Do you know what I did this week? I re-watched (almost) the entire series of Mad Men. AMC aired the whole shebang and I found myself drawn in, like the proverbial moth to a flame. What can I say? I can't resist the heady dose of complex characters, narrative, symbols and themes. Here we are at the end of everything Mad Men. The last Old Fashioned has been drunk, the last cigarette has been lit, the last ad has been pitched. What did I expect from the finale? I think, in my head, I expected something like Don traveling back to New York and having conversations with those he left behind. After all, the finale is called "Person to Person." But, as usual, Matthew Weiner subverted my expectations (remember when I firmly believed that Don Draper would die before the 1970s?) and gave me something that was out of the box, weird, and little bit confusing. That's Mad Men, though. In no universe, thinking about it now, would Weiner write something so introspective as what I just proposed. People don't work like that in Weiner's world--and indeed, do they really work that way in the real world? I've been saying for a long time that 'people do not fundamentally' change is the central tenant of Mad Men. The best they can hope for is to accept their own issues and learn to live within them. Don staying a self absorbed asshole who is also a mad genius when it comes to advertising? He doesn't change. He becomes only mildly self aware and uses this new found moment of clarity not to heal but to sell hope and love to the starving American public. Because at the end of the day, he's still Donald Draper. And he'd like to buy the world a Coke. One more drink for the road? Let's go.
--"I translated your speech into Pig Latin..."
--"And this...is a cactus." I have a lot of love for the final Pete and Peggy scene together. They've come so far, from the married man who seduced Peggy on her first day to having a very healthy level of respect. The fact that Peggy parrots back Pete's, "a thing like that..." to him was touching.
--Roger actually wore something other than a three-piece suit and Don wore jeans! I die of shock, y'all.
--The phone call between Betty and Don was quite heartbreaking, especially when Betty gave him the cold slap that him not being around is just "normal."
--"It'll get easier as you move forward." Really Don? Has that been you experience?
--"You have to let him go; it doesn't mean you don't care about him..." And with that, I bow out.