The sadness of seeing this wonderful show end slowly dawned on me as I watched this latest episode Sunday night. The show had just ended, and I was getting ready to turn to the TV off, when I heard the announcement that there were only four episodes left. My first reaction was that it wasn’t enough. There will be others who feel the same.
This week’s episodes, entitled “New Business”, saw the return of a few familiar characters. Betty makes a brief appearance, when she informs Don she’s going back to college to purse a masters in psychology. Veteran viewers will pick up on the irony, considering that Betty was seeing a psychologist at the behest of Don during the first season. Perhaps this is a foreshadow of things to come to full circle? The recall at the beginning of the episode certainly seemed to hint at it, showing events from two seasons ago when Don had a brief hookup with his ex-wife. One fan theory made the prediction that Betty and Don would get back together. It’s unlikely, but you never know with this show.
Elsewhere, Don and Diana, the mysterious waitress from the previous episode, hookup. We learn about Diana’s past history, and a secret she withholds from Don. I’m curious to see where this relationship goes. Don and her have a lot in common, almost to the point that we can joke that Don’s dating himself. Both are running from a past life and struggling to find a new identity. Can we make anything of both their names beginning with the letter “D”? I can’t believe Weiner and co. would spend the last stretch of episodes on a throwaway romance. I was actually listening to a TV podcast from Vulture magazine when the insightful Matt Zoller Seitz made the comment that Matt Weiner seems to base the show’s narrative off of The Odyssey, specifically with the roles that women play in Don’s life love. I can only wonder if Diana will be the final women in his journey, the one to bring him home.
The episode wasn’t without a hefty dose of humor. One subplot had Peggy and Stan getting hit on by a artsy photographer named Prima. Meanwhile, Roger had a crisis with not one but two secretaries, forcing him to hide in Don’s office. But the biggest laugh involved the interaction between Megan’s very French mom and her zeal for Don’s furniture.
It wasn’t the best of episodes, but like the worst of Mad Men episodes, they’re still better than 90% of the junk we call TV. And as much as a I love this show, there’s only four episodes left. I have no idea where it’s headed. The major theme of this mini season has been about the swapping of woman in Don’s life. First we had the death of Rachel, who was one of the few healthy relationships in Don’s life, and now we have Diana, who Don said reminded her of someone he knew. My only guess is that we’re going to see the ultimate maturation of Don. And I can always hope that Peggy starts her own firm. That’s part of the fun of the show. It always leaves me guessing.