‘Mad Men’ finale: how did it end for Don Draper, Peggy, Joan & Roger?

mad men

SPOILERS for last night’s Mad Men finale.

In the end, no one had to die. The core cast – Don Draper, Peggy Olsen, Joan, Roger, Pete – all survived the 1960s. Some of them had thrived, some had learned their hard lessons and moved along, and some came limping into the 1970s, broken. I really thought Don would have to die. I thought his story would bring him back to New York in the final moments, perhaps only to reunite with Betty (who clearly will die, but thankfully did not die within the finale). So, what really happened?

Betty & the Draper children. Look, they finally gave Bobby some lines! I hate that they kept on recasting the Bobby character, and if you really examine it, Bobby should be like 13 or 14 years old for the finale. I really liked the Maturing of Sally Draper – that she was just playing at being this wild child, but really she was the kind of girl to come home to take care of her dying mother and her younger siblings. Seeing Sally and Betty’s roles reversed – Sally at the sink, washing dishes while Betty read a magazine at the table – made me sad/happy. Sally is going to be a wanderer like her dad, but not yet. She’s going to be bored and filled with ennui like her mom but not yet.

Pete Campbell. Pete’s storyline moved the most in the penultimate episode, but we got to see a little bit of how he turned out in the finale. Pete and Peggy’s relationship ended on a happy note, with Pete even paying Peggy a wonderful compliment about her work. Then Pete rode off into the sunset in a shiny new Learjet with his ex-wife and child. Pete and planes… he’s going to work for a plane company and his father died in a plane crash. It fits.

Roger Sterling. Roger got his happy ending! That’s so crazy. And it just… fit. I loved that Julia Ormond did all of those little guest appearances and I loved that at the end of the day, Roger did not die in the arms of a secretary half his age. He lived his life to the fullest, in the arms of an age-appropriate French-Canadian divorcee with adult children (one of whom was a secretary once married to Don Draper). Marie is crazy (legitimately), she’s fun and she’ll keep Roger on his toes for the rest of his life. I was sort of hoping that Roger would reunite with Mona in the end, but I’m happy with this.

Joan Holloway (I will never call her Joan Harris). Perhaps even Joan knew her thing with Bruce Greenwood wasn’t going to last. Maybe she knew she was just having fun and it was nice to see her in a relationship with a big-business dude who wanted to spoil her and travel the world with her. But I thought it was interesting that they set it up as a choice she was making: love or self-sufficiency, romance or starting her own business. And she chose business. She chose to throw herself into the deep end of the business world and it was righteous. Romance will come and go, but Joan will always prevail. Oh, and when Roger stopped by to talk about his will and providing for their child together? That was a beautiful, funny, touching scene. Just lovely. I’m sad that Peggy won’t be joined Joan in her new business, because Harris-Olsen sounds like a great company.

Peggy Olsen. OMG. JUST OMG. Peggy has always been my favorite, and Peggy has always centered Mad Men. In my mind, the twofer was always Peggy and Don. And in the end, they didn’t even get one final scene together in the same room. Don did call her one last time (?) just because he “wanted to hear her voice.” He cried and told her how he ruined everything, and it was a brilliantly acted scene for both of them. I’m glad they got their goodbyes in. But then something magical happened – Peggy called Stan to tell him about Don’s call. And then Peggy got the ending that no one was really expecting. Stan and Peggy have been work husband and work wife for so long – their work friendship blossomed into true and deep affection for each other, even if they both just seemed content to have their relationship set at “BFF” and nothing more. But then Stan manned up and told Peggy that he loved her. Peggy couldn’t believe it, then she examined her own feelings and… Matthew Weiner gave us what is probably the most touching, believable and romantic scene in the history of Mad Men. Stan racing to Peggy’s office so he could see her when she said “I love you.” It made my heart swell.

And finally, Don Draper/Dick Whitman. Ugh, what is there to say at this point? I’m glad they didn’t try to introduce a new “love interest” for Don in the final moments. Yeah, he had sex with a prostitute (who tried to steal his money), but he eventually made it to California where he sought out Stephanie, the young beauty that he met through his “first wife,” Anna Draper (Stephanie was Anna’s niece). Blah, blah, Stephanie takes Don to a hippie retreat and then she ends up dumping him there, because Stephanie is as much of a flake as Don. Don is basically stuck there and he’s somewhat suicidal, and even though his gut was probably telling him to go back to New York to spend time with Betty and his children, he stays.

