Mad Men: Person to Person
May 17, 2015 8:25 PM - Season 7, Episode 14 - Subscribe

The stories of Don Draper, his family and his co-workers at Sterling Cooper and Partners conclude.

"There are a lot of better places than here."
posted by bleep (646 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
"A lot has happened."
posted by something something at 8:26 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was grateful to my Twitter friends tonight for helping me parse Don's story. I was convinced he had somehow fallen in with the Peoples Temple or some other hippie cult, but they pointed out that he totally went back and made that Coke ad after getting a great idea from said hippies.

Helen Slater was gorgeous but under-utilized.

Stan + Peggy 4-eva! Joan + business success 4-eva!!!
posted by leesh at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm still processing but all I can say PHONES. All the important things were said on the phone.
posted by dry white toast at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I really, really liked it, once I knew where it was going. The scenes between Don and Betty and Don and Peggy were really sublime.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


"A thing like that!"
posted by almostmanda at 8:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [29 favorites]


I loved Peggy's lengthy perplexed realization about Stan. That was hilarious.

Folks who called the ending, have a Coke.

Just like Joan.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I for one was really happy to see pretty okay endings for everyone. Everyone ended up where they should be. I really need a Joan spin-off, with Sal.

I thought the part with Don and the cars at the beginning was kind of weird and didn't really gel, like it was just killing time.

I thought about how that guy that Don hugged spent all of the 60s doing nothing, while all of Mad Men was going on. Pretty sad. Funny that that was the guy that Don felt for, of all of the characters he's ever met.


I was convinced he had somehow fallen in with the Peoples Temple or some other hippie cult, but they pointed out that he totally went back and made that Coke ad after getting a great idea from said hippies.

What? What? What?? I mean I guess it makes sense but I can't with this.
posted by bleep at 8:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


What a perfect ending. That refrigerator speech just cut me to the bone. One of the things I appreciate most about this show is that it takes advertising seriously and doesn't ignore that, while ultimately it's meant to sell things to people, good advertising has deep meaning and resonance.
posted by sallybrown at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was mostly joking. :)
posted by leesh at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2015


Or wait, did you mean about the Coke thing? I was joking about the cult, more or less.
posted by leesh at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2015


Oh, and yes, good on everyone who called the Coke ending months ago. It still worked like gangbusters.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alan Sepinwall also thinks the implication is that Don made the Coke ad.
posted by leesh at 8:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bobby and Sally looked like mini-adults with the weight of the world on their shoulders in that kitchen scene with the burnt grilled cheese.
posted by sallybrown at 8:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


I don't know, my discussion group says it's 50/50 or 100% that Don went back and made the ad. Peggy did say he could just come back.
posted by bleep at 8:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bobby and Sally looked like mini-adults with the weight of the world on their shoulders in that kitchen scene with the burnt grilled cheese.

...and poor lil' Gene getting the cheese slices ready on the plate!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:34 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's sad that Don went back to make an ad instead of like, going back to be there for his kids (Sally washing the dishes as Betty determinedly smokes!).
posted by leesh at 8:34 PM on May 17, 2015


Man, I know Don is one messed-up motherfucker and I should empathize with that, but my god, of all the shitty, shitty things this guy did during the decade, failing to get on a plane the moment he got off the phone with Betty is the very shittiest of all. But par for the course, I guess.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:35 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don never said another word after he hung up with Peggy.
posted by dry white toast at 8:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


Also: Holloway Harris! There's your two names! You go, Joan.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [25 favorites]


Alas, Sling TV couldn't handle the load of the finale, so I spent a lot of time staring at the screen buffering. Watching the replay now.

There were so many things I liked (Stan and Peggy! Joan building an empire in the kitchen! Pete and Trudy off to be the King and Queen of the Midwest!) but I felt a little weird about how emphatic the whole show was about telling Don how unnecessary he was. I mean, I get it? But I'd have been happier seeing him find some peace running a little garage somewhere. There's still room for it to happen after the end of the consciousness raising seminar, I suppose.
posted by PussKillian at 8:36 PM on May 17, 2015


I think Betty was right that him not being around was normalcy and Don realized that. It clearly broke him up to realize that he fucked up as a father, but the damage was already done. That's not to say he won't be a part of their life more in the future.
posted by bleep at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's sad that Don went back to make an ad instead of like, going back to be there for his kids (Sally washing the dishes as Betty determinedly smokes!).

But Betty's not dead yet. There's no reason to think he can't do both.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy fuck, it couldn't have been more sad if they were all gunned down by Hells Angels bandits or something. Poor bastard never really found what he was looking for and settled for the devil's dream instead.
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


IMO, the important takeaway wasn't whether Don did or didn't make the Coke ad, but that he could have. That Coke ad is superb because it was sincere. It expresses the thing that Don was trying to communicate to the guy in the session -- as Oprah used to say, "I see you. I hear you." -- a message of recognition and love that Don was searching for all along, like most of us do.
posted by sallybrown at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


Don never said another word after he hung up with Peggy.


posted by leotrotsky at 8:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [27 favorites]


Man, I know Don is one messed-up motherfucker and I should empathize with that, but my god, of all the shitty, shitty things this guy did during the decade, failing to get on a plane the moment he got off the phone with Betty is the very shittiest of all. But par for the course, I guess.

Nobody wanted him there. I wanted him to be with Sally at the end. But think about it, what was getting on a plane going to accomplish?
posted by dry white toast at 8:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I meant in terms of Don's motivation--like FelliniBlank said, he argues w/ Sally/Betty about the kids' future and then GOES TO CALIFORNIA AND ACTS LIKE A CRAZY HOBO instead of going there to be a father/help/ANYTHING. And then goes home when he gets inspired to make an ad? At least you can read the final moments that way.
posted by leesh at 8:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don never said another word after he hung up with Peggy.

Actually, I believe his final word was - fittingly - "what?"
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm not sure the implication is that Don made the ad, just that this is the transitional moment between the 60s and 70s: rich idiots meditating on hilltops and doing EST and all that, Manson resulting in nobody picking up hitchers anymore, the commodification of hippiedom. The Coke ad just completely epitomizes all of that.

And there's Roger, ending up being less of an asshole and even doing the right thing by Kevin.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


Spotted on one of the sites liveblogging the finale: "well, if you put five bucks in your office pool on 'Don does yoga', then, congratulations."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was SOBBING during that whole Peggy and Stan conversation. Peggy's reaction during the whole thing make it priceless. Also, her conversation with Don was fantastic as well.

I really, really hope that if Don came back he would of rehired Caroline.
posted by littlesq at 8:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


You're right schoolgirl report. Good catch.
posted by dry white toast at 8:42 PM on May 17, 2015


I thought the last thing he said was "I can't move." Well, other than the ॐ.
posted by NormieP at 8:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Also:

"Bertie...."

"...I know."

Pause for a second and admire not only the incredible acting from Hamm and Jones there, but that Weiner knew how little dialogue was actually needed to carry that scene.
posted by dry white toast at 8:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


Also, it's really true to life but also really painful...Betty is so determined to preserve "normalcy" with the kids but even Gene knows things are wrong.
posted by PussKillian at 8:47 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


That is the best depiction of a panic attack I have ever seen on television. After Don got off the phone with Peggy - after having said everything out loud (including "I scandalized my daughter") - he fell down. To me, that was the final callback to the opening credits. And I don't think he went back to NY to make that Coke ad, at all. I think he was starting from the very beginning again, to find something in himself. And I think the Coke ad represents how real life and advertising connect in so many ways.

All of the Halloween stuff in Peggy's office (more orange!) made me ridiculously happy. And finally, finally, Team Steggy. Wow.

Hopefully at some point soon I'll stop crying.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure the implication is that Don made the ad, just that this is the transitional moment between the 60s and 70s: rich idiots meditating on hilltops and doing EST and all that, Manson resulting in nobody picking up hitchers anymore, the commodification of hippiedom. The Coke ad just completely epitomizes all of that.

This makes way more sense to me than the whole implied storyline of him going back to McCann and pitching ideas for Coke.

I loved that they showed Pete's ending, I was a little worried last week that it was a scam. It's so great that him and Trudy are jetting off into the future after the tragic deaths of his parents in planes and on boats.
posted by bleep at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Weiner knew how little dialogue was actually needed to carry that scene

I noticed that too! Brilliantly directed and acted.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:50 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I don't think he went back to NY to make that Coke ad, at all. I think he was starting from the very beginning again, to find something in himself. And I think the Coke ad represents how real life and advertising connect in so many ways.

Yes, perfectly said.
posted by sallybrown at 8:51 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am not at all convinced that the we're supposed to think Don went back and created the Coke ad. I think instead that the Coke ad is meant to represent a cheap sentiment advertising version of the peace Don is trying to find for himself, for real.
posted by dnash at 8:51 PM on May 17, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's so great that him and Trudy are jetting off into the future after the tragic deaths of his parents in planes and on boats.

Trudy looked fabulous!
posted by sallybrown at 8:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure whether Don made the Coke ad, but I did notice that a woman in the ad had red ribbons in her braids, just like the front desk clerk who gave Don advice about hitchhiking post-Manson. So maybe it WAS Don's work?
posted by slmorri at 8:55 PM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


Oh and for anyone who was worried that Peggy was going to be chewed up by McCann, stop worrying. She lost an account and got it back instantaneously by sheer force of will. And she had a vintage Beistle black cat and a skeleton hanging off her cunnilictopus. Peggy is going to be FINE.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:56 PM on May 17, 2015 [40 favorites]


I was having a minor panic attack when Pete, Trudy and their daughter were getting onto that plane. I thought something horrible was going to happen. They looked adorably happy back together :)
posted by littlesq at 8:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


The wonderful thing about the ending is that it's equally likely that Don goes off and attains nirvana with some divorced yoga hippies as the likelihood that he goes and dreams up a coke ad based on those experiences.

I like to chose the latter, because that gives us some hope for him rejoining with his kids. Saving Sally from that sad, sad kitchen.

thought about how that guy that Don hugged spent all of the 60s doing nothing, while all of Mad Men was going on. Pretty sad. Funny that that was the guy that Don felt for, of all of the characters he's ever met.

It's because Don was always told he was worthless by his stepmother. That was the problem, why he couldn't see the value in his life even as Peggy was trying to convince him of it.

Also all my ships were shipped! Steggy forever! Joan and herself!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 PM on May 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


I think the peasant hair braids from the desk is absolutely supposed to be an overt connection between Don and the Coke ad. Todd VanDerWerff had a nice summation in his prediction how that Coke ad is simultaneously cynical and sweet all at once.

I can't believe Betty wouldn't think the boys should stay with Henry. I have utmost confidence that Sally will take charge of the situation after Betty dies, and I think Henry will probably happily acquiesce to her insisting the boys stay with him. Don will continue being the kind of father that he has been to them.

That final Peggy/Joan interaction made me almost as happy as the Stan/Peggy one. Hearing Joan say, "The partnership's just for you," was magical. I want to believe that after six more months of McCann shit, Peggy is off to form Harris-Olsen.

I embarrassed myself during the Peggy and Stan scene.
posted by gladly at 8:58 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


I was having a minor panic attack when Pete, Trudy and their daughter were getting onto that plane. I thought something horrible was going to happen. They looked adorably happy back together :)

Oh it's PETE that becomes D.B. Cooper
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:58 PM on May 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


And she had a vintage Biestle black cat and a skeleton hanging off her cunnilictopus.

I loved this. Much symbol. So loud. Very subtle. amaze
posted by bleep at 8:59 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


The ending felt like Weiner reminding us that he was always making a show about the culture of the 60s as much as he was writing a show about these characters.
posted by dry white toast at 9:03 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


that Coke ad is simultaneously cynical and sweet all at once.

That's exactly why it's the perfect note to land on - whether we think it's a cynical creation of Don's after he supposedly returns to New York, or whether it's the NY ad world appropriating imagery from the real life new age world Don has retreated to, probably says something about ourselves as viewers.

I remember once in elementary school - this would have been mid-1970s - we had to learn "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" in music class, for a performance in some show. I had no idea the song originated in an ad until many years later.
posted by dnash at 9:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Whether Don made the Coke ad or not depends entirely on how you read that little grin that grew on his lips at the end. Did he finally realize inner peace and happiness? Or did the idea for one of the greatest ads ever made spring to his consciousness?

The first thing I said to my wife afterwards was "Well, that one cynical fucking ending."
posted by Thorzdad at 9:06 PM on May 17, 2015 [21 favorites]


It's the same beats as the pilot! Don goes emotional and hippie and understanding for a while, but just uses it as grist for new ads. Of course he learns the exact wrong lesson from the therapy session, of course he updates his charm for a new era where he can pretend to be so enlightened and spiritual now. It's perfect, he doesn't change, he just shifts into the right role a Don Draper person would have in that era, it's the two heady drugs of the 70s, cocaine and self-involvement. Don Draper is always a man of his time, it just took him a while to get to it and figure out how to exploit it.

Or, you know, the cynical capitalist wins. always.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on May 17, 2015 [26 favorites]


Oh my goodness, I thought that the only interpretation was that Don made the Coke ad. I turned to my husband, beaming, saying "that was GLORIOUSLY cynical!"

Especially following the fan service (although totally awesome and in character) of Stan and Peggy.

And Holloway-Harris. I cheered.
posted by gaspode at 9:09 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Did he finally realize inner peace and happiness?

Oh, I think we know Don well enough by now to agree that saying "Om" (and the shot of that was wonderfully ludicrous) will bring him approximately as much redemption and lasting tranquility as marrying Megan did.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:11 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I relate Don's ending back to what Capt. Pike said to Joan about (paraphrasing) being an empty lot on which you can develop whatever you want. Don has freed himself. So I'm coming down on him not writing the Coke ad.
posted by dry white toast at 9:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I loved Joan's reaction to Roger telling her about Marie: "That's SPECTACULAR. What a mess!"
posted by almostmanda at 9:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [29 favorites]


OF COURSE Don goes into the 70s thinking he's invincible and so much more real and spiritual than everyone else, of course he learns nothing, OF COURSE he cynically twists any honest sentiment, OF COURSE HE MISSES THE POINT, THATS WHAT HE DOES FROM THE START.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


my god, of all the shitty, shitty things this guy did during the decade, failing to get on a plane the moment he got off the phone with Betty is the very shittiest of all.

I think I'm done with arguing to the death about the "correct" interpretation of Mad Men (just in time!) because so much of it is intentionally ambiguous.

So, maybe that was a shitty thing on Don's part. But I read that moment as Don's acquiescing to Betty's desires against every instinct he had, and even as it was breaking him up to do it.

It's interesting, last week Henry disregarded Betty's wishes--and I think understandably so--and he was kinda trashed in last week's FF thread for doing that. I'm not sure there is a right way to respond to a personal crisis of that kind. It was interesting that the show gave us two kinds of reactions, from two different men who care deeply for Betty and for the children.
posted by torticat at 9:14 PM on May 17, 2015 [18 favorites]


Also, "He's just a terrible person." I love you, Joan.
posted by dry white toast at 9:16 PM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


I love the implication of finale: there was never ever any there there, Don isn't a big emotional mystery, he's the same cynical chump we met years ago, soul searching does t work on someone with no actual depths.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't know if I'm buying the complete cynicism, The Whelk. Even if he returns to McCann--he's learned that he can't just whitewash his past, he's learned to validate other people. He's not the same Don from the premiere, even if he stays in the ad game.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:17 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


I really, really do not think the show "obviously" indicates that Don makes the Coke ad. I think it's plausible, but equally plausible that he didn't, because nothing about the last few episodes has suggested Don would ever work in advertising again.

I feel like our beliefs about whether Don is behind that ad or not say more about US. The fact that advertising has employed peans to "hippy" new-age sentiments doesn't actually mean those sentiments aren't real. You can laugh if you want at 60s/70s fads like EST, the Esalen Institute, and other such consciousness-raising encounter groups, but the truth is a lot of our current ideas about "the self" and "self-esteem" is based on those groups.
posted by dnash at 9:17 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


I don't care what they want me to believe, as far as I'm concerned Peggy made that ad and Don became the cult leader from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
posted by bgal81 at 9:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [49 favorites]


I absolutely loved that Don tried to reprise the "it will shock you how much this never happened" speech with Stephanie, and Stephanie said, "Dick, I don't think that's true."

So simple. And "Dick," in that context, wow. Absolutely beautiful.

And meanwhile Peggy was trying to pull Don back from the edge just as he did with her way back then. Love all the echoes.
posted by torticat at 9:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [29 favorites]


Rewatching Peggy and Stan and this is just the best thing ever. She can have a schmoopy ending, because we know, from the entire run of the show, that she's a badass businesswoman and also has octopus erotica on her office wall.
posted by PussKillian at 9:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


100% he went back and did the Coke ad and inner peace was a lie. Loved it.
posted by gerryblog at 9:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think the typewriter dings made it clear but it's open for interpretation.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's interesting, last week Henry disregarded Betty's wishes--and I think understandably so--and he was kinda trashed in last week's FF thread for doing that. I'm not sure there is a right way to respond to a personal crisis of that kind. It was interesting that the show gave us two kinds of reactions, from two different men who care deeply for Betty and for the children.

It's interesting, because last week we were sort of spared the reality of her cancer diagnosis, but this episode showed us the truth of it: an uncertain future for the boys, a ton of fear for Bobby, parentification for Sally, while Betty sits at her kitchen table and quite literally smokes herself to death.

While rewatching episodes today, it was interesting to see how consistently miserable Bobby was at the Francis house. Last half-season he was telling Sally he wanted to run away and was terrified that Henry and Betty were getting a divorce.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Steggy was just cheesy fan service nonsense but that's whatever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:21 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Even if you assume he didn't go back and make the ad, we keep seeing How Don can't do ...not working in adversiting, not in any way shape or form, he goes out of his way to work in advertising even when legally barred from it, so I can't assume Don walked away from ad work forever cause he was already given that chance a billion times over. Of course he makes the ad, of course he uses his fun week off to build the knowledge to make it, he can't not. He really is Don Draper, Ad Man. There's nothing else there.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


But I read that moment as Don's acquiescing to Betty's desires against every instinct he had, and even as it was breaking him up to do it.

Which is fine, but he can acquiesce to her desires and still be around and available if his children, who are about to lose their mother, want to talk to him, or go to the movies ("where people want to go when they're sad") or whatever. He doesn't have to intrude. And in any case, Betty has often had horrendously terrible ideas about parenting. Do you remember what a nasty, hostile piece of work her brother is? And she's going to send the kids into that house because there's a mommy there? Anyhow, the kids are going to be in a bad way regardless -- Henry can't properly care for them (it'd be a housekeeper or stepmother), and Don obviously can't/won't be a proper home, so it may as well be her brother. I kind of admire the show for not making Don do something so out of character for him, though.

God the past few episodes. He's dashing about trying to rescue poor tragic Diana and poor tragic Stephanie and poor tragic total stranger refrigerator group therapy guy. That's the supremely shallow, cynical thing that ties in so well with the Coke commercial: sure, you'll buy the world a fucking Coke but not your own family. Stephanie's speech to Don before she takes off from the retreat was really right on,
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:23 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


Personally watching it I felt like Don's little smile at the end was the opposite of that, and his crying and hugging Sweater Guy, was showing that there was a person under all that booze and stubble, and he was right all along that California was how to find that person.
posted by bleep at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think the typewriter dings made it clear but it's open for interpretation.

Weren't those meditation bells/chimes? (and I think that both you and The Whelk are right here, though I think they left the ending juuust ambiguous enough to preserve plausible deniability.)
posted by Xavier Xavier at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love that Don-Om/CokeAd is the Blue-Black/White-Gold dress of TV show endings.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [35 favorites]


Man, I love how all these interpretation comes down to where you land on the central question of the show: Do people change?
posted by dry white toast at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


What many people are missing is what Don saw in that poor sucker in group therapy. He was the products themselves... that only brilliant marketing can save. Save us don! Lie to us lie FOR us! Tell us enlightenment is as easy as buying something sweet, tell us peace can be purchased for a nickel. We are the brands. and we must carry on./
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't know if I'm totally alone in this, but it literally did not occur to me that Don wrote that ad.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 9:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


comoared to the other season one characters, Don's arc is a figure eight, lots of twists but right back to the start
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 PM on May 17, 2015


She can have a schmoopy ending, because we know, from the entire run of the show, that she's a badass businesswoman and also has octopus erotica on her office wall.

And Peggy gets to have it all, just like a man would. She doesn't have to choose.
posted by gladly at 9:26 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


The contrast between Don and work vs Peggy and work is really interesting. Peggy grows and is made stronger through her job in advertising...a job she very specifically chooses not to leave. Stan even says it - that producing isn't what she does. Don is also very, very good at his job and maybe that means he's cynical and empty, or maybe it means he's an eternal observer, and is just learning what the new era of the 70s is about. I really don't know what I think his ending is, whether he goes back or not.
posted by PussKillian at 9:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Steggy was just cheesy fan service nonsense but that's whatever.

Disagree. Peggy got what Joan thought she wanted (love!) and Joan got what Peggy thought she wanted (her name on the door). I thought it was perfect.
posted by almostmanda at 9:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [54 favorites]


He's dashing about trying to rescue poor tragic Diana and poor tragic Stephanie

Oh, and what makes these two so tragic? They left their children.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Steggy was just cheesy fan service nonsense but that's whatever.

Eh but it was totally earned, over many seasons, so it was okay! And Peggy's incoherent stammering on the phone (and her complete bitchiness to him earlier in the ep) were fabulous. Love how Peggy's interpersonal skills really never improved over the course of the show. I mean she gained power and self-confidence, but tact and self-awareness not so much! Seriously she is one of the best characters in TV history.

Interesting how Joan lost her man in the same episode--can't have both Peggy and Joan coming out on top in both their professional and personal lives!

But also--what an end to Joan's arc, choosing professional ambition over the wealthy partner. Such a radical change from the first season (and again, well-earned).
posted by torticat at 9:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am watching the series finale again and the guy in group therapy talking about dreaming that he is in the refrigerator totally sounds like an ad pitch.

Perhaps for a ice cold drink of some kind...
posted by littlesq at 9:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


How many times in the episode (and a few previous) do the other characters say "he does this" about Don? It's repeated constantly.

I think that he *is* sincere when he hugs Sweater Dude. He probably does sincerely get something out of the retreat. I think he's going to step up for the kids, most likely.

None of that precludes him ALSO cynically appropriating his experiences for advertising.
posted by gaspode at 9:31 PM on May 17, 2015 [27 favorites]


I love that Don-Om/CokeAd is the Blue-Black/White-Gold dress of TV show endings.

I was thinking more that Weiner was implementing what he learned from his time on The Sopranos and creating this generation's "Does Tony die at the end?"
posted by The Gooch at 9:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


It almost feels like an AskMe question: He keeps saying he has this horrible hole inside of him that will never be filled and has so many metaphorical and thematic things about that hole happen to him, like tooth aches and nostalgia. Can something fill that hole?
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and what makes these two so tragic? They left their children.

Which of course also echoes the Roger -- Marigold -- Ellery thing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Watching this old promo makes me feel just so relieved that this is over, it was starting to feel like an airless, suffocating world after awhile. That's also partly what I like about the final scene, yes finally let's get some air in here.
posted by bleep at 9:34 PM on May 17, 2015


How many times in the episode (and a few previous) do the other characters say "he does this" about Don? It's repeated constantly.

Forgot to say: it's even in the "previously on..." for the final ep.
posted by gaspode at 9:34 PM on May 17, 2015


He keeps saying he has this horrible hole inside of him that will never be filled and has so many metaphorical and thematic things about that hole happen to him, like tooth aches and nostalgia. Can something fill that hole?

And Don has sought therapy, and everyone else DTMFA'd him. AskMe would approve.
posted by bleep at 9:35 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


People who don't see the ending as at least partially a Vision of The final Circle of Hell: I envy you. I am pretty drunk rn tho so.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


According to Coca-Cola, the real origin of the Coke ad:
"I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" had its origins on January 18, 1971, in a London fog.

Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann Erickson advertising agency, was flying to London to meet up with Billy Davis, the music director on the Coca-Cola account, to write radio commercials with two successful British songwriters, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, to be recorded by the New Seekers, a popular British singing group.

The heavy fog in London forced the plane to land in Shannon, Ireland. Passengers had to remain near the airport in case the fog lifted. Some of them were furious about their accommodations. By the next day, Backer saw some of the most irate passengers in the airport cafe. Brought together by a common experience, many were now laughing and sharing stories over snacks and bottles of Coca-Cola. Backer wrote of the scene:

"In that moment [I] saw a bottle of Coke in a whole new light... [I] began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink that refreshed a hundred million people a day in almost every corner of the globe. So [I] began to see the familiar words, 'Let's have a Coke,' as more than an invitation to pause for refreshment. They were actually a subtle way of saying, 'Let's keep each other company for a little while.' And [I] knew they were being said all over the world as [I] sat there in Ireland. So that was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be -- a liquid refresher -- but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes."

When he finally arrived in London, Backer told Billy Davis and Roger Cook what he had seen in the airport café. After he expressed his thoughts about buying everybody in the world a Coke, Backer noticed that Davis's initial reaction was not at all what he'd expected and asked him, "Billy, do you have a problem with this idea?"

Davis slowly revealed his problem. "Well, if I could do something for everybody in the world, it would not be to buy them a Coke."

Backer responded, "What would you do?"

"I'd buy everyone a home first and share with them in peace and love," Davis said.

Backer said, "Okay, that sounds good. Let's write that and I'll show you how Coke fits right into the concept."
posted by sallybrown at 9:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


"I translated your speech into pig latin" -- god I love Meredith.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [30 favorites]


I do think it is intentionally (and beautifully) ambiguous, but I say that smile on Don's face at the end was not a smile of inner peace, but a smile of "I just got the best fucking idea."

On one hand, I love Peggy and Stan being together, but I'm also a little sad that theirs couldn't have been just an amazing platonic friendship and partnership between a man and a woman. You never see that on TV (much less a friendship between a man and a woman who is his superior), and I think that's a huge problem.

I'm honestly kind of shocked at how satisfied I am with this finale. I really thought I would want more, but this goes to the head of the class for me, ahead of Six Feet Under and The Sopranos (and I fucking loved the ending of the Sopranos).
posted by Rock Steady at 9:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


The heavy fog in London forced the plane to land in Shannon, Ireland.

Wait wait Lane told us there was no London Fog.
posted by bleep at 9:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


He keeps saying he has this horrible hole inside of him that will never be filled and has so many metaphorical and thematic things about that hole happen to him, like tooth aches and nostalgia. Can something fill that hole?

But that, precisely - the hole inside and whether or not it can be filled - is one of the central concepts of Buddhism, which is one of the main philosophies that underlied the kind of place Don is at. It's been Don's central question all along, and it's been a theme of the series that over the course of the 1960s America as a culture started looking for the answer to that question in a different place than they used to.
posted by dnash at 9:40 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I loved the little shove the woman in the therapy session gave Don while other people were hugging and face-touching.
posted by sallybrown at 9:40 PM on May 17, 2015 [31 favorites]


Don: Dear AskMe I'm in this really negative feedback loop relationship with my boss/lover (Capitalism). Should I quit? What would I do?
AskMe: DTMFA
Don: thanks this escape trick will definitely work to get him interested again.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm so full of emotions right now. I don' t even know which ones. Oh man. I love you, Mad Men.
posted by palomar at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which is fine, but he can acquiesce to her desires and still be around and available if his children

Not really, because her specific demand of him was that he not come back.

