‘Mad Men’ finale review: Don Draper’s notion of change

Did you see all this coming?

Warning: If you have yet to watch the season 5 finale for “Mad Men,” this is probably the time for you to stop reading.

It’s been an interesting few weeks for Matthew Weiner and company. We’ve seen the exit of Peggy from SCDP, the death of Lane … and now Megan getting a part in a commercial thanks to Don pulling some strings for her. Yes, the show ended with a rather anticlimactic finale that did not really accomplish that much, but we were almost glad to see it rather than the show trying to do too much too fast with some of the characters.

Instead, we saw a few rather nice moments that may show some evolution for some of the characters. When it comes to Pete, he showed a tiny bit of a moral compass in standing up for Beth after her electroshock therapy erased her mind — though granted, it was hardly so effective when he was already cheating on his own wife by being with her. We also saw Roger Sterling take on a rather bizarre (but also funny in some strange way) habit that led to him posing in his birthday suit in front of the window, leading us to believe that the show runner may not know what to do with Roger anymore.

Really, though, it’s hard to deny that much of the finale was really all about Don Draper and Megan. We’ve actually loved the change of pace provided by Jessica Pare this season, and it showed something new from Jon Hamm’s character when he helped her secure an audition. Was he aware that he could lose her if she becomes a star? Definitely, but he also knew it was unfair of him to hold her back from her dreams when he has the resources to help her. Unfortunately, the very end suggested that Don could still end up reverting to his old ways courtesy of a woman at the bar.

Moving forward into season 6, we can at least expect a few changes. Pete is getting an apartment in New York, Peggy is poised to become an ad superstar, and SCDP is going to have even more space to do business. Of course, none of this helps to make up for the question as to if Don is really doing something more with his life, or is his success irrelevant to the empty feeling that seems to constantly fester inside of him.

What did you think about the finale, and about season 5 as a whole?

Photo: AMC

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