Mad Men Recap: The Q & A Session

mad-men-finaleAnother season of Mad Men is in the books. Kind of depressing, kind of uncomfortable and for the most part, kind of great.

Bob Benson isn’t a time-traveling hit man, but he does speak Spanish well.

That seems to be about the only thing I know for certain.

After this week’s finale, “Both Sides, Now” I thought the best way to hash out my feelings and thoughts about the show was to do the following…

Giddy Up America’s Mad Men Q & A Session

So what is Mad Men about?

Identities. Specially finding out what your true identity really is. The show takes place in the world of advertising, where portraying a version of yourself, portraying yourself in a positive light as opposed to a realistic one, is all part of the game. Nearly every character on the show does this and is eventually dealing with the consequences of inhabiting one lie, one stretch of the truth, after another. Obviously this all starts with Don Draper, who was Dick Whitman and might be Dick Whitman again, having two large components of his Draper-ness, his job and his wife, effectively taken away from him at the end of the episode. This whole season has been one long unpacking of Don’s suitcase. His fastball is long gone. He’s always been a tourist, but now he’s even more detached than that. He can’t hold his booze anymore, can’t persuade a client, can’t even talk to a client, can’t even keep the corner office.

I think this season was about Don realizing that in the end, he can’t be Don. He has to be Dick.

Does Don/Dick move to California now?

I don’t think so, but Megan most likely will. At least we’ll have this to remember her by…


If he’s not moving to California, what does Don/Dick do now?

Steal more ideas from Stan.

Speaking of Stan, wouldn’t the show benefit from having more Stan?

For selfish reasons, yes. I love Stan. I’m in the Stan Rizzo fan club and if I could get past the itchy part of growing a beard, I’d grow one as a tribute to him. But taking my personal desires out of it, I don’t think we need more of Stan. He’s good in small doses. I feel the same way about Ginsberg. Would more of both be awesome? Yes, sir. But does it really need to happen? Not really. Mad Men has a lot going on as it is. I think that both Stan and Ginsburg could be given a little more, but not much more. I’d hate for them to over stay their welcome.

People should at least listen to Stan more, right?

Apparently, as the idea to split to California was initially his and co-opted by almost everyone in the office.

What should I think about Ted?

Dude just doesn’t have the brazen lack of human decency Don has. He’s not running away from Peggy. He’s running away from the threat of losing his family. Ted suffers from guilt by association. Nearly every dude on Mad Men is a scum bag in one form or the other. Because of this, guys like Ted are automatically assumed to be just another scum bag when in actuality, he’s a good guy who has a conscience; an anomaly on Mad Men.

Back to Don/Dick, do I like him again?

Too early to tell. It’s hard to balance an entire season of dickishness with five minutes of humility. I have a feeling that in season seven Don/Dick will be more likeable, though.

How does Mad Men end?

I still have no idea. This isn’t like The Sopranos, where going into the final season, you knew it would end either with Tony’s death, Tony’s arrest or Tony escaping both. I don’t think Don/Dick will die, but I also don’t know how far of a jump in time will take place between the seasons. If it jumps ahead to the mid-seventies, I might think differently. I don’t want Don/Dick to die, though. I guess I just want him to find some peace, as it’s the one thing that has truly escaped him. He’s had flashing moments of happiness, but he’s never truly been at peace. I think we’ll get some serious Don/Dick soul-searching in the final season and when it ends, it’ll end with Dick Whitman, not Don Draper.

But he might die?

Yeah. I’m not ruling that out.

Of drinking or smoking?

Might even be from falling out of a cruise ship.

Okay then, so what happens with Pete Campbell now?

Well, he’s off to California and free to be the person he really wants to be.

Who’s that?

Probably not Don anymore. But like Don/Dick, Pete needs to himself some inner peace.

Did I miss the part where it was decided that Pete was going to California too?

Yeah, I guess so. That seemed to just happen. In “Both Sides, Now” Pete really ran the gauntlet of emotions, from losing his mother to being humiliated and bested in Detroit by Bob Benson to having a tender moment with his daughter to gearing up to head west.

And Bob Benson is…?

I think he was just a tool by the writers. He showed us how Don Draper was able to become Don Draper and proved to be a good foil for Pete.

Does Joan know that homeboy doesn’t like her like that?

Probably. Joan doesn’t seem to miss much.

Overall thoughts on season six?

It was like this season of Game of Thrones in that it all seemed to be setting up the next season. It’ll probably look better in hindsight than it did in real time and will probably benefit from some good binge-watching as the series draws to a close. There were definitely some good parts and we saw the emergence of Sally, as well as the re-birth of Betty. Cutler was a great addition and I hope he’s back next season. I thought the show did a solid B job of portraying the overwhelming uneasiness that enveloped the country in 1968. The constant presence of sirens was a nice touch. I feel that they could have gotten more from Dawn and that both Roger and Joan became role players this season, which I’m not totally on board with.

I’d give this season a B.

Sundays are all yours now, True Blood.

Photos: AMC

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