“Mad Men” Season 5 ended on a professional high note for the company and a low note for everyone’s personal lives. So the opposite of last season’s finale, where the company was struggling after the loss of Lucky Strike, but Don Draper (Jon Hamm) found himself (surprise!) engaged to secretary Megan Calvet (Jessica Paré).
This time, Sterling Cooper Draper NowWhat is moving up in the world — another floor up in the same building, where Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) will have the same view as Don. That’s pretty fitting since Pete is still on the same personal path as Don — except Don never got punched in the face as often as Pete. But back when we met Don on Season 1 (when he used to sit at the bar, drinking old-fashioneds) he was having an affair with Midge and wanted to run away with her. I think he suggested Paris. On the Season 5 finale, Pete wanted to take Beth off to Los Angeles, where he went with Don a few seasons back. It didn’t work for Don and it didn’t work for Pete. In both cases, they just went home. They always go home.
The finale’s title, “The Phantom,” was referenced by Megan’s mother, Marie (Julia Ormond), as what Megan was chasing with her acting dream. Marie also returned to her affair with Roger Sterling (John Slattery), but chided him to not ask her to take care of him. (Or take LSD with her.) It sounds like she’s not a big fan of kids anyway, giving Megan this very Betty Draper Francis line: “You are an ungrateful little bitch. Thank God my children aren’t my whole life.” Thank God for them, anyway. (By the way, no Betty this episode. Thank God for that, too.)
The Phantom also referred to Adam Whitman, Don’s red-haired brother who hanged himself years ago and returned to Don’s subconscious throughout the episode because Lane Pryce took his life the same way. Don had a toothache for most of the episode and, unlike his hope, it did not just go away. It had to be removed. He tried to appease his own guilt ache by giving Lane’s widow Rebecca $50,000 — pretending it was agreed on by all the partners — but thankfully she saw through that, giving him the you’re-just-trying-to-make-yourself-feel-better speech he deserved.
The Phantom, to me, was also Pete’s affair partner, Beth. Pete just keeps picking the wrong women to woo. Turns out, Beth gets “blue” and regularly has electroshock treatments to give her a sort of “gray cloud” that lasts for months and tends to make her forget things. It’s like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — or How To Forget That You Slept With Pete Campbell. Pete is a pretty pathetic character a lot of the time — and I did laugh when he got punched in the face again — but I was moved by their hospital scene, when he talked to Beth about his “friend” who got involved with a married woman.
Beth wasn’t the only one feeling sick and “blue” this week. There was Don and his toothache- (and work- and marriage-) induced misery — alleviated by his own gray cloud of being gassed at the dentist — and Pete himself, who was called out by Trudy for being a grumpy gus. “This doom and gloom — I’m tired of it.” She agreed to give him his own apartment in the city, so we could see the continued Don 1.0-ification of Pete. But it won’t make him happy; he now sees his life with his family as “some temporary bandage on a permanent wound.”
Megan was also feeling “sick” because she couldn’t get an acting gig. Megan’s friend Emily asked her to put a word in with Don to get the Butler shoes “Beauty and the Beast” commercial so, of course, Megan asked Don for help to get it herself. Don initially said no, but a conversation with Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) seemed to turn him around. Don and Peggy ran into each other at a movie theater and she talked about doing well now that she’s away from Sterling Cooper Draper X. She wasn’t sure if it was OK to mention she was doing OK. “That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on,” Don said. Peggy replied, “Don’t you want them to?” Don always needs Peggy to help clear his head — or to use as a buffer when he really wants to yell at Megan, but Marie took over that role this week.
The Peggy talk seemed to lead to Don getting Megan that “Beauty and the Beast” commercial after all. Was that an “if you love someone, set them free” move or was that the true beginning of their end? What was Don thinking as he watched Megan’s silent, black-and-white film reel? Was it like watching a departed loved one? Is she the “phantom” he’s chasing — the elusive Jaguar he’ll never truly own? Was getting her the commercial enough of a soul crushing bit of corruption to send him back on the cynical path of Old Don? Is the fairy tale over? Is he beauty and she the beast?
