Don Draper has been making pitches and cheating on women for nearly eight years but his run at the top will come to a close on Sunday. Mad Men’s series finale will be the end of a show that has taken viewers through several decades and nearly all of Pete’s hair.
Before fans dive in to the final episode, let’s take a little refresher about where the big players in the show are left.
Ted was last seen in the same boardroom that Don walked out of. During the pitch from Budweiser, Ted looked as if he had finally made it to the big time by being hired by McCann Erickson. Ted has always been a sort of an anti-Don and to see him take pleasure in the very thing that made Don question his very existence is no surprise. Expect Ted to end the series full of happiness as he gets to continue advertising on such a large scale.
After dealing with the stares, comments, and come-ons from men throughout her entire working existence in advertising Joan has finally had enough. She took her complaints about her treatment as high as she could and got left with a bad situation. Joan has to choose between settling for second class citizenship at McCann or be bought out of the company for half of what she is worth. Joan has a stable man in her life now, played by Bruce Greenwood, who can more than take care of her and her son. Whatever choice Joan ends up making in the finale, look for her to go down swinging.
Pete is a man on the rise. Duck Phillips returned last week and allowed Pete to gain the interest of a private jet company looking to make a young advertising man their superstar. The offer of a car, unlimited jet flights and a nice home in Wichita were almost too much for Pete to pass up. As if this incredible job wasn’t enough, Pete was able to work some magic and convince his ex-wife Trudy to move in with him so they could be a family again. For now, it looks like Pete is going to have it all, but there is still one episode left for those things to change.
Peggy has accomplished so much in her time in advertising. She has moved past the role of secretary and been able to get real work done in a time that wasn’t so friendly to women. Peggy was noticeably absent from the penultimate Mad Men episode so there isn’t as much to speculate on as the rest. When we last saw her, she was walking to her new office at McCann fresh off absinthe induced skating with Roger Sterling (as weird as it sounds). There is expectation that Peggy will settle into her role at the new company with more ease than her former SC&P counterparts. Knowing Peggy, she will put her head down and go to work.
What is there left for Roger to do? He is no longer valuable to McCann and he has been out of the advertising game for years, even as a partner. His quote about “getting attached to the walls” at his former office seem to suggest that he won’t be one to switch. Whether Roger chooses to retire with Megan’s mother or quits out of life altogether, it appears as if one of the singular members of Mad Men will be done with the advertising game for good.
Draper has been searching for meaning to his life for years. The women he’s been with, the pitches he’s done have all been in effort to find part of himself that he feels is missing. This quest for himself became verbal this season as Don began looking to others to find what they wanted out of life. This has consumed Don to the point that he left a McCann meeting so that he could chase a woman unsuccessfully. This lead to a cross country vision quest that left Don in a tiny town in Oklahoma. Here Don was able to let go the secret of killing his commander in Korea. The last shot of Don was him sitting alone at a bus stop in Oklahoma. Will Don reunite with his old work partners in New York with an understanding of himself, or have to comfort his children over the impending death of his ex-wife Betty? With Don, as with the show, the answer is always slightly obscured.
Mad Men ends on Sunday, May, 17 at 9 pm on AMC.