Posted by on May 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm  Mad Men
May 172015

Okay guys, we have an early start time just to give you a chance to get settled. As though “settled” is even a thing tonight. Consider this all in the arena of Red Carpet Pre-show. We have a lot to cover.

First, welcome to the final Basket of Kisses Open Thread for a new episode of Mad Men.

I can’t believe I’m even writing this.

I’d like to show you around, but first, some topical items–check out our a prediction pool. No prizes, just for fun. Pool closes at 9:59 PM eastern.

This open thread is a place to chat with each other, in real time, leading up to the show and during the airing. All your HOLY HOLY HOLY I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED’s go here.

Live-tweeting, normally handled by B. Cooper and/or me, is in your hands tonight, as we will both be at our NYC Finale at the Museum of the Moving Image. Tweet with us by tweeting for us, using the tag #BasketLive (and @LippSisters if you like). I’ll collect a best-of tomorrow (like this).

When Mad Men first aired, my sister Deborah and I liked talking about this sleeper of a show so much, we decided to blog about it, and Basket of Kisses was born. Within a few months, was linking to us as the Mad Men authority, and we’d learned Matthew Weiner was a fan, as well as many actors from the series.

And we’re not going anywhere. Today, we cover many other shows, and we will always add more, but Mad Men will remain our true love–the material is infinite. Check out our interviews, including recent conversations with actor Kevin Rahm and director Jennifer Getzinger–and past exclusive discussions with Jon Hamm and Matt Weiner, among many others.

Basket of Kisses has the most comprehensive Episode Guide in existence, which includes a timeline for each episode, and links to our Cultural References and related Quotes.

Also, we have a comment and spoiler policy. Be cool.

Tomorrow you’ll get an abbreviated recap from Anne B and White T Jim B, and Deborah’s recap will appear either late Monday or some time on Tuesday. I’m thinking we’ll be talking about this until infinity, after our heads have exploded.

See you on the other side.


  539 Responses to “Open Thread: MAD MEN SERIES FINALE”


    • Can’t believe I’m writing that either.

      • Glad you had initial post for the final countdown. Only fitting.

        Does anyone know the finale’s title?

        • I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say “Person to Person,” as it’s on AMC’s site.

    • From he bottom of my heart…thank you Lipp Sisters. This blog has been a joyous part of my Mad Men obsession. You are good people…I wish I could have attended one of your events but in spirit I’m there. Look for a PayPal donation sometime in the next few weeks….much love. Jonathan

  2. I have not been able to shake my anxiety today. Damn

  3. Behind the scenes photos killing me this weekend.


  5. I’m suicidal about the ending of this show. Send over the suicide prevention team.

  6. The last roundup.
    Let’s do this.
    I love all of you.
    Still, I’m so very, very sad.

    Betty has to stay alive in order for Don to beg her forgiveness.
    He owes this to her, and the transformation will be complete.
    I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN, so badly.

    • Sorry but will she will be gone, they’ve already forgiven each other

      • I can’t accept that.
        I want my hallmark moment.
        Betty isn’t supposed to die until July 1971 at the earliest, 9 months after her diagnosis.
        They’re not jumping 9 months on in-season consecutive episodes.
        Did I tell you I WANT THIS.

      • I think Betty and Don have forgiven each other. But of course there’s a lot that Don needs to do to connect with his kids.

        Don’s also going to have to face that as something he can’t solve by charm, money, or running.

    • Yes. And then he needs to step up and be a mensch, and become a real father to his children. I want the last scene to be Don around the dinner table with his children, in the home he’s bought for all of them.

    • She has to be there one last time, she has to be. 🙁

      Don has to come home to her to apologize and make up for lost time, to tell her things will be okay even when they won’t be. 🙁

  7. Snifffffff! I can’t believe the end has finally come.

    I was thinking today about the show’s name. It’s like the Beatles- you know longer think of a pun on an insect’s name. The Beatles. Something else entirely.

    So when I hear or see or say “Mad Men”, I don’t think of puns about execs working on a certain street that might be crazy.

    Mad Men. I think of my family.


    • Karl, You are killing me!

    • It’s funny you just posted that Karl, coz I was just sitting here thinking “Nooooo….. Nooooooo….. all I can think of to say about Mad Men ending is Noooooooo…… Don’t gooooo……”

      I really, really, really am in denial. I’ve been hooked on this show since the first five minutes of the first ep, which I saw the first time it aired. I ‘m just having a very hard time accepting that this is it.

      This better be a perfect last episode, or I’m gonna be pretty upset with Mr. Weiner.

      • Don will probably be mortally after he and Peggy kill Jim Hobart. Then Chauncy will lie down by Don as he closes his eyes for the last time, seeing the plane carrying Pete and Trudy to Witchita.

  8. Crying already, can’t believe this last episode is here. I’ve relived my childhood, my adolescence and have been reminded of my days working at a production company -EUE. It was even mentioned in an episode.
    Thank you Lipp sisters, you’ve done a fabulous job!

  9. I’ve been mostly a lurker for a long time. Thank you Deb and Roberta and all the other MM contributers. What a long, strange trip it has been. MM has set a high bar and I am excited to be apart of the discussion for whatever TV throws at us.

  10. “Person to Person” seems like a really promising title for the potential that Don finds his redemption.

  11. There has to be a scene with Don and Peggy. Their relationship is the heart of the show. They have had almost no scenes together in7.2. I want some “Strategy magic.”

  12. I’m mixing up an Old Fashioned. Anyone else?

  13. Now playing: the scene John Slattery picked for today’s Television Academy panel. He picked it because he hadn’t seen it yet.


  15. My heart is breaking.

  16. I’m rewatching one of my favorite episodes, Three Sundays. I’m going to miss these people!

    • Love Three Sundays. Don and Betty dancing in the living room – drunk while the kids have no dinner – delicious!

    • Also the episode where Roger starts leaving his marriage.

  17. Freddie!

  18. Peggy’s entrance at McCann. Earlier today, Elisabeth Moss said that was tough to do, with te Japanese print and all.

  19. I’m not sure I am ready for this! I suppose I’ll have to be, but still…

    The “previously on Mad Men” segment will give some clue of what to expect tonight, but we all know this show has more turns, twists and surprises than an episode from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents!”

    However this thing plays out, it’s been a helluva ride!

  20. I’m trying so hard not to feel sad. I think I’m the Senior Basketcase not named Lipp. Not in age, but in that I’ve been coming here since the beginning. I didn’t post after the first entry:

    but that’s me commenting after the third entry:

    In fact, I’m a pre-Basket Basketcase. I looked it up in Deb’s old blog, Property of a Lady, and I’m there responding at her first mention of the show:

    and her first announcement of this blog:

    I know I’ll keep coming here, but it won’t be the same 🙁

    I’m also fighting off anxiety. I’m sure Matt Weiner will finish off his masterpiece right, but I won’t lose my fear of it being somehow unsatisfying until I actually experience the conclusion.

  21. Only one “Previously on Mad Men” left!

  22. I hove that Sally is totally casually about Dad just driving through Wyoming and Kansas for no reason.

  23. Halooooo. I have a dumb question, what happened to Burt’s Rothko?

    • He probably left it to is beloved cattle in Montana – or maybe his sister Alice, if she’s still around.

    • I don’t think we know. We knew the “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” ended up in Roger’s office before he gave it to Peggy, but I don’t think we saw the Rothko.

      • I’m pretty sure that Harry Crane didn’t get it.

        • Among the many things that Harry doesn’t get.

          • Maybe he’ll get the office that Don was supposed to get at McCann – the one with the loose window. I can’t think of anyone on the show, who deserves the “falling man” scene, more than Harry does!


  25. Brief note to thanks the community here – I have been lurking for years and enjoying the serious writing and the live blog (can’t wait for Karl to lower the checquered flag!); lippsisters and co have certainly enhanced my enjoyment of Mad Men.

    Am in Australia, so will attempt (for almost the first time) to not spoil by being here today, and watch the finale ‘cold’ (but not sober!). Therefore – please raise a you cocktail of choice – CHEERS!

    DeeCee (Melbourne, Australia).

  26. Anyone else hoping for a full hour of Glen in Vietnam? Just kidding. 😉

    Wonder if MW gives us a hint in the finale that Pete was fooling himself if he hopes marriage and KS will stick.