We don't know what will happen with the kids, and their future could be as bleak as you describe. It could also be that Don returns after Betty is gone in order to be around and available for the children (and everything we've seen with his interactions with the kids over the past season--and his coming to terms with his own past, which he certainly doesn't want to see his children repeat--would suggest he does go back).

I really think that phone conversation was ultimately about Betty, not the kids. As in, I don't think Don will abandon his children. But he also doesn't want to abandon Betty (wow, after everything), and his agreeing not to return is self-sacrificial in that he agrees to go along with her wishes.
posted by torticat at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I loved the little shove the woman in the therapy session gave Don while other people were hugging and face-touching.

Now that was fan service.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


The symmetry with Joan and Peggy going back to Season One was amazing. Joan told Peggy back then that the way to escape was to find a husband. Now Joan is following Peggy's path.
posted by dry white toast at 9:42 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM HELL

THE HELL IS CAPITALISM

THIS HAS BEEN YOUR BELOVED TV DRAMA ENDING
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [32 favorites]


Wow, just wow.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on May 17, 2015


I was a late convert to Steggy, but I'm glad I saw the light before this episode, because I kept squealing "STEGGY!!!!!" when that phone conversation was going down. I thought it worked. Peggy and Stan have a very deep bond and they do fit together well. Peggy needs someone like Stan, who will challenge her and call her out when she needs it.

I think the best option for the Draper kids is that they remain with Henry. With a good housekeeper and Sally's help (and seeing Don sometimes), they'll have better care and more stability than they ever would have had with Don. I shudder at the thought of their Uncle William taking them. William's such a useless petulant manchild.

Awesome, Joan! That's right, start your own company, and find a man who gets that you need to do something useful with your life rather than one who expects to dictate your life choices to you. You will find that man sooner or later.

Kenny's happy. Pete's happy, and he, Trudy and Tammy looked like a presidential family heading off to Wichita. He's so progressive I don't know how he'll fit in there, but he and Trudy can always move back if that's what they want. As long as he's learned his lesson about not slutting around anymore, he and Trudy can make their marriage work. Harry's... Harry.

Roger's got the wife he deserves: one who gives back as good as she gets.

Meredith is out of a job! Arghh! I hope she becomes Manhattan's most sought-after interior decorator.

We got to see what happened to Stephanie, and it's bleak: be a mother as she doesn't want to be, or feel guilty and torn up about it forever.

I wonder if Megan ever does any more acting, and I do wish they'd indicated what exactly was going to happen with Don. I suppose it'll be more of the same: moments of awareness followed by more of the same old behaviour. More drinking, more womanizing, more lacklustre parenting, more advertising.

Rinse, repeat, then add Brylcreem.
posted by orange swan at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don gave the woman who's mother left her the best side eye.
posted by dry white toast at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm going to read the thread, I promise. Just finished watching and

HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS

perfect harmony
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2015


Joan wore not one but two fabulous jumpsuits in this episode.
posted by sallybrown at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's interesting that Don told Stephanie he was "retired." I can definitely see the argument for him going back and writing that ad; Peggy even said something to him on the phone about the Coke account. But I don't know. It doesn't jibe for me. The smile on his face at the very end is the same exact smile on his face when he gives the hustler his car at the end of the previous episode. By the end he has stripped everything away, and is left with the relief that is nothingness. I do think some people change. Joan found her sense of self-worth. Peggy allowed herself to love (and be loved). Pete found the courage to be positive and move forward with some integrity. Maybe Don didn't change per se, but finally realized he is nothing, and is making (and finding) peace with that.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:47 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


But Joan is also following Joan's path, because even from season 1 Joan talked about liking going to work. And if Joan was really committed to that life plan she would have closed the deal with Roger in that hotel room when he wanted to, instead of begging him to keep things the way they were.
posted by bleep at 9:47 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Joan in pants was the biggest possible indication that the 60s were over.
posted by dry white toast at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


Coke Commercial at end of Mad Men = "We blew it," end of Easy Rider
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


If I wrote Mad Men fanfiction it would read like this finale and right now I am so. happy.

Steggy? Holloway-Harris? Roger marrying someone his age? Bobby being a person? Don crying and feeling like shit because he's a terrible person? all my dreams are coming true
posted by schroedinger at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think the best option for the Draper kids is that they remain with Henry. With a good housekeeper and Sally's help (and seeing Don sometimes), they'll have better care and more stability than they ever would have had with Don. I shudder at the thought of their Uncle William taking them. William's such a useless petulant manchild.

Sally's the voice of reason about all of this in her chat with Don. I do hate that she's almost certain to be stuck being the primary parent to those boys.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Let's talk also about Peggy's chat with Pete! Fan service again but OMG, couldn't have been more perfect. He gave her a freaking cactus and told her not to let it die.

Also "No one's ever said it to me" and "A thing like that"--sob. Two people who know each other very well.
posted by torticat at 9:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [18 favorites]


I do think some people change. Joan found her sense of self-worth. Peggy allowed herself to love (and be loved). Pete found the courage to be positive and move forward with some integrity. Maybe Don didn't change per se, but finally realized he is nothing, and is making (and finding) peace with that.

And while one can argue whether people as individuals change, one way to watch this show has always been that Don is some sort of metaphor for America itself, and America certainly changed over the 1960s.
posted by dnash at 9:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm so anrgy Joan's Beau didn't just go "Whelp, that's your thing, how about I hang around and drop in when you're available for trips?" YOU ARE SUCH A BAD BON VIVANT, YOU HAVE MONEY, SHE HAS MONEY, BE HER JUICY PIECE ON THE SIDE, ghhhhad. How do you not know how to play this man in every port thing, just get over your damn ego and you'll have a good friendship, with good contacts, and some good sex, for like, as long as you want.

THESE PEOPLE GOD NO ONE ON MAD MAN CAN DO MONIED HEDONISM IT IS BEYOND ME.

this is what happens when you let nerd s write

*flounce*
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [31 favorites]


Meredith is out of a job! Arghh! I hope she becomes Manhattan's most sought-after interior decorator.

Yes but I think what's meant to stick out about her final scene is that she's fundamentally a happy person so she's not worried. You were too beautiful for this world, Meredith.
posted by dry white toast at 9:50 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


"I always do!"
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


one way to watch this show has always been that Don is some sort of metaphor for America itself, and America certainly changed over the 1960s.

ANOTHER take is that Don represents the American Ruling Class and it didn't change in the 60s, it just did some things and experimented, learned not to say some things out loud and occasionally let some things pass, and it's now ready to get right. back. to ruling. thank you. Now they have a Tibetan singing bowl. it's very spiritual.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [20 favorites]


Don is able to be Dick again at the yoga retreat....and pretty much everyone knew he wasn't Draper by now, right?

I just hope Joan can stay away from the powdered coke.
posted by brujita at 9:53 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just hope Joan can stay away from the powdered coke

OMG I didn't even make the "coke/Coke" connection. Wow.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:55 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]




I do hate that she's almost certain to be stuck being the primary parent to those boys.

the "it smells like smoke in here ...let me show you." felt SO MUCH like teaching my younger brother to cook cause hey guess who couldn't afford a babysitter when I was a teen and also a single mom
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]



I just hope Joan can stay away from the powdered coke

OMG I didn't even make the "coke/Coke" connection. Wow.


that's why I loved the final commercial jingle.

Don and Joan high on the twin drugs of the 70s, limitless self regard and tons of cocaine. Coca-Cola indeed.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't think Don fits in with the ruling class. He is the interpreter. The rulers, the Petes and Rogers, they can't get masses of people to listen to them. They need a hippie or a poet or a griot who hears and feels what the people want and can translate that into what the rulers want. "I am scared" meets "you must buy more automobiles" = "it's a lemon"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:00 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


he's still their tool and seemingly can't survive outside it. Same thing.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don/Dick looks like Kerouac(who was heavily influenced by Buddhism) in this episode.
posted by brujita at 10:04 PM on May 17, 2015


But it works in reverse too. Don and Peggys have the power to change business strategy aka the world, by, ironically, telling executives the truth about what the people really need. The result is: immortality for the brands. And poetry is used up, again and again.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:04 PM on May 17, 2015


Don Draper Died For Cokes Sins.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


and see either I missed the boat ENTIRELY or I completely interpreted the ending as that Don finds inner peace and fulfillment in (of all places) some hippie commune by recognizing the imposter syndrome in another person as what's been hollowing out his own life.

Peggy turns down Joan's offer and six months later she and Stan put together the Coke campaign after Don gives her the idea.

Don is retired. He said as much. He wants nothing to do with the ad business anymore. But I could sure as hell see him coming back to be near his kids after Betty's gone, and planting the seed of inspiration for Peggy oh, idk maybe he meets the two of them for lunch / at their engagement party in that dingy little restaurant they all go to when they're celebrating.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


Man, I love how all these interpretation comes down to where you land on the central question of the show: Do people change?

and

I was thinking more that Weiner was implementing what he learned from his time on The Sopranos and creating this generation's "Does Tony die at the end?"

One of the things I've really enjoyed about this last season is seeing where Weiner's vision diverges from David Chase's. The themes are similar and Chase's influence on Weiner is obvious, but their conclusions are not the same. Weiner really does believe people change (in a two steps forward, one step back sort of way).

I'm kinda mystified by the cynicism about this finale (The Whelk and FelliniBlank, talking to you!). It was certainly not happily-ever-after, and it wasn't unambiguous, but... I thought it was a reasonably promising/hopeful conclusion about the human condition?
posted by torticat at 10:06 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I like to think the coke anthem is the answer to, since part of the show ia always talking about writing the show, what the hell you do after making Mad Men.

You gotta make another one.
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was convinced he had somehow fallen in with the Peoples Temple or some other hippie cult, but they pointed out that he totally went back and made that Coke ad after getting a great idea from said hippies.

No, that's what Peggy was typing.

The scene with Stan was beautifully done; I wish they hadn't though.

Joan, once again, got everything she wanted in the worst way. She dodged a bullet though--dude didn't like that his new toy had her own brain.

failing to get on a plane the moment he got off the phone with Betty is the very shittiest of all

nonononononononononononoooooooooooooo! She told him what she wanted and he respected it. That's growth!

I loved that they showed Pete's ending, I was a little worried last week that it was a scam. It's so great that him and Trudy are jetting off into the future

Dressed like Jackie O! Well, reminiscent anyway.

When Don hugged Fridge Dude I actually pointed at the TV and said "What the shit?"

What I really loved, though, is that they did the wrap-up-montage-TV-trope so beautifully. Everyone got a sendoff. I even had a brief glimmer of hope that Sal was going to come back. Alas.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:10 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I even had a brief glimmer of hope that Sal was going to come back. Alas.

And Bob!

Not Great, Bob!
posted by torticat at 10:11 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


"A thing like that" was just so fucking perfect I actually couldn't believe it happened.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2015 [27 favorites]


I haven't watched the show in about 3 seasons, including this episode, and it's fun to imagine what transpired just inferentially from what's posted here
posted by clockzero at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2015


Bob is living like a king in Patagonia after that murder/frame up
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've spent the weekend basically in tears, and this show's kept me company. My grandfather died yesterday morning. My grandmother, also called Betty (or Goat, but never Birdie that I know of) died in February. Their oldest child, my mother (a Margaret but not a Peggy), was born a couple years before Sally would have been. Little to nothing in the show reflected their lives, but then it didn't have to. It's my show. It spoke to me. I loved it.

That said, I don't particularly care about Don or who wrote the Coke ad. Aside from his conversation with Peggy, I was more interested in everyone else in the episode -- even Meredith. "There are a lot of better places than here."

We even got to hear Gene speak. I am satisfied.

(OK, I would like to be a fly on the wall and listen to Roger and Marie's observations and arguments for the rest of their days. But other than that ...)
posted by rewil at 10:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


also I realized tonight I have the top ranked mad men fanfic by hits on Ao3 which whhhaaaa?

IT'S ABOUT BOB CAUSE WE NEED MORE BOB
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sesame Street! Ernie and Bert!

"I'm not the man you think I am" -- No, I'm pretty sure that he's EXACTLY the man Peggy thinks he is, Peggy is not sentimental.

CALLED IT about the reckonings with Betty and Sally and Peggy and with Betty not being dead last episode. A lot of blue and white on the women -- very Madonna-esque. Sally wears full-on pink washing the dishes. A lot of blue-and-white on the hippies, too.

And yeah, whoever said it above, NOTHING BUT THE PHONE CONVOS!

The super-weirdo nudist red-jumpsuit guy at the commune was in Go On, right? (Apparently yes, Brett Gelman.)

I am pro-Steggy but I do not accept Peggy confessing to Stan over the phone.

Were men's shirts as slim cut as Don's in that last scene in the 70s?

The Coke commercial is totally Don's, the red-ribbon-braids girl gives it away.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh phoo you guys all said Roger was gonna die in the last episode too, because reasons. :P
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:26 PM on May 17, 2015


Yes! Peggy did the Coke ad. Don knew what she could do and was visibly proud of her when she pulled off Burger Chef.
posted by brujita at 10:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am pro-Steggy but I do not accept Peggy confessing to Stan over the phone.

I swear it sounded like she was talking herself into it and convincing herself and That's What People Say over the phone.

It cast a pall on all the YAY STEGGY feelings
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The phone confession was perfect for them! A lot of their relationship happened over the telephone!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I've spent the weekend basically in tears, and this show's kept me company. My grandfather died yesterday morning. My grandmother, also called Betty (or Goat, but never Birdie that I know of) died in February.

I'm so sorry to hear that! It's amazing how something like a television show (or piece of music) can be a solace when we're grieving. We find what we need when and where we need it. I'm truly sorry for your loss, and thank you for talking about it here.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


it leaves us room for that Stan and Peggy novella we're going to write in our heads where it starts so well....
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


NOTHING BUT THE PHONE CONVOS!
....
I do not accept Peggy confessing to Stan over the phone.


No no, these two comments do not go together! Peggy and Stan have always been about the phone conversations! That's how they connect, and also it's what was so great about his dropping the phone and heading to her office. :)

The Coke commercial is totally Don's, the red-ribbon-braids girl gives it away.

Yup. My 16yo daughter called that one, I didn't catch it myself until she rewound and showed me.
posted by torticat at 10:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


the ENTIRE SHOW was about coming to terms with hidden emotions and Pegs isn't so great at understanding herself at the best of times COME ON WHELK you're usually much better at this!!!
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought the phone conversation was perfect. Stan nailed it, how she can be two different people. What was it Roger said to her, about not everyone needing to fear her? (Something like that, I'm too tired to find it.) Stan forced her to break through that wall. And then he did, literally, by running to her office while she was still on the phone.

GODDAMNIT I ALREADY MISS THIS SHOW.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Steggy was so Ross and Rachel. I GOT OFF THE PLANE.
posted by sweetkid at 10:35 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Headed to bed but so sorry to say goodbye to this show. Thanks all of you for so many insightful comments!

rewil, I'm very sorry about your grandpa.
posted by torticat at 10:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also I was reading this thread at the viewing party I was at, and like the idea that Don's shift in consciousness might coincide with the ad, or he might have written it, or Peggy might have written it, all things are possible, and I got shouted down as a contrarian. How is accepting varying possibilities being a contrarian?

This is why I need to discuss this stuff here. Real life is more trolly than MeFi.
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I fucking loved Elisabeth Moss's acting during that whole conversation. I just watched it for the third time, and I still cried.
posted by littlesq at 10:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I cried too, and gripped my husband's hand so hard it left a mark.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I screamed all the way through the Peggy/Stan Ross/Rachel Peter/Mary Jane conversation both times I saw it. SCREAMED. I don't know what anyone even said. But he got off the plane.
posted by sweetkid at 10:41 PM on May 17, 2015


Still full of feelings. Big, floppy bag of feelings. Also I think I'm gonna have to marathon the whole series pretty soon... plus read a whole pile of Cheever.

Oh man. I miss you already, damaged friends that live in the television.
posted by palomar at 10:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Someone at my viewing party mentioned that the refrigerator speech was about being a coke in the fridge, which was a really great observation, but I also saw it as an observation on the fate of the white male in our society, and even society at the time - they're happy to see you, they need you, but they might not pick you.

Got shouted down for that one, too, because of the time period, but this show was written now, not in 1970. Death of the white male as icon has been on our minds for years.
posted by sweetkid at 10:46 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also I think I'm gonna have to marathon the whole series pretty soon... plus read a whole pile of Cheever.

These are quality activities.
posted by sweetkid at 10:46 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


One last observation before I pass out. In all the little reunions - Peggy and Pete, Joan and Ken, Joan and Peggy, Joan and Roger - everyone seemed genuinely happy to see each other. All the petty barnacles of the past were gone, replaced with genuine affection and hope for each other's success. That was so refreshing. Most of all for Joan. She is such a powerhouse by the end, rational and smart and calm, all without being calculatingly manipulative. She has truly come into her own. Brava, Joanie!
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:47 PM on May 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


Another rewatch observation: Joan's Rolodex in the mini flash-forward is freaking HUGE.
posted by littlesq at 10:48 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I cannot wait to rewatch this, but I needed a break first to process it all, hang out in this thread, and stop crying.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:52 PM on May 17, 2015


Watching the little farewell toast thing "Times of your lives," it's hard to connect this ending to the rest of the series. That's not a criticism, it's just sort of...what. All Don's existential anxiety seems to have come to a head and then dissipated so quickly. I don't know, maybe it makes me want to peace out of NYC advertising for a bit, too. Too close to home.
posted by sweetkid at 10:53 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


With love for y'all in my heart and a tear in my eye, I offer this observation: Not 30 feet from where I am writing, I could go into the attic, pull out the box marked "Halloween," and produce the jack-o-lantern-scarecrow and cat-hissing-at-jack-o-lantern-on-post decorations from the conference room at the beginning. Not similar ones or ones done in a similar style. Ones dating back to 1970, likely bought for my first Halloween, that are exactly the ones in that scene.

P.S. Peggy yes!
posted by ob1quixote at 10:56 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sorry, one more thought (as I lie here in bed utterly failing to sleep). When Don hugged refrigerator man in the group therapy session, that was huge. The room is filled with so-called enlightened people who are alllll about feelings, but when this man, who's obviously not one of their tribe, breaks down after sharing an incredibly personal and terrifying dream, Don's the only person who bothers to get up, go over to him, hug him, and cry with him. That's catharsis right there. That's the other side of hitting rock bottom and falling down. Getting up out of the chair, and being a human being, a real one (whose name and back story doesn't matter one iota), and being there for someone else.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:58 PM on May 17, 2015 [37 favorites]


Pete literally shuts Harry up by giving him cookies
posted by littlesq at 11:03 PM on May 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


At my viewing party someone said Don hugged refrigerator man because he gave him the idea for the Coke ad. It's the more cynical possibility.
posted by sweetkid at 11:05 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


The braids are definitely the give-away on the coke ad, though it helps to have it, since that final smile seemed a lot smirkier than a good Om should be. But I do think the ending isn't entirely meant to be cynical, in that there has always been a strong suggestion that Peggy and Don can do genuine art via advertising, and that selling coke with hippies can be about bringing art and commerce together rather than the latter destroying the former. I'm not sure I believe that myself, but I'm sure Weiner would like to believe you can be a genuine artist and a successful sell-out at the same time.

More pressingly, though:

Can any of us figure out what commercial that refrigerator guy was describing? I'm almost certain I've seen it: the pov from the refrigerator looking out, the sad (condiment? soda? beer?) always almost getting picked but not quite. I'm sure I've seen it, though probably decades ago...

But there too, Don's breakthrough hug can be genuine, even as he nevertheless (eventually) co-opts it for a commercial. He's not hollow, just flawed, and if he's progressing, it's just by epicycles and inches.
posted by chortly at 11:06 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was pretty firmly convinced that Don doesn't go back to McCann, but then I remembered his phone call with Peggy, where she tells Don it's okay to come home. That's a huge moment, really, because at this point Don has no other home to go back to. His kids don't need him, and in fact Don acknowledges that they're better off without him in their lives. He seeks out Stephanie, clearly hoping to be part of her life, but she has other plans. Peggy is the only one who accepts Don unconditionally, who wants and needs him in her life as a father figure. Ultimately she is his family.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:06 PM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


Good point, ltitlesq. And that's some fanservice right there... "Shut up, Harry. Have a cookie." Fitting finale for that smarmy bastard.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


At my viewing party someone said Don hugged refrigerator man because he gave him the idea for the Coke ad. It's the more cynical possibility.

Whoever said that needed less party and more viewing.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Just finished it; lots to parse...

-I think flyingsquirrel is right; that Don is the only one to provide that emotional reaching out to refrigerator man is huge - it's Don coming full circle to himself, I think, and reaching out and hugging a version of himself.
-I totally think that Don went back and did that Coke ad; but I absolutely love the fact that the ending is ambiguous in that regard is fantastic, because that has been the case with Don all these years. Everything is ambiguous. But it was his clothing choice for the zen yoga at dawn moment that makes me thing that - the white shirt, the somewhat corporate look, that is taking from the moment and coming up with how to sell to it. It's the most like his "old" self that we saw this episode.
-Don's whole bit with racing the cars on the salt flats...something about how fast and out of control he was getting, racing away and out?
-Peggy - "you can come home" felt like a really nice call back to Carousel to me.
-Huzzah for Peggy and Stan! And Roger and Marie! And Joan!

I can't believe it's over.
posted by nubs at 11:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I loved Pete's redemption arc SO MUCH. Because grimy little pimp that he was, I saw glimpses of what a good person he could be, especially had he not been so damaged by his upbringing. I lived with male East Coast boarding school types of his ilk. and he reminds me so much of my cousin, that I even have the same impulse, which is that I love him so much I just want to punch him in the face, then give him a hug.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:09 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


At my viewing party someone said Don hugged refrigerator man because he gave him the idea for the Coke ad. It's the more cynical possibility.

Whoever said that needed less party and more viewing.


It's funny because I had NEVER been to a viewing party before the finale. I watched most episodes alone, taking notes, and writing about it on Metafilter, as God intended.
posted by sweetkid at 11:09 PM on May 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


Another observation: how brilliant that the episode is called Person to Person, yet almost every important interaction was over the phone. Matt Weiner will just not give you what you want. Except Steggy. I would have liked to have seen them having a scene packing lunches in the morning, a la Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford in Working Girl.
posted by sweetkid at 11:11 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


But Don was crying too - he had just experienced a panic attack that left him paralyzed ("I can't move"). I just don't see him or his motives being that completely and utterly cynical.

the white shirt, the somewhat corporate look

I also noticed that for the first time in what seems like forever, he was clean-shaven. Hmmm.

The ambiguity is divine, really.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Until I got on Twitter and surfed elsewhere, it never occurred to me to think that Don's smile at the end, followed by the Coke ad, wasn't proof that he returned to advertising, made the ad, and was a rock star all over again, but with more self-awareness.

I don't even know how to comprehend the show in any other way, other than Don making that ad.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Person to Person

Two of the calls Don makes - to Betty, and to Peggy - start with the operator saying "I have a person-to-person call from Don Draper, will you accept?" When I remembered afterwards that that was the episode's title, I got chills.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Speaking of which was it just me or did the "Person to person" operator sound like Francine? At least the one in Betty's scene.
posted by bleep at 11:17 PM on May 17, 2015


A certain amount of the reason I'm kicking Don extra hard is that if there's one person I relate to strongly in this show, it's Bobby Draper. I'm four years younger (two years older than Gene) and had a not entirely dissimilar anxiety-inducing Sixties childhood. So it's hard to cut Betty and Don as much slack as some of the other characters. Jesus, that field trip to the farm [shudder].
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a little disappointed that Roger ended up with Marie. She's cruel. I hate the idea that men want to be with women who are mean to them, because that's "challenging." She's just a mean, nasty person. I guess if he's happy, whatever. All his other women were better options - Mona, Jane, Joan.
posted by sweetkid at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think perhaps Roger needs the excitement of not knowing from one moment to the next where he stands. He's playing in the really big leagues now--clients are more or less assured, money isn't even remotely a problem, and he can't quite do the endless carousing thing anymore. And if there's anything Roger likes, it's tapdancing across a landslide. His relationship with Marie reminds me of Bobby Shaftoe's relationship with... I'm terrible, I can't remember her name, Kivistik, in Cryptonomicon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:23 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never got the sense that she was a nasty person at heart, she just doesn't put up with any crap and wasn't a particularly good mom (which now that I think about it, women not being good moms who are forced into it, a big theme.) Look at them smiling and laughing together, teaching him French, etc. They fought because he was acting like she was wrong for saying goodbye to her ex-husband in the process of getting divorced. She wasn't wrong.
posted by bleep at 11:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


almost every important interaction was over the phone

Stan said something important on the phone with Peggy, that it's only when he's on the phone with her that he talks to the "person he wants to talk to." So this device, which symbolizes distance between people, can bring them together in a way that -- at least for some people -- is impossible face to face.

This feels thematically tied to the Coke ad at the end. As much as people loathe the concept of advertising, sometimes an ad can create a sense of unity between people via the product. Millions of people who would otherwise be annoyed by the youth of the day, felt a connection with them via their shared love of Coke.

I wonder if that's what Don realized at the very end, that advertising didn't have to deceive in order to win people over. He can be an authentic person and still connect emotionally with people.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


My takeaway without having read anyone else's take yet:

So Mad Men just critiqued the 70s New Age Revolution, then converted into deepest sincerity, THEN flipped it into brand co-option in the span of an hour. Just when soulful spirituality broke the surface, it immediately turned into the bleakest moment of the entire series. Bravo. Don's life transformation - the transformation of every anonymous white businessman experiencing their "life less lived", and then turning to the new culture of healing and sensitivity with eyes opened - crushingly reconfigured into the most banal kitsch to sell soda. So it goes. Coca-Cola - It's The Real Thing. Cue credits.

(I'm fully expecting 99% of people to have a different takeaway from me - "Don discovers yoga and is saved!" or something - but those final moments were just an enormous, brilliant twist of the knife for me, Matt Weiner finally playing his cards about the meaning of advertising in our lives, its power and purpose and ultimate sin)
posted by naju at 11:26 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


He looked so much like 'Don Draper, ad man' sitting there on a cliff in California - especially through an episode where he's wearing wildly different clothes. Don Draper in filthy jeans and flannel! things we've never seen him in before. Even in the penultimate episode we saw him wearing a suit. Then, there he was, chanting om in a white shirt with a clean face. Just like we've always known him.
I really have no idea what to think about this episode yet. Except that Joan is a badass, and I always thought that sleazy dude wanted her to be a shiny, pretty thing, and she has much too much drive and talent to sit on a shelf.
posted by missmary6 at 11:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


A few weeks back, I went to the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Don absolutely made the ad. Or someone just like him.

