The final words uttered by, Don Draper in the Mad Men series finale. Such a small word, but yet it has such a vast meaning.
The sound first appears in the Upanishads, a collection of sacred texts that inform Hinduism. The Mandukya Upanishad, which is entirely devoted to om, begins “Om is the imperishable word. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of Om. The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is Om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is om.” Like I said, Om may be such a small word but it truly is BIG.
Don Draper finds his Om. In that moment, the past, present, and future all come together within his exhale as that little smirk creeps across his face while he’s sitting in Padmasana (pod-MAHS-anna) Lotus pose.
I have to admit, I wasn’t completely impressed with this wrap up series finale. (At first). I felt short changed, like I was tantilized with this great expectation and then…this. Like a promising date that seems too good to be true and then you realize what did I miss. It leaves you hanging, it leaves you to your imagination, and what a vivid imagination I have when it wants to work.
Did Don go back to McCann? Did he really write the Coca Cola ad? Did Peggy write it? There was much foreshadowing within the preceding Mad Men episodes and the product placement or hints of Coca Cola work forthcoming that could lead one to believe the possibility. Again left to our imaginations.
But that is in true Don Draper fashion, you’re left wondering. And as I mulled this over and honestly I watched the episode twice, since AMC was airing it quite a few times last night. I needed to absorb it all in just one more time. And I really can’t shake the feeling that Don finally came full circle. The Om moment really was all of his life coming together in one exhale. Sounds all hippyish doesn’t it? But if you think about it, in that moment at the sharing circle when Leonard is letting go of all of his shortcomings, his feelings of inadequacey, lack of love, and all the other issues he’s facing…Don wakes up. He embraces Leonard and in that bonding moment both men are sobbing.
Let’s face it, Don had a tortured troubled life as a child. It had a major impact on him in his adult life as we’ve seen throughout the seasons. Is it an excuse for the way he acts? No. But it explains his psyche.
And ohhh Peggy. What hopes I had for you. I feel like they packaged you up with a cute pink bow and broke you down in a way. Not that I didn’t want true love and happiness for you WITH a successful career, but the way this all went down, it seemed like they half assed your life just for satisfaction sake.
We all know you don’t Need a man to be happy, Peggy Olson…but I admit I squeeled like a little girl when Stan professed his love for you over the telephone. And your reaction, was almost in pure Peggy form. A little overwhelemed, a little surprised, and a whole lot of emotions coming forth. Although I kind of wished you would have gone into business with Joan, even if it wasn’t your main goal. I just hope your bad ass self that strutted through the halls of McCann, hungover, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, and risque painting in tow, sticks around and doesn’t take any shit!
I honestly was more curious about Peggy’s future than anyone else. I had a vested interest in Peggy’s life. As a woman in the late 90’s early 2000’s who worked in advertising, that sexist mindset still existed, although not to the extreme extent it did during this era.
And what an era it was, the beginning of the 70’s and Pete Campbell tells Peggy Olson she will be a copywriter or copy editor (I can’t remember at the moment) by the 1980’s she mutters something about that being so far away. But lets face it, she has gusto, she has the knack for what it takes, except she’s not a man… She may have written that Coca Cola hilltop ad for all we know, since we are left to our imagination.
I won’t go into the entire show and how the finale still leaves me wanting more. I want to know what happens to Betty. How Sally and her brothers grow up. How Henry handles her passing. I want to know if Pete Campbell remains faithful to Trudy, during their future life in Kansas. I want to know what happens to Joan and her Harris Holloway Production company. I’m happy that Roger acknowledged their child, although he always had in his own way, and made arraingments for his future in his will. I’m glad Joan accepted it as well. And Meredith, you and your pig latin will do just fine 😉
I will say that the series finale episode for me comes to a close in those words from Don. Simple yet powerful.