  27. On my way to the party! 🙂

  28. Basketcase Dahlhalla is at the party, so I’ll pass along any news.

    And contact her (and the Lipps) should the site crash. [Knocks on wood.]

  29. Have fun all. I attended a party I think the second year. Won’t have the stamina tonight to keep up with everyone here. Will likely be just too sad.

  30. Going through the Kubler Ross stages of grief. Denial. This isn’t happening. Anger. Why have you done this to us Matt Weiner? Bargaining. Please just one more season. depression. So sad. What will I do on Sunday nights? Who will I blog to When I need a break on at work. What will it be like to not be exhausted on Monday morning? Acceptance. Nope not yet…

  31. As someone who has read BOK since Season 2 and posted since Season 3, I can’t believe we are doing this for the last time. I want to thank my fellow Basketcases, most especially “The Sisters Lipp”, for enhancing the enjoyment of my favorite television drama of all time many fold.

    I hope we can continue to meet here and have intelligent, passionate, and respectful discussion of MM for years to come. I feel that the program is like a great novel; and has new aspects that can be discovered and old ones that can be examined over and over again.

    • That’s certainly the Lipps’ plan, in addition to the BoK coverage of other shows.

  32. Here’s Jon Hamm in the University of Missouri production of Cabaret.

  33. Tonight’s episode is 77 minutes long. I hope some of the extra is show.

    • Shoulda been at least 90.

      I’m still in the bargaining phase.

      • It’s still mostly denial for this pseudo-lurker–I’ve commented perhaps 8-9 times in all the years I’ve been obsessing over this show AND this blog. I’m forgetting to take deep breaths and am feeling a little shaky!

        I found this blog in the very beginning and it’s been a constant companion. Thank you to the Lipp Sisters and to all of the brilliant thinkers and writers who make this place so utterly fantastic.

        It’s not ending, nope.


  35. Haven’t commented in a long time, but I’ll miss the show and this blog. Thanks everyone! Now, there is nothing left for me to do but pray my toddler stays in bed. I want to see more than half the show this week! I don’t have much time for posting these days, but I hope to at least process some of the finale. If I can’t write, at least I can read up on what you all have to say. Thanks for all the thoughtful posts!

  36. Is it too early to start enjoying my ice cold vodka martini in my sippy cup yet?


  38. Thanks to everyone who’s made this blog so great!

  39. Dunno if we’ll see any flashbacks or hallucinations tonight, but I’m hoping for at least two.

    A final encounter between Don and Jim Hobart, and one last visit from Anna Draper.

  40. Forgive me MW for what I said about New Business! Just don’t end this show!!

  41. West coasters, I’ll see you at 11:00!

  42. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

  43. Although I know that you’re not going anywhere, I just want to join so many others in thanking you, Lipp Sisters, for making the whole Mad Men experience so much more enjoyable.

    You are good people.

    • My heart is beating faster than a zebra in a straw hat, tap dancing on a fresh plate of lemon Jell-O!

  44. I’ve been here since the beginning of this blog, and it’s sad and exhilarating to be here tonight. All I want is a conclusion to this show worthy of all that’s come before.

  45. Alright, DD is about to give his car away to the kid.
    Dick Whitman lives.

    Karl, for the last time……………….

  46. And Here.






  47. I’m ready.


  49. Looks like Joanie will get one more look.

  50. Trudy and Marie!

  51. Trudy!


  52. And for the last time, here we all are, again.

  53. 1969 Malibu Super Sport

  54. Just wanted to pop in to say thank you to the Lipp sisters and everyone else. It’s been quite a ride.

  55. I thought it was frickin’ MAD MAX or something!!! And a 1970 Chevelle SS396…

  56. I don’t like that we’re going to see Marie C. Ominous.

  57. Recalling “Hall of the Mountain King,” Don is into car culture.


    Meredith! (but for how long)

  58. I translated your speech into Pig Latin!

    There are lots of better places than here.

    Meredith, Meredith, Meredith!

  59. Better places than here. logical.

  60. Meredith always lands on her feet – I believe it.

  61. Peggy busts her superior, then says, “Thanks so much.”

  62. Joan. I did not see this coming.

  63. I REALLY want to hear Roger deliver that speech in Pig Latin!

  64. Hey!
    Arecwe getting an Annie Hall moment here?

  65. Don’s story always looks dull.

    Joan is headed in the wrong direction. Sad.

  66. Damn, Joan,,,just another bad decision about another bad man.

  67. That’s fast– and thus addictitive.

  68. Richard heart attack?? He’s a little long in the tooth for toot.

  69. Your life is undeveloped property. What a line….

  70. A thing like that!


  72. Loved the moment between Pete and Peggy.

    Don is an ass.

  73. Oh, yeah. 1980 seemed a long time away. When I was a kid, Cracker Jack published a little comic book as a prize called “Hello, 1980.” I think it was the summer of 1967, because my mom was still alive. I thought 1980 was an absurdly far date in the future. Now, it’s 35 years in the rearview mirror.

    • It’s funny. Pete’s talking about the next decade, and we’ve already lived through one decade on this show.

  74. Don is an ass and a moron.

  75. Take me seriously.

  76. Sally, a total badass, just like her parents.

  77. This is an interesting turn to the custody discussion.

  78. The kids do not need Don, they are better off with Henry.

  79. Betty is wise and has grown so.

  80. Betty, for the first time since we’ve known you, you look like shit.

  81. Ken. The plot thickens.

  82. If he does no better with Betty’s impending death than Anna Draper’s, I’m not surprised.

    “I’ll see you soon.” Unlikely.

  83. Anybody think Betty may check out early

  84. Kenny and Joan. Wasn’t expecting that combination 🙂

  85. Kenny, I don’t know that Joan is entirely willing to save your ass just now.

    • True.

      BUT, it also gives Joan the chance to prove herself once again in the business world, with the chance down the road (as this develops as it should in Season 8) to say a big pog ma thoin to Fleshy-faced Ferg and the boys at McCann.

      Yes, OK. There’s NO Season 8 but Joan will have a future.

  86. 15 minutes in and I’m already a wreck.

  87. Don will never make it home.
    I can feel it.

  88. And Don goes off with Jay and Silent Bob??? Whut?

  89. I sure miss those early seasons “presented with limited commercial interruption.” Seems like a lifetime ago.

  90. YAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!! Stephanie!!!!!

  91. Yeah, Don, you ARE the one who’s in trouble.

  92. Oh, crap. Marie. And yeah, duMauriers taste like moose poo.


  94. I wanted to see Roger’s ass again.

  95. Yay, Sally!

  96. Genie talks!

  97. Where is the housekeeper?

  98. Gene SPOKE.
    Good for you, kid!

  99. Roger may be on to something. She’s probably on a mission from Emiel to assasinate a prominent bourgeouis.

  100. Are they up at Big Sur? Is this where the Kerouac theme comes to fruition?

  101. Don goes to Big Sur for EST

  102. Good night… Dick.

  103. That was practically a scene out of Steinbeck.

  104. With the exception of Betty, so far this feels more start-y than end-y.

  105. Will we see Paul Kinsey in the other bed in the morning?

  106. Wow all I keep thinking is MW always knew how the series would end and now I see him with a thought bubble over his head picturing don draper doing the downward facing dog. Fade to credits.

  107. Who would have known that out of all the characters, I would end up most happy for Pete.

  108. Is it me, or does Bobby look like he is 13 going on 9?

  109. Margaret lost? How long did he think that commune would last?

  110. I suspect the Lipp Sisters would ban me if I said this, but if they manage to work the phrase “Error establishing a database connection” into this script, I could die happy.

  111. “our beautiful little boy”

  112. It is Big Sur hippy dippy land.

  113. This retreat is Esalen.

  114. Really??
    What has this episode devolved to?

  115. So, Joan and Peggy = early TV commercial moguls.

  116. How dare you not express universal love you corporate drone!

  117. Harris & Olsen, finally!

  118. Everybody gets an ending………………………………except Don.

    • Could be … could be …

      • i still do NOT like the way this is going; maybe it’s all the references to the Sharon Tate murder, etc., etc., but I feel such DREAD when they get over to Don (Harris Olsen Productions is cool though!)

  119. Harris Olsen Productions!

  120. Excuse me – were some of us not talking about Joan and Peggy setting up shop together.

    I’m Peggy Olsen and I inhale Bloody Marys.

