What A TV Finale Should Do - Page 2
In both cases, a larger question is raised: What is the purpose of finales? A lot of people want explosive finales that provide action, drama, and intrigue. While many shows deliver on that front on a regular basis, there are plenty of other shows who decide to place the climax to their season in the penultimate episode and use the finale for tying up loose ends. Is one way better than the other? It depends. Depending on the content of the season and the show as a whole, some shows are better off going big in their finales. For example, Justified is a show about a gun-slinging US Marshall. It makes sense that their finales are explosive, tense, and bloody. However, plenty of shows build to a plot crescendo, but still rely on subtlety to get messages across. It just so happens that both Mad Men and Game of Thrones are shows like that. People may want to think of Game of Thrones as scripted Dungeons and Dragons, but it's far more than that. It's really about power: What people handle it, how they achieve it, and how they keep it. Mad Men has too many themes to count, but if nothing else it's about the passage of time and the change that results from the passage of time. Neither of those shows require a slam-bang action finale to deliver on its goals for the season.
Season finales can serve many different purposes, but viewers would be advised to think about the season as a whole before passing judgment on a finale. Both Mad Men and Game of Thrones delivered in their finales. Just because it doesn't fit a certain mold, doesn't mean the episode wasn't well done. If nothing else, we can all revel in the possible return of the O.G. Don Draper.