As I continue to make my way through the final episodes of Mad Men I find myself, for one of the few times in the course of the series in the shoes of Don Draper. Sure as the main character we’re always supposed to relate to him on some level, but typically, and perhaps this is sexist, I’ve typically identified with the women, especially Peggy (minus that brief relationship with Duck, I mean really?!?!). However this episode Don was tasked with having to look forward and see more than just the next big client, and likewise I pondered the end game and the meaning in this show.
Now the fact that things were pretty business as usual at the ad agency seemed telling. After all, there will always be disappointed clients, there will always be tiffs between coworkers and there will always be employees to fire when they can’t keep things together, or understand that even if you’ve gotten off to the wrong foot with a client there are always… wait no usually ways of smoothing things over if the client is reasonable (I still hate the Heintz Beans guy). Unless you either A, have no idea how to communicate to your client, or B, you’re Joan or Peggy and just have to deal with unreasonable sexism.
When it comes to Joan, I like Joan, and I’m happy that we’re hitting on the chances that she might be happy with someone else in the same way that we saw with Peggy in the first of these final episodes (even though I feel like it’s impossible to get invested in shipping anyone at this point).
Out of the two, even though she’s the one saddled with a son, I actually think that it’ll be Joan, not Peggy, that by the end of the series has a family.
Speaking of family. I was so glad that things didn’t get awkward… or should I say more awkward with Glen and Betty. He was always an awkward character, and I’m glad that we got some kind of send off and closure for him. Even if that send off is to war (which will of course be off screen) and with one of the most embarrassing moments in TV history. It’s great that Sally didn’t witness it. The awkwardness with her friend and father at dinner was far less cringe-worthy for a child to witness.
Oh and getting back to Peggy, while we were completely aware of the rationale behind Don’s line of questioning, I can completely understand why she felt like he was walking all over her goals and hopes. That being said, Don’s attitude that simply landing the next big client and being responsible for a tagline not being enough is a reminder that hopefully the show’s writers have dreamed big enough to have a satisfying end game.
Now I’m not saying I’m not enjoying these final episodes, I am, a lot for that matter. However, these first few of the last episodes seem to be about nothing other than the end itself, and the story feels left behind. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe there’s just no more story to tell, and we’re all like Don, ready to move out of the apartment, but not actually ready to move on.