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‘Mad Men’: Can Don Draper Solve The Mystery of Don Draper?

Mon, April 6, 2015 10:16am EDT by Avery Thompson 1 Comment

Don Draper has been the puzzle I’ve been trying to solve since day one. In the midseason premiere, Don is still on his downward spiral, and I think I’ve figured out how he can solve the mystery of himself and finally find the happiness he’s been so desperately trying to find.

The second half of Mad Men’s final season aired April 5, so we’ve only got seven more episodes (!) to find out the destiny of Don Draper (Jon Hamm). He’s the ultimate puzzle, and I truly believe the only way Don can find his way is by solving his biggest problem — himself. Will Don be able to change or will he continue that free fall the brilliant Matthew Weiner so conspicuously has put before us in his opening credits for the past seven seasons.

‘Mad Men’ Season 7: Don Draper’s Happiness Will Be Found In Dick Whitman

Rachel Menken’s death in the midseason premiere of Mad Men definitely raised some questions for Don. Her sister told Don that Rachel “lived the life she wanted to live.” That struck a chord. Don has always lived the life he thought he wanted to live. Family. Women. Job. Power. But those things have never been enough for him.

Don has always preached to Peggy and everyone else that his job is to solve problems. Find solutions. He does it effortlessly on various ad projects, but he hasn’t been able to solve his never-ending existential crisis. He created the identity of Don Draper as an escape from his true self, Dick Whitman, so his entire life has been a lie. Nothing is real at this point. 

I’ll never forget what Don said about happiness in season five, and I believe it’s going to carry over in these final episodes: “Because even though success is a reality, its effects are temporary. You get hungry even though you’ve just eaten… You’re happy because you’re successful— for now. But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

Getting back to Dick Whitman may be Don’s only chance. He thought that Don Draper would be the key to solving his problems, but it hasn’t turned out that way for him. It’s just put him further down the rabbit hole. Life can’t just be easily fixed. It’s messy, complicated and often jarring. Don has soaked up his life in booze and women, and he’s just now realizing that he’s on the precipice of total self-destruction. He’s struggling and is thisclose to slipping off the ledge.

Will he refuse to change and step off? Time will tell. Maybe the opening credits have foreshadowed Don’s fate all along. But I believe in Don and truly think he wants to achieve some type of personal contentment before his life inevitably comes to an end. And maybe the mystery waitress who Don so passionately “seems” to know from his past will be a key to his future and satisfy the longing of this fascinating man’s need for more happiness.

HollywoodLifers, what are you prediction for Mad Men’s final season? What do you think will happen to Don? Let me know!

— Avery Thompson