Though there was some ambiguity to Mad Men’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ending, Matthew Weiner also gave viewers some clear-cut conclusions for his characters and signaled where the ’70s might take them. The finale had a touch of romance, a touch of bleakness and a spectacular power move from Joan.
Here’s where all the main characters ended up:
Don: Don, after learning of Betty’s cancer, goes to California to see Stephanie, Anna Draper’s niece, who brings him along to a retreat. When Stephanie leaves him abandoned there, he breaks down and calls Peggy, who tells him to come home. But he doesn’t, paralyzed. A woman at the retreat encourages him to come to a seminar. While there, a man’s speech about feeling like he’s on a shelf in a refrigerator stirs Don. When the man starts crying, Don goes to hug him.
Parting shot: Don, in a yoga class, saying “Om.” The sun’s on his face. A smile crosses his lips. Cut to: “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”
Peggy: Despite having an offer from Joan to start a Harris Olson production company, Peggy ends up staying at McCann, working alongside Stan, to whom she — surprise! — ends up confessing her love. After a fight over Peggy’s potential departure, a phone conversation leads to Stan telling her he loves her. She’s confused at first, but ends up reciprocating. He comes to her office and they kiss.
Parting shot: Peggy’s typing at her desk while Stan comes up behind her, rubbing her shoulders and kissing her on the forehead.
Betty: Betty learns she has lung cancer, but refuses treatment. She gives Sally instructions on how to handle her death, and wants the boys to live with their uncle, even though Don wants to take care of them. She tells Don: “I want to keep things as normal as possible and you not being here is part of that.”
Parting shot: Betty sits at her kitchen table, smoking.
Pete: Duck, sad drunk that he is, ends up maneuvering a great deal at Learjet for Pete, who sees the job as his chance to start over with Trudy and Tammy in Wichita.
Parting shot: Pete, Trudy, and Tammy board a Learjet.
Sally: Sally returns home to care for her brothers while their mother dies.
Parting shot: Sally washes dishes at home.
Joan: Despite her awful experience at McCann, a new opportunity comes Joan’s way through Ken Cosgrove, who needs a producer for a film for Dow. This gives Joan the idea to start her own production company. Her boyfriend, Richard, wants her to be fully devoted to him and walks out. Joan, however, forges ahead.
Parting shot: Joan hands off Kevin to her mother, and tends to her company, Holloway Harris, which she’s running out of her apartment.
Roger: Roger puts Joan’s son Kevin in his will, and decides to marry Megan’s mother, Marie Calvet.
Parting shot: Roger and Marie sit in a café, joking around.