Warning: This review contains spoilers….obvs.
Well, let’s begin at the end: The Mad Men season finale was excellent. Practically every scene had something important, and every plot twist, even the ones you could see coming like Roger recruiting Joan to the new agency, was welcome.
Most great finales are the ones that shake things up, and this one did exactly that. Once news got out that PPL had been sold, and Sterling Cooper with it, Lane Pryce “fired” Don, Roger and Bert so they were free to start their own agency. As a result, much of the episode involved recruiting others to the new company. Many of these recruitments took the form of confrontations that were long overdue: Pete’s worries about his place in the company, Peggy’s about her relationship with Don, Roger’s about how expendable Don now views him. All of these scenes allowed characters to hash out things that had burdened their relationships for a long time, extending back into Season One. And all of them were executed well.
What may have been the most interesting thing of the finale, though, was what it had the potential to set up. With Roger, Bert, Don, Lane, Joan, Pete, Peggy, and Harry all working together—and in the close confines of a hotel room—in a new, upstart agency, the show can integrate the business aspect of the show in a totally fresh way next year.* And while it worked very well in this instance, this is not necessarily the best strategy to pursue in a finale. Continue reading »