Don's journey ends in California with Anna's niece, Stephanie, where he contemplates his future. Roger decides to marry Megan's mother, Marie. Joan has a business proposition for Peggy, who is coming to terms with her feelings for Stan.
Many from Sterling Cooper are still evaluating their new lives at McCann Erickson and deciding if there is a future for them there. Roger makes two decisions in his personal life, one relating to his legacy. Pete has decided to start a new life with Trudy and Tammy in Wichita by taking the lucrative Lear Jet job. Peggy believes she's settling into her new McCann Erickson life, despite not finding the environment as easy to maneuver within as it was at Sterling Cooper. Peggy's professional path takes a possible turn with an offer by Joan, who seizes upon an opportunity initiated by Ken to reinvent her professional self. That new professional life may be at odds with Joan's personal life with Richard. What Peggy decides to do professionally may be influenced by a personal revelation that blindsides her. And Don is still traveling the country in his post-McCann retirement life. While doing some speed driving on the Bonneville Salt Flats, he finds out about Betty's terminal lung cancer diagnosis. That and a reunion with Anna's niece Stephanie to return something he believes rightly belongs to her leads to Don critically reviewing his "Don Draper" life and if there is a next phase to it.
In the series finale, Don continues his journey, arriving in California where he drops in on Stephanie, his old friend Anna's niece. She drags him off to a retreat where he hits rock bottom. A rejuvenated Don however comes up with yet another great idea. In New York, Joan has lunch with Ken and may have a new company and a new career in her future.Peggy and Stan come to a pleasantly shocking realization about their feeling for one another.Roger and Marie settle into their life together while Pete and his family head off to Wichita in a company jet. Sally grows up considerably and takes over many of her mother's responsibilities.
- "Mad Men" - "Person to Person" - May 17, 2015
The episode starts with "Hello, I Love You" by the Doors playing, but the more apt choice feels like "The End," because that's what this is, my beautiful friends.
But we're going to catch you up with everybody else before we get to our main man, although he weaves in and out a bit, he remains removed from the action in New York.
He is supposed to have a goodbye lunch with Peggy and Harry but she has to beg off for work. Harry is miffed but Pete takes it in stride. He also shares some very sweet words with her about how she will be a creative director by 1980 and one day people will be bragging about how they used to work with her. He departs on a private jet with a very happy looking Trudy, headed for Wichita.
Although their relationship is clearly volatile, Roger decides to marry Marie Calvet.But first he goes to Joan and tells her he wants to include Kevin in his will if it's okay with her. It is. He explains about Marie and she laughs and wonders if it's a mess. But he says no one seems to care. Joan notes, with just a bit of wistfulness, that someone finally got the timing right. He agrees. He heads up to Canada and he and Marie are last seen in a cafe ordering lobster and toasting their impending nuptials.
At first Joan and Richard seem like they are having a swell old time, hanging in Key West and trying cocaine together for the first time. He talks about how this could be their life and there's no reason they can't have several homes and she wouldn't have to be tied to New York.
But then she has lunch with Ken Cosgrove who has an interesting proposition for her. Now that he's working at Dow he has to make an industrial film and he wants her to produce it and Peggy to write the script. She is intrigued and has lunch with Peggy and proposes they start their own production company: Harris/Olson. They could be their own bosses and never have to answer to piggy men again. Peggy is flattered to be thought of but says she needs to think about it.
Later, as Joan gets more excited about the work she could be doing Richard freaks and says it's clear that she would rather do this job than be with him-- the way he wants her to. She says she loves the work and would never dream of asking him to choose between building something-- which he did-- and her. The phone rings, she takes it, he walks out. She is clearly stung and sad but she regains her composure and gets on the horn. Later we see that she has set up a home office and is firing on all cylinders.
Peggy and Stan!
Stan and Peggy are in an accounts meeting and she is angry that they were taken off an old SCP account Chevalier. She confronts the very cranky woman running the meeting and won't give in and so the woman gives her the account back. Stan shakes his head.
After meeting with Joan about the potential production company she mulls it over with Stan. She talks about having her name on the door and wonders if he thinks it will fail. He tells her she has such a rare talent she should stop looking over her shoulder at what other people do. She accuses him of lacking ambition. He replies that he is very happy being good at my job and has nothing else to prove, to which she replies, awfully, "Spoken like a failure." This justifiably hurts and he says he hopes she's drunk because she'll need an excuse for saying that. He notes that there is more to life than work.
Later, when she gets a very disturbing call from Don she again calls on Stan, this time on the phone. Stan reassures her that Don always goes and always comes back and is a survivor who's going to be okay and that Peggy needs to let hm go, but that doesn't she stops caring about him. She apologizes for saying all those shitty things to him and tells him she's going to stay. He confesses relief that he didn't want her to go. And then he confesses something even bigger: that even though he sometimes wants to strangle her, he is in love with her. She is so taken aback that she makes him repeat it a few times. But then, she realizes, she loves him too! It is halting and adorable. He runs to her office and they kiss.
Late we see Peggy typing, Stan touches her shoulder and kisses her forehead.
