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“Mad Men,” Episode 13, “The Phantom”

By Cynthia Littleton 

Appropriately enough for a season finale the overriding theme of “Mad Men” seemed to moving on — which is often something easier said than done.

I was expecting more fireworks overall, based on the show’s track record during its last two season closers. But I was not disappointed in “The Phantom,” written by Jonathan Igla and Matthew Weiner and directed by Weiner.

For the second season in a row, the “Mad Men” world goes out on a will-he-or-won’t-he cliffhanger. In 2010 the question was whether Don Draper would go through with his impetuous plan to marry Megan. This time around, we are left to wonder whether he’ll return to his old philandering ways.

After thinking about it for all of 15 minutes, I believe the answer is no. I think Don Draper has done a lot of maturing through his marriage to Megan and through the course of this season. The provocative question “Are you alone” doesn’t mean what it once did to Don. I think that was the point of the storyline of Don having the horrible toothache. After living with the pain, he finally broke down and went to the dentist to have it pulled, in the nick of time. (Out goes the tooth, out go the hallucinations about his dead brother Adam.)

The scene I most enjoyed was the meeting of Peggy and Don in the theater. It was another classic use of a candid conversation with Peggy to allow Don to process something – this time how to move forward on the issue of Megan’s career. (And we saw just how much Megan wants to jumpstart her thespian career by her willingness to screw over her actress friend by muscling in on her effort to land the role in the shoe commercial.)

And it allowed for a bit of closure between Peggy and Don at the same time planting the seeds that maybe she could be back in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (wonder if they’ll change the name?) picture one day. Certainly, the agency misses her and her feminine touch.