Jews! I welcome you to the final installment of Jews Watching Mad Men. Like all good things, this season of TV’s best show has come to an end, and we at Jewcy have a few suggestions for how to cope with this new emptiness in your life.
- Cryogenic technology has come a long way in recent years (I think) and you might want to consider getting yourself frozen until mid-summer when the next season picks up.
- Hibernate, like a bear. Your reason for doing so is way more valid than any bear.
- Kidnap Mathew Weiner, (Swimming With Sharks Style) and demand he narrate, to the best of his ability, what will happen next season.
Now, onto the good stuff: our thoughts on "Tomorrowland," the final episode of Mad Men, Season 4. The episode opens on a dark room with a shot of Don, who at first kind of looks like a sexy woman. Faye enters, coddling a cowering, nude Don, reassuring him about his crazy anti-tobacco letter, telling him that he’s going to be fine, that he will woo the American Cancer Society and after he takes a trip to California with his kids, she’ll call him and their good times will roll. Faye also gives Don a bit of advice. She tells him to come out of the closet about his past. All is splendid with these two, huh?
Joanie gets a promotion, but no raise, and Don meets with the American Cancer Society to come up with an anti-smoking campaign. We find out that half the people on the board of the ACC are smokers! As a former actor, I can tell you that I used to audition for my fair share of anti smoking commercials, and always feeling quite nervous beforehand, I’d smoke like a chimney before entering the casting room. Only once was I asked, "Do you smoke." Hesitating, I said, "Yes." They said it didn’t matter.
Cosgrove refuses to use his in-laws to attract new business. "I’m not Pete," Cosgrove says, "Sorry about that." Pete bitterly agrees, having wrangled as much business out of his wife’s dad as physically possible. Ken continues, "Cynthia is my life, my actual life." Afterwards there’s a moment, one that seems insignificant at the time, but the camera makes it clear that something about Cosgrove’s statement gets Don thinking.
Back at the Francis residence, Ghoulish Glen, looking disheveled, husky, asks Carla Nanny if he can say goodbye to Sally, and she allows it. The goodbye is sad, but they promise to stay in touch, Glen doesn’t even go for a first kiss. Then, on his way out, Brusque Betty Francis enters and they face off.
Lets talk about Betty and Glen. In Season 1, they had a strange relationship, but it was clear Betty had feelings for little Glen, though whether they were motherly feelings, a connection between kindred spirits, or some sort of weird crush is still yet to be determined. Do we remember the end of the first season when Glen walked up to Betty and promised her that everything was going to okay? Was this not one of the moments that solidified Mad Men as one of the most emotionally honest television shows around? Sure, there were some interruptions in their connection. Glenn once walked in on her peeing, and then instead of excusing himself and exiting the bathroom, he stood there staring. He also asked her for a lock of her hair, and though it bothered his own mother, Betty found it charming. Now, Glen and Betty face off for the first time since the end of Season 1 and it’s a much different interaction.
Glen: Why do you hate me?
Betty: You think I don’t know what you’re doing? You could be friends with anyone!
Glen: Just because you’re sad, doesn’t mean that everyone has to be.
What exactly does Betty think Glen is doing? What is Glen doing? What is up Betty Francis’ caboose? Then, after Glen storms out, Clara apologizes, admitting that she allowed Glen into the house, and in response, Betty fires Clara, the Nanny that she’s had since her first child was born. Betty feels like a lost cause, and even her new, elderly husband thinks so.
Don screams at Betty too, because he’s short the one person who would watch the kids for their trip to California. Naturally, he asks Megan.
Cut to LA. Don’t you love it when Mad Men goes to California? Their vision of 1960’s LA looks much like you’d expect a Richard Cheese music video to look like, the smoky lounge personified. Quickly, it becomes clear that Megan, aside from being the most gorgeous person on the show next to Joan, is amazing with kids. She’s kind, empathetic, patient and fun, and Don takes note. Along with the kids, Don goes to the house of his fake identity’s now dead widow, Anna. Still following? He goes to Mrs. Draper’s house to help her niece clean. On the wall one night, Anna painted, "Anna + Dick ’64," leading Sally to ask about Anna. Don explains that Anna used to live there. "Who’s Dick?" she asks. After a long silence and some wayward glances Don explains that Dick, is his nickname. In this moment, it seems like Don is taking Doc Faye’s advice. He must really love the doc, right? Oh yeah, the niece also gives Don Anna’s engagement ring before they leave.
