Is Don Draper alone? This is the question posed to Don by a beautiful woman in the final shot of the final episode on the fifth season of Mad Men, just after he walks into a bar, lights a cigarette, and orders an old fashioned — something we haven’t seen him do in a while. In a fittingly gorgeous, mysterious, and uneasy shot, perfectly encapsulating of what has been an incredible season of the show, Don turns his head to the side and the scene cuts to black just before he can answer.
So, in an attempt to answer the question, is Don Draper alone? He had just walked away from the commercial set he gave to Megan, and while they aren’t necessarily fighting, there’s an understated tension in every conversation that they have. The other men at work Don knows don’t really know him, and even if they did, Don still wouldn’t have any peers. Pete (who not so subtly notes that he will have the same view as Don in their new office) will never have the easy confidence and charm of Don no matter how much he tries, even if he eventually does get to the same professional level that Don has.
Roger, while still friends with Don, has more of an interest in drinking and screwing than he does any sort of real work. His brother Adam, who made a quick return this episode, hanged himself, while Anna, the only person who really knew of Dick Whitman, died years ago of cancer. And Peggy, who Don was probably closest with at SCDP, has just left for a rival firm and is — as he points out to her — succeeding without him, something he couldn’t have (or didn’t want to) imagine. Is Don Draper alone?