“Well you know what they say about Detroit…it’s all fun and games till they shoot you in the face.”- Roger Sterling
Dearest Mad Men, you’ve truly outdone yourself. After the season 5 finale, I didn’t think it was possible for the show to get any better. But the season 6 finale proved me so wrong. From Meaghan’s fabulous f-bomb to Don’s firing and Peggy’s vixenry, this episode brought Mad Men to new levels of epic-ness.
This entire season felt like a struggle for all of the characters to come to terms with who they are. Basically, they struggled to face their demons. Each episode,we saw them fail continuously. In this episode, all of the main characters finally took a good look in the mirror (which was quite frightening for some of them… I’m talking to you, Pete).
For this blog post, I’m going to take it one character at a time and evaluate the rockbottomery and epiphanry (yes, I made up both of those words) of our favorite Mad Men and Women.
Pete “the Pig” Campbell
Let’s start with Pete (ya know what they say - do the worst first). Pete’s pretty much lost everything this season. And while he hits rock bottom metaphorically… his mother literally hits ocean bottom (LOL). Ok, I’m sorry but… “Mother lost at sea”… yes, it is tragic but they’re also throwing us some comic relief. Also, in case you aren’t convinced he sucks... the dude can’t even drive. Pete’s the easiest to laugh at because he simply has no redeeming qualities.
Anyway, Pete’s big epiphany was simply realizing what a complete @$$ he has been. Everyone he loved was a nuisance to him. And now that he has no one, he wants everything he had back. Judy puts it quite well when she says, “you’re free… of everything.” Piggy realizes that that isn’t what he wants. It’s a little too late, Pete. Oink.
Roger “baby daddy” Sterling
My personal favorite, R-Sterling. Although it disgusts me to have to compare Roger to Pete, they’re kinda in the same boat (yes, the subtle allusions to ships are completely intentional) by the end of the season. Roger has also lost everything. His daughter only comes to him for money. His wife is out of the picture. Joan has kept him out of his child’s life. All Roger seemed to have left was his charm and grey foxiness. But then Joan shows him some sympathy, and lets him back into her life. Well, she claims it’s just for the baby… but Roger has a way of working people over. I see them re-visiting their relationship in the near future. So I guess Roger’s on the rise again.
Bob “male Barbie” Benson
Yep, Bob isn’t going anywhere. After refusing to go away or stop smiling, for an entire season, Benson finally showed some non-Hallmarkey personality. He humiliated Pete in front of Chevy. Naturally, this makes me like him a lot more. During the season finale, he definitely asserted some dominance and showed he’s more than just a male Barbie. (Wait, but this is actually him). But his intentions are still semi-unclear. What, exactly, is he trying to accomplish by inserting himself in all of their lives? Part of me thinks he wants to be the next Don Draper… but he’s way to smiley for that. Also, sidebar, does Joan think he’s straight…? Someone should problem inform her of his homosexuality.
Peggy “vixen-by-night” Olson
Poor Peggy. She can’t really catch a break. Over the course of the season, we watched as men repeatedly dominated her life. It seemed like she had no say in any of her life decisions. And with Ted, it seems like she’s finally getting something she wants. But then… NOPE she doesn’t get a say in that either because Ted, being the good person that he is, decides to leave California… and get away from the temptation of leaving his wife for her.
There’s still hope for Peggy, She ends the season sitting in Don’s office, at his desk. In her angry-at-the-world-brooding state of existence… she’s in the running to become the next Don Draper. Not really sure if this is a good thing yet… but I’d like to see Peggy fulfill her power woman potential.
Ted “cali-scape” Chaough
Ted is the nice-non-messed-up-Don-Draper. Meaning, the only thing they really have in common is their talent/intelligence. What really sets Ted apart from Don? His conscience. After his little one-night-stand with Peggy, I thought he’d finally gone over to the dark side. A year with Don will do that to a guy. But no, this is Ted Chaough… the straight-edged/moral yin to Don Draper’s yang. In the end, he does the right thing and leaves Peggy behind to stay with his family, and move to California. I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed… but I guess someone has to do the right thing on this show. Here’s to another season of nice-ness (most likely leading to miserable-ness), Ted.
Don “hersheys & whore houses” Draper
Don’s pitch to Hershey’s - the moment we’ve all been waiting six whole seasons for has finally arrived - Don’s downfall or rebirth, depending on how you look at it. Definitely wasn’t expecting that. But I think spinning stories of a happy childhood, facing his alcoholism (which by the way, I diagnosed them all with during season 1), and Sally’s unpleasant discovery finally pushed him over the edge… and he spilled the beans to the client and his co-workers. Being two people at once finally became too much for Don Draper. PRAISE DA LAWD. No more running for him.
Of course, leave it to Mad Men to end with, yet another, epic final scene. Don decides to show his kids the whorehouse he grew up in. Sadly, I don’t think I can verbalize how exciting this small gesture was. Ok, so I might’ve gotten a little ahead of myself and envisioned a sane-Don-future filled with happiness and a white-picket fence.But we have to hope for a slightly brighter future, right? I’m not saying next season will bring a totally different Don, but hopefully he wont be sporting last-season-finale’s mischevious smile. Until next season, Dick Whitman.