  121. That Joan is approaching Peggy for this is remarkable, considering the ups and downs their relationship has had in the last ten years.

    • Personally, they’ve had issues, but professionally they have always respected each since they were no longer secretaries. They might not have agreed or saw eye to eye, but there was a basic professional respect.

  122. I am sadly bored with Don’s sad trajectory. It almost seems a self-fulfilling track.

    So, we have a mother without a baby. What’s Don going to say?

  123. Don’s breakthrough in three … two … one….

  124. OK, can we all flip back to her first office, which clearly said PEGGY OLSON on the door? O-L-S-O-N? Even Wikipedia corrects you if you type in PEGGY OLSEN.

  125. Don is going to take that chance to escape sharing his feelings.

  126. Can Don never make a good decision without reference to a third party’s actions? How is he able to give advice and help to anyone.

  127. Peggy + Stan, please!

  128. Stephanie is not buying into “Move Forward.”

  129. Move Forward.

    Ol’ Donnie Draper is back.

  130. Mat Weiner said Peggy would not become Mary Wells; has he succumbed to peer pressure? Of course I would want a real Peggy to do just that.

  131. I have grown to totally love Stan all these years. I never quite trusted Ginsberg or Paul back years ago. But Stan has always been there, and been real. I think he reminds me of my late Uncle Kenny.

  132. Peggy, that was harsh and Stan is right.

  133. “There’s more to life than work.”

    • This is why Peggy needs Stan in her life. Every workaholic needs someone to tell him or her to step away and take a break.

  134. At the rate he’s going, Don is not going to make it back to anything worthy of him or the character.

  135. Don should just die already.
    This is……….nothingness.

    • Except for the meaning we put into it, our lives are empty and meaningless, and it is empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless.

      Don will get it.

      • Stephanie said “You’re not my family.”

        That really hit him hard and it hurt. Because Anna WAS family.

  136. Someone on this site (definitely not me) predicted that Don would connect with the encounter movement.

  137. Is this going to end with Apple’s 1984 commercial?

  138. Is it just me or does it seem like way more commercials than usual?

  139. Where is this headed for Don?

  140. Even Joan’s story is depressing me. I guess it’s the 70s.

  141. Mr. I Want All The Attention is gone.
    C’est la vie.

  142. What a creep. Hiss voice reminded me of Clark Gable in The Misfits apropos of nothing..

  143. The “person-to-person” call twist!

  144. I have no idea, no kidding.

  145. Peggy, you know Don better than anyone. Don wants the California he thought he knew, and it ain’t there. Don is New York.

    Peggy, please save him, Peggy.


  146. It’s not looking good.

  147. Wait a minute took another man’s name??

  148. Don will die.
    I called it.

  149. So Dick Whitman confesses his sins to Confessor Peggy.

    She, who developed the Madonna Popsicle campaign.

  150. Both of you: GO GET HIM.

  151. Give us Stan + Peggy

  152. Another personal call!

  153. We just broke into applause!!

  154. What?

  155. Two Phone Calls.

  156. All the big convos are via phone.

  157. 11:17 is a weird end-time. There will be more.

  158. Thank you, Matt Weiner.

  159. Does Don’s situation recall Kerouac’s breakdown at Big Sur?

  160. Everybody gets the happy ending.
    Except you-know-who.

  161. Don is getting the Walter White ending.
    He is paying for his sins

    MW has personal disapproval of Donald Draper.

  162. Remember what Don said to Rachel Menken in Episode 1: we live alone, we die alone. But this Big Sur thing is just pitiful.

    • This is a gestalt therapy session at Esalen, using the empty chair technique. People voluntarily sat in the empty chair when they felt ready to talk. It may seem hokey to our sensibilities now, but this was a popular form of therapy then, and many people felt helped by it.

  163. “Hi, Leonard.”

  164. This encounter group positively makes the Diana the waitress story lively by comparison.

  165. Get Don out of there,

  166. And with that, Don wakes up. People DO care about you, Don. But they’re not here. Your home is somewhere else.

    Don, please go home. They don’t need you, but they want you.

  167. Oh dear god, Don is going to hug this man.

    • Hilarious.

    • It made me think of that funny skit from one of the times Jon Hamm was on Saturday Night Live, where he played a guy who just randomly broke down in tears. He played it in a similar way.

  168. “You do not have the talking stick.” “I do not need the talking stick!” (Oh wait, that’s the original series finale episode of Absolutely Fabulous (before the sequels, etc.)

  169. The light goes off.
    Does it come on for Dick Whitman?

  170. Leonard was right; he is boring.

  171. Oh, the Campbells,

    Joan the mogul
    Roger in Paris

  172. Jeez, they even found a period-correct LearJet.

  173. That is not the last image I want of Don Draper. But it’s Zen.


  175. HATE THIS.

  176. WAIT, WHAT????? IS THAT HOW IT ENDS???????????????????

  177. The New Seekers. I listened to this song like mad.

  178. The Real Thing!

  179. Harris Holloway. Anyone doubt that will be a successful enterprise?

  180. One of my giant wabbits is staring at me in my anger and sorrow. I told her, “Olive, it’s OK. This goes back to before you or your father or grandfather were born.”


    Taking off my two-button Kennedy suit and wingtips now.

  181. Oy. The rest of it was fine, but Don.

  182. I will assume that’s Dons coke commercial.

  183. The inference is that Don comes back to his people and dreams up the greatest ad of all time thru inspiration of his time in the hills.


    • Is that what it’s supposed to be?

      Double meh.

      Except for the two person-to-person calls, a crushing disappointment of a finale. 🙁

    • I’m certain that MW will remain inscrutable, but you have to be correct tk. Too many clues, Peggy telling him he can come back and asking him about working on Coke.

    • I like that we can’t be sure that Coke ad is Don’s ad. We’re meant to wonder. Personally, I really hope not.

    • The inference is that he is as far away from that advertising world as he could possibly be and they don’t need him and he doesn’t need them.

  184. …aaaand scene.

  185. Mad Men has been a sumptuous feast and I have dined sufficient.

    I could not have asked for a better or more satisfying ending. McCann winds up selling carmel colored sugar water to the world and Don Draper — no, make that Dick Whitman, gets he life back.

    You can’t ask for a happier ending — beginning really, than that.

    (and I might have finally predicted something correctly, after seven long seasons. Don winds up in the burgeoning Human Potential Movement of the 1970s)

    The ol’ Smiler is one happy Basketcase.

    • Well said.

    • I totally agree. I don’t understand the disappointment. Don has hit rock bottom, and as a result of his being forced to stay at Esalen for a few days, he identifies with the man whom no one notices or wants (his childhood self) and begins to heal. He is in an environment where he is taken care of and can’t leave at will. It all comes together there. Think about how he has his arms crossed over his chest in the wandering around exercise. Then the woman reacts to him by pushing him away. She gets it, and her reaction to him is part of his breakdown process.

      This episode depicted the ultimate stripping away of the Don Draper persona, even more than where he was at the end of the last episode. Calling Peggy was completing the circle from when he visited her in the hospital after she gave birth. She tells him he can come home, even after he confesses to her.

      I think he does go home and creates the Coke commercial in a way that combines his innate talent and his enlightenment, the breakdown of his old defended self and acceptance of who he really is. And he takes responsibility for his children for the first time. The fact that Betty has not died yet allows him the opportunity. Sally and Bobby are already stepping up to the new reality.

      Matt Weiner remains a genius with this finale in my eyes.

    • As am I.

    • Smiler! I knew one of the regulars in this forum made a prediction the Don would end up in the Human Potential Movement of the 70s – and it was you! Congratulations for all your thoughtful comments and then nailing it.

  186. I haven’t even finished my Jameson’s.


    What do I do now?

  187. Everyone got a happy ending. Don left us with a smile — unexpected.
    And he was in the lotus position.

    Coke commercial – The Real Thing.
    Betty Draper call back.

  188. Very disappointed.

  189. Did anyone notice the braided girl from “reception” at the retreat was in the Coke commercial?

    • Yes. That was one of the things that clued me into the notion that Don really went home and then scored big with that ad campaign.

  190. In real life 1970, the McCann agency *did* create that Coke ad… Guess Don did go home again.

  191. What was that??? Should have ended it with “the best things in life are free.” I hope it gets better with reviewing and analysis on this blog. I think several of the predicted endings were better. He never went back to his kids? Wtf

    • We don’t know that at all. We have no idea where Don or his kids will end up.

      • Of course he went back to his kids. At least Sally and Bobby.

        What we saw at the end was just the beginning of honesty for Dick Whitman.

        • Wait… Why wouldn’t he go back to Gene, too?

        • Of course he went back to his kids. At least Sally and Bobby.”

          What, “of course?” When has he ever really been there for his children?

          I think people here are more in love with the idea of Don than Don the hot mess.

          • I realize I didn’t make myself clear last night.

            I was thinking of in context of support for them for their mother’s funeral, I wasn’t thinking in terms of a permanent return.

            Sally will be in college soon and Bobby and Gene will stay together. They will not be physically living with him but I believe he will repair some of the damage – building on the moment he showed them his childhood home.

            That’s why I didn’t mention Gene – Henry and Betty raised Gene. Don was never in his life – there’s no going to the movies with him.

  192. I’d like it if we knew that that finale meant that Don returned to New York and came up with that Coke ad, but I’m NOT sure that’s what it means. I like the reversal of Joan choosing business over love and Peggy and Stan together (been waiting for a while for that!), but Don stuck at Hotel California? Not knowing what he’s going to do? That’s disappointing.

    • It’s OK. I think it’ll be OK. I think we’re all just disappointed we don’t get to see it happen.

      We are stuck with our own imaginations now.

      I’ve known some of these characters longer and better than some people I’ve known in real life.


      And I like Diet Pepsi.

  193. Is it too soon to say this was one of the all time failures among series finales?

    • No, because Stan and Peggy ended up together.

      • And Joan proves her worth as a businesswoman (and doesn’t need Cocaine Richard for validation). And Ken recognized it.

        And Roger acknowledges Kevin (in a sense allowing Joan to start her business – KNOWING that Kevin was taken care of). AND Roger and Joan have a good moment.

        Peggy and Pete have closure and nice moment before he gets redemption.

        Roger has met his match (and I am eternally grateful it wasn’t a murder-suicide)

        • I agree with you on all of those. I’d also like to think he gave a small sum to Peggy. Not enough to make anyone in the family jealous, but enough for a wedding, or the honeymoon, or something fun.

    • Let’s get you and fans of “The Sopranos” in a room and duke it out.

    • I don’t know if it’s an “all-time failure” but it failed for me with Don. But that’s Weiner’s call. It’s ambivalent without any nod to him dying (as many of us thought would happen).

  194. Well, at least he didn’t die.

  195. No Sal.

  196. Peter Campbell, the man who never wanted to live anywhere but NYC, winds up in Wichita.

  197. Beautiful ending. He wrapped it all up z

  198. I think it was a great ending – the smile on his face at the end – he looked like Don again – made you think that he went back and created something iconic. And he did. The most memorable commercial of my childhood.

    • Yes. He is sitting there and comes up with one of the most iconic commercials of the 20th century. Don has to go back to NYC for that commercial to happen. He figures out he really is Don Draper after all.

  199. I’m feeling like I’m sitting in a dark refrigerator.

  200. I feel like such an odd man out that was a really moving ending for me and I loved it.

  201. Don went back to McCann and He, Stan and Peggy came up with the “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Coke commercial.

    Peggy did say her goal was to create something meaningful in advertising.

    • I’ve always felt that the stories of Don/Dick, Peggy, Pete, Betty were just vehicles for telling the larger story of how the 60’s became the 70’s

    • I’d like to think they used Joan to produce it!

  202. C’mon people! For seven long seasons, we’ve practically screamed, “Don’t you get it?!?” at this man on our TV.

    Now he finally gets it.

    In terms that a car enthusiast like Dick would appreciate, the space that getting it opens up, is the ultimate Bonneville Flats straight away, with infinity ahead and no posted speed limit.

    • SmilerG — yes!!! Dick got the redemption I always hoped for him. He gets it! His heart is open and he’s a real, feeling, human being — capable of love. The perfect ending.

      • I’m cool with that.
        The journey in this episode was so by the numbers and dull.

        Well, no one ever said DD was an exciting guy.

  203. I thought Don was going to die there for a minute. Glad it didn’t end that way.

  204. I guess my problem was that we were supposed to take all the Esalen/encounter group stuff seriously, and I just couldn’t.I can’t feel as if that is what finally healed Don.

    And after what we were shown of life at McAnn, and how Don hated it, is him going back to create a big Coke commercial (if that indeed is what we’re supposed to infer) supposed to be a happy ending?

    Also, as fond as I am of Peggy with Stan, it felt like the ending of a Meg Ryan movie. Sorry, I’m disappointed

    • What do you want to bet that after all that, Don is like a special agent for MacCann, like an advertising James Bond with a license to travel, so to speak? No restrictions, just pure creativity.

    • Stan + Peg was sheer soap opera. If it had developed more slowly perhaps it would have worked. The idea that Don was using Esalen to inspire a coke commercial could work as an ironic joke.

      • It’s been developing since she called his bluff and stripped in a hotel room after Sal was fired. How long do you want?

      • I thought it would have worked better had it not been so absolute. Instead of a confession of mutual love maybe Stan asking her out on a date or something.

        That said, for those who shipped for them, it’s cool they got their wish.

      • If it had developed more slowly perhaps it would have worked.”

        What? Their interplay has been going on for years. They need to date before they fall in love? Nope.

        • With respect to Peggy, Stan shippers, I think it felt rushed for Peggy and perhaps Stan to realize they were in love over 5 minutes even if it had been maturing over years.

    • I don’t feel as if it healed Don. I think it allowed Dick to begin his journey.

      I don’t think he DID create the Coke commercial. I think it was a pairing of his old world and his new in the only way possible.

      As I said to some freiends on Facebook — I think he went 180 degrees from where he started. The Zen guy at the end will be counseling Vietnam vets in 1980 on PTSD.

      As far as the “Meg Ryan” ending – if we have tales of Negros, and the women’s movement and gentrification and the emerging gay movement, well, we’re going to have a couple of kids from the boroughs who meet and fall in love and spar with each other. I, myself, loved that part.

      One two different coasts – Dick and Peggy comprehending that they can love.

    • Melville, I’m with you. Yes, Don has some honest moments at the faux Esalen retreat. He admits to his immobility. For a man seemingly proud in his on the road encounters, immobility while sitting near a payphone (which, we know, is not going to ring for him) is a powerful statement. His honesty in addressing the man whose confession brought him to tears with full kneeling embrace is also powerful.

      But this is not Don Draper swimming his way back to masculine bravado at the NY Athletic Club during season three. This is Dick Whitman. He is broken. He is pitiful. Everyone there is broken–and hanging onto life by a thread.

      The whole episode, to me, seemed to be comparing two cliches: the false performance of harmony by the style and energy of our consumer purchases, and the cliched answers of New Age wisdom and borrowed Eastern philosophy tried on for size at weekend retreats.

      I don’t believe for one moment that Don/Dick made that ad.

      • When he was sitting paralyzed by the phone booth, it was so clearly Dick Whitman sitting there, not Don Draper.

        • Exactly! Yes, I agree. And it is my deep belief that Dick Whitman does not go back to McCann Erickson to write the Coca-Cola ad or even to phone it in to Peggy.

          We KNOW who wrote the Coca-Cola ad. It’s a matter of public record. The reality of it demonstrates the fiction of “Don Draper” as well as the broad theme of fiction that saturated so many depictions of life through the entire run of Mad Men. Consumer culture is supported by people teased into believing the fiction that the purchase of some sort of consumer good will make them happy.

      • That is an interesting reading. Don’t know if I totally buy it but I like it.

        Dick Whitman, I have long suspected, would be a bore, albeit a handsome one, while Don Draper was the engine of a remarkable show for eight years. In short, I was never hoping for a return of Dick Whitman.

        • Good points. And I don’t think Dick Whitman would come back to McCann Erickson. I don’t think McCann Erickson would know what to DO with Dick Whitman.

          • I’d be willing to bet that Don doesn’t go back into advertising. His experience at Big Sur was transformational. A number of pioneers in the 1970s Human Potential Movement met one another there. The one I’m most familiar with was Werner Erhard, who went on to create est, a few years later. It’s interesting that he began life in the Philadelphia area, as John Rosenberg and like Don, once sold cars. I can see them connecting and Don joining him in San Francisco, when he launched Erhard Seminars Training. He sold that company to a group of employees in the early 90s and that personal development work continues around the world today, as the Landmark Forum.

