Is 'Mad Men' Season 7 Finale the Last Episode Ever? Don't Worry, There's Good News
Tell us you didn’t feel a little tug on your heartstrings seeing Don Draper and Peggy Olsen slow dance together during last week’s episode “The Strategy.” It was a nice setup for a send-off of two characters who have been through so much both together and separately. The moment, and the episode, perfectly marked the beginning of the end for Season 7 of AMC’s Mad Men — but not in the way you might think. The dramatic retro hit’s current season will conclude with “The Waterloo,” but it won’t be the last we see of the gang at Sterling Cooper & Partners. “Waterloo” will merely be the finale of the show’s half-season.
You see, AMC is doing the whole Breaking Bad thing, chopping up the last leg of the story into a nail-biting two-parter. Personally, I can’t wait to see how the characters round out the tail end of 1969, the year in which Season 7 begins. Although we wish we could follow the story into the ’70s and beyond, it doesn’t look like Matthew Weiner will be gifting us with a California spin-off anytime soon, (even if Chaough and Campbell sounds like a great ’70s good cop/bad cop show).
But in the meantime, I thought I'd round up my favorite lingering questions for the Mad Men gang and share my predictions for where they might end up.
1. GINSBERG and NIPPLEGATE
The great joke of the changing ’60s counterculture landscape is that with greater freedoms, nonconformity, and technological innovations, there is greater opportunity to disappear into the ether. So, it’s a long shot to assume Roger will run into his daughter again, or that anyone would visit Ginsberg in the loony bin after slicing off his own nipple. It’s a shame to think such a charismatic mind would be ripped from the world, thrown into an institution, with no one ever glancing his way again, so here’s hoping we actually see Stan, or perhaps Peggy, pay him a visit.
2. PEGGY and HAPPINESS
Peggy’s career woman successes are quickly getting muddled into a continual lack of recognition, and the job is clearly starting to wear on her. Even Pete, who should by now be aware of Peggy’s awesomeness, only remarks that she’s the best woman in the biz. Here’s to hoping that Peggy finally gets the recognition she deserves: as the baddest ad creative on the block. Period. No gender qualifiers.
I've also got my heart set on Peggy finding some semblance of love. She is living in the age where "career women" like her and housewives like Trudy live very different lives, but we’re hoping Peggy can buck the trend and show the haters, if you will, that it is possible for a woman to have both. Stan is a natural choice given their chemistry, but hopefully she can find a fulfilling romantic match.
3. JOAN and HAPPINESS
Joanie has had a real rough go of it this season. She was supposed to have it all: marry a doctor, quit working, have a ton of kids and live as a ’60s housewife. But best laid plans, as they say, and her life has been anything but idyllic since. I loved watching her reject Bob Benson’s sham marriage proposal, and respect her for seeking love wherever it may find her. Joan has given her body and soul to get her footing at SC&P, and I'm glad she’s saving her heart for herself. Let’s hope the tail end of the season shows her finding the love and stability she so wants (and some piece of mind for poor Bob, too).
4. PETE and COMEUPPANCE
I'm hoping Pete’s life gets shaken up a little bit. Sterling Cooper’s resident weasel should not be getting away with having his cool new California life complete with cool new California girlfriend. His comeuppance should happen soon. It’s like Peggy spent all of this time with her nose to the grindstone working and doesn’t get to reap half of the happiness benefits Pete does. It’s not fair, (though it’s probably accurate in terms of gender roles for the decade). I’d just really love to see him get what’s coming to him for once. We see glimmers of it — he’s clearly hurt when Trudy is out without him, and you see a bit of realization in his eyes of what he’s lost. Maybe his "cool Cali girl" is prone to infidelity? I can only hope.
5. DON and SOMETHING
Oh, how to solve an enigma like Don? Don is constantly searching for some sort of salvation even he can’t grasp the idea of. He seeks it in a new partner’s touch or sexual experience and is left wanting. He buries it in booze, and it barely numbs the pain. He sees his children, and specifically his daughter disintegrating, and can’t bring himself to change. At this point, I hope Don finds sweet release in something.
Maybe it’ll be reconnecting with Peggy, so they can start their own agency. In the same episode where Peter says she’s the best woman in the ad world, Don tells her that she’s great. Their mentor relationship might be the only pure thing in the series, and an anchor for both characters. But maybe his end will be more dark, and it’ll just be the sweet release of death; a not unrealistic end for a prostitute’s bastard son, reared in a whorehouse, skirting on a false identity for decades. Perhaps just “Don Draper” the myth will need to die and we’ll see a Dick Whitman reborn in some new life. Whatever happens, I hope our imperfect hero finds what he’s looking for.
Mad Men Season 7 Part II, titled "The End of an Era" will hit AMC in 2015.