It ended with a phone call, a kiss, a smile and a cut to commercial. Mad Men’s time on television may have come and gone, but it’s good to know that many of the outstanding characters on Matthew Weiner’s series were left with a new dawn. It’s as good a time as any to give some final toasts.
To Pete. With two new jobs, at work and at home, he continued to remain true to his word to Trudy and Tammy. And, he has changed. Despite his awkwardness when giving Peggy a cactus – a funny symbol to represent their thorny relationship since the very first episode – he had fond words for her. “Some day, people are going to brag that they worked with you.” It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up being one of those admirers. With a promising future ahead and a family by his side, Pete doesn’t treat everything like a competition anymore. Welcome aboard to the high life. Cheers, Pete Campbell.
To Roger. Congratulations on your new life with Marie, although was it worth getting rid of Meredith? True to the character’s spirit, “Person to Person” was filled with witty one-liners, aided by John Slattery’s quick tongue. Like Pete, the misery from earlier seasons seems to have dissipated. He has found a woman just as temperamental and devious as him. At last, Roger has found a drinking partner that toasts to the good times rather than the bad. Meanwhile, what a treat it was to watch Slattery and Christina Hendricks play off of each other in their final scene together: the atmosphere was not heavy with goodbyes, but bubbling with new possibilities. You can tell both actors were savoring the other’s company, just as their characters were. Cheers, Roger Sterling.
To Sally. Growing up is hard to do. She has a best friend off to war, a father off to the other side of the country, and a mother off to her deathbed. Although her dreams are big, she knew that home was the right place to be. On a long-distance call with her father, she pleaded with him that he start taking her seriously. She can make her own decisions now, and understands that they can be selfless, compassionate ones. She is not quite her father’s daughter. Staring into Bobby’s face, as the two of them come to understand their new roles as the woman and man of the household, she grew up. Cheers, Sally Draper.
To Betty. She finally got what she always craved: the power to do what she wanted. Faced with only a little bit of time left, she tried to find her own peace and tranquility. Of course, that didn’t mean being with her family, but in a place where nobody could see her struggle. “Please don’t let your pride interfere with my wishes,” she snapped at Don, when he proposed returning home and being with the family. It is telling that in the last shot of Betty we saw, she was smoking a cigarette. Lung cancer be damned, she was going out her way – and she was going to look and feel young as she arrives closer to her end. Bye bye, Birdie. Cheers, Betty Francis.
To Joan. Now that she wasn’t tied to a desk job – or even considered answering a phone as it rang in her apartment – Joan tried to find a new path. And it took a couple of rewrites before she got the draft she desired. She had to say “so long” to Richard’s carefree ways, since he didn’t support her yearning for influence and power. (It feels like a long time since she was so subservient to Greg’s career aspirations.) She even rekindled her friendship with Peggy, hoping to sell her on a new idea to run a production company. However, despite the jumbling of emotions Joan felt this hour – the delicate transition from stunned tears to on-the-phone charm after Richard left was a formidable moment – that she got the life she wanted. She can work from home, take care of her son and live off a good salary. Cheers, Joan Holloway-Harris.