11:00pm: Mad Men ends on a whimper in Season 4. Don’s going to become a bitter shell in mind and body, Jessica Pare will parlay this role into more movie roles, and SCDP will fade into oblivion during the next year. When Season 5 returns, I bet Don’s at a big ad agency as a figurehead creative exec, drinking away his post-SCDP fortune. And then he’ll die of cirrhosis in Season 6, and Sally Draper will intern for Peggy while finishing her freshman year at Columbia. Go Lions.
I wanted more out of this season. In Seasons 1-3, the ending episodes changed lives. In Season 4, they should have switched Episode 13 with Episode 12, so that the last scene would be Don firing his staff and seeing what his carelessness hath wrought.
On the plus side, Don’s becoming the poor man’s Roger Sterling, and that means two seasons of Sterling-esque one-liners with Don’s delivery. And that’s that for Season 4 — a season in which Betty’s storyline went eight episodes too long, where Fay/Faye’s life was destroyed by her desires, and where Don stopped caring and started living. And that’s the final lesson of the mid-60s Mad Men. Tune out and grab a drink.
10:58pm: The only bright spot about Betty’s final scene is our grand hope that it’s her final one in Mad Men history. Let’s hope that there’s a media blackout around Rye for the next two years.
10:57pm: Betty to Don: “Things change.” Great delivery!
10:57pm: Betty to Don: “Things aren’t perfect.” Pithy.
10:55pm: Don and Betty, back together, while Don awaits the listing agent for their house in Ossining. If they got together, this would tie up a confusing Season 4 quite appropriately. If not, then this season ends on a real downer with Betty.
10:54pm: Joan’s hubbie’s about to get shot in Vietnam. Ah, I guess not. He’s back for Season 5, too!
10:53pm: Fay/Faye to Don: “You only like the beginnings of things.” Fans: “We’re feeling that way about Season 4.”
10:52pm: Don to Fay/Faye: “I met somebody…and we’re engaged.” Fay/Faye: “Are you kidding me?” Fans: “Ditto.”
10:51pm: So Mad Men has nine minutes left. Something needs to happen of significance. Don’s marriage is a dalliance.
10:49pm: Peggy saves her Don rant for Joan, and Joan tells Peggy to get a life. Good advice.
10:47pm: Peggy’s gonna rip Don a new one for his engagement. In her mind. Aw, Peggy is insecure again. Some things never change.
10:45pm: OK, so Jessica Pare will be back for Season 5. What does that mean for SCDP? Don no longer cares. Maybe Season 5 will be Don and Jessica Pare sitting by the beach in California, swimming with the kids. Maybe Matthew Weiner will join them.
10:43pm: I guess Don’s marriage proposal is not a dream. I like Jessica Pare, but this plotline is lazy and reckless. Don, go back to SCDP and fix the company.
10:41pm: Looks like Jessica Pare has made the trip home, in some sort of dream? Reality? And I just learned that her name in the show is “Megan” or “Meghan”! I will still refer to her as Jessica Pare.
10:36pm: Peggy on high-quality pantyhose: “Bad for business, good for you.” Of course, Peggy and SCDP haven’t been paid for this golden tagline, so will their own business stop being bad?
10:34pm: Don to Jessica Pare: “I want to know if I can knock on this door again tomorrow night.” Well, he’s her boss, and it’s 1965, so sure thing!
10:33pm: Don and Jessica Pare are falling in love. Don says something pithy, and it sounds profound because he’s Don Draper, and SCDP is going bankrupt! Bankrupt! When will Don care again?
10:32pm: Jessica Pare is complaining about her teeth, something something, and then Don puts the moves on her. Aww, poor Fay/Faye.
10:31pm: I keep waiting for a plot twist. Like Jessica Pare throwing Don off the balcony.
10:30pm: Henry Francis: “There is no fresh start [in life]! Life carries on!” And life carries Don to Jessica Pare’s room.
10:24pm: Jon Hamm’s in a bathing suit. So is Jessica Pare. So, something for everyone.
10:20pm: Don tells his kids that his nickname is “Dick” when they see the painting of his name on Anna’s house’s wall. Of course, his nickname is…well, this joke writes itself.
10:19pm: Turns out Jessica Pare’s a perfectly competent au pair. She speaks French! And she’s from Canada! In the show! Matthew Weiner stretched his creative talents writing her back story.
10:18pm: Don’s going to pay Jessica Pare to accompany him to California. Fay/Faye will love this idea, I’m sure.
10:17pm: Hey, Mark Wahlberg is in a movie about a dude from Boston! Well, Lowell, but close enough.
10:13pm: Harry Crane gets the creepy older guy on with Joyce’s model friend, which raises the prospect of Joyce resubmitting the moves onto Peggy. Maybe Harry gets creepy when he gets desperate. Maybe Carolyn’s desperate, too. Maybe everyone’s desperate in this Mad, Mad world.
10:10pm: Glenn and Betty Francis have a childish debate, and Betty responds by paying off Carla with petty cash. OK, that scene was pretty good.
10:09pm: Glenn and Sally blah blah blah. Honestly, SCDP is near bankrupt. Glenn has outlived his usefulness to the overall plot line. Which means he’ll come back. Over. And over.
10:07pm: Ken’s going to get fired later today, and from the sound of his meeting with SCD (Campbell, not Cooper), he seems OK with that. He’s probably already got another job lined up.
10:05pm: Don suggested some PSAs which invoke death. There’s no business like free business.
10:03pm: Joan is promoted to a fake director-type title because SCDP has no new business and no staff members. So, super.
10:02pm: Don has a “sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.” Fay/Faye thinks it’s a psychological thing. I think he’s just intoxicated.
9:59pm: Our national Rubicon nightmare is over. Welcome to Mad Men.
9:55pm: I’m sticking with the Jersey Shore rerun in which The Situation refers to the country to our north as “Canadia.” It’s still a better show than Rubicon.
9:49pm: I have a great idea for improving Rubicon‘s ratings – run it during Mad Men commercial breaks. Interlace the shows like a pie crust.
9:39pm: All of America is now watching the season finale of LOST meets high school study hall (a.k.a. Rubicon). Can AMC keep the Rubicon train rolling into the 10:00 hour?
Mad Men will do its best with its own season finale, in which Don Draper will do important things and everyone else will watch. The Swiss Family Francis might move and Peggy might finally give the Brooklyn Beatnik the heave-ho, but honestly, with SCDP going bankrupt, why shouldn’t this episode feature Don Draper and only Don Draper for a solid 60 minutes? It’s time to ditch the driftwood and feature Draper, Draper, Draper, Draper. Let’s change SCDP to DDDD. There’s still time.