In truth, the “special snowflake” parts of Don Draper’s angst have been annoying me particularly throughout the past few seasons as Don’s self-absorbed myopathy seems, at times, callous to everyone around him. We know he’s an alcoholic, and it was nice to see a final image of him as clean, sober, centered and at peace. But realistically, will Don stay on that path? Of course he won’t. Many people believe that Don’s journey after the California retreat did take him back to New York, where he worked on the Coke commercial which ended the show. Perhaps. I hope so. There was always this duality to Don Draper, and I’m not just talking about the Don/Dick conundrum – one side of him was a survivor, a Depression-era kid who would do anything and fight anyone to stay in this world. The other side was the melancholy, self-destructive alcoholic willing to burn everything down. I guess I’m surprised that the survivor side won out. For now.

Final thoughts? I’m glad that I watched every season and I’m glad Matthew Weiner gave us some great payouts for our time. I would have loved so see a few more concrete images of the futures of these beloved characters, but all in all… I was pretty happy with the finale.



Photos and posters courtesy of AMC/Mad Men.

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84 Responses to “‘Mad Men’ finale: how did it end for Don Draper, Peggy, Joan & Roger?”

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  1. Div says:

    I feel like I’m the only one who HATED how Peggy’s storyline ended. The whole rom-com bow-tie finish with Stan was just…ugh. It didn’t fit with the cool, confident, career vibe that she had earlier this season. I loved Betty and Sally’s end scene along with Roger and I was cool with Joan and Don’s…just the Peggy one drove me nuts.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      @div I hated that too. I thought it was kind of cheesy. I was so over Don as well. The only people I cared about in the end were Joan and Roger. And Ken Cosgrove, just because…..

      • Ladybird83 says:

        Well that was not suppose to be Don’s ending. I always pictured him jumping out a window and falling to his death as kind of to pay homage to the opening credits. Kind of an “aha” moment like they showed you how it will end before every episode and you had no idea! Aren’t we smart?!

        That is how it should have ended.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I disliked Peggy’s as well. I’ve never cared much about her romantically, I was all about watching her come up from a secretary to the force in the industry that she was. I liked that Pete acknowledged her surpassing him in that way, but I really wish she’d gone into business with Joan and they’d kicked ass together. Joan’s ending was great.
      I have mixed feelings about Don’s end- it was clever, but I also wish he had actually changed.

    • tracking says:

      Totally. It didn’t fit her newly-owning-her-badassness character. It felt like a cheap wrap-up. And, heck, what’s wrong with a beautiful friendship?

    • bettyrose says:

      I hated it so much it almost ruined the episode for me. It was the worst written scene in the history of Mad Men. But someone talked me down, pointing out it was the perfect final scene of nearly a decade of their dorky, cheesy hidden love. Whatever. I just want to believe that because Don’s final scene was so GD brilliant I don’t want to let the Peggy nonsense ruin the episode.
      Whew! Felt good to rant about that.

    • pf says:

      I think it makes sense because Peggy has always been looking for a mate, whether she knew it or not. First with Mark in Season 4 and then with Abe in subsequent seasons. But she also loves work so Stan would be her perfect man. It’s also a nice contrast with Joan who obviously doesn’t need a man at the end. Some women do, some women don’t. But they both found their happiness in their own ways.

    • Sally Tomato says:

      I’m with you. I always wanted Peggy to end up with Stan but that was such a rom-com mess and not how I ever thought it to happen. I think I watched it three times and nope… Didn’t change.

    • Michelle says:

      I get it that people didn’t like the execution and it wasn’t my favorite either, but why do so many of you feel like Peggy had to be single for this ending to satisfy you? From season one, Peggy wanted a relationship. Throughout the series, she had a few failed relationships and a few dalliances here and there, but a huge arc in her storyline was that she was incapable of removing herself from her work and it always hindered her personal life from getting anywhere and caused her to feel dissatisfied all the time. The execution was definitely cheesy rom-com,, but Peggy’s ending was that she was happy, she knew what she wanted out of her career, and she ended up finding the love of her life in one of her best friends. I don’t see the problem with that or understand how it took away from her being bad ass, as if it somehow takes away from the fact that she is the only woman from the original agency that actually made it and had a promising career in that field. Peggy’s character beat the odds, held her own in a male-dominated industry, proved herself time and time again, commanded respect from everyone around her, and had her own personal happy ending to boot. Peggy is still a bad ass.

      • Pink Elephant says:

        I thought the implication was that Peggy had created the world-famous “I want to teach the world to sing” coke commercial. (Clearly Don/Dick was done with advertising.) To me, that consummated Peggy’s bad-ass status, forever. That commercial was HUGE.

      • bettyrose says:

        MichElle, ITA. I didn’t like the execution but Peggy has always wanted a real relationship, and she’s hurt herself repeatedly in search of that: Pete, Duck, the activist who talked her into buying a west side apartment building and then abandoned her to run it alone. Stan adores Peggy, has no problem putting her career first, but is totally her intellectual equal. She got the career and true love. I couldn’t be happier with that outcome, but the scene blew chunks.

      • Michelle says:

        @Pink Elephant – that’s a really cool theory, but if they were implying that Peggy came up with the commercial, wouldn’t they have linked her to it somehow? The fact that the commercial came on after a part of the episode that was entirely related to Don leads me to believe that they were insinuating that it was his idea. The last time we saw Peggy she was happily working at her typewriter and getting a kiss on the forehead from Stan. That was Peggy’s ending, and it was a happy one. The notion that the Coke commercial was Don’s work was kind of solidified when the real McCann ad agency took to Twitter last night to play along and thank Don Draper for coming up with the commercial.

        @bettyrose – Yes! I agree. It was funny how contrasting Joan and Peggy’s storylines are since they were almost exactly the same in a way. They both almost got the guy and their careers, but instead, they stayed true to the era by making Joan’s relationship end because her boyfriend wasn’t willing to accept that she wanted to work. This was a prevalent issue at that time, so kudos to Mad Men for staying true to reality. Peggy on the other hand was always the exception to all the rules on this show; she was the woman who broke barriers and things worked out great for her. In the end, Peggy got it all, but it was a little too cheesy in the execution.

      • lucy2 says:

        I don’t think she had to be single, and I like her with Stan, but I wanted a big career moment for her (and I don’t think she was responsible for the Coke ad). The heart of the show, for me anyway, was always her climbing the ladder to the career she wanted and deserved, and fighting for respect the whole way. I would have been fine with the Stan thing being part of it, but that it was all of her ending didn’t sit right with me.

      • Imqrious2 says:

        It *has* to have been Don’s idea.

        Don talking to Peggy: she keeps saying “Come home, you can work on Coke; ME would take you back in a heartbeat”. (And how funny is it that the *real ME had the Coke acct. and made that commercial!)

        Remember the Hippie girl at the desk Don was talking to? The one who told him it would take a few days to get him a car? LOOK AT HER OUTFIT AND HER BRAIDS…THEY ARE ALMOST IDENTICLE TO THE OPENING SHOT OF THE GIRL’S IN THE COKE COMMERCIAL 😄

        At the end, as he’s sitting in the Lotus position, the Guru’s talking about a new day, etc., and you hear the “ding”, see Don’s smile, and the “ding” again…. Then cut to the Coke commercial. That smile, the setting (on top of the cliff), and the resulting “ding” was Don getting the idea.

        Anyway, that’s my take 😋

    • Grace says:

      Completely agree. I liked that Peggy’s happiness did not rest with a man but instead achieving something in the work force. I always loved Peggy and Stan’s friendship but I wished it stayed that way. Why can’t two characters of the opposite sex ever just have a deep friendship without it evolving into a romantic relationship on TV? And I always thought Pegs would find love – just not in the office.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      It was stupid.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I loved that they turned our expectations on their heads. From the beginning of the series, Peggy has been about her career and Joan has been about men with a side of career. Now, Peggy is career with a side of Stan and Joan is all career.

    • Ally says:

      It was suddenly very conventional rom-com, wasn’t it? For me the most recognizable relationship moment was Peggy opening the phone call with, “It’s me.” i.e. it’s a given there and then that they’re the most important people in each other’s lives.

      The bit with her saying romantic things with no one at the other end of the line, while the male hero races to join the heroine, is right out of Sabrina (an Audrey Hepburn – Humphrey Bogart moment in the Larrabee building). Hey, I like a ‘classical’ reference, but the sense of déjà vu was a bit distracting just then.

  2. Luca76 says:

    I thought Don’s ending was so glib but realistic. Of course Don would find a way to survive and be cleansed of his guilt and I’m one who believes he went back to NY and made another pile of money on the Coke ad.

    • Div says:

      Exactly. People were disappointed that he didn’t have a more dreary end but what happened to him reflects reality…a lot of slippery, slimy guys land on their feet even if they’ve had trouble in the past.

    • Liberty says:


  3. Jenns says:

    I loved that last scene. Don Draper is many things–he’s a liar, a cheat, a complete mess. But he is a brilliant ad man. That is the answer to “Who is Don Draper?”. Of course he came up with that ad. And of course it happened when he was suppose to be “finding himself”.

    • tracking says:

      Yes, perfect.

    • bettyrose says:

      Loved it!! I was feeling queasy over that hippie dippy love fest, and when that peaceful smile came over Don’s face, I was ready to throw something. It can’t end like this! But then the Coke ad. Don coopted the entire West Coast hippy culture for soulless corporate greed, turning it into the most successful ad for the most recognized brand in tv history. That’s Don Draper.

      • Beatrice says:

        Very well said. Yes, I didn’t like that hippy turn of events for Don, but when I saw that smile and then the Coke commercial–I knew Don Draper was back. The king of mad men!!

