Mad Men Series Finale: Who Lived? Who Died? Who Finally Declared Their …

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Mad Men’ series finale recap: Don Draper comeback hinted in sunny ending.

Based on all the foreshadowing in the previous seven episodes, and for most of Sunday’s episode, it was more surprising that creator Matthew Weiner let Don Draper survive than it would have been if things had gone much darker. The series finale of AMC ‘s “Mad Men” ended with a twist few fans saw coming: did Don Draper, wandering aimlessly across the country in search of happiness, stumble upon the inspiration for Coca Cola ’s iconic ‘Hilltop’ ad? Over the phone, Sally (Kiernan Shipka) emotionally emancipated herself from her father Don (Jon Hamm); Joan (Christina Hendricks) lost a relationship but found a passion; Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) realized love; and Don finally reached rock bottom. “There are a lot of better places than here,” she says, and in this final episode, we’re going to get a lot of reminders like that of Don’s constant appetite for anything better than what he has. This incomparable drama set in the 1960s New York advertising world concluded its seven-season run Sunday night on AMC with a resolution that rang true to its spirit and likely left its devotees satisfied, even as they bade it farewell with regret. “A lot has happened,” Don Draper (series star Jon Hamm) tells Stephanie, a damaged young woman from his past, after his wayward odyssey from New York finally brings him to her doorstep in Los Angeles.

Though the writers didn’t make it explicit, there was at least a suggestion that Don, whose days as a brilliant ad man seemed far behind him, got the idea from a spiritual retreat in California. We saw Don meditating with a group of hippies overlooking the Pacific Ocean, exhaling giant “ommms” and coming out of his profound depression, which had left him on the ground by a phone booth saying, “I can’t move.” And then we saw the famous commercial, with a multicultural assemblage of young people on a hill — not unlike the one where Don had sat cross-legged in meditation — singing “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony).” The implication was that Don had gone back to New York and returned to McCann Erickson, as Peggy had said he could; and he quickly topped his career working on the prestigious Coke account, the holy grail of the ad world, transforming his experience into classic Don Draperian ad poetry.

As the ad ran, you could almost hear Don pitching the idea to Coke in his seductive Don voice, using the philosophy of self-help, the peace movement, and civil rights in service of selling soda as the solution to despair. She intends for them to live with her brother and his wife. “Please don’t let your pride interfere with my wishes,” she said coolly. “I want to keep things as normal as possible. In fact, the real-life person behind the idea was a creative director at McCann Erickson named Bill Backer, who was inspired by seeing some formerly irate air travelers communing over Cokes. She wants them to have a woman in their lives – and jabs him with some bitter truth – he can see them as often as he does now – and when was the last time he saw them?

And your not being here is part of that.” “Mad Men” traced Draper’s journey through the 1960s in his identity as a successful, charismatic but tormented ad man. Weiner, who wrote and directed the final episode, may not have satisfied those viewers eager to see Don change completely, and become a new man, a better man. Backer was flying to London to meet colleagues in order to write some radio commercials that would be recorded by the New Seekers, a British pop group. Dick Whitman reinvented himself as Don Draper and took that character as far as he could go. “I broke all my vows, scandalized my child, took another man’s name, and made nothing of it,” Don tells Peggy on the phone from Esalen. Peggy had told Don he could come home and get his job back, even though the executives at McCann are furious with him. “Don’t you want to work on Coca-Cola?” Peggy asks, a hint of what might come.

Backer saw passengers exchanging stories and getting along while sharing Cokes. “[I] began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink that refreshed a hundred million people a day in almost every corner of the globe,” Mr. He understood what both Sally and Betty —his “Birdie” — had told him, that he was not the right person to be a full-time parent to his own children. Peggy’s conversations with Don, where she became the grownup, and with Stan, when she surprised herself by admitting she loved him, were perfect Peggy. Backer wrote. “So that was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be — a liquid refresher — but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes.” Mr. But he also remained the dazzlingly talented man we’ve known for seven seasons, the guy who could remake himself from nothing, who drinks too much but still looks dapper.

I’m not man you think I am.”—but though it seems for a moment that he might kill himself, Don knows that reinvention is just a question of will. Peggy, the character I’d always assumed would have to sacrifice love for work, found love — and it looked like a long-term thing — with the teddy bear known as Stan. It was Doris Day-Rock Hudson cute, and it was poignant; they couldn’t say they loved each other face to face, even though they were in the same offices.

Ferguson), her art-director colleague with whom she has worked and bickered for years, finally realize what every viewer has long suspected: They’re in love. She has a “gift” when it comes to advertising, as Stan said, and the clear parting impression was that she would continue to ascend professionally. These days, the company’s chief executive describes the macroeconomic climate as challenging, with weak sales in key foreign markets like Europe, China and Mexico contributing to the company missing its annual profit target last year for the first time in several years.

The finale’s last sequence wasn’t the fade-to-black ending of HBO’s “Sopranos” – but it was open enough to allow viewers to believe whatever they want to believe about Don Draper’s future. There was no doubt that Joan would succeed beautifully, as she handed off her son — who will be rich one day, thanks to Roger’s new will — to her mother and turned her full attention to work. On one level, creating a legendary ad would be a stunning turn for a character who was coming off a bizarre stretch that involved confessional drinking with war veterans, auto repairs, the latest of many meaningless hookups, and sitting paralyzed by a payphone. From its premiere in the summer of 2007 to its protracted final season in 2014 and 2015, Mad Men has argued with conviction that you can create your own future. Pete’s farewell to Peggy was lovely and generous: “Someday people are going to brag that they worked with you.” Roger and Marie also seemed well matched, together like a pair of feisty peas in a pod.

Interestingly, as Weiner gave us parting glances at the major characters in the last minutes of the finale, he spent only a moment on the Francis household. I felt a great sense of pleasure at seeing Sally, once so bratty, and later angry and “scandalized,” as Don put it, acting more mature than the adults around her. Finally in a good relationship, Peggy turns down Joan, who starts the company anyway, calling it Holloway Harris, a combination of her middle and married names.

It’s a triumphant moment, but comes at a cost: Her boyfriend Richard, who just wants to settle down into retirement with her, snorting cocaine in Key West and buying a house “in the mountains,” decides to walk instead of supporting Joan. Before any of that, Roger pays Joan a visit to say that he wants to leave part of his estate for Kevin, their child who everyone else thinks was born to Joan’s ex-husband Greg.

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