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Mad-men

Mad Men Review: Shocked Therapy

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Nobody died. The company stayed in tact. There really weren't any serious surprises at all.  While the season five finale of Mad Men was a conclusion to a seemingly uneventful year, "The Phantom" also continued a number of individual character arcs that are heading in some interesting directions.

Mad Men will have the occasional suicide, company blow up, or secret life, but at the end of the day it is simply these characters that keep us coming back, wanting more and more of Don, Roger, Peggy and the gang.

Mad Men Season 5 Finale Pic

So although I finished watching the season finale asking myself if anything happened during the past 13 episodes, when you take a deeper look at what actually went down in season five and even this final installment of 2012, it was pretty hefty.

Pete Campbell's rise to the top was so successful that nobody questions a thing he does anymore...well except Don, who wondered if proxying his partners' vote was even allowed.  While his business life couldn't have been better this season, the personal side of things kept life interesting.

That all came to afoot in the finale, as he had a rendezvous with Beth just before she went in for electric shock therapy.  What a whirlwind for the guy!  He has this moment with the girl, she ignores him, then she calls him for a hookup, and she tells him she's going to forget everything that happened between them.

I don't care if he was blowing up his own spot or not, I would have given it to his friend on the train as well.  That guy is a true a hole.  Like Lane Pryce and everyone else, that office of the New Haven Line sure wanted to get in the Punch Pete Campbell Club, and that's always fun to see.

Ever since the beginning of their relationship, it was obvious that Pete and Trudy weren't meant for each other.  The fact that his doubts have come up more often, and that she is giving him an apartment in the city, only make me think that their time is coming to an end.  Let us not be surprised if they are divorced next season.

Don's relationship, on the other hand, has been going in the other direction.  While there are those that believe he is making his way back to the Don of old, and that final unanswered question of the season - "Are you alone?" - made it seem murkier than I imagined it was, it couldn't have been more obvious to me that this season was so much about Don's growth as a man and a husband.

In the finale, his act of getting Megan the part in the commercial seemed like one of selflessness.  That is quality that the old Don never had towards Betty.  I'm sure there are those that could also argue his action as simple appeasement.  He let the girl go play dress up so that he could spend time with the two feisty girls at the bar.  With the look that he gave them, I wouldn't be surprised if things were different between Don and Megan next season.  However, it wouldn't be the conclusion to the arc I was watching all season long.

Peggy started a new chapter in her professional life, finally getting out of Don's shadow, Lane went down a dark path that ended in last week's horrific death, and Roger got strange with LSD on more than one occasion. 

Like I said, there were a lot of interesting stories told about our favorite Mad Men characters.  It just didn't seem to add up to much.  The company's doing much better now, and the new office space will prove that to everyone soon enough, but that felt like a less than earth shattering event.  In comparison to season finales of the past, it felt slight.

There can't be much more Mad Men left in our lives, so we best just enjoy it while we have it.  "The Phantom" was a pleasant conclusion to a fine season.  What did you all think of it?  Did it satisfy your needs, or did it disappoint as a finale?  And will somebody please put some pants on Roger Sterling!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (113 Votes)

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

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I looked at the ending quite differently. Yes, Don is very lonely like usual. He may have had some reprieve with Megan and possibly he may start sleeping with woman again but I think there was significance of the woman asking Don to light her cigarette. "What do women want?" Remember Peggy's boss said that? The woman asking for a light was smoking a long cigarette, Virginia Slim? So, what do woman want...This may be alluding to how far woman have come. Somebody else said Virginia Slims slogin was, "You've come a long way baby." Maybe they still want security but either way, I think this sparks Don's fierce creativity that had been lacking on Season Five. As we saw in the last episode Don was more focused like he used to be. Maybe he will steal Peggy's account. They do have a mutual respect and even love for each other but they are now in competition so will be trying to win the same client's.

