Mad Men Series Finale Review: That's All There Is

Mad Men S07E13: "Person to Person"

In the first episode of Mad Men's extended epilogue, the episode is neatly contained in the verses of Peggy Lee's cynical ballad "Is That All There Is?" where a jaded protagonist confesses to being unimpressed with life's supposed profound moments and traumas. In "Person to Person," it's apparent that the words of Peggy Lee's protagonist still ring true, with the implication that after everything—creating the idea of a man named Don Draper, building a life from nothing and losing it (repeatedly), the brilliance and the breakdowns, broken marriages and benders, the WTF hippie retreat—after all of it, Don returns to New York, to McCann Erickson, and uses his profound experiences to create a famous Coke ad. 

In a way, it's a perfect ending and in a way, it's a terrible ending: perfect in that it makes sense and brings the series to a close in a way that felt inevitable, but terrible in that, well, it wasn't particularly enjoyable to watch.  After the build-up and the promise and the ever-higher expectations, "Person to Person" was underwhelming and a little bit boring. 

But hey, Peggy and Stan got together, so that's a win, right?

Don finally found himself in California, briefly, following Anna Draper's niece to a hippie retreat where he finds catharsis in another poor schmuck's story and realizes that everyone is empty. Everyone has always been empty and trying to fill that nothingness with the things that make people who they are: careers, families, causes—the things that give a person purpose in life. And yes, sometimes these things are actual things, like cash and cars and Coca-Cola. Throughout the second half of Mad Men's final season, we saw Don Draper shed the physical things that made the man and essentially start over from scratch. There is no definitive, elusive thing that makes a person whole. Those needs are constantly shifting and changing with time. When Don returns to New York, it's as a new man, but that new man is only the latest embodiment of a constantly evolving idea. 

There is no final answer, but that won't stop people from looking. Armed with this knowledge, Don is stronger for it and applies his newfound insight... to advertising. Don knows better than anyone that the world and our identities are in a constant state of destruction and rebuilding. The only constant is that everything changes. 


Don's omniscience forces the other, more definitive endings that we saw in "Person to Person" to feel less final in the wake of Mad Men's great and terrible truth. Peggy and Stan confess their feelings for each other and it's one of those big, beautiful moments of catharsis and "Finally!" that we've waited so long for. On any other show, the implication would be "and they lived happily ever after," but their priorities could change at the drop of a hat. This new dynamic could be incompatible with their relationship. One of them could end up with the lung cancer. 

Joan started a production company—appropriately called Holloway Harris—and we could infer that she finally got the career, respect, and independence that she always craved. But the business could also fail. Or Joan could make some bad decisions and end up as unhappy as she was at McCann Erickson/Sterling Cooper. Her priorities could change. 

When we last saw her, Sally's priorities were taking care of her mother and trying to do the best thing for her crumbling family, and we know for a fact that this priority, this thing that gives Sally purpose and fulfillment, will change. Betty will die, they will mourn, the boys will go to their uncle's house, and Sally will move on and grow up. The angry whirlwind that a teenage Sally grew into has been calmed and quieted by Betty's diagnosis and at Mad Men's conclusion, Sally is as much of a blank slate as her father. She is the best and worst of both her parents. Her potential is limitless and while Betty predicts great big things for her daughter, it's just as likely that Sally finds fulfillment in a small life. 

The final scene of Mad Men, a vintage Coke ad that channels the sort of communal-hippie-love-fest that Don spent his final episode in reeks of that same cynicism: It's a sweet ad, it makes you go, "Aww!" and feel all warm and fuzzy and content. It fills a hole in you. 

It's literally trying to sell soda pop. 


Mad Men's first episode was titled "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and after all these years—both on the show and in the real world—the smoke is still there, hiding the great nothing and the Dons of the world, building reality out of cigarettes and cars, soda and pills, and even private jets. 

Mad Men was never going to have a happy ending, but there's an unspoken agreement when we commit to a television series that in the end, this will all pay off. It will be worth it. It will matter. In the end, like Don's product pitches fraught with emotion and more meaning than they deserve, all Mad Men did was fill an empty place for a little while, and as it fades into the TV ether, it's just time to move on to the next big thing, the next thing or moment that will bring us happiness. 


What did you think of the Mad Men finale?


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Jul 21, 2015
oh dude (MaryAnn Sleasman) you are such a sad lady
maybe you should drink some cocacola
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Jun 26, 2015
I liked the ending as it was more or less what I expected. One thing that I was disappointed with was the fact that the last two seasons we've been getting hints of things to happen; small glimpses of a secret meaning ... and nothing of that matter happened. For example; the scene with Megan in the balcony when she was wearing the same red star T-shirt Sharon Tate wore in the Esquire shoot before she was brutally murdered. That was a Major hint that Megan would die soon... nothing happened! This is just an example of what I am trying to say, that I felt it kept happening throughout the years.
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Jun 24, 2015
If Matt Weiner was trying to achieve perfection with "MAD MEN" . . . he didn't achieve it. I'm sorry, but he didn't. And I had come to that conclusion by the end of Season 2. I can't put my finger on it. "MAD MEN" was a very good show . . . I cannot deny it. But it never became perfect. And there were flaws in the show that Weiner was never able to overcome. In many ways, it reminded me of "LOST" (just with better writing) - entertaining, memorable, but deeply flawed. Oh well.
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Jun 05, 2015
At least it wasnt 'Dexter series finale bad' so thats a positive.
I thought it was ok, didnt fall off a cliff. But definitely could have been better.

I dont think Draper returned to make that famous Coke ad. I'm thinking it was Ted and his sweet 'stache.
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May 25, 2015
I thought Joan suggested the company be named "Harris- Olson"; I do not
recall hearing "Holloway - Harris".
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May 24, 2015
I really liked the finale. I believe it stayed completely true to the overall tone of the show. There was never any redemption for Don. He couldn't get a happily ever after. Why would he? What he got instead is a simple acceptance of the facts of what his life is: an empty shell, occasionally being filled with material and - even less so - non-material things, topped with a bottle of whiskey. Don couldn't change because in their core people never do and it would ring very untrue if suddenly Don found some meaning in his life.

I wasn't expecting fireworks from this finale and those who did must have been watching a different show for the last 7 years. To me the quietness of it has always been the essence of Mad Men. I don't like Don Draper but I really enjoyed his journey and I would have been totally happy if this episode had been all about him. Yeah it's sweet that Peggy and Stan got together and good for Joan for staying true to herself but really from opening credits to the final scene Mad Men has always been about Don and I believe we got a very fitting conclusion in this finale.

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Jul 21, 2015
i'm right there with you, the finale was quite fitting for the show
and for as much as I hated peggy, i really liked her finale and her roller skating in the office on the previous episode, it was such a lol moment. the whole thing was tied up as neatly as it could have been. betty dying of cancer, pette boarding a private plane, roger marrying an old lady.
cool show, cool ending imo
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May 20, 2015
I love that Peggy and Stan found each other - that was really sweet.

Other than that the ending was rather grey and unimpressive, lacking in feeling. But maybe that could be just the idea - that not everybody, not even Don, can be amazing and all glitter and glamour every time: sometimes we all just need a break. To stay quite for a while, observe the world around us and find inspiration where we least expect it.

One thing I really loved about this show was the drive for perfection, that workaholic rage that got hold of Don and Peggy and other characters at times - I found these were the moments that made them really shine and I am surely going to miss it.

Well, this was a wonderful show, but it's time to move on, as sad as that may be
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May 20, 2015
Very poor review. Miss Sleasman got me used to more sensible ideas.

It is easy to focus on the negative, or the show's sadness.
But what IS Mad Men if not a show about universal sadness ?
This sentiment in the show is born from the contrast of people having shitty private lives and working their asses off to sell stuff they don't like with a cheerful tone they constantly mock.

Mad Men's Finale could be taken as an example for any other series ending.
It was so faithful to its own tone and characters : the scene were Peggy is asked to lunch by Harry Crane as if they're all very good pals and then she makes fun of him "As if we were the 3 Musketeers" is awesome.

As creator, author and director Matthew Weiner writes : "Nobody changes".

In the end, Joane could have been happy with her boyfriend, but no : career. It shows she remained true to character.

Don could have quit or done anything else with his life, being such a blank slate has its perks. But no : hippie Coca-Cola.

Roger could have bla bla, but no : a woman that gets him and laughs at his funny jokes. For now at least. But I'd like to believe in their love. Congrats dude. It was just a matter of finding the perfect fit.

Peggy ending up with Stan felt really organic. Many happy returns guys. She's the one that felt the least close to character, but that's because she seldom has been her true self through it all. Congratulations on finding yourself, girl.

And Pete ending up with his ex-wife felt like a reward for Pete who became more mature, humble and realistic through the seasons. It's like finishing a video game with all the experience, life and weapons and starting it over from the beginning. It's the beginning... but not at all because you know your week spots. So let's hope for the best for this couple that I confess have sorely missed seeing together.

Anyway that was the review I was hoping to read when I came to tv.com today. Cheers everyone.
And kisses to all the ladies everywhere. This series reminded us bad you have/had it.
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Jul 21, 2015
i loved your review so much more than the tv.com staff's. seems like you truly understood the show's dna and how fitting the finale was
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Oct 03, 2015
Le humble thanks !
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May 19, 2015
Meh. Actually, my feelings are "meh", bordering on dislike. I feel as if I had just watched one of the most contrived series finales in history, along with "BOARDWALK EMPIRE".

Or perhaps I wish that Don had ended up dead, instead of the series leaving Betty on the verge of death from lung cancer. Roger Sterling suffered two near fatal heart attacks back in Season 1 and his heart condition was never referred to again. Yet, Weiner dumped a quick case of lung cancer on Betty. Unbelievable.

And personally, I find it a little tacky that Weiner and his writers had to hijack someone's actual creation in order to maintain the belief that Don, Peggy or both continued to be advertising geniuses. They couldn't think of a mind-boggling advertisement of their own?
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Jul 21, 2015
actually, your opinion is quite meh
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May 20, 2015
were they also supposed to come up with a new tagline for Lucky Strike?
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May 19, 2015
But the Coke ad fit with what Don had seen and is instantly recognizable to virtually anyone that has ever watched TV, an ad created purely for the show simply wouldn't have worked in this context.
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May 20, 2015
This is about Matt Weiner trying to be clever with contrived crap . . . at least to me. I'm still disappointed. He and his writers still could have thought of an original advertisement that would have matched the theme of the episode's final moment.

And by the way, Don's final moment is nothing more than a borderline quickie redemption. Not impressed . . . even if that "redemption" might not last very long. It was long enough to satisfy the masses who have wanted Don to be redeemed on some level for a long time.

Contrived writing.
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May 21, 2015
Didn't see that finale as redemption for Don, more acceptance (at least for now) on his part that advertising is the place where he fits in.
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May 20, 2015
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May 19, 2015
For me a shows finale should fit the shows ethos and Mad Mens final episode did exactly that. Don taking that trip and it simply leading to him creating Coke ad was wonderfully cynical and a fitting end to one of my all time favourite shows.
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May 19, 2015
What a poor review for a good episode. Of course the finale was not great but it was real to the essence of mad men. The cynical way of that last take was just perfect.
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Jul 21, 2015
totally agree, this review is crap
the finale was a perfect fit for the show
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May 19, 2015
It was crap.
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May 19, 2015
Ditto dude...
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May 19, 2015
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May 19, 2015
It was fine. I was w8ting for a big finale.. but it was.. well you know.. the life just.. go on?.

My favourite history.. Betty and her kids... It felt real and bitter-sweet.. Betty die, but Sally give us a light of hope... she's indeed better than her parents!.. and we know that the kids are gonna be ok after all thanks to their mom (better for sure without Don).

And Don?... well... for a moment just before that last 15 minutes i thought hey! they are gonna make him evolve.. but no... You can't teach an old dog new tricks. At the end of that pathetic and selfish journey it felt that he was again just the same mad man smiling, older but ready to keep trying to fill the void.

I'm pleased with the remaining characters' "closures"... but i can't deny that "Steggy" felt forced... and settled for a certain divorce. :P
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May 19, 2015
was ok
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May 18, 2015
I not going be mad about this finale. That's the way Matthew Weiner has always written this show. All in all it was ok...Nothing spectacular, everybody got their little bit of closure. The last few weeks of shows almost lulled me into thinking this last episode was going to BIG! After the 1st 10 min, I knew it was going to business as usual.
Grade for the Series Finale=C-
Grade for S7=B-
Grade for the Mad Men Series=B-/C+ The early seasons were slow but finally picked in S3 and didn't look back......surprised I lasted but it DID PICK UP...

Good Bye MAD MEN..You could've been better but you were just good enough!

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May 18, 2015
Average finale to an over-rated show. Still the ending was not as bleak as I thought. All the characters had "happy endings". It could have been better.
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May 18, 2015
dying of lung cancer is a happy ending?
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May 19, 2015
Dying of lung cancer but she is shown to be strong. She had time to prepare who to take care of her boys. Her family are all there for her. It could be worse.
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May 19, 2015
I guess my point is not all the characters had happy endings. Given the nature of the show, its not a cop show, I think one unhappy ending for the number of main characters is a reasonable ratio.
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May 19, 2015
Mad Men had always been a melancholy show so I am surprised most of the characters had good enough endings. Just to be clear I am not asking for a happy ending. I was surprised they had happy endings.

Don despite everything was back to creating great ads.
Joan started her own company.
Peggy and Stan are in love.
Even Roger seems to have finally found the right woman for himself.
And as mentioned, Betty get to die on her own terms.
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May 18, 2015
Average finale without any satisfaction... There were worse finales though in history... Don becoming a responsible father would have been better for example. This hippie enlightenment was not credible.
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Jul 21, 2015
are you on drugs?
"Don becoming a responsible father would have been better", lmao
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May 19, 2015
I don't think that Don achieved enlightenment. Instead, he found a new muse; one that would bring him the ideas for the ads that would make him famous in the new decade.
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May 18, 2015
I always figured the ending would be something grand and then everything zooms into Don's eyes, but pulls back and there he is laying on the ground in Korea bleeding to death...

It was all just a dream.

Now that would of inspired some pure rage.
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May 18, 2015
It is an all-too-rare pleasure to read such a thoughtful, well-written review. Excellent summation of the series in all its missed glory.
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May 18, 2015
Great review.

I did find it a tiny bit boring, but there were some of the greatest pieces of dialogue and monologue that I can remember, too.
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May 18, 2015
After the episode ended i walked thoughtlessly to the fridge and poured myself a Aspartaam infused Coca Cola Zero. It's the American Dream in a bottle. For some reason i felt a little sad and added some Bacardi to the mix. I sat down and smoked a Lucky while petting my cat. I was contemplating slashing my wrists but then i remembered i had not watch the latest Game of Thrones episode yet. Yes, i got things to live for. Coke in the Fridge. Something on TV. Emptiness in my soul. I drink to that. Cheers.



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May 19, 2015
Yes. So much win!
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May 18, 2015
Best summary so far. Cheers Freddy.
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May 18, 2015
I'm sad to see this series, and these reviews, end. I started coming to this site because of them, and always found them deep and engaging.
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May 18, 2015
That cocaine scene with joan was out of nowhere - was expecting her to overdose or something! Just glad that we longer have to listen to megan's mums bullshit anymore, what an annoying character!
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May 18, 2015
Mad Men has been one of the few things in life I haven't wanted to over-analyze; the joy of simply experiencing it, especially at an emotional level, as a thoroughly constructed reality full of tangible characters, was the reason for watching and I didn't want to ruin it or distance myself from that experience by peering over my glasses at it (as happens a lot, since it's a darling of the academic crowd). That doesn't mean I don't notice the craft or process it or have observations about it. I've tried to learn from it and enjoy it without dismantling it.

For me, a finale (especially for a show that has so many passionate fans) has a limited job to do. The story of the characters' lives will not end, and we don't get to know everything that happens, but we need to understand where the characters are at series end, not an easy thing to do. The creator has to walk a fine line, tucking these beloved characters in (for the fans and for themselves) while still being realistic. I kind of expect finales to be difficult and awkward like any goodbye.

Everyone but Don was going to be relatively easy to finalize for us. I appreciated seeing Peggy and Stan dawn on each other, and seeing Joan discover what she really wanted to do (with full confidence in her future success in work and love). I was happy for Roger even with bitchy Marie, but she was already improving after getting away from Emile (who I assumed was the real bug up her ass when she emptied Don's apartment). I respected Betty though I hope Sally and Don succeed in getting the boys to stay with Henry.

For me, the squishy hippie retreat was actually a good way to rescue Don for the finale and make it possible for him to continue living in the world (which is supposed to be the point of those things). It was appropriate to the period and a suitable location for what we got. He'd lived a life so strictly compartmentalized by his lies, and even became a professional liar, although to be fair the lying wasn't what he loved about it. He understands fantasy and yearning and what makes people desire because he was riddled with it, even in full possession of all the buyable props that are supposed to satisfy. He kept trying to find his authentic self through women he often confessed the truth to, and would even succeed in living more consciously for a while (remember when he was drinking modestly, swimming regularly and journalizing? right before the security clearance scare and then Megan?). He was wracked with guilt over his brother, Lane, Betty, Megan, etc. etc. etc. Those group sessions made everyone watching feel uncomfortable at best and angry loathing at worst, but they did manage to tell us a lot about Don's experience (as well as giving us another core sample from the Boomer psychological strata). The exchange between Stephanie and the woman whose mother abandoned her, and Don's replay of the Peggy maternity ward speech to Stephanie, telling her to just move forward because that's how you 'put things behind you'... and Stephanie sanely calling Bullshit (in the middle of her own crisis which she was trying to actually face up to). And although you could interpret The Hug a lot of different ways, I felt that Don was simultaneously realizing that he'd had so much more than this poor guy would ever have without appreciating it, and yet felt the very same terrifying aloneness and invisibility (one by nature, the other by artifice).

He was wearing Dick Whitman's jeans and worn out boots during most of his descent (racing crew, retreat) with brief scenes cross-armed in his golf polo while tying to distance himself from the experience and hang on to scraps of Don Draper, but at the meditation session toward the end he's wearing khaki's and a clean dress shirt, and he's sitting up straight, no longer deflated. Everything the guru is saying (which I tuned out on first watching) is about starting over better, rebirth and reentering life. In my mind, he went back to the work he is so gifted at (and maybe branched into other creative work as well) but as a better and more authentic person who is much more loving and careful with the people in his life--NOT a saint (what exactly did we expect? Don Draper just allowed Dick Whitman a chance to break out and do what he was good at). Some people have only seen Don as an evil selfish a-hole, some additionally seeing his part in the advertising industry as proof of permanent guilt. Others have maybe idolized him because That Guy is [unfortunately] who they'd like to be (and yet understandably, especially for people who feel powerless and invisible). I saw him as a flawed and gifted person who wanted to both succeed and protect himself in life while also being good, but didn't know how, and I saw a man whose particular gifts are naturally expressed in a field unjustly maligned as the poison of our world (when it's just a symptom and not always a bankrupt one). Therapy was not something he would have ever done, it was something prescribed for frustrated housewives to benefit their husbands. But he finally fell ass backwards into some. I was happy for Don. The coke ad both made sense and grated like fingernails on a blackboard for some reason. I could let Weiner [have his little joke]/[indulge nostalgia]. The marathon reminded me of how much else he's given us.

Too long, I know.

Thank you, Mad Men.

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May 19, 2015
Thanks @spudchick. your review is well constructed and although my thoughts and conclusions differ slightly due to my own perspectives. Yours is the last I will read regarding Mad Men. It hits the spot that I need to take from this show.
Through the good the bad and the indifferent, Man Men was a wonderful ride.
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May 19, 2015
Man, was it ever delicious. I'm surprised this made any sense (blurting), and I'm sure my perspective misses a lot, since I was born toward the end of season 5. Thank you!
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May 18, 2015
well written and thoughtful. But you lost me a bit at "The coke ad both made sense and grated like fingernails on a blackboard for some reason. I could let Weiner [have his little joke]/[indulge nostalgia]. Whats the nostalgia thing? The coke commercial? Arguably the whole 7 year run was a nostalgia thing. I thought ending it with that commercial was brilliant. It tied up Don's future using a commercial, on an account he was supposed to work, and a commercial that was iconic for the time.
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May 19, 2015
I know, and part of me smiled and even laughed when it came on, but something is still bothering me about it. I'm probably still processing it all. Maybe it bugs me because it seems to trivialize the breakthrough Don appears to have had. And maybe that wouldn't be the case if I didn't see so many people interpret it that way, down to assuming he hugged The Invisible Man because his tragic confessional somehow gave him the idea for the coke ad.

You make it sound pretty good though :)
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May 18, 2015
Beautifully written! Much better than MaryAnn's review.
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May 18, 2015
You're very kind to have read all that (and for overlooking my apostrophe crime [khaki's]). Thanks!
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May 18, 2015
I liked everything else, but Joan's development seemed to be out of nowhere, and Peggy and Stan's confessions were the cheesiest Mad Men has ever been by far. If they were going to have her end up with anyone, let it be with Devon Gummersall's character. If they want to show she can escape work, let her end up with someone not from work. Stan has always just seemed like a friend to her in my eyes anyways.
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May 18, 2015
All I can say is is that all we get? We have devoted our time to this show an you would think it would repay us with a knock your socks off jaw dropping final episode.
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May 18, 2015
At about the halfway point I realized the episode, and the conclusion of the entire series, was going to be a major letdown, but I think I also knew that that was because there was no way it could be satisfying. There have been a few shows that have done it, and done it right -- LOST (many will disagree, but I thought the ending was perfect), and Justified spring to mind right away -- but there was no way Mad Men could. That said, towards the end of the second half I felt it was going rather well, and by the end I did indeed have that warm and fuzzy feeling, and thought the little 'ping' hippie bell going off with Don's perfect little grin as the lightbulb went on (and that's what that was -- after the guy's speech about the door closing and the light going out) that it wasn't that bad an ending after all. It wrapped up about as neatly as it could, and for most of the characters seemed a pretty good end.

I sure will miss that intro and the show that followed. Sigh.
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May 18, 2015
Don turned over a new leaf. Again! I remember when he quit drinking and swam each night and wrote in his journal. He was a new man. He ended up marrying Megan and starting a new life. Only to end up drunk again and sleeping with the neighbor. No guarantee this new evolution lasted either. But he did get the last word like he said he would......and it was Ummmmmmmmmmmm
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May 18, 2015
I realized while watching the marathon (how is it possible to forget so much of what happened?) that one reason I disliked Megan so much (apart from just not having much use for her) was that she represented his kneejerk abandonment of that period of self-improvement. He was doing well, dating an age-appropriate 3-dimensional woman, trying to live a more honest and responsible life, and was back on top of his work. Then the security clearance inquiry happened. He was scared crapless, ignored some pretty good advice from Faye (coming clean with at least the government if not his whole life), then ignored Faye. The whole thing with Megan was poorly thought out, reactionary and compulsive. I don't see that period of his life (before the derailment) as inconsequential just because he couldn't stick with it at the time. Very few people with heavy baggage manage a steady, unidirectional path of progress through life. With alcoholics, we might be saddened when someone loses a 5-year chip and has to 'start over' again, but we're pretty glad they got back on the wagon. And despite how discouraged they may feel, they go to meetings where everyone knows that getting back on the wagon is pretty much the whole point and that no matter how high the chip numbers get you still have to keep paying attention.
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May 18, 2015
I'm good with that.
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May 18, 2015
After watching that last episode, it became really clear the show had to end as the writers had no idea what to do with anymore. The ending was not bad, it was as average as it could possibly get.
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May 18, 2015
I liked the majority of it. Mos people seemed to get what they wanted. I've been rooting for Peggy and Stan to get together this whole season so I'm pleased that happened. Good for Joan too for choosing not to make her whole life about a man. Don's stuff hasn't been appealing to me for some time so I don't have much too say on that. I'm also really glad we didn't have to watch Sally etc watch Betty die. All in all I found it to be a fitting end to the series.
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May 18, 2015
I liked it a lot. Weiner lulled us all in. We didn't see Betty die, everybody found peace. Happy end.
And the Coke add was the perfect cynical finish.
Even a happy end is used for an advertising campaign, most likley invented by Don Draper.
Perfect.
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May 18, 2015
The biggest joke to this ending wasn't Don in the retreat h/umming but the Coke ad. And the fact, for shame, that I remembered it!
I'm going to miss this show lots as, for once, it ended exactly where it needed to.
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May 18, 2015
Eh, I didn't feel like most of the endings were earned or deserved, like Peggy and Stan, I love Stan to bits and it's clear they're close friends but I didn't really get a romantic vibe, just friendly banter. And I think we can all agree that Pete's reconciliation with his wife is bullshit, if anyone didn't deserve a happy ending it was that miserable douche, his wife is just too cowed to deny him anything. The ending was just too fucking happy, everybody got a happy ending, even though everyone on this show has pretty well become a shit heel, if they weren't one form the start. I'm not saying I need to see them ALL get their comeuppance but it would be nice if it didn't end with the biggest assholes on television sailing off into the sunset to greener pastures. Oh well, self righteous indignation the tv series has comes to a close, for better or worse, I've been hate watching it pretty much since the first season so I shouldn't be surprised I was unhappy with the ending, the writers and I clearly have some fundamental difference of opinions in reference to the morality of being a selfish cunt.
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May 18, 2015
I realize everyone sees things differently but my feeling is it was "Mad Men" not "Sons of Anarchy" or "Breaking Bad".
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May 18, 2015
I enjoyed it. They weren't too heavy handed in Don's spiritual enlightenment either. Peggy nailed it on the head: he is Don Draper, he leaves after too long but he always comes back, and McCann will welcome him back with open arms because they know that his return always comes with some new insight into the human soul.
In this case it was him learning that he may have always been as loved as he thought he deserved, he just didn't recognize what love looked like.
So he gets to go back and start what was one of the biggest campaigns in Coca Cola history. And Peggy realizes she really likes her job, not just reaching for more power. I don't know why Joan had to end up alone on her road to power, but okay. Everyone got their happy ending, even Roger who finally found a woman as crazy as himself to keep him on his feet.
It may not have been the MASH ender, but it was a nice one.
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May 18, 2015
I doubt Joan will be alone for long, much less forever. For a while now I've thought that her life so far was an exercise in survival, skillfully playing the hand she was dealt but mostly reacting to existing situations, and we never knew (because maybe she didn't) what her dream was. Taken out of the fight for a little while, she found her calling. I bet Peggy does side work for her (and I loved that their lunch together in this episode gave their difficult relationship some closure through simple mutual respect, without the judgment and slight contempt that has always stained it). I had been rooting for her relationship with Richard but they didn't want the same things, and he was smart enough to realize that. And the cocaine scene (while funny) made it easier for me to let him go.
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May 18, 2015
I thought Don's whole road trip was one giant W T F. Figured if he had to go home for the kids once he found out about Betty, that it would be all have been for naught, but Sally didn't allow it. Even in the last few minutes, I couldn't imagine where they were going with Don in such deep despair (nor did I really enjoy the trip). So when the smile / enlightenment / idea popped at the end, I thought it was perfect Don Draper (as JohnMullins1 also said below). Honestly, I would have loved to have seen him return to McCann Erickson, convince them to hear him out and see the concept come together for the campaign. To me, that's when this series was at its best - when their backs were against the wall and the creative juices were flowing. We weren't able to see that for a long while as the series focused more on the personal journeys down the stretch and less on the agency and clients. I missed that. It was nice to see them all get their happy ending in the end, I just wanted more of the journey in getting there.
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May 18, 2015
I think it's better they skipped the ad pitch because it would have been hard to really do it justice, especially since they'd have to deal with the whole "you just up and left" muck that would have just slowed the episode down. I like that it was sort of left up to the imagination of the audience to envision the ideal Draper pitch. We've seen enough of them over the years to have a pretty good idea of how they would go down.
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May 18, 2015
*****SPOILER**** MAYBE?
I Think it was a very satisfying ending to a great series. It was great to see Don finally smile and be at peace with himself. (that's how I interpreted the smile. I could be wrong.)
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May 18, 2015
I thought it was a very Don Draper ending. He once again reinvented himself; only this time instead of being the spirit of the 60's he became the spirit of the 70's.