            Pardon the plug, but I’m a Forum grad (1989) and I can attest to its positive impact in my own life. I’d recommend it to anyone!

            PS – William Bartley’s 1978 book, tells the story …

    • I am so glad Don didn’t go back and create that obnoxious commercial.

  205. Yes, that’s what it means. Don gets the idea for the Coke commercial from the hippies, smiles, and comes back home to NYC. We can assume he gets his job back with McCann (another great pitch for the Coke ad), and is there for his kids and friends.

    An odd episode I guess but a very satisfying finale, and one that will get better with repeated viewings.

    • Very ironic if so.

      • I like the combination of sentimentality, hope, and cynicism. It’s great!

        Don finds peace, contentment, hope – and uses it all to create a tacky commercial. What else is he supposed to do? He’s an Ad Man.

    • I got the feeling that he phoned it in to Peggy. Person to person, happened after that hug.

  206. It’s been said that Mad Men is really the story of women, and I thought of that with our last shot of the Don’s family. Who’s taking care of Don’s children and their dying mother while he’s meditating in California? Sally is. Giving up her trip to Spain, her childhood. Taking care of everyone because the ADULT won’t do it.

    • Don wanted to, but both Sally and Betty said no. Not being wanted back home led to his breakdown near the end there, right?

    • Because of course, Betty doesn’t want Sally to watch her die like she, Betty, had to watch her mother die. People always overestimate what they will be able to do when they are dying, it is a form of denial. I speak from experience.

  207. I don’t think it’s supposed to be a happy ending for Don. It’s just who he is. He breaks down over and over again.

  208. A brainwashed Don praying to a sun godess?

  209. about: 1) stop the pretending 2) finding peace. Personally, I’m good with that ending.

  210. I loved the finale! I expected nothing because I was so sad it was ending, so this was a pleasant surprise. And thank you to the Lipp sisters for this site. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments, and learned more about Mad Men from here than when I watched the show! It’s been a great fun.

    I miss Don and company already:(

  211. That’s it . . . huh? Hmmm. What happened to Don after the Coke commercial?

  212. Stan and Peggy is perfection!!!!

    Jay Ferguson totally threw off viewers in an interview (I think Huffington Post) when he said Peggy and Stan were never intended to be romantically involved… just office pals. I was so sorry when I saw that interview…but now I am soooooo happy!

    I can hear Ma calling Peaches and Stanley to the Sunday dinner table.

    Love, love, love the ending.

  213. I love that Joan had the babysitter, former babysitter, acting as an assistant at the dining room table(!) taking phone calls, typing,,,,,

  214. Well I think the most important question to ask about the finale is: Why were there SO MANY Halloween decorations? In the McCann conference room. On Joan’s fridge. In Peggy’s office. Seriously, were cheap Halloween decorations really trendy in 1970 or something?

    • I’m assuming it’s late October or early November, and no one has bothered to take them down yet. People have better/more important things to do.

    • They are intended to help establish the time frame. The episode took place from late October to early November.

      We had those same cheap paper cut-out cats and pumpkins. Totally takes me back to my childhood. The placement of the cat on Peggy’s painting was hilarious.

  215. I’m left with a strong feeling that we’re a product of our experiences and our personality, but ultimately we are a product of the times.

    • Very insightful. Could there have been a Joan or Peggy in 1900? I don’t think so.

    • Yes, interesting. The ending could not have happened a decade earlier. I remember the father of a friend of mine in the late 1960’s who quit his corporate job, became a hippie, and eventually moved to Thailand. Even though I lived through those times (“tune in, turn on, drop out”), it’s so far removed from the current reality I have to work to remind myself it was real. To me, Don’s dropping out was handled in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, but was also a reality for many people at the time. I for one am satisfied and have to somehow calm down to sleep!

  216. Random stuff I’m happy with …

    Baby Gene got a line in the show!

    Stan and Peggy finally find love!

    Joan’s new business venture!

    Roger and Marie!

    Pete, Trudy and Tammy are together!

    Betty gets the last word and power of a decision, instead of Don!

    About the only down note is that Stephanie leaves Dick, but that does make sense. While he did get some measure of love and acceptance from Anna, she still represents his masquerade as Don and all the inauthenticity and pain that’s attached to that. Stephanie was his last connection to Anna, so her leaving fits the story. Also, she rejected his attempt to fix things, so her leaving created space for Dick to focus on his own struggle.

    • Smiler –

      Especially agree on the Stephanie/Anna thing. When she tells him that he’s not family, it’s like a ton of bricks hits him.”Some family heirloom.” She doesn’t hold the ring in the value that he does. Dick and Anna are ancient history to her.

      • Now that I’ve watched it again, I’m noticing so much in this finale that’s requiring Don to stop being a fixer. He can’t fix Betty’s situation or the family. He can’t fix Stephanie. And he sure as hell can’t fix McCann – something he figured out within minutes, at the Miller Beer meeting that he wisely bolted from. All those options for fixing others, have been preempted.

        The story of the fellow at the seminar made me wonder if he might have also worked in advertising. If not, he was certainly aware of its impact and was left feeling like just another product on a shelf in the fridge, to be picked – or not. The realization truly moved him and it moved Don. He didn’t attempt to fix anything, or, God help him, deliver a pitch. He just did the human thing and embraced the guy. I think that moment represented Don’s first tentative step in the process of connecting with himself.

        The Wheel has come fully around and he’s begun the internal journey. Gotta love that!

        • Don wanted to fix someone and help them, and in the end realized, he had to fix and help himself.

        • With a little push from Stephanie… when Don tells Stephanie she must put it behind her and move on, she says “I don’t think you’re right about that”. A year ago he wouldn’t have listened, but he was ready. People do that. We all do that.

        • this finale that’s requiring Don to stop being a fixer.”

          What? What the hell did Don ever fix? He wrecks things (at least in his personal life) over and over. And then he runs away.

          • By “fixer,” I meant the term in the sense that we’ve seen him display in the course of the show — to temporarily patch a situation, until another issue pops up. I had in mind the time when Sally swiped Grandpa Gene’s five bucks. He raises hell and Don offers him money. Gene balks, telling him I don’t want your money and that it’s not the answer to every problem. Don points out that it is, for this particular problem. He entire career has been about “fixing” things that crop up with clients or the agency, that work, that is until he loses the account or the agency. Lord knows, we’ve seen it happen, with all the women he’s used, to “fix” his loneliness. This episode resolves the biggest issue we’ve seen in the series, the issue with his identity. “Don” is the patch that he slapped onto the flawed “Dick”. It holds – until it finally doesn’t.

          • He fixed Pete and Trudy’s sink.

            And he fixed the typewriter at the motel.

    • Wow, love your insight about Stephanie! That’s something to think about on re-watch.

  217. I think two levels are happening with Don/Dick here. 1. The hug of another man is acknowledging himself and also the down consumer at large. 2. The smile of zen is peace but also leads to creative inspiration, thus the Coke commercial. Don/Dick returned to New York. It’s implied–because otherwise the “I like to teach the world to sing” coke commercial is just an odd juxtaposition out of nowhere and in the context of this series . . . And quite optimistic after ten years before “it’s toasted” and people living on a “death wish” according to studies.

    • Yes, optimistic… until Philip Morris diversified into junk food, and soda companies get targeted due to the health effects of their product. In short, while Dick might have started on a path of spiritual progress, Don found a way to make that pay, the old-fashioned way.

      And, even if Don was a prophet and went on to back Whole Foods, or the vitamin boom, he’d still be backing big business, just with better optics for the time. Dick might live, but Don never will die.

  218. Don was always about moving forward. The finale began with him moving as fast as he could (driving race cars), then in the finale he’d stopped moving completely. Just sitting there.

    • Yes. I think his solution to everything was always to move forward, which was always really more of moving on. Stephanie questioned that, and then stranded him there. He was literally stuck at that retreat and forced to actually be still and confront things within. I think you could conflate this with Peggy somehow having the chance to move forward, or on, with Joan and choosing not to.

    • Wow. Terrific! Very helpful. The race cars versus total immobility. The race cars and the on-the-road narrative versus his “imprisonment” in an environment/ecology built arount the reality of human encounter.

