If you read my reviews of the last few episodes of Mad Men this season – especially the season finale – you’ll know that I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the story arcs this year. The acting, however, remained incredible and there are still a number of scenes that have stayed with me the few weeks since the finale aired.
Here are my favorites. List your favorites in the comments!
5×02 – “A Little Kiss” – Megan Puts on a Show
We all weren’t sure what to make of Megan when Don impulsively proposed to her at the end of the previous season, but I have to admit, most of us were quite enamored with her after her lustful performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou” at his surprise birthday party. (Or maybe that was just me.)
At the same time, we started to see cracks in their marriage as Don looked on horrified. Not because she wasn’t amazing at singing, but because Don hated inviting his friends in to what he saw as a private moment with Megan—something that comes to a head in the finale when Don invites Megan back into his business life, after she initially left it to pursue acting.
5×04 – “Mystery Date” – Joan Kicks Greg Out
We spent the off-season hoping Joan’s rapist husband Greg would get killed in Vietnam—and suffer. But he came home. Luckily, Joan finally wised up and kicked him to the curb, but not without first reminding him what he did to her. We never forgot… but more importantly, she never forgot.
Unfortunately, by kicking Greg out, Joan suddenly needed more income to support her child leading to her making a tough decision later in the season…
5×05 – “Signal 30” – Lane Socks Pete
Lane did something in this episode that we had all wanted Don – or anyone – to do for years: punch Pete in the face. It was an act that launched a million .GIFs. And even if we lost Lane, we’re going to be looking at the scene of Pete getting knocked across the face for years to come. (The one on train in the season finale isn’t as thrilling, however.)
After you’ve watched the scene a few times, make sure you re-watch it just to see Don, Roger and Bert’s reactions.
5×07 – “At the Codfish Ball” – Roger and Sally Become Best Friends
There’s a lot of great scenes from this episode, whether it’s Sally walking in on Roger “playing” with his friend’s mother-in-law, or how Sally describes the event and city to Glen afterwards as “dirty.”
But no, I had to pick the playful banter between Sally and Roger as my favorite. The only two who were more fun to interact with on television this season would have been Arya and Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones.
5×10 – “Christmas Waltz” – Joan Becomes Mrs. Draper
You could have cut the sexual tension with a knife during their trip to a bar, but for my money, the best part of the Joan and Don pairing in this episode is at the car dealership, where Joan instantly takes on the role of Don’s wife without even batting an eyelash. The chemistry they have as friends probably would never work as more than friends, but that scene above all showed us how much they not only truly cared for each other, but how more than anyone else in their respective lives they truly understood the other.
5×11 – “The Other Woman – Peggy Resigns
This is an episode that I’m always going to have issues with—I still don’t buy that Joan would do what she did. But it can’t take away from the powerhouse acting in the “break-up” scene between Peggy and Don.
Truthfully, I think Peggy might have considered staying if Don hadn’t insulted her by saying she got everything she had from him, and then compounded matters by throwing money in her face.
We did get a few additional appearances of Peggy after this scene, and I hope because of how strong it was, we’ll still continue to get more in season 6.
5×12 – “Commissions and Fees” – Looking Over the Window
This is the other storyline I just had trouble believing from a narrative perspective, but I still can’t get two images out of my head. First, seeing Lane’s dead body hanging from the back of his door.
But two was his colleagues looking over the window by standing on the couches and seeing something horrifying. Something that we wouldn’t see for a bit longer. It truly set the stage for the scene that was to come.