Expecting Don to turn over a new leaf and 'become a better man' was never going to happen. Don learned his lesson. He does best when he lies to everyone...including himself.
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May 18, 2015
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What a piece of dreck that last show was. I would have sworn that the script was jobbed out to some rookie writing student who had NEVER watched the series. I watched hours and hours of the marathon replay of the show's seven seasons. Great scripts and impeccable characterizations. Poetic nuances and layers of valid psychological portraits. The last episode (and the penultimate one) introduced way too many new characters at a time when we were getting ready to say goodbye to the ones we'd followed for so long. All those promos with talking heads refer to the connection people have had to fictional characters such that they want to know where their lives will take them. And for the most part, those were the throw-away scenes. I swear, I found myself wishing they'd given Peggy the job of writing this script. She would have knocked it out of the park.
I remember hating the last Sopranos episode but in subsequent viewings I had a much deeper appreciation for that program. There's no chance that will happen with this final episode of Mad Men. I would never set eyes on it again. It taints all the artrful dramatization and portrayals that preceded it. I guess the only positive thing I can say is that all of a sudden, I no longer find myself hungering for more Mad Men programs. Blech. This was truly a gyp.
I have grown to have great appreciation for Don Draper aka Dick Whitman. This man whose flaws originated in an abusive and bizarre childhood demonstrated more character than most of the others who criticized him and punished him. He was a mensch. He could have gotten out of a number of situations by pointing to the people who were really responsible for the problems. But when he was accused, he sucked it up and took the scapegoating quite heroically. I think this man was doing the best he could, and he took his work more seriously than most of his colleagues. And I wanted him to shine more in this final episode of the series. I did not appreciate watching him playing out the train wreck aspect of his life. He was a good father...flawed but with a good sense of how a father should stand up for his children and he knew where to draw decent boundaries on a multitude of occasions. Why did I have to watch Don Draper slum around as a recluse? This man had substance and smarts and talent and incredible dedication to his work. And he drank to excess...to try to deal with the demons which haunted him since childhood. He was a noble man in many ways. I was looking for some redemption and restitution for Don Draper as the series drew to a close. I feel like Don was terribly betrayed and so was I.

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May 18, 2015
Someone certainly busted out the thesaurus and psych 101 notes for this post.

New characters? Eh, yeah, there were a couple, but if they were introduced it was only to interact with one of the main characters. Really, the only one I can think of is the d-bag that Joan had to deal with.

As for the rest of the comments, I really don't know what to say. You claim to have marathoned the show several times, but you apparently had a very different interpretation of the show. Don's life has been a train wreck for several seasons now. I don't know if I would necessarily call Don a noble man either. I think that's the persona he wanted to project, and it seems like you, like many characters in the show, fell for it. Don is a liar and a manipulator, very much a "charming bastard" type of character. Don't get me wrong, he's definitely had genuine moments where he has helped people and done the right thing, but eh, it was usually because he wanted to get something or someone reminded him of the person he used to be.

