The Mad Men finale arrives this Sunday, and I have limited most of my wild Mad Men theorizing to Uproxx, but I had one more thought on a potential finale and decided to spare the readers of that site and subject you good folks to it. None of us knows how it will end, and at this point, you’re probably sick of the speculation and you just want to see it play out, already. (In fact, the trend in Mad Men think pieces today seems to be: Stop trying to predict the end. You’re all wrong, and if you’re right, that’s even worse).
I don’t give a rat’s ass about the trend pieces. I’ve never had more fun writing about television than I have in trying to decipher the text of Matthew Weiner. Using precedents from past episodes and critical thinking skills as close as I’ve ever really come to using my law degree. I also still believe that Mad Men will end in a kind of combination of my two predictions about a rebirth in Los Angeles or … Rome. I am also hoping for Peggy to get some kind of revenge for the way she was treated in the pilot episode.
But there’s one other thought that I have, and it’s nagging at me, so I can’t let it go unless I exorcise it through you all. This week, I’ve been rewatching the pilot episode of Mad Men (where Matthew Weiner foreshadowed the fates of Betty, Joan, and Pete), and I can’t shake the thought that he might bookend the entire series with a similar shots. Jon Hamm has indicted that the pilot episode will inform the outcomes of the characters, and since that actually came to fruition with Joan, Pete, and Betty, how would it inform Don’s fate?
I assume that there will be a lengthy time jump to move the series past the death of Betty, past her funeral, and into a place where they are no longer grieving, but there might be something romantic about seeing Don come back. About Don paying one last visit to Betty before she dies. About visiting her on her deathbed. About Don holding her hand and saying one last goodbye.
And wouldn’t it be sweet, and poetic, and way too neat if Matthew Weiner ended the series with the same image he ended the pilot episode on, only instead of Betty looking in on Don while he’s checking in on Sally after a long day at work, it’s Sally looking in on Don while she’s saying goodbye to Betty?
It’s entirely too perfect and neat to be likely, but it’s a nice image, along with The Beatles “Golden Slumbers” to play it out, suggesting a longing to go back home, to go back to the beginning, to go back to 1960, to their nice little family before Don screwed it all up. The song also doubles as a way to sadly say goodbye to Betty.
Until Sunday night, anyway, this is how I’m going to imagine the end of Mad Men.