Really, really excellent ending.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:27 PM on May 17, 2015


He's wearing a white shirt, but his sideburns have crept further down his ears. I think whatever he's doing it's in CA as Dick.
posted by brujita at 11:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Making of Hilltop,
posted by sweetkid at 11:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm shocked that so many people think Don made the ad. I think it was more a cry to the real shitshow of the 1970s that took root in everything that happened to everyone in the show—the divorces, the cults, the consciousness-raising turned sour, the protest movement crushed, the turning toward me. Don's doing it, but in a huge way he's gone back to the beginning. Dick Whitman is a person who never got to experience his adult years, so he's a cipher, an empty space. Don Draper's been completely destroyed, Buddhist-style, and now he can start over again on a new day...maybe? Maybe if he's able to really embrace who he is. The commercial to me seemed like the question mark at the end of that sentence.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I didn't find the ending cynical at all. To me it seemed like over the past few episodes Don had successfully shed "Don Draper" and become "Dick Whitman," but that identity didn't really fit him anymore -- it no longer represents home or family for him. I think what we're meant to understand at the end is that he's not struggling anymore to conform to the Draper persona or the Whitman persona. He just is who he is, which is the parts of each identity that were authentic.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 11:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


Also, ugly tears during the Don-Peggy call—that moment of humanity, that she was the one he reached out for when he was at the bottom, that he needed her to know "who he really was." But she knew who he really was in a different way.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder if that's what Don realized at the very end, that advertising didn't have to deceive in order to win people over. He can be an authentic person and still connect emotionally with people.

Yep. His pitch in episode 1 was the empty, meaningless "It's toasted!"

Now he's pitching human connection (and just this season he was rejecting ads that used the word "love"--"children don't understand it and adults don't hear it.")

I think his personal revelation was that he couldn't run from Don Draper anymore--his life as Don really happened, as Stephanie might say. He's recognized and noticed and appreciated as Don, and Peggy calls him home, and he goes on to create something of lasting value, even if it's an ad. Like Stan, he's a guy who's happy being good at his job (and he is! That was a constant for him.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:34 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


The other scene that made me cry was the Don/Betty parting scene. The fact that they both tried to suppress their tears for the other, yet understood the other person, was like the epitome of their relationship.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


So y'all really thought that ad at the end was the deepest expression of advertising as meaningful force in people's lives? Really? I thought he was communicating, in the span of seconds, the tragic conversion of idealism, optimism and revolution into something sour, cynical and lost - bringing us up to the current moment, without resolution.
posted by naju at 11:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Don went back to McCann. It's not ambiguous. It's straight-up clear. And they wouldn't have given Coke to Peggy. Sorry, she's barely holding on to canned goods.

My take on why he hugs the refrigerator guy? Don ruined this guy's life. Go back to the first episode. Don tells Rachel that love is a concept made up by ad guys. Doesn't exist. And that's what refrigerator guy is complaining about. That everyone else (the people in the commercials) are having all the fun. Why can't he have the fun? Where's his love?
posted by ColdChef at 11:46 PM on May 17, 2015 [40 favorites]


In advertising we call that FOMO (fear of missing out). But yea it's still ambiguous that he went back to McCann, this is not a show where you can declare something is 100% clear.
posted by sweetkid at 11:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


naju, I think the ending is wonderful because it contains all of that - Don found himself, had an authentic experience, and from it created an ad that is both meaningful and one that co-opts that meaning to sell you a product. It is both cynical and optimistic; bright and dark; sweet and sour all at once. That's life; that's the real thing.

One of the many reasons I love this show is that it never shied away from treating the audience like adults and the fact that we might be able to hold multiple, contradictory ideas in our heads at the same time and that we would be ok with ambiguity.
posted by nubs at 11:56 PM on May 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


I wish the ending had been about craven cynicism, empty commercialism, and the co-option of the hippy ideal by capitalism. Sadly, I think Weiner actually wants us to believe that it can be real art, connecting, and even authentic, while still being million-dollar advertising. I love this show, but it is at its heart deeply middlebrow -- the troubles of a rich white guy who finds (ambiguous) redemption and commercial reward at the same time, and eventually comes to (ambiguous) terms with the troublesome contradictions of being both genuine and successful. Do what you love, love what you do, try to come to terms with the difficulties of your life and childhood; news and the lives of others are what show up on the TV and make for memorable life moments; and the grander ambitions of the hippies no more exist in real life than they do in the Coke ad. Again -- I love the show. But it's definitely, and happily, one big Coke ad.
posted by chortly at 11:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


What I also love about Eileen's idea is that it has a baked-in, awful cynicism to it, laced with a childlike sweetness. That's an ad about world peace and people coming together in harmony — and it's being used to sell soda. It's the ultimate in commodification of powerful ideas by the wheels of commerce, and it's the ultimate in America's blithe belief that if it could just shut out the bad parts — or share a Coke — with the world, everything would be a little bit better.
posted by ColdChef at 11:59 PM on May 17, 2015


There is no there, there with Don. He was always hollow and meaningless, dependent on his faerie-like charm and skill, but if you grasped at it, all the gems turned to leaves. He only exists in the people he influenced and helped, and they find meaning in it even if it wasn't designed to.

Just like people can find meaning in a TV show designed to sell Lincoln car ads.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


ummm obviously Don comes back so he can marry Meredith
posted by littlesq at 12:01 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I love the show. But it's definitely, and happily, one big Coke ad.

I'm slightly drunk, so sorry for being blunt - but Matt Weiner is, and has always been, way smarter than this. That ending was him finally revealing his cards, albeit in a brilliantly complex way that will leave us arguing for years.
posted by naju at 12:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm slightly drunk, so sorry for being blunt - but Matt Weiner is, and has always been, way smarter than this.

So am I. : )
posted by chortly at 12:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love that it kinda of ends with

BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR COCA-COLA

like anyone was going to escape the Veblan rat maze.
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


but it is at its heart deeply middlebrow

I thought the ending really saved it from middlebrow. Middlebrow would be family comfort. Middlebrow would be learning and changing. Middlebrow would be making peace and finding out the True Mad Men was inside us all along!

This is really hard. This is money. This is how no matter what you make, it can be made into money. And no one can really get outside it, anyone who can is a fool. It's just selling a different dream and the McCanns of the world are going to own it. Family and love and togetherness are things guys like me created to sell stockings and chocolates.

Nothing changes.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 AM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


thus the actual end of mad men is WELCOME TO YOUR CAPITALISM MAZE which you know, is a nice way to end.
posted by The Whelk at 12:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought the end would be Peggy working and it almost was. Second to last scene. But with Stan all "hey watch a doin?" So even better.
posted by sweetkid at 12:26 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just finished watching it. Pretty perfect, I think. So many little details... one I noticed which I don't think has been mentioned yet is

"It smells like smoke in here... let me show you how"

Next scene in the kitchen is Sally washing the dishes as Betty smokes.

And, for what it's worth, I'm down with the suggestion that Don went on to create the Coke ad, but that he also went through some degree of illumination and hard reset at Esalen or wherever that was.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought the ending really saved it from middlebrow. Middlebrow would be family comfort. Middlebrow would be learning and changing. Middlebrow would be making peace and finding out the True Mad Men was inside us all along!

This is really hard. This is money. This is how no matter what you make, it can be made into money. And no one can really get outside it, anyone who can is a fool. It's just selling a different dream and the McCanns of the world are going to own it. Family and love and togetherness are things guys like me created to sell stockings and chocolates.

Nothing changes.


I agree with all that, yet I think Weiner also wants to have it both ways, and for family and love and togetherness to both be creations of artists and admen, and yet still meaningful. Don and Peggy and Joan and Pete and Roger's happinesses are all real -- and figments of advertising and money at the same time. There's certainly (I claim the show posits) a bad way to do it, where advertising is just an empty jingle and a stupid refrigerator skit -- but there is also a good way to do it, the genuine Carousel and hippy loving Coke. I personally find this a veblen hedonic maze, but I do think Weiner has ambitions for some sort of balance between the authentic and the commercial, and even a degree of "learning and changing." Certainly those not at the heart of the beast (Peggy, Joan, Pete, Roger) have all learned and changed along the way, and much for the better. So perhaps we can call it "upper-middlebrow"?

(But now, speaking of money, I have to leave the conversation to get some sleep so I can go make some money tomorrow so I can continue to have leisure time to consume more art later...)
posted by chortly at 12:30 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


(...and that the possibility of both being true, or one, or the other, or neither makes things much more fun, because otherwise, the character wrap ups might feel a little too pat)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:31 AM on May 18, 2015


Er, whoops. That was meant as a tag to my previous comment.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:32 AM on May 18, 2015


The 90s. A ragged figure crosses an ice flow, staggering, falling to his knees. It is Don Draper. He looks up, and sees the lights of the Aurora Borealis, and the expression on his face changes and he becomes filled with peace and understanding.

A fucking great polar bear eats him.

Drink Coke.
posted by Artw at 12:33 AM on May 18, 2015 [22 favorites]


Remember in Season One when Don's brother comes back into the picture briefly before killing himself, and the reaction is OMG FAMILY IS TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL RUIN EVERYTHING?! It was fascinating to compare that to this season, when Don so needs and craves both that family and his truth.
posted by mynameisluka at 12:40 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was going to make a Michael Jackson joke but that's Pepsi. Losers WISH they had Don Draper guiding them through the decades creating the perfect advert to fill their bullshit empty product with a sense of wonder and meaning then reinventing the whole damn thing ten years later fir a new generation. They wish.

Do not drink Pepsi. Pepsi is leprosy in drink form. Don Draper did not give his two good legs to a polar hear for you to drink that stuff.
posted by Artw at 12:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Joan works on coke. Don works on coke. Peggy gets a cactus.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


Victory for Pete! Glad things worked out so well
posted by Bwithh at 1:29 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also: Holloway Harris! There's your two names! You go, Joan.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:36 PM on May 17 [7 favorites +] [!]


I thought that was kinda heartbreaking
posted by Bwithh at 1:34 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, man. I just realized, in that scene where the guy with the dream of being in a refrigerator, he repeats several times stuff about wanting 'it' and not knowing what 'it' is. What's it?

Coke is it, of course! Hahaha, I love it. [NOT COKE]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't know what to say.

Don trots out the old "Keep moving forward" to Stephanie, but then he hits the Pacific Coast and there's no forward left, and that's when he can't move, there's nowhere left to go but home.

I half-thought he might go back and partner with Joan, but no. And even if McCann takes him back, he hated it before and he'll probably continue to hate it. The cynic in me wants to say he goes back and repeats the same cycles over and over, but this voyage he's been on has opened him up to all the other things about himself that he loves or hates. I can imagine him freelancing (maybe contributing to the Coke ad, I don't know) and spending his weekends with the boys and tinkering with cars, and maybe even being happy.

Much as I would have loved for him to go back and be Dad to Sally and the boys, Betty was right. Her brother is a complete butt, but he and Judy can offer stability. Much as I would love him to go work with Peggy somewhere, she has her own career and she doesn't need him -- and much as she cares about him, she shouldn't work with him.

And before Tom and Lorenzo bring it up on Wednesday, my husband noted that Sally is wearing Betty colours (blue jeans and a salmon/peach shirt) when she's washing the dishes, while Betty in dull grey is smoking at the table. Also Richard is dressed in a shirt the exact same colour as Joan's apartment walls, which really made me wonder what was going to happen in that scene. (Turned out the colours didn't have anything to do with anything, surprise!)
posted by tracicle at 2:18 AM on May 18, 2015


"You act like this is happening to you, but you're making a choice."

STEGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by tilde at 2:32 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


That was a chime. Light and airy. The typewriter bell is deeper. The last thing Don says in the episode is "OM".

I want to go with "purposely ambiguous" on making the Coke ad, but yeah, the hair ribbons are a dead give away.

Leonard, refrigerator man, is a stand in for Don and Don gives him the touch and acceptance he needs when no one else does.

I'm surprised Joan went back to her maiden name, but delighted as well, since she really did need two names after Peggy turned her down. That little kiss from Stan at the end is awesome. Cap'n Pike, door, ass, you know the drill.

Pete and Trudy and Tammy. I always found Tammy's name a little odd. But she'll fit in in Kansas. At least in my headspace.

Roger and Marie are going to be an old bitchy couple and love it. Kevin is covered, along with Ellery.

Here, Harry, this will tide you over. You've never been the Three Musketeers.

Oh, Meredith. "There are a lot of better places than here." Yes. Yes there are.
posted by tilde at 2:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Peggy and Stan are terrible at communicating with each other, so it's hilarious they get together through a communication foulup. That IS what it would take. If Stan had actually heard Peggy selling herself into love over the phone (or rather, walking through the sales pitch Stan couldn't do), he would have jumped off the roof. I'm not sure if they're perfect for each other or obviously doomed.

I didn't like the Joan/Richard breakup scene. The, "If you pick up that phone I'm out the door" thing is pretty tired. I'm okay with Joan not needing a man, but it seemed like a cheap exit for Richard after making it look like he was going to adapt.

So I guess Don's stint in Utah seemed to be about emphasizing how he'd given up his car but was still trying to go through the motions of control, driving without going anywhere. Then in California he was still struggling, trying to sell the Don Draper worldview to the last possible customer, Stephanie, who wasn't having any of it. With Don it always comes back to the sweet product you hold in your hand that gives life meaning, and so it did again. He just had to get away from the vending machines.

With everyone selling themselves, Pete's the one who seemed to do best, and even got Annie back. Enjoy Wichshit lol.

Goodbye to a show I kind of loved and rolled my eyes at, in equal amounts.
posted by nom de poop at 3:52 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I fucking loved Elisabeth Moss's acting during that whole conversation.

Yes! She totally hit it out of the park through that scene. She goes from uptight, walls-up, Peggy to OMG-I'm-in-love-and-he-loves-me! Peggy so beautifully. You can see the bricks in the wall tumbling down.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


McCann on Twitter believes the ad is Don's.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


How happy is the Coca-Cola Co. this morning?
posted by sallybrown at 4:43 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Refrigerator guy is the person Don has been trying to reach ever since the first episode. The person who needs to be told that he is okay. When Don breaks down and hugs him, he's delivering the message at last: "You are okay."

"This... is a cactus." The last of the great Pete Campbell-isms. A thing like that.

Don going back and pitching the Coca-Cola love-in is plausible, especially given that final smile. Maybe he goes back to MCE and roughs it out, or maybe he feeds it to Team Steggy, the same way he did the Accutron pitch with Freddy Rumsen. Or maybe it came from one of the MCE white shirts. I'm okay with it either way. "The wheel" keeps on turning one way or another I guess, with or without White-Shirted Yoga Man. From what I can see, he still has a lot of work to do.

I'd given up on this series midway through but I'm glad I went back and caught up. Look forward to watching it all again, soon.
posted by El Brendano at 4:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


That ending was actually perfect. And, as always, though there were a couple of episodes early in the run that seemed odd/bad at the time, the last few pulled the threads together wonderfully.

Weiner, I'd like to buy you a Coke.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 AM on May 18, 2015


So y'all really thought that ad at the end was the deepest expression of advertising as meaningful force in people's lives? Really? I thought he was communicating, in the span of seconds, the tragic conversion of idealism, optimism and revolution into something sour, cynical and lost - bringing us up to the current moment, without resolution.

I don't think Matt Weiner operates that way exactly. Definitely don't see the conclusion as being primarily about "advertising as a meaningful force in people's lives." The show is not primarily about advertising... it's about people. People trying to find connection. The ad world is just a milieu, a very useful and resonant one for this time and these people.

To reject Don's skills in advertising as something "sour, cynical and lost" is to reject Peggy's too. And I don't think we can do that. Both of them are seeking connection in their personal lives, and they're seeking it in the art of what they do, as well. They are communicating, speaking from their own experiences, and trying to find the universal message that will make sense to the greatest number of people. I'm not sure "sales" has ever been a big deal to Don or Peggy (though it's implied of course that their greatest hits would produce sales). It's all about communication... trying to tell a story.
posted by torticat at 5:15 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


From that Vulture link ...

They missed a baby moment with Pete and Peggy (Kevin and Joan make their first visit to the office) and Joan's first husband (someone she married and had annulled? Six months? Referenced when her friend came to visit working from Mary Kay and testing the Avon waters).

Running her own production company, Joan can be the boss, call the shots, spend as much or as little of the budget as needed (as Ken pointed out), and work when there is work, relax when there isn't (well, as much as she can relax).

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd ... though she was a receptionist and then a secretary, Megan started out as a waitress/actress.
posted by tilde at 5:15 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really going to miss the show and the discussions that came out of every episode. They were nearly as much fun (more?) than the show.

AVClub's writeup makes an excellent call-out to the finale and Ted's "there are three women in every man's life" line from awhile back.
posted by jquinby at 5:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Thesis: the show doesn't really believe in the transcendent potential of advertising. The Coke ad is terribly cynical. "What the world needs"? A Coke?

Rather, the show's true stand-in for artistic endeavor has never been the advertisement itself, but the pitch.

In the version of events in which Don returns to make that ad, the ad turns out to be a schlocky annexation of a zeitgeist, but I bet the pitch was pretty brilliant. That's where he really sells it.
posted by nobody at 5:29 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Coke is it, of course! Hahaha, I love it. [NOT COKE]

You could also say Don realized he could have a Coke and a smile.
posted by nom de poop at 5:40 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gene speaks. Don becomes a lumberjack. Generation X has flashbacks to elementary school music class.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:58 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


From one of those rabbit holes, I came across The Burger Chef Murders. Makes me wonder if that pre-fab burger place I remember from back in the day was called Speedway????
posted by tilde at 6:01 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to consider this ad in light of the Hershey pitch. That was Don's refrigerator moment, in a way. And instead of a hug or any kind of acknowledgment or understanding, he was greeted with something like "Is that what the ad will be?" To which he responded "If I had my way you would never advertise."

So what does it mean that Don (or someone) turns refrigerator guy's enlightenment moment into the quintessential ad?
posted by sallybrown at 6:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


what does it mean that Don (or someone) turns refrigerator guy's enlightenment moment into the quintessential ad?

That the big wheel Carousel keeps on turning. Proud Joanie keeps on burning.
posted by tilde at 6:04 AM on May 18, 2015


Meredith is out of a job! Arghh!

Don't worry, she always lands on her feet.

I love that the last we see of Harry is him leaving in a huff and shoving a cookie in his mouth.
posted by Mick at 6:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's also interesting to consider the Coke ad in light of the Miller Lite presentation. The latter was targeted to such a particular guy. Whereas the Coke ad is aiming for everyone.
posted by sallybrown at 6:11 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Miller Lite presentation was also a product of research, numbers-crunching, focus groups, etc. etc., whereas the Coke ad (at least in the Mad Men world) was the result of personal observation and inspiration, a far more holistic and human-scale path. Really a man vs. machine story.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


From another Rabbit Hole about what to watch now that Mad Men is over:
And if you can’t let go of Don Draper’s simmering existential panic, there’s “The Twilight Zone.” In episode 5 of the first season an advertising executive sets out on a quest for his own sanity. (“One more board meeting, phone call, report, problem, I would have jumped right out the window.”) He stops at a gas station not far from the hometown he hasn’t visited in 25 years and walks into the past. All 156 original “Twilight Zone” episodes are on Hulu and iTunes.
posted by tilde at 6:25 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


OK now I'm starting to lean towards Don maybe indeed being involved in the creation of the Coke ad. But I don't see him in New York; I see him calling Peggy and giving it to her and Stan.

I really need a rewatch. But later, after a nap; I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night, having become addicted to this thread.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:29 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually took the Coke ad at the end as a sort of nod to how the advertising world in general tends to co-opt things happening in pop culture and in the national zeitgeist as signifiers to sell things (hell, I remember a random TV ad in 2000 or 2001 even found a way to work in a riff on a photo from the hanging-chad Florida-recount mischegas).

I did a little Google-browsing about the '71 Coke ad, and found that the Coke ad campaign even jumped on the "60's nostalgia" bandwagon that was afoot in the late 80s/early 90s and did a "reunion" version of the ad, featuring the original singers and their kids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Speaking of Stan and Peggy on the phone ...

Episode 11: I love Stan and Peggy on the phone, like the old days. [...] Seems to be a safe fall back for them. Intimate, whispering in each other's ears.
posted by tilde at 6:34 AM on May 18, 2015


Can any of us figure out what commercial that refrigerator guy was describing? I'm almost certain I've seen it: the pov from the refrigerator looking out, the sad (condiment? soda? beer?) always almost getting picked but not quite. I'm sure I've seen it, though probably decades ago...

I think you're talking about the "purple stuff" in the Sunny D commercials.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:38 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think saddling Peggy with an office romance boyfriend was a betrayal of her storyline, and felt rushed and not earned at all. Maybe it's because I went back and watched the first few episodes last week - which you should do just to remind yourself how feminist the storytelling was, right out of the gate - but the idea that Peggy's story would end with her cuddled in the arms of her coworker bf?

Well...kinda...just...ugh. Really didn't ring true.

Much of the episode seemed ham-handed, to be honest. Hell, the series could have ended last week with that shot of Don at the bus stop and it would have felt more than complete. All the "did Don write the Coke ad?!" stuff seems really tacked on and unnecessary.
posted by mediareport at 6:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


”all I got from that was suitcase"
posted by gaspode at 6:45 AM on May 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


I just loved Pete, Trudy, and Tammy getting on the plane at the end. Their beaming smiles. Their happiness is I think reflected in his dinner order to her from s1 (over the phone) - "rib eye. In the pan. with butter. Ice cream." Home, support and happiness. A thing like that.
posted by sweetkid at 6:51 AM on May 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


AVClub's writeup makes an excellent call-out to the finale and Ted's "there are three women in every man's life" line from awhile back.

The thing that struck me about it was that at the time it seemed to point to three romantic entanglements but here there are three daughter-figures: Sally, Peggy, and Stephanie. And as Enemy of Joy said upthread, it's only Peggy who urges him to come home. Family is a choice.
posted by psoas at 7:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I loved the scene where Joan asked in a slightly confused way (for the second time) if Richard wanted to get married. It turned the whole thing women had to endure back in the day on it's ear. He was asking for something that she didn't necessarily want but might consider within the context of marriage. Her reaction to him in that scene made it clear that what he said and what he did weren't lining up. He wanted 'no plans' but also complete control over Joan. If they were going to remain free of the trappings of marriage (as Joan clearly preferred), then he needed to back off with all the demands on her time.
posted by marimeko at 7:03 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had a revelation about the show last night as I was drifting off to sleep, and I'm going to tumblog about it later but I want to share it with you guys first:

The show, it turns out, was never meant to explore the question "Do people change?" Instead, it's an exploration of the disconnect between people's stated desires and their actual needs. In every scene in the final montage, we're shown characters whose endings contradict what they've told us they've wanted all along--for the entire series, for the season, for the episode--and yet in many cases these are happy (or at least necessary, in the case of Betty) endings:
  • Joan's wanted love, right up until the end. She rejected Bob Benson's offer of marriage because she wanted to marry someone she loved, and even as Richard leaves, she's offering to marry him--and implying that she'd abandon her fledgling business if he did. What a miserable ending that would have been! She has wealth and beauty, but they're hollow (what I suspect Weiner was trying to illustrate in that dress-buying binge earlier this season). Especially now that Kevin's future is secure, what Joan needed was to see the potential she illustrated early in the show, when she helped Harry read scripts, fulfilled. The producer job is a direct callback to that and also incorporates the people skills she demonstrated in her tenure in advertising, both as an office manager and an account man.
  • Peggy wanted to climb the ladder of business success--to be a creative director, to see her name on the door. But Stan calls her on it: she never actually wanted these things until she saw other people getting them. Still, I don't doubt that she'll find the career success predicted by Pete. Only she'll find it while also being deeply, truly loved, respected, supported, and challenged by Stan. He understands her and her business. The excellence of their match was, I think, shown in both of their romantic failures this season, when Peggy lets things go with Brian Krakow (a lawyer who lets her win all of the arguments) and Stan ends things with Elaine (who isn't honest with him). Favorite ending.
  • Betty said she wanted Sally to live an adventure. The reality of having a mother die from cancer, leaving two brothers behind, means that Sally isn't going to France and is forced into a caretaking role instead. Betty may have wanted to ignore her death and keep up appearances, but death is messy. She needs Sally there--or Henry, or Don. She needs support, and her children will likely need more support than she realizes after she dies. Poor Bobby.
  • Roger spent the series chasing young women, but what he actually needed (like Peggy!) was to be with someone who was his equal, in terms of experience and in terms of not tolerating his more patriarchal bullshit. I always thought his relationship with Mona was a deep loss for him, even though he blew it. He thought he knew what he needed, but he was wrong.
  • And so we have Don. Don spent the series trying to rewrite himself again, trying to run away to California with various women, plugging the hole left in his left by Anna Draper. Right up until the end: he attaches himself to Stephanie and is determined to make her forget her painful experiences, as he obliterates the last vestiges of Don Draper. He believes himself to have done nothing worthwhile with his name. He's wrong. The phone all with Peggy, validating him and giving him permission to come home, comes right before he validates someone else. He's been actively trying to destroy himself throughout the half season, but he can't. Absolution won't come from Diana, or Stephanie, or California. It comes from embracing the man he is. Not Dick Whitman ("Forget that boy in that box," but he never has), but Don Draper. Earlier this season he dismissed the idea that advertising could create something of lasting value when Peggy mentioned that as a goal, but by embracing himself he created one of the most iconic ad campaigns of all history, a message of generosity and acknowledgement of human differences. He's been running from McCann, and deeply cynical about the role of advertising itself since the first episode ("What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You're born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I'm living like there's no tomorrow, because there isn't one. ") But he was wrong about that. The truth he realizes on that hill isn't cynical at all, but actually pretty damned enlightened and it was right there in the first episode: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing is OK. You are OK.

posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [45 favorites]


And Pete and Trudy's final scene with their daughter getting onto a jet was absolutely perfect and said so much so simply.
posted by marimeko at 7:10 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]




Sally isn't going to France Madrid, Spain
posted by tilde at 7:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


In the pilot during Peggy's very first scene, the boys are saucy to Peggy. Paul objects, but Ken tells the boys, “It’s good to let them know what kind of man you are so that they can decide what kind of girl to be.”

In the end, it wasn't until Stan declared himself (told her what kind of man he was) until Peggy could begin to realize that what she felt for him was indeed love (decided what kind of girl she wanted to be). I just love that.

I was never a big Steggy shipper but I blubbered with joy through the whole scene.
posted by mochapickle at 7:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Generation X has flashbacks to elementary school music class.

Music class? How about all classes? I remember sitting on the floor and sharing feelings during "magic circle time," moderated by a tall skinny man with a terrifyingly large Adam's apple. He wasn't one of the teachers. As far as I could tell, this was pretty much his full time gig. I also recall a special afternoon spent watching Free To Be You and Me.