Don also had a habit of blaming everyone else for his problems. Again, there were a few situations where he admitted to being at fault and took responsibility, but usually he tried to pass off the blame, or work around it. I know it didn't show his meeting for the coke ad in this episode, but you can imagine that he got back, completely ignored the fact that he left his job and then went into one of his Draper speeches to sell the ad and then everyone was happy and just ignored his being gone for several weeks (months?) One of the things that I liked about this final episode that Don did take responsibility for once and admitted that he had messed everything up because it was a genuine moment for him.
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May 18, 2015
The light bulb in my refrigerator burned out today. Spooky, right?
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May 18, 2015
I love how the [er... paid] critics are saying how this was a "prophetic ending, fitting tot he series". WHATEVER. It was an uncreative, uneventful, and —rather—boring ending. Very, VERY disappointing. All the "creators" did, was manage to make Mad Men incredibly forgettable.
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May 18, 2015
calm down. It was artsy, but fine. A finale episode does not invalidate all the excellence that came before.
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May 18, 2015
* fitting to the series... ". Damned type-os.
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May 18, 2015
The ending was perfect. It was a master class in trolling by Weiner. He made it look like some hokey journey of spiritual enlightenment was coming. It was making me sick. 'What an off key ending', I thought. Then, the little bell went off, the audio version of the light build above Don's head. And there it was. Don being Don. Packaging his crazy hippie experience into the perfect pitch.
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May 18, 2015
I was thinking the same thing about all the hippie shit right up until I saw the girl with the pigtails and red ribbons in the Coke Ad.
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May 18, 2015
I'm surprised by how many people don't get this.
I guess Mad Men isn't for them.
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May 18, 2015
Very astute of you John. I was ready to slam the last episode until I read your little analysis. Yes. Of course. It makes perfect sense, and makes the ending a good one. I still would have preferred the D.B. Cooper ending, however.
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May 18, 2015
The D.B Cooper ending would have come out of nowhere. The creator even laughed it out, although at least called it amusing, but definitely not the direction the show was going. I was kind of upset too since I thought it was just going to end on Don embracing his hippy side or something. Don pitching the hippie coke ad was honestly a pretty solid end to the series.
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May 18, 2015
I remembering watching the series finale of The Sapranos and thinking to myself, 'That's the worst fucking ending in the history of endings, so bad in fact that it will never be eclipsed in disappointment and failure.'

For years, it was. That all ended tonight. Congratulations Mr. Wiener, you've robbed David Chase of the honor I'm sure he never wanted.
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May 18, 2015
Have you seen How I Met Your Mother's or Dexter's series finales? Those are exceptionally worse than Mad Men's (which I'm not a huge fan of) and Soprano's endings.
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May 18, 2015
Care to explain?
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May 18, 2015
I thought that was a beautiful and perfect ending!
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May 18, 2015
You can't say that without explaining why.
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May 18, 2015
I'll chime in with my own thoughts. It seemed like a typical Don move, going through a dark moment, then rising up, taking a moral lesson or the like...and then completely spinning it to suit his/the agency's needs. He clearly wasn't buying the spiritual hippie nonsense, but in typical Don fashion he turned it into an advantage and hammered out a (presumbly) successful ad.
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May 18, 2015
You don't get out much.
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May 18, 2015
great ending. Well done. 2 more seasons. Geez. Read a book or watch RHWO Fargo or something. Well done Mr. Weiner. Well done.
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May 18, 2015
I think it was est.
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May 18, 2015
I believe that was Helen Slater at the retreat.
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May 18, 2015
I liked it. Very different from the rest of the series, but it's a finale. I was never a massive fan and watched closely for all the symbols/clues, but I enjoyed it very much. I have no idea what happened at the end there, because it's too hot and I'm tired. I probably won't watch it again for a while, so what the hell happened?
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May 18, 2015
I feel like there should be at least 2 seasons left. God this sucks.
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May 18, 2015
That was beautiful.
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May 18, 2015
Are you serious?
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May 18, 2015
Of course I'm serious. Let me guess, you were one of those morons who wanted to see Don kill himself or become D.B. Cooper? Like what were you expecting? The finale was absolutely true to what the the show has always been, a subtle story with action that presents itself on a human scale. The finale honored it's characters and brought us to the end of a brilliantly executed journey. If you found this episode boring or whatever, then I don't know what show you thought you were watching, because it's obviously not for you
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