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:
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:
That everyone gets dumped, even Joan:
Things you shouldn’t say to your boss when you’ve just gone against his instructions and should be grovelling:
What it looks like when you think you’re going to get engaged and actually get an offer to shack up:
That Ginsberg gave us Breaking Bad clues and we didn’t even know it:
What to say when your boss keeps calling you and you don’t want to talk:
That it’s not you, it’s him:
That Mr. Belding can pop up anywhere:
What it looks like to be living inside a ’60s French film:
What those crazy kids think about you, and what you think about them:
Because you’re always old to somebody:
How to say “Surprise!”:
How to be smooth:
The best opening line for a workplace fist fight:
How to be the top watercooler topic at work Monday morning:
That the real products of the ’60s were the kids:
What it feels like to be gutted watching TV:
The line that should make you think “Yep, time to divorce”:
The kind of thing a coworker might say that you should really pay attention to:
The kind of lines that don’t work on strict grandparents:
That yep, it’s still him:
That even Rory Gilmore grows up:
How to write a note:
And how to say goodbye:
So grab your jazziest sports coat:
And get groovy:
Because there’s only so much time left to catch up before the final episodes are upon us:
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:
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.
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.