The “Mad Men” Season 6 finale provided a strong sense of closure for certain season-long (and even some series-long arcs) but it also introduced plenty of questions for Matthew Weiner and company to tackle next year — in what’s expected to be the show’s final season.
Weiner addressed many of the questions — in his characteristically vague but fascinating fashion — in a series of finale postmortem interviews. Here are some of the highlights:
1) Are Megan and Don breaking up?
After Don backed out of his promise to move to California, Megan finally reached her limit and walked out the door, leaving him alone on Thanksgiving. “Well, I mean, it certainly looks bad, and she does say, ‘I can’t take this right now,'” Weiner tells Vulture. “So for me, it was literally just like the partners putting Don on leave. At a certain point, [everyone’s] like, ‘Really? Forget it.’ And that’s what her use of [the F-word] is about also.”
2) How long will Don be “on hiatus” from SC&P?
Speaking of Don and the partners, Don also got his walking papers from SC&P. They’re putting him on a forced leave, with no return date. We see head hunter Duck Phillips (Mark Moses) bring in a replacement, and Peggy begins working out of Don’s office.
“This is the most serious censure you can get when you’re a partner,” Weiner tells TV Guide. “After a season of him impulsively firing their most important client, then destroying their chances at a public offering and going to war against a partner, they couldn’t tolerate it anymore. It’s very serious. There’s no return date and anyone who understands corporate language knows that this is humiliating and serious.”
3) Are Ted and Pete going to California for good? (And how about Megan?)
While Pete’s move to California seemed to come out of the blue when he stopped by to say goodbye to Trudy and Tammy, Weiner confirms to EW that the relocating was definitely a work decision. “Yes, that’s what it’s supposed to be,” Weiner says. “That’s one of those things where the writers were like, ‘We could waste screen time which we don’t have that much of, by seeing that decision get made, or just reveal that [Pete’s] going.’ Because the story is really about what Trudy says to him. … You feel the sting of a guy who has irrevocably changed his life. But we saw with Pete in the past, he’s not scared of California, maybe it will be good for him.”
As for whether or not we should prepare for a fully bicoastal “Mad Men,” Weiner is more evasive. “We have no idea when we’re coming back in the story,” Weiner tells Vulture. “And my take on it is: I haven’t really thought about it. All I can say is, when Don divorced Betty, everybody thought that we’d never see her again. No matter whether they’re in California or not, these characters are part of our story.”
4) How much will Don actually change?
Between Don spilling his guts during the Hershey pitch and taking Sally, Bobby and Gene on a field trip to his boyhood “home,” it looks like Dick Whitman is finally coming out of his Don Draper shell. But how much will that change what we know about Don and his epically bad behavior? And is there any chance he backslides even after this?
“Can a man change his entire fabric? I don’t know,” Weiner tells Hitfix. “But he definitely has recognized something, and he should get points for that. As long as people feel that he has at least begun — not a reform, but certainly a recognition of the problem, which is a huge thing for this man. Huge. I will not pretend like it didn’t happen. Will he pretend like it didn’t happen? I don’t know.”
5) Is Peggy the new Don?
The last time we see Peggy in Season 6, she’s sitting in Don’s office and working on Thanksgiving. As she tells Stan, “it’s where everything is.” In many ways, it feels like Peggy has achieved her dream.
“It was a deliberate choice to put her in that pantsuit,” Weiner tells Huffington Post about the wardrobe. “And it was a deliberate choice to put her in Don’s office.”
As to whether or not Peggy would ever step out on her own — like Mary Wells, who founded her own agency in 1966 — Weiner says that would be a bold and unusual move. “I don’t have Season 7 on paper, and I would say that if you’re talking about [advertising pioneer] Mary Wells, you’re talking about the Jackie Robinson of advertising. That is the exception and not the rule.”
6) Is Sally doomed to a downward spiral?
Have Don Draper’s infidelities and secrecy ruined his daughter’s life? Or is the finale’s last scene a sign that their relationship can be repaired (and possibly put a halt to some of Sally’s own questionable actions)?
Weiner tells Vulture: “I honestly think that that act and that look that is exchanged so beautifully between those two actors is a moment that many of us have never even had in our life, and if nothing else, that moment in itself is an improvement. So is it the beginning of something? Who knows?”
7) Will Roger and Joan reconcile?
There’s not a lot of discussion of what Joan’s decision to let Roger into their son’s life means for their future together, but Weiner did confirm to both Hitfix and Huffington Post that Joan landed that Avon account.
8) Will Bob Benson be back?
The introduction of the mysterious Bob Benson dominated a significant part of the Season 6 chatter, but what we really want to know is will Bob return next season? There’s nothing to suggest he won’t, except for actor James Wolk’s series regular commitment to the new CBS come
dy “The Crazy Ones” (with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar).
“I would not say that we’ll never see Bob again,” Weiner tells The New York Times. “We only have one season of the show and I have a lot of people to juggle. But I would love to work with James [Wolk] again. He was fantastic.”
Considering Alison Brie juggles her “Community” duties with guest appearances as Trudy Campbell, we’re hoping Wolk can pull off the same.