Posted by: ckckred | June 13, 2012

The Mad Men Watch: The Phantom

Don Draper was the center of Mad Men’s season finale

Note: As with most of my television reviews, there will be spoilers.  Don’t watch if you haven’t seen the season finale of Mad Men.

Before I start my review, let me just state my thoughts on the fifth season of Mad Men.  Though I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, it isn’t as strong as the previous season, and some episodes felt a little slow.  However, that detracted little of my praise for the show, and I feel that it flew by too fast.

“The Phantom”‘ pretty much served to conclude every subplot brought up during the season: ranging from topics that have been in most episodes (Megan’s search for an acting job, Pete’s affair with Beth) and some barely mentioned (Roger’s fling with Megan’s mother and Lane’s secret crush came back).

What exactly is the title of the episode pointing to?  At first, it seemed to stem from Megan’s mother saying that Megan couldn’t chase phantoms, or dreams that she couldn’t accomplish.  But I believe it was referring to Don’s dead brother, visiting him in a fantasy.

But let’s examine the different parts of the episode.  Let’s first start off with the weakest: Roger’s relationship with Megan’s mother.  Yes, it sounds like something a stale sitcom would do, but Mad Men handled it pretty well.  But I didn’t quite understand why Megan’s mother was attracted to Roger so much, plus the only previous context was about five seconds of an earlier episode.

Now on to Peggy’s plight.  Her story ultimately suffered the same problem as the Roger one: there wasn’t enough context.  But I found myself more interested in her subplot.  What will happen to her now that she’s left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?  Will she become successful, or will she bail out and return?

The main part of “The Phantom,” however, was devoted towards Pete.  Pete’s always been wining and complaining in the office, but I was surprised to find myself rooting for him and his chances with Beth.  Yes, he’s cheating on his wife, but I feel Matt Weiner wants us to support Pete.  We know Beth’s husband is a jerk, and Pete appeared to be Beth’s angel.

But maybe not.  As it turns out, Beth’s getting shock therapy and may or may not be insane.  And Pete not only gets beat up by her husband but also by a conductor.  On the positive side, at least he’s getting that apartment he wanted.

But, as usual, the strongest part of the story revolved around Don.  Don is charged with the decision to put Megan in the casting for a commercial, which he doesn’t want to do.  But his toothache had more of an impact, as his dead brother reappeared while Don was having his tooth removed.

Over the season, we’ve come to accept Don as a good man.  In previous seasons we’ve seen him cheat on Betty, but with Megan he’s become loyal to.  At the final scene, Don sits at a bar, and is asked by a woman if he’s with someone.  And before Don answers, the credits begin.

So what happened?  We’ll find out next year, but I’m almost positive he said no.  I have absolutely no idea what will happen next season, but we’ll wait and see.

So even though it wasn’t the strongest end to the season, it was a fine episode.  I would have liked a better cliffhanger, but I still enjoyed the season.

Oh yeah, did anyone else see the Breaking Bad teaser at the end of the episode.  I can’t wait for the show to come back this July.

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Responses

  1. Personally, I would have rather had a bigger cliffhanger since the ending could very well have been the end of the entire series. It’s vague enough to leave us wondering but also doesn’t necessarily have any loose ends.

    Still a solid episode, though

    • I was hoping for a bigger cliffhanger too. It just seemed too simple, and didn’t have too much thought in it. Though I felt that was disappointing, I still enjoyed the episode though. Thanks for commenting.


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