Monday, June 24, 2013

Currency of Love

Mad Men finales are always bittersweet.  This season ended with one of the most memorable client meetings in the history of the series rivaling Don's pitch for Kodak's Carousel in season one.  Not coincidentally, both episodes took place days prior to Thanksgiving.  During a pitch to the executives from Hershey, Don painted a Rockwellian portrait of his childhood linked to the memory of eating the iconic confection.  And then he course corrected the lie and told the truth.  The harsh truth of being raised an orphan in a whorehouse, and if he collected enough change from the johns' pockets "while they screwed", the girls would give him a dime for a Hershey's bar.  “And I would eat it, alone in my room, with great ceremony, feeling like a normal kid.”  The confession, along with a season of workplace negligence, got him fired, but it also moved him closer to redemption and salvaging his broken relationship with his daughter Sally.  The last image, the long shadows of Don and his children walking to a decaying crumbling house, the whorehouse from his past, made me wistful.  The innocence of the early 60s have certainly passed these characters and the country.  I was born in this tumultuous decade, my life forever shaped by these same movements and historic upheavals.  A part of me wants to hold on to the earlier seasons when Don's darkness was swept under the carpet and his charm hid his dark interior.  Don's drinking was sport, now it's alcoholism.  He is beyond the crossroads of who he may or may not become.  He is a drunk womanizer, an absentee father, a cheater, an irresponsible business partner, a selfish human being.  The die has been cast.  Don has been on this course for six seasons, as the main title sequence has foreshadowed from the beginning.  Will hitting  bottom change him?  Will he be able to pick up the pieces of his life, and if so, who will be there to greet the new version of Don? The Daily Beast's interview with Matt Weiner sheds some light on this season and the future which is all we have until next summer when the final season begins.

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