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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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Don is desperate and Betty is a mess! That sums up what happened at the end of the episode. I agree that the Sally storyline felt incomplete, everyone was predicting some Sally-related drama for the finale. I guess the "Betty needs a therapist" will be in season 5 too, it's been going on for too long. Unfortunately Greg is not dying in Vietnam. He will be back and eventually Roger will confront him about Joan's child. They cannot kill Greg off screen because Joan's drama would be incomplete... I predict there won't be any time jumps in the season premiere.

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 13 Quotes

Glen: Why do you hate me?
Betty: You don't think I know what you're doing? You could be friends with anyone!
Glen: Just 'cause you're sad doesn't mean everybody has to be.

Maybe that sick feeling will go away if you take your head out of the sand about the past.

Faye [to Don]