What Does Jon Hamm Think Of The 'Mad Men' Finale? The Man Behind Don Speaks
Whether you were ready for it or not, Mad Men ended its seven-season run on AMC with its series finale on Sunday, May 17. Reactions to the finale were met with many accolades, a few questions, and a mass congestion of #MadMenFinale hashtags taking over our respective Twitter feeds. Not that I minded our anything — I was literally feeling every emotion a person could feel after that Coca-cola-themed conclusion. Many of the questions leading up to the finale were directed toward the series' protagonist, Don Draper, and whether or not Don's unremitting existential crisis would lead to further peril or if Don could actually have a happy ending.
Warning: I'm about to dish out some spoilers from the finale, so if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to go watch and come back to this. The final episode was titled "Person to Person" and Hamm noted that the title referred — in many ways — to the three person to person phone calls Don makes in the finale: he calls his daughter Sally and learns Betty is dying from lung cancer; he calls Betty and becomes sobered by her words about his absence in their children's life after she rescinds his offer to come back and invite their children to live with him, and he calls Peggy during a breakdown at the retreat in California.
It isn't until the end of the episode that Don comes to a seeming place of enlightened serenity and it is then that the episode concludes with what we assume is a lightbulb moment where Don comes up with the best ad campaign of his entire career. Hamm spoke during an interview following the finale about his take on those final seconds of the finale.
"My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, 'Wow, that’s awful.' But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led."
So basically, yes, we can assume Don returned to McCann-Erickson and advertising, but that his newfound appreciation for life would help him in no longer becoming entrenched in his own personal dissatisfaction. Hamm also went on to note the disorientation of being so "adrift" from his costars during the final episodes, as Don had endeavored on an abrupt road trip with no real end route. Then again, perhaps any disorientation that could have been garnered from that distance is what added to Don's powerful final scenes, performed in such a brilliantly raw way by Hamm.
Hamm also spoke on the future for the rest of the series' characters. Although the series finale was advertised as the "end of an era," Hamm issued the sentiment that the lives and future story arcs for its characters have just begun.
"There’s people saying, oh, it’s so pat, and it’s rom-com-y, or whatever it is. But it’s not the end of anything. The world doesn’t blow up right after the Coke commercial ends. No one is suggesting that Stan and Peggy live happily ever after, or that Joan’s business is a rousing success, or that Roger and Marie come back from Paris together. None of it is done. Matt had said at one point, 'I just want my characters to be a little more happy than they were in the beginning,' and I think that’s pretty much true. But these aren’t the last moments of any of these characters’ lives, including Betty. She doesn’t have much time left, but damn if she’s not going to spend it the way she wants to spend it."
As for what is next for Hamm, the actor stated, "You only hope that something else [another job as an actor] comes along. I think every actor thinks that when they end a job. You only hope that something else comes along. Do I think I will fade into obscurity? Hopefully not yet." Judging by the performances we've seen from Hamm over seven seasons, along with his turns on the big screen, I'd be willing to wager a bet that Mad Men won't be the actor's swan song — not by a long shot.