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Predictions about Mad Men Ending

I'm so into retro clothing and I love the show Mad Men.  Since they go hand in hand, I thought I'd take a hot second to speculate about how it's all going to end while there's still three episodes left.  Part of why I love this show is because while not everyone cheats, philanders, and drinks themselves through life (I hope),  everything else about the show is realistic to me.  All of these characters have flaws, but they are also real human beings with different ranges of emotions and redeeming qualities.  This is arguably the first show to ever portray that human condition as being super gray as opposed to black and white or inherently good or inherently evil.  Yes, there are some shows from the past decade that feature anti-heroes as protagonists for sure.  But the fact that so little can happen in a episode where people are simultaneously fucking up and being vulnerable is more the point that I'm trying to make: people's lives play out in real time and the changes are but a whisper and you don't realize what's happened until you can see the bigger picture.  And every step of the way there was grace and total missteps.  Not one part of the show was a gimmick-a rarity in TV land.

This is precisely why it's so hard to predict how it will go down.  Real life doesn't always end with a nice happy bow tied around it.  People die alone.  People age with nothing to show for their lives.  Undeserving people get happy endings.  Sometimes people get what they deserve.  You can never predict when life will take a hard left turn.  This show has been littered with false leads, twists, and things that were so subtle that we didn't see them coming but were obvious in retrospect.  That's life.  So I'm going to run the gamut from popular conspiracy theories and my thoughts on those, plus my gut feelings about where the show may be headed.  If you're into Mad Men, I hope this is fun for you!

If you choose to read ahead, please know that I have seen every episode, including the most recent one, so spoilers may happen if you have not.  Continue at your own risk please.  And if you're uncaught up, once you catch up with only three episodes left you will be good to go to read this without spoilers.

Popular Theories:
It's Don Draper jumping off the building from the opening scenes.
I don't think so, at least not literally.  I've always seen that as a figurative "falling down the rabbit hole" type metaphor.  Plus, as some commenters and reddit users have said recently, the falling man does end up in a comfy chair smoking a cigarette after all, as opposed to a bloody demise.  Perhaps I'm wrong.  Maybe it was so obvious all along that Don Draper would commit suicide.  I'm just personally not betting on it.  There's another theory that it's Pete Campbell that will jump off the building, but I'm not sure I buy that either.  People already thought he was going to off himself a few seasons back when it was Lane Pryce who did instead.
Megan Calvert/Draper is going to suffer a Sharon Tate-esq fate.
Again, I'm not 100% buying it.  First off, we're past the Manson murders in history at this point.  Besides, given that they've tied in real history throughout the show, I don't think they need to add a fictitious tragedy that aligns with the tragedies of the 60s/70s.  Read: why would they go all One Tree Hill with a made-up "Columbine" story in the show's last moments?
We revisit Peggy and Pete's love child story line.
It's safe to say that they're not getting back together in any capacity past a professional and affectionate "we go way back and have weathered many storms" quasi friendship.  Back in the 60s and 70s, adoptions were closed.  And if the child ended up in the Catholic adoption system there's really not a way to track down the kid.  Sorry, but I don't think a Hallmark sponsored episode is coming our way with a teary reunion.  It wouldn't make sense for the context of not only the time era, but the where the story arcs are going.

What will become of Joan & Peggy's romantic life and professional life?
This one is tough because majority of the Internet rumors are based in 2015 wishful thinking projected into the early 1970s.  They'll start their own firm.  They'll "have it all" with marriages, top notch careers, and babies.  Maybe.  Possibly.  Though, I'd say they're definitely not starting their own firm at this point.  Marriages...not sure.  Joan has already been married, twice.  Maybe she'll go "modern" this time around if she finds everlasting love.  I hope Peggy finds love (paging Brian Krakow) because she seems to be in a place in life where she really wants it and it would probably be good for her.  Joan is already a partner and has a child so really it's her romantic life that is in question.  I personally always felt she and Roger Sterling would find their ways back to one another.  But not only is the plot line no where near that idea, she seems to have grown too much as a person to let him back into her life in that kind of way.  If I were a betting woman, I would say one girl finds true love and the other doesn't.  It may very well go the (supposed) less obvious route a la Mona Lisa Smile on us with menfolk savvy Joan being like Kirsten Dunst's character being independent from men and Peggy being Julia Stiles character with a surprise marriage.  Maybe...
Theories range from Don dying in a plane crash to becoming the infamous hijacker DB Cooper. I look at the DC Cooper theory differently than I do the Megan/Sharon Tate one as the history of DB Cooper is still largely an unsolved mystery.  And the play on names (Don/Bert Cooper) and Don running from his life don't not add up.  I suppose they could try to answer what happened with one of history's most unsolved mysteries, but I'm also not convinced they'll go that route.  And I'm not sure Don would ditch his children, but who knows.  The idea of another plane crash is intriguing though because there's been several plane crashes throughout the show's history so it seems to be an ongoing motif.  And everyone seems afraid of flying in Ted's plane... I'm not sure the ending will be as obvious, but I'm also not convinced another plane fiasco won't happen for Don or any of the other cast members in the final episodes.
It was all a dream.
I used to read Word Up Magazine!  Sorry, bad play on lyrical words.  Anyway...I think there's a fair shot that there will be a psychological twist like this.  Remember when Roseanne proved to be all a fictitious novel semi based on real people/events?  The Dick becoming Don plot line could have some deeper meaning/connection.  Plus homeboy has been known to have hallucinations and see dead people.  Everything from it's a dream, to purgatory, to that he has a brain tumor has been thrown around.  I'd like to add into the mix that he may very well have some severe personality/psychological disorder as well.  I'm not sure I'm convinced that this is how it'll all play out, but I'm probably the most intrigued about this theory because there's no proof this will or won't happen when you think about it.  Plus TV show writers LOVE to throw a mindf*ck at their audience in the final moments.
My personal questions:
Since Bobby and Sally were originally close in age, will Bobby finally have a growth spurt and stop looking 7 years younger than Sally?
I'm just being a jerk here.  I understand TV show problems and how they replaced the actor that played Bobby several times.  But still, for such a smart show, this was the only continuity problem I can think of them ever having.
Will I ever forgive Duck for leaving poor Chauncey outside the building?
Actually, I know the answer to this one and it's a hard no!

Will we find out about what will happen to Sal?
Jon Hamm has even pointed out that the advertising world they all worked in was very small, so chances are that they would run into Sal at meetings, lunches, or award dinners...just like the have many other ghosts of Sterling Cooper's past.  I kept waiting to see if somehow he and Bob Benson would cross paths but BB is nowhere to be found as of late.  PS- are we ever going to find out more about Bob Benson's mysterious circumstances?
Will Dan Scott be back on the show?  WTF was with that short cameo?
Yes, this is kind of another chance for me to mention one of my favorite guilty pleasures, One Tree Hill.  But this was honestly the most random cameo ever.  It was only a minute or two and apparently Dan Scott works for McCann and I suppose he's offscreen still working...?
Never saw this frame coming in a million years...

What will become of Pete?  No, really...
For the life of me I cannot peg where this character is going.  He's all but divorced, a bitter man, but still working hard.  Will he find love?  Will he die young?  Will something weird happen out of left field?  They've done very little with him this season and I'm assuming that they're saving something for the last three episodes.  

Who will die?  I bet someone will.  
Don's a likely candidate.  His health and life habits suck.  The amount of stress he's had must have done something to his insides at this point.  He's also questioning it all.  But maybe it will not be as obvious as suicide, or an ex lover shooting him.  Or lung cancer.  Maybe he'll just start a new life and it'll be the death of Don Draper in the way Dick Whitman "died."  I mean, could you put it past the guy?  He also may get found out by the authorities.  This one is tricky to predict because there's so many valid possibilities.  

