Mad Men Review: Death Is The Only Adventure

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Rory Gilmore, Mr. Belding and the end of Megan Draper's run as a copywriter highlighted the eighth episode of Mad Men's fifth season, "Lady Lazarus."

One stanza in the Sylvia Plath poem that this episode gets its title from reads:

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

Just as the lady of the poem wants nothing more than to finally die after being revived time and time again, Megan Draper wanted nothing more than to finally get out of the advertising business.

Pete Campbell Photograph

She was great at her job. Like the above excerpt reads, Lady Lazarus was exceptional at everything, and like Peggy so astutely commented to Joan, Megan is good at everything...she's just one of those girls.

Megan Draper picked up advertising quicker than anyone at SCDP, but she didn't love doing it. Did she hate advertising? Did she hate the people working there? That is an argument for Don and Peggy to have, and they had it, but Megan's dream has always been to be an actress.

And so it shall be done. In yet another act providing evidence that Megan and Don are right for each other, the former quickly told the latter the whole truth after skirting around the situation earlier in the day, putting Peggy in a pickle in the mean time.

It was great to see Don take the whole situation in, not know exactly how to process it all, but ultimately accept it. Don't you get the feeling that if this was Betty, he would have blown up at her and said no? Maybe it's because it was Megan and not Betty, or maybe Don has just grown over the past couple of years, but this seemed like a very healthy situation.

My question then becomes, is he just holding it all in? Will more events like the one that happened with Mr. Belding and the Cool Whip cause Don and Peggy to blow up at each other more and more, causing a divide in the office? Will the absence of Megan ruin the positive momentum SCDP had as of late?  She DID seem to have the most success recently. I'm betting Ginsberg steps up to the plate.

While most of the Mad Men and Women were dealing with the Megan-pocolypse, Pete had his own thing going on with Rory Gilmore. What are we supposed to think of Pete at this point? When Don was cheating on Betty time and time again, there was still sympathy to be had for the man, mostly because Betty was so awful.

However, Trudy is such a doll that watching Pete continue to cheat just gets more and more difficult. Alexis Bledel was great as Howard's wife, and there was a nice connection between her character and Pete, but it has come to the point that there may be no redeeming characteristics in Pete Campbell at all anymore.

"Lady Lazarus" ended in a fabulous montage set to The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Know." We saw Don relaxing at home - still not having any idea what's going on out there - Peggy smoking up at work, Pete pining for his new lover, and of course Megan playing dead at acting class. Was that the death our Lady Lazarus was looking for this entire time?

What did you all think of this week's Mad Men installment? How did you like the guest appearances? Check out a number of great quotes from the episode in our Mad Men quotes section and then sound off in the comments!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


@Joi - I didn't know about rumors of someone dying; but if they're true, you have to assume it's either Roger or Cooper. If anyone remembers the first season, he did have 2 heart attacks. And Cooper, well he's just old. It stinks because I like both charactors. On the other hand, people usually die in TV shows because either people don't like the charactor, or someone wants to leave the show to persue other ventures. Everybody likes Cooper and Sterling, and they're both a little old to be unhappy with a recurring role on a popular tv show. So maybe it is Pete that will die. I suppose it could be Don, since Jon Hamm is getting a lot of movie offers, but if it is Don, the show is over...


I get blindsided each episode--one episode your see Lane and Joan kiss, and then nothing. There was no follow up after Sally walked in on Roger and Meagan's mom. Was she traumatized? We don't know, we are just left hanging.
Why doesn't Don hire Meagan as an actress to perform in their little advertising campaign--sort of free lance for her. Meagan has assumed quite a bit of power in the relationship very quickly, and I see Don as very, very needy, which is so not like him. The characters seem to bounce back and forth with their personalities. I do like Joan the best, though. She has the wisdom and poise that none of the other characters seem to have. She is so georgeous and conducts herself with such charm that I wonder what would any of them do without her? This week's episode was disturbing with the elevator shaft open, and Pete's sexual encounter. He is not a happy person. It seems he is living a life someone else wanted for him.


I continue to tune in to this show like a bystander watching a car accident. It always leaves me feeling depressed and yet I am drawn to it. The only character that gets me out of my doldrums is Roger because he is so unrepentant. I think the rest of the cast is weighed down with guilt and angst all the while they continue to make bad choices.


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"When Don was cheating on Betty time and time again, there was still sympathy to be had for the man, mostly because Betty was so awful." Facepalm. The reason Betty was so awful was BECAUSE Don was cheating on her time and time again.


Yes, if there is a death coming, I feel it will be Pete. That could be the whole reason they had to get him driving. He'll have a car accident, and we'll be done with this awful unredeemable character. I thought that elevator scene meant that Don had gotten the shaft with his promoting Megan to be a star at his agency, and then her surprise exit from the business, leaving him in the lurch. I don't think the Megan & Don relationship has a chance now, it meant something to Don that they had become a successful ad team together, and now that is over. He's left alone in the evening, and you never want to leave Don alone, as he'll be straying soon. Joan's right, Megan will fail as an actress, and they'll have separate lives.


I never really expected Megan to leave SCDP. As much as I feel like Don's work has been slacking off in this season, it seems like he believes that working with Megan keeps him current. Telling Stan and Ginsberg, "I'll just ask Megan about it, she'll know" seemed like he is more dependent on her than she is on him. I love to hate Megan, even though I can't find a concrete reason why. But I will say this: last season when she and Don first slept together, she told him that she wanted to do what he and Peggy did. Did she honestly believe that, or did she lie in order to get closer to Don? There are only 4 episodes left. Unbelievable. I'm hoping for more Betty, Peggy, and Joan. And I hope Don Draper pulls it together and that someone can turn that advertising firm around.


Since hearing rumors that a major character is supposed to die this season, the last 15 minutes of the show, after Don almost walked into an empty elevator shaft, had my heart racing. That, coupled with Pete's multiple mentions of suicide, have me counting the days until the next episode. Why didn't Don tell anyone about the broken elevator? In one episode, they mention that the windows don't open at SCDP, but now we have a broken elevator on the 26th floor, I believe. And Pete is still hopeless when it comes to driving, as he missed a stop sign while driving last night. Obviously I don't think Don will die, but all of this foreshadowing is pointing to something bad coming soon. Can't wait!


niks4u hit it right on the head when they said Don wasn't Don anymore because of Megan...i keep waiting for him to blow his stack, but it never happens anymore. Alexis Bledel was a perfect other woman for Pete. He's so desparately looking for a reason to get up in the morning. I absolutly love the Ginsberg character...he's the new Miss Blankenship


I don't know what I thought about this episode, on some levels it felt rushed and lazy, and on some levels provided that needed relief of constant Megan and Don togetherness. Once again Don look so Theta male with his "I need you to love me" admiration for Megan. Every time he compliments her, it feels so needy and counterfeit. Surprise, surprise I actually loved Megan in this episode because finally she has an identity. I realized I found her dreadful because it was so obvious she was assuming Don's life. Pete's actions looked force and ridiculous. But, I do like the chemistry he has with his new obsession, so I am reluctantly interested to see more of their dynamic tragedy.

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Mad Men Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Don: Don't you like it?
Peggy: No I do, just absorbing it.

Megan: You love specific.
Don: But I have no idea what's going on out there.