“Zou Bisou Bisou”
This gets my #1 favorite Thing because it so appropriately kicked off season five: This is going to be Megan’s season, this moment said. Get ready for surprises. And she does surprise: Megan surprised everyone at Don’s birthday party by busting out a naughty little rendition of an already-sexy song.
To celebrate my #1 favorite moment from this season’s Mad Men and tonight’s season finale, They Roared Vintage is having a contest where we will be giving away Jessica Paré’s vinyl 45 of “Zou Bisou Bisou”. Go here for details.
I don’t know of anyone who didn’t love this scene. Abruptly during a meeting, Lane challenges a particularly smart-mouthed Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) to a fight. Pete gets in a few good shots, but it’s Lane who gets his dignity back. Only Pete and a very unfortunate liquor desk suffer.
“I want a partnership, not silent. There’s no negotiation.” Words set in stone, by a woman who knows what’s best for her future.
I think I held my breath during this entire scene. After Megan and Don have a huge fight, he breaks the door of their apartment down and, after a quick tussle, he chases her through their apartment. You don’t quite know what’s going to happen if he catches her—will he hit her? Will he rape her? Will he walk out? Will she hit him? It ends up okay, but geez…it’s tense.
Little Miss Space Age
I adore Sally, and when she walked out in this super-60s space age outfit, my heart melted. Don…you now are the father of a cultural young woman.
Don Strangles Shelly Johnson
I knew it was only a fever dream, but it still terrified me for a few seconds. It was one of those great moments of Mad Men where you’re enjoying a laid-back episode, and then suddenly you’re ripped out of the comfort zone.
The introduction of this prudish, sensitive, highly religious, immensely talented, and incredibly interesting character is a strong mark on season five. Ginsberg is a new and potentially threatening addition to SCDP. I like him. He keeps everyone on their toes.
Don and Megan are a Team (at work)
I loved in this season how Don and Megan were a great team at SCDP. The first example came when they had a little “routine” created for Cool Whip (or something like that) where they portrayed an adorable couple arguing over dessert. The second example emerges when Megan has a smart idea for Heinz beans and, in desperation, gives Don all the credit and wins the account back over dinner. It’s so sweet because it’s her first big idea…and she hands it right over, no hesitation.
Joan Tells Peggy that She’s Brave
The Peggy/Joan relationship has been strained since the beginning. Here it reaches a tender moment where both women are at a vulnerable point in their lives. It’s sweet and refreshing.
Lane and Joan
Joan and Lane’s dynamic was so perfect this season. When she breaks down in front of him and cries, it means more than it would with any other office member, because Lane is the one that she probably once detested the most. Her weakness gets the better of her in front of someone she most likely really, really didn’t want it to.
Joan’s moment of weakness is matched only by Lane’s moment of humiliation when he decides to plant one on Joanie—running off a high from beating the poop out of Pete—and, while she doesn’t push him away, she does pull away and then open the office door. SHOT DOWN. It’s still so endearing and courageous.
Don Connects with a Teenybopper
I really loved Don’s conversations with the little Brian Jones fan. On a mission to pitch a commercial idea to the Rolling Stones, Don and Harry have no choice but to hang out like groupies backstage. During this, they strike up a chat with two teenage girls, one of which intrigues Don with her passion for the band. When he asks her about what she hopes will happen with Brian Jones, she says, “He’ll see me from across the room. I’m Lady Jane. He’ll know that.” Absolutely perfect.
Peggy Tells Don to Shut Up
Pushed very far to her limit, Peggy cannot abide anymore from Don and loses it in a client’s workplace. She explodes at him, getting four years’ pressure off her chest.
Joan Has a Surprise
Not to be outdone by Peggy’s tantrum, the normally calm, cool Joan Harris totally lost it when the new (moronic) secretary allows a subpoena officer in to serve her divorce papers. It was amazing: “Surprise!!! There’s an airplane here to see you!!!”
Pete Inspires Kenny
Oh, goodness. I nearly cried my eyes out. Kenny’s always been the writer, and he doesn’t fail here. At the end of this harrowing episode, Pete’s not quite as useless as he thinks he is, and Ken proves that to us.
Megan’s Power Play
Yes, Megan’s power play. We needed that, right? Why aren’t all wives this clever? This moment was amazing because it was all at once confusing, nerve-racking, and sexy—probably exactly what Don was thinking. After a massive fight, Megan storms home, sends the maid away, strips down to skivvies, and gets on those hands and knees. Don may be the one who initiates the action, but it’s Megan who won.
Roger Drops Acid
After taking acid, Roger decides that it’s boring…then goes to pour himself a drink. From that moment on, he knows otherwise. That night, he was truly “alone in the truth”.
Betty is Informed that She’s…Bigger
Yes, we were all shocked to see the formerly stunning, svelte Betty looking a few pounds heavier. And Betty’s not shocked—she’s simply aware. Her mother-in-law is aware too, and takes it upon herself to do something about it. It makes for a scene that should be uncomfortable, but ends up just being welcomed…and somehow thoughtful.
Pete Runs Into the Post
I was already laughing at the frustrated little grunt Pete makes right before he slams into a post…and then it got funnier. That post had been pushing him since season 4—and it finally got him. It was surprising, humiliating, and perfect.
Full-Fleged Hare Krishna
Paul!!! You’re always such a product of your time! I love it. When he turned around and faced Harry, my heart sang. What a lovable doof.
Don and Joan Go Car Shopping
Branching off of Joanie’s subpoena incident, I loved what happened next. Trying to comfort her, Don brings her along to select a very expensive car. It’s the sweetest thing. Joan gets to act like the privileged wives she’s always seen passing so luxuriously through the halls of Sterling Cooper.
Don the Plumber
Poor Pete. During his dinner party, Don charges into a kitchen full of giggling wives and takes over a plumbing problem in front of everyone—like a rugged Brawny man—while Pete is left scrambling in his tool box, lost. Don rips off his shirt and handles that sink like a pro. Pete’s left humiliated in his own home, shrieking baby in the background.
Don’s Still Got It
Whether he’s nailing a meeting old-school style (like he ends up doing with Firestone), nailing creative (like he does over new kid Ginsberg’s back with Snowball), nailing his lovely wife in the middle of a horrible argument, or just nailing awesomeness in general (see the plumber thing above), Don Draper still owns the lives around him, and—let’s face it—Manhattan. Just listen to his morale-boosting Christmas speech if you don’t believe me. It’s good to know that Don’s still at it.
THREE THINGS I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT SEASON 5:
Peggy Says Goodbye
Lane Says Goodbye
All in all, a very eventful, beautiful, sad, interesting season. Congratulations to Matthew Weiner, the genius behind it all, and the wonderful actors for another success.
The finale is tonight. I’m so excited to see what new incredible moments fill that time. Mad Men season five, I love you.