Ava-mila

Hey QueenBee :) Are you shocked as I am that season 5 is already over? What are we gonna do till season 6?!
You're right that Don is not a victim in this marriage. They both wanted to use each other for their own agendas,and that's it. I really can't stand Megan though, she is too young for Don and he is just too old fashion for her. Weiner said:
''Don “knows that if he gives Megan what she wants, she could possibly leave him,� Weiner says, adding that nevertheless, the screen test changes Draper’s mind about helping his wife land the commercial audition.''
For the sake of the show I hope this marriage is over and Betty and other far more interesting people will get their time to shine!

Queenbeethegreat

I think Megan's a user. She seduced Don into marrying her with stories about how she wanted to do what he does for a living. Oh come on, Don is a big boy and he certainly doesn't need anyone to "seduce him to marry her". He was lonely, pitied himself and couldn't believe that he had actually screwed up his marriage with Betty, so that she wasn't willing to put up with him again. You do remember last season I hope? Don was a mess and in a downward spiral. He was so used to someone taking care of him, and having a nice little wifey who waited with dinner at home for him (after he rumbled the sheets with someone else) that he just didn't know how to deal with this new situation. And then there was Megan and the kids loved her and he needed someone and there she was. I won't deny that she had her own little agenda going and certainly did his status and money play into her decision of marrying him - but as I see it they used each other for different reasons.

Queenbeethegreat

well, "I have no idea" wasn't all I had to say, so again I find their way they are going with Joan extremely weird. It's like she is a whole other person. Someone without confidence or self-respect and I still can't fathom that she did sleep with that guy to get the account. That was so un-Joan-like...

Queenbeethegreat

This finale just like the whole season just didn't bring it for me.
Don's stories were the worst and the least interesting ones. Everything involved either Megan or him being a douche to most of his co-workers (except Joan). I'm confused if I should feel sorry for him or for other people in his life since everything he is involved in fells apart.
The only stories I really enjoyed were Peggy's bold move to move on, Roger' s trip, Joan leaving her asshole husband, and Betty and Sally bonding when you least expect it.
I hated Lane's suicide since it was all too fast (he could have had so many options and he wasn't alone, he had friends and family), every single Megan story and Don loosing interest in his work.
Yep, you basically summed up my thoughts. My question is what's up with Joan? Her comment about giving Lane what he wanted was bizarre. Now she's referring to herself as a whore? Where are they going with this Joan = prostitute story line? I have no idea. It's so weird. It's like Joan is a whole other person

Ava-mila

@PhillyGirl
I was wondering the same thing about Joan. What the hell is going on with her? I mean she and Lane kissed once, Lane for sure liked her but he was never at that point that he would go crazy without her love.
It was a very self centered and stupid question. Don's eye rolling was priceless though.

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I think Megan's a user. She seduced Don into marrying her with stories about how she wanted to do what he does for a living. She seems perfect, sexy, talented, smart, everything a guy could wish for. Then last night her facade cracks, and she becomes a snivelling, self-pitying mess. The only time she is effusive with Don is when he does something for her. So she rides his coattails into a job. My question is what's up with Joan? Her comment about giving Lane what he wanted was bizarre. Now she's referring to herself as a whore? Where are they going with this Joan = prostitute story line?

Cha11

Did anyone else think last night's episode could have easily been a series finale rather than a season finale?

Ava-mila

This finale just like the whole season just didn't bring it for me.
Don's stories were the worst and the least interesting ones. Everything involved either Megan or him being a douche to most of his co-workers (except Joan). I'm confused if I should feel sorry for him or for other people in his life since everything he is involved in fells apart.
The only stories I really enjoyed were Peggy's bold move to move on, Roger' s trip, Joan leaving her asshole husband, and Betty and Sally bonding when you least expect it.
I hated Lane's suicide since it was all too fast (he could have had so many options and he wasn't alone, he had friends and family), every single Megan story and Don loosing interest in his work.

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Don wasn't questioning Pete. He was asking "We can do that?" because he didn't want to be at the meeting. It had nothing to do with authority. Just Don being lazy.

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 13 Quotes

Beth: I knew you'd show.
Pete: Because I'm pathetic?

You wanna be somebody's discovery, not somebody's wife.

Don (to Megan)
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