Tonight begins the final season of "Mad Men." In essence it's a chronicle about victims. That goes down the line, ranging from Don who can't heal from being the son of a prostitute, to Joan who lacks the self-esteem to truly believe in themselves. The most fascinating victim of all is Peggy. She suffers the double whopper of her own blue-collar ethnic Catholic background combined with her fierce ambition.
What we fear, of course, is that Don will off himself. Last season ended with him in a dark place. At this time, we can't think of anything or anyone who can save him. Peggy is too strong for taking a dive out a Manhattan window.
The character we probably never considered for a tragic ending might have one. That's Joan. In the New York Post, the actress who plays Joan Christina Hendricks wishes that for the character. She figures that will be interesting. She's right.
Awful deaths, especially if unexpected, can make television characters more memorable. People Magazine carries a story on how Will Gardner of "The Good Wife" shocked the audience when he was gunned down in the courtroom by a nutzo client. The incident is imprinted forever in fans' memory banks. On "Breaking Bad," few ever thought met mastermind Gus could be done in. The how of that resulted in a Gus death Halloween mask in New York Magazine. The image will live forever.
One scenario for Joan's brutal death could happen in bed. A client flips and strangles her. Another could be she enters a death pact with Don. They jump off the GW Bridge, holding hands. A third could be death after childbirth, like Sybil on "Downton Abbey."
We will suffer this season as we do every season with this ad agency bunch. Their flaws are ours, only outsized.