      • Sunny says:

        I adored that. Because at its core, the show has always been about identity. The last two seasons especially Don has been increasingly struggling with the Dick Whitman side of himself. I thought over the last few episodes, we were going to see him resolve those issues, especially with the whole “go west young man”, and the last episode where he met a younger version of himself. I think Don thought a lot of his darkness and the gaping hole in his soul was due to his childhood, and it drove him to fill it with women and making people fall in love with products, but when he met v-neck sweater he realized his struggle wasn’t so unique.

        But this ending was perfect. Because amongst all that talk about identity- what did we see of Don but him create the greatest ad of the generation. It wasn’t about some new age hippy shit, he just used that to shill products. It goes back to season one where he talks about using love to sell nylons. Amazing ending!

        I didn’t love the Peggy end but thereat of the episode landed really well for me.

      • Michelle says:

        @bettyrose – So your take is that Don used the whole situation to his own advantage and returned to New York as cynical as he previously was? I don’t buy that for a second. I think the part about the man breaking down and Don walking over to hug him and crying hysterically with him was supposed to show that Don or Dick, finally broke. Someone else articulated the feelings that Dick Whitmann carried around with him his whole life, and when he had finally hit rock bottom, he was pushed to his breaking point when he found out there was someone else in this world who felt like he did and he wasn’t as alone as he always thought he was.

        I didn’t come away from the finale thinking that the smile on Don’s face meant “wow I have this great new idea, thanks hippies” but rather that he had finally found peace with who he is. I do agree with you that Don is an ad man at his core, because if there was one consistent thing in his life during this show, it was his job, which he truly loved. I personally felt like the point was supposed to be that Don was finally able to let go of his past, find peace and happiness, and return home to become great again at the job he truly loved.

      • bettyrose says:

        Michelle, I don’t know about cynical. I think he absolutely found peace in coming to terms with his identity as Don Draper, ad man. He’s always felt like a fraud in his stolen identity, but Peggy begged him to come “home,” while Stefanie dismissed him as “not family” and then took off without him. I think he returned to Madison Ave as a champ, totally owning his self-created identity and finally knowing where he belongs.

      • Michelle says:

        @bettyrose – Thanks for responding! I agree with you.

    • Liberty says:

      I think it was perfect, and I think he did find himself in one way, that maybe allowed him to revive and then, to amplify his whole ad guy thing in another way.

      Back when I was starting out in advertising etc., I worked for three guys, already way older, greying, but who were still slick, smooth, bourbon-scented and very rich and powerful real Mad Men like Don and Roger. The real thing. Don and Roger were nearly duplicates of these guys who mentored me (I was their Peggy). They’d burned through and fallen by the time I knew them, and were on part three — the Roger married to a lovely Swedish widow much like Marie, the Dons creating one huge company famous for its ads to this day, and finally finding their last-chance wives. But oh my god, the stories, the residue of their pasts that kept popping up, the stuff they taught us from their old days….. the stuff my Dons showed me, the people each had me and my art partner meet, it’s still hard to believe, off the charts, including sitting around backstage once with his old pal, old Hollywood gold. You’re 22 and thinking, WTH?? as this mega star tosses you a giant diamond pinkie ring and says keep it for luck kid, if you’re working with Don, you may need to trade it for a seat on a jet. WTH??? Insanity, old-school, but still “normal” to my Dons.

      Anyway…it all rang true from what I saw of the last bits of my Mad Men. And I totally see Don getting “healed” in part of his soul in CA, but that just turning the pilot light back up under his idea basket. Similar happened to one of my Dons.

      So this ending was perfect. And the Joan and Peggy and Pete lines…perfect also. I watched all through the years and as much of the last-days marathon as I could and will marvel forever at the perfection of what Matthew Weiner created. The final lacing up of the story lines, warp and weft, flawlessly patterning the the end of the whole – from a storyline map alone, Weiner’s work was to the end utter perfection. Each character relationship a revisit, a closure of sorts, then a dance step on to the next partner, for love. Each got their love. Each finally expressed something honest not ad speak, Don to a random guy in a encounter group, etc. Each main character relationship of note re-met, danced, moved one step to the right spot. A lot of better places than this indeed.

      I know he said no spin-offs, and I get it, and really it’s not needed, is it. But Sally Draper grows up — I’d watch that for sure.

      • Calcifer says:

        @Liberty Loved your post and it made me love MadMen even more than I already did! Thank you!

  4. The Original G says:

    I hated it. I felt that after years of complex relationships and story lines, they took a dump on me with this facile disposition of characters who were owed something so much better, in quality terms.

    It was like half way through, they went, “Oh, we have to wrap this up” and left it to the new interns to do.

    • Juliette says:

      100% agree. I was disappointed with every aspect of this ending. I am not really sure how I thought it should have ended but this wasn’t it. I loved this show and was a loyal watcher but this was a major let down.

