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‘Mad Men’ Ends In Donlightenment

in YD News, Yoga Pop

Don, rising from the mud.

With an Om…and a coke…and Don Draper in lotus pose. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t already watched the series finale of Mad Men you might want to skip this, unless you really want to know what happens to Don Draper in the end.

Still with us? We’re sad it’s over, but OMG what a finale! We’re fans of the show and loved how creator Matthew Weiner and the talented writers wrapped up the characters and interwoven storylines in an interesting and somewhat lose-ends-tied-up kind of way. Of course, not everyone is going to be thrilled with the finale episode of an 8-year running, 7-season show that many have become emotionally dialed into for just about that long, but that’s just how the bittersweet cookie crumbles. Everyone thought Don was going to die. But we think he did, in a way, in order to live.

We’re happy to say almost every one of the main characters achieved some sort of enlightenment. Peggy and Joan found empowerment, with the former finding love and the latter letting it go (for now). Pete found a new exciting job, reunited with his wife and child. Roger found someone at his level to love, that might even last. Even Betty reached a certain point of wisdom and understanding despite her prognosis. And Don…

Don was the one who went searching for meaning and purpose the most. He physically went “On the Road.” And where he ended up was a hippie commune/ashram. And what he found there was…drum roll…inner peace? Could it be?



The final episode of the Mad Men found Don Draper, AKA Dick, sitting in lotus in the sun Om’ing with the best of them.

He seems at peace, and dare we say, really, truly happy(!) which is a rarity. But there are many layers to this, as there have been throughout the Mad Men journey. It can’t be this easy. The finale ends with the famous Coca-Cola commercial we’re lead to believe Don dreamed up in his meditative state. He smiles with the smile of someone who is finally content. And perhaps that’s really what he was seeking all along. We’ll call it Donlightenment.

As New York Magazine notes:

It was a smile not unlike that of Walter White’s at the end of Breaking Bad. Both were tributes not to great ideas, but the meaning one finds working to create them. They are tributes to creating the shows themselves.

Agreed. So maybe he’s no ad exec-turned-yoga guru. Though we can’t deny the freakout we experienced after we threw this prediction into the social at the beginning of the show:

This was before the yoga hippies entered the frame.

But whatever happened in the end, and beyond, in the finale everyone owned up to who they truly were and embraced it. There are some lovely hints of yoga in that, we think.

Let’s experience that Donlightenment one more time.



Some fun deeper reading:

The Man Behind the ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ Ad (Besides Possibly Don Draper)
How the Mad Men Pilot Predicted the Final Episodes of the Series

And remember this? Mad Men’s ‘Yogi’ Moment from season 4. We were all so young then. (ps. the video was taken down, but if you don’t remember, it’s between Peggy and Stan.)

gif via NYMag




11 comments… add one
  • VQ2

    The millenials did not invent group yoga classes (just its more widespread commercial-cow-ness). Hatha yoga and yin yoga existed at Esalen, I was an indirect beneficiary of my teacher’s having been there in 1970. This is real.

    Don did not write the ad. He packaged it, for sure; and in my mind communicated it (not telephathically, but telephonically) to Peggy …

    Ending of that show, left most people hanging …

  • Terrific satisfying ending to one of my wife and I’s favorite ever shows. There was more foreshadowing in the episode where Don looked at the old Coca Cola vending machine that “he” was able to fix, because the motel owner just “liked it better.” 🙂

    • VQ2

      Diet Pepsi lover— Coke Zero too (nearly identical in taste to the lovely Diet Pepsi)—gotta ditch them both. Not out of the woods just because you are not drinking the “real” sugar-water thing … I hope to not share my Coke Zero with either Don or Dick (name on the back of the bottle) … your bones and blood sugars are going to hell either way …

  • I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m doing it tonight! Can’t wait.

    Thanks for sharing.


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