Monday, October 18, 2010

Quick Thoughts on Mad Men Season 4 Finale "Tomorrowland"

Hello TV Addicts! I have a feeling with the Phillies being in the MLB playoffs that I'm going to be falling behind on some quality TV! But even with the game ending at 11:30 last night, I couldn't resist watching the season finale of Mad Men. And what an episode it was! Totally went in directions that I wouldn't have expected and I'm sure others felt the same way. Anyway, since it's the season finale of yet another spectacular season, I think it warrants some discussion. This goes without saying, but SPOILER ALERT! Don't read on if you didn't watch!

First of all, it was yet another TOP NOTCH episode. Last season's finale set the stage for season 4 by splitting up Don and Betty and having Don jump start a new firm. This finale has set the stage for all for some interesting new drama with Don settling down (seemingly unwisely, right?) and Peggy saving the "new company" from certain doom. I'll just jot down some quick observations and thoughts about this one and then will let everyone who would like chime in with their thoughts in the comments.
  • Okay, no sense delaying. MEGAN?!?!?!!?!? I mean, he took a look at this girl hanging out with the kids, spent 2 or 3 nights with her (not to mention every day at the office) and then because the real Don Draper's wife left him her engagement ring he is inspired to propose to her because he can't imagine his life without her? I think the Doc lady (forget her name) is right that Don only likes things when they're beginning. Hey, maybe he'll prove us all wrong and it will turn out to be his greatest relationship that the world has ever known. But, since this show wouldn't be Mad Men without taking Don Draper to dark places, something tells me they're setting some pretty grim scenarios up for season 5.
  • Was it me or did it seem like Betty was interested in rekindling the flame with Don in their chilling scene together? She definitely isn't the happy camper she hoped that she'd be with Henry. And Don seemed to have a better time with the kids than Betty every could have. Let's discard the fact that he left the kids and a baby alone in a hotel room while he went to have some fun!
  • Peggy and Joan's scene discussing the BOYS and their antics was a good time as well. Joan gets a promotion with no pay raise, Peggy saves the company by bringing in a new account (in a brilliant fashion I might add) and it is all swept under the carpet because Don has gotten engaged to his secretary. Can you imagine this happening in the workplace today? Yikes. Loved Ken's comment congratulating Don but seemingly sarcastically thinking that it was ridiculous as well that this overshadowed the new business.
  • Ooooh right, Glenn. We can't forget about this kid. I know child actors are a risk. And maybe just seeing him act next to the awesome Sally that makes it seem ridiculous. During the scene where they said goodbye I could picture the kid reading the script and how the writers imagined the words would come off the page. But then, here's Glenn just reading them all monotone. It could be because the kid is supposed to be creepy and awkward but I couldn't help but think "this is the show that has won the emmy 3 years in a row?". Naturally, the show deserves it, but not for scenes like this! Of course, this set into motion Betty firing Carla. Carla had every right to scold the awful mother for essentially doing her job. Crazy stuff. Doesn't seem like Henry is going to put up with Betty for too much longer either.
  • Oh right, and am I the only one who thought of Groundhog Day when "I Got You Babe" started playing while Don was laying in bed with Megan at the end of the episode? Good stuff.
That's all I have folks. I loved the episode and was glued to the TV even in the late hours.  Can't wait to see what they'll have in store for season 5!  Stay tuned for a recap after THE EVENT tonight! I'd love to hear your thoughts on Mad Men's finale. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and see you later!


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I was shocked that Don proposed to Megan! It seems like Don like the part of marriage where someone takes care of his kids, the house, his every material need, but likes to get his sex elsewhere. So now he'll get another wife to do all the chores and continue to cheat. I hope the doctor lady is smart enough not to go fooling around with him in the future!

I thought Peggy's reaction to Don's engagement was a little strange. I'd like to know what was going on in her head. I always felt she had a little crush on him, but kind of a love/hate thing, and I'm not sure I read her reaction correctly, other than pure shock!

I agree on Glenn and the bad acting. I hope we're done with his character -- to weird! I kept waiting for him to grab Sally somewhere.

I definitely felt a little regret on Betty's part when she was having that last drink with Don, but I think he is TOTALLY done with her!

So Joan is pregnant? I assume that means she did not go ahead with the abortion and intends to let her husband think that it's his? Mike, you're slipping -- I can't believe you didn't even mention this! :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to sign my post at 1:15 p.m. - Cajun QT

Mike V. said...

Sorry Cajun, I had like 20 minutes when I was typing it all up and totally forgot to mention that! But if you recall, a few weeks ago I had pondered that they never showed Joan get the abortion so there was a chance that she was keeping it. So, I didn't slip, just wrote about it a few weeks too early! :-) lol (translation: I totally called that!!!) But yeah, I think we're to assume she's letting the husband think it's his.

As for Peggy, after they shared that bonding episode in The Suitcase...I think her reaction to the news was perfect. She knows a lot about Don and can probably read right through his shenanigans. But even with us seeing things that Don has done in the past...I think we all were in PURE SHOCK on this one! lol

Leslie said...

Yes, this finale definitely took us in a direction I wasn't expecting! Don and Megan???? You could tell the moment it changed for him. It was at the table when the kid spilled the milkshake, and Don's reaction was to yell, as Betty's would have been, but Megan reacted calmly. Don's expression at that moment said it all. When he spent that night with her, I was half expecting something horrible to happen to the kids.

I was also intrigued by Don's interaction with Peggy after the announcement. Her reaction to the news was interesting, but also to Don's comment that Megan had that same spark that he sees in Peggy. People have assumed that Peggy slept with Don, but he has always kept it professional with her. And, I loved Joan's comment, "It's not as though he's the first man to marry his secretary!" Priceless!

Not to mention the moment in the house with the kids when they asked who Dick was, and Don hesitated, but said that it was his nickname. But, yet, he got engaged with his secret intact.

I wasn't surprised that Joan is still pregnant. They had left that open for us, but I do wonder if Roger knows at this point.

Betty has just gone to a dark place. She's not happy with any one or any thing. She thought the grass would be greener on the other side, but it hasn't worked out for her like she expected.

Enjoyed the finale . . . too bad we have to wait so long for the story to continue.

Mike V. said...

Leslie - Good point with the spilled milkshake! Totally agree also on something bad happening to the kids. You just had that feeling with him leaving them alone. But, he lucked out!

He sure did get engaged with the secret once again. Crazy Don...

I'm gonna guess Roger doesn't know about Joan being pregnant. Last we saw, he thought she "took care of it"...But I'm sure he's going to catch on sooner or later. Unless Joan things she can pull off what Peggy pulled off in season 1! (not that she ever knew about it lol)

With AMC picking up all of this high caliber shows, it's anyone's guess when Mad Men will be back. I know that Breaking Bad isn't starting until the there might be a chance that Mad Men won't start until later. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing the recap and thanks to those who have commented. This is the only show, besides football, I watch with my wife.
1. The trip with Megan was looking likely when Don was yelling at Betty for firing Carla. I was laughing when Megan and Don were talking about his options, thinking, they're going to go together--this conversation is just fooling themselves. So, the late night playing around was predictable, etc. Her maturity shown over the milkshake event far outshone any maturity from Betty and as I write this I am thinking of Betty laying in Sally's bed wishing she was a kid again--at least to me. BUT, when Don said he loved her, I was shocked. When he started proposing, I was even more shocked. My wife and I were thinking--what about Faye? Faye vs Megan vs Betty are an interesting comparison/contrast. For example, Faye is more mature, but she has said and proven to be not so good with kids. But,(sorry Cajun) I am not so sure Don and Betty are done. They share a bond beyond the kids, including his background and her imperfections. Betty was waiting for Don to show up at the house. She has left the dccr open for Don. So, wouldn't it be wierd if for example Don married Megan and had an afair with Betty??? But, I'm not convinced Don will marry Megan. Henry's family doesn't like Betty and Henry himself is starting to believe his family. So, Betty may be on the market and as she said last season, who wants a woman with 3 kids?
2.The new business "saving the firm" is $250,000. Compared to the roughly $20million currently billed. That statement just doesn't wash. It helps and is indeed the first since Luckhy Strike, but it's too small to matter a lot. Maybe Peggy and the others are thinking a little too much of themselves?
3. Is Joan going to stay after the birth of her child. They gave her the promotion probably to provide reassurance after the purge, so there's already concerned

Mike V. said...

Anonymous - You're totally welcome! I always wonder when I should write my quick thoughts on a show because I don't want to short change it (i.e. forgetting to write about the Joan pregnancy), but I'm glad you appreciate it.

1.) Yeah, when Don started proposing (or when I saw where it was going), I was just sitting there jaw dropped and thinking "this is not happening right now. how could anyone be this ridiculous when it comes to women!?!?" But for Don's character it totally makes sense. Interesting thoughts on Don and Betty and how they may not be done. I have always viewed Mad Men (as the producers have stated) as reflecting real life. So, Don and Betty grew apart they may not be getting back together. Sal got fired for refusing Lucky Strike guy's advances, he has not come back. etc... But, in the end, it is a TV show and they have to keep Betty relevant. Recycling the "awful mother" storyline may get old if they don't introduce a new twist. I guess a good twist would be that he DOES marry Megan but starts cheating on her with Betty lol Usually each season of Man Men takes a leap forward in time. We went from December 1963 to November 1964 between season 3 and 4 and each episode is about a month we were near the end of 1965 by the end of this season (I think).... My point being, when we return...Joan may have the baby and Don may be married and then we continue from there. As for Henry being with Betty when we return? I'm not very convinced of that either.

2.) It could be that Peggy and Ken are thinking too highly of themselves, but I think their picking up the account combined with Don working his contacts on the American Cancer Society board was signifying to the audience that SCDP is turning around and will be fine without Lucky Strike. We'll see!

3.) Good question on Joan....the show wouldn't be Mad Men without her so I'm sure they'll find some way to keep her around. I'd be more interested to know if her husband will be alive when we return and if Roger will realize the baby is his (I mean, if he knows about it, he'll have to right?)

Thanks for sharing your great thoughts!