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Philly2Philly's Mad Men Finale Recap

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By Diane Cooney and Brian Lynch 

 Diane CooneyBrian Lynch

Brian: And here we are – the last episode of the season! Don wakes up with Faye, who gives him the straight talk about life – and suggests that “maybe, that sick feeling might go away if you take your head out of the sand about the past." Joan gets promoted to Director of Agency Operations, but no pay raise. It’s “Almost an honor.”

Diane: Yikes. At the American Cancer Society meeting, Don’s defending his choice. They want a good campaign, and know that “frightening medical effects are useful”. He suggests the sentimental approach, and…it reminds me of his triumphant pitch of the Carosel for Kodak.

B: They got the next meeting, and Roger and Pete are already scheming about how to work the angles. They invite Ken in, and ask him to pull a Pete on his father-in-law. “I’m not Pete”, he says. He values his wife too much.

D: You know, I really like that about him. And that little creep Glen comes to say goodbye to Sally. I’m almost glad to see Betty blow up on him, but she really just comes across as petty. And then she fires Carla, the nanny? Uncalled for. Don’s going over his finances, and his accountant makes a good point, “Don’t you want to go home someday and see a steak on the table?”

B: Big surprise, that’s when Betty calls to ruin Don’s day with the news about Carla. Refusing to hire her back because she’s “poisoning the well” is a bit much, and the fallout totally screws up his plans for the trip. Peggy’s friend Joyce comes to visit with a model, who may have a lead on a new client for SCDP.

D: Then Don talks Secretary Meghan into coming along and babysitting his kids. I wasn’t surprised that he asked her. He does look good in that suit, though. Peggy’s following up on that lead from the model, and gets them a meeting. Meghan teaches the kids to sing in French – shocking Don entirely. “You said you didn’t have any experience, and you’re like Maria Von Trapp.” The next day, he visits Anna’s place for the first time since her death.

B: It’s also the first time for the kids, period. Don almost comes clean about being Dick, but doesn’t. He passes it off as “his nickname, sometimes.” I really wish there was more Anna before she died – but she gives one last gift. Don gets her wedding ring. “Don’t play around with it,” Stephanie says.

D: And Meghan talks him into some pool time.

B: DON DRAPER DOES A CANNONBALL!

D: I really liked that. Definitely one of my favorite Don moments. Harry and Betty have a spat over her firing Carla, and not giving her a letter of recommendation. She plays up the “new start” angle, he says “life goes on”. And honestly, he’s right.

B: Don pops over to Meghan’s room, and puts the moves on. Betty sleeps in Sally’s bed, Don sleeps in Meghan’s. Peggy and Ken hit the Topaz stockings meeting, and Peggy unleashes her inner Don Draper. She nails it. Sally spills a milkshake after an argument about whether or not snakes had legs (they did) and Meghan doesn’t pull the Betty-style flip-out that they’re expecting. She pulls out napkins and says, “Don’t be upset, it’s just a milkshake.” Major points.

D: I love their faces, they’re totally taken by surprise! Meghan has such an easy way with the family – all of them. And speaking of surprises, Don pulls the big one and proposes to her with Anna’s ring! I totally called it!

B: You did indeed.

D: I didn’t expect him to pop the question that early… but woo hoo! Back at the office, Don gathers the partners to announce the engagement, and cast a big shadow over Peggy’s news that they’ve gotten the Topaz account – breaking SCDP’s 10-week dry streak. It’s only a quarter of a million, but they need it all the same. Poor Peggy!

B: To make things worse for Peg, Don tells her that he’s proud, but that Meghan has that same kind of spark, etc… basically that she’s like Peg, but not. And the fact that you know the creative director’s wife-to-be is not going to be working as his secretary much longer means Peg gets a new copywriter, which she isn’t happy about – mostly due to circumstances. She and Joan have a great scene where they bemoan how they feel cheated by the company; finally, she and Peg see eye to eye about something.

D: Don breaks it off with Dr. Faye, and it’s rough. She even asks if he’s going to take out a page in the Times saying he never loved her. Meghan’s proud of him, though. I’ve got to say, Faye played this all wrong, and Meghan played this the right way.… from the beginning.

B: I don’t think she played it wrong, so much as they were a bad match for each other. Don should handle the identity thing, and Faye was right to push that – but Don’s also a father, and Faye’s a career woman who lousy with kids. The last thing he needs in his life is another woman who’s ill-suited for child-rearing. Time will tell if Meghan gets him to open up about the past, but she accepts him just the same, and she’s willing to take to the background for him. I don’t think Faye would.

D: Good point. But I still think she screwed up her chance, but pushing him at times – and I was shocked that he didn’t bolt - but Meghan never did. By the way, Surprise #2 – Joan kept the kid? CALLED IT!

B: You’re two for two. Not bad at all!

D: Betty and Don meet at the house before the realtor meeting, and you know what? Betty seems way more relatable at this point, but Don points out her M.O. without taking her to task the way Harry did – if things go bad, she’ll move again. She fears change. But she didn’t flip out the way I thought she would when Don told her about being engaged.

B: I really was hoping for that, too. But honestly, I just feel bad for her, which is a big improvement. And with the last exchange of keys, they part ways – and that’s the end of Season Four, and our Mad Men recaps.

D: Hope you've enjoyed them!  Brian, pour me a drink, will you?

 

To contact or argue with Diane, reach her at DCooney@philly2philly.com

To contact or argue with Brian, reach him at blynch@philly2philly.com