Don Draper hit rock bottom in the season 6 finale of "Mad Men". After being [SPOILER ALERT!] caught in bed with his neighbor Sylvia by her daughter Sally, ruining the deal with Jaguar and firing Sterling Cooper & Partners' biggest client, he was put on leave from the company.
To Entertainment Weekly, series creator Matthew Weiner hints at Don's position at the company. "In the corporate world, being put on leave is as close to being fired as possible," he says. "People do come back from it, but it's a really embarrassing and serious activity. And it's their only recourse because he's a partner....I'm not saying people don't come back from that and you'll have to watch, but that shot of him going down the steps and Peggy's in his office and there's a replacement coming in - he was fired."
He adds to TV Guide, "This is the most serious censure you can get when you're a partner. After a season of him impulsively firing their most important client, then destroying their chances at a public offering and going to war against a partner, they couldn't tolerate it anymore. It's very serious. There's no return date and anyone who understands corporate language knows that this is humiliating and serious."
Coming clean about his past, Don also took his children to the whorehouse where he grew up. On what his confession means, Weiner explains, "We were working toward a moment of honesty. I hope it has the impact more than anything, that he has taken a tremendous step, and that this is an event that is big in his life and his children's lives. He had to look at himself in the mirror and come clean a little bit. Especially after what happened with Sally."
The writer goes on revealing where the season has brought Don to. "What it was about was an opportunity for change," he says. "So I felt this season was a descent into Don's anxiety about why he was still the way he was, and I wanted to have a moment of realization of whether he can change or not. That he was going to have to, on some level, confront who he is and that that is the big tension in his life."
Don's marriage is also in jeopardy. Asked whether Don and Megan split for good, Weiner elaborates the situation, "Megan is a very modern person and her career is very important to her, but she's been a loyal and loving wife to a man going through a crisis that she doesn't even know the depth of."
"At a certain point she has just had it. This woman's not dumb, she's just been doing what she can for someone she loves. We know what Don's fantasy is, we saw it when he was on hashish: He wants her to be pregnant and quit her job and be OK with him philandering. But that's not who she is. The justified anger that we've been waiting for her to have you could finally feel."
Despite the downfall in Don's personal life and career, Weiner hopes "people feel a sense of joy or hope at that last moment because that's what the season was working toward." He also admits that the season 6 finale was built to leave viewers with a question, "So, can Don redeem himself?" adding that the ending was "hopeful."