Mad Men Mondays: Waterloo | 707

COULDN’T DO IT EARLIER, BUT HERE IT IS NOW — BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE FINALE
this article is full of spoilers — don’t read unless you’ve seen WATERLOO !


With characters suffering bloody, gruesome deaths in the biggest hit shows of the season, it’s nice that Mad Men can still surprise us with the quiet and poignant passing of a giant character that has been a constant presence since the very beginning of the series, Bert Cooper. The senior partner died off-screen, his last known word a reflection of how we could describe Robert Morse’s work for seven seasons: Bravo.

It’s a different kind of shock: one that doesn’t make you look away in disgust, or revel in seeing the main character slaughtering every person on the show (we fannibals are sick), but rather something more sentimental that despite the tears is incredibly sweet and loving.

The emotional distress of Bert‘s passing affects the characters too, being more acutely felt by Roger, to whom the former was a mentor and a dear friend. However, it’s Don‘s grief that brings Bert back for one last great performance, in a kind of hallucination that has the 60s star of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying dancing and singing his socks off.

Cooper breaks character in Don‘s mind to deliver a very special message: the best things in life are free. In an episode that runs partially on greed, where some of us probably agreed with Jim because it really was a lot of money, the cliché yet often discarded notion that success and wealth isn’t what life’s about has Don shaking and struggling to keep his balance. Well, that and the fact that he’s just seen a dead man sing and dance like in some broadway musical.  

I told her it was a marvellous way to go and handled beautifully. 
I told her, “You know, Matt [Weiner] was on The Sopranos,
where they just shoot people.”

— Robert Morse, to his wife

Lighting up the episode was Don‘s incident with his secretary Meredith, arguably the funniest scene of this half season: having him processing the possibility of getting fired for good, and at the same time handling Meredith as she completely misreads their relationship, finally gathering the courage to make a move on her boss, is some genius comedic writing. To finish up with Don not even caring about getting his tissue back and Meredith still seeing that as a gesture of love was just the cherry on top — it didn’t even matter if Don was fired; for that scene alone, it would’ve been worth it.

But this half-season finale emotional roller-coaster doesn’t stop here: still laughing from this last interaction, we watch Don get all fired up and burst into Cutler‘s office, our hearts immediately screaming PUNCH HIM!, only to be floored and burning with anger by Cutler‘s vile remarks.

But not to worry: comedy’s right around the corner again, with Don getting all the partners together; expect Harry. The poor guy just wants to hang out but Joan snaps “Your not a partner yet” (Joan and Roger are the perfect fit or what?), and Ken Cosgrove simply stands there smiling — again, Ken. is. us.

One more hating Harry moment to keep us happy till next year: 

other notable moments:
Sally acting like Betty, smoking and kissing Neil, the astronomer.
Betty describing Don as “someone a teenage anthropologist would marry”.
Don embracing his new altruistic self, giving Burger Chef to Peggy and acting all nice and proud.

Another devastating phone-call between Megan and Don. We’ll miss Jessica Paré. But not Megan.
Peggy saying goodbye to Julio.
This shipper’s dream:

– I don’t normally like to have tons of gifs and pics on a single post, but Pete’s face is half the fun in what was my favourite Pete-line of the episode: 
Mad Men recaps return next year, for the seven final episodes! 
In the meantime we’ll look back at some of Mad Men’s finest moments. 
Don’t despair.

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