Don, Betty, Sally, Bobby
We open on Don driving across the desert in goggles in what appears to be a race car of some kind. Back at the garage he gives the keys to the mechanics and informs them about problems he had with the car-- a shimmy to be specific. They are impressed that a guy with no car knows so much about them. They ask for a couple hundred dollars stake, apparently they are working on breaking the land speed record.
Back in a motel, Don sleeps with a hot blonde whom he knows filched his wallet and asks if she left him anything. She wonders if he's never paid for it. He says he has but likes it to be voluntary. She hands him back his magical yellow envelope and he gives her some money from it. She asks about the ring inside. He notes she was about to steal it and they go at it again.
Don talks to Sally, who is at school, about the men working on breaking land speed record. She is clearly distracted and finally drops the bomb about Betty. He is gobsmacked. She says it's Betty's wish for Gene and Bobby to live with her brother William but that he should let them live with Henry so as not to disrupt their lives. Don balks and says grown-ups make these decisions but Sally insists that he listen to her.
Don calls a clearly sick Betty-- person to person, a la the episode title-- and says he's coming home. She says she wants things to remain as normal for the boys as possible which includes him not coming home. She reiterates her wish for the boys to live with William and Judy but Don points out that they should live with him. She asks him to not let his pride interfere with her wishes and says they need a woman and a regular family in their lives. And she notes he will see them as often as he does now, which lately hasn't been all that often. He winces at the truth of this. She says, "Don, honey, I appreciate your intentions but I'm not going to waste the rest of my time arguing about this." He accedes in the moment. They are both tearful but trying to hold it together. He simply says "Oh, Birdie." She replies, "I know."
(At the Francis house Sally comes home. Bobby, who knows exactly what is going on wonders if this means it's going to happen soon. They shoo off Gene. Sally says she doesn't know how long Betty has but she's not going to Madrid anymore. She sees that he burned dinner so she helps him remake it. Later we see Sally washing the dishes as Betty smokes and reads the paper.)
When the garage guys come to pick Don up, he is fully wasted. He asks them to drop him in L.A.
He goes to see Stephanie, Anna Draper's daughter. She is in a mess of her own, having had her son taken away by his father's parents. He asks for booze; she offers coffee and asks what's going on since he is clearly a wreck. He says he's retired, been on the road, and wanted to see her and give her Anna's ring. She says she appreciates the gesture but won't take it and says it's clear that he's the one who's in trouble. She's going away on a retreat up the coast and corrals him into going with her.
They arrive and it's a full blown yoga, tai chi, encounter session, new age-y seminars-type place with amazing cliffs and views of the ocean. He seems skeptical-- it includes communal living in dorms-- but she asks him to be open to this.
The next day they go to an encounter session where they are asked to walk around aimlessly and then stop and look at the person nearest them and, without words, communicate how that person makes you feel. Some hug or touch but his old lady pushes him in the chest.
Later, in a group therapy situation Stephanie talks about how she feels judged by everyone, particularly her parents, for screwing up, dropping out, getting pregnant and letting her son be taken away. When another woman in the group informs her that her son will be looking at the door for the rest of his life waiting for her to return she flees the group in tears. Don gives chase and tries to convince her that if he moved to L.A. he could help her put this all behind her. She points out that he's not really her family-- she has called him Dick throughout-- and wonders what exactly is the matter with him. He tells her it will get easier as she moves forward and she replies, "Oh, Dick I don't think you're right about that."
The next day Don wakes to find that Stephanie-- and her car-- is gone and he has no way off the commune. He starts to break down and calls Peggy, who tells him people were mad and worried and asks what he's been doing. He says he has no idea. Peggy says she knows he gets sick of things and runs but he can come home and that McCann would take him back in a second and asks, "Don't you want to work on Coke?" Don says he can't get out of where he is and that he messed everything up. He tells her that he is not the man she thinks he is. She lowers her voice and says "Don, listen to me, what did you ever do that was so bad?" He replies, "I broke all my vows, scandalized my child, took another man's name and made nothing of it." She says that last part is not true. He says he only called because he realized he never said goodbye to her. Peggy is now legitimately alarmed and says she doesn't think he should be alone right now. He says he's in a crowd and just wanted to hear her voice and will see her soon and hangs up. He trembles and collapses to the ground.
One of the women from his encounter group sees him and offers her hand, asking him to come to the group with her. There one man talks about his hang ups and his marriage. Another man takes the chair and talks about his feeling of invisibility his whole life, at school, work and even his own family. Don breaks into tears and goes to him and hugs him tight, crying himself.
He walks to one of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Later, he sits yoga-style with his fellow group members and lustily joins in their chant of "Ommmmmm." A smile plays across his lips.
We cut to the famous "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" Coke ad where a multicultural group sings on a hilltop. One of the women in the ad-- and they are using the real one-- has ribbons in her braids just like a girl at the retreat Don went to. So, perhaps this is an allusion to Peggy's earlier question: Maybe Don did come home and work on Coke, using his experiences at the retreat as the ad's basis. So that smile wasn't about inner peace. It was about his next great idea.
And that's a wrap on "Mad Men"!