“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner has said of the last seven episodes of the series, “each one of them feels like the finale.” As the show winds to a close, Zap2it examines the most finale-like moment of each episode.
Both of Don’s (Jon Hamm) ex-wives appear in Sunday’s (April 12) episode, “New Business.” But where Don’s interaction with Betty (January Jones) showcases the shorthand of two people who know each other very well, the extended goodbye for Megan (Jessica Pare) does pretty much the opposite of that, in painful detail. She gets this week’s finale spotlight.
Betty appears only in the opening scene, returning home from a function with Henry (Christopher Stanley) while Don is watching the boys. She tells him she’s thinking about starting a master’s degree program in psychology; he raises his eyebrow; and they go about their business. It’s clear they’ve come to a place where they’re friendly with, or at least tolerant of, each other (a state of affairs Henry clearly hasn’t made peace with himself).
The ease they share with each other is born of both their long time together, and the fact that both of them know they’re in each other’s lives for the long haul because of their children.
That will not be happening with Megan, who is out of Don’s life for good. After last week’s comparatively lighter exit for Ken Cosgrove, Megan’s farewell is fraught with all the bad feelings she and Don developed over the past few years. The deeply dysfunctional Calvet family also returns in the form of Megan’s mother and sister, adding another level of discomfort.
It wasn’t “Mad Men’s” finest hour — aside from the scenes with Mimi Rogers as Pima Ryan, “New Business” retreaded a lot of well-worn ground. The episode does at least take Megan’s story to a logical endpoint, complete with a gross attempt by Harry at seducing her.
And while Don really does make good on his offer from “Severance” to take care of Megan, his $1 million check also feels like one last power move. Even if that wasn’t his intent, it’s not a great look on Don.
Don tells Megan after he passes her the check that he’s tired of fighting. Megan is just tired, but she’s also free to be herself now.