The pink slip. The gold watch. The forced retirement. Find any kind of cute office comparison you want, but Mad Men has just ended. After seven seasons, it proved itself to stand alone among its peers: An hourlong drama that was truly character-driven instead of story-driven, Mad Men often confounded its own fans, who looked for clues to its conclusion that were never there. Now that the real ending has revealed itself, of course we’ve got some opinions, and we’re sure you do, too. So let’s talk.
WARNING: Spoilers about the Mad Men series finale after the cut.
- The series finale of Mad Men aired during the opening weekend of Mad Max: Fury Road, and the episode begins on a shot of Don Draper driving a souped-up car across the desert. COINCIDENCE?
- Our own Jesse speculated that characters like Pete, Joan, and Betty might not even appear in the finale, as their stories seemed to have wrapped up in previous episodes. He was totally wrong about that. How did people feel about their appearances tonight? Joan actually had a pretty major (and satisfying) story, while Pete and Betty had more postscripts than their own moments. Should they have gone bolder and not given those regulars in-finale sendoffs? (Maybe not if it meant losing that scene between Don and Betty, but that might have worked in the previous episode.)
- Some Mad Men fans have made a real commitment to making predictions that almost never pan out or in most cases even make sense. But tonight Peggy got together with Stan, Joan started her own damn company, and it all ended on a famous Coke ad — all possibilities that we’re sure have been floated at some point in the past year. Is this a stopped-clock thing or were some of these developments a little too predictable?
- That said, the show still avoided some boilerplate story developments (or reactive fallout stuff) simply by addressing them early (Don finds out about Betty’s cancer; Pete says his goodbyes to the former coworkers who don’t hate him) and then pretty much placing them aside. It would not be a Mad Men episode if they didn’t leave some opportunity for viewers to complain about anticlimax .
- And about that Peggy and Stan thing: was this the show’s last great unsailed ship? We know our own Sara Batkie could not have been more pleased and our own Marisa… could have been more pleased.
- The episode was titled “Person to Person,” and all of Don’s interactions with the other main characters happened via phone call. How did you all feel about his last scene “opposite” Sally? Interesting that Sally’s big emotional moments in her last few scenes on the series have more to do with Betty, in a lot of ways, than they do with Don, given how increasingly important the Don/Sally relationship seemed as the show developed.
- Favorite episode of the season? (We’re not sure how many people would say this one.) Favorite episodes ever?
- Where does Mad Men as a body of work rank in television broadly? (We know — the body is still warm. But it’s not like you haven’t been thinking about it.)
Please discuss this and whatever else you have to say about Mad Men in the thread below!