

And I am going to cry and cry and cry and cry and cry.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:31 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


We don't know, though, if Duck really got him the job or not. We're assuming. Most of the time it's been okay to assume ... and Peter really, though he's getting on fine at McCann, wants to be the big fish, dammit. He's made a bit of money thus far, and it will just go that much further in Wichita in 1970. Duck may have joked about $100 houses but that's not very inaccurate. My folks bought a half acre farm/house around then (further southwest) for about $750. They could probably get a mansion for what they paid for their Manhattan apartment.

But I think Trudy decided if he'd grown up enough, he was the lesser of two evils. She's not used up all her mad yet, but she's willing to give it a go, given her limited alternatives. And their daughter finally got a line!

This might be a reach, but both Peggy and Pete had the lights turned out on them (presumably Roger was at a bar). And it's going to be okay.

I usually watch MadMen over breakfast, or if I'm up, at the flip. I'm going to have to sit on it and wait until I get home from work next Monday, watch it on a full TV screen.
posted by tilde at 6:40 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly kind of worried about watching this next week. Every Sunday I go to a GoT watching thing, and next week I'm going to have to insist on watching Mad Men right after.

And I am going to cry and cry and cry and cry and cry.


I am watching it on the big screen at the museum of the moving image (with cocktails beforehand!) and I'm very afraid I'm going to lose it in the middle of a bunch of strangers. Hopefully other people will too.
posted by gaspode at 6:45 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Final scene: Don settles in on the couch in his garden apartment to watch The Crawling Eye with his two robots.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:39 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ways I hope it doesn't end:

- A random asteroid
- At the disco
- It was all a dream!
- Pete's rifle!
- Someone falls out a window
- At Betty's funeral, Don puts his hand on Peggy's (the reverse of Peggy's hand on Don's in the pilot) and they go in for a big wet kiss.
- Roger puts his hand in, too.
posted by mochapickle at 8:08 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Handy man Don relates some of the circumstances of his departure from Korea. Pete enjoys some humble pie. Sally gets a letter from home.
posted by tilde at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm actually pretty okay with any threesome involving Hamm and Slattery

not The Moustache though
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Final scene: Sesame Street Mad Men
posted by Chrysostom at 8:19 AM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Final scene: Sesame Street Mad Men

That's great! "Good work, sycophants!"
posted by Beti at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


- Roger died on his way back to his home planet.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:50 AM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Final scene: Sesame Street Mad Men

"Watch the suit."
"Yeah, sorry, Mr Draper."
posted by tilde at 8:51 AM on May 12, 2015


Don works for Coke. Pete eats pie. There are only bees.

Maybe we could have Mad Men Muppet Babies, a la Community's Greendale Babies. Baby Don Dwaper. Baby Twudy.
posted by tracicle at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The finale synopsis is disappointingly accurate and free of Mad Men episode synopsis misleading ambiguity, "The stories of Don Draper, his family and his coworkers come to an end in the series finale."
posted by gladly at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


That makes it sound like everyone is going to die.
posted by dry white toast at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Joan returns. With fire.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Works for me! Between Joan swearing she's going to burn down McCann and Cmdr Pike knowing "a guy," it's about time we saw some arson.
posted by mochapickle at 11:01 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting that the photo on the finale recap page is just of Pete. I would have expected it to be a shot of Don.
posted by anastasiav at 11:07 AM on May 12, 2015


Last episode: Ginsburg shows up at McCann with either his portfolio and a clean bill of health or a big shopping bag from Sears he intends to fill with nipples, Roger takes LSD, the IBM supercomputer reaches the singularity and marries Danny Strong.
posted by elr at 11:19 AM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Good lord. That picture of Pete on that synopsis page...he looks exactly like my cinema history teacher from high school, limp comb-over and all.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2015


I don't think Pete is going to go to Witchita for the rest of his life. One of the show's major themes is that life just...goes on and things happen as they happen, even as people try to exert dramatic control over their situation. Ted went to California to get away from Peggy, start SCDP West and save his marriage, and comes back to McCann, his marriage failed and back with his college girlfriend.

I think the main point behind that scene is that Pete's tired of trying to do the Don style philandering, he's become very confident in what he does, and always felt connected to Trudy in a way that I don't think other men on the show have felt toward their wives. I'll never forget the pride and delight on his face as he tells her in Season One, putting in a dinner request, that he'd like "Steak. In a pan. With butter. Ice Cream."

Witchita and the jets represent getting away from New York, moving on for real together, but there's every likelihood they'll be back in NYC in five years. I think they're going to make it, though.
posted by sweetkid at 1:21 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, I don't know. I could see it just as much as Pete finally realizing he doesn't need to be continually ladder climbing, and just having something and being happy with it.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:24 PM on May 12, 2015


Now that I think of it, Trudy was wearing that cute hat when they went to meet the school headmaster, it hearkened back to the hat she wore when they did the Charleston. Pete and Trudy were really together when they were together, i.e. when Pete wasn't being too Pete-y.
posted by readery at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


but he is ladder climbing taking the Lear job.
posted by sweetkid at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2015


I've seen it said in several places, but Pete will be king of Wichita because he'll be a big man in a small pond. Remember the time he visited a prostitute and he needed her to call him her king? That's what Pete needs. The king ordered it, indeed.
posted by crossoverman at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think he's moved on from that, though. I do think it's interesting that like Kenny he's taking a client side job, but using it to let himself try to blossom into a better person rather than using it to poison himself and others out of revenge.
posted by sweetkid at 1:42 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess that could be true? Depends on whether Weiner thinks people can change or not. I think he does, in certain ways. Betty changed, but she was also the same woman at the end, too. It will be interesting to see what we get from Pete this week.
posted by crossoverman at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2015


FINALE TEASER
posted by Chrysostom at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]




Regarding Betty, I rewatched Tea Leaves last night and when she's sitting with her friend (Joyce?) who really does have The Cancer and knows it while Betty's still waiting for her results, it's interesting to listen to that speech Joyce makes about how having the diagnosis is like rowing out in a boat far from shore, and frantically trying to get back again, and then just getting tired and wanting to drop all the way down to the bottom. I think that's what was going through Betty's mind as she decided she wasn't going to accept treatment. It was probably a thought percolating since her first scare. Betty lets things percolate and circulate for a long long time sometimes before having a definitive reaction.

Also I saw a lot of places that people were saying she hadn't had symptoms before this episode - she did mention being tired to Don, when he said "maybe you're getting old" and gave her a shoulder rub.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


This show continues to achieve things I didn't think possible: It actually made me happy for Pete Campbell.

Interesting episode. Couldn't help but see parallels between Pete and Don - like Don, Pete's about to pick everything up and start a new life, but he's bringing his past with him rather than running from it. Trudy won't let him forget. And Pete always wanted to be Don; in a way he is, starting a new life in a new place (in the heartland), successful, but Pete has a history and seems like he might be ok.

Duck played him.

If Pete gets what he wants and is happy, does it matter what Duck was doing? Maybe Duck was playing him and it turned into a win for Pete anyways.


And Don continues to shed his layers. I don't think he ever referred to himself as anything but "Don" throughout the episode - no last name? Or did I miss that?
posted by nubs at 2:44 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not one for predicting where plots are going to go, but after rewatching this season over the last few days, I really think that Betty's news is going to bring Don back to his kids, and he's going to have to realize that he needs to be their full-time dad. I think that's the arc of the series, and I think there are a lot of things pointing that direction. Don fell, clawed his way back in, ran away, and none of it has fulfilled him. But he loves his kids.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I think he loves Sally and tolerates the boys. I don't know where they're going to go with Don needing to step up as father. He really hasn't done it very well at all. In this last episode, we've seen him happiest alone.
posted by sweetkid at 3:00 PM on May 12, 2015


In the last episode, he was happiest talking about his future route on the phone with his kids. He was not finding happiness on the road. He was happiest of all with Anna, the closest thing he ever had to family besides his kids.

No way is Don the orphan going to let his kids be parentless.
posted by aabbbiee at 3:35 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Given how fucked up his own childhood was, I'd like to think he wouldn't leave his children without parents. But I honestly don't know. He's shed everything, except his connection to Sally. Can he severe that tie?
posted by crossoverman at 3:37 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


So much of this half season has been unexpected call backs to something that happened before, and giving it a new perspective, so I keep going back to that scene where he was making milkshakes for the kids. He looked happy; the kids looked happy - for a moment they all looked like a family again. And then Henry walked in and Don was left on the outside, looking at them, and my thought was "well, that's it - that could have been Don's family but its not anymore."

And yet maybe it's not the case. Maybe Don's final trip on the carousel brings him back home - the house where he and Betty had their kids, with Don now as the single dad (in contrast to the lone single mom on the block back in S1), tinkering with cars and fixing things, defined by his role as father. He is still in touch with Sally; the episode before, when he went to the house to drive Sally to school and discovered he wasn't needed, he asked when the boys would be home. There's still a connection there.

Don has longed for a place where he could just "be" - maybe that is it - a simple identity, defined by his relationship to others as opposed to Don needing to constantly identify and define himself.
posted by nubs at 3:52 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Carry Nation was based in KS and in parts of the state one couldn't order a drink unless s/he paid a membership fee.

