‘Mad Men’ Series Finale Recap: Did Don Draper Get A Happy Ending?

Seven seasons. Ninety two episodes. On May 17, Don Draper's story came to a close on the 'Mad Men' series finale. How did it all end? You definitely could not have predicted the show's final moments. Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and more Mad Men characters have captivated us for seven seasons. Through betrayal, heartbreak and shocking deaths, this show has remained truly one of a kind. The series finale of this magnificent show aired May 17, and we finally learned everyone's fate. Did Don find inner peace? Plus, who got a happy ending? Find out everyone's destiny now!

‘Mad Men’: ‘There’s A Lot Better Places Than Here’

In the beginning of the episode, Don still hadn’t made his way back to Manhattan. He was driving race cars in the desert. Don still seemed troubled, and he hadn’t even heard about Betty’s diagnosis yet.

Over in Manhattan, Roger was meeting with his secretaries. Meredith wondered if the reason Don hadn’t returned was because he was dead. Roger still had faith in his old pal, but he still had to let Meredith go because he wasn’t around. “I hope he’s in a better place,” she said. “There’s a lot better places than here.”

You got that right, Mere.

Don was in a better place — in bed with a woman. So typical of you, Don! It doesn’t matter the emotional turmoil going on in Don’s life, he always has to have a woman.

Don’s life took a turn for the worse after a phone call with Sally. Don’s oldest daughter defied her mother’s wishes and told Don about Betty’s cancer. Sally was primarily worried about Bobby and Gene. She wanted Don to step up and say they belonged with Henry. Don wasn’t going to have that. He put in a collect call to Betty, who was slowly deteriorating.

He claimed he was coming home to get the kids. Betty told him not to let his pride get in the way of Bobby and Gene’s life. She threw shade his way by asking him when he saw his kids last. She wanted Bobby and Gene’s life to stay as normal as possible, and Don not being there was a part of that. Don called out to his “Birdie,” and they both broke down. Don and Betty have always had a troubled relationship, but at the end of the day, she will always be the mother of his children. He loved her, and I still think a part him always will.

‘Mad Men’: ‘Mad Women’ Needs To Happen

Meanwhile, Joan and her boyfriend were doing cocaine in Key West. Is it the ’80s yet? Later, Joan had dinner with Ken, who needed a commercial producer for a Dow movie. Joan ended up getting Peggy to be the producer/writer. Over the course of a couple of Bloody Mary’s, Joan basically dropped the idea for a Mad Women spinoff. She wanted to launch Harris Olson, a production company. Joan tried to convince Peggy that this could finally be something that was truly their own. Peggy was thrown off by such a big question, and Joan scoffed at her hesitation. Joan gave Peggy the week to think about it.

Don made his way to Los Angeles where he met up with Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie. They ended up going to a retreat where serious group therapy sessions went down. Despite Don’s attempt to get Stephanie to move on with her life after losing her child, Stephanie took off with his car.

‘Mad Men’ Finale: Don Draper’s Ending Is Only The Beginning

Frustrated and feeling existentially lost, Don called Peggy. “Don, come home,” Peggy pleaded. “I messed everything up,” Don said. “I’m not the man you think I am.” As the call went on, Peggy started to really worry about Don. “I don’t think you should be alone right now,” Peggy said. “I’m in a crowd,” Don replied. “I just wanted to hear your voice.”

Bless these two actors. Even when they aren’t face-to-face, Jon and Elisabeth can steal a scene. There was so much emotion and depth to this final Don and Peggy scene. I’ll never get over it.

‘Mad Men’: #STEGGY

After Peggy got off the phone with Don, she called Stan. “You’ve got to let him go,” Stan said, the voice of reason. “It doesn’t mean you stop caring about him.” Peggy, realizing Stan was right, apologized for calling him a failure earlier. She admitted she was staying with McCann and not taking Joan up on her offer.

“Good, because I didn’t you to leave,” Stan said. Aw! This quickly transitioned into one of the best declarations of love EVER. 

“All I want to do is be with you,” Stan said. Peggy couldn’t believe what he’d just said. “I want to be with you,” he continued. “I’m in love with you. I love you, Peggy.”


Peggy started freaking out. “I mean, I don’t even think about you,” she said. “I mean, I do. All the time. Because you’re there. And you’re here. And you make everything OK. You always do. No matter what.”

She put two and two together and realized she wanted Steggy to happen. “I think I’m in love with you, too,” she said. “I really do.” He dropped the phone as she was saying all of this and ran down the hall to her. “I love you,” Peggy said to Stan in person. Cue the “I’m never going to stop replaying” this MAKEOUT SESSION!

‘Mad Men’: This Is The Way It Ends

Peggy got her happy ending with Stan, so everything was just peachy for me. The fact that I *know* that Peggy and Stan live happily ever after just fills me with so much glee. I’ll never get off this high. After saying a sweet goodbye to Peggy, Pete headed off on a private jet with Trudy and Tammy.

Joan went full-on badass and opened her own company called Holloway Harris. I wanted her to end up with Roger, but he seemed pretty content with Marie. I have a feeling Marie might end up breaking Roger’s heart, though.

But what about Don? After hearing feelings similar to his own personal pain during a group therapy session, Don found his way again. The episode ended with Don doing yoga and meditating. Yes, really. This segued into the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercial, the iconic ad that featured a group of happy, go-lucky people holding hands and singing.

Matthew Weiner just had to leave this ending open to interpretation. We’ll never truly know what happened to Don, but it looks like Don returned to McCann Erickson and worked together with Peggy to create the iconic Coke commercial. At least, that’s what I hope happened.

We see Don, Peggy, Pete, Joan and Roger moving forward with their lives. It’s not about where they end up. It’s about where they’re going. That’s why Mad Men always has been and always will be brilliant.

Thank you, Mad Men, thank you.

HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the Mad Men series finale? Let me know!

— Avery Thompson

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