We’re fast approaching the final episodes of Mad Men (beginning Sunday, April 5 — mark your calendars), and soon there will be nothing left to speculate about. Have any of the theories born of Reddit threads and spread throughout the internet come true? Yes, Cooper did die, but no one guessed that it would be Lane who would commit suicide or that Bob Benson was not a spy but just another dude with a fraudulent past. Below, we look back on the biggest Mad Men theories and determine if any of them still have legs going into the finale episodes.
Theory: Megan Draper is Sharon Tate.
The Sharon Tate theory made such impressive internet rounds that Matt Weiner himself ended up having to weigh in. And while he acknowledged the overlap, his response to HitFix makes it seem like Megan will make it through the end of the season:
…The Sharon Tate thing, you know, it’s so flimsy and thin, and at the same time, I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of coincidence.’ I don’t know what to tell you. I would like to think that people would know that the show’s striving for historical accuracy that I would not add a person who was not murdered by the Manson family into that murder. So that in itself is the dumbest argument in the world for me. But I love that people have conspiracy theories, that they have all this other stuff, and I don’t know what to tell you. I immerse myself in ’60s culture from a literary and historical point of view. I’m not a historian. Maybe some of the stuff is just happening, you know.”
Theory: Okay, she’s not Sharon Tate — she’s actually a ghost.
Props to UPROXX for boldly leading the Mad Men conspiracy-theory train — the site’s suggested it all at this point, including a theory that Megan Draper is a ghost. Ooooh, scary! It’s true, Don is known to have hallucinations. “Outlandish, but I’ll buy it,” writes commenter LastSandwich.
Likelihood? Nah. Too many real people have interacted with Megan at this point.
Theory: Don Draper is D.B. Cooper.
In 1971, a man who called himself D.B. Cooper boarded a plane from Portland to Seattle, ordered a drink, and calmly let the attendant know that he had a bomb in his suitcase. He demanded $200,000, parachutes, and a fuel truck in Seattle. After they arrived in Seattle, he let everyone off the plane and then told the pilot to take off. He was never seen again. Crazy story, but not something too far off the Mad Men scale of crazy — Mohawk Airlines, Ted’s plane, Pete’s father’s death, even Don’s pitch for the Royal Hawaiian Hotel has a man disappearing into the ocean.
“I’ve studied both Don Draper and Dan Cooper closely over the years and have found many clues throughout the series that point to their potential connection. Beyond their names, demeanors, the timing of the hijacking, and the sketches of Cooper that look eerily similar to Don Draper, they share an emptiness of motive and morals, wrapped in an odd, isolating kindness, and the need to do something drastic to feel alive,” writes Lindsey Green in a Medium post called “Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins.”
Likelihood? Still plausible! This would get people talking, and Weiner loves to wrap in history.
Theory: Don Draper is the “falling man” from the opening credits.
Ever since the show’s premiere, we’ve been wondering who exactly is falling from the office building. And was it a foreshadow? (Or perhaps just a figurative representation of what it feels like to exist in the world of Mad Men.) All of the possibilities didn’t stop everyone from assuming that this fall was how Mad Men was destined to end — our protagonist Don jumps right out the window. Or perhaps he’s pushed.
Likelihood? Meh, maybe. If this originally were the ending, enough of us have guessed it that maybe it has since been altered.
Theory: No, Pete Campbell is the falling man from the credits.
One of the theories in the running is that it’s Pete who will take the plunge — either figuratively or quite literally. Tracie Egan Morrissey asked the question on Jezebel back in season five, when it looked like Pete might be stepping into Don’s cursed shoes. (And Salon wrote quite a few ways for him to go out.) Is his life in Los Angeles really much better after all? He certainly would like you to think that, but no amount of pastrami can fill the hole in his dark, dark heart.
Likelihood? Small. Pete loves sunny California!
Theory: No, Pete Campbell will get eaten by a bear.
Another genius contribution from UPROXX with really nothing to disprove it. Could Pete get eaten by a bear one day? Yes, of course he could. (We wouldn’t really be worse off, would we?) And there’s more wildlife out there in California, so perhaps a camping trip gone awry?
Likelihood? Still a possibility!
You sadly don’t have much more time to posit theories, so let’s hear them.