Videogum

Mad Men S04E13: Season Finale

Doctor Faye wakes Don up in the middle of the night to tell him that she has to get ready for a 7AM flight, “thanks to you.” Whoa. NO SPOILERS, but considering what is about to happen, maybe there is a little bit of foreshadowing here? I’m just saying, Doctor Faye is great and all, maybe even the best, but if you have a 7AM flight to get ready for, go get ready for it, but leave me out of it. And if you ARE going to wake me up in the dead of night because you’re confused about what is and is not appealing in a girlfriend, don’t wake me up with a passive-aggressive remark. I’m just saying. FREE DOCTOR FAYE, or whatever, but also, relax, Doctor Faye. Don has a meeting with the Lung Cancer Association, or something, and then he is taking his kids to California. But he has a pit in his stomach. Awww. It could be stress, OR, it could be a whiskey-soaked cancerated ulcer. HARD TO TELL. Doctor Faye tells him that maybe there is more to life than just working (“Huh?” — Don Draper) and that he might feel better if he pulls his head out of the sand about the past and leaves it behind him. WHOA. Again, that’s perfectly reasonable advice, and Don probably should pull his (beautiful) head out of the sand about the past and move on with his life, but if I could just remind everyone of something: it’s fucking 5AM! Give me a hard knocks life lesson full of difficult truths at five in the fucking morning because YOU are on the way to the airport and felt the need to wake me up and you will find your head spinning around on your neck so fast you’ll think it was a tetherball. (NOTE: this is not a threat of domestic violence, this applies to men and women, lovers and friends and relatives. LEAVE US SLEEP! Surely whatever’s deeply broken in my heart and soul can wait until breakfast.)

Back at the office, Lane calls Joan, who is pushing the mail cart, into his office and gives her an envelope. She is about to put the envelope in the mail (haha) but he is like “no, silly willy, that is for you.” What is it? Oh, Joan has been promoted to Regional Vice President of District Management, or something. “No pay increase,” Lane adds, dripping marmalade all over his chin. Cool. Joan is like “I wish fist bumps had been invented already so I could give you one.” And now we are at the meeting with tobacco:

This scene is weird. Don and the anti-tobacco people are talking about the difficulties of getting people to quit smoking. It’s kind of confusing. Wait, no, confusing isn’t the word I was looking for. What’s the word? Oh, right: boring. Look, Mad Men, you have somehow managed to turn the world of 1960s corporate advertising into a modern entertainment, which is still amazing whenever I think about it, but that doesn’t mean that I ACTUALLY want to sit in on a business meeting. Business meetings are so boring! Don says something about kids only thinking about themselves. Ha! Good one, Don. Stupid kids, right, Don? So selfish. So self-absorbed. Not like us adults, RIGHT, DON?! Anyway, I think the end result of the meeting is that Don pitches this ad:

When Don gets back to the office, he and Pete and Roger call Ken Cosgrove into discuss a business proposition. I would just like to congratulate the executive board of Draper Cooper Sterling Pryce Bitchface Joan on signing the valuable SNORE ACCOUNT. Don’t get me wrong, there is one part in this scene that is very good, and that is the part where everyone is basically trying to get Ken to leverage his relationship with his father-in-law into a business meeting that could allow them to sign a very important client, and Ken responds that they can all go fuck themselves (and Pete can double-fuck himself) because he values his human relationships with the people in his real life, and says “this is my ACTUAL life, outside of work,” and Don gives him the best face:

But to get to that good part we have to go through all these names of chemicals or something. Sometimes I feel like this show should just be faces. Silence and faces. And if someone tries to talk, Joan just goes “SHHHHHHHHH.” Anyway, Roger tells Ken that he’s still going to drop his name to some guy at some place for business business golf talk drinks business snooze. We get it. WORK LIVE VS. PRIVATE LIFE AND BOY DO THE LINES GET BLURRRRRRRED.

Meanwhile, Betty and Henry are moving the Francis family to Rye. Because Sally has a human friendship with another child. That human child’s name is Glen, and he comes over when he sees Betty’s car is gone. Snap. He is basically the Sneakers of his generation. “I lowered my body heat wearing this space-age polymer suit so as to go undetected by the heat-triggered motion sensors, and then I waited to make sure Betty’s car was gone.” Carla tells him that he should not be there, but Carla, being a human being, and recognizing the importance of human children to have human friendships with other human children, agrees that he can go say goodbye as long as he hurries and leaves before Mrs. Nightmare comes back from the Headache Factory. Glen goes upstairs and says goodbye. It’s pretty uneventful. I mean, they hug, and Sally jerks him off and then masturbates in front of him to climax two times, but that’s it. But then Glen comes back downstairs and is about to leave when Lordess Bettymort walks in. ACCI-UHOH! She snips and snaps at Glen, but somehow he is immune to her vagina dentata face. “Just because you’re sad doesn’t mean everyone else has to be.” OH. S. N. A. P.

“I got schooled by a 10-year-old.” — Betty Draper’s Tombstone

Seriously, though, Betty, KILL YOURSELF AND/OR MARRY ME!

