In the Season Six Mad Men finale, everyone wants to escape to California and Matthew Weiner proves to me, once again, that mistrusting his knowledge of the characters he created and his abilities as a show-runner is just stupid.
What do I get out of this episode? And out of this season? Well, first of all, I was incredibly satisfied with this final episode. Probably the best of the season. It pulled everything together in a way the show hadn't really done probably since season two, yet another structural element to go with this year's theme. Last season ended with the song "You Only Live Twice" and what came after that was really all about duality: Don's double live and affair with Sylvia, Bob Benson's mysterious past, the remaking of the agency, Teddy Chaough in comparison to Don and Peggy's escape and comeback. Life repeated and showed itself in many colors, and at the end, people were trying to pull off a "Dick Whitman" and try to have a new beginning in California. Not everyone gets to go to the west coast, but the finale is full of new beginnings. So we leave Don listening to "Both Sides Now" (a perfect musical choice) and with a glimmer of hope for the final season of the show.
It was a huge deal, and a great scene when Don sat in that meeting and told all those people about how he grew up in a whorehouse. Yes, he is been more self-involved than ever this season, he's gone to some terribly dark places and done some terrible things, but that moment was truthful. He suffered a great blow when Sally found him in bed with Sylvia. And just when he was about to plan a new escape route, something made him change his mind. He goes, maybe for the first time in his life, for the truth. He, of course, loses everything, but also gains a fresh, new and -most importantly- healthy start.
There might have been a few rough steps, but overall, another terrific season of television!