5 years ago I was in Wichita, which has a populuation of about 300K. In most US cities which have a population of at least 100k, are home to the flagship public university or are state capitals I have been able to get the day's NY Times at Starbucks, Barnes &Noble, downtown hotels with a gift shop or a Kroger-run grocer. Not so in Wichita. The above places only carried the Sunday edition.
posted by brujita at 3:55 PM on May 12, 2015


I think there's a nice bookend there with the pilot, when Don spent the episode at work and with Midge, until surprise wife & kids in the suburbs. At the end, after everything, Don spends most of his life raising his kids. With a housekeeper, obviously, and eventually he'll remarry. But the kids become his primary life.
posted by aabbbiee at 4:41 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


FINALE TEASER
posted by Chrysostom at 4:47 PM on May 12

The Mad Men Finale Trailer Is Emotionally Manipulative Garbage (Gothamist). The Gothamist is missing the point. The song playing is "Times of Your Life" by Paul Anka. Cue wikipedia: Kodak created an advertising campaign in 1975 that featured Anka singing a jingle entitled "Times of Your Life". While the tune was being heard across the United States in a commercial, Anka decided to record and release it as a single in late 1975.

A sentimental advertising jingle for Kodak? Matt Weiner is being incredibly ironic and the Gothamist has their head up their ass.
posted by cwest at 5:39 PM on May 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


You know, sometimes I'm not sure which I enjoy more - the actual episodes, or these threads.

Sigh. Sunday's gonna hurt.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:02 PM on May 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Point goes to Vox: I cried.
posted by gladly at 7:23 PM on May 12, 2015




"Henry telling Sally it's okay to cry was him telling himself it was okay to cry - and then he did. Sally comforting him actually made me furious. Having grown up with narcissistic parents for whom I was usually the parent, I almost screamed at the television. But I may be biased on that point. "
"I still have a LOT of trouble with both her and Henry's failure to see Sally as a human being who's just as walloped by the news as they are."

Yeah, I think this probably depends on your relationship with your own parents; among my most vivid and touching memories of my childhood was when my always-calm father broke down crying in front of me (about a sudden death in the family) while trying to, you know, parent and shield. For me it is a moment full of love and (in my memory) my dad becoming even MORE perfect in my eyes. I think from an adult perspective I'd say that an important part of adulthood is becoming a caregiver and a giver of love, not just a passive recipient; and a crucially important part of a healthy adult relationship with your parents is that you don't just view them as parent-Gods dispensing unconditional love, but that you become able to sometimes be an adult seeing the complex adulthood of your parents, and their imperfections and messiness.

To me, Henry bursting into tears when he's trying to be the adult was an expression of recognition of Sally's nascent adulthood and equality with the other grown-ups (if it were just about transgressing parent/child boundaries, all three kids could have been there when he broke down), and also about the fact that Henry loves Betty and also loves the kids and views them as family enough that he's able to show that much vulnerability in front of Sally. Like, Sally has a fucked-up family, but Henry definitely thinks of Sally as family, and in that she's lucky, that Betty sort-of stumbled into a stable, adult marriage with a good man who IS able to love his step-children.

I also think Betty's letter is a similar thing -- she is showing Sally that she trusts her to take on these adult duties, not because she's transgressing against Sally's youth but because Betty and Sally are going to have a horribly abbreviated relationship, and here is a moment in which Betty can recognize Sally's capable adulthood -- and does anyone here doubt Sally is 100% capable of planning a funeral?

I mean, obviously this is all going to fuck Sally up bad, but I think treating her as a child would be worse. And I think the way she so easily lies to her brothers and redirects them illustrates that she is willing to be an adult here ... a kind of morbid Santa Claus situation.

I do think Betty's instructions are about Betty's vanity (and the surface veneer of absolutely everything in this show), but also points to something a little deeper about women and death and physicality. Most women I know who have died have left the details of their body's arrangement to their most-trusted or oldest daughter; or lacking that, a female best friend -- not sons, not husbands. There seems to (still) be a cultural sense that those final arrangements, the final secrets of female bodies and female beauty, should still be kept private among women. My mom reminisces fondly that the last thing she did for her mother before she died was pluck the hairs from her chin mole, because BY GOD my grandmother was NOT going to her grave with chin-mole hairs and she couldn't pluck them any longer herself, and my mother was who she trust to perform that incredibly personal, intimate service. The one secret thing she couldn't entrust to her doctor or her priest or her nurse or her sons ... only to a daughter could she admit the chin-mole hairs mattered, and only could another women be expected to understand why.

I don't think Betty's dead yet -- I think Sally opened the letter early. (Although I would not be surprised if she is.) I don't know what to expect from the final episode, but I think Don has to have a reckoning with the women in his life -- Betty, and Peggy, and most of all Sally.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


Also, Pete and Trudy are going to be the King and Queen of Wichita. Pete was born to be a big fish in a small pond. He is going to be deliriously happy throwing his weight around in Kansas where he is obviously at the top of the heap and his lying mouth can talk about how much his misses the nightlife of New York and never mention how he was always B-grade potatoes there. CASSEROLES FOR EVERYONE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:57 PM on May 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


this probably depends on your relationship with your own parents

Absolutely. Thanks for offering an alternative perspective. It's fascinating to me how we all bring different perspectives and analyses to this show - any form of art, really - and find different aspects we can/can't relate to.

Also, "Eyebrows McGee" might be my favorite screen name here in the blue. (I love appending McGee to names.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:05 PM on May 12, 2015


The finale is 75 minutes, so it's like there's 1.5 episodes left. I'll take it. I'll take whatever I can get.
posted by crossoverman at 8:13 PM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


B-grade potatoes is my new favorite expression.
posted by Beti at 8:32 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I keep bumping into gifsets of Betty when I'm idly surfing Tumblr looking at cute cat pictures, and every time I do, I get a little stab of heartache.
posted by PussKillian at 8:34 PM on May 12, 2015


Rolling Stones' 50 Best Characters

Sepinwalls' favourite episodes
posted by crossoverman at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am pretty baffled by the people suggesting that Don Draper -- Gene and Bobby's bio-dad -- should come flouncing back into their world and rip them away from their real father, the man who's loved them and raised them for most (and in the case of Gene, all) of their lives. As if the grass won't be green over Betty before Henry Francis casts his family out into the snow! Now, Sally and Don have more of a connection, but she's practically an adult now (as Betty's letter recognizes), and there's no more "raising" to be done.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:09 AM on May 13, 2015


I don't think a step-father getting the kids after their mother dies would happen very often now let alone in 1970. Henry has no legal claim, and the show has never given any reason to believe Don doesn't love his children - flawed love by today's standards or not.

The last scene of the pilot really is worth re-watching after the events of this last episode.
posted by imabanana at 2:00 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, I've watched that finale teaser and while I get what they were going for - it didn't really move me. I'm nostalgic enough for the show as it is.
posted by crossoverman at 2:35 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'll never forget the pride and delight on his face as he tells her in Season One, putting in a dinner request, that he'd like "Steak. In a pan. With butter. Ice Cream."

And Pete & Trudy in the caper episode, when they were in their apartment figuring out how to pull clients together for the new SCDP! Pete and Trudy together are formidable.

I rewatched last night (with headphones, which makes a big difference) and have two observations:

1. Fuck Matt Weiner for making me cry that hard, twice

2. The only major change in interpretation from first viewing: I don't think Don was getting any absolution at all from the VFW scenes. I think what he got there was reason to shed another part of himself, the Dick Whitman part, because if he'd lived true to DW he would likely have ended up drunk, pathetic, paranoid, vindictive, and in denial, just in a different way. The partial truth he told those guys was of a piece with the partial truths they'd been telling each other for decades.

I think he probably already had all the absolution he needed with regard to Pfc Whitman--from Anna, Burt, Megan, Betty, even Sally by extension. What he learned/we saw from those extended VFW scenes (and what made them worthwhile in the second-to-last episode) was what he could have been. And it was nothing better or more honest than what Don Draper had been.

So I'm not sure the finale is about whether he's ultimately Don Draper or Dick Whitman, but who he is if both are pretty much stripped away. Rebirth, potentially, though it's a cliche to put it that way.

And yes, I think the resolution will be about his kids.
posted by torticat at 5:28 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


The partial truth he told those guys was of a piece with the partial truths they'd been telling each other for decades.

Yes.

On the "inappropriate" in my comments above for Henry - thanks for others for putting it better. I think the inappropriate feeling for his behavior for me was him trying to manipulate Sally into talking Betty into taking treatment. But also desperation. Deep deep desperation, after a lifetime spent as a take charge fixer thwarted by a part of her he'll never get.

But on the other hand -- this is the only time we've seen him try to do that. It's not a habit. He's not manipulative like Pauline (his mother) and Sally practically is an adult. If he'd gone with Bobby (very young and Betty thinks Bobby doesn't love/like her) or Gene, that would have been effing insane.
posted by tilde at 5:44 AM on May 13, 2015


I dunno, I think he loves Sally and tolerates the boys.

Sally's been a stand-in for his relationship with his children, which I think we're to understand is pretty good all around (cf the milkshake scene). Other stand-ins for the boys have been Glen, Suzanne's younger brother, and the young con artist in this last episode. I think Don does more than tolerate the boys.
posted by torticat at 5:47 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I think he loves Sally and tolerates the boys. I don't know where they're going to go with Don needing to step up as father. He really hasn't done it very well at all. In this last episode, we've seen him happiest alone.

There was a whole episode several years ago abvout him claiming fatherhood over Gene after Henry's introduction. There was the lovely scene with Bobby in the theater watching Planet of the Apes and his discussion of his consuming love for his children after. There was his rush to call the boys after getting off the phone with Sally in the last episode.

