Monday, May 18, 2015

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Now, my thoughts on the series finale of Mad Men.

Ugh! First let me say that although this last season has been iffy, I really am going to miss this show. Mostly, because when Mad Men gets it right, it nails it.

That being said, I really think last week's episode was the better episode.

Let me start with Betty.

I thought her story arc was by far the best. She starts off as a naive, expectant woman who has it all, but doesn't. Mostly, this is Don's fault. He's not emotionally available. He's not the father he is supposed to be. He's not involved. It's devastating to Betty who is someone who was raised to get the man and have the family. It makes the innate problem of being a stay at home mom even worse -- the boredom and the lack of fulfillment is not even offset by having what you were promised to begin with.

She is obsessed with losing her good looks at the beginning of the series and even comments that she hopes she dies before she loses them.

Well, she does.

Betty also makes the comment in regards to "is this all there is" that what, is she just supposed to sit all day and smoke until she dies?

That's exact where the series leaves us. Birdie almost makes it out -- she was on the right path with school. Yet, there she is, final Betty scene, with her psychology books pushed aside for her magazine and a smoke, at the very kitchen table she dreaded dying at in earlier episodes.

By far the best.

As for Sally, oh how I hurt for Sally. Not only does she have to watch her mother die, someone she has a very tumultuous relationship with, but the expectation put on her now is one that has been told many times.

She will be the new mother figure. She will be the constant in those boys lives. Sally, her youth will be gone in so many regards -- first off with her carefree Madrid trip. More of that is to come. Over the years she will be both happy and resentful that she had to take care of her younger siblings. It's the cost of losing a parent.

Hopefully Don and the other men in their lives will step up. Another great Betty moment. For all of her faults, and misperceptions about the world, she nailed this one. There needs to be a woman in their lives, because during that age, women were the caregivers. Betty was protecting all of her children. The men were off at their jobs, or finding themselves, or any number of things. Oh, I loved this part too about the end scene with Betty at the kitchen table. Despite her situation, Henry was still late, still at work.

The Joan situation, I liked. She doesn't need a man, never did. She has moved beyond being a sex symbol, the woman who once slept with a man to move up in the world. She is now her own woman. She has elevated herself. I liked it.

Joan asking Peggy to be her partner? A little bit of a reach.

Same as Stan and Peggy. Did I want to see them together? Yes. Did I like how it happened? No. I would have preferred it if Mad Men developed it more after Peggy reveals what happened to her baby to Stan, built off of that. I get, in a way, that's what happened. How Peggy can trust to tell him. Now, only Pete and Don know, no one else. That speaks volumes.

I was sad there wasn't more between Peggy and Don. They have had so many great scenes. My only solace is that Peggy says Stan is always right. Don and Peggy will have many more soulmate experiences going forward.

The least liked scenes for me was Don in his story arc. Him with Betty was great, but that's where it ended for me.

Don has been dealing with his past forever. I want him to take his own advice and just move forward. Let it go. However, like so many people in this world, it is easier said than done. Some wounds never heal.

I didn't get the whole hugging the other guy thing, sorry. I didn't like the writing technique at all. What, so Don feels like no one sees the real him? That Don doesn't feel like he would know real love if he saw it -- I believe that. Yet, he does. He knows what real love is, I just don't think he lets himself feel it.

As for the end, the enlightened yoga, and the did he or didn't he?

I think there are so many ways that it could be thought of.

I don't see Don sitting in a commune forever.

It's unclear if he did have any kind of enlightenment. He's had revelations before, and nothing has come of them.

I do think he was trying, while he was doing the yoga, to become enlightened or continue his enlightenment.

He made that ad.

The question really is, did he become a better person and make the ad, or right when he had the opportunity to become a better person he fell back into his old habits -- and became an ad man. Selling what he should have been feeling for himself?

I think the latter. He's had too much time to become a better person and for so many different reasons. If he does make strides, and I think he will, they will be so incremental.

However, if the show is any indication, all the characters improved themselves, so maybe Don will too.

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