Spoilers for the season finale of Mad Men!!!
Okay, let’s get into this. Last night was the season 6 finale of Mad Men. Am I the only one who laughed inappropriately during several parts? When Don Draper started in with “I was an orphan. I lived in a whorehouse…” I lost it. I started giggling. It’s so wrong. But I know these characters so well! Don’s blasé-yet-emotional admission in the middle of a pitch meeting was supposed to have weight, I know. It was supposed to be Don’s rock-bottom (more on rock-bottoms in a sec), his last gasp of “this is the real me, everything else is a façade!” But it just didn’t have the weight that it used to have. Remember the finale in season one? Don telling his mistress that he was a “whore-child”? That had weight.
As for Don’s rock-bottom, I just thought it was kind of asinine that he decided to change his ways after punching a minister and spending the night in jail. For the love of God, the minister deserved it!! Was Don black-out drunk? Did he not remember that the minister deserved it? As for the shenanigans with Megan and her career and Don deciding at the last minute to let Ted (and his family!) go to California… God, that took such a long time for Megan to finally acknowledge that her marriage sucked. I didn’t feel any pity for her in that situation. She’s going to be fine (unless she gets killed by Charles Manson next year, I guess).
The funniest part of the season, and one of the most enjoyable parts overall, has been Pete Campbell. I’ve always had a soft spot for Pete and his struggles. Sometimes he gets it right but most of the time, not so much. This was the season where Pete really got played for laughs more and more, and I would like to make special mention of his secretary, who is a perfect comedic partner for so many hilarious moments. “Your mother is lost at… oh my God, she fell off a ship!!” Pete’s mother falling off a boat after marrying her gay male nurse Manolo (who thought she was rich!) is the best thing ever. The second best thing was Pete and Bud Campbell being too cheap to have the situation investigated. I’m still laughing.
As for the Peggy and Ted situation… is it wrong that I don’t feel bad for Peggy either? I think Ted was in love with her, is in love with her, although it’s more of an infatuation than a deep, significant love for him. As for Peggy, I don’t think she really loved Ted at all. I think he was there, he was something to keep her mind occupied. We’re supposed to think that this experience made Peggy a harder woman. We’re supposed to think that Peggy is going to become Don, that she will be hard and cynical. But that won’t happen. She’s Peggy! She’ll be fine. She’ll survive and thrive. And now she’s basically stepping up to be creative director of the agency. And all that I’m worried about it her terrible pantsuit. That pantsuit felt like a warning: the polyester ’70s are coming.
What did you think of the partners telling Don to go on leave? It was so overdue. And I’m so glad Joan was included in the decision and that she didn’t try to argue for Don. She saw him in that meeting with Hershey, she saw that he wasn’t up for the job anymore. I’m glad that Roger is kind of over Don too, although I’d be willing to bet that Roger will still have Don’s back if and when Don wants to come back. But for now, Don is just another Freddy Rumsen.
A few of my favorite parts – I’m really enjoying creepy Harry Hamlin. His character is a variation on Roger Sterling, but I feel like Jim Cutler is much more of a hands-on manager than Roger ever was. Jim still has hustle (as does Roger, but in a different way). Ted annoys me, but his presence this season has enriched the dynamic of the office. And I love that Bob Benson and Joan are becoming close. She knows he’s gay, right? Right. And it was sweet that she invited Roger to Thanksgiving.
So, what will the new season bring? I think Don will go to California with Megan for a few months, or maybe their marriage will be over, who knows. I think for sure Don will kill himself within a year. And everybody else will be fine, except maybe Roger, who will have another heart attack, right? And while I hate on the delicate, suicidal flower that is Don Draper, I do have to say that Jon Hamm’s performance as Draper is nothing short of virtuoso. I feel like Hamm is really without ego in his performance – he makes Don seem so smarmy, so destructive, so awful at times, and I love that Hamm isn’t concerned about making Don “likeable” at this point.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.