Mad Men Season 6 Recap: Don's Choice

Season 6's preview poster suggested the fundamental decision Don would have to make.

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Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka), Gene Draper (Evan and Ryder Londo), Bobby Draper (Mason Vale Cotton) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in AMC's "Mad Men."

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Listen to what Don says about Bobby in what is his strongest moment of clarity before the final episode:

"I don't think I ever wanted to be the man who loves children, but from the moment they're born, that baby comes out and you act proud and excited… But you don't feel anything, especially if you had a difficult childhood. You want to love them but you don't. And the fact that you're faking that feeling, it makes you wonder if your own father had the same problem. Then one day they get older, and you see them do something. And you feel, that feeling that you were pretending to have. And it feels like your heart is going to explode."

[RECAP: 'Mad Men' Season 6, Episode 11: Diplomacy Club]

Nearly all the male characters – Ted, Pete, Roger, even Duck – conclude the season by attempting to cling to their children as a source of stability in their own lives.

As Ted says about his family, "I have to hold on to them or I will get lost in the chaos".

Their choices are still tainted by all the personal and social injustices that have accumulated over the years.

As Peggy reminds Ted –and implicitly them all – of their privileged positions: "Well aren't you lucky. To have decisions".

But at least, as he leaves the inferno for purgatory, Don appears to have finally stopped and made his.

Ari Ratner is a Washington, D.C.- based writer.  He was formally a political appointee in the Obama Administration's State Department.  You can follow him on Twitter @amratner.

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