By now, if you care, you have read no less than 30 recaps of Sunday night’s Mad Men finale. Here is one more to add to the pile.
This show has captured my heart and mind for the past eight (!!) years. I have been fascinated by the writing and the attention to detail. Not to mention the fact that it seemed like a dramatic interpretation of my mom’s growing up experience. Mom being Sally. Betty and Don my grandma and grandpa. I went to bed Sunday night 90% satisfied. There was only one story line (well, and a half) that totally missed it’s mark for me. More below.
My short review – it was perfect. Which goes against pretty much every critic review I could find. Here’s one from Huffington Post. The author is MUCH more well-spoken than I, but we disagree on pretty much every point.
My long review –
1. Peggy and Stan
No, no, no. Does this woman look like she needs a man?
She hasn’t found love through this whole show. Why do we waste her last scenes watching her find romantic comfort from her best colleague? She already is going to have a hell of a time at McCann, but with an interoffice romance? I can’t imagine that’s going to help her case. Given that this finale was more of a snapshot of lives going on vs. a true ending, I feel like we could have gone on without this storyline. Were we subjected to it simply because Peggy needed a final story? Maybe.
P.S. This review doesn’t like Peggy and Don’s last scene over the phone. For me, it was perfect. In episode 1, scene 1, Peggy needed Don. Around season 4 or 5, Don needed Peggy. Now? They are both ready to go on without the other. Perfect.
2. Holloway Harris
Randy and I had to rewind this part of the episode. “Wait, what did she call the business?” You go, Joan. You don’t need Roger. You don’t need the other sugar daddy. You don’t need Peggy. You don’t need a fancy apartment or a cutesy secretary. You need mom to take care of your son, someone to answer your phone, and a second to catch your breath between being dumped and taking an important business call. At first, I was going to write this whole post about that moment. All it took was a deep breath and girlfriend moved on to business. On the surface, Joan has had the guts (and lingerie) of steel this whole show, but she’s gone from bad decision to bad decision on the man front. Finally, she’s figured out she don’t need no man to move up in this world.
3. Pete and Trudy
Ugh. Trudy… Not only are you going back to the man who F-ed you over for years, but you’re letting him take you to Wichita. You look DAMN GOOD in the last scene, girlfriend, but I imagine you’ll be bored to tears and/or a true Mad Men era alcoholic before Tammy gets to kindergarten.
Pete – it pisses me off that you win. Again. Why do these guys always win?
4. Don and Everybody Else
I’ll be honest… It took reading a bunch of critic reviews for me to understand that the smile on Don’s face was not yogic enlightenment, but thinking of the biggest commercial of all time. (Or was it?!?) You know what? That’s ok. Even as a yoga teacher, I’d be lying if I said sitting cross-legged, trying to breathe through the leg cramps was NOT where I normally come up with my creative ideas. For me, it’s usually what to make for dinner. Good for him for coming up with something big. (P.S. If you want to know more about how it really happened, this article from Time is interesting.)
Other critics are unhappy that his revalation is an ad and not a new way to think about his relationships. To which, I say p-shaw! Don has never cared about his kids in a little league coach and kitchen table conversation way. Why start now? He will never truly give his full heart and soul to a lover. Critics wanted him to come screaming back to New York once he heard about Betty, but I think that would have disappointed me. He is no longer her husband. He is barely in the kids’ lives. If he walked away from what he thought was his dream job, why would this be any different?
Finally, why did we hear Don’s monologue through the mouth of another actor? Because we had to. When Don opens his mouth and speaks eloquent words, they are to sell us cigarettes or slideshow equipment. He does not speak to share true feelings. Hell, even when he once again confesses his sins, this time to Peggy, we’re all “yeh, yeh, get on with it…” back on the couch. For being so good with words to sell stuff, he couldn’t be more of a failure for using them in real life. Congratulations to Leonard, our phenomenally vanilla stand-in for having more color, more verve, more emotion, more “YES, THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO HEAR” that our attractive, high-level ad exec “hero”.
So that’s me. What did you think about the episode?