Monday, October 18, 2010

Thoughts on the Mad Men Season 4 finale

 SPOILER ALERT! I've dished (below) my favorite moments from the Mad Men Season 4 finale, "Tomorrowland," that aired last night. For those that hate spoilers, you've been warned...

The finale was incredible. I wouldn't say it was the best of the four finales, but it definitely ranked in my top 2 (the first being the Season 3 finale, when Don and Betty separated, he left Sterling Coop to hang his own shingle in the Time Life Building and moved to an apartment in the Village).

On Don and Megan:

Okay, so the marriage proposal was rushed, I'll give you that, but for some reason I really wanted it to happen! Especially when Don and Megan first arrived in California and were standing by the pool, he in his fedora/sports blazer ensemble, and she behind him, in that classic dress, holding baby Gene. They were the picture perfect couple, like one of those couples out of an old TWA vacation ad, and at one point I actually said out loud: "Oh my god, they belong together." And the way Megan handled the whole milkshake situation at the diner was so cute, so unlike Betty, that even Don was shocked. I had a feeling Megan was going to play a bigger part in Don's life after Sally fell in the office and Megan was the one who picked her up. (P.S.: The actress who plays Megan? Gorgeous! She reminds me of an anime version of Jackie O.)

Anyway, I think Don had come to a crossroads in the finale of having to choose which path he wanted his life to take: The honest, Dick Whitman path with Faye, or the I'm-going-to-continue-living-the-lie, cookie cutter life as Don with Megan. His choice was so telling, and definitely answered the season's theme: Who is Don Draper? Or did it? The man who proposed to Megan was definitely not Dick or Don...who had he become? 
Whoever he was I think Faye was spot-on when, as she was being dumped by Don on the phone, told him that he "only likes beginnings." This, coming from the same woman who accurately predicted he'd be married within a year. Don's overeager zeal for being "in love" with Megan almost seemed to mimic his boyish enthusiasm for Betty in the flashback where he first told Anna he had met a girl he wanted to marry. Again, is this all pointing to a bad breakup with Megan down the road?

On Betty: 

I just about DIED when Betty sat in that dark kitchen, applying her makeup then quickly picking up that lone box to pretend it was an accident she was there when Don stepped through the door. I KNEW she was going to want him back. And I loved the look on her face when he confessed he was engaged and she knew that door to their old life was closing. I felt sorry for her but my pity was eclipsed with the tyrannical way she fired Carla in the beginning, over a simple goodbye between Glen and Sally. Betty has increasingly taken on a scorned attitude toward Glen as if she were his wronged ex-girlfriend, and it seems that because she can't "have" him (in a non-sexual way, of course) she wants no one else (including Sally) to either. It's kind of creepy and, in a way, strikes me as almost pedophiliac. Don't you think? 
Meanwhile I love watching Betty and Henry fall further down the rabbit hole of their quickly dissolving marriage. Even Henry was incredulous at how cold Betty was with Carla, and how she wouldn't even write Carla a letter of recommendation. The woman had practically raised her kids from birth. Either Betty has completely become a one-dimensional villain or she is way more effed up than any of us give her credit for. Props to Henry for hitting the bottle -- if I was married to Betty I'd probably develop a drinking problem too.

On Joan: 

I wondered a few weeks ago if Joan had decided to keep the baby a few weeks ago, and I'm glad to see that she had. I expected Greg to get blown up in his medical tent right after he got off the phone with Joan, but I guess we'll have to wait till next season for that to happen. Everyone assumes he'll die in Vietnam (as do I), but wouldn't it be interesting to see him come back with severe PTSD and no legs, then watch Joan have to deal with that? It would be straight up Lieutenant Dan, yet fascinating to watch play out. We'll see.

Where do you think the next season will start? Don's wedding? Post-wedding? Megan pregnant with their first? Don and Megan splitting up before the wedding? Henry and Betty already divorced? Sally in the early stages of becoming Fred Savage's older hippie sister from The Wonder Years
I can't wait!

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