In impotent retaliation, Betty fires Carla. Cool. Do you guys ever worry that Betty is TOO cool? Carla tries to get her to relax, but Betty is like “my middle name is The Opposite of Relax.” She also busts out some crazy shit to Carla. “Where are your kids? Are they all doctors and lawyers?” Yikes. I’m not sure this would really solve the problem, but I do think it would have at least been appropriate for Carla to line Betty up against a wall and open a firehose on her face. And then let some dogs off their leash. And then tie her to a whipping post and whip her. And then hang her from a tree and take pictures in front of her dead body. And then send chain her corpse to the galley hold of a slaveship and send her back to SHUT UP, BETTY. She calls Don and is like “I fired Carla, what are you going to do about it.” Don is like “I’m going to call my lawyer and see if it’s possible to double divorce you because I don’t think I’m divorced enough from you.” She makes some crack about his disappointments as a father, which on the one hand, let’s be honest, Don is not The World’s Best Dad Mousepad, but that is a little bit like the terrible parent pot calling the terrible parent kettle a terrible parent.

At first Don is like “fuuuuu,” because he’s taking his kids to California but what is he supposed to do, actually take care of his kids? Get real, hippies. But then he is like “ding dong, I’m a genius,” and asks his secretary/FB if he can hire her to come to California with him and take care of his kids. He gives her a pretty hard sell, which is kind of ridiculous. Like, she gets a free trip to California, and she gets overtime pay, and she gets her own room at a nice hotel, and he offers to pay all her expenses, and a night out on the town with her friends, and a trip to outer space and a robot to do her hair and relax, Don. You already locked this one down, remember? She is like “I guess I will do it.” Haha. Sure, Meghan. You are playing your teeth I MEAN YOUR CARDS very close to the vest!

Meanwhile, this:

Haha. “I’m the head of boners I MEAN TELEVISION.”

So, California. There is a lot of swimming. And by swimming, of course, I mean boning. But first: Don takes the kids to see the empty house where his dead friend used to live. I bet they love it. “This empty house full of sadness and the smell of mortality is very exciting to us as children, especially since we never met the person who actually lived here, and you’re being weird about everything.” Although, when Sally asks who “Dick” is, Don pulls a surprise move and admits that it’s him. Well played, Don. Seriously. I mean, too little too late for sure, and you definitely are going to have to sit your kids down when they’re old enough and tell them the story of the birds and the bees and the snakes who steal dead people’s identities in the fog of war, but it was still the right thing to do. “That’s my nickname sometimes.” CLOSE ENOUGH. That little girl that Don almost yikesed a few weeks ago gives him Don Draper’s engagement ring, because Anna really wanted him to have it. Don is hesitant, but then he puts it in his pocket. We’ll probably never see that ring again. It’s like Chekov famously said: “If you put a surprise engagement ring in the breast pocket of a slimming suit in Act One, that ring better stay in that pocket by Act Three.” It’s called drama. Look it up.

One night, in the muggy heat of the California night, Don sits in the dark as his children sleep and realizes it’s a total sausage party.

He heads over to Meghan’s room to see what’s up. You know how it is. Just wants to see what’s up! Hey, what’s up in this room? I’m just curious is all! She invites him out onto the balcony to talk about…acting? Get to it, you guys. What is this, a meeting about anti-tobacco public service announcements? If you guys keep going at this rate, I’ll be asleep before you even start doing it! (Although, I do appreciate Meghan’s candor about her teeth. You have noticeable teeth, Meghan, that’s all!) Whoops, Don’s hand accidentally slides all up inside her coat.

And the rest is bangstory. Afterwards, Don gets real EMO. He’s like, “I need to know if I can come back here tomorrow night, or if this is what it is, because I’m just feeling very protective of my vagina these days and I don’t want my dress to get hurt.” Relax, Danielle Draper. Meanwhile, Peggy signs up a panty hose account. And when Betty tells Henry that she fired Carla, Henry is so pissed, and Betty is like “Why can’t you be on my side for once,” and Henry says, “No one is on your side, Betty.” S. N. A. P. If I had a dollar for every time someone bought Betty a one-way ticket to Snap Island this episode, I’d have TWO DOLLARS!

Sally spills a milkshake at the Pulp Fiction diner, and Don is about to SHIT HIS PANTS. But then Meghan is like “uh, how about everyone takes a Chill Pill because of how this is just a fucking milkshake and this table actually comes with a well-stocked napkin dispenser.” Now, if you watch closely, what you think you see is just Don smiling and coming back to Earth and happily pulling napkins out of the dispenser with Meghan to help clean up Sally’s mess.

But what no one told you is that the milkshake was actually Sally’s TOTEM and we are all about to get INCEPTED OUT OF OUR FUCKING MINDS. Because without even skipping a beat, the screen dissolves from the great BP Milkshake Disaster of 1965 to Don’s Fuckpad where he is sitting on the edge of the bed PROPOSING MARRIAGE TO MEGHAN. Wait. Hold on. ARE WE OR ARE WE NOT IN LIMBO? Even this guy is just like, “Wait. What?”

Incidentally, Meghan doesn’t actually seem that pumped to be marrying Don. Oh, she’ll do it. It’s like serving your country at the pleasure of the President. But even she is like “What layer is this? Why is the hotel upside-down?” Then she starts speaking French and you’re just like “OK, right, because Edith Piaf. Got it. WAKE ME UP.” They go into the office and invite everyone into Don’s office to tell them the “good” news. Oh lord. Everyone is just like “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.” Even Roger. EVEN ROGER! Roger Sterling’s face in response to Don’s news is like everyone else’s face in response to Roger Sterling’s blackface. News quickly spreads through the office. Peggy’s basically got it right.

In the midst of all these MIND BOMBS, Don shakes Peggy’s head loose when he says that Meghan reminds him of her. Yikes/Yucks. “It’s like, when we were in California doing it, and my kids were sleeping in a separate room down the hall, and it was so sweaty and nasty and secret, I wasn’t thinking about my ex-wife, or the other woman, Doctor Faye, who I am currently sleeping with, or the secretary I fucked on Christmas Eve, or that BJ I got in the taxi one time, or any of the countless women I’ve bedded and emotionally abused. I was thinking of you, Peggy. And I will keep associating your face with the face of my new bride throughout our ill-fated and almost inevitably short-lived marriage.” THANKS, BOSS. Peggy goes into Joan’s office and they have a real ladies’ time of it. You just have to laugh to keep from crying, and cetra. Uh, speaking of Joan.

KABOOOOOOOOOM. Someone suggested to me a couple weeks ago that Joan kept the baby, and I had not even thought of that as a possibility because as far as I was concerned, we all saw Joan riding on the same Bus of Sadness, but as soon as this idea was presented to me I was like, oh, right, duh, no, yeah, you’re right. So yeah. (There are some ways in which I think we can all agree that this season compared to previous seasons has been pretty on the nose.) Anyway, her husband is in Vietnam hitting Charlie in the head with lamps. He’s excited about their baby. Yoops. Not to be weird, but it would be amazing if Joan’s baby was black. DOUBLE-REVERSE TWIST. WE HAVE TO GO DEEPER!

Speaking of going deeper: Don calls Doctor Faye to explain to her that he is getting engaged to some idiot. Ugh, seriously, what terrible news. Why would you even want to tell anyone. No offense, Meghan, but some offense. “I’m marrying my secretary.” GO TO BED. Anyway, Don tries to get Doctor Faye to meet him for coffee so that he can “talk to her” face-to-face, but Doctor Faye is just like “what is it, motherfucker?” Oh man, you will be missed, Doctor Faye. Don is like “I met someone.” No you didn’t! “I hired someone to come on an all-expenses paid trip to California.” Better. “Also they are my secretary and also I already banged them while we were banging and also I’m a complete mess and also whatever.” Doctor Faye tells Don to make sure to let Meghan know that he only likes the beginnings of things. S. N. A. P. That is a pretty good assessment, kind of, except Don liked the beginning of things with you, too, but he still didn’t propose marriage.

Also this part of an interview with Matthew Weiner weirds me out:

Matthew Weiner: To me, I’m telling a story about segregation and assimilation, and who’s coming along at what time. I hope people can tell Faye Miller is Jewish. I hope people know at some level that Jane Siegel, Roger’s wife, is Jewish. They are assimilated. Not everyone can be an heiress like Rachel Menken, who feels absolutely bulletproof. Bobbie Barrett and Jimmy Barrett certainly were transparently Jewish.

You hope people know that Faye is Jewish? Why? In what way is that relevant to things? And also HOW do you want them to know? Because of her horns? I’m confused by this interview. LET’S JUST MOVE ON, BECAUSE HERE COMES THE KICK.

Don comes back to the old house to meet with a real estate broker, and Betty just HAPPENS to be there. Haaaa. Don is like, “I told you I was coming here,” and she’s like, “Primp primp, oh my, did you? Oopsies! I’m sooo fohgetfwul.” Don finds a secret bottle of whiskey in the top cabinet and Betty laughs and laughs. It’s just like old times! “I forgot how funny it is how you hide alcohol around the house like someone with a serious problem,” Betty says, batting her lifeless eyes. They share a glass of whiskey. Don tells her that he’s met someone else (again with the “met someone,” enough, Don) and that they are engaged to be married. Betty’s face drops. Good. I hope her face drops all the way through the floor and keeps dropping until it sticks itself on the devil’s pitchfork. It was so obvious that the one shred of self-respect she had left was in her conception of herself as “beating” Don by having a husband. Now Don is like “Whoops, I’ve got everything back again and win forever.” And yet, I can’t help but feel that they should get back together. You’ve had your stupid experiment, guys. You’re both terrible! Be terrible together! It will be like the Parent Trap, but with mutual spiteful loathing and a lot more alcohol. Oh well. Betty hands Don her keys. Don lies awake in bed. The season ends.