Arts & Culture · Film & Television

The ‘Mad Men’ Final Act: Same As It Ever Was?

Even Don, despite his rekindled womanizing ways, isn’t as on top of the world as he seems. He is haunted by dreams and memories of an old fling, department store heiress Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff). He tracks her down, only to learn that she died the week before. He attends her shiva and is upbraided by her sister. “I know who you are,” she tells him. When questioned, she explains that Rachel had the family life she wanted.

The message is clear: Despite models, stewardesses, and millions in the bank, Don has failed not once but twice in this department. And while he seems a bit more comfortable with his secret background, he still doesn’t know what he wants.

Mad Men was AMC’s first original drama, and the network has pulled out all the stops in terms of promoting this final season. There have been marathon showings of previous episodes, interviews with creator Matthew Weiner and the show’s tremendous cast. For the past few years, there have been rampant conspiracy theories moving like wildfire through social media. Megan (Jessica Paré) is really Sharon Tate. Don is hijacker D.B. Cooper. Sally ends up at Woodstock. I find these fascinating—more for the time and effort that some fans are willing to put into them than for any true likelihood that we’ll end up there.

Like most other “maddicts,” I’m already mourning the loss of what I believe has been the best television drama ever made. In my opinion, Weiner and his team have never made a misstep. (There have been some losses—a foot here, a nipple there—but no sharks have ever been jumped at Sterling Cooper.)

There may be only six episodes left, but I intend to relish every one of them. Whatever happens to Don, we can count on it to be dramatic (he is the falling man, after all) and utterly appropriate. I am perfectly happy to go wherever the show takes me.

My only hope (unlikely as it may be) is that Peggy and Joan somehow bury the hatchet and start their own agency. Now that would be a just and righteous way to say good-bye to this boys’ club forever.

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  • Judith A. Ross April 7, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Oh yes to your hope for Peggy and Joan. Unfortunately, the behavior we witnessed during their meeting with Topaz has not been left in the past. When I worked at a consulting firm in the early 2000s it was still alive and well.

    I, too, am waiting with bated breath for Don’s ultimate fate. Like you, I’m wondering if that falling man is some sort of omen….