I missed my chance to be a Mad Men watcher something like five years ago, when I was hopelessly unemployed and torrenting God knows how how many consecutive life sentences’ worth of shit, but I didn’t get on board, and friends said it was probably not a show you want to binge. (This is code for “Boring But Important Television.”) But I figure I picked up about as much as anyone else about the basic premise of the show—powerful ad men in suits get drunk and barf in their office and sexually harass secretaries—through cultural osmosis and that Clickhole oral history. I more or less get the point.
The show ended last night, and since the internet was bending over backwards to sign Coke-themed yearbook quotes on its ass all day, it seemed like a good opportunity to get liquored up and follow along with the finale.
I turn on AMC a few minutes early to make sure I don’t miss the start and am worried there might be a big reveal that gives me too much context for the episode, but there’s just two minutes of Jon Hamm sitting on a bench, followed by a countdown going like it’s a fucking space-shuttle launch.
Okay, here we go.
There’s a montage of some white people, and I can’t really tell if this is the intro or a commercial or if it’s part of the show. Don looks longingly at a very young-looking girl, and she looks like his kid who was aging, but also might be a young-looking lady he was boning. Oh, it wasn’t part of the show, oops. Great start.
Previously: Don left on a bus, and a man has a bad mustache. Mom is dying? Hamm has a bag of stuff.
(Is it pronounced “Weener”?)
OPEN IN DESERT
Why are you dressed like the Rocketeer? I saw the last couple minutes of the show before this, and you were on a fucking bench in the middle of nowhere, and now you’re in a race car and hanging out with Taylor Kitsch in a barn. The bunch of kids in the garage ... is this an ongoing thing? Is Hamm on the run and living here like the X-Men in Australia?
Now here’s a boring meeting with the mustache guy. I think this is the Roger Sterling guy everyone likes, but I can’t tell who is boning whom here? Is this blonde girl boning this old man?
I guess she was Don’s secretary? How long has this fucker been gone?
A woman with an early-’30s New York dock-worker accent is now talking about a boring account or something with too many acronyms. “Shoobelyee.” Hey, petty office politics is good end-of-series shit. Big win for Shoulder Pads and Beard Guy here, though. They seem pleased.
Here is naked, old-as-shit-looking Hamm in bed with a blonde. She doesn’t know who he is. Hooker? Seems like a hooker, but she took his stuff. Secret hooker. This seems overly relaxed as a scene in which a not-hooker just stole all of your stuff, and then you took it back and paid her anyway and went in for round 2. Sex workers who steal your wallet and family-heirloom engagement ring are bad news, man.
Shit, I know this guy, but I can’t place him. This redhead was in Firefly, and now they’re trying cocaine off of her nails, and this is very adorable recreational drug use. Beardo and Red Coat Lady are the only two who seem to be selling Mad Man ads; everyone else is doing drugs and humping. Good show so far. These two are on vacation, and he’s trying to make her live in the mountains, which isn’t creepy or anything.
Ohhhh right he’s Pike from Star Trek! Now he’s getting laid on the couch!
This new man has terrible hair and he brought a cactus.
And THIS man has terrible hair and a terrible coat. Do they always wear it like this? They’ve been in this scene for five minutes, and I haven’t listened to anything they’ve said, because look at how period-accurate it is, man. Also I don’t know what year this is, but how would you look up how to take care of a specific kind of plant without Google? Just water it once a month and hope it works out?
Don is talking to a small girl on the phone now. (The sex worker seems to have left.) Mom is dying in six months, and she wants Don to do ... something? Hamm got bossed by his daughter, and she told him to do some undetermined thing, so instead he calls his dying wife and gives her sass. So okay, fine, Don is a deadbeat dad, and she wants him out, and this seems like maybe something that is rushed in a series finale, no? I thought this was a show about having a secret life and selling ads. It’s 16 minutes in, not one fucking person has smoked or had an old fashioned yet, and now Don has a dead wife sneaking up on him.
COME ON WHO IS THIS MOTHERFUCKER IN AN EYEPATCH? Did people in the ’50s just wear eyepatches around like banker pirates?
Is this shitbird just living in a damn motel? Drunk-ass Draper gets woken up and is leaving with Ashton Kutcher and the fat kid from Butterfly Effect, and I guess he’s just been doing race cars and humping secret-not-that-secret hookers in the desert this season, which is fine, and now they’re going to go to a race-car race.
Okay, so here’s the boobsy redhead again, but she was just doing blow on the living-room couch, and now there’s a baby watching TV.
Uhh, instead of going to a race, I guess Don had them drop him off at some lady’s house. And the lady calls him Dick! That’s his secret name. Okay, so it’s secret-life stuff. He gives her money, and her kid is gone (she sold him or something), and then he gives her an engagement ring and says he’s a dick (not Dick). Everyone hates this fucker, and this lady has a really bad Boston-movie accent, which I assume is supposed to be something else, but it sounds like they’re about to hop in the cah and catch the Pawtucket Sawhks on a home-stand.
Crazy Mustache Dude just finished humping some French lady and is being yelled at now and just got thrown out of bed because the French lady was also humping her husband and mustache lives in a hotel? Good bed-smoking, though. I watched 15 minutes of the pilot and I remember there being bed-smoking, which I’ve never done but is a life goal of mine.
Oh, this girl is SHORT. Like, she can’t be more than 4’8”. I’m pretty short, and short people know from short when they see it—we spend a lot of time thinking about it—and this lady seems extremely short, but I’m not going to Google her in case she’s actually taller than me and I’m wrong. Most of this scene is small children having grown-up talk, and I want to see if she’ll stand next to the refrigerator or something so I can get a better point of reference.
Don is in a hippie commune now, but it sounds like hippie rehab? I thought this was like his sister, but now they’re friendly enough to be maybe humping after lights-out?
Okay, commercial break. So far most people are humping people who they (sort of) seem like they shouldn’t be humping, and no one’s sold any ads or had any cool cocktail drinks.
Mustache Man visits Redhead Lady to try to hide an inheritance, because he got a married lady pregnant or something? I think? They’re talking about this while the kid who is apparently Mustache Jr. watches TV, and it’s kind of like the Forrest Gump scene but with less AIDS.
This is hilarious and bad hippie-mumbo bullshit. I don’t even watch this show, and I feel like we’re wasting a lot of time making fun of hippies when there are apparently a lot of plot lines to close up! Have they just been making fun of hippies instead of doing Mad Man the whole season?!
Okay, GOOD, Redhead and Peggy Shoulder Pads are gonna boss up. They’re the only two who have been doing any fucking work this whole show. The rest have just been fucking odd people, and entering or leaving rooms dramatically.
Who is this blonde lady, and why are we watching her be a hippie rehab patient instead of, like, DON’S DYING WIFE AND HER KIDS WHO ARE BURNING DINNER????? I was promised hungover men in suits barfing in their offices, and I am very disappointed.
(Also, this extremely old motherfucker to Don’s left in the circle at the hippie place is confusing me. He needs a speaking part. Why is he old as hell and mixed up with these idiots? Were there old-ass people who just wound up at these things for no reason?)
Wait, she’s NOT Don’s family? What the fuck even are we doing, come onnnnnn THERE ARE ONLY 20 MINUTES LEFT!!!!
Beardo is back and HEY YES, PEGGY IS DRINKING COOL DRINKS. “Peggy is the lady Don Draper now” is cool if that’s the thing that’s happening here. Questionable polka dots here though, and then she got salty as hell and said mean things and made Beard Guy cry. This is the most sensible thing that’s happened in like 40 minutes.
I just looked at the scenes since the last commercial break, and like two minor plots happened, and Peggy got two minutes of screen time and she was cool, and then we spent the rest with Jon Hamm wearing a polo shirt with too many buttons hanging out with hippies for no reason and not wearing a suit or nailing secretaries. This piece of shit of shit app commercial with I think Mr. T—wait, no, 50 Mr. T clones riding pigs????—is more narratively cohesive than the episode.
Commander Pike is finally back! He was hiding in the closet! That’s the highlight of this scene, though. Below, find a partial transcript of actual words that were said out loud:
What are you doing? ... Don’t you want to be with me? ... Well it’s going to take all your time, all your energy, and all your attention ... [No] ... Yes it is ...
This can be different. We’re different people. I want you in my life!!!
I can’t just turn off that part of myself. I would never dream of making you choose.[Dramatically answers phone.]
Good luck, Joan. [DRAMATICALLY EXITS]
LEAN IN, COMMANDER PIKE.
Who is this fat naked man?
Now Don is stranded here, and I assume there is some structural metaphor there, but I don’t know the show enough, but I guess it can have credit for its li’l isolation theme, especially since this whole show has been two characters talking to each other at a time instead of what you might expect from a send-off for a big ensemble cast, where you go out of your way to let actors play off of each other or do vaguely entertaining things instead of wearing flannel shirts badly.
Don calls the office now, and Peggy is trying to get him back to the office, I guess so he can sell cool ads, but he says he can’t (beyond the car) and he says, “I’m not the man you think I am,” which has a double meaning because he stole that dude’s life. Then Peggy says, “Don, what did you ever do that was so bad?” and now Don is crying and saying all the bad things he did. Then he gives her some suicide-note lines, which is a fucked up thing to do, man.
Peggy is now back on the line with Beardo. I guess she’s been abusing her power and taking advantage of him because he is saying some sucker-ass shit to her, and she’s side-eyeing into the phone, and this is cool. Good stuff. Eat shit, Beardo. LMAO “I don’t even think about you ... I mean I do ... because you’re ... there ... and you’re here ...” She eventually says she likes him too, but she already owned him, so that’s fine. Happy ending, and now hair-flippin-ass Peggy is nailing her secretary.
Okay, so this show goes another 13 minutes, because they needed more space for it, I guess, but they still haven’t done anything with Don’s dying wife and family and he might just off himself? Peggy is the only good character, and I thought the start of that Apple Watch commercial was part of the show because it was a plain-ass white dude on a train, and that would make just as much sense as most of what’s happened in this show so far and much, much more than every single thing that happened with the fat, naked, trust-exercising hippies.
Don is back, and a hippie asks if he took any drugs, but he is tripping on his own anguish, which is deep. The goddamn hippies are still saying bad hippie jokes in a circle.
Now there’s a white-bread motherfucker talking about himself and OH SHIT HE HAS THE SAME PROBLEMS AS DON, WE’RE ALL THE SAME MAN. He had a dream that he was on the shelf on a refrigerator and the light went off, and he knows everyone is outside, and they open the door and he is happy with everyone and then he doesn’t get picked (to be eaten and then pooped?) and then the door closes again and the light goes off and holy shit there’s like five minutes left in this fucking series and this corny asshole is crying in his seat and Don stood up and went over to hug him and now he’s crying too. I would be so unbelievably pissed if I actually watched this show. They are still hugging. They’ve cut like five times.
MONTAGE! Haircut got on a plane with a lady, Redhead is doing it, Mustache is ordering food in french, DEAD WIFE IS JUST SITTING IN THE ROOM DYING WHILE HER PUT-UPON DAUGHTER IS DOING THE DISHES WITH HER DYING MOM AND DAD ISNT HOME YET, Peggy is typing and getting a backrub from her whipped-ass dude, and Don is back here sitting Indian-style with hippies in his (pretty nicely cut) dress shirt overlooking the water. He’s making the ohmmmmmmmnnnn noise with his eyes closed. Cut to the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” ad. (This is a cool ad.) Hear that, kids? Just abandon a dying wife and your orphan kids and stop showing up to work for like two years and you too can be good at selling Coke and eventually have your life made into a long-con native ad for soda. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AND NOW JUST FADE TO CREDITS AND DEAD-EYED MATT WEENER LOOKING STRAIGHT INTO THE CAMERA AND SAYING, WITHOUT MOVING HIS LIPS, “FUCK YOU FOR WATCHING 10 YEARS OF THIS SHIT, YOU GULLIBLE IDIOTS.”
The lesson I got here was, “It was once incredibly stressful being a successful white man. Eventually, the white men got together and became hippies and relaxed, and white women started doing white men’s work, and the deal got even sweeter because dudes could just bro down at the beach while their wives died and the other ladies made the ads.”
Mustache retired to get blown by the French lady, Bad Haircut was on a private sex plane, and the only people working were the women and also the children still burning dinner and washing dishes for their dying mother because Dad didn’t come home and was wearing khakis at the beach. Buy Coke.
Top image by Jim Cooke