The final episode of Mad Men’s sixth season has come and gone, leaving a crater in its wake. “In Care of” introduced a shocking new future for SC&P and many of its inhabitants. But the way ahead for Don is what grabbed everyone’s attention.
- Director: Matthew Weiner
- Writer: Carly Wray and Matthew Weiner
- Cast: Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss, Robert Morse, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Kiernan Shipka, Christopher Stanley, Jessica Parè, Kevin Rahm, Jay R. Ferguson, Mason Vale Cotton, Ben Feldman, James Wolk, Harry Hamlin, Teyonah Parris, Elizabeth Rice, Derek Ray, Morgan Rusler, Rich Hutchman, Jim Holmes, Beth Hall, Brandon Killham, Timi Prulhiere, Alexandra Ella, Timothy Brennen, Allan Havey
Episode Title: “In Care Of”
Don’s problems catch up with him, while Pete’s family drama come to a head. Peggy and Ted reach an understanding and surprisingly, Roger makes headway with Joan.
- California: Watching the ideal of California be passed around like a glowing breadcrumb set the truth in motion. SC&P’s Sunshine State outpost will house more than Sunkist. Stan’s dream was hijacked briefly by Don, who in a fit a maturity realized that running from his problems has never worked. Passing the buck to Ted is the benevolence we love to see from Mr. Draper. Especially when Ted might be able to put his troubles behind him on the other coast. The news that Pete is joining him practically cements their inevitable second office. Don fed the partners the idea they were thinking too small and Pete’s never been one to pass on an opportunity. Sterling Cooper and Partners will have a different face in 2014 and half of it will be tan.
- Sweet Tales: It is a beautiful thing to watch Don lie. We’ve been hooked on his falsehoods for years, partially because it’s amazing what he can get away with. Mainly it’s due to Don’s ability to wrap everyone around his finger with warm thoughts of nostalgia he’s never experienced. Everyone at the Hershey meeting could feel hid power as he unwound his tale of sugary untruth. The real magnificence was his subsequent honesty. Yes, he torpedoed the agency’s chance of netting Hershey, but Don was finally truthful, with others and himself. Dick Whitman’s childhood is nothing he will ever be able to escape. Confessing his role as pickpocket at the whorehouse where he was begrudgingly raised by his stepmother shone like a beacon for the future.
- The House of Ill Repute: Don’s problems are not just limited to one messed up meeting. Yet again he’s skipped out of the office to drink, causing him to miss a meeting with another client. He also earned a night in the drunk tank for punching a minister. The fallout causes him to frankly confess to Megan. “It’s gotten out of control. I’ve gotten out of control.” Having this kind of self-awareness is unprecedented for our dark hero. The progress is evident even though immediately after he tried to employ his escapist technique to rid himself of his marriage issues, his career, and his family. In another surprising fit of maturity, Don realizes moving to California will not fix Megan’s displeasure, Sally’s hatred, or his absentee post at work. One is too far gone to patch up; Don’s unceremonious dumping from SC&P was as unexpected as it was believable.
- The Other Fallout: No one could be truly surprised that Don was put on leave. This year has been a magnifier of the five before it: chronically late, missing meetings, firing clients, and being one of the most difficult people to work with. We kind of thought Megan would have more patience, though good on her for finally putting her foot down. Her shock over Don’s sudden change of heart on the move made the state of their relationship unclear by the end if the night. Sally’s feelings are somewhat of a question as well. Being suspended for drinking and her hatred for her father led him, along with his other eye opening moments, to show his children the house where he grew up.
- Vixen By Night: This season has been a constant look at Peggy getting what she asked for without ever getting what she wants. She had a boyfriend, but their relationship was nothing like the image she had in her head. Peggy vacated Don’s shadow only to be shoved back into the office with him after the merger. She fell in love with a married man, knowing she could never truly have him while unable to escape her desire for him. At this point it looks like Ted Chaough was the other Don Draper in the season six poster; after one passionate night with Peggy, Ted begs Don to let him escape his love for her, and prevent the ruin of his family. He is the opposite of Don, the other creative director, the man that knows how to do the right thing—most of the time. Her final moment, in a pantsuit in Don’s office didn’t go unnoticed; without love, we imagine she will continue her rise through the ranks.
- Marcus Constantine: Pete has a new stepfather, and his name is Manolo. Though with his mother lost at sea after being pushed/falling of the boat into the sea his title should be murderer or charlatan. Blaming Bob didn’t really work out well for Pete either; in a smooth coup, Bob quietly made it obvious to Chevy that Pete can’t drive a stick, clearing the path for Mr. Benson to take Chevy as his own. Bob’s involvement with Joan is still a puzzler. We’re quite sure he’s gay we’re not entirely sure she does. Still, whether the murder will be properly investigated is up in the air, though we can’t really see a mystery as big as this being abandoned.
- “I’m your daughter. What do I have to do to get on the list of girls you give money to?”—Margret
- “Well you know what they say about Detroit. It’s all fun and games until they shoot you in the face.”—Roger
- “I’d tell you to go to Hell but I never want to see you again.”—Dick’s Uncle
- “I don’t know why women do anything.”—Ted
- “You want to be alone with your liquor and your ex-wife and your screwed up kids.”—Megan
“In Care Of” was the interpretation of the other shoe dropping. Don is out at work, his daughter is barely talking to him, and his marriage is on its hinges. Waiting for the final season will mean thinking of all the different ways Don can twist his current position into some warped Draper fix. He’s in a place where we can start carving out real truth for himself and his family; it’s just too much to hope that he will. Peggy is in a position to take on some real power at SC&P, and when the dust is settled maybe she’ll spark the relationship with Stan she truly deserves. SC&P is moving out West and Roger is finally getting time with his son. Season seven can’t come soon enough.
Mad Men airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC.
What did you think of the season finale?