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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 10/17/2010

The 'Mad Men' season finale: Is another death on the horizon?

By Jen Chaney

Don Draper, a man whose lucky strikes are running out. (AMC)

The fourth season of "Mad Men" comes to a close tonight. After watching a dozen episodes in which, among other things, Don Draper struggled not to dip completely into depression, Joan may (or may not) have aborted a baby she conceived with Roger and a few people have kicked the bucket (RIP Mrs. Blankenship), it seems like the conclusion may drop one or two bombshells.

And if some of the theories floating around the Internet right now are to be believed, that could mean more death.

The Week has compiled a nice round-up of all kinds of theories -- including some intriguing ones involving Walt Disney and the black-out of November, 1965 -- but let's just focus on the ones that involve the demise of major characters.

A blog called The Pre-Existential Suite has posted an item suggesting that Roger Sterling will commit suicide, which is a reasonable guess, except for the fact that Sterling strikes me as too vital a character to bite it at this point.

More alarmingly, Michael Ausiello suggests during Entertainment Weekly's TV Insiders podcast that young Sally Draper -- the daughter of Don and Betty, the same one who is neglected, mistreated and always won over by the offers of Beatles tickets -- actually might be the one who attempts to take her own life, which would indeed be a stunner. Part of his rationale is that Don eventually needs some reason to become a more regular part of Betty's and his kids' life again. A tragedy would act as a natural catalyst in that department.

But I don't see that happening either, if only because it's much too reminiscent of AJ Soprano.

But Ausiello makes a good point about Don getting back together, in some fashion, with his family unit. There's been something unnatural about watching Henry Francis roam around in the chilly, '60s decor of the Draper home. And as was made clear when Don ran into Midge during last week's episode, the guy doesn't belong in Greenwich Village. Personally, if I have to watch the handsome ad genius come home and sit at that depressing little desk by the window one more time, I might start drinking hard scotch at 10 a.m. myself.

If Weiner sticks to his plan to end "Mad Men" after season six, then after tonight, only 26 episodes remain. It's hard to imagine Don and Betty apart for all of those episodes.

So here's my bold prediction for the "Mad Men" finale. Glen -- who may not be as "bad" as Betty contends, but clearly is capable of some royally weird behavior -- will pull another of the attention-getting, break-in routines he resorted to in the second episode of the current season. Except this time, Henry will be there to catch him. In a moment of panic while attempting to escape, Glen will accidentally kill Henry.

The description of tonight's episode simply states, "Opportunity arises for Don and Peggy." We assume that could mean a career opportunity. But Henry dying and leaving Betty a widow ... well, that would be an opportunity of sorts for Don, too ... wouldn't it?

All right, I've made my cockamamie prediction. Now it's your turn: what will happen on tonight's "Mad Men"?

By Jen Chaney  | October 17, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  TV  
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Comments

Matt Weiner has said in past interviews that Betty and Don are through as a married couple. There will be no new Mr & Mrs Draper unless it's Faye, Meghan or some yet-to-be-met woman. Maybe Glen, hearing that he's losing Sally (AND her mother) in a move to Rye, will end it all. Roger is more likely to succumb to a third heart attack, but he seems to have made it through the departure of Lucky Strikes in one (shaky) piece. Greg killed in a freak accident during basic training? Lots of possibilities....

Posted by: Floretta | October 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, do not post anything to the Post homepage that reveals the possible death of characters in a season finale--even if it's just a rumor. Some of us would like a chance to watch without your speculation first, but that's nearly impossible when you've got it posted to the homepage.

OK? Thanks.

Posted by: enielson | October 17, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

draper, campbell, and price form a more perfect union. don paid pete's partner obligation and lane bore witness to the largess. unspoken, yet unbreakable.

roger loses footing with the loss of lucky strike, miss blankenship, and bert cooper; his spiral into hell, and his redemption, foreshadowed tonight and drawn out next season, where it will be too little, too late. jane will torment his decline as she remains further out of the loop.

dr. miller, with her promises to help fix everything will fall next to meghan's ability to actually anticipate need, act on it, and step aside as required. she is capable, beautiful, and if don ever needed a muse, meghan would be it.

peggy, don's protege, influenced by the generational ocean in which she swims (lesbians, artists... well, new york circa 1965), and a fierce determination to succeed, seizes on the opportunity don creates with his "shenanigans". they are now of one mind. she gets it and don needs her more than ever. tonight, it bears fruit.

poor joanie. her husband is the sole representative from the war of the time. we will see that his ability to be to her what his once promising light allowed will continue to diminish. she is pragmatic, and growing more alone.

betty, a child, will continue to react badly as sally gains more confidence and understanding of her mother. sally is don.

henry, betty's father figure, decides betty is a distraction. henry will have to decide what to do before he takes on the promising candidacy of rockefeller. all we will get is a look at his eyes as he, again, stares at the girl he married. no words. this will play out next season. they move to rye and bobby's playland, betty goes to kiddie heaven.

don takes back the house. sally wants to be there and this time she is smarter with her approach. glen remains in the picture (matt weiner's son, right?) ..and, by the way, this is way beyond faye miller's capability to respond. she's research. don's home life is real. we heard her breaking up with her former b.f. on the phone outside the elevators. she fakes being married with a ring. while don gets what she does (does it himself), he doesn't want to invite it into his life. his letter to the times was meant to do many things at one time. exit dr. faye miller.

does don take a call from connie hilton? something along those lines...

stan screws up (and sets up the return of sal?) (wishful thinking?)

weiner is a master of staging opposites. (when lucky strike exits pete has a baby.) sooo...

nobody dies. there are too many, far more interesting, levels of hell to allow death to intercede. nyc blackout would be a great backdrop, though. city noir.

Posted by: md2or | October 17, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I may be mistaken or misremembering, but in NY Times magazine piece at the start of this season, it had a picture of the back of a man (Don?) in a furniture less, deserted office. Phones on the empty floors etc. I don’t think it was before they moved from the hotel room to the their new digs. This means that Sterling, Cooper, Daraper, Pryce will fold. Peggy may take up the offer to become creative director of her own firm as was offered two weeks ago. I think Rodger is going to suffer a heart attack, but not die. His recovery will take a few weeks next season. He will suffer another, but fatal attack in week three of next season. Henry will die. Mainly, because he is not a very interesting character.

Posted by: francisryan95 | October 17, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Between "Rubicon" and "Mad Men", AMC has owned Sunday evening.
(Nobody's talking about "Rubicon" which is equally
Of course, we can switch to "Boardwalk Empire" (which we have been watching on HBO in reruns) and up-coming, the World Series.
These 2 series are so captivating, I can barely stand it until they return.
I feel the same way about "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" on HBO, which appears to be on the way in January with Season 2.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 17, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Where the Classy, Attractive & Affluent Meet. Start Searching Now http://bit.ly/awhBi8

Posted by: jeremyrenner18 | October 18, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

For much more on the women of Mad Men, check out Laurie Wheeler’s great interview with Erin Levy, Emmy-winning writer for the show, at http://www.psychologyofwomen.com/blog/interviews/interview-with-erin-levy-emmy-winning-writer-for-mad-men-on-women-the-60s-and-gender-equality/

Posted by: klebbe | October 18, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Rubicon is better than MM, but it's rumored to be done for. Sad.

Posted by: lilypad44 | October 18, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Where's the discussion? I was actually underwhelmed. I don't like Megan. Seems like she played Don from the get-go.

Posted by: duhneese | October 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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