Worker productivity will probably take a dive in the U.S. today as fans gather around the proverbial water cooler and online to dissect and debate the deeper meaning of “Mad Men’s” 75-minute finale episode.
SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you have not seen the “Mad Men” series finale, “Person to Person.”
Here’s a survey of what prominent critics have to say about the clincher of the celebrated AMC drama.
Variety‘s Brian Lowry captured what seems to be a consensus among TV critics that the episode was a good, but not great addition to the series’ canon and the list of significant series finales. “While the hour mixed in some wonderfully graceful notes and tied up a few loose ends, others were left dangling, starting with the cryptic question of whether meditation and peace with the universe birthed that famous ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’ Coca-Cola campaign.”
USA Today‘s Robert Bianco: “It was a conclusion that was simultaneously hopeful and unsettling, happy and sad, somewhat surprising and very, very odd.”
The New York Times‘ Alessandra Stanley: “Don is not the only flawed protagonist on television to fade out by looping back to the start. Heroes may learn from their mistakes, but anti-heroes turn out to be inadvertently right all along.”
TV Guide‘s Matt Roush: “The tone of the finale was generally more upbeat than we might have expected. Neither the best nor worst of ‘Mad Men’ episodes, and neither the best nor worst of series finales, at least this was a true ending, perfect harmony or not.”
Hitfix‘s Alan Sepinwall: “Ending on the Coke jingle didn’t fill me with uplift and contentment, particularly after a finale that took both Don and the show so far out of their comfort zones in bringing him to that New Age retreat along the California coast, in a way that seemed to promise something deeper than he ultimately proved capable of becoming.”
Time‘s James Poniewozik: “Maybe after seven seasons we should be left with a better sense of whether Don’s final change is genuine or not. But the way ‘Mad Men’ left me wrestling with those last moments – and may leave me wrestling with them for days or weeks – is testament to what a challenging, inventive show this series has been.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Gail Pennington: “The episode had tears (many) and humor (plenty). But like many of the episodes that preceded it in the second half of the last season, the finale didn’t rush toward resolutions. At some point, some viewers surely felt like snapping at creator Matthew Weiner, who wrote and directed the episode, to hurry up and get to the point.”