So much of Mad Men focuses on change and how people turn into one another. The show has looked at the process of Peggy turning into Don for most of its run. They were miserable apart at the beginning of this run of episodes. She resented him when he came back to SC&P. Then, they came to an understanding and reconciled. Now, Peggy is finally ready to become Don Draper.
The catalyst for much of this is the death of Bert Cooper. Cooper has been around the show since the beginning. He’s been a quirky figurehead, with his policies on shoes and love of Ayn Rand. Even if he’s often relegated to the sidelines storywise, Cooper has a huge presence on Mad Men.
He’s also been pegged by fans over the years as a character headed to the great beyond. He’s old, sure, but it’s the fact that his death guarantees change at the ad agency. His speech to Roger about leadership might as well have just been an image of Bert digging his own grave. Witnessing the moon landing was the end. Bert saw man reach a new height and his body decided that there was no better time to call it quits. Just like George Costanza, he left on a high note.
And thus Bert Cooper has made his series exit and the employees of SC&P are free to wear their shoes wherever they please. Roger now takes on Cooper’s role in the company. Will he take on his quirks as well? Animes have taught me that combining LSD and Bert’s weird octopus painting would not go very well.
Roger makes a decision that will save Don’s career at SC&P, but only after informing him that this might be the end. Don is saddened and stunned, but realizes that this is the perfect opportunity for passing the torch. Peggy needs and deserves this next step. It was her idea that they worked on. She’s so much more than the “voice of moms”. Humbled Don Draper knows this and spurs her on to take that bold, next step. He’s proud to let Peggy be Neil Armstrong.
Now that Peggy has assumed the mantle of Don Draper, what’s left for him? He told Ted that focusing on the creative side and concentrating on the meat and potatoes of the job has been good for him. He walked away from the big announcement that a majority of SC&P was going to be purchased by McCann. Then, Don had a Tony Soprano moment where he saw Bert Cooper serenade him with The Best Things in Life Are Free. Don’s wife is leaving him. His children live with their mother and another man. He seems to have his professional life in order, now it’s time to take care of the lonely man inside.
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- My hysterical laughter at Pete’s line, “that is a very sensitive piece of horseflesh,” may have been excessive. Hell’s bells Trudy!
- Joan, it’s time to stop being so mad at Don. Come on, you guys are adorable when you get along and booze together.
- Never get into an airplane with Ted Chaough. Ever.
- The series is going to end with Harry Crane murdering everyone. “Try and shut the door on me now!”
- Sally made out with a nerrrrrrrd. It was actually fairly sweet and nice to see her break away from her father’s type.
- We landed on the moon!