The “Mad Men” season finale was everything that a season finale should be. It tied up loose ends, enticed us with possible storylines for next season and most importantly, left us feeling like we didn’t waste an hour every Sunday for 12 weeks.
This season we finally saw Don Draper as an actual human being. Granted, a fair share of hardship had come his way during season three but in season four we finally see him having to deal with it and frankly, he sucks at it.
What seemed like casual drinking has almost devolved into full blown alcoholism and Don Draper has begun losing his charm as a result. Coupled with the loss of the only person who truly knew him and her parting gift, his actions with Megan are not at all surprising. And despite his descent, the storylines of other characters have been fully realized.
Peggy, in particular, finds herself as an almost unwilling disciple of the mess that is Don. The struggle between seeing what could be her future, in business as well as her personal life, and her drive to always make opportunities for herself and pave her own way seem to be at odds, and the stakes have never been higher. Amidst the congratulations that Don gets in the finale, she and Cosgrove land a pretty hefty account for a failing firm and yet it goes relatively unnoticed.
Ultimately, this leads to an excellent scene between Joan and Peggy which while at first just seems like a release of pent up frustration, it actually serves to cement a gender alliance between the two of them that had been shaky throughout the series. Given the revelation of Joan’s actual actions in regards to her indiscretions with Roger, this could be a major plot point moving forward.
And what should we think about the pairing of Cosgrove and Peggy? The head honcho at Topaz seemed to think they were a couple and despite Cosgrove’s firm affirmation that he will not use personal connections for business gain, he isn’t quick to correct the man. Was that just for the account? Is Cosgrove a lot more like Pete than he’s willing to admit?
But a question has been looming in my mind since day one with this show, if a plot evolves that heavily involves Don’s children, will they be able to deliver in a dramatic role? “Dexter” fans have seen the absolute train wreck that is Astor and Cody, two children of similar age to Don’s kids. Would the same fate befall these ankle-biters? Thankfully, no. Sally has been phenomenal all season and has really started to grow as her story has been further explored. Even the incredibly creepy Glen is great in his own way.
This season we’ve watched turmoil in a new marriage between two divorcees paralleled with the rise and devastating decline of a new business, the psychological examination of a man on the ropes in all areas of his life, what it means to come of age in a broken home and how a young family struggles to stay together when they just aren’t getting any breaks. I’ve listed all that and I’m still not mentioning over a dozen storylines. This has been an absolutely incredible season.
Now what’s it going to take to get them to produce 22 episodes a season?