The Mad Men finale closed Season 4 with high expectations. This Mad Men finale had to end Season 4 by closing a lot of loose ends, with the shadow of past finales hanging over it. After the way the ending of Season 3 changed everything, fans were on edge to see what seismic shifts were in store this time. However, there was no last-minute exodus this year, as the twists in this case were on a smaller scale. Yet the Season 4 finale found a fair share of closure, as Don and the gang headed into Tomorrowland.
Warning: Spoilers follow
Business has gotten no easier at SCDP since Lucky Strikes left and Don took out his controversial New York Times ad. However, Don did make some headway with the American Cancer Association before heading back to California with his kids. This idea was obviously meant to help the kids – especially Sally – have fun before their move.
The Mad Men season finale, and much of Season 4, fueled fears that Sally would have a breakdown at some point. Yet she is still stable for now, whereas Betty is naturally another matter. Her latest bit of anger over Glen caused her to fire Carla for letting him say goodbye to Sally. But it was that decision that triggered the big final twist of the episode.
With no one to help Don take care of the kids in California, he turned to his secretary – and former one night stand – Megan. Their exploits in California, coupled with Don’s final bit of closure over Anna, led him to make an impulsive choice.
Although the last few weeks of Season 4 focused on work, the Mad Men finale focused more on the personal. Don and Betty each started a new life to end last year, but in this year’s ending, they finally left their old lives behind in their own way. This season has been all about the difficulty in starting anew, but now, in work and in life, everyone is starting to truly leave the past behind.
Of course, the issues from everyone’s past are far from being resolved. Because of how impulsive Don, Betty and the others have been, the bottom is sure to fall out eventually. Yet for now, Season 4 ends on a bit of hope, as the colossal shifts in last year’s ending have given way to quieter – but no less important – changes for the future.
Since everyone was waiting for the Mad Men finale to have a massive twist, like in the end of Seasons 1 and 3, they might have been disappointed when it didn’t come. Yet that may be the twist, as Matthew Weiner and company defied expectations one more time, in a different matter.
Now fans have months to look back at Season 4 and the finale before Season 5 premieres sometime in late summer 2011.
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