This season is all about Megan, so if you are not Team Megan or a Megan enjoyer, we feel for you, because you must be hating this season. However, we think you are crazy, because Megan is driving this show to new and better places. Our fear last year was that she would be stupid. We thought she would just be a young trophy wife who wouldn’t challenge Don at all and who would be way in over her head. We thought she would be a plaything before Don realized his mistake, threw Megan away, and got Faye back. However, Megan doesn’t take crap from anyone, and she isn’t stupid at all. In the first six episodes, we saw the couple go through some histrionics, figuring out how to treat each other. Megan wouldn’t put up with Don’s usual chauvinism and Don seems unaware of how to react to Megan’s dramatics.
But there have been bright spots in the last few months for the newlyweds. Don allowed Megan to quit the ad firm to pursue her acting dreams, she gets along with the children (for the most part), Don doesn’t cheat, when Megan had a good idea for a pitch Don supported it and admitted her tagline was better than his, and they really do seem to like each other. We never thought we’d see Don in a good relationship and we wonder how long it will last. Megan knows about Anne Draper and thinks it’s just fine. The fighting is healthy in that it’s out in the open and both parties speak their mind. Yeah, there are issues. Don’s mad at Megan for leaving the firm and feels judged for his business by Megan, her theater friends, and her family. Megan likes to fight and then have makeup sex. But with a show like this, this relationship is as nice as you can hope for.
We loved seeing guest stars Julia Ormond and Alexis Bledel. Julia, who we remember well from our childhoods as Guinevere in First Knight (a guilty pleasure movie about King Arthur and Lancelot), played Megan’s French mother. Alexis Bledel is Pete’s newest crush. He cheated on Trudy yet again, and this time with the wife of the nasty miser who commutes to work with him on the train. Alexis, if you can believe it, is thirty years old. She speaks a little differently, and we like it. She sounds more mature. She looks the same as ever. She could still pass for a high schooler, easily. It’s so fun to see her. For a while, she wasn’t getting very good projects, and Mad Men is a great one, especially this season. We really didn’t need to see that much of Rory Gilmore’s boob though.
Lane stole money from the firm and committed fraud in order to pay his debts. We like Lane. Okay, no we don’t. We mostly just feel bad for him. But we feel like this move is going to end in him leaving the firm, and he is going to deserve to lose his job and have to move back to Europe. Was Peggy threatened by Megan? She told Joan that Megan was a girl who was just good at everything, and her heartfelt congratulations to Megan after the Heinz closing seemed genuine. But she had a stank look on her face at times, and Don seems to think that Peggy was jealous of Megan. We are giving Peggy the benefit of the doubt…this time.
We agreed with Peggy’s mother than moving in with her boyfriend was a bad idea, but the mother’s reaction was uncalled for. People should be allowed to do what they want. We guess that was a different, less accepting time when it comes to cohabitation. Also, Momma’s advice to get cats instead was truly sad. Peggy might not have too many romance options. Ern’s brother said that Peggy looks like Dobby from Harry Potter. (What??!!) We never can tell if we think Elizabeth Moss is attractive. They give her the worst hair on this show. But she’s certainly better looking than a house elf.
Sally continues to intrigue. She’s growing up fast (too fast, since she had to see Roger getting head from Megan’s mom). We actually weren’t that mad at Betty for her sabotage attempt. Yeah, it was low and Betty is more unlikeable than almost anyone else on this show, but we’ve seen real life parents badmouth each other and try to turn their kids against each other in much worse ways. That didn’t exactly shock us.
What is shocking Don’s work life. He used to be so honorable toward his clients and respected, but he’s burned bridges with the Lucky Strike letter. He’s distracted because of Megan. Don also screwed over Ginsburg for the sake of his own pride when he didn’t show the client both Sno-Ball ideas. We expect more from Don, but these are signs that he’s feeling insecure at work. Not to mention how painful it was to watch Don try to make his stupid idea work. What happened to his cool magic at the workplace? We like that the show is doing this to Don. It's taking his mojo and yet the show is still interesting.
Roger needs to do LSD again so he gets less clueless. We felt bad for Judy after he had sex with her in her new apartment. His admission that he felt terrible was welcome though. We wonder where the show is taking the Roger character. We don’t like Harry much, and his dalliance with the Hare Krishna woman only served to further annoy us. We loved Don and Joan getting time together last week, and we think everyone agrees with us there. Joan has been at her most badass this season. We also loved Megan teaching Sally to cry on cue, which should come in handy in the future, since Sally is getting to be a little batty. We tried Megan’s tips, but we need to practice more…
We’ve been finding the show to be warmer, more thoughtful, and more accessible in season five. Since the show has already done the “adulterous superhero ad men and their secretaries” thing to death, it now has to find someplace new to take the characters and themes. The world is moving on, Don Draper is starting to feel like an old man, and the men who used to be on top of the world are now a little out of touch. They are playing more Beatles and showing us the changing world. We love seeing the show grown up and explore different ideas. There hasn’t been a boring episode yet this season. For Mad Men, that’s a huge achievement. Also, Pete got punched in the face! Come on! Best season ever.
Netflix is claiming that it boosted Mad Men’s ratings by making the show’s four season available to stream. We tend to agree. If it weren’t for Netflix, we wouldn’t have been caught up this season, and we wouldn’t have been into the show at all. It takes nearly a whole season to like this show for most people, so streaming on Netflix for free is pretty necessary.
At the Codfish Ball: B
Lady Lazarus: A-
Dark Shadows: A
Christmas Waltz: B