It’s getting close, fellow “Mad Men” fans — that final season, peeking up over the horizon like Peggy peering at Don over the partial wall between their offices. (And if you remember which episode that was — though I do remember the image, vividly — you’re a better watcher than I.) Season 7-and-a-half begins Sunday, April 5; my regular “Mad Men Mondays” column returns on the 6th. I must confess that I have a screener for Episode 1 in my possession, but I haven’t watched it yet; better, at least for now, to imagine my dream final season. With that in mind, here are nine plot developments — one for each day we have left to wait — that I’d really like to see:
1. A decent arc for Joan. She didn’t have much to do during the first half of Season 7; and it was hard to watch her turning on Don so completely. (Remember them, sitting together in a Christmas-decorated bar? Or in the hospital waiting room? Ah, “Mad Men,” I shall miss you so very much.) I love Christina Hendricks’ silky-voiced coolness in this role, but I’d like to see something startling — something good — happen to Joan before we say goodbye.
2. The return of Sal (Bryan Batt). Oh, please? Maybe he’s started his own agency? Or become, I don’t know, a Broadway producer?
3. A swift departure for Megan. Jessica Pare’s presence in the promotional photos for the final season indicate that she’s still on the show, despite Megan and Don clearly saying goodbye last season. I’ve always found Megan to be a frustrating character — is she supposed to be a bad actress, or is Pare just playing her that way? — and her storyline seems to have run out.
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4. Lane Pryce’s ghost. Oh, come on; it’s not that farfetched. Bert Cooper’s best scene came after he died.
5. Roger. Anything with Roger. Just let him be in every scene, raising a glass and making comments.
6. Betty and Pete running off together. Think about it — the two most petulant characters on the show. They’re kind of perfect for each other. Trudy, meanwhile, just might make Henry the perfect political wife.
7. Something wonderful for Sally, who in this show’s seven seasons has grown from a lisping 6-year-old to a wise-beyond-her-years teen. (Read this lovely interview with Kiernan Shipka and Matthew Weiner, should you be so inclined.) Maybe she and her dad go on a road trip together. Maybe she, finally, figures out how to forgive her parents. In any case, Sally’s become the heart of the show; we need to see her safely launched into adulthood.
8. Peggy takes over the agency — we’ve known, from the opening scene of the series, that this would happen one day, right? And only after that does she fall in love. With, I don’t know, Ken maybe? And sells that brownstone for a LOT of money.
9. And Don . . . well, I don’t know what I wish for Don. I just know that this complex, flawed, impossible man is one of the great characters in television, embodied so perfectly by Jon Hamm that I’m not sure how he’ll ever leave the Draper aura behind. (The beard, lately, is helping.) I suspect Weiner has had a final scene for Don mapped out for years now. I can’t wait to see it.
Why, hello there, gang. Wish I was invited to that party, despite the plaid blazers. (Photo by Frank Ockenfels, 3/AMC)