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amy_c
amy_c
Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 7:49 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 7:49 PM EDT
Wow! This was a doozy! Was Don already looking out the window hoping for escape in the end? Loved the little bonding smoke break between Peggy and Joan... who apparently decided to keep Roger's baby. Amazing!

What did you think?
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Greg1835
Greg1835
1. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 10:43 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 10:43 PM EDT
Ok here goes folks, way longgg post alert. But I gave it time and I'm seeing no replies thus far, so I'm gonna post a ton bc yeah I know sometimes people hate a long poster but it's the season finale. And no one else is saying anything so the next group of posts is gonna be me. I try to hold back so I skipped a couple episodes but you know what? You just can't not interact with a Mad Men finale. So let's stir some things up and get a discussion going. (plus the number of character restriction is making it stretch out to more posts).

Change vs. Same

So this season has turned the midpoint of a decade. Midpoints are always seen as tipping points. Change is about reaching a tipping point, and what follows.

So we have the tipping point of a decade, the end of this season taking place in mid-decade, and we have a metaphoric parallel of a tipping point of Mr. Draper.

Tipping points and change: Don has shown us before his gravity toward the wedding cake motif in his moving toward Faye who is uncoincidentally a Betty visual. However, he is now going against the grain and supplanting that with Megan. That's a marriage of tipping point and change.

Change for Don is also being more responsible with his kids. In earlier episodes this season we saw the pics of his kids on his desk, and they were always visually cut off, (best seen in the episode with Peggy late night in the office) either by other objects or literally the frame of the screen. Now, he's being less Don as we know him, and more Dad.

After his literal bottoming out (the brawl with Duck) he's slowly grown more home-like. That's his thing with attracting to the visual of Faye. But now he's gone the furthest yet by bringing his kids to Cali, and doing so with something new, (a change for him) in Megan who is not of the wedding cake motif.
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Greg1835
Greg1835
2. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 10:48 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 10:48 PM EDT
He changes in growing more toward the home-like side of things. He changes in that his ideal of such is not the same anymore.

But... he also battles the idea of the Same. Here's the other and unfortunately more real side of Don.
He kept his promise of his kids meeting Anna, in showing them Anna and Dick's signing the walls (in ink like a contract, if you remember Don's allergy to contracts but he did sign a contract on the wall if you think about it with Anna). That's him introducing them to Anna. He actually kept his word for once, in a sense.

The change in him continues in the restaurant scene with Sally fighting with Bobby. That's very home-like, the kids fighting at the table. The shake spills and what is the result? No fighting but instead it is handled by the soon to be former secretary, playing the role of "mother and a waitress" (if you remember one of the most important lines ever in the series, from the pilot). The waitress cleaning the spill in the restaurant, the mother in charge of the kids. Both metaphors intended.
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Greg1835
Greg1835
3. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 10:49 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 10:49 PM EDT
He's impulsive. He panics in stress at times. Remember when he wanted to run off with Rachel Menkin when Pete busted him, and she thought he was nuts? What he is doing now with Megan is basically the same thing. He's nuts. He's still the same.

Tipping points married with change are supposed to be about the concept of forward. But what is Don actually doing? Moving backward. Marrying his secretary. Moving back in that he is now on par with Roger. The resemblance is not a coincidence between Jane and Megan in both looks and situation, just like the resemblance between Betty and Faye.

It used to be about the motif of the blondy wedding cake image, but is now about the motif of the brunette secretary you get with and end up marrying because it's change just for the sake of change.

Change doesn't always mean better.

He's regressed thinking he's moving forward, which is always a pitfall in the allure of change. New always feels good, like a drug. But it's not alwas right.

One of the things to take out of this finale? Don is still damaged. He for now has simply traded in his oasis from damage in switching from the bottle to Megan. That's all Megan probably will be, a better looking bottle. A bottle that puts out. A bottle that smiles back. He hasn't really changed.

The episode was titled Tomorrowland. The idea of tomorrow always feels good, but it's ultimately up to you to make it good. You still have the ability to make it bad for your own self as well, however. This is Don.
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Greg1835
Greg1835
4. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 10:59 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 10:59 PM EDT
Don at Anna's, the only thing left is the piano. I thought that was homage to Mountain King and Don's first arrival to Anna's from back at one of the prior best episodes. One of the best edits in the series is Mountain King playing as Don approaches and knocks on her door, Anna opens it, Don, very noir-ish there.
And I thought they last season visually referenced that twice when Don would knock on Suzanne Farrell's place. The way they shot it was so visually structurally similar to his showing up at Anna's, reminding us of the metaphor of escapism regarding both Anna and Suzanne in their own respective ways by shooting his arrival to each girl similar looking.

