Tuesday, October 19, 2010

At the Mountains of Madness- Part Thirteen: "Tomorrowland"

We've come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good,
I have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should

Spoilers! (as if you didn't know what happened this week...)

Jordan: Here it is, ladies and gentlemadmen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the cherry on top of what has been arguably the best season of Mad Men yet, guaranteed to delight, excite, and get the ol’ noggin a-spinnin’. And it certainly did all those things, but in that uniquely Mad Men way that made this THE MOST FRUSTRATING SHOW EVER WHAT THE HELL WHY DID YOU DUMP FAYE I HATE YOU DON DRAPER.

Boivin: Anyone will tell you that came out of (seemingly nowhere). But I think it’s just not Don’s nature to take something good when he has it. He and Faye were now seemingly free to pursue their relationship in the open, no more sneaking around. But what does Don do the second that happens? He goes and gets all Roger Sterling on us and proposes to Megan, his secretary. The man can’t even go two years without setting up another Betty in his life.

Jordan: You know, I was talking to my roommate (mom) about this and I realized that this show makes you rethink what this season meant in terms of Don’s return to his former life. We, at the beginning of the season, saw Don at the nadir of his professional career and personal life, unable to stay sober in either locale. But part of the pleasure of this season has been seeing Don scrape his way back up to his former glory. But, as creator Matt Weiner reminds us with gleeful spite, we didn’t like everything about the old Don. And the new Don, though sad as hell, did have some redeeming (Faye-related) qualities.

Boivin: I think you’re absolutely right. This is Don as he was, we shouldn’t be so surprised: only a few characters on the show (i.e. Peggy, Faye) really are. Even though we all sort of hate Don for breaking Faye’s heart, I’m tempted to take his side. I genuinely believe he loves Megan in a way that only Don Draper really can. I feel like his proposal was also partially for the sake of his kids, and can you blame him? If your offspring were spending 80% of their time with Betty Draper wouldn’t you try and get them a new mommy? And a cute French-Canadian one with absolutely charming teeth at that?

Jordan: My roommate (mom) said her teeth were ugly! I couldn’t disagree more. Seriously, did Jessica Pare look anything other than radiant in this episode? If we’re seeing Megan through Don’s eyes, what a sight she must be to behold. And I think you’re completely right about loving her in only the way he can, which means that he probably really does love her but loves her partially because she’s in awe of him and will also probably cheat on her like a mother. But I will miss Faye, not only because I sympathize with her as a character, but because I just like having her around. It’s like a friend breaking up with a girl you always liked.

Boivin: Don’s friends (i.e. his co-workers, the only people he ever socializes with) seem to like her too, but then of course they never knew about Faye in the first place. I can’t help but wonder what the next season will hold for Megan. Is Don actually going to make her a copywriter like Joan predicted? I would be curious to see that because I think she was actually genuine about her interest in it and her professional admiration for Don and Peggy. But will the cool-headed sexretary of this season give way to a less-than-professional wife next season?

Jordan: Less-than-professional as a wife or less-than-professional as a professional? Yeah, I think Megan certainly is Betty 2.0: smarter, more creative, sexier, fitter, happier, more productive. I’m predicting that Megan and Don’s marriage will follow the same arc as his and Betty’s but because this show is so adept at frustrating expectations, it’ll probably be something more interesting. Maybe Megan will stand up to Don, or maybe she’ll remain smart and sexy but ultimately obedient. But I have to think that the show will end up with Don on a definite path, either as a repentant ex-womanizer or a hateful, Daniel Planview-esque monster. Then again, Weiner wrote for The Sopranos, so maybe he’ll just piss everybody off in the end.

Boivin: I will never stop believing. I would like to go on the record for liking The Sopranos’ ending. Speaking of things I like: how about that scene between Joan and Peggy? Looks like they’re burying the hatchet. “Us girls have to stick together” and all that. I do think it means a lot that Peggy is the only one who isn’t exactly patting Don on the back for his second marriage and that’s because she’s the only one who really knows him.

And Joannie’s keeping the baby!

Jordan: Definitely saw that baby thing a mile away, and I’ll predict, right now, that Dr. Rapenstein gets killed in Vietnam and Joan raises the kid herself. Which, for the record, I see as being a tremendously positive thing. It’ll be tough but if anybody’s strong enough to be a single mom, it’s Joan Fucking Holloway.

I did love how Joan and Peggy’s conversation felt subversive rather than just catty. These women are now no longer complaining half-heartedly about the men they really love; they’re now being truly honest about how awful these men can be. I’d honestly love to see a, for lack of a less lame name, "Mad Women" show set a decade after this one. Well, I basically just want this show to go on forever in whatever form. BRING ON OLD DON DRAPER.

Boivin: Joan Holloway can be my single mom any day.

Speaking of old, the last episode of the season was Don and Betty back in the old house. I think it was a fitting sendoff for the season where so much changed and it looks like next year will be ever more different but new stations in life are being settled into.

Jordan: Speaking of sendoffs, it’s truly been a pleasure doing this column with you, Mr. Boivin. I’ll miss our witty repartee, stinging cultural commentary, and generous lack of copy-editing. And your butt.

Boivin: Well, don’t get so sad! Come back at this time next week for “At the Mountains of Madness: Afterhours” where we’ll dissect all the hottest Mad Men offseason-related rumors and news developments! Is Jon Hamm hosting SNL again? Did Christina Hendricks lose weight? Is Elisabeth Moss’ Scientology ruining anyone else’s marriage?

Just kidding, we do have lives you know.

Jordan: No we don’t.