The Mad Men series finale “Person to Person” was this past weekend. I had to let it sit with me before I was able to formulate an opinion.
This show isn’t about action, it’s about character, and I was on the edge of my seat to see what Don Draper would do. He went from being cock of the walk to another cog in a machine, then he decided to step off the path. That to me was utterly fascinating.
But the finale wasn’t perfect, I did have my qualms. Everyone got a happy ending, not sure they all deserved it.
-Joan ends up starting a production company on her own, and from what we’re shown, she’s still single, but happy in being her own boss in creative endeavors.
-Betty Francis has lung cancer and continues to be selfish. While Sally Draper continues to grow and mature as an actress and a character. Sally becomes a woman and has a very touching moment with her brothers.
-Pete ends up patching things up with his wife and taking a job in Wichita, his family follows. I’m left ambivalent with this one.
-Roger ends up with non other than the great Julia Ormond, Megan’s mother. Roger spent most of the series being a “man-child,” only later in life was he able to grow up and settle down, settling down with someone to compliment him. This one might be my favorite of the endings, wasn’t expecting that.
-Peggy and Stan end up realizing that all these years that they’ve worked together, they weren’t only working on advertising campaigns and accounts, but they were working on each other, their story wraps up with them professing their love for one another. This tied thread is by far my least favorite, it seemed too easy, and why give this happy ending to Peggy?
The portion that I enjoyed the most is the masterful ending with the Coke commercial.
The way I first viewed this endings was that Don is at the commune all alone because the one person who knows who he truly is has abandoned him there (as if she knew that this was the best thing for him), he then calls Peggy back in NY, she tells him to “come home” because “he’s done this before.” He has an emotional break down and break through with a complete stranger. Then meditates, peacefully and blissfully as the Coke commercial runs.
Don is welcoming change, embracing the future, he’s reinvented himself before, he’ll do it again, and he comes up with the best Coke commercial ever, the 1971 Hilltop television advertisement created by the real life McCann Erickson company. He envisions the pinnacle of advertising while he meditates. For it is happiness he’s found and happiness he wants to sell.