Mad Men Unwind: Why Can’t We All Be Happy For Don?

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Last night's finale of Mad Men threw everyone for a loop. Where we thought there was going to be at least one double-murder/suicide (our bets were on Betty up until the last 5 seconds of the episode, or maybe a Sally/Glen thing, but definitely Roger Sterling if no one else was going to do it), we ended up with what amounts to, at least on Matthew Weiner‘s period drama, a “happy ending.” So why was everyone so pissed?

Spoiler Alert: the main reveal in the finale is that Don goes to California and proposes to Megan, his secretary, seemingly apropos of nothing, especially given those giant horse teeth she has and how she basically looks like a French-Canadian version of all his other bang-retaries. But he “loves” her? And he has for awhile? Since when? We all thought he was in love with Dr. Xanax lady, who he's already told his deep dark Dick Whitman secret too. With their company barely getting by and Don coming back from his vacay all goofy-eyed and smiley — like he was the actor Jon Hamm instead of Don friggin' Draper — we could see how viewers would feel a little bit cheated. As our editor Meghan Keane tweeted last night: “I think Mad Men just reminded us all why everyone hates the 70s.” Too Brady Bunch for a program that we've grown to love for its hard-drinking men and their subsequent spiral of depression?

But why can't the finale be “good” just because it was “happy?” After all, Megan is probably the best step-mother for Don's kids out of all his lady-loves, and in truth that seems to be the only reason he picked her for his new bride. And if he's happy, welp, so be it. Peggy and Joan gossiping about how hard it is to be a real working woman (pretty or not, apparently, since you get screwed either way): Don't worry, your time will come. It's only how many years since we invent NOW?