      The critical question concerns the manner in which he eventually moves: backward or forward, progress or psychological regression.

  219. Who really thought we’d get through the finale without one death?

    I would have bet the house at least one character kicking the bucket. And I’d be out on the street.

  220. And the Coke song in reality was created by a firm called McCann-Erickson and this show has totally messed with my mind. In a good way.

  221. Everyone is OK.

  222. I am glad so many BoKers are truly pleased by the ending. To me that that is wonderful.

    I didn’t find it all that but I’ve always liked my MM dark and figured I was in trouble when the “previously on MM” lead-in touched on all the major characters. MW is an amazing writer but if he has one weakness, IMV, it is that he can succumb to sentimentality too frequently.

    A few things that really rocked:

    Don’s and Betty’s call
    Joan’s Halloway and Harris business
    Roger and Marie and their final scene in Paris

    • I do love that Roger has finally met his match….

      • Yep. I thought they had lights out chemistry from the first moment their eyes met. They’re a hoot of a couple.

      • Marie tossed him out of bed, and Roger looked sheepish and chagrined and unsure for…the first time? Also, great comedic exit with the bedsheet wrapped around his waist…emasculated/feminized Roger, kicked out of the bedroom, tripping over his skirt train, and Marie’s in charge.

    • As a French speaker, I have to comment that Roger’s French was awful. He didn’t care how awful it was, which was charming and completely in character.

      • Ah, good to know. Thanks for sharing that.

      • I wondered about that. Did he refer to Marie as his mother or his wife? It sounded like “mere” to my not-very-good-at-French ears.

        • I think he was trying to say “wife” but said “mother” instead.

          • I thought he said mother as a joke and referencing her comment about the older couple sitting by them and saying that would be them someday. But how nice Marie thought they would grow old together.

  223. I keep going back to season one, episode one. The Lucky Strike pitch.

    “And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.”

    I thought about that when Don/Dick hugged the man in the encounter session.

    “You are OK” meant something in 1960. It meant something different in 1970.

  224. Don getting angry with the Esalen desk girl because “People just come and go as they please”.


  225. Re Don’s fate, his last words to Peggy are “see you soon”. So we can take it to mean that he plans to return to New York, to McCann?

  226. I did not get the impression Don was involved in the Coke commercial, but that it was Peggy’s idea – what she was working on at the end. With all Don has done, any pat ending wouldn’t make sense. He’s in California, not drinking, at peace and Dick again.

    • … then again, can you see Dick / Don staying in California permanently? I can’t. He has always been broken, but he’s also always been an Ad Man and a Father (albeit an absentee one). I think Matt is trying to say here that people have personal growth, they learn from their experiences, but they also very much stay who they are.

    • I thought was ambiguous until it was pointed out that the girl at the retreat with the braids looks so much like someone in the coke ad. I feel like that’s as close as we could get to Weiner directly saying that it was Don’s idea.

  227. Interesting callback in the scene wakes up in the cabin and sees the empty bunk. It made me think of the flashback to the scene in the hospital, when Don got the medal for Korea and was told he’d be going home for the last weeks of his enlistment. It was his beginning as Don Draper, certified official, by the officer at his hospital bedside. The scene of him waking up in the cabin, I think, suggests a re-beginning, this time as Dick Whitman – or at least the possibility of it.

  228. But they have never credited an actual ad to the agency right?
    Not to mention one of the most famous ads ever? It could be a little “twist” especially with that smile Don gives, but I would have to hear it from Matt to believe it!

    • It was a McCann ad – in all it’s carmel colored sugar water new agey glory.

      • Yes, I meant the fictional McCann players here, when it’s known that it was Bill Backer who created the ad.

        • There HAS been a lot of vintage Coke product-placement lately. I think we all saw it coming in some way or another when Hobart almost had an orgasm pronouncing “Cooooooooocaaaa-Cooooollaaaaaaaa” a few months ago.

          • Do we know if Coke actually paid for thier product to be in the show, or if Matt Weiner decided he wanted to make Coke a part of the final season, and then went to the company for permission to use the logo/name?

    • Don did create “it’s toasted”.

  229. I like that we don’t know where Don will end up or what’s next for him. Personally I don’t see him continuing on with the retreat people once that week is up – and I can’t get behind him going back into advertising, let alone taking that breakthrough he’s had and… turning it into a Coke ad. But we don’t know.

    • How very sad, though, that things are looking up for pretty much everyone but the Drapers. But that’s life – someone’s always in a bad patch. It’s their turn.

      • Well, “The Drapers” casts a wide net. I figure Sally will come out OK. I will miss Betty in many odd and disparate ways. Henry, well, I thought Henry was a doof from that first encounter with Betty in “My Old Kentucky Home,” and he will have a hard time after Nelson Rockefeller goes to Washington in 1974 and then dies with his mistress in 1979.

        Bobby and Gene, I don’t even know. They’re young, they’ll either bounce, or they’ll have some serious problems with depression later in life.

        Don, well, I think he’ll be OK. He’d be almost 90 now.

        • Poor Bobby is so screwed up from Betty’s horrible parenting, that anything better than a career as a serial killer should be considered a personal triumph.

          I wonder how long Roger waits before he hits on his step-daughter Megan. Zou Bisou Bisou.

          • Bobby was always on the sidelines, watching, listening, observing, so I’m thinking a writer of some type. I don’t know if it would be plays, television, movies, or a journalist/non-fiction.

          • That will produce an immediate logical vortex which will suck in the entire known universe.

          • And hey, did Henry ever know that Don went on a date with his daughter, Bethany, years ago?

            • Are you kidding, or did that actually happen? and if it happened, which episode was that?

            • Crap, have to reply to myself. YES! Remember how Henry and Betty first met, when Betty was pregnant with Gene and Henry felt her belly? Henry’s daughter was there… and they were there because Henry and Roger knew each other and Margaret and Bethany were friends. After Don and Betty split up, Don got introduced to Bethany as “a friend of Margaret’s,” and I do not recall last names being exchanged. Don left her at the Barbizon with the implication they’d see each other again, but I do not recall they ever did.

              Believe me, if Don had known Bethany was Henry’s daughter, he probably would have used it later.

            • Bethany was a friend of Jane Sterling

            • That was Bethany Van Zant, she was the one at the table having dinner with Don when Betty and Henry saw Don and Henry insisted on stopping and saying hello. Betty wasn’t happy, saw Don as seeking a younger her, and they did look alike, but that was the one and only date I think. Although it looked like an exciting taxi ride.

            • It was Bethany who performed … well… orally on Don in a car outside the Barbizon. She had been holding out for “more” from Don at the time–more emotional connection, more intimate sharing, more of a sense of commitment. I was very much taken by surprise when she chose that particular “strategy” of sustaining Don’s interest in lieu of “going all the way.”

            • Bethany was a friend of Jane’s, but she is a totally different girl from Henry’s daughter (whose name slips my mind now).

    • “and I can’t get behind him going back into advertising, let alone taking that breakthrough he’s had and… turning it into a Coke ad”

      That’s what I like about it: a genuine healing and hopefulness, then used as a tacky ad. Hope and cynicism combined – great!

  230. Anyone who was actually IN that Coca-Cola ad in 1971 is now in at least their early sixties.

  231. In his final scene, there was no Lucky Strike pack logo “target” hovering over Don’s heart.

    Such a contrast if he has quit smoking, as Betty’s last scene left her looking like death, with a cigarette in hand.

  232. I’ve gotten a couple of messages from friends who tried to compare this with the M*A*S*H finale in 1983. Completely different. M*A*S*H stretched maybe three years of plot time across eleven calendar years.

    Mad Men slightly compressed a decade (plus eight months) across slightly less than eight calendar years.

    Nowhere near the same.

    And no laugh track.

    • One exception: I provided my own laugh track every time Roger got off a good one-liner. (Or bon mot as he might attempt to call it in French.)

      • Oh, yeah. Roger is “le shit.”

      • Right up until the end, he had the best lines. Which makes me wonder about what his deathbed last words would be. Something pure gold.

        • And this could be a post : women, or men I suppose, if you could runaway with one of the men in mad men, who would it be? I personally would take Roger every time. And not just because he can order lobster and champagne in French.

