After half a season of comprehensively smashing the ego of our favourite sixties icon Don Draper, Mad Men’s series creator Matthew Weiner owed him a bit of love. Luckily for all of us fans of the show, the love that Don received saved his career, and puts the series into a position where the final seven episodes in 2015 can deal with the bigger questions about the ever dapper Don Draper.
In hindsight, the death of Bert Cooper, present from the first episode of the show, should not have been a surprise. He has remained largely on the periphery since season one, and had barely made a significant contribution for the last two seasons.
His death though, had a far more significant impact on the rest of the surviving cast.
“You’re not a leader”, he says to Roger halfway through the episode. And although these words are harsh, they are entirely accurate. Roger for a while now, has ambled through life, offering an amusing quip here, or allowing his daughter to become a hippie there, without really taking any true control of his situation.
No more, it seems. Spurned on by those words, Roger takes control of the firm, selling it to McCann; this move saves Don’s career at Sterling Cooper as well as making him the President of the company.
To finally see someone come to Don’s aid in a season where he has had such little support was a breath of fresh air. Jim Cutler and his enormous IBM computer have been relentless all season trying to remove him, so to see Roger protect his old friend was a lovely touch.
It will now be intriguing to see the direction the show decides to take as it concludes. For all intents and purposes, the saga of Don’s job is finished. The entire first half of this final season has been about Don’s work life, his family and love life have largely been glossed over. Now that his future at Sterling Cooper & Partners is secured, there will be more time to think about Don’s fascinating psyche.
With all of this action going on, very little time was spent dwelling on the termination of the relationship between Megan and Don. The silence the couple shared spoke a thousand words, as they realised that the damage to their relationship was beyond repair. It did however seem a little unfortunate that only a single scene was dedicated to this important plotline, and Don did not mention it after throughout the episode.
Similarly, the plotline of Ted Chaough also did not seem very well fleshed out. After cutting the engine of his plane in the previous episode in a spookily suicidal gesture, his change of heart and decision to stay at the firm despite his unhappiness seemed very lame.
And so for another year, Mad Men is over. Overall it has been a thoroughly enjoyable season. Like it or loathe it, Mad Men changed television. It will be a sad day when this fantastic finally ends.