This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.
If you’re a Mad Men fan, join us every Monday for Mad Men Musings – a space to discuss selected highlights, low points, or just plain water-cooler worthy moments of each episode of the final season.
It’s hard to believe, but soon our time with Don, Peggy and company will draw to a close: the last half of the Mad Men final season begins on April 5th. Before we start crying into our cocktails, it’s time to focus on these last seven episodes – I plan on savoring each one like a juicy Burger Chef creation (do you think they make those in veggie versions?).
When we last left the gang, we saw some major tumult: Bert died and SC&P merged with McCann (ensuring Don kept his job). Joan turned down a beard marriage proposal from Bob Benson and continued to show her business acumen. Peggy turned 30 and struggled with her “failure” to be married with children, even as she continued to press forward in her career. Ginsberg lost his mind to a supercomputer and performed a Van Gogh-esque feat, while Roger lost his daughter to the counterculture. Betty continued to feel belittled in her marriage to Henry.
And Don? After a half season struggling to regain his professional footing, it seemed that his marriage to Megan bit the dust as well – but he seems headed into this last act armed with grace and verve.
As we travel into this last season, it’s also worth noting that the Mad Men world is entering a new decade – the 1970s. Fashion wise, this scares me a little – OK, thinking about what Pete is going to wear in the 70s’ is what’s actually freaking me out.
Besides questionable fashion choices, there’s a lot of rich material to potentially mine: the end of Vietnam, the continued advent of civil and women’s rights, the oil crisis, Nixon and Watergate, etc. I can’t wait to see how world events touch the lives of our favorite characters.
Although I am not expecting every loose thread to be tied up in this last season (Mad Men really isn’t that kind of show), there are some burning questions to be addressed. Here are five queries that burn as hot as Don’s perpetual cigarette:
1. Will Joan ever have the respect she hungers for?
Her intelligence and grit is often subsumed by her va-va-voom exterior, and it’s a damn shame. She’s saved the men’s bacon more times than I can count, and she deserves to be treated as a full equal. She also deserves to be happy in her personal life, with a partner that respects her. On a related note, what is in the cards for Joan, Roger and Kevin?
2. Will Betty stay with Henry and continue to Stepford Wife her way through life?
Most of us love to hate Betty – she’s done a lot of creepy, self-involved things and is a wretched mother. Despite that, though, I can’t help but wonder what she’d be capable of on her own. What might happen if she shucked off the Barbie façade and tried making her own decisions?
3. Is Peggy ever going to address the loss of her first child with Pete?
And will she reconcile her burgeoning desire to have a marriage/family with her professional desires? In many ways, at least for me, Peggy has served as the North Star of Mad Men. Sure, she’s done horrible things and acts out in selfish ways, but that just makes her human; at her core, she cares about her work and she cares about people, but so far she’s had a rough time of melding the two together.
Seeing her act so tenderly towards Julio (the son of her tenant) spoke to her maternal side, a side she cast away painfully after adopting out her own child. It’s fascinating, too, that Peggy’s struggle to find a balance between love and work echoes the whole “having it all” battle that women face right now, in 2015.
4. Are Don and Megan truly over?
It sure seemed that way at this half-season’s end, but those two are like a lonely planet and its star, drifting in and out of each other’s orbits. Can two fragmented and damaged people come together and make a whole? I’m not sure, but I’m not counting Megan totally out just yet.
5. Will Don become the man he wants to be?
We’ve seen myriad facets of Don Draper over the years: the young boy in the whorehouse, the clueless soldier, the identity-stealer and keeper of secrets. He’s been the predatory wolf, the cutthroat business man with occasional flashes of brilliance, the absent father also capable of great, albeit fleeting, tenderness. Being Don is akin to standing in a room of funhouse mirrors, all those identities flashing and flickering crazily. Will the “real” Don Draper stand up, the one he most wants to be?
we heartsters – What burning questions do you hope to see resolved during the final season of Mad Men?
all Mad Men photos: via AMC
- Bubbles make everything better: e.l.f. Hydrating Bubble Mask review - May 16, 2017
- The Body Shop Almond Milk and Honey Body Care Collection - April 20, 2017
- This Lune + Aster Primer & CC Cream Review - February 7, 2017