Sunday night’s “Mad Men” series finale marked the end of an era for fans who said goodbye to Don Draper, Peggy Olson, Roger Sterling, Joan Harris and more favorites after seven seasons.
How did it end? Quietly, with a smile and a Coke.
Here’s a breakdown:
Don Draper: After fleeing McCann Erickson in the middle of a Coke meeting, Don is adrift in California. He spirals even further out of control after learning that Betty has lung cancer. He ends up on the doorstep of Anna Draper’s niece Stephanie Horton. She convinces him to attend a spiritual retreat.
Eventually, Don has a break through. At the end of the episode, he’s sitting cross-legged overlooking the ocean, chanting “Om” and smiling. The show ends with the 1971 Coke commercial, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” implying that the road trip and retreat inspired the adman to come up with his greatest campaign yet. Scroll down to find out who was really behind the famous promo.
Joan Harris: After leaving McCann Erickson, Joan gets a freelance opportunity to work for Ken Cosgrove as a producer. The job inspires her to start her own production company and asks Peggy Olson to join her. Peggy eventually turns Harris down, but Joan moves forward without her. The business does create a wedge between Joan and her boyfriend, and the two break up.
Roger Sterling: Roger can’t be alone! He’s getting married again, this time to Megan Draper’s mom, Marie Calvet. Before tying the knot a third time, he ties up loose ends. Roger stops by Joan’s and tells her he’s adding their son Kevin to his will.
Peggy Olson: There so many great Peggy moments in the finale. At one point, Pete Campbell stops by her office for one final goodbye, at another, Don calls her to confess he’s not the man she thinks he is, saying, “I broke all my vows. I scandalized my child. I took another man’s name. I made nothing of it.” The conversation leaves her rattled, so she calls Stan, who confesses his love to her! She realizes she loves Stan too, so he runs into her office and they kiss.
Sally Draper: She’s growing up so fast! Sally tells her dad that Betty has cancer, then returns home from boarding school to help the family. Sally is obviously preparing to step into the maternal role, as one scene shows her teaching her little brother Bobby how to cook, as her mother smokes cigarettes at the table.
Betty Draper: When Don learns that Betty is sick he calls her right away. The conversation is heated, as they argue over who will care for the kids. The exchange softens and becomes emotional when Betty says she understands he’s trying to help, but she wants what is best for the children. “I want to keep things as normal as possible and you not being here is part of that,” she tells him.
Pete Campbell: In one fleeting moment, Pete, Trudy and Tammy look like the perfect family as they climb into a private plane, ready to start their new life together.
The Coke Commercial: The famous “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” campaign was actually created by McCann Erickson creative director Bill Backer. Backer was flying to London, but got stranded in Ireland due to fog. At first the passengers were aggravated, but the next day he saw many of them laughing and smiling while drinking Cokes and waiting for their flight. "In that moment, [I] saw a bottle of Coke in a whole new light,” he told Coca-Cola. "[I] began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink that refreshed a hundred million people a day in almost every corner of the globe…
He added, "That was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be -- a liquid refresher -- but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes.” For the making of the commercial, visit Coca-ColaCompany.com.