Calling Henry their real father or saying Don doesn't love them is really, really missing the nuance here. Henry's an important figure in their lives, but so is Don.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:26 AM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


And Henry's parenting methods mainly involve having his mother handle it.
posted by drezdn at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think that's entirely fair to Henry. Betty/Henry/the kids haven't been the focus of the show for a while, we don't see what goes on very much.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's been too much talk about Sally and funerals throughout the series for her not to be at Betty's funeral next Sunday. Ugh.
posted by Cheezitsofcool at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2015


Betty's not dead yet. She wanted to make sure Sally knew all the arrangements before she was gone.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2015


Wasn't a con, the (hot kid; glad I'm not the only one who saw homoerotic tones in that scene--he was totally poised to say "ten busk.. and for twenty more...") boy was the one who took it and skedaddled.

I watched the second showing of Mad Men because there was a new Penny Dreadful on Sunday night, and I didn't realize Mad Men was going to be longer than an hour. When I switched to AMC, it was in the middle of the scene where Don had the kid down on the bed telling him he was going to have to give the money back and leave town – and I TOTALLY thought the kid was Bob Benson!!

The fact that Trudy, who HAD to have had many, many opportunities to remarry, was still single after two years was a clue to me that she was still carrying some kind of something around for Pete. And him saying that he wouldn’t be as dumb as he had been before was, for a man of his class and generation, a pretty big thing. I think they’ve got a pretty good shot. (And they can fly Tammy to the grand opening of Walt Disney World next year! There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day…)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2015


You want your spinoff? Here’s your spinoff, touching 1970’s family comedy/drama style:

THE COURTSHIP OF BOBBY’S FATHERS

Upon Betty’s death, Don returns to New York State to take custody of his children. Although he hires a full-time housekeeper (a wisecracking middle-aged lady in the vein of TV’s Hazel,) Sally leaves boarding school and becomes a maternal figure. Her dates don’t always dig it, which is how she knows the real dreamboats from the losers.

Manhattan, Rye, and Ossining all bring back too many painful memories, so he buys a house somewhere like New Rochelle, and does occasional freelance copywriting for his old friend Peggy. But the more his old corporate masters and that crook Nixon get under his skin, the more he drifts away from his old conservative values and gets involved in Democratic politics. Oh, he’ll never run for office; too many skeletons in the closet for that. But he can write speeches and raise funds. Cue the sad trombone, because it’s gonna be AWKWARD every time he runs into the kids’ stepfather, that Republican powerhouse Henry Francis!

Where does that title come in, you ask? Well, young Bobby has always been the most madcap of the Draper tots, and he’s going to be mixing it up every week by introducing Dad to some nice lady who can’t resist the cuteness of a little boy with a bucket over his head, a Halloween mask on, or just filled with excitement over the presence of eggs in his bed. The twist? He’s doing exactly the same thing for Stepdad Henry! We’re saving the episode where Bobby mixes up his Mighty Mouse calendar with his Spider-Man calendar and accidentally sets up Don and Henry with the same nice lady for the same charity ball for sweeps week.

(I don’t think I should have had that third cup of coffee.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:58 AM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


au contraire I believe you need another
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:14 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mad Style!

The color schemes in the last photos support the Don a-comin' home theory.
posted by mochapickle at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2015


Also, the pattern of Betty's shirt during the second opinion visit looks just like cancer cells. She's literally covered in them.
posted by mochapickle at 1:10 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


My brother was born in Jan 71 in Encino ( which is part of LA )when I wasn't quite 3. I remember being taken to the hospital and wanting to see a nurse wearing a white cap like they did in my books, but none of them were.
posted by brujita at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2015


TLO: Color blind. Sally was wearing a grey sweater, not pale green.


Tammy Campbell, Princess of Wichita. Best. Line. Ever.
posted by tilde at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dufus that I am, I watched this whole episode thinking it was the finale! In fact, I didn't realise it wasn't the finale until I came here. I had to pause the episode fifteen minutes before the end because it suddenly seemed as though the whole show might end with Don Draper being beaten to death in a small country town motel for a crime he didn't commit (but seemed maybe metaphorically appropriate).

I can't tell you how glad I was to be wrong, both about the death (that would've been a very dark note to end on) and the episode number. This thing really needs to end with a substantial dose of Peggy's personal life.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:59 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had to pause the episode fifteen minutes before the end -- EXISTENZ IS PAUSED

eponysterical!!!
posted by tilde at 4:03 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I watched this whole episode thinking it was the finale! In fact, I didn't realise it wasn't the finale until I came here

You're not alone! I thought it was the finale until the second commercial break? I thought it was wrapping things up/going full circle nicely. Oh well!
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on May 13, 2015


The 91-hour series marathon has begun!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:06 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Glad to hear I wasn't the only one, then. And to be honest, I wasn't unsatisfied with the ending, when I thought that was the ending. Except for Peggy Last episode's corridor swagger would've been an adequate note to end on for any other character, but Peggy's this show's stealth protagonist, and I care about her story much more than I care about Don's.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:13 PM on May 13, 2015


Next episode is just Peggy at McCann on the phone to Don, who has crossed over into the next world... California.
posted by crossoverman at 5:32 PM on May 13, 2015


We just finished watching the finale of first season. SO MANY CALLBACKS OH MY GOD.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 5:41 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It just occurred to me that perhaps Peggy will meet a new employee, one who strikes her the way she struck Don. Wouldn't that be a full circle?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:00 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get more out of every rewatch. It's so insane.
posted by sweetkid at 6:03 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is the most brilliant show that ever evered, in my opinion. It's an inspiration that Matt Weiner worked on Sopranos, previously the most brilliant show that ever evered and was like "but I want to still do this other thing."
posted by sweetkid at 6:06 PM on May 13, 2015


In my mind, Don doesn't make it to California literally, but figuratively. I always predicted him ending up there in a sunny, seaside town, a place that reminds him of Anna, where he can feel a little easier being himself. Somewhere where he can tinker on cars. He can't do that in California. His kids need him. He has to go "home," and home is his children. They're the only thing he'd never shed, because for how absent a father he's often been, he loves them fiercely. I'd like to think of him as so close to California - Utah or Nevada - when he gets the call to come back. He will. Immediately. That's his true California: an easier time being himself, with no baggage or burdens, and the bond and love of his children. And if there's a scene where Don and Sally hug each other crying I will cry so much I will die of dehydration.
I've been thinking so much about Betty and Sally since I saw the episode. I was two years older than Sally when my mom died suddenly. When Henry appeared in Sally's dorm room I just thought, "That's it, kid. Your childhood ends right now." I understand why Henry asked Sally to do something so inappropriate -- what crazy things would you do when you're out of your mind with grief and shock to save someone you love? I'm pretty sure my Dad said the exact same thing: What am I going to do?
Betty was a champion for herself at the end, defining her death on her terms, passing down her wishes to her daughter. I know people are split on her acting, but I've always found January Jones to be a phenomenal actress, and she was incredible in this episode.
posted by missmary6 at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think January Jones is incredible. She does so much with her face but it's incredibly subtle. It's honestly one of those things where I have no idea what people are looking at when they say she's bad. No one else could play that role. She's a gift. It's also torture to rewatch anything in Betty's past knowing what's happened to her. She tried so hard to be happy. Damn this show.
posted by sweetkid at 6:43 PM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I thought that the hitchhiker might hurt Don when he picked him up.
posted by brujita at 7:03 PM on May 13, 2015


sweetkid: “I think January Jones is incredible. She does so much with her face but it's incredibly subtle. It's honestly one of those things where I have no idea what people are looking at when they say she's bad. No one else could play that role. She's a gift. It's also torture to rewatch anything in Betty's past knowing what's happened to her. She tried so hard to be happy. Damn this show.”
All of this. I think that maybe people just don't like January Jones. I've always thought her performances were very subtle and deep. She absolutely nails how someone inside the mid-century northeastern class system acted.

I just watched part of “Marriage of Figaro” during the marathon and there's a scene where Betty is smoking while wearing Playtex gloves and doing the dishes. Then, she struggles to get get the gloves off, trembling, and I had to turn it off.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:06 PM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like Betty and I like January Jones' portrayal of Betty. I've seen her in other things and I just haven't been that impressed with her. But she was born to play Betty Draper/Francis. She's incredible in this role.
posted by crossoverman at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


So at the end of the Betty-Sally conversation, my boyfriend said, "No one even said I love you!" And then the letter happened. Omg.

I think I want a Kinks song for the closing - maybe either "Strangers" or "This Time Tomorrow"?
posted by naoko at 8:12 PM on May 13, 2015


Jessica Pare is only two years younger than January Jones. That fact just weirds me out given the aging hag/young thing dynamic of their characters
posted by sweetkid at 8:26 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


watching the marathon. Holy crap Pete you were such a young thing.
posted by dry white toast at 8:50 PM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have to admit I was sort of meh about January Jones until this final season. And now upon rewatching the first season, I'm completely bowled over. She carries that entire season. She's brilliant.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pete has aged the worst - and it's all due to that combover.
posted by crossoverman at 10:47 PM on May 13, 2015


I'm thinking it's got to end with Don and His Kids cause in the first season, Rachel, presented now as this long lost ideal he's been searching for, broke it off with him because he was so willing to abandon his children. She was ready to believe he was in a loveless marriage, but the idea that he wanted to leave his family and children behind at the drop of the hat was like, physically repulsive to her. So now he has to go back to that.

