burning questions

Questions We Want Mad Men’s Season Finale to Answer

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) - Mad Men - Season 5, Episode 11
Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) - Mad Men - Season 5, Episode 11 Photo: Jordin Althaus/AMC

“Zou Bisou Bisou” feels like a long, long time ago, doesn’t it? Mad Men finishes its fifth season on Sunday, though something tells us the exegesis is just starting. This season has been pretty dark, even by smoky and secretive Mad Men standards, and it’s left us with some lingering questions going into the finale. Here’s what we’re still wondering about — and what we think we’ll get an answer to.

Will Peggy come back to SCDP?
Likelihood of a satisfying resolution:
Low. Oh, we hope Peggy comes back, for good, but that’s just because she’s the best. For character-integrity sake, she should stay gone for at least a little while. It took so, so much for her to leave the agency in the first place that it seems very unlikely she’d come running back two episodes later. (Unless there’s a time jump! Then all bets are off.)

What are Baby Gene’s needs?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: Zero. If you thought Bobby Draper was a nonentity, behold Eugene Draper, the world’s most independent toddler. Sally is a much more interesting character than either of her brothers, but it would be nice to at least acknowledge Gene every once in a while. Can’t he gurgle up a slogan for Samsonite Luggage?

Is SCDP going to land American Airlines?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: High. American has been mentioned many, many times this season, and it harks back to one of Peggy’s first brilliant taglines. Mohawk wanted the Don Draper treatment again — maybe American will, too.

Is Paul getting settled in L.A.?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: A trance-induced zero. We miss you, Paul Kinsey, and we always will. Say hi to Sal, Allison, Hildy, Rachel Menken, Bobbie Barret, Miss Farrell, and all the other Mad Men characters who’ve been cast out of the garden.

How’s Duck Phillips doing these days?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: Medium. Duck was name-dropped in the season premiere (Peggy told Megan not to invite him to Don’s party), and the reappearance of the similarly name-dropped Freddy Rumsen suggests a Duck sighting is a possibility. Plus, Peggy is the one person whose past doesn’t always seem to be haunting her — which in Mad Men terms just means she’s due.

Wasn’t Mad Men going to deal with race this season?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: Medium. The first few episodes touched on race riots and introduced Dawn, but the show hasn’t really mentioned civil rights since. But! This season has been packed with sci-fi references, and as Paul and his Star Trek script (or Rod Serling, or Ronald Moore) can tell you, sci-fi is often a way to address and explore issues of race, ethnicity, social justice, and politics. Mad Men hasn’t exactly used it as such, but that could easily change on Sunday. Maybe through a Ben Hargrove story.

How are Megan’s parents doing? What about Jane’s LSD pals? And Betty’s cancer-fighting acquaintance? And Henry Francis’s mother? And Pete’s insurance salesman train buddy? And that guy’s wife, whom Pete totally had an affair with?
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: Very low. But we sure did get to meet all kinds of new people this season!

So, Pete has this depression/ennui thing going on.
Likelihood of satisfying resolution: High. Not that Pete will be cured of his unhappiness, or that he and Trudy will reach a perfect understanding, but sad, slowly balding Pete Campbell is prepping for some kind of emotional explosion. Lane beat the crap out of him, and then a few weeks later, Pete helped cut the man’s body down. If anyone’s due for a meltdown, it’s Pete.

Questions We Want Mad Men’s Finale to Answer