Mad Men is almost over, for real this time. Remember, the upcoming seven episodes are just the second half of the seventh season of Mad Men on AMC, or as I like to call it, the "Split and Spin" Network. Everything on that channel is either in two parts or being spun off into a new series. They did the same thing with the final season of Breaking Bad. At least they aren't planning to follow each episode with Talking Mad or The Talking Men — though I would totally watch that. The period drama has taken us through almost two decades with characters we love and love to hate. The final seven episodes are sure to contain a whole lot of Don Draper drama.
I'll probably be happy and support whatever decisions Matthew Weiner has made for his characters. Heck, I'm one of the few people who supported the finale of Lost. However, that doesn't mean I don't have a ton of questions and pitches for the final episode. Will Shirley be the receptionist now that Bert Cooper has kicked the bucket? Will Meredith ever get fired? Will Ken Cosgrove ever lose the eyepatch? Are they going to have to take Harry Crane seriously? Why did the computer drive Ginsberg insane? Is Megan going to die or what? Mad Men has kept us waiting long enough. Here are some things that need to happen before the final season takes its final bow.
Draper Knows Best
I want Don Draper to be okay by the end of this series. I know it's a popular choice for the finale of a series about an anti-hero, but I don't want him to die. Not all protagonists have to die at the end! In fact, few should.
I particularly care about Don's health and safety because of his relationship with his daughter, Sally. Do you think the producers had any idea what a gift they had casting Kiernan Shipka? The Draper bond is the strength of the show, in my opinion. If anything happened to Don, then it's over for Sally. Burt Cooper's final message to Don Draper that "the best things in life are free" gives me hope.
More Angry Pete Campbell
Hell's bells, Trudy! I don't think anything gives me more glee on this show than watching Pete's feathers get ruffled. No one whines like Pete Campbell. No one rants like Pete Campbell.
The Return of Sal Romano
Just a cameo, please? I worry about the old art director Salvatore Romano. I want to make sure he's doing OK. Even if the actor doesn't want to return, can we at least hear from Sal's wife, Kitty? Final seasons are all about bringing people back, and Mad Men is usually pretty good about revisiting old characters.
Calm Down, Peggy
I've honestly stopped caring about Peggy Olson as much over the years. However, that doesn't mean I want bad things for her. I would like to see her find some kind of peace and satisfaction. I will support the Peggy/Stan shippers, even if I'm not interested myself. I also agree that the show has to acknowledge Peggy and Pete's Season 1 affair, right?
There was this really sweet moment where Don, Pete, and Peggy had dinner together in the sixth episode of the seventh season, "Strategy." The tableau they formed looked like a family, with Pete and Peggy as Don's business children. Both of them want to be Don in some way, and both of them have very little time left to figure out the least destructive way to do that.
I would love for the series to end with Dawn showing a new secretary around the office, to bookmark Joan's first scene with Peggy. Dawn now has the job that Joan started with. She also made a side comment to her friend after work about it being impossible to find a husband in her office — which sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy if I ever heard one.
Bob Benson's Short Shorts
That's just a personal request, though Bob Benson is one of my favorite characters. This is why I love Mad Men. What other show would throw a new character into their sixth season without any explanation whatsoever, and then sit back while the characters slowly figured out that he does not belong?
The disappearance of Lou Avery & Jim Cutler
To be perfectly honest, I never got comfortable enough with these characters to remember who they were and what they did. Jim Cutler was rude to Don. Lou Avery looks too much like Duck Phillips. They can show themselves out. The same goes for Ted Chaough and Freddy Rumsen. There's only so many guys I can keep track of at once on this show. But Lou and Jim specifically need to go.
"STERLING COOPER DRAPER HOLLOWAY"
All I want is Joan's name on the wall. This has been my top priority since she was made Junior Partner and Director of Operations. I know the firm is "Sterling Cooper & Partners" now, but that is due to change once the deal with McCann goes through.
Some audience members might be angry at Joan for initially supporting the decision to fire Don for breach of contract in the mid-season finale. However, let us not forget that Don was complicit in Joan sleeping with a client in exchange for the account, then turned around and fired that client, throwing it all out the window. I do want Joan and Don to repair their relationship before the series ends, because it's very honest and sweet to watch, but she has every reason to be upset with him.
Bonus: Something I Don't Want
An explanation of the show's fantasy or dream sequences. There's a theory floating around that Don has a brain tumor. However, this is television! It's fiction! It's not a documentary. Can't we just let art be art?