Therefore it wasn't all that surprising that the first big shock of tonight's Season 6 finale was Don's announcement to Megan and SCP that he'll be setting up an outpost for the firm in Los Angeles. Megan and the partners are both game. It would have made for a great concluding season next year. But it wasn't to be.
And precisely because it made so much sense to go to California was it so surprising that Don did the right thing and let Ted take his place out West. Los Angeles would have taken Don away from Sally and what she saw of Don with Sylvia. For that matter, it would have taken Don away from Sylvia too. It all fit into place - Mad Men situated in California, with a truer version of Don.
But there was a truer version still, and that was to hold sway. All season long, all series long, Don has swung like a pendulum between good and bad, decent and uncaring. Last week was one of his lowest moves. He and we were due for a pendulum swing back towards the good and the caring. So as much sense as it made for Don to go to California, it made more sense for Don to let Ted go, so Ted could get away from Peggy, left once more in the lurch.
But that wasn't the biggest surprise of all, which happens at the end, and is also fully motivated and justified. Don blows up another client, this time Hersey, with his confession of what his boyhood was really like, and Sterling, Cooper, and the rest of the partners retaliate - by pushing Don out the door, at least for a couple of month, maybe more.
And so we're set up for the series final season next year, which will start with the truest version of Don we've seen so far - without Megan, without Peggy, and now without a job. All of this he has sacrificed so he can finally be honest about himself. And he doesn't need to be in California to do this.
We're ready for the truest Don, in New York - the city where he's lived and loved. And, if he can make it here next year, he can make it anywhere.
See also Mad Men 6.1-2: The Lighter and the Twist ... Mad Men 6.3: Good Company ... Mad Men 6.4: McLuhan, Heinz, and Don's Imagination ... Mad Men 6.5: MLK ... Mad Men 6.6: Good News Comes in a Chevy ... Mad Men 6.7: Merger and Margarine ... Mad Men 6.8: Dr. Feelgood and Grandma Ida ... Mad Men 6.9: Don and Betty ... Mad Men 6.10: Medium Cool ... Mad Men 6.11: Hand in the Cookie Jar and Guy de Maupassant ... Mad Men 6.12: Rosemary's Baby, Dick Cheney, and Sunkist
See also Why "You Only Live Twice" for Mad Men Season 5 Finale ... Mad Men Season Five Finale
See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ...Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity ... Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex" ... Mad Men 5.11: Prostitution and Power ... Mad Men 5.12: Exit Lane
And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..." 4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ...4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking! ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -
And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World
And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men
And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ...Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ...Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes