Behind every successful man is a strong woman.
(My mom likes to say "nagging woman." Ha! both are true.)
Seriously though, I think we'd all agree that Don wasn't long for the single life. Living in that dank little apartment in the village...drinking his coffee while journaling and smoking...eating warmed-over, canned beef stew. The guy is too sophisticated, too polished, and too concerned about his image to linger in that life for much longer.
And now in hindsight, I think the entire episode was foreshadowing the big proposal (which, by the way, I started screaming during as though it was the last episode of 'The Bachelor.' I think Brian thought I saw a mouse or something since I started waving my hands and gasping and pointing.) His lawyer said it most clearly: "Don't you want to come home to a steak?" Yes, yes he would. And Don's look of complete confusion when Ken Cosgrove (the last redeemable male character on the show) refused to allow work politics to enter his personal life - "No, she is my actual life" - highlighted something in Don that he had never considered before: life actually goes on after closing time. There is a world beyond the office.
I even think the writers were clever enough to make his whole speech to the American Cancer Society be somewhat about Megan: "I did it on impulse; I needed to show myself I was moving forward." (I'm obviously paraphrasing here since I don't remember the actual quotes.) Don needed to move forward; this season, he lost Betty, Anna, Lucky Strike, and a piece of his identity. He needed to move forward lest he fall backward into...nothingness. (cue the opening credits)
The trip to California sealed the deal. Megan toted baby Gene around like he was hers,the bedtime lullabye in French ("You're like Maria VonTrapp!" he told her as she flitted around the room in her pretty white flowered dress), and of course, Megan's cool reaction when Gene's milkshake was spilled. No hysterics, no drama, and a picture-perfect version of what a good family looks like. At least, according to Don.
Megan is exactly what Don needs now: easy on the eyes, good with children, and most of all, she believes in him. She doesn't know him (let's just forget that little detail), but she believes. No one else believes - or believed - in him during the course of the whole season. Roger doubted him, Burt quit as a result of the Tobacco letter, and Lane was too busy getting smacked upside the head by his cane-wielding father to offer much support. Betty has doubted him for years. Faye thought there might be a good guy in there, but she dug a little too deep. Even Peggy, his beloved protege, doubted him in the episode with Samsonite; she questioned his drinking and had to help him after he puked in the bathroom.
But Megan appears to love what she sees: a dapper guy that is goofy around his kids and someone who knows the ad business (which she mentioned she wanted to get into eventually. "Just like Peggy," she told him.) Are her motives pure? File that one away for later...
And while Don was busy falling in love and proposing, Peggy was out saving the agency. I LOVED the part when she slammed into Joan's office, grabbed a cigarette, and started venting. "I just saved the agency, but that's not as important as getting married. Again." I think Peggy (my favorite character, I'll admit) is really coming into her own and she is going to highlight that lifestyle that is the road not traveled for some of us: single, no kids, a career woman. A tough road these days (just look at "Sex and the City" if you want to see how single women over 35 are perceived) but virtually unheard of in 1964. She did just save the agency - but she's right - it's not nearly as exciting as an engagement. She didn't get the sparkly ring, so no pastel-hued shower or pretty silver gifts. Poor Peggy. Never getting the credit she deserves for one reason or another.
And Joan! Still pregnant! And lying to her husband! Yikes. I think we all know Dr. Whats-His-Name is probably not coming back from Vietnam (you can just smell that one), so is she ready for single motherhood? Will she bring the baby to the office? Did they have Pack-n-Plays back in 1964?
As for the rest of the group, we know Betty is bummed. She powdered her nose in the empty kitchen before Don arrived. Sad, pathetic, but not all-together surprising. She had previously curled up on Sally's (bare) bed like the lost child she is. It seems like most of the world is a Betty-hater, but I'm a Betty-sympathizer, mainly since I feel like Don's lying, cheating, and deceiving helped to shape her into the cruel, vain person she is today. She was stuck raising the kids for years while he had the freedom of working in a big city (and staying over night in the big city) and it's not too surprising that she lost her marbles (and is now this vapid, self-serving, Carla-firing mean girl). Henry made it pretty clear that he, too, sees through her actions by saying, "No one is ever on your side, are they, Betty?" With his nasty mother still in the picture, this marriage doesn't look promising.
And finally, I need to give major props to little Sally Draper (and Dr. Edna!!! LOVE her!) There was early talk on the web that she might try to (gulp) kill herself in the finale, and she did no such thing. She was as sweet and wise as she was the entire season. And she likes Megan. And has managed to make Glen a vaguely sympathetic, not too creepy character. She's come a long way from season one and has learned an all-important lesson: not to take her mother seriously. Let's hope she gets to live with Don and Megan.
So, what are your thoughts? Are Megan and Don going to last? Where is the agency headed? Why is baby Gene using a fork? What does the house in Rye look like and will there be cool neighbors like Francine to keep Betty company? When are we going to meet baby Tammy? And most critical of all...what are we all going to do on Sunday nights?
(Totally random comment: Good luck to my dear friend Jen today!! She is in the hospital right now, poised to have baby #2 join the family any minute. Best wishes Jenna!)