“I’d Like to Buy the World a Home…”
A little show called Mad Men signed off this week, ending on a fittingly (and frustratingly) enigmatic note. Don meditates at an Esalen-like retreat after having yet another breakdown and slowly smiles… a bell goes off, making his “aha” moment almost painfully literal… and instead of the credits, the legendary 1971 Coke ad titled “Hilltop” starts to roll. Did Don finally stop running away from his problems and achieve spiritual growth? Did he return to his old ways — i.e., McCann Erickson — and create the ad? Is it possible he did both? Matt Weiner will never tell — and we’ll probably never stop fighting about it.
After a final run of guests that included Bob Dylan, Tom Hanks, and the President, plus about a zillion tributes, Dave Letterman aired his final episode as host of The Late Show this week. Despite his history of creeping on his female guests, something that nostalgia should by no means erase, Letterman is already missed more acutely than his longtime rival Jay Leno. Stephen Colbert will take over Letterman’s slot in the fall, appearing regularly as himself and not his alter ego “Stephen Colbert” for the first time in ten years.
The elder Stark sister’s path to agency reached its peak this week — slapping down Ramsay’s longtime mistress Miranda, then marrying the former (and current, in a different sense) bastard in an eerily beautiful ceremony at Winterfell. And then it all fell apart when Ramsay reminded her that all her leverage disappeared when she said “I do” by raping Sansa on their wedding night. It’s a brutal scene, and whether it’s justified in the context of the show remains to be seen. But it’s certainly a memorable one.
A Black-ish Flashback
The season finale of Black-ish uses a school-mandated family tree as a premise for flashing back to 1920s Harlem, where the series’ regular cast members play ancestors of their current selves hanging out at the Savoy Ballroom, central to the neighborhood’s namesake Renaissance. Also, Diddy and Mary J. Blige show up, but as per usual, the younger kids steal the show.
Captain Pelton: The Winter Soldier
The second Captain America, a tribute to 1970s paranoia thrillers and the most critically acclaimed installment in the ever-expanding Marvel universe, was co-helmed by two longtime Community directors, brothers Joe and Anthony Russo. It’s only fitting that “Modern Espionage,” the now-inevitable seasonal throwback to seminal episode “Modern Warfare,” featured a scene that recreated one of The Winter Soldier‘s best sequences, paintball-style. Playing the role of Cap, Dean Pelton enters an elevator, gets in a close-quarters gunfight, and emerges victorious. It’s the kind of uber-meta joke Community does best.