A New Dawn: MAD MEN Season 6 Finale

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Like so many of our favorite heroes (Superman, Batman, James Bond, etc.), Don Draper has to return to his origins before he can move on. Unfortunately for the slick ad man, his stomping grounds aren’t as breathtaking as Krypton or Skyfall; he’s stuck with the disheveled whorehouse.

This is where we leave Don Draper at the end of the sixth season of AMC’s Mad Men. Although not as fun and exciting as their previous family trip to Disney Land, the Draper clan seem to finally understand their father. As the rebellious Sally muttered phrases like, “I know nothing about you,” and “My father’s never given me anything,” throughout this season, her little moment with Don at the end of this episode washed those sorrows away.

While the season finale didn’t put any closure on my “Don Draper is already dead” theory, we did reach an ultimatum, much like the SC&P partners did, on Don’s downward spiral. The final straw on the camel’s back is the Hershey pitch – in which he relays his childhood attachment to the beloved candy bar. By revealing his dark past, Don becomes a wide-open book. We’ve caught glimpses of Don’s humanity throughout the series – noting the Carousel pitch and his emotional breakdown after the death of his closest friend and confidant, Anna. Heck, he even had a little moment with his secretary, Dawn. Is this the dawn of a new Don?!

I’d be remiss if I ranted about Mr. Draper for the entirety of this post, especially since so much happened around the newly named SC&P office.

A very sexually-confused/frustrated Ted brings his family into the office, which sparks Peggy to become equally as sexually-confused/frustrated.

Luckily for her, she has a skimpy dress with a big, red bow just chilling in her office, along with some “Chanel Number 5,” which Cutler pins right as she walks into his office.

Meanwhile, Pete receives a telegram that his mother has married Dr. Manolo on a cruise, and subsequently jumped ship and is now presumed dead. In one of the best Peter Campbell scenes to date, Pete and Bob stand in an elevator and Bob asks how he’s holding up, to which Pete snaps, “NOT GOOD, BOB!” When the two of them arrive at the Chevy meeting in Detroit, Bob coaxes Pete to test out one of the sports’ cars, followed by jeering from the Chevy executives. Now, I was thinking this was gunna be another “lawn mower” scene, but all Pete did was back it up into a GM display, which embarrassed him enough to drop the account, giving Bob exactly what he wanted all along.

Bob’s good fortune begins to rub off on Peggy. Although she appears heartbroken when Ted decides to leave her to start life anew in California with his family, she ends the episode sitting (quite literally) in Don Draper’s seat – her dream has become a reality.

These two characters reveal powerful underlying social commentary on the times. Bob, a gay man, is now in charge of the biggest accounts in the office, and Peggy, a woman, is the firms sole Creative Director.

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The greatest scene from last night’s episode, however, comes from the Campbell home, shown above. A messy couch divides the living room – to the left is Trudy, to the right is Pete. Trudy’s side is well put together and bright, whereas Pete’s side looks like it had been ransacked and the light from the window doesn’t creep far enough to illuminate his face. Clearly, Trudy has the upper hand – another bit of commentary on the rise of women at the turn of the decade.

Like many recent episodes, the finale ended with Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now,” a quite literal depiction of how Sally and SC&P are able to see the two sides of the tortured Don Draper.

While season six does not live up to the Mad Men we used to love (seasons 1-4), this season finale will surely bring the show back into Emmy contention – especially Jon Hamm as Don Draper and James Wolk as Bob Benson.

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