Monday, October 18, 2010

Mad Men Finale Recap

"One day Mad Men is going to end, and we're going to miss it... so I'm enjoying every episode while it lasts" - Me, to my wife, midway through this season. I'm not going to bitch. I'm not going to huff and puff. From the betrayal and pain I felt from LOST's series finale and final season, I learned to enjoy my favorite shows with passion and enjoy what they give me during the journey. Season 4 was fantastic and got back to the heart of the show: what happens in the office. Less Betty, less soap opera BS, no dream sequences, just good writing, good acting and great storylines this season.

The Office

SCDP was a new start for the gang, and a lot of relationships changed this year. Don and Peggy have a much deeper relationship, and Peggy's growth into a go getter on her own rather than Don's extension has been rgeat to watch. I loved the Topaz stuff in the finale as Ken told her nice job when she coaxed the model into giving up why Topaz fired the entire crew. Ken and her tag teamed Topaz and got a client. Pete and Don patched things up. Pete even stood up for himself to Don. Pete is a jerk, but is a jerk that works hard. He isn't gifted like Ken, and Ken isn't going to slave away for the office the way the others do. Ken was the published writer a couple seasons ago. Pete, Don and Roger all went to the funeral several episodes ago and heard vivid descriptions of the account man who put his work ahead of his family time and time again. People in the office are making those choices now, and it is interesting how they are choosing. Peggy is obviously choosing work. Roger has been jolted into digging more into work as the beautiful trophy wife and memoirs do not satisfy his needs. Joan has to work because she married the most incompetent surgeon in NYC. They formed SCDP to not be sucked up into the soulless big firm, but they are still slaves to the office.

The Relationships

Peggy and Don this year were fantastic to watch together. Their friendship or mentor-mentee relationship really grew this season, and is the heart of the show. Peggy's 'early women's movement' moments were smart and great to watch. I see this growing more and more. Heck, I loved the scene of Joan and Peggy saying "WTF" about Don's news. That's a real work moment. Joan & Peggy have had an interesting year together, and I hope they become a closer friendship. Pete is a bastard, and even if he isn't the 'man' Roger is, it was nice seeing him be the account man he has always pretended to be. He finally lives up to his talk. He's assertive with Don, Roger, and his father in law. Good for conflict. Sally Draper was a discovery and joy this season. Her interactions with Betty, Don and others were excellent, and I hope we see much more of her in the future. I loved Roger this year as he is so desperate to relive the past. He writes memoirs for christ sake of his lame life titled "Sterling's Gold". He keeps flirting and going back to Joan to relive that beautiful affair... and yes I was right about how Joan handled the situation. He is afraid of dying and even his 22 yr old wife cannot keep him for facing it.
Dr. Douche & Betty

Joan's husband, Dr. Douche, and Betty get their own mention. I have never wanted to see an American character die in a war setting, even the pansy guy in "Saving Private Ryan", but man, I really hope Dr. Douche dies in Vietnam. Betty slowly morphed into the cold blooded mom, and her firing of Carla sealed her entry into the "Worst Mom on TV" awards. I hope these characters go away.
Don Draper

Don is the wind, the engine, the force of this show. He's fallen so far and so fast. Has he hit rock bottom? Yeah, I think so. Is he the kind of guy who just brushes off the dust and starts new at the first sign of trouble? Yes, he is. That is why his proposal shouldn't be a shock. In season 1 when Pete tried to blackmail him, he was going to run away with his Jewish mistress and leave his kids and wife behind. In season 3, he had a huge identity crisis and didn't want to sign a contract, buzzing out in the middle of the night. He loses Anna, has limited touch with his kids, and drinks so much he muddies his own abilities at work (the drunk & lame cereal pitch). Heck, he needs an award to feel vindicated. The proposal to Megan should not surprise anyone. It is a new try at a fresh start. The Dick Whitman knowledge is buried deeper now with Anna's death. He can start fresh. She adores him. She's educated. (I loved the self aware line about big teeth) The entire trip he saw Megan do what Betty could never do for 5 minutes without Carla. He also saw Megan respond to a small mishap in a manner Betty never would have. This is how struggling men think. They see someone they sleep with, then they see them do things that they envision a 'good mom/wife' doing. They then do stupid things like extrapolate it out to marriage. This accounts for many marriages today. It is a terrible idea, but to a confused Don who is looking for love and stability, a pretty woman good with kids will do for now.

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