film / tv / substack / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / substack / web / celeb

MMS5 Joan Herb.png

'Mad Men' Rewatch, Season Five: Is This When the Series Peaked?

By Sarah Carlson | TV | February 17, 2015 |

By Sarah Carlson | TV | February 17, 2015 |

Mad Men’s fifth season is dark, y’all. Darker than I remembered it being, even as some of its scenes have stuck with me — haunted me — since they first aired in 2012. This may be the toughest season for watching episodes in quick succession; doom does its best to reign, and the omens are there from the beginning:

MMS5 Noose.png

MMS5 Elevator Shaft.png

Of course, levity makes an appearance, and all together Season Five is one of the series’ strongest. My Not Great, Pod! podcast co-hosts were even calling it as the greatest season as we rewatched it leading up to the second half of the show’s final season. I say it’s too soon to tell, but creator Matthew Weiner certainly put his characters through the ringer this season, taking them (and us) everywhere from trippy LSD sessions to traumatic death scenes.

And oh, the life lessons we learn along the way.

What it means to get too into the ’60s:

MMS5 Kinsey.png

That everyone gets dumped, even Joan:

MMS5 Joan End Things 1.png

MMS5 Joan End Things 2.png

Things you shouldn’t say to your boss when you’ve just gone against his instructions and should be grovelling:

MMS5 Ginsberg Heart 1.png

MMS5 Mad Men Ginsberg Heart 2.png

What it looks like when you think you’re going to get engaged and actually get an offer to shack up:

MMS5 Peggy Crushed Dreams.png

That Ginsberg gave us Breaking Bad clues and we didn’t even know it:

MMS5 Ginsberg Ozymandias 1.png

MMS5 Ginsberg Ozymandias 2.png

What to say when your boss keeps calling you and you don’t want to talk:


That it’s not you, it’s him:

MMS5 Mona Got Old.png

That Mr. Belding can pop up anywhere:

MMS5 Mr Belding.png

What it looks like to be living inside a ’60s French film:

MMS5 Don Megan Fight Diminish.png

What those crazy kids think about you, and what you think about them:

MMS5 Stones Girl 1.png

MMS5 Stones Girl 2.png

Because you’re always old to somebody:

MMS5 Don 40.png

How to say “Surprise!”:

Mad Men Joan Airplane Surprise 1.gif Mad Men Joan Airplane Surprise 2.gif

How to be smooth:

MMS5 Don Joan Dance.png

The best opening line for a workplace fist fight:

MMS5 Lane Pete Pimp.png

How to be the top watercooler topic at work Monday morning:

MMS5 Megan Zou Bisou Bisou 1.png

That the real products of the ’60s were the kids:

MMS5 Don Glen Elevator.png

What it feels like to be gutted watching TV:

MMS5 Don Joan React 1.png

MMS5 Don Joan React 2.png

MMS5 Don Joan React 3.png

MMS5 Don Joan React 4.png

The line that should make you think “Yep, time to divorce”:

MMS5 Greg Joan Orders.png

The kind of thing a coworker might say that you should really pay attention to:

MMS5 Ginsberg Mars.png

The kind of lines that don’t work on strict grandparents:

MMS5 Sally Good Person.png

That yep, it’s still him:

MMS5 Roger Jane Party.png

That even Rory Gilmore grows up:

MMS5 Rory Side Boob.png

How to write a note:

MMS5 Don Note to Megan.png

And how to say goodbye:

MMS5 Don Peggy Hand 1.png

MMS5 Don Peggy Hand 2.png

So grab your jazziest sports coat:

MMS5 Men Sports Coats.png

And get groovy:



Because there’s only so much time left to catch up before the final episodes are upon us:

MMS5 Roger Jane LSD.png

MMS5 Peggy Reaction.png

If you don’t have the DVDs/Blu-rays or access to Netflix, AMC is rerunning the series on Sunday mornings ahead of the April 5th Season Seven Part 2 premiere. The back half of Season Four airs this Sunday, the 22nd, and Season Five begins March 1. And you know you want to be caught up so you don’t get looks like this:

MMS5 Don Megan React Peggy.png

Join us — myself, Mallory Andrews, a writer for Movie Mezzanine and Sound on Sight, and Corey Atad — as we discuss Season Five in the latest Not Great, Pod!, our unofficial Mad Men podcast.

Listen here:

Subscribe on iTunes!

Here’s a direct link, and here’s the RSS feed. For other links, including Twitter and Facebook, visit

And join us for the rewatch, won’t you? It continues March 17 with all of Season Six.

Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.