Although Peggy interacting with another upstart in the vast McCann workers pool like how Don noticed her would be a nice touch.
posted by The Whelk at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Y'all have all won me over to the Don-coming-home-to-his-kids arc. It really does make sense. I was worried about Henry (I liked Henry) being in that big house alone, but I forgot he has grown kids of his own. Also, I would worry for the children to have less protection from Awful Paulette. Don needed to shed everything to be free, and now that he's experienced that, he can care for his children unburdened.

Just a few more days until the finale! These Mad Men threads have been a constant delight. Please bury me in a pale blue dress and make sure my hair is just so. I love all of you.
posted by mochapickle at 11:25 PM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm so upset for Henry when Nelson Rockefeller dies. Like it wont be on the show but it's going to gut him.

Also the actor who plays him works out at my gym a lot so I feel protective of Henry.
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 PM on May 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Henry has the one daughter, not kids.

And yeah, Rocky's death will be a hell of a blow.

Maybe Don will have to take the kids -- Henry and the lightpole wrap might just happen after all and SALLY takes his seat in the legislature. Have to jump forward a bit though.
posted by tilde at 3:43 AM on May 14, 2015


It would be shocking if he leaves his children and disappears. But it would be Don. My money's on that. It goes on and on and on...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:54 AM on May 14, 2015


"What goes on in your mind"
Last song Beginning to See The Light
Book it
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:55 AM on May 14, 2015


While I'm on Team Don Lives and Loves His Children, if he's going to die Sunday, the most foreshadowed way of it happening would be a car accident.
posted by drezdn at 5:02 AM on May 14, 2015


You misspelled plane crash
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


The only thing about "Don goes back to his family" is that the show has spent this whole season getting Don out of New York. Diana was set up as a kind of ruse - a way to stimulate his road-trip fever, an excuse to hightail it out of there, as if he really needed one. And he's been on the road for the past two episodes. And spent the rest of this half season shedding everything he's had. I'm going to find it very odd if next episode starts with him reunited with his kids - or the reunion has already happened.

I suspect he'll have made it to California. He'll be in the promised land. He'll be living that life we've all envisioned for him - near the ocean, small house, fixing cars. I think he has to have hobo'd all the way there. Maybe we even get the sense he's left everything and everyone behind. Maybe he's just disappeared from his old life.

And Betty's death brings him back to New York. Somehow, someone finds him. Peggy, maybe. And he comes back and can't leave his children, but he's a changed man and...

All of that sounds trite. But I honestly don't think Weiner could spend this much time watching Don shed his life without giving us a peek at his post-Don life, even if eventually he's dragged back east by his obligation to his children.
posted by crossoverman at 5:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


But I honestly don't think Weiner could spend this much time watching Don shed his life without giving us a peek at his post-Don life, even if eventually he's dragged back east by his obligation to his children.

I don't think it would be about his being dragged back; it would be Weiner's showing us Don's shedding every single bit of his life except for the absolutely essential part of who he is, which is his children.

Which is awfully sentimental, but at this point I think Weiner could pull it off.
posted by torticat at 5:54 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


While I'm on Team Don Lives and Loves His Children, if he's going to die Sunday, the most foreshadowed way of it happening would be a car accident.

You misspelled plane crash


Um drowning?
posted by tracicle at 6:00 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think Don could convince himself that Sally doesn't need him any more, and that the boys are better off with Henry. Someone -- a stranger, Sally -- would have to convince him that Bobby and Gene need him in their lives. I can't quite see Don choosing on his own to abandon the hobo road for family.

I honestly don't think Weiner could spend this much time watching Don shed his life without giving us a peek at his post-Don life

Yeah, Weiner has put Don in a position where he can choose what comes next in his life. I have to believe Weiner intends us to see whether or not Don can change and choose to be rooted in one place and connected to other people.

And I really want a final Don/Peggy scene, doesn't have to be in person.
posted by gladly at 6:03 AM on May 14, 2015


It would be so satisfying to have a shot of Don at the beach - a slow pan over his bag of clothes on the sand, maybe it's even tipped over, spilled out a little bit - to reveal a vast ocean, rhythmic waves, and after a little too much time, Don's head breaking the surface far out. It would be a great display of freedom, a baptism, and recreate his pitch for Hawaii, with his disappearing businessman and his strewn clothes. That pitch made everyone else in the room intensely uncomfortable, while it clearly delighted Don. It would also callback to ad copy becoming life in another finale - the bright orange Popsicle of Peggy's campaign on the porch of Dick's childhood home.
posted by missmary6 at 6:03 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Um drowning?

When Don pulls the DB Cooper routine, he does it by driving a car out of the back of the plane, but it lands in water. He's about to make it, when Pete's gun goes off in the back seat, hitting him, and knocking him out. He drowns.
posted by drezdn at 6:16 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Re: Don and California...

I think Megan's story may have killed California for him.

Following the places he says he's been to, he was closer to California in the last episode than this one. He may not know it, but his path is taking him back to New York.
posted by drezdn at 6:19 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm really hoping we don't see Dianna (who shares a name with another famous car crash victim) in the finale. If she doesn't, the whole point of her appearance in Don's life could have been to show why he shouldn't run away from his family (Don seemed to react very negatively to the little girl's behavior). The ex-husband's statement that other people have come looking for her stomped on Don's "special snowflake feelings" the same way the meeting at McCann did.
posted by drezdn at 6:22 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


When Don pulls the DB Cooper routine, he does it by driving a car out of the back of the plane, but it lands in water. He's about to make it, when Pete's gun goes off in the back seat, hitting him, and knocking him out. He drowns.

But his body is pulled from the river by Chauncey.
posted by tilde at 6:27 AM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yes, Rachel was upset that he'd leave his kids. He was so into Suzanne the teacher because she was great with children. And then remember Dr. Faye Miller? She was not maternal, and Don ended up dumping her unceremoniously for Megan instead, who was so great with his kids. And then he pressured Megan to get pregnant, and Megan's miscarriage was one of the big turning points in their marriage.

I have been binge-watching Mad Men over the last few days as I've been home sick. All of season 7 (and there are so many repeated references to family and children; even Redd Foxx on the TV last week was talking about the blessings of children before the TV cut off) and also the season 3 finale and part of season 4. Don and Betty fought several times about their kids when they were getting divorced; it was not clear that they were better off with her, and he knew it. Betty has slightly improved and matured over the last few years, but she was never a great mother. Remember the episode earlier in season 7 where she passive-aggressively punishes Bobby for hours because he traded her sandwich on the farm field trip?

Not that Don has been a great dad, of course. But the thing is that there's always been someone else to shoulder the burden for him. He could run away from home during Sally's birthday party, he could run away from work, and someone would always clean up after him. I think it's telling that he only made two phone calls during his week in Alva, OK, and those two calls were to his kids.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:17 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think we're done with Diana. She was just a device to get Don out of the city and out on the road. He wouldn't have run from McCann to get away, but he would have chased something elusive. Diana was certainly elusive.

I just realized the irony of Don using Bill Phillips' name with the Baurs: Bill wanted to sell beer to midwestern men like Mr. Baur and Don tried to sell him a story about beer, but Mr. Baur wasn't buying anything at all.
posted by mochapickle at 7:29 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been reading a lot of threads about the show over the past day or two, and there seems to be a lot of disagreement about whether Betty and Don are decent parents. Some people seem to think they are just completely and totally awful; some think they're pretty good, all told; some think one is pretty good and one is awful. I think it speaks volumes to this show's capacity for nuance that you really could reasonably answer this basic question about some of its central relationships in so many different ways.

One commenter - I think on the AV Club or Vox - noted that a good amount of research has shown that there is a sort of baseline for good parenting, and that beyond that it matters less than people tend to think. Do Don and Betty pass that baseline? I think they do, albeit not by much. Betty probably passes it by somewhat more than Don, but that's more a product of circumstance and gender roles than anything in her personality or parenting style.

But, for the purposes of the show, I think the important thing is that both of them have improved as parents over time. Season One Don would not be calling his kids from the motel room during his American Road Trip Vision Quest, or whatever it is. Season One Betty would not tell Sally that she is proud of her for being her own person - even in a letter written after a terminal diagnosis.

Sometimes I read people claiming that Mad Men is all about how people can't change - that's hogwash. The Sopranos is all about how people can't change. Mad Men is all about how people can change. But it is about how people actually change, that is, slowly and often imperceptibly, rather than the swift dramatic change we are used to seeing in TV shows and movies. Don and Betty's parenting is a great example of this. Are Don and Betty fantastic parents? No, they are not. They probably never will be (or would be, in Betty's case). But they are better parents than they were a decade ago. That's change.

Or, take Pete: at first his storyline in this episode struck me as a bit sudden and hard to believe. Then I remembered, there was a time when Pete actually seemed on the way to being a halfway decent person. He and Trudy were getting along well - they were always more of a real team than any of the other marriages on the show (save maybe the Cosgroves, but we don't spend much time with them). He was steadily improving at work, and was trying to control his demons. But Pete's problem has always been that he's so far up his own asshole that he can't accept himself for who he is. He's a good accounts man, and I think he even has the capacity to be a good husband. But he wants to be Don Draper, or Roger Sterling. He wants to be the alpha dog, the king, as his fantasy with that prostitute had it. Problem is, every time Pete tries to do that, it goes horribly, horribly wrong - for him and for other people - both because being the alpha dog isn't all it's cracked up to be, and because Pete really isn't very good at it.

