Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What I'm Watching: Mad Men (Season Finale)

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 13 “Tomorrowland” (B+)

Consider me just as shocked as everyone at Sterling (Cooper) Draper Pryce. Don just can't bear the thought of being alone, and as a result, he takes the ring given to him by the real Mrs. Draper and offers it to a woman with whom he shares no real connection, and certainly not one built on anything substantial. Their engagement seems almost like a dream, a haphazard decision that couldn't possibly still be true the next morning yet somehow is. That final scene with Don and Betty was fantastic, and it's interesting to see them in such different places in their lives now as compared with this same time last year, albeit both still so miserably unhappy. What's truly fascinating is the way that Peggy reacts to the news of the engagement, both subtly with Don and then later when venting to the icy Joan. The untold news of Joan's pregnancy is a nice surprise for the otherwise malcontent housewife, and we're sure to see a whole new side of her as she becomes a mother next season (presumably, she'll already be one, given the show's history of jumping ahead in time between seasons). Ken and Peggy's triumph is impressive, and should likely give them a deserved boost in credibility as the firm tries to recover from its loss of Lucky Strike. Credit is due once again to Kiernan Shipka for acting much older than her age as Sally says goodbye to her neighborhood friend before he is cruelly thrown out by her mother, costing Carla her job in the process. While this finale may not be anywhere near as monumental as last year's season ender, this is still a strong episode of television that's much better than most other shows on the air. I'm anxiously awaiting season five and a return to the 1960s.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Jon Hamm & Elisabeth Moss


Greg Boyd said...

I didn't read your review (since I didn't want to have the finale spoiled for me before I watch season 4 on DVD), but glad you enjoyed the season. I'll be reviewing every episode once I watch them (probably in April, assuming that season 4 comes out the same time that season 3 did) and look forward to seeing how my thoughts compare with yours.

Richter Scale said...

I really don't think Don is miserable. In fact, I think he's happy for the first time in his life, and you can see it every time he is with Megan. He's fallen in love with her. He has said it for the first time since this show started, and you can see it when he is with her. Not only is she beautiful, smart and kind, but she is great with kids, and in many ways Don is a child himself, so he needs someone like Megan who can take care of him. I don't know how long it will last, but I honestly think he loves her, at least right now.

I don't know if you've noticed, but this season Don has slowly become much more open and honest. He could've easily lied to his children about who Dick was, but he didn't. He could have just as easily lied about where that ring came from, but he didn't. He is embracing Dick Whitman and becoming a new person, someone who is more open to his feelings, which is fascinating to see. I like this Don, though I'm curious how long it will last.

As for MVP, my vote would go to John Slattery (as I already mentioned), but with this show everyone does an amazing job every year. We really need to start seeing some acting Emmys next year.