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.
— Robert Morse, to his wife
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.
– 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: