The mid-season finale was incredibly satisfying, but as ever, offered few clues into what's to come. That's OK: We know how the story ends.
Well, fellow frustrated television fans, after a whopping seven episodes, Mad Men, the show we spend more time talking about relative to its actual representation on the planet than we do about any other conceptual construct with the possible exception of the Jews, is gone from the airwaves for another 17 years or so, and as usual, with more questions asked than answered. (And yes, there are spoilers ahead, so read this or don’t read this, you’re an adult and honestly? It’s a fucking TV show.) While some loose ends seem at least loosely wrapped up—i.e., Don and Megan seem finally ready to leave behind their empty shell of a marriage and Bert Cooper has finally shuffled off to the giant Benihana in the sky, others are still flopping freely as a urine-soaked shoelace on the subway that some creepy guy tells you is untied to distract you before he tries to grab your purse.
What does seem clear, however, is that given Matthew Weiner’s well-known penchant for ambiguity, we’re unlikely to get the ending I firmly believe all works of entertainment should have, i.e. an Animal House–style epilogue which tells you what happened to everyone. So with my limited information, I will attempt to do so here, for your enjoyment.
DON DRAPER will not in fact throw himself off a building at the very end, because yeah, a TV show is totally going to just end with the thing that’s been in the opening credits of every single episode for the past seven years—what are you even talking about? Also: He’s probably not DB Cooper. However, having finally found leadership, loyalty, and meaning in his life, albeit in unexpected places, he will push a dummy dressed exactly like him off the top of the Time-Life Building, as a publicity stunt for his new career as a motivational speaker and business guru. Otherwise, life will continue as normal for Don, until his losing battle with lung cancer in the mid-’90s. Sally will never forget how Dad died the same day they acquitted O.J.
PEGGY OLSON will adopt Julio, the boy from upstairs. He will grow into a strapping young man and guy Friday, who frequents Studio 54 and other hotspots, until he flees to the Berkshires during the height of the AIDS epidemic, where he opens a small boutique selling oddly drapey and alarmingly expensive clothing. Peggy will continue to climb the ranks of advertising until she retires to Marin County, where her biological son will find her one day as she picks ripe tomatoes in her vegetable garden, at which time she, Julio, and her unnamed son will open a small restaurant, the success of which will eventually become the basis for a hit sitcom.
Speaking of sitcoms, an increasingly curmudgeonly ROGER STERLING will marry Mona, again, and they, along with son-in-law Brooks and grandson Ellery, will spend the ’70s in a very chic version of All in the Family. Margaret, a.k.a. Marigold, will find Jesus in 1978. They always do.
BOB BENSON will become a founding member of ACT UP, as will his lover, PETE CAMPBELL. Today, they reside in Manhattan’s West Village with their two Chinese Crested Powderpuffs, Dorothy and Zbornak.
HENRY FRANCIS’s dreams of becoming the governor of New York will become unrealized, as his Republicanism becomes far too moderate for the rightward lurch of his party. His wife BETTY, however, will enjoy significant public renown as one of the most outspoken voices of the Moral Majority, preaching a return to “family values” and the days when “women knew their place.” Eventually, she will be elected to Congress in the state of Arizona, where she and Henry have retired and he will retreat into total dementia.
JOAN HARRIS will buy herself a big fucking house in the Hamptons and live happily ever after being rich and fabulous with a string of young boyfriends, because goddamn it, she’s earned it.
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