Written by Bill Bodkin & Jason Stives
The Low Down: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And by happy … we mean sad. Don continues his alcoholic ways and ends up in the drunk tank after punching out a minister. Then he has the revelation that he wants to move to California in order to push the reset button on his life. Megan is overjoyed and gives notice at the soap opera. Roger Sterling is feeling alone in the world as his daughter and son-in-law disinvite him to Thanksgiving … will a dinner with Joan be in his future? Pete’s mom is lost at sea after falling off a boat (thanks possibly to Manolo) and the feud between he and Bob intensifies. Peggy and Ted finally express their feelings of lust and love for each other leading to Ted wanting to leave his wife. Don’s entire life is turned completely upside and we’re all left wondering.
The Bed and Booze Count: Don gets wicked wasted. Ted and Peggy get it on. Roger enjoys his last libation of the season.
Favorite Performance: Jon Hamm. Tonight, Don Draper ran the gamut of emotions and Hamm hit everyone of them perfectly. He broke our hearts, he gave us hope, he showed his best and worst side and then he left us guessing. Jon Hamm is truly one of the premier dramatic actors of our time and we can only hope that once Mad Men’s run concludes, he’ll find more vehicles to showcase his skills. –BB
Jon Hamm hands down gave one of his best performances this season tonight and its about damn time. To see not only pitch king Don back but to also see an honest man trying to walk away from his demons and embrace his past was very satisfying. Hamm is at his best when he is showing true emotion and tonight we got that in buckets and you couldn’t help but feel happy for him when the closing credits came around. –JS
The Supporting Scene Stealer: For the first time that I can remember in Mad Men history, January Jones delivered a really emotional performance. Her breaking down over not being a good mother to Sally, something she’s been known for (or at least thought of by most) throughout the show’s run, was really touching. Jones hasn’t been as heavily involved in the series as she was in the first half of the show’s run and when she’s been around she’s had minimal impact (outside of the visual shock of her weight gain), so this was a really great way to remind us that she can act and can do more than just be an ice queen. –BB
Vincent Kartheiser gave quite possibly his best performance in a long time and for once there was sympathy from this loyal viewer. For weeks Pete, much like Don, was getting worse and worse but there was never any level of sympathy for Pete in his actions but tonight he got a reprieve. There was no backlash to Bob’s actions towards Pete at the Chevy offices and to see him rather calm for the rest of the episode was surprising at best. –JS
The Best Part of The Episode: How could it not be Don’s honesty to Hershey? Jon Hamm delivered the knock-out performance of the season with his monologue about being raised in a whore house and a Hershey bar being his only solace — and the Emmy goes to Jon Hamm. When he turns to Ted and gives up his opportunity to go to California so Ted can save his family, it was truly one of the most noble things Don has done all season. –BB
The Hershey’s pitch was absolutely heartbreaking to watch especially since this is a level of honesty that Don hasn’t shown in a very long time. Between his frank discussion of his childhood and his willingness to let Ted go to California instead was jaw dropping and absolutely awe inspiring. –JS
The Little Thing We Loved: For longtime Mad Men fans, you gotta love they brought back the fact Pete didn’t know how to drive, and applied it to the Pete Campbell vs. Bob Benson storyline. It was a hilarious and clever moment. –BB
Watching Roger at Joan’s for Thanksgiving was quite lovely and to see him play with Kevin I felt was a rather sweet touch in the shows final moments. –JS
Final Thoughts: Wow. Just wow. I’ve got chills as I type this. Mad Men once again does it with their season finale — turning everything you know about the show completely on its ear. And oh my lord did they ever shake things up.
We’ve got to wonder … are Ted and Pete both out of the series now that they’re destined for California? I doubt Pete is, but Ted … not so certain. If this is Ted’s swan song, my God, did he ever go out with a bang, no pun intended. The desperation in his eyes when pleading with Don was so sad.
Also, it’s great to see that Don’s arrogance, which has rampant throughout the series, was met with a comeuppance. After tanking another sales meeting, constantly missing meetings and his constant clashing with practically everyone this season, it was time for Don to get scolded. His banishment from the agency was shocking and one has to wonder where the show is going to go. And they brought Duck in to replace him! Deep Burn Sterling Cooper!!! Top that off with Megan leaving Don (not something I’m sad about), and you’ve got to wonder if Don will plummet down the rabbit hole of alcoholism or will he rise above?
So many questions are bouncing through my head and that’s exactly what this episode was designed for — to leave us in suspense until the finale season comes to us next year. –BB
Season six of Mad Men was a rocky one because for awhile it felt like it was simply treading water and relying on ghosts from the past. Don Draper went through hell this season and it was a rough one to watch at times but the past few weeks have really shown the show gaining some ground again. Tonight’s finale felt like the right way to wrap up this rather season and overall was incredibly satisfying. Many of our main players had a fall from grace tonight only to lift themselves up at the eleventh hour and every one came away with hope and optimism in their rearview mirror. See you guys next spring! –JS
Photo Credit: Jaimie Trueblood/AMC