Mad Men Final Season Preview: Our Top 5 Questions

Mad Men The Final Season Preview: Our Top 5 Questions

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

8 thoughts on “Mad Men The Final Season Preview: Our Top 5 Questions”

  1. Yay, I’m so happy that you’re back with Mad Men Musings, @amity ! Here’s my prediction for Pete’s 70s wardrobe choice: platform loafers. Aside from that, I have no idea what to expect from anyone… and I can’t wait!

  2. REALLY good summary. I haven’t watched many episodes, but that’s definitely a thoughtful preview that makes me want to go back and watch it :) I do love the fashion in prior seasons but just didn’t get that into the plot.

    1. Thank you! It’s probably worth watching just for the fashion alone; Betty and Megan, in particular, have had some spectacular outfits.

  3. All I want from this 2nd half of the season is for Joan and Roger to FINALLY get together, for Megan to be killed by Charles Manson (kidding, sort of, but seriously…go away) and for Don and Peggy to be the powerhouse advertising team they are meant to be. Oh, and I’d like to see Pete either get punched or fall down the stairs again. Is this too much to ask?

    I am excited and sad all at the same time. I really can’t imagine that final episode, the last new MM we’ll ever see.

    1. I love your last season wishes–I don’t think a Pete punch is too much to ask for. And I can’t believe it’s over either…

  4. Ahh! No – I’m not ready! I know it is better for shows to go out on top instead of dragging it on and on (looking at you Lost) – but I wish Mad Men would go another couple of seasons.

    Excited to have you back @amity and love your burning questions. My predictions and/or wishful thinkng:
    1. Will Joan ever have the respect she hungers for?
    I hope so! I’m hoping much like @Stef that Don, Peggy and Joan band together and take over the NYC advertising world.

    2. Will Betty stay with Henry and continue to Stepford Wife her way through life?
    Aww, I have a soft spot for Betty. But yes, I do think she is going to stick with her semi rigid ideas on what happiness is and looks like – a pretty, cultured, classy facade of a life.

    3. Is Peggy ever going to address the loss of her first child with Pete?
    Nope. I think this is one loose end that Weiner and co are never going to full on address. I would love to see a heart to heart between Peggy and Pete – but don’t see that happening either.

    4. Are Don and Megan truly over?
    I wish!

    5. Will Don become the man he wants to be?
    Hmmm…doubtful. I would love a happy ending with unicorns and rainbows for each and every character – but that’s not happening. I worry Don (like Betty) is a little to stuck in his ways – but I can’t wait to find out!

    1. I’m with you on most of these @tyna! However, I kind of see Betty taking a downward spiral and ending up akin to the Don we saw in the early seasons – drinking problems, philandering…we’ll see. I also think Don and Megan are definitely over. She’s fine – she doesn’t need him! She has a whole life of her own out there in LA!

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