Roger Sterling is another candidate.  He's equally as unhealthy as Don and has had a number of heart attacks.  What's up with his non-plot lines this season too?  Something is telling me his plot lines are kind of barren because something CRAY is about to happen and our guards will be down.  

Betty?  It would seem out of left field, but it would also be fittingly tragic since she's going back to school because she's found a purpose and is getting along with her daughter.  Plus she stopped indulging in some bizarro Glen fantasy (more on that for my thoughts after the series is officially over).  I've already discussed Megan.  Anna Draper has been dead for some time.  But since they killed off Rachel (I have a lot of thoughts on that that I'm also saving for after the series ends) in the beginning of this season the Grim Reaper may leave Don's other exes alone.  And aside from Betty and Megan, nobody's death in that category would be all that interesting for a finale.

What if Peggy, Pete, or Joan died?  Like, someone who was a significant cast member but we had no idea their end could be remotely in sight.  In my own life, I've been in situations where I've had to grieve the fact that certain loved ones are at a greater risk of death then other people.  And then someone else dies in a freak car accident.  Given how lifelike this show is, I almost wonder if they'll pull a stunt like that.  If they do do that, I hope it's not one of the cast member's children.  It could happen, but boy would that be a dark roller coaster!  Then again, Don did just connect with a women who had a child die... Foreshadowing?  

With Glen Bishop shipping off to Vietnam, something tells me we may hear about his death before the series ends.  There's been a LOT of statistics about death and body bags in the Vietnam War on the show, but I can't think of anyone who was personally affected on the show-which would be a historical fluke.  Glen Bishop...your days are likely numbered.
Why isn't ANYONE talking about the miracle of how Glen Bishop turned out a lot sexier than we ever would have thought he'd become...???
Lane Pryce and Bert Cooper have already died.  Something tells me the elderly secretary didn't round out this likely rule of threes for the gang at Sterling Cooper.  I'm honestly having trouble pegging who the hell it could be though.  This feels like a game of Clue that I'm about to lose...

Where's Dawn?  I liked her.  
She was somewhat understated, but that was kind of what I liked about her.  She had elegance, class, intelligence, and an amazing work ethic.  They could have easily made her some (for better or worse) cliche of the 1960s civil rights movement, but instead they made her a human being with a quiet integrity and character that surpassed basically better everyone she worked with.  She hasn't been around this season...

My Ultimate Prediction:
Either the absolute last episode will be loaded up with surprises, twists, and cameos but all will be revealed and make sense.  OR, given that the creator/writer is the guy who did the Sopranos, things will get very weird, confusing, and unresolved.  Actually, there's probably a great chance that it will be a little bit of both, depending on which character and plot line we're talking about.

I believe it was also be Peggy-centric.  Jon Hamm has said for years that it's likely not a coincidence that the show started on Peggy's first day.  I think he may have a point.

We're not going to see it coming.  This isn't going to be a HIMYM ending where one prediction got more and more steam over the years and then it actually proved to be true.  Some predictions will happen, but the last 1-5 minutes nobody will see coming.

If we do go into the future further, it's not going to be 1995 and the gang is all reuniting at Don's funeral or something.  It will only go as far into the late 70s...maybe early 80s.  I don't believe it will end too far away from the early 70s though.  We've been loitering around here for a reason, I'm sure.  

There you have it!  These are my (lengthy) thoughts on how this beloved series will end.  I wanted to get it all out before this Sunday's episode because I have the feeling we're finally at the top of the roller coaster and things are going to go down and pretty quickly from here.  What are YOUR thoughts?  I would love, love, love to talk conspiracy theories with y'all in the comments!
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  1. great post as always :)

  2. Nice post!!! Thanks for sharing all these!

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  3. I haven't seen Mad Men yet, but I'm definitely interested in seeing it after reading your fascinating post. You are a wonderful writer.


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