Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Mad Men- Shut the Door. Have a Seat

Spoilers for the Mad Men season 3 finale ahead:

Mad Men Season 3 Episode Photos

First off I want to say what an enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying season finale that was especially after the last few melancholic episodes that seemed to suggest that all our characters were doomed to ending the series in a much worse position to where they started the year. Instead a rebirth was offered, with loss of a personal and professional means being acknowledged and then the hope of something new and better being attainable. There was varying degrees of this, with Don having the most upheaval in his professional and personal life, finally succumbing to the end of his marriage but also being revived with his career in advertising. Relationships were both severed and repaired in this final hour of season 3.
The end definitely seems nigh on the Draper marriage, Betty demanding a divorce which at first is something that Don won't even acknowledge as a possible option especially when he finds out about Henry. This news causes him to have a drunken and violent outburst, calling Betty a whore and an awful mother, it is in this moment that he can either continue this path and become like his father who was a violent drunk or that he can realise that this really is the end. Luckily he opts to let Betty go and in a heartbreaking scene Betty and Don break the news to the kids that Don will be moving out, this scene is all the more painful when Bobby thinks it is because he lost his Dads cuff links and Sally (the wonderful Kiernan Shipka) blames her mother. These children really have been through some tough times this season and it will be interesting to see how they will react next season to their parents divorce and to the introduction of Henry will go. It was quite telling that the final scene that we saw them in they were watching TV with Carla, the only two stable influences in their lives.  
Business wise, Don is informed by Conrad Hilton that Sterling Cooper is being sold off again which becomes the catalyst to the start the company anew, with this piece of news he then had to go to all those he wanted to be in business with and sell not only his idea but himself as a commodity as well as pitching to each person why he also needed them. With Bert he reinforced the idea that with his age he would be seen as being nothing but dead weight to a new buyer, Roger was a harder sell after a year of practically ignoring him he was told that "You're no good at relationships because you don't value them." This sentiment seemed to be the case but when Don has to fight for his colleagues it appears that this is not true. Though with Peggy it is a lesson that he has to learn after he barks at her and them expects her to follow him "like a poodle", she rejects him which seems to be a perfectly reasonable reaction considering how he has treated her all season. Next up is Pete who is pretending that he is sick from work as he has an interview, he too after feeling rejected from the company that he has worked so hard for needs validation from Don who he has been trying to impress since season 1. Lance Pryce is another person they must win over, which seems at first to be a non-event until he finds out that PPL are also being sold and his hard work has been completely ignored. Possibly the best scene in the episode (this is a tough proclamation in an episode of many fantastic scenes) though is when Don goes to Peggy's apartment and lays it all out, why he has been harsh to her, why this is unfair and why he needs her. Scenes between these characters are always pretty charged and this just demonstrates why Don and Peggy are so intertwined as characters and ends with the line that affirms Peggy's worth to Don when he states "I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you."
The moment in this caper that actually had me cheering at the screen was the moment I, like many viewers realised that Joan would be joining the team as she is the only one who knows the Sterling Cooper system inside out. It was really quite fantastic to see all the pieces fall in to place, the only omission being Sal, though with Lucky Strike being their biggest client it will be hard to get him back as part of the team. Also what will become of the members of Sterling Cooper that were left behind? If there is no place for them it will be a shame but I guess you can't take everyone with you. It will be interesting to see what happens between Joan and Roger, and with Pete and Peggy having to work in such close quarters, though I have really started to like  the marriage dynamic between Pete and Trudy, and she does bring sandwiches and cake which is a good point scorer.

Mad Men Season 3 Episode Photos

With this new family having been created it will be interesting what will happen next season, to get rid of the central location of a show can be tricky (after SD-6 got destroyed in Alias it was seen as both a blessing and a curse) however it will give the show an exciting edge as they further progress in to the 1960s. I for one can't wait until season 4 and knowing that it is so far off is tough, I will probably have to binge on seasons 1 and 2 again and watch Revolutionary Road again.
For an excellent interview with Matthew Weiner about the season finale head over to The Daily Beast  for what will be the only information we will get about the series for a while I would imagine.

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