[SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses key plot developments from tonight’s season finale of “Mad Men.” If you don’t want to know what happened, stop reading now.]
Well, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner promised nobody would die in tonight's Season 6 finale… but he didn't promise that everyone's career would survive.
Consummate ad man Don Draper got his hat handed to him by the other partners at SC&P, who informed him he's taking an involuntary leave of absence from the firm — effective immediately. Citing "questionable behavior" (and following a crash-and-burn pitch with Hershey's), Jim Cutler and the others impassively told Don he'll be taking several months off, with no return date. Joan wore black; Roger could only shrug.
Watch the key scene from tonight's "Mad Men" finale right here:
And they weren't the only ones to cut Don loose tonight: Megan also walked out on her husband after a plan to move to California, and give their marriage a second chance, fell through. (Never mind that it fell through because Don actually did something decent and selfless for once.) So now Don has no place to work, and no one to come home to.
But strangely enough, we think this will be good for Don: He's free of a job that doesn't excite him much anymore, he's free of a wife he didn't really love, and he's free of the lies he's been carrying around nearly all his life — which came spilling out when he ripped off the Don Draper mask and (awkwardly, painfully) revealed his Dick Whitman backstory to the executives at Hershey's.
Trudy told Pete that he's "free of everything," but she could've been talking about Don, too. He was freed from a literal prison tonight; maybe he's finally been freed of an emotional one as well. He's beaten up, he's on the mat… but he is free.
It'll be interesting to see how an untethered Don comes back for "Mad Men's" seventh and final season. Maybe he'll come back as Dick Whitman, and start living authentically for the first time in a long time. Or maybe he'll fall into someone else's bed and start the vicious cycle of indulgence and regret all over again. We're rooting for the former, if only to see Don find a shred of happiness and contentment before the show signs off for good. (Speaking of which, can we please get Jon Hamm an Emmy for playing Don Draper before it's too late?)
Want more "Mad Men"? Click here to see who the big winners are in our "Mad Men" Awards, celebrating the best and worst of Season 6.