Monday, June 18, 2012

Mad Men: Season 5

Finally caught up on Mad Men. I was getting tired of accidentally seeing pictures of spoilery scenes on /r/madmen so I decided to watch all of the episodes this weekend.

I have managed to avoid the season reviews, but I've seen a few critics tweet that this is the shows' weakest season yet. I don't know if I agree with that, but I understand that their weakest season doesn't mean that it's weak; they do have a very high standard.

I thoroughly enjoyed the season. It was different, and quite unexpected for a drama show. For most of the season, the characters were content. There was no high drama. The business was going well – or at least on their way up; and the characters were relatively happy with their lives.

Don Draper being the happily married man was strange to see. I know he has a good heart - displayed when he stood up for Joan - but the fact that, out of everyone, he was the one who seemed the most satisfied with his personal life just seemed off. Especially since he wasn't as passionate about his job anymore - something that Megan touched on. But they were still in their honeymoon period so things might change.

It did look like things were returning to how it was; they seemed to be back to where they started on season 1. The company is expanding; Betty is the new girl again; Don ended up with a model/actress wife who's unhappy, and he might be on his way to his old habits by that last scene.

Parallels to Don and Betty's relationship?
People are saying that him sitting alone at the bar and ordering an Old Fashioned means that the old Don Draper is back. I really hope this isn't true; this season could also be seen as Don growing, ie. him knowing that his first marriage ended up as a disaster therefore he now knows how to make it last, he's willing to give in to what Megan wants. He's a different man now than he was in previous seasons and I hope it's for the better. Season 6 should be about Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce growing and Don back to focusing on the job that he loves.

Notice the way she's sitting.
Marathoning the episodes means I probably missed a few things, but I thought Peggy leaving was one of the high dramas of the season. Her moving on also makes her a step closer to being the next Don Draper.

And, of course, what happened at the end of the season. This was one of the things that was spoiled for me, unfortunately. I glanced over a sentence on how one of the partners killed himself, and I thought that it could only be him. I still don't know how I feel about this. They wouldn't remove the P from SCDP, would they? I do love the scene between Mrs. Pryce and Don; I don't think Don was being selfish, I believe that he was genuinely trying to do the right thing, but he was wrong to think that the gesture was enough.

Another thing on my season 6 wish list: more Sally Draper. I find her character to be interesting and full of potential; a coming-of-age story that's unique. Plus, I'm completely amazed at how well-spoken Kiernan Shipka is. She's only 12 years old!