Pete seems to have learned from that, and now he is getting a second chance. Are all his insecurities going to evaporate, as he and Trudy live happily ever after regaling the elite of Wichita with casseroles and half-true tales of New York? No. Bad stuff is going to happen to Pete, and Trudy, and their family. He is going to fuck up. But I think he's going to be a little better. He's changed. He's not a different person, but he's changed.

The more I think about it, the more I think that's the overarching theme of this show - fitting as it is set in the 1960s. Things can change, and people can change, too. But change happens slowly. It often doesn't feel very satisfying in the moment. Most of us aren't going to wake up one morning and think "wow, I've changed," our demons suddenly put to rest. But that doesn't mean that we can't change. It doesn't mean that we can't get better, little by little.

And, with that, I apologize for this overly long comment.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


While I wouldn't mind seeing him in the finale, I'd rather the show never mention how the new job/life works out for Pete. It could go either way for him, and gives viewers something to discuss in the years to come.
posted by drezdn at 8:22 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


drezdn, that's why the promo photo for next week has me so alarmed! It's of Pete, only Pete. And he doesn't look happy.

I have been rifling through old recaps looking for that tie, thinking maybe they used an old photo from another episode. Had anyone seen him wear that tie before? I'm pretty invested in Pete starting fresh in Kansas, for better or for worse.
posted by mochapickle at 8:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It could go either way for him, and gives viewers something to discuss in the years to come.

Yeah, I think that's how they'll leave it (though I too expect we'll see a bit more of Pete). He's earned his second chance, and I don't think they raise that hope, inconclusive as it is, one episode before the end and then smash it in the next. No one's fortunes change that fast on Mad Men.

Well, except for Guy MacKendrick's I guess. :)
posted by torticat at 10:15 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe Don brings his kids out to wherever he's living. I don't know. And I love that I don't know.

after a little too much time, Don's head breaking the surface far out. It would be a great display of freedom, a baptism

I wrote my college honors thesis on Kate Chopin's The Awakening (in which I defended her decision, much to the chagrin of just about everyone else), and this comment made me think of that. *shudders*
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


a slow pan over his bag of clothes on the sand, maybe it's even tipped over, spilled out a little bit - to reveal a vast ocean, rhythmic waves, and after a little too much time, Don's head breaking the surface far out.

And then a pan back to the beach, where the kids are watching, and Don shouting for them to come in, the water's fine.
posted by nubs at 11:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'd have to see how "Don goes back to be a good dad" plays out, because it seems too schmaltzy to work with the show. The only way I can see it is if they wrap that up pretty early, without a ton of explanation, and then either bring Don back in for a scene with Peggy or just leave him out of the last scenes.

I still think there are strong reasons that the series might end with Peggy.
posted by sweetkid at 12:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, for some reason I really like the idea of the entire show ending with Peggy saying kinda curtly "Can you get the door?" Like, show's over folks; I've got work.

Oh how I love these Mad Men threads!! They've really allowed me to sit with the show. The series is just a mastery of storytelling and complexity and subtlety. I mean here we all are, after knowing these characters a decade in their lives and we have no clue how the thing ends. I mean, that's life, right?
posted by missmary6 at 1:09 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


People re-watching old episodes! Feel free to drop some comments in the appropriate Mad Men re-watch threads too.
posted by drezdn at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Us
posted by The Whelk at 2:18 PM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


Us

That is marvelous.
posted by gladly at 2:22 PM on May 14, 2015


Oh! I also remembered—Pete mentions that he was able to get Avon back into the fold during this episode. I guess Joan's not going to run away with the business.
posted by mynameisluka at 2:23 PM on May 14, 2015


The Whelk: "Us"

I literally gasped. I demand we replace the site logo with that on Sunday.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Um, this quote from 7x02...

Sally: (talking to her friends at school) "I’d stay here till 1975 if I could get Betty in the ground."

:(
posted by crossoverman at 3:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't get a chance to watch this until yesterday afternoon.

So many tears for Betty! And Sally and Henry.

I keep hoping Don will call to talk to Sally. Don is footloose and fancy free -- will he call Sally? Will he be drawn back in, to his old life, to provide for Bobby and Gene? Will Sally call Megan?

I knew Pete and Trudy would get back together. You could see how it smarted for Trudy, being divorced in the suburbs. But she was Trudy at the end: "your own private plane," and I could see that she was turning around to the Pete side of things.

Peggy is now a Madison Avenue gal, and she won't take crap from anyone, anymore, ever. She won't be like Joan, the old school woman who got there by hook or by crook, and finally got worn down from the sheer weight of it; she will be the new generation. Peggy is the anti-Joan, the anti-Merideth.

I hope Don finds out about Betty before it's too late. I hope he comes back and marries Merideth and sets up house with her and raises Bobby and Gene, and keeps working as an ad man, not because he wants to, because that's the right thing to do. He made this prison for himself, and now he has to live with it, no matter how far he drives away, he can't escape the life he made for himself when he decided to be Don Draper.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


"It's fascinating to me how we all bring different perspectives and analyses to this show - any form of art, really - and find different aspects we can/can't relate to. "

I've also been pondering how we typically lionize individual artists (like authors, or painters), but our "Golden Age of Television" relies on writers' rooms full of really smart people, plus directors and showrunners with particular visions, plus actors who bring their own spin to the characters, and that some of the incredible human depth of stories that a lot of TV shows have been bringing to character-driven stories over the last ten years comes from the fact that they are a collaborative art form with many people bringing many perspectives to the characters and their interactions. There isn't just one canonical way to "read" Betty -- there's what the episode writers intended, what the director intended, what Matt Weiner intended, what January Jones intended. I think that brings a more faceted human portrayal to many more characters than any but the very most talented novelists can manage. And I think that's why it seems rich and true to life (we all contain multitudes!) and why so many of us can take away so many different things from great shows like Mad Men -- the layered process of many creators means there's just a LOT THERE.

I also do look forward to seeing January Jones in future roles and seeing whether Betty was a one-off perfect marriage of actress and role, or whether she's grown as an actress during her time on Mad Men. I saw her in a few things before Mad Men and while I've always found her appealing and I like her understated acting (especially in comedies where I think her deadpan reactions are very funny), she definitely came across as a model-turned-actress who was more formally "acting" than inhabiting a character. But she's been sublime as Betty, and I'm excited to see her in future roles.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:03 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


"There isn't just one canonical way to "read" Betty -- there's what the episode writers intended, what the director intended, what Matt Weiner intended, what January Jones intended."

Also I should have taken this moment to say, HOLY BALLS KIERNAN SHIPKA. For a CHILD to bring this kind of nuance and layering to her part in creating the character -- well, I can't wait to see what she does next.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


For a CHILD to bring this kind of nuance and layering to her part in creating the character

Yeah, and I'm not sure whether the uncanny similarities to Betty and Don/January Jones and Jon Hamm are due to acting or some weird chance of nature, but good lord they lucked out with that casting!
posted by torticat at 4:15 PM on May 14, 2015


Yeah, the way Kiernan mirrors Betty/January is pretty amazing. I'm not sure what will happen to Kiernan - she seems already typecast into petulant/wise beyond their years teens (Kimmy Schmidt, Flowers in the Attic) but she was really a gift to this show. Neat to see her grow up, too. I think it's interesting that she was so natural at the start, not actor kiddy at all, just very free and open. I think that openness helped her observe and learn in what was basically an artistic masterclass that coincided with her childhood.
posted by sweetkid at 5:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wasn't aware of this, I am only following her via Mad Men. I hope she gets a movie from now on or something, she is really great, one of my favorite characters, which speaks so well of her acting and her gift.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:22 PM on May 14, 2015


Did Peggy ever win a Clio? My rewatching reminded me that it's been a thing throughout her story arc.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:09 PM on May 14, 2015


Kiernan Shipka is going to be the next Meryl Streep.

And I want to see her and Maisie Williams do literally anyfuckingthing together.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 PM on May 14, 2015


Midway through the final episode we have a scene with Harry Crane and Roger walking through the halls of McCann:

HARRY, WITH A LOOK OF ENLIGHTENMENT COMING OVER HIS FACE: Roger, I've just had a thought..just realized.. I see it so clearly now - I am about to give a monologue that's thought-provoking, insightful, redemptive and so powerful it will set a clear arc for the rest of my life!

ROGER: Sounds great Harry. Hey look in here!

HARRY: Huh?

ROGER SHOVES HARRY INTO A BROOM CLOSET AND LOCKS THE DOOR.

HARRY: Roger? ROGER!!!

Roger: Don't worry Harry, plenty of time for your little speech later.

ROGER WALKS AWAY WITH THE SMIRKIEST OF SMIRKS.

...

Post-credit scene:

LOBBY OF MCCANN, NIGHT. THE ONLY ILLUMINATION COMES FROM THE CITY OUTSIDE.

F/X: SOUND OF SPLINTERING WOOD, CURSING, THEN INCREASINGLY FRANTIC RUNNING.

HARRY CRANE SLIDES INTO THE LOBBY, HANDS BLOODY AND DRENCHED IN SWEAT. HE CLUMSILY GRABS AT THE RECEPTION DESK PHONE, DIALS. HIS EYES WIDEN WHEN AS SOMEONE PICKS UP.

