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Recap and Review of Mad Men Season Finale, Episode "Shut the Door. Have a Seat."

Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat": This Week's 5 Maddest Moments

Wow. The biggest surprise of the third season finale of Mad Men isn't actually a plot point, but how light and almost exciting it manages to be. For a show that's normally so tense and tightly wound, this week's episode has a quick pace, and at times, a sense of humor. Of course, there is still disappointment and heartache; some of our predictions for the finale come true, but some go sadly unfulfilled.

Without further ado, let's talk about the door that closes and the one that opens this week, and as usual, the finale's five maddest moments, when you


  • So long, Connie: It's eccentric hotelier Conrad Hilton that breaks the news to Don that rival agency McCann is buying PPL, and Sterling Cooper along with it. Don's plenty irate, as it's Hilton's fault that he was signed into a three-year contract and is thus, trapped. However, Don's bitterness quickly turns to ambition, when he rallies Burt, then Roger, to buy back Sterling Cooper from PPL. Pryce is unhelpful in even supplying the purchase price for the men, quashing the buyback plans, but then another scheme is launched: Pryce fires Don, Roger, and Burt so they can form a new agency.
  • Draper Dissolution: While an exciting change is happening for Don in his career, back at home a bleak change is coming. Betty informs Don that she's seen a divorce lawyer and advises him to do the same. It's painful watching these two spar, and I wanted so much for them to figure out how to fix it — but the ball is clearly in Don's court and he does nothing to sway Betty to call off the divorce. Sure, he tells her to, and even suggests that she might need psychiatric help. Oh, and he tells her that he gave her everything she wanted materially, insinuating that should be enough. Don may know what his clients want, but in his marriage, he has no idea what Betty wants.
  • Irreconcilable differences: Don sheepishly tolerates the divorce talk until he's having drinks with Roger, who spills the beans about Betty taking up with Henry Francis (I do have to say, it is rather nice to see these two getting along, acting like buds). This sends a drunken Don home to wake up Betty for a confrontation about her indiscretion, and things get nasty and uncomfortably physical. Again, Don manages to push Betty into even more resolve, and she tells him that she's going to Reno to initiate the divorce. Don and Betty devastate the kids with the news of their separation, and Betty makes good on her threat to go to Reno after Don softens a tiny bit — to tell her that he won't fight her.
  • Don, at your service: One of my favorite parts of this episode? Seeing Don put through the paces by Pete and Peggy. He's always treated them like underlings, and they finally have the opportunity to assert themselves. Don obliges them both and tells them how valuable they are, but not before Peggy pushes back. Her backbone straightens when she's first told of the new company and assures Don that she's had "other offers." Luckily, Don doesn't take no for an answer, and visits Peggy at home, telling her he'd spend the rest of his life trying to hire her if she turned him down now. It's so touching to see Don put aside his ego to acknowledge these others, and it makes me sad that he can't do something similar for Betty.
  • Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: The gang's back together! It's thrilling good fun watching the new company assemble — Roger and Don get the agency's most prized employees one by one, plus my favorite: Joan! She's a necessity to help find all the files and materials in the office, and, they realize, a force that had been holding the company together. Her role in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (can you say "Michael Scott Paper Company"? I told you these two shows have a lot in common!) is a given. With everything coming together so perfectly, though, I wondered why Sal isn't also called in. I suppose we have next season to look forward to for that. Speaking of, next Summer can't come fast enough.

It's interesting that the finale also weaves in flashbacks of Don's early childhood, as this season's premiere did. What Don is remembering now, though, is how his father died. The elder Whitman was faced with losing his home, and after breaking free of the cooperative, readies a trip to the city to sell his crop. His spooked horse kicks him in the head, killing him, with the young Don as witness. It's an obvious parallel to Don's circumstances, who's losing his home, as in his marriage; and, losing his home, as in his life's work. Of course, he only manages to take control of one of those.


So what did you think? Did this season wrap up the way you wanted it to? And even though we won't see the Draper family or the worker bees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce until the fourth season returns, you can still join the Mad Men group in the community to chat about the show year-round.

Photo courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
jimpolandy jimpolandy 7 years
Love, Love, Love this episode. I was so happy to see Joan back and running things again. I was wondering how they would bring her back. Yeah! I miss Sal too and was hoping they would give him a call. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I agree with **jadenirvana** on how they can keep January Jones on the show if she isn't Don's wife. I do love her and I do feel for her on the show. She's had a tough year.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
I think Sal will be back, but I think it may/will take a while, because Mad Men is not about instant gratification. I think that he will disappear, they will lose Lucky Strike, and when the gay rights movement really begins to gain some footing, his character will have more to work with and will be brought back. But it may take half a season (or more).
girlie871 girlie871 7 years
Great episode! I liked the scheming and the running around to get clients and recruits. I loved when Roger called in Joan, I knew she'd be back! This was a great episode and pretty much satisfying for a season finale. Although I am dissapointed that Don couldn't work things out at home:( I know Don is a cheater but I'd still like to see him with Betty and the kids. I'm hoping that if Betty and Henry do end up together that she cheats on him with Don :) I can't wait for Season 4!!
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
Perfect episode! I have to say though, I don't think there is any way the writers can feasibly put Don and Betty back together again, and I'm ok with that. It's a typical "first" relationship where everything is built on fantasies and superficial things. They had a chance at intimacy when Don revealed his past, and she blew him off like an ice queen. I love JJ, but just don't see her on the show if she isn't Don's wife. The relationship has been wrung out every which way; it's just too wrought and there are no story lines left for them.
Dittmar-Davies Dittmar-Davies 7 years
I loved the "F"art dept door. and Joan is back! Please, no more Don flashbacks when he was a kid. Don in a bachelor pad in NYC means revolving door in the bedroom. I don't think he will being seeing his kids very much.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
l loved this episode SOOOOOOOOOO much. roger's "happy birthday" cracked me up so much! and joan! omg love it! it was so nice to see don's human side. but i need sal back. i love him.
amrita amrita 7 years
despite all the definite tragic moments, this had to be the most overall fun and lighthearted MM episode i can remember! you really were cheering for the formation of the new company, and the zingy one liners were amazing.
amybdk amybdk 7 years
Roger: "boy, i'm tired. Peggy can you get me some coffee?" peggy: NO" Puma, that was one of my favorite lines too (not to mention some much-needed comedy). I agree with many of the observations here, especially that Henry’s proposal to Betty seems premature. I’ll be really curious to see what year the next season starts out in. And will Don Draper still just be the weekend dad? Or will Betty’s intuition that forced her move on and leave Don prove to have been the “right” thing to do? Maybe the speculation regarding Henry’s proposal will prove to be false and he’ll compliment Betty beautifully. Who knows! But whatever does happen, Henry’s advice “When you have no power, delay” wasn’t especially his nor Betty’s motto this episode. “Friday, December 13, 1963. 4 guys shot their own legs off” by Roger. Is this a foreshadow of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Everything was working better than planned with Lane firing S, C & D, almost too easily. I feel like something won’t work out quite right and will prove to make this divorce especially complicated. Don regarding his kids: I feel he was really seeing himself in his kids. Not wanting them to feel that they were responsible. And perhaps he is (again, for the bazillionth time) realizing the value of his family. I think Sal will be back next season. The kicking down of the art department door symbolized that for me. Monday morning back at the old SC was chaotic. I liked Lane’s response to being fired too, Haus. “Happy Christmas!” And then he was more than happy to give his assistant one last job then leave him to figure things out for himself. I suppose this will mean another divorce for a Mad Men character as Lane’s wife hates NY. My other favorite line was this: R: “How long until you see us being in a place like this again” looking back into the old Sterling Cooper office they are leaving. D: “I never saw myself working at a place like this.” That ^^, along with the closing credits music left me with a sense of optimism. The song was “Shahdaroba” and included these lines, The future is much better than the past. You will find a love that lasts…” as Don is walking towards his new, urban apartment. I wonder if that love will be of the human/human kind, or the human/job kind. 
filmgirl81 filmgirl81 7 years
I went to a finale viewing party last night, and every single one of us agreed that it was the most fulfilling season finale. So much to look forward to next season! Roger Sterling had the best quotes. What was that quote he said about there being a beach chair with his name on it? That is so my quote!
lylpookie lylpookie 7 years
I loved this episode! So great! I agree, I don't know how they could possibly fit Sal back in with Lucky Strikes as their main the whole blowout that Don had with him. I did feel a little bad for Kinsey when he found Peggy's office ransacked and empty as well. I'm also not sure what to think of Betty and Henry's thing. While I don't think that Don has been the greatest husband, I do have to agree with him that Betty hasn't been a saint either and has been holding her head up a little too high. Best part of the show for me was having Joanie back. She's awesome, and I'm just waiting for her and Roger to get back together. I'm convinced they're meant for each other. I don't think she'll ever cheat on her hubby, but he'll be killed off in the war and it'll be left open for Roger to make his move. Also loved the end scene with Don looking at his dream team.
fakeplanettelex fakeplanettelex 7 years
@hausfrau totally agreed about the peggy/pete/pregnancy scenario - i almost forgot about it, b/c season 3 pretty much left it open. sal - i hope they bring him back. he was awesome. joan - so glad to see her back! i knew she'd be back. lane - this is the 1st ep where i actually liked him pete/peggy - so glad they finally had the opp to stand their ground best line: roger: "boy, i'm tired. peggy can you get me some coffee?" peggy: "NO" hahahaha! betty/don - sigh. they cannot remain separated. the show is nothing w/o them. don needs to fight for her. and keep it in his pants.
marcied23 marcied23 7 years
i would like sal to come back too, i don't think his story is done. but did you see the way don kicked down the door to the art dept.? i doubt that sal will work for the company, nor should he want to after the way don treated him. the show as always was good. i have a feeling betty bit off more than she can chew, she jumped to fast into the next relationship. don still has a chance, if he can learn to keep it in his pants (what're the chances that that would happen?)
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
Oh I think its a certainty that Betty/Henry will blow up... he's essentially setting her up to be dependent on him and they don't know each other! Sheesh at least Don got to know his mistresses.
Whitfield517 Whitfield517 7 years
I think this was hands down the best episode of the season. I would love for Sal to come back but I don't think they will be able to fit it in with the whold Lucky Strike thing being the reason he left. I loved the Don/Betty storyline. Betty is crazy and child like. I hope the whole Henry thing blows up in her face. Can't wait for next season!!!
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
I wondered why they left kinsey and cosgrove... I think they just knew there wasn't much loyalty there. Peggy will always have a soft spot for Don for giving her a chance, I think part of her will always want to work for him. And Pete wants to BE Don so much that that's a great weakness to exploit to get them on his side.... Cosgrove and Kinsey don't have either so they were a more risky bet. I loved when Lane got fired! "Happy Christmas!" haha! so awesome. I'm really sad about Betty and Don though and I really hope something happens to make the divorce not go through. And also, am I the only one disappointed that the entire season went by and we NEVER saw the aftermath of Peggy telling Pete about the pregnancy??? I feel like thats a huge omission.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 7 years
Yah, mama, unfortunately I dont see Sal coming back either. This episode! The scheming to "fire themselves" and then the quiet meetings taking place, just exciting! I was worried about Peggy and her standing up for herself but then when Don went to see her, I knew she couldnt say no to him again. Thankfully! Trudy was awesome in this episode.. she usually is a one noter, but her "Peter, can I talk to you for moment?" when hes telling Roger and Don no was priceless! And when Joan walked into the office I was giggling! Whats wrong with me?! The Betty/Don thing was just so sad and they definitely need to win Emmy's this year. Without a doubt! That confrontation was so great! All of them in the hotel room (like in the photo above) was greatness! I will be renting the DVD's while the shows away for sure!
buckley9383 buckley9383 7 years
Loved this episode! The interactions with Peggy and Don were great, the way she stood up to him and he told her what she had been waiting to hear for so long. I also loved when Joan was called in, perfect! And the looks on Ken & Kinsey's faces when they realized that they hadn't been chosen... I felt really bad for the whole Don/Betty situation but I think it will provide a LOT of material for next season- I can't wait!!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
Sal can't come back necessarily because Lucky Strike is one of SCDP's big accounts, and it's the reason Sal was fired in the first place. I'm interested to see how that all pans out for him, cause Bryan Batt is still in the credits. as sad as I am that the show won't be on for awhile, I honestly thought this episode was perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.
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