Kudos to Mad Men‘s Master of the House, Matthew Weiner, for his superb series closing episode which aired on AMC last night. Mad Men, which has run for 7 seasons over 8 years, will now recede back into a secured niche as one of TV’s Best Shows, as well as our own personal entertainment history. Notice I said recede rather than disappear.
I think there has been and will continue to be discussion about how the series ended. People will debate for years about whether or not the fictional Don Draper is the person who created the famous Coke Commercial with a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural collection of people who gathered on a hillside to sing a song about Coca- Cola – I’d Like to Teach the World To Sing.
Some will say that it was Don, and that he got the idea while he was with a group of people who sat on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Don had ended up at a retreat/self-help/commune on the California coast by way of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
And in the midst of the group chanting Om, a blissful smile crosses Don’s face. We aren’t told why this man is smiling…
…but what we see next is the Coke Commercial. Now that actual Coke Commercial, which was entitled Hilltop, was made by McCann Erickson. Don is sitting on a hilltop. Connecting the dots – the conclusion follows easily. However, there’s no way to confirm that Don left California forever and came back to New York. It is up to the viewer to make the interpretation. But it would be foolish to dismiss this out of hand.
But this too was foreshadowed, if only briefly, when another shattered man, an office guy, much like Don in age, told his tale; a tale of shattered dreams, broken hopes, and most of all – a story of a man who felt that he had not mattered at all. Apparently this is what cut Don down to his core – when he saw it in another man, Don crumbled within, but not so much that he didn’t rise out of his chair, and give than fellow an embrace.
An epiphany for Don? A lifting of the deadly weight he carried within himself for all those years?