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September 1, 2014

Mad Men: The Wheel (season finale)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 19th 2007 12:10AM

Mad Men

(S01E13) "Who knows why people do what they do?" - Don

True story: About 20 years ago, I worked with a woman who was overweight. She wasn't feeling well one day - I think she had an upset stomach - so she left work and went to the doctor. She found out that she was 8 months pregnant. Not a month or two months, but about a month before the baby was due.

I thought of that tonight after watching the season finale of Mad Men. So many things answered and so many doors left open for a second season...

Well, for you readers who have commented on my reviews and guessed that Peggy is indeed pregnant...you're right! Shortly after Don promotes her to a Junior Copywriter (Pete has to work with her on the new Clearasil account and isn't happy at all), she starts to feel sick and goes to the doctor, who promptly tells her she's going to have a baby. I honestly thought that she was just getting fat and an "overweight woman defines herself in the new independent 60s" plot was in the offing, but they actually waited until the season finale to not only unload her pregnancy on viewers but also actually have her have the kid immediately! But she doesn't even want to hold the baby (Pete's kid). That's going to be an interesting plot for the second season.

That was the big revelation in this episode, but not the only one.

- When Francine cries to Betty about finding out via telephone bill (weird telephone bills, a bunch of blue index cards in an envelope??), I knew she'd check Don's telephone bill (I guess wives didn't check the phone bills in 1960?). I thought she'd find Midge's number or maybe Rachel's but she finds the psychiatrist's number? I love how she proceeded to say things to him in the session that she knew Don would later hear.

- Hey, Glen the creepy kid makes an appearance! Is anyone kinda weirded out by Betty wanting to bond with him and talk about her troubles? I expected him to ask her out or something, but his mom might have shown up and ruined it.

- I don't get the scene with Pete and his wife and inlaws near the end. He walks in, they're waiting for him, and he drops his coat on the floor and goes to bed? Someone explain that to me. Are the inlaws so intent on having a grandkid that they come over to make sure Pete and their daughter are having sex every night and doing it correctly?

- It's always fun to see what exactly each episode title means. I had no idea that the Kodak Carousel would not only be what the title refers to but would be the thing that would snap Don out of his secretive, affair-infested, brother-killed-himself haze and see what he had in his life with his family. Too bad they left for Thanksgiving without him.

- If this show was on ABC, Ayn Rand books would be flying off the shelves.

A great end to a great first season. This is the best show on television. It's smart enough to have some cliffhangers in the season finale, but not outlandish ones (a murder, amnesia, an explosion, whatever) . These plots really have you wishing for the new season to start but aren't so wild and mysterious where you think they've gone too far. Too bad the next season doesn't start til next summer.

(If you recorded the show or plan to catch a repeat later, make sure you stay for footage from the wrap party and interviews with the cast after the credits.)

What storyline did you enjoy most this season?
Don's secrets414 (38.5%)
Pete and Peggy148 (13.8%)
Roger's affair with Joan and heart attack36 (3.3%)
Sal's secret gay life48 (4.5%)
Betty's troubles131 (12.2%)
All the advertising stuff at Sterling Cooper298 (27.7%)

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tbc

Now that we have seen the 1st episode rerun (again), we know that Pete got married and got Peggy pregnant in March. I thought the time line was off. When she was in the Dr.'s office, she looked at the calendar on the wall. I remember just looking at the year the first time I saw the show.

November 03 2007 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison

I've lived the better parts of Peggy's young professional life (taking a weird and complicated route from secretary to junior copywriter). I just ADORE this show, as so many others have confessed - thought the finale was fantastic.

I was also a little bugged by Peggy's compressed gestational period - seemed like an easy out, not typical of this show; think Pete Campbell is the biggest weasel; loved the Carousel pitch to the Kodak guys. (I wonder if that's how the original pitch was conceived by Kodak's ad agency? It is a flawless metaphor, so beautifully executed by Draper.) Can't wait till Don's next call to the shrink!

Wonder why Betty was the only cast member we didn't see in the wrap party footage...? And yes, they all seemed as sloshed as their characters usually are on the show. No fourth wall broken there.

Predictions for next season: Sal will fly out of the closet after attending an Andy Warhol show at the Met; Peggy and Cosgrove will hook up - I'm starting to like him more, he's cut of a somewhat finer cloth than most of the other suits at S/C; Don will spend the better part of next season trying to rescue his marriage as Betty starts to explore her own wild side.... And I'm sure (I hope!) we'll see more of Don's weird family of origin.

Anyway, thanks for this great forum. I will miss this show terribly until next summer.

October 24 2007 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Age-K

I don't remember where they said they were, and I didn't actually look at the address, but I remember Don or Betty saying something about living somewhere in Westchester (county), which is north of Manhattan, not on Long Island. Plus, no address on Long Island would actually include the words "Long Island" in it (unless it's Long Island City, which is technically in Queens, though still geographically on the island), since the address would say Town, NY. Otherwise that would be like someone saying "Pensacola, Panhandle, Florida."

October 22 2007 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jabes54

I'm really surprised the writers did not just reveal Peggy's pregnancy. It would have been so much more dramatic to watch her dealing with it all next season, and the timing would have made so much more sense (see comment above about when she slept with Pete vs. when he got married).
I love this show, but it seems like the writers take the quicky out of some story lines which is jarring when the rest of the show is so amazingly good.

October 22 2007 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Shifty

AMC re-starts the season in November so get your friends to watch it. The second season will probably start in late July so the DVD will be out in June or July 2008. Can't wait.

October 22 2007 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jackson

no one mentioned the closing song? bob dylan! nice job, amc.

October 21 2007 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

Reese, a second season has already been green-lighted.

Chris, if you watched the end of the episode, AMC said the show would be back next summer.

October 21 2007 at 3:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Reese

I think the name the doctor mentioned was "Mrs. Alderson."

Anyway, I love, love, LOVE this show.

The writing is beyond brilliant, the cinematography is as beautiful as some of the most extravagant films you'll ever see and...

I hope to hell it comes back for an Encore Season.

Why?

Because, I've found very few people who have even a smidge of a hint of a clue as to what I'm talking about when I say to them...

"Hey, how 'bout that 'Mad Men' ~ you know, the new show on AMC, from Matthew Weiner? About Madison Avenue... in 1960?"

Typical Response: "What's AMC?"

This will probably sound slightly fey (And no, I don't mean Tina) but what the hay...

The scene where Don delivers the presentation for the "slide carousel" was so pitch-perfect, in every tiny detail from the tempo, to the tone of his voice, to his use of the line, "The word nostalgia, translated from the original Greek..." ~ I gotta admit, I got a little misty-eyed there for a sec.

Of course, being in the ad biz myself, it could have just been a case of "Me feeling sorry for me," as in: "Damn... I wish to hell I'd written that!"

October 21 2007 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Reese's comment
defortun

Oh yeah! The moment in the presentation, after the wind up, after the Greek roots, right after he says, "It's not a wheel, it's a.." and I'm whispering, "Carousel" right along with him. Genius. This show is so great.

November 29 2007 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jaycee

The doctor says the name of another patient who obviously calls him at home at inappropriate times--no caller ID! This show is awesome--can't wait for the return. The wrap party footage was cool. Seeing everyone in their normal clothes was weird! And they were all drinking a lot just like on the show...

October 21 2007 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erin

Martha asked, "did anyone catch the name of the town, and the rest of the address? It looked as if the street began with the word "Bullet." I think I saw "L.I." (Long Island) in the address, but maybe not. Thanks."

I didn't see the address, but the Drapers live in Ossining, about 45 minutes north of Manhattan by train.

October 20 2007 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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