With the ambiguous ending to Mad Men's fifth season, it remains uncertain what path main character Don Draper might take. The (formerly?) womanizing ad executive spent an entire season being faithful to his wife, Megan Draper -- perhaps most exemplified in his fever dream of strangling a potential mistress. But the final moments of the season 5 finale, "The Phantom," left it unclear whether or not this newfound sense of fidelity would stick. "Are you alone?" a woman at a bar asked Don. He turned to look at her, expressionless, before the show cut to black. Now we'll have to wait until next year to find out.
But rumors are already swirling that Don's marriage to former secretary and aspiring actress Megan are at an end. Showrunner Matthews Weiner has only fueled these rumors: "We see her on the [commercial] set and we realize that she's gone," he said, referring to the job she landed as a result of Don pulling a few strings.
"Don knows that if he gives Megan what she wants, she could possibly leave him. I think it's almost a story of sacrifice, that he sees her on that film and falls in love with her again and realizes that he has to do this," Weiner continued.
So does this mean that actress Jessica Pare is out of a job? That's certainly the way the Mad Men rumor wheel is currently turning. It's also been turning that way for Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olsen on the show. After Peggy's departure from Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce in the episode "The Other Woman," most doomsayers speculated that she was out of the show for good. After seeing her again in the finale, the rumor mill is still turning that Peggy is out for good (and most are speculating that this could only mean bad things for the show).
Many seem to forget, though, that Weiner goes out of his way to be unpredictable. If he's hinting that Megan might depart, chances are she won't. The same goes for Peggy; it's equally likely that we'll stick with her as a tangential part of the narrative, much as we stuck with January Jones' Betty for quite a bit of season 4. The only thing we no for sure is that Jared Harris will not return as Lane Pryce next year -- his departure is the only one set in stone.
Mad Men season 6 will air sometime in 2013.