Was the Hershey’s Meeting Don Draper’s First Step to Redemption?

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
June 24 2013 4:24 PM

Don’s Breakthrough

Did the Hershey’s meeting set Don Draper on the road to redemption?

Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men

Courtesy of Jaimie Trueblood/AMC

Slate’s Mad Men “TV Club” writers Hanna Rosin and Seth Stevenson were on Facebook on Monday to chat with readers about the Season 6 finale. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Seth Stevenson: How did everyone feel about the final episode?

Johanna Humphrey: I don't know if it was just the music at the end (Matthew Weiner uses the closing music in very interesting ways) or that I was expecting all season for someone to die, but I feel like next season will be redemptive. The closing shot of Don coming to grips with his past might be signaling a reversal of this season, where we saw him sliding deeper and deeper into the abyss. It might not be a happy ending, but I imagine we'll see a different Don next year. (I've said this before—and was wrong.)


Hanna Rosin: I'm with you, Johanna. Anyway, how much lower can he go? The trick will be to make a clean, open Don still feel like Don. Maybe the harder trick will be to make him still interesting.

Seth Stevenson: Me three. I think viewers couldn't have taken watching Don take another spin on the wheel of suffering. It was time for some evolution. I'm OK with a sobered-up Don in Season 7. Let's have Peggy spiral out of control!


Cathy Pike Maynard: I had to watch it twice to absorb it. I thought it was one of the best-written to date. I think it's Jon Hamm's time to win an Emmy.

Hanna Rosin: What was your favorite scene?

Cathy Pike Maynard: My favorite scene was the last shot of him showing the kids where he grew up.

Hanna Rosin: I loved that scene, too. The house was over-the-top, but it was also beautiful. I really bought that scene.

Andrea Serna: I also watched it twice. I loved the closing scene. It gave me hope for Sally.

Seth Stevenson: Yes, I found myself surprisingly moved by the look that Sally and Don exchanged. You could sense their relationship becoming stronger as it overcomes Don's mistakes. And Sally might have realized some of the privileges she takes for granted.

Monica Chiaramonte: I think with this final scene all the flashbacks during the season (hated by so many, not by me though) made sense and made this last scene even more powerful.


Sam Perez: SPOILER ALERT! The scene right after Don receives his forced hiatus, we see Peggy in an office. She sits with her back to the camera but facing the windows. Was I the only one who thought we were about to get a flash of Don falling to his doom?

Hanna Rosin: Brilliant! Morbid! It didn't cross my mind, but maybe that's what was being hinted at.

Scott Brannon: Yeah, I was waiting for that to happen as well. Scary.

Seth Stevenson: Now that would have spurred some water-cooler talk! I did feel Peggy's commandeering Don's desk chair—suddenly wearing pants, no less—was a bit heavy handed. I half expected her to find Don's wingtips under the desk and slip them on.

Hanna Rosin: You are all leading me to believe that Peggy will carry next season—Peggy as Don, icy cool, brilliant, hiding secrets of her own. Very “end of men.”

Seth Stevenson: Yes! I vote for a Season 7 with a reformed, optimistic Don and a Peggy who is at the top of her game careerwise but loses control of her personal life. I want Peggy commanding the conference room, then clocking out to do some boozing and to break some hearts.


Cathy Pike Maynard: I loved it when he shook hands with the Hershey’s reps and told them that he may never have a chance to meet them again. He wanted to come clean, even to them. I thought it was so poignant.

Seth Stevenson: He couldn't lie to representatives of the product that was the only thing that could make him feel "like a normal kid"—the "only sweet thing in his life." He couldn't spoil it. He doesn't even want them to grubby it up with advertising.

Hanna Rosin: Agree that's what was so moving about that scene, how a Hershey's chocolate bar was genuinely critical to his well being, his sense of childhood and normalcy.

Jeremy Stahl: Watching that boardroom scene, I felt like it was kind of too melodramatic, too over-the-top, and too cringeworthy. But maybe that was the point, though?

Hanna Rosin: I liked it because it took me so much by surprise. It was the way he never changed his posture or expression that moved me. It was also that we have been waiting for this release all season, as he's nearly lost it at board meetings in nearly every episode. And in some ways we've been waiting for this public reveal for the whole of the series. The one problem is: I think the show's writers are more enchanted with Don's rise and fall than the audience is. Am I right?

Laine Doss: I like Don when he's at his oily best. A humble, sober Don? Meh.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?