Six Mad Men characters who are in limbo after the finale
by Joel Keller, posted Nov 9th 2009 2:02PM
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.
Sure, 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:
1. 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?
2, 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?
4. 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
5. 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.
6. 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.