At the end of the episode, after a (finally) happy “Miss Calvet” got her commercial, Don walked away from the dark studio to a bar, where a pretty young thing wanted to know “Are you alone?”
Is Don alone? Are all the characters of “Mad Men” alone? As we left them, Peggy was apparently joined by two dogs humping (why?!) and Roger decided to get bare-ass naked and flash Little Roger to all of Manhattan, but it does seem like they — and Joan and Pete and in some ways Megan and Betty — are all alone. For a company doing so well — Sparkling new office! Best quarter ever! $175,000 thanks to Lane’s suicide! — it was truly a doom and gloom finale. Every man for himself.
But at least Pete got punched in the face again. That never gets old.
Here are some of the most notable quotes from Episode 13, in order of their appearance:
Don [on his toothache]: “It’ll go away. It always does.”
Harry Crane: “I need a window, Joan. I’m getting scurvy.”
Topaz guy: “I hate it.”
Michael Ginsberg: “No, you don’t.”
Topaz guy: “We’re supposed to be part of a fantasy and I don’t think ‘cheap’ is part of any girl’s fantasy. You should get a girl’s opinion. I used to take that as a given here — and I’m not talking about black coffee out there.”
Stan Rizzo: “The client didn’t like it and we did. In the end, isn’t that how we know it’s good?”
Ginsberg [to Don]: “I consider it a success that you didn’t have to go a single day without telling me I’m an idiot.”
Stan [on Don and Ginsberg fighting]: “Tell you what, I’m so bored of this dynamic.”
Ted Chaough [to Peggy]: “You’re a woman and you smoke. What do you want?”
Pete [leaving meeting]: “Don, I give you my proxy. I have things to do.”
Don: “We can do that?”
Beth: “I knew you’d show.”
Pete: “Because I’m pathetic.”
Acting friend Emily [to Megan]: “All I want is an audition. I’d ask you who I have to sleep with but I don’t think you’d like it.”
Beth: “You just hate him ’cause he voted for Goldwater.
Pete: “Let’s go to Los Angeles. I’ve been there. It’s filled with sunshine.”
Beth: “It’s so dark, Peter, that I just get to this place and I suddenly feel this door open and I want to walk through it.”
Pete: “That’s for weak people. People who can’t solve a problem.”
Pete: “And then you’ll leave. And what if you forget you love me?”
Beth: “Oh, Peter. I don’t know you. And you don’t know me. We just happen to have the same problem.”
Don: “I thought you hated advertising.”
Megan: “I never said that.”
Don: “Well, you certainly don’t think it’s art. And you’re an artist, aren’t you?”
Megan: “Do you know how hard this was for me to even ask you?”
Don: “Do you know how hard it would be to ask Charles Butler Jr. to hire my wife?”
Don: “You want to be somebody’s discovery, not somebody’s wife.”
Roger [to Megan’s mom]: “What is Regina?”
Joan [on Lane]: “Why didn’t I give him what he wanted?”
Don: “What did he want?”
Joan gives him a knowing look.
Megan: “I’m sad.”
Marie: “I know.”
Megan: “What do I do?”
Marie: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You have a beautiful home and a handsome husband who provides you with everything even though you won’t give him a family.”
Megan: “Why are you always so nice to strangers? You don’t ever care what I want to do.”
Marie: “Because you are chasing a phantom.”
Megan: “You’re supposed to be encouraging.”
Marie: “Not every little girl gets to do what they want. The world could not support that many ballerinas.”
Megan: “Is that what you tell yourself?”
Marie: “You are an ungrateful little bitch. Thank god my children aren’t my whole life.”
Rebecca [to Don]: “I hope you feel better.”
Rebecca: “You had no right to fill a man like that with ambition.”
