The Mad Men finale is over, and as we wait for comment (or more silence) from creator Matt Weiner, insight is trickling in via post-finale interviews with cast members, as well as some pre-finale conversations that mean more now that we’ve seen the curtain fall.
To begin with, Jon Hamm told the New York Times ArtsBeat blog that he thinks Don Draper found inner peace — and then commodified it:
My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There’s a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, “Wow, that’s awful.” But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led.
As for Peggy? She kept plugging away and climbing the ranks, surmised Elizabeth Moss. “We know what happened to those women… they generally kept working, they generally became known for one ad or another, they moved up in the office,” Moss told the WSJ cafe. “They loved what they did, and they were good at it, they kept doing it. I can’t see anything else for her, really.”
Stan Rizzo (aka Jay R. Ferguson) was a member of the “Steggy” ‘shipping contingent. As Ferguson told Speakeasy, both he and the writers lobbied Matt Weiner to make Stan and Peggy happen.
Even though Matt had told me it was never going to happen, every chance I got I would always try to put in a little nuance–a look or an intention in a word–to leave that door open on the stuff they gave me with Lizzie. I was trying to pull my own secret coup. I’m sure everyone on the show picked up on it, but I tried to will that ending to happen as much as I could. I like to believe that in some tiny way I helped it come to pass.
John Slattery spoke to Deadline before the finale, explaining how he kept Roger Sterling’s mustache under wraps. He also reflected on Roger brokering the selling of Sterling Cooper to McCann, which is the catalyst for most of the season:
I think the ongoing discussion of the world of advertising is, where is the soul in advertising? … Is it art or commerce? It’s a cynical world. Roger’s skill is deal-making, it’s managing accounts and managing people and making them feel good and then making the best deal that he can. The best deal on the table is the deal that he puts forth at the beginning of these seven episodes. If they didn’t see what’s coming it’s probably naive of them, but maybe they didn’t want to see it.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) wisely noted that Pete and Harry had opposite trajectories — Pete evolved from heel to mensch, and vice versa for Harry. “They couldn’t get rid of him — he was the guy with the contacts,” said Sommer.
Sommer also relayed a nice secret upside to Harry’s final cookie-chomping scene on Twitter:
- Former supergirl Helen Slater kept her Esalen guru role secret even from her friends.
- Matt Weiner described his finale night of eating spaghetti and hanging out in Hollywood.
- Costume director Janie Bryant acknowledged that the girl with the red braids who helps Don figure out that he can’t leave Esalen any time soon is intentional call-forward to the Coke ad: