Watch the extraordinary final scene of the “Mad Men” Season finale in our video player at the bottom of this page.
The season five finale of “Mad Men” was called “The Phantom.” The Phantom turned out to be what Megan what was looking for in her marriage, and what Don lives with in his subconscious: his brother, his family, the Whitmans. It’s also Lane’s ghost hovering over the firm, the romantic life that Pete longs for, and so many other things. Matt Weiner is great at choosing music, so the final scenes were set to Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice”– Don has lived at least twice, two different personas, two marriages (Anna doesn’t really count).
Season 5 was a subtle success. Sometimes it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. The lack of Betty and the overemphasis on Megan was a questionable call. Still we got to the end, heads held high. “Mad Men” is still the best show on TV because the writing never fails to maintain a consistent high. There were some soft episodes in the middle, but by the time “Dark Shadows” rolled around, we had a better idea of what Weiner was up to. From then until the end, he wrote and produced with certainty.
So what’s next? The closing shot of Don’s lascivious look at those two girls in the bar said it all. A wife with a career is not what he wanted. And the Don Draper we had in Season 5 was 40 going on 60. Will we find a new, turned on Don in Season 6. And will any more of the outside world play a part in these people’s lives? Presuming that Season 6 comprises 1967-68, and that the series will end at the conclusion of 1969, there’s a lot Weiner can weave in. Also, there’s now a two part problem with Peggy and Betty, keeping them attached to the story as they’ve been moved to the corners of the canvas.
The real shame is that it’s over for now.