Another example tonight of the idea of change and arrival is even Ken Cosgrove says, "I'm not like Pete." Ken wouldn't sell out his father in law like Pete. And Ken even mentioned the line about when you hire a client that's when you fire them. Ken changes from Pete.

Betty yelling at Henry, "I'm entitled". Remember back when Megan said, I want to learn, I want to do what Miss Olson does? Big difference in both of Peggy and Megan compared to Betty in that regard of Don.
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Greg1835
Greg1835
6. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 11:17 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 11:17 PM EDT

I didn't really get last episode's Glenn and Sally stuff, but notice here how Glenn knocked on Sally's door asking if she was decent, and remember when he in season 1 he did quite the opposite with Betty in walking in on her?

Here, Betty says, "you don't think I know what you're doing? regarding his alleged friendship with Sally. Is Betty really being insensitive mom, or does Betty know about ill intentioned males now, and see that Glenn is only befriending Sally as a way to get Betty's attention?? It's easy to hate Betty, but, is she on to something here because through Don, has Betty learned some things?

Betty's attention is had at the end conversation in the empty home with Don, learning he now has another woman. Is Glenn kind of doing the same thing in a way? Remember a few episodes ago at the restaurant, Betty looking over at Don and his date, Betty getting jealous? Is that what the whole Sally/Glenn thing is about, Glenn using a girl for his own goal to really actually get attention from Betty? Is that what the, "I know what you're doing" remark is about? On the surface it looks like it's about Sally growing up fast, but, is there a lil more that we need to think about? Is Glenn a little Don in the making?

Betty said change in the last dialgue. Stephanie says to Don they both have the rest of their life ahead of them. Change. The combination of "Tomorrowland" and the idea of going West. Change. The 60s thing of moving West to San Fran for change. Don goes West. West, change, metaphors, etc.

There was a lot of layers here. I said before Don put down one bottle just to pick up another in the form of Megan. Isn't that pretty much what Betty did with Henry? Things are not always what they seem, right?

Don speaks in the beginning about moving forward.
But in the end of the episode he only moves back.
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Greg1835
Greg1835
7. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 17 2010, 11:30 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 17 2010, 11:30 PM EDT
The motif of midpoint, tipping points, was addressed yet again with Peggy. Like Don, Peggy has had her own walk along lines; new guard vs old guard. The ponytail brat keeps coming around, yet that crowd doesn't appreciate Peggy's work which is SO important to her. But the old guard doesn't do so as much either, until recently. Peggy's constantly like a sinking ship that lists from port to starboard all this season. Which is she? Since last season, Peggy has been searching for her identity.

I thought ponytail brat was there to softly force Peggy to make a decision on which side to fall. Ponytail has done this before.

So you have Peggy, at a midpoint of her decisions in life, just like Don. Ages different but situation the same. Midpoint, both. Tipping point, both. It's a midpoint of the decade, it's the tipping point of the decade. Again, metaphors intended.

And if you notice Ken gave her credit saying Peggy did it regarding landing the acct at the end. Isn't that part of what she wants? Remember her to Don, "you never say thank you." Remember Allison wanting some sort of recognition and Don was all dumb saying whatever, just write something, I'll sign it". But, Ken, old guard, gives that to Peggy. Don sort of does too when they talk. Peggy's own dilemma.

So I guess Peggy is a typical girl dealing with typical guys, in that she's left to interpretation of their accolades, like Jane Goodall having to interpret another language.

Don is damaged, apparently beyond repair. He is trying to move forward but only really moving back. He is lost. He, after all this, all these different choices of avenues with women, he is still lonely. He put down one bottle to only pick up another bottle in the form of Megan.

Best line of the episode? "You only like the beginnings of things..."

See you next August....
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setharmstrong
8. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 18 2010, 6:38 AM EDT | Post edited: Oct 18 2010, 7:03 AM EDT
"Wow! This was a doozy! Was Don already looking out the window hoping for escape in the end? [Joan] apparently decided to keep Roger's baby. Amazing!

What did you think? "
It's hard to say what Don's looking out the window meant. I hope he wasn't already thinking of escape. I got the impression he was just reflecting on how much had changed in such a short time. He's probably scared. He's coming down and it's all starting to sink in.

Dr. Faye's reaction was interesting. She was pretty restrained I think considering how she's been known to react (that phone conversation). (Don should watch his back. She might have him whacked.) It couldn't ever have worked with her, because Don wants to come home and find a steak on the table. Dr. Faye would never have given up her career. It's hard to say, do you think he would really make Megan a copywriter? I got the impression he's expecting her to be at home from now on.

I wasn't very surprised that Joan kept the baby, but really they could have gone either way so I was still a little surprised. And pleased. It will work out well for when her douchebag husband bites it in Vietnam - either from a bullet or an STD from a hooker who loved him long time.

I liked Cosgrove a lot more this episode than at almost any other time in the past. He has always seemed like such a corporate stooge, a company man, albeit one less slimy and ass-kissing than Campbell. I wonder if he's still writing?

Since Lucky Strike is gone, I wonder if next season we might possibly see the long-awaited return of Sal?

Btw, Megan and Megan's friend. It's nice to see they hired some actresses who aren't faking bad accents. All this time and I hadn't actually recognized Jessica Paré. I hope her friend doesn't get mixed up with that Bob Crane! ;-)
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setharmstrong
9. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 18 2010, 6:59 AM EDT | Post edited: Oct 18 2010, 6:59 AM EDT
"Change for Don is also being more responsible with his kids. In earlier episodes this season we saw the pics of his kids on his desk, and they were always visually cut off, (best seen in the episode with Peggy late night in the office) either by other objects or literally the frame of the screen. Now, he's being less Don as we know him, and more Dad."
Marginally more responsible. He still had to hire someone to take care of them. He's a man of his time, I guess, and dads didn't do much back then. These days he'd probably be capable of looking after them himself. The idea that he'd change a diaper is just unthinkable to him.
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superhero50
superhero50
10. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 26 2010, 10:44 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 26 2010, 10:44 PM EDT
Finally - back on line!

I would not try to analyse the metaphors – I’ll leave that to Greg (he does it so well).

I loved that letter to the NY Times – it’s just the sort of left field surprise we expect from Don.

When Sally spilt the milkshake I was thinking how different Megan’s reaction was to what we would expect from Betty and that this was clinching the deal for Don.

I had forgotten Joan’s line from the pilot “.. most of the time they are looking for something between a mother and a waitress”. Excellent pick Greg.

Best line – “You know all I want to know.” “Yes honey – they’re bigger”.
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superhero50
superhero50
11. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 27 2010, 2:58 AM EDT | Post edited: Oct 27 2010, 2:58 AM EDT
I also didn't get the Glenn and Sally stuff.

We know Betty is suspicious of Glenn because of the inappropriate and somewhat creepy attention he gave her in earlier episodes. So it is reasonable for her to not want him seeing Sally.

But why did she say “I know what you are doing”.? What is he doing?
At first I thought he just wanted to get close to Betty. But he ran away when confronted like he was scared of her.

Is it simply that Glenn and Sally are friends and through Betty’s reaction we are seeing more of Betty’s neurosis?
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amy_c
amy_c
12. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 28 2010, 6:47 AM EDT | Post edited: Oct 28 2010, 6:47 AM EDT
"When Sally spilt the milkshake I was thinking how different Megan’s reaction was to what we would expect from Betty and that this was clinching the deal for Don.
"
That's exactly what I was thinking! Betty would have lost it and Don had a knee-jerk reaction because he was used to that kind of response.

As for Betty's reaction to Glen, I think that's exactly what it was -- her neurosis. Maybe she's very concerned about appearances or maybe she suffered some sort of sexual abuse as a child. We could learn more about the birth of Betty's behavior in future seasons.

Either way, I think Glen was honestly just being a friend to Sally. They had common ground being children of divorce. It was probably much more rare back then.

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superhero50
superhero50
13. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Oct 30 2010, 6:09 PM EDT | Post edited: Oct 30 2010, 6:09 PM EDT
"Dr. Faye's reaction was interesting. She was pretty restrained I think considering how she's been known to react (that phone conversation). (Don should watch his back. She might have him whacked.)

Since Lucky Strike is gone, I wonder if next season we might possibly see the long-awaited return of Sal?"
We now have two ex-lovers that know Dons secret (Betty and Dr Faye).

The term "woman scorned" comes to mind. I don't thing either are happy about the engagement with Megan. It is possible that one of the major plot points in the next season may be Don being 'outed'. All things are possible (except Don getting out of the advertising business).

Speaking of 'outed' Seth made a good point about Sal returning. I personally would like to see Sal again - I liked the guy and his situation made for great dramatic content.
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setharmstrong
14. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 2 2010, 5:07 PM EDT | Post edited: Nov 2 2010, 5:07 PM EDT
I wouldn't be surprised if Don's secret comes out next season. Betty and Dr. Faye know, as well as three people at the office. I don't know what the law is or was for desertion but I doubt the penalty would be that stiff. And it's not like they'd want to send someone near 40 to Vietnam. I can't claim to know much about that, so maybe they would in the final years of the war if they were desperate enough.

I wonder what will happen with Megan. Will she keep working at the firm? Don must know she'd never be happy being a housewife - and hopefully he'll have learned his lesson with Betty.
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superhero50
superhero50
15. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 2 2010, 9:37 PM EDT | Post edited: Nov 2 2010, 9:37 PM EDT
"I don't know what the law is or was for desertion but I doubt the penalty would be that stiff. And it's not like they'd want to send someone near 40 to Vietnam."
At this stage of the war the Hawks were holding sway. Protesters were seen as long haired radicals and pro communist sympathisers. This was not a good time to be seen as anti-military. I think it would go bad for Don in that climate.

Certainly he would not be sent to Vietnam, they would not want a deserter in the ranks - it is bad for moral. You would expect that he would be sent to jail except he has money - rich guys don't go to jail.

Contrast this to the Russian army in WWII. On the Eastern Front they had battalions made up of criminals/deserters that were sent against the Germans as pure cannon fodder. Casualty rates were 100%. I have a German friend whose father tells stories about mowing down 18 year old Russian solders who were so drunk they could hardly walk.
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superhero50
superhero50
16. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 2 2010, 9:49 PM EDT | Post edited: Nov 2 2010, 9:49 PM EDT
"I wonder what will happen with Megan. Will she keep working at the firm?"
In the sixties the number of married women in the workforce increases dramatically (despite getting 40% less pay for the same job). Joan is married - but she is the only one we know of .

Despite this I think it would be difficult to have Don's wife working for him.
This does not even happen these days.

However if we could predict what is going to happen in the show then we would not love it like we do :-)

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setharmstrong
17. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 3 2010, 7:44 AM EDT | Post edited: Nov 3 2010, 7:44 AM EDT
"As for Betty's reaction to Glen, I think that's exactly what it was -- her neurosis. Maybe she's very concerned about appearances or maybe she suffered some sort of sexual abuse as a child. We could learn more about the birth of Betty's behavior in future seasons.

Either way, I think Glen was honestly just being a friend to Sally. They had common ground being children of divorce. It was probably much more rare back then.

"
Based on what Betty's said in the past she no doubt has suffered mental abuse from her mother.

I agree with you about Glen.

I felt sorry for Carla, and was disappointed Henry couldn't have grown a pair and forced Betty to apologize and offer her job back.
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superhero50
superhero50
18. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 3 2010, 2:11 PM EDT | Post edited: Nov 3 2010, 2:11 PM EDT
"I felt sorry for Carla, and was disappointed Henry couldn't have grown a pair and forced Betty to apologize and offer her job back."

I felt the same way.

However he told her off pretty strongly - which was good to see.
And it was necessary (from a plot point of view) that Don be left without a baby sitter so that he would take Megan.

Of course, when a character leaves then there is room for someone new.

I've been thinking some more about when Betty said to Glen “I know what you are doing”. Perhaps we should take this at face value and assume that she knew Glenn was giving advice to Sally on how to handle her mum i.e. he was interfering in their family.
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amy_c
amy_c
20. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 17 2010, 6:25 AM EST | Post edited: Nov 17 2010, 6:25 AM EST
Oh, the Carla situation was insane. I love how Henry is now this disheveled mess, swilling beer in a darkened living room. Betty has ruined the poor guy! Well, it's not like he got to know her before jumping in. He just saw a pretty blond.

And later she stomps off and lies down on a children's bed. She is just a spoiled little girl. I'd like to see some growth for Betty. Can't believe she was throwing herself back on Don after one argument with Henry. Check your head, Betty!


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setharmstrong
21. RE: Season 4 Finale - "Tomorrowland"
Nov 23 2010, 5:54 AM EST | Post edited: Nov 23 2010, 5:54 AM EST
It makes you wonder how long Don knew her before he married her. 1  out of 1 found this valuable. Do you?    
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