Elisabeth Moss

Mid-Week Mad Men: Person to Person

I watched the Mad Men series finale as it aired on Sunday night, and I’ve been thinking about this post since then. I just have so much to say. I’ve read so many other recaps and thought pieces on this episode because I’m just not ready for this all to be done. Once we got to the moments leading up to the end, I was really nervous about Don’s storyline and even at the reveal, I had a moment of panic at the ambiguity. Then, relief. I’m choosing to believe what the ending has implied, and all and all, I’m really happy with this one. Let’s jump into it.

First, Joan! You’ll know Joan is my favorite character is you’ve read any of my posts. A friend convinced me that Joan’s storyline was done and her sad exit from McCann was the last we’d see of her. I knew that couldn’t be true. We got a lot of Joan this time around and finally got the answer to this crappy relationship situation!

We open on Joan with Richard, happily vacationing. Things seem to be going really well for the two of them– they talk of possibly getting married, buying homes. All along, things have been portrayed as going well but I can’t figure out why Joan likes him. I can’t figure out why she had that panic moment and said she’d give up her son for him. We know she didn’t mean it, but what is so great about this guy? Anyway, when they return Joan meets with Ken Cosgrove, who has a business proposition for her. This spurs her meeting with Peggy, making some money, and then the idea to start her own production company. She meets with Peggy to discuss a partnership, as two names sound more legit (Harris-Olson). Peggy is flattered, but has other plans… more on that later. Richard, it seems, hasn’t changed his stripes in wanting Joan all to himself. He walks out on her when she chooses to start her business. I literally flip him off as he walks off screen– good riddance! We knew he was no good, guys! In Joan’s last moment, we see her manning Harris-Holloway (she already has two last names!) from her home. Joan’s got it made, guys. What a freaking boss.

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Let’s touch on Roger while we’re here. I wasn’t sure if he was going to get a wrap-up. He’s convinced himself he’s in the last chapter of his life and he’s chosen to marry Marie. The last we see him, he’s ordering champagne “for him mother” in French. Never change, Roger. We get the closure with him and Joan that I desperately wanting– his estate is to be split between his grandchild and Kevin.

Okay, now Peggy. Peggy’s decided to stay with McCann after a night of heavy drinking and considering Joan’s offer. She gets a little belligerent with Stan, and calls him apologetically the next day. This moment was pure magic. Stan’s feelings start pouring out, met with Peggy’s shock and constant “What?! What did you say?” Elisabeth Moss, you are wonderful. Stan tells Peggy he loves her and Peggy puzzles out that she loves him too, but the line is silent. Stan appears at her door and they kiss. Peggy finally finds love!

Pete’s an easy one. We don’t see much of him, save for saying goodbye to Peggy. His final moment is pretty glorious as he, a fabulous Trudy, and adorable Tammi step out of a car and into a jet. I’m assuming Trudy will have no regrets moving forward.

Betty’s the saddest story, and it’s woven into Sally’s and Don’s. Sally and Don speak via phone again, and Sally tells him about Betty’s terminal cancer. Don calls Betty– both are tearful, obstinate. Don wants to come home. Betty says no. I can’t understand why Don doesn’t go home. Sally does, though, finding Bobby and burnt grilled cheeses in the kitchen. Bobby, who we’ve not heard from in years, isn’t a baby anymore either. He knows what’s going on. Sally steps into a mothering role for her two little brothers; they need her now. The last we see of Betty and Sally is Sally washing the dishes and Betty smoking a cigarette at the kitchen table.

The news of Betty has affected Don. He doesn’t go home, but to California where he visits Stephanie. Stephanie seems like a random person for him to spend the last episode with, but I see it as him desperately trying to cling to someone, to connect with someone. Stephanie ends up taking him and leaving him at a yoga/spiritual healing retreat… thing. She takes his car. Don is stuck. Don is alone. He places a call to Peggy. She has relieved to hear from him, but worried. He laments that his life is a lie, he’s never made anything of himself and he’s ruined everything. Peggy tells him to come home. “Don’t you want to work on Coke?” she says.

Apparently Don can’t find a way to leave this retreat early. He ends up in another seminar, where he hugs a stranger with a heart-breaking feeling of loneliness. We see Don last in lotus position, chanting ohm. I’m about to lose it, as I can’t see Don finding enlightenment here or with yoga. The scene shifts, and we see it’s not enlightenment that Don has found– it’s inspiration!

