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Mad-men

Mad Men Finale Review: "Tomorrowland"

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I signed the first new business since Lucky Strike left... but it's not as important as getting married.

That's right, Peggy, it wasn't.  This fourth season of Mad Men has really been about Don Draper's evolution as a person, not the survival of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. As a result, the season four finale focused mainly on Don's trip to California and, ultimately, his engagement to Megan.

Yes, Megan.

Don and Megan

Like Dr. Miller predicted back at the beginning of the season, Don Draper will be getting married within the year.  Or he'll be on the verge of marriage, at least.

For awhile, many of us thought that Faye herself would be the one to rope Don into his second union, but in the end she might have been too good of a choice, too much of a change and possibly someone Don didn't think he deserved.

Megan, on the other hand, was young and beautiful, just like Betty was when Don first met her.  Unlike Faye, she's not all business, all the time.  And, unlike Betty, Megan understands Don, and can connect with him.  Their trip to California, and the activities that followed, proved to me that Megan was the right choice for Don. 

Still, was I expecting him to propose so quickly? No. What was it, two nights together our west?  That's quick.  Having said that, she was pretty great.  I mean, how about that milkshake scene?  It spills and Don is ready to blow a gasket, but Megan simply states, "Don't be upset, it's just a milkshake."  The family was utterly taken aback at this un-Betty-like reaction.

It was just so nice to see Don so happy California.  From joking with the kids on the bed, to cannon-balling into the pool, Don had an ear-to-ear grin on his face for a good portion of this episode.  And it is just so rewarding after how sad and depressed he was earlier in the season.  It really has been building since the beginning of the season.  Has Don ever been happy for an extended period of time?  What if we come back next year for season five, and he's just happy-go-lucky for half of the season?  It sure will be different, but it would be interesting.

The Partners

Even though Don's personal life was at the center of this season finale, there was still a lot that was going on at SCDP.  For one, Joan was promoted to Director of Agency Business, in title only of course.  And Peggy went out and killed it at a meeting with Topaz Pantyhose.  She and Ken got them to sign with SCDP, but their accomplishment was overshadowed by the marriage of a man to a beautiful woman.

My question: how big is this new client?  I haven't paid much attention to the amounts certain clients bring in, but a quarter of a million doesn't seem like much.  Wasn't some big company supposed to come in and save SCDP's day?  Based on the title of this week's episode, "Tomorrowland," I thought it was going to be Disney.

Now we head into the hiatus with the fate of SCDP up in the air.  I'm happy with that as a strategy by Matthew Weiner and company.  If they would have had SCDP get saved in the finale, it would have been way too similar to season three's finale.

So once Don got back to the office, the news is broken to everyone that he's marrying Megan.  This hits Peggy like a ton of bricks.  Why is she so mad, though?  She can't have feelings for him.  Does she just not want him to be with his secretary?  If she makes him happy, I don't care how they originally met.  He's had moments with past secretaries that didn't go anywhere.  This is something different and Peggy should get over it.

Her anger did make for a great moment between her and Joanie, however..  Peggy going to Joan's office to complain about Don's news was just brilliant.  The two of them going off to each other about their given situations, and having a good time doing it, was so good because it built on the tension they have had recently.  This pair has been quietly, and sometimes not quietly, hating on each other.  This moment of shared anger, and laughter, was a very nice payoff.

But then there were some things that I didn't feel got paid off, or maybe not enough.  I know it is a very serialized show, so some plots can come back into the fold in the seasons to come, but nothing really happened with Sally.  There was the whole thing with Creepy Glen.  Nothing materialized from that, and nothing really ever materialized from those therapy sessions.  Sure, she seems better adapted now, but what was the point of it all?

I guess you could say the Betty story got a payoff because her life has completely fallen apart, but it still felt a bit off to me.  And this is not just because I am a huge Betty fan. Actually, she finally fell off of my love list after her performance this week.  What an absolute nut bar!  She fires Carla for letting Glen see Sally, and then gets angry at Henry for being mad about it.  Her kids don't like her. Her husband can't stand her right now.  She has to move out of her house.  And now her ex-husband is getting re-married. 

Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago that we were talking about how happy she was because she had everything and Don had nothing?  How quickly things can change.

Elsewhere, I finally got a prediction correct! As I said in my review of "Hands and Knees," Joan did not get the abortion. No one at the office knows because she isn't showing yet.  What we learn from her phone call with her husband is that she's not planning on admitting that it is Roger's.  We all saw this coming.  The only thing that would make it all fit together nicely is if we come back for season five and Greg has died in Vietnam.

All in all, it was both a great season finale and a great fourth season.  For all the talk about this season starting too strong to finish the same way, I thought the past few episodes were full of action and all packed a punch in their own way.  Since a lot of time usually goes by between seasons on Mad Men, when we come back a lot of things will probably have changed.  Joan should have a baby, Don should be married, and I'm sure something crazy will have happened with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

It has been a whole lot of fun reviewing these episodes here at TV Fanatic.  See you next year.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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    21 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    John and Megan Shoup - Thanks so much Adam and Melanie. Absolutely LOVE the shots and are so very happy we had you as part of our big day!!! We had such a great time taking the pics and luowdn't have had it any other way. They're ALL our favorites!

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    Oh, and the other thing I noticed about Megan is that she brought up Peggy as someone she looked up to. I find that interesting, as they've never really had much contact. She knew Peggy was Don's right hand man, and I find it manipulative that she used Peggy and ambition as an excuse to hook up with him in the office.

    It's also weird that Don compares Megan to Peggy when he's explaining about the engagement. They're nothing alike at all. I think he's ultimately afraid of Peggy's wrath. Good, he needs to be afraid of a woman.

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    Here's my take on this. I think Megan has ambitions of her own, and while her character *seems* to be sweet, I don't buy it. I don't think she's going to be interested in being a Westchester housewife like Betty, which is what Don seems to envision for her with her Mary Poppins schtick - solely for his children's benefit. If he hires her as a copywriter out of the blue, it's going to create conflict with Peggy, who worked her way up on her own merits. I could see that being a plot point - Peggy getting so disgusted she leaves and takes the only new account with her. Don's already mentioned that he'd "spend the rest of his life trying to re-hire Peggy" if she left...foreshadowing, perhaps?

    Megan already wants to "do what Miss Olson does." My guess is that she assumed Peggy got her job by sleeping with Don, because everyone in the office jokes about it. She probably figured that was her "in" on a better job, too - not for any merit of her own.

    Consider this: Megan completely cornered him in the office, something I found distasteful. She also knew he was running around with Dr. Miller...and DIDN'T CARE. In fact, she urged him to break up with her immediately after their return from California and whirlwind engagement. And she had also calculated that they'd hook up again on the trip. I also noticed that when she was telling Don not to drink, it was "I don't want you to drink" instead of "how long are you going to go like this?" I think Megan is a power hungry "Sex and the Single Girl" devotee. Peggy actually cares about Don as her friend; Megan seems a little manipulative by contrast.

    I think Don still needs to get his shit together. Character analysis aside, here's some predictions...

    * Maybe Megan really IS a Snow White but she dumps Don and completely crushes him and he falls even further in the abyss and the only one left who gives a shit is Peggy, who's disgusted with him. That's possible.

    * Or...say they get hitched. Don's now approaching middle age. What happens when Megan wants her own kids? He already has three who are super screwed up. He already feels guilty about it.

    * Peggy leaves because Megan rose up the ladder purely by manipulation. SCDP falls apart. Don falls apart. Remember, work is his life to him. Megan gains a major foothold in the company and drives everyone nuts.

    Who knows? I think Draper should just end up with Peggy after his kids are mostly grown. They are the only people who get each other, and neither can function out of the office. Why mess with success? I'd like to see them start their own company.

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    I love the show, can't wait until it comes back on.

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    Wow, it is one thing to not like a review but to tear it apart is quite something else. If you don`t like what someone has written about the show, read something else. There was no reason for such harsh criticisms. A review is the expression of someone`s opinion.

    Mad Men is a great show and it`s also complex, meaning many people can have a number of different opinions. Especially where Don`s love life is concerned. I get that modern technology is a way for people to communicate ideas but to blast another person with no face to face responsibility is cowardly.

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    I have to agree with KWrobel: really awful piece. The observations were superficial and clumsy. Take, for example, the complete lack of any understanding regarding Peggy's reaction to the engagement. Questioning why Peggy would be upset..possibly because she has feelings for him? Are you that dim? It's pretty obvious that she's disappointed in him. She looks up to him as a role model and he's clearly making the easy, weak decision to marry Megan. To put it another way, Peggy has more balls than Don at this point. And the fact that you don't get such a basic character dynamic is troubling.

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    I never post comments to articles, but your observations of this complex and nuanced show are so trite that I would just be annoyed for longer than I need to be, if I don't say anything.

    I think Don's decision is a bit more interesting than Faye is "all business" and Meg is young and beautiful. Your point seems to pin the two women against each other in a comparison not unlike the outdated view of women that is detailed (and questioned) in the show. Really? That's your explanation?
    We have seen Faye be certainly more than about her job--heck, she got fired from her job because of Don and didn't seem to bat an eyelash. Just because she doesn't "connect" with Don's children like Meg does doesn't mean she is the cliched workaholic or professional woman.

    Don's decision could be based, perhaps not entirely but certainly significantly, on the fact that Faye knows about his secret past and this is more telling about Don than his love objects.

    Realize the potential for this show to show woman as multi-dimensional (despite the reigning ideology of the day) is utterly lost upon you. This is a bit more than just who is the better pick of the two woman; if it was, than this show would be a romance--which is clearly is not.

    I suggest you spend some time reading some actually thoughtful and professional reviews of this show --I haven't looked if there are any, mind you, but I am pretty sure there must be something better than this.

    Yes, I realize my comments are snide and harsh, but there is no nice way to tell you to think harder and write better. It would certainly be more rewarding to read (for others) and I suspect, since you are probably a smart guy, more rewarding for you to write.

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    I believe people never change, but it TV shows everything's possible. The more important question here is, if Mad men would still be interesting with "non-cheating-all-good Don"... Ah, I can believe that I'm a woman which finds interesting to watch a cheating main character on the tv show :)

    Danforcella

    aja,

    It's a big question. Can people really change? I think we saw Don trying to deal with that throughout this season. His proposal and future marriage to Megan could be his way of thinking he's changed. But if you're right, and he does go back to his cheating ways, then maybe Weiner's point, not much different than Chase's in the Sopranos, is that people don't change.

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    Yes, Megan is perfect for Don and his kids in every possible way, BUT it's still Don we're talking about. And it would be a major surprise (and probably the "end of the show as we know it") if Don wouldn't return to his old (cheating) ways...




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