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How Will Mad Men End? Critics Predict What Happens in the Final Episode.

Is that all there is?

Courtesy of AMC

We have come to the end times: when all of the internet scrambles to declare what will happen in the series finale of Mad Men this Sunday night. Will Peggy keep climbing the corporate ladder? Will Don and Betty share a final heart-to-heart? Will Pete Campbell get eaten by a bear? To help you sort through it all, and make some guesses of your own, we’ve compiled all the critical conjectures in one place.

Don will launch Coca-Cola’s most famous real-life campaign:


“It explains the season’s obsession with Coca-Cola (which turns up even in this episode, in the form of the broken Coke machine). It explains the season’s obsession with connection. And it explains the long, long wait we’ve had for a vintage Don Draper pitch. … Why shouldn’t the last Don Draper pitch ever be one that gives us a famous ad that feels like it came out of a Don Draper pitch?”


—Todd VanDerWerff, Vox

Don will attend Betty’s funeral, and “American Pie” will play over the credits:

“Given Betty’s prognosis, which gives her nine months to a year to live, it seems likely that we will see her funeral take place, probably in late 1971. … [T]he last song we hear on Mad Men has to be a song that first charted near the end of 1971, roughly a year before Richard Nixon was re-elected president; a song that summarized everything that got lost in the 1960s; and a song that explicitly references the death of Buddy Holly: Don McLean’s ‘American Pie.’ What more fitting way is there to say goodbye to Betty, and the ideals that fell just short of her and Don’s grasps, than by singing “Bye bye, Miss American Pie”?”


—Jen Chaney, Esquire

Don turns into the real-life criminal D.B. Cooper, hijacking a plane and making off with $200,000:

“For six seasons it’s seemed that Mad Men’s lead character Don Draper has been crafted to exist as a mystery. To me, however, his character was designed to be an answer to one of the great mysteries of the 1970s — the answer to the question, ‘What makes someone do something like that?’ ”


—Lindsey M. Green, Medium

Having traveled through inferno and purgatory, Don will reach paradise:

“The coast, the beach, the ocean: This is how Don Draper described ‘heaven’ in the sixth season premiere of Mad Men, and that’s exactly where Don is headed. But just as there was ambiguity in the ad that Don pitched to the Sheraton people in that sixth season premiere, there’s still some vagueness about Don’s fate. We know where he’s going, but don’t yet know if he’ll die a literal or a metaphorical death. … In that sixth season premiere, what Don was also reading Inferno, which we now understand foreshadowed the final two seasons and Don’s tour of Hell … Weiner was warming us up for a finale that sees Don, on the beach, walking into the ocean. Or maybe just his footprints headed into the water.”


—Dustin Rowles, Uproxx

Don could return to his old identity on the West Coast, after a return to New York:

It would not be surprising to see Don continue on to California to live out the rest of his days as Dick Whitman—potentially with his kids in tow, depending on Betty’s fate. However, it would also be shocking if he did not make at least one more return trip to New York for some finale scenes with a few of the show’s other stars.


—Alex Garofalo, International Business Times

Pete Campbell gets eaten by a bear:

Just hear me out here. What if a bear just, like, walks off the elevator, strolls into the the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices, nods at the receptionist, then heads straight for Pete’s office and mauls him to death? No explanation, no foreshadowing, no scene where everyone in the office huddles around a television to watch a news report about a giant grizzly bear on the loose in Manhattan, nothing. Just a solid five-minute scene of a bear mauling Pete and his stupid new sideburns. How great would that be?”


—Danger Guerrero, Uproxx

Don will start all over—in Italy:

“Why would Italy make sense for Don? Because the noncompete wouldn’t restrict him from working in Italy. And did you know that two American ad agencies—J. Walter Thompson and McCann Erickson—played a large role in influencing advertising in Italy in the 1970s? It’s well-suited to his talents. It’s a place where he can start all over. It’s a place where he can raise his kids, while being close to Sally.”

—Dustin Rowles, Uproxx

Baby Gene takes over:

“Mad Men prediction: series finale focuses entirely on baby Gene, no other characters onscreen.”


—Eliza Berman, via Twitter

Trudy and Pete will not actually end up together:


“I always thought Pete and Trudy were kind of perfect for each other—she was an excellent Lady Macbeth during his rise at Sterling Cooper, and they dance a killer Charleston. But I also remember things as they were, and Pete’s fondness for indiscretion isn’t one that’s easy to imagine him just willing away.”        

—John Swansburg, Slate

Don is in an advanced stage of neurosyphilis:

“When the show started Don seemed like he couldn’t lose. He was the man everyone wanted to be like and he was on point 24/7 … The past few years, he hasn’t been the same and Don has been in a tailspin. I think that there is a serious issue with his health and his promiscuity could be the very thing that kills him. He has seen multiple ghosts/hallucinations throughout the series … has acted erratically and doesn’t seem to grasp the world around him as he once did.”


—via Reddit user PhilsBestFriend

An all-cast lip sync session:

“Great news: MAD MEN ends with the cast all forlornly lip-synching, MAGNOLIA/@aimeemann style, to ‘THE STREAK’ by Ray Stevens.”


—Julie Klausner, via Twitter

Literally anything:

“Bottle episode that’s just Sally in Madrid? Massive time-hop to Roger’s funeral in 1975? 55 minutes with Glen in Vietnam? Don leads a penguin research expedition in Antarctica? One, long, real-time pitch meeting in which Peggy speaks extensively about beans?”

—Julia Turner, Slate