How is it the Mad Men season finale already?! I’m not ready! It’s too soon. But at least I can comfort myself with one shred of hope: Tonight’s episode will be awesome, because Mad Men season finales are a thing of beauty.
Season 1’s finale, “The Wheel,” gave us what might be the single greatest pitch Don Draper ever delivered: His “it’s a time machine” monologue reduced Harry, and me, to tears. Lest we forget, that’s also the episode where Don officially made Peggy a junior copywriter, where Betty reached out to Glen through the car window, and oh yeah – where Peggy had her baby. A pretty packed episode!
Season 2’s finale, “Meditations in an Emergency,” had everyone flipping out during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but they were all flipping out over their own personal issues, too: Betty’s unplanned (and unwanted) pregnancy, the take-over of Sterling Cooper, Duck’s drunken overambition, Peggy telling Pete that she had his baby and “gave it away.” Another doozy.
Season 3’s “Shut the Door. Have a Seat” was probably that season’s best episode. (“Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” may come out slightly ahead, depending on your rubric. Please show all your work so you can get partial credit.) But “Shut the Door” had the narrative momentum of an action thriller with the meaty storytelling that’s become synonymous with Mad Men itself. The moment Joan marched into Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s ad hoc HQ, it was like the show high-fived my heart.
Which brings us to tonight’s episode, called “Tomorrowland.” Something’s going to have to come to a head for Sally, and something major’s going to have to happen at SCDP for it to stay in business. I’m most looking forward to a Don/Peggy moment, just because after “The Suitcase,” I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy a pairing on this show as much as I enjoy those two together. (Not romantically! Just as pals.)
Looking at Mad Men’s track record with season finales, what are you most looking forward to, PopWatchers?
For more Mad Men discussion, listen to the latest our latest EW TV Insiders Podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Michael Ausiello and Jeff Jensen chat about the season finale–and give Ausiello worried looks for his twisted Sally death-wishing.