    • VivienLeigh says:

      Agreed! Right up there (or down there) with Dexter. The series ends with Don saying “Ommm”?! Are you serious? Joan and Roger (and their son) should have ended up together, not him with Megan’s annoying mother. And Peggy? What a gratuitous story line that ended up being. It just didn’t ring true. Pete gets a happy ending, OK, I guess, and sadly, Betty got a fitting end. “Mad Men” was a great series, and it deserved much, much more.

  5. Juniper says:

    I really liked it. I can understand how some might feel a little disappointed in the Peggy end – because as one of those anchors of the show, she was never just about a relationship or who she was going to end up with. But I didn’t mind it because in the end, he helped her realize that she needed to stay with McCann to get where she wanted to get in the end.
    I loved the Don ending. How perfect. I thought it was clearly showing us he headed back to NY – the golden boy with the golden idea once again. With a new outlook on his life? Well, that’s debatable. I certainly think there was something that shifted inside him when he was listening to the sad sack tell his story in the therapy group. That realization that he was the polar opposite of this man; he was a man that did get noticed and listened to all the time -and was loved and wanted and yet they both didn’t know how to feel love.

  6. kcarp says:

    my first reaction was to hate the ending. Then I got it, Don was with the hippies and he thought up the peace, love, coke commercial. You can eve hear a ding like a bell at the end when the idea came to him.

    Don went back to NYC, I don’t think he self destructed as bad as in the past. I think he really did turn it around

  7. Diana says:

    So sad the show ended! I want to see a movie about what actually happens to each character. Does Don get sober? Does he find peace with himself? Does he maintain a healthy relationship with his kids?

  8. savu says:

    I really loved how it ended for Peggy. Rom-com-like sure, but it completely suited her. It was SO well acted! As for Joan, I loved seeing her do her own thing.

    I hated Don’s ending. UGH. So much silent existentialism. Come on. MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.

    I loved seeing Sally mature too. Wow, how often is it that we feel the women are done justice in their storylines? At least I feel that way.

    • Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

      HE wrote what is probably the most famous ad of all time. I’d say he did something.

  9. Longhairdontcare says:

    matt weiner knew the ending of the show from the beginning and jon hamm knew for four years how it would end. Sad to see my favorite show end!

  10. Prairiegirl says:

    Brilliant ending. Joan is self sufficient. Pete gets a fresh start. Roger finds his emotional equal. Peggy finds love with a man who doesn’t try to change her or put her in a socially sanctioned box. Sally is for all intents and purposes an adult. Betty faces death on her own terms by not doing what’s expected of her for once. Don realizes that he’s not the only person in the world who is lonely, who feels second best, and who doesn’t know what to do to fix it. And the Coke commercial: ‘did Don write it or did Peggy write it?’ is the new ‘did Tony get whacked’. Also: everything’s a commodity. Even inner peace. Thank you Michael Weiner!

    • Jessd says:

      I haven’t seen the episode but I couldn’t help reading recaps! How did Betty not do what was expected of her?

      I love that Peggy and Stan end up together, it’s perfect for her. She’s been so career focused but she mentioned quite a few times over the years that she would like more, and Stan can handle her success and be supportive of her having both family and career, love it. Peggy deserved that fairy tale ending, she’s been through so much.

      • kcarp says:

        I guess people expected her to get treatment and stop smoking. I don’t know what the point of stopping smoking would be.

      • Murphy says:

        Henry Francis did a lot of research and found several doctors who wanted to treat her cancer very aggressively. Betty put her foot down and said no to all of them.

      • Prairiegirl says:

        What kcarp and Murphy said. She dies on her own terms. She’s expected to fight. To keep up appearances of ‘the battle against cancer’ even though she knows it’s hopeless. She doesn’t. Good for her!

      • Jess says:

        Thanks everyone:) good for Betty! I’ve enjoyed watching her character evolve over the years, can’t wait to actually see these last few episodes!

  11. launicaangelina says:

    I enjoyed the finale and it felt realistic. I’m happy Peggy and Stan ended up together. He was the only man that got her and will never hold her back on her career trajectory. It was cute and believable.

    Joan, keep kicking ass and taking names! LOL at Roger calling Kevin a “rich bastard” and realizing it to be true in only a way that Roger can get away with.

    Roger and Megan’s mom – makes sense!

    I happy for Pete and hope the upward trajectory continues.

    I choose to believe than Don finds inner peace and it stays with him for the rest of his life. I also think he went back to NY in time to be with Betty and the kids before her death and was involved and present in his kids’ lives. I’m an optimist! I work for a drug rehab and know people who have had dark, selfish periods in their lives. They’ve done horrible things but recover and live fulfilling, productive lives. They are good people. I want to believe Don turned things around for the better.

    I will rewatching the entire series on Netflix once season 7 is available. Over these many years, I took the show in bite size pieces and now, I want to return to the buffet!

