Sarah will have our full Mad Men recap up later, and I’m sure that she will explore the theme of family in the penultimate episode of the half-season, “The Strategy.” And that beautiful final scene in the Burger Chef depicts the “family” at the center of Mad Men: Pete, Peggy, and Don, who confessed earlier in the episode that he worried that he doesn’t have anyone.
But he does: He has Pete and Peggy, who are basically his work family. The episode ultimatley asked, “Who is you family,” and that final scene answered it. Bonnie is not family to Pete; she’s someone he fucks in a airplane bathroom. Bonnie was history the moment Pete saw Trudy and realized that that is what he wants again: A family. His family. Likewise, Don knows that Megan is not his family, either, as much as he might not want to admit it to himself.
I’ve watched the odd 9-second scene near the end of the episode with Bonnie and Megan on a plane that ends with the stewardess closing the curtain about 14 times now. I can only draw one conclusion from it, and it’s the most obvious one: That it was the concluding part of Bonnie and Megan’s performance in Mad Men. Megan may come back for a brief encore, but that curtain closing finally signaled the end of the marriage. I suspect that Megan came to the final conclusion that she should leave Don when one of the secretaries at the beginning of the episode mentioned to Megan that she didn’t know Don was married. In other words, Don didn’t consider her family enough to mention it around the office.
There were other clues that Megan had left Don beyond the heavy-handed curtain metaphor. For instance, the fact that she decided to take all of her clothes with her back to Los Angeles, and the fact that she didn’t want Don coming back to Los Angeles to visit her (perhaps because she’s shacked up with someone else). Most telling of all, however, was the strange appearance of the newspaper in Don’s bedroom from the day after JFK was assassinated.
What happened in the JFK Assassination episode of Mad Men, “The Grown Ups”? Betty finally mustered the courage to leave Don.