‘Mad Men’ Season Five Finale Recap: ‘The Phantom’ [PHOTOS]

June 12th, 2012 // Leave a Comment

After the absolutely insane season of AMC’s Mad Men we’ve witnessed, the finale was quite tame. Now that Lane Pryce is gone, Peggy is living the dream, and Joan is being curvy and irresistible, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has nothing more to do except hallucinate about his dead brother Adam. Worst tooth abscess ever!

Joan (Christina Hendricks) has been promoted from prostitute to bossy pants partner and her new secretary can never seem to get it right. She is bringing in the dollars now and feels really guilty about Lane’s share. Don decides to deliver it to his wife, which goes terribly wrong

Apparently, Lane’s wife found a picture of a swimsuited beauty in his wallet. The audience recognizes this from a few episodes back, but she assumes the worst. She also thinks that Don must have been a bad influence for Lane, which doesn’t help Don’s psyche at all. If you think about it now, Lane even more of a sad bastard than we thought. And why didn’t anyone see the obvious signs all season long?

Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) has a new office and a new wardrobe. She is a superstar badass and her boss is asking her to design the newest cigarette for Phillip Morris, which turn out to be Virginia Slims. Another cute little aside is that Don may have influenced the name just by meeting Peggy and chatting with her in the movie theater. Those kind of moments are what make Mad Men great.

Megan (Jessica Pare) and her friend are talking about various acting jobs when the blonde suggests that she put a good word in for a new commercial with Don. Rather than recommending her friend, Megan asks Don to put her screen-test in the running. It’s a bit inappropriate, conniving, and sad. But hey, Megan is the star of a new commercial. While Don watches her black and white screen-test footage we are reminded of close ups from Fellini films of Anouk Aimee.

Megan’s mom hooks up with Roger, but refuses to be emotionally involved and that is very smart. He asks her to take LSD with him and he laments very lightly about Lane’s suicide. In the end of the episode he is seen tripping on LSD and standing naked in front of a window. This is why Roger (John Slattery) remains my favorite character.

Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) sees Beth (Alexis Bledel) on the train to work and she later calls him at the office. When he meets up with her she is on her way to have another round of electro-shock therapy and after their last sexual encounter she will forget him. Even so, Pete tries to visit her in the mental hospital just to hold out hope and Beth does not remember him at all. On his way home, he confronts Beth’s husband and gets yet another fist to the face. Pete is the best at being the worst.

After helping Megan get the acting job in the shoe commercial, there is a very Bond-esque moment in which Don walks away from the set and ends up alone once again in a bar. He has given everyone in his life exactly what they want, well with the exception of Lane, and still winds up being the thoughtful drunkard getting hit on by loose women. If the heroines of this film struggle with the ability to gain success and respect while maintaining their integrity, Don seems to struggle with the ability to create meaningful relationships while maintaining his success. In a way, Don makes us pretty proud. The man has come a long way, but this new man is built on a pretty shaky foundation.

By Chelsi Archibald
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