The series finale of Mad Men is set to air on Sunday, May 17th. Created by Matthew Weiner, Mad Men has taken viewers on a fantastical, deprecating, misogynistic, touching, and sometimes downright depressing journey through the 1960's. The main story follows Draper (Jon Hamm) and his rise and fall through the advertising world, among other things. This highly crafted and intelligently written series was a critical darling throughout its run and helped turn AMC into a premier network.
As with most well regarded television shows, much speculation has been tossed around as to how this show will end. Will Draper find his peace? Is he the man falling from the building in the much talked about opening credits?
In preparation, I have decided to toss my hat into the ring with my own predictions. I did this with Lost finale and figured I'd visit the prediction well again. Let's see if I can do better this time around.
*Warning: The following may contain spoilers related to the final season and previous seasons of "Mad Men". Read ahead at your own risk.
1.) Much like the "On the Next Mad Men" previews that hardly provide insight to the next episode, the final episode will be a series of short scenes featuring a major character. No scene will last more than five minutes, leaving viewers upset and disgruntled. Roger Sterling (John Slattery) will last be seen in his bathroom, all alone, and shaving his mustache. Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) will not have a final scene. Instead, her final scene from the episode "Lost Horizon" will just be shown on a loop for five minutes. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) will land in Kansas just in time to be swept away in his Lear jet by a tornado. Joan (Christina Hendricks), in all of her kick-ass glory, leaves no stone unturned in making the men at McCann Erickson miserable. Don Draper, last seen at a bus stop in Oklahoma, makes his way to Seattle. He assumes the name Jerry Fandango (David Denman, "The Milk and Honey Route" episode) and decides to get in the gourmet coffee business. The last words of the series are spoken by Don, who simply says, "Let's call it Starbucks".
2.) Don Draper sits alone at the bus stop in Oklahoma. A car approaches. As the car gets closer, he sees that it is a Jaguar. The car stops. Don stands. The passenger side window rolls down, revealing the ghost of Lane Pryce (Jared Harris). Don, skeptical but intrigued, gets in the car. In the backseat are the ghosts of Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) and Don's brother, Adam Whitman (Jay Paulson). Don thinks "Hmm. That's weird. I didn't know a Jaguar had room for two passengers in the backseat." On a spirited road trip to California, the ghosts talk about smoke, fog, and how the best things in life are free, all while Don is buying any sort of drug he can get his hands on. After careful evaluation of his life, Don reaches the coast of California. He steps outside and the Jaguar is gone. Don walks onto the beach and just keeps walking into the water, disappearing forever.
3.) This is the Sci-Fi/Action/Horror version of the finale. Roger Sterling shows up to the office building, shirtless and carrying a flame thrower (and most likely on acid). He decides he can't take it anymore and decides to take a flame thrower to the entire McCann Erickson staff. He has also made enough name plates with the name STERLING etched on them and attaches them to the door of every office. Sterling, trapped in his own office, chugs a bottle of gin and flies out the window... Meanwhile, Joan and Peggy have concocted a mind game of willpower (imagine a puzzle/game you'd see in Saw) This involves an elaborate trap in which Jim Hobart (H. Richard Greene) must decide between saving his money or castrating himself. Pete, on his way to boarding a plane to Wichita, is stopped by Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton). "Pete, I just want to say congratulations," Ken tells Pete as he shakes his hand. "Thank you, Ken." "Oh, and one last thing," Ken says smugly. In Kill Bill style, Ken snatches out one of Pete's eyeballs. He drops it to the ground as Pete writhes in pain. "Now we're even," says Ken as he walks away. Oh, and Don says something witty, sweats a lot while drinking, and goes to work for Pepsi.
4.) Don sits at a bus stop in Oklahoma. The war vets pull up, deciding they haven't had enough. They knock around Don with a phone book again, rendering him unconscious. When he awakes, he sees a familiar face. It is Betty Draper (January Jones). Disoriented, he mumbles "Betty?". She replies, "Phil. You hit your head pretty hard when you fell off the billboard." Don replies, "Who's Phil?" "You are, silly," says Carol (Kristen Schaal, who also appeared on Mad Men). The camera reveals that Don is actually Will Forte and you've been watching The Last Man on Earth for the past eight years. Forte, who plays Phil Miller, has been dreaming this world the entire time. A world in which he is a womanizer, a charmer, and the suavest man around. All things that he's not. Viewers have just partook in the longest con of all time on television in which by watching Mad Man for eight years you have been tricked into watching The Last Man on Earth.
5.) Don sits alone at a bus stop in Oklahoma. The bus takes him to his destination and he places a call to Sally (Kiernan Shipka). She informs him that Betty is dying. Realizing what he must do, he gives up his journey west and begins the trek back to New York City. Roger, after realizing that most of the people he truly cares for have left him, decides to tragically end his life by jumping from the 26th floor of the McCann Erickson building. Pete arrives in Wichita and immediately has eyes for the waitress while at a family dinner. Joan gets her happy ending despite Roger's death. Peggy finally admits her love for Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) and the two decide to elope in Paris, thus making Peggy's dream of going to Paris come true. Don makes it home and promises to care for the children and give them the one thing he never had. The final shot is of him looking in at all three kids asleep in their mother's arms on the couch in the Francis living room. Don smiles. He has finally found his purpose in life.
Mad Men. Characters you love and characters you love to hate. Thanks for the ride.