For a show that juggled as many character storylines as Mad Men did, its finale was fairly generous with giving most of them satisfying resolutions. But of course, there wasn’t room to fit in closure for everyone and still have enough time for Don Draper to stare morosely at all the empty rooms he needed to stare at. As Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican revealed at a recent panel with the show’s writers, even Matthew Weiner and his staff drafted a “wish list” of people they’d like to see again and plot points they hoped to resolve before the end. Unfortunately, only about half of them made it on screen. But for those who have long wondered what happened to closeted art director Salvatore “Sal” Romano after he was fired in season three, rest assured that Weiner and Co. wondered as well. They didn’t do anything about it, of course. But hey, we never got to pretend like we cared about Harry’s divorce, either.
Other than leaving “What happened to Sal?” as the “What happened to the Russian?” that will dog Matthew Weiner at every Q&A he attends for the rest of his life, the list reveals some of the other things Mad Men never quite got around to: An update on Don’s spurned lover Dr. Faye, who might want to be grateful, considering the update we got on Rachel Mencken). A check-in with Lucky Strike’s lecherous Lee Garner Jr., whose unwanted advances on Sal led to him getting fired in the first place—and whom Roger apparently still pines for, sending him “a Christmas gift every year until he dies.” Glimpses of various tertiary characters like Smitty, Ho-Ho, Hildy, Roger’s ex-wives, and other people no one really thinks about anymore. And even some new threads on the firm dealing with difficult clients, like a guns-and-ammo dealer and the Israeli tourism board, while also getting swept up in Wall Street trading, all of which we’ll now never get to see generate angry think-pieces.
Perhaps the character most disappointed by this list’s omissions would be Pete, who was denied the dementia-fueled reconciliation with his mom the writers seem to have imagined for him. Instead, he’ll just have to console himself with hobnobbing with the “upper crust” on his private jet while being married to Alison Brie, and that time he got to make his brother feel kind of shitty.
As for Sal, Brian Batt recently told Esquire he was glad he wasn’t brought back, because it “wouldn’t have been as strong” as the way they left things. Batt also dreamed up his own ending, suggesting that, after Sal’s mother dies, he finally comes out, and “I imagine him walking through the West Village as Stonewall happens and getting swept up in it.” We can only guess as to what happens from there, how it inevitably leads to his meeting Bob Benson, and their blossoming partnership, as successful designers by day, masked vigilantes by night—coming next year to AMC.