With just two episodes left before Mad Men goes dark, speculation is rampant on how Matthew Weiner will wrap his iconic series. Here are the endings we don’t want to see:
Don Draper returns from self-imposed exile with an inspired take on how to market diet beer for Miller. When he finds that Ted Chaough has already devised the “Everything you always wanted in a beer. And less.” tagline, he throws his Smith Corona through the stuck glass and hurls himself out of the window, mirroring the falling man of the opening credits.
Joan marries a third time, to her real estate developer beau. The entire cast appears at the wedding, and the last scenes we see are all of them walking down the aisle in tuxedos and gowns, looking gorgeous and dazzling—a curtain call for the show. Roger gives a rousing toast, offering up a glass of his new favorite drink, vermouth.
The Time Shift
The last episode fast-forwards in time to 1980, at the funeral of Roger Sterling. As each character approaches the casket, we learn what the last ten years have brought: Peggy is a speechwriter for Governor Reagan, Pete has lost all of his hair but is back with Trudy, Joan has cancer and looks terrible, Betty is the premiere therapist of Westchester County, and Don is bloated and drunk and in the Orson-Welles-filming-wine-commercials stage of his sad existence. He gives a speech about nostalgia.
Everyone hooks up. Peggy sleeps with Stan. Joan sleeps with Don. Peggy sleeps with Don. Betty sleeps with Glen. Betty sleeps with Meghan. Meredith sleeps with Don. Dawn sleeps with Don. Roger sleeps with Don. Pete sleeps with Don. Harry Crane jerks off to the Octopussy print in Peggy’s office.
Ken Cosgrove goes mad, brings a gun to McCann Erickson, and starts shooting. Pete tries to take him out with his shotgun. Meanwhile, Joan has hired “a Man” to take care of things, who happens to be present at the same time. A bloodbath ensues, with every major character dying except for Don…who takes revenge on Ken.
The Great American Novel
The whole thing ends with Don, in his new house in SoCal, banging out the last chapter of his roman a clef, MAD MEN. None of this really happened. It was all the invention of a writer named Dick Whitman, a faithfully married appliance salesman with a good chin. When we meet the people in his life, they are all the same actors, but in different roles. Roger is his boss, Peggy is his wife, Pete is his co-worker, Joan is the receptionist.
It was all a dream. Bert Cooper’s dream.