Ladies and gentlemen, get under your desks, because the bomb is about to drop. Don and Megan rub their parts together for the second time and the after sex, conversation reveals that Don is severely smitten with Megan. He tells her that he "needs to know" that they can continue to sleep together. Then next morning, at a diner, Sally spills her milkshake while fighting with her brother, and Megan, calmly, wipes it up telling Sally not to worry, "it’s just a milkshake," and again, Don takes note.
Remember a few episodes ago, when Sally made her way into the city alone all the way to SCDP, causing a ruckus in the office that ended up coupling with the death of old Ms. Blankenship? During that episode, Sally starts to cry when her mom comes to pick her up, throwing something of hissy fit and Don asks Faye if she can talk with her, which Faye does, unsuccessfully. "I feel like I was tested and I failed," Faye tells Don, to which he assure her that she wasn’t and hasn’t. Afterwards, Sally goes running through the office, falls, and starts to cry and Megan wraps her arms around Sally telling her that everything was alright. Strangely, something about this moment follows Megan, keeping her on the verge of tears for the rest of episode,.
Turns out, Faye was being tested, it’s just that neither she, nor Don was aware of it. Apparently Don is a regular fifth grade teacher, throwing out pop quizzes to his hearts content, all of which Megan has passed and therefore, sitting in a hotel room in LA, Don takes out the ring he received the day before and asks Megan to marry him. Jewcy readers, please tell me in the comments how you feel about this. Personally, I find Megan both beautiful and charming and this decision doesn’t really bother me. I’ve learned not to get too attached to any of the ladies in Don’s life, otherwise I’d still be hung up on Rachel Menken. Of course, Megan accepts, and calls her parents. The occasion becomes even more joyous for Don as he realizes that his future parents-in-law speak only French and therefore he won’t have to talk to them!
Back in the office, Peggy and Ken land a panty hose account through a twist of fate involving Josia Mamet’s lady-cruising. Therefore SCDP have finally broken their bad business streak. Don calls the partners in to announce his engagement. They congratulate him as they’re expected to, but when he gives Peggy the news, he assures her that Megan reminds him of her, and that Megan admires her. Peggy seems glad, but quickly goes into Joans office to air her grievances. Joan responds with her own grievances about her fake promotion.
Peggy: A pretty face comes along and everything goes out the window.
Joan: Well, I learned a long time ago, not to get all my satisfaction from this job.
Peggy: That’s bullshit.
Don calls Faye to break it off. I can’t imagine how sad this must be for Faye. Granted, I personally find her way less alluring than Megan, but there seemed to be some real love between them. Faye, quickly realizes what’s happening, as out of the blue as it all is, and angrily, heart brokenly, ends the conversation. We were hoping for some angry Yiddish, but it never came.
By the way, where else does Joan get her satisfaction from? We catch back up with Joan, in her apartment calling her husband in Vietnam. You know that there needs to another zinger right? This is the finale! By the way, Joan is still pregnant, no abortion, and her husband thinks that the baby is his even though Roger is responsible.
That’s pretty much where we are left. Like the characters on the show LOST, viewers of Mad Men have crashed onto a foreign land where there’s always a surprise around every corner, and a little sentimentality goes a long way. Unlike LOST, Mad Men always ends episodes with a picture, almost like a painting. They give a us a moment or two, frozen on the screen and perhaps accompanied with a bit of dialogue, or some music, hinting to us what we may have been thinking about, but leaving room for us to figure out the rest.
This final episode has one of those moments: in the empty former Draper home, Don walks in, and Betty is standing over a drink in the kitchen. Don tells her that he is getting married. Having just been told that "nobody is ever on her side," Betty is back to the emptiness that she felt in the first two seasons while married to Don. Ice cold Betty is heartbroken and it’s clear that Don, who has come to detest Betty, tells her that it’s going to be okay, much like Glen in Season 1. We are left with a picture of an empty kitchen, with nothing but a bottle of whiskey on the countertop.
Then, we cut to Don’s dark apartment, where he is laying in bed with Megan. "I Got You Babe" is playing in the distance. Like most Mad Men endings, we couldn’t have guessed it and aren’t positive what it means, but we know that whatever happens, it will be worth watching.