Long before the Mad Men series finale was in sight, we speculated about how it would all end. We're finally going to get our answer Sunday night when the series finale airs on AMC.
However, that still feels like such a long time from now, doesn't it? Yes, we've waited eight long years to know the fate of Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Peggy Olsen and the rest of the Mad Men crew, but getting through these next couple of days is going to be rough.
Still, if there's one thing that this second half of Season 7 has shown us it's that the end is near. If you aren't all caught up on Mad Men, you should know that there are some major spoilers from here on out.
During the latter part of Season 7, we've seen SC&P be dissolved by McCann Erickson, Betty diagnosed with terminal cancer and Don maybe leaving New York for good. And all of that has happened before the series finale.
That must mean Mad Men is going out with a bang. The series' showrunner Matthew Weiner is notorious for keeping mum on any future Mad Men plot points (those cryptic "Next time on Mad Men" promos should tell you that), so it's pretty futile to try and guess what's going to happen in the series finale.
But that won't stop us from doing just that. There are some pretty fascinating, hilarious and thoughtful predictions for the Mad Men series finale on the Internet that will keep you entertained until the final episode actually airs. Some of these theories are so good, it wouldn't surprise me if they actually turned out to be true. Here are six of the best recent predictions about the Mad Men series finale that will really make you think.
1. Don Is D.B. Cooper
Last week, the Internet erupted with speculation that Don could actually turn out to be D.B. Cooper, the pseudonym of a man in a suit who hijacked an airplane and parachuted to escape with $200,000 in cash on Nov. 24, 1971. He was never seen again, becoming the only unsolved airplane hijacking in American history. However, a woman named Lindsey Green first came up with this theory in a post published on Medium in June 2013. Don certainly matches the description of Cooper's physical appearance, a white man in his 40s with brown eyes. There's been a ton of references to airplanes throughout the series. The date of the hijacking is one that's not terribly far off from when the show currently takes place. Don's real identity is of course Dick Whitman, and it looks like he's getting ready to pick up a new persona once again. Perhaps D.B. Cooper could be it.
2. Don Creates Coca-Cola's Most Famous Ad Ever
Just as there have been a lot of mentions of air travel throughout Mad Men, Coca-Cola has been brought up a lot this season. In the last few episodes alone, Jim Hobart, the head of McCann Erickson, has mentioned getting Coca-Cola as an account as a way of cheering Don up about working for the ad agency. Don also fixed a Coca-Cola vending machine at the motel he was staying at in last Sunday night's episode. So it makes sense that Vox's Todd VanDerWerff would so whole-heartedly believe in the theory of his colleague, Racked's social media editor Eileen Sutton, that Don will return to New York and McCann Erickson and pitch one of the most famous ad campaigns of the 20th century, possibly of all time: Coca-Cola's 1971 "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" spot. McCann Erickson was the actual ad agency behind the commercial and we really haven't seen Don deliver one of his epic pitches since Season 6's pitch to Hershey's, which cost him his job. Plus, the "baked-in, awful cynicism to it, laced with a childlike sweetness" of the plot point, as VanDerWerff puts it, is so spot-on for Mad Men. All in all, it seems unlikely that the show would give such a huge spotlight to a real ad since it usually stays away from that sort of thing, but if it did, this would be the one to use.
3. The Series Finale Is The Opposite Of The Season 1 Finale
Betty's letter to Sally that appeared at the end of last Sunday night's episode was dated Oct. 3, 1970, so one Reddit user has predicted that the finale will end on Thanksgiving of that year, which is reminiscent of the Season 1 finale "The Wheel" when Don comes home to an empty house after staying behind to work while his wife and kids visited his in-laws for the holiday. However, this Reddit user believes that the series finale will show the opposite of that scene with Don heading to California to be with Stephanie, the niece of Anna who is really the only family he has left. It seems unlikely for a show like Mad Men to have such a happy ending, especially when all signs point to Don ending up alone at the end. However, much of Season 7 has alluded to the first season of the show, such as the death of Rachel Menken, Don's first real lover, and revisiting his time fighting in Korea with other war veterans during last Sunday night's episode. "The Wheel" was such a pivotal episode for Mad Men, it wouldn't surprise me if the show came full circle in some way.
4. The Final Credits Song Will Be "American Pie"
You may turn off Mad Men once the closing credits start to play, but that is a big mistake. Each final credits song is meticulously chosen to communicate something about the episode you just watched or maybe even foreshadow events to come. Last Sunday night's episode ended with Buddy Holly's "Everyday." Taking that into consideration, Esquire's Jen Chaney predicts that the final song of Mad Men will be Don McLean's "American Pie," which references "the day the music died" when Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were all killed in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959. The airplane theme is again at play here, and, as Chaney writes, it's also "a song that summarized everything that got lost in the 1960s." I don't agree with Chaney that the final episode will show Don at Betty's funeral because I feel like we said goodbye to her in last Sunday night's episode, but if this did happen, with the lyric "bye, bye, Miss American Pie," there really wouldn't be a more perfect song for the occasion.
5. Don Lives La Dolce Vita In Italy
At the end of Sunday night's episode, Don was carless, waiting at a bus stop heading who-knows-where. Uproxx's Dustin Rowles predicts that Don's next destination will be Italy. The two books prominently displayed in the episode, The Woman of Rome by Alberto Moravia and The Godfather by Mario Puzo, have Italian connections. Don's non-compete clause for leaving McCann Erickson doesn't apply outside of the United States, and that ad agency even had a big role in influencing Italian advertising of the 1970s. Plus, Italy was the last place Don and Betty were happy together. This theory seems to be a bit of a stretch, but it does look like Don is looking for a fresh start, so relocating to Italy would certainly give that to him.
6. Don Dies
One of the most popular — and obvious — predictions for the end of Mad Men is that Don will die. Since Betty was essentially killed off in last Sunday night's episode, I find it unlikely that Don will actually kick the bucket too. And as I said, this would be the obvious ending, and Mad Men is known for its subtlety. However, some of the theories about Don dying are pretty convincing. These include Don falling out of a window a la the man falling into a sea of ads in the show's opening credits sequence, dying in a plane crash because of all of the aforementioned airplane references and the fact that Don sees a lot of dead people. I still don't think Don will die in the physical sense, but I do think the character as we know him will be no more.