HARRY: Listen, you just have to listen, I

CUT TO BLACK.
posted by mikepop at 7:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hope that the post-credit scene explains the connection of the MadManIverse to the larger Infinity Gems storyline.
posted by codacorolla at 8:04 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I like that, The Whelk. Now if only it was changed to MadaFilter and posted on the site on Sunday...
posted by umbú at 8:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


What I love about this show and these threads is that I need time to discuss the episodes in depth - and this is the place to do it. That's what I miss about binge-watch culture, no time to really absorb an episode before we're onto the next one. And nobody is watching at the same pace. So even if there are Daredevil threads, some are discussing with future episodes in mind and some are purists.

I guess I would have binge-watched Mad Men if I'd had the opportunity, but I would have missed so much discussion - and enjoying the depth and expansiveness of the narrative and the metaphor, etc. Discovering that in think pieces later just isn't the same. And dwelling on an episode, even without a gratuitous cliffhanger, is something that is worth doing with the truly great shows.
posted by crossoverman at 9:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


rewatching the one where Betty confronts Don about his box o lies and burst into tears when she says "you lied to me every day," like I do every time, but like even more so because of this last episode. Damn him for wasting some of what turned out to be her precious little time on this Earth. Good for her for drawing a line.
posted by sweetkid at 10:01 PM on May 14, 2015


Just saw this episode tonight. Still reading the thread, but I'll just leave this here for later.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 1:51 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


When Don pulls the DB Cooper routine, he does it by driving a car out of the back of the plane, but it lands in water.

Hasbro replaces the action figure version of this scene with Captain America doing the same.
posted by almostmanda at 5:14 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


While I'm on Team Don Lives and Loves His Children, if he's going to die Sunday, the most foreshadowed way of it happening would be a car accident.

Surely the most foreshadowed way would be jumping from the top of a tall building.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:21 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, mad man oh man, I've been watching the marathon and my heart is filled with so much nostalgia pain it would make Teddy the old Greek copywriter's heart explode and burn down the fur warehouse.

I'm more convinced than ever that Don and Betty were a great love affair that could just never be. I think they truly loved each other back then, and I don't think they really ever stopped. There was just too much bad stuff for them ever to be together. It reminds me of Lucy and Desi. Until the day he died, whenever one of their names was brought up, you could see this look come over the other's face that would break your heart. The last footage of them together, in the pool with their grandchildren like all the years and the betrayals and heartbreak had never happened, always chokes me up. I don't know if I want to see Don and Betty meet one last time, because I'm not sure I can handle it.

OMG, when Betty gave Sally the riding boots and told her, "Someday when you're older, you'll want something and I won't be able to give it to you..." GAH.

And, I had forgotten that Anna also died of cancer that spread to her bones. I hope Peggy is there to give Don a shoulder again.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:10 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bert Peterson's epic flameout happening right after Lane Pryce's quiet introduction! Who could have imagined Lane's lonely exit at that point?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:15 AM on May 15, 2015


Well, he did say that he did, in "Meditations on an Emergency," But, as always, MMV on how much an individual viewer believes in his sincerity both toward her and toward himself when saying so.

OK, rewatched MiaE yesterday during the marathon, and I remain convinced that, at least at that moment, Pete absolutely believed in his heart that he truly loved Peggy. I do think that after she laid all her cards on the table, those feelings died and he recommitted himself to Trudy, and that's when they became a real power couple.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:19 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, I have a totally different take than the Underpants Monster. I don't think Don ever loved Betty. I think he has affection for her and cares as a friend, but he doesn't love her. I do think she always loved him.
posted by sweetkid at 6:25 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don loved Betty, and she broke his heart when she dumped him after finding out that he was the son of a prostitute. She didn't want to stay married to him; he wasn't worthy of her. It's what he always feared would happen, despite the philandering.

I'm not psychoanalyzing- this is literally the content of the conversation between Anna and Don when he's visiting her at the beginning of season 4, post-divorce.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:56 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Don was flat-out crazy about Betty. There's another conversation with Anna, probably in a flashback, where he's gone to ask her for a divorce so he can marry Betty. I forget which episode. But anyway, dude was bonkers for her in the beginning, and it's pretty clear from a lot of the pictures we see of them in their early years in The Wheel that their early years were pretty loving. It sort of seems like it was entering the ad world that made him into a philandering bastard.
posted by palomar at 7:11 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


He was crazy about Betty and he's in a good place with her as far as he is concerned.

By the way, here's a nice long list of clients from Consumerist.
posted by tilde at 7:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don loved Betty, and she broke his heart when she dumped him after finding out that he was the son of a prostitute. She didn't want to stay married to him; he wasn't worthy of her. It's what he always feared would happen, despite the philandering.

I'm not psychoanalyzing- this is literally the content of the conversation between Anna and Don when he's visiting her at the beginning of season 4, post-divorce.


Well, I do believe that Don believed he was never worthy of Betty. But I believe that it was the constant, unremitting lies and the inability to open up to her that Betty couldn't cope with, rather than the humble origins.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:56 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, I do believe that Don believed he was never worthy of Betty. But I believe that it was the constant, unremitting lies and the inability to open up to her that Betty couldn't cope with, rather than the humble origins.

This. It felt to Don like Betty found out who he really was and rejected him for it, and I can see why he felt that way. But ultimately Betty left him not because of who he was, but because he lied about who he was - and a whole host of other things besides.

As my long comment above indicates, I'm more sympathetic to Don than some viewers of the show seem to be. I think there is a tendency among some viewers and critics (not so much on MeFi, though) to try to shoehorn Don Draper into the Tony Soprano/Walter White mode of 21st century TV antihero, and I don't think he quite belongs there. He's not evil. He's frequently bad, sure, but he's not evil, and he's not - at least with one episode remaining - beyond redemption.

However, he is an awful, terrible, husband. And I don't really see that changing. Betty may have broken Don's heart, but Don absolutely deserved it.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:07 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]




Call me when you've got a wiki, The Atlantic. Get on my level.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:35 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Kenny Cosgrove is the axis Mundi of mid century sci fi
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sympathetic to Don as well as Betty, but I do think that there was a little bit of "on top of everything else you've done, your family was poor?" happening with Betty's decision to end it. And she went from that to Henry Francis, who ushered her into the world of status as a Republican Political Wife, a role she really seemed to take to.
posted by PussKillian at 8:50 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"on top of everything else you've done, your family was poor?" happening with Betty's decision to end it.

This always comes up and I don't know what people are watching. They have a couple big fights about the box of secrets - I was just watching them last night. She mentions that she knows his family was poor. Like she says those words. What she didn't like was the lie, the previous marriage, and that he didn't feel like he could tell her when they met. She asks him why he didn't tell her. She says she thought he was a football hero who hated his father, but she didn't know about the false identity. She took his name, which wasn't really his to give. Her supporter, lover and father of her children isn't who she thought he was.
There are so many things for Betty to be upset about here. If she did an AskMe, people would definitely tell her to DTMFA.
It isn't until like, the third and final fight that he says "Oh I'm not good enough for a Mainline brat?" and she says "that's right!" But that's what everyone remembers like that's her whole reason.

But then he grabs her hair and calls her a whore. In the room with their child. My sympathies are 100% with Betty in that whole conflict.
posted by sweetkid at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't defend Don's actions in that scene, but that fight came about because she didn't tell Don about Henry Francis, Golden Parachute. He learned about that from Roger. Don understood her to be cheating on him (even if she wasn't).

I don't think there is meant to be a clear-cut good or bad person in the Don-Betty divorce. Don deserved to be dumped for his actions, yet Betty managed to realize all of Don's worst fears by rejecting him most thoroughly after his origins came out.

It's not just that he was poor, like he was when he lived with his father and Abigail (poor yet hardworking Depression-era farmers), but that he was the illegitimate son of a prostitute and his later childhood was spent in a brothel. That's a whole other level from "poor" in the world of Betty and Madison Avenue and country club suburbia.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


But anyway, dude was bonkers for her in the beginning, and it's pretty clear from a lot of the pictures we see of them in their early years in The Wheel that their early years were pretty loving. It sort of seems like it was entering the ad world that made him into a philandering bastard.

I'll have to go back and see during a rewatch that I hope to do over the summer, but my sense of things was that Betty was another piece of Don's identity - the beautiful blonde society wife that a rich, successful business man would have. That is, whatever passion he may have had for Betty in the beginning was more related to Don feeling like she was the next piece of the life he was supposed to have, of the image he wanted to present. Which is not to say that there wasn't affection for Betty, but that Don's fundamental insecurity over his identity were present from the start. And Betty was raised to be that role, but it isn't enough for her to just be the beautiful blonde society wife (of course it isn't, because she's an intelligent vibrant human being too!).

But one of the things I love about this show is how open to interpretation and understanding everyone is, and I might see it differently my next time through.
posted by nubs at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


She mentions that she knows his family was poor. Like she says those words. What she didn't like was the lie, the previous marriage, and that he didn't feel like he could tell her when they met. She asks him why he didn't tell her.

Well, I totally agree with this, and as I recall (haven't rewatched anytime recently), she sits next to him on the bed and actually comforts him. Puts her hand on his back or something.

I think where it got ambiguous--after that very tender scene, in which it looked like Don had been underestimating Betty's ability to accept and forgive all along--was that immediately after that, Betty got serious about pursuing divorce. And it was hard to tell, actually, if her biggest sticking point was the lies, or her discovering the truth about his background. (Or her interest in Henry!)

I don't remember in that chronology where the "you've never understood money" conversation took place, but that definitely added to the ambiguity.

There is NO QUESTION that Betty was justified in leaving Don. Her motivations, though, were very complicated.

Damn him for wasting some of what turned out to be her precious little time on this Earth. Good for her for drawing a line.

Yes (oh, what sad observation). But again, the irony is that he gave her and she gave him their three children. Which is often a complexity of a failed marriage--that the children couldn't haven't existed without that coupling. And when Sally is giving Betty a hope for a wonderful legacy (see the letter), and the children are giving Don the only potential motivation he can have for again attempting a stable and fulfilling life, that has to be a huge consideration in evaluating the relationship.
posted by torticat at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I definitely don't think there was a designated bad guy in the Drapers (Don and Betty) breakup, mostly because I don't think this show sets up heroes and villains. I just strongly disagree that her main reason was that he was poor and she didn't know, because there's plenty of evidence that she knew that already, from comments on him living on a farm, to no guests at the wedding, to her explicit comment during the breakup, "I knew you were poor."
posted by sweetkid at 11:27 AM on May 15, 2015


I just strongly disagree that her main reason was that he was poor and she didn't know, because there's plenty of evidence that she knew that already, from comments on him living on a farm, to no guests at the wedding, to her explicit comment during the breakup, "I knew you were poor."

I don't remember all the particulars because it's been awhile since I've seen those episodes, but I felt she left him because of the lies but he couldn't help but feel rejected because of his upbringing/mother -- his worst fear as someone upthread stated.
posted by JenMarie at 11:49 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I definitely don't think there was a designated bad guy in the Drapers (Don and Betty) breakup, mostly because I don't think this show sets up heroes and villains.

Yeah, agreed.

I just strongly disagree that her main reason was that he was poor and she didn't know, because there's plenty of evidence that she knew that already

Yeah but she'd thought he was heroic poor. She'd thought he was "some football hero who hated his father." She didn't know the squalor of his background, that he was the son of a prostitute, that he'd run away to join the army to escape from the abuse, that he had then had stolen the identity of another soldier. (Again, though, there is the combination of the desperation vs the deceit.)

(I'm not really arguing one side or the other, just that it's incredibly complicated and layered--I think we probably agree.)
posted by torticat at 12:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Right, but he didn't tell her. He assumed she wouldn't want him if she knew who he really was so he made that decision for her. We'll never know if she would have rejected him or not, and neither do either of them. That's what's so interesting about that interaction to them - the way she feels after learning about it after some time can't be the same feeling she would have had in the moment.
posted by sweetkid at 12:11 PM on May 15, 2015


That's what's so interesting about that interaction to them

I meant to me, not them.
posted by sweetkid at 1:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think it was a main reason or even a very prominent reason - maybe it's like...2%. Just a small thread that runs through the big tapestry of Betty's motivations. But I think it's there.
posted by PussKillian at 1:52 PM on May 15, 2015




NYT Review of Books, podcast interview with Weiner - I think that's a good insight into where his mind has been, in regard to approaching the finale. He doesn't give anything away, but you can tell how influenced he was by Chase's decision to end The Sopranos the way he did. And he talks about the Six Feet Under finale as well. And I don't expect it will be anything like either of those shows, it'll be its own thing.

On the other hand, he also sounds particularly defensive in this interview - he seems slightly worried that people won't take the time to consider it before they make judgments on it.
posted by crossoverman at 8:12 PM on May 15, 2015


What Critics Said of Mad Men When It First Premiered

Oh, Sacha Z. Scoblic, the fact that Betty DIDN'T scold Sally about suffocation was exactly the point.
posted by mochapickle at 8:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


For a show called MAD MEN that is ostensibly about Don Draper, I've always been glad to see a lot of female writers on staff - because that has helped make sure the female characters are well-rounded, as well as giving different dimensions to the male characters. Not that male writers can't write female characters, but I find a lot of the time they don't care to or they fall back on tropes. So I imagine keeping the writers' room mixed can explain why Peggy and Joan and Betty are such amazing characters, without feeling like retreads of characters we've seen before - or of each other.

I made a list of writers who have worked on Mad Men and, of all the writers who have credits on screen, there were 15 men and 15 women credited across the 92 episodes. Matt Weiner's name appears as writer or co-writer on 71 of the 92 episodes, so breaking down the credits by episode would be heavily biased by the showrunner.

Interestingly, 10 of the 15 male writers on Mad Men are only credited with work on one season of the show. Two more male writers made two seasons. The other three male writers worked on four seasons (Jonathan Igla), six seasons (Andre Jacquemetton, who co-wrote with his wife Maria) and seven seasons (The Weiner).

Of the 15 female writers, only five lasted one season. Another five lasted two seasons. And the other five lasted between three and six seasons.

Which means the male writers averaged 2 seasons (only because Weiner ran the show for all seven, otherwise it would be 1.7) and the female writers averaged 2.5 seasons. But definitely more female writers lasted longer on staff and wrote on more episodes than men (if we discount Weiner's co-writing most of the series).
posted by crossoverman at 9:30 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Thanks crossoverman... that's really interesting.
posted by torticat at 12:34 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


If Don does return to be a father, my suggestion for closing song would be Harry Nilsson singing "I'll Be Home."
posted by drezdn at 7:01 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess we're done with Bowlcut Whore Child flashbacks, but I love watching them:

The Dick Whitman Chronicles
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:41 PM on May 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


"Bowlcut Whorechild" would be either the best or worst band name ever.

I had forgotten how brilliantly cast Joseph Culp was as Archie Whitman, and how much the adult Adam looked like "Uncle" Mac.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:15 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Dick Whitman Chronicles

I'm really glad I watched this before the finale. Puts everything pre-1960 into perspective. And it's like watching a whole episode of backstory. Plus I think it's going to be important.
posted by crossoverman at 2:00 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's been so long since they've done a whore-child flashback that I'd be shocked if there was one but... There's a gap where we don't know what happens to Don between losing his virginity and joining the military.
posted by drezdn at 5:16 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, Sacha Z. Scoblic, the fact that Betty DIDN'T scold Sally about suffocation was exactly the point.

Wait, are you suggesting that bit was meant to be taken as a specific Betty character trait and not as a sign of the times? That's interesting.

I definitely took it as the latter, and after watching the pilot around when it aired was a bit worried the show would spend every episode winking at its contemporary audience about how things sure have changed.

(And then it seemed to have gotten that out of its system within the first few episodes was my feeling at the time.)
posted by nobody at 6:25 AM on May 17, 2015


I had forgotten how brilliantly cast Joseph Culp was as Archie Whitman, and how much the adult Adam looked like "Uncle" Mac.

Adam was supposed to be Archie's son though, right?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2015


Wait, are you suggesting that bit was meant to be taken as a specific Betty character trait and not as a sign of the times? That's interesting.

Both! It helped set the era that a parent (any parent) wasn't worried about the plastic bag, but it also set Betty's character because she was really concerned about the clothes the bag had covered (showing how she values material things over her child's passing fancy).
posted by mochapickle at 7:24 AM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Final guesses for last song, anyone? Of the 1970 singles, I could see:

"The Circle Game," Joni Mitchell
"The Long and Winding Road," Beatles
"Long as I Can See the Light," CCR

If it's just a David Carbonara score, I will be so mad! (No offense to Carbonara - in fact, I usually make a big pot of spaghetti carbonara on Mad Men Sundays because seeing his name flash in the credits makes me want it if I haven't already had it. I may have to have an old fashioned with it tonight, for old times sake.)

And if it's "The Thrill is Gone," my crying is going to go to 11.
posted by sallybrown at 7:34 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


In a nod to the time an episode opened with The Decemberists, this one ends with Devo's cover of "Satisfaction." Which sort of ties into my dream that Sally ends up playing bass in an ersatz Talking Heads.
posted by drezdn at 8:55 AM on May 17, 2015


As I said up thread, my vote is still for "The Weight" by The Band.
posted by dry white toast at 9:58 AM on May 17, 2015


-I had forgotten how brilliantly cast Joseph Culp was as Archie Whitman, and how much the adult Adam looked like "Uncle" Mac.

--Adam was supposed to be Archie's son though, right?


Yes, he was *supposed* to be, but I've never believed he really was. We weren't shown how much time passed between Archie's death and Adam's birth, but I find it hard to believe that the resemblances between Jon Hamm/Joseph Culp and Jay Paulson/Morgan Rusler were coincidental. Abigail would never admit to having a bastard son, but she'd definitely fudge dates to make him into a posthumous one by her late husband.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2015


She was extremely pregnant by the time they arrived at the whorehouse, though, which, IIRC was in a different state than the farm where Archie lived.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just leavin' this picture here for comparison.

I was sure that part of the story was that Adam was supposed to have been conceived immediately before Archie's accident, and that Uncle Mac came to the farm right after Archie died. But I could be wrong, or that part of the story could have been clarified by something else we were shown later.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I remember Bowlcutwhorechild Dick saying in a flashback in "Babylon" that Adam wasn't really his brother, and Uncle Mac seeming to protest too much by hastily saying they had the same father.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you watch the bowlcut clips, they fill you in on the backstory: Abigail's sister Ernestine was living with Uncle Mack and invited Abigail and Dick to come live in the brothel. Not saying the actors don't look alike, just not sure if the text of the show supports it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:02 PM on May 17, 2015


Tonight's episode is just the story of Megan's career as a pod-racer.
posted by drezdn at 1:04 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Can I just express how sublime the phrase Bowlcutwhorechild Dick is? I keep stomping around the living room repeating it.
posted by mochapickle at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


an ALL SINGING ALL DANCING FINALE is all I want is that so hard
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Peggy, run your hands through Stan's luscious mane. I KNOW YOU WANT TO. (we all do)
posted by sallybrown at 1:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's been so long since they've done a whore-child flashback that I'd be shocked if there was one but... There's a gap where we don't know what happens to Don between losing his virginity and joining the military.

