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October 10, 2015

Six Mad Men characters who are in limbo after the finale

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 9th 2009 2:02PM
Mad Men Season 3 finale
That was some Mad Men finale, wasn't it? If you haven't seen it yet, please stop reading now, because there was just too much going on for me not to just launch into some discussion.

OK, I'll wait until after the jump to really get into things. But, suffice to say, the end of season three left some characters going down a pretty well-determined path, but others have entered a sort of limbo state, where we don't quite know what their roles will be in season four.

SCDP in Mad Men Season 3 finaleSure, we know that Don Draper will likely be divorced and on the prowl, sinking all of his energy into getting the newly formed firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce off the ground (by the way, how brilliant was it for Don to remember that Pryce had complete authority to fire anyone ... and use that to get them all separated from Sterling-Cooper before PPL sold the company out from under them?). And we know that Harry, Pete, Joan, and Peggy will be helping the partners out. But we're still not sure what place these characters are going to have in the new world order of Mad Men:

Betty Draper and Don Draper in The Grown Ups Mad Men Season 31. Betty Draper: The last we saw of her, she was flying to Reno in order to establish residency to facilitate a quickie divorce from Don. By her side was her new sugar daddy, Henry Francis. After he found out about Francis and called Betty a whore, Don realized that a) "whore" was a loaded name considering who his birth mother was, and b) he had no reason to contest the divorce, given his and their history. So, he let her go in the bedroom of the new SCDP office at the Pierre, then smilingly looked toward the future as he entered the living room.

So, what will Betty's role be in season four? Sure, she'll be involved in Don's life because she's the mother of his children. But January Jones did too good a job this year to be cast off as an ancillary character next year. Will she realize that life with Francis will be just as empty as life with Don and go running back? Will she come to Don for business reasons (I can see her working for the Rockefeller presidential campaign and asking Don to create campaign ads)? Or will we see her in some other capacity?

Paul Kinsey and Ken Cosgrove Mad Men Season 32, 3. Paul Kinsey and Ken Cosgrove: The account man and copywriter were left on the outside looking in after the SCDP folks came through the old office and took as much client info as they could find.

There wasn't much for Ken to do this season except accept his promotion as head of accounts and drive that fateful John Deere tractor into the office. But we know there's more to him -- his writing career, for instance -- than meets the eye. Will he find his way to SCDP eventually, or will we see him try to compete with Pete and try to woo clients as one of the cogs in McCann-Erickson's machine?

As for Kinsey, we all know how much of a pretentious tool he can be. But that's what makes his character so fun. Now that he knows that Don valued Peggy's contributions much more than his -- heck, he knew how talented she was -- I'd love to see how he deals with the blow to his ego. Will he try to weasel his way into the SCDP family?

Salvatore Romano Mad Men Season 34. Salvatore Romano: We haven't seen Sal for a while; the last we saw of him was at the end of the episode "Wee Small Hours", trolling the Village for young men after getting fired from SC for denying Lee Garner Jr.'s advances. We know that Don thinks he's a talented guy, but we also know that Garner and Lucky Strike are the key to the success of the fledgling SCDP firm. Who doesn't want to see Bryan Batt again, though? Perhaps he'll show up in another capacity... maybe as a commercial director for Duck at McCann-Erickson?

Don Draper Suzanne Farrel Mad Men Season 35. Suzanne Farrell: Now that Don's free, will he take up with the ahead-of-her-time (or just batshit crazy?) young teacher? This seemed like more than one of Don's flings, and she would seemingly fit in nicely with the vision of the forward-looking path Don sees his life going in.

Conrad Hilton and Don Draper Season 3 Mad Men6. Conrad Hilton: As we could see by Don's flashbacks in the finale, his dad may have been a bastard, but Don/Dick still loved the guy. The closest Don's come to having a father figure in his life was Connie, with the same conflict of wanting to please him going against the overwhelming desire to be his own man. Since having Hilton as an account -- even with all its requisite hoop-jumping -- would put SCDP on the map, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see Connie come back into the picture quickly. And Chelcie Ross did such a nice job as Hilton, it would be a shame not to have him back.

What do you folks think the fates of these characters will be in season four? Who else is in limbo? Let me know in the comments.

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I'm pretty sure we'll see Conrad Hilton again. As another reviewer pointed out, he set Don on this path quite deliberately, fostering the entepreneurial spirit he thinks he sees in Don. Short-term, Don can do without Hilton's manipulation, especially since it's Don's turn to exercise some control -- and he had little control with Hilton. But long-term, as Hilton promises, they'll meet again.

November 10 2009 at 3:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why betty would ever divorce one man to become totally financially dependent on another is beyond me. she almost had a faint smile on her face as he informed the lawyer she wanted nothing from don. this leaves her and her children dependent on yet another man...how stupid

joan is really to go to just be office manager - how long before they all realize just how valuable she is

don finally took charge

November 09 2009 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Suzanne Farrell? Why on earth did Weiner give this character the same name as the famous ballerina who was already well into her career by 1963?

November 09 2009 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to estnyc's comment

I assumed the Suzanne Farrell name was meant as an homage to the famed dancer. It's not as though the series has been as scrupulous about historical references this season as it was in the first two.

November 09 2009 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that Henry telling Betty not to take any financial support from Don will end up as foreshadowing that things will end badly between Henry and Betty.

I've been wondering if they are planning on making Betty's story arc through the series to be from clueless housewife to independent single mother.

November 09 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the dude

i vote for throwing cosgrove under the bus. kinsey was interesting, he was active with his lady in civil rights, maybe he should resurface but he wouldn't really be missed by me. peggy's priest friend was thrown under the bus after part of a season so high visibility is not a guarantee of continued story line life.

i wonder if the wonder twins that worked with peggy, the young fellas (sport coat and openly gay guy), will resurface later working for peggy?

other than sal, i would not miss any folks from the SC agency, other than as a cameo, that didn't move to SCDP.

connie has to resurface. good to see joan back running the place as office manager.

rockefeller / goldwater ads in 64 which would get don and betts back in contact again? don and roger made disparaging remarks about LBJ at the bar and did work on nixon ads in 60 if i remember correctly.

can't wait till next summer now.
miss mad men all ready.

November 09 2009 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

matt weiner is really sticking to his roots with the anti-hero male lead and the wife who wants out of the marriage instead of doing what the man does and cheat. as much as hypothetically i agree with betty in dumping don, shes such a mean woman (in a way that carmella soprano never really was) that you know its not going to work out.

if they really get divorced then i can see the campaign work being a way to bring her in, i just don't know if the fairy tale of henry francis is going to work out.

November 09 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sure that marrying (another) man she barely knows will have serious repercussions for Betty, and her children. I have to know what happens to Sally!

November 09 2009 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Betty Draper: cast her off! She'll be a fine seldom-recurring character just to check in on her relationships with the kids and her new husband-she-barely-knows. The Don/Betty/suburbs storyline has dominated the series for the past two seasons and too much of Betty's story has been like watching paint dry. The rest of the characters you mentioned are expendable, Weiner nailed it with the core group he kept to start the new agency. And if he let those writers go earlier this fall because they were responsible for a lot of the Betty storyline, bravo.

November 09 2009 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Ah, you're right. Noted and corrected. Any comments on the other 600 words in the post, or just the one small mistake?

November 09 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Duck works for Grey, not McCann.

November 09 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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