The 70s were a very weird time to be a little kid, especially in Chicago. Television was bizarre (Sid & Marty Kroft? The Banana Splits?), fashion was off the hook, John Wayne Gacy was killing people, and airplanes were crashing.
posted by jquinby at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


sweetkid: "Also I was reading this thread at the viewing party I was at, and like the idea that Don's shift in consciousness might coincide with the ad, or he might have written it, or Peggy might have written it, all things are possible, and I got shouted down as a contrarian. How is accepting varying possibilities being a contrarian?"

I love the ambiguity of the ending. That's one of the strengths of the show, is that there are conflicting interpretations of events and people.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I read the Coke commercial at the end as Weiner saying, "It worked out for Don, guys."

There is no way those kids are staying with Betty's awful brother. Don's home.
posted by mochapickle at 7:22 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sally isn't going to France Madrid, Spain

Whoops, yeah. The point is, though, that Betty wants Sally's life to be an adventure but she's got a long journey at home ahead for her, first.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:22 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sally telling Don that he has to tell Betty to not let the kids go to her brother - Sally's puling what Henry did. But she *has* to because Betty and Henry have both checked out. She's arguing as a grown up to get him to do what is best for his kids, similar to Henry trying to get her to persuade Betty to get treatment.
posted by tilde at 7:24 AM on May 18, 2015


It turned out to be a show about how one person came to be in exactly the right frame of mind to create one of the most famous ads in TV history.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Sally telling Don that he has to tell Betty to not let the kids go to her brother

I thought that Sally was telling Don not to go get the boys himself. It's only after he talks to Betty that he learns her plan isn't to leave them with Henry or Don.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the ambiguity of the ending. That's one of the strengths of the show, is that there are conflicting interpretations of events and people.

I'm so flummoxed by anyone who thought the ending was ambiguous.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


nah, sally specifically mentions that the plan is to send them to their uncle and she thinks that's a bad idea. she also thinks they should live with henry over don, though

betty's brother is one of my least favorite characters on the whole show, so in my mind they don't end up there, it would be too horrible a fate.
posted by JimBennett at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art." -- The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975)
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:37 AM on May 18, 2015


"I'm not supposed to tell you."

"What."

"Mom's dying."

"Look. Your mothers a hypochondriac. Don't go off the deep end."

"Dad. Listen to me. She has lung cancer. The doctors gave her six months to live."

"What?"

"She doesn't want you to know. But I just thought ..."

"No. You did the right thing. I'm coming home."

"No. I'm telling you because she wants Gene and Bobby to live with Uncle William."

"Don't worry, you're all going to live with me."

"Let me finish. I've thought about this more than you have. You have to tell her that you think it's best that they stay with Henry."

"No."

"Daddy, it's going to be so hard for them already. They should at least be in the same bed and at the same school."

"Sally, grown ups make these decisions."

"Do you understand I'm betraying her confidence? I'm not being dramatic. Now please, take me seriously. I have to go."

"Hold on."

"Please, I can't talk right now."

"Sally, wait a minute."


.....

"They're going to live with me. You don't even have to ask."

"I wasn't going to."
posted by tilde at 7:37 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ah yeah, sorry, I missed that. I blame watching the episode with a toddlerperson.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 AM on May 18, 2015


You know what the finale was missing? A Cutler cameo.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


A lot of people are remarking how the end was fan-servicey, so I'm going to feel free to imagine Joan dialing up Sal to do some work for her new company. After all, he has directing experience.
posted by rewil at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


The show, it turns out, was never meant to explore the question "Do people change?" Instead, it's an exploration of the disconnect between people's stated desires and their actual needs. In every scene in the final montage, we're shown characters whose endings contradict what they've told us they've wanted all along--for the entire series, for the season, for the episode--and yet in many cases these are happy (or at least necessary, in the case of Betty) endings:

Yes, totally. Excellent post!
posted by dnash at 7:56 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


And in any case, Betty has often had horrendously terrible ideas about parenting. Do you remember what a nasty, hostile piece of work her brother is? And she's going to send the kids into that house because there's a mommy there?

I thought that was a great example of the show addressing the "do people change?" question for Betty one last time with a definitive "hell no". All throughout the show, Betty's defining characteristic has been her overriding, all-consuming narcissism. If she were ever going to change it would be now, as she's basically on her deathbed, but instead of actually doing what would be best for her children she can't get over the idea that they need a mother because having a mother figure (ie her) is the most important thing in their world, not stability or structure or comfort or anything else past her, her, her.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Leonard's (the fellow Don ended up hugging it out with) speech reminded me of Don speaking to Anna Draper on her porch in the S2 episode "The Mountain King": "I don't know. I have been watching my life. It's right there. I keep scratching at it, trying to get into it. I can't."
posted by cwest at 8:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Two quick things:

- As happy as I was for Stan and Peggy, I found myself feeling pretty bad for Stan's very loyal and supportive girlfriend. She's in for a shock.

- What a gift Weiner gave the actor who played Leonard (can someone find the credit? Its not on IMDB yet.) Its a well-written piece, to be sure, but in the wrong hands it could have been pretty... bad.

Also, my FB page is full of people saying how much the last half season sucked. I don't want to know those people anymore.
posted by anastasiav at 8:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I want to see a spinoff in which Angie fails yoga camp and as punishment she is shipped off to Ossining to work for Francine.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


As happy as I was for Stan and Peggy, I found myself feeling pretty bad for Stan's very loyal and supportive girlfriend. She's in for a shock.

He broke up with her a few episodes ago, after the whole Pima thing (it wasn't in the same episode, but after).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


He broke up with her a few episodes ago, after the whole Pima thing (it wasn't in the same episode, but after).

Was about to say the same thing. It's only mentioned in a throwaway line or two, but in retrospect it was clearly setting up this development
posted by JimBennett at 8:23 AM on May 18, 2015


It's only mentioned in a throwaway line or two

Welp. Totally missed that. Now I'm embarrassed.
posted by anastasiav at 8:24 AM on May 18, 2015


My favorite new Mad Men character: Naked reading man.
posted by drezdn at 8:25 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sally follows Don's footsteps into advertising. She creates the Pepsi Challenge, and "The Choice of A New Generation."
posted by drezdn at 8:26 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Didn't Don tell Peggy he would be back soon?
posted by drezdn at 8:26 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is naked reading man also red jumpsuit man?
posted by readery at 8:27 AM on May 18, 2015


Is naked reading man also red jumpsuit man?

YES!
posted by drezdn at 8:27 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is naked reading man also red jumpsuit man?

Yes.
posted by tilde at 8:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Welp. Totally missed that. Now I'm embarrassed.

don't be. mad men can be very dense, especially on the first viewing of an episode. there are so many important (and in retrospect, obvious) things i've missed over the run. there are details scattered all over this show.

Didn't Don tell Peggy he would be back soon?


yes, and i think he meant it, even though he was in a stupor at the time.
posted by JimBennett at 8:28 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I want to second flying squirrel's comment that Don's panic attack was perfect. I know that feel, Don.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is naked reading man also red jumpsuit man?

The actor is a comedian of some note but I can't recall his name and IMDb isn't being hepful, grar.
posted by psoas at 8:32 AM on May 18, 2015


I think it was a bit of a casting joke: the red jumpsuit man/naked reading man/hirsute doofus was played by Brett Gelman, best known as the hirsute doofus on Eagleheart. Gelman's boss on Eagleheart was played by Michael Gladis, who played Paul Kinsey.
posted by Iridic at 8:34 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


What a gift Weiner gave the actor who played Leonard (can someone find the credit? Its not on IMDB yet.) Its a well-written piece, to be sure, but in the wrong hands it could have been pretty... bad.

Evan Arnold
posted by jquinby at 8:35 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




> Sally follows Don's footsteps into advertising. She creates the Pepsi Challenge, and "The Choice of A New Generation."

pretty sure Sally is going to grow up to be a badass US senator / glass ceiling busting politician in the Hillary Clinton mold tbh.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:41 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also: Roger's white turtleneck made my eyeballs bleed.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:43 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Was there more to the Stephanie story than her simply sending the baby to live with the father's family? I wondered if maybe the baby had died or she had neglected the baby so it was taken away. I felt some sinister vibes.
posted by mochapickle at 8:46 AM on May 18, 2015


I am still laughing about Roger ordering champagne for his mother!
posted by mochapickle at 8:47 AM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


This was a satisfying episode on so many levels and yet I am frustrated that we got to say goodbye to freaking Meredith and yet have no idea what became of Dawn. Her story just got swallowed up in the end by the others.

Don't get me wrong. I love this show. Great ending. But it's just so depressingly typical of Mad Men that the only significant African American character in the latter half of the series just vanishes before the end.

Sorry to be a downer guys.
posted by thereemix at 8:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


My only complaint about the final seven episodes... It really seemed like everything that Diana did story-wise could have been done (or was already done) with characters that were already there. It would have been completely reasonable for Don to go on the road trip because he didn't want to deal with McCann, no need to add the search for a woman he needed to try to save.
posted by drezdn at 8:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The actor is a comedian of some note but I can't recall his name and IMDb isn't being hepful, grar."

That was Brett Gelman
posted by grandsham at 8:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The telephone ringing in this episode reminded me so much of "Once Upon a Time in America."
posted by drezdn at 8:51 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


By the end of the episode, Don wasn't even carrying around his sack of clothes.* He truly had nothing left.

*He switched to a Penney's bag in this episode. I like to think that if the season were longer he would have other store bags. "This week he's in Muncie and carrying a KMart bag." "Now he's in Knoxville with a Zayre's bag."
posted by drezdn at 8:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


He switched to a Penney's bag in this episode.

Yeah, we noticed that, too. But he clearly had the Sears bag with him at the end of the last episode. Did he leave everything behind again? Lose his stuff on the bus? Just had the bag fall apart? Why not buy a freaking suitcase or shoulder bag or some damn thing!
posted by anastasiav at 8:57 AM on May 18, 2015


I thought he was just buying new clothes and trashing the old ones as he moved along.
posted by jquinby at 9:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


My only complaint about the final seven episodes... It really seemed like everything that Diana did story-wise could have been done (or was already done) with characters that were already there. It would have been completely reasonable for Don to go on the road trip because he didn't want to deal with McCann, no need to add the search for a woman he needed to try to save.

I think Diana was supposed to show how Don was looking for someone like himself who could find redemption or at least adapt as he had (the name Baur means "neighbor") but that led to a dead end: He thought he'd found kinship, something familiar, but he was even more alone than he thought. It was another thing he had to shed to face who he truly was.

I liked the waitress and I like the actress who plays her. I think the show just made her so cryptic that it made it impossible for us to connect with her.
posted by mochapickle at 9:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the bag was supposed to be Don's version of the hobo bindlestiff, but ever the ad man, he needs branding for his sack.
posted by drezdn at 9:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [22 favorites]


One of the new directors Joan keeps hiring? Sal.
posted by drezdn at 9:07 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


"And that's how I met Megan's mother."
posted by drezdn at 9:08 AM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]




Richard is dressed in a shirt the exact same colour as Joan's apartment walls, which really made me wonder what was going to happen in that scene. (Turned out the colours didn't have anything to do with anything, surprise!)

If we're going to go down that symbolism rabbit hole... Joan is holding onto that old crappy apartment when she could do way, way better in terms of luxury and location.

I'm okay with Joan not needing a man, but it seemed like a cheap exit for Richard after making it look like he was going to adapt.

Which returns us to the show's thesis: can people change? Richard thought/pretended he could, and at the end he was another rich guy who wanted shiny toys to be His Way. Joan's done being a shiny toy.

Which is perhaps the answer to the question: some people change, and it's only after a long time that they can. Not a matter of a few months; love does not conquer all. (Which raises the question of whether Richard truly felt love or if it was just the same acquisitiveness.)

How happy is the Coca-Cola Co. this morning?

More to the point, how happy is McCann? My wild-ass guess is that whoever Weiner/staff negotiated with at McCann, this was the promised payoff for "o btw we're going to portray you guys as the worst sexist bastards in the universe."

we got to say goodbye to freaking Meredith and yet have no idea what became of Dawn

I thought we saw Dawn leaving in the Rollerskating Episode. "You were amusing."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2015


Interesting how Joan lost her man in the same episode--can't have both Peggy and Joan coming out on top in both their professional and personal lives!

I'd say this is Joan coming out on top personally. Ever since he was introduced (lo those few episodes ago), Richard kept creeping up to the line of being the right guy ...but he still waved one red flag after another about his reluctance to commit: to a woman with a kid, to a woman who wasn't willing to move across the country immediately to be with him, to a woman who still had professional aspirations. He was good, but he wasn't great, and staying with him would have meant continuous compromises. NEVER SETTLE, JOANIE.
posted by psoas at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


As far as I know they never consulted with McCann or got permission any of it. McCann used it as a boon, it's all over their social media.
posted by sweetkid at 9:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "I thought we saw Dawn leaving in the Rollerskating Episode. "You were amusing.""

That was not Dawn, that was Shirley.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


I thought we saw Dawn leaving in the Rollerskating Episode. "You were amusing."

That was Shirley. :)
posted by mochapickle at 9:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy shit I am an asshole.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


Here, Harry, this will tide you over. You've never been the Three Musketeers.

Loved that. And Elisabeth Moss's line reading of "We've never gone to lunch together" had me rolling.
posted by psoas at 9:23 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Holy shit I am an asshole."

I think you can be forgiven because it should have been Dawn getting a near-finale sendoff, to be honest, but I think Shirley was a more interesting choice, as Dawn would have been too diplomatic to make the subtle points that Shirley made with Roger.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:25 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


psoas: "Richard kept creeping up to the line of being the right guy ...but he still waved one red flag after another about his reluctance to commit"

I don't think Richard ever really concealed what he was looking for - a woman of leisure, with little or nothing to tie her down. From his perspective, Joan could have been that, but she just chose not to in the end, and neither of them were ready to compromise.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Dawn deserved a proper sendoff. She'd been concerned about McCann not needing another office manager, and then... nothing. Surely there could have been some nod.
posted by mochapickle at 9:29 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm terrible with names anyway, but I feel like I just did that thing where people of colour are interchangeable to white people and I'm pretty disgusted with myself, actually.

I don't think Richard ever really concealed what he was looking for - a woman of leisure, with little or nothing to tie her down

...who would be at his beck and call, and do exactly what he wanted when he wanted it. He wasn't willing to compromise because he's a chauvanist pig, Joan wouldn't compromise because she's a person.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm so flummoxed by anyone who thought the ending was ambiguous.

Welcome to online television criticism...
posted by sweetkid at 9:31 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm terrible with names anyway, but I feel like I just did that thing where people of colour are interchangeable to white people and I'm pretty disgusted with myself, actually.

Well, Dawn and Shirley at least once (twice, I think) would refer to each other by the other person's name as a joke, and since we didn't see them much at all in season 7 I think it's easy to get confused about their names as a result. (I mean, I was going to reply to you above because I knew "that wasn't Dawn" but then I couldn't remember Shirley's name myself!)
posted by dnash at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2015


I also enjoyed the lesson that in 1970 nobody knew anything about cocaine. Specifically, the "snorting lines" cliche that's so ingrained in everybody who watched TV or movies in the subsequent 3 decades. But: people had to figure out to do that.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, my FB page is full of people saying how much the last half season sucked. I don't want to know those people anymore.

Did people really think so? I loved so many things about about it. Contender for fave moment: Pete and the asshole Greenwich Country Day headmaster (Billy Moses!) re-enacting the Campbell-Macdonald blood feud (which is also possibly an elaborate Game of Thrones gag). Just breathtakingly hilarious, especially because Pete once again throws around his Knickerbocker credentials to lubricate his passage through life as he has been doing from Episode One, but the guy isn't buying a bit of it!
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:42 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


And just finished up reading the AV recap; it makes a point that I just thought of the other day about the opening credits: The man is falling, yes, but at the end, he's sitting comfortable.

Don ran as far as he could - to the other coast and finally to a spiritual retreat where, despite what he was told, he wasn't free to come and go...and with nowhere left to run he came full circle. With a few new bits of wisdom. And so it goes.
posted by nubs at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ever since he was introduced (lo those few episodes ago), Richard kept creeping up to the line of being the right guy ...but he still waved one red flag after another about his reluctance to commit: to a woman with a kid, to a woman who wasn't willing to move across the country immediately to be with him, to a woman who still had professional aspirations.

I think Richard is exactly the kind of man Joan wanted ten years ago -- albeit an older version. Instead of Joan getting what she wanted in the worst possible way, she just discovered that she wanted something else more -- her own company. Richard wasn't her last, best hope or anything. I expect Joan will have as much companionship as she cares to.
posted by gladly at 9:52 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


7B was great!

- Greenwich Country Day!
- Joan declaring she was going to burn McCann to the ground
- Marie taking everything in Don's apartment
- Ken telling Roger and Pete to talk to the hand
- Betty's letter to Sally!
- Roger playing the organ
- Roger redeeming himself after all
- Peggy skating!
- Peggy strutting with erotic octopus art!
- Peggy falling into Stan's luxurious locks!
posted by mochapickle at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


I can't read 300 comments, so I don't know if any of this has been said:

And I don't think he went back to NY to make that Coke ad, at all. I think he was starting from the very beginning again, to find something in himself.

I think part of the point of this episode is that Don can't just disappear and start over. Whatever kind of mostly-absent father he is, his complete withdrawal and disappearance would hurt other people (esp. his kids). In some ways, he has to be the person that he presented himself to be, when he made commitments to the people who love him. Failing to do that is damaging to the people who love him and to himself. The only way out of those commitments is to convince yourself that you are such a terrible person that people are better off without you - but to truly believe that means that you can't ever be happy again.

Betty's insistence that her kids go live with her brother and his wife is based on believing that they need a mother. I think Sally's right about them staying in their home, and I think she'll stay with them. But for Don or Henry to decide against Betty's wishes is, I think, to negate how important she is as a mother. It's not just that they can't go against a dying lived one's wishes, it's that they can't negate her - they're going to lose her, but they won't negate her to her face. Betty's looking for her replacement because it's the best way to reify her own place in the family. She doesn't want to be erased - she wants to be replaced.

I like to think Don used Joan's company to make the coke commercial. In real life, it cost about $250000 to make - isn't $250000 the "fifty cents on the dollar" that she got from McCann? I like to think the Coke commercial made her whole.

That's my fantasy.
posted by vitabellosi at 9:56 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


Peggy strutting with erotic octopus art!

In some ways, I wish that The Rollerskating Episode had been interwoven with Bye Bye Birdie and the final shot of the series had been the Peggy Fuck You Strut.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2015


I like to think Don used Joan's company to make the coke commercial. In real life, it cost about $250000 to make - isn't $250000 the "fifty cents on the dollar" that she got from McCann? I like to think the Coke commercial made her whole.

and Peggy wrote it and that's how we got OLSON HOLLOWAY (sounds better than the other way around) and basically I love your headcanon is what I'm saying here.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


...bue we don't hear the firm's name until there's a cut to a shot of Bob answering the phone with " "OLSON HOLLOWAY", hold on his cheerful rictus, fade out to something by Black Oak Arkansas.
posted by jquinby at 10:04 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the bag was supposed to be Don's version of the hobo bindlestiff, but ever the ad man, he needs branding for his sack.

I thought the first part of this too; the second part, about the branding - whoa. Brilliant.

holy shit I am an asshole


I made the same mistake in the episode's thread where Shirley tells Roger he's amusing, and I felt the same way once others pointed out my mistake. I think it really speaks to the disservice the show did to people of color, that there were only two recurring characters (other than elevator staff), and they were intentionally confusing to their colleagues and the audience. I know that that in itself is a statement on the era in which it takes place, but still. (It also still bothers me that Sal was kicked out early on, and Bob's ambiguity/pansexuality was portrayed as leering weirdness - perfect for the character, but not so much in the general milieu of the show.) Yay for women being empowered and aiming for the glass ceiling, truly, but they could have done more.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:06 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


In my head, Don totally goes back and finagles his way back into McCann, which wouldn't be hard even without a killer Coke pitch because of Jim Hobart's weird boner for him. He and Peggy and Stan hammer out the Coke campaign, they use Joan's production company to make the ad, Don and Henry come to some sort of agreement following Betty's death about keeping the boys with Henry for stability's sake and letting Sally start college or travel or whatever she needs to do...
posted by palomar at 10:09 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


and Peggy wrote it and that's how we got OLSON HOLLOWAY (sounds better than the other way around) and basically I love your headcanon is what I'm saying here.

Sal directed it, right? Right? Right?
posted by nubs at 10:09 AM on May 18, 2015


duh, nubs
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2015


still so sad that they didn't bring Sal back for just a moment

oh my poor Sal
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


What really got me was the montage with the Kodak song. Teary still.
posted by jgirl at 10:14 AM on May 18, 2015


Sal absolutely directed it. And they paid him 5x his regular fee. He spends the rest of the year on the beach, sketching beautiful people.
posted by mochapickle at 10:15 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thanks fffm. Just needed to know that I wasn't alone in the fridge there with that thought.
posted by nubs at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2015


new series

Alone in the Fridge with Sal
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


It didn't take much of a push to send Richard out the door. Given time, he would have walked out over the kid, or because Joan didn't want to do cocaine with him, or because he didn't want to go to Penn Station.
posted by Iridic at 10:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Who has the biggest TV? Freeze frame out the last bits of Joan and read her calendars. I'd almost bet you Salvatore Romano is on her board.

By the way the "hobo bundle" of bags - the brand is not just "advertising" it's legitimizing. He's got money, he's not a hippie, he's just temporarily displaced from his real luggage. The bag isn't falling to pieces, it's just been in use a few days and will be discarded when he's "back". Take the view of someone who picks him up for a few days, that's their impression.
posted by tilde at 10:27 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think saddling Peggy with an office romance boyfriend was a betrayal of her storyline, and felt rushed and not earned at all. Maybe it's because I went back and watched the first few episodes last week - which you should do just to remind yourself how feminist the storytelling was, right out of the gate - but the idea that Peggy's story would end with her cuddled in the arms of her coworker bf?

Well...kinda...just...ugh. Really didn't ring true.


I agree, but I like to think the rom com angle was intentional. I like to think that the writers are projecting the way future media will rewrite women's perspective away from "brilliant business woman" toward "-but unfulfilled without a man in her life."

Peggy spends much of the series being narrated into corners. I think it's a warning shot that despite her success, she'll be narrated to suit the dominant culture's needs yet again. (She belongs with Stan! But even love will be rewritten to put her in the girl role that society can be comfortable with.)
posted by vitabellosi at 10:36 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you haven’t watched the series finale of Mad Men, then you really shouldn’t be reading a story about the series finale of Mad Men. And if you continue reading this story about the series finale of Mad Men, don’t get angry at us for giving away what happens in the final moments of the series finale of Mad Men.
posted by tilde at 10:52 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peggy spends much of the series being narrated into corners. I think it's a warning shot that despite her success, she'll be narrated to suit the dominant culture's needs yet again.

I think the strut was meant to indicate that Peggy was fulfilled. (It's why we saw the strut before she got together with Stan, instead of after -- she never really expected love, so Stan is just delicious, manly icing.) (Although really, I think any new broadcasts should always end with the strut, regardless of the episode.)

Also notice their last scene: She's working and he's looking on adoringly. It's a total subversion from the 1950s scene of man-working-while-woman-looks-on-adoringly. Or woman-cooking-while-husband-looks-on-adoringly.
posted by mochapickle at 10:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


of course coke didn't pay for their placement in this episode. i can't believe anyone would watch the show and even consider that. though there are moments that may or may not be promotional considerations, they're always tactfully handled and don't impact the plot. to even think that the very final moments of the show were bought by a corporation makes me think whoever wrote that article never saw the show, or at least never understood a single episode, or are just using the headline to manipulate the internet into reading the article (hrm, that seems likely...)
posted by JimBennett at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peggy wanted to be with someone. It's entirely not too late for her to do family and kids. I can see why people at the time would think so, but I'm surprised 2015 people would think so, too. She's 30, my mom had me at 35 in the late 70s, so I'd be only a little younger than any kid Peggy would have had at 35.

It's not a copout for her to end up with someone, although I do kind of wonder how Steggy might work in the long run. I'm hopeful though.
posted by sweetkid at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Was there any foreshadowing or stronger hint that Stan was in live with Peggy? The reveal seemed really out of the blue fan service to give Peggy a halfway happy ending
posted by Bwithh at 11:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, here's my fantasy ending for Don. This isn't based entirely on stuff in the show, though a lot of it is.

He goes back. I think the arrows were all pointing in that direction, and the Coke ad is just the exclamation point at the end of the sentence. The smile at the end? That was an actual insight - that Don belongs in NY, with his colleagues and his kids - which he arrived at after the phone call to Peggy and the hug to Refrigerator Man. He goes back because he realizes that there is a place for him, that he has a home.

The smile was also, however, the germ of the idea for the Coke ad. Being Don Draper, he's going to commodify his experiences and use them to sell things. That's what he does. Don's experience was both the real thing, and The Real Thing (tm).

But I'm not so sure he goes back to McCann full-time (this is where I'm getting into wishcasting). The show is kind of vague on whether he could actually do that. I like to think he pitches Coke and they let him do creative work on a project basis - a win/win for everyone, because it's what Don is good at and enjoys, and McCann limits their exposure to his flakiness. So, he does freelance/consulting work, and he spends his free time with the kids, tinkering with cars, and traveling.

The boys stay with Henry, but Don sees them a lot (the Uncle William idea is just....ugh). Don still drinks and womanizes, though maybe slightly less often. He mostly tries to do right by the kids, but he doesn't always succeed and sometimes he does selfish shit like go on other vision quest trips or whatever. He's happier, and he's better, but he's not happy, and he's not good.

I elaborated on my thoughts on Mad Men and the "can people change" question in the last episode's thread. As someone upthread in this one said, it's two steps forward, one step back. I think the finale basically said two steps forward, one step back, onward into the future.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I think--no matter how perfect Moss' acting was in the scene--Steggy was the only sour note in the whole episode. The only way Steggy was really predicted was in the boring TV trope "oh of course two heterosexual opposite gender people are going to fall in love."

Yes, the trope was upended in a couple of ways--she's the boss, after all--and still I would have been much happier to see Peggy on her own, doing her Peggy thing with her BFF Stan to chill with and yell at.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


If anyone in the show has reached full enlightenment, it’s Joan. She traveled the furthest of any character. Peggy was always ambitious, and Don was always troubled. But the Joan we met in the pilot was a self-appointed female defender of patriarchy, and by the close of the finale she is determined to burn it all down.
Molly Lambert at Grantland kills it again.
posted by psoas at 11:30 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Potential spinoff: What's Wrong with Eddie Cosgrove?
posted by almostmanda at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


I keep envisioning Betty's funeral being like the one in Terms of Endearment, with Don as Flap Horton and Sally as Aurora. I guess Roger would be sort of an ancillary Garrett Breedlove.

Really, having Betty the hell out of his life before he gets old enough to become the object of her wrath and disappointment is probably going to be good for Gene -- he'll be able to remember her fondly since Betty is fairly OK with infants and toddlers who aren't real people yet. Also, maybe Sally can hook Bobby up with Dr. Edna, who did her and Betty so much good -- in my fanservice fantasy world, the Draper kids would all go to live with her.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


And! Thoughts on the other ends...

- I wasn't particularly rooting for Steggy, but I'm totally fine with it. However, I'd have preferred the show just kind of point towards their winding up together, rather than have them abruptly confess their love to each other. While their ending up together felt earned, the way it happened didn't totally ring true to me. That it was a phone conversation was a nice touch, though.

-I really liked Joan's ending. She turns down what she thought she wanted for what she actually wants. Change, again. It also goes to PhoBWanKenobi's very astute point about the show also being about the disassociation between what people think they want and what they actually want.

-Speaking of that disassociation, Pete probably epitomizes that more than any single character. I hope the better angels of his nature win out. I'm cautiously optimistic.

-Roger marrying Marie was...meh. It kinda felt like an excuse to get a few more Roger quips in there ("My mother will have the lobster"), which is never a bad thing. He still pretty much went out a whimper, which somehow feels appropriate.

-Harry's gonna Harry. One funny thing about Harry and the change theme: I think he's the only important character who primarily changes for the worse over the course of the show. I think most of the characters are better people in 1970 than they were in 1960, even if they are not necessarily good people (Roger - who I think is more or less the same - is a partial exception to this). But, remember first-season Harry? He was kinda dorky and he feels awful about cheating on his wife. Harry's been such a douche for so long that it's hard to remember that he didn't start that way.

-People who complained about the ending - I've seen this on Facebook - I don't know what they wanted. This show was never going to wrap everything up in a neat little bow. I would have been disappointed if it did. The ending was actually less ambiguous than I expected, if anything.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:37 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tell the truth...Toward the end, when Don was standing at the edge of that bluff, looking out over the ocean, how many of you thought for a moment he was going to jump?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


If anyone in the show has reached full enlightenment, it’s Joan. She traveled the furthest of any character.

No, it's Pete! Go Pete!!!!
posted by Bwithh at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


When he called Peggy I got REALLY nervous he was going to off himself, especially with all of those California wave sound effects. Then it became clear he was "just" having a panic attack.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:40 AM on May 18, 2015


Potential spinoff: What's Wrong with Eddie Cosgrove?

Well, it's like this ...
posted by tilde at 11:46 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tim Carmody on the Coca-Cola Jingle Theory

tl;dr: Is there something problematic about implying that Don came up with the Coca-Cola ad, given that Billy Davis, the actual creator, was black?
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:47 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


A redditor went back and watched the opening scene of Season 7, which is a zoom in on Freddy Rumsen's face making Don's Accutron pitch (mirroring the zoom in on Don's face at the end of the finale), and drew our attention to the sound Freddy makes 59 seconds into the scene. (SLYT)
posted by dry white toast at 12:11 PM on May 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


We pretty much see that everything at McCann is done by committee and there were creative non-whites in the building, so I don't think that automatically excludes Billy Davis / Billy Davis analogue/analog.
posted by tilde at 12:12 PM on May 18, 2015


Tom and Lorenzo
posted by anastasiav at 12:12 PM on May 18, 2015


I think he's the only important character who primarily changes for the worse over the course of the show.

I think Kenny, too, although he didn't get as bad as Harry.
posted by sweetkid at 12:15 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Suitcase reference: Peggy's print of the 2nd NY Film Festival.
posted by tracicle at 12:18 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Kenny just spent some time reveling in being a dick. But I don't see him making it his ongoing lifestyle.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:21 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was there any foreshadowing or stronger hint that Stan was in live with Peggy? The reveal seemed really out of the blue fan service to give Peggy a halfway happy ending

Oh god, so much foreshadowing that there were feelings on both sides of the equation, going back several years. "The Crash" was especially suggestive that he had feelings for her--he kisses her, admits that his cousin died, she rebuffs him, then she catches him having sex with someone else and looks pretty dejected by the whole thing. But there were other little hints over the years, too. The very fact that they kept in touch, chatting on the phone while she as at CGC, always suggested to me that there was something more than simply a working friendship there.

I'm sad that people think Peggy being paired romantically with someone who was her creative and emotional equal in any way degrades the complex feminism of her plotline. She wanted love. She always wanted love. It's not unfeminist to get love, if that love is challenging and fulfilling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2015 [37 favorites]


Matthew Weiner has said in multiple interviews (again over the last couple of weeks) that he's known the "what" of the show's ending since he made the initial pitch for Mad Men, and he figured out the "how" about 3-4 years ago. I wonder now what those entailed? Did he always envision Don making the pitch for Coca-Cola as the closing moments of the show, and figure out later how to get there? Or is it something else?
posted by ChrisTN at 12:23 PM on May 18, 2015


I think Ken improved a great deal in that he is no longer chasing down secretaries and checking what color underwear they have on in front of a large crowd.
posted by almostmanda at 12:24 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


It was clear to me that Stan loved Peggy by the way he looked at her as she spoke about giving up her kid.
posted by brujita at 12:26 PM on May 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


I think Kenny just spent some time reveling in being a dick.

I think he wasn't so much being a dick as he was getting some amply justified revenge--in his mind, anyway; obviously it turned out well for everyone.

And re: Steggy, I don't think wanting love is unfeminist. I think the way the show did it was lazy fanservice. I liked Friend-Steggy (why not Pan!?!?!?!) precisely because it's not what TV leads us to expect.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:30 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Kenny, too, although he didn't get as bad as Harry.

Almostamanda made this point for me but, yeah, early-season Ken was basically the office's fratboy-in-chief. He's certainly better than that now, even if his last big act on the show was motivated chiefly by revenge.

He also seems to be doing OK at Dow if his lunch with Joan is any guide. It's not his ideal end, but I think Ken's arc is mostly in keeping with the two-steps-forward-one-step-back theme.
posted by breakin' the law at 12:34 PM on May 18, 2015


I think Harris-Olson would have been fanservice, because it wasn't in keeping with Peggy and Joan's relationship or Peggy's individual career goals. But Steggy was pretty well-teased for years. There were plenty of other platonic m/f relationships in the series (including Joan and Roger, in the end!) so it's not like Weiner felt it necessary to ship every single m/f pair or anything.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:37 PM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think the Refrigerator Dream guy in group therapy is an inverse of Don - not a correlate.

Don's problem has NEVER been that he was invisible. The only times he hasn't been needed is when he himself skipped town or ran out or got wasted. He wasn't invisible, until he insisted on being invisible.

I think he hugs Refrigerator Dream Guy out of some sympathy, but also for delivering to him the insight that he himself is not invisible - that he is constructed by how his loved ones see him. His biggest complaint, really, is that people see him and want him. He just gets tired of being the person he's co-constructed/co-authored with them. But he's not nothing, he can go back to being Don - it's all there waiting for his return.

Which is why I think the ending is that he went back and made the coke ad.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


One other thing that just occurred to me, in support of the Don-goes-back theory: remember Ted in season 7a, having his own nervous breakdown, saying he's done with advertising? Now he's back, and he seems mostly comfortable in his role. ("I'd like to land a pharmaceutical.") Ted has always been kind of a funhouse-mirror version of Don.

You can interpret that as happy or sad or both - I think both, but more the former. There's wisdom in accepting one's lot in life and finding contentment in small things, and it seems that's where Ted winds up, more or less. I don't know that Don totally gets there, but it's an interesting parallel.
posted by breakin' the law at 12:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't get me wrong. I love this show. Great ending. But it's just so depressingly typical of Mad Men that the only significant African American character in the latter half of the series just vanishes before the end.

This is why I'm personally opting for a reading of that ending being a twist of the knife, because the alternative is that the show proves itself to just be damningly blind on race, power, class, etc., and I think it's too smart and self-aware for that. I think too many people are rooting for our TV friends to hug and skip rope into the sunset, when really I believe Matt Weiner is slyly encouraging us to question things and exercise some critical thinking. Take a step back from the emotions of the finale and look at what's happening. The show ends on a note of New Age faux-multiculturalism - Don's "OM' is essentially the product of a classic Californian co-opting of another culture, and that can't be ignored - the enlightenment is fraught and contingent from the outset. Don's not going to experience any permanent lasting change from a week-long EST-ish retreat, just like no one else going through this stuff in the 70s did. Having experienced some self-help, they ended up going back to their lives of affluence and business connections and doubling down on it all. Don's crisis, and Leonard (refrigerator guy)'s crisis, were ultimately the crises of rich successful businessmen in a mid-life tailspin, feeling out of touch with a changing world, and feeling obsolete. These are crises of privilege, as invested as we are in Don's character over 7 seasons. They're both going to be fine. And in macro, I believe these characters' stories are also the story of the reification of the white corporate power structure, and its survival through turbulent and revolutionary social change. This is why the Coke commercial at the end was the perfect close to the story - there might be more people of color in the final few seconds of the episode then in the past 7 seasons. I don't think that's an accident, and I don't think that's a sign of optimism either. It's a story of the white power structure sensing its fall and defeat, and learning how to change with the times and co-opt anything dangerous to emerge triumphant and comfortable into the next generation and the generation after that.

I mean, apparently I'm completely alone in this hot take. I get that. But this is honestly a bunch of the stuff mulling through my head as those credits rolled.
posted by naju at 12:50 PM on May 18, 2015 [36 favorites]


I think he's there longer than a week. The last 2 shots of him are at different times of the day: alone at sunset and with the yoga group in the morning.
posted by brujita at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2015


This is why the Coke commercial at the end was the perfect close to the story - there might be more people of color in the final few seconds of the episode then in the past 7 seasons. I don't think that's an accident, and I don't think that's a sign of optimism either. It's a story of the white power structure sensing its fall and defeat, and learning how to change with the times and co-opt anything dangerous to emerge triumphant and comfortable into the next generation and the generation after that.

naju, that's a fantastic analysis of the use of that song (and video - which I don't think the show has ever done before). Truly insightful.

I swear, these threads bring me right back to all of my English Lit classes in college and their endless, circular, sometimes frustrating, and always enlightening debates about the smallest details. Lovelovelove it.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 1:05 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the Refrigerator Dream guy in group therapy is an inverse of Don - not a correlate.

I don't totally know where to go with this observation, but I think one of the cool things about Don and Refrigerator Dream Guy is that they both feel the same way, but they got there by almost the exact opposite means.
posted by breakin' the law at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mad Men Season 8: Ted lands a pharmaceutical. Roger practices his French. Joan hires Meredith.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:08 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


i think one of the layers of meaning to the last scene is that Don, the ad man who sells us things, is being presented as a consumer. i haven't read much discussion of the voiceover that accompanies that scene, but it sounds like a classic Draper pitch, concluding with the tight screen-encompassing shot of Don's face - recently described as his best asset - over the words "a new you". Don is the consumer in this transaction. He is getting pitched to, and the product is some kind of consciousness/enlightenment.

That's not to undermine the other more cynical layer of meaning wherein he uses whatever experience he has on the retreat to revitalize his advertising energies. I'm just saying that the scene works on many layers in a few different directions.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:40 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Ted lands a pharmaceutical.

Ted is a pharmaceutical. Initial side effects may include pulling benign pranks on professional rivals and attempting daring corporate partnerships, but consult your doctor if symptoms manifest as instigating an unsatisfying affair with a coworker or the sudden desire to move cross-country to escape your cheatin' heart.
posted by psoas at 1:56 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, this just came across my feed: first scene/last scene of the major players. I don't even remember clean-shaven Stan.
posted by jquinby at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


I agree with this:
It's the same beats as the pilot! Don goes emotional and hippie and understanding for a while, but just uses it as grist for new ads. Of course he learns the exact wrong lesson from the therapy session, of course he updates his charm for a new era where he can pretend to be so enlightened and spiritual now. It's perfect, he doesn't change, he just shifts into the right role a Don Draper person would have in that era, it's the two heady drugs of the 70s, cocaine and self-involvement. Don Draper is always a man of his time, it just took him a while to get to it and figure out how to exploit it.

Or, you know, the cynical capitalist wins. always.
But not this:
I love the implication of finale: there was never ever any there there, Don isn't a big emotional mystery, he's the same cynical chump we met years ago, soul searching does t work on someone with no actual depths.
That's an easy point that certainly didn't need an entire seven season show to be made. The thing is, Don isn't empty, there is a real human somewhere in there who is capable of good, and capable of transcendence, but his problem is that in his damage he has built a cornucopia of temptations that his brain is not capable of foregoing. As close he ever gets, the primal lure of comfort, money, prestige, and all the other elements that comprise Don Draper will always bring him back, because they're fundamentally easier for him to pursue. A person of incredible strength could maybe resist that, but Don isn't an incredibly strong person. He will keep drawing the bow, and loosing the arrow, and every time the wind will blow and he'll miss the mark just enough to feel like he really did something this time but without ever breaking through. That ending wasn't cheap cynicism, it was high tragedy. I feel pretty heartbroken about it.
posted by invitapriore at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mad Men Season 18: Gene attempts to wrest control of the hot rod garage from Bob. Joan runs into a former colleague at the Academy Awards. President Sterling causes an international incident.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:03 PM on May 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


This thread is brilliant. I think I'll comment no more and just like everything you all say.
posted by ipsative at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don's problem has NEVER been that he was invisible.

Don, no.
Dick, on the other hand...
posted by Thorzdad at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


After finishing work on the Coke campaign, Don wrote a MASH script.
posted by drezdn at 2:13 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mad Men Season 68: Sally returns from the Seattle Caldera with a mysterious weapon and a terrible secret. A coolant rupture wakens Conrad Hilton from cryo-sleep three hundred years early. Harry's new body has a familiar face.
posted by Iridic at 3:04 PM on May 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


season 12832

since the great rif many peggys have come to speak us cokes and we are happy to our nikes even the babbys smile at the great don. all night the great don fights hook and claw and nikon and canon with the night harry and don always wins to come back to light our day with a smile so help me in the name of the stan and the pete and the roger those were pearls that were his eyes hurry up please its time

shantih shantih shantih
posted by jquinby at 3:27 PM on May 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


All animals can scream
posted by The Whelk at 3:36 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I just loved Pete, Trudy, and Tammy getting on the plane at the end. Their beaming smiles.... Home, support and happiness. A thing like that.

Pete Campbell spends the entire series trying to get what Don Draper has, and fucking up. In the end, he achieves the one thing Don always wanted more than anything but kept fucking up.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:45 PM on May 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


Mad Men Season -338: Sir Donal is invited to court, but will he bring Lady Elizabeth? Lord Edward of Chaough opens a branch of Sterling & Cooper, Ltd. in Wales. Margaret is offered a chance to work on the Topaz & Sons Hosiery account.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:56 PM on May 18, 2015 [22 favorites]


Tim Carmody on the Coca-Cola Jingle Theory

tl;dr: Is there something problematic about implying that Don came up with the Coca-Cola ad, given that Billy Davis, the actual creator, was black?
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:47 AM on May 18 [1 favorite +] [!]


The article seems like a big reach. The ending's implied parallel is with Bill Backer, the real life creative director on the Coca Cola account who ( as the article admits but strains to downplay) had the original vision for the ad. Billy Davis was the music director who Backer brought the idea to. Don has never been a musician or a music director or music executive. he has always been a creative director. Why would we think he came up with a song?
posted by Bwithh at 4:12 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don and Roger hear voices in the ice. Joan becomes non-Euclidean. Peter urgently returns to Arkham.

I would pay for and watch all of these
posted by jquinby at 4:15 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wrote a Medium piece fleshing out some of my comments here (with a nod to mefi): The Mad Men finale, that Coke ad, and the great white power structure
posted by naju at 4:15 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hah! Another thing I just realized -- in the previous episode, the motel owner guy asked Don to fix... the Coke machine.

That's just fantastic (assuming as I do that it was deliberate).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:38 PM on May 18, 2015


Mad Men Season -338: Sir Donal is invited to court, but will he bring Lady Elizabeth? Lord Edward of Chaough opens a branch of Sterling & Cooper, Ltd. in Wales. Margaret is offered a chance to work on the Topaz & Sons Hosiery account.

Clan Campbell receives a missive from the king.
posted by almostmanda at 4:40 PM on May 18, 2015 [37 favorites]


Clan Campbell receives a missive from the king.

Heeeeeeeee! I nearly choked to death just now
posted by mochapickle at 4:44 PM on May 18, 2015


Clan Campbell receives a missive from the king.

Heeeeeeeee! I nearly choked to death just now


me too!
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lord Edward of Chaough

I can never see that surname in print without hearing Roger pronounce it "chowguhguh".
posted by palomar at 5:07 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mad Men Season 0: Sterling Cooper continues to be moderately successful. The social contract behooves people to carefully hide their lack of contentment. There is no unusual rain.
posted by psoas at 5:18 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


RE: The fridge guy...

The fridge guy is boring, square, white America. Worried that, despite having a stable family and job, they're being passed over, not recognized, and pushed to the edges by a progress they don't particularly desire or understand. Don isn't exactly this guy himself (mostly by virtue of being such a colossal collection of emotional baggage), but his job has always been to sell to this guy. Essentially to understand the emotional wants and needs of this type of person (the average consumer type who is probabilistically the best person to advertise to by necessity of having the most money and the most numbers).

So whether you go with the cynical reading of the ending or no, I guess that it makes sense that Don hugs this man who's just laid all of his problems at his feet. The cynical reading is that this poor fellow has just done years worth of market research for Don, and has told him exactly what emotional buttons to push in order to make fridge guy buy things to fill the void in his life. The non-cynical reading is that Don recognizes himself in the man, and the problems that he's been trying to put fucking and work towards fixing for the past 10 years.

Anyway, I think this was a good ending to the show. It was good seeing a little bit of positive change in some characters, a little bit of positive change in society, and a realistic sort of stasis in others.
posted by codacorolla at 5:43 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


We just rewatched it. And now I am officially on Team Don Wrote the Ad. So many indicators (most if not all of which have already been stated upthread, but I need to get this down):

- The girl at the retreat not only has the red ribbons, but the white embroidered peasant shirt, too.

- The bells during the meditation session are mindfulness bells. Pay attention bells.

- The meditators are humming in harmony. And it's in the same key as the Coke ad. Where everyone is singing. In harmony.

- The meditators are on a grassy hilltop... and positioned in the same checkerboard way as the people in the ad.

- The session leader is totally selling a Don-style, Carousel-style pitch.

- The final mindfulness bell is like the cheesy glint in a smile in 70s TV commercials. And it dings just as Don smiles.

Having said all of that, I still don't think it's a cynical or pessimistic ending. When Don listens to Leonard talking about the refrigerator, who says no one cares about him or misses him, a look passes over Don's face. As someone noted upthread, people DO see him and DO miss him - Peggy just told him that, told him to come home (and work on Coke). I think, in that moment, Don realized it was okay to just be Don. Moments prior, he was at his nadir, unable to breathe or move, probably suicidal... until Supergirl got him to get up and go with her to therapy. Nadir >> realization >> meditation >> acceptance. Don's an ad man, all the way back to selling cars (before he sold furs). He's also, deep down, a well-meaning person who has admitted his fuck-ups and has indeed grown... and is, in the end, still brilliant when it comes to advertising.

Also, upon rewatch, I paid attention to what Betty was wearing in her final scene (which someone also mentioned upthread). Grey, thin, fashionless, and drab - utterly heartwrenching.

.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


I too had the immediate reaction that Don ended up writing the Coke commercial, but appreciate the ambiguity. Why not imagine he worked it out with Peggy? No reason they wouldn't be bouncing ideas off each other if he went back to McCann.

The show was setting us up to think that Don was going to end up in California and become Dick Whitman (in persona if not in name) and work on cars just as many theorized ever since his visits to Anna. And it's looking pretty good for Dick as he works on racecars in Utah. But once he talks to Sally and Betty his plan is knocked off the rails. Blackout drunk he ends up in California so he seeks out Stephanie, figuring he can be nice guy Dick Whitman to the only person who indeed calls him Dick these days. But she not only rejects what he has to say, she abandons him completely. Dick Whitman is over. On the phone with Peggy he says (paraphrasing) that he stole a man's name and failed to make anything of it. Peggy says he can come home. She is the only one who does. I think he eventually clears his head enough to know where he belongs - on the periphery of his kids' lives, making ads, with a handful of close colleagues. So he goes back to NYC, back to McCann and makes the ad - makes the best out of the Don Draper persona he can figure out.
posted by mikepop at 6:11 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, along with the panic attack Don is probably also under the effects of drying out after what looks like a lot of drinking on this road trip.

And since we get to fill in the blanks, I'd like to imagine Meredith moved into the apartment she set up for Don, figuring he was gone for good and it was largely paid for.
posted by mikepop at 6:14 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I did want to see that apartment. I felt like that was one of those unfulfilled payoffs.
posted by sweetkid at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Upon further research (thank you, Mr. Squirrel), the guru said... wait for it...

"Embrace the new you."
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Interview with Jon Hamm
When we find Don in that place, and this stranger relates this story of not being heard or seen or understood or appreciated, the resonance for Don was total in that moment. There was a void staring at him. We see him in an incredibly vulnerable place, surrounded by strangers, and he reaches out to the only person he can at that moment, and it’s this stranger.

My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, “Wow, that’s awful.” But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led. There was a little bit of a crumb dropped earlier in the season when Ted says there are three women in every man’s life, and Don says, “You’ve been sitting on that for a while, huh?” There are, not coincidentally, three person to person phone calls that Don makes in this episode, to three women who are important to him for different reasons. You see the slow degeneration of his relationships with those women over the course of those phone calls.
posted by gladly at 6:23 PM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]










I think Kenny just spent some time reveling in being a dick. But I don't see him making it his ongoing lifestyle.

Ken's a happy person who wholeheartedly enjoys whatever stage of life he's in. He enjoyed being a carefree bachelor while he was a young man, but then once he got ready to get married, he found the right woman, settled down happily with her, and enjoyed being a committed husband and father. He even loves his in-laws. Who else on Mad Men loves their in-laws? We've seen nothing to indicate that he's cheating on Cynthia - and faithful husbands are few and far in between on this show.

Much is made of that scene where he pulls up Alison's skirt to check the colour of her underwear, but while I'm not excusing that behaviour (and you know Ken's going to be increasingly embarrassed about it for the rest of his life), it's important to note that Alison seemed remarkably unbothered by it - she laughed! And then spent the night in his office!

Out of all the men in the Sterling Cooper office, Ken would have been my pick for someone to date.
posted by orange swan at 7:02 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Excerpts from Joyce Carol Oates' 600 point plan for fixing Mad Men:

-Murders
-Murderers
-Physical deformity
-Canals
-Teenage rowdies
-Abductions
-Bring back the creepy kid, what's his name
-Lots of screen time for Creepy Kid
-Pete goes mad in Wichita, immolates self
posted by Iridic at 7:07 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oates is right about the Esalen scenes, though.
posted by mediareport at 7:17 PM on May 18, 2015


Ken needs to be less happy so he can accept his destiny as New Wave science fiction author.
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on May 18, 2015


To be fair I'd always like more murders and immolation too
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on May 18, 2015


Eh, I don't think so. Don goes to the clinic chasing his last woman in trouble he's trying to save, he gets trapped there when she steals his car, and then gets the wind knocked out of him with his call to Peggy. Him sticking around is like him smoking pot once or twice - just a way to get new ideas. There's no indication that he's bought into it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:31 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apologies if someone already linked to this above, but the New York Times interview with Jon Hamm is wonderful. When asked if he has an interpretation of the ending, he says:

I do. When we find Don in that place, and this stranger relates this story of not being heard or seen or understood or appreciated, the resonance for Don was total in that moment. There was a void staring at him. We see him in an incredibly vulnerable place, surrounded by strangers, and he reaches out to the only person he can at that moment, and it’s this stranger.

My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, “Wow, that’s awful.” But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led.

posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:44 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, flyingsquirrel, it was linked ten comments above yours with about the same quote ;)
posted by crossoverman at 7:45 PM on May 18, 2015


My only (minor) quibble-- so I was really really hoping we'd have some scenes with Mona before the show was through. There was a throwaway line back in S1, where Roger was mocking someone for "marrying the same woman twice." In a way he sort of accomplished this by marrying Marie::Mona, so many delightful similarities between those two women, down to their raven-haired daughters Megan::Margaret/Marigold.

Wonderful ending to a tremendous series-- I laughed, I cried... Several times I cried. Thanks for the excellent commentary here. I've reached my favorites limit for the day.
posted by hush at 7:50 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Stephanie didn't steal his car -- Don didn't have a car at that point. But he was stranded.

The scene with Don and Leonard demonstrated a real change in Don. Up to that point, every action Don had taken was transactional. In 7b alone, he'd given Megan a million dollars, donated to the VFW because he was put on the spot, given Stephanie the ring, given his bedmate earlier that week the cash out of his wallet. Transactions based on history, based on him breaking a promise, based on feeling the need to measure up.

He didn't know Leonard at all, but that embrace was Don's first truly generous and selfless act. I'm completely OK with him turning that experience into an ad when he gets home.

All of his previous ads were generated by looking inward, using Don's personal experiences with people close to him or his past. This episode marks a change in Don in that he can look outward and find those experiences worthy, which makes him twice the adman he was before because he has twice the perspective to mine for it.
posted by mochapickle at 7:53 PM on May 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Aww crap! Sorry. I just get so damn excited.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:00 PM on May 18, 2015


Up to that point, every action Don had taken was transactional.

SEE ALSO
posted by almostmanda at 8:13 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


TRUE FACT:

Peggy + Stan = that couple from Joy of Sex.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:15 PM on May 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


AS DRAWN BY CHRIS FOSS!

The final SF connection...
posted by Artw at 9:39 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


NSFW, Artw!

Don says YOWZA!
posted by mochapickle at 9:43 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh God, now I can't unsee it. You've ruined half the show for me.

By the way, anyone else spend the day with the Coke song stuck in their head?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:52 PM on May 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


ALL DAY HERE it's been apple trees and honeybees and snow white turtledoves.

I even bought a bottle and it was delicious.
posted by mochapickle at 9:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Had to wait a whole day to watch the finale but it was beautiful.

One of the last things Don says in his call to Peggy is something like "I stole a man's name and didn't do anything with it". He's wondering if his life as Don Draper was a mistake, if he would have been better off if he had just lived it as Dick Whitman. This has been his central turmoil for the entire series and it comes to a climax in this scene and his resulting panic attack.

In his next scene he gets his answer. Leonard, with his uninteresting, uncomplicated life and refrigerator dream represent what Dick Whitman's life would have been if he hadn't become Don Draper. Don was no longer conflicted...he knew for certain now that a life as a complicated, flawed, hedonistic screw-up was better than a life as a boring everyman. Leonard *was* Dick Whitman to Don, and Don genuinely felt sorry for him which is why he hugged him and cried with him. He was saying a final goodbye to Dick Whitman and embracing his Don-ness completely and unapologetically.

