What Jungian Psychology Can Tell Us About Don Draper’s Unexpected Embrace of Leonard in Mad Men’s Finale
Some critics have suggested that Don Draper’s embrace of fellow group-therapy member Leonard in Mad Men’s finale amounts to a metaphorical embrace of Dick Whitman, the original childhood identity Don left behind. This paper analyses echoing dialogue, the appearance of archetypal symbols, and other mise-en-scène elements to suggest another reading, namely that Leonard recalls two phantoms from Don’s traumatic past: his brother, Adam Whitman, and his business partner, Lane Pryce, who both died by suicide. The persona, shadow, and anima concepts—formulated by C.G. Jung and enriched through critiques by post-Jungian scholars and clinicians—are used to elucidate associations among Adam, Lane, and Leonard and to explain why Leonard’s synchronistic appearance helps catalyse Don’s psychological integration, a process he’d resisted during the entire series’ run.
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