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Scotch, suits and speculation as ‘Mad Men’ comes to an end

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On April 13, “Mad Men” returns for the first half of its seventh – and final – season on AMC. The show has been lauded for years and continues to be one of the great tour de forces of nuanced emotion on television.

Any great show has passionate fans, including “Mad Men.” Over the years fans have generated theories upon theories about how the series will end. So with the final season approaching, it seems only right to explore some of these theories, from the fantastical to the more realistic, because on a show this vague who knows how it all could end.

One of the more prevalent theories making the rounds these days is that Don Draper (Jon Hamm), “Mad Men’s” anti-hero, will end the series by becoming D.B. Cooper. Cooper, of course, is the stuff of legends. In 1971, Cooper, with his perfectly pressed suit and calm demeanor, hijacked a plane and stole $200,000. He didn’t hurt anyone, allowed passengers to leave the plane before he commanded it toward Seattle, and then he was gone. He mysteriously vanished from the plane before it landed in Seattle, and the attendants and pilots saw nothing since he locked them in the cockpit. It’s a story that’s been told and retold in popular culture many times – so could “Mad Men” be another retelling of an “origin story,” if you will?

Don’s penchant for alternative identities and the prevalence of planes in the last few seasons, combined with his symbolic unraveling last season, may equate to a big reveal – possibly one of mythological proportions.

While far-fetched theories like that are always fun, there are a few more plausible theories floating around. One such theory is that Peggy and Joan, the underappreciated but absolutely necessary women in the office, will start their own ad agency. This is the kind of theory that one hopes is not theoretical. For seasons we’ve seen Peggy’s ascent at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (and before that at Sterling Cooper), and we’ve seen how even with success she still finds her efforts undermined by the men around her.

Joan has been placed in a similar situation. She is the glue that keeps the agency together and an undeniably intelligent cog in the machine. Despite this, though, she is constantly disrespected by the men at the agency, many of whom still treat her like a secretary. As the show shifts into the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the peak of the woman’s movement, it would be quite probable for Peggy and Joan to try their luck elsewhere. And hey, maybe they can get their own spinoff because who wouldn’t watch that?

One last theory that may prove to be the most likely is that Don dies. For the last few seasons we’ve seen Mr. Draper preoccupied with death as it has touched his life continually. He lost a colleague to suicide and was almost a goner himself last season when he nearly drowned in a pool. Is the figure falling out a building in the shows familiar intro really Don? It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Don’s lifestyle will catch up to him in some way by the end of the series. Could that way be in the form of death?

Creator Matthew Weiner has crafted a show built on illusions and mystery, making it an attractive outlet for a theorist. With episode descriptions such as “Don makes a difficult decision” it’s hard not to fill in the blanks yourself. Only time will tell where Don and the ones around him will end up, but here’s to hoping the series finale manages to surpass the breadth of theories that surround the show.

Alexa Hoyle can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Scotch, suits and speculation as ‘Mad Men’ comes to an end”

  1. N. on April 4th, 2014 11:52 am

    I’m pretty sure someone is going to die, but I’d be more into Don reinventing himself yet again. Maybe it will be ambiguous like in the Hawaii “jumping off point” ad concept…

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