In one of our last glimpses of Mad Men’s Don Draper last season, he was wearing a smile. Not a tight Draper smirk, but a goofy Dick Whitman grin. He’d just proposed to his secretary, Megan (Jessica Paré), and as Joan later snarked to her soldier boy in Vietnam, “He’s smiling like a fool like he’s the first man to marry his secretary.”
Don and Megan’s whirlwind romance took everyone by surprise — save Joan and Faye, perhaps. Everyone’s entitled to some happiness (ha!), and as Don confided to his new love, “I feel like myself when I’m with you.” Sweet…but for Don, that could be very troublesome. Because who is he exactly – four years in, we still don’t have a clue — and does being that person threaten everything else that he’s built?
In a way, Megan is the sweet girl that handsome, guileless Dick conceivably could have landed. She represents something true, something wholesome, something he’s lost since becoming Don. But like Betty before her, she doesn’t know his secret, and doesn’t that ultimately doom the marriage? Perhaps that’s inevitable anyhow. “I hope she knows you only like the beginning of things,” said Faye. How long before that boyish smile turns back into a clenched jaw? Creator Matthew Weiner recently told EW that the fallout from the proposal “will cast a shadow on the season to come,” and you could almost see the cloud returning to Don’s eyes in the finale’s last scene, as Megan snuggled up against his chest in bed.
I’m not convinced we’re going to see even a spec of marital bliss come Sunday. Hamm told The New York Times, “We don’t know if, in fact, they are married. A lot can happen between here and there.” Might Don or Megan have called off the hasty Disneyland engagement? Even if we find them playing house, how long do you give them together? I think Don’s bound to disappoint her — and himself.