Long goodbyes suck, and Mad Men's had one of the longest goodbyes a TV show has received in recent memory. People scoffed when AMC announced their decision to pull a Breaking Bad and cleave Mad Men's final season in two, and rightly so. Widely dismissed as a move to maximize the show's Emmy and awards potential by drawing out the final thirteen eps across two years instead of one, even series creator Matthew Weiner seemed to think it was a bad idea, only stating at the time that he "found a way to work with it."
With Mad Men finally at a close, it's possible to look back and see just how inappropriate the seventh-season split really was. Unlike Breaking Bad, which worked with an increased episode count to turn it's final season into two, separately filmed "mini-seasons", Mad Men treated the season more like business as usual, and the difference is palpable. Where Breaking Bad ended season 5.0 on a breathless cliffhanger, Mad Men ended season 7.0 with "Waterloo" and the death of Bert Cooper. It's a beautiful ep, but more or less similar to, albeit a highlight of, the rest of this season of languid, thoughtful goodbyes.
Watching through season 7.5 and hoping for closure with everyone's favorite relationships and characters, it's easy to forget just how much closure already came in 7.0. Bert's aforementioned death, Don and Peggy's slow dance, the dysfunctional SC&P family dinner at Burger Chef. All these moments should have built momentum into Mad Men's final hours (as they have every season) but instead, it feels like eons ago, and season 7.5 felt burdened with undue slack to pick up as a result.
Goodbyes, especially with the one's you're close to, are best kept short and deliberate - a peck on the check, a firm hug, and a fond farewell - but Mad Men's sunset season held on like an endless, too-needy embrace. Hopefully, in the future, AMC realizes that's no way to end a relationship with something you love.