Was Don's silent look at the end of the Mad Men finale the equivalent of Schwarzenegger saying: "I'll be back"? Is it possible that the last three minutes of the episode redeemed the entire season?
Don Draper is cranky, moody, and cantankerous. He is pretty much crap. But he looks like Jon Hamm. So he can get away with pretty much anything. You men, unless you look like Jon Hamm or you are Jon Hamm, cannot. So it's time to shape up.
And BAM, just like that, with one wry smile Don Draper is back. This season's pure lack of Don came to an inevitable end Sunday night, when millions of viewers tuned in to a cheapened Megan, a beat-up Pete, a dead Lane, an aging Joan, a rising Peggy -- and Roger Sterling's ass.
In one of the early episodes of the fifth season of Mad Men, Roger Sterling asks the question that stated a major theme for the entire season: When are things going to go back to normal?
This episode is haunted by phantoms of both the characters and the series, exposing the existence of everyone's double life.
Maybe Weiner decided to amuse himself by catching us off guard at season's end. Was Sunday night his attempt to stick his thumbs in his ears, wag his fingers and deliver a big, bad "boo!"?
By the end of "The Phantom," I felt the kind of boredom and ennui that the characters have been experiencing.
There were a lot of dropped storylines, missed opportunities and depressing developments this year on "Mad Men." There also wasn't much tension or forward momentum to help drive the season forward.
So the episode's death, as a result of a chain of circumstances that seems somewhat contrived, doesn't have the impact that a more highly anticipated (hoped for?) demise would have.
Mad Men portrays an ad industry and set of clients that are as dated as businessmen in fedoras. Yet, the twist is that the kind of marketing the show depicts didn't disappear gradually over the past 50 years. It has happened only in the last decade.
Sometimes a material thing that resonates and defines us, if even for a time, if only in a certain way. For me, this extraordinarily beautiful, extraordinarily undependable car was one of those things.
Well, we knew it was coming. There has been such an overwhelming sense of doom hanging over this season with death symbols popping up at every turn: mass murders, sniper shootings, empty elevator shafts, dream-murders and Don doodling a noose.
We saw Campbell's life slowly unravel until it didn't seem like a stretch to think about him using that much alluded to shotgun. But instead we saw the end to a different man -- and his downfall, to me, was a little rushed; which is why I think I'm so disturbed by it.
This week, the show's writers provided us with a far deeper understanding of the dangerous pitfalls that await those who dare to compete in advertising's "big leagues."
Was this a great hour of "Mad Men"? I don't know about that, but Lane's story connected with me on an emotional level like almost nothing else I've seen this season.
Just when you get complacent with the status quo, Weiner purposefully pulls the rug out from under you. It might not always be elegantly done, but it's usually effective.