Well, it's the end of an era. Mad Men came to the end of its seven season run last night. In some minds, the finale cemented the show's legacy; in others, it disappointed. That's no surprise. Constructing the final episode of a great series seems to be one of the most daunting and difficult tasks in television. Let's face it, every fan of these shows has already written their own ending, all different, and you can't please everyone. The only finale I can think of that is discussed with universal approval and high regard is the Mary Tyler Moore Show and honestly I've never seen it. The best that show-runners like Matthew Weiner can do is to stay true to their characters, gently guiding them across the finish line. There is so much pressure to knock it out of the park while also providing closure, I'm sure there is an abundance of second-guessing and hand wringing that goes on during the writing process. It seems that final episodes often "try too hard." The Seinfeld finale probably fit that description. Certainly one of the greatest comedy series ever, its finale was hated by almost everyone. So what about Mad Men's series finale...?
The ending wasn't perfect, but it was fitting.
The penultimate moment; the one Weiner had been working toward for nearly a decade, occurred in the series' final sixty seconds. Reaching that moment necessitated having your lead character on the opposite side of the country and separated from all the other characters for the entirety of the episode. Not ideal. But, the more time I have to consider it, the more satisfied I think I'll be. It is what it is and, most importantly, the greatness of this series does not rest on one episode. The final half-season alone provided a multitude of perfect moments and at least four masterpiece episodes. Due to this being a golden-age of television, I can't even necessarily say that Mad Men was the best show on TV this year. But, I can say with 100% certainty that Mad Men is one of the top three dramas of all time.