TV writers (and writers of TV) predict the end of 'Mad Men'
“Mad Men” begins its final stretch of episodes on Sunday night at 10 on AMC, and we asked a handful of TV critics, as well as several TV producers (some of whom have had experience ending their own shows) to predict what might happen when all is said and done for Don Draper and friends. Some took the assignment very seriously. Some opted for the ridiculous. Some fell in between.
Damon Lindelof (Co-creator, "Lost"/"The Leftovers")
There is a knock on Pete's door. He answers. There's a ten year old child standing there in a suit. "Hello, father..." he says, "I just want you to know that I am going to write a television show one day. And my portrayal of you will NOT be flattering."
Pete runs his hand through his receding hairline, shaken, but imperious. "What's your name, little boy?"
The bastard son glares at his father, "Matthew." he says.
Pete nods. Thinks for a moment. "I'm working on a new campaign for Oscar Meyer. Their hot dog division needs something catchy."
The boy raises an eyebrow, intrigued. He was not expecting this. Pete opens the door, gestures inside. An invitation.
SMASH TO BLACK.
Alan Sepinwall (HitFix)
Once the series escapes the confines of the '60s, we see more frequent and bigger leaps forward in time, giving us glimpses of Joan taking Bob Benson to Studio 54 (and running into Sal), Peggy wearing '80s shoulder pads and presiding over her own shop, Pete and Donald Trump bonding over the unfortunate state of their hair, and finally an elderly Don Draper in a nursing home, being visited by Sally (still played by Kiernan Shipka), finding one more story to tell her about life in the whorehouse.
Daniel Fienberg (HitFix)
Don Draper, facing death due to a mysterious ailment in the early '80s, gathers his children and decides to split his marketing empire into three parts. Sally Draper pouts, but ultimately declares that she loves Don. Bobby Draper (now played by Wes Bentley) trades his piece for a bag of gumdrops. Nobody remembers to invite Eugene and his share is given to Peggy.
Mike Schur (Co-creator, "Parks and Recreation"/"Brooklyn Nine-Nine")
There's only one way it can end, really, anyway: elegantly, expertly, beautifully, and 10% inscrutably.
Katie Hasty (HitFix)
Joan opens up her own shop with lead creative Peggy. Don scores a new gig post-SC&P literally under Peggy as her office coffee table (it's where he does his best thinking).
Louis Virtel (HitFix)
I'm in the minority here, but I think I'll only love the ending of "Mad Men" if Don is murdered by an old acquaintance we've long forgotten about. Who could it be? Heroin addict Midge isn't a terrible idea. Or Joyce, the randy lesbian played by Zosia Mamet. Or the ultra-earnest priest from season two played by Colin Hanks. (He could murder Don, then end the series covered in blood and playing "Early in the Morning" by Peter, Paul, and Mary on his guitar?) I want Don's demise dark and shocking, and I don't want any Lane Pryce-style foreshadowing to prepare us for it.
Al Jean (Showrunner, "The Simpsons")
I predict Don will be working for Peggy and AMC will go back to being a movie channel.
Richard Rushfield (HitFix)
After ambling forward at a stately pace for all these seasons, suddenly in the last five minutes of the show, time speeds up. Years pass in the course of a scenes, decades in minutes. And the ghosts of lost plotllines past leap forth from the dead to assert themselves. Pete and Peggy go to reclaim their child so they can begin a life together but find out that in the seasons since they abandoned the baby, he has grown into --- Bob Benson! Realizing that the reason he resented Bob so much was because he was his son, Pete pledges to be a new man with his reunited family. Sterling's Gold is discovered by a critic and becomes the biggest literary phenomenon since Norman Mailer. Sally's weird friend grows up to be G. Gordon Liddy. Conrad Hilton walks into the office, embraces Don and names him President of Hilton Hotels Moonbase Division. Paul Kinsey leads a cult in the canyons outside Los Angeles dedicated to the notion that Herman's Hermits album "No Milk Today" foretells the coming civil war out of which his group will arise to take over. When Paul recalls that Megan's middle name is a basque translation for "Brown" he sees at last that she is the siren warned of in the ballad, "Mr. Brown You Have a Lovely Daughter" and plots her slaying to ignite the End of Days. Before the cataclysm ignites however, a Congressional oversight committee finally reads a letter that Don wrote in season one complaining very persuasively in ad pitch from of vote fraud in Chicago. They are bowled over and invalidate the election. Nixon is retroactively declared President of the 1960's. He goes back in time and stomps out the hippie movement before it begins. The Eisenhower era lives forever, and the original Sterling Cooper is restored in all its glory. Bert Cooper returns to lead the team in "Brotherhood of Man" and perform a double wedding for Peggy and Pete and Roger and Joan as the curtain falls.