    • Diana says:

      @launica thank you for your very important work and beautiful optimism. bless you xo

      • launicaangelina says:

        @Diana Thank you. I’m not a counselor but the development director and focus on grant proposal writing. I like that I’m able to help save lives this way. God bless counsellors. It takes special people to do that work.

    • Antonym says:

      I agree with your thoughts on Peggy & Stan @launica. I guess that’s why I’m not upset at the rom-comness of it all, I wanted it to happen. In their first scene together last night I said, aloud, “when are they going to figure it out and get together- they’re running out of time.”

      Re: coke. I choose to believe that Peggy wrote the commercial and it helped her breakthrough a bit at ericksonn-mccann. (Yes, I will willfully ignore any “sign” that it was don.)

      • launicaangelina says:

        I agree with your take on how the creation of the Coke ad went down. I truly believe Peggy was essential in it.

    • Michelle says:

      @launicaangelina – I 1,000% agree and share the same sentiment on Don, and pretty much everything else you posted. I feel like sometimes a lot of people who watch this show are incapable of seeing the character of Don for what he is–a completely broken person. Instead, they see all that he does wrong and find him to be a completely unredeemable person. I’m a RN and I’ve worked with recovering addicts as well, and I know that people can and do turn it all around. I’m sure the finale was supposed to be left up to our own perspectives, but mine was that Don turned his life around and found inner peace after he finally had his inevitable breakdown, and I think he went back to NY finally able to let himself be who he has always wanted to be.

      • launicaangelina says:

        I agree @Michelle! I believe in redemption. I agree that many fans of the show did not get past the surface and were hung up on the sins of Don Draper. He was extremely complex and it wasn’t simply that he was bad. I saw Don’s reaction to Leonard as a sincere breakthrough. Leonard verbalized the complex feelings that Don couldn’t but Don also realized he wasn’t alone in his feelings. I will stick to my belief in his redemption. Excellent series and satisfactory ending.

      • Michelle says:

        @launicaangelina I completely agree with you. “He was extremely complex and it wasn’t simply that he was bad.” This sums up Don perfectly.

      • Liberty says:

        I agree, Michelle.

  12. minx says:

    I was dreading the finale but I loved it. It was a perfect blend of optimism and realism, and, shockingly, there was a lot of love.
    Well done.

  13. Merritt says:

    I’m glad Joan decided to go into business for herself. She wanted to be in control of her own destiny and that made me happy. I’m also glad she didn’t give it up for a jerk. I was never a Pete fan, so his seemingly happy ending was just ok. Peggy and Stan, I really don’t know. It was okay but I wish she had gone into business with Joan. Poor Sally, she was the only mature one in her family. Don is just ugh.

  14. BW says:

    I know people have been shipping Peggy and Stan ever since “naked work night” so, while cheesy, it was nice that Peggy finally found love with a true friend.

    I think the implication was that everyone, except maybe Pete, contributed to the Coke ad. I remember that ad when it came out. It was so popular, they wrote extra lyrics and released it as a single and made it up to #5 on the Billboard charts. I think Don thought up the idea, Peggy wrote it with Stan, and Joan’s production company filmed it.

    I think Pete’s compliment to Peggy that someday people will talk about having worked with Peggy Olsen was a precursor to her having “written” the Coke ad.

    Also, I thought it was funny that Joan did coke with Richard, and then Peggy asks Don, “Don’t you want to do Coke?”

    Also, Richard was a dick.

    • Michelle says:

      @BW – the only reason for you to think that it was implied that the whole old gang worked together on the coke commercial is because that is your interpretation of it, or what you would like to believe happened. There was really no reason to believe this was actually what was intended, especially since none of these people work together anymore except for Peggy, Stan, and Don if he actually returned to NY, which was alluded to by the coke commercial coming on at the end. Coke was entirely Don’s, as noted throughout the entire second half of season 7. Using Joan’s production company would’ve been a conflict of interest with McCann. As a matter of fact, McCann is a real life agency and actually was responsible for the commercial, and they posted the commercial on Twitter last night and played along thanking Don for the idea. It was really well done and just goes to show how ingenious the writing on this show really was.

      • Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

        Agreed. There is no “all the gang” here (were they ever really a real bunch?)

        The point is that Don did what Don always did. It was a clever ending.

  15. skipper says:

    I was actually really happy with the ending for all the characters. I think that is a first for me with a television show. I did feel bad for the situation with Betty but it seemed logical. Everyone couldn’t get a complete happy ending, right?