          • It wouldn’t be romantic, but I’d love to spend time with Paul Kinsey. I always admired his social consciousness and that he was a seeker. I’d also enjoy spending time with Anna Draper. Such a wise, old soul.

          • Anna or Midge.

        • Even Jon Hamm said it : “Slatty always got the best lines.”

  233. I have enjoyed every ending to a series that was well-written (From St. Elsewhere to The Sopranos), so I’m not a very tough critic, but I thought this one was damn fine.

    I loved the montage at the end where everyone but Draper was finally with someone they love (was Kevin with Joan?). Don had no one, because, he had been a pretender. Betty didn’t want him back, because she “wanted things to be as close to normal.” Sally wanted her brothers to be with Henry. Stephanie told him he wasn’t family.

    Maybe Don takes the Esalen experience and turns it into the Coke ad, but my take is that it was MW’s cynical nod to the advertising world. That Madison Ave will use anything to sell anything. I hope Don/Dick truly became at peace with himself and vomited when he finally saw that ad — which I hated by the way.

    • Oh, yeah. I remember that ad on television for months and months, you got sick of it. And then the song itself (without the Coke imprimatur) was a “hit” on MOR radio, along with Tony Bennett and Roger Whittaker and other soft-pop hits.

      I still like Diet Pepsi better. Oh, wait… PATIO.

  234. I think the series’ conclusion is consistent with Matt Weiner’s vision throughout its run. Hardly ever a false note. Thanks to MW, and the entire cast and crew involved with each and every episode of Mad Men.

    One last thing: It has been noted that this episode takes place in November 1970. The McCann-Erickson classic Coca-Cola commercial first aired in July 1971. As we know, seven months is an eternity — character development-wise — so all the various scenarios offered seem plausible. Don/Dick may have guided the ad from California or may even have returned to New York to do so. Or, Peggy may have made her name at McCann by creating that iconic ad. Or…or…or.

    It’s now up to us to extrapolate all of the characters’ futures. Matt Weiner has done the heavy lifting. Now it’s our turn to carry the load.

    See you in the funny papers!

    • To be accurate, it appears to span October/November 1970. Gary Gabelich broke the land speed record in “The Blue Flame” on October 23, 1970, and in that one scene with Richard and Joan, there’s a jack-o-lantern decoration in the background. But in the epilogue, the calendar in Joan’s apartment clearly shows November, 1970.

      And that typing in the background? They never show WHO is typing, so in my mind, I interleave that with that scene of Peggy typing and Stan coming up behind her and giving her a kiss.

      Hell, maybe they ALL went and got Don.

  235. I’m glad the finale included scenes, however brief, with Kenny and Harry. True to their S1/E1 characters to the end.

    • There was a while I connected with Ken, but I just can’t feel it any more. I could have predicted the “I’m your client” thing a few years ago, I just didn’t see how it would happen.

  236. And we can’t post images here, but yes, at 9:40pm EDT, I went and changed into a crisp white shirt, a black two-button Kennedy suit, wingtips and my glasses, which are classic Bausch & Lomb Clubmasters straight out of 1951, I poured myself a rocks glass full of whiskey and pulled out my cigarettes.

    Am now back in a polo shirt and sweatpants covered with wabbit fur as usual.

    I feel much less authoritative.

  237. When Sally goes to make a meal, I am convinced she made the egg dish that Don made for her.

    • Maybe Sally invented the Egg McMuffin!!!

    • Not the pancakes and rum she made for Don?

      • I don’t drink, but pancakes and rum didn’t sound like a horrible combination. Speaking of rum, do you think any of Don’s kids, especially Sally, are going to end up with a drinking problem later in life?

    • Not only does Gene finally talk, he can do so while opening cheese slices. So my money’s on grilled cheese.

  238. I loved it. Everyone got a happy ending, and they are all about new beginnings. Roger in love and smart enough to protect his assets this time. Pete and Trudy finding happiness and success in the last geographical place they would ever have guessed. Peggy and Stan-yay! Ken doing well and smart enough to seek out Joan. Joan finally believing enough in herself! Betty’s seeing her children pull together and will die knowing she raised a stronger daughter than her own mother did. And Don was completely empty, now can fill himself up with something better. I very rarely post here and will miss the insights the regular commenters offer. You are an interesting bunch. Thank you.

  239. Thanks for this blog over the years – it’s been the best.

    Betty/Don phonecall was stunning. Best moment of the night for me.

    Loved how Joan’s “2 names” are her own – go girl. We always knew she’d be a great CEO.

    Everyone is wrapped up – except for Don and his kids!! I am kind of furious that we don’t know what happens with the kids. Give me a break – they’ve been a key part in the Don story for 7 seasons. Betty wants them with William. Sally wants them with Henry. Don says he wants them. But what happens? Why can’t we know that when we know how all the other characters wound up?

    I’m assuming he heals – creates the Coke commercial – but what about his kids?

    • This is probably why fanfic was invented. I should probably take a stab at it now, but I’m tempted to focus on all the “lost” characters. Diana intrigued me, Suzanne Farrell, Glen, Greg, Ginsberg, Paul, Lane’s wife, Midge, all of them.

      • This is totally why fan-fics were invented. I’ve written missing moments (what happened between events on camera,) and re-written episodes that I didn’t like. None of these were “Mad Men,” but it’s the type of fan-fic.

        • THIS is why you were invented!

          I’ve read so much awful fanfic and slashfic (yeah, talking about YOU, X-Files dweebs), that I almost gave up hope on the whole genre.

          Maybe now there is hope.

          A new hope.

          Glen Bishop. WITH FRICKIN’ LASERS!!!

          • Some fan-fics are awful, and I’ve never been a fan of slash-fics. There have been others that have been really good. Thanks for being such an admirer of my work, without having read any of it.

      • All I care about is that Freddy Rumsen stays sober and never pisses his pants again.

        Freddy discovered Peggy in season 1. Don never noticed. Not to mention, in season 7a, he was helping Don feed his ideas to SC & Partners. Not to mention becoming a devoted AA sponsor. I will miss Freddy.

    • I sense they did not end up with him. He was largely an absentee father even when he and Bets were married and when his biggest supporter in the family — Sally — is saying they should be with their stepfather chances are it would not be good if they ended up with Don.

  240. Funny, I was watching “The Other Guys” earlier today and the bearded guy who was Christenith’s husband was the same bearded guy at Esalen (sunning himself naked in the lawn chair). Brett Gelman.

  241. I liked everything about the finale. But I don’t like the idea that don made the coke ad… I think the end is him finding peace with himself. And that’s it. The coke ad felt to me like a closing meditation on advertising, or togetherness. But I suppose it’s ambiguous and he had to anticipate that ambiguity.

    • To everyone disappointed with Don’s scenes in the retreat, maybe you need to have personal experience with those ideas to appreciate it. The man don hugged in the last ~10 minutes looked like a MW stand in so this must have been very personal and meaningful writing for him. It calls back to the human connection monologue in the 7.1 finale. The essence of spirituality is engagement and concern for others. “The best things in life are free.” “There’s more to life than work.” Chasing material desires is “chasing phantoms.” This episode was the culmination of all of those themes.

      • Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough script to set up the retreat as serious and relevant. In so many works of fiction, retreats are treated with absurdity and lampooning. Most of us viewers did not take it seriously until the very end, so that even when “Leonard” was giving his “fridge” speech, we were still expecting some cynical response.

        IMO, a rare miscalculation by MW, unless he wanted us to be stunned at Draper’s response.

        • Kinda like Megan?

        • My wife’s insight, with which I fully agree, was that this episode would have been perfect if it could have been at least 15-20 minutes longer. I kept looking at the clock above my television as the Esalen scenes were playing out at the end. I kept thinking… this is going too slow…. things need to be sorted out… more words need to be spoken… not so many as to take the intelligence out of the scenes, but enough that we can feel some greater level of motif and intention.

    • Interesting insights. Esalen was always and to a large extent IS NOW a very “hippie/beatnik” sort of place. And MW has always been a bit tough on hippies and beatniks throughout the show. Midge becomes a junkie and a con artist. Stephanie is seen as failed and broken and living desperately on the edge once she leaves college and becomes a free spirit and, essentially, a “hippie-chick.” Paul, who was always pushing a sort of beatnik cred in the Sterling-Cooper office, becomes a Hare-Krishna follower and is portrayed as quite pathetic.

      But you’re right–a break from the inherent lie of consumer cultural identity is EXACTLY what Don/Dick needs.