Rebecca: “It’s probably difficult for you to believe but it was even more than $50,000 that already belonged to him. So don’t leave here thinking that you’ve done anything for anyone but yourself.”
Pete [on getting a pool]: “I don’t know, Trudy, it’s awfully permanent.”
Trudy: “Lord knows you’re so much better when you get some sun.”
Trudy: “What is wrong with you?”
Pete: “I’m sorry.”
Trudy: “This doom and gloom — I’m tired of it.”
Roger [to Marie]: “Stop being demure, you’re already on the bed.”
Roger: “One of my partners, he ended it all. You’d have to be so sure you were going someplace better, wouldn’t you? I think maybe that place is here.”
Marie: “Why are you saying this?”
Roger: “Would you take LSD with me?”
Marie: “Roger, please don’t ask me for anything. Please don’t ask me to take care of you.”
Megan [trying to get Don to make love]: “Please. It’s the only thing I’m good for.”
Don [to Marie]: “How could you leave her like that? Drunk out of her mind.”
Marie: “She’s married to you. That’s your job. She left my house a happy girl.”
Don: “And you show up and it’s miserable.”
Marie: “I know it’s hard to watch. But this is what happens when you have the artistic temperament but you are not an artist. Take my advice: Nurse her through this defeat and you shall have the life you desire.”
Don [to vision of dead brother Adam]: “Don’t go. Don’t leave me.”
Adam: “Don’t worry. I’ll hang around. Get it?”
Beth [on why Pete’s “friend” got involved with another man’s wife]: “Why did he do it?”
Pete: “All the regular reasons, I guess. He needed to let off some steam, he needed adventure, he needed to feel handsome again, he needed to feel that he knew something — that all this aging was worth something because he knew things young people didn’t know yet.”
Pete [to Beth]: “And then he realized everything he already had was not right either. And that was why it had happened at all. And that his life with his family was some temporary bandage on a permanent wound.”
Don [to Peggy]: “That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on.”
Peggy: “Don’t you want them to?”
Don: “I’m proud of you. I just didn’t know it would be without me.”
Pete: “You are the most disgusting person I have ever seen.”
Howard: “It’s you. She always spreads her legs for the first chump she can find.”
Train officer: “I’m about to throw you off.”
Pete: “Go ahead, you fat piece of crap.”
Officer: “I am an officer of the New Haven line.”
Pete: “Well, I’m president of the Howdy Doody Circus Army.”
Trudy: “I can’t live like this.”
Pete: “I’ll come home.”
Pete [on new office]: “I’m going to have the same view as you, Don.”
Girl at bar: “Are you alone?”
Don turns to her.
** PREVIOUS RECAPS AND QUOTES**
Week 11: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 12 ‘Commissions and Fees’ Recap & Quotes: Lane Closed
Week 10: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 11, ‘The Other Woman’ Recap & Quotes: Sex Sells (Out)
Week 9: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 10, ‘Christmas Waltz’ recap & quotes: Hare Krishna?!
Week 8: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 9 ‘Dark Shadows’ Recap & Quotes: Happy Envy Day?
Week 7: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 8 ‘Lady Lazarus’ Recap & Quotes: Megan Quits! Yay?
Week 6: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 7 ‘At the Codfish Ball’ Recap & Quotes: Daddy’s Girls
Week 5: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 6 ‘Far Away Places’ recap & quotes: ‘Love Leave’ ends
Week 4: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 5, ‘Signal 30’ Recap & Quotes: Lane Fights Pete!
Week 3: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 4, ‘Mystery Date’ Recap and Quotes: ‘Dazzle Me!’
Week 2: Quotes from ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 Episode 3, ‘Tea Leaves’: ‘Who Smells Like Pee?’
Week 1: Top 21 quotes from ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 premiere: ‘You’re all so cynical. You don’t smile, you smirk’
Week 1: ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 premiere recap: Don DID marry Megan and promoted her to copywriter, but even the happy couple isn’t all that happy
Catch up on my “Mad Men” stories in this nifty archive.