BTW we had a long discussion a couple years back about the weirdnesses in Don Draper's/ Dick Whitman's timeline. Starting in that thread about here I think. It's interesting to reread it now... I don't think those problems were ever resolved.
posted by torticat at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2015


Final prediction: The episode will start out like a regular episode with a time jump to Nov 1970 (Thanksgiving) and then there will be another, more significant, time jump before the end. After which we find out Peggy invented the "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" campaign. With Don being tempted by Coke, but never actually working on it, I think Peggy inventing a memorable slogan for them will be too much to pass up.
posted by crossoverman at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The weirdest thing about the flashbacks is that at some point they decided to flashback to them arriving at the whorehouse but it had been several years since they'd done a flashback, so Dick is noticeably older. Watching the Dick Whitman Chronicles above, it's so damn obvious, I'm surprised they decided to do it. Also, the flashbacks were used so much better early on and then they were just used to support the theme of that week.
posted by crossoverman at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was sure that part of the story was that Adam was supposed to have been conceived immediately before Archie's accident, and that Uncle Mac came to the farm right after Archie died. But I could be wrong, or that part of the story could have been clarified by something else we were shown later.

That was the story, and it wasn't clarified later. Abigail was still pregnant when they arrived at the whorehouse, but Dick had aged much more than a few months, as crossoverman observed.
posted by torticat at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2015


Peggy, run your hands through Stan's luscious mane. I KNOW YOU WANT TO. (we all do)

I, for one, want to curl up in Stan's beard like a tiny squirrel.

Let me live in your beard, Stan.
posted by palomar at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


That was the story, and it wasn't clarified later. Abigail was still pregnant when they arrived at the whorehouse, but Dick had aged much more than a few months, as crossoverman observed.

And yet when she has the baby, he de-ages. Pretty sure this was the case of real life writing the plot; the actor grew up between the time these scenes were filmed.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2015


Listen, Dick Whitman has become unstuck in time
posted by The Whelk at 2:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


While it possibly wouldn't be a satisfying finish, one possible ending would be for the business card Don gave in Racine to enable them to track him down. The second half of this has really played up the vindictiveness of McCann. If they were able to piece together enough of his story, they could potentially turn him over to the military for desertion charges or worse.
posted by drezdn at 3:05 PM on May 17, 2015


...So Hobart is confronting Don about this in Don's office, and Pete rushes in with the rifle, and Don lunges to push Hobart out of the way of the gunfire in a moment of truly selfless action, and in doing so, Don takes a bullet in the shoulder and falls out the window!

Where Chauncey finds him spread-eagled on the sidewalk.

A bereft and completely shaken Henry takes the children in, and the boys settle in as best they can, but Sally feels out of place. The last scene is Sally, with a suitcase, climbing into a bus to California.
posted by mochapickle at 3:14 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel confident in saying there is not going to be a Don's past is exposed twist in the finale.
posted by crossoverman at 3:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


OMG I just realized Anna lived in San Pedro. San Pedro = St Peter, the guy who waits at Heaven's pearly gates.
posted by mochapickle at 3:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just rewatched The Suitcase, and now I'm a mess.
posted by sallybrown at 3:38 PM on May 17, 2015


Listen, Dick Whitman has become unstuck in time

So the series finale will indeed also be a pilot for the new series based on the short stories of Philip K. Dick, in which John Hamm plays the protagonist in every episode.

I wish that that were true.
posted by juiceCake at 4:03 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


You guys, I'm not ready! Hold me, Chauncey.
posted by missmary6 at 4:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is real-time posting allowed in FanFare? I know we've always waited until the end of the east coast feed before we started the thread in the past, but I'd love to share the experience with you all.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:18 PM on May 17, 2015


I watch on iTunes when it hits at 3a Eastern so I am going to hop offline here shortly to remain spoiler free until then. I might actually have to disconnect my internet to avoid the temptation for spoilers!

See y'all on the other side! Enjoy!
posted by mochapickle at 4:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's always the chat room.
posted by bleep at 4:41 PM on May 17, 2015


Alan Sepinwall on what it was like to review Man Men.
posted by sallybrown at 4:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find any place to watch the end live (Memail me if you have a link) so it'll be tomorrow for me too.

Have fun you guys.
posted by Brainy at 5:56 PM on May 17, 2015


Alan Sepinwall on what it was like to review Man Men.

That was great. I've always loved his reviews.
posted by crossoverman at 6:06 PM on May 17, 2015


Saxophonist Houston Person released a 1970 album called Person to Person!
posted by sallybrown at 6:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Person to Person" could hint that the episode will involve Don's introduction into the exciting world of phone phreaking.
posted by drezdn at 6:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


sallybrown: "Alan Sepinwall on what it was like to review Man Men."

I like the idea of the show being titled Man Men.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:23 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, who else in NYC with Time Warner Cable is getting a signal outage ONLY ON AMC????
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 PM on May 17, 2015


Oh good fixed now never mind that would have sucked
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on May 17, 2015


That is my nightmare EmpressCallipygos!!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:29 PM on May 17, 2015


Ugghhh... Amazon doesn't have the finale available for streaming yet.
posted by drezdn at 4:50 AM on May 18, 2015


In "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt", Jon Hamm refers to "The Andromeda Strain" as "The Good Book."
posted by drezdn at 4:16 AM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


But Betty herself put an even greater burden on Sally, explaining in detail how she wanted to be laid out in death, and telling her Henry wouldn't be able to handle those arrangements.

(I mean seriously--most of the letter should have been written to Henry.)


Betty knew that Henry wouldn't be the one handling it. She trusted Sally. (More than she trusted Henry, and even Henry knew that -- that's why Henry went to Sally to try and get her to convince Betty to do the radiation, even though Betty wouldn't listen to him).

I thought it was touching that she was essentially telling Sally that she trusted her to take care of her, and then made sure to set her up to do it successfully.

She told Don last episode that they had to let Sally be independent, and in that letter, she's treating her with that same respect, while giving her enough support (all those very specific directives, with visual aides besides) to make sure she doesn't crash and burn.

She was essentially finding a way to launch her child into womanhood, even from beyond the grave. Pretty cool IMO.

Brushing past your child in anger because she's learned without your permission that you are dying does not suggest that your child's well-being is a top item on your mind. Betty was a lot of things in this episode, but self-sacrificial was not one of them.

Betty was absolutely furious. I get why it was hurtful and shocking to Sally to get blanked like that (and would have felt the same way myself), but Betty apparently needed to take a break and go compose herself. Once she had, she came back and talked to Sally that night, on HER terms.

It wasn't perfect, I guess, but I don't know how much better Betty could have done. She's not a saint. She also has feelings herself, that she needs to deal with in whatever way she can/wants.

As does Henry -- I have no ill will toward him for crying when he told Sally about Betty's prognosis. He was devastated, so he cried. Why shouldn't he?

And I LOVE Betty--as a character--just think she's very complicated. And I think Henry tempered some of her terrible parenting instincts (in a way Don was never able to do, at least not until after he and Betty had separated). Maybe that's why I see Henry's turning to Sally in a more sympathetic light.

Not to shit on Henry, because he seems like a very good guy, but he's also not actually the kids' parent, so BETTY, not the kids, is going to be his primary concern.

I don't have a problem with him going to Sally, though, in any case. He thought that Betty's life was at stake. That's why he was willing to break Betty's confidence -- he was trying to save her. He thought that going to Sally and getting her to persuade Betty to do the radiation was the only shot she had left at surviving, so he went for it. I don't see how he could have forgiven himself if he hadn't.

Plus, it's heartbreaking that Sally was losing her mother so young, but she was going to have to find out the news somehow and sometime soon, and there was not ever going to be a good way to tell her.

So to me, the only harm done is really to Betty, in that Betty had her confidence broken and had this big decision (about how to handle her own death) made on her behalf. I get why Henry did it and I don't even think he was wrong to do it, but I understand why Betty in particular was going to be angry and hurt that he had!

[on preview--PBWK, Betty was DEFINITELY vain in that episode. She was also determined to carry on with her ambitions, but she was still vain! How else do you read the hair-brushing, and more important all the careful instructions to Sally implying how important it is to Betty how she looks even in death?]

She was trying to stay strong. Her makeup is her warpaint, her hair is her helmet, her clothes are her armor. She was going to cling to them as long as she could.

Betty is trying to die with her boots on.

This kind of fascinates me; I somehow was never able to buy into the empathetic "loveable rogue" view of Roger. Something about his entitlement (call it Ferris Bueller syndrome, to namecheck another character I was never on board with) always came off as repulsive to me - it's only recently with his "crisis of meaning" that it's really felt like he has any weight.

I like Roger, but I think a big part of that is that I love his taste in women. All the respect I have for him comes from that.

Not that he's especially *good* with/to women per se. He's weirdly kind of awful to his daughter, or at least has no perspective on her. But of course, that makes some sense, because he's a perpetual child himself.

Oh, that reminds me. I also found it very endearing to find out that he was the perpetual Little Lord Fauntleroy to his mother and her ludicrously old friends.
posted by rue72 at 11:56 PM on January 15


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