It was the question every Mad Men fan was asking during the Season Four finale, and smirking Roger Sterling summed it up perfectly: "Megan, out there?" Don Draper's impulsive decision to pop the question to his secretary Megan was certainly the whopping shocker of the night, but it wasn't the only one. Turns out Joan didn't have her abortion after all (how's that smirk doing now, Roger?), while Peggy is practically inventing the women's movement, albeit in Topaz pantyhose. Shortly before the finale, TV Guide Magazine spoke to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to get his thoughts on a mad, mad, mad, Mad Men season.
TV Guide Magazine: Don began Season Four asking "Who is Don Draper?" Is it safe to say he figured it out?
Weiner: He ends knowing more about himself, definitely. That whole guy-in-a-suit-with-the-house-in-the country image disappeared this season. After the divorce and with the collapse of the old firm, Don had to figure out his new role at work, his new role in fatherhood, his role with Betty. He was also setting things up to not keep his [Dick Whitman] life a secret anymore. What's most interesting about him is this conflict between what's expected of him and what he wants. In figuring that out, he had to realign himself, to actually search a little. But what he wants turns out to be very complicated. In many ways he wants what he had. He wants things to be normal. In the end, I think viewers will be asking, did Don find a way of being or is he just back to being his old self?
TV Guide Magazine: What can you say about Peggy's transformation this season?
Weiner: She really ends up being Don's equal. She's as smart and capable as anyone in the office, really. What a blast we had writing her character. She's so human and to see her reaction to success and her reaction to conflict and a bigger chunk of her personal life that wasn't about her mom, it was a joy. A lot of people were saying Peggy somehow represented feminism or the spirit of change, but I hope people realize none of these characters are meant to be symbols. I love the line when she says to Abe, "I'm not a political person," because it's so true. She may be changing the times, but only because she likes her job and she's succeeding at it.
TV Guide Magazine: Sally Draper was such a standout character this year. When did you realize you had such a powerful young actress in Kiernan Shipka?
Weiner: We were very fortunate. It's been miraculous to watch Kiernan grow up and become so exceptional. She's a prodigy in many ways, and she does it all without pushy stage parents. It comes from Kiernan's own desire to do great work. I can't imagine going back to my 11-year old self and even being able to talk to an adult, let alone handles myself on the set the way she does or learn complicated lines. As a character, Sally is one many, many viewers see as a point of entry. Many people identify with her because they were that age at that time in history. They recognize her relationship with her parents and with the world. I think she's a great character because she's insightful but also so powerless.
TV Guide Magazine: What will become of Roger and Joan?
Weiner: Roger's story was a tragedy this season. His age, the conflicts of trying to maintain his power, the changing ways of how his business is done. Roger's a guy who sorta cares about work but doesn't care about work, and that's what makes him so wonderful to write. As far as his relationship with Joan, I think Roger always wants to be with her. I think he's in love with her. But going along with this theme of what I want vs. what's expected, Joan has to stop it. That's partly because she's married and believes in that institution. But what was kind of a surprise is, Joan really does love her husband. He can be good to her and there's value to their relationship. I also think she sees Roger as a diminished man after his behavior with Lucky Strike. It wasn't losing the account that diminished him. It was how he dealt with it. It got to the point where she said, I can't do this anymore, and we'll just have to wait to see where their relationship goes from here. Nobody knows.
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