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"Mad Men" Season Finale Tonight

By admin Published: October 18, 2007

Notes with spoilers after the jump ...

As I indicated in the post a week ago, I really liked the way "Mad Men" in these last two episodes has had its advertising whizzes believing, indeed longing for, the very fantasies that their ads traffic in. That was especially true tonight, when Don was so moved by the photos in the carousel, and again at the end, when we see Don's dream return home and then the real return. Great stuff with his wife, too, when she realizes that Don has been spying on her therapy -- and she turns it to her advantage. And Pete's finally deciding that the way to become the New Don is to become an earner, even if he has to use his family connections to earn.

That said, I'm still pondering the Peggy revelation. I know that a lot of viewers have suspected she was pregnant all along, and that the show has tried not to be explicit about that. Indeed, a recent TV Guide piece about "Mad Men" quotes series creator Matthew Weiner that "the story of this season is that this woman could not deal with the sexual pressures put on her," with the added note by the TVG writer that Peggy "buries her sexuality under food and work," with the implication that the food explains her growing girth.

If Peggy was pregnant and simply not talking about it, I could buy that. I'm not convinced that she would not know she was pregnant. She has been portrayed as knowing enough that you would expect her to be aware when she missed her period, especially if she missed more than one.

Is that a "Friday Night Lights"-level misstep? I don't think so. Whether she knows or not, she ends up in the same place, with a child she does not want, burying the love she could offer a child (or anyone) in despair and growing cynicism.

It's quite clear that she is going to be a great copywriter. Don elevates her in part to stick it to Pete, but also because he recognizes her talent; as big a pig as Don is, he still has an eye for talent and a head for business. Besides, the lesson he learned from Cooper last week is that all that matters is what you produce. As for your past, or your present, or your gender, who cares?

But she's also a lost soul -- just like the Mad men around her. And the look on her face when she rejects her baby is both as powerful as Don's look as he embraces his dreams, and a bitter, real-life counterpart to his illusions.

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