Mad Men: What's the cost of doing business?
How much of Pete's desire to land Jaguar is driven by the idea of escaping his home life? He's obviously miserable in the suburbs.
Kartheiser: We need to feel wanted and loved. I think we all have a desire for a sense of magic and spontaneity in our lives. This season Pete's been searching for a woman to give that to him. But I don't know how connected that is to his ambition because the ambition has stayed pretty consistent even when he was happy with Trudy [Alison Brie].
But the other women Pete's sleeping with aren't necessarily improving his life.
Kartheiser: He's got to be wanted. He needs more, and he needs something new and fresh. He's looking for something to fulfill that part of his life. ... He's looking for someone to look at him and say, "You're amazing, you really are my king." He needs that outlet. He needs to feel needed.
Don's line in the pitch to Dow Chemical — "Happiness is a moment before you need more happiness" — seems to sum Pete up pretty well.
Kartheiser: Right. That's part of the reason he's also looking for things outside of his marriage and outside of his work. He's being sent skis by these companies he doesn't even represent, and people are talking about him like he's a great account man. But ultimately, it doesn't fulfill him. That feeling he's been chasing, that recognition — well, now he gets a little, and it's not enough. He wants the wife, he wants the kids, he wants to make her happy. And then he has it, and he's like, "Well, that's not enough."
Mad Men surprise: Hey, look! It's Rory Gilmore!
Do you think that will ever change for Pete?
Kartheiser: It's not going to go away because even though you know that it's not going to make you fulfilled, you don't want to lose it. There is a double-edged sword to it. You start to realize you're doomed to an ambitious life that [always] leads to yet another mountain to climb.
So, given all that, where is Pete's head at in the finale?
Kartheiser: Pete's flustered. I think at this point, he's shaken by what's happened with Lane. He's confident, but only business-wise. The Jaguar account is a good thing, but other than that, things haven't been so smooth sailing for Pete this season. So I wouldn't suspect he's going to be in more of a stable place then he has been.
The episode description says Pete meets an interesting stranger on the train. Any hints?
Kartheiser: We have a lot of guest stars this year, and there's another great one coming up.
Have Mad Men fans seen the last of Elisabeth Moss' Peggy?
So, it's not someone we've met before?
Kartheiser: I can't say. All I know is that there's a lot of great guest stars this year. I really can't say.
Finally, given Pete and Peggy's history, might we eventually see how Pete feels about Peggy leaving the agency?
Kartheiser: You'll have to watch and find out. [Laughs] You know me, I'm on lockdown.
Mad Men's Season 5 finale airs Sunday at 10/9c on AMC.