  16. Michelle says:

    I’m so sad to see this show go! Mad Men will eternally be one of my favorite shows ever. I personally LOVED the finale; my only gripe is that I was really hoping Don would create a stronger, better relationship with his kids. I’m not sure why so many people feel so disappointed, but I assume it is because Mad Men has been such a cynical show all of these years that all the happy endings seem farfetched to a lot of people. I wouldn’t have been happy to see everyone end on a miserable note or worse, dead. I was glad Don got his happy ending. I know many people, even Jon Hamm himself, have expressed an inability to see Don as a sympathetic character, but I felt like the show did a complete 360 with that last night. All these years of watching Don screw his way through life with no regard for anyone, incapable of accepting love from anyone or understanding why they love him–we finally hear how Don has always truly felt when the man at the retreat pours his heart out. Whether one loves or hates Don Draper, he was an ingenious character with major depth, and this is a large part of what made this show so great. I always felt sad for Don because he wasn’t just some selfish asshole, he was a completely shattered person, and my interpretation of the finale is that he finally hit absolute rock-bottom and broke which FINALLY allowed him to find himself, and he was able to return to work with a clear mind and a renewed creativity.

    I don’t doubt that Don would be able to remain sober. Recovering addicts nearly always have a crutch, in most cases it is religion. In this case, for Don, it would appear to be spirituality and yoga. Not a farfetched notion.

    • Murphy says:

      I think the vagueness of the ending gives us an opportunity to make our own assumptions about how exactly he handled things when he got back, which can be fun

    • Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

      Um….he didn’t turn spiritual–he turned his spirituality into a Coke commercial.

      Same old Don. That was the point.

      • Michelle says:

        @Jackie Jormp Jomp – that is your prerogative and that’s why vague endings are pretty cool. You must’ve missed the part where Don had a complete break down and found a kindred spirit in the guy who described being incapable of accepting love. Did you really think that was in there for no reason?

      • Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

        I think it was meant to make his return to commercalism be felt even harder. He has been awakened and he….sells it to Coke.

    • Prairiegirl says:

      Don cant have a better relationship with his kids any more than he can stay sober. People don’t really change and the most we can do is recognize, accept, and then mitigate our flaws and their impact on others to the best of our ability. IMO.

  17. epiphany says:

    I guess most of you are too young to remember this, so let me explain the final scene with Don. Recall that in the last 2 episodes, Coca-Cola was mentioned – a lot. There’s a reason for that. The motel owner asked Don to fix the Coke machine, guys at the VFW kept ordering Coke, when Don called Peggy she asked him, “don’t you want to come back and work on Coke?”, as it was one of the firm’s biggest accounts. Okay, now fast forward to Don at the ashram, mediating; he’s beginning to believe what the guru is saying -‘you can start over, you can reinvent yourself” – now fast forward again to the crowd of hippies singing ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”
    You youngsters won’t remember, but that commercial, and that song, were THE biggest advertising success in the world; not just up until that time, but to date. Nothing has topped it. The full version of that song was a #1 best seller. Kids sang it in schools. The point that last scene was making is that Don DID go back to the advertising firm, and, inspired by his time at the ashram, came up with that idea, and once again proved he’s an advertising genius. That scene was actually pretty brilliant.

    • BW says:

      I agree. My take on it was that Don came up with the idea. Whether he actually went back to NY or not, I don’t know, but I feel he conveyed the idea to Peggy. Peggy wrote the award winning ad with Stan’s help, and Joan produced it.

      Pete had told Peggy earlier that one day people would be proud to say they had worked with Peggy Olsen. This ad was HUGE. It would have made Peggy incredibly famous in the ad world and would have gotten her the creative director position she told Don she wanted during her SC&P review.

      • Sunny says:

        That could be possible but if you watch the commercial, one of the girls is dressed exactly like the hippy girl in the compound which seems to signal Don had an active role in making the ad. 🙂

        I like to think he and Peggy worked on it together but he was for sure involved in making it.

      • Michelle says:

        @BW – that is a really awesome theory, but I have to say I think it is highly unlikely. The final moments of the show focused entirely on Don because he was the main character of the show. To assume that he would call Peggy, give her the idea, right down to what the people should be wearing is farfetched. I think that we saw Peggy get her happy ending when we knew that she had her future mapped out, knowing exactly what she wanted, and now with the love of her life by her side. Peggy started out as a secretary who had to constantly prove herself and earn the respect of her male coworkers and when the show ended, they were praising her and acknowledging that she had real talent and would undoubtedly be major someday. For a long time, she couldn’t separate work from her personal life and in the finale, we finally saw Peggy get her life exactly where she wanted–a booming career with major potential AND a guy in her life.

      • Liberty says:

        Sunny: yes!! We noticed that too and everyone who hung around to watch the second showing pointed it out to those who missed it. The perfect detail as something only Don would have access to (though the real ad was filmed in Ireland and Italy, I believe).

    • Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

      YEah, I liked the ending and don’t see how it’s not completely obvious to anyone who watched the show. I’m in my early 30s and I got it.

      • epiphany says:

        Oh, that’s great! I was thinking anyone under 45-50 wouldn’t remember this commercial, or the hoopla surrounding it. In it’s time, it was a monster.

  18. Ms. Turtle says:

    Last week the old man at the motel asked Don “could you fix the Coke machine?” And Don surely did fix the Coke machine. Yeah, it’s cynical to sell peace & love as a feeling you get when you drink Coke, but that is Don to the end. He was never going to change that much.

    Loved it all. Even Betty sitting at the kitchen table at the end. Even Pete getting another chance. Haven’t cried that hard in a long time over fictional characters. Will miss them terribly.

    • Ally says:

      Also, I think back to his secretary showing him design options for his new apartment, and he points to the garish all-red-and-white one and says “I want to live here.” I thought that was an oddly extreme choice for Don (he seemed to favor browns in his decor) but now I see it as a Coca-Colaaaa thing.

  19. Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

    I think it’s very obvious that Don took his “inner peace” lessons, and turned them into a Coke commercial. IT’s even what appears to be the same (or a similar) cliff.
    Don was offered inner peace and her turned it into an ad.

    I don’t think that was ambiguous AT ALL.

    • bette says:

      AV club had a really insightful analysis of practically every episode of Mad Men. I’ve read a lot of reviews of the finale and I think theirs is spot on:


      • Prairiegirl says:

        Glad you posted this! Read it this morning and had no time to come back to do it till late day. I thought this analysis was spot on.

      • Ally says:

        The Vulture ones are my favorites. Better written than the show, frankly! I think Mad Men always appealed to people who used to enjoy literature analysis, and Vulture always did this best, imo.

  20. Murphy says:

    Overall I liked the episode, it was creative. It wasn’t completely mind blowing, but it wasn’t infuriating either.

    Yeah I assumed that it meant Don went back and thats the commercial he created for Coke, I mean Peggy mentioned it in their phone call. Loved that phone call by the way, totally shed a few tears. The front desk girl at the retreat with the ribbons in her braids made it very obvious.

    I love that Pete got back with Trudy. It made me really happy that one character’s huge resulting sucess included being with his wife. in Hollywood this just seems so impossible-that you can be sucessful and still be with your wife.

    I was glad that Joan didn’t turn into a coke head mess, I was worried for a quick moment there about where that was going.

    Annoyed that Dawn didn’t get any mention in the last episode, only time we saw her this season was when Roger accused her of messing up the lease, that sucks.

    • Prairiegirl says:

      love love love that Pete and Trudy were together in the end. Their (romantic) relationship was the only partnership of equals on the show, as far as I was concerned. Evidence: the ‘Sit down have a seat’ episode. She was in it to win it with him.

  21. MSat says:

    I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but overall, it went out with a bang. I am disappointed that we didn’t get a final Don/Sally scene in person – I really enjoy them together. And Roger marrying Marie? Meh. Joan is his soul mate. But I think in the end, Joan did find her true love – her business! And I like to think that after the show ended, Peggy did end up taking her offer of partnership, once she realized that McCann is a lame, sexist shit hole. Yep, I’m going with that.

    Don fixed himself, and went back to Madison Ave to reclaim his title as the greatest ad man ever! Yes! My favorite moment of the finale was the very end, as he sat looking all cleaned up and refreshed in meditation, and you hear the “ding!” of zen, and see his grin. His world famous “Eureka!” Being the best ad man – that’s his destiny. As his boss told him, “You’ve died and gone to advertising heaven.”

    I’ll miss them all soooo much! (Except Pete)

    • Ally says:

      The other indicator for me is that he went from t-shirt to plaid shirt to Oxford shirt, and his hair got progressively back from scruffy into the Don slicked-back coif by the last om scene.

      I can well believe he had an epiphany, but he’s had others before, and still went back into his elation-depression self-medicated with booze/women loop. It’s hard for me to think this epiphany will be any longer-lived. I just think he’s reinventing himself with the times (albeit while getting a bit more in touch with what authentic self there is there) because he only likes the beginning of things, even new beginnings for himself.

      Two quotes often came to mind for me with the show:

      The Arctic Monkeys: “A day after a triumph is as hollow as the day after a tragedy.”

      Edith Wharton (as applied to Don, replacing the word ‘niceness’ with ‘charm’): “What if ‘niceness’ carried to that supreme degree were only a negation, the curtain dropped before an emptiness? As he looked at May, returning flushed and calm from her final bull’s-eye, he had the feeling that he had never yet lifted that curtain.”

      At the end of the day, there’s a void at the heart of Don that we’ve never seen any evidence he’ll be able to fill lastingly with contentment and connection. He remains a cypher to himself and the audience, because there’s not much of a core there beyond the image of things he sells and inadvertently buys into, too. But then that’s what was smart about the show.