Don't think I didn't notice this detail right away!

Don’t think I didn’t notice this detail right away!

So Don does work on Coca Cola. This whole weird trip has led him here, to this idea for a sensational ad.

And that’s how I chose to remember it. You know, there are two ways to end a show: either the set of circumstances you’ve watched for x-amount of years will never occur again, or everything goes on as it always has. For Don, it seems that things go on. Yes, things changed and people do new things. Sterling Cooper is no more. Don, though, finally achieves the advertising fame he was looking for. Twitter thinks Peggy wrote this jingle, and maybe she did. Maybe this is Don & Peggy’s work together. Now that’s an ending.

It wasn’t perfect, but I’m happy.  What did you think?!

Mid-Week Mad Men: Lost Horizon

I watched the latest episode of Mad Men, “Lost Horizon,” on Monday night. This is the antepenultimate episode of the series– the third to last; the one before the one before the last one. Though I’ve been aware that there were a mere seven episodes in the half season, I haven’t felt the finality coming on until this episode. SC&P has closed up shop.

I was discussing this episode with a friend last night– a friend who is aware of, but can’t quite comprehend my undying love for Joan. Joan, for me, had the most compelling and most final storyline of the episode, so that’s where I’ll be focusing this post. We’ll of course talk about how fabulous Peggy was, and even add a dash of Don, but mostly we’re going to talk about Joan. Buckle up.

Why do I love Joan so much? Joan was empowered before anyone knew what empowered was. We open on her as the queen bee of the secretaries. Is she kind of a bitch? Yes. She calls Peggy out for the way she dresses and if I can be perfectly honest, Peggy’s bangs and ponytail were killing me that first season! It took me a long time to take Peggy seriously, too. Anyway, Joan played within the parameters to rise to power. She used what she had, and yes, that was the way she looked. What she did, though, was real, and when it came to forming a new agency, Joan was recognized as an integral part of the operation.

Let’s talk about her decision to get her hands on that role as partner. I remember watching this and wanting her to make that awful decision. Is that any way to conduct business? No, it’s disgusting. But this was her big opportunity and I wanted to see her as partner. I wanted her to prosper. And for a while, she did.

Joan made sense as a partner. Joan flourished as an account manager. But at McCann Erickson, chronic sexism finally got the better of Joan. She’s not the same woman we met at the start of the series. She takes herself seriously now and it’s not too much to ask to have others do the same. Brass Dennis, creepy Ferg, and infuriating Jim Hobart cannot offer her any respect. Dennis is outright not willing to work under a woman. Ferg just wants to sleep with her. Jim Hobart just doesn’t want her. She doesn’t hold the status she did before, and though he owes her half a million dollars, her offers her 50 cents on the dollar to get out of his face.

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The real heart-breaker comes when Roger is waiting in her office. Roger (who I loved her with but has ended up being the biggest disappointment to both Joan and me) tells her to take the deal. Contrary to what Roger says, it’s not about the money. It’s about respect, which Joan never got. Joan lost. If this is the last I see of her in Mad Men, I don’t know how I’ll recover.

IMG_7447Peggy faces sexism too. It’s clear from the circumstances that Peggy will not hold the status at McCann that she did at SC&P. It takes them days to get her an office and they send her flowers thinking she’s a secretary. She hangs out at SC&P waiting for them to get things in order where she encounters a mourning Roger.  (I’m not scary; organ music is.)

He makes her drink with him, and things basically get hilarious.

Peggy steps into her first day at McCann in style.

Don was welcomed into McCann Erickson, but finds himself uncomfortable in a Miller Beer meeting with a table full of creative directors. As he listens to a familiar sounding pitch, he simply walks out. He hallucinates the ghost of Cooper on a long drive to Racine, Wisconsin in search of Diana. We end on him picking up a hitchhiker and heading to Minnesota– the opposite way from home. I don’t think Don’s coming back.

Before we go, I just want to say that I’m still really enjoying Meredith! It’s been nice to see her get a little character development.

Okay guys, I’ve said a lot. Let me know what you guys thought of “Lost Horizon” in the comments!!