      It’s just hard to reconcile the seeming breakthrough of Don/Dick at this retreat with Matt Weiner’s casual dismissal of alternative culture through 7 seasons of this show.

      • I hadn’t considered that treatment of this culture in the past. It’s true that MW explored those paths before and treated them with cynicism, which makes this seem hypocritical. It’s difficult to reconcile. The show has always expressed a yearning for transcendence (don watching lost horizon, ‘shangri-la’, ‘utopia’, etc) with a doubtfulness of obtaining it (the treatment of hippies). The show is wish fulfillment though, so don gets a happy ending. Maybe we are to think that don found something that was not dogma (the movements shown) but was instead authentic for him — finally accepting himself.

        • Also, everyone is skeptical of those paths until you find something that works for you. And you find out there’s some truth to it. Maybe the show expresses that through Don’s eyes and that’s the reason for the change in the depiction of hippies.

        • I didn’t really think it was retreat itself that did it for Don. I think it was the culmination of his interactions with Stephanie, Peggy, & finally poor Leonard.

  242. Loved that ending! Very positive.

  243. I’d like to see Emmy nominations for the leading women: Elizabeth Moss, January Jones, and Christina Hendricks. This episode alone, truly outstanding work.

    Let people go, let people be, let people know you love them and care about them.

    Open up, stop pretending. Trust that you’re wanted.

    Never believe something said by someone who’s high on drugs. Especially uppers.

  244. All I remember is Don asking the owner of the motel he stayed at in the last episode why he doesn’t have a new coke machine. That guy answered “I like it, or I like this one.” Is that anything?

  245. I’m not sure it was that deliberate or a subtle tag on which to hang our theory that Don did go back and created the Coke commercial, but the prominence of the girl wearing the ribbons on her double braids is important. She was at the Big Sur retreat and there is someone just like her in the Coke commercial. It’s not a subtle coincidence and points to Don’s hand in the TV spot.

    • I agree. I thought the Coke ad was ambiguous until I saw this pointed out.

    • This idea didn’t occur to me at all but in hindsight that hint seems deliberate to suggest it’s his. We can’t use the argument that “it isn’t his because we know the real author” since the same thing was done with “it’s toasted.” But the idea that he used his experience to write an ad cheapens the experience and the transformation he had. He’s using it to help a corporation make money. Is the show that cynical? I think it’s more optimistic than that.

    • Good point about the ribbons. Still, I can’t see Don going back to Madison Avenue as Dick Whitman. Maybe he gave the idea to “freelancer” Freddy Rumsen and Freddy brought it to McCann. (Just as Draper stayed involved with his business during his exile in season 7a.)

  246. That final scene will spur endless online conversations.

    My take? I don’t think Don’s smile, that faded into the iconic “I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke ad, suggests that his Big Sur experience inspired the ad.

    To me, it’s more like Don finally realizing: Bliss Doesn’t Come In a Bottle.

    Hell, that’d be a great title for a book about his years in the ad biz and a primer on raised consciousness. It’s no “Sterling’s Gold, but I’d buy it!

    • You are right. Unless Don is truly a sociopath–and, you know, perhaps he is (but I’m not leaning that way)–the lesson that would have come from Big Sur is that the iconic Coca-Cola ad is an insult to human potential. The concept of “I-Thou” (a basic premise of many of Esalen’s teachers) means building a self on the basis of honesty and authentic encounter, not “constructing” it from cultural signifiers and stratagems, especially those laid out by advertising and consumer culture.

      As such, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” is only marginally less offensive than “I’d like to buy the world a Lucky Strike.” And, really, Coke IS the “real” thing? Really? 1970 was the year of Kent State. In 1971 the Viet Nam war was entering into its fourth year and the draft was still in effect. The country was still reeling from the blows to the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement.

      If people really want to believe Dick Whitman morphs back into Don Draper to reduce “human potential” to a cheesy Coke commercial after having an authentic encounter with his soul, then maybe Don Draper was Lex Luthor all along.

      • If you have an authentic encounter with your soul, how could you not bring that into every part of your life? It would necessarily be infused into your total life, including work.

        • This is the critical question: If you have a critical and authentic encounter with your soul, can you go back into ADVERTISING?

          Matt Weiner did not tell a story through seven seasons about how wonderful advertising is. Yes, it is a trillion dollar industry. Yes, without it, our current economy would fall apart. But it generates MORE intellectual criticism than it does intellectual praise. Vastly more. Infinitely more. Advertising “programs” consumer psychological drive states that entrenches human patterns of water use, energy use, food consumption, dietary practices, and so forth.

          • You are probably right about this but like everything in life there is both good and bad. I remember the commercial about the Indian crying when looking at the trashed outside/park…maybe in the 60’s? …..and I personally have never ever left trash anywhere since that time. It was very powerful to me.

            • Good point. I claimed that the Coke advertisement was cheesy because, for MOST part, it was. I was in high school when it came out and I mostly remember the smirking reaction from classmates about the idea that sharing a carbonated beverage might lead to world peace.

              But it was also wonderfully multicultural. It DID underscore the notion that we are one planet, that sharing a positive experience with people who are different can introduce harmony. “Teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony” can sound like bullshit, but it is also a very nice idea–one which seems to be fading as our world is increasingly racialized and balkanized in the current millenium.

            • I love advertising! Especially when it’s well done, whether commercial spots or public service announcements. So much of what we see these days is so transparent and shabby. Hardly anything stands out, amid all the clutter. Time was, you’d see a handful of ads in the typical TV hour. Now now! Today the commercial minutes are getting close to the minutes in the program itself. And it’s not just TV. I’ve stopped listening to music stations on the radio, with their 8 or 10 minute commercial block in drive time hours. And, where we once only saw ads on TV, radio, on billboards or in newspapers and magazines, now they clutter up online sites. There’s a famous quote, attributed to the retail merchant John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” I believe he made the observation in the late 1800s or early 1900s. One wonders what he’d make of advertising in this era. No wonder everyone on Mad Men drank so much!
              , ()

          • You may have already seen this, but if not, I recommend the documentary The Century of the Self. It’s an amazing look at the field of public relations and the advertising business …

            • Thanks for this link. Yes. You are right. This documentary occupies a central place of significance in academic approaches to the study of consumer culture.

              It reveal to a large extent the intellectual place where Matt Weiner is coming from in his conceptualization of this series.

        • I get that he could do that, I just doubt that he would. I believe it was in his first pitch to the folks from Lucky Strike, that an ad is supposed to let you know that you’re okay. There’s a subtle implication that without the product being pitched, you’re some how “less than,” or at the very least, you’re missing out.

          Here’s a guy who’s had an awfully nice collection of stuff. Yet, it’s not enough. His Dick/Don storyline drives that point home. You’re not enough as the whore child you actually are, but if you put on another persona, regardless of the horror connected to your obtaining it, you’ll be better in the bargain. He bought into the lie and Mad Men resulted. In the end, like Howard Beale, in “Network,” I think he just got tired of the bullshit he was peddling.

  247. This thread might collect 1,000 comments before it’s all said and done.

    I’ll say more in the episode review thread.

    All I’ll say here: I could not have imagined anything better for a finale.

  248. I just finished watching the finale for the first time, as I download the series from iTunes. I don’t know what to think of the ending but I do know this: I either laughed or cried through the whole thing. Whether it was deep sadness at the fate of Betty and the children, or totally falling for the schmaltzy love dialog of Stan and Peggy, or guffawing at how Marie, a woman his age, could simultaneously give Roger the best sex of his life and order him out of the room, or shaking my head at how pathetic,broken Don struggled for any avenue to peace but lived true to Jon Hamm’s assessment of the Don/Dick dichotomy: “When Don’s in trouble, Dick runs”, even as his children needed him. As I said, I’ll have to watch it again to understand that ending, but I just loved every minute Matt Weiner gave us in the end and over the life of the series.

    And I can’t thank you, Lipp Sisters, enough, for the brilliant job you’ve done in hosting this forum for us. I, for one, can’t thank you enough.

    • Your enconium to the sisters Lipp would make an appropriate close to this thread, but, remember, Don wanted to return and take the kids, but Betty sad no, she wanted to preserve as much normalcy as possible. He didn’t choose to run after hearing of Betty’s impending death, he wanted to return at once.

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