***FINALE SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!***
Unlike our resident Mad Men fan Amanda who has a great relationship with the series I have one that has been rocky to say the least. Mad Men is like an estranged significant other in my world. The breakup wasn’t bad, we just kind of left it as is and moved on, but I still check up on it from time to time. Mad Men was my favorite show until it’s fourth season, my Sunday night would be devoted to the series, (as was True Blood, but that’s a story for another day.) After a while my heart was discontent with the series. I fell out of love with the characters and the story lines. I would still peek to see what was going on but I decided I wouldn’t come back to it, and it was heart breaking because I loved it so as evidenced here:
Here I am with the three seasons I actually enjoyed. Pure bliss. I even have the zippo lighter special edition DVD set
(Side note: It’s selling for somewhere around $115 on Amazon right now. SAY WHAT?)
One Saturday night I was talking to my friend Michael (of Geek Crash Course fame, watch and subscribe to their channel for some knowledge and stuff. He also came up with this title, so credit where credit is due, friends.) I told him I hated Mad Men these last few seasons and he told me to watch it because things were finally coming to a head. I saw some GIF’s on Tumblr of Peggy and Ted and I admit I was curious.
However, I was cautious. I waited a while for things to finally hit Don hard but nothing seemed to ever REALLY catch up with him. Sure, things sucked for him but I wanted to see some turmoil and torture for Don, because let’s be honest here, he’s a dick. I wasn’t sold at first, but then I learned that Kevin Rahm’s character Ted Chaough, usually portrayed in an almost villainous role the last few seasons was back and this time he was holding his rightful place as the Anti-Don.
I gave it a shot, because of Kevin Rahm, Ted, Tumblr gifs of Peggy and Ted being cute and a promise Michael made to me about Don’s downward spiral finally being front and center. I wasn’t disappointed.
Don’s Ultimate Decline:
Jon Hamm needs an Emmy. Don was finally getting his in every way. He was acting like a child for who knows how long, but this season made him even worse than before.
-He was constantly fighting for Peggy’s soul like he owned her. I feel like Don always felt like Peggy owed him because he made her who she is, and yes, she did learn a lot but Peggy also had natural talent. I was glad when she left the agency and moved on but then she got dragged back into Don’s world and it was almost painful to watch sometimes.
-He acted like a child professionally for most of the season, even when the agencies merged Don treated Ted like he was out to get him, when Ted just wanted Don to respect him and his ideas, because the fact remains that Ted is good at his job, if he wasn’t Don wouldn’t be so hellbent to get into a pissing contest all the time.
Ted engages Don several times throughout the season, but he knows what Don is doing. Ted slowly gets tired of Don’s shit and upstages him.
Can we talk about how amazing Ted was in the scene when he takes Don up in the air?
Don doesn’t just screw up professionally, he screws up personally too.
He once again starts his cheating thing, you would think a man would learn and damn it all of his wives are hot! His relationship with Sylvia was probably the grossest he’s ever had. I mean, there was a bunch kinky sexy times going on, that whole scene where gets all Christian Grey on her was kind of interesting, but it was all about Don’s need for control. In the end Sylvia loved her husband, but that didn’t stop her from screwing with Don again, this time getting caught by an unsuspecting Sally.
Poor Sally Draper is a lot like her father, and she loves him a lot. Seeing something like that? Not going to work wonders for her when she’s older. She’s disappointed in her father, and more importantly she’s mad at her father in ways she’s never been mad at him before. This hurts Don, but I wish it would hurt him more.
Things finally catch up to Don in the finale when he blows everything at an important meeting with Hershey. He pretty much tells them his whole life story, how he grew up in a whore house, how crappy his life was and it hurt him because the partners told him to take an indefinite vacation.
The Draper home isn’t so great either when he blows it with Megan who leaves. He lets Ted go to California for him, thinking he did the right thing because Ted was begging, but ultimately he didn’t think of Megan who quit her job and was excited to move out to the west coast to fully explore her career. That’s the problem, Don never thinks of what he does and what kind of effect it has on the people closest to him and he felt this in the finale. Don ends his crappy week by taking his kids to see the whore house he grew up in. Maybe this little vacation from work and finally getting his childhood off his shoulders would make him a better person next season. Probably not.
Ted: The Anti-Don:
The real reason I came back was because of Ted. I needed a breath of fresh air from the all of the dark smoke that surrounds Don Draper every episode and Ted was it.
-Where as Don would make mistakes and the consequences were minimal, Ted would make mistakes and feel them hard. People like Ted, he’s approachable, he’s well aware of how good he is an Ad-Man and so is everyone else around him. Professionally he keeps himself nice, his employees like him and there isn’t much you can really hate about Ted.
Truthfully, Ted and Don have a lot in common. They are both men who feel stuck. Don in his fake life and Ted in his marriage. Ted loves his wife and his children and there is no doubt about that, but there is something about Peggy that makes Ted want something more. It’s clear that he’s in love with her, and yes things happen between them but Ted makes the right decision and he doesn’t leave his wife and kids for her, instead he wants to fix his mistakes.
-Don, on the other hand, would have just slept with Peggy some more and screwed her over all the while screwing over his wife. Ted begs Don to go to California because he needs to salvage what he has. Peggy isn’t exactly happy about this and I wish she would be more understanding, but at the same time I think Peggy should know better than to mess with a married man and think he was going to just run off with her. (Remember her and Pete? THEY HAD A BABY.)
Shipper moment here: I love Ted and Peggy but I feel like she belongs with Stan and his beard. Shipper moment over.
Sure there are other awesome things this season:
- Creepy Bob Benson
- Joan slowly letting Roger back.
- The entire episode where they’re on speed. Ken tap dances, it’s a winner.
- Trudy finally telling Pete to run along, and Alison BrIe being awesome in general.
Ultimately, the best part of it for me was finally seeing Don’s story take the turn we all knew it would take eventually. I hope this is the end of the old Don Draper and the beginning of the newer, even worse Don Draper.
I tuned back into the show I gave up on and maybe I was wrong, maybe I should have stuck around. I have to go back later this summer and watch season 5 and I actually can’t wait. (I can wait a little, I want to finish my Star Trek Marathon. Sorry Mad Men season 5.) But I am back now and I can’t wait for Season 7.