‘Mad Men’ Season Finale Review: “In Care Of”
‘Mad Men’ season 6 pitches its 13th and final episode of the season, “In Care Of,” as Don debates moving to California when the opportunity presents, while Ted and Peggy finally confront their relationship, and Pete receives shocking news about his mother.
Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode, “The Quality of Mercy,” saw Don causing an awkward situation for Ted and Peggy at work, while Pete finally uncovered the mystery behind Bob Benson, and Sally spent an experimental night at a boarding school in avoidance of her father. So what will the final episode of the season bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ season 6 episode 13, season finale “In Care Of”!
Don arrives to work greeted by Stan, who volunteers to move to California to head up the Sunkist account, even if the move would be something of a demotion. Meanwhile, Roger’s daughter once again chews her father out for not investing in her husband’s business, while Kenny brings news to Don of Hershey’s request for a potential meeting. Roger sees Bob Benson’s continued friendliness with Joan, and calls the man into his office to warn him about his apparent schemes.
Still at Miss Porter’s, Sally reluctantly accepts her father’s call about testimony for the home invasion, chewing him out for his own immoral behavior in the process. Later, Ted and Jim learn of Don’s disappearance from the office, as the man drowns his sorrows in a bar, antagonizing a minister attempting to convert patrons. Don flashes back to a preacher being evicted from the whorehouse he’d grown up in, before waking up in the drunk tank guilty of assault.
Back at the office, Peggy disdainfully watches Ted take his wife and kids out of the building, while upstairs Pete receives a telegram that his mother had apparently fallen overboard from a cruise. Meanwhile, Don drains his alcohol at home, and tells Megan he wants them to move to California to start a new life together. Megan tearfully agrees, while the Sterling-Cooper partners seem uncertain of the decision, and Stan chides Don for stealing his plan.
Later, Pete learns from the cruise line that Manolo had apparently married (then likely killed) his mother. Blaming Bob Benson, Pete continually fumes at the man, before refusing to share a cab for their trip to Detroit. Meanwhile, Peggy dons a revealing outfit and informs the partners of her intent to leave early for a date, making sure to catch Ted’s eye in the process.
Having arrived to the Chevy office in Detroit, Pete attempts to box Bob out of the account before Bob pulls his own trump card, goading the executives into allowing Pete to drive one of the cars in the lobby. Apprehensive and unable to drive stick, Pete accidentally knocks out one of the lobby displays, embarrassing himself out of the account. Meanwhile, Peggy returns to her apartment building to find Ted already waiting for her, and uninterested in playing their back and forth games. Ted resolves to leave his wife, and the pair finally give in to their passion.
Don is awoken by a call from Betty, who reveals that Sally has been suspended from school for drinking. Sympathetic to Betty’s distress over failing as a mother, Don agrees to take the kids to Thanksgiving in the coming days, and keep the incident quiet. Meanwhile, Ted and Peggy resolve to keep things calm until Ted leaves his wife and the scandal dies down, after which Ted returns home to his wife.
Joan learns from a co-worker that Roger has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving, while Ted desperately meets with Don in his office, and asks to be sent to California instead. Don turns him down, citing that Megan had already begun the process of leaving her job, but Ted presses Don to find what little goodness remains in his heart, so that Ted might start over with his family. Before he leaves, Ted urges Don to have a drink before their meeting, rather than quit cold turkey.
In the Hershey meeting, Don easily wins over the clients with a fake story about his father buying him a Hershey bar, but when Don sees Ted looking distraught, he changes his tune. Instead, Don reveals to the partners and clients that his own childhood was spent in a whorehouse, wherein a Hershey bar remained the only semblance of normality he ever had. Cutler attempts to cover when Don doubts that he should tell other children how to enjoy a Hershey bar, before ushering the clients out. Alone with Ted, Don decides to allow him to go to California instead, and heads home to give Megan the bad news.
Pete and his brother Bud listen to the difficulties of investigating their mother’s mysterious disappearances, ultimately deciding the politics and costs of finding Manolo would prove too much to bear for too little payoff. Meanwhile, Ted confronts Peggy about his decision to move to California with his family, as she chides him for taking any of her decisions out of the matter. Don returns home and delivers the bad news to Megan, who still intends to go and look for work. Megan takes shots at both Don and his troubled children, dismissing notions of making their relationship work bi-coastally, before storming out.
The next morning Pete arrives to see Trudy and Tammy, saying a last goodbye before he himself moves to California to start over. Meanwhile, Don arrives to the office on a Saturday morning for a supposed meeting about California, only to find the partners confronting him about his erratic behavior of late. The group place Don on leave for the foreseeable future without offering a return date, as Don walks out to find Duck Phillips and a replacement already on their way up.
On Thanksgiving, Joan has Roger over to spend time with his son, resisting any questions about Bob Benson’s presence serving the meal. Meanwhile, Stan finds a pantsuit-clad Peggy setting up shop in Don’s office, while Don drives his children to the derelict remains of the old whorehouse, explaining it to be where he grew up. Endeth season 6.
And so, ‘Mad Men’ has once again come to a close. No time travel, no government agents, no murder (at least not for Megan), just a devastating finish that sees Don Draper finally unable to escape the consequences of his actions, while the supporting characters endure bittersweet victories.
Of course, we have no idea how any of this will pan out for the ‘Mad Men’ final season next year, or if Don will actually come out the other end of his leave a changed man. Presumably at least part of next season will take place in California, as Pete would prove far more costly a character to lose than Megan or Ted Chaough. What Don will do with his newfound time off remains equally up in the air.
We liked seeing Ted and Peggy’s relationship finally arrive at a literal and figurative climax, and admittedly enjoyed the swerve of seeing Peggy placed in Don’s chair, though much of the surrounding hour left us feeling as alienated as the characters themselves. Don, Pete, Peggy and Roger all seem to have suffered defeat by the end of season 6, with very few notes of optimism other than a shared glance between Don and Sally in the closing moments.
An unexpectedly dour finish to the presumably penultimate season, but not without some powerhouse performances and cathartic confrontations all around.
Did you get your fill of moving ‘Mad Men’ drama? What did you think about Sunday’s finale “In Care Of”? Check out all our other ‘Mad Men’ season 6 coverage here, and stay tuned for the latest coverage of season 6 and beyond!