Last night’s Mad Men ended with Don Draper headed west, no doubt to California, where his “heaven” awaits him, and his end point, Paradise, comes ever closer:
The coast, the beach, the ocean: This is how Don Draper described “heaven” in the sixth season premiere of Mad Men, and that’s exactly where Don is headed. But just as there was ambiguity in the ad that Don pitched to the Sheraton people in that sixth season premiere, there’s still some vagueness about Don’s fate. We know where he’s going, but don’t yet know if he’ll die a literal or a metaphorical death.
In last night’s episode, “Lost Horizon,” Don Draper drove to Racine, Wis. — where he was unable to locate Diana — and continued heading west (toward St. Paul with the hitchhiker). He’s headed to Los Angeles.
In the 7B premiere of Mad Men, Rachel reminded Don, “I’m supposed to tell you, you missed your flight,” and the plane that Don saw flying overheard during a pitch meeting at McCann clearly reminded him of that. He may have missed the flight, but he’s not going to miss his destination.
Weiner has been teasing California and the water for several seasons now. The question — again — is whether the “heaven” that Don described is “heaven on Earth” or the afterlife?
Recall, also, in the sixth season premiere of Mad Men when Jonesy the doorman died for a moment. Don asked him what death was like: “Was it like hot, tropical sunshine? Did you hear the ocean?” Don wanted to know if death was like paradise.
Also of note is that he also wondered in his pitch meeting with the Sheraton people in that episode why they’d confuse it for suicide a la A Star is Born. The man is not dying. “That’s not what this means.” He’s going to heaven, Don insisted.
In that sixth season premiere, what Don was also reading Inferno, which we now understand foreshadowed the final two seasons and Don’s tour of Hell: