"Tomorrowland" is the title of the "Mad Men" season finale, and the episode looks forward. Season 4, Episode 13 left us feeling optimistic, the way people who visited Disneyland's look into the future must have felt -- until the second half of the 1960s rocketed us into a future that wasn't as bright as we thought it would be. It was a most satisfying ending to this great season because it makes us eager to see what happens next but filled with dread, too.
Don Draper makes one of his signature impulsive moves, trying to improve himself once again. Peggy Olson gets high on work. Betty Francis acts like a child. And Joan Harris takes care of herself.
Don (Jon Hamm) tells Faye at the beginning of the episode that he's going to miss her. He means that he'll miss her while he takes his kids to California, but we catch the foreshadowing. He presents his idea to the American Cancer Society. He says that tobacco companies focus on getting new smokers, so an anti-smoking campaign needs to focus on teenagers. He wants to show that the smoking parents won't be around long, making the kids sentimental about their fading childhood.
Betty (January Jones) angrily fires Carla (Deborah Lacey, who got opening credits billing) for letting Glenn into Sally's room to say goodbye before the family moves to Rye. Carla maintains her dignity as she pushes back against Betty's snide, mean remarks. Later, after Henry has chastised Betty for not telling him about the dismissal and, I think, for treating Carla so shabbily, Betty ends up curled up on Sally's bed, regressing once again.
Carla's firing leaves Don wondering how he will manage three kids on the trip. But sweet Megan (Jessica Pare) turns out to be the answer. He takes her along to California, where she gets along famously with the children, seems to truly care about their well-being and, in telling contrast to high-strung Betty, reveals her calm French Zen when Sally and Bobby squabble and spill a milkshake. Don and Megan fall in love, and he proposes to her when they return to New York -- giving her the ring that Anna left to him, a ring that the original Don gave to Anna. Megan, like Anna, appears to accept Don for who he is. When they are in bed in California, he says, "You don't know anything about me." She says, "But I do. I know that you have a good heart and that you are always trying to do better." (Yes! That's what I think of Don-Dick, too.) Don is sentimental, too, for the idyllic times with Anna. (Jon Hamm even looks younger when he's in the California scenes. His hair is not slicked back, and he wears brighter clothes.)
Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) hears that the Topaz pantyhose company has fired its ad agency, and she gets Ken Cosgrove to make the call. Peggy's ideas sell the account. But even though she has just saved the agency, she doesn't get the acclaim and attention because Don has just told everyone that he and Megan are marrying.
In one of the most delicious scenes of the series, Peggy blows into Joan's office right after hearing the news. Joan says, "Whatever could be on your mind?" in the arch way that only she could. Peggy laments that a pretty face still gets all the attention even though her work is essential to the agency's fortunes. Joan points out that she has been given a title but no more money and no fanfare.
Joan (Christina Hendricks) turns her cattiness up to 10 as she relates the news of Don and Megan to her husband, who is in hot, dangerous Vietnam. That's when we also find out that Joan is pregnant. She didn't go through with the abortion. And Greg, of course, doesn't have a clue that the baby is Roger's, not his.
The next-to-last scene is between Don and Betty at their now empty house. She has come up with a pretext to hang around to see him and tells him that her new life isn't perfect. When he tells her about his engagement, he can see the sadness in her. She covers with coldness. They go their separate ways -- literally and figuratively -- at the end of the scene.
- Don takes Sally and Bobby to Anna's house, which he owned and has sold. They notice "Dick + Anna '64" painted on the wall and ask him who Dick is. Don hesitates and tells them that Dick is him, a nickname he sometimes uses. (Jon Hamm had many wonderful moments in this season finale, but that was one of the best -- his perfect timing made it subtle and powerful.)
- Don breaks the news of his engagement to Faye over the phone. He tells her that she has been "very important" to him, then she says bitterly, "So you're not going to put an ad in The New York Times saying that you never liked me?"
- Ken (Aaron Staton) refuses to try to get his father-in-law to bring the agency business. He tells the others that he doesn't want to jeopardize his life, his actual life.
- Harry (Rich Sommer) acts like a smarmy creep when Joyce shows up in the office with the model who lost her job when the Topaz commercial blew up.
- I was sure that while Don was in the motel room with Megan and the kids were asleep next door something terrible would happen -- like baby Gene would toddle out and fall in the swimming pool. Honestly, I was very anxious for Don to get back to that room.