Of course Don came up with the Coke ad in mid-meditation. Of course he goes back to McCann and Peggy and New York. But he goes back as a changed man, a whole man. He's not Don and Dick fighting each other in one body, he's 100 percent Don Draper. Dick Whitman is gone.
posted by rocket88 at 10:27 PM on May 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


"I stole a man's name and didn't do anything with it"

I love that he says this to Peggy, who knows from first-hand experience this is wrong. If Dick didn't become Don, Peggy would never have become PEGGY!
posted by crossoverman at 10:42 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


McCann's live tweet about the Peggy/Stan call was flawless.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:04 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I said this elsewhere, but from Kristen Schall's appearance in the first episode to Brett Gelman's in the last (not to mention Juan Jamon's many appearances on Comedy Bang Bang in between), Mad Men was just the most funnysad of all the funnysad alt comedies of the last decade. Take that, David Cross!
posted by elr at 11:28 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Clan Campbell receives a missive from the king.

A king like that.
posted by ian1977 at 4:50 AM on May 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


Did anyone else find the change of tone in the last two episode really abrupt and unsatisfying?

While I liked the story developments on paper, particularly Don's, and continue to meditate on the final shifts in the characters lives, the actually rhythm and style of the last two episodes bugs me immensely. It's not that different things had to happen, it's that many of the things were depicted too literally.

The show lost all sense of ellipsis, which is part of what gave it motion. Watching the show involved learning to fill in the gaps, making the connections between events that happened outside of what was depicted. And after Peggy walked down the hall at the end of "Lost Horizon", it got very expositional with the story arcs (other than Don's.)

Like, it could have stopped with Stan in the doorway of Peggy's office, rather than having them embrace. Or Peter making his middle of the night pitch to Trudy, without her whole-hearted response. Joan returning to her call, boyfriend on his way out the door. We'd still sense what was going to happen. But they way they chose to edit their final scenes was tidy, and had a way of diminishing them. Sure, they'll have new challenges, and the incredible performances from the actors in those scenes hint at those things. But the passages all felt off key.

On the one hand, I can see reasons for doing this- Sterling Cooper was over, and the company's dizzy spirit of stasis and turmoil was dead and ghostless now. Everyone who made it out was freed, with the mixed blessings of freedom. But the final two episodes feel like an extended postscript or appendix, compact and rushed. They feel even more compact and rushed given the utter brilliance of Peggy and Sterling's final meandering encounter in the wreckage of the SC&P offices.

I found the final scenes in Don's life very compelling, but I feel like there were production decisions that, in order to preserve some ambiguity in his storyline, they'd provide more resolution for everyone else. And it felt disrespectful to them, because their stories became more important to us emotionally than the mysteries of Dick Wittman. Their voids were just as valuable.

That I still feel like this was the best television show I've witnessed means perhaps it will work for me in the long run. Mad Men broke though to places that were only possible with it's style and format. Every week, we'd see that silhouette fall, but ultimately land, in chair, arm outstretch in comfort and maybe smugness. Something like that inexplicable landing happened in the final two hours. I'd like to think it will work for me once it's settled in. Right now, not so sure.
posted by bendybendy at 4:58 AM on May 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


So I finally got down to watching it last night with someone who has caught most of the episodes, but didn't see the penultimate episode (had no idea about Betty). It was a very unique experience.

Nice to see it on better than a tablet screen, though I was too tired to freeze frame. The faces! Fantastic.

I thought, too, bendybendy that these were like appendices. And I think it worked. Enough bullshit and vagueness. And the more I think about it, that last grin might have been just the good idea for Coke, or it might have been some Zen like acceptance that Dick Whitman is every man and is dead.

But I keep coming back to the ding of the chime, the ding of the typewriter, and the OM of Freddy. The OM struck me at the time, but only slightly, not enough to remark on it at the time.

Everyone else might have gotten the Coke song stuck in their heads, but I had "Everyday" stuck in my head. Not the Buddy Holly version, but it and James Taylor's cover cuz that's how I roil. Kind of messy because the beats and treatment are different, as are the words, slightly. But they fit what's going on in these last coda episodes.
Everyday it's a-gettin' closer
Goin' faster than a rollercoaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey-hey

Everyday it's a-gettin' faster
...

I thought it was a song to us.

But it's an older song. Recorded in 1957, possibly one of the older songs used on the show in the future. So I was thinking it was a counterpoint to the previous episode's finale song, Space Oddity to put a point on the idea that the last two episodes are codas, appendices, wrap ups intentionally different from all that has gone before. What was going on in 1957? Don and Betty were a young married couple, married four years with a three year old, Sally, and a baby, Bobby #0.

But I went all over the place with the idea that the Everyday song was dragging him back, and us back, nostalgically, to an alternate timeline where he was still wandering, and as alluded to in the next (this) episode, regressing back to his car and "freedom" and "figuring self out" days.

Then it hit me, "ding", yes, it is, but it's also tied to the ending meditation. What is in that more simplified song style? Chimes. (It's more simplified to me because again, I have James' version very strongly burned into my brain).
posted by tilde at 5:59 AM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Watching Freddy's Accutron pitch, it's describing the meeting that Don walks out of (but he walks out, he doesn't start a conversation about the watch). And as Peggy says, it's kind of an end run.

A board room, muffled conversations, black and white (clothes), looking at men's wrists, traffic over the muffled conversations. Don tunes out the conversation, hears the traffic, sees the plane, looks around the table again, and leaves.

I wonder if the description of Bill's "every man" is Leonard as well.
posted by tilde at 6:36 AM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


An interesting take from Chuck Klosterman on the series, and how it epitomizes the weird thing that is "work friendship".
posted by Rock Steady at 9:15 AM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I could very clearly see how Don identified with Refrigerator Man, all the women in his life eventually rejected him ("pick me, pick me").

It made me recall "The Marriage of Figaro," when Betty asks him to go get the cake, and he just keeps driving past the house. He feels invisible at home and bringing home a puppy is his way of getting attention: of course the kids love him for bringing them a puppy. And it's his passive aggressive way of getting back at Betty for treating him like a prop.

So he's on to the next woman, and the next, and eventually they will all reject him, and the door will close and the light will go off. It's the anti-Carousel speech: it's the truth, instead of a web of lies and fairy tales.

The woman who helped him up after the retreat didn't reject him -- all of those people accepted him, not knowing who he was or where he came from. Don/Dick has never had that, he's been rejected since the day he was born. So of course he was primed for this enlightenment, I've seen it in action in real life -- men who go to seminars and start breaking down (and of course the leader is there to build them back up). And then all of a sudden we have flowers, smiley faces, and peace signs on every product in every store, along with peasant tops and peaceful, harmonious Coco Cola. Groovy, man. The Establishment finally caught up.

I imagine Don will turn into one of those embarrassing fathers who wants to talk to Sally about feelings and she will say, "Gross! What's wrong with you?"

Joan kept asking Richard about marriage -- because there was no way she would agree to shack up and live with him without being married. When he said he didn't want to get married the first time, she laughed as if she were being given her freedom, and the second time it was more like, "well, if you won't commit to me, then why should I commit to be your plaything indefinitely?" In a similar vein, Marie was saying the same thing to Roger when he yelled at her for seeing Emile, "do you want me to end up on the street with a suitcase and a dollar in my pocket?"

I thought the Steggy thing was cute, especially when he told her she makes him crazy. Sometimes a little trope can be good on top of all of the other heavy stuff, like Betty.

Also loved Trudy's outfit, very posh!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:34 AM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Joyce Carol Oates tweets epic dissatisfaction with "Mad Men" finale.

I don't spend much time on Twitter so have no real stake in this, but I love the theory posited on the Reply All podcast that Oates is an unfiltered, give-no-fucks epic Twitter troll, because why not?
posted by psoas at 9:39 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Richard was the subtler type of bastard, the kind who seems reasonable and even solicitous on the surface but that's just a veneer over selfishness. Didn't like Joan having a son because "he's done that". Doesn't want her to have a career because he's done that too. Basically wants her to be one of his retirement prizes. And hey, okay, you're allowed to want what you want as long as you say so up front. But the fact that he walked away as she took a call and couldn't turn it into a conversation pretty much dropped him into prick territory.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:45 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


because there was no way she would agree to shack up and live with him without being married

No, she was totally on board with the shacking-up and living-with. It was the idle plaything of a rich man that she wasn't into being unless marriage was on the table.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on May 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


One thing I just thought of is that we get two takes of Don at the sessions. In the first he's distant, and when his niece has her breakdown he offers her advice instead of actually holding her and comforting her. In the second, with fridge guy (that was a great performance, I thought, and it's shame to call the character fridge guy over and over), Don is able to have emotional connection with a total stranger who just happens to vocalize something that's near and dear to Don's heart both professionally and emotionally.

If you're trying to come down on one side of Don leaving advertising or not (and I thought he would going into this episode) that sort of tells it for me. The job and his own internal emotional trauma is still trumping his love for those who are close to him. In a certain sense he has the "solution" for a lot of his emptiness, which is to just reach out to these people around him without offering them money or a way to solve their problems, but instead he continually swishes back into his advertising depression vampire cloak.
posted by codacorolla at 9:56 AM on May 19, 2015


In the second, with fridge guy (that was a great performance, I thought, and it's shame to call the character fridge guy over and over), ...

Leonard = fridge guy. And I think I agree with your assessment.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:09 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like to think it was Dick comforting fridge guy. Invisible man to invisible man.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:28 AM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I was watching fridge guyLeonard thinking "who is this actor whom I don't recall ever seeing before, who can do this performance?" I hope his career takes off from this, looks like it's been a bit feast or famine, but long and not without distinction. Ten episodes of The West Wing, for example.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:40 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another guy with similar chops did a little time on the West Wing as well, and he's not doing so badly.
posted by tilde at 10:45 AM on May 19, 2015


No, she was totally on board with the shacking-up and living-with. It was the idle plaything of a rich man that she wasn't into being unless marriage was on the table.

I think it was more like, "you don't get to dictate what I do unless you put a ring on it," and I will have to go back and rewatch, because it seems like he was pushing for her to move in with him in a house and Kevin would be sent to school (boarding school?) and they'd be away from her mother.

But think we can all agree that Richard was a jerk.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:19 AM on May 19, 2015


I can sense this thread is waning as time passes, understandably.

What the hell do we do now?

Am bereft. Please advise.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:27 AM on May 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


we restart the rewatch. 92 episodes, one every sunday, should take us to March-ish 2017...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


One thing that struck a jarring note for me was the whole extraneous excursion to the Utah desert. Last we saw him, Don/Dick is aimlessly sitting by the side of the road. Next thing we know, he's wearing goggles and driving fast cars on the salt flats, being admired by the younger drivers and flirted with by the shop betties.

Since when is Don a professional-quality driver? Who even are these people, and how did Don accumulate so much status with them so fast? Because while that money may get you behind the wheel of a car like that, it doesn't get you the kind of deference the younger guys were throwing him.

The whole thing seems like a bolted-on macho wish-fulfillment fantasy, not organically rooted in Don/Dick's life as we know it. I literally expected the next scene to show him waking up under an overpass realizing it was all a dream.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:38 AM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


The Lear 24A that Pete steps onto is exactly correct. Want to talk about attention to detail? That particular airplane is the 12th Learjet 24A off the production line in 1968, and was used as a demonstrator and executive transport before Clay Lacey bought it.

They could have used any Learjet, but nooooo.
posted by pjern at 11:44 AM on May 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


Jay Ferguson Interview, on his secret coup:
I’ll tell you this, and you’re the first person I’ve been able to share this with because you have to be so tight-lipped about everything with the show. Even though Matt had told me it was never going to happen, every chance I got I would always try to put in a little nuance–a look or an intention in a word–to leave that door open on the stuff they gave me with Lizzie. I was trying to pull my own secret coup. I’m sure everyone on the show picked up on it, but I tried to will that ending to happen as much as I could. I like to believe that in some tiny way I helped it come to pass.
posted by gladly at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2015 [21 favorites]


Since when is Don a professional-quality driver? Who even are these people, and how did Don accumulate so much status with them so fast?

Don doesn't have to be a professional-quality driver. He knows enough about cars to talk shop with the guys, and he has cash. Those younger guys (and woman) immediately saw Don for what he was: a man easily parted from his money. They flattered him enough to get him to agree to sponsor them in their race. (We'd seen this happen with the guys at the VFW hall in the previous episode, too, of course.)
posted by ChrisTN at 12:01 PM on May 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


One thing that struck a jarring note for me was the whole extraneous excursion to the Utah desert. Last we saw him, Don/Dick is aimlessly sitting by the side of the road. Next thing we know, he's wearing goggles and driving fast cars on the salt flats, being admired by the younger drivers and flirted with by the shop betties.

This totally wasn't what was actually going on, but for the first few seconds of that scene my brain read it as Weiner using Don't established gearheadedness as a springboard to make a visual callout to Mad Max.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 12:02 PM on May 19, 2015


What the hell do we do now?

Am bereft. Please advise.



Yeah two of my most favorite shows, Parks and Rec AND Mad Men, ended this year. It's like all my close friends moved away.
posted by littlesq at 12:04 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


gladly, thanks for that link--SUCH a great little interview with Stan!

I'm still processing all this. The one thing that is really really not sitting well with me is the disappearance of Dawn. I did some googling to see if I could find commentary on it, but didn't come up with anything. Is it possible Teyonah Parris just had scheduling conflicts with the movie she was working on, and couldn't be involved in the last few episodes?

The last we saw of Dawn was when Roger thought she hadn't paid the rent on the old office, right? We don't even know if she made the transfer to McCann?
posted by torticat at 12:23 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


This show was never going to wrap everything up in a neat little bow. I would have been disappointed if it did.

But it did! It wrapped up everything in a neat bow. Don is arguably left with an open ending, but that's only if you consider the Coke ad to be some kind of bizarre non sequitur.

On its own, it was one of the best (deepest) episodes of the series, but as a capper, I found it all massively anticlimactic and underwhelming. Most of the endings came out of nowhere. It might as well have been one of those subtitled montage American Graffiti epilogues: "Joan started her own production company and was very successful. Roger and Marie lived happily ever after. Pete and Trudy lived happily ever after. Stan and Peggy lived happily ever after. Betty died of lung cancer. Don coped with all his losses in five minutes and taught the world to sing."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:23 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


“The Redemption of Don Draper,” Zach Hoag, Sojourners Culture Watch, 18 May 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 12:27 PM on May 19, 2015


Another nice detail (forgive me if already mentioned) was Tammy carrying the Barbie doll (that Pete gave her in The Strategy) onto the plane.

("Tammy" was also the name of a Barbie doll competitor that ran its course by 1965)
posted by mikepop at 12:27 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also loved how he picked her up and carried her with a smile on his face. That gave me hope.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 12:36 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Anybody feeling the sting of withdrawal should start watching Happyish.
posted by bleep at 12:39 PM on May 19, 2015


Oh HELL YES bleep. Watched eps 2-4 last night (had seen 1 when it premiered), and it's kind of... Mad Men Episode 350.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:44 PM on May 19, 2015


“The Redemption of Don Draper,” Zach Hoag, Sojourners Culture Watch, 18 May 2015

I was hoping for several songs to be "the last song" and in retrospect the Coke jingle was pretty obvious. :P I put the words to The End here, but was also rooting a few posts up from that for Space Oddity.

Here are the lyrics:
I'd like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

(Chorus)
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing

(Repeat Chorus)

(Chorus 2)
What the world wants today
Is the real thing

(Repeat Chorus 2)
I don't know if Don was so much as redeemed as finally accepting of both Dick and Don and amalgamating them into one. He's been buying houses and love for years. And selling nylons.
posted by tilde at 12:44 PM on May 19, 2015


They could have used any Learjet, but nooooo.

Yeah, but take it from someone who has tried to photograph a number of motorcycles in such a way that the wear and tear doesn't show: don't let sunlight hit clear plastic --in this case the windshield -- in your shot. Do it on an overcast day or shoot with the sun behind you. Otherwise the fine scratches show its age.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:45 PM on May 19, 2015


"Joan started her own production company and was very successful. Roger and Marie lived happily ever after. Pete and Trudy lived happily ever after. Stan and Peggy lived happily ever after. Betty died of lung cancer. Don coped with all his losses in five minutes and taught the world to sing."

Eh...you could read it that way if you want, but I think it's a bit presumptive to assume that most of these characters live happily ever after (Peggy's arguably an exception). I prefer to think of it as, everybody keeps trying.
posted by breakin' the law at 1:00 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm with Joyce Carol Oates (who I believed was deceased, wtaf?) we could have done without Megan, maaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnn.
posted by tilde at 1:08 PM on May 19, 2015


Joan actually has the space to crash and burn and start again - her son is taken care of so she can put more resources into her business and start over if she doesn't make it work. I bet she does, though. And Roger and Marie may stay together but since both of them can throw an epic tantrum when the situation calls for it, I'm assuming it won't be a quiet life.

I also think Stan and Peggy may have a great relationship, but it won't be an easy one. I liked how the actor pointed out that he's the adjunct to her story.

Also, Sally and Bobby and Gene's lives are very much up in the air. Does Don help them stay with Henry? Does he take over enough of the parental duties so Sally doesn't have to parent the boys herself and give up things like a trip to Spain? Will Bobby be happier?
posted by PussKillian at 1:08 PM on May 19, 2015


I've been wondering what Sally's going to become. Something in politics, with Henry's influence and her private academy connections? I think ingratiating herself to people doesn't come naturally to her -- though you should never judge the man or woman by the adolescent they once were. She might end up like Henry himself, a behind the scenes figure rather than a figurehead. Not suffering fools gladly is something she gets from both parents. I don't think we ever really learn about her interests, so picturing her as a magazine editor or something is fun but who knows?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:10 PM on May 19, 2015


I'm with Joyce Carol Oates (who I believed was deceased, wtaf?) we could have done without Megan, maaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnn.

Canada agrees.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:48 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thinking about the ending some more (a lot), I think what settles it for me is this - Don has always tried to run away and reinvent himself. The ending isn't a choice between does Don change or not, it's does he change enough. Does he break that cycle of running away and reinvention. Let's say Don has achieved enlightenment and we decide he stays in California, isn't that a cynical ending? Isn't that saying he's better off without his family and his life?

I never would have thought the idea of Don walking back into the machine of McCann was a bright one, but the idea that he's found peace and he moves back east with a killer idea, so he's closer to his family and he's broken the cycle - he remains Don, he doesn't become Dick again, he doesn't invent a third persona - is somewhat comforting.
posted by crossoverman at 1:54 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Leonard, with his uninteresting, uncomplicated life and refrigerator dream represent what Dick Whitman's life would have been if he hadn't become Don Draper. Don was no longer conflicted...he knew for certain now that a life as a complicated, flawed, hedonistic screw-up was better than a life as a boring everyman. Leonard *was* Dick Whitman to Don, and Don genuinely felt sorry for him which is why he hugged him and cried with him. He was saying a final goodbye to Dick Whitman and embracing his Don-ness completely and unapologetically.

My take on the "Don hugs Leonard" scene was that when Leonard said he felt like he was the man no one noticed or chose, Don related to it because that's how felt inside. No, Don Draper isn't a colourless nonentity who gets overlooked by others, but inside, he's Dick Whitman, and no matter how much the alpha male he was outside he has always felt that no one could love him if they knew who he really was. By hugging Leonard, he was acknowledging that they both felt the same way inside and comforting both of them for it.
posted by orange swan at 1:54 PM on May 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jay Ferguson Interview, on his secret coup:

Love this: "Poor Lizzie, it’s such a great moment for her but you can barely see it because of all the hair that is on my head. You assume that there’s two people kissing underneath all that hair, but you can’t verify it."

I wish they'd addressed whether or not he's happy to be able to shave. :-)
posted by anastasiav at 1:55 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I found it all massively anticlimactic and underwhelming.

Yeah, but it was denouement, it wasn't meant to be climactic.

Really the only open question going into the finale was what would happen with Don.

Everyone else's story had been told... for the moment. And we know that however "happily ever after" they might seem right now, real life goes on (for these fictional characters, ha).

I don't know, I feel like we've all become too cynical. I kind of love Weiner's sentimentalism, mixed as it is with a healthy amount of cynicism on his part. He falls in love with his characters, and that is great.

I love that Jay Ferguson et al were able to persuade him (at least according to the interview linked above) into an explicitly happy ending for Peggy and Stan. And that they pulled it off in such a perfectly Peggyish and Stannish way.

I can see why others might disagree though.
posted by torticat at 2:09 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but it was denouement, it wasn't meant to be climactic.

Good point. That would make Betty's diagnosis the climax of the show, more or less.

Stannish

look he's busy going to winterfell ok
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


The one thing that really convinces me that Don wrote the Coke ad (although I still have much doubt) is how they set up Meredith being let go. If Don comes back, she keeps her job. If he doesn't come back, her storyline seems unfinished to me.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:14 PM on May 19, 2015


Nah, her storyline is that she'll land on her feet. She always does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, she becomes a famous interior decorator... who also solves crimes!

That would be amazing. We need some sort of petition.
posted by mochapickle at 2:29 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, she becomes a famous interior decorator... who also solves crimes!

That would be amazing. We need some sort of petition.


Maybe we can kickstart a comic book series. I'm sure we have everyone we need to produce it right in this thread.
posted by mikepop at 2:40 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think Meredith would be nearly as wonderful without Stephanie Drake's incredible timing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2015


SALLY DRAPER DEMON HUNTER
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


get back in your corner
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:48 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


look he's busy going to winterfell ok

Oh man. Stan could solve all the problems of the seven kingdoms, or more likely have the grace to stand by while Peggy did.
posted by torticat at 3:03 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stan's beard has to go to Antarctica to fight The Thing.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


It was one of the toughest nuts that Meredith had ever tried to crack, she would later tell her friends at the beauty parlor. Even tougher than when she had found her first boss, Don, at a California commune and dragged him back to New York against the persistent efforts of the sleazy cult leader Danny Coyote. In fact, the Draper file was peanuts against what she was up against now.

That something was an expansive three floor mansion in Bal Harbour with an impossible client who would simply not let go of their attraction to Matador themed decor. Right now that intractable someone, one Mr. Castellon, was crossing his arms and glaring at her, standing defiantly in front of a floridly red Spaniard pointing a little silver dagger into a charging turquoise bull painted on black velvet.

"Listen, the painting doesn't go! No further argument!" he said to her.

Merry smiled, folded her hands in front of her, and cocked her head to one side. It was a look that usually melted men like him.

"Oh, well, It's a great painting, but you said you wanted to modernize, right?"

He snorted, not unlike the bull in the painting. Well, the look usually worked, anyway.

Merry went into her head and did what she usually did when she was trying to collect herself. She imagined herself in the swimming pool of her own tastefully appointed patio in her Coconut Grove townhouse that she had earned through four years as Miami's predominant interior designer. She felt peace returning lap by lap, when a sudden sound of shattering glass and the wet smack of flesh broke her concentration. Merry's aquatic reverie was replaced by the sight of her client, Pierre Castellon dead on the ground, a sizable pool of blood collecting from where his head had fallen, saturating the painted fabric of the detestable painting. Meredith felt a scream rising up in her throat, and she caught it before it escaped.

Despite herself (a voice in her head shouting, "Don't get involved again! Let the police sort it out!") Merry began to piece together several bits of information relating to her client that she had been shelving away in the corner of herself that seemed both drawn instinctively to trouble, and with an indisputable knack for solving it. The telephone call, the stranger snooping around the back yard last week, the storage unit just outside of Jacksonville...

"Oh, dangit!" Meredith Drake (Merry to her friends) said under her breath, already beginning to come to conclusions that she knew she couldn't just ignore in good conscience. Her previous experience was that the police got these things all wrong, and she wouldn't be able to sleep at night if she didn't give them a hand. Meredith sighed, closed her eyes, did one more lap in the sunlit waters of her mind, and then crossed the room (making sure to give the corpse a wide berth) to the garish fake wrought iron phone that caused her such consternation each time she looked at it. She picked it up and dialed.

"Hello, police, I'd like to report a murder."

MEREDITH DRAKE IN A "MERRY INTERIORS" MURDER MYSTERY: THE CASE OF THE CHARGING BULL
posted by codacorolla at 3:21 PM on May 19, 2015 [28 favorites]


Stan's beard has to go to Antarctica to fight The Thing.

Pete Campbell and Stan Rizzo take the lead in the drama/horror/comedy spinoff, A Thing Like That. Coming Fall 2017.
posted by naju at 3:29 PM on May 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Don/Dick is wearing the white shirt, but he's wearing khakis, not suit pants and is barefoot.

I think he'll still be a presence in the kids' lives after Betty dies, but he'll respect what Sally thinks is best.
posted by brujita at 3:45 PM on May 19, 2015


Also, I don't think using his own experience to make an ad is entirely cynical - he's always done that. But this time, instead of mining his own history - which peaked with Hersheys - he's now co-opting the hippie movement for his own purposes. Now, sure, that is somewhat opportunistic, but it's not his own history anymore. He's spent a decade learning the world is moving on without him, he might as well use that to his advantage.

All creative people use their own experiences to make art. Don's art is advertising. I don't think his week or so in Northern California meditating necessarily changes him, just gives him enough of a new experience to mine.

The more I think about the end, the more I love it.
posted by crossoverman at 4:38 PM on May 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


anastasiav: "I wish they'd addressed whether or not he's happy to be able to shave. :-)"

I think Ferguson has said elsewhere he's looking forward to a shave and haircut.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:39 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah two of my most favorite shows, Parks and Rec AND Mad Men, ended this year. It's like all my close friends moved away.

Dude. Same here, except my closest friends actually did move away in February. And I just got sort of dumped.

I guess what I'm saying is, start the rewatch. It may be the only way we survive. And by we I mean me.
posted by palomar at 4:48 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


That would make Betty's diagnosis the climax of the show, more or less

Yeah, I think it was. Definitely the climax for Betty and Sally, maybe for Don.

Would be interesting to figure out where the climax was for each of the other characters. For Peggy, it was probably the conversation with the headhunter guy, when she decided to stay at McCann. Leading into the lovely rollerskating scene, and the fuck-you walk down the hall.

For Joan, it was her choice to take her 50 cents on the dollar and run? That bled over a bit into the finale though, with her letting Richard go, and starting her own business. But her choice was pretty much made when she left McCann.

For Pete, the decision that Wichita was better for him than NYC.

I'm not sure there was a climax for Roger (lol, I feel kind of gross typing that sentence). I'm not sure we needed one, though, because Roger will always just be Roger. He's pretty much a static character.
posted by torticat at 4:54 PM on May 19, 2015



Is anyone else worried that maybe Peggy doesn't really love Stan?
I just rewatched that scene online and um...I don't know if she's sure.
posted by sweetkid at 5:03 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a less pleasant note, the guy who played Ferg is apparently an asshole: BuzzFeed Staffer Accuses 'Mad Men' Actor of Sexual Harassment During Interview
posted by Chrysostom at 5:11 PM on May 19, 2015


I think Roger's story has a climax--Sterling Cooper (/Draper/Pryce/And/Partners) was his life's work. Accepting that SC was done and he was going to McCann was a big deal.
posted by almostmanda at 5:12 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but I'm not sure Roger was ever passionate about anything. He was pissed that SC was taken away from him, but eh, he can live with it. He's floated through life on a cloud of wisecracks, and I don't think that'll change.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:17 PM on May 19, 2015


I just remembered this dumb thing I made a couple of years ago.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:35 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


With Don at a commune ... and after Henry Francis loses everything in a corruption scandal ... Betty realizes she'll need cash for Bobby and Gene.

So she starts selling meth -- I mean, diet pills -- to Greenwich housewives. She's buys them from a downtown connection -- a guy that runs an import/export business in Little Italy.

She's tired of everyone telling her to shut up. She's not stupid. She speaks Italian.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:52 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Freddy Rumsen needs a 70s spinoff. He's gonna be ok.

Maybe he solves crimes.
posted by sweetkid at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is anyone else worried that maybe Peggy doesn't really love Stan? I just rewatched that scene online and um...I don't know if she's sure.

I think maybe all she's sure of is that when Stan said there's more to life than work, that wasn't true enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love Freddy Rumson and am so glad he got that Accutron scene. It was mesmerizing to watch and one of my favorite scenes of the entire series.

When Meredith said "I'll land on my feet, I always do," I thought back to Shirley telling her they ought to put a bell on her. She has nine lives!
posted by sallybrown at 6:52 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I believe it was Joan with the "we ought to put a bell on you" snipe.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:55 PM on May 19, 2015


definitely Shirley, but a Joan-worthy line for sure.
posted by mochapickle at 7:11 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


palomar: Dude. Same here, except my closest friends actually did move away in February. And I just got sort of dumped.

I guess what I'm saying is, start the rewatch. It may be the only way we survive. And by we I mean me.


After my breakup (I got dumped too YAY!!) I watched every single episode (it was up to S4 at that point) of Parks and Rec multiple times over the course of a year. That show is seriously a blessing - there is no way you can feel bad after watching a few episodes.

Distraction is a very good thing :)
posted by littlesq at 7:11 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


*ahem* back to Mad Men...

I seriously wouldn't of come up with 90% (I've got 10%!!!) of the theories/conclusions/observations that you all have discussed on here. You guys are awesome :D
posted by littlesq at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2015




I wonder if there's any way to measure whether Coke sales went up in a unusual way Monday. I went out and bought the first Coke I'd had in probably 15 years, and I heard the same from a few friends.
posted by sallybrown at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ken Levine: My Thoughts On The Mad Men Finale

I guess that would be his impression if he thought the show was basically downhill after season one. Or, if he was really only watching for Don.

I mean, he says the JUSTIFIED finale was better. Apples and oranges. The JUSTIFIED finale had the climax of the story. The MAD MEN finale had Don's climax and everyone else's denouement.
posted by crossoverman at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2015


I just spent five hours mopping out a hopelessly flooded basement, but codacorolla's story about Meredith solving crimes renews my faith in life in general. I'm especially fond the line about the sunlit waters of her mind -- that's exactly where she'd duck out to during her years at SCDP.
posted by mochapickle at 9:00 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Peggy puts her hand on her heart as she realizes she loves Stan too.
posted by brujita at 9:38 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I wonder if there's any way to measure whether Coke sales went up in a unusual way Monday. "

Have you ever noticed that if you go to a Pepsi restaurant and order a Diet Coke they always ask, "Diet Pepsi okay?" but if you order as Diet Pepsi and they only have Coke products, NOBODY EVER ASKS THE REVERSE because Diet Coke is just objectively superior, of course you'd want it.

I'd rather "Teach the World to Sing," though, than "Share a Coke with _____" ... bitch, I don't share my Diet Coke with anybody, that's why I drink straight from the two-liter and make sure to backwash!

POOR UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC, COKE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:50 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Straight from the two-liter
Pete's kingdom for an img tag

posted by mochapickle at 9:56 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




I wish they'd addressed whether or not he's happy to be able to shave. :-)

Vulture asked about it! Seems it was like saying goodbye to a friend:
So [the beard]'s like a pet, but someone else took care of it. You just had to home it.
Yeah. And then when the show ended, it took me awhile to bring myself to cut it.

Aww.
But I did, eventually, I cut the sides off first and then I just walked around with this humongous, Lebowski-ish goatee that grew to such an absurd length, and then, I mean, I really didn't want to let it go. And then I shaved the mustache off and I just had this chin thing that was like a foot long, and then it was just like, "Okay, what am I doing?"

I think this is the new stages of grief. Stages of Jay's post–Mad Men beard.
It was tough to separate.
Worthless without pictures, dude.
posted by rewil at 10:23 PM on May 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Definitely had a coke tonight with dinner because of the show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:51 PM on May 19, 2015


Jay R Ferguson's tweet from July last year, after shooting had finished.
posted by crossoverman at 11:59 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I just don't think Don would ever want to buy the world a coke. It's not his style and I just didn't believe him ever making that creative leap based on his experiences in the commune. He had such a shitty time and the first inkling g of human empathy he felt towards refrigerator guy was too fragile to be that expansive.

But I simultaneously believe there's a big ass Thomas Frankian "fuck you" message in the finale.

The beauty of it is I'm right. You're all right. You're alright.

On reflection I came away realising Don Draper has always been written to be a cipher for the viewer. You see what makes the most sense to you. It's about communication, and the major gaps in our lives between broadcast and reception, storytelling and reading.

For me the show is ultimately about writing as well and all through it there have been little fingerdrums on the fourth wall, knowing glances between them the creators, and us the viewers. We've all had this tacit relationship with the writing for this show, and appreciated it on this level.

I will miss it.

.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:00 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peggy puts her hand on her heart as she realizes she loves Stan too.

This! I was just thinking about this this morning, actually. At one point during that phone conversation she looks down and the biggest smile crosses her face - just like when the lawyer (? can't remember) asked her to go to Paris and she said no, but after he left, the same smile of pure happiness crossed her face, just from having been asked. I know that feeling. ("Me??? Really? ZOMG!") Kudos to Ms. Moss for depicting that subtle, personal, breathtaking inner sense of glee so well.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 2:42 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Her hand was on her heart ("And you're here") when she realises she loves Stan.

When he comes in the room, running, breathless, relentlessly casual, she doesn't put the phone handset down.

"Now what were you saying?"

She puts it to her chest, her heart.

"I love you."

Maybe she says something more, but not much. She hangs it up in the cradle without missing or messing it up. No jittery fumbling. It's part of her, it's part of him, it's part of them. And she reaches out to him, person to person.
posted by tilde at 6:09 AM on May 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


And she reaches out to him, person to person.

*faints*
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:09 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The show was really all about Trudy, how she stuck it out and finally got the life she deserved all along.
posted by signal at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Eyebrows McGee, I love the "Share a Coke with" campaign. I buy my bottles in pairs. Now when I drop one, I know which one I dropped. I can just picture an imaginary three year old running after one rolling away, shouting "Mommy, mommy, you just dropped Kenny!"
posted by tilde at 6:25 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like to think Stan ran to Peggy's office so fast in order to "collapse the waveform" of their phone relationship and their in-person relationship. If he could get to her while she was still on the phone, their positive phone interactions would carry over to their physical connection.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:36 AM on May 20, 2015 [9 favorites]




The threat index is awesome. The Don Draper version would be:

Red: WHAT. (grim Don)
Orange: What!? (definitely concerned)
Yellow: What. (what, me worry?)
Blue: what..? (quizzical)
Green: wat (drunken stupor)
posted by jquinby at 6:49 AM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Possibly a "Jesus..." or a "I love puppies!" In there too.
posted by Artw at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh. Pete actually had a lot of awful things happen to him during the run of the show, and it was all a big joke. Betty loses her parents? We grieve for her. Pete loses his? It's hilarious.
posted by orange swan at 6:54 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pete's parents sucked. He survived them.

Betty's parents were meh, but they didn't hate her and mess her up and screw her over.
posted by tilde at 7:10 AM on May 20, 2015


So total references to suitcases or luggage in this episode:
1-Marie saying in French if Roger left her, she'd be on the street with just her suitcase.
2- Above reference reinforced: "all I got from that was 'suitcase'"
3-Peggy has to skip lunch with Pete & Harry because of issues with Samsonite
4-the suitcase print behind Peggy as she talks to Don & then Stan on the phone, as tracicle pointed out
5-Caroline refers to Marie (when trying to be discrete in front of Meredith): "the package.. from Montreal..with all the luggage?"
6-the car dude asking "should we pack you", and Don saying "I'm packed," grabbing his envelope.
7-Stephanie bringing her bag around with her because didn't want to leave it unattended in the room
8-Don with that Penney's bag clutched in hand in several scenes.

I think there's a strong call back to the episode "The Suitcase." The references above, plus the ring + Stephanie means you can't help but think of Anna. Plus, that's an episode where Peggy , rather than Don, fielded several phone calls (Duck, boyfriend +fam at dinner, Roger) all about leaving work; she ultimately stayed all night.

The Suitcase in that episode was carried by the ghost of the dead Anna. There are ghost cutouts (plus cats + pumpkins) in the office because it's Halloween. I'm not saying that Don literally died. Anna got the typical version of death & a spiritual "homecoming" (with her good leg, bathed in light, visiting Don, in a youthful dress). Don's homecoming was the capitalist version of that. It's happened before, as Peggy said, to other advertising men. On Madison Avenue, the "fortunate fall"/felix culpa (Don reminds us he "grew up with Jesus" when talking to Stephanie after the group session) is leaving advertising, and coming back to make...bigger ads. Like many have pointed out, the opening credits start with a man who started in the skyscraper, falling, and then ending back in an office chair with a cigarette in hand. He's packed, we see him dressed to go back (in a button up while "Om-ing")...we just don't see his return.
posted by neda at 7:45 AM on May 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


Steggy was not fan service* to me. It served a much better purpose. Their romantic awakening is immediately preceded by Don's call to Peggy. Concerned, Peggy calls Stan and he tells her (paraphrasing) that she can let go of Don, while still caring about him. Peggy reacts as if a light bulb has gone off (because Stan always tells her the truth!). With those words, Peggy is released from her emotional co-dependence on Don's misery. Stan takes advantage of this opportunity to declare his feelings, and Peggy's heart is open to accept him.

*I disagree that there is such a thing as "fan service." The notion of fan service assumes that the Fan is a monolithic entity with common desires. As these comments show, there are fans who did not need Steggy to happen, who did not desire closure on anyone's story, and who love ambiguity. Since everything that happens in any medium that has fans is "fan service" to some and not to others, the term is meaningless.
posted by Cheezitsofcool at 8:18 AM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


The notion of fan service assumes that the Fan is a monolithic entity with common desires.

Yes. But this is an assumption content creators make when they churn out fan service. It is not always a fair assumption -- calculated cynicism rarely is -- but it is a thing that happens.

I'm not saying Steggy is fan service (while sudden, it was a long time coming, and the suddenness made sense) but Steggy shipping has been a fairly dominant theme in Mad Men fandom since Stan first appeared, so it's not like the accusation is coming out of left field.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:26 AM on May 20, 2015


Tom and Lorenzo: First and Last Looks at Mad Men

Wow, Vincent Kartheiser was young....

Also, of note: the 'first' shot of Betty is in pink. In the last shot, its Sally that's behind her in pink.
posted by anastasiav at 9:55 AM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I will never get over how fabulous Trudy is in our last look at her.
posted by rewil at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just finished watching the episode, and I haven't quite made it all the way through this thread, but I want to chime in before I forget what I have to say:

One of the most interesting things for me about this finale is that I think we see that although it's never too late to try to change and make a better life for yourself, not every door will still be open for you.

For example, just looking at some of our (potential and actual) couples:

Peggy and Pete: I love their final scene together. There is a lot of genuine affection there, and I do feel like, in an alternate universe, maybe one where Peggy started out on more even footing with Pete (like 20 years in the future), they totally could have worked as a real couple.

But it wasn't meant to be. And yet, they still both got very positive endings. They didn't end up with each other, but they ended up with someone who was the right person at the right time. I think there's also an important parallel in that they both realized that, although work will always be important to them, it's not the end all and be all. They've always been strivers, but where they really found peace is in the realization that you can have professional fulfillment but it doesn't outweigh the need for that personal connection.

One of the insights from Pete's conversation with Peggy is that he realizes he may never be the greatest, but he can still be very good, and either way, he can be happy with his family. That final shot of Pete, Trudy, and Tammy is so beautiful. I really can see them living like royalty in Wichita.

I also like to imagine that Peggy and Stan make it work and that Peggy does get to have kids with him. Although I wasn't initially sold on Steggy, I've come to really like them as a couple. Stan keeps Peggy grounded, and I can totally see him being a great foil as a spouse and a parent. Peggy may be a bit more of the disciplinarian, but we saw with Julio that she really does have a soft spot, and I think Stan will be a great goofy but also responsible parent. I like to imagine that the moment when Peggy revealed she gave her baby up for adoption led to a lightbulb for him where he realized, "I want to have babies with Peggy." (Sort of kidding, but not really.) I also feel like Peggy needs an SO who will be willing to support her in her career, especially if she's going to have kids. And Stan can be that person. He may not be a full time house husband, but I can see him being totally happy to let Peggy's career take priority over his, so he can be the one picking up the kids from school, etc, while she really flourishes in her career.

Joan and Roger also fit into this theme. I always liked them together, but this ending works for both characters. I'm glad that Roger ultimately did the right thing by Joan in making sure that Kevin will be taken care of, because it gives Joan the safety net she needs so she has freedom to pursue her dreams. And even though it was hard for her, I think having Kevin worked for her as well. She may or may not get her "true love," but at least she can have fulfillment as a mother and as a businesswoman.

It's possible that if they weren't in such different points in their life that Joan and Roger could have worked, but it's nice to see that there's still a lot of affection there. On the flip side, Roger and Marie are much more in sync, and even though they may not last, what they both want is someone to have fun with, and they can be that person together. It's much better than seeing Roger run off with another secretary.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


That Tom & Lorenzo post sparked something.. I don't think Roger and Marie are in Quebec, I think they're in France drinking pastis. (Note the water decanter and the milky colour of what they're drinking.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:59 AM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]




I agree completely. Roger said something about never going to Canada again, and Marie argued that her children are there and they were fighting about Emile and she kicked him out of bed and he flounced out with that lovely spread around his hips.

I don't remember the dog food episode (right after he ran off with Jane) with his old flame ... she said something about him bounding around France like he was Hemingway.
posted by tilde at 11:08 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The last scene of the Campbell family reminded me of the Kennedys.
posted by drezdn at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


This assortment of baby Vinnie K shots was bouncing around tumblr yesterday.

A thing like that.
posted by rewil at 11:14 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Eyebrows McGee, I love the "Share a Coke with" campaign. I buy my bottles in pairs. Now when I drop one, I know which one I dropped. I can just picture an imaginary three year old running after one rolling away, shouting "Mommy, mommy, you just dropped Kenny!"

Lately I've been going through a very rough, lonely time, which is slightly exacerbated by the "Share a Coke with" campaign... for some reason all the stores I shop at are stocking mostly 2-liters that say FRIENDS or FAMILY, which are both weirdly triggering right now. Thank god I can sometimes find ones that say VIP LIST or FAVORITES...

Anyway, the actual final Mad Style post is up now.
posted by palomar at 11:18 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tell the truth...Toward the end, when Don was standing at the edge of that bluff, looking out over the ocean, how many of you thought for a moment he was going to jump?

I absolutely wondered if we were going to end with Don jumping in the ocean and swimming out to sea. Someone mentioned Chopin's Awakenings in the thread for the previous episode, and in that scene I feared we would get that ending. I'm glad we didn't.

Although Don's ending was not the most satisfying for me, it did seem fitting. In a best case scenario, I hope he goes back to NYC, and rather than going back to McCann full time, maybe he does freelance work. I like the idea of him contributing to Peggy doing that Coke ad. However, I think it's equally plausible that he goes back to McCann full time, and then probably bails again, and then maybe comes back again. Rinse and repeat.

I really, really wanted him to go back and be a father to his kids, and I think regardless of what Betty and Sally said, it would have been better for him to go back to NYC right away so that he could be there if they needed him. However, I think having Don continue to be mostly not there is the more realistic situation. I imagine that Sally does probably stay home to take on the caretaker role, and I feel like she'll probably prevail and the boys will stay with Henry. Don could fight for the kids (legally it seems like he would have the most claim), but I don't think he will.

This brings me back to my point in my previous comment about how you may be able to change and find happiness, but some doors will be closed to you. Even if Don does find his "enlightenment" and even if he does become someone who could be happy and functional as a father to his kids, it's probably too late for that. The hole in their lives have been filled by other people, and they neither need nor want him there as their primary caregiver.

I think my personal experience of having an absentee biological father and a very dysfunctional, mostly not there step father probably contributed to my strong feelings about wanting Don to be there for his kids. At the same time, I have to say that I reached a point in my own life where I don't want either of them in my life any more. Although there is always a hole left by a missing parent, at a certain point, that hole can't really be filled.

And yet, everyone can still go on to have good lives. Don will probably continue to find his way in the world, either in advertising or not. I imagine he'll always keep in touch with his kids, but he'll never be a full time parent in their lives. And Sally will sacrifice some of her freedom to be there for her brothers, and Henry may not be a perfect father, but they'll make it through.

Of course, the most tragic ending is Betty's, but I already said enough about that in the previous thread, and I don't really want to start crying again, so I'll just close with:

.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:19 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's weird that people are saying Peggy's ending is too saccharine/comes out of nowhere/is pure fan service. I think it's been foreshadowed for years. Peggy has a history of dating coworkers and she and Stan have always had a complex relationship. Compare that to Pete's hot streak (a series of happy accidents that land him a lucrative job an an out to his contract, which Pete literally calls supernatural) that ends with him reuniting with Trudy--I found that way less believable and more fanservicey. I'm not saying I'm unhappy with it, but it's kind of weird how prevalent the "fan service" accusation of Stan/Peggy is.
posted by almostmanda at 11:24 AM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


For old times sake, here's my episode summary:

Peggy answers the call. Pete gets on a plane. Don says Om.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:30 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


And here's a second one, using my favorite take away lines from this episode:

A thing like that. There are better places than here. All I got from that was suitcase.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:33 AM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Don drives a car. Pete gets on a plane. Peggy talks on the phone.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:36 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


TLO got me. I totally missed the fainting couch in the Betty scenes.

I'm surprised on Joan and ROGER it wasn't SHARE A DIET COKE WITH ROGER.

It’s the most important thing that ever happened to Don, but it’s important because IT’S NOT ABOUT DON.

That's what I was trying to say. They nailed that, IMO.
posted by tilde at 11:57 AM on May 20, 2015


Gene watches TV. Meredith lands on her feet. Joan doesn't hang up.

Stan goes for a run. Betty's bed is unmade. Harry isn't a Musketeer.

Peggy gets a phone call. Sally gets a phone call. Joan gets a phone call. Betty gets a phone call.
posted by tracicle at 12:41 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Betty talks to Don about her mother. Joan is nice to her mother. Roger buys champagne for his mother.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:48 PM on May 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


ugh and by Betty I meant Sally ugh
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2015


Betty talks to Don about her mother.

Although actually relevant, as the last time Betty talked to Don about her mother she also talked about how she wanted to die young and beautiful, like her mom.
posted by bleep at 1:25 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


we could have done without Megan, maaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnn.

Canada agrees.


Au contraire, without Megan there is no Marie and at lease one Canadian says she completely embodies Quebec.

Plus also Julia Ormond is wonderful, so.
posted by psoas at 1:29 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


What if you were going to do a vague episode summary not for an episode, but for the entire series?

At least one would be "Don makes a commercial."
posted by codacorolla at 1:33 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dick Whitman spends ten years pitching a new persona called "Don Draper" then decides to have a Coke.
posted by crossoverman at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


"You can't always get what you want but you find some times you can buy what you need"
posted by tilde at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


What if you were going to do a vague episode summary not for an episode, but for the entire series?

Here's a character-focused summary:

Don's life is a series of advertising pitches. Pete becomes a better person while Harry becomes insufferable. Peggy and Joan fight their way to the top.

And here's a more thematic summary:

Truth in advertising. Love the one you're with. The times they are a-changin' (and sometimes people do too).

Although to really capture the essence of the show, I feel like you need to add a parenthetical question mark after each one of those statements.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:10 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Next time on The Whole Thing Of Mad Men: A surprising shake-up at Sterling Cooper. Peggy and Joan fight for respect. Don returns to make the pitch.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:30 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was just thinking that Weiner should have shot an "on the next Mad Men" style montage of mystifying 3 second clips of the rest of their lives, and shown it during the credits of the final episode.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2015 [24 favorites]


This is upsetting to me, but it is what it is:

Mad Men Creator: Finale Coke Ad Came From Don's 'Enlightened State'

“The idea that some enlightened state, and not just co-option, might’ve created something that is very pure” was an attractive way to end the series, Weiner said. “To me, it’s the best ad ever made, and it comes from a very good place.”
posted by naju at 6:56 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


THE AUTHOR'S OPINION ABOUT THE WORK IS IRRELEVANT
posted by bleep at 6:59 PM on May 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


We all get 3 "I deny your authorial intent" passes in our lifetimes, and I'm using one of mine now.
posted by naju at 7:12 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not when it's in complete agreement with your own interpretation!

*fist bumps Weiner*
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:14 PM on May 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


We all get 3 "I deny your authorial intent" passes in our lifetimes, and I'm using one of mine now.

Don't waste a pass on Weiner! He's all about the alternate takes. If you could sit down and hash it out with him, he'd likely agree your interpretation is as good as his.

It's one of the things I like about his interviews (like e.g. with Terry Gross), that he's all "Huh! I never thought of that, but it's really true!" And he also really seems to respect the actors' taking scenes in directions different from what he'd planned.

Interesting that one place he diverged from that flexibility (apparently) was with Peggy and Stan. It sounds like he was pretty determined almost to the end that that wasn't going to happen--even though the actors and the fans had different ideas.
posted by torticat at 7:32 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


If Weiner ever creates a show for a streaming video service like Netflix, “I would try to convince them to let me just roll them out so there’s some shared experience,” he said. “There’s not much left that we have communal now.”

EXACTLY. I wouldn't love Mad Men as much if I didn't have the time to think on it and discuss it.

I'm halfway through Daredevil, not really enjoying it - but it also feels like its time has passed now. If people liked it, they've finished it already. And where can you discuss a Netflix show that dropped months ago, episode by episode? (I mean, here, sure, but it's not the same. People move on to discussing other things.)
posted by crossoverman at 7:37 PM on May 20, 2015


Sepinwall's coverage of the speech has some nice thoughts on ambiguity.

Also, hooray Joan:
Weiner said that Joan was the character who surprised him the most over the run of the series, and not just because she wasn't even designed to be a main character until he met Christina Hendricks. His plan was for her to go through with the abortion, but writer Maria Jacquemetton convinced him to let her continue the pregnancy, because she wouldn't want to miss her chance to have a baby, even though the marriage to Greg was doomed. "She said, 'I think Joan is going to be the one. I think Joan is going to be the single mom.'" Of Joan's pivot into feminism at the end of the series, he said, "I love the fact that it's not philosophical for her. I'm not demeaning feminism. This woman made a practical decision not to take any shit any more."
posted by rewil at 7:41 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]




Someone mentioned Chopin's Awakenings in the thread for the previous episode, and in that scene I feared we would get that ending. I'm glad we didn't.

That was me, and I too had a brief flash of Don walking out into the water. Very glad Wiener cut fairly quicky to the Omfest.

I'm also with you on projecting my own sadness at having crappy parents, and wanting desperately for Don to rush home to his kids. Because absentee/deadbeat parents suck, especially when the other parent is unavailable (mental illness, death, etc.).

What I love about these threads is that we're all here in this moment together. The rewatch threads seem more random (though I admit I haven't spent much time there).

I will miss this so so much.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:07 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Boo Weiner! Peggy had the chops to make the ad.
posted by brujita at 10:53 PM on May 20, 2015


Boo Weiner! Peggy had the chops to make the ad.

Sure, but as of Oct 1971, she was still battling to keep Chevalier. She was never going to be given Coke six months later.
posted by crossoverman at 11:26 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's the iconic early 80s ad she could create? (No not THAT one, it's also too late -- I'm thinking 81 at the latest)
posted by The Whelk at 11:55 PM on May 20, 2015


The thing that struck me about the final image of Don/Dick is that he's very well groomed. Very clean shaven, hair perfect.

Like he's going to work.
At least that's how I took it.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:05 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you like, Peggy makes the 1979 Mean Joe Green spot. She knows what it's like to have an aloof superior toss you some debris and have it feel like a major validation.
posted by bendybendy at 2:44 AM on May 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


More from the Matt Weiner interview (per the EW recap):

Richard Nixon’s a big important part of [Dick/Don], I hate to say.

I was not expecting this.

I do understand this.

I do not like this.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 3:55 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can anyone tell me when McCann had its first female creative director? I keep reading/hearing references to different times - but I'm finding it hard to Google an exact answer. Has anyone read an article that says when the appointed their first female creative director?
posted by crossoverman at 4:00 AM on May 21, 2015


MW says Don is enlightened? I think we have a different definition of the word than he. Unless MW means he's like the folks RUNNING the retreat lodge and has finally merged his many conflicted selves into himself and he's finally CONTENT.

I mean, if you want to compare compounds to compounds, hearken back to where Marigold ended up. Though that was all white dudes and chicks too, maannnnnnnnnnnnnn.
posted by tilde at 5:57 AM on May 21, 2015


I was so hoping that the woman who SHOVES Don in the "show this random stranger how you feel" session was a specific cameo.
posted by tilde at 6:57 AM on May 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sepinwall's coverage of the speech has some nice thoughts on ambiguity.

Oh, this is nice.

Contrast that to T&Lo STILL arguing with readers that their interpretation is the only one in the comments.

(There's something cheap about their analysis of the coke ad--"There's one Asian woman there so Don imagines it as a multicultural event!" I dunno. Rubs the wrong way, but I'm so biased against them these days.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:36 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


T&Lo STILL arguing with readers

ugh those guys
posted by sweetkid at 7:42 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


T&Lo STILL arguing with readers

ugh those guys


I felt Mad Style had run its course awhile ago and they started having to really stretch to justify some of their claims. I also can't get behind how often they refer to women as "basic."
posted by MaritaCov at 9:39 AM on May 21, 2015


I felt Mad Style had run its course awhile ago and they started having to really stretch to justify some of their claims.

To be fair, they talk with the costume designer a lot apparently, for confirmation of their ideas.

The 'basic' thing, ugh, that word needs to die a fiery fucking death.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2015


The 'basic' thing, ugh, that word needs to die a fiery fucking death. Joanie can burn it down for you.
posted by tilde at 9:49 AM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wait, fill me in on this "basic" thing? I disagree with TLo A LOT, especially when it comes to Joan, but I don't remember noticing that word? How do they use it in regard to women?
posted by torticat at 12:33 PM on May 21, 2015


From MW:

five years [before that commercial ran], black people and white people couldn’t even be in an ad together, and the idea that some enlightened state and not just co-option might have created something that is very pure—and yeah, there’s soda in there with good feeling—but that ad, to me, it’s the best ad ever made.

SO TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO DAWN!! You know, the one black person you introduced to us as a comparatively fully-formed character, whom we cared about, and who just disappeared.

(Seriously, the treatment of minorities--besides white women, Jewish professionals, and a couple LGBT people--is going to hang as a shadow over MM and MW, I think. What a wasted opportunity.)
posted by torticat at 12:45 PM on May 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


That's the point, torticat. We don't exist as main figures in the cast of the lives of MW's "me" and Don Draper's "me", mostly.

I was watching Dear White People a while back. Someone who matches MW and Don Draper's demographic, mostly, watched it with me and said, several times, things like this during the movie: "I don't get that. I don't understand this. Is any of this even real?" Towards the end spent more time playing on their phone and doing other things. I was watching it for me, not him, so I didn't mind, but it was really a good reminder about how other folks see the world. And this is MW's story told through Don Draper.

Think about it for a second ... He wasn't going to put Peggy and Stan together, so how would it have ended for her? Strolling into McCann, wearing sunglasses and toting porn? Woulda been okay to me. I would have written Steggy into my head canon. Joan with no baby? Dead like Marilyn or stuck still with Dr Rapist?
posted by tilde at 1:32 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, I don't think you can extend "failed to represent the black experience in 1960s New York" to "Weiner would have fucked up everything else if he didn't have women in the writers' room". I think it's absolutely a pity we didn't hear what happened to Dawn. I think it's terrible that any TV show made in this decade isn't cast more diversely.

But Weiner is pretty generous when he talks about his writers' room. He was definitely in charge, as a showrunner must be, which is why his name is on so many scripts. But he's pretty open about how other writers helped form the show. That's how TV works. Take out one of those other writers and there are all sorts of things that would have happened differently.

I haven't done a breakdown of the backgrounds of the writers on the show. I don't know if there were any writers of colour in the room. I do think majority women in the writers' room helped make this show more enjoyable to me, otherwise it could well have been all about Don, which I probably wouldn't have stuck with past a couple of seasons. But by then we have a vast array of supporting characters you could watch the show for.
posted by crossoverman at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2015


Maybe not; I wasn't in the rooms. And sometimes a story takes you where it goes, too; you can write it but it doesn't work until you go along with it. He ran it, but he also listened, which is someting, compared to the other crap that's out there, too.
posted by tilde at 1:51 PM on May 21, 2015


I think it's absolutely a pity we didn't hear what happened to Dawn. I think it's terrible that any TV show made in this decade isn't cast more diversely.

Remember a few seasons ago when Abe (I think) was talking to Peggy about the Civil Rights Movement, and she's basically "No, I don't know much about this shit because I'm busy struggling to be a woman in this male-dominated society".

In retrospect, that was the writer's room inadvertently telling us where their priorities lay, wasn't it? Hence we got complex female characters and a generally sensitive treatment of women's experiences during that time period, compared to the wholesale lack of minorities save an elevator operator and a couple secretaries.
posted by schroedinger at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


No TV show can be everything to everybody, which is true - but it's also a cop-out, since there are plenty of shows for white straight people and not much for anybody else.

I think Weiner navigated where he wanted to go pretty well. And he did really want to put these characters at a remove from history. You don't often know you're living through history when it's happening. And even when you do know it, you still have to go to work that day or throw your daughter a wedding the day after JFK is assassinated.

But that meant he could avoid the civil rights' movement and Stonewall without too much guilt, which is a pity. But to me, Bob's last appearance in early June 1969, a week before Stonewall, made that episode much more potent than if he'd done a Stonewall episode.
posted by crossoverman at 2:05 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fair points, tilde.

I guess... I can see that POC were peripheral when MM started, and that makes sense from a white male POV. But for MW to reference "some enlightened state and not just co-option might have created something that is very pure," while writing out the one black character he'd introduced who had an actual life on the show (not just her backstory with her sister, but her encounter with Peggy at Peggy's apartment, and her sticking with Don after he'd been banished from the firm, and her slow upward trajectory at the firm, and etc.)--I don't know, that's a person even in the white male-dominated context of the show whose arc should have been finished or at least acknowledged.

I mean I feel like the show started from a Don POV but so much of it was about how that perspective needed to be adjusted for the changing times (and more fundamentally in the interest of justice), and Dawn's role in that was enormous.

SO MANY secondary characters got nods in the last few episodes. Dawn was just dropped. I'd feel much better knowing if Teyonah Parris had acting conflicts IRL than thinking that MW just let the character go.
posted by torticat at 2:14 PM on May 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


So last night I had a dream where Don Draper was my father, and he was in the antiques business, and then there were some kids watching, and he said, "you stink! Put on some deodorant!" and then I was trying to pitch him my copy for an ad for a deodorant aimed at young kids just going into puberty. And then he smiled at me and bought me a fabulous blue and white formica dressing table.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:30 PM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


*sniff*
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 PM on May 21, 2015


Trudy sees a different Pete than everybody else sees.
and
This may have been linked previously, but here's Megan as well.
and

And of course Meredith ...

I was looking at your Twitter page, and it seems like there are a lot of fun fan conspiracy theories involving Meredith. Do you have a favorite?
Oh my gosh, I know. I think my favorite was someone wrote the final scene of the show with the reveal that Meredith really is Meredith McCann.

And that’s how she’s been able to keep her job this whole time despite being spacey?
[Laughs.] Yes! I thought that was so funny. And I love all the ones where Meredith ends up running the place. Those make me laugh.

I like the one, too, where Meredith is Miss Blankenship’s niece.
posted by tilde at 6:29 AM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, it turns out I remember the twentieth anniversary version of the Hilltop ad.
posted by crossoverman at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Without having rewatched this, my two favorite moments were both Peggy's: when she is at lunch with Joan, takes a look at the check and says loudly "Holy shit!"; and when she stands up and says to Don "where the hell have you been?" She is confident and assertive and I love her.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:50 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's such an awful commercial, both the original and the anniversary version. My guess is that it's been mythologized (by the ad industry) as the greatest thing ever precisely because it was so expensive, shifting the industry toward its modern hyper-budgets?

I'm terribly disappointed that Weiner apparently buys into its greatness. (It makes me feel like I'm the cynical one. Does anyone have an essay or somesuch that might help convince me of the ad's charms?)
posted by nobody at 12:05 PM on May 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm still stuck on this. "You just can't imagine what it felt like" -- DISSOLVE[!] to CU of face, eyes staring off as if entranced by the magical feeling of shooting a commercial as a teenager.

It's so clearly self-mythologizing by the admakers themselves. Which is the worst kind of mythologizing!
posted by nobody at 12:19 PM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


precisely because it was so expensive

Expensive? It's some people on a hill. Maybe a hot air balloon to get that last shot. Apparently that costs $250,000 in 1971 dollars. I'm inclined to assume some embezzlement.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:25 PM on May 22, 2015


(It was apparently a helicopter shot, which was apparently all but unheard of at the time(?), but you're right -- I'm not seeing how that adds up to $1.4MM(!) in today's dollars.)
posted by nobody at 12:35 PM on May 22, 2015


It was shot in Italy, right? That added some airfare for sure.
posted by bendybendy at 12:43 PM on May 22, 2015


Has anyone else noticed that a little bell was the last sound before the cut to the final scene in both the Mad Men and the Sopranos series finales? The meditation bell before the Coke ad in MM, and the bell on the diner door in before the cut to black in the Sopranos. I can't help but think this was Matthew Weiner's homage to David Chase.
posted by How the runs scored at 2:23 PM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pepsi's campaign at the time. For those that remember, this was the beginning of "The Pepsi Generation."
posted by rhizome at 3:47 PM on May 22, 2015


It was apparently a helicopter shot, which was apparently all but unheard of at the time(?)

Helicopter shots didn't really take off (heh) for a long time, because until dedicated stabilized mountings were developed, they were always super shaky. That's why I assumed it was a balloon. Looking at it again, though, yeah, that's definitely a chopper shot. Shaky as heck.

And that's another thing: The whole ad is just really poorly executed. It's like, yeah, you're gonna teach the world to sing, but you can't even get these few people to do it right. Yeah, it's the real thing, this contrived assembly of people supposedly flown in from around the world to lipsync to a prerecorded jingle at the crack of Symbolist dawn in the middle of goddamned nowhere to sell sugar water. The editing is half-assed (one shot shows the people lipsyncing the wrong line), the colour balance is wonky... And why Italy? There are hills in America, right?

About the only good thing I can say about it is that the shot of the sunrise shining through the bottles is pretty sweet.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:51 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tell the truth...Toward the end, when Don was standing at the edge of that bluff, looking out over the ocean, how many of you thought for a moment he was going to jump?

I had the opposite thought. That that brilliant Sun signified a rebirth and he was just basking in it and the view.
posted by juiceCake at 5:46 PM on May 22, 2015


Yeah, I maybe thought he was going to self-destruct at the beginning of the episode, but when the racing team turned out to be the only people who didn't beat him up in a motel room, something felt like it was changing.
posted by rhizome at 8:08 PM on May 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


The meditation bell before the Coke ad in MM, and the bell on the diner door in before the cut to black in the Sopranos. I can't help but think this was Matthew Weiner's homage to David Chase.

I said in the last thread that Don's TV going to black in the penultimate episode was Weiner's homage to Chase. Ha!

Maybe both!
posted by torticat at 10:32 PM on May 22, 2015


I also just want to say that the refrigerator speech just totally blew me away. One of the best things I've ever seen on TV, and probably the most psychedelic moment of the series. While I believe the plot point is more earnest, I can also see Don's response being a reaction to being sold from the other side of a pitch.
posted by rhizome at 12:07 AM on May 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


And that's another thing: The whole ad is just really poorly executed. It's like, yeah, you're gonna teach the world to sing, but you can't even get these few people to do it right. Yeah, it's the real thing, this contrived assembly of people supposedly flown in from around the world to lipsync to a prerecorded jingle at the crack of Symbolist dawn in the middle of goddamned nowhere to sell sugar water. The editing is half-assed (one shot shows the people lipsyncing the wrong line), the colour balance is wonky... And why Italy? There are hills in America, right?

From a Hollywood Reporter article about how the who debacle finally came together:

"Hundreds of British schoolchildren and 65 principals were cast to lip-sync the song," according to Coke's website, but the shoot was marred by bad weather. It was initially supposed to take place on the cliffs of Dover but was scrapped due to rain. The production then moved to Rome, with a group of new castmembers, but was delayed by more rain. The shoot proceeded anyway but the footage was deemed unusable. A third try proved more fruitful, but the final budget wound up being a then-astronomical $250,000."

I'm guessing all the scrapped attempts factor into the budget as well.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:41 AM on May 24, 2015


They don't say it explicitly, but Don actually pitched the idea of "I'd like to buy the world a Jack and Coke" and Peggy suggested they shave it down.
posted by drezdn at 12:56 PM on May 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Richard's proposal did not receive serious consideration.
posted by box at 3:54 PM on May 24, 2015


I can't believe it's been over for a week. Feels like only yesterday Don wanted to buy the world a Coke.

These threads stay open forever, right? I just need to check back in here once in a while.

*sigh*
posted by crossoverman at 10:26 PM on May 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Apparently only the rewatch threads unless we just go back and request these get the bit flipped.

#foreveropen
posted by tilde at 10:42 AM on May 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I rewatched the first episode the other night to note the utterly radical difference in tone and almost posted to the rewatch thread for it, but thought maybe it's not great to lump whole-season comments in there. I actually watched the series for the first time in a massive binge over the past couple of months, and was a bit bummed that there was (or at least appeared to be, you don't know on first watch) some future stuff in some of the middle season comments.
posted by rhizome at 11:04 AM on May 25, 2015


I actually watched the series for the first time in a massive binge over the past couple of months, and was a bit bummed that there was (or at least appeared to be, you don't know on first watch) some future stuff in some of the middle season comments.

The rewatch threads do that by design: It's a place where people who have seen the whole series can freely comment on foreshadowing, themes, etc.

When I started watching Doctor Who, I had to steer clear of the rewatch threads to avoid spoilers.
posted by mochapickle at 11:15 AM on May 25, 2015


Yeah, that makes sense, but either there's no first-watch thread for many seasons, or it's hard to find.
posted by rhizome at 11:25 AM on May 25, 2015


Sys Rq: "And that's another thing: The whole ad is just really poorly executed."

But did it achieve it's purpose? Did Coke sales increase? It's fine to complain about it aesthetically, but it's advertising, it succeeds or fails based on consumer reaction.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:49 AM on May 26, 2015


And, for its time, I'm sure that ad was amazing. It's easy for us to look at it now and point out its limitations - we're used to seeing ads with ten times the budget.
posted by crossoverman at 3:24 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]




According to BeerHistory.com, the one I just linked as probably part of a wider campaign all featuring macho sports guys,

The first Lite commercials aired in 1973 and starred the likes of football greats Matt Snell and Ernie Stautner and mystery writer Mickey Spillane. Over the course of the next decade, the company shot more than 80 commercials, and the roster of "Lite All-Stars" boasted nearly 40 celebs and sports icons. John Madden, Billy Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Dick Butkus, Bubba Smith and Bob Uecker were just a few of the Lite regulars. Boog Powell once commented, "You make one Lite commercial, it's like then everyone forgets you played ball for 20 years."

Here's one with Bubba Smith, which is quoted by some shady Q&A clickbait sites as being legitimately the first.
posted by codacorolla at 4:12 PM on May 26, 2015


I've been away for several days and haven't been able to check in on this thread. Catching up has been balm for my Mad Men soul. Very weird not to have an episode this week.

What are they up to? Does Joan have an office? Are Peggy and Stan living together? Is Don in a motel somewhere in Ohio?

#foreveropen
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:20 PM on May 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


What are they up to? Does Joan have an office? Are Peggy and Stan living together? Is Don in a motel somewhere in Ohio?

Well, there's this.

sic transit gloria mundi
posted by jquinby at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


and the Archdiocese of New York

HAH!
posted by flyingsquirrel at 5:58 PM on May 27, 2015


I was talking to my boss about the final episode this morning. He's a pretty attentive watcher but not someone who talks the show over in detail - maybe with his wife. He notices symbols and costume choices and metaphor, but he didn't know McCann made the Coke ad, for example. That is really something I'd say most people wouldn't know. So he thought the idea that Don went back to make the Coke ad was a long bow for me to draw, when I brought it up. He really thought the ad was just an ironic kind of marker of where Don's head was at - or a thematic end, like this ad capture's what Don was feeling on that cliffside with a view.

I think that's interesting, because if you don't know McCann made that ad - and maybe if you don't know that ad at all - the idea that Don might have made it isn't very clearly supported by the show.
posted by crossoverman at 3:18 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be sure, I think it's a testament to the show that the ending is ambiguous even if you know McCann did the ad.
posted by rhizome at 4:11 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, we did know within the show that the carrot that McCann kept dangling over Don's head was the opportunity to work on the Coca-Cola account. I think that is enough of a hint, no?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, but the show also never always takes us in the direction it seems to lead, and Don had said repeatedly that he quit advertising. I don't think there's ever "enough of a hint" with this show.
posted by sweetkid at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they say McCann has the Coke account like a jillion times over the season. Quite possibly once every episode. (Yes, that math works out. Shush.) It's pretty hard to miss.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:58 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah but a lot of people don't really pay attention to the business end of things. I work in advertising and know most of those agencies are real and still around today, including McCann, but some people just don't really think about it.
posted by sweetkid at 5:01 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I meant he didn't know that McCann made the ad in real life. He made the connection in the show. And then it cuts from Don to a real-life Coke ad. I think you might get the "real thing" vibe/connection/commentary without following it through to "Don makes a Coke ad". I mean, I can't see it any other way, but thought it was interesting to hear that from a non-obsessive.
posted by crossoverman at 8:06 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I first watched the episode, I (having been a little kid in the 1970s) immediately recognized the ad, but I didn't immediately jump to the conclusion that Don made it. (I didn't realize McCann had produced it IRL.) I'm an obsessive watcher, but it took a second viewing to put the pieces together. I mean yeah, I followed the endless Coke references, but it was only in the second watch that I heard the mindfulness chimes, which were like an audio sparkle off Don's pearly whites when he gives that sly smile before we all start singing. That's when I realized how literal Wiener's ending was.

OH GOD I NEED TO WATCH IT AGAIN.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:38 PM on May 28, 2015


I was expecting, not the ad, but the campaign. I thought it was going to be Peggy's triumph, since I never expected Don to go back to McCann. In fact, if you'd said a week earlier that Don would be going back, I'd have thought you crazy or a giant cynic. The idea of Don going back inside the machine seemed almost too bleak to contemplate.

When I saw the end, I thought that bleak ending had come to pass. I thought Don was going back into his cycle. Back into the machine to be swallowed whole.

Then I thought about it. I think Don made a breakthrough in that retreat. If you didn't know McCann made that ad, you might well just think Don had wholly changed - become a hippy and become enlightened. That was my other fear - that the show would somehow suggest Don could just change with a cry and a hug.

But no, it's both. He had a moment, he hit absolute rock bottom (family tells him not to come back, Peggy gives him a lifeline), he hugged himself, he became enlightened... and then had the idea. The idea that would be remember forever. Or at least the next fifty years.
posted by crossoverman at 12:11 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]




So I went back the other day and froze the scene where Joan is working at home, surrounded by boards and a phone and her gigantic rolodex. And I saw Sal's name on two boards! And I got so excited!

And then I looked closer and I realized they were just calendars and it said Sat. For Saturday. And then I was sad.
posted by mochapickle at 9:26 AM on May 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


No, mochapickle. It said Sal. Maybe your TV was displaying weirdly?

IT SAID SAL GODDAMMIT

I miss Sal
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:45 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I went back and checked, fffm, and you were absolutely right. :)
posted by mochapickle at 3:37 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


STILL NO BOB BENSON

NOT GREAT, BOB
posted by littlesq at 11:22 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


“Don Draper: Dharma Bum, Priestly Sage,” S. Brent Plate, Sacred Matters, 21 May 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:16 AM on May 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


LEONARD is an anagram of REAL DON.
posted by crossoverman at 3:22 PM on June 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yowza!
posted by mochapickle at 5:47 PM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Putting this here because the linked interview contains some spoilers relating to the final episode...

When they filmed the famous Peggy walking down the hallway of McCann shot, she had them play "Stayin' Alive" on the set.
posted by dnash at 7:43 AM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm all for pizza bagels.
posted by tilde at 12:33 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Joyce Carol Oates strikes again (not mad men related).
posted by tilde at 11:36 AM on June 9, 2015


Apparently Salon had to be told she was joking.
posted by tilde at 7:55 AM on June 12, 2015


Before Pete and Trudy cut a rug, Wednesday and Lurch had at it ...
posted by tilde at 9:53 AM on June 24, 2015


The Relax-i-ciser in all it's dangerous glory.
posted by tilde at 2:03 PM on July 14, 2015


Mad Men online auction catalog. Buy Bert's socks!

Ohh, but no matter how much I love Peggy I don't need to buy anything. Especially as the business cards are already more than I want to spend.

It's fun to look, though. I never noticed Pete was so into nutcrackers. A lot of nautical themed items for him, too.

And either this or this is the creepiest lot. I'm not sure which.
posted by rewil at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


That auction is great and I wish I was a millionaire, but there was a Harry blazer that I would love to own. Perhaps that it's not offered here is a point of hope, but I imagine it's sitting in a costume closet somewhere, never to be seen again.
posted by rhizome at 8:04 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I put a bid on a couple of items and have been outbid on both. Looking at less expensive/less bid on items. For some reason, people don't want to buy Sal & his wife's wedding bands? Like that's a bad omen or something!

They are also selling Don's 1965 Caddy!
posted by crossoverman at 4:36 PM on August 4, 2015


I wonder if there's any way to measure whether Coke sales went up in a unusual way Monday. I went out and bought the first Coke I'd had in probably 15 years, and I heard the same from a few friends.
Suddenly, I have a hankering for a bottle of Patio, and maybe some Secor laxatives...
posted by blueberry at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry to be catching up with this so late, but I just finished the series.

From the origin story of the Coke commercial:

"I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" had its origins on January 18, 1971, in a London fog.

Um, didn't SCDP also have its origins in London Fog?

Was the origin story of that Coke ad the inspiration for a key plot element from the very beginning of Mad Men?
posted by The World Famous at 11:27 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hmm... I just got curious about that. Weiner says that he had the Don-at-the-ashram idea from the very beginning. If I'm reading the article right, it seems like the Coke ad idea happened sometime around Season 4. Which really did play well into the McCann/Coca Cola stuff that happened earlier on.
posted by mochapickle at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I loved seeing Marie and Roger. "That will be us one day." "Yeah, tomorrow." LOL. Also, when they had that fight right after sex, Marie reminded me so much of Megan. It actually made me like both Marie AND Megan better. And I already liked them both before...

Also, I've been liking Don so SO much more ever since he got out of NYC and started wearing plaid and stuff. I don't even know why. He just seems more down to earth, and softer, and I'm understanding more how his mind works. He's having to be a little more crafty and resourceful, and I like watching him do it. The turning point for me was really when he forced the con artist kid to give him back that money, but he's also been pretty great ever since he got to the retreat. He's actually also reminding me a lot more of my father now, which is funny. My father and him aren't much alike, but this is much more like my dad than Don of Madison Avenue ever was, anyway. So this kind of guy feels more familiar. The world also is starting to feel more familiar, though it's still decades before my time. In any case, I'm feeling like maybe I don't much like Don, but I do like Dick. Who knew.

It doesn't strike me as either a particularly good thing or a bad thing if Don goes back to McCann and makes the Coke ad and all. I need more information to make a judgement. In any case, the road trip wasn't doing him any good, and he was lonely, so I don't think it's necessary cynical and sad for him to go back to NYC and advertising and his coworkers/family. That's his home. Of course he's going to try and go back.

I can't believe Betty wouldn't think the boys should stay with Henry. I have utmost confidence that Sally will take charge of the situation after Betty dies, and I think Henry will probably happily acquiesce to her insisting the boys stay with him. Don will continue being the kind of father that he has been to them.

I think that Betty was so insistent that the boys go to a home with a MOTHER in it, and not stay with Don or Henry, because she doesn't want Sally to have to become their de facto mother.

She knew the boys would need a mother, so she wanted to get another woman into that job, and keep Sally free to go off and live her own life. She wasn't going to trap Sally in the house the way she was trapped. IMO everything she did once she got her diagnosis was make sure that things didn't go down for her kids, most especially Sally, like they did for her when her mother died.

At my viewing party someone said Don hugged refrigerator man because he gave him the idea for the Coke ad. It's the more cynical possibility.

Oh no, I think that's much too cynical. Don looked like he was really touched and could relate. He might have cannibalized those genuine feelings for use in an awesome Coke ad later on, but in the moment, IMO he was hugging him because the man needed a hug.

This was after a whole bunch of times of Don NOT being able to hug people he knew needed hugging, like Stephanie, Sally, and Betty, and not being able to get a hug himself from Peggy. So I think that hug was really necessary for him, too.

Don's whole bit with racing the cars on the salt flats...something about how fast and out of control he was getting, racing away and out?

That whole portion of the episode felt so weird and dumb to me. Don is like 30 years too old for that shit. I didn't even understand what was going on.

I guess part of it is that I never bought that Don would want to spend a whole lot of time living in the suburbs puttering around fixing cars. He's too restless, and the way he thinks is too abstract/ironic. He'd get bored in no time. The kind of woman he likes would also never fit into that picture. So seeing him blow a bunch of money trying to play a bit part in a proto-Fast & the Furious drama seemed silly and out of place to me.

I'm a little disappointed that Roger ended up with Marie. She's cruel. I hate the idea that men want to be with women who are mean to them, because that's "challenging." She's just a mean, nasty person. I guess if he's happy, whatever. All his other women were better options - Mona, Jane, Joan.

Eh, she can be cruel, but so can Roger.

Also, Marie's particular brand of cruelty seems to be a kind that rolls of Roger like water off a duck's back. I really don't think he's bothered or hurt by it at all. He doesn't mind conflict and he's not insecure.

And what IMO he likes is that she's tough, rather than that she's "difficult" or "challenging." I think he likes women who don't need him, and she doesn't.

Roger is a spoiled brat who has no fears whatsoever that he won't be loved. In fact, IMO he's so distant from everybody in order to keep the love directed at him to a minimum. So Marie's taunts and threats of not loving him or of not loving him best really don't get under his skin -- and maybe are even reassuring, in a way. And he knows he won't have to look out for her, because she'll look out for herself.

I can see those two having a lot of fun together.

There is no there, there with Don. He was always hollow and meaningless, dependent on his faerie-like charm and skill, but if you grasped at it, all the gems turned to leaves. He only exists in the people he influenced and helped, and they find meaning in it even if it wasn't designed to.

I used to think that, earlier in the show...but at this point, seeing his mind at work and seeing him figure out other people, I figure that he's as much of a person and has as much depth as anybody else. He's got as much of an internal life as any of the other characters do. He has his own perspective. I mean, arguably all the characters (all people!) are shallow -- but IMO Don is really no more or less shallow than anybody else.

This is really hard. This is money. This is how no matter what you make, it can be made into money. And no one can really get outside it, anyone who can is a fool. It's just selling a different dream and the McCanns of the world are going to own it. Family and love and togetherness are things guys like me created to sell stockings and chocolates.

Mmmm maybe, except that Don walked away from a whole shit ton of money without a thought. Joan's decision to keep working/form a business wasn't because she needed the money. She never even seemed to think of the financial ramifications of her relationship and breakup from that rich retired guy. Peggy and Stan are coworkers who basically just see each other at work, and even so, they're apparently focused on making love rather than money. Pete was offered a big payday, but what he really wanted out of his lucky streak and chance for escape (to Wichita, but still a fresh start and escape) was to be with his wife and kid.

It seems like money just isn't that big of a deal to any of these people anymore.

In any case, love, peace, togetherness, enlightenment, etc etc etc couldn't be used to sell things unless they actually EXISTED. And Don apparently has found out that they do exist.

And he's using that knowledge to be a better ad man, but eh. That's the Protestant work ethic for ya, I guess.

Remember in Season One when Don's brother comes back into the picture briefly before killing himself, and the reaction is OMG FAMILY IS TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL RUIN EVERYTHING?! It was fascinating to compare that to this season, when Don so needs and craves both that family and his truth.

Well, he craves A family. Maybe not THAT family. That family sucked. He would literally rather die (or at least "die") than be part of them again.

Don's problem has NEVER been that he was invisible. The only times he hasn't been needed is when he himself skipped town or ran out or got wasted. He wasn't invisible, until he insisted on being invisible.

The fridge guy felt lonely, unloved, and worthless, and so did Don.

I mean, there could be (probably were) aspects to their connection and other consequences of it, but I think that the fundamental reason for their connection was that they felt the same and so they were able to comfort each other.

I do like the idea that the man was the product and Don was touched by his plight, and felt like he had to help him, by embracing him and selling him.

As close he ever gets, the primal lure of comfort, money, prestige, and all the other elements that comprise Don Draper will always bring him back, because they're fundamentally easier for him to pursue. A person of incredible strength could maybe resist that, but Don isn't an incredibly strong person.

Why should he or would he resist any of that?

I don't think that asceticism = strength, or at least not on this show. If anything, the characters on this show are too alienated and dry, and need to learn to loosen up enough to let some air into their lives.
posted by rue72 at 10:38 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


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