Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Last night's US airing of the Mad Men finale gave fans everything they wanted: baby-boomer nostalgia, wide lapels and Don Draper channeling existential crises into corporate advertisement. Plus, a final Coca-Cola ad that must rank among the most moving product placements in television history. The Matthew Weiner penned-and-directed episode also featured plenty of drinking and smoking along with understated but happy endings for the various characters. However, it was so understated that you may have missed these mind-blowing Easter Eggs that Weiner put in for serious fans:
1) Don Reenacts JFK Assassination
Your parents remember where they were when JFK was assassinated , but will you remember where you were when Mad Men reenacted the tragedy? For the last few episodes, Don has been having a whirlwind road trip around America after fleeing New York and his job at McCann Erickson. In the finale, when Don is driving through Dallas, Texas, he suddenly and unexplainably flings his head back and to the left. The camera then cuts to a quick shot of Bob Benson... standing on a grassy knoll!
2) Peggy Invents Tentacle Porn
In the third-to-last episode, Roger Sterling gives Peggy Olson a print of The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, a famous erotic painting that features "an octopus pleasuring a woman." Olson hangs it on her wall. You can see it behind her when she hears about Lou Avery—her old boss—moving to Japan to work on a children's comic strip. After saying, "I could write comics!" Peggy can be seen looking at the painting and then furiously scribbling notes on her notepad. Did we just witness the invention of tentacle porn? Wow. We always knew Peggy was destined for greatness.
3) Titular Lines
Observant Mad Men fans will have noticed that Matthew Weiner has made sure that almost every character has spoken a titular line at some point in the final season. In the second-to-last episode, Pete explains quitting McCann by telling Trudy, "It's mad! Men keep offering me jobs!" The episode before that, Joan takes her payout. Sneering at her former coworkers, she asks, "Why are you all so mad, men?" In the finale, a heartbroken Don Draper tells his one-time protégé Peggy why he quit advertising to wander around America: "The people at McCann are just normal ad men, but at Sterling Cooper we were brilliant, sparkling, crazy, insane, mad men!"
4) The Origins of Dick Whitman
Like Game of Thrones fans with Jon Snow, Mad Men fanatics have long speculated about the true parentage of Don Draper. Is he actually named Don Draper, or is he the shadowy, mysterious figure known as Dick Whitman? And if he is secretly Dick Whitman, what does that name mean? Although Draper's origins will be debated by fans for decades—my personal favorite theory is that "Draper" is a century-old skin-shedding demon who murdered paranormal detective Lane Pryce in season five to keep his true nature a secret. After all, we did find out the origins of the name Dick Whitman when, during one of Don Draper's characteristic fever dreams, he was visited by the ghosts of Dick Tracy and Walt Whitman who simultaneously said, "Don, I am your father."
5) Carousels Were Everywhere
Probably the most heart-wrenching scene in Mad Men history is Don's tear-jerky ad pitch explaining how Kodak can exploit childhood nostalgia to sell camera products by calling their slide wheel "the Carousel." Mad Men called back to that scene at least three times in the finale. Obviously, there was the after-credits scene of Don Draper riding a carousel. More subtly, Betty trips over a Kodak Carousel after her college course. Finally, in Don's fever dream, as he's being lectured on the value of corporate advertising in selling feelings to people by Walt Whitman and Dick Tracey, a carousel floats by in the background being ridden by a single person: the ghost of Glen who died in the Vietnam War... and is played by Matthew Weiner's actual (living) son! Spooky!
6) Mad Men Takes Place in The Sopranos Universe
In season six, Duck Phillips revealed that Bob Benson, like Don Draper, is a con man. But who is he conning for? Could it be... the mob from HBO's The Sopranos? Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner cut his teeth writing for The Sopranos, so many fans have wondered if the two shows exist in the same universe and if Don and Tony might ever meet. That seems likely after a scene where Bob Benson is seen talking to a man named "Junior" who tells Bob, "You got stugots ordering the gabagool here!"
Be sure to rewatch the finale to catch these, and let us know if there are any Easter Eggs we missed. Thanks so much for the memories, Matthew Weiner: You truly are a mad man!
Related: The Real 'Mad Men'?
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