After its initial PR splash for its first season on AMC in 2007, the audience for Mad Men these days is a bit like the audience for the Velvet Underground. As Brian Eno was quoted as saying in the early 1980s, while the Velvets’ first album only sold 30,000 copies, everybody who bought one started his own rock group. (Guilty as charged.) Based on its ratings, it seems like Mad Men only has about 30,000 viewers left — and the ones who are left are blogging about it and on Twitter. (Again, guilty as charged. Thanks for indulging this post.)
With two episodes left, how will the series end? Its cryptic last scene in yesterday’s episode offers all sorts of possibilities to be resolved in the final two weeks. Don drives his sharp mid-’60s Cadillac through what looked like the highway that divides the cornfield with the murderous crop-duster in North By Northwest (with Cary Grant as the prototype for both James Bond and Don Draper). He picks up a hitchhiker who looks a cross between late period Jim Morrison, Charles Manson, and maybe a touch of the symbolic Indian in Oliver Stone’s weird biopic of the Doors. Filthy hippie gets in and the two drive off — to the music of David Bowie’s epochal “Space Oddity.” Does Don get mugged? Fall asleep and crash the car? Steal the filthy hippie’s identity and proceed to spend the rest of his days walking the earth like Samuel L. Jackson at the end of Kung Fu? (I may be mixing up my pop culture metaphors on that last one.)
Or does he go off to head up McCann’s new office in St. Paul? Tune in again next Sunday, Same Don-Time, same Don-Channel.
If you’re still